Known as “the Stone of Successful Love”, the traditional birthstone for the month of May is the magnificent emerald. One of the four “precious” gemstones alongside diamond, ruby and sapphire, emerald has been revered for over 6000 years, as records show it having been sold in the markets of Babylon as early as 4000 B.C E. Honored for its spiritual power and beauty, this stone was worshiped by the Incas, was a symbol of eternal life in ancient Egypt, was the favorite gemstone of Cleopatra, and even makes a guest appearance in ancient literature; Aristotle wrote about their virtue, and they're noted in the foundation stones of the Heavenly City in the New Testament book of Revelation.
Emerald is a member of the Beryl mineral family, and is composed of beryllium aluminium silicate. For those who love chemistry, its formula is (Be3Al2(SiO3)6 For the crystals to develop, beryllium must be heated to over 750 degrees Fahrenheit and put under up to 21.75 tons of pressure per square inch. As pure beryl is colorless, there must also be trace amounts of chromium and / or vanadium present during the crystal formation to give the gorgeous green color. Some of the oldest emerald mines in the world, nicknamed “”, are located near the Red Sea in Egypt, and may have been worked as early as 500 B.C.E. Egypt was the major source of these gems until better quality stones in larger quantities were discovered in the 1520’s in an area of the “New World” in present day Colombia. Now, emeralds are mined throughout the world but the three main sources are still Colombia, the largest producer, followed by Zambia, then Brazil, where the enormous 752lb or 321kg rough specimen was mined in 2001.
On the Moh’s hardness scale, an emerald would rank around 7.5 – 8, but they usually have many inclusions, (impurities), which render them brittle and susceptible to cracking. The famous rectangular “emerald cut” for gemstones was developed specifically to reduce the amount of pressure put on an emerald during cutting whilst giving a beautiful stone ready to set in jewelry. The prevalence of inclusions is also the reason that emeralds should be cleaned gently and NEVER put in an ultra-sound jewelry cleaner! Instead, immerse the emerald jewelry in lukewarm water containing a mild soap and use a soft toothbrush to clean around the stone, then rinse it thoroughly and dry with a clean micro-fiber cloth.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
The traditional birthstone for August is PERIDOT, usually pronounced “perry-doh”. The gemstone quality version of the mineral olivine, this stone varies in color from shimmering, light gold-green, through refreshing zesty lime green to brownish-green. The color derives from the presence of traces of iron. Peridot has a long history of starring as a decorative stone. It is mentioned in the bible, under its ancient name of chrysolite, as being one of the stones set in the breastplate of Aaron, brother of Moses and High Priest of the Israelites. Jewelry set with peridots has been found in Egyptian tombs from the early 2nd millennium B.C. The stones mined at that time came from a deposit on a small volcanic island called Zabargad located in the Egyptian Red Sea near Aswan. The ancient Romans, too, enjoyed this gemstone with its radiant green shine which still shimmers and glows from within even in starlight or lamp light, hence its old nickname, “emerald of the evening”.
Peridot is associated with prosperity, growth, dignity and love, and the belief that it has the power to ward away evil and nightmares, bestowing calming peace. Lime green is a cleansing, healing color, and this is the gemstone associated with the 16th wedding anniversary.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Photograph courtesy of © Meison | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
SUMMER: Time for swimming, vacations by the beach, hiking in the mountains and outdoor sports.... Jewelry can really suffer at this time of year! Exposure to sweat, sun lotion, salt water and chlorine can tarnish your sterling silver pieces and cause dulling of gemstones, whilst increased activity can lead to snags and damage. Truly, it is best to remove delicate or special jewelry when you're competing in your triathlon, but there are some easy tips to keep your jewelry looking good at any time of year.
925 sterling silver WILL tarnish over time. It is a fact of life! Exposure to the oxygen in the air causes the surface of the silver react, a process called oxidation – that coppery-black coating. This process is faster in humid environments, like the bathroom or the beach house in Florida, or exposure to chemicals found in swimming pools, sun lotions and bug sprays – which also make jewelry sticky and attract dirt. Oxidation can be slowed down by keeping jewelry in little individual air tight zip lock baggies which are cheap and readily available from hobby stores. I pick them up, in various sizes, for $1 for a pack of 100 from Walmart. Another advantage of storing each item in separate bags is to prevent chains getting entangled and softer stones and pearls becoming scratched from tumbling around with hard metals. If you pop one of those square black paper anti-tarnish tabs in the baggie with your favorite earrings, even better! They are readily available and affordable on Etsy here.
If your silver DOES tarnish, it is very easy to restore it to its former color and sheen, so don’t fret! I usually advise against the use of polishes and harsh dip chemicals, especially if your jewelry also contains stones or pearls. Dips will strip pearls of their luminous luster and any intentional oxidation, such as the beautiful contrast on Bali silver beads. That said, there are polishing cloths available impregnated with special compounds to help clean your silver gently. I found mine at Hobby Lobby for $4.99 and it has lasted ages! It is a double cloth – one side for cleaning, the other for polishing to restore the shine. Once the cloth is filthy, you cannot wash it and re-use as that removes the cleaning agents, but they last so long it is no hardship to invest in another!
If your jewelry does contain stones and pearls, in addition to the use of the cleaning cloth you can work around the setting with a soft toothbrush dipped in a mild detergent and warm water. Rinse in fresh water and allow to completely air dry before polishing and popping back into their zip lock baggie et viola; sparkling stones, shiny silver, perfect pearls!
HAPPY SUMMER!!! ~ Lin from Flaunt ~ X
Saturday, July 17, 2010
So, I have just come back from my home country, England ♥ What a wonderful visit - and here are couple of snaps :
Flower tub beside the ornamental pond, Hampton Court Palace, Surrey. This is part of the "new" wing, added by their royal highnesses William & Mary in the 1600's (the rest dates from the mid-1500's!)
The Seven Sisters, chalk cliffs on the south coast of England. Cuckmere Haven to be precise. Beautiful, huh?!