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Archive for the ‘Birthstones’ Category

Fun and Interesting Facts About Diamonds

Diamond FactsIf you’re lucky enough to have been born in April, you get to claim the diamond as your birthstone. Whether you have an April birthday or not, this glamorous gemstone is a favorite of many. Test your knowledge of diamonds, the official birthstone of April. Scroll down for the answers — but no cheating!

  1. Diamonds are a naturally occurring allotrope of what element?
  2. Diamonds are formed deep inside the Earth’s interior when carbon is crystallized over a long period of time. What two factors cause the crystallization?
  3. Diamonds are appraised and priced according to the 4Cs: color, clarity, carat weight and cut. What organization created this standard grading system?
  4. Diamonds were first mined in India around 800 BC. Today, what are the four top diamond producing countries in the world?
  5. A state park in Arkansas is the only diamond-producing location in the world that allows the public to dig for and keep the diamonds they find. What is the name of the state park?
  6. Marilyn Monroe famously sang “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in what 1953 film?
  7. In the 1963 film, The Pink Panther, Peter Sellers played clueless police inspector Jacques Clouseau on the trail of a jewel thief known as “The Phantom.” In the movie, what is the name of “the largest diamond in the world?”
  8. In December 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s renowned jewelry collection was auctioned at Christie’s in New York. One of her most famous pieces was the Taylor-Burton diamond ring, given to her by husband, Richard Burton. How many carats is it, and what is its estimated worth?
  9. In James Cameron’s movie Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, what is the name of the fictional blue diamond lost to the ocean?
  10. On December 10, 2012 at the final lot of Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels” auction, a new world auction record was achieved for a reddish-orange fancy colored diamond. What was the diamond’s carat weight, and what did it sell for?

Diamond Quiz Answers:

  1. Carbon
  2. Heat and pressure
  3. The 4Cs grading system was created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)
  4. Australia, Zaire, Botswana, and the former Soviet Union
  5. Crater of Diamonds State Park
  6. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  7. The Pink Panther
  8. The Taylor-Burton diamond is a 69.42 carat pear-shaped stone estimated to be worth $3.5 million. Taylor sold the diamond in 1978 following her divorce from Burton to fund her charity work.
  9. “The Heart of the Ocean”
  10. The rare 3.15 carat diamond is the largest reddish-orange diamond ever graded at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and sold for $2,098,500, setting a new world auction record for a reddish-orange diamond and a new per-carat record price of $666,200.

Celebrate Autumn with Gemstones in the Colors of Fall

This month we present you with information about the warm and inviting gemstones of the fall. This season evokes the beautiful colors of the falling leaves. The beautiful oranges, burgundies, and yellows conjure up many feelings and memories of fall leaves, sunsets over the mountains, pumpkins and cornucopias. In celebration of autumn, we take a moment to appreciate some fall-hued gemstones, courtesy of the experts at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Citrine

Citrines are a variety of the mineral quartz crystals commonly found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Citrines are commonly found in shades of yellow, but they can appear in an orange shade called Madeira.

Citrine is the gemstone for the zodiac sign of Scorpio, and the gemstone given for the 13th and 17th wedding anniversaries. In ancient times, citrine was worn as protection against bad skin, evil thoughts, snakebites and even the plague. Mined mainly in Brazil, citrine is often found in larger sizes, due to its affordable price, and it is easy to find.

Fancy sapphire

Fancy sapphires are a variety of the mineral corundum, and come in orange, as well as other colors. An especially alluring orange-pink color is called padparadscha, after the lotus blossom. According to GIA gem experts, padparadscha are very rare and range from pastels to more fiery shades of orange.

The finest authentic padparadscha sapphires are usually very expensive, on par with their blue counterparts. Sri Lanka and East Africa are two major sources of orange and padparadscha sapphires.

Fire opal

Fire opals are known as an anomaly in the gem world. Mined in Australia, opals are usually smoothly polished in a cabochon (domed) shape and are opaque (not see-through). But the fire opal is often found in a fantastic orange color, cut in a faceted manner, and is mostly transparent in better quality facet-grades.

Spessartine garnet

Spessartine garnet is one of the most appealing of all the orange-hued gemstones. According to GIA’s colored stone experts, it is prized for its bright orange-yellow to yellowish-orange color, with some of the best — and most sought after — examples mined in Southern California, at the Little Three mine, near Ramona. High-quality spessartine has more recently been mined in Namibia and Nigeria.

Mandarin garnet

Mandarin garnet is also known as bright orange spessartine. Found in Namibia in Southern Africa, the rich color of the Mandarin garnet makes it a popular choice with orange gemstone lovers. Although relatively inexpensive in small sizes, larger stones—which rarely exceed 10 carats — can be very expensive.

Topaz

Topaz gems are another gemstone found in various colors, including yellow, dark blue, pink, red, and light green, but they truly glow in orange. Fine orange and “imperial topaz” (orange with a hint of red) are among the rarer colors of topaz, and their higher prices reflect their scarcity. This unusual shade is mostly found in Brazil.

Whatever type of gemstone you prefer, keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong when choosing. The important thing is to do your research on the particular gemstone that you like, and look for a jeweler. Make sure the appraiser is educated by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), ensuring professional expertise in the valuation of our fine gems and precious metals. Also make sure the pawn shop or jewelry store is a member of the National Pawnbrokers Association.

If you are looking to update your jewelry wardrobe for the season, or to purchase fine jewelry as holiday gifts, you’ll find fine estate, vintage and antique jewelry visit Adina’s eBay store. You’ll discover authentic fine jewelry at true wholesale prices, authentically appraised by GIA-trained experts.

Opals, October’s Birthstone, Origins and Value

October Birthstone: The Opal

October’s birthstone is one of the most interesting gemstones on earth.  In celebration of the magical and mysterious opal, let’s take a look at some fascinating and rare facts about the origin and value of opals.

The first opals are believed to have been found in Ethiopia about 4,000 BC. The ancient Romans called the opal “Cupid Paederos,” which translates to “a child beautiful as love.” The ancient Romans would grind up and consume opals because they believed they had healing properties and the power to ward off bad dreams.

The term opal is derived from the Sanskrit term “upala,” which means precious or valuable stone and the root for the Greek term “opallios,” which translates to “color change.” Opals are created from an ancient mineral known as petrified silica gel that is found near the earth’s surface where geothermal hot springs once existed.

Today, about 97 percent of the world’s opals come from Australia. The first Australian discovery of common opals was made in 1849 near Angaston, South Australia by a German immigrant named Johannes Menge. The indigenous people of Australia call the opal “the fire in the desert.” Most of the world’s supply of precious opals comes from the Coober Pedy and Andamooka fields in South Australia. Coober Pedy is known as “The Opal Capital of the World” because 51 percent of the world’s supply of opals is mined there.

Opals may come from other planets as well. In 2011, scientists discovered opal-like crystals in the Tagish Lake meteorite, which fell to Earth in Canada in 2000. According to a report in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, this was the first extra-terrestrial discovery of these unusual crystals. Some scientists hypothesize that they may have formed in the primordial cloud of dust that produced the sun and planets of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

The classes of opals

All naturally occurring opals fall into one of two classes: precious and common. Precious opals are those that display flashes of iridescent colors when turned and tilted, and light strikes its surface at various angles. This effect is called “play of color,” but is scientifically referred to as opalescence.

Play of color, or opalescence, is caused by tiny sphere formations of silicon which make up the structure of opal. When light is refracted by the spheres, it causes light to be separated into its various spectral colors. The actual colors being emitted are controlled by the size and distance of the spheres to each other.

While opals come in many diverse colors and combinations, precious black opals are the most valuable and in demand because of their rarity and play of color. Precious opals also come in white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, and brown. Reds against black are most rare, while white and greens are the most common.

Any opal that does not exhibit “play of color” is classified as a common opal. Common opals are classified as non-gem quality opals. There are several varieties of common opal and most are opaque. Common opals, sometimes called “potch,” are usually colorless or white, but may also come in gray, brown, yellow, or red.

If you’re looking for opal jewelry but don’t want to pay retail prices, visit Adina’s eBay store where you can rely on the jewelry experts at Adina Jewelers. You’ll find fine a vast selection of beautiful opal and other gemstone jewelry and get a buying experience that’s above your expectations.

Princess Diana’s Influence on Jewelry Style

It has been 20 years since the passing of Princess Diana, and her legacy is remembered by the world as strongly today as it was two decades ago. Kept forever in our hearts for her humanitarian efforts and grace, her style was also influential in fashion as well as jewelry.

Case in point was the unusual choice of her engagement ring. In 1981, Princess Diana chose the ring for her engagement to Prince Charles. She was criticized at the time for choosing a ring that “anyone could buy” instead of having one custom made. But Lady Di had an eye for style, and replicas of the ring were quickly in demand, as they are again today. The royal ring was originally purchased in 1981 from the catalog of the historic British jeweler, Garrard, for 28,000 British pounds ($65,000 USD). Today, the ring is said to be worth about half a million dollars, with the sapphire alone worth $300,000. Princess Diana liked the ring so much that she even wore it after her divorce from Charles.

Upon Diana’s death, both of her sons chose a keepsake of hers — Prince Harry chose his mother’s engagement ring, while Prince William chose his mother’s gold Cartier watch. But the two brothers had an agreement that whoever became engaged first would present the ring to their betrothed. Prince William romantically proposed to his sweetheart of over eight years, Kate Middleton, while they were on vacation in 2010 in Kenya. Prince William proposed to Middleton with the famous sapphire and diamond ring, stating later he used his mother’s engagement ring as a “way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement.”

Diamonds and Sapphires

The royal engagement ring is a deep blue oval sapphire — estimated at 12 carats — encircled by 14 round diamonds set in 18K white gold. After her engagement, Middleton had the engagement ring resized by the royal jewelers G. Collins & Sons to fit her finger better. She asked them to attach small platinum beads inside the bottom of the ring to make it smaller. When Middleton first showed the ring in public at St. James’s Palace in London, she wore a royal blue dress by Issa that accentuated the blue of the sapphire.

Royal Replicas In Demand

Soon after Kate Middleton first appeared wearing the royal ring, demand for replicas skyrocketed around the globe as it did when Diana first appeared wearing it. The National Sapphire Company’s website actually crashed from demand-related traffic and jewelers around the world worked overtime to respond to the demand.

Interested in a sapphire engagement ring? Browse Adina Jewelers eBay for a beautiful selection fine sapphire jewelry, at true wholesale prices.

Healing Properties of Popular Gemstones

Healing Properties of Popular Gemstones

For centuries, people have believed in the healing qualities of crystals and gemstones; not surprisingly, as they are among the oldest natural objects on earth. Here’s a quick guide on the healing qualities of 10 popular gemstones.

Whether or not you believe in their magical powers, gems are beautiful items with significant meanings. Here’s a quick guide to the healing qualities of 10 popular gemstones, courtesy of eluxemagazine.com.

Where crystals come from

Healing stones, crystals and semi-precious gemstones come from one core source — the Earth. Created from the magma from the Earth’s inner core, these stones have been heated, cooled, and are often amongst the most ancient objects on the planet.

Every stone is made up of tiny crystals which are in constant motion, so they do indeed emit an energy signature or frequency. In addition, their striking colors can influence our moods and emotions, so it makes sense that many people believe in the healing energy of gems.

History of healing

Historically, people have had strong connections to gems for many reasons. Evidence of gemstones used for healing has been found as far back as 4 BC. Ancient civilizations such as the Chinese, Egyptians, Sumerians, Greeks, Romans, and more modern shamans and medicine men have used gemstones for healing in multiple ways — they’ve ground them into powders or elixirs, worn, carried or placed them on the body and in ceremonies or rituals. It’s said that rough gemstones, broken or mined from a rock, are most powerful–some healing therapists believe that these can be placed gently on the body to transmit and focus healing energies.

1. Turquoise: Turquoise can be a very powerful stone for protection. It increases inner calmness and eases depression, fears, exhaustion and anxiety. It is a stone for friendship and love. Turquoise has calming effects when speaking in public. It helps us to express ourselves and aids in creative problem solving. This powerful stone also stimulates our intuition and helps in meditation.

2. Amethyst: Amethyst is a very powerful crystal for calming and stress reduction. It is known to calm and bring clarity to the mind, to relieve stress, sooth sadness, anger and anxiety and balance mood swings. It helps us to focus and stimulates motivation, concentration and memory. Amethyst activates our intuitive and psychic abilities, aids in meditation and is said to attract justice.

3. Blue Topaz: Blue topaz is a strong crystal for healing health problems, and aids digestion, fortifies the nerves, balances emotions and stimulates the metabolism. It is known to combat eating disorders. It is also known to increase the general health around the neck and throat area. Blue topaz releases tension, helping one to relax.

4. Crystal Quartz: Crystal quartz is very powerful for healing, meditation, and spiritual growth. It is harmonizing and balancing, and purifies the spirit, mind, and physical body. It can be utilized to bring light and energy into our spiritual bodies. It enhances mental abilities and can be ‘programmed’ and imprinted with any desired energy or information. Crystal quartz is powerful for protection and amplifies positive energy and thought. Due to its power to open up all chakras, it is a great stone for relaxation and also to be combined with other stones, as it amplifies their powers.

5. Moonstone: Moonstone aids in inner growth, strengthens intuition, and stabilizes emotions. It is known as a stone for new beginnings, success in love and business, and good fortune. It promotes inspiration and protects us, especially those of us who are very sensitive. Moonstone is said to perceive that which IS, making it a very personal stone. It is a great aid for meditation and helping us to understand ourselves. Moonstone also soothes stress and anxiety. This beautiful stone is particularly beneficial for women, especially young women, in helping them connect with their feminine side. Moonstone is also said to have the power of making wishes come true.

6. Onyx: Onyx is an excellent stone for stressful or challenging situations as it gives us strength and support. Its soothing qualities alleviate fear and worries and encourage wise decision-making. Onyx is known to increase happiness, intuition and good fortune. It is known to help us change bad habits and keep emotions under control. Onyx helps us to focus and stay grounded. Onyx is also known to help with skin ailments, infections and inflammations. This stone needs to be cleansed and recharged regularly — wash it in salt water or pass it through incense smoke.

7. Rose Quartz: Widely known as the “love” or “heart” stone, rose quartz encourages unconditional love and opens its wearer to all forms of love: self-love, romantic love, family love, and platonic love. Its heart-opening qualities help soothe the nervous system, decrease stress levels and increase happiness, trust, and harmony. Rose quartz stimulates peace, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, inner peace and tolerance. Furthermore, rose quartz heals and strengthens the physical heart and stimulates the circulatory system, increases fertility and protects against radiation. As an extra bonus, rose quartz is said to reduce wrinkles, and is also known to be a protective stone during pregnancy, protecting from miscarriage.

8. Citrine: Citrine is known as the stone of the mind, stimulating the brain, increasing concentration, strengthening the intellect, and increasing psychic powers. It promotes clarity of thoughts, opens the mind to new thoughts, and brings relief to nightmares. Citrine is believed to invite wealth and prosperity into your life. Due to its qualities that bring abundance, citrine has been called the “Lucky Merchant Stone” and business owners place it into their cash drawer to increase sales. Citrine is also known to be beneficial to the endocrine and digestive system, acting as a cleanser and purifier.

9. Amazonite: Amazonite has an extremely soothing quality that helps calm the brain and the nervous system. It brings balance into our life and gives relief to blockages due to trauma or fear. It stimulates integrity, truth, and honor and is said to balance male and female energies. Amazonite increases confidence and strengthens communication skills, helping us to express ourselves. It is a particularly good stone for writers and artists, looking to increase their creativity and self-expression. It is also a great stone to open our minds and help us see both sides of a problem, hence being a great helper in leadership. Amazonite helps us let go of any greed or selfishness, encouraging patience, compassion, and tolerance.

10. Ruby: Ruby is a symbol of vitality, contentment, energy and zest for life. It is said to encourage passion and self-love. By releasing destructive emotional patterns, it helps us to develop more love for ourselves. Through activating passion and life-force, this gorgeous stone helps us to improve motivation and set goals. Ruby is also known to restore life-force and to aid in cleansing and detoxifying the body, blood and lymph system. It also stimulates the heart and reproductive organs.

Whether gemstones have healing powers or not, if you’re looking for fine gemstone jewelry, look no further than Adina Jeweler’s eBay store. You’ll find a gorgeous range of fine estate, vintage and antique gemstone jewelry at true wholesale prices.

Large Diamonds Unveiling Scientific Discoveries About Earth

In celebration of April’s birthstone, the diamond, we’re sharing an interesting new discovery about diamonds, courtesy of Michelle Graff and nationaljeweler.com.

In February, the Lucapa Diamond Co. in Perth, Western Australia announced that it has discovered the largest recorded diamond ever found in Angola: a 404.2-carat stone that has tested as Type IIa and D color.

The diamond was recovered from Alluvial Mining Block 8 at Angola’s Lulo Mine,  which has produced more than 60 large, special diamonds since they started mining there just last August.

The company reported that the 404.2-carat stone is the 27th largest recorded diamond in the world, and the biggest diamond ever discovered by an Australian mining company. It also is the fourth 100-plus-carat diamond to be recovered from Lulo to date, as well as the 114th largest “special” diamond–meaning it weighs more than 10.8 carats–recovered from the mine.

Of further interest is the scientific work that geologists are doing on the unique properties of large Type IIa diamonds similar to the ones being found at Angola’s Lulo Mine.

Evan Smith, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Gemological Institute of America specializing in diamond geology, and his colleagues are trying to better understand Earth’s mantle, which is beneath tectonic plates and, as such, largely inaccessible for scientific observation.

As you may already know, Type IIa diamonds have very little to no nitrogen, which is what makes white diamonds so exceptionally colorless and fancy color diamonds so vibrant. Large Type IIa diamonds that make headlines also tend to be irregular in shape, rather than the nice, symmetrical octahedrons like so many smaller stones. They often have a surface that’s rounded and somewhat dissolved, “almost like a lollipop after someone’s been after it for a while,” says Smith.

The fact that these big, beautiful diamonds are different has not escaped the attention of earth scientists, who have wondered for years if they form in a different way, in a different part of Earth’s mantle, and thus tell us something different about our planet.

In order to conduct the study, though, Smith and the other researchers could not limit themselves to these kinds of large and exceedingly rare diamonds. Instead, they studied Type IIa diamonds of all sizes that came through the GIA lab, including some that were smaller than a carat.

After examining 52 Type IIa stones (and one Type Iab) of all sizes at the GIA lab, Smith and the other researchers found that in nearly three-quarters of the diamonds (38 out of 53), the inclusions weren’t graphite but metallic, a solidified mixture of iron, nickel, carbon, and sulfur.

This is significant because it changes the way scientists think about how different elements, like carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur, are distributed. It also has broad implications for understanding the behavior of the deep Earth, including the recycling of surface rocks into the convecting mantle.

Smith said this discovery verifies what geologists have been theorizing for 10 or more years: that the Earth’s deeper mantle environment has a “light peppering” (up to 1 percent) of metallic iron.

If you’re looking for a diamond but don’t want to pay retail prices, visit Adina’s Ebay store where you can rely on the diamond experts at Adina Jewelers. You’ll find fine a vast selection of fine certified diamonds and get a buying experience that’s above your expectations.

To read more about this study, read Michelle Graff’s interview with Evan Smith at nationaljeweler.com.

September Birthstone Q&A: Sapphire

September Birthstone Q&A: SapphireSeptember’s birthstone, the sapphire, has a rich history. Blue sapphires have been associated with royalty for centuries. One of the most recognizable pieces is the sapphire and diamond engagement ring given to the late Princess Diana by Prince Charles, now famously passed down a generation to Kate Middleton by Prince William.

Test your knowledge of sapphires, and learn some interesting facts about September’s royal birthstone.

  1. In addition to being the birthstone for September, what number wedding anniversary do sapphires celebrate?
  2. Blue sapphire is a variety of the mineral called corundum. What other gemstone comes from corundum?
  3. The blue sapphire is derived from the Greek word, sappheiros. What does the word mean?
  4. Sapphires come in many colors. What is the most valuable and in-demand color?
  5. The Star of India is the world’s largest gem-quality blue star sapphire, and is around two billion years old. In what famous museum is it displayed?
  6. On the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphires rate a 9.0. What gem is harder?
  7. What did the ancient Greeks believe sapphires were a symbol of?
  8. The ancient Persians believed the earth was supported by a giant sapphire and that it gave what its blue hue?
  9. According to Jewish midrash, Moses’ sapphire tablets were carved from where?
  10. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, famously chose a blue sapphire and diamond ring for her engagement to Prince Charles. Replicas of the ring became so popular with people, that it was given what nickname?

September Birthstone Quiz Answers:


  1. Sapphires celebrate the 45th wedding anniversary.
  2. Rubies also come from the mineral corundum.
  3. The Greek word sappheiros meaning blue stone.
  4. Blue sapphires are the most expensive and desirable of all sapphire colors.
  5. The Star of India is on exhibit in the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
  6. Diamonds are the only gem to rank a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
  7. The ancient Greeks believed sapphires were a symbol of wisdom and purity.
  8. The ancient Persians believed a giant sapphire gave the sky its blue hue.
  9. According to Jewish midrash, Moses’ sapphire tablets were carved from the throne of God, making them the most precious gemstone.
  10. Princess Diana’s ring became so popular with the public that it became known as “the commoner’s ring.”

All About Rubies Quiz

All about rubies, July birthstones

All about rubies, July birthstones

Think you know rubies?  Test your knowledge of July’s birthstone with our quiz! Answers are at the end, but don’t peek!

  1. The word ruby is derived from what Latin word for red?
  2. What does the Sanskrit word for ruby, “ratnaraj,” mean?
  3. Ruby is the birthstone for July, as well as what astrological sign?
  4. Ruby is the red gem quality form of the mineral corundum, the second hardest natural mineral known to mankind. What is the first hardest natural mineral?
  5. What causes the red coloration of rubies?
  6. What are all colors of corundum other than red known as?
  7. What are pink shades of rubies known as?
  8. On what wedding anniversary are rubies given?
  9. The finest rubies in the world were once found in Burma in Southeast Asia. What is the country Burma called today?
  10. Rubies from the legendary mines in Mogok often have a pure red color. What avian term is sometimes used to describe this color?
  11. The most expensive ruby ever sold was an 8.62-carat, pigeon’s blood cushion-cut ruby set in an 18-karat gold rectangular mount. How much did it sell for and where was the auction?
  12. In ancient times, ruby was thought to give its wearer what?
  13. True or false: Rubies are considered more valuable than top-quality diamonds.
  14. At the end of the movie The Wizard of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy she can return home to Kansas by clicking the heels of her ruby slippers together three times and repeating what phrase?
  15. In 1960, how did scientist Theodore Maiman change the world with a ruby?

Ruby quiz answers:

  1. The word ruby comes from the Latin for red, “rubeus,”  “ruber,” or “rubens.”
  2. The Sanskrit word for ruby is “ratnaraj” which roughly translates to “king of the gems.”
  3. Ruby is also the gemstone for the astrological sign of Capricorn.
  4. The diamond is the first hardest mineral with an absolute hardness of 1600, four times more than corundum, which has an absolute hardness of 400.
  5. Trace amounts of the element chromium is what causes rubies to appear red.
  6. Colors of corundum other than red are called sapphires.
  7. Rubies in shades of pink are simply referred to as pink sapphires.
  8. Rubies are traditionaly given to celebrate both the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
  9. Today, Burma is known as Myanmar.
  10. The color of the pure red rubies from the mines of Mogok is sometimes referred to as “pigeon’sblood.”
  11. The most expensive ruby ever sold at auction was purchased at Christie’s in 2006 for a reported $3.6 million.
  12. Ruby was thought to give its wearer good health, wisdom, wealth, and success in love.
  13. True. Flawless top-quality rubies are more valuable and rarer than top-quality colorless diamonds.
  14. To return to Kansas, Dorothy must click her heels three times and repeat, “There’s no place like home.”
  15. Theodore Maiman invented the world’s first laser, known as the “ruby laser” in 1960. The first generation of lasers were solid state using a ruby crystal.

The Appeal of Pearls and Other Interesting Facts

s-l1600What is it about pearls that appeals to us so? Maybe it’s because fine natural pearls are so rare? Or that we associate them with class, royalty and femininity? George Kunz says, “The pearl, like a lady of old, pure and fair to look upon, is the emblem of modesty and purity.” Whatever your reasons, here are some interesting facts about this mysterious and beloved orb.

The pearl was adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 as the official birthstone of June, along with alexandrite and moonstone. Pearls are also the birthstone for the sun signs of Gemini and Cancer, and are traditionally given as a 30th wedding anniversary gift.

Pearls are organic gems created when a tiny irritant, usually a parasite, enters a mollusk, such as an oyster, mussel, or clam. Annoyed by this foreign invader, the mollusk begins coating it in a natural substance it produces called nacre (pronounced NAY-ker). Nacre is made up primarily of aragonite (a carbonate crystal) bonded with weaker materials, such as proteins and chitin. The oyster slowly coats the irritant in layers of nacre, over time forming a pearl.

Not all pearls are round, but perfectly symmetrical pearls are generally the most desired and expensive. Pearls are primarily found in oyster beds in the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka, and in the Red Sea. Chinese pearls come mainly from freshwater rivers and ponds, whereas Japanese pearls are found near the coast in salt water.

It’s an interesting mechanical phenomenon how round pearls are created. When you look at a pearl up close under a microscope, it’s actually not smooth, but covered in tiny sawtooth-like steps or terraces. When a mollusk is forming a pearl, water molecules around the pearl warm up, pushing off the small terraces, causing a tiny amount of rotation in one direction. The oyster very slowly and naturally turns, like a ratchet, thus creating a round-shaped pearl.

There are essentially three types of pearls: natural, cultured and imitation. Because of today’s technology, there are many cultured pearls that are not only stunning to behold, they are affordable to the average jewelry fan. Natural pearls, on the other hand, have always been a rarity, and are an expensive indulgence usually reserved for the rich and famous. You can tell if a pearl is real by sliding it across your teeth. If it’s gritty, it’s probably real.

For some pearl perspective, in 1913, Pierre Cartier traded a single strand of 55 natural pearls valued at $1.2 million to banker Morton Plant in exchange for his mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City! That same property is now Cartier’s U.S. flagship store at Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street.

While on their honeymoon in Japan in 1954, Joe DiMaggio presented Marilyn Monroe with a 16-inch, single-strand Akoya pearl necklace consisting of 44 Mikimoto pearls. The necklace has been shown around the world as part of a traveling exhibition sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Field Museumin Chicago. It is currently owned by Mikimoto (America) Co., Ltd. as part of a valuable collection of pearls and pearl jewelry.

Many First Ladies have loved the simple yet classic elegance of pearl necklaces and bracelets. Barbara Bush was known for wearing her three-strand costume pearl necklace while in the White House. They became so popular that many companies created replicas and sold them as “First Lady Pearls” or “Barbara Bush Pearls.”

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis loved her pearl necklaces and made them wildly popular while she was in the White House. Her signature piece as First Lady was a triple-strand faux pearl necklace designed by jeweler Kenneth Jay Lane. The necklace went on to sell for $211,500 at a Sotheby’s auction.

Shortly after her death in 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s La Peregrina pearl necklace was sold at Christie’s “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” auction for $11.8 million — the highest amount any pearl has ever sold for at auction.

Pearls also have a rich history of mythology and lore attached to them. Cultured and freshwater pearls are considered to offer the power of love, money, protection, and luck. Pearls are also thought to give wisdom and keep children safe.

Ancient legend also associates pearls with fertility, and pearls still have a strong feminine energy today. Pearls were thought to be the tears of the gods, and the Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying.

Are you in the market for pearls? If you’re looking for a unique gift for a June birthday girl, or you’re looking for a strand of pearls for yourself, shop Adina’s Ebay store for stunning estate, vintage and antique fine jewelry, available at true wholesale prices. We have vast selection of pearl jewelry and we will deliver a buying experience that’s above your expectations.

Diamond Facts

featured-productThose born during the month of April have one of the most regal and desired gems as their birthstone: the diamond. Here are some interesting facts about diamonds you may not know.

Diamonds are a naturally occurring allotrope of the element, carbon. Diamonds are formed deep inside the earth’s interior when carbon is crystallized over a long period of time due to two factors: heat and pressure.

Diamonds were first mined in India around 800 B.C. Today, the four top diamond producing countries in the world are Australia, Zaire, Botswana, and Russia. Interestingly, Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas is the only diamond-producing location in the world that allows the public to dig for and keep the diamonds they find.

Diamonds are appraised and priced based on a standard grading system by the Gemological Institute of America (the GIA). The grading system is known as “The 4 Cs” and consist of color, clarity, carat weight, and cut.

Diamond jewelry has gained fame as a result of its presence in legendary films. Marilyn Monroe famously sang “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the 1953 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Actress Jane Russell later sang the signature song in the same film, in court, while pretending to be Monroe’s character, Lorelei.

In the 1963 film, The Pink Panther, Peter Sellers played clueless police inspector Jacques Clouseau, on the trail of a jewel thief known as The Phantom. In the movie, “the largest diamond in the world” is called The Pink Panther.

And who can forget James Cameron’s movie Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, in which the fictional blue diamond called “The Heart of the Ocean” is tragically lost to the ocean. 
Diamonds have also gained notoriety as a result of record-breaking auction sales. In December 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s renowned jewelry collection was auctioned at Christie’s in New York. One of her most famous pieces was the Taylor-Burton diamond ring, given to her by husband, Richard Burton. The Taylor-Burton diamond is a 69.42 carat pear-shaped stone estimated to be worth $3.5 million. Taylor sold the diamond in 1978 following her divorce from Burton to fund her charity work.

On December 10, 2012 at the final lot of Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels” auction, a new world auction record was achieved for a reddish-orange fancy colored diamond. The rare 3.15 carat diamond is the largest reddish-orange diamond ever graded at the GIA, and sold for $2,098,500, setting a new per-carat record price of $666,200.

In the market for diamonds? Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring, a tennis bracelet, diamond stud earrings, or more, shop Adina’ eBay store for stunning estate, vintage and antique fine diamond jewelry, available at true wholesale prices. We have vast selection of certified diamonds and other gemstone jewelry for women and men, and we will deliver a buying experience that’s above your expectations.

 
 
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