Garnet – The January Birthstone – The dark red gemstone that comes in many shades.

Garnet – The January Birthstone – The dark red gemstone that comes in many shades.

Garnet is a translated from Greek as literally “dark red”, however, the stone comes in many shades and colors. Garnet is actually a collection of various minerals that share similar properties. You’ll find red, yellow, orange, green, brown, pink, purple, gray, and black among the most common colors. Because this is a collection of various Garnet gemstones the most commonly known and used are almandine and pyrope.

Almandine is one of the most lustrous of Garnets. It is dark red in color and is used in jewelry. Much almandine is opaque and cannot be used in jewelry. Almandine can be polished into beads for use in necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. It is often tumbled into irregular forms for costume-type jewelry. The most recognized form of Garnet is Pyrope. It has a dark red-blood color and is used widely in jewelry making. The unique property of Pyrope is the difference in color under artificial and natural light. The gemstone exhibits different tones depending on the light source.

Garnets because of the variety are a great addition to any piece. They can be that stone that is unique and unidentifiable by many people but catches the eye. In designing a colored stone piece they are an excellent choice. Red Garnet options are a great choice when you want a Ruby type color but in a different variation of red.

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Amethyst – The February Birthstone – An ageless stone wrapped in myth and legend

Amethyst – The February Birthstone – An ageless stone wrapped in myth and legend

Amethyst is a beautiful and unique purple colored gemstone. It is considered a calming and spiritual stone. Amethyst in Greek mythology was a virgin who was chased by Dionysus after he had too much wine. Amethyst called out to the goddess Diana for help and she was turned to a white quartz. Upon realizing the consequences of his actions Dionysus wept over his wine goblet which overturned thus coloring Amethyst purple. A great tale about the gem in the month of Valentine’s Day.

The gem is also found in biblical references and in the Catholic Church clergy has used it to adorn crosses because it’s considered a stone that represents piety and celibacy. In the Renaissance, the amethyst was considered to be a royal gemstone and is found in some of the British royal families jewelry collections. In Chinese Feng Sui the amethyst represents wealth and prosperity. Across cultures and history the Amethyst is considered a powerful, yet peaceful gem.

Because of the color, it is widely used in jewelry even today. It is a great addition to any jewelry piece. It is quite abundant and is able to be grown in labs. You’ll want to keep it away from some household chemicals because they can affect the stone adversely. Amethyst is a great accent piece to many custom designs.

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Different types ways to set gems into jewelry – Jewelry Terminology

Different types ways to set gems into jewelry – Jewelry Terminology

Individual pieces of jewelry, called findings, can either be made as single pieces or made from different components. These different components can be stringing material for bead threading, clasps, bails, and metal loops. Settings are places where gems are held in unfinished rings, pendants, or anywhere that can feasibly hold gems. Then, after the process of mounting the gem, the jewelry is called by its actual name. An example of this would be pendants that are unfinished, without their gem having been set, are called settings, and after it has been added, it would be referred to as an actual pendant.

There are many different ways to set a gem into earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and any kind of jewelry that has places for them. What you will use for each individual piece of jewelry is unique to that piece, its dimensions, and the finish of your gemstone of choice. Metal bands that wrap around one of these gemstones are called bezels, and they are more secure than other methods of holding gems, such as prongs. However, their nature does not let as much light shine through the gemstone itself, which can reduce gem brilliance and, as a result, the appeal of the stone as the setpiece of your ring. The majority of bezels are made purely by hand to fit a specific, unique stone, but can be ordered as bezel cups in a few different pre-set sizes.

Prong settings have three or more prongs that rise up and hold the set gem in place, and gem settings that have these prongs are called heads. These can be welded onto jewelry of your choice like pendants, rings, or bands to let a gem be mounted into the ring. They are very versatile, also come in the same shapes as the chosen gem and are required to be the correct size, or the gem could either not fit at all or could fall out very easily. These can hold a great number of different gems, or they could hold just one. If you’re shopping for one, keep in mind which one is stronger, because different metals impact the overall strength of the prong, and ones used in rings such as wedding rings are stronger than the average prong setting. This is because they need to be able to take punishment from daily life, and cannot be made of a metal that is easily battered.

One of the most beautifully designed gem settings for any ring out there can be their channel setting, a style that puts different gems in a row by putting them between two strips of metal. These are cut by length in the ring and have the stones placed into them, with the channel overlapping with each gem. Unfortunately, for this style, it doesn’t allow the gems to be set as securely as some other styles would have them set, and are sadly susceptible to losing their gems. Everyday heavy lifting can put enough of a strain and a bend into the ring for the stone to pop right out of it and be unset. Channel settings are very delicate and a good amount of metal in and around the band and stones is essential to make the gems as secure as they can possibly be.

Modern Jewelry Design & Craftsmanship – CAD – Computer Aided Design

Modern Jewelry Design & Craftsmanship – CAD – Computer Aided Design

It is a fact that computers and advanced technology have changed the face of every industry, and a clear example of this is the tech being used in computer-assisted design, or CAD, for jewelry. Initially, there was the doubt that the pre-tech artist’s skills could be replicated by computer-assisted design. The skills of experienced model makers were ones that were assumed to be entirely unreplicable by computers. However, the one thing that was overlooked was that the tech doesn’t do the work. A computer is just a tool that makes it possible for artists to express their designs and work far better than in the past. Once beyond the initial difficulty of learning how to use CAD and integrating it into their skillset, jewelers have a spectrum of opportunity and even more of an ability to creatively create and show their designs in many different ways.

This doesn’t mean that jewelers who work at creating and refining the physical jewelry has been replaced, however. It makes it possible to create models which are then shown as 3D designs. Though modern jewelers use a mouse and keyboard instead of traditional tools to create their jewelry, it does not devalue their skills. Their work still does require artistic vision as always, along with knowing how to create jewelry and understanding the process, just as their predecessors who didn’t have the advantage of CAD jewelry design. The only thing that has changed is the shift to 3D modeling and computer-assisted designing.

While jewelry was once forged by hand, computer-assisted designs are developed by artists using modern tech that transform their thoughts into true digital art. These are then sent to mills, printers, or growing machines where they are transformed into wax or resin. These physical models then are plastered and incinerated in a furnace to harden them. The container of the empty impression of the piece is then filled with molten gold or platinum that will then be worked on by skilled bench jewelers. The finished design is then prepared for diamond setting by the jewelry polishing team that it is sent to.

Pearls and Pearl Jewelry – Characteristics to consider.

Pearls and Pearl Jewelry – Characteristics to consider.

Pearls have always been constant as a crucial component in many jewelry lover’s collections, whether it be traditional or modern creations.

When choosing your preferred pearl beads for a necklace or a bracelet, the criteria that was also useful in jewelry shopping should also be taken advantage of here. There are five physical factors that determine this, the first sign of the quality of a pearl being luster. Higher quality pearls possess a deep, warm glow that gives a jewelry design the richest look. A pearl should be checked for scratches, cracks, spots, bumps, or other blemishes on the surface. Among pearl’s most used colors are white, black, and gold. Refined pearls are available in many shapes and colors. However, you must be careful when acquiring dyed pearls, their color may fade or be scratched off of its surface. If a pearl is bigger, it is more costly, as is the case with most other gems available on the market. However, for a cheaper alternative, many worthwhile synthetic options exist today.

Pearls need to be cared for more closely than many other cheaper kinds of gems. The surfaces of other objects may damage a pearl, so it is a better idea to avoid placing it near anything sharp or rough. Ideally, you should use a silk pouch, or an isolated, separate compartment in your jewelry box to contain it, but pearls require the moisture in the air to maintain their luster, so airtight storage is not recommended. Pearls only need a damp or dry cloth to be acceptably cleaned. However, substances that lie on the more acidic spectrum will damage them. To string a pearl correctly, string them on a silk thread with knots between each so rubbing does not damage them or they don’t come loose in the event of it breaking. You may need to restring them if they’ve gone quite a long time without maintenance while being actively used.

These factors are all very important to understand when buying pearls. Because each pearl harvested is completely different and very individual, it is essential to follow good quality grading standards to obtain the best match for your needs.

What makes a gemstone valuable?

What makes a gemstone valuable?

Fine colored gemstones have been revered throughout history. Gemstones have been said to have the power to foretell events, strengthen memory, quicken intelligence, ensure purity, avert lightning, prevent intoxication, ensure happiness and are often equated to the fountain of youth. This show the emotional connection that has been provided by colored gemstones for thousands of years.

Colored gemstones are described as all the various gemstones except for diamonds. Only a select few of the vast number of minerals known qualify as gemstones. In order to become a gemstone, the mineral must be rare and beautiful and be durable enough to be worn as jewelry. In the past, the term “precious” was used to describe diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. The term “semi-precious” referred to all other gemstones. Today, most jewelers and gemologists agree that these terms no longer accurately reflect the true value of these gems. In particular, some species of colored gems, such as alexandrite or demantoid garnet, are so rare that they have been known to command prices exceeding those of emerald, ruby, and even diamonds.

Color is the single most important deciding factor in determining the value of a gemstone, followed by the cut. The cut of a gemstone is designed to bring out the best possible color or colors in the rough uncut material while retaining as much weight as possible. The color in a fine gem is saturated evenly throughout the stone and is a brilliant deep, rich, and pleasing color—not too dark and not too light. A saturated, intense green is regarded by some as the perfect color for a piece of emerald jewelry. Each variety of colored gemstone has a range of highly prized colors that have evolved over the years. Many of these colors are tied to historical sources such as “Burmese” rubies from Burma, “Kashmir” sapphires from India, and “Persian” turquoise. However, this is not a perfect way to find your perfect color. For example, Not all rubies from Burma have the “Burmese” signature color and furthermore, you may find a fine color from a ruby that was mined in Thailand.

Ultimately the wearer decides what color speaks to them, keeping in mind that this may not be that color defined as being the most valuable. Since everyone perceives color differently, it’s ultimately a very personal choice. Today, with the ever-increasing advances in gemstone enhancements and synthetic gemstone production, it is more important than ever to work with a reputable and properly trained jeweler to obtain the best quality jewelry.

Is there a difference between natural diamonds and man made diamonds?

Is there a difference between natural diamonds and man made diamonds?

Many people love diamonds, but not all of these gems are natural. There are certain kinds of diamonds, known as either lab-grown diamonds or synthetic diamonds, that aren’t fully natural but appear to resonate with the same characteristics that make natural diamonds so appealing. These artificial diamonds are defined as a “man-made reproduction of a diamond that has essentially the same chemical composition, crystal structure, and physical properties as its natural counterpart” by The World Jewelry Confederation.

Two different methods exist to create these artificial gems, Chemical Vapor Deposition, which is used for industrial purposes, and High-Pressure High Temperature, which is for more commercial use. Nature creates the majority of diamonds used in a commercial or a business setting. However, artificial, man-made diamonds are grown in a lab, where the environment and variables are highly controlled. The result is that the artificial gems come out having very similar properties to their natural counterparts, with the exception of artificial diamonds having a far lower price point than natural ones.

A significant difference in the two forms of diamond is that the synthetic portion can be manipulated and changed. It can be created exactly to your specifications, everything from shape and size to the color and cut of the diamond can be personalized. However, this does not mean differences don’t exist. Natural diamonds are slightly harder than synthetic diamonds, and artificial diamonds are heavier and possess a telling lack of natural flaws that real diamonds have. Intrinsically the decision of natural vs man-made is personal as the diamond characteristics are virtually the same.

Diamonds hold a high value for many different people and are associated with special events such as weddings, engagements, or high-class social events. They can be used to make a statement or for a certain expression of self. Some people may also desire the more cost-effective alternative or the perfect crystal, and the option is readily available for them.

Diamond Choice & The 4 Cs

Diamond Choice & The 4 Cs

People want to make sure that the jewelry that they purchase has quality. The importance placed upon this during jewelry shopping means that there should be a useful method to ensure a quality purchase. This method is “The 4 C’s”, the main way to determine the quality of a diamond, and a proven assistance in getting the most out of your purchase.

Carat

The beginning of this method is to consider the carat, or the weight of the diamond. The higher the carat, the higher the diamond’s overall quality. As a point of comparison, top-level diamonds weigh 24 carats or above. However, two diamonds may have the same carat, but the remaining C’s may actually cause the diamond to differ in their overall value, so it is not the sole attribute to pay attention to.

Color

The color of a diamond is very important as well. There is even a scale used to determine its value based off of what the color is. This diamond color scale has an alphabetic range, from D to Z. Higher quality grades are D-grades, which are colorless, and are considered to be the purest diamonds overall. Of course, the coloration of a diamond can vary drastically, from white to black diamonds and many colors in between. Colored diamonds may catch your eye, but the pure white or colorless diamonds generally do have a higher value. J-graded diamonds are the beginning of the colored side of the scale, containing the lower end of diamond values, and colors that can typically be seen by the naked eye.

Clarity

Diamonds are not perfect. They have blemishes and imperfections no matter what the quality or value may be, and just like the coloring of a diamond, there is also a grading scale for each gem’s overall clarity. This is the third C to watch out for on your shopping trip. The actual scale is complex, but the ideal choice would generally be a valuing between the grades of VVSI and SI1, which in a practical setting do not appear to have imperfections if viewed without technological assistance. The most expensive grade, FL, is for all intents and purposes flawless.

Cut

The final C to pay attention to is cut. There are many variations of this aspect of a diamond, and it ultimately comes down to what your preference is. The importance of this aspect comes from the fact that this is what determines how light bounces, reflects and gives a shine to a diamond. Cut it unproportionately, and the diamond would visually appear to be dull. However, this C, in particular, is one where each cut has their own way to be attractive to the purchaser, thus it is left up to choice and personalization.