Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Peridot, the Tears of a Goddess

Peridot

Birthstone Series - August: Peridot, Sardonyx and Spinel

According to the American Gem Society, the month of August is the latest month to claim not two but three birthstones: Peridot, Sardonyx and Spinel, now joining June and December as the only months represented by three gems.

All three of these stones have been seen throughout history and have rich symbolism. They are all quite different, both in terms of quality and substance, as well as perceived metaphysical and mystic healing properties.

Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, also known as
Ka Wahine Ai Honua (The Woman Who Devours the Land)
Peridot, by far the most popular of the three, is the rare gem-quality variety of the common mineral olivine, which forms deep inside the earth's mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava. Rarely, peridot is also found inside meteorites. In the 1700s, a meteorite that landed in Siberia contained many peridot crystals that were large enough to be used for jewelry.

Peridot’s color, a distinctive signature lime green, comes from the composition of the mineral itself, rather than from trace impurities as with many other gems. That’s why this is one of the few stones that only comes in one color, though shades may vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish-green, depending on how much iron is present.

Arizona Peridot and Banded Agate
Necklace set in Sterling Silver
(ADORA by Simona design)
Many scholars agree that the name Peridot is rooted in the Greek word peridona, meaning “giving plenty.” Perhaps that’s why peridot is associated with prosperity and good fortune.

Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan and Africa. Peridot only measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, so while the raw crystal is prone to cracking during cutting, the finished gemstones are fairly robust and easy to wear.

Also known as “the Evening Emerald” because its sparkling green hue looks brilliant any time of day, peridot is said to possess healing properties that protect against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness.

The largest peridot ever found weighs 319 carats and it can be viewed on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Sardonyx

Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx - two types of the layered mineral chalcedony - to create a reddish zebra-striped stone with white bands. Used as a stone of strength and protection since ancient times, sardonyx is associated with courage, happiness, and clear communication. Some believe that placing sardonyx at each corner of a house will grant protection against evil.

Spinel. Before the rise of modern gemology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Spinel was often identified as corundum because it tends to resemble either a ruby or sapphire, and they are often found in the same mines. In fact, some of the most famous rubies in history have turned out to be spinel. Large red gems, such
Spinel, in all its beautiful colors
as the “Black Prince’s Ruby” and the “Timur Ruby” in the Crown Jewels of England have confirmed to be large red spinels. Nevertheless, spinel is chemically distinct, what sets it apart from other gems is its octahedral crystal structure and single refraction. Having a rating of 8, spinel also has a lower Mohs hardness than ruby and sapphire.

Vivid red is the most desirable color of spinel gemstones, followed by cobalt blue, bright pink and bright orange. The more affordable stones are often those with paler colors, like lavender. You may also find spinel in black, violet blue, greenish blue, grayish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown. So many choices!

Happy Birthday to all of those born in August!

Information sources and images:  American Gem Society and Gem Select. Thank you!  


ABOUT ADORA: The journey to selecting the jewelry for your Special Day can be a daunting task, so why not let us custom-design a wedding jewelry style that is uniquely yours. ADORA can bring your vision to life using the same elegant and refreshing style that goes into all of our designs. Handcrafted and completely personalized, we will work closely with you to tailor your jewelry ideas to your needs in order to create the perfect pieces for your Big Day, whether your theme is elegant, vintage, rustic or beach. From matching necklaces for your Bridesmaids or a stunning pair of earrings for yourself, to a unique piece for the Mother of the Bride/Groom and the perfectly delicate bracelet for the Flower Girl, we can do it all. For Customized Jewelry Packages for the Entire Bridal Party, please visit ADORA by Simona's New "Ever After" Collection.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Beach-Themed Bridal Shower on a Budget

Planning a relaxed bridal shower by the beach? There’s nothing more romantic than feeling the sand on your feet and the salty breeze in your hair as you celebrate your friend’s upcoming wedding. Here are some ideas that will help inspire a simple bridal shower with a beach theme that won't break the bank.

          1. Invitations
Make a splash with the invitation! Say hello to blue skies and gorgeous waves with bridal shower invitations that highlight your beach theme. A fun design of two sea-stars walking hand in hand sets an expectation for an elegant yet laid back affair.
Photo courtesy of Invitations by Dawn
          2. Location
Choose a shady spot in the sand, sheltered from the wind (nothing worse than sand in your food), and transform the space with a low table and colorful pillows so guests can sit comfortably. An easy way to create a low table is using wooden crates and a plank of wood. The crates can be used to carry all of your shower supplies, too!
Photo courtesy of Boho Buys
          3. Beach-themed party cake and sweets
A blue ombre cake can create a beautiful centerpiece, while custom beach-themed cookies are adorable snacks almost too cute to eat! The oyster cookies are really easy to make with store-bought sugar cookies, a little icing and white edible pearls!
Photos courtesy of:
Ombre cake: The Cake Blog | Oyster cookies: Kate Aspen | Seashell cookies: Auntie Bea's Bakery
          4. A Message In A Bottle Bridal Shower Game
Have each guest write well wishes or words of advice for the bride-and-groom-to-be and store them like a message in a bottle. This special display will serve as a sweet memento for the couple.
 Photo Courtesy of Kate Aspen
         5. Beach-Themed Bridal Shower Favors
Thank each guest with a small gift to take home. White chocolate candy, seashell soaps, scented candles and even flip-flops are practical favors that guests will actually use and enjoy! 

Photos courtesy of Pinterest

          6. And Last But Not Least, Of Course, Wear Beach Jewelry 😄
Adorn yourself and your friends with beach-themed jewelry to fit right in this idyllic setting.  ADORA's new "Ever After" Collection has a variety of beach-themed jewelry designs - necklaces, earrings, bracelets, barefoot sandals and anklets to choose from, which along with the memories, will be cherished by your friends for a long time to come.

"Tides" - Aqua Bridesmaids Necklaces



ABOUT ADORA: The journey to selecting the jewelry for your Special Day can be a daunting task, so why not let us custom-design a wedding jewelry style that is uniquely yours. ADORA can bring your vision to life using the same elegant and refreshing style that goes into all of our designs. Handcrafted and completely personalized, we will work closely with you to tailor your jewelry ideas to your needs in order to create the perfect pieces for your Big Day, whether your theme is elegant, vintage, rustic or beach. From matching necklaces for your Bridesmaids or a stunning pair of earrings for yourself, to a unique piece for the Mother of the Bride/Groom and the perfectly delicate bracelet for the Flower Girl, we can do it all. For Customized Jewelry Packages for the Entire Bridal Party, please visit ADORA by Simona's New "Ever After" Collection.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Pearl, The Natural Wonder

Birthstones Series - June Pearl

The month of June is associated with the beginning of summer and carefree weekends spent at favorite vacation spots.  But for the past 100 years, one other thing that is associated with June is the pearl.  Pearl is the official birthstone for the month of June as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the birthstone for the Sun Signs of Gemini and Cancer.

Pearls are the oldest jewels known to man, and the only gem made by a living creature.  Since the beginning of time, pearls have been revered as one of the world's most beautiful and magical gems, and throughout the ages, with their warm inner glow and shimmering iridescence, have been one of the most highly prized and sought-after natural wonders.

An organic gem, pearls are formed inside mollusks like oysters and mussels. They are formed when an irritant such as a tiny stone or bit of sand gets inside the mollusk's shell. A lustrous substance, called nacre, is secreted around the object to protect the soft internal surface of the mollusk. As layer upon layer of nacre coats the irritant, a pearl is formed. Light that is reflected from these overlapping layers produces a characteristic iridescent luster. This process of building a solid pearl can take up to seven or eight years.

Pearls are unlike other gemstones because they do not have to be cut and polished to enhance their natural beauty—they grow into it on their own. No wonder pearls have been prized for their beauty, perfection, and rarity!

Nobody knows when someone first pried open an oyster and found a pearl. Although there are many stories about the discovery of pearls, the one I like the most is that more than likely the first pearl was discovered when a prehistoric man chipped his tooth when he bit into an oyster that contained a pearl.  With its soft, rainbow-hued inner radiance, that first pearl must have seemed like a magical gift from the gods.

For thousands of years, pearls have been the exclusive gemstones of royalty and nobility in every culture. The oldest surviving pearl necklace is nearly 2,000 years old and was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian Princess.  In China, they were used for over five thousand years to decorate the crowns of emperors, the robes of noblewomen, and the sacred statues of the Buddha.

In ancient Rome and medieval France, only the aristocracy were allowed to wear pearls. In Elizabethan England, only royalty could wear them. Pearls became associated with wealth, status, and power, and ordinary people began to desire them as symbols of these things.


Fascinating myths and legends are associated with the pearl.  Throughout their history, different cultures have assigned various meanings to pearls.  Early Chinese myths told of pearls falling from the sky when dragons fought. Ancient legend says that pearls were thought to be the tears of the gods. Pearls have been considered ideal wedding jewelry for centuries because they symbolize purity and innocence. The Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed brides from crying. An Old Arabic legend romantically explains that the pearls formed when moonlight-filled dew drops descended from the sky into the oceans and were swallowed by oysters.  Another legend has the Hindu god Krishna discovering pearls when he plucks the first one from the sea and presents it to his daughter on her wedding day.  The Ancient Hebrews believed that pearls had been used by God to decorate the Garden of Eden. Roman ladies believed that pearls were lucky and attracted wealth. In China, pearls are symbolic of the incomparable beauty of the legendary pearl maiden, XiShi (or Shecy).

Throughout all of recorded history, pearls were far too valuable and rare for any but the royalty and aristocracy to afford. However, due to advances in pearl cultivation, growing and harvesting technology, pearls are now affordable and accessible to everyone. Today, you can wear a string of pearls that two hundred years ago only a queen could wear.

Pearls are still cherished today as lovely jewelry. They make tasteful gifts, and are usually passed down as treasured heirlooms for generations.  


Happy Birthday to all of those born in June!

Sources:  Gem Select, Crystal Vaults and American Gem Society. Thank you!  


ABOUT ADORA: The journey to selecting the jewelry for your Special Day can be a daunting task, so why not let us custom-design a wedding jewelry style that is uniquely yours. ADORA can bring your vision to life using the same elegant and refreshing style that goes into all of our designs. Handcrafted and completely personalized, we will work closely with you to tailor your jewelry ideas to your needs in order to create the perfect pieces for your Big Day, whether your theme is elegant, vintage, rustic or beach. From matching necklaces for your Bridesmaids or a stunning pair of earrings for yourself, to a unique piece for the Mother of the Bride/Groom and the perfectly delicate bracelet for the Flower Girl, we can do it all. For Customized Jewelry Packages for the Entire Bridal Party, please visit ADORA by Simona's New "Ever After" Collection




Friday, March 31, 2017

Diamond - The "Forever" Stone

Birthstones Series - April Diamond

Diamond is the official birthstone for the month of April as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912.  It is also considered to be the birthstone for Aries and accepted as the 10th and 60th wedding anniversary presents.

The diamond signifies love, eternity, strength and everlasting affection so it comes as
Mary of Burgundy, Maximillian of Austria
and the first diamond engagement ring on record  
no surprise that
this stone is gracing the engagement rings of women everywhere.  It is believed that the tradition of the diamond engagement ring originated from a Roman custom in which wives wore rings attached to small keys, indicating their husband’s ownership.  It wasn’t until 1477, that Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring on record for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. This sparked a trend for diamond rings among European aristocracy and nobility.   

Composed of carbon, the diamond is not only the hardest precious gemstone, but also the hardest known natural substance on earth, ranking at number 10 on the Mohs scale. Its structure makes it 58 times harder than anything in nature and can only be cut with another diamond. That fact, combined with its brilliant fire and exceptional luster, has made the diamond one of the most prized gemstones in the world.  In 1870 South Africa became the highest producer of diamonds, although Australia is currently the main source, as well as Botswana, Brazil, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zaire, and the US.

Most diamonds form under extreme pressure and at very high temperatures, typically at depths of over 100 miles inside Earth's mantle. On average, diamond formation occurs over periods of 1 to 3.3 billion years, until they are surfaced through deep volcanic eruptions of a rare type of magma called kimberlite.

The name diamond was taken from the Greek word “adamas” meaning invincible, a sheer testament to its remarkable and superior hardness. The superlative physical qualities of diamond are credited to the strong covalent tetrahedral bonding between its transparent crystals. Each individual carbon atom is connected to four other carbon atoms, all of which are very closely packed. This formation yields a remarkably strong three-dimensional cubic structure. Diamond's cubic crystal pattern is also completely symmetrical, which allows it to refract light in all directions at the same velocity.

Colored Diamonds
Diamonds are traditionally colorless or white. This is the most desired state of the stone and also the rarest.  Because of the way Diamonds form from gases underground, it is rare for them not to be cloudy or have a tint of yellow or brown.  Colorless diamonds are the cleanest and sparkle the most, which is what most people prefer.  However, there are other tints such black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow.  The color is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. For instance, yellow stones have minuscule traces of nitrogen, while the blue ones contain boron.

Although it is a gem of winter, the color of ice, Diamond is a crystal of Light; its high frequency energy is dispersed into flashing prisms of brilliant “fire” that reminds us of the sun. It is a spiritual stone, a symbol of perfection and illumination, activating the Crown and Etheric Chakras. It enhances inner vision and stimulates creativity, imagination, and ingenuity, opening the mind to the “new” and “possible.”

Diamonds are graded by what the market calls the Four C's: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat. The quality of the cut, the color, the lack of impurities, and the size/weight, are the standards that dictate the value for each stone.

The ancient Hindus believed that diamonds were created by lightning bolts that struck the Earth. Greek legends entail that diamonds are the tears of the Gods, star splinters and crystallized lightening.

The world's most precious gem is said to represent faith, loyalty, honesty, purity, love and innocence, and bestow on the wearer peace and fulfilling relationships. It is believed to inspire creativity in individuals and bring its owner protection, wealth and happiness.

As Frances Gerety wrote for an advertising campaign for De Beers in 1947, "A Diamond is Forever"!

Happy Birthday to all of those born in April!

Sources:  Gem Select, Crystal Vaults and American Gem Society. Thank you!  


ABOUT ADORA: The journey to selecting the jewelry for your Special Day can be a daunting task, so why not let us custom-design a wedding jewelry style that is uniquely yours. ADORA can bring your vision to life using the same elegant and refreshing style that goes into all of our designs. Handcrafted and completely personalized, we will work closely with you to tailor your jewelry ideas to your needs in order to create the perfect pieces for your Big Day, whether your theme is elegant, vintage, rustic or beach. From matching necklaces for your Bridesmaids or a stunning pair of earrings for yourself, to a unique piece for the Mother of the Bride/Groom and the perfectly delicate bracelet for the Flower Girl, we can do it all. For Customized Jewelry Packages for the Entire Bridal Party, please visit ADORA by Simona's New "Ever After" Collection