We are almost half way through March and it feels as if the optimism we had at the beginning of 2020 has taken a beating. The budget speech, Covid 19, loadshedding, the list just seems to grow longer every day!
Elizabeth Taylor said: “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together”. We would like to add “Get out your aquamarine jewellery and wear it!”
Aquamarine is said to calm the nerves, restore order and give courage. Even though it is the birthstone for March, we are sure the lucky ones born in this month will not mind sharing their beautiful stone with the rest of us.
This beautiful blue stone derives its name from Latin (aqua marina for “sea water”) and belongs to the beryl family. Its cousins are, amongst others, emerald and morganite.
Ancient sailors took it with them on voyages as it was believed to protect them on their journey in unchartered waters. Archeologists have found aquamarine in many Egyptian tombs and the Greeks used it in their art as long as two thousand years ago.
Today aquamarine is used in many types of jewellery. From spiritual pendants and bracelets to engagement and cocktail rings, statement earrings and humble studs. It is a durable stone (7.5 – 8 on Moh’s scale of hardness) and will wear well in any type of jewellery you choose.
Sterling silver is a very attractive, lustrous precious metal. Even though it has been alloyed with another metal to make it harder, it is still the softest precious metal available. Sterling silver is not ideal for jewellery that requires continuous daily wear, such as engagement rings and wedding bands.
It may scratch and bend under repetitive daily wear, pressure or sudden knocks. Thin silver rings in particular will not wear well over a long time if you wear them constantly.
Over time, sterling silver jewellery may tarnish. It is primarily the other alloy metals in sterling silver, like copper, that can cause it to take on a black or green hue.
Always take sterling silver jewellery off when in a shower, sauna, spa or while swimming. Wear rubber gloves if you’re washing up with silver rings on your hands.
The speed of the tarnishing depends on the water (including bathing, perspiration and air moisture) and chemicals (sulphur pollution in the air, soaps, detergents and cosmetics) that you come into contact with. It is advisable to clean your jewellery on a regular basis.
Celebrate the new year with the January birth stone, the garnet. A stone that symbolizes physical love and the relationship between loving partners, the garnet was popular among royalty. According to legend, the animals of Noah’s Ark can thank a large Garnet stone for providing the only light on their biblical journey and guiding them safely to land.
The garnet crystal meaning is rooted in ancient history and comes from the Latin word ‘granatum’, which means pomegranate. According to Greek mythology, a pomegranate is seen as a gift of love and is associated with eternity. To this day, garnet remains a gift of love and is traditionally given for the 19th wedding anniversary.
With a hardness of 6.5 to 7.5 on the MOHS scale, garnet is suitable for wearing every day. The rich red to dark red colour adds warmth and depth to any metal used for jewellery, be it yellow gold or sterling silver.
So for the fun of it, buy yourself a garnet and start a whole new year full of love and healing.
Author: Brandon Morrison
The dawn of the new year greets us with one of the most exciting gemstones of them all, the garnet. Why exciting you ask? The garnet family is extensive, from red garnets, to orange, purplish, and green. Even with green garnets, you can choose between demantoids and tsavorites. If red is just not your colour, but you do want to wear your birthstone, you may consider tsavorite. With its deep green that rivals emerald, the brilliance of tsavorite will take your breath away.
It is still a young gemstone. The first discovery was in Tanzania in 1967. It is 200 times rarer than emerald. An added bonus is that it requires no colour enhancement at all thus you will always know it is the real deal.
It is said that spiritually the tsavorite garnet will help you get your life back on track and bring prosperity to those who wear it. But too afraid to wear it every day? No need to worry! It is 7 to 7.5 on MOHs scale of hardness so if looked after properly, tsavorite will give pleasure to the wearer for many generations.
Author: Rhead Morrison
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There are two types of people – those who make resolutions for the New Year and those who don’t.
While I don’t normally belong in the first category, I decided to do things a bit different this year. Instead of grand solutions, I have decided to simplify and start with the little things. Smile at strangers (try it, you will be surprised at the reaction). Smile at yourself (if anything, it will make those around you wonder what you’re up to!).
Clean out the clutter. Again, I started with a small thing: my jewellery box. I was amazed at what I found. One earring that used to be part of a pair. Actually, there was more than one of those. A gold chain that has worn links. An old ring with a very nice stone, but the style does not suit me anymore.
All the broken pieces and the items that no longer serve a purpose in my life are in a packet. My jeweller will unset the stones and the metal is ready to be taken in as credit towards a new piece of jewellery. It will be a reflection of me, of where I am in my life. I cannot wait to show you the end product!
If you have the same dilemma, pack your things together, call us to make an appointment and we will help you make new jewellery memories.
Birthday in December? Lucky you have a choice of three birthstones: turquoise, lapis lazuli and the beautiful tanzanite.
Despite being a relative newcomer having only been discovered in 1967, tanzanite is an important gemstone that captured the imagination of collectors and wearers of fine jewellery alike. Initially, the supply of good quality stones was limited to collectors but in the 1980’s there was a surge in material from the mines in Tanzania and people really started to take notice of this exceptional stone.
It is no secret that tanzanite needs to be heated and it is this dramatic colour transformation that has led to its success. Colours vary from intense blue (being the most expensive) to pale lilac and lavender.
The beauty of tanzanite is best appreciated in fine jewellery, however, due to it being a relative soft stone (6.5 – 7 Mohs) it should not be set in a ring that will be worn every day. It can be brittle and will chip quite easily. Earrings and pendants work best for showing of your beautiful tanzanite.
From me. To me.
It all started in the 1920’s. Women cut their hair, lifted the hems on their dresses and started wearing trousers (GASP!!). Next thing we knew, they got voting rights (another GASP!!). What was the world coming to? Transparency, is what. Having ruled the roost from the background, women finally realized that their voices counted.
When growing up, I literally had two choices – become a teacher or a nurse. Thankfully, the exciting Eighties dawned. A job was no longer just to supplement the household income. No, we could now have a career. The world was our oyster. We could choose!
Here is the question: if you can choose your make of car, or shoes, even microwave, why not choose your own jewellery? Our shop in Cullinan has experienced the change. More and more women come in and choose their own jewellery. From a simple pair of silver hoops to diamond studs, the purchase is accompanied by “this is to celebrate getting that promotion / getting my degree / being chosen as a leader in my field / my birthday”. The list goes on and on. We hear beautiful stories, women who have overcome impossible obstacles and came out even stronger. Fact is, most of our clients are women. Strong, independent, feminine, clever, compassionate and passionate women.
We get you. And we would love to be part of your story.
In our previous article we discussed opals and now it is tourmaline’s turn.
The ancient Egyptians had a legend about tourmaline gemstones. They believed that these stones got their amazing colors because they broke through a rainbow while pushing their way up to the earth. It is a little rainbow fragment.
Tourmaline was introduced to the Western world in the early 1700’s. They were called turamali, meaning mixed colours. An apt name, as tourmalines have the greatest colour variance of all gemstones. From indicolite (shades of blue), to rubellite (from intense hot pink to red), verdelite (green to yellow) and even bi-colour and watermelon tourmalines.
Reaching 7 – 7.5 on Moh’s scale of hardness, it is a stone that can be set in jewellery and worn without worrying too much about wear and tear. If you want a pair of tourmaline earrings be warned: it is one of the most difficult stones to match up into pairs because of the extensive colour range.
Tourmalines require cleaning more often than other gemstones. When rubbed or heated, they become electrically charged and as a result attract dust, fluff and dirt.
October babies are known for their inborn elegance, style and good taste. It is therefore no surprise that they have not only one, but two birthstones: the timeless opal and the brilliant tourmaline.
In this article we will discuss opals.
Opals come in many types and colours. From precious white and black opals, to boulder and fire opal. Even chocolate opal as found in Ethiopia. It is a relatively soft stone, measuring 5.5 – 6.5 on Mohs scale of hardness. It might be easy to damage and hard to work with, but it is impossible not to be seduced by its sheer celebration of colour. While most gemstones are cut or facetted to calibrated sizes and shapes, opals are frequently cut as cabochons with freeform shapes. The irregular shapes make each opal unique and bring creativity to jewellery design.
When designing your dream piece of jewellery, keep in mind that opal is a soft stone. The setting should not only enhance but also protect your precious investment. As far as caring for your opals is concerned remember that they are sensitive to acids and alkalis. It makes them vulnerable to perfumes, soaps and detergents so remove your jewellery beforehand.
Lastly, opal is composed of hydrated silica gel that has a water content of between 5 and 30 percent. Over time water evaporation occurs naturally. This can be avoided by storing it in moist cotton wool.
Sources: The jeweller’s directory of gemstones by Judith Crowe
Jewellery has been around since the beginning of time. From simple pieces made from bone to elaborate heart stopping jewellery, it has been used to symbolize a milestone, an achievement, commitment and sometimes just “because I can!”
In our line of work, we sometimes hear people say “I am not a jewellery person”. More often than not they will be wearing an heirloom piece. It could be Granny’s wedding band, or a diamond pendant that has been handed down from generation to generation. Meaningful jewellery? Absolutely!
Imagine the ring you had made to celebrate a special event being worn by your great granddaughter one day. Imagine the story she could tell. We vote for meaningful jewellery. Share your unique self not only with the world today, but for generations to come.
We would love to hear your special jewellery story. Send us a picture and tell us why it has meaning. Let us keep the memories alive.