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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Pearls in the USA

The 1800’s saw a pearl rush in the Upper Mississippi River region, unlike anything is seen before. Freshwater pearls were abundant in native mussels, and during the rush, millions of mussels were killed.

In 1889, the German button maker, Johann Böpple, started making buttons from mussel shells. This increased mussel harvesting rush even further. By 1899, there were around sixty button factories in the Mississippi River Valley with thousands of workers. Over 21,000 tons of shells were harvested that year. In 1922, the freshwater mussel fishing was one of the biggest and most profitable inland fisheries in America. But the industry started to decline rapidly in 1930, again due to overexploitation, and in some places the mussel beds were literally wiped out. Natural pearls are rarely found in the US anymore.

With natural pearls harvested to extinction and the recent birth of pearl culturing, new doors opened for the pearl industry. John Latendresse pioneered the culturing industry in America, and was fittingly given the title of the “Father of US pearl culturing”.

In the early days, the quality of cultured pearls was still substandard. Latendresse spent over 30 years experimenting with pearl farming and invested more time, money, and energy into pearl farming than any American before or after him did. He opened America’s first pearl farm in 1963 in the Tennessee region, and in the late 70’s after he perfected his cultivating process, he opened another four pearl farms. Due to his success, the pearl became the “State gem” of Tennessee.

La Peregrina only spent a brief time in America, but its history is nonetheless quite memorable, which is why we decided to share it with you. La Peregrina is the Spanish word for “Pilgrim” or “Wanderer”.

The story began more than 500 years ago. The size of a quail egg, the spectacular pearl was originally found by an African slave on the coast of the isle of Santa Margarita in the Gulf of Panama during the mid-16th century. Back then, the Spanish trained their slaves to dive for pearls while holding their breath. The slave who found La Peregrina traded his freedom for the pearl.

As Panama was a Spanish colony at the time, La Peregrina soon became part of the Spanish crown jewels under the rule of King Ferdinand (1479 – 1516). During his rule, King Philip II sent the pearl to Mary I of England (also called Mary Tudor and Bloody Mary). After her death, the pearl was returned to Spain where it remained part of crown jewels for 250 years. The last Spanish queen to wear the pearl was Mariana of Austria. When she died in 1644, the documents regarding the pearl got lost and so did the pearl. It reappeared again in 1813.

After Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain in 1808, he placed Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. When Joseph later had to flee for his life, he took some of the jewelry with, including La Peregrina. Joseph immigrated to America and then passed the pearl on to his nephew, Charles. Before Charles died in 1873, he sold it to the Brit, Lord James Hamilton, the Marques of Abercorn. The pearl stayed in the Abercorn family for over 100 years.

Baroque Pearls

How to test the originality of a pearl?

Well, rub the pearl on the teeth. An original pearl feels a little gritty. Usually the pearls are rubbed together to test. A result of smoothness means they are fake, while telltale grittiness explains they are real.

What makes pearls special?

Pearls are natural. One cannot change the shape of the pearl like the gold or diamonds can be molded, cut or faceted. They offer themselves as a natural ornament in its own unique shape. Of course you will lighten up wearing the pearls.

Everything you should know about Baroque pearls:

  • The shape of the pearls can vary from minor aberrations to huge ovoid, pinch, lumpy shapes or curved pearls.
  • They can be cultured salt water or freshwater pearls.
  • Freshwater pearls are nucleated with mantle tissue instead of bead where as saltwater pearls tend to be teardrop shape because of the spherical nucleated bead.
  • Tahitian and South Sea are the most valuable type of Baroque.
  • They are highly valued for the color, luster and shapes.
  • The depth of the nacre depends greatly on the amount of time the pearl is cultured.
  • The irregular shape of these pearls is when the oyster creates an uneven deposition of nacre around its nucleus.

Why these exclusive pearls stand out:

Any kind of jewels can fall in love with these pearls and an amazing piece of jewellery can be created. These pearls can partner with several type of ornaments like the bunch of gem stones, semi precious stones, gold and silver where other type of pearls can’t.

If you want to lift up your stylish look, traditional look or ethnic look, Baroque pearls excel in every style. The ornaments made out of these pearls stand out and walk independently on the red carpet. The jewels created using these pearls offer a variety of choices complimenting the moods and outfits of a woman. Buying jewellery online is completely a pleasant experience.

Cheap Digital Watches

Casio – The Undisputed King of Digital Watches

There is no denying the fact that Casio is the undisputed king when it comes to the digital/electronic watch market. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Casio when the company first decided to diversify and begin making watches rather than only making calculators. Japanese watchmakers at the time were not too keen to let other players into the market, but when Casio launched their very first timepiece called the Casiotron back in October 1974, the company changed the watch making industry for ever.

To this day, Casio is still the biggest manufacturer of digital timepieces, and some of their creations have featured all sorts of things, including calculators and watches. Today their G-Shock and their Baby-G watches are by far the most popular Casio wristwatches on the market.

Digital Watch Technology

However, several wristwatch manufacturers, including Casio, were not willing to just give up on such a lucrative industry. Instead, they decided to level the playing field through innovation. This led to the birth of analog cum digital watches, and these watches have become immensely popular.

When I was a child I remember my brother buying an automatic watch, but back then, automatic watches never seemed to take off. Years later, Seiko introduced their now hugely popular Kinetic watches. Other watchmakers also offer automatic watches, and it is clear that automatic watches are here to stay this time.

Digitally made watches needed something to help them compete. With automatic wristwatches there are no interruptions. With digital/electronic watches on the other hand, there is one reoccurring interruption in that you need to routinely change the batteries. Once again, innovation came to the rescue, and today you can buy digital/electronic watches that don’t require new batteries because they are solar powered.

Personally, I think the future of digital/electronic watches looks very bright. We are already seeing some watches featuring some truly useful technology, and we are also starting to see an increase in the number of smart watches arriving on the market. As technology continues to expand, digital watches very likely may become wearable mobile devices which many people won’t be able to live without.

Sparkling Swiss Diamond Rings

Whether it’s a huge diamond that makes your jaw drop or a series of tiny diamonds laced along the ring that make you breathless, the Swiss know how it is done and they do it better than anyone else. The Swiss diamond ring craft has been a roaring success for centuries now, for just the reason that they make unique rings with high quality minerals in consistently great designs. It is a very tough thing to do to make a diamond or a set of diamonds more valuable than they already are. The weaving together of metal and diamond is an art form practiced all over the world in different ways. Rings are maybe the most popular form of jewelry.

The diamonds used in these rings are all natural diamonds made under overwhelming heat and pressure in the earth’s crust. These are then polished and cut to release a greater radiance for the pleasure of our human eyes. In the last 30 years or so, progress has been made towards the creation of synthetic diamonds, which are close to the real thing but nowhere near as perfect. The Swiss immediately found out how to distinguish between the two, so that they could not be fooled into making inferior jewelry.

The metals themselves are pure and tempered to perfection to make sure that the ring is designed on the best quality minerals available. Stringent testing and tempering means that having a Swiss diamond ring doesn’t just make you look good, it makes you elite. It is a symbol of perfect perfection, the only symbol befitting something like an engagement or eternal love, because it has to feel perfect when it is commemorated.

Simplistic Timepieces

If you find the extended lugs, or the GMT displays and other features on modern day watches too much to bear, just go ahead with these sleek and smart minimalistic watches. Let us look at the top watches that owned us with their simplicity, amazing features and of course, with their affordability too.

Névo: This is for those who cannot afford to miss out on any social network notifications from their smartphones. The simplistic design of eleven white LED indicators that are embedded on the dial would indicate the calories you are burning and the distance you walk or run. The dual batteries are really long lasting and you shall be able to tether it with your smartphone using the Bluetooth. This has found takers from men of all age groups.

Larrson & Jennings CM Black: The Swedish-British watchmaker has made telling time a really fancy and yet sophisticated affair. The Milanese watch-strap is winning hearts all the same and is quite affordable by the average young man.

Skagen: The Denmark based watch company has an array of simplistic designs that has wowed us. We are in love with their Ancher range of watches that have adopted a no-nonsense approach to telling time. Yes, these are quite affordable and cost less than $200 too.

Victorinox INOX: This is just right for those who love the stainless steel finish and would rather dump the leather straps any day. The watch is water-resistant, scratch-resistant and even vibration-resistant. Did we also say that this awesome timepiece can be all yours within $500 only?

Timex Waterbury Chronograph: Timex is a brand that has already got many takers worldwide. The stunning Scandi-blue dial with yellow and white color scheme on this Waterbury Chronograph is something that the young at heart would love to flaunt. The retro-styled watches are super-cool and stylish too.

Turquoise Gemstone Jewelry

Turquoise found in many places across the globe. It is worth knowing that the formation of this opaque gemstone takes place under high temperature and pressure. In scientific language, this gemstone is a mixture of hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum. Found in soft form during the mining, the color of this variety of gemstone ranges from vivid blue to softer green, with rare or no webbing. The color variations in this gemstone are due to the presence of copper compounds. The hardness of turquoise on Mohs scale is a 5 or 6.

The turquoise is soft when mined, but the gemstones present in the jewelry are quite hard. The reason for the hardness is that turquoise gemstones are treated prior to use in jewelry items. To increase the durability of the turquoise gemstone, the gemstone producers may stabilize, dye, or reconstitute the gem. Oil and waxing of the stone is also an option.

  • Stabilization: In this process, these colorful stones are dipped in the stabilizing compound. Stabilization process is also important to fasten the colors – turquoise changes hue over time as it stays in regular contact with the skin and absorbs oils. The procedure makes the color permanent.
  • Dye: During this process, artists add colors to the gem during the stabilization process. This not only enhances the color of the gemstone but also make it more uniform and intense.
  • Reconstitute: In this process, artists gather a large number of small stones and powder them to create large stone. However, some reconstitute jewelry items may contain fake stones. So, one need to be cautious while buying such items.
  • Turquoise gemstone and Augmentation – Before making the purchase of turquoise jewelry, one should have a complete knowledge of various augmentations mentioned by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). It is advisable to read about the treatments undergone by the gemstone. In case the dealer does not mention the treatment details clearly, avoid buying from him.

Turquoise occurs at various places all over the world. However, a little knowledge of the facts will enable you to recognize the originals from the fake. The decisive element, in this case, is the shade of the gemstone.

  • Sleeping Beauty – This solid gemstone comes from Sleeping Beauty Mines, Arizona, and it is available in various colors ranging from royal blue to light sky blue.
  • Chalk – This white gemstone is found in the mines of China, and it is porous in nature.
  • Persian – This gemstone is found in Iran, and it is famous for its Robins egg blue color.
  • Bisbee – This variety of the gemstone is found in Arizona, and it comes in various shades of blue, is mined in Arizona.
  • Buy From a Reputable Jeweler

Ring Design Ideas

Now, keep in mind that emerald engagement rings and emerald cut engagement rings are totally different items. Emerald engagement ring is the one utilizing an emerald (gemstone) as the center stone. However, emerald cut engagement rings are diamond (or other gemstone) rings where the stone is cut in a square form (which is the most well-known and common form of emerald, hence the name). Emeralds match each and every skin kind, right from white, pale to olive and even dark. Next, emeralds are refractive and usually shine brightly in full or even dull lights.

Emerald as a center stone, encircled by diamonds, is a popular style idea. A square, oval, round.. etc., are some choices that you can choose for the emerald. White diamonds and emeralds completely complement each other due to their different colors. Secondly, these rings can be created in white as well as yellow gold. If you wish for a stylish and simple, yet elegant ring, you can go for a solitaire emerald ring.

The price will depend on the type of metal used, the dimension of the stone, number of stones, etc. A ring set in platinum will be costly, whereas the one set in yellow gold will expense comparatively lesser. A solitaire is also fairly less expensive than a studded ring.

So if you are preparing to pop the question to your beloved, do it with a stunning emerald ring, she will certainly be happy.

Buying A Diamond Wedding Ring

Stone Shape

The shape of the stone is of great importance when buying a diamond wedding ring. There are many types of stone shapes with the main ones being:

Asscher: a square top shape

Cushion: a rounded square top shape

Flanders: a square shape with cut corner. It has 61 facets

Emerald: a rectangular top shape with 50 facets

Heart: a heart shaped top with 59 facets

Trillion: a triangular top shape with 44 facets

The stone shape that you choose solely depends on your personal preference. You should note that the shapes look different on different fingers and hands; therefore, you should do your research to find the shape that looks good on you.

C’s Of Diamonds

There are four C’s of diamonds that you should consider when making the purchase: colour, cut, carat, and clarity. All these Cs depend on personal preferences.

Style

Diamond ring styles vary from plain to elaborate and are based on the number of factors such as: diamonds in the ring, type of diamond setting and the ring’s thickness. Some of the common ring styles include:

Eternity: they have diamonds around them making them very eye-catching. You can wear them alone or with an engagement ring. There are some people who buy two eternity rings. They wear one ring above the engagement ring and the other below it.

Enhancers: an enhancer diamond wedding ring grooves around the engagement ring so that the wedding and engagement rings fit together. If planning of buying an enhancer wedding ring you should ensure that it matches the engagement ring.

Setting: diamond wedding rings have four main types of settings: invisible, channel, prong and pave. Prong setting is the most popular and comes with a narrow piece of metal that folds over the edge of the diamond.

In invisible setting, the diamond is placed into a frame with ridges to hold the diamonds in place.

Channel setting is common with smaller, square shaped diamonds. The stones are usually set close together between thin metal walls.

Pave setting on the other hand is used for smaller, round stones that have been placed very close together.

Minerals To Make Cabochons

If you search for precious minerals in the earth near your home, then you will need to have the finest tools to process them with. Because these minerals and semi-precious stones may have different levels of hardness, it is important that you have the toughest tools, or else you may not be able to cut some of the harder ones. A diamond lapidary saw is the best tool for cutting with. You should also have grinders, polishing machines, tumblers and buffers at your disposal. If you cannot afford to buy all of these machines for yourself, or if you do not have space to store all of these machines in your home, then you should talk to your local gemstone and mineral collectors club. These clubs often either run their own machines, or have great connections within the local community, who will be able to offer you the usage of these machines at a great price.

If you are choosing a material to work with, you will need to pick one that is relatively hard. Although softer minerals can be made into cabochons too, they may not stand up to the full cutting, buffering and polishing process. You should also inspect the stone under a magnifying glass to see whether you can spot any cracks or imperfections. Although imperfections may seem small to the naked eye, they can easily propagate when the material is subjected to extreme heat or temperature. It is possible that the gemstone or mineral could crack during the process, or could easily crack just after you have finished working with it, after the pressure has been removed. This would obviously be very frustrating if you had just spent hours working to create an amazing cabochon. Even if the material stands up to the cutting and polishing process, any visible cracks inside the gem will reduce the value and will make the cabochons looks less appealing.

If you do not want to hunt for your own materials, or if you do not have the skills to cut and shape your own cabochons, it is possible to buy pre-made gemstone cabochons from many different retailers. From these places, you can choose pieces in many different colors, shapes, sizes and designs, which will give you a huge degree of freedom in your jewelry making. It also means that you are able to leave your fantastic mineral finds in exactly the way that nature intended!

Grading of Diamonds

Cut:

The cut of a diamond refers to the quality of the diamond cut (including its symmetry, proportioning and the polish of its facets). It does not, as is often misunderstood, refer to its geometrical shape (round brilliant, princess, emerald, cushion, etc.). The cut contributes more to the beauty of a diamond than any other factor. A high quality cut really enhances a diamond’s brilliance (brightness), sparkle or scintillation (flashes of light and dark) and fire (flashes of colour).

The GIA assigns the following cut grades:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Fair
Poor

Clarity:

Nearly all diamonds contain small imperfections known as inclusions if they are on the inside of the diamond and blemishes if they are on the surface of the diamond. These imperfections tend to alter the path of light through the diamond and so, if a diamond has many inclusions or blemishes, it is likely to appear less brilliant. When grading the clarity of a diamond, the grader will view the diamond both with the naked eye and through a loupe (a 10x magnifying glass).

The GIA has develop the following standard definitions for levels of clarity, which are now widely used:

Flawless (FL)
Internally flawless (IF)
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2)
Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2)
Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
Included (I1, I2, I3)

Colour:

There are many, many colours and hues of diamonds, including blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, brown and even black. Diamonds that are chosen for engagement rings, however, tend to be white diamonds. White diamonds almost always contain impurities that impart a yellowish tint to the diamond. The most sought after diamonds are those with a very faint yellow tint, imperceptable to the naked eye.

The GIA developed the following grading system for this yellow colour in white diamonds:

Colourless (D, E, F)
Near Colourless (G, H, I, J)
Faint Colour (K, L, M)
Very Light Colour (M – R)
Light Colour (S – Z)

Carat:

The weight of diamonds is measured in carats or sometimes points. One carat equals 200 milligrams (or 100 points). As carat weight increases, diamonds become more and more rare. For this reason, the price of diamonds rises disproportionately to weight increases. In additions, there tends to be sharp jumps in cost around the milestone carat weights.