Trends in custom jewellery design in Brisbane for 2017

There’s no denying that there’s a lot of mass produced jewellery available in Brisbane. Custom jewellery design has always been a popular choice, though, because nothing can replace a handcrafted and unique piece of jewellery. Custom jewellery design in Brisbane is really taking off.

When you want something special, such as an engagement ring, there is no point in buying the exact same ring worn by everyone else. This is one of the problems with mass produced jewellery and it’s why so many people veer towards personalised jewellery design in Brisbane.

You might be interested to know that trends in jewellery design are not quick to change, however, the popularity of precious metals and gemstones does tend to rise and fall over the years. For example, large hoop earrings used to be very trendy during the 1980’s, mainly mass produced at the time, but are now making a comeback with more customised settings.

So let’s take a look at some of the growing jewellery design trends in Brisbane during 2017.

Earring jewellery trends for 2017

Large drop pendant earrings hot fashion tips for this year (many famous female celebrities love this trend!), and geometric shapes filled with clusters of gemstones are making waves as well. Ear climbers and ear jackets are still looking good for this year and make a spectacular display when made from white gold (infused with rhodium plating for a brilliant white shine) and a cascade of diamonds.

Art Deco is also having an influence on earring jewellery with the trending geometric shapes inspiring some sensational and decorative statement pieces. Asymmetry is also becoming popular with designs for the left and right earrings being complementary, but distinctly different.

Engagement ring trends for 2017

In 2017, Halo settings for engagement rings are hot, but so are coloured diamonds. Just imagine a large centre diamond surrounded by a cluster of coloured diamonds or gemstones, giving you a truly unique engagement ring. Rose gold and vintage inspired custom jewellery is also on the rise, taking inspiration from the Art Deco style as well.

Custom jewellery design in 2017 is all about taking more traditional designs and giving them a fresh, new twist. Make an appointment to see us at our studio in the Brisbane Arcade and discover the pleasures of custom jewellery for yourself.

How long does rhodium plating last?

In our Brisbane studio, we often coat our diamond engagement rings with Rhodium plating, which is a process that gives a lovely bright, white lustre to yellow gold. Rhodium is one of the most expensive of the precious metals, belonging to the Platinum group and it is very rare. The process of Rhodium plating is called ‘electroplating’ and whilst the Rhodium is only a few microns thick, it is perfect for keeping your jewellery bright, shiny and white.

It is important to remember however, that even though this thin layer of Rhodium imbues a brilliant and luxurious white shine to your diamond engagement rings, Rhodium itself, plays little part in preventing wear and tear. In fact, Rhodium plating only lasts between 3 months and a year, depending on the amount of wear that can be seen.

You will know when your rings need to be re-plated again, because you will start to see glimmers of yellow gold showing through the coating of the Rhodium plating. In Brisbane, we can re-plate your diamond engagement rings and wedding rings at our design studio in the Brisbane Arcade and the cost usually ranges from $100 to $200.

Tips on extending the life of your Rhodium plating

If the Rhodium plating on your diamond engagement rings needs to be replaced too soon, then it is best to have your rings examined by an expert jeweller to ensure that the layer of plating is not too thin for your purposes. Even though the usual layer of Rhodium is extremely thin, on occasion it can be too thin and if so, this problem can be easily rectified, resulting in fewer trips to the jewellery store.

Don’t forget that because the layer of Rhodium is so fine, continual rubbing will increase the wear of the Rhodium on your rings. This increased wear and tear can be an occupational hazard in jobs where you are required to wash your hands frequently, such as in the healthcare industry. In these cases, it is best to remove your rings at work, otherwise you will need to have them re-plated more often than normal.

Also, avoid strong cleaning fluids that might react with the Rhodium plating, causing it to wear away faster than normal. Wear protective gloves if possible, and if not, remove your rings to keep them looking bright and shiny for longer.

If you live in Brisbane and your diamond engagement rings need to be re-plated with Rhodium, you can make an appointment to see us at our CBD studio.

What types of metals are available for wedding rings?

The metals available to designer jewellers in Brisbane for crafting handmade wedding rings varies, particularly for bespoke wedding rings. There is however, a core group of traditional metals that are generally available for use in designer jewellery in Brisbane, including 9ct (9k) yellow or white gold or 18ct (18k) yellow or white gold, as well as sterling silver and platinum.

How to select the best metal for your designer jewellery in Brisbane

One of the factors that is important when selecting the metal for your wedding rings is the hardness of the metal itself. Each metal has a different density, hardness and malleability and it is important to choose the correct metal for your wedding ring.

As one of the leading designer jewellers in Brisbane, we usually recommend selecting the same material for your wedding ring as used in the crafting of your engagement ring. This is because the two metals will sit next to one another on your finger, and on a daily basis will wear away at each other. The same metals in each ring will wear against one another evenly, whilst different metals with wear unevenly.

For example, if you were to wear a sterling silver ring beside a platinum ring, since platinum is harder than silver, the silver ring will be worn down by the platinum ring. However, if you were to wear an 18ct white gold ring alongside an 18ct yellow gold ring, the difference in density and hardness between these two metals, is a lot less. This is because the same quantity of fine gold exists in each ring (750/1000) it is just the alloy that is different, so the wearing is much more even.
If you are considering purchasing wedding bands in the near future, we recommend speaking with our highly qualified designer jewellers in Brisbane, as they can discuss the finer details of selecting the correct metal for your wedding ring.

As an aside, one of the current trends concerning designer jewellery in Brisbane involves couples purchasing palladium wedding rings. Unfortunately, as this metal is very soft it is usually used as an alloy alongside other metals, and it is this softness that makes it unsuitable as a standalone metal in wedding rings. We therefore recommend that you do not use this metal for your wedding rings.

For bespoke, handcrafted wedding rings, you can make an appointment to see us or call us on 07 3012 8112.

How long does it take to repair jewellery?

As designer jewellers in Brisbane, we have many customers who ask us to repair their jewellery. Sometimes the jewellery has simply broken for a variety of reasons and other times, they have lost a diamond or other precious stone, because the settings have become loose.

Our customers are often surprised to learn that it can take up to two weeks for us to repair their treasured items, but there are very good reasons why it can take this long. Once we explain the reasons behind our repair schedules, our customers are more than happy to leave their precious jewellery with us for repairs.

Scheduling your repairs

As one of the leading designer jewellers in Brisbane, we both design and repair jewellery. This means that we need to schedule repairs to fit in with our time frames. Once one of our craftsmen begins designing a custom piece of jewellery or commences to repair an item of jewellery, he or she will continue until the piece is perfect.

This means that our repairs times must be flexible enough to accommodate our roles as both expert designer jewellers in Brisbane and professional repairers of jewellery. Every piece of jewellery deserves the complete attention of our master craftsmen to ensure that each piece is perfect.

Handcrafted repairs

Our customers bring their repairs to us because we are professional designer jewellers in Brisbane, and they appreciate the quality and the time we invest in every single design or repair. Some repairs are quite simple and others far more complicated, taking hours of precision and an expert eye. In some instances, we need to source the best diamonds or other precious gems as replacements for stones that have been lost and of course, this takes time.

On some occasions, repairs can be completed very swiftly, it simply depends on the amount of design and repair work we have on our books. Since we are well known for our exceptional work and our high quality repairs, and because people know that we are designer jewellers in Brisbane, our expert craftsmen are in great demand.

To make an appointment to see us for jewellery repairs, please 07 3012 8112 or visit our design studio in the Brisbane Arcade.

How to select the best wedding rings in Brisbane

When you are arranging your wedding, one of the most important decisions you will need to make is to choose your wedding rings. In Brisbane, you have the option of selecting your wedding bands from our existing stock or you can design your own, unique wedding bands.

Many people don’t realise that designing their own wedding rings doesn’t have to break the bank and can be quite similar in price to purchasing a stock wedding ring. So it pays to talk to our designer jeweller, and weigh up all of your options, before you make your final decision.

So if you are ready to purchase your wedding rings in Brisbane, here are a few guidelines to help you decide on the style of wedding rings that you want, making your final selection so much easier and faster.

What type of precious metal do you want?

For wedding rings in Brisbane, you can choose between white, yellow and rose gold and between 9ct, 14ct, 18ct and 22ct. The higher the carat of gold, the softer the metal, so if you perform a lot of manual work, it might be better to opt for a lower carat of gold, as these are stronger and more durable.

You also have other options, such as platinum, titanium or zirconium, and your choice usually comes down to your personal preferences. Rhodium plating is also a consideration, particularly for white gold, as this increases the durability of white gold and increase its resistance to scratching.

Matched engagement and wedding rings

If you already have an engagement ring, do you want your wedding ring to be shaped and styled to match? Our designer jewellers are experienced at crafting quality wedding rings in Brisbane to match existing engagement rings. This ensures that your two rings not only sit comfortably side by side on your finger, but they also look as if they were designed to be a matching pair.

Do you want diamond wedding rings?

Some people like plain bands, whilst others want one or more diamonds included in the design. Now is the time to decide whether you want to include diamonds or other precious gemstone in your wedding rings. In Brisbane, our master craftsmen can design the perfect wedding bands for your wedding, leaving you free to organise the rest of your wonderful celebration.

To make an appointment to see us, call us on 07 3012 8112 and we will be happy to discuss the design of your wedding rings in Brisbane at our studio.

What is rhodium plating?

Rhodium plating is used to give yellow gold a beautiful white sheen and a protective coating to safeguard against wear and tear. Many people prefer white gold to yellow gold, but the problem is that there is no real white gold, which is why we need to use rhodium plating.

In Brisbane, we use rhodium plating on silver, platinum and gold jewellery, because all of these precious metals can be easily scratched and dulled over time. Rhodium on the other hand, (which is also a precious metal) is more strong and durable than these softer metals, not only imbuing a protective layer, but also because rhodium never loses its beautiful shine.

When your jewellery is coated with a layer of rhodium plating, it will look sparkling and brand new for many years. The length of time the plating lasts is determined by how often you wear your jewellery. For example, a white gold wedding ring may lose its shine and sparkle in about 2 years, whilst a broach that is worn every now and again, might last for ten years or more without needing to be recoated.

What’s the cost of rhodium plating in Brisbane?

The cost depends on the thickness of the rhodium plating that is required. This is related to how much yellow there is in the metal of your jewellery and how often you wear the item. A thicker coating of rhodium will ensure that your jewellery looks beautiful, white and sparkly for longer and protects the precious metal of the item from wear and tear for longer.

We suggest that you select a thicker coating for items of jewellery that are worn often, as this reduces the frequency of rhodium plating that is required. As rhodium is a precious metal itself and is quite rare, it is actually more expensive than gold. This means that rhodium plating in Brisbane can hover around the $100 mark for small items of jewellery, depending on its thickness. Even though rhodium plating is an additional cost, it is actually less expensive to have a thicker coating less often, than a thinner coating more often.

For professional and high quality rhodium plating in Brisbane, please make an appointment to see us at our artisan gallery in the Brisbane Arcade.

Designing custom Engagement Rings in Brisbane

There is nothing quite like the pleasure and satisfaction of being able to design your own engagement rings. In Brisbane, many of our clients are quite happy to make their selection from our in-house stock of hand crafted unique designs, whilst others prefer to design their own one-of-a-kind engagement rings.

Designing custom engagement rings in Brisbane is one of our specialities and with more than 65 years as professional artisans, we bring your unique designs to life in front of your eyes. Our craftsmen take great care with every engagement ring and their attention to detail is absolutely perfect.

3 benefits of custom engagement rings in Brisbane

Create a unique expression of your love: An engagement ring is an expression of your love and a promise to spend your lives together as man and wife. This is a very special time in your life and the rings that express your promise of unending love should be both unique and exquisite. After all, when you design your own engagement rings in Brisbane, they are imbued with all of your love, and with your hope for a beautiful future together, as two individuals with a shared dream.

Design the ring of your dreams: Have you always tinkered with a design in your head? Is there a particular gem or setting that has always attracted you? If you have a design for your engagement ring that demands to be expressed, then why waste hours, days and weeks looking for your perfect ring? At Ashley Douglas we help you create the engagement rings of your dreams and put your ideas and designs into rings that are not only a symbol of your love, but also an expression of your inner self and creativity.

Create an heirloom for your family: A unique, custom designed piece of jewellery deserves to be passed down through the generations. Your custom designed engagement rings, created with love and hope can be given to your children and their children, creating a family heirloom that will be cherished into eternity and beyond.

If you want to design exquisite and hand crafted engagement rings in Brisbane, we encourage you to make an appointment to see us at our artisan gallery in the beautiful Brisbane Arcade.

Leah Cahill

Thank you both so much for the stunning rings.  We are so excited. They both have their own look and are absolutely beautiful.

How Hard is it to sell Diamond Engagement Rings?

When you purchase a diamond engagement ring or a white gold diamond ring, you expect to keep it forever, but times change and for one reason or another, sometimes you need to sell your ring. The problem is there are so many different resellers who will be happy to take your ring off your finger for you, how do you decide where to sell your diamond engagement ring?

So, exactly how hard is it to sell your white gold diamond rings or other diamond rings, for that matter and what price can you expect?

Selling your diamond engagement ring to a private buyer
If you sell your diamond ring to a private buyer, then you can just about guarantee you will achieve a higher price than if you sell it to a business. This is because most people don’t really understand the dollar value of jewellery or the current market price and tend to buy with their emotions.

The problem is trying to find a private buyer for your diamond ring. You can advertise your jewellery on EBay or some of the other websites designed for selling second hand items, but many people who pose as private buyers are actually dealers trying to find bargains online. The end result is that it can take quite a while to find a private buyer who will give you your asking price and in the end you might still have to sell to a dealer.

Selling your white gold diamond ring to a dealer
If you sell your diamond rings to a business, such as a diamond dealer, a pawnshop or a jewellery store, they will most likely pay you less than the market value of your ring, which is most probably not the price you have in your head. This is because a business doesn’t bring emotion into the selling or buying process and will only give you a price which benefits them, when they resell your ring. The upside is that a business will buy your diamond engagement ring right then and there and give you the cash in your hand.

On the other hand, if you are in the market to buy a beautifully crafted white gold diamond ring, then pop into Ashley Douglas in the Brisbane Arcade and prepare to be amazed.

Trends in Jewellery Design

Just as fashions change each year, there are also trends in jewellery design in Brisbane every year. These trends don’t change the popularity of rings, necklaces and bracelets, they change how they look and how they are worn. So let’s take a look at some of the popular trends in Brisbane jewellery design this year.

Trending Jewellery design in Brisbane

If you want to be on trend with your jewellery this year, then you need to revamp the more traditional view of jewellery and take note of the following trends.

Jewellery Stacking

Whether it is necklaces or rings, the trend of stacking is becoming more and more popular. No longer is it only appropriate to wear one ring on a finger or just one necklace, now you can wear multiple rings on the same finger and lots of different necklaces all at once.

Different metals

Traditionally, if you wear a rose gold ring, you also wear the same necklace and bracelet – wearing mismatched metals was so gauche! Now however, anything goes and there is an increasing trend in Brisbane jewellery design circles for wearing different types of metals all at once. So ferret out all of your favourite pieces and if they are made from different metals, you will be right on trend.

Coloured diamonds

Some people have always believed that white diamonds are the most popular, but jewellery design in Brisbane has seen a significant uptick in different coloured diamonds being used in custom pieces. Yellows, pinks and champagne diamonds are being increasingly used in customised jewellery designs in Brisbane, so keep your eye on this trend and consider coloured diamonds for your next purchase.

The humble wrist watch
With the massive increase in smart phones, wristwatches were relegated to the back closet, but no anymore! The humble wristwatch is making a comeback and the designs to watch for (no pun intended!) are retro designs with large watch faces. Watches can make a real fashion statement and it is great to see them making a resurgence in the market.

So if you want to keep on trend with all of the changes in Brisbane jewellery design, pop into Ashely Douglas in the Brisbane Arcade and check out all of their fabulous custom designs.

Trends in Diamond Rings in Brisbane

We all know that diamonds are forever, but there are trends in diamond rings in Brisbane, just as there are trends in fashion and hairstyles. Some settings for diamond engagement rings become very popular for a time and then they wane as other settings start to trend higher.

The same happens with precious metals, with white gold being very popular a few years ago, taking over from yellow gold which had remained popular for a long time. So let’s take a look at what settings and precious metals are trending today for diamond rings in Brisbane.

Rose gold is very popular for diamond rings in Brisbane
Rose gold is a metal that many people tend to think of as ‘old’, something their grandmothers used to wear. Rose gold has always seemed old-fashioned and has tended to trend behind both yellow and white gold as the preference for diamond rings. Well, all that has changed, because rose gold is now becoming much more popular and fashionable and is rapidly taking over from white gold, being seen as having a more vintage and warm feel than white gold.

Halo rings are the most popular setting for diamond engagement rings
Halo ring settings are very popular right now because they look absolutely fabulous and give you a lot of bang for your buck. This is because the Halo setting is one diamond (or other gem stone) in the centre surrounded by a host of other diamonds or precious stones. The design of the Halo setting makes it look as if the centre stone is much larger than it really is, so you can have a one carat setting looking more like one and a half or even two carats, simply because of the way the stones are set.

The new upcoming trend in diamond engagement rings is the Princess setting
Jewellers are seeing an uptick in Princess settings for diamond rings in Brisbane as this setting offers a very clean and angled approach to jewellery. The design is based on a perfect square cut diamond, which to keep its futuristic and streamlined design, is matched with a white gold band. The result is a stunning diamond ring which is quickly catching up with the Halo setting in popularity.

So if you are looking for jewellery in Brisbane, keep an eye open for Halo or Princess settings and rose gold bands.

Why is Rhodium Plating Good for Your Jewellery?

In Brisbane, Rhodium plating is very popular and is used on a variety of different pieces of jewellery. The reason that rhodium plating is used so much is because when you spend your time and money on selecting a wonderful piece of jewellery, you want it to remain sparkling and fabulous forever.

The problem is that some types of precious metals can easily tarnish or scratch over time and so your jewellery loses its ‘new’ sparkly look and attractive quality. This is why plating your jewellery with rhodium is so good, because it helps to keep your jewellery looking beautiful for much longer than normal.

The benefits of rhodium plating for your jewellery
Rhodium plating is used on silver, platinum and white gold jewellery because it gives these pieces an added layer of protection. Rhodium itself is a rare, precious metal, so rare in fact that it usually costs more than gold.

This precious metal is very strong and durable and it is highly resistant to scratches and corrosion. Its strength and protective qualities are the main reasons why rhodium plating in Brisbane is so popular, but there is also another reason as well. This reason is that rhodium has a natural high reflective quality, so it never loses its shine or sparkle.

Coating your white metal jewellery with rhodium will help to keep your jewellery looking brand new and sparkling forever.

Are there any disadvantages to rhodium plating?
There are no disadvantages to plating your jewellery with rhodium, the only factor you do need to keep in mind is that this plating does not last forever. You will need to have the plating renewed as it does wear away over time and the reason it wears away is because it is only a coating over your jewellery.

The thickness of the plating and how often you wear the jewellery will dictate how often you need your jewellery replated. High quality jewellers usually use a thickness of between 0.75 and 1.50 microns, giving you a few years of wear before replating is required. Some jewellers use plating which is less than 0.75 microns, but this can wear off in literally months and can make your cheaper jewellery very expensive in the long run. So always be sure to go to a high quality jeweller for your rhodium plating in Brisbane.

Where can I find trendy diamond engagement rings in Brisbane?

If you are in the market for a trendy diamond engagement ring, you can easily pop into any jewellery store and take your pick of many ready-to-buy diamond rings in Brisbane. The problem is that these rings are made for the masses and there are thousands of people wearing the exact same ring at any one time.

Most people however, don’t want a copy of someone else’s ring, they want a unique and exquisitely designed diamond ring in Brisbane. So in this case, your best bet is to drop into Ashley Douglas Jewellers in the Brisbane Arcade.

Ashely Douglas create one of a kind diamond engagement rings

Ashley Douglas are master jewellers and have over 50 year’s collective experience creating customised designer jewellery for their clients. They are so good at what they do that you can take in your ideas for a piece of jewellery and they will turn your dreams into reality, right there in front of you.

This is one of the reasons why Ashley Douglas are so popular, because their highly experienced and talented jewellers sit with you to create your design. You can actually watch them creating your jewellery in front of your eyes. Even better, because their design studio is in their window, you can walk along Brisbane Arcade and stand outside to watch these master jewellers at their work.

A diamond engagement ring is a commitment to the one you love and should be as unique and exquisite as your beloved. The master jewellers at Ashley Douglas will bring your design to life and there is no better way to show your love to your partner than by giving a diamond engagement ring that you designed yourself – this is truly an act of love.

So if you are ready to purchase a diamond ring in Brisbane, seriously consider dropping into Ashley Douglas in the Brisbane Arcade and sharing your design thoughts with their master jewellers. Just image your beloved’s smile when you present them with a diamond engagement ring that is your own design and infused with your everlasting love.

November Birthstone

The birthstone for November is Topaz.

Those born in the month of November can claim the topaz as their birthstone. Spoiled for choice, lively topaz occurs in a wide range of colours- white (colourless), pink, red, yellow, green, blue, brown and black. From the Sanskrit, meaning fire, it was one believed that topaz could regulate heat- cooling boiling water and reducing high fevers. As an emotional salve, topaz was said to subdue unwarranted anger. During the Middle Ages, those wishing to cultivate imperial favour, and gain royal patronage would wear a topaz charm engraved with a falcon.

Ground topaz added to wine was thought to prevent asthma, staunch bleeding and cure insomnia. Poor eyesight was supposedly improved by rubbing a wine-soaked topaz onto the eyelids. Often associated with solar deities, the Egyptians believed that the topaz contained the energy of the Sun God Ra, while the Romans associated the gem with their god of sun, Jupiter. These affiliations made the topaz a very powerful talisman, protecting wearers from harm. They were also used to detect poison- the colour of gem transforming in the presence of tainted fare.

Symbolic of constancy, friendship and strength, the topaz purportedly releases tension and balances emotions. The curative power of the topaz is at maximum capacity during the full moon.
Said to be a perfect gift, topaz will “warm” the heart of the fortunate recipient.

“Who first comes to this world below
With drear November’s fog and snow,
Should prize the topaz’s amber hue,
Emblem of friends and lovers true.”
Birthstone Poems, 1870, Tiffany & Co, author unknown.

October Birthstone

The birthstone for October is Opal.

“… it is made up of the glories of the most precious stones. To describe it is a matter of inexpressive difficulty: There is in it the gentler fire of the ruby, the brilliant purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, all shining together in an incredible union.” Pliny The Elder, 23AD-79 AD

“…the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva once vied in jealous love for a beautiful woman. This angered the Eternal, who changed the fair mortal into a creature made of mist. Thereupon each of the three gods endowed her with his own colour so as to be able to recognise her. Brahma gave her the glorious blue of the heavens, Vishnu enriched her with the splendour of gold, and Shiva lent her his flaming red. But all this was in vain, since the lovely phantom was whisked away by the winds. Finally, the Eternal took pity on her and transformed her into a stone, a stone [sic.] that sparkles in all the colours of the rainbow.” “Gemstones” by William Heaps

” In the dreamtime of the aborigines, it is said that the Creator came down to Earth on a rainbow to bring the message of peace to humans and at the point where his foot touched the earth, the stones started sparkling and came alive with all the colours of the rainbow. Anonymous

These quotes, reference the unique mineraloid that is October’s birthstone- the opal. Though usually linked with Australia, the opal is not exclusive to this continent. Celebrated for their
‘play of colours”, the name opal is derived from the Sanskrit word upala meaning precious stone.

The ancient Greeks referred to opal as opallios, literally, “to see a change in colour” and believed it bestowed the gift of foresight. Other cultures revered it as a sacred stone, one that would cloak a “true” owner with supernatural talent for invisibility – subsequently thieves and highwaymen appropriated the opal as their profession’s good luck charm!

Opals comprise of hydrated silicon dioxide, which in simple terms is a mix of silica and water. They range from colourless, to white, blue, grey, and on through to black. As light passes through the silica spheres in the microstructure of the opal, it diffracts into the rainbow display that is the colour spectrum. The colours ebb and flow as the viewing angle changes.

Traditionally a symbol of love and hope, the ancients believed that opals fell from the heavens in flashes of lightening. During the middle ages the opal was considered an accurate barometer of an individual’s wellbeing – colour intensity fluctuations were indicative of a change in health. Women once wore opals in their hair to protect its shine and colour.

Shakespeare referenced the opal in “Twelfth Night” as the queen of gems, as this notion is as applicable today as it was then.

“October’ child is born for woe,
And life’s vicissitudes must know,
But lay an opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest”
Birthstone Poems, 1870, Tiffany & Co, author unknown.

September Birthstone

The birthstone for September is Sapphire.

A member of the corundum mineral family and the composite sister of the ruby, the many-hued sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. While blue is the colour most typically associated with sapphire, this gem stone comes in a variety of colours; namely pink, orange, white, green, yellow, and sometimes a combination of colours (parti). Red corundum is known as ruby and all other shades are categorised as sapphire.

A stone of purity, the blue sapphire, evokes a sense of dependability and commitment. As a colour choice, blue is prodigiously popular, equally appealing to men and women. It is seen as trustworthy, serene and spiritual. It is the colour of constancy, belonging to sea and sky- both unequivocally perpetual realms. These qualities have unsurprisingly transferred to the symbolism of the sapphire. The more electric shades of blue, found in the sapphire palette, are assuredly redolent of dramatic, dynamic, exhilarating emotions, while the darkest hued sapphires call to mind mystical wisdom and profound insight.

The word sapphire has its etymological origins in several ancient languages; the Greek word sappheiros the Arabic safir and Latin sapphirus. The ancient Persians named it the “Celestial Stone”. In Greek mythology, the sapphire was synonymous with Apollo, the god of prophesy. Those seeking his divine assistance would adorn themselves in sapphires when worshipping at his shrine. Throughout the ages, members of the clergy wore sapphires as talismans for chasity, and campaigning soldiers would often bestow a sapphire necklace on their wives to ensure fidelity. The sapphire was also thought to protect the wearer from harm and envy and not surprisingly, serpents. The all-conquering sapphire supposedly sounded the death knell for all manner of poisonous reptiles. Sapphire’s purity and potency would have been a discernible antidote for the malevolent snake. Thirteenth century Frenchmen put great stock in the transformative and redemptive powers of the sapphire- by all accounts the gem was effective in converting stupidity to wisdom and irritability to congeniality.

With a colour choice to suit most tastes, the sapphire continues to attract admirers.

“A maiden born when September leaves
Are rustling in September’s breeze,
A sapphire on her brow should bind
‘Twill cure diseases of the mind.”
Birthstone Poems, 1870, Tiffany & Co, author unknown.

August Birthstone

The birthstone for August is Peridot.

The appealing peridot is the birthstone for the month of August. Among the oldest known gemstones, this transparent variety of olivine was once regarded as the symbol of the sun. The peridot is recognised as an idochromatic gem- this means that the colour of the stone is derived from its chemical composition alone, and not from the presence of minor impurities. Therefore, peridots are only found in shades of green, characteristically ranging from lime to olive.

The peridot has a long association with royalty across several cultures. The ancient Greeks thought peridots conferred a regal dignity upon the wearer and the Ottoman Turks famously bejewelled their sultans’ thrones with this gem. Worn not only as beaded necklaces, peridot was also in popular use as pendants, rings and intaglios with Roman nobility. Once called “evening emeralds”, peridots were said to ward off evil spirits. Returning Crusaders brought them back to Europe where they featured predominantly in clerical ornamentation. The peridot was also favoured by Russian tsars- a staggeringly large 192 carat olive green peridot is part of the Russian crown jewels. (Sizeably more impressive, is the reportedly largest ever, cut peridot, weighing 310 carats which is currently housed in the Smithsonian.)

Found in both meteorites and volcanic lava, the peridot is symbolic of the tears of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes. From the Arabic word “faridat” meaning the gem, the peridot is also known as chrysolith. Representative of love, truth, loyalty dignity and protection, the peridot is said to host magical and healing powers.
The ancients believed the peridot was gift from Mother Nature- a springtime stone indicative of lightness and compassion. Excellent for balancing the heart chakra, cleansing peridot protects against negative emotions and supposedly has a healing effect on the gall bladder and the liver. This harmonising, green gem exudes a renewing energy; easing relationship discord, whilst extinguishing the negative emotions of jealousy and anger.

The true beauty of the peridot is supposedly only revealed to those with a pure heart and a clear mind.

“Wear a peridot or for thee,
No conjugal felicity;
The August-born without this stone,
‘Tis said, must live unloved and lone.”
Birthstone Poems, 1870, Tiffany & Co, author unknown.

July Birthstone

The birthstone for July is Ruby.

Ruby, the rose sister of sapphire, belongs to the corundum family and is the birthstone for those born during month of July. Look into a ruby and you will see the very life essence of the heart of Mother Earth- or so it was once believed.

Often referred to as the “glowing stone” or the “lamp stone’ ancient Asian cultures regarded the ruby as self-luminous; legend told of radiant rubies being used as lanterns and lighting entire rooms. Nowadays, we can appreciate how this legend came about. Rubies from one particular geographical region fluoresce so intensely, that the effect is evident even in ordinary sunlight; these rubies literally glimmer in the sunshine. A ruby’s fluorescence is one of the properties that can often determine the stone’s place of origin.

Named for the Latin word ruber, meaning red, rubies where once thought to be ripened sapphires. A member of the “big four” of precious gems, the ruby can range in colour from a light raspberry red to the rare and favoured, intense blue- red known as “pigeon’s blood” red. The level of chromium and iron present in a gem, will determine a ruby’s shade.

Representing integrity, devotion, courage, vitality, confidence, strength and happiness, the romantic ruby is said to arouse the senses and stir the imagination. Maro Polo relates a tale where the Emperor Kubla Khan offered up an entire city in exchange for one, gigantic ruby belonging to the King of Ceylon. The Emperor was sadly disappointed when the monarch refused to part with the mesmerising ruby- apparently “all the treasures of the world”, would not entice the king to part with the magnificent gem.

During the Middle Ages, rubies were worn to guard against wicked thoughts and impure desires, and were said to assist in settling disputes. Reputedly, the ruby also held the power to warn its owner of approaching calamity; it is believed that Catherine of Aragon predicted her own demise when she witnessed the darkening of her ruby jewellery. Predicator or not, this vermillion gem remains an everlasting symbol of robust health, wisdom and romance.

“The glowing ruby shall adorn,
Those who in July are born;
Then they’ll be exempt and free
From love’s doubts and anxiety.”
Birthstone Poems, 1870, Tiffany & Co, author unknown.

June Birthstone

The birthstone for June is Pearl.

Those born in June are privileged to call the pearl their birthstone. This organic gem has been used for decorative purposes for more than five thousand years; early trading dates back to 2500 BC.

Produced either naturally or by cultivation, pearls are found in seawater or freshwater bi-valve molluscs, mostly of the oyster variety. A tiny irritant such as a piece of shell, accidently enters (or is deliberately nucleated into) the mollusc where it lodges itself in the soft inner mantle. The host responds defensively by coating the foreign material with smoothing, concentric layers of nacre. The mollusc will continue to secrete nacre until the irritant is entirely encased, and thus no longer constituting a threat. Consisting of the mineral aragonite and the protein conchiolin, the nacre ultimately produces the glowing gem we know as the pearl. Pearls formed within the tissue of the mollusc are more likely to be either spherical or pear-shaped, and it is these shapes that are most sought after for jewellery purposes.

The majority of pearls produced today are culture- raised, and harvested from oyster farms. Of the millions of oysters nucleated every year, only a small proportion survive to produce gem quality pearls. When considering the time taken, and the many ruinous obstacles an oyster may encounter during the cultivation process, it is truly a momentous event when a fine quality pearl appears. Once harvested, pearls are sorted by size, shape, colour and lustre. “Lustre refers both to a pearl’s brilliance, the way its surface reflects light, and its inner glow- the way it refracts light.” Graded by lustre in terms of high to low, high-lustre pearls are bright and have a deep-seated glow, while low-lustre pearls appear chalky, overly white and dull.

A unique aspect of the pearl is that it requires no measure of faceting or polishing to reveal its true form; their luminous beauty is present in their natural state.

Evocative of grace and classic feminine style, the pearl’s popularity is manifestly undiminished by the passage of time. Pearls come in a variety of colours, (black, grey, white, cream, yellow, green, blue and mauve) shapes and sizes, satisfying a wide range of tastes and age groups.

Representing loyalty, modesty, longevity and purity, pearls have been variously described as tears from the moon, or dewdrops from heaven.

“Who comes with summer to this earth,
And owes to June her hour of birth,
With rings of pearl on her hand
Can health, wealth, and long life command.”
Birthstone Poems, 1870, Tiffany & Co, author unknown.

May Birthstone

The birthstone for May is Emerald.

The reigning monarch of the beryl family, emerald is the birthstone for the month of May. Increasingly rare, a fine quality emerald may in most instances be more valuable than a white diamond of the same size. The unparalleled green colour is due the presence of trace elements chromium and vanadium. More so than any other gem, colour is a principal determinant of worth. When buying an emerald look for even, intense colour saturation. Virtually all natural emeralds will contain characteristic inclusions; these distinctive “fingerprints” are considered part of the character of the stone and generally, do not lessen an emerald’s value. The eponymous “emerald cut” enhances the inherent beauty of this gemstone, whilst also protecting it from “mechanical strain”.

This lush, verdant stone has captivated and beguiled us for well over six thousand years. Traded in ancient Babylonian markets as early as 4000 BC, the emerald has adorned many historical figures. Aristotle, a great devotee of the gem, referenced them in his writings, particularly urging parents to hang them around the necks of their children as protection against “falling sickness” (epilepsy). A sash worn by Alexander the Great was decorated with an array of dazzling emeralds. Eclipsing both men’s emerald adulation though, was Cleopatra. Her voracious appetite for the stone was satisfied by an impressive supply from her personal emerald mine. Not only did she festoon herself with layers of emerald and gold necklaces, she would present emerald set jewellery to visiting dignitaries as parting gifts. Nero allegedly viewed gladiatorial battles through a large, transparent emerald; supposedly, he found the colour soothing!

Emeralds have featured in the mythology, and the religious beliefs of many civilizations. The Incas and the Aztecs, regarded the emerald as a holy stone. According to Greek myth, the god Hermes wrote the laws of magic on a large emerald tablet. The Romans offered emeralds to the goddess Venus, symbolising the fecund potencies of nature. Biblical lore stated that when Lucifer was cast out of heaven, an emerald fell from his brow and transformed into the chalice known as the Holy Grail.

Traditionally, emeralds have been symbolic of good fortune, fertility, regeneration, eternal youth, wellbeing and fidelity. Purportedly, after placing an emerald on the tongue, one could foretell the future. Over the centuries, these stones have protected the wearer from a myriad of ailments both mental and physical. It was said that emeralds would ward off spells of enchantment, soothe irritated eyes, cure insomnia, anxiety and depression, detoxify the blood, strengthen the spine, ease the pain of childbirth, and improve the function of the lymphatic system. Multi-talented emerald is at the pinnacle of its power during the full moon; ostensibly increasing mental acuity, generating creative energy and instilling an unwavering sense of justice upon those fortunate enough to call it their birthstone.

“Who first beholds the light of day
In spring’s sweet flowery month of May
And wears an emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and happy wife.”
Birthstone Poems, 1870, Tiffany & Co, author unknown.