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Gemstones of Legends and Folklore

June 7th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

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I have always loved jewelry and gemstones. Not only did I want to wear these beautiful baubles, but I loved the colors of the different gems. As I got older and began to work more heavily in the jewelry and gemstone industry, I started learning more and more about the folklore behind each gemstone and began to understand the beauty of each legend and story. When I help someone pick out a particular gemstone or help design a lovely jewelry piece, I’ll often let them know a little about the stories behind each stone.

Diamond

Diamonds come from deep inside the earth. It has taken incredible a large amount of pressure and time to form these stones, and the exact details of its formation still remain a mystery. It was believed during the Middle Ages that diamonds came from a land that was plagued with six months of day and then six months of night. They believed that the stones were protected by poisonous snakes that would cut themselves by accident on the sharp points of the stones and would then drip venom onto the diamonds. This started the belief that diamonds had medicinal properties and could be an antidote for poison.

Amethyst

Dionysus was the Greek god of wine, drunkenness, and celebration. Legend has it that he became angry with the mortals on Earth and wanted to take revenge on them, so he allowed his pet tigers to eat the next person he came across. At this point, he saw the beautiful Amethysta as she was walking to the goddess Diana’s temple. Dionysus took Amethysta and planned to feed her to the tigers. As this was happening, Amethysta screamed for Diana to help her. Diana heard her cries, and in order for her not to be eaten by the ferocious tigers, she turned Amethysta into a statue made of clear quartz. Dionysus immediately regretted his actions and started to cry tears of wine. These beautiful purple tears stained the statue, creating the beautiful hue of purple for the amethyst stone.

Emerald

A legend in Colombia explains the color behind the beautiful green emeralds. They believed that the Greek god of war, Ares, created the first man and the first woman, Tena and Fura. He pledged to them that they would forever remain youthful as long as they were faithful to their relationship. Unfortunately, Fura did not remain faithful to her husband. But as the first couple began to age, Ares felt sorry for them, so he turned them into two steep cliffs that loom over the emerald mines in the Minero River valley in Colombia. It is believed that the emeralds found in the mines below are Fura’s emerald green tears.

Ruby

Burmese miners have referred to rubies as pigeon blood, but they were something completely different in Islamic legend. Muslims believed that their god, Allah, put an angel in place to hold the earth up. As the angel held the planet over his head, there was no place to rest his feet, so Allah made a mountain out of ruby for the angel to stand on that contained 7,000 holes. Each hole contained a sea that poured out beneath it.

Jade

Jade was formed as two super-continents collided, Gondwana and Eurasia. When this occurred, it formed the Atlas Mountains, the Himalayas, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. The ocean floor was pushed upward, and because of the pressures of the earth being compressed, elements were combined with the jadeite, also known as jade. Because of this process, traces of ocean life can be found on the highest mountains in the world. This story also inspired Chinese creation myth. In ancient Chinese legend, it was believed that the greatest Chinese god, Jade Emperor Yu-huang Shang-Ti, made men from clay in the palm of his hands. It is believed that he made mankind and laid them to dry in the sun. At this point, it started to rain, and this caused sickness in the world. In Chinese culture today, jade symbolizes bravery, honesty, humility, kindness, and wisdom.

Peridot

The biblical book of Revelation talks about God speaking to John the Divine while he waits alone on the Greek island of Patmos. God tells him that the oceans will disappear and all will become land. It is on this land that they will find the New Jerusalem, and the foundation of this city will be made of gemstones, one of which is peridot.

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The Magical Properties Of Gemstones

May 26th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

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My love affair with gemstones started quite young. I always knew they were special, hence my desire to be adorned with rubies, emeralds, and sapphires began. This eventually led to my love for the jewelry industry, but it all started with the colorful stones that I had heard had “magical” powers to heal, change my mood, or even bring me good luck.

Diamonds

The diamond represents so much when it comes to relationships. Today, they represent love when asking for another’s hand in marriage. They represent a lifelong love and everlasting happiness with your special someone. But in times past, they had other meanings as well. In centuries past, people wore diamonds sewn into their clothing or as decorations on their swords and weapons, believing that they were a symbol of success and also brought them good luck. They were thought to bring attraction and power to the wearer. Ancient Hindus set diamonds in the eyes of their statues in India. Diamonds were used to show diplomacy by monarchs. During the Renaissance period and the Middle Ages, diamonds were worn in order to give the wearer magical powers. It represented love, as it was believed that Cupid’s arrow contained a magical diamond tip.

Rubies

The ruby is the “king” of all of the gemstones, as it has been worn by royalty all over the world. It was believed that it was a result of the opening of a magical egg from Naga, the ancient Burmese dragon. When worn, it was believed to keep you healthy, give you passion, and give you courage. When used on your land, it will bring you plentiful harvests and keep natural disaster away from your property. Islamic folklore included the belief that Allah created a mountain of rubies in order to hold the feet of the angels while they held onto the earth.

Emeralds

Green emeralds are very representative of springtime and life and were believed to keep you feeling and looking young. Known as the “queen of gems,” emeralds were given to ancient women in order to protect them during childbirth and also given to newly married couples to represent a smooth relationship in their lifelong journey. They represent good luck and are one of the most valuable gemstones. Cleopatra had an emerald mine located near the Red Sea that was used to mine emeralds since 2000 B.C. Throughout history, the beautiful green stone was believed to cure infertility, heal the eyes, make one smarter, and supposedly allow one to see into the future.

Sapphires

The beautiful blue sapphire represents several different things. The wearer was believed to be noble, faithful, sincere, and honest, and it was a symbol of royalty or clergymen for many centuries. In addition to representing royalty, it also represents true love and romance. Ancient Roman and Greek royalty believed that the stone gave protection from anything that could harm them. Clergy wore the blue sapphire to represent Heaven during the Middle Ages, as commoners believed that the stone brought blessings from Heaven. Others throughout history have believed that the stone guards the chastity of the wearer, brings truth, brings peace, brings protection, and has a good influence on the spirits around them.

Turquoise

The turquoise is an interesting and unique stone, as it is the color of the sky. In Native American myth, there was once believed to be a chief with turquoise skin. It was believed that as he escaped his enemies in the desert, he would stop and rest and his beads of sweat became the wonderful stone we know today as the turquoise. In Apache history, it was believed that the turquoise made your weapon more accurate when in use and made your horse sturdier during battle. Navajo history states that turquoise thrown into the river while beckoning the rain gods would bring plenty of rain. It also is said to provide strength, good fortune, good health, and protection from bad spirits.

Amethyst

February’s birthstone, the amethyst, supposedly protects the wearer from becoming intoxicated. It also brings calmness and concentration. Ancient people believed that it brought humility and virtue to those who wore it.

Aquamarine

Believed to be the gift of the mermaids, the aquamarine gave protection as sailors traveled the oceans. It was believed to protect the traveler and bring them good fortune. It was also thought to bring the wearer true love and keep relationships full of goodness and pleasure.

Peridot

Used by ancient Egyptian priests, the peridot was believed to bring the wearer favor from their gods. The stone is believed to be the tears of the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. Meteorites have been discovered to contain bits of peridot, so it is also referred to as the stone from heaven. The stone is believed to bring purity, wisdom, wealth, protection from bad thoughts, and comfort.

Topaz

The topaz is believed to be the “keeper of the flame.” It brings knowledge, security, and peace of spirit and mind and will bring good health to one’s family.

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What is the Difference Between a Gemstone, Rock, and Mineral?

May 17th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

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Gemstones, rocks, and minerals are extremely important to the jewelry industry. As a young college student, I became interested in gemstones, which led me to a love affair with minerals and rocks as well. It was this love affair that led me into the industry and helped me really understand what makes up each type of stone in each individual piece of jewelry. Understanding gemstones, rocks, and minerals can help you understand your next large jewelry investment.

Gemstones

A gemstone is usually a mineral, but it is one that has formed crystals and then been cut and polished professionally to be made into a piece of jewelry. The study of gemstones is called gemology. This is a type of mineralogy (the study of minerals) that is the study of the physical properties seen by the naked eye and also in magnification of the stone. The evaluation of a gemstone is based on the value of the gem given by a gemologist, one who studies these gems. It is usually a decorative and very beautiful stone, and it is also usually very valuable as well.

Gemstones are usually measured by their hardness, size, and rarity. Unpolished gemstones simply look like ordinary rocks; cutting and polishing allows them to have brilliance and sometimes color (leading to their value) that can’t be found in other types of stones. Gemstones are usually classified as semiprecious and precious stones. Some semiprecious gemstones include amethyst, garnet, citrine, turquoise, and opal. Precious gemstones include diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire.

Photo of amethyst gemstone, via http://ow.ly/8Mi8300iFSD

Rocks

The scientific term for rocks is petrology, and understanding them is crucial for understanding the formation and mineral makeup of the earth. Rocks are made from minerals and can come in every size: They can be tiny pebbles or mountains big enough on which to climb or drive. Rocks do not have a special chemical or mineral makeup. While most rocks are not cut or polished to be used as gemstones, some rocks, including lapis lazuli, are classified as gems.

Photo via http://ow.ly/NFQh300iFgp

Photo of Lapis Lazuli rock, via http://ow.ly/OG3E300iFxq

Minerals

Minerals occur naturally within the earth’s surface and are solid formations. They are defined by their shape and their crystalline makeup. They are formed when magma, which is molten rock, cools. They can also be formed by water in caverns under the sea. Minerals are usually found between sediments or in areas that contain lava flows. There are more than 4,000 minerals that are formed naturally within the earth, and each one has a specific crystal structure.

Minerals belong to one of 15 different chemical groups, and these represent the compounds they contain. Minerals have different distinct classifications. Some of these are color, luster, tenacity, hardness, and fracture. Some minerals can have properties such as radioactivity or fluorescence as well.

Minerals are mined for several different reasons. There may be a distinct need for the different elements that they may contain, but some are mined simply for their appearance. New types of minerals are constantly being discovered within the earth’s surface.

So minerals are crystals that make up different types of rocks and gemstones. Gemstones are usually minerals (but sometimes rocks) to which we give more value and that jewelers can make into something attractive. And rocks are made up of all kinds of minerals, and there are thousands and thousands of different types of minerals.

Photo of copper mineral, via http://ow.ly/6TO7300iG8N

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Spring Cleaning Your Engagement Ring

May 9th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

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It’s very important to keep your most valuable piece of jewelry, your beautiful diamond engagement ring, clean. I remember searching for the best way to clean mine right before my bridal portraits, then again before the day of my wedding. Since that wonderful day, I’ve been making sure to protect my ring and keep it clean and well-maintained. I want my diamond to look beautiful for the next 100 years, so I’ve vowed to keep it shiny and protected.

Keeping it Clean

Even before you actually clean your ring, you can do a few things to prevent it from getting grimy and dirty. Start by keeping your hands off of it. Touching your ring will put more dirt and oil from your fingers onto the ring, causing it to look dirty sooner. Keep your hands free from lotions and other products that can get in between the stone and the prongs or the head and band of the ring. Hand creams, hairspray, gels, soaps, and shaving cream can get in between the inside parts of the ring and dry there, leaving your ring looking dull and dirty. Remove your ring before handling any of these types of products. Harsh cleaning chemicals such as window cleaner or bleach can damage the metal on your ring or even the stone. Always remove your ring when you clean your home. If you love to spend time in the kitchen cooking and baking, be sure to remove your ring before you handle raw meat or dough.

Having your ring cleaned on a regular basis will help prevent it from getting too dirty. Either an at-home cleaner or a professional one will do, but make sure the ring is cleaned every two to 10 weeks. Remember to have it maintained by your local jeweler. This will not only protect the life of the ring but will help when you insure the ring as well. Be careful when wearing your ring. Don’t do a lot of manual jobs, such as weeding the garden or putting together your new IKEA end table, wearing your ring. Also, remember to take it off before you swim, engage in sports, or exercise. Make it a habit to not be careless while wearing your diamond.

Cleaning Tips

It is best to have your ring cleaned professionally at a jewelry store. There, they use commercial-grade ultrasonic cleaning machines and high-pressure steam cleaners. This is the best possible way to get your ring clean. There are also some great ways to clean your ring at home. First and foremost, always handle your ring gently and with care. Your prongs should be protected during cleaning and general handling, and any undue pressure on the head of the ring can cause damage to the stone or prongs. If you are cleaning your ring at home, be sure to use a clean, dry, soft cleaning cloth or a designated cleaning solution from a jewelry store. Any overuse of an at-home ultrasonic cleaning machine can cause damage, as the vibrations can damage the ring.

Never use harsh chemicals to clean your ring at home. Even toothpaste is too harsh and abrasive for some metals and stones. The best solution to use to clean your engagement ring at home is to drop a few drops of dish soap into hot water and let it soak for a few minutes before gently brushing the ring clean with an extra-soft toothbrush. Be very careful while rinsing, as you don’t want to drop your ring near the drain. It may be a good idea to close the sink drain for this.

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Green With Emerald, May’s Birthstone

May 4th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

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This month signifies the beginning of warmer weather, week-long vacations, and cookouts in the backyard. What better way to represent it than the beautiful green emerald? This has long been a favorite stone of mine, and while it isn’t my birthstone, I love the several emerald pieces that I own and I wear them often. The stone is an interesting and beautiful one and also has a bit of cool history behind it.

The History of the Emerald

The word “emerald” is a derivative of the Greek word “smaragdos,” which means “green.” The stone represents things that are the greenest of green. Although it is carved from jadeite, the Emerald Buddha is one of Thailand’s most sacred icons. The Emerald Isle is another name for Ireland, which is full of beautiful green pastures. Seattle, often referred to as the Emerald City, gets its nickname because of its lush green forests. Green is a color that stands for springtime, life, passion to live, and new growth.

According to legend, King Solomon received four precious stones from God, one of which was the emerald. These stones were thought to have given him power over all of creation. The first documented emerald stones mined were found in Egypt around 330 B.C., and they continued to be mined there until the 18th century. Cleopatra was known to wear many emeralds in her royal crown and also in her jewelry. When the Spanish invaded the New World in the 1500s, they found and took a wealth of emeralds in the land that is now Colombia. The Incas had been using emeralds in religious ceremonies for quite some time, but the Spanish used the stones to trade for precious metals such as gold and silver, as they treasured those more than gemstones. These trades helped the Asian and European royalty discover the beauty and importance of the magnificent green stone.

According to many legends, people believed that if you put an emerald under your tongue, you would be able to see into the future. They also believed that it protected them from evil and revealed when a lover cheated. People also believed that it could cure malaria and cholera.

The Color of the Emerald

The emerald is a member of the beryl family. The most well-known members of the beryl family are the red ruby, the blue sapphire, and the green emerald. Pure beryl is clear, but chromium and vanadium within the stone cause it to become green. If iron is present, depending on the state of oxidation, the stone will appear with a bluish tint or more of a yellow-green tint. In order to be classified as an emerald, the stone must have a particular level of saturation and light tone. In the U.S., if the stone doesn’t meet the requirements of an emerald, it is simply referred to as green beryl. If the stone is a greenish-blue color, it is an aquamarine. If it is greenish-yellow, it is a heliodor. If a stone is classified as an emerald, it has a higher value. In other countries around the world, all green beryl, regardless of the tint, is referred to as an emerald.

Photo via http://ow.ly/4nqwRH

Emerald Mines

Although Zambia has been a larger producer of the beautiful green stones in more recent years, fine emeralds are most commonly mined in Colombia. Throughout history, other major producers of emeralds include Austria and Egypt. Other important emerald mines are located in South Africa, Russia, China, Brazil, Afghanistan, Mozambique, and in North Carolina in the U.S.

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The Top 10 Techniques To Relieve Stress

April 25th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

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There have been times in my life when stress has gotten the best of me and has really gotten me feeling bad. Sometimes, I tend to take my stress out on the people closest to me, but I can’t because those are the people I love the most. I have to remember that when life gets super-busy and things pile up and get me stressed, these 10 tactics can help alleviate stress in my everyday life.

1.) Be Mindful

Mindfulness can help you put your mental health first and live in a way that is healthier for your mind and physical well-being. Meditation is a great way to quiet yourself and put yourself in a better frame of mind. Deep breathing is a healthy way to slow your heart from beating too quickly and to relax your body from the inside out. Yoga is a great mindful exercise that will not only help you physically but will help your mind relax as well. Using lavender flowers or oils can help while meditating, as lavender has a calming effect on the body. Taking a long, hot bath helps your body and mind get into a more relaxed state, too.

2.) Eat a Healthy Diet

When we’re under pressure and majorly stressed out, sometimes, our diet isn’t the first thing on our minds. We tend to reach for convenience foods because they are the easiest things to eat at that moment. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins can help reduce the damage stress does to the body. Fish that has omega-3 fatty acids can even reduce the symptoms of stress. Try to avoid caffeine in sodas and energy drinks as well, as caffeine spikes your blood pressure and can cause your body to work too hard before crashing. Stay hydrated with water instead. Sugar works in the same manner, as it will cause your blood sugar to spike and you’ll come down from it feeling moody, tired, and sluggish, so try to avoid sugary foods.

3.) Sleep

Our bodies don’t function as well when we don’t get enough sleep, regardless of the stress in our lives. But when we don’t sleep enough and we’re stressed out, it can cause our stressors to take a larger toll on our bodies. It is important to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Try to make yourself drowsy earlier by relaxing, reading, and turning off computer and TV screens, which can keep you awake longer.

4.) Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for us, but did you know that it helps alleviate stress, too? Get your heart rate up by going for a brisk walk or a quick jog, climb some stairs, or do some jumping jacks to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Exercise helps ease depression and anxiety by releasing endorphins in your brain and helps battle the effects of stress of your body.

5.) Listen to Music

When we listen to music, we benefit our bodies by lowering our blood pressure, decreasing anxiety, and slowing our heart rate. When you have a playlist of some tunes that help to relax you and put you in a good mood, you can alleviate stress while you rock out in your own headspace. If you’re not in the mood for music, try listening to some relaxing sounds such as ocean waves, a flowing stream, or a thunderous rainstorm.

6.) Hang Out With Friends

When we need to relax or we have something on our minds, we can ease some pressure by talking it out. Try hanging out with some friends for a good time or to sit and chat about your stressors. Chances are good that you’ll have a great time, plus you may get some good advice about what’s stressing you out. Either way, you’ll most likely walk away glad that you had some downtime with your closest pals.

7.) Laugh

When we have a good laugh, we lower our body level of a stress hormone called cortisol and help to get the endorphins flowing, which can help lift our mood. If you are really under some major stress, try seeing your favorite stand-up comedian live, turning on your favorite comedy movie or sitcom, or reading a funny book. You can even listen to some funny podcasts on your phone for some big laughs.

8.) Get a Massage

If you have the opportunity, try getting a massage. The soothing pressure on your muscles will improve your circulation and help your body relax. You’ll walk away with a different frame of mind. If a massage isn’t in your budget, try giving yourself a foot massage. Try reflexology, which is when you put pressure on different areas of the body to alleviate stress and pain in other parts. Also, try massaging your scalp in the shower. This can alleviate stress as well and leave you feeling a bit more rejuvenated.

9.) Create a Gratitude Journal

Sometimes, when things get to be too much, we need to slow down and think of the good things that we have. Keeping a gratitude journal will allow you to stop, think, and note the things that you are thankful for in life. You can improve your outlook if you stop and ponder what you are grateful for.

10.) Avoid Stressors

When things get to be too much, you have to put yourself in a better position. There are some things that we can’t change, but there are also things that we have total control over. Try to avoid things that add more stress to your life. If you can, try saying “no” to the things that you don’t really have to do. If there is someone else that can do something, don’t feel like you have to take it on. If you find shopping extremely stressful, try online shopping. If traffic gets the best of you, take the longer, less-traveled route. If you get stressed out by current events, turn off the TV, delete news apps, and limit conversations with friends about these events. Sometimes, it is certain people that must be avoided. If someone is a stressor to you, limit the time that you are around them.

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Summer 2016 Will Be All About These Jewelry Trends

April 19th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

Photo via http://ow.ly/4mSbv5

Jewelry was once thought of as an accessory. But as I get further and further along in my career in the jewelry industry, I have come to realize that most people are putting more and more emphasis on the jewelry, almost as much as they do their clothing. Fashion just isn’t complete without the right accessories, especially jewelry. And there are some great summer jewelry trends that I feel like I just have to share with you as we approach warmer temperatures.

Cuffs

Huge chunky cuff-style bracelets are big for this summer, and there are lots of materials and styles from which to choose. The great thing about a cuff is that there is no clasp or chain to break and it won’t take you 10 minutes and an extra pair of hands to put on. Simply slide it on and head out the door.

Photo via http://ow.ly/4mSc2q

Stackable Rings

Who wants to wear just one ring? If you like a particular style of ring, find a few similar ones and stack them. Stackable rings are rings that are similar or exactly alike and worn stacked on your finger. They can have different stones or other detailing, but they are to be worn together. Similar to stackable rings are midi rings. Midis are worn on the finger between the middle and upper knuckle. Finger cuffs and dual bars are going to be big as well.

Statement Necklaces

Remember when you used to choose your outfit, then run to your jewelry collection and find some pieces that matched your clothing? Not anymore: Continuing to be huge this coming summer are statement necklaces. In this case, you’ll pick your necklace, then go to your closet and find the best thing to draw attention to the great piece around your neck.

Photo via http://ow.ly/4mScK0

Statement Earrings

This trend may have started out in Hollywood, but it is making its way across the country and looking great on all of us ladies. Oversized or statement earrings can be worn with anything now. Don’t worry about wearing something dressier; now, you can wear a plain top and jeans and throw on a pair of oversized earrings and make a beautiful statement.

Long Pendant Necklaces

Worn with any type of outfit, long necklaces showing off a chunky pendant are being seen on all types. Throw on a long necklace with a striped top and a blazer or a cotton T-shirt dress. Jeans and a plain white tee can be dressed up with a long chain and pendant as well.

Photo via http://ow.ly/4mSezI

Gold Layering

Speaking of picking out your clothes, a great trend on the horizon is gold layering. When it comes to necklaces, layer a few thin gold chains of different lengths, and you won’t need to pick out anything spectacular. This trend is seen on people who simply wear a white or plain T-shirt and jeans while the necklaces pull everything together. Gold bar chains, rope chains, or smaller pendants can round out this cute layering effect for any day of the week.

Asymmetry

We are all used to being so matchy-matchy, but we don’t have to worry about that anymore. Asymmetry is going to be big this year. If you’ve lost one of your favorite earrings, don’t worry about it: You only have to wear one. Put on a different earring in the other ear, or leave it out and bring asymmetry to the funky forefront with this cool and different trend.

Full-Body Chains

Whether you are going to be spending the day on the beach, planning on wearing a crop top, or you have a simple sheath dress to don for a wedding, a full-body chain can dress you up and help you look your best. Wrapped around your torso, this chain can go around your arms and then twists around your waist and gives you a bit of sparkle and shine all over. Full-body chains are great for the summer because you will be showing more skin and this is a great trend to add a little oomph to your finished look.

Photo via http://ow.ly/4mSePb

Chain Links

Big, chunky chains are a sure hit for summer jewelry this year. Worn around your neck, wrist, or ankle or even hanging from the ears, this look brings metal to the forefront of any casual or dressier look. With a big industrial aspect, chain links in different styles can offer a different approach to any look for the warm temps.

Photo via http://ow.ly/4mSf6N

Ethically Sourced Materials

There are so many people in this day and age who take into consideration all that is going on in our world when they make their fashion choices. In addition, many designers, producers, and sellers in the jewelry industry care about their products and where they’ve come from. More lines are being made using recycled materials and gemstones obtained ethically.

Jewelry made from recycled wine glass. Photo via Flickr (cornerstonecellars)

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The Best Spring Flowers For Any Wedding Budget

April 12th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

 

Photo by Daryl Schmidt (Flickr)

 

Flowers are not usually what a little girl dreams about when she’s dreaming of her Prince Charming and her fancy white gown. But flowers are a large part of the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception as well. Throughout the ceremony, the bride and her bridesmaids carry bouquets, the groomsmen wear boutonnières, and several other attendants and family members wear corsages. They are also used as ceremony decor, and most weddings feature flowers at the reception, too, especially table centerpieces.

The average flower budget for a wedding ceremony is between $1,000 and $2,000, but this figure is for your typical medium-sized wedding ceremony. As for a bride who is trying to spend less and has a smaller budget, she may spend as little as a couple hundred dollars. I remember in my wedding-planning days trying to find creative ways to come up with flowers or replacements for different necessary arrangements. But for those having a more extravagant wedding, the sky is the limit as far as the budget is concerned.

Springtime Wedding Flower Options

For the bride with a smaller budget, there are some great flowers to take advantage of in order to make your ceremony and reception look beautiful. Some of these options include baby’s breath and Queen Anne’s lace. This simple white bloom will dress up your bouquet or your décor and give it a fuller effect without breaking your budget. Daisies are simple and make you feel happy. What is better than having daisies (of the white variety or Gerbera daisies) in your bouquets or your table centerpieces? Freesia is a cheaper flower that will really give your big day a wonderful scent. Gladiolus is a voluptuous bloom that works great as a centerpiece or as a simple, longer bouquet. Another way to save on the expense of wedding flowers is to only use the more costly blooms for the bride’s bouquet (something that everyone is going to see) or just the bride and groom’s table at the reception. If this is the case, then other budget-friendly flowers can be worked into all of the other arrangements.

For the bride with an average budget, roses are a classic wedding option, and the springtime bride shouldn’t count them out. Pastel colors can be made into a classic bouquet, boutonnières, corsages, and other floral décor. Lilac is a beautiful pale purple bloom that can make your ceremony smell amazing. The fullness of hydrangeas makes for a beautiful centerpiece or bouquet in addition to their beautiful pale shades of color. The calla lily is a simple yet classic look for a springtime wedding flower and can be dressed up with different ribbon options. The magnolia is elegant and brings a southern feel to your ceremony. Carried alone as a bouquet or used as table décor, this flower will look amazing at your wedding. Tulips are colorful and give the springtime vibe immediately. They are perfect for a casual ceremony and also for a very formal affair. Peonies are a classic flower for brides, as they are soft with a bit of texture and come in some great pastel colors.

Brides who have the luxury of having no limit on their wedding budget for their flowers and floral arrangements have the ability to choose any flower that they desire, regardless of the season. They also most likely have no limit on the amount of flowers used in their wedding.

Photo via http://ow.ly/10A75F

 

Wedding Flower Alternatives

There is no rule book that says that you have to have a bunch of flowers at your wedding. If you are like me and love to get creative, or if you simply don’t want to spend a bunch on your flowers, try a non-traditional bouquet. Flowers die, but many brides are moving toward a bouquet that they can keep for years. Some great options include paper or silk flowers or a bouquet made of fabric bows. If you want to stick with an earthier feel, since they are replacing flowers, try using seashells or even springtime herbs made into a beautiful arrangement.

Seashell bouquet, photo via http://ow.ly/10A5WE

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April’s Birthstone: The Dazzling Diamond

April 6th, 2016 in Wedding Rings

 

Photo via http://ow.ly/10msbp

 

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, right? I believe this is totally true, especially because the diamond represents true love, marriage, and happily ever after. But it is also the birthstone for those born in the month of April. There is so much more to this beautiful stone than just engagements and wedding rings. It is a wondrous stone that can be just as magical in other colors besides the colorless stone we’re all used to seeing.

The History Behind the Diamond

There is much valuable history pertaining to diamonds because they are and always have been one of the most beautiful and valuable stones in history. The word “diamond” comes from a Greek word that means “indestructible and unconquerable,” while in the Sanskrit language, an ancient language of India, the word means “lightning.” Because of these translations, the beautiful stone was worn in ancient times on those who believed it made them invincible and courageous and gave them extra strength. It was also the symbol of eternal love for the ancient Greeks. In fact, these same people believed that the colorless stone was a splinter of a star that had fallen to the earth. Ancient Romans believed that the stone prevented bad things from happening and warded off evil spirits. Even though there was a law preventing anyone other than the king from wearing the diamond during the 1200s, it wasn’t until the later part of the 15th century that there is actually a record of the diamond being used as an engagement ring by the archduke of Austria.

The Colors of the Diamond

Although the colorless stone is what you immediately think of when you think of a diamond, the stone actually is found in many other colors as well. These colors include black, brown, gray, blue, green, orange, red, yellow, purple, and pink. These different colors occur when there are certain impurities in the structure of the crystal that makes up the actual stone. Red diamonds are the rarest, while colorless diamonds are the ones found in the most abundance. Although these colorless diamonds are the most valuable, there are some that are valuable that are other colors. The Hope Diamond, for instance, is a famous and extremely valuable blue diamond.

Photo via http://ow.ly/10mugT

 

Diamond Mine Locations Around the World

Originally mined in India and Brazil, today, diamonds are also mined in other locations, including Angola, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Central African Republic, China, Congo, Guinea, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Namibia, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Tanzania. The largest diamond mines in the world today continue to be in Botswana, Canada, and Russia. The largest market in the world for diamond jewelry is the United States.

Other Interesting Diamond Information

The diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth. Because of this, only 20% of diamonds mined are used for jewelry. Eighty percent of the diamonds found are actually used for industrial purposes. Most diamonds are a billion or more years old. They are formed miles below the surface of the earth, and they are sometimes brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions.

Photo via http://ow.ly/10muPa

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Why Is Purple Heart Wood Purple?

April 4th, 2016 in color, Men's Fashion, rings, Tungsten, Wedding, Wedding Rings

Why Is Purple Heart Wood Purple?

Purple heart wood is purple because of it’s heartwood extractives.  Specific cells within the wood conduct sap and store nutrients and over a period of many years, the purple heart tree no longer requires the entire trunk to conduct sap and the central part of the stem begins to die.  Beginning at the core or pith, this central dead wood is called heartwood.  Transitioning from sapwood to heartwood is followed by a buildup of many deposits and materials that is commonly called extractives.  These extractives give purple heart it’s very distinctive purple color.

The same process occurs in other woods such as Ebony with it’s very black color heartwood and also the beautiful brown of black walnut is caused by it’s extractives as well.  The sapwood of almost all tree species is pale without extractives.

We are proud to present one of the most beautiful additions to our wood inlay tungsten ring collection, the Mauve.  Real purple heart wood is inlaid into the center channel of this bevel edged tungsten ring.  A protective coating is protecting the rare wood in the center of the ring.  The Mauve along with an array of many other exotic wood inlay rings such as Ebony wood inlay or Redwood inlay, can be found on our wood inlay rings collection.

mauve-purple-heart-wood-inlay-tungsten-ring

 

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