Sunday, December 5, 2010

December Birthstone Facts and Tips

December Birthstone Facts and Tips

Although blue topaz and zircon are the most well known birthstone associated with December, many other stones are also considered to represent the month. The theme of all well known December birthstones is the color blue, with other representative stones being tanzanite, and turquoise. We will give some facts about a couple of the assigned birthstones below.

Blue Topaz

Topaz itself comes in many different colors, and it is the accepted gem of the 4th, 19th, and 23rd wedding anniversaries. Most topaz is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Russia, Australia, Africa, Mexico and Pakistan, and is found naturally very pale in color. The gem is then irradiated to produce more intense colors.


Turquoise has been mined since the Early Egyptians’ time of 6000 B.C., and is known as the most valuable non transparent minerals used in jewelry trade. The finest turquoise is found in Iran, but can also be found in the southwestern United States. It is known as a sacred stone for the North American Indians and Tibetans, often used in rituals and ceremonies. Turquoise is thought to promote mental and spiritual clarity and enhances wisdom, trust, kindness and understanding.


Tanzanite has only been deemed a December birthstone since 2002, when it was officially named to represent the month. Tanzanite was first discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, East Africa. It is one of the newest and most exotically colored gemstones, and can only be found in Africa. Tanzanite is a brittle stone and although it can be worn daily, be careful not to hit it against hard surfaces, or expose it to extreme temperature changes. It is not advised to clean it in an ultrasonic cleaner. Because this is such a new stone, there is not much folklore attached to it, but it is said to have been discovered by cattle herders after lightening burned areas around the stone in Tanzania.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Birthstone:Citrine Facts and Tips

November Birthstone: Citrine Facts and Tips

Citrine is the modern birthstone of November, and also the accepted gem for the 13th and 17th wedding anniversaries. The name comes from the French word for “lemon” which is “citron”, based on its light yellow color. Most natural colored citrines are a light yellowish/orange, but the stone can also be heat treated, resulting in a deeper orange-brown color. Citrine is a form of quartz, and is primarily found in Brazil. It is also occasionally found in regions of France, Madagascar, Spain, Russia, and even has been found in Nevada and California.

Citrine is a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes it a hard gem. Although it is a strong stone, it is suggested that it is kept out of excessive sunlight or heat, as the color can fade over time in these conditions.

Citrine symbolizes optimism, loyalty, and vigor. In ancient times, Citrine was thought to protect against snake venom and plague, and was used to drive away evil thoughts. It was later associated with wealth and prosperity; regarded as the “Merchant stone” Many shop keepers kept this stone in their shops as it was believed to bring success and profits.

*Yellow topaz is also considered a November birthstone

Thursday, September 30, 2010

October Birthstone: Opal Facts and Tips

Opal is known as the October birthstone, and also marks the 13th wedding anniversary.
Most opal is 50-65 million years old, dating all the way back to the Cretaceous period. It was formed from decomposing rocks mixed with ground water which formed a silica gel that collected and hardened in underground cavities. Opal's chemical formula is SiO2 .nH2O.
There are two types of opal; common and precious. The way the silica particles form determines which type it is. In precious opal, silica particles are packed in regular rows and layers. Moving the stone causes light to diffract, or split, as it grazes the opal surface. This light diffusion shows iridescent flashes of green, blue, aqua and sometimes yellowish or red colors which are referred to as "fire".

This gemstone actually contains up to 30% water, so it must be protected from heat or harsh chemicals, both of which will cause drying and may lead to cracking and loss of iridescence. Opal must also be guarded from blows, since it is relatively soft and breaks easily.
Ancient monarchs treasured Opals, both for their beauty and for their presumed protective powers. They were set into crowns and worn in necklaces to ward off evil and to protect the eyesight. These gemstones were also ground and ingested for their healing properties and to ward off nightmares.

The Opal was called "Cupid Paederos" by the Romans, meaning a child beautiful as love.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sapphire Facts and Tips
  • Sapphire is the birthstone of September, and while it is most commonly blue, it can also come in purple, yellow, orange, pink, or green. Sapphires that are any color other than blue are known as "fancy gemstones".

  • Sapphire represents the 5th, 23rd, and 45th wedding anniversaries.
  • Sapphires are just below diamonds on the mohs hardness scale, rated at a hardness of 9.
  • Sapphires also do not cleave which makes them perfect for faceted gemstones.
  • Most sapphires are mined in Myanmar, Kashmir, and Sri Lanka.
  • Sapphire is known to symbolize truth, sincerity, and faithfulness.
  • The British Crown Jewels are full of large blue sapphires; even Princess Diana's engagement ring was adorned with blue sapphires.

  • Sapphires were once thought to have strong medical powers. At one time, they were thought to have the ability to remove all impurities and foreign matter from the eye.
  • Heat treatment is commonly used to deepen the color of sapphires and improve the clarity.
  • It is safe to clean sapphire jewelry in an ultrasonic machine at you local jewelry store, or you can do a quick at home cleaning using warm water, dish detergent, and a soft cloth.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Peridot Fun Facts
  • Peridot is the birthstone of August and is also representative of the 16th wedding anniversary.

  • It can range in color from a light yellow-green to an intense grass green, to an olive tone.
  • Best colored peridot has an iron percentage of less than 15%, and includes nickel and chromium as trace elements.

  • Peridot has been mined as a gemstone for an estimated four thousand years and is mentioned in the Bible under the Hebrew name of pitdah.

  • It was used by the Egyptians as early as 1500 BC and was considered the gem of the sun.

  • Early miners looked for peridot at night because they believed that light from the moon made the crystals easier to find. After marking the locations of the crystals they came back in the daylight to dig them up.

  • Gem quality peridot comes from Zagbargad Island in the Red Sea, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Pakistan, and Arizona and Hawaii in the USA.

  • The most unusual olive green gem is that which comes from meteorites called pallasites.

  • Peridot is considered a tonic for the whole body and protects the wearer from negativity.

  • Peridot is associated with stress reduction and relaxation.

  • Powdered peridot has been used to cure asthma and a peridot placed under the tongue of someone in the grip of a fever is said to lessen his or her thirst.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Alex Sepkus Designer Facts

Alex Sepkus is a master of design, and a true original in today’s world. Sepkus is first a craftsman whose priority is beauty, and whose insight and passion for his work are his driving force in life. “I do not keep my technique a secret. Its simply the thing that I do with my fingers that transfer the idea from my head to the material.”

A native of Vilnius, Alex received his graduate degree in industrial design from the Lithuanian Academy of Arts. His studies included interiors, glass making, sculpture, etchings, and graphics, with his graduate work primarily in jewelry design.

Alex immigrated to the United States in 1988, and quickly gained attention and respect from his peers, earning the Jewelers of America New Designer Award within his first 5 years. Designs by Alex Sepkus can now be seen in over 100 of the finest specialty stores around the country.

Today, Alex employs 18 craftsman in his shop in New York City. Each piece of Alex Sepkus jewely is made completely in their New York shop, solely from his original designs.

Alex Sepkus is more than a designer of jewelry; he had created his own category of jewelry. He is not derivative and does not follow trends. He simply wants to create beautiful things.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ruby Facts and Tips:

Fun Facts:

  • Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July, and is also a traditional gift to mark the 15th or 40th wedding anniversaries.

  • Ruby has historically has been the gemstone to signify passion and love.

  • Ruby has also been known to ensure harmony, guard against sorrow, and inspire confidence and success.

  • Ruby is derived from the Latin word ruber, which means red.

  • The darkest, highest quality rubies known to be “pigeon-blood” red in color, and are very rare.

  • Rubies can vary in shade, going from a light champagne color to a very dark purple-red.

  • Rubies are sometimes enhanced by traditional heating methods to produce, intensify, or lighten color, and/or improve clarity.

  • Rubies have always been held in high esteem by Asian cultures. They were used to ornament armor of noblemen in China and India, and also placed under the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune.

Buying and Care Tips :

  • Rubies are a very durable, rating as a 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, right before the diamond, which scores a 10.

  • Rubies can never be flawless, unlike diamonds. Small inclusions on rubies are normal, but avoid rubies with inclusions near the surface because it can make the stone weaker and more prone to possible cracks.

  • Rubies do not scratch or deface easily, so it can be worn virtually all the time without worry. It is not suggested you wear it while doing strenuous work.

  • Cleaning with a mechanical jewelry cleaner is usually safe for rubies, but it is recommended you talk to your jeweler about the most ideal cleaning process for your ruby.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pearl Fun Facts and Care Tips


Fun Facts And Care Tips

Fun Facts:

  • Pearl is June’s Birthstone
  • Virtually any mollusk that has a shell can produce a pearl.
  • Naturally occurring pearls are rare, found in about 1 in every 10,000 mollusks.
  • Pearls are formed by a natural irritant such as food particle that gets into the mollusk. When the mollusk senses the irritant, it coats the particle with layers of aragonite and conchiolin, which are also the same materials the animal uses when building its shell.
  • A pearl’s color depends on the type of mollusk that created it, and also the environment in which it lives, such as temperature.
  • Humans have been interested in pearls throughout history. Archeologists have found remains of humans buried with a pearl pierced in their right hand over 6,000 years ago.

Care Tips:

  • Pearls are softer than precious metals, so they can easily be scratched. Take care not to bump against hard objects when wearing pearls, especially bracelets.

  • Some chemicals can cause the luster and color of a pearl to fade. Certain c hemicals to avoid when wearing pearls include:
    1. Sun block
    2. Cosmetics
    3. perfume
    4. hair spray
    5. body oils and perspiration
    6. household cleaners
    7. acid, alkaline, ammonia, alcohol, and chlorine

  • Here are some tips to avoid unnecessary contact with these chemicals:

1. Remove pearl jewelry before exercising to avoid contact with perspiration.

2. Remove pearl earrings before applying lotions, sunblock, or hairspray.

3. Remember: When wearing pearls they are always, Last On, First Off.