• an oval peridot and a pear shaped peridot
    Birthstones,  Education,  Gemstones

    Peridot – August’s Birthstone

    Ranging from grassy green to yellowish green, peridot is the captivating birthstone of August. For thousands of years, peridot’s unique green hues have been treasured—and often mistaken for other gems! Today, we’ll learn a little bit about where peridot comes from, what makes it special, and how to care for it. From the Sky to the Earth Peridot is found across the world in places like China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam, and here the United States. Arizona is the main source in America, but Hawaii is home to the famous “Peridot Beach,” which awes visitors with its luminous green sands. Most of these peridot deposits were formed under extreme conditions…

  • two rubies
    Birthstones,  Education,  Gemstones

    Ruby: July’s Birthstone

    If you were born in July, your birthstone is one of the longest-loved gemstones of all: the ruby. Named for its gorgeous red hues—the latin word for red was ruber—this gem has been treasured for thousands of years. Let’s take a look at why it was deemed so special and why it continues to captivate today! The King of Precious Stones All across the world, references to rubies can be found dating back millennia. In ancient India, rubies were known as “the king of precious stones.” In the Bible, rubies were associated with wisdom and beauty. To others, these fiery stones were believed to bring peace and even rebirth its…

  • alexandrite and black pearl
    Birthstones,  Education,  Gemstones

    Pearl & Alexandrite – June’s Birthstones

    June babies are lucky enough to get two very unique birthstones to choose from: pearl & alexandrite! You’ve probably seen a pearl before, but you may not have seen an alexandrite up close and personal. Let’s take a look at these gorgeous stones and see which one you would choose (or, why not choose both?)! Pearl Unlike most gemstones, pearls actually grow within a living organism! When some type of irritant—like a piece of sand—enters the shell of an oyster, a pearl can begin to form. Layer by layer, the oyster covers this irritant with nacre, which is the iridescent material pearls are famous for. Since this is actually quite…

  • two emeralds
    Birthstones,  Education

    Emerald – May’s Birthstone

    Emerald has long been treasured for its unique and beautiful green hue. Indeed, the name “emerald” comes from the Greek word smaragdus meaning “green gem”. Today, we’ll take a look at this captivating stone and see why it makes the perfect gift for May babies! Ancient & Royal Did you know Cleopatra had an affinity for emeralds? In fact, she’s only one of many royals throughout history who fell in love with this fascinating gem. From the Inca emperors to the monarchs of Spain, emeralds have been the focal point of royal regalia for centuries. Like many gems, emeralds were long believed to endow their wearer with special protection or…

  • pear shaped fancy color diamond and princess cut diamond
    Birthstones,  Diamonds,  Education

    Diamond – April’s Birthstone

    The birthstone for April babies is probably the best known gemstone of all time: diamond. Let’s take a look at what makes this timeless stone such a classic–plus a perfect gift! A Tough Treasure There’s no denying that diamonds are uniquely beautiful. No matter a diamond’s hue–ranging from fancy color to nearly colorless—no other gem sparkles quite like a diamond. While that fact alone makes diamonds an obvious choice for jewelry-making, it’s far from all this wonderful stone has to offer! In fact, probably the best known quality of a diamond is its unsurpassed hardness, reigning at the very top of the Mohs scale (a perfect 10). For this reason,…

  • close up of abalone shell
    Education,  Gemstones,  Miscellaneous

    Abalone – Treasure from the Sea

    If you’re no stranger to fine jewelry, you’ve probably seen a classic strand of pearls or a beautiful watch with a mother-of-pearl dial, but have you come across a piece featuring abalone? You may already know that mother-of-pearl is derived from the nacre of mollusks (the highly iridescent inner layer of the shell). Abalone is actually a specific type of mother-of-pearl, derived solely from the group of sea snails known commonly by the same name. While other mollusks typically produce a milky nacre, abalone snails produce a darker material with more dramatic colors. These snails are found in seas around the world, including off the coast of California! Sadly, many…

  • bloodstone and aquamarine
    Birthstones,  Education,  Gemstones

    Aquamarine & Bloodstone – March’s Birthstones

    When it comes to birthstones, March babies have two distinct choices: aquamarine and bloodstone! Let’s dive into what makes these stones unique. Aquamarine When you look into aquamarine, it’s like gazing into crystal clear waters–and that’s precisely how it got its name! With hues ranging from deep green-blue to light aqua, it’s easy to see why “aquamarine” was named for the Latin word for seawater. For this reason, ancient sailors came to believe that it could keep them safe at sea, and aquamarine’s reputation for protection has followed it all the way into the modern era. Not only is it known as a calming charm, it has also come to…

  • close up of diamond ring
    Diamonds,  Education

    The 4C’s: Carat Weight

    Carat weight might be the most obvious and straight-forward feature of diamond grading. The metric carat is simply the special unit of weight for diamonds and gemstones, and 1 carat equates to 0.200 gram or 0.007 ounce. Diamond grades are as precise as possible when it comes to carat weight, so let’s take a look at what this process entails and how to understand specific weights. Carats & Points Diamonds are often so tiny and light-weight that even the metric carat has to be subdivided to produce a precise measurement. That’s why you’ll usually see carat weight expressed as a decimal, like 0.25ct or 1.55ct, but you may also come…

  • close up of diamond ring
    Diamonds,  Education

    The 4C’s: Clarity

    Today, we’re going to dive into another part of the 4C’s: clarity. In this context, clarity is defined as “a diamond’s freedom from blemishes and inclusions.” The more free the stone is, the higher the final value will be. Let’s take a look at what these clarity characteristics are and how they’re judged. Blemishes Put simply, blemishes are irregularities on a diamond’s surface. Sometimes, blemishes are a perfectly natural part of a diamond’s formation within the earth. For example, irregularities in the diamond’s crystal structure can cause a grainy texture to occur. Most blemishes, however, are the result of human contact with the stone. Nicks and pits can be formed…

  • Fancy yellow diamond ring
    Diamonds,  Education

    The 4C’s: Color

    When you hear the word “diamond,” what’s the first image that comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you might imagine a dazzling colorless gemstone—but did you know that truly colorless diamonds are extremely rare? Not only do most diamonds have a tint, but they can be vividly colored too! Today we’ll take at the look at how a diamond’s color is graded as part of the 4C’s. The Normal Range While diamonds can be any color of the rainbow and more, most fall within a certain spectrum. The vast majority of diamonds available today range from colorless to light yellow, brown or gray. You can think of this…