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April - June 2024

From Our Gemologist


The first question we ask ourselves is why? Why have humans throughout millennia coveted diamonds and gemstones. Rarity. Beauty. They come from the earth – they mesmerize us.


You may not realize what the first thing that draws you to a gemstone is… but, the very first impression a gemstone makes on you is its color. How does the color affect you? Color is THE most important aspect of a gemstone. It is the lure.


So, in this vast and wondrous world of gems … We cherish the big three first and foremost; there is nothing more alluring than a Burmese Ruby, Kashmir Sapphire, or Colombian emerald. These are the most compelling triumvirate – and are Red, Green and Blue – the primary colors. They are the most valuable gems on earth.


We also appreciate the rich and varied hues of garnet, the dreamy,  watery blue of aquamarine, the depth of tourmaline… there are color tones within these stones that speak to each of us differently.


Gemologist's Picks

Diamond - April Birthstone, 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries, 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness

Asscher, princess, brilliant, emerald; flawless, colorless - there are many descriptors that make diamonds the most intriguing of all gemstones. Four C’s - color, cut, clarity and carat - define each piece.  Every natural diamond is hundreds of millions to two billion years old. Cutting styles have changed over the centuries as technology advanced, and the styles continue to evolve: when a new interesting rough stone is discovered today, expert cutters can take a year or more to plot the final outcome.

Estate jewelers seek out Old Mine and Old European cuts, which are the styles in which round diamonds were cut pre- 1900s. These styles feature a higher table and larger culet, and are now scarce compared to today’s more popular brilliant cut.

Diamonds are 58 times harder than any other material on earth. As the hardest gem, they are the only stone with a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, and they are the only gem made of one element only, being 99.95% carbon. If trace elements are present, they are not essential to the diamond's composition and may alter color or formation.

Diamonds were first discovered and traded in India around 400 BC. Stones were found by the riverbeds and were quickly idolized for their beauty before even being cut. Indian diamonds were taken on the trade route by caravan to Europe, where they were traded until Medieval times. As finds became scarcer and demand grew in the higher social echelons, Brazil became an important source for the ensuing 150 years.

In the 1860s, the first diamond was discovered in a South African farmer’s field. Cecil Rhodes then began mining and commercializing diamonds, beginning the De Beers company which controlled around 90% of the world’s diamond market for many decades - and introduced the famous and memorable marketing slogan “Diamonds are forever”.

A natural diamond is formed under extreme heat and pressure about 100 miles under the earth’s surface. Its name originates from the Greek word Adamas, which means invincible or unbreakable. As the hardest material on earth, a diamond can only be scratched by another diamond. Graphite is also composed of only carbon, but its differences lie in the arrangement of the carbon elements: diamonds have a tight grid in all directions, whereas graphite’s grid is only in one direction.

The best quality diamond one can ask has several qualities: “D color” meaning it is absolutely devoid of any color; “IF clarity” meaning it is Internally Flawless with no inclusions; excellent cut meaning perfect symmetry, and, of course, carat meaning the size (weight) of the stone.

Diamonds that have another distinct color are referred to as “fancy vivid”. These are often yellow, blue, or pink (from Argyle mine in Australia). Other colors, such as red or green, are extremely rare. You may also find shades of yellow or brown diamonds described as champagne or cognac.

When purchasing a diamond, look for brilliance - how the light plays and reflects the stone, showing pinks, greens, and blues. Diamonds are wondrous, enhancing any piece of jewelry and suiting everyone.

Emerald - May birthstone, 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries, 7.5-8 on Mohs Scale of Hardness

Emerald is one of the few gemstones whose name is also used as a color: Emerald green, the Emerald Isle… its color makes you think of the beautiful greens of spring and represents renewal. Some even feel that emeralds define green.

Emerald is part of the beryl family, and therefore shares characteristics with aquamarine and morganite. Emerald is one of the three most important gems alongside ruby and sapphire, due to the saturation and vividness of the stone’s color. The first qualitative factor of emerald is color, followed by clarity and cut. Emerald is the only one of these three stones in which visible inclusions or surface reaching breaks are an expected and acceptable state of the stone. Emeralds with excellent color and few inclusions are rare, making them significantly more expensive. It is common practice to “fracture fill” an emerald, which means the fissure is filled with a substance (usually a resin, wax, or polymer) that improves the look and durability of the stone.

Emerald comes from the Greek word Smaragdos, meaning the color green. Emeralds were first discovered in Egypt, where Cleopatra collected them. They were believed to enhance wisdom and to have healing powers, as well as to improve eyesight.

Today, the finest emeralds come from Colombia and have a deep green or bluish green hue. Other important sources are Brazil, Zambia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Faceted stones are often cut in an emerald step-cut, as the elongated column of this cut shows color well.

Classic and timeless, emerald jewelry is always elegant and admired.

Pearl - June Birthstone, 3rd and 30th Wedding Anniversary, 2.5 to 3 on Mohs Scale of Hardness

Pearls make wonderful jewelry with their timeless elegance. They are traditional and utterly feminine; young girls are often gifted pearl stud earrings and then build a collection of pieces over the years. 

Pearl is organic matter that grows inside live mollusks including oysters and mussels in oceans, lakes, or rivers. Natural pearls are rare in today’s market, as overfishing has depleted most sources. Estate jewelers offer natural pearls that are obtained from estates or auctions. However, over the last century or so, pearl farming emerged as an industry, creating what are called cultured pearls. The famed Kokichi Mikimoto was one of the most famous pioneers in this tradition, and his company still offers beautiful pearl jewelry today. Pearls are farmed in waters off Japan, China, Australia, Indonesia, Tahiti, and the Philippines, among other places.

A natural pearl forms when an irritant, such as a piece of sand or parasite, enters a mollusk’s shell. In defense, the mollusk secretes a material called nacre (also known as mother of pearl), which surrounds the invader. Over time, this nacre eventually becomes a pearl. Farmed pearls are created by purposefully placing an irritant inside the mollusk, which is then left to grow until maturation.

The defining characteristic of a pearl is its luster - that amazing shimmery light that bounces off the pearl. There are different colors, shapes, and sizes of pearls, including types such as South Sea, Tahitian, Akoya, Baroque, Mabe, and more. Different oyster species produce different types of pearls. For example, Akoya pearls are cultured seawater pearls. They are most often white or cream in color, with subtle pink or green overtones. Meanwhile, South Sea pearls are round and large, varying from 9.5 to 15 millimeters in circumference, and are anywhere from white or cream to golden in color. Tahitian pearls have an exquisite black, gray, or aubergine color, while Baroque pearls have a long uneven shape. Freshwater pearls are the most commonly produced pearls, and are available in a large range of sizes, shapes, and colors at a better price point.

Pearl jewelry has evolved in scope and design, and there are many exquisite styles to choose from. They do need to be cared for - always apply creams or spray perfumes before putting on pearl jewelry, as those chemicals can damage pearls over time. Also, always store pearls away from other jewelry so that it won’t be scratched, and do not store it in plastic.

Use coupon code WELCOME10 for 10% off your first order.


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