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Caring for your jewelry

Emeralds – May’s Birthstone

The ancient Egyptians mined emeralds nearly 4,000 years ago, and Cleopatraemerald was an avid collector. South America’s rich bounty of emeralds was discovered by16th Century Spanish explorers who found large emeralds in the possession of the Aztecs and Incas. Believed by the ancients to empower the owner with
foresight into the future, emerald is regarded as an amulet for good fortune Emerald, to many, symbolizes rebirth and the abundance of the life force. The rich green hue brings to mind the regeneration of life in spring and hope of new possibilities. Emerald is the birthstone for May and a talisman for Gemini.

Spring can also be seen in the network of inclusions in the depth of the emerald that the French call the jardin, or garden, because it resembles foliage. The inclusions are like a fingerprint, giving each emerald a distinct personality and distinguishing them as truly natural gemstones.

Today, most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia. Emeralds can be cut in a variety of different shapes, ranging from the traditional rectangular step-cut, known as the “emerald cut,” to rounds, ovals, squares and cabochons.

Early gemstone merchants sought to purify the transparency of their emeralds by immersing them in clear oils or paraffin. They found that clear oils and waxes rendered surface fissures less visible to the eye. Today, we have many sophisticated technologies with which to clarity-enhance emeralds. In addition to the oils and waxes of ancient methods, we now use clear resins to penetrate the open fissures surfacing in the stones. Hardeners are often added to solidify these liquids. This step prevents the resin from evaporating, thus making the clarity enhancement more permanent than oiling or waxing the gem.

Although emerald itself is quite durable, the garden of inclusions may make individual gems vulnerable to damage if
handled roughly. Dale Robertson Jewelry can help you with care and cleaning all your jewelry.

Happy birthday July!

ruby

RUBY
Ruby is derived from the Latin word ruber, meaning red, the color of passion. Ruby gemstones have been esteemed
since ancient times and are mentioned in the Bible as one of the gems used to represent one of the 12 tribes of Israel,
during Exodus. Kings and queens have long enjoyed this rare gem and rubies are amply represented in royal regalia.
Rubies remain one of the most popular gems in history.
COLOR
Rubies come in many shades of red. Rubies tend to be priced by color. The closer a gem is to the vivid red “pigeon’s
blood” color, the higher the price.
BIRTHSTONE MONTH
July

ANNIVERSARY GEMSTONE
14th and 15th Wedding Anniversary
ORIGINS
Ruby sources include Afghanistan, Cambodia, Greenland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam. Myanmar (Burma) is known to produce some of the world’s finest quality rubies.
Ruby belongs to the mineral species corundum and is related to sapphire.
DURABILITY
Ruby is a durable gemstone with a hardness of 9 (out of 10) on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness.
ENHANCEMENTS
Rubies are sometimes heat treated to increase their transparency and clarity. A more recent type of treatment uses high lead glass to fill pits and cracks in the stones at high temperatures. Oil and dyes may also be used, but these treatments are not considered durable. Information about any ruby gemstone known to be treated will be disclosed to the buyer. Ruby can be man-made, meaning it is manufactured in a lab rather than mined.
CARE & CLEANING
Ruby jewelry can be scratched, so do not pile together with other jewelry when storing. Keep ruby jewelry in a padded container, especially when traveling. Ruby jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber cloth. Do not use mechanical cleaners for fractured or filled gemstones.

November Birthstone, Part 2

Topaztopaz

Although pink and a reddish-orange color known as imperial are the most valuable colors of topaz, this gemstone variety is now most often seen on the market in a blue color, thanks to a new irradiation enhancement process for colorless topaz developed in the 1970’s.

The world’s most famous topaz, the huge Braganza set in the Portuguese Crown, was originally thought to be a diamond.

Topaz is the traditional US birthstone for November. Blue topaz is considered an alternate US birthstone for December.

Topaz can be the amber gold of fine cognac or the blush of a peach and all the beautiful warm browns and oranges in between.

The most valuable topaz is more red than yellow from pale pink to a “sherry” red. Imperial topaz is also highly valued. Yellow to brown topaz is more affordable.

The strong icy blue color of blue topaz is created by exposing colorless topaz to low levels of irradiation and heat. Lighter colors are created by electrons and the darker blue known as London or Super blue is created by neutrons. Treated topaz has no harmful radiation levels. Blue topaz is among the most affordable color gemstones.

Heat treatment is sometimes used to change yellowish topaz to pink.

Surface coatings and diffusion treatments can be used to create other colors. These surface coatings may come off in time with normal wear.

Topaz is most often found in a scissor cut, a rectangular gem shape with curved sides that have triangular facets. Ovals, cushions and emerald shaped are also available.

Because blue topaz is readily available and affordable, it can be found in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including unusual shapes.

Topaz has a high hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale, but it isn’t tough. Like a diamond, it has a pronounced cleavage: a single blow can break it in half so it should be protected from knocks.

The treated color of blue topaz is stable and permanent and does not require special care.

Clean topaz with mild dish soap in warm water: use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub under or behind the gemstone where dust and dirt can collect.

Some information from the GIA web site.

November Birthstone, Part 1

CITRINEcitrine

Sunny and affordable, citrine blends especially well with the yellow gleam of polished gold. This yellow to gold quartz is readily available; in fact the largest faceted gemstone in the record book is a 19,548 carat citrine.

Named from the French term for lemon, citron, many citrines have a juicy “lemon” color.

In ancient times, citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts.

Sometimes you will hear citrine incorrectly referred to as topaz quartz. Since topaz is different mineral, the industry has ruled to eliminate this name.

Along with topaz, citrine is one of the US birthstones for November.

Citrine includes transparent quart from yellow to “honey” to orangy brown.

Although the darker orangy brown to reddish orange color, called Madeira citrine, has traditionally been the most valued, recently the bright “lemon” color has been more popular.

Citrine is generally more affordable that amethyst, its quartz sibling. Like all quartz gems, citrine is relatively plentiful and is available in a wide range fo sizes and shapes, including very large sizes. Citrine is also popular for designer cuts and carvings.

Most citrine on the market began as amethyst that was heated to turn its color to “gold”

Citrine has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, It’s durable and great for everyday wear.

Clean citrine with mild dish soap: use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

Citrine jewelry should be kept away from prolonged exposure to strong light or heat.

Be sure to have all your jewelry professionally inspected and cleaned with us whenever you like. We recommend seeing us at least twice a year. Memorial Day and Thanksgiving are two holidays to use as reminders. Of course, if you have a special occasion, please come see us anytime.

Some information is from the GIA web site.

October Birthstone

Revered as a symbol of hope, fidelity, and purity, opal was dubbed the Queen ofopal
Gems by the ancient Romans because it encompassed the colors of all other gems.
Opal is prized for its unique play of color, the ability to diffract light into flashes of
rainbow color.

Opal occurs in different colors, ranging from semi-transparent to opaque. The most
common is white opal. Crystal or water opal has a colorless body. The most valued
variety, black opal, has a dark blue, gray, or black body color. Boulder opal combines
precious opal with the ironstone in which it forms. Bright yellow, orange, or red fire
opal are quite different from the other varieties of opal. Their day-glo tones, which
are translucent to transparent, are beautiful with or without play of color. Opal, along
with tourmaline, is the birthstone for October and the suggested gift for the fourteenth
anniversary.

Today’s supplies of opal come primarily from Australia, Mexico and the United States. Most opals are not faceted but cut
into rounded or free-form cabochons that enhance their play of color.

Although opal is rarely enhanced by methods other than cutting and polishing, opals can be treated to bring out their play of
color. One technique is to immerse white, gray, or black opal in a sugar solution and then in strong sulfuric acid, which
carbonizes with the sugar and leaves microscopic carbon specks that blacken the body color, making its flashes of color
more visible. Opals can also be permeated with colorless oil, wax, resin, plastic, and hardeners to improve their appearance
and durability. Occasionally, some thinner or translucent opal may be painted with a black epoxy on the backside of the
gemstone to darken the body color and improve the play of color. Fire opal is not commonly enhanced.

Opal, with or without enhancement, should be treated with some care. Opal is softer than many other gemstones and
should be stored carefully to avoid being scratched by other jewelry. It should also be protected from blows, as exposed
corners can chip. Opal should not be exposed to heat or acid. I can tell you how to best care for your opal.

OML!

“I almost lost my diamond?!?” the woman gasped. All the jeweler could do was to nod his head, “Yes.” The woman had stopped to have her jewelry cleaned and the jeweler noticed two prongs holding her diamond had been worn completely away, endangering the security of her diamond. Fortunately, the broken prongs were on opposite sides of the diamond. Had the prongs been on the same side, the diamond would have already fallen out of the ring. Close call

I’ve seen this same scenario too many times. Like changing the oil in your car, or checking the tire pressure, your jewelry needs regular care and maintenance. Most jewelers are happy to inspect and clean your jewelry. For my entire career, I have offered this as a free service. I’d rather check your jewelry often than to have a story similar to this. It only takes a “minute” to make sure your diamonds and gemstones will stay in the mountings while your jewelry is brightened at the same time. I also offer two other services for your jewelry. Be sure to come in soon, just in case. I really don’t like, “OML!!!!” Or, worse.