Wednesday, January 25, 2012

February Birthstone: Amethyst

Amethyst is February's birthstone and the birthstone for the Zodiac sign Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20). It is also the appropriate gemstone gift for the 6th wedding anniversary.

Amethyst is probably the most recognized variety of quartz. A few other varieties of quartz are citrine, rose quartz and smoky quartz. It is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness making it safe for every day wear. Amethyst has long been loved for its beautiful purple hues. The stone can range from a pale lilac to a deep purple. The deeper colors are the most valuable.

According to Greek legend Dionysius, the God of wine, was angered when a mere mortal insulted him. He swore revenge on the next mortal to cross his path and created fierce tigers to carry out his bidding. Along came the beautiful young maiden Amethyst on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a crystal quartz statue to protect her from the tigers of Dionysius. Dionysius wept tears of wine in remorse over the beautiful statue staining Amethyst purple and creating the gem we know today.

The Greek word "amethystos" basically can be translated as "not drunken." Amethyst was considered a strong antidote against drunkenness. As a result it became associated with upright, sober thinking. Wine goblets were often carved from it and during the Middle Ages it was used as ornamentation in churches. Because purple has long been associated with royalty it's not surprising that Amethyst has been in high demand throughout history.

Amethyst Jewelry at Spectrum:

Tony Maccabi Amethyst and White Gold Ring

Starsong Amethyst and Garnet wrap bracelet/necklace

Tana Acton Amethyst and Gold Fill Ring


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Valentines Day...fall in love all over again

Want to really make her eyes sparkle?
Tuck one of these into her box
of chocolates this Valentines Day...

Don't be blue, my heart belongs to you

Blue Topaz Starsong Necklace
with SS heart Charm

Bee MineFreshwater Pearl Starsong Necklace
with SS Bee Charm

You are the key to my heart
Kathy Bransfield SS and GF Necklace

Heart earrings

B&R SS and GF Earrings

Wrapped Around Your Finger
Starsong Hematite wrap necklace/bracelet with SS Heart Charm


Monday, January 23, 2012

January Birthstone: Garnet

Pyrope Garnet

Garnet is the official birthstone of January as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the stone for the Zodiac sign Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb 18) and the gemstone given for the 2nd and 6th wedding anniversaries.

The name Garnet evolved from "granatus", Latin for "seed-like" because the small round crystals reminded the Greeks of pomegranate seeds. Garnet is said to keep travelers safe, promote a long-lasting love, and prevent depression.

What if Garnet is your birthstone but you're not crazy about red? You're in luck! Most people think of Garnet as a brownish-red stone but Garnet is actually a diverse group of stones that includes several species that range from hues of red, orange and yellow to pink green and brown. The only color that Garnet does not occur in is blue. Most varieties are named for their color.

Here are a few varieties of Garnet:
Rhodolite is a purplish red
Hessonite is an orange or pinkish variety
Tsavorite is green
Pyrope is purplish red, orange red, crimson or dark red
Spessartite garnets range from yellow orange to red brown to black brown

Tsavorite Garnet

Garnet is one of the few gemstones that doesn't require any heating or enhancement. They range from a 7.0 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness (scale of 1-10) making them quite sturdy and resistant to everyday wear and tear. Garnets have a high refraction of light resulting in amazing brilliance.

Garnet Jewelry at Spectrum...

Andradite Garnet pendant by Spectrum
with matching ring

The Golden Eye Garnet Ring

Gold Fill Tana Acton Ring with Garnet Beads:

Starsong Garnet and Amethyst wrap bracelet/necklace:

We can also make custom Garnet jewelry!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Family Jewels

“Stories behind the Stones” by Star Sosa of Spectrum Art & Jewelry

The Family Jewels

Family “His-Story” or “Her-Story” as Told by Your Jewelry

We invest our jewelry with unique attributes unlike

any of our other possessions. We use it to make commitments, seal contracts and to celebrate accomplishments and personal milestones. It is portable wealth, elevates our social standing and provides heirlooms for future generations. So much of jewelry sends messages to the people we meet about who we are. It tells the casual observer if we are engaged to be married or have celebrated a big anniversary, that we have children or grandchildren, if we prefer unique and artistic designs or are drawn to classic familiar brands or love antique collectibles.

Ask anyone about some jewelry they are wearing and they’ll likely have a story to share. “This was my mother’s”, “my dad bought this for me when I turned 16”, “I found it in an antique store”, “bought it on a special trip (birthday, anniversary, etc.)”, “I designed it myself”. There are a million special tales. So many of those tales encompass family history and mythology and many more are very emotional, uplifting or touchingly tender. And in many cases the tale is as valuable, if not more precious, than the item itself!

If you find yourself the proud caretaker of such a piece, you owe it to yourself and your family to document those stories. Don’t count on the casual conversation to convey the personal importance that jewelry has for you. Your family may not remember or the facts may morph over time into a completely different idea. Write it down! Keep it with your important papers and jewelry appraisals. Thes

e things are so much more than the sum of their parts. Your kids might never appreciate the funny little brass pendant your Grandfather brought back from a trip to Peru in the 1920’s, because they won’t know that odd little object has that fascinating history unless you share it with them.

In my years as a professional jewelry designer, I have come across some amazing stories about jewelry. I have encouraged those people to document their personal histories. The longevity of metal and gemstones make jewelry a perfect vehicle for family history. And it is a delightful conversation starter when someone comments, “say that’s a lovely, or interesting, or unique, etc……”

And sometimes, jewelry really is just metal and stones. When you find yourself with a collection of old jewelry that doesn’t speak to you, doesn’t suit your taste or style, then it is time to restyle it into something that does. Then you will have created your own story to share about those objects. About the time you took your materials to the jewelry designer and working together you created this special new piece. Make your own mark in your family history and create something memorable and fun. Wear your story and share it with the world. What do you have so say?

Spectrum Custom Designs