Know Your Jewellery

Buying Guide

Pearls of Purity (Birthstone Month: June)

Pearls are a timeless classic in the family of gemstones. The body color of a pearl is often modified by additional colors called overtones, which are typically pink or rosé, green, purple, or blue. Some pearls show the iridescent phenomenon known as orient. These noble gems are an expression of wisdom, wealth, purity, romance and mystery. From the pearl encrusted gowns of Elizabethan aristocracy to the chic strands of Coco Chanel, pearls are simply perfect!

Types of Pearls

Natural Pearls

When an accidental microscopic intruder or parasite enters a mollusk´s shell, continuous layers of nacre begin to grow like onion skins around the particle. This results in the formation of natural pearls. The shape of natural pearls will vary according to the shape of the piece being coated

Natural pearls are rare and therefore quite expensive. They are usually sold by carat weight. Most natural pearls on today´s market are vintage pearls.

Cultured Pearls

Unlike natural pearls, cultured pearls are created by the human implantation of a nucleus bead inside a mollusk. The shell is carefully opened and an irritant is inserted. The shape of the object will vary, depending on the desired shape of the final pearl. Over time, the object becomes coated with layers of nacre. The depth of the nacre coating depends on the type of mollusk involved, the water it lives in, and how long the microscopic intruder or parasite is left in place before being harvested. The thickness of the nacre directly affects the quality and durability of the cultured pearl. Cultured pearls are sold by their size in millimeters.

Saltwater Pearls

Saltwater pearls originate within a saltwater mollusk. Saltwater pearls can be either natural or cultured.

Freshwater Pearls

Freshwater pearls grow inside of a freshwater mollusk — one that lives in a river or a lake.

The Birth of a Pearl

Pearl, the birthstone for June, is among the most treasured of all gems. The ancient Egyptians were buried with them while the Romans saw it as the ultimate status symbol. In Greece, it was prized for its eternal beauty and association with love and marriage. Medieval knights wore them in battle as a talisman against injury. During the Renaissance, in some European countries, only the nobility was granted the right to wear them.

The beautiful pearl, ironically has humble origins. Every pearl starts out as a grain of sand or microscopic worm which works its way into an oyster and cannot be expelled. To protect its soft body from this irritant, the oyster secretes a smooth, hard crystalline substance called nacre. As layers of nacre coat the foreign object, it hardens, ultimately forming a pearl. The thicker the nacre, the richer the "glow" of the pearl and this greatly enhances its value.

In the early days, pearl gathering was done by divers who went deep into the ocean to retrieve these treasures. Today, most pearls are grown or cultured on pearl farms by surgically inserting a small shell bead or nucleus, into the mantle of an oyster. Although pearls are harvested en masse on pearl farms, it is very rarely that a quality pearl is produced. Half of all nucleated oysters do not survive - of those that do, only 20% are marketable.

Buying Pearls


How to Pick a Perfect Pearl

Some important attributes to keep in mind while buying pearls are:

Lustre: This is the sheen, the shine, the reflection of light on the surface of the pearl and the glow which emanates from it and to which it owes its brilliance. The longer the pearl is in the oyster, the deeper the luster. A quality pearl with a high luster is hard to go unnoticed.

Surface Condition: A quality pearl is one that has few imperfections on the surface. Markings and spots lower the quality and value.

Shape:Pearls may be generally classified into the following shapes:

  • Spherical pearls are round, which is traditionally the most desirable shape. The rounder the pearl, the more expensive its price tag.

  • Symmetrical pearls include pear shaped pearls and other shapes that have symmetry from one side to another, but are not round.

  • Baroque pearls are irregularly shaped pearls. They are often the least expensive category of pearls, but are unique and quite beautiful.


Colour: 
Pearls occur in nature in different natural colors. The consistency of colour affects the value and price of the pearls, so take care to ascertain that the color consistency of the pearls on a given piece of jewelry is the same.

Size: As a general guideline, the larger the pearl, the rarer and more valuable it is. The diameter of a pearl is measured in millimeters and is of an average size of 7-7.5 millimeters. However, pearls can range from 6mm to over 20 mm.

Matching: Regardless of the quality of individual pearls, it is important that a string of pearls appears uniform and aesthetically pleasing. The more time spent on matching pearls, the higher the cost and better the overall look.

Rarity:  Pearls are not cut or polished when removed from the oyster or mussel. Because of this, certain sizes, qualities and colors may be in scarce supply occasionally. The overall health of pearl growing oysters and mussels affect pearl size, quality and availability.

The Classic Pearl Necklace


All necklaces come in five basic lengths: Choker, Princess, Matinee, Opera and Rope. You will get a better understanding of each of these types below:

Choker - 16 in

The pearl choker elegantly circles the neck. It can be worn with any neckline and looks great with every style, from casual to formal. Pearl chokers draw attention to the neck, so those with an unusually short or long neck should ideally stay away them. For everyone else, a choker compliments every look and is suitable for all occasions.

Princess - 18 in

A princess strand falls slightly below the neckline. It´s ideal for office-wear as its length sits just above a blouse neckline.

Matinee - 24 in

The Matinee strand is popularly worn at formal occasions and is the perfect length to go with that little black dress. It´s also best suited to those who are well-endowed in the chest region as it highlights the neck and shoulders and finishes just above the cleavage.

Opera - 32 in

The Opera strand is excellent for eveningwear and flatters every body shape. Falling just below the bust line, it may be worn at less formal occasions, and can also be doubled over and worn as a twin choker.

Rope - 46 in

The pearl rope is the most versatile of the range. Falling somewhere around the waistline, it is perfect for those who do not believe in convention. Its length allows you to experiment with a range of styles such as triple or quadruple rows of a choker, or doubling it up as a combination of the Princess and Opera style. Alternatively, you may choose to simply knot it gracefully, for a chic look that goes as perfectly with jeans and a tee shirt as with an elegant evening gown.

Precious Gemstones

 

Gemstones have fascinated mankind for thousands of years. The shades of precious gemstones are mesmerizing – from the rich hues of glamorous Rubies, Emeralds and Sapphires to the opulent Opal or the mystical allure of midnight Onyx, the personalities of gemstones are as fascinating and varied as those who wear them.

Buying Gemstones

There´s nothing more tempting than a jewelry display of a rainbow of brightly colored gemstones. Yet, probe further and you will find that the varieties are many: natural, synthetic, and imitation stones of every color, shape, and size. Can you tell one type of gemstone from another? Here´s a brief guide to help you along while you consider various gemstones:

Natural Coloured Gemstones

Natural stones are those that occur in nature, with no human interference. However, it is wrong to assume that just because it´s natural, a stone it should carry a high price tag. Prices are driven by desirability, quality, and availability.

Gemstone Treatments

Most natural stones need to be treated to enhance appearance. Heat and radiation change or enhance colors. Diffusion deepens color, but only within a stone´s outer layers. In case of fractures, oil and waxes are used as fillers. Some treatments are permanent, while others are not. Treated gems may be a good option when you know what you are buying and pay a price that reflects the stone´s true quality.

Synthetic Colored Gemstones

A synthetic stone has the same physical, chemical, and optical qualities as a natural stone. The difference lies in the fact that synthetics are created in a lab. They´ve been around for a long time, but modern technology allows us to grow stones that are difficult to distinguish from their natural counterparts. You may request for a lab certificate that will verify its authenticity before you pay a heavy price for a stone that is passed off as a natural.

The Spectrum of Gemstones

Ruby
(Birthstone Month: July)

Ruby is the red variety of corundum. Hailed as the ultimate red gemstone, rubies have symbolized passion and romance for centuries. Being the color of blood, the stone is also a symbol of courage and bravery. Ruby rates "9" on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it the second hardest material known after diamonds.

The most important factor to consider when buying a ruby is its color. It comes in a variety of shades ranging from purplish- and bluish-red to orange-red. There is also a translucent variety of ruby that can display a six-point star when cut in a smooth domed cabochon cut.

The finest rubies are intensely saturated, pure red with no overtones of brown or blue. After color, the factors that influence value are clarity, cut and size. Rubies that are clear with no visible inclusions are more valuable than those with visible internal flaws.

Rubies are readily available in sizes up to 2 carats, and because of their intense color and durability, they make excellent accent stones. The highest quality rubies are rarer and more valuable than even colorless diamonds - particularly in sizes above 5 carats.

Rubies are rarely found perfect in nature. Many are heat-treated to intensify or lighten their color or to improve their clarity. Some rubies also have surface fractures and cavities that are filled with glass-like materials to improve their appearance. This filler may break, fall out or wear out over a period of time with exposure to heat, abrasives or constant impact.

Ruby is the birthstone for July and is also the recommended gem for couples celebrating their 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.

Emerald – Birth Stone  May

Emerald
(Birthstone Month: May)

Emerald, with its lush green hues and rare beauty is a symbol of eternal hope, rebirth and the arrival of spring. In some cultures, it is believed that owners are rewarded with the virtues of love, intelligence and eloquence.

Emeralds occur in a variety of light and dark shades of green, often with subtle hints of other colors like yellow, blue, brown or gray in the background. As a guideline, the purer and richer the green, the more valuable the emerald. The gem ranks 7.5-8 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means that while it is relatively hard, emeralds can still be scratched, chipped or split fairly easily. Most emeralds have numerous flaws, or "inclusions", which weaken their structure. Flawless emeralds are exceptionally rare, and those that exist can command prices higher than diamonds.

Gems are judged by color, size,clarity and cut. Color is extremely important, and is divided into three aspects: hue (the basic color of the stone, including any tints other than green); tone (the "depth" of color, ranging from "light" to "dark"); and saturation (the purity of the green and the level of other hues, if present).

Fissures are common in emeralds. If these cracks penetrate too deeply into the stone, it becomes more susceptible to splitting.

Like most gemstones in the market today,emeralds are usually treated to remove surface flaws and enhance color. The most common technique is to fill the stone with a green-tinted oil to fill in surface cracks. The oil hardens and strengthens the stone, and improves its green color as well.

Derived from the Latin word for green,"smaragdus", emerald is also the traditional gift of choice for couples celebrating their 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

Sapphire – Birth Stone September

Sapphire
(Birthstone Month: September)

Sapphire, the ultimate blue gemstone, has long symbolized faith, remembrance, and enduring commitment. Although sapphire is synonymous with blue, it also comes in a variety of fancy colors including colorless/white, green, pink, yellow, orange, brown, violet, purple, and several shades in between. Sapphires that are cut into a cabochon (dome) shape display a six-rayed white star. These are called star Sapphires.

Like other gemstones, color is the main factor that determines the value of a sapphire. The most valuable Sapphires have a medium intense, pure vivid blue color and maintain their brightness under all lighting conditions. Any undertones such as black, gray or green will reduce a stone´s value. A pastel stone is less valuable than a deeper blue one, yet more valuable than a stone that is considered too dark. The finest stones are "eye clean", with little or no inclusions visible to the naked eye.

Most Sapphires available today have been heated to maximize their color and clarity. Perfection in natural, untreated gems is exceptionally rare and very expensive. Some colorless or pale stones are treated with chemicals, which improves the surface color alone. This could be a potential problem at a later stage, if the stone is ever chipped or nicked and needs to be recut or repolished. In addition, some fancy colored Sapphires are irradiated to give them a more intense shade.

Sapphire is readily available in sizes of up to 2 carats, but gems of 5-10 carats are not unusual. The stone is most often cut in the shape of a rounded rectangle or an oval. Smaller stones are available in round brilliant cuts and a variety of fancy shapes, such as triangle, square, emerald, marquise, pear, baguette, cabochon etc.

With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, Sapphire is harder than any other gemstone except a diamond. This quality makes it extremely durable for everyday jewelry pieces subject to repeated impact, such as rings and bracelets.

Sapphire is the birthstone for September. It is also the recommended gem for couples celebrating their fifth and 45th wedding anniversaries.

Garnet – Birth Stone January

Garnet
(Birthstone month: January)

Garnet is one of the most versatile stones on the market. It comes in a rainbow of colors, from deep red to tangerine orange to lime green to pale pink, as well as purple, gold and brown. It is actually a part of a family of gems with mineral and color differences that include rhodolite, malaya, demantoid, grossular, hessonite, spessartite, almandine, mandarin, and combinations of these varieties.

Almandine, the most common type, is dark red to brownish red. Pyrope is blood red. Rhodolite, is perhaps the most popular and ranges from pink to purplish red. Malaya, a mixed variety found in Tanzania and Kenya, ranges from orange to gold. Tsavorite is bright yellow green to grass green. Hessonite and Spessartite mostly come in golds, oranges and browns. Mandarin is a bright orange variety recently found in Namibia. Grossular is available in pinks, greens and yellows.

Almandine and Pyrope are the most affordable. But Tsavorite and Demantoid are quite rare and can cost several thousand dollars per carat depending on size and quality. Bright colors usually command higher prices than gems with light or dark hues. The stone is available in a variety of sizes, depending on the type of garnet. Larger stones are available in the more common types and exceedingly scarce in more valuable tsavorites and demantoids.

Garnet´s various types range from 6-7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means that it is susceptible to nicks and cracks caused by impact. Garnet is the recommended gift for couples celebrating their second wedding anniversary.

Blue Topaz – Birth Stone November

Topaz
(Birthstone month: November)

Topaz is one of the well-known pegmatite minerals that also includes beryl and tourmaline. Blue topaz is one of the most popular gemstones due to its clarity, durability, availability and affordability. Blue topaz has a definite, uniform color ranging from sky blue to Swiss blue. It is sometimes confused with the more costly aquamarine - yet while aquamarine sometimes has a greenish-blue, blue topaz always looks blue or bluish gray. The only exception is for surface-enhanced topaz.

Yet this shade of topaz is rarely found in nature. Its watery blue color is most often created through a combination of heat treatment and irradiation.

Most blue topaz is originally colorless or just slightly tinted. It is then irradiated and heated resulting in a permanent aqua shade. To get the deep blue color out of topaz, it is treated using neutron bombardment in a nuclear reactor. The final product is then marketed under the name "London blue." In fact, neutron bombardment is the only means to produce smaller calibrated stones with deep color.

The stone comes in a variety of colors in addition to blue, including golden yellow, orange-yellow, reddish-orange, sherry red, deep pink, honey brown, light green, and many shades in between.

With a ranking of "8" on the Mohs scale of hardness, blue topaz is exceptionally strong and durable and well-suited to everyday wear. However, it should be protected against hard blows that can split, crack or chip it.

Blue topaz is the birthstone for December and also the recommended gemstone for couples celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary.

Opal – Birth Stone October

Opal
(Birthstone month: October)

Opal is one of nature´s most cherished gems and has in fact, often called the "Queen of gems" because of its ability to flash patterns of color representing every hue of the rainbow. The "play of color" is one of Opal´s signature characteristics. It is found in a range of hues, including white opal, black opal, "boulder" opal (black opal with iron oxide); crystal or water opal, which is transparent; and fire opal, which has a yellow to orange to red body color.

The value of opal, like most gemstones is determined by the brilliance of color and color pattern. Opals with strong flashes of red fire are generally the most valuable. Stones with blue or green flashes are more common and less valuable. The size of the stone also helps determine the price, since the gem is very rare in larger sizes. Prices can vary from a few dollars per carat for common white opal to more than $1,000 per carat for fine black opal. Most stones are not faceted and usually cut into rounded cabochons to enhance color play.

Perfect natural opals are extremely rare and expensive. To enhance their appearance many Opals are treated by placing it in a sugar solution followed by Sulfuric acid, which blackens the body color and makes the play of color more pronounced. Other techniques include the application of colorless oil, wax and resin, plastic, or synthetic resins and hardeners to fill cracks and improve durability.

With a hardness of approximately 5.5 on the Mohs scale, Opal is relatively fragile and care should be taken not to scratch, chip or crack it.

Aquamarine – Birth Stone MarchAquamarine
(Birthstone Month: March)

Aquamarine is an elegant gem and a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. A variety of the mineral beryl, it is found in many exotic places around the world.

Aquamarine is found in a range of blue shades, from pale pastel to greenish-blue to deep blue. Deeper colors are rarely found in smaller sizes and it generally takes a larger stone to hold a darker shade. The most prized aquamarines display a deeper, pure blue, with no green tints. Those with a greenish hue, can be acquired at a bargain price.

Like any gem that is pale, aquamarines should be "eye clean" with no inclusions visible to the naked eye, especially since internal flaws are more noticeable in a pastel stone. Aquamarine is known for being relatively free of inclusions and they are therefore frequently cut with large step facets to show off their flawless surfaces. Since aquamarine has few inclusions, it is also less susceptible to nicks or cracks than other gems.

With an "8" ranking on the Mohs hardness scale, the stone is very durable and can stand up to everyday wear. Its clear, pale brilliance makes it an appropriate stone for all types of jewelry.

Aquamarine is the ideal gem for couples celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary.

Amethyst – Birth Stone FebruaryAmethyst
(Birthstone Month: February)

Amethyst exhibits color ranging from pale lilac to deep purple and represents piety, celibacy and dignity. It is an extremely popular gem for jewelry because of its regal color, variety of sizes and shapes, affordability and wide range of hues. The African variety has a reputation for having deeper color intensity and is therefore considered more valuable.

The finest and most valuable amethysts are very clear, with a deep color and exhibiting reddish or rose overtones. Some stones are so oversaturated with color that areas are even blacked out, which can negatively impact their value.

Amethyst is available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including many fancy cuts. Large fine stones are sold in free sizes but generally the stone is cut in standardized dimensions. Paler shades, sometimes called "Rose of France" were common in Victorian jewelry. Banding - darker and lighter zones of color - is also a common occurrence. Occasionally, amethyst is even found combined with its sister quartz citrine into a single stone called ametrine.

The most common enhancements to amethyst are heat and irradiation. The stone, which ranks a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, is considered durable enough for everyday wear. However, care should be taken not to expose the gem to excessive amounts of bright sunlight, as this can cause its color to fade.

The birthstone for February, amethyst is also the recommended gem for couples celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary.

Peridot – Birth Stone AugustPeridot
(Birthstone Month: August)

Peridot is found in various shades of green and is most prized in lime hues. It has also been called "evening emerald" because of its green color which makes it glow at night. Its relative affordability and lively green color has made it a popular substitute for those who cannot afford emeralds.

Peridot is available in a range of sizes, shapes and hues. The finest stones are eye clean and have a deep, lime green color. Because inclusions are common, clarity is an extremely important factor when buying Peridot. It is relatively soft (6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale) and is therefore not ideal for regular wear, if mounted on a ring. For this reason, the gem is most often used as a side stone for more expensive gems, rather than the center stone. It is also highly sensitive to rapid temperature changes and can lose its polish if brought in contact with hydrochloric or sulfuric acid. Peridot is occasionally treated with colorless oil or wax to improve its appearance. Surface fractures are sometimes filled with a colorless resin that hardens.

The birthstone for August, peridot is also the recommended gem for couples celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary.

Citrine – Birth Stone NovemberCitrine
(Birthstone Month: November)

Citrine is an earth-toned gemstone, and is quite affordable thanks to its durability and availability. It derives its name from the French word for lemon, "citron." It is available in a range of golden hues from lemon to straw to sun yellow to gold, as well as oranges, browns, and deep madeira red. It is also available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including very large sizes.

Citrine´s vibrant colors can brighten up just about any jewelry style and it blends especially well with yellow gold. Its low cost makes it an ideal stone for popular free-form fancy cuts for special customized pieces. A good cut is as important in determining citrine´s quality as it is for more expensive yellow counterparts, such as yellow sapphire.

As with other stones, citrine in very large sizes in rich, deep colors is rare and the most valuable form of gem. Although this stone´s dark orange and red shades are the most prized, its lemony hues have become very popular in recent years because they mix better with pastel colors.

With a ranking of "7" on the Mohs scale of hardness (from 1-10, with "10" representing a diamond, the hardest mineral on earth), citrine has excellent durability and is suitable for everyday wear. However, since much of the citrine on the market today has been heat treated to improve its color, it should be kept away from prolonged exposure to strong light or heat.

Citrine is the birthstone for November, as well as recommended jewelry gift for couples celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary.

Onyx – Birth Stone December

Onyx
(Birthstone Month: December)

Onyx is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz and is known as ´nail of a finger or claw in Greek mythology. The layers in this stone range from translucent to opaque in some stones and strongly white or black banded. It is also available in colors of white, tan and brown, the most stunning of which is the black Onyx. Black onyx is the most commonly available stone the world over and is therefore quite affordable. It is often used as a shiny background for jewelry due to its fine texture and smoothness. Among the many positive attributes of Onyx are its ability to eliminate negative thinking and sharpen the wits of the wearer. It is also said to bring spiritual inspiration and is of great assistance in holding emotions and passions under control.

The best Onyx has a smooth marble like surface with few scratches or dents. However, natural onyx is extremely rare. Right from antiquity, Onyx as a stone is dyed to improve the color and texture. Most black onyx which is produced commercially is heated and permanently dyed to enhance the depth of its color, making it exotic.

Coral – Birth Stone April-May

Coral
(Birthstone Month: April-May)

Coral is an organic substance and is the symbol of blood and perseverance in human life. The gem is found in the shape of a vine branch at a depth of about 600-700 feet into the sea and is regarded as a component of calcium carbonate. Coral is found in colours such as red, scarlet, saffron, pink to vermilion red and white and is considered as one of the most attractive decorative materials imaginable. . It has been associated with virtues like courage and perseverance and the ability to face problems, while enabling the wearer to take risks.

Being an opaque gem, Coral is very difficult to identify. A lot of visual practice is required to differentiate between a natural and a manmade coral. Under magnification, natural Corals will always tell the story of their origin, displaying black marks which are actually holes. Natural corals can also be identified by their distinctive wood grain texture.

While Coral is not particularly sensitive, with a hardness of 3.5 on the Mohs scale it is still much softer than any other gemstone material. However, Coral can be polished by a jeweler, in case its surface gets scratched. Coral is the anniversary gemstone for the 35th year of marriage.

Turquoise – Birthstone December

Turquoise
(Birthstone Month: December)

Turquoise, with its shining sky blue has been esteemed for thousands of years as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune. It has been rightly titled as the ´gemstone of the people´. It occurs in nature in a whole range of hues from sky blue to grey-green, and is mostly found in places where there is a high concentration of copper in the soil. The blue colour is created by copper, the green by bivalent iron and a certain amount of chrome. Often, the material has veins or blotches running through it, which are brown, light grey or black depending on where it was found. These lively, more or less regular patterns are known as ´turquoise matrix´.

The best quality turquoises are of a pure, radiant sky blue, a colour which is highly esteemed with or without its fine, regular matrix. The more strongly the colour tends toward green and the more blotchy and irregular the matrix, the lower the estimate of the stone´s quality. Being relatively soft, turquoises are sensitive. As the colour may pale when the stone has been worn for a long time, even high-quality stones today are treated with wax and subsequently hardened. This treatment makes the sensitive gemstone more resistant. Turquoises which have a good natural colour and are simply hardened with colourless wax or synthetic resin have a much higher value than stones whose colour has been ´improved´.

Turquoise is rarely faceted it is cut into cabochons or beads, or into some more imaginative shape for use in jewellery. It is the ideal gemstone to mark the 5th year of marriage.

Jade or Jadeite – Birthstone

Jadeite
(Birthstone Month: March)

Jade has been treasured as the royal gemstone and traditionally appears in the colour green. Seven different shades of green feature in Jade, from the deep, even green known as imperial jade to apple and spinach green down to the lighter, more dappled green hues. However, it is also available in pink, white, red, black, brown and violet hues. Imperial jade is very translucent and is the most valuable colour for this gemstone. Colour distribution in Jade is however greatly varied, with the best quality ones featuring even colour distribution. Jade often displays blemishes, veins and streaks and the patterns these features create are considered valuable and not always regarded as flaws.

The quality of Jade is determined on the basis of its colour and intensity as also its texture, transparency and clarity. Since many artificially coloured or treated stones are available, a simple way to confirm the gemstone´s authenticity is by weight genuine jade weighs more than glass or resin. Another of Jade´s characteristics is its fast cooling properties. A piece of jade warmed to body temperature will cool to room temperature thirty seconds after being set aside. Fake jade usually displays tiny air bubbles. Because it is not as durable, it is prone to breaking easily.

Registering 7 on the Moh´s Scale of Hardness, Jadeite is quite dense. It is considered as the 12th Anniversary gemstone.

Quartz – Birth Gemstone January

Quartz
(Birthstone month: January)

Quartz, also called the ´rock crystal´ is one of the most popular gems on earth. It is available in types such as Rose quartz, Smoky quartz, Rutilated quartz and Tourmalinated quartz, Tiger´s Eye, Rock Crystal and more.

Rose quartz is of a pale delicate powder pink colour. Transparent rose quartz is very rare, and usually so pale that it does not show very much colour, except in large sizes. Smoky quartz is a transparent brown, sometimes used for unusual faceted cuts. Most varieties of transparent quartz are valued most when they show no inclusions, however some are valued chiefly because of them. Of these, the most popular is Rutilated quartz, with golden needles of rutile displayed in beautiful patterns inside it. These inclusions are sometimes called Venus hair. The variety called tourmalinated quartz has black or dark green tourmaline crystals, instead of golden Rutile. Tiger´s Eye quartz contains brown iron that produces its golden-yellow color. Its name is derived from the chatoyancy (small ray of light on the surface) that resembles the feline eye of a tiger. Rock Crystal, the transparent colorless variety, has the clarity and shimmer of water and is most used in carved pieces of jewellery.

A quartz crystal is the perfect gift to signify the 15th Anniversary.

Mother of pearl – Birthstone, June

Mother-of-Pearl
(Birthstone month: June)

Mother-of-Pearl is a delicate, gentle and old fashioned naturally-occurring organic-inorganic composite of calcium carbonate, aragonite, and other organic materials. It signifies a number of noble virtues such as faith, charity and innocence, enhances personal integrity and helps to provide focus to ones attention. Mother-of-Pearl is similar to pearls in chemical composition, but unlike a pearl, it comes from the actual shell of the animal. While they are usually a glossy or very shiny white, they can also be a slight gray or iridescent color. The natural secretion of calcium carbonate and aragonite are responsible for the most defining aspects of this semiprecious stone: pearly luster and iridescence.

Far more abundant and therefore much less valuable than pearls, mother-of-pearl is a major component in jewellery and decorative arts. The iridescent quality of nacre or mother-of-pearl is owed to the fact that the thickness of the aragonite platelets are about 0.5 micrometres, which is comparable to the wavelength of visible light. This results in absorptive and reflective effects on different wavelengths of light, resulting in different colors of light being reflected when observed at different viewing angles. There are also simulated mother-of-pearl substitutes which are created with a layered substrate of transparent or translucent plastic that is pigmented with a metal-oxide-coated mica pigment.

The 30th anniversary is also called the ´Pearl anniversary´ and Mother-of-Pearl ornamentation is an ideal and affordable gift to mark the occasion.

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