gemstones

  • Garnets: January's Birthstone

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Full of rich color, our Sterling Silver
    Red Garnet Chandelier Earrings feature
    genuine garnet stones and beads set in solid
    sterling silver.

     

    People born in the month of January are very fortunate to have such a wonderfully diverse gemstone designated for their birth month. Garnets are deeply saturated in history and lore. It has been worn by kings and queens, knights, high priests, and regular folks too. This beautiful gemstone has adorned some very famous jewelry pieces and also used as an abrasive to smooth rough edges.

     

    The word garnet is derived from the Latin word "granum" meaning "grain". The most common color is a deep rich red color and the "grain" that it most closely resembles is the pomegranate seed. Garents are a very durable gemstone, suitable for everyday wear. They come in as a 7-7.5 on the  Moh's scale of hardness.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Designed for drama, our Sterling Silver
    Red Garnet Leaf Ring features genuine red
    garnet stones set in solid sterling silver.

     

    Garnets are found in a wide array of colors; green (tsavorite), Christmas red (anthill), bright yellow to yellowish-orange (spessertite), orange (hessontite) -- in fact it was once thought that the only color garnet could not be found in in blue. However, in the early 1990's it was discovered in in Bekily, Madagascar and has since been found in other areas as well. It occurs only very rarely.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our Sterling Silver Red Garnet Ring features
    a radiant red garnet oval stone. Rope design edge
    is detailed and unique.

     

    Garnets have been thought to bring healing, protection and strength to stones who wear this beautiful stone. In addition, presumably thanks to it's most famous deep blood red color, it is believed to regulate the heart and blood flow. Garnet has also long been used as a symbol of friendship. In fact, according to legend, if you wear garnets they will improve your personal relationships and protect you from harm -- and that benefit DOUBLES if you are born in the month of January!

     

     

     

  • Opal ~ October's Birthstone

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver Blue Opal Earrings
    Every Day Low Price ~ $22.99

     

    October is a wonderful month. The weather turns cooler, the leaves change to radiant colors and softly fall to the ground, and the sights and smells of autumn are in full force. For the lucky Octoberites born in this exciting month there are two gorgeous birthstone options available; pink tourmaline and opal. Today, we are going to talk about the stunning and multicolored opal.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver Opal Cross Earrings
    Everyday Low Price ~ $22.99

     

    Opals are all different unique and beautiful. One thing that lovers of opal need to be aware of is, that it is an exceptionally fragile stone. They should be worn with great care and kept in a safe place to ensure they will last a lifetime. Opal is a sedimentary stone created as water percolates through the earth, becoming rich in dissolved silicates. When it enters a cavity, the silicates are deposited as tiny spheres. If they are similar in size and shape, they will diffract light. However, if they are random in shape and arrangement they create an opal. The tiny spheres that make up the opal are what give it is fire and the changes in color. Volcanic ash does give the black opal its color.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver Opal Cross Necklace
    Everyday Low Price ~ $21.99

     

    Some opals are enhanced in different ways to bring out the the radiance and color. Some enhancement treatments include: Another enhancement method is called and opal doublet. This is when an opal is fixed to other stone (sometime onyx) to strengthen or enhance the color of the stone.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver Blue Opal and CZ Ring
    Everyday Low Price ~ $59.99

     

    As we mentioned earlier. Opal is not a good "everyday" stone to wear. It's very delicate and part of that is related to it's moisture content. If you live in a dry climate it is important to store your opals with moisture. A great way to do this is to put it in a ziplock bag with a damp cotton ball. You may have heard the storing your opal in olive oil (or any oil) is recommended, however this is not a good idea. It probably wouldn't damage the opal but requires a great deal of cleaning. Drastic temperature changes or exposure to extreme temperatures can cause the opal to crack.

     

    Opal is best suited to earrings and pendants. It is also recommended that if you do where an opal in a ring, you choose a protective setting like the one pictured above.

     

     

     

  • Pearls ~ The Birthstone for June!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The month of June marks the official start of summer -- and folks that are born in the month of June are very fortunate to have the beautiful pearl designated as their birthstone. There are two other acceptable birthstones for June as well, alexandrite and moonstone. Since pearl is the most commonly used birthstone and there is so much interesting information about them we are just going to focus on those.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What is a Pearl?

     

    A pearl is produced when an irritant is lodged within the tissue of a live shelled mollusk. A pearl is naturally produced when an irritant such as a piece of sand or a tiny bug gets into the mollusk’s shell. The mollusk then secretes layer upon layer of nacre (calcium carbonate) which covers the irritant and over time produces a pearl. Most pearls on the market today are cultured, which means a person actually puts the irritant – usually a piece of mother of pearl - into the mollusk’s shell, instead of it spontaneously ending up in there.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Types of Pearls

     

    There are many different types of pearls. Each is unique and special in its own way.

     

    Natural -- a natural pearl is one that occurs spontaneously in nature. an irritant makes it's way into the shell of a mollusk which then begins to secrete nacre and a pearl is formed.

    Cultured -- a cultured pearl is one in which a person puts an irritant (usually mother of pearl) into a mollusks shell to facilitate the creation of a pearl and the mollusk still does the rest.

    Freshwater -- freshwater pearls can be found in mollusks living in rivers, lakes, ponds, etc. and other unsalted waters.

    Saltwater -- saltwater pearls are found in mollusks living in the salty oceans or other salty sources.

    Tahitian --  these pearls are sometimes referred to as black pearls and are typically 8mm-14mm in size. They are produced by a black lipped oyster. These oysters produce pearls in varying dark colors with hints of pink, blue and green.

    South Sea --  are grown in warm waters and similar to Tahitian pearls. They range in size from 9mm-20mm. While they are typically white, they may include hues of gold, silver, or pink.

     

    Pearls are graded and priced based on their luster, size, shape, markings (blemishes) and color.

     

    Care

    You must be very careful with your pearl birthstone jewelry. If the pearls come in contact with chemicals - even those found in hairspray, perfume, cleaning products, chlorine, etc. - it can dull the luster and even wear away the nacre. Always put your pearls on last, right before heading out the door and only clean them with a very soft cloth and warm water.

     

    If you know someone who was born this month get them their birthstone. Don't forget, pearls are also perfect for weddings!!!

     

  • Sapphire ~ The Birthstone for September

    Folks born in the month of September are fortunate to have the stunning sapphire as their birthstone. Sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum and is found in just about every color except for red. There is red corundum but it is known as the gemstone ruby. The blue variety of sapphire is the most popular and is the color used to represent September. The blue sapphire ranges in color from light to dark blue.  The most valuable varieties of sapphire are called Kashmir and Burmese and prized for their intense, deep blue coloring. The Celyon sapphire is one of the oldest varieties of sapphire to be discovered.

    Sapphire is a relatively hard gemstone. It is a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness where 10 (which happens to be diamond) is the hardest mineral. The fact that it is so scratch resistant makes it ideal for daily wear and works well for wedding rings. One of the most famous sapphire wedding rings was worn by the late Princess Diana and now adorns the finger of her daughter-in-law Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge. In addition to being the birthstone for September, it is also the gemstone used to represent the 5th, 23rd and 45th year of marriage.

    Sapphires have been worn to represent truth, honor and faithfulness. They were thought to bring about feelings of friendship, harmony, and sympathy. It has also been believed to  offer healing for colic, mental illness and rheumatism and has been worn to  protect against evil spirits and other unsavory creatures. The power of the sapphire was believed to be so strong that if given to another person it could still protect the original wearer and the new owner at the same time.

    Sapphire is a luminous and radiant gemstone. It has a rich history and has been loved and adored for centuries. Yes, September babies -- you sure have one heck of a gemstone to represent your birth month. Congratulations and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  • Peridot ~ The Birthstone for August


    (via www.gemstone.org)

      

    Peridot is the gorgeous green birthstone designated for the month of August. It is the perfect gemstone to represent this beautifully warm month. Its olive to yellow-green coloring is reminiscent of billowy summer fields. It is said to bring the wearer peace, luck, and success. It was also believed to bring success to relationships, calm anxiety, and make the wearer more articulate. Even if peridot isn't your birthstone -- you still might appreciate all that that it has to offer.

     

     

     

    Something interesting that you may not know, is that the peridot has a very long and rich history. It was mined by the ancient Egyptians -- there are even ancient writings that document the mining of this gemstone as early as 1500 BC. It was mined for thousands of years from what was once known as St. John's Island -- along the  Egyptian Red Sea. It was refered to it as "gem of the sun" by the ancient Egyptians .

    This dazzling gemstone is also said to glow a brilliant green when held under artificial light -- and is known to some as the "Evening Emerald". In fact, some jewelry pieces that were once believed to contain emeralds - including those from Cleopatra's jewelry collection - were later discovered to be peridot!  

     

     

     

    Peridot is a type of olivine, which is a common mineral found in volcanic rock. While olivine is a very common mineral; the gem quality is much harder to find. Another fun fact about this grass-colored gemstone, is that it has even been found in meteorites! It is also happens to be one of the few gemstones that occurs in only one color.

     

    Peridot's stunning hues makes it a beautiful accessory for any season.  It also looks absolutely fabulous when paired with other semi-precious gemstones such as blue topaz, amethyst, citrine, pink tourmaline -- actually there aren't many stones that peridot doesn't look great with. When you pair it with other colored stones, it makes your jewelry pieces even more versatile.

    Happy birthday August babies. Enjoy your beautiful birthstone!

  • Ruby ~ The Birthstone for July

    Ruby is the birthstone designated for the month of July. No other gemstone would be as perfect, to represent this warm summer month -- the red-hot ruby had to have been the clear choice. This dazzling gemstone represents love and passion; which not only makes ruby a great birthstone -- but a wonderful engagement ring as well. It is also said that the ruby brings the wearer health, wealth and success. You lucky July babies!!!

     

    There are so many great things to love about rubies! For one thing, they are a very hard stone, so they can be worn every day. However, you must keep in mind that with any stone, you will want use a reasonable amount of caution. While it is more resistant to surface scratches than most stones - if it takes a hit - it could chip or crack.

     

     

    Another great thing about the ruby is how absolutely striking it is. Whether you find it in the highly sought after "pigeon blood-red "- or in a pink-red or purple-red tone - it is still gorgeous. The ruby is a stone that has been worn by royals all over the world - it was actually known as the "king of gems" for a time. In fact - in England - it was commonly used for coronation rings.

      

    Rubies are  a variety of the mineral corundum. Corundum is also known as sapphire and comes is just about every color. So, the ruby is essentially a red sapphire --  but because of is beauty and prestige it is in a class all its own. Sapphires and rubies are identical in properties but the color is what makes them different.

     Ruby - along with emerald, sapphire and diamonds - are considered precious gemstones. They are classified this way because of their rarity and value. For rubies, the richer the color - the more rare and valuable the stone is. Another thing that is considered when pricing a ruby, is how free of blemishes or "birthmarks" it is.

  • June Birthstone ~ Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone

    People born in the month of June are fortunate enough to have three gorgeous stones to represent their birth month. Pearl is the primary birthstone.  Alexandrite and Moonstone designated as alternates. Today on the Charming Chick blog we will provide you some information about each one of these amazing stones.

    Pearls

     

    Pearls are magnificent little gems created for us by creatures of the sea. A pearl is created when an irritant - such as a piece of sand - enters a mollusk's (oyster, clam or mussell) shell. The mollusk then begins to secrete a protective substance called "nacre." Over the layers of nacre build up to create a pearl. Finding a natural pearl can be quite a challenge; which is when people started to insert an irritant -- such as a piece of mother-of-pearl into an oyster.  After several years the pearls are harvested to create beautiful jewelry. These pearls are known as cultured pearls.

    There are many types of pearls; cultured pearls, freshwater pearls, Tahitian pearls, South Sea pearls, seed pearls, dyed pearls, and many more.

    Alexandrite

     

    Alexandrite is a magnificent stone. What makes it extra special is that in order for it to be created you have to have very specific geological conditions for the stone to form. When it was first discovered in Russia 1834, it was thought to be an emerald. Alexandrite appears green or greenish-blue in daylight but in incandescent light it usually appears red or reddish purple. The more distict the color change the more rare - and more valuable - the stone. Because alexandrite is hard to come by -- most of theses gemstones you see on the market are synthetic (lab created). Purchasing a synthetic alexandrite is also much more affordable.

    Moonstone

     

    Moonstone is a very unique and stunning stone. It is transparent with a colorless, bluish, greenish or brownish tint. It has what some have discribed as a "mysterious shimmer." It is a soft stone; which means that it must be worn with care. It can get scratched and loose it's luster but it can be repolished again. The price of moonstone can vary greatly and depends upon the color and luster.

  • Amethyst -- The Birthstone for February

    Sterling Silver Amethyst Earrings 

      

    The birthstone for February is amethyst, and it is an absolutely stunning gemstone. It is also the anniversary gemstone for the fourth and sixth years of marriage.

    With its regal color -- it is only natural that it adorns several prominent pieces of royal jewelry. Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and is found in a range of shades including deep purple, lavender, violet, and mauve.  It is also the most valuable member of the quartz family. Amethyst is sometimes found mixed with citrine which forms the gemstone ametrine.

     

    Amethyst is a seven on the Moh's scale  of hardness; which means it is a relatively hard stone and more resistant to scratches than other semi-precious stones. However, you must keep in mind that heat, can greatly affect the color. Long exposure to sun light - or other heat sources - can have an adverse effect on it. 

    Sterling Silver Faceted Amethyst Pendant with Chain

    The history and mythology associated with amethyst, is as fascinating as the stone itself. At one time it was believed to thwart intoxication and prevent addiction -- so often times wine goblets were carved out of this dazzling gemstone. In addition to preventing the wearer from succumbing to the effects of alcohol; it also has many other remarkable properties and uses.

     

    Sterling Silver Amethyst Cuff Bangle

    Amethyst is said to protect the wearer against evil, promote bravery, protect the wearer in battle, quicken intelligence, and cure insomnia. This gemstone has also been worn to symbolize faithfulness, humility, sincerity, and spiritual wisdom. It was even thought to have healing powers.

    Sterling Silver Faceted Amethyst Ring

    If you know someone who is fortunate enough to be born in the month of February, you should give them the gift of their birthstone. At Charming Chick we have several stunning pieces of amethyst jewelry for you to choose from. Most of the stones are faceted, so they sparkle and sizzle beautifully.

    Even if a person isn't born in the month of February, these pieces make a fantastic gift! The richness of the stone, combined with .925 sterling silver is a magnificent pairing.

     

  • February Birthstone: Amethyst

    Amethyst, the February birthstone, is a gorgeous, yet affordable, gemstone.  Purple is traditionally a royal color, and throughout history Amethyst was popular among the rich and elite.  Fortunately today it is much more common, and thus we can all afford this beautiful gemstone.

    For some of my favorite Amethyst jewelry, click the pictures below:

    Amethyst Earrings Amethyst Ring Amethyst Necklace

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