July 27, 2012

5 Ways to Make Your Diamond Ring Look Bigger (for under $1000)

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, estate jewelry, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:44 pm by rosediamonds

the addition of Pintrest, people are becoming more design conscious.  With all of the drool worthy pins out there, it can make a diamond ring you received a decade or so ago look tiny.  Thus, the need for an upgrade.

Not everyone has the budget to replace a diamond with a larger one.  If you do, I usually recommend you go up by at least a full millimeter so you can SEE the difference since you are paying the difference.  A 1/4 carat to a 1/3 carat is hard to tell apart unless you have your calipers on you…  Remember, carat refers to weight, not size, so not all 1 carat diamonds are the same diameter.  Old diamond (they are all old technically) can be moved over as a side stone or made into a pendant.

It may be that you do not WANT to replace your original diamond at all.  It has been my experience that men are many times more sentimental about keeping the same diamond throughout the marriage.  Not necessariy because they are being cheapo, but because they beleive in “luck” and “streaks.”  Ask a man to tell you about the time he wore the same socks to every ball game for an entire season without washing them…

To preserve the peace without breaking the bank, there are several ways to boost your original diamond’s “presence.”

  1. Add a halo.  It adds approximately 2-2.5mm of sparkly to the center of your ring.  I personally don’t like this term–I like “booster ring,” which sounds way more Star Wars–but who can argue with DeBeers?  The final look will depend on your original diamond size.  The diamond in the center can be situated above or level with the other stones.  For those of you in the healthcare industry, a low bezel set center can reduce the nnormal snalling on latex gloves.  Lifestyle matters too!  There are halo versions with varying stone sizes (usually .01-.03ct each)  This new setting can usually be added to your original engagement ring with some slight modifications.  By adding the halo in white, you can update the look of a yellow gold ring and help your jewelry “blend” in more with your other sterling and white gold/platinum pieces.  Also look for expanded halos and double halos.  I personally find the triple halo to be too much…  An expanded halo means there is empty space between yur center stone and your diamond making it look even bigger.  Also check into different prong styles.  Exposed mini prongs have a very different look than the channel set and cocktail setting of the past.  Also there are faux channels with mini milgrain that can lend a vintage look to your ring.  Some halos have stones on the sides of the halo as well.  These add cost, but can be super pretty as well.  Have a fancy shape diamond?  Don’t worry…they make halo heads for them as well!    Estimated cost $850 (depends on stone size and style of course).  
  2. New head.  Usually a thicker one, perhaps with double prongs or tulip prongs.  Some people don’t like the look of halos, so they opt to boost their center diamond by thickening up their prongs.  8 prong heads (octet heads) give a designer finish to the ring that isn’t available “off the rack” at most stores.  Tulip heads are named for their obvious resemblance to the flowers.  Another advantage to the thicker prongs is more durability for everyday wear and tear.  By the way, if you have had your ring for a decade and never had your prongs retipped or at least checked, you may want to consider a replacement head or service work (retipping) anyway.  Its like getting your oil changed–not glamorous, but necessary for the longevity of your ring..Wide and narrow bezel settings also boost the “spread” of your ring, but I find they tend to make an engagement ring look more casual that its prongy cousins;) Estimated cost $150
  3. Have an old set of diamond earrings?  Add them as side stones.  Different shapes?  Doesn’t matter!  This one is a little more tricky as there are three options.  Option one: reset original diamond and two earrings into a new setting.  There are a lot of combinations to three stone rings (some of which have way more than three stones lol).  If your original stone and earrings fit into a standard configuation, an off the rack mounting will do the trick.  Estimated cost $750.  Option 2: Add a wrap to your original ring.  This usually only works with solitaires (no side stones).  The wrap extends over the solitaire shank making it look (kinda) like one ring.  It may need to be soldered together to prevent slippage.  Estimated cost $700.  Option 3: Add smaller earring diamonds in a custom bridge.  This one is more tricky to estimate a price on since every ring is different.  Adding them in a bypass style can also affect how your wedding band (if you have one) will fit next to your new altered ring.  Estimated cost <1000 difinately, but talk to a pro about the feasibility of this one.  Fun alternative to this is adding a pair of gemstones instead.  Sapphires, blue topaz, etc all look gorgeous next to diamonds!  Same price for labor.
  4. Illusion head/plate.  This used to mean white gold diamond cut plate that was used to accent a teeny diamond in a pretty noticeable setting.  There are more modern options to this!  One option is to recreate the vintage box setting.  This illusion setting makes a round stone look bigger, more square, and more vintage.  Estimated cost: Starts at $150.  A free form ring doesn’t make your diamonds look bigger necessarily but by combining it with other medium sized diamonds, it can make the impact of the ring look bigger.  The estimated cost depends on the finished weight of the free form ring (there are stock options and custom options) and how many heads/stones need to be set.  
  5. Narrow or pinch the shank.  There is always more than one way to skin a cat, so now we will take our focus off the diamond and put it on the ring it sits in.  A good rule of thumb is this: the wider the band, the small your diamond will look.  Think about a shift dress.  It looks like a straight column.  If you were to add a belt, it would make your waist look much smaller.  The same thing holds true for rings.  If you use a razor (tiny narrow band) shank, your stone will look bigger no matter its size.  Your jeweler will be able to tell you if your original engagement ring shank can be slimmed down (without causing stability issues) or if you can simply transfer your center head and stone to a more narrow base.  Another fun alternative if you don’t want to give up a wider ring is to get a pinched shank that narrows near the stone.  Use caustion because narrow rings fit differently than wider ones so make sure you are fitted for the new ring style and width (there are different s sets of sizers for this reason).  Also, a narrow shank ring is more likely to rotate on the hand if you have big knuckles.  Most people do…A flared or European shank may help counterbalance to solve  this issue.
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December 30, 2009

Making Sensible Jewelry Decisions

Posted in diamonds, earrings, engagement, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, pearls, rings, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:48 pm by rosediamonds

I am currently working on some jewelry designs for clients that have brought some jewelry issues to my attention.  This is not a post about jewelry trends or fashion.  The key many people overlook is jewelry use.

Most people have a few pieces of jewelry in their collections that are never/rarely worn.  Beyond the usual ghastly gifts, some of these items are self purchases that sit abandoned.  One of the key aspects to choosing the “right” piece of jewelry for yourself is considering how and where you will wear it.

A good example of this is my latest persuasion tactics on the husband.  I decided I wanted/needed a tennis necklace.  I told the husband he could make it over time.  For each holiday he could add a quarter carat diamond.  The finished carat total weight would be somewhere near 80 carats.  Sensible, right?  He stopped me in my tracks when he asked me where I would wear it.  Hmm.  The grocery store?  Barnes and Noble?  Okay perhaps this is not such a great idea.

When clients are in my shop, some might notice that I ask about their occupation or their spouse’s occuption.  It is not to discern income!  I simply want to know if people are typing a computers (where most jewelry is acceptable, although bangles do clank against keyboards) or they are ER doctors (where gloves will snag on high settings and long chains will be ripped off by flailing appendages).

Some quick tips:

Work with animals?–avoid open or tall settings.  Debris gets stuck in the openings and tall settings can scratch animals

Parrot owner?–They love to nibble/crush with their beaks dangly earrings and are known to chew necklaces.

Work with Kids?–avoid tall settings that can scratch, big hoops (kids can pull on), thin chains that can’t survive a tug.  Luckily kids grow up quickly, so dangly jewelry may just be shelved (like the crystal) for a couple years.

Desk job?–avoid bangles that clank on the desk all day, safety chains on tennis bracelets get caught in files, rings that are not sized snugly (in frigid offices especially) will flop around on your fingers ALL DAY.

Work with hand tools?–avoid wide ring shanks.  These are more likely to cause blisters on the hands.  Also I don’t recommend platinum (which gets scratched easily)

Long hair? Look for earrings that won’t tangle in hair–like closed back hoops or straight dangles.

Hope these tips help.  If you discover you have “abandoned” jewelry, don’t fret.  It can be re-designed into a useable piece by a talented jeweler.

November 23, 2009

Getting the most out of your earrings

Posted in birthstones, diamonds, earrings, gemologist, gemstones, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rose diamonds, silver, Uncategorized, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:51 pm by rosediamonds

My alternative title to this post was kinda corny.  “How to increase your face value with earrings” made me cringe even as I typed it.

There are few accessories that can have as much effect on your face as a pair of earrings.

They can have more impact than makeup, bringing out your best features and correcting less than perfect ones.

For example, large earrings make a nose look smaller, silver hoops cool down a ruddy complexion, and gold ones warm up winter pale skin.

As the holidays approach, I have always extolled the intelligence of giving gifts that “always fit.”  With the economy in it’s current state, earrings do not require additional upgrades (like a chain) and don’t have to be sized (like rings).  Unlike shoes, bags, and hats, earrings never go out of fashion.

The latest trend on red carpets everywhere are dangle earrings.  These bring attention to a delicate jawline and elongate the face (making it look less round).

Another overlooked earring shape is the oval hoop.  It is traditional, but the shape flatters every face shape.

If your face is more rectangular, try a wider earring.

Multicolored earrings brighten the complexion.

Look for earrings that add “movement” to your face.  A gorgeous earring can also draw the eye up (away from your waistline) if there is sparkly movement.

Try to make sure you buy “light” earrings.  While I love big earrings, avoid the super heavy ones for prolonged wear.  Elongated pierced holes are no fun.

If you have a pair of earrings you adore, think about adding an earring jacket.  It allows you to add a bit of sparkle to your diamond/pearl studs.  Custom earring jackets can be made for other earrings.

Consider adding a screw post and back to your favorite earrings for added security.

Ask your jeweler to trim posts that “poke.”  No one wants to wear uncomfortable jewelry.

November 17, 2009

The Lonely Life of A Jeweler

Posted in diamonds, gemologist, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rose diamonds, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 6:38 pm by rosediamonds

Just a quick note to get something off my chest.  Since I have moved from South Florida to the Midwest, I’ve noticed some changes (other than the frigid weather).

 

In South Florida, my husband and I owned two jewelry stores and were friends with many other jewelers in the neighborhood or within the same mall.  Not only did we “loan” out pieces the other jewelers were in need of, but we met and discussed (whined) about the jewelry industry in general, trading ideas and tips.

 

Since I have moved, I have not lost contact with my South Florida contacts, but we have noticed the local jewelers are less than friendly.  It was easy to identify the well dressed pairs that came in demanding prices on a one carat princess cut I SI 1 solitaire as the competing jewelers around town.  There was a parade of them for the first two months we were here.

 

This industry is rife with “knockoffs,” and there is always some risk sharing too many secrets amongst your peers.  At the same time, I feel like we can all learn from each other.  A kid straight out of school can sometime show an “old hand” a shortcut in diamond setting.  We’ve learned not to underestimate the value of having colleagues in the industry.

November 14, 2009

The Number One Mistake Guys Make Buying An Engagement Ring

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, gemologist, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:32 pm by rosediamonds

DSC01525Pictured is LeAnn Rimes’ wedding set found in an old People Magazine.

The article states that her husband had designed the ring for her.  Can you guess what my problem might be with this?

Even with their seemingly unlimited budget, he made the number one tactical error on buying an engagement ring.  The second band does not fit with the engagement ring.  It will never “feel right” and will cause the rings to shift uncomfortably on the hand.  By the way, the engagement ring IS lovely; it’s then band that raises issues.

I see this everyday as the most important factor (long term comfort) that couples ignore while shopping for the perfect ring.  Later in life, it is common for a man to add a diamond “anniversary band” to the engagement ring or wedding band.  If you get an unusual shaped ring, you’re going to be faced with customized bands (pricier) or ill-fitting ones like this.  Take a moment to plan for the future beyond getting her to “say yes” and consider the versatility or lack thereof your engagement ring offers.

November 4, 2009

Ring Sizing 101-Part 1

Posted in birthstones, bride, diamonds, engagement, gemstones, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, pearls, rings, rose diamonds, silver, Uncategorized, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:57 pm by rosediamonds

ring mandrel

One of the most common repairs people have is getting their ring adjusted to fit.  Most rings are manufactured in a “stock size.”  The stock size for ladies is usually a size 6 and a 10 for men.  Most people do not wear a “stock size.”

I equate it to buying jeans. Short, regular, tall size options can really make a difference.  The fit of the jeans also comes into play.

Factors to Consider

Ring shank width. (A shank is the bottom half of the ring)  A narrow ring shank will fit differently (smaller ring size) on your finger than a wide shank (substantially larger size).  For example, I wear a size 3.5 on my ring finger for a thin shank, and a 6 on a wide band.  This means that while your wife wears a size five for her engagement ring, it doesn’t mean she will wear the same size if you add a wide band to it.  Take a moment to look at your fingers, palm side up, and you will see that the finger gets thicker towards the knuckle.

Design of the ring. A ring with a flat top, invisible set stones, or tiny side stones may not be able to stretch/shrink to fit you.  A jeweler will be able tell you the limitations of the ring.  An example:  A size 9 channel set anniversary band cannot be sized down to a size 5.  The angles of the metal that hold the diamonds is would change too much, causing the stones to fall out.

Two sizes is usually the max range of adjustment for rings with stones.  Rings with squared off shanks are more difficult to size and will cost a bit more labor wise because the jeweler has to make two adjustments.  (like taking a dress up in the sides instead of the back seam) A quality jeweler should be able to copy the milgrain (tiny beaded edge) or ridges/designs after the sizing is done.

Engraving. Remember to ask to have the ring re-engraved before you leave it with the jeweler.  The re-engraving is usually additional.

Ring Material.  Some rings cannot be sized.  Tungsten, stainless, and titanium rings come to mind.  When people purchase these rings, they simply have to buy new ones if they gain/lose weight.  Some tension set rings also should not be sized.

Plated rings (made more popular by Macys, Kmart, and soaring gold prices) can be sized, but most jewelers will refuse them because the plating comes off with the heat of the jeweler’s torch.  If you fall in love with a costume ring, don’t despair…  Buy it as close to your size as possible.  A simple ring guard can be worn to make it more “wearable.”  Ring guards work for costume rings also.

“Temperamental” stones–expect to be charge more for the sizing.  Shell cameos, pearls, opals, malachite, tourquise, tanzanite, and emeralds HAVE to be removed before any sizing with heat can happen.  They have to be re-set after that, so this explains why it takes longer and costs a little more.

Look for Part 2 the Nov. 6th 🙂

October 29, 2009

Victoria’s Secret unveils $3 million diamond bra

Posted in birthstones, bride, diamonds, engagement, gemstones, jeweler, jewelry design, rose diamonds, Uncategorized, wedding tagged , , , , , , at 3:20 pm by rosediamonds

Victoria’s Secret unveils $3 million diamond bra.

At least it’s convertible.  It proves my theory that women want functional glamour…

October 26, 2009

Akoya Pearls

Posted in birthstones, bride, engagement, gemologist, gemstones, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, pearls, rose diamonds, Uncategorized, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:11 pm by rosediamonds

Akoya Pearls: A symbol of harmony, purity, and wisdom.  Pearls have been an object of desire since the first days of human society.  The exotic, lustrous skin of pearls, smooth and silky to the touch and eye, embodies all that is feminine.
Pearls are a gift from the sea, made famous by Kokichi Mikimoto, who perfected modern day cultured pearls in the salty seas of Japan.  Top quality akoya pearls are creamy white with pinkish overtones.
Taking care of pearls: avoid exposure to heat, chemicals (especially bleach), perfumes, cosmetics, and hair product.  To clean, wipe gently with a moist cloth.  Pearls are a natural, organic gem that can scratch.Akoya Pearls: A symbol of harmony, purity, and wisdom.  Pearls have been an object of desire since the first days of human society.  The exotic, lustrous skin of pearls, smooth and silky to the touch and eye, embodies all that is feminine.
Pearls are a gift from the sea, made famous by Kokichi Mikimoto, who perfected modern day cultured pearls in the salty seas of Japan.  Top quality akoya pearls are creamy white with pinkish overtones.
Taking care of pearls: avoid exposure to heat, chemicals (especially bleach), perfumes, cosmetics, and hair product.  To clean, wipe gently with a moist cloth.  Pearls are a natural, organic gem that can scratch.Akoya Pearls: A symbol of harmony, purity, and wisdom.  Pearls have been an object of desire since the first days of human society.  The exotic, lustrous skin of pearls, smooth and silky to the touch and eye, embodies all that is feminine.
Pearls are a gift from the sea, made famous by Kokichi Mikimoto, who perfected modern day cultured pearls in the salty seas of Japan.  Top quality akoya pearls are creamy white with pinkish overtones.
Taking care of pearls: avoid exposure to heat, chemicals (especially bleach), perfumes, cosmetics, and hair product.  To clean, wipe gently with a moist cloth.  Pearls are a natural, organic gem that can scratch.Akoya Pearls: A symbol of harmony, purity, and wisdom. Pearls have been an object of desire since the first days of human society. The exotic, lustrous skin of pearls, smooth and silky to the touch and eye, embodies all that is feminine.

Akoya PearlsAkoya Pearls are a gift from the sea, made famous by Kokichi Mikimoto, who perfected modern day cultured pearls in the salty seas of Japan.

Akoya Pearls: A symbol of harmony, purity, and wisdom. Pearls have been an object of desire since the first days of human society. The exotic, lustrous skin of pearls, smooth and silky to the touch and eye, embodies all that is feminine.

There are four categories of pearls–Akoya, Freshwater, Tahitian, and South Sea. Each category of pearls is native to different species of mollusks and water temperatures. Akoyas are produced mainly in Japan and China in the pinctada fucata oyster.

Top quality akoya pearls have a very high luster and are creamy white with pinkish overtones called rose.

Most people don’t realize that pearls are graded on more characteristics than diamonds. Pearls are graded according to size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and matching. Akoyas range from 3 to 9mm and may be bleached, dyed or irradiated to get them to a preferred body color.

Taking care of pearls: avoid exposure to heat, chemicals (especially bleach), perfumes, cosmetics, and hair product. To clean, wipe gently with a moist cloth. Pearls are a natural, organic gem that can scratch easily.  Please do not store them with your diamond jewelry.  Over time, the color of your pearls will change.  Akoya pearls will go from bright white to a golden white over time.

Q. Are my pearls real?

A. We check pearls at the drill hole to see if we can see a layer of nacre or the bead nucleus (the part that’s implanted in  the oyster to stimulate the pearl growth)  GIA or other labs utilize x-ray technology to identify pearls as natural/cultured/dyed/irradiated.

Imitation pearls come in a range of qualities.  Plastic ones usually feel very light and have a noticeable seam on each pearl.  Other pearls are dipped in finely ground fish scales to give them an iridescent look.

Instead of rubbing your pearls on your teeth (gross and unreliable) you can check the pearls by rubbing them against each other to check for the”grainy” feel.

Pearls are popular as wedding jewelry, and we are currently working on a custom pearl engagement ring.  Hope you enjoyed these fun facts about akoya pearls!

October 19, 2009

Jewelry Trends-Take One For A Test Drive

Posted in birthstones, diamonds, gemologist, gemstones, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 8:10 pm by rosediamonds

Jewelry, like fashion, has trends that change season by season.  The interesting part of jewelry trends is that people summarily ignore them.  No one picks up a Vogue magazine and dashes out for a new pair of earrings.  I myself get caught up in the morning hustle and forget to wear jewelry at all on occasion.

Today, we’ll go over a few jewelry trends and I’ll give an insider’s opinion of them.  They are easy to implement, so force yourself out of your comfort zone and try one this week.  You can go back o your “jewelry rut” next week:)

Layered necklaces– Cute idea and easy to do.  This look dresses up simple clothing.  I found out all my chains are the same length, so I layered a strand of pearls with a bulkier chain and a thin chain.  Caution–this is not the trend for you if you sleep in your jewelry.  It’ll tangle and you’ll regret it.

Statement jewelry– Big rings, big earrings, big pendent.  Pick ONE.  Otherwise, you’ll look like the Olsen twins.  Big sunglasses and big rings have been hot for years.  Don’t be afraid to mix costume with fine jewelry.

Men’s watches– Not only is it fashionable for men to wear a variety of watches, women are wearing oversized watches too.  It’s very practical, Ladies… finally, a watch you can read!  A jeweler can remove the links (probably all of them) to fit.

Stacks of bangles– Plastic or diamond, celebrities are wearing them in multiples.  I prefer to wear them on my non-watch hand to minimize clanking.  I saw some leather bracelets mixed with gold that looked interesting in a magazine.

Add a splash of color– A few years ago, I looked at my jewelry collection and realized I didn’t have any “color.”  It’s like having a black purse you carry year round.  Add color a little at a time.  I ask clients to think about colors they wear often.  I love red, so a garnet cocktail ring would make sense for me.  I never wear yellow, but love yellow sapphires.

I think we all get into jewelry ruts.  (my family also gets in food ruts and eats the same things for dinner-sigh)  Jewelry trends are not about going out and buying the latest “it color.”  Take a moment to look at what you already have, and think of new ways to mix them.  Have a great week!

October 14, 2009

Little Known Birthstone Facts

Posted in birthstones, bride, diamonds, engagement, gemologist, gemstones, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:42 pm by rosediamonds

BirthstonesBirthstones have been attributed gemstones with magical properties since the ancient Babylonians.  The custom of actually wearing birthstones first gained popularity in Poland in the fifteenth century. Tradition suggested everyone wear the birthstone for each month, since the powers of the gemstone were heightened during its month. For the fullest effect, individuals needed to own an entire set of twelve gemstones and rotate them monthly.  Was this the world’s first jeweler marketing campaign?

I understand if the idea of your garnet ring making you invincible is a bit too much for you to buy into, but I think it’s similar to horoscopes–just for fun.  Who doesn’t need more useless information, right?

January’s Birthstone is Garnet.  Garnet – Symbolizes constancy, faith, loyalty, and strength; believed to endow its wearer with cheerfulness and sincerity.  Many people do not know garnets come in many shades of red, pink, purple, and even green.   My favorite is tsavorite garnets.  They are lush, grass green–gorgeous!

February’s Birthstone is Amethyst. Amethyst – Symbolizes deep love, happiness, humility, sincerity and wealth.  Amethyst is a member of the quartz family.  Amethyst was believed to prevent its wearers from intoxication.  Wine goblets were made of amethyst to prevent getting drunk.  It was also believed it kept one clear-headed in battle and business affairs.

March’s Birthstone is Aquamarine. Aquamarine – Believed to ensure continual happiness and constancy in love; symbolizes health, hope and youth.  The name aquamarine means sea water in Latin. It was associated with safe voyages as well as protection against perils and monsters of the sea.  Although most aquamarine on the market today is sky blue, the best stuff is deep greenish blue. 

April’s birthstone is Diamond. Diamond – Symbolizes brilliance, constancy, excellence, innocence, invulnerable faith, joy, life, love, and purity.  The diamond is a symbol of enduring love, and adorn most engagement rings.  Diamond tops the Mohs hardness scale at a perfect 10.  Only diamonds can cut diamonds.  We use diamonds to do our glass engraving. 

May’s Birthstone is Emerald.  Emerald – Symbolizes spring, rebirth, hope, peace, and tranquility; believed to endow its wearer with an accommodating and pleasing disposition.  Emeralds vary in color from light to deep green. The emerald belongs to the beryl family of minerals that include aquamarine (the March birthstone), heliodor and morganite.  Emeralds are one of the few gemstones that are acceptable with major inclusions.  

June’s Birthstone is Pearl. Pearl – Symbolizes beauty, faithfulness, humility, innocence, integrity, modesty, purity, refinement, wisdom, and wealth.  Pearls are traditionally worn at weddings, but most people don’t know there are four separate oysters that produce the four major groups of pearls-Akoya, freshwater, south sea, and tahitian.  Almost all pearls on the market today are cultured, with the exception of the tiny seed pearls.  Because of pearl’s delicate nature, moonstone and alexandrite are alternative birthstones for June.

July’s Birthstone is Ruby.  Ruby – Symbolizes beauty, charity, daintiness, dignity, happiness, love, and passion; believed to have the ability to dispel discord and sadness, to preserve its wearer from false friendships and to warn of imminent danger.  Rubies are the most highly prized gemstones. Large rubies are harder to find than large diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. As a result, rubies can easily out price diamonds and other gems of the same size.

August’s Birthstone is Peridot. Peridot – Symbolizes happiness; believed to discourage betrayal and to encourage friendship and marriage.  The Peridot was regarded since ancient times as the symbol of the sun. The Greeks believed that it brought royal dignity upon its wearer.  

September’s Birthstone is Sapphire. Sapphire – Symbolizes calmness, constancy, contemplation, hope, innocence, purity, truth, and virtue; believed to bring its wearer comfort, courage, and strength, while pacifying anger, protecting from danger, and fostering constancy in love.  The sapphire is from the same mineral family as July’s birthstone, ruby. Red corundum is called the ruby, while all other gem quality forms of corundum are called sapphires.  Sapphires come in a rainbow of colors — colorless, gray, yellow, pale pink, orange, green, violet and brown — called fancy sapphires. These different colors are caused by different kinds of impurities within the crystal.

October’s Birthstone is Opal. Opal – Symbolic of confidence, happiness, hope, innocence, prayer, and tender love; believed to endow its wearer with pure thoughts and increased faithfulness.  The opal is a fragile, soft stone, easily altered in appearance by changes in heat and pressure. This mineral contains varying amounts of water. When water evaporates out of an opal, the stone creates cracks on it called “crazing.” Most people don’t know opals come in grey, blue, and black also.  Most of the black opal comes from Australia and is sold overseas where it commands a steep price.  Pink Tourmaline is the alternative to opal for October.

November’s Birthstone is Topaz. Topaz – Symbolizes divine goodness, eager love, fidelity, friendship, gentleness, and integrity; believed to bring its wearer recognition; wealth, and protection from evil.  Yellow Topaz is often substituted with Citrine to save cost. During the Middle Ages, the topaz was used mostly by royalty and clergy.  The most expensive form of Topaz is a rich reddish orange and aptly named “imperial topaz.”

December’s birthstone is Zircon. Zircon – Symbolizes respect; believed to be a charm against jealousy and theft.  The gemstone comes in a wide range of colors, and possess great brilliance, fire and clarity.  The gem was also believed to hold magic powers to fight evil spirits and aid indigestion.   Zircon is one of the few colored gemstones that displays dispersion like a diamond.  The fire/rainbow flashes inside the gem made white zircon a popular diamond substitute for years.  Zircons are softer than diamonds and often show signs of wear on the facet lines.   Turquoise is the alternate birthstone for December.

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