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All About Opals: October Birthstone

All About Opals: October Birthstone

Opals are a stone like no other.  With brilliant flashes of color, opals are one of my favorite stones. So, below is a crash course about opals, the birthstone for October.  Mainly found in Australia, opals are also mined in Mexico, South America, Ethiopia, and the U.S.  

Although gemologists do not grade opals, they are classified into 5 main categories:  

  1. "White or light opal: Translucent to semi-translucent, with play-of-color against a white or light gray background color, called body-color.
  2. Black opal: Translucent to opaque, with play-of-color against a black or other dark background.
  3. Fire opal: Transparent to translucent, with brown, yellow, orange, or red body color. This material—which often doesn’t show play-of-color—is also known as 'Mexican opal.'
  4. Boulder opal: Translucent to opaque, with play-of-color against a light to dark background. Fragments of the surrounding rock, called matrix, become part of the finished gem.
  5. Crystal or water opal: Transparent to semitransparent, with a clear background. This type shows exceptional play-of-color." (Source: GIA)

Energetically, opal is a stone of love and wisdom.  In ancient times, Romans regarded opals as the most precious because of the play-of-color.  Ancient Greeks believe it gave them powers of prophecy and protected them from disease.  

Some people believe that it is unlucky to wear an opal if it is not the person's birthstone.  This superstition comes from a novel written in the 1800's, Anne of Gierstein by Sir Walter Scott.  

I have a lot of opals that are ready to be made into a custom piece just for you.  Interested? Call me for more info!  


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5 Fun Facts about the September Birthstone: Sapphire

5 Fun Facts about the September Birthstone: Sapphire

When selling my birthstone pendant necklaces, I find that many people don't particularly like their birthstone.  I fall into this category; I have always wanted sapphire, the September birthstone, to be my birthstone.  Here are 5 fun facts about my all-time favorite stone: Sapphire!

1.  Sapphire, a precious gemstone and a variety of the mineral corundum, is one of the hardest gems, second only to a diamond.  Sapphire stones rates 9 of 10 on the Mohs Hardness scale.  Because of its hardness, sapphires wear well in any kind of jewelry, especially rings.

2.  While the most common color is the blue sapphire, sapphires come in a variety of colors, including pink, green, yellow, white, orange, and the very rare orange-pink called padparadscha.  Sapphire color is caused by the trace elements in the mineral corundum.  

3.  Sapphire comes from the Greek word sappherios, which likely referred to lapis lazuli.  Sapphires have been treasured for thousands of years: in ancient times in Rome and Greece, royalty believe sapphires protected them from jealousy and harm.  Clergy in the Middle Ages wore sapphires to symbolize heaven. 

4.  Energetically, sapphire is known as a stone of wisdom, with each color having its own particular wisdom. For example, blue sapphire is a seeker of spiritual truth, and clears the throat chakra.   Bringing emotional and mental calm, sapphire balances the mind, body, and spirit.  

5.  Sapphire is not only popular in engagement rings and birthstone jewelry, but because of its hardness and the fact it can be lab created, sapphire is used in manufacturing.  Some uses are in watch lenses, screen monitors, electrical insulators, sand paper, and cutting tools.  

Because I love sapphires, I have a unique selection of Montana sapphires as well as vintage blue star sapphires.  If you would like a piece custom-designed for you, please contact me today!

(Sources: GIA, Rio Grande, and "The Crystal Bible" by Judy Hall)





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Announcement: New Retail Location at Arden Jewelers in Sacramento, CA

Announcement:  New Retail Location at Arden Jewelers in Sacramento, CA

I am thrilled to have my mountain jewelry collection for sale at Arden Jewelers in Sacramento, California!  They released a formal announcement introducing my mountain jewelry and mixed metal jewelry at Arden Jewelers.

Stay tuned to my blog for more exciting announcements!

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How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

One of the most common questions I get is how to clean sterling silver jewelry, particularly if there are stones.  Sterling silver jewelry can tarnish over time, which is due to the oxidation of the alloy in silver (usually that alloy is copper).  Since many stones may be damaged in commercial sterling silver cleaner solutions, I suggest these three alternative ways to clean your sterling silver jewelry:

  1. Simple silver polishing cloth:  If the piece of jewelry is smooth and the jewelry pieces has stones, you can take a simple silver polishing cloth and rub gently in a back and forth motion to remove tarnish.  Be sure to avoid using the polishing cloth over the stone. The downfall is that your hands may blacken and you will need to clean up!  Silver polishing cloths can be purchased through Amazon or Target.
  2. Baking soda: For textured silver, put a dab of baking soda on a soft bristle toothbrush, add a bit of water to make a paste and brush gently on the silver (avoiding brushing stones). Rinse under lukewarm water and dry with a soft, clean, lint-free cotton cloth.  Avoid paper towels or tissues as they can scratch the silver.
  3. Baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, and water:  For sterling silver chains and for heavy tarnished silver jewelry that do not have stones, you can use this environmentally-friendly cleaning solution:  in a bowl or baking dish, line with aluminum foil (shiny side up), place silver jewelry on foil, add boiling water until pieces are covered and then add 2 tbsp. baking soda and 2 tbsp. salt, stir until dissolved. Wait 5-10 minutes, and pull jewelry out with salad tongs and put in colander to rinse.  *Note: there will be a sulfur/rotten egg smell.  Rinse jewelry with lukewarm water, and then dry with a clean, soft, lint free cloth.   

To prevent your sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing in the future, store each jewelry piece in ziplock plastic baggies.  The airtight seal will prevent the oxidation reaction from happening and will slow down tarnishing.

One last note:  Silver plated, silver-filled, fine silver, and other silver-like metals such as argentium may have different needs for care and cleaning.  Be sure to consult with a professional jeweler on proper care of these metals.


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Connect Your Jewelry Style with Your Passion

Connect Your Jewelry Style with Your Passion

I gave some considerable thought to my welcome on my home page.  After several revisions, it dawned on me: my collections reflect a certain driven passion.  So, what is your passion?  

  • Do you live for the weekends to spend in the mountains or at the beach?  
  • Do you crave adventure and your vacations are centered around bucket-list items?
  • Do you invest in one-of-a-kind, handcrafted art for your home, gift art to your friends, and love spending weekends shopping at art shows?  
  • Do you have an unconventional life and do not subscribe to social norms?  
  • Or are you, like me, a combination of these things?  

If you love spending time in nature, you may be drawn to jewelry that is nature themed (such as my Mountain Love jewelry collection) or jewelry that incorporates elements of nature, such as natural stones, which can be found in my Gemstone jewelry collection.

If you crave adventure, you may need jewelry that travels well and can be worn with multiple outfits as you are jet-setting to your next destination to surf in Costa Rica or kayak in New Zealand.  Versatile jewelry found in my Personalized jewelry collection serves that need.

If you are an art enthusiast, you may enjoy wearing jewelry inspired by art deco or a statement piece that will turn heads and start up a conversation.  My Sterling Silver or Gemstone jewelry collections are mini works of wearable art.  

If you are a free spirit who loves modern rustic and bohemian styles, my Mixed Metal jewelry collection has a perfect blend of rustic and organic elements.  

Or, maybe you are like me, who one day wears a dainty birthstone necklace but another day wears a wide labradorite cuff bracelet as a statement piece for a night out.  I invite you to peruse my website to find your next favorite accessory.  I would love to know what your favorites are!  

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