Gemstones I Love – Part 5 – Freshwater Pearls

Pearls are unique!   These beautiful creations can be termed organic gems:  pearls are formed inside oysters and mussels when a bit of sand or other irritant gets inside the mollusk’s shell. The mollusk secretes layers of a lustrous material called nacre around the foreign object to protect its soft internal surface.    As layer after…

Read More

My Favorite Gemstones Part 4 – Tourmaline

Another of my favorite gems is Tourmaline.  Since I love green and pink, I am particularly fond of the  multicolor and watermelon varieties. The tourmaline family aluminum and borosilicate minerals includes several separate minerals, one of which is called elabite.  Elabite is the mineral in most gem tourmaline.  Tourmaline has a Mohs scale hardness of…

Read More

Some of My Favorite Gemstones – Part 3 – Labradorite

All gems are described by their chemical composition, crystal structure, and where they are found.  Gemstones are further classified based on properties like refractive index (how theybend light), luster, hardness, etc. Labradorite has a silky appearance and is a dark grey to gray-green stone with flashes of blue, green and occasionally red.   Labradorite can be transparent…

Read More

Some of My Favorite Gemstones Part 2 – Lapis Lazuli

I love the beautiful blue of Lapis and I’m especially fond of lapis with a scattering of pyrite (“Fool’s gold”).   This article is illustrated with photos of necklaces that I have designed using “treasures” I have discovered in my travels – interesting silver beads and some marvelous focal pieces that I used as pendants.…

Read More

Emeralds

I recently ran across a fabulous CNN article on emeralds and I wanted to share it with you.   Emerald is the Modern and Traditional birthstone for May.   According to the author of the article, the value of emeralds is the result of their scarcity.   Emeralds are over 20 times rarer than diamonds —…

Read More

Caring for your Silver Jewelry

Silver is quite soft – be gentle in your cleaning to avoid bending the metal or scratching the jewelry. Wash pieces carefully by hand in soapy water, rinse and dry with a cotton cloth. Do not soak –soaking can damage soft and porous stones.  Cleaning in an ultrasonic cleaner can also damager delicate and porous…

Read More