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Gemstones

Rarities

Mid­-May of this year Sotheby’s will be hosting an auction.  But they won’ be offering just any gems; at the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale, you can expect to find one Historic Pink Diamond.  This vivid pink-­toned diamond, cushion cut and weighed at 8.72 karats, is believed to have once belonged to Princess Matilda, none other than Napoleon’s niece. The first time it came up for auction was 1904, in Paris, where it was sold and subsequently mounted.  Later, it was re-cut from 9 karats to its current size for aesthetic purposes.

Another piece up for auction is the Burmese Sunshine Ruby.  With its nearly perfect “pigeon blood” hue, it may well be the rarest gem on the auction table. If so, it’s certainly a close fight between pink diamond and red ruby.  Either way, the expected sale price for both pieces is between $12 and $18 million, which means there aren’t really any losers in this “competition”.

The auction is set to take place on May 12, so if you’re thinking of placing a bid you’d better start saving up!

Fun Facts: Stones

A couple of “did you knows” to educate you about the gemstones in your jewelry…

Garnet, a category comprising several related minerals, was named after the word “pomegranate,” for their similar shades. Although garnet can come in a variety of colors, the most common one you’ll find is dark red, a hue similar to the seedy pulp of its namesake.

Most people know the hardest stone — diamond — but did you know the softest?  Next time you’re asked, you’ll know it’s amber.  In comparison to diamond’s impressive score of ten on the Mohs scale, amber measures up at two and a half.  (And in case you were wondering where amber got its name, it is derived from the Middle Persian word “ambar” or “ambergris,” a substance extracted from a whale’s stomach for its pleasant smell.)

Before becoming October’s special stone, the opal was widely utilized.  For what, you ask?  It was believed that wearing opals would help maintain the color in blond hair.  If your hair dye isn’t sticking, maybe you should take a peek inside your nearest jewelry store instead!

 

Helzberg Sale

Helzberg Diamonds is having an online and in-­store clearance celebration, offering up to $1,000 off products in all shapes, sizes, and price brackets. The discount ranges from cheaper dainty pieces ­­ like the double-­digits pendant with two interlocking silver hearts and the word “mom” (something to keep in mind for Mothers’ Day, just over a month away).

They also have significant cuts for their pricier items.  Most notable is a 14 karat white gold bracelet, encrusted with a total of 217 round brilliant diamonds arranged in a floral chain. This dazzling piece, once nearly $10,000, is now being sold for just over half its original price at $6,000.  And though diamond is Helzberg’s specialty, you will definitely find expert manipulation of various other precious stones, as in the diamond and blue sapphire engagement ring, which has each of sixteen sapphires encased in a black square setting.

This major sale is valid for only the next couple of days, so be sure to check out these products­­ as well as others ­­soon.  Visit http://www.helzberg.com to view more.

Acquire an Aquamarine!

In honor of this month’s official gemstone, we decided to take a look at some of the great aquamarine pieces available on the market today.

If you’re seeking a more classic look, you may want to try Diamondere’s 14-karat rose gold ring. It is set with a traditional round cut aquamarine stone, while the band itself is carved with elegant and intricate swirls and scrolls.

For a more funky style, you may want to go with designer Gillian Alexander’s vintage aquamarine and blue enamel ring. The yellow gold beneath the spikes of blue enamel is 21-karat gold and spirals once around the oval cabochon cut gemstone in the middle.

There are other options as well: for someone with more playful tastes, you pretty much can’t go wrong with kittens. E­Jewelry Plus has a few of those, like one silver necklace with not one but two aquamarine stones, the first round and topped with silver cat ears while the second ­­ pear shaped ­­ has two paws and a tail. As an added bonus, this little kitten dons a gentlemanly bow tie.  A similar vendor designed a handcrafted silver charm featuring a kitten’s energetic side as it lies on its back batting a round aquamarine gemstone made of cubic zirconia. And there’s plenty more where all of that came from, so go ahead – acquire some aqua today!

 

Fine Jewels

In a couple of days Sotheby’s will be having its sale of Fine Jewels, a vast spectrum of jewelry with styles ranging from the 1700’s to modern designs. You can find 283 lots with a combination of bold, geometric pieces reflecting the fads of the early 20th century as well as the ornate, floral style common to the 1870’s.

Check out some of those options — or something else entirely, like the gold and enamel necklace and bracelet from the early 19th century.  Designed with a chain of tiny oval-shaped, gold-encased portraits, the pieces depict most of the 26 Swiss Cantons in regional garb.  In addition to pearl-and-diamond necklaces and an emerald ring set in a thin gold band, Sotheby’s will be auctioning off creative pieces like color changing sapphire pendants, a colorful butterfly brooch made of bright enamel and diamond, and even a sapphire box, a sleek gold box with calibre-cut and cabochon sapphires that line the clasp edge.

This wide range will guarantee a find for any buyer, so it’s an auction you’ll definitely want to take a look at!  Find out more about the Fine Jewels auction on March 18th by visiting http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2015/fine-jewels-l15050.html

 

Diamond Secrets

A few fun facts about one of the most popular gemstones on the jewelry market: diamonds.

Although white/transparent diamonds are most common, that’s not the only hue you can find. There is a huge variety, from black diamonds to pink to blue… in fact, diamonds exist in pretty much every color.

De Beers, a diamond mining company founded by Cecil Rhodes, is one of the most powerful diamond companies of today; it controls as much as 70% of the entire diamond industry. Actually, in the late 1800s, De Beers mined a huge yellow gem that weighed in at nearly 430 old karats (a measurement used until early 1900’s) and measured as one of the largest diamonds during that time period. Now cut, it currently holds the record for seventh largest diamond in the world.

But to find the largest diamond in existence, you’ll have to look outside of De Beers’ mines.  In fact, you’ll have to look outside of planet Earth altogether!  The largest diamond is, in fact, a star — specifically, a chunk of crystallized carbon found within the Centaurus constellation.  Located about 50 light years from Earth, this white dwarf star was aptly nicknamed “Lucy” after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.  Lucy may be only a dwarf as a star, but she’s a giant as far as diamonds are concerned; she would weigh in at about 10 billion trillion trillion karats… more than all the karats of diamond worn on Earth all together!

 

Gem Cuts

Jewelry is not just about which stones get placed where, but about how each stone is cut or placed.  Last week, we discussed some of the basic terminology used in the jewelry market, you may also want to learn about the different styles available.

There are a few gemstone shapes, the most common of which is the “round brilliant” cut. Each cut is designed for varying degrees of color and light reflection; the intricate cuts are, of course, also beautiful in their own right.  The round brilliant is the shape of the classic engagement ring stone. It contains exactly fifty-eight facets, arranged specifically to reflect the maximum amount of light out of the top of the stone.  If cut inaccurately, the light that is meant to reflect off the top instead leaks out of the bottom, giving the stone a duller appearance.

A similar style is the “oval” cut, which relies on the same design, using only fifty-six rather than fifty-eight facets. Another with fifty-six sides is the “marquise” cut, with a history dating back to King Louis XIV of France.  According to some historians, he had a diamond formed into the exact shape of Madame de Pompadour’s mouth.  This then became the marquise, a narrow almond-shaped stone. The “pear” cut, shaped like a teardrop, is most common in earrings and pendant necklaces.

Some other shapes include the “heart brilliant” cut and the “princess brilliant,”a square stone with facets stretching out like an X from the center of the gem’s top to its four corners. The “emerald” and “baguette” are both rectangular cuts, but beyond their basic shape they have strikingly distinct features.  The “emerald” has broad, flat facets that resemble stairs, as well as beveled – rather than pointed – corners. The baguette, meanwhile, has fewer facets, with a flat top surface and beveled cut along all four of its edges, as opposedto just its corners. These eight are most of what you’ll find when looking for gemstones in the jewel industry.

Be sure to know what you’re looking for before you go shopping for your next diamond ring!

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