Sapphire is one of the four precious gems (diamond, emerald and ruby are the other three). It is the birthstone for September and for the Zodiac signs Pisces, Taurus, Virgo and Sagittarius.
Sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper or magnesium color the corundum blue, yellow, purple, orange, green or pink. When chromium impurities in corundum yield a red stone, it is called ruby. Pure corundum has no traces of other elements and is called white sapphire. When the trace elements produce an orangey pink corundum, it is called padparadscha which means lotus flower in Sinhalese, the language spoken in Sri Lanka where stones of this color were originally found.
Star sapphires contain intersecting needle-like inclusions that cause the appearance of a six-rayed star. The inclusion is often the mineral rutile. Star sapphires can be any color from shades of blue to pink, orange, yellow, green, lavender, gray or black. The most desirable color is a vivid intense blue.
Color-change sapphire is a rare variety which exhibits different colors in different types of light. The stones are blue in outdoor light and purple under incandescent indoor light.
Tradition holds that Moses was given the Ten Commandments on tablets of sapphire, making it a sacred gemstone. Ancient Persians believed sapphire gave heaven its blue color. In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens were convinced sapphires protected them from envy and harm. Because sapphires represent divine favor, they were the gemstone of choice for kings and high priests. Ordinary people thought sapphires attracted heavenly blessings.
Sapphires symbolize truth, compatibility, commitment and mutual understanding which make them the perfect gem for engagement rings. They are also said to contribute to mental clarity and perception. Sapphires are also believed to promote financial rewards.
More about sapphires and other gemstones can be found in Jewelry Facets.
Summer brings long, hot, lazy days. To combat the heat we sip cool drinks, take dips in the pool, and wear lighter clothing. Summer is a good time to add colorful, playful, light and airy jewelry to your wardrobe. You can experiment with bold colors and designs with out a large investment.
I've added lots of summer styles to my jewelry collections. You're sure to find just the right piece to add a touch of summer to your wardrobe.
The tradition of Mother's Day started as a spring celebration in ancient Greece honoring Rhea, the mother of all gods. Early English Christians designated a day to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. That religious holiday expanded to honor all mothers and became known as "Mothering Sunday." Unfortunately, that tradition faded away about the same time the Pilgrims came to America.
Heat treatment has been around for centuries; since someone discovered applying high heat to a bland gem turned it into a fantastic gem. For example, heat changes the color of pale amethyst to yellow which is then sold as citrine. Heating aquamarine removes the green undertones producing a bluer more deeply colored stone.
Many gemstones, such as lapis, serpentine, coral and pearls are dyed to either improve their color or create unique colors not found in nature. Stones may be also dyed so they look like other more expensive gemstones. A good example is dying magnesite to look like turquoise; which gives the look of turquoise at a much lower price. There is nothing wrong with dying gemstones, as long as you are aware of it.
Another way of changing a gemstone's color is by treating it with radiation (irradiation). Most blue topaz has been irradiated. Smoky quartz is irradiated to create its color. There are government standards in place to ensure there is little residual radiation before the gems and gemstones are sold.
Porous gems and gemstones such as turquoise, emerald and coral are routinely oiled or waxed to improve their color, luster and clarity.
Say March and immediately most people think St. Patrick’s Day, Spring and green. So, in celebration of all things green, I’m talking about fabulous green gemstones.
Emerald is at the top of the list of green gems. It has been treasured for its lush green hue since antiquity. The first known emerald mines were in Egypt and date from 330 B.C. It is believed that emeralds reveal the truth and protect against evil spirits. It is also the stone of fertility and rebirth.
Green Garnet comes in two different mineral types: grossular and andradite. Tsavorite is a highly sought after gem-quality green grossular garnet that rivals Emerald in color. Demantoid is a rare green andradite garnet that has the sparkle of a diamond. Green garnet is a stone of confidence and service.
Peridot ranges in color from yellow/green to deep chartreuse. It has been mined as early as 1500 B.C. and is the national gem of Egypt. In artificial light, it glows a brilliant green and thus has been named “Evening Emerald.” It is thought to promote wealth and power, and to ward against nightmares and jealous thoughts.
Prehnite, a beautiful apple-green stone, was first described in 1788 in South Africa. It is named after Colonel Hendrik von Prehn (1733-1785), a mineralogist and early governor of the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope. Prehnite is thought to enhance inner knowledge and is called the stone of unconditional love.
Serpentine, a green mineral sometimes mottled like the skin of a snake, is not one mineral but a group of minerals with the same chemical formula but different structures or crystal lattices. Serpentine has been used for jewelry, ornamental carvings and in architecture for centuries. Because it can be similar in appearance to Jade, it is sometimes called “New Jade.” Serpentine is said to help you find inner peace and balance mood swings.
Greenery, the color of 2017, is my inspiration for jewelry using many of these green gemstones. Select one to add a touch of green to your wardrobe.
February has long been celebrated as a month of romance.
Valentine's Day started out as the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture and celebrated on February 15th. As part of the festival, unmarried women placed their names in a large urn. Bachelors drew a name and were paired with that woman for the rest of the year. These pairings often lead to marriage.
Lupercalia was deemed "in-Christian" in the fifth century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine's Day.
During the Middle Ages, both the French and the British believed February 14th was the beginning of birds' mating season which added to the idea it was a day of romance.
By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By 1900, printed cards began to replace written letters.
Red and pink are the traditional colors of Valentine's. Red is the color of energy, love and passion. While pink expresses affection, understanding and sweetness.
Jewelry, one of the most common Valentine's gifts, often contains red or pink stones, such as ruby, garnet or rose quartz. In addition to these stones, there are many others thought to attract love and increase passion such as:
Any of these gemstones would make a special gift for Valentine's or any other day.
I'm off to Tucson on Monday for the gem shows. I'll be at the Tucson Bead Show at the Radisson Speedway in suite 151 where my friend, Kim Fox, is showing her fabulous components and finished jewelry and teaching beading classes. When I'm not helping Kim, I'll be shopping.
When I went to Tucson in 2007 and 2008 I was overwhelmed by all the pretties and the fabulous prices. Much of what I purchased in wild abandon is still waiting to be turned into jewelry. This year, I'm making a list and sticking to it. At least I hope to but some fantastic not-to-be-missed deal might just come my way. So many gemstones, so little time.
In addition to shopping at the Tucson Bead Show, I plan to visit the Bead True Blue, AGTA and GJX shows. There are hundreds of vendors at each show all with wonders to behold. Can't wait!
Pantone's color of the year is Greenery - a refreshing and revitalizing shade of yellow green.
Greenery reminds me of Granny Smith apples, a beautiful Peridot gemstone or spring foliage. It pairs well with neutrals, brights, pastels and metallics. Greenery can be considered "nature's neutral."
According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing need to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.
Regardless of your budget, you'll be able to find just the right piece of jewelry in the 2017 Color of the Year - Greenery.
The Pantone Color Institute, most commonly referred to as simplty Pantone, is the global color authority and provider of profesional color standards for the design industries. These standards allow the exact same color to be used across a variety of products as diverse as home furnishings, paint, cosmetics, clothing, jewelry and linens. Pantone also studies how colors influence people and helps designers utilize colors more effectively.