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  • APRIL BIRTHSTONE: DIAMOND

    APRIL BIRTHSTONE: DIAMOND

    If you have a birthday in the month of April, then the coveted diamond is your birthstone. The Greeks named this gemstone “Adamas”, meaning invincible, and the earliest recorded source of diamonds was from the Golconda region in India. This particular region has produced spectacular diamonds over the past 2000 years, including significant diamonds like the Blue Hope Diamond and the qualities of diamonds have been recorded as early as the 3rd Century.

    George Frederick Kunz in “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones” writes:

    “A legend claims the God of Mines called his courtiers to bring together all the world’s known gems: Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds, etc. etc., and he found them to be of all tints and colors and varying hardnesses. He took one of each and crushed them; he compounded them together, and declared, “Let this be something that will combine the beauty of all.” He spoke, and lo, the Diamond was born…pure as a dewdrop and invincible in hardness. Yet when its ray is resolved in the spectrum, it displays all the colors of the gems from which it was made.” Kunz, 325-32

    Diamonds are formed under extremely high pressure and high temperature at around 100 miles below the earth’s surface. They are composed almost entirely of a single element, Carbon, at 99.5%, with the other 0.05% being made up of trace minerals. This 0.05% will often influence the color and crystal shape of the diamond.

    Diamonds are also the hardest material on earth, which makes diamonds useful in many applications other than jewelry including abrasives, drills, supercomputers, and much more.

    In 1477, Mary of Burgundy married Maximilian and her ring was considered the first known diamond engagement ring. Diamonds weren’t just used for betrothal, the Romans wore diamonds in their rings for their supernatural powers and to ward off poison, fear, and insanity. The diamond is also a symbol of strength and clarity and can give victory to whoever wears it on their left arm in battle.

    The color of diamonds ranges from colorless to yellow, brown, as well as more rare colors like pink, red, blue, and green.

    Whatever color diamond you choose, you can safely wear it in a ring every day. With their intense sparkle, this birthstone can be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner. However, if your diamond has been clarity enhanced, or has many inclusions, it is safer to clean it with soap and water and dry with a soft cloth.

    Answer: Considering what we are facing today with the Coronavirus, the idea of keeping our hands clean and free from germs with hand sanitizer is something to consider when wearing rings on a daily basis. There are simply some gemstones that do not do well with alcohol-based products. If you find that using hand sanitizers is becoming a common occurrence in your life, then it might be worthwhile to think about the rings that you wear while putting on the sanitizer. Some gemstones are porous, like turquoise and lapis, and will become discolored over time with an alcohol-based gel being applied. One also needs to avoid wearing pearl rings, which don’t react well with alcohol or any other chemical for that matter.⁠⠀
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    At this point, it is more important to remain healthy than to forego the hand sanitizer. I would simply choose to wear rings with gemstones that can handle regular contact with an alcohol-based sanitizer. In this case, your safe bets are diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.⁠⠀
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    For more information, I found an article that explains things nicely on Joy of Country Living.
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    PS: This article does not mention emeralds, but I think since most emeralds are oil treated to enhance their beauty, I might think twice about using an alcohol-based product on them.⁠⠀
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    Do you have a jewelry question you have been curious about?
    Send me your questions and I will include them in my posts and newsletters: info@lisaesztergalyos.com
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  • MARCH BIRTHSTONES: AQUAMARINE AND BLOODSTONE

    MARCH BIRTHSTONES: AQUAMARINE AND BLOODSTONE

    For those of you with a birthday in the month of March, you have your choice of two fascinating gemstones, Aquamarine and Bloodstone. Both of these gemstones are suitable for wearing every day, with the Aquamarine hardness at 7.5-8 and Bloodstone at 6.5-7.

    AQUAMARINE

    To start, Aquamarine is the more well-known of the March birthstones. The name is derived from the Latin “seawater” and is claimed to be the treasure of mermaids and also used by sailors as a talisman of protection and good fortune. Referred to as Neptune’s jewel, sailors would wear an aquamarine amulet carved with an image of Neptune to keep them safe at sea.

    Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family, and the colors can range from a deep blue-green color to a sky blue color. Most aquamarines are flawless, being relatively free of inclusions. For the past two centuries, an important source for aquamarine has been in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The aquamarines from the Brazilian town of Santa Maria de Itabira are of superior quality. Aquamarines are also mined in Pakistan, China, Africa, and the US. Aquamarines were very popular in the Art Deco and Retro period, and because of the color, it shows equally well when set in yellow gold, rose gold, white gold or platinum.

    BLOODSTONE

    The second birthstone for March is Bloodstone, also called Heliotrope, and is a dark green Jasper with red iron oxide inclusions. Heliotrope derives its meaning from the Greek word that means “to turn the sun”. It was believed that a Bloodstone placed in water would turn the sun red. Pliny the Elder states that bloodstone was used by magicians as a stone of invisibility. It was also worn by Roman soldiers due to the belief that the stone could slow bleeding.

    Bloodstones are found mainly in Indonesia, with other sources found in Brazil, China, Australia, and Scotland. This stone is often found in classic signet rings or Victorian watch fobs and can be carved with a monogram or family crest. There are also many traditional Scottish pieces that are adorned with Bloodstone.

    Whether you choose the cool water beauty of Aquamarine or the mysterious Bloodstone, both are exceptional gemstones with an interesting history.

    Check out my Pinterest board for more inspirational pieces and March birthstone jewelry ideas by scanning the image below.

     

    JEWELRY Q & A

     

     

    Do you have a jewelry question you have been curious about?
    Send me your questions and I will include them in my posts and newsletters: info@lisaesztergalyos.com

     

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  • FEBRUARY 2020 NEWSLETTER

    FEBRUARY 2020 NEWSLETTER

    The birthstone for February is the beautiful amethyst, a purple gemstone that ranges in color from a lilac lavender to a deep, rich purple. This variety of quartz has a hardness of 7 on the Moh’s scale of 1-10, which makes it a durable option for jewelry, but with regular wear, over time, your gemstone may need repolishing. It can be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner, but steam cleaning is not recommended.

    The amethyst has been traced back as far as 25,000 years ago in France, and among the remains of Neolithic man. Amethyst is taken from the Greek word “amethystos” which means a remedy against intoxication. Due to its wine-like color, amethyst was also associated with Bacchus, the mythological Greek god of wine. It was believed you could drink all night and remain sober if you had an amethyst in your mouth or on your person.

    Amethyst stones were placed in the Egyptian tombs of the pharaohs for their protective powers, and wearing an amethyst today can be a symbol of inner strength. In the Roman Catholic church, amethyst has long been the stone of bishops and cardinals.

    Amethyst is considered sacred in Tibet and is used to make prayer beads.

    Until the 19th century, amethysts were considered equal in value to sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Their main source at that time was Russia, and Catherine the Great had a penchant for amethyst jewelry. In the 19th century, large deposits were found in Brazil, and the availability of amethyst became widespread. Today the most important sources of amethyst are Africa and South America.

    Whether your taste in amethyst is for the deep, vibrant purple hue or the “Rose de France” lilac color, there are many beautiful sizes and shapes of amethyst to suit your fancy!

    All pieces above are currently for sale in the shop! Scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter to book an appointment for more details.

    CHECK OUT MY PINTEREST BOARD FOR MORE AMETHYST JEWELRY IDEAS BY CLICKING THE IMAGE BELOW.

     

    JEWELRY Q&A

     

    Questions: I can’t wear screwback earrings but want something secure, what are my options?

    Answer: I can’t wear screwback earrings either! For some reason, the little threads on the posts irritate my ears and I can’t even put them in. 🤨⁠

    So, I have found that locking earring backs that have special notched posts work best for my diamond studs.⁠
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    There are a few different brands on the market like La Poussette, Guardian, and Protektor, and they are sold as a “system” or “set” of posts and backs. The earring backs have little ridged bumpers that you pinch and it opens the hole for the post to go through. When the earring back is on the post, you have to pinch the bumpers to release the back from the post to take them off. ⁠

    It takes a moment to master using them, but this style works great for me! This is something that you can have your jeweler order, and they can replace your existing posts and backs with these locking posts and backs. You should not, however, try to wear regular friction earring backs with locking posts. They often will not fit properly, which defeats the purpose of having something secure in the first place! ⁠

    Stick with the ones that are made as a set. There are also other brands of earring backs that can be used with regular friction posts if you don’t want to have a locking post system added to your stud earrings. Ask your jeweler to show you different styles to find the one that works best for your needs.⁠
    Do you have a jewelry question you have been curious about?
    Send me your questions and I will include them in my posts and newsletters: info@lisaesztergalyos.com
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  • JANUARY 2020 NEWSLETTER

    JANUARY 2020 NEWSLETTER

    Above:  Left, Silver hinged Bohemian garnet bracelet approx 1800’s; Center, 14k yellow gold vintage garnet earrings

    For those of you fortunate enough to have a January birthday, then Garnet is your beautiful birthstone. Most of us are familiar with the deep red color of garnets, but there are also shades of green, blue, purple, black, colorless, orange, and yellow to choose from, so not to worry if red isn’t your color. They are found all over the world, but Africa currently supplies the majority of garnets today.

    The name “garnet” has its roots from the Latin “granatus,” meaning “pomegranate,” referring to their vibrant red color. Garnets are actually a group of minerals. The significant varieties being pyropealmandinespessartinegrossular (including hessonite and tsavorite), uvarovite and andradite. Over the years, garnets have been used in jewelry as well as an abrasive in sanding and polishing. 

    Since the Bronze Age, garnets have dazzled us with their beauty in jewelry design throughout the world. It is one of the oldest known gemstones and has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs decorating the Pharaohs. The ancient Greeks and Romans also valued this lovely gem and used garnets as signet rings to seal documents. Hunza warriors from Kashmir would shoot garnet pellets fastened to their arrows with the belief that the garnets would inflict bloody wounds. During the Middle Ages, garnets were considered a symbol of Christ’s blood.

    Above: 10k yellow gold garnet ring and 14k yellow gold garnet necklace

    The symbolism of garnets includes associations with the heart and blood, as well as protection from harm. Garnets were often worn into battle, and are also a symbol of love and friendship. They stood for the safe return of a loved one and were often exchanged as tokens between friends that they would meet again.

    If you choose to research garnets, then I suggest looking up the newly discovered Blue Umbalite garnet, which was discovered in Tanzania’s Umba Valley and first reported in 2017. The Umba Valley is a wonderful source of unusual colored garnets. We are also fortunate to have garnets here in Washington State at Vesper Peak in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest!

    Above: Gold-filled Bohemian garnet necklace from Stuttgart, 9kt Georgian Mourning brooch from 1819 engraved, 9kt Bohemian garnet pin

    Since garnets are relatively hard (Mohs scale 6.5-7.5), they are also quite durable for everyday wear in jewelry. As long as they are not subjected to hard blows or rough wear, they can be worn in rings on a regular basis. You can clean your garnet jewelry briefly in an ultrasonic cleaner, making sure to rinse and dry with a cloth.

    All pieces above are currently for sale in the shop! Scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter to book an appointment for more details.

    NEED MORE INSPIRATION? CHECK OUT MY PINTEREST BOARD WITH SOME LOVELY GARNET COLOR ALTERNATIVES BY CLICKING THE IMAGE BELOW.

     

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