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  • Pearls – June’s Birthstone

    Pearl is the birthstone for June and the gem of the third and thirtieth anniversaries. Perhaps the best-loved gems of all time, pearls—natural and cultured—occur in a wide variety of colors. The most familiar are white and cream, but the palette of colors extends to every hue. Natural pearls form around a microscopic irritant in the bodies of certain mollusks. Cultured pearls are the result of the deliberate insertion of a bead or piece of tissue that the mollusk coats with nacre.

    2206 BC
    A Chinese historian writes about pearls for the first time.

    653 FIFTH AVENUE
    In 1917, Pierre Cartier traded a double strand of natural pearls for a mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

    1893
    Kokichi Mikimoto successfully cultures a pearl in Japan.

    FACTS
    • MINERAL: Calcium Carbonate
    • CHEMISTRY: CaCO3
    • COLOR: White, black, gray, yellow, orange, pink, lavender, green, blue
    • REFRACTIVE INDEX: 1.52-1.69
    • SPECIFIC GRAVITY: 2.60-2.85
    • MOHS HARDNESS: 2.5-3.0
    TREATMENTS

    There are a number of processes used to alter the color, apparent clarity, or improve the durability of gems. LEARN MORE

    SYNTHETICS

    Some gemstones have synthetic counterparts that have essentially the same chemical, physical, and optical properties, but are grown by man in a laboratory. LEARN MORE

    IMITATIONS

    Any gem can be imitated—sometimes by manmade materials or by natural materials chosen by man to impersonate a particular gem. LEARN MORE

    WHY WE LOVE THIS GEMSTONE

    • 1
      LUSTER

      Luster results from reflection of light rays off the pearl’s surface, and from concentric inner layers of nacre, like light bouncing off a convex mirror.

    • 2
      IMITATIONS

      Imitation pearls are smooth when rubbed against your teeth, while natural or cultured pearls have a slightly rough texture.

    • 3
      NATURAL PEARLS

      Natural pearls can be separated from cultured pearls by taking X-rays to reveal their inner structures.

    QUALITY FACTORS

    An assessment of the following characteristics determines the value of each type of pearl.

    • LUSTER

      Pearls with high luster have sharp bright reflections on the surface.

    • SURFACE QUALITY

      The number of blemishes on a pearl’s surface is evaluated to judge quality.

    • SHAPE

      Spherical pearls are the most valued but symmetrical drops are also sought.

    • COLOR

      Although white is most classic, appreciation has grown for more unusual natural colors.

    • NACRE THICKNESS

      Nacre thickness is evaluated to make sure that cultured pearls are durable as well as beautiful.

    • SIZE

      Cultured pearls range from 2-16mm in diameter, depending on the mollusk used.

    • MATCHING

    Information provided by GIA.edu

  • May’s Birthstone – Emeralds

    What is Emerald?

    Before we begin our global travels to find the sources of the May birthstone, it helps to know that emerald is a bluish-green to green variety of the mineral beryl, which ranks 7 ½ to 8 on the Mohs Scale. Traces of the elements chromium or vanadium give rise to emerald’s enviable color. It takes a specific geological environment to produce emerald: the elements beryllium, aluminum, silicon, oxygen and one or more trace elements – chromium or vanadium – must be present. This rare combination is found only in a few places on Earth.

    So now that you know a little about the gem, are you ready to discover where emeralds come from?

    Emeralds from Colombia

    Colombia has been the source of the finest emeralds for more than 500 years – long before the gem was designated the May birthstone. The rich greens of Colombian emeralds are the standard by which all others are measured.

    Muzo, Chivor, and Coscuez are three of the most important sites in Colombia for emeralds. Each locality is famed for producing emeralds of different hues. Muzo is known for its darker tones of pure green emeralds. Chivor is noted for emeralds that are lighter in tone and slightly bluish green. Coscuez produces slightly yellowish green emeralds. These classic mines remain historically significant, and continue to produce fine gems. The color of rough found in newer mines is often compared to colors from these principal localities.

    The setting of these emerald mines is as stunning as the gems. Craggy mountains carpeted in green surge up from lush valleys. Rivers slice their way through a fantastically rugged landscape. Wisps of pristine white clouds often hang over the jungle setting. And out of this breathtaking panorama, miners find rough that is coveted around the world.Colombia has produced a number of famous May birthstones. The 75.47 carat (ct) Hooker Emerald was once the property of Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1876-1909). It eventually made its way to Mrs. Janet Annenberg Hooker and is now displayed at the Smithsonian Institution.Emerald crystals are also prized, mainly for their size, color and symmetry. The American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles are just a few prestigious institutions that showcase emerald crystals.

    Emeralds from BrazilIf you’re hunting for emeralds, Brazil is also a good place to search. Emeralds were only found there in the last sixty years. Now the May birthstone is one of Brazil’s most important gem exports. Minas Gerais, where many emeralds are found, is a landlocked state of changing scenery. Savannahs broken by occasional forests sprawl in the west. Rocky hills and sparse vegetation make up the central and eastern parts. Lush forests and gentle hills are the welcoming landscape of the south.

    The Belmont Mine located there is one of the most productive sites for the May birthstone. Capoeirana, in Minas Gerais, is another important locality. Independent miners and workers employed by small businesses dig deep into the earth to find high-quality emeralds. With the ebb and flow of production from Colombia, the classic source, Brazil now offers the world a more consistent supply of the green gemstone.

    Emeralds from ZambiaThe May birthstone can also be found in Africa. Zambia has become one of the most important sources of emeralds in the past few decades. While emeralds were discovered there in 1931, commercial mining didn’t begin until 1967. Mines in the Ndola Rural Restricted Area produce emeralds that are darker in tone and bluish green.

    Because the Ndola Rural Restricted Area is off limits to those who do not have specific business with the mines, traveling to the source is not recommended. Travel in the region is also challenging. A paved road quickly turns into a rough gravel one, and then a dirt track. The landscape is hilly and hosts thick vegetation. Streams containing crocodiles meander across the plains. Resident crocodiles have found lodging at many of the mine sites. The rough material produced in Zambia is sold to gem dealers and wholesalers through an auction process. The emeralds are then cut and polished and sold on to retailers and designers around the world.

    Emeralds from AfghanistanThe Panjshir Valley is the site of most emerald mining activity in Afghanistan – a rocky place split by the Panjshir River and checkered with patches of bright green agricultural land. Stark mountains and fertile valleys make for a territory of breathtaking contrasts, and out of this dramatic landscape, emeralds are found. High on the barren mountainsides, the emerald deposits demand that miners scramble up and down the steep slopes in search of the green gem. What they unearth can rival the finest emeralds in the world.

    Our love for the May birthstone goes back millennia. Cleopatra had a passion for emeralds, as did European and Asian royalty a thousand years later. So prized were emeralds that the Incas used them as offerings to the gods. They helped bolster the economy of the Spanish Empire in the 17th century. And emeralds inspired a centuries-long underwater search for sunken galleons laden with the gem.Given the rich green hues of emerald, it was inevitable that we would fall under its spell. And productive mines around the world ensure that all who love green or are born in May will continue to be enchanted.

    Credits: GIA.edu

  • How to Purchase a Diamond Engagement Ring?

    Know what you want to spend. You will be confronted with a dizzying array of choices when it comes to engagement rings. Have a price range in mind. Going in with fairly specific parameters will help your jeweler find the right engagement ring to fit your budget.

    What kind of jewelry does she already wear? Is she more classic or modern? Feminine or sophisticated? Does she wear more silver or gold? Do her pieces tend to be more delicate or chunky? Simple or ornate? Have these preferences in mind when you set out to shop. If you buy something similar to what she already likes, you can’t go wrong.

    Know her ring size. If she wears rings, borrow one she already owns. Trace the inner circle on a piece of paper, or press the ring into a bar of soap for an impression. You can also slide it down one of your own fingers and draw a line where it stops. A jeweler can use these measurements to identify her approximate ring size.

    If she doesn’t wear rings, estimate in the following manner: The average ring size in the US is 6 (based on the ‘average’ US female being 5’4″ tall and weighing 140 lbs.) If she’s more slender, or fine boned, her ring size is probably in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 range. If she is heavier, larger boned or taller, her ring size is probably in the 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 range. It’s always better to buy a ring a bit bigger than you think she’ll need, because sizing a ring down is much easier than increasing its size.

    Are her preferences hard to pin down? Consider buying an unset diamond. If you choose the diamond first and have the setting made later, you can include her in selecting the style and final details of the ring (always a good idea) and avoid the awkwardness of choosing a ring that’s more to your taste than hers.

    Diamond is the birthstone for April, a fitting gem to symbolize the start of something new just like springtime. The word diamond is derived from the Greek word “adamas” meaning “invincible”. Most diamonds come from South Africa. It is said diamonds are good for coughs and mucus problems. Diamonds are the symbol of innocence and constancy. To clean diamonds, wash in warm soapy water and dry gently with a soft cloth.

    Know what diamond shape suits her. If she hasn’t made it easy for you by already voicing an opinion on the subject (or admiring someone else’s engagement ring), here are a few things to keep in mind when considering shape:

    – She will be wearing this ring 24/7 every day of your married life. It will need to go with everything from jeans to evening wear. If you’re uncertain about her shape preference, it’s sensible to stick to the classics. They became classics because they appeal to most people most of the time.

    – Cutting styles with fewer facets, such as emerald cut or rose cut, require higher clarity. 

    – Certain shapes pair more successfully with other gems in multi-stone rings. Round, Oval and Marquise all work well. Pear and Heart shape are more challenging.

    – If she prefers clean, modern lines in furniture, for example, it’s likely she’ll react well to the same aesthetic in Rectangular or Square shapes, like the Emerald Cut or Princess Cut. If she tends towards the traditional, a round shape rarely misses. More bohemian types tend to favor more unusual shapes, like Trilliant or Marquise.

    What Setting Makes Sense?

    While there are an unending variety of patterns, details and metal choices, there are four basic types you are likely to encounter:

    Solitaire – A single stone. Still the most popular choice in engagement rings. The head secures the diamond. Prongs allow the diamond to catch the most light. A four-prong-setting shows more of the diamond, but a six-prong setting is often more secure.

     

    Sidestone – Diamonds or other gemstones, flank the main stone for additional sparkle or color. Popular sidestone settings include ‘channel’, which protects stones by keeping them flush, and ‘bar-channel’, which allows more light to enter the sidestones.

     

    Three Stone – One diamond for the past, one for the present, and one for the future. Typically, the center diamond is larger than the two side stones.

     

    Pavee (pah-vey) – The main stone is surrounded by tiny diamonds to add sparkle and the illusion of greater size.

    As to actual setting design, consider her lifestyle, and how well a certain setting will fit into it. If she’s more active or outdoorsy, look for lower profile, less ornate, more sturdy choices, which are less likely to get knocked or caught on things. If she’s more of a glamour girl, look for statement settings, with a higher stone profile and more intricate ring detailing or unique motif.

  • Welcome!

    Welcome to my blog!

    I’ll try to let you know what inspires me…How to style your jewelry…The energy put forth in a gem…Life’s Lessons…Anything the moves an artist!

    …and so here it goes…

    Tourmaline – I LOVE this gorgeous GEM! It comes in almost all the colors- Yellow, Green, Pink, Red, Blue, Black…Watermelon, my favorite!

    StoneTourmalineSM

    Black Tourmaline is very special in that it serves dual purposes and is able to both heal and cleanse. Black Tourmaline is a powerful and potent tool for eradicating depression and feelings of negativity, whilst also dispelling further negative energy and feelings of fear. In addition to this, Black Tourmaline increases luck, particularly when the stone is rubbed.

    Brown Tourmaline is said to help in self-healing, and to aid in finding emotional strength and self-acceptance. It inspires courage and persistence, while calming and soothing, helping to ground and stabilize the inner self.

    Yellow Tourmaline is believed to activate the solar plexus chakra which can in turn enhance personal power and intellectual pursuits. In addition to this, Yellow Tourmaline is said to bring heightened intelligence, creativity, initiative, and spiritual awareness.

    Green Tourmaline is believed to be particularly useful with energizing and rejuvenating the wearer, which can stimulate creativity and bring success and prosperity.

    Pink Tourmaline is believed to represent harmony, joy of life, and lust. It vibrates the heart chakra allowing the wearer to open themselves to many levels of love. It is also believed to inspire spirituality and creativity well enhancing the one’s willpower. Pink Tourmaline is suitable for females as it encourages female balance and security.

    Shop our Jewels for Everyday for some Tourmaline Jewelry.