September Birthstone: Sapphire! What is a Sapphire? Few gems have held our attention over millennia as well as sapphire. The pure blue colors and excellent durability make for an exceptional gemstone. However, not all sapphires are blue! They come in every color of the rainbow, except red. All red Corundum gems are considered Rubies. Sapphires of other colors are named “Fancy Sapphires” and they come in violet, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and even gray, black and brown! Sapphires get their extraordinary colors from traces of iron, titanium, chromium, and other elements. Physical & Spiritual Healing Properties In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens were convinced that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm. During the Middle Ages, the clergy wore blue sapphires to symbolize Heaven, and ordinary folks thought the gem attracted heavenly blessings. In other times and places, people instilled sapphires with the power to guard chastity, make peace between enemies, influence spirits, and reveal the secrets of oracles. A stone of prosperity, Sapphire sustains life force and attracts joy and peace. Sapphire helps to open the mind to beauty and intuition. It is a stone of wisdom, with each color containing its own unique energy vibration and information. Physically, Blue Sapphire can assist with healing on a cellular level, blood disorders, eye issues and general stress. Blue Sapphire has been used as an aid to ease depression, anxiety and insomnia. How to care for your Sapphire Corundum (Ruby and Sapphire) is relatively hard—9 on the Mohs scale. It has excellent toughness and no cleavage, which is a tendency to break when struck. This makes it a great choice for rings and other mountings subject to daily wear. Stability Corundum is [...]
Jewelry Appraisals Thursday, August 15th! Jane Chaikowsky is an Independent Jewelry Appraiser who is Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America, an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), Master Gemologist Appraiser® (MGA) of the American Society of Appraisers and Certified Senior Member (CSM) of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, assuring an unbiased opinion of value. Jane can appraise your jewelry while you watch using portable gemological laboratory equipment. 🔬 Jane only visits our store about once a month so be sure to call and schedule your appointment! 610-434-8001 You can also drop off your jewelry the day before if you are unable to make it in on Thursday!
What Is A Peridot? Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral Olivine. Its chemical composition includes iron and magnesium, and iron is the cause of the yellowish green colors. Peridot is named after the French word peritot, meaning gold, because the mineral can vary towards this color. The color range for peridot is narrow, from a brown-green color to yellowish green to pure green. Gem miners find Peridot as irregular nodules (rounded rocks with peridot crystals inside) in some lava flows in the United States, China, and Vietnam and, very rarely, as large crystals lining veins or pockets in certain types of solidified molten rock. Geologists believe both types of deposits relate to the spreading of the sea floor that occurs when the earth’s crust splits, and rocks from its mantle are pushed up to the surface. Sometimes—as in Myanmar— these rocks can be altered, deformed, and incorporated into mountain ranges by later earth movements. Rarely, Peridot can have an extraterrestrial source, being contained in meteorites that have fallen to earth! Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might actually have been Peridot. People in medieval times continued to confuse Peridot with emerald. For centuries, people believed the fabulous 200-ct. gems adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were emeralds. They are, in fact, Peridots. Physical & Spiritual Healing Properties Peridot has always been associated with light. In fact, the Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun.” Some believed that it protected its owner from “terrors of the night,” especially when it was set in gold. Others strung the gems on donkey hair and tied them around their left arms to ward off evil spirits. Peridot has [...]
What is a Ruby? Ruby is distinguished for its bright red color, being the most famed and fabled red gemstone. In addition to its bright color, it is a most desirable gem due to its hardness, durability, luster, and rarity. Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. This makes Ruby one of the most important gems in the colored stone market. Transparent Rubies of large sizes are even rarer than Diamonds! A Ruby consists of the mineral corundum, which is colorless, by nature. Chromium is the trace element that causes Ruby’s red color. Gemologists consider it the "rock star" of trace elements! In essence, Ruby is a red Sapphire, since Ruby and Sapphire are identical in all properties except for color. However, because of the special allure and historical significance, Ruby has always been classified as an individual gemstone. The most renowned Rubies, like those from Myanmar, the Himalayas, and northern Vietnam, typically form in marble. They’re found in layers that are distributed irregularly within the surrounding marble. Marble forms as part of the metamorphic (rock-altering) process, when heat and pressure from mountain formation act on existing limestone deposits. In other locations, Rubies can be found in basalt rocks. Rubies from these sources can have higher iron content, which can make the Rubies darker and less intense in color. Higher iron content in the chemical makeup of a Ruby can also mask the red fluorescence, eliminating that extra glow of red color seen in marble-hosted Rubies. Physical & Spiritual Healing Properties Red is the color of our most intense emotions—love and anger, passion and fury. It’s associated with objects of power and desire—like fast cars and red roses. Early cultures treasured Rubies for [...]
What Is A Pearl? Pearls, natural or cultured, are formed when a mollusk produces layers of nacre (pronounced NAY-kur) around some type of irritant inside its shell. In natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the water, such as sand. In cultured pearls, a mother-of-pearl bead or a piece of tissue is manually inserted into the mollusk to start the process. For both, the quality of the nacre dictates thequality of the luster, or shine of the pearl, which is very important to its beauty and its value. 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. The surface of the pearl should be smooth and free of marks while the overall shape could be round, oval, pear-shaped, or even misshapen. Misshapen pearls are called baroque pearls. Four Major Pearl Types Akoya—This type is most familiar to many jewelry customers. Japan and China both produce saltwater Akoya cultured pearls. South Sea—Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are leading sources of these saltwater cultured pearls. Tahitian—Cultivated primarily around the islands of French Polynesia (the most familiar of these is Tahiti), these saltwater cultured pearls usually range from white to black. Freshwater—These are usually cultured in freshwater lakes and ponds. They’re produced in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors. China and the US are the leading sources. Imitation Pearls Imitation pearls are usually a coated glass bead. Most have a high luster, but not the depth of luster seen on high quality cultured pearls. It's possible to separate an imitation from a cultured or natural pearl but it can be a challenge, as many pearls undergo treatments to either enhance their [...]
What Is An Emerald? Emeralds are gem-quality specimens of the beryl mineral family with a rich, distinctly green color. They are found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks in a small number of locations worldwide. Igneous - formed from the solidification of molten rock material Metamorphic - modified by heat, pressure, and chemical processes, usually while buried deep below Earth's surface Sedimentary - formed by the accumulation of sediments For over 5000 years, Emeralds have been one of the most desirable and valuable colored stones. Ancient civilizations in Africa, Asia, and South America independently discovered Emeralds and made them a gemstone of highest esteem. It is so prized, that carat for carat, a fine Emerald may be two to three times as valuable as a Diamond. Today, Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire form the "big three" of colored stones. The "big three" generate more economic activity than all other colored stones combined. What Makes An Emerald Green? The name Emerald comes from the Greek word which literally means green stone. So, to be an Emerald, a specimen must have a distinctly green color that falls in the range from bluish green to green to slightly yellowish green. Perhaps the most important, however, the specimen must also have a rich color. Beryl, the mineral of which Emerald is a variety, is colorless and known as "goshenite." Trace amounts of chromium or vanadium in the mineral, is the key to developing it’s rich, green color. Trace amounts of iron, however, will tint the Emerald a bluish green or a yellowish green color depending upon its oxidation state. Stones with weak saturation or light tone should be called "Green Beryl." If the beryl's color is greenish blue then it is an "Aquamarine." If it is greenish yellow [...]
What is Aquamarine? The serenely colored aquamarine invokes the tranquility of its namesake, the sea. In fact, the name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea. Aquamarine is a very valuable and special gem made in the depths of mountains by intense heat. It is made when extremely hot magma under the Earth's crust interacts with mineral rich rocks under mountain ranges. As the magma pushes through little cracks and crevices in the rocks it reacts with the minerals present there and gemstones are formed. Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. It grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gem to be cut and polished in larger carats for statement pieces. Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones. Aquamarine Healing Properties Aquamarine properties contain the healing, vibrant powers of our ancient seas. This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage.The serene blue or blue-green color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Evolved over millions of years, this stone is also very healing when it comes to soothing unpleasant emotions such as grief or loneliness. Aquamarine is a “Stone of Courage and Protection”. Used often with the Throat Chakra, it can promote verbal [...]
Jewelry Appraisals Thursday, January 24th! $10 OFF Jewelry Appraisals with Jane 1/24! Jane Chaikowsky is an Independent Jewelry Appraiser who is Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America, an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), Master Gemologist Appraiser® (MGA) of the American Society of Appraisers and Certified Senior Member (CSM) of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, assuring an unbiased opinion of value. Jane can appraise your jewelry while you watch using portable gemological laboratory equipment. 🔬 Jane only visits our store about once a month so be sure to call and schedule your appointment! 610-434-8001 You can also drop off your jewelry the day before if you are unable to make it in on Thursday!
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What is a Garnet? The name “garnet” originates from the medieval Latin granatus, meaning “pomegranate,” in reference to the similarity of the red color. Garnets have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. Necklaces studded with red garnets adorned the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Signet rings in ancient Rome featured garnet intaglios that were used to stamp the wax that secured important documents. Garnet is actually a group of several minerals. Five of these – pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular and andradite – are important as gems. Pyrope and almandine range from purple to red. Spessartine is found in exciting oranges and yellows, while andradite is mostly yellow to green (the gem variety demantoid). Grossular may have the widest range, from colorless through yellow to reddish orange and orangy red, as well as a strong vibrant green called tsavorite. Physical and Spiritual Healing Properties of Garnet: According to Indian astrology, garnet helps eliminate negative feelings (depression, guilt) and instill greater self-confidence and mental clarity to promote creative thinking and peace of mind. In ancient and medieval times, gems like garnet were also thought to be remedies for inflammatory diseases and to soothe the angry heart. How to Care for Your Garnet: The different types of garnet range between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that this birthstone is more susceptible to damage than rubies, sapphires and diamonds. So while not all garnets are good candidates for daily wear, they are ideal for earrings, brooches and pendants. Give thought to how you store your garnet jewelry. If you let it rub against harder gems – again, think diamonds, rubies and sapphires – it can be scratched. And in turn [...]