Like fireworks, you can find every color bouncing out of an opal gemstone. Writers and poets have written about the beauty of opal and all the mysterious beliefs behind it. This gem is definitely unique and mysterious. Opal is one of the birthstones of October. And since it's the first few days of October, we wanted to shine some light on this beautiful colorful gemstone.
Opal has up to 20% of water trapped in it's silica structure. On average, you can find about 5-10% water in most opals. There are two broad classes of opal: precious and common. Precious opals are generally the more common type of opals you will find and it displays "play-of-color" where you can find an array of colors in the gem. Common opals have no display of color.
Play-of-color occurs when sub microscopic spheres are stacked like a grid. The light waves that travel between these microscopic spheres and bends breaks up into the colors of the rainbow. There are many different groups of opals but there are 5 main ones. Which are:
- White or light opal: the play-of-color is against a white or light grey background
- Black opal: the play-of-color is against a black or dark background
- Fire opal: also known as a "Mexican Opal". This type of opal is usually on a brown, red, orange, or yellow body of color.
- Boulder opal: this type of opal is usually has fragments of surrounding rock and on a light to dark background.
- Crystal or water opal: usually on a clear background and you can find the most color in these type of opals. They are usually transparent to semi-transparent.
Most opals are mined in Australia but opals can be found in the U.S., Mexico, South America, and Ethiopia. In fact, these days the main source of opals comes from Ethiopia. The largest and most valuable opal found is 998 grams and valued at around $675,000. This opal is known as the "Olympic Australis" found in 1956 along the "Eight Mile" opal field in Cober Pedy, South Australia.
Not only do opals have such a wide variety, but they also have a long history in myths and beliefs. Our favorite part of a gemstone discovery is the beliefs the ancient and modern world has towards gemstones. Arabic legend believed opals fell from the heavens in flashes of lighting. Somewhat similar to the Bedouins, which believed opals contained lighting in it the actual stone. Ancient Greeks thought opals protected you from disease and gave the gift of prophecy.
There is one superstition behind opals. It states that people born in October should never wear opal because its bad luck. We want to say this is false and does not have any grounds to it because it was written in a novel, Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott, and that's the only place you would find this information. Also, throughout most of history opals are regarded as one of the luckiest and most amazing gemstone due to it reflecting all the colors.
One thing for sure is opals have always symbolized hope, purity and truth. It is also the 14th wedding anniversary. Need some inspiration for a birthday in October or a wedding anniversary coming up, we've got some great opal jewelry. Shop our selection here.
Ahh, choosing earrings to wear with your work outfit or date outfit or just a regular day can sometimes be overwhelming with all the every changing trends. We have 3 go to earring styles that will work with any style. And we literally mean ANY style. Weddings, date night, apple picking, you name it! These earrings are versatile.
Either diamond stud or plain stud earrings. Both are great for every occasion. Diamond studs are elegant and clean. They add the right amount of sparkle to casual or dressy looks.
Halo Stud Earrings
Need something with a little more sparkle or an extra touch to your work outfit, then halo stud earrings are your choice. Halo stud earrings mean there is one main stone, either diamond or gemstone; surrounded by smaller stones. There are so many different looks. You can get a pearl halo earring with sapphires or diamonds surrounding the pearl. Or you can choose the classic halo, all diamonds. You can't go wrong with all diamonds.
Another earring staple that every woman should have in her jewelry box. Classic plain hoop earrings or diamond hoop earrings can be worn in every occasion. Just like stud and halo stud earrings, these work with every look.
If you can only have 3 earrings in your jewelry box for the rest of your life, these three styles are your go to earrings for every occassion. Need a little inspiration on finding the right style for you. Shop our earrings look.
Sunday was the night for TV shows. The Emmys were on and of course we had our eyes on the jewelry celebs wore on the red carpet and during the award show. It's always fun seeing what's trending in celebrity fashion and it did not disappoint. A lot wore chandelier & drop earrings with eye popping necklaces & bracelets. Here are our favorites from the Emmys!
Let's just begin by saying WOW! Wow! We are in love with the earrings and back necklace by Gismondi 1754 that Fonda wore. She matched her hot pink gown by Brandon Maxwell with eye-popping emerald & diamond chandelier earrings that were worth over $750,000 and a beautiful emerald & diamond back necklace worth $1.75 million. There is an estimated total weight of 210 carats.
Another stunner was the gorgeous emerald cut diamond dangle earrings worn by Priyanka Chopra. What better way to match a stunning glitzy gown by Balmain than with beautiful 62 carat total weight emerald diamond earrings from Lorraine Schwartz valuing over $7 million.
All in black dress by Zuhair Murad, Gabrielle Union paired her beautiful gown with a Buccellati diamond lace two-tone necklace. Paired with elegant simple earrings.
We are absolutely in love with the emerald earrings and ring Emmy Rossum wore that night! Valued over $4 million, Rossum wore 58 carat total weight Colombian emerald drop earrings and adding a gorgeous 19 carat emerald cocktail ring. This was a perfect compliment to her black sequined Zac Posen dress.
With a simple strapless white gown, a pair of large chandelier earrings are the perfect match. She wore a pair of earrings by Lorraine Schwartz.
A gorgeous red dress doesn't need much and Nicole Kidman went for a simpler look. She wore jewelry by Harry Winston and paired with a vintage Omega watch from 1956. The diamond pear shape drop earring were 13.77 carats total weight and the diamond link bracelet were 35.16 carat total weight all in platinum. The value of the jewelry she wore was over $2 million.
Ellie Kemper & Jessica Biel
The last two favorites are Ellie Kemper and Jessica Biel. Both wearing drop earrings, bracelets and rings. Biel wore 18.61 carat total weight drop diamond earrings, a 13.78 carat total weight cushion diamond bracelet, and 10 carat total weight diamond rings. Kemper went for a more colorful selection with colorful dangle earrings & ring by Lorraine Schwartz. The earrings had rubellite, ruby, and pink sapphires; while the rings were with rubies and diamonds.
There were a lot of other styles we loved but these definitely were the stunners of the night and caught our eyes!
One week away until it's officially Fall and we have some great jewelry trends to accompany your Fall apparel! We saw these back in February/March when Fall trends were showcased on the runway. Think big & bold. Think mix & match. Think the 80s. Here are 5 jewelry trends for Fall!
Gem Cocktail Rings
Wear this with a simple work outfit or a night out. Big gemstone rings are great to make a bold statement and bring your Fall look together.
Pearl Cluster Earrings
Another bold piece of jewelry to wear. One of the trends on the runway were lots of diamond accented jewelry and pearls. Every woman should have pearls in her jewelry collection. What better way to wear pearls than with diamond accents around it!
Something on the simpler side are personalized jewelry. We love personalized necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. They are great for layering on with your bold jewelry. Put an inscription meaningful to you or just your name. You get to choose.
If you didn't notice already, chokers started gaining traction last year and now they are fully on trend. The best part is the choker trend started off with simple black chokers (like what we saw in the 90s) but now include every type of choker. Gold, pearls, diamonds and more. They are definitely a huge trend this fall and something to include with your Fall wardrobe.
Last but not least, bypass rings. Just like gem cocktail rings, these are great statement pieces to wear both for work and a night out. You can either choose something simple or chunky which every works with your style.
One of the most sought after gemstone is sapphire. This beautiful gem has a long history and myth behind it. Worn by royalty, clergy, and more; it truly has an amazing history. Since it's the month of September, we are going to dive into learning more about sapphire, September's birthstone. It is also the gemstone given for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. Let's take a closer look at this amazing and colorful gemstone.
Sapphires are mined all over the world. They are most notably known as a blue gem. However, sapphire does come in a range of colors. Just like ruby, sapphire is part of the corundum mineral family and has a hardness close to diamond on the Mohs scale, which is 9.0 Mohs. The more iron the corundum mineral has the darker blue you will see in sapphire. Traces of iron and titanium cause the blue color. Corundum in the purest state is actually colorless, like a white sapphire. For blue sapphires, the sapphires from Kashmir set the standard because the color is usually intensely saturated, velvety, and most desired.
In the 1990s, sapphires discovered in East Africa and Madagascar were colorful and increased the popularity of fancy colored sapphires. One of the most desired colorful sapphires is the Padparadscha sapphire, which is a pinkish-orange sapphire and rarer compared to other sapphires. The name comes from Sinhalese for "lotus blossom". There are also color-changing sapphires which will change under different lighting. Another type of phenomenon found in sapphires (as well as rubies) is called asterism (star-effect). The star effect happens when small numerous needle like inclusions reflect from white light on a cabochon-cut stones.
The more interesting side of this gemstone is what people believed sapphires had as a power. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed people who wore sapphires were protected from envy and harm. In the Middle Ages, the clergy wore sapphires as a symbol of the heavens. Other beliefs in wearing sapphire included:
- Guarded chastity
- Make peace between enemies
- Influence spirits
- Reveal the secrets the oracles
Throughout the years, sapphire has always symbolized nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. This is a reason many people will use sapphire in engagement rings. One of the most famous engagement rings using sapphire is Princess Diana's & now Kate Middleton's blue sapphire engagement ring. Another famous sapphire is the most recent mining of the largest sapphire in the world, which was discovered in 2015 in a Sri Lanka mine. This blue sapphire weighs at 1,404 carats and has an estimated value of over $300 million.
If you're looking to have a colored gemstone in your engagement ring, sapphire would be the best option because the hardness is closest to a diamond. And you will be sure of the longevity of the stone. That's the beauty of this stone, you can use fancy colored sapphires to create a colored gemstone engagement ring. Need a little sapphire inspiration, check out some of our sapphire jewelry!
Just like no two fingerprints are the same, no two diamonds are the same. They may have the same color, clarity, and size ranking but they are not identical. Each diamond is unique. It's been a while since we talked about the 4Cs. We touched on color and cut, but did not discuss clarity and carat. Let's take some time to delve into clarity and all that you need to know about it!
Clarity is defined as to how clean a diamond is from all natural inclusions. Inclusions or flaws are either formed internally or externally in a diamond. We like to call them natural beauty marks because they're not flaws, they're what make the diamond unique. Under extreme pressure & heat, these natural beauty marks are formed. A flawless diamond is extremely rare. In fact, even a diamond graded as flawless, could still have an extremely small mark undetectable to magnification. No diamond is absolutely perfect but they come close to perfection.
In 1953, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the diamond grading system, which included how to grade diamonds in terms of clarity. Before this time, there was no consistent grading or terminology among jewelers to identify the clarity of a diamond. Now, every part of the world uses the GIA grading system as a basis when defining the clarity (or color & cut) of a diamond.
Below is the GIA diamond clarity grading system. Each ranking defines the clarity of a diamond and amount of inclusions on the diamond. To determine the clarity; the size, position, nature, color, & amount of inclusions are considered under 10x magnification. I1-I3 are generally identified as included diamonds. These type of diamonds usually will have larger inclusions, some cloudy, some dark carbon spots, and more. They can divert the beauty and brilliance of a diamond. Most diamonds graded as I1-I3 are less durable compared to other diamonds and are less brilliant. The likelihood of these type of diamonds chipping is slightly higher compared to the other clarity. Moving up along the chart, you'll see SI1-SI2, also known as slightly included. Inclusions in diamonds graded in this range generally are not seen with the naked eye, unless you are trained. Some laboratories will grade diamonds as SI3. There is no true SI3, it actually is an I1 or even I2. Inclusions will take a way from the brilliance of the diamond.
The other half of the chart are the cleaner diamonds. VS1-VS2, also known as very slightly included, are clean to the eye and difficult to see the inclusions under 10x magnification. VVS1-VVS2, also known as very very slight included, are extremely clean to the eye and extremely clean under magnification. And of course the last grading range is FL-IF, flawless to internally flawless. As we mentioned before, no diamond is absolutely perfect but if you are looking for a "flawless" diamond, then look for diamonds graded in this range. These diamonds are rare and of course more expensive. Most diamonds are graded between SI2-VS1.
One thing to keep in mind while shopping for diamonds, there are other laboratories (aside from GIA) that will use this type of grading system but tend to be more liberal in how they grade a diamond. Some laboratories will grade a diamond as SI2 but in GIA standards it would be graded as I1 or even I2. We always believe it's better to focus on GIA or AGS grading because it tends to be the best identifier of a diamond quality. But in the end, it really depends on the sparkle of the diamond and whether you love the look. Something to keep in mind while looking for your perfect diamond.
As always, there is so much information out about diamonds and sometimes a bit confusing, but hopefully we were able to simplify what clarity means and what to look for when buying diamonds. Not sure where to start, take a look at some of our loose diamond collection or you can stop in store and we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have! Happy diamond shopping!
"Gem of the Sun", that's what the Egyptians called peridots. Probably because of it's vibrant green color. For centuries, peridot was confused for emerald and many people believe Cleopatra's famous emerald collection was actually peridots! This beautiful gem has been around for centuries and we're about to tell you what's so great about this gem.
The first known record of mining emeralds was in Egypt in the Red Sea Island Zabargad (St. John's Island). Peridots from this region were some of the most finest and largest peridots found. In fact, the world's largest peridot ever found, 311.78 carats, was discovered in Zabargad. It can be viewed in the National Smithsonian Muesum in Washington D.C. Peridots are mined all over the world. The most known mine in the United States can be found in Arizona at the San Carlos Apache reservation.
Peridots are formed in the depths of the earth and usually brought up to the surface through volcanoes. There are a small percentage of peridots (not in the jewelry market & rare to find) that come from meteorites. The gem variety mineral of peridots is Olivine which includes iron and magnesium. Iron causes the light greenish color in the gemstone. The color range of peridots are from a pure green to yellowish green to a brown green. Most commonly found color is a yellowish green; almost reminds you of spring or summer.
In the past, people believed the wearer of peridot would be protected from terrors of the night. Others would tie peridot to the donkey hair & around their left arm to ward off any evil spirits. Whether or not it worked, people believed it had powers just like other gemstones.
For all those born in August, peridot is the birthstone for you. It is also the 15th wedding anniversary gift. Celebrate these occasions with a pair of peridot earrings or necklace. The great thing about peridot is it's an inexpensive and beautiful stone. You can get a beautiful large peridot far less than any sapphire or emerald. A great way to celebrate an anniversary or an August birthday.
With so many different plain wedding band options, it's hard to tell which you prefer and the difference between all of them. We have broken it down to 5 groups of plain bands and within those groups are subtle style differences. It's important to know the subtle traits for each band to choose the right wedding band for you. Let's begin!
Half Round Wedding Bands
There are two types of half round bands: half round light and half round. Edges are straight and without any comfort. Ring lays flat on the finger with a dome on the outside. The difference between the two are thickness and dome shape. A half round light is approximately 1.17 mm thick; while a half round is approximately 1.55 mm thick.
Comfort fit wedding bands are rings made to have a round feel against the finger and domed style. The edges are rounded. These type of wedding rings are generally extremely comfortable for most people. And actually most men prefer comfort fit wedding bands because they're not use to wearing jewelry. The comfort fit feature on not only plain bands but other wedding bands are definitely a great option. There are 4 types of plain domed comfort fit: comfort fit, comfort fit with an edge, comfort fit heavy, and comfort fit very heavy. The main difference between these 4 styles is the thickness. For those who want just a little style to their plain band, the comfort fit with an edge would be a great style.
If you don't like the dome look, another style is flat bands. There are three styles of flat bands: pipe cut, flat comfort fit, and euro style comfort fit. All offer the same flat band look when seeing it on the finger, but they have a different feel. The pipe cut flat band is as it is named. It's a band that is completely flat with straight edges; flat against the finger and flat on top. A flat comfort fit band is an option for those who want the pipe cut look but with a comfort fit feel. It's rounded on the inside and flat on top. And if you're torn between a flat band or domed band, then the euro style comfort fit may be the best option. The euro style comfort fit band is not completely flat and not completely domed. It's a mix and has a rounded edge against the finger.
The best way to describe milgrain bands are rings with narrow beaded edges. There are small beads all along the edge of the band. This style of band gives the classic plain band look with an extra touch of style. There are 4 common styles of milgrain bands available; milgrain, milgrain comfort fit, milgrain heavy comfort fit, and double milgrain comfort fit. Each offer a different level of comfort. The regular milgrain band is flat against the finger and domed on the outside. All the other milgrain bands with comfort fit are going to be rounded against the finger and vary in thickness. As for the double milgrain comfort fit band, it has 2 rows of narrow beads on the edge.
Square Comfort Fit
It is exactly as the name states, it's a square band and plain. If you want something a bit contemporary but plain as well. The surface against the finger is rounded and has a soft square exterior shape.
These are just some of the wide range of plain bands that you could get for you and your significant other. There are other styles that we didn't touch on such as beveled edge, knife edge, flat tapered, flat edge and more. The ones listed here are the standard plain bands that most people choose. It all comes down to finding the style that fits and feels just right for your finger. You'll be wearing it for a long time and want to make sure it's something you love. Need a little help in starting? Check out our collection of plain wedding bands.
On a budget and don't want to break your bank account? These days everyone is looking to find a way to get the most for their dollar. And most think you have to save 2 months salary to get an engagement ring. Well we have some fun tips on building an engagement ring under $2,000. Yes, you heard that right, it's very possible to get an engagement (and a nice one I may say) for under that amount. So, where do we start?
Choose Simple Engagement Rings
You can find engagement rings with peek-a-boo diamonds, subtle diamond accents or a classic solitaire. These type of engagement rings are usually under $1,000. In fact, the beautiful classic solitaire is usually under $400 and let's add solitaire engagement rings are great for showcasing the diamond. If you get a classic solitaire for under $400 or even under $300; that leaves you with a lot left over to focus on a beautiful diamond.
Now, maybe your future fiance wants something more, like diamonds on the side. That doesn't mean it will be difficult. In fact, simple engagement rings with subtle diamond accents or a peek-a-boo diamond are great choices. And may we add it will still display the center diamond beautifully.
Choose a Diamond Shape Not in Demand
Round and princess (square) cut are and always have been the classic go to diamond shape for any piece of jewelry especially engagement rings. And since it's popular, the demand for those shapes are higher, which means higher priced diamonds. Choosing a diamond shape other than round or princess cut such as oval, cushion, or marquise; will help lower your cost down. Between a round diamond and cushion cut, you can almost save a few hundred dollars; if not more. The best part of the other shapes such as cushion or oval is they are very similar to a round diamond.
Still want a round or princess cut? That's okay, because there are a lot of great diamonds out there under $1,000 or even under $1,500; depending on the engagement ring you choose. You just need to play with the specifications of the diamond to get there; which brings us to the next tip.
Play Around with Color/Clarity
One thing we mentioned in an earlier post, is cut is important. This is one factor we believe should be top priority and shouldn't change. It will give off the most brilliance. However, color and clarity is something you can change around and still get the desired diamond you want. You can choose a color range that isn't exactly colorless. Instead, go for the near colorless diamond or just borderline. If you look at our color scale, diamonds between G-J are in the near colorless. When the diamond is in the ring, the difference between G and J color are barely visible to the naked eye. You can find nice diamonds closer to J or K color that still radiate (especially with a great cut) and look colorless.
And for clarity, well that's something you can be even more lenient on. Clarity are the natural beauty flaws in a diamond. For most people, finding the inclusion with the naked eye is extremely difficult. And people don't walk around with microscopes or loops to examine each diamond on a person's finger. So, why not get a diamond with some natural beauty marks. You can find diamonds that are SI2 (slightly included diamond) with the perfectly placed inclusion that won't be visible to the naked eye. If you're really lucky, you may be able to find an I1 diamond (included diamond) with the inclusions hidden to the naked eye.
It's all about finding a diamond that is clean to the naked eye. As long as you don't see the natural beauty marks in a diamond and it sparkles (which comes from the cut) then have fun mixing and matching the 4Cs to get a diamond within budget.
Choose Odd Carat Weights
You would be shocked how much the price can change based on the weight of the diamond. Getting an exact 0.75 or 1.00 carat diamond will be higher compared to finding a diamond that is 0.68 or 0.93 carats. Why focus on the carat size when you can find something comparable and sometimes even better in an odd carat weight. No one will know the exact size. Try not to focus on getting an exact carat weight but something around that size and save a few hundred dollars.
Go with 14kt or 18kt Over Platinum
Platinum is truly one of the best precious metals to use for jewelry; but if you're on a budget; gold is just as good. If you want the "platinum" look, you can select white gold to create the same look. Gold is also very versatile. You can find it in other colors; yellow, rose, white, black, blue, green, etc. Although, we wouldn't recommend anything except rose, white, or yellow gold for engagement rings. Buying a 14kt or 18kt engagement ring could potentially save you thousands of dollars; depending on the style of the ring.
Choose a Colored Gemstone
It's not uncommon these days to use colored gemstones in engagement rings. One of the most famous engagement rings in the world is Princess Diana's blue sapphire engagement ring. You don't always need to put a diamond in your ring and a great alternative is using a colored gemstone. Sapphire is very close to the hardness of a diamond and available in multiple colors. You can get sapphires in every color except red. If you don't want to use sapphire, there are an array of colored gemstones that could signify your relationship. We've had couples use Tanzanite, Aquamarine, and Thomasonite in an engagement ring because of the meaning behind it for them. And that's absolutely beautiful!
In the end, you have to ultimately decide what combination will work for you. But these are just some of the tips you can use to build an engagement ring under $2,000. There are many ways and becoming creative is the best part. Need a little inspiration? Check out our engagement rings under $2,000.
Passion, love, desire, fire, strength are all symbolic words for the ruby. It's that month of the year, where we celebrate the King of Gems! This colored gemstone has a long history and desire in the world. And how could it not with the striking color it exudes. And why is it that many desire ruby? Let's take a look at the history, lore, and background of rubies to possibly learn why so many people in the world love this gem.
Rubies are typically mined in Asia. The most renowned and notable rubies are mined in Myanmar, the Himalayas, and Northern Vietnam. Ruby is part of the corundum family, just like sapphires. However, the reason a ruby is not a sapphire is the one element in rubies that make it unique from sapphires: chromium. Corundum in its purest form is clear and transparent. It's the traces of other elements that make the difference. Higher amounts of chromium will produce a more vibrant red in rubies. And the finest rubies found (also most desired) have a pure, vibrant red with a slight purplish red hue.
In sanskirt, ruby is called Ratnaraj which means "King of Gems". Rubies hold the highest price per carat among any other colored gemstone. Not only is it known as the king of gems, but it is believed that it's one of the 12 stones created by God. Early cultures treasured rubies because the color had huge similarities to the blood that flowed through veins which in turn came the belief it had the power of life.
What else is said about ruby? Here are a few more legends and beliefs known throughout history:
- Hindus created a castes system for the different ruby colors. The Brahmin ruby, the purest and finest color and quality ruby was used among the highest class in Hindu society. It was believed that those possessing the Brahmin ruby had the advantage of perfect safety.
- In India, it was believed that those who owned rubies were to live in peace with their enemies.
- In Burma (Myanmar), which is where most rubies are mined, believed when the warriors carried or had rubies put into their flesh and body, that they were invincible in battles.
- Medieval Europeans wore rubies to guarantee their health, wisdom and success in love
- Present day, rubies symbolizes passion, love, wealth, and success
There's so much information about a ruby and we just touched on a little bit. We could go on about rubies, but we'll leave you with one more fun fact about ruby. The world's largest and known ruby is 18,696 carats or 8.21 pounds that has a cabochon cut and is known as the 125West Ruby.
With such a long history and a lot of meaning behind rubies, it's no wonder it's a desired gemstone by many people from different backgrounds. This beautiful gemstone is also known for being July's birthstone and celebrating the 15th & 40th wedding anniversary. Celebrate your birthday or anniversary with this beautiful gemstone in either a pendant, ring or earring. A great way to symbolize the passion you have for your loved one.