Tag Archives: jewelry gifts

October Birthstone Banter


Opals are an often-overlooked gemstone option, but October birthday girls know you can never go wrong with this glittering gem. Here are some fun facts about the opulent little beauties, and a great idea on where to get some – at rock bottom prices.

It’s all about JewelClub you libras and scorpios (and the folks who love them). Visit this Friends and Family site here and enter the code INSIDER to get wholesale prices on some stunning opal gems. And they’ve got every fine jewelry category stocked if you want to go outside the birthstone box. Did I mention they have free shipping too? Happy Birthday to you!

Opal:The Queen of the Gems

Opal, the birthstone for October, is one of nature’s most prized gems. The stone – which also happens to be the recommended jewelry gift for couples celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary – was mined by eastern Europeans, the Aztecs and the ancient tribes of Central Africa.

Opals have been featured in the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor and the crown jewels of France. They were mentioned in the plays of Shakespeare and the novels of Sir Walter Scott. Napoleon gave an opal to Josephine. Queen Victoria gave them out as wedding gifts.

One of the reasons this gem has been so revered is because of its supposed mystical powers. Scandinavian women wore opals in their hair to prevent it from going gray. The Arabs thought opal would ward off lightning and grant invisibility to its wearer. Other powers ascribed to the gem include the ability to grant vigor, aid the heart and kidneys and protect against fainting and infection.

Worshipped by the Romans as a symbol of hope, fidelity, purity and good luck, opal is sometimes called the “queen of gems” because the stone can flash patterns of color representing every hue of the rainbow.

This “play of color” is one of opal’s signature characteristics. The gem is found in a range of hues, including white opal (the most common); black opal; “boulder” opal (black opal with iron oxide); crystal or water opal, which is transparent; and fire opal, which has a yellow to orange to red body color.

The vast majority of the world’s opal supply comes from Australia. Black opal is the rarest variety and therefore the most valuable. White opal is also mined in Brazil. Fire and crystal opal can be found in the United States (Nevada) and Mexico.

Brilliance of color and color pattern are critical in determining the value of opal. Opals with strong flashes of red fire are generally the most prized. Stones with blue or green flashes are more common and subsequently less valuable. Stone size also helps determine price, since the gem is very rare in larger sizes. Prices can vary from a few dollars per carat for common white opal to more than $1,000 per carat for fine black opal. Most stones are not faceted and usually cut into rounded cabochons to enhance color play.

Perfect natural opals are extremely rare and expensive. Many are treated to enhance their appearance. One common technique is to place the opal in a sugar solution and then in sulfuric acid, which blackens body color and makes the play of color more pronounced. Other treatments include applications of colorless oil, wax and resin, plastic, or synthetic resins and hardeners to fill cracks and improve durability.

With a hardness of approximately 5.5 on the Mohs scale, opal is relatively fragile, and care should be taken not to scratch, chip or crack it. To clean opal, use a soft cloth moistened with olive oil. Do not use chemical or mechanical cleaners. Also, avoid heat and dry conditions that could dehydrate and crack the stone.

The Jewelry Insider

February 20, 2009

Last week, the New York Times featured a surprising editorial from a former jewelry store owner, Clancy Martin, who confessed he wasn’t a huge fan of many of his customers. He particularly dreaded the Valentine’s Day holiday, when last minute shoppers would grab any old bauble, throw it in a box and hand it over like it was anything but a special occasion.

“What upset me more was the ordinariness of the choices. You can give a pair of gold earrings to anyone. But Valentine’s Day is the one day when a present ought to express adoration. Valentine’s Day is for special gifts of intimacy.”

Now before you start to complain that times are tough and folks can’t afford more than a simple pair of gold earrings these days, Martin’s point isn’t that you should spend tons of cash on an expensive diamond or gemstone piece – it’s that the jewelry gift should have meaning.

Buy a pair of gemstone earring to match the color of her eyes, he suggests. Putting thought into jewelry gift giving is, as he wisely points out,

“…the opposite of conspicuous consumption, because it has nothing to do with showing off for others.”

I know I’m always pushing jewelry on every poor bloke who comes within earshot when it comes to gift giving, but I don’t mean that you should grab your nearest pearl strand and call it a day. There is a time and a place for baubles that don’t mean much. But more often than not, putting thought into the jewelry purchase couldn’t mean more. Especially on a day like Valentine’s Day.

Click here for a full read of the New York Times editorial piece, and weigh in with your thoughts about the matter.

Does the guy have a heart, or is he just pushing more product?

The Jewelry Insider

February 9, 2009


Move over Fashion Week, there’s a new kid in town! JCPenney is celebrating Doghouse Prevention Week from February 6th – 13th, and the event is sure to bring us jewelry hounds more pleasure than gawking at stick-thin models in clothes we’ll never wear.

Why? Because this Valentine’s Day JCPenney is dedicated to schooling the male species in the delicate art of gift giving. And by ‘gift’ they don’t mean your run-of-the-mill Valentine’s Day loot. They’re talking diamonds, people. This cupid ain’t stupid!

Let’s face it. We’ve all had our V-day disappointments. How many times have we faked a smile when the same old box of chocolates surfaces or the proverbial red rose bouquet shows up at the office? It just doesn’t take a lot of thought for fellas to go down that well-trodden road, right?

But here’s a thought: What if you could throw your man in the gift-giving doghouse for even thinking about calling the florist?

Perhaps you’ve heard of the over 7,000 guys who were thrown in JCPenney’s Doghouse over the holidays. Learn from them by visiting www.bewareofthedoghouse.com, where you and your main squeeze can watch a hilarious (and informative) video about other men’s gift-giving failures.

But most importantly, he’ll see how he too can avoid The Doghouse by getting you the perfect diamond gift from the jewelry store inside JCPenney. And they have an amazing selection, ladies, so whether it’s a pair of tasteful diamond studs or a fun fashion piece, you can rest assured he’ll find something to make your heart sing (not sink) this year.

So from February 6th – 13th take this gem of an opportunity to teach your old dog some new tricks for Valentine’s Day. It comes down to this: Diamonds or a dog day afternoon in the big house. Sounds pretty straightforward to me.

The Jewelry Insider

December 24, 2008


Just a quick note to let all you glamorous glitter hounds out there know that I’ll be signing off here until the 26th for a little holiday cheer. I hope you all find lots of little boxes with your name on them this year!

I’ve sent out all the subliminal messages over the blogosphere I could on your behalf…Fingers crossed.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

(giveherjewelryyougiftgivingstudshinythingsnotsocksets
diamondsdoitbetterbirthstonesnotbathrobes…)

The Jewelry Insider

December 18, 2008

December birthdays are tough. It’s no fun to share the spotlight with Santa and his various hangers-on, nor is it easy to compete with Hanukkah’s not one, or two – but eight days of gifts.

Before you get the blues, take a gander at December’s birthstone, the Blue Topaz. It’s a rare natural gemstone that is one of the more popular colors on the market today. In my humble opinion, it beats November’s Citrine hands down and October’s Opal in a landslide.

So cheer up, all you Sagittariuses and Capricorns. Learn about your icy blue birthstone here, put one on your gift list – and learn to embrace the verb ‘gloat’ when you have more boxes under the tree this year.

HISTORY:

Blue topaz has become one of the most popular gemstones on the market today, due to its clarity, durability, availability and affordable cost. Yet it is a shade of topaz rarely found in nature. The stone’s watery blue color is most often created through a combination of heat treatment and irradiation.

Topaz is one of the well-known pegmatite minerals that also includes beryl and tourmaline. Blue topaz is the birthstone for December – and is also the recommended gemstone for couples celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary.

Blue topaz has a definite, uniform color ranging from sky blue to Swiss blue. It is sometimes confused with the more costly aquamarine – yet whereas aquamarine sometimes has a greenish-blue or bluish-green tint, blue topaz will always look blue or bluish gray. The one exception is for surface-enhanced topaz, a process introduced in 1998 that enhances the stone’s appearance and brings out colors such as blue to greenish-blue to emerald green.

Most blue topaz starts life as a colorless or slightly tinted topaz from places like Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and China. It is then irradiated (to incite the color change) and heated (to stabilize the change). The result is a permanent aqua shade. To get deep blue color out of topaz, treaters use neutron bombardment in a nuclear reactor and market the final product under the name “London blue.” In fact, neutron bombardment is the only means by which to produce smaller calibrated stones with deep color.

 

Despite the stone’s exposure to irradiation, experts say it poses no health hazard whatsoever to the wearer.

In addition to blue, the stone comes in a variety of colors, including golden yellow, orange-yellow, reddish-orange, sherry red, deep pink, honey brown, light green, and many shades in between.

Topaz holds the distinction of being the gemstone thought to have the widest rage of curative powers. According to legend, the stone can dispel enchantment and improve the eyesight. The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz is also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. Throughout history, different cultures have believed that the stone could cure insomnia, asthma and hemorrhages; bring friendship; promote patience and a pleasant disposition, and ensure fidelity. To the ancients, it was also a symbol of love and affection and was even thought to ward off sudden death.

With a ranking of “8” on the Mohs scale of hardness, blue topaz is exceptionally strong and durable and well-suited to everyday wear. However, it should be protected against hard blows that can split, crack or chip it.

The Jewelry Insider

August 13, 2008

From a diamond ring to gold hoops, jewelry can be the most important gift you give a loved one. Feeling the pressure? We understand. Guys, and the gals who love them, pay attention to the following tips on how to buy jewelry. We guarantee you’ll impress her with your remarkable taste and insight.

Know the facts:
We’ve all heard it before: knowledge is power. Buying jewelry can be one of the first major purchases in your lifetime, so it’s important to know the facts before you face all the glitter. Take the time to educate yourself about gold, diamonds and gemstones. Thinking of popping the question? Be sure to check out these Bridal Tips as well. We promise it won’t be as bad as algebra class.

 


Know your audience:
There’s nothing like that look you get when you know you missed the mark. The slight grimace followed by the fake smile? The best way to avoid awkward gift giving is to study what your significant other likes. What does she usually wear? Has she complimented friends on their looks? You know how to make her laugh, you can surely pick up some tips on her personal style. Take notes and bring what you know on your shopping trip.

Know your budget:
There are many price points in the jewelry world – from $99 to $9999 and beyond. Don’t get in over your head with a bauble that will break the bank or make her afraid to wear it. Also, bring what you learned about stone and metal quality to the store, so you won’t be duped into thinking ‘bigger’ is ‘better’. Often, it’s not.

Know her size (mainly for ring purchases):
There’s nothing like wowing her with a diamond ring she’ll just have to wait three weeks to wear. Guys, break out your inner sleuth for this one. Find a ring she currently wears, trace the inside and bring it to your jeweler. You can always size a ring, but delayed satisfaction doesn’t always fly when it comes to jewelry.

Know the occasion:
• If you’re not about commitment but want to impress her with a gift of jewelry, word to the wise: stay away from the ring category. A ring, no matter what the design, is loaded with symbolism that screams “I’m in it for the long haul.” A nice pair of diamond studs might be the better choice in this case.

Right Hand Rings are the perfect self-gifting occasion to celebrate a promotion, graduation, or ‘just because’. It’s also a great friend-to-friend or mother-to daughter gift. Think female power!

• The ‘go big’ calendar moments are of course Valentine’s Day and the December holidays. If she’s expecting a ring, and you’re thinking peridot earrings to match her eyes…you might want to think again.

Know the return policy:
Even with all of the Jewelry Insider’s words to the wise, there is ultimately no guarantee your jewelry gift is going to hit a home run. Most stores – whether they are online or in the mall – have a return policy. Don’t be afraid to ask your salesperson.

With a little preparation, education and thought, we guarantee buying jewelry will move decidedly from “a little better than a root canal” to “right up there with no calorie ice cream and winning the lottery”.

Happy Shopping!

P.S. We want to hear from you! Tell us your own shopping success – or horror – stories. Are there tips we’ve missed? Share the wealth!

The Jewelry Insider

August 13, 2008

From a diamond ring to gold hoops, jewelry can be the most important gift you give a loved one. Feeling the pressure? We understand. Guys, and the gals who love them, pay attention to the following tips on how to buy jewelry. We guarantee you’ll impress her with your remarkable taste and insight.

Know the facts:
We’ve all heard it before: knowledge is power. Buying jewelry can be one of the first major purchases in your lifetime, so it’s important to know the facts before you face all the glitter. Take the time to educate yourself about gold, diamonds and gemstones. Thinking of popping the question? Be sure to check out these Bridal Tips as well. We promise it won’t be as bad as algebra class.

 


Know your audience:
There’s nothing like that look you get when you know you missed the mark. The slight grimace followed by the fake smile? The best way to avoid awkward gift giving is to study what your significant other likes. What does she usually wear? Has she complimented friends on their looks? You know how to make her laugh, you can surely pick up some tips on her personal style. Take notes and bring what you know on your shopping trip.

Know your budget:
There are many price points in the jewelry world – from $99 to $9999 and beyond. Don’t get in over your head with a bauble that will break the bank or make her afraid to wear it. Also, bring what you learned about stone and metal quality to the store, so you won’t be duped into thinking ‘bigger’ is ‘better’. Often, it’s not.

Know her size (mainly for ring purchases):
There’s nothing like wowing her with a diamond ring she’ll just have to wait three weeks to wear. Guys, break out your inner sleuth for this one. Find a ring she currently wears, trace the inside and bring it to your jeweler. You can always size a ring, but delayed satisfaction doesn’t always fly when it comes to jewelry.

Know the occasion:
• If you’re not about commitment but want to impress her with a gift of jewelry, word to the wise: stay away from the ring category. A ring, no matter what the design, is loaded with symbolism that screams “I’m in it for the long haul.” A nice pair of diamond studs might be the better choice in this case.

Right Hand Rings are the perfect self-gifting occasion to celebrate a promotion, graduation, or ‘just because’. It’s also a great friend-to-friend or mother-to daughter gift. Think female power!

• The ‘go big’ calendar moments are of course Valentine’s Day and the December holidays. If she’s expecting a ring, and you’re thinking peridot earrings to match her eyes…you might want to think again.

Know the return policy:
Even with all of the Jewelry Insider’s words to the wise, there is ultimately no guarantee your jewelry gift is going to hit a home run. Most stores – whether they are online or in the mall – have a return policy. Don’t be afraid to ask your salesperson.

With a little preparation, education and thought, we guarantee buying jewelry will move decidedly from “a little better than a root canal” to “right up there with no calorie ice cream and winning the lottery”.

Happy Shopping!

P.S. We want to hear from you! Tell us your own shopping success – or horror – stories. Are there tips we’ve missed? Share the wealth!