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Montana Sapphire Facebook Giveaway

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When voting concludes we will randomly select a winner from the comment entries. We hope many of you enter and leave the comment to let us j ow you voted on our facebook!

Cleopatra’s Pearl Earrings

Ruud Kahle Mabe Pearl and Pink Tourmaline Earrings

 

Cleopatra’s pearl earrings are credited as the first mention of pearl jewelry in the pages of history {1}. Many a woman has grown bored with power and has resorted to flirtatious bantering with the men in her company.

This was oh so true for Cleopatra, one of the most powerful women in Egyptian history. She is said to have won the heart of Marc Antony, and he hers. Though their tale is tragic in its ending, it is lively in its beginnings.

Their courtship began with a series of pranks. These pranks began with the two in cahoots together. They would roam the streets of Alexandria in disguise, he as a slave and she as a maid {2}. They would eavesdrop outside windows, and sometimes even fall into a brawl in the street, probably over the pretty maiden.

In subsequent days, they played pranks on each other. On a fishing trip, Marc Antony rigged his lines with an abundance of fish. Having caught on to his antics, Cleopatra arranged for a counter-prank. On their next trip, Marc Antony pulled out of the waters a smoked fish hooked on his line {3}.

Upping the ante, the two arranged a little bet. Marc Antony organized an outrageous banquet the likes of which had never been seen before. He bet her that his cost more than any banquet she could throw in return {4}.

She countered his wager, betting that she could throw a feast which would cost her 60,000 pounds of gold. She began the feast in a humble fashion. Near the end, Marc Antony was sure he had won the bet. However, Cleopatra had one last surprise up her sleeve.

“I will now consume on my own the equivalent of 60,000 pounds of gold,” she said placidly.

Upon making this statement she received at hand, from the tray of her slave, a golden goblet filled with vinegar. Holding it in one hand, she lifted her other hand to her ear and removed one of her pearl earrings, easily worth 30,000 pounds of gold.

These earrings were rumored to be among the most delectable, most expensive pearls of their kind. Each earring was fashioned of one large pear-shaped pearl, and the pair was given to Cleopatra by the kings of the East {5}.

She dropped the pearl earring into the goblet, savoring the look of astonishment on Marc Antony’s face as she waited for the vinegar to dissolve the pearl.

Then, she swallowed the contents of the cup, prepared to drop her other pearl into a second cup. It is noted that at this point, the judge of the wager declared Cleopatra the winner, thus sparing the second earring from its demise {6}.

History dictates that the single famed pearl earring was later sliced in two in Rome and made into earrings for a statue of Venus in the Pantheon {7}.

Notes

  1. Rosenthal, Leonard. The Kingdom of the Pearl, London: Nisbet & Co. Ltd., 1919, p. 85.
  2. Jones, Prudence J. Cleopatra: The Last Pharaoh, Haus Publishing, 2006, p. 72.
  3. Ibid., p. 72.
  4. Ibid., p. 73.
  5. Rosenthal, p. 85.
  6. Jones, p. 73.
  7. Ibid.

The Cloud Pearl

Vintage Twin Pearl and Diamond Cocktail Ring

 

A Cloud Pearl is a pearl grown from a drop of water within a cloud. These auspicious pearls are spoken of in the Garuda Purana. This holy book of the Hindus is understood to be the Vedic authority on Indian gemology.

It is written in the Garuda Purana that all gemstones were birthed from the body parts of Vala. Once known as Asura, Vala strove for power and overthrew the universal ruler Indra. He held his throne by force and fear, terrorizing his subjects and even Indra.

After a time, the demigods in his service appealed to him to play a role as an animal sacrifice during a ritual. He allowed them to strap him down, and upon seeing him in such a state his subjects found their opportunity to strip him of his power.

They murdered him in cold blood, cutting him into pieces. Though he had taken the throne by force, he had surrendered his body in a holy setting. Therefore, as the pieces of his body rose to the heavens, they transformed into seeds.

These seeds hovered in the heavens, amid the stars, until they grew heavy. Dropping down one by one, they were planted in various places within the earth. In time, they sprouted and grew into all the beautiful gemstones of the earth.

It is Vala’s teeth that are said to have been the seeds for pearls. Each one dropped into the varied hues of ocean waves, falling into some of the oysters that lay beneath the surface of the waters. Some of these were swallowed by fish, conch shells, and oysters. These gave rise to pearls of the sea that are so celebrated in the month of June.

However, it is the cloud pearl which is revered above all pearls. These are said to grow to the size of a hen’s egg. They are perfectly round and heavy, bright as noonday and enjoyed only by the gods.

They are said to have been born from a water drop within a cloud. The Garuda Purana explains that these pearls rarely reach the earth, reserved for the pleasure of the gods. If one does fall to earth, then blessed above all men will be the one who finds it.

That pearl will be the pearl of great price, offering protection and provision not only for the one who stewards it, but for those within a thousand leagues of his/her birthplace. A person in possession of a cloud pearl would become the sovereign of the whole earth, protecting nearly the entire world from evil.

According to the sacred text, only a person who has achieved transformation for an exceedingly good deed done in a previous incarnation could possibly hope to find a cloud pearl.

These pearls are flawless, bright shining like the stars, with brilliant flashes of sunlight arcing through them. They are the most beautiful pearls imaginable.

Though the cloud pearls are nearly impossible to find, the Hindus believe that other beautiful pearls bring good fortune, as well (though not as much fortune as the cloud pearl). These are said to be found in many places.

Some of the most common places one might find a pearl would include cacao-nuts, bamboo shoots, serpents, the mouth of sea-fish, a conch shell, or an oyster. These varying birthplaces render the pearls different sizes, shapes, and colors, and they afford different blessings upon the owner of these pearls.

Of course, the ones most precious to those born in June are those borne of the oysters of the sea. Those nacreous beauties which shimmer in blinding white, shimmering pink, and even glistening blues.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews

Krishna’s Pearls

Krishna with the gopis. A scene from the Bhâgavata-Purâna-Manuskript. It is possible that the tree in the background might represent one of Krishna's pearl trees.
Krishna with the gopis. A scene from the Bhâgavata-Purâna-Manuskript. It is possible that the tree in the background might represent one of Krishna’s pearl trees.

 

Krishna’s Pearls is a legend of virtue, a fable of sorts, I suppose. It is a story passed down by a number of India’s greatest poets. Here, I offer my rendition of the famed story of June’s birthstone.

The cow-herd girls (gopis) were legendary in the times when Krishna walked the earth. He was the sole object of their affections, and they devoted their every thought to him.

But sometimes, he tested them by approaching them in disguise. He called this a pastime, and enjoyed immensely the opportunity to involve himself in his devotees’ lives.

One day, he disguised themselves and paid them a visit. Noticing their beauty and their bliss as they strung pearls for decorating their cows for an upcoming festival, he drew near to them as they worked.

Desiring to engage them, he attempted to gain their attention with subtleties. When this did not work, he boldly approached them with a request.

“May I acquire from you a few of your pearls for my two most favorite cows, Hamsi and Harini?” he asked the one named Radha. “In doing so, you will secure for yourself a reputation for generosity among the fairest of the fair.”

Radha chose to pretend she heard nothing more than the wind. Her friends followed suit, continuing to string the shimmering pearls onto silken cords in their laps.

Struck by their disrespect, Krishna (still disguised as Hari) scolded the maidens, “Has your beauty dimmed your wits? Please, I beg of you for your sake, listen to my humble request.”

Instead of listening, the maidens began to laugh, Radha laughing the loudest of all. To Krishna, the sound was as delightful as the waves lapping the shores. He stood transfixed by the scene before him.

Finally, Lalita blurted out a response: “These pearls are intended for the cows of the queens and kings of this land. Should we really stoop so low as to offer even a few of them to your humble cows, Shri Hari? Perhaps we should go all the way and give you the whole lot of them!?”

“Oh, my dear maiden,” Krishna responded in glee, “I am so honored by your response, though I must reply that I only require enough to decorate just the horns of my two favorite cows. That is all I ask. Just four short strings of your fine and lovely pearls.”

Lalita made a brazen show of inspecting all of her pearls. “Shri Hari! I am at a loss as to what to do. I see not one single pearl worthy of your cows.”

At this point, Krishna (remaining in disguise) lost his wits and told her to forget the whole matter. He stomped off to his mother and begged her for a number of her finest pearls.

“I’ll show those silly girls,” he said. “I will plant these in the ground and see them sprout and blossom for me in pearls of my very own, of the finest quality.”

And after some cajoling, his devoted mother loaned him her pearls. He planted them in the ground, making a big show of preparing the soil and hedging the field in with thorns, which blossomed in violet flowers which offered a pleasing fragrance to all who were near.

The gopis caught wind of the fragrance and of the success Hari was having with his pearls. By now, they understood that Hari was Krishna, and that he was up to divine business. Seeing themselves as no less than he, they set about gathering pearls from their neighbors to plant in their own field.

While Krishna’s plants bloomed in pearls, theirs sprouted in thistle flowers and thorns. Disappointed in their results and pressured by their neighbors, who had invested in their efforts with their own pearl stores, the gopis were forced to ply their trade in exchange for pearls at the marketplace.

There they were refused and rejected. They returned dejected, and Krishna despaired of their sorrow. No longer were the happy maidens stringing pearls. Instead they were lying in state upon their beds, crying their eyes out.

Krishna approached the maidens and offered them each a box full of his finest pearls to ease their sorrows. In gratitude, they humbled themselves and were restored to their previous bliss.

“Ahh! Krishna’s pearls are the most beautiful in the land,” Radha remarked. “And isn’t he such a clever one?”

They laughed at their misfortune, enjoying the favor of their beloved once more.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews

Formation of Diamonds

Capture the Essence! of Scintillating Diamonds with this dazzling 2-carat Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Scintillating Diamonds with this dazzling 2-carat Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

 

The formation of diamonds is a study in fascination. A diamond’s epic adventure begins within the melting pot of the earth, the mantle. At a depth of between 90 and 120 miles, a mixture of elements roils at temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit {5}.

Diamonds Require Heat & Pressure

The weight of the atmosphere, gravity, and the earth itself, which presses down upon this elemental mixture, measures between 45 and 60 kilobars (638-870 psi) {5}. In comparison, at sea level, the amount of pressure exerted upon the human body is 14.5 pounds per square inch (psi) {4}.

Even the most highly trained scuba divers are limited to a depth of 165 feet below the sea. At this depth, with the sea and the atmosphere pressing down upon her, a diver will experience the force of 72.5 psi {4}. Seems like feathers compared to the pressure under which diamonds are formed.

It is precisely because of this heat and pressure that diamonds are one of the most unique gemstones on the earth. What makes them so unique is that they are the only single-element gemstone known to man. The rarest and most valuable diamonds (D Flawless) are 100% carbon. Miraculously, within this roiling pot of bubbling elements, the carbon elements find each other and cling with all their might.

A Powerful Bond

It takes five carbon atoms to begin the process of diamond crystallization. Under these unique pressure and heat conditions, the electrons in these carbon atoms are able to form powerful covalent bonds {2}.

It is these powerful bonds, which grow as billions of single carbon atoms continue joining to one another at points of four, that make diamonds so dense, so durable, so indomitable {2}. And it is their purity that makes them so scintillating, so delectable, so ravishing in their beauty.

A Rainbow of Diamonds

Even those which have been intruded upon by trace elements are among the most dazzling of nature’s perfect gifts.  Fancy Colored Diamonds, as the GIA categorizes them, are the tantalizing colorful wonders that have captivated the attention of the world’s most illustrious collectors. This rainbow of diamonds is the result of either deformation or intrusion in the crystal lattice.

Red diamonds are believed to be the result of a deformation which creates an absorption band within the stone which restricts certain colors of the spectrum, releasing primarily red light to the eye {8}.

Orange diamonds are intruded upon by elements. Just which elements are intruding is up for debate. It has widely been believed that nitrogen is responsible for the pumpkin-colored hues, but more recently hydrogen has become a suspect, as well.

Yellow diamonds are the result of a greater concentration of nitrogen atoms scattered throughout the crystal structure.

Green diamonds are among the rarest of the rare. It is bombardment of neutrons, gamma rays, and beta rays that creates their verdant hues {7}. Some of these diamonds have been only lightly irradiated, making their color fleeting {6, 7}. Polishing or faceting can lift this green sheen right of the stone {7}. However, when a diamond has undergone a steady battering of radiation, its color will rise from within, emerging intact through the cutting and polishing process {7}.

Blue diamonds are intruded upon by trace amounts of boron {5}.

Purple diamonds are the result of a defect similar to that found in red diamonds, though purples have two absorption bands instead of just one {1}.

With so many nuances to the perfection of a diamond, it is no wonder that these glittering stones have become an objection of wonder, delight, and absolute fascination.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer

References

  1. Harlow, George E. The Nature of Diamonds. Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  2. King, Hobart. “How Do Diamonds Form?” Geology.com. Accessed March 30, 2015.
  3. Linberry, Cate. “Diamonds Unearthed,” Smithsonian Magazine, December 2006.
  4. National Ocean Service. “How does pressure change with ocean depth?” Accessed March 30, 2015.
  5. Nature.Berkeley.edu. “Diamonds and Diamond Simulants.” Accessed March 30, 2015.
  6. Naturally Colored. “How do Colored Diamonds get Their Color?” Accessed March 30, 2015.
  7. Rachminov Diamonds 1891. “What Makes a Diamond Green?” Accessed March 30, 2015.
  8. Rachminov Diamonds 1891. “What Makes a Diamond Red?” Accessed March 30, 2015.

Diamonds for April

Capture the Essence! of April's Diamond Birthstone with this 5-Carat C. Krypell Diamond Pendant in 18k White Gold. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of April’s Diamond Birthstone with this 5-Carat C. Krypell Diamond Pendant in 18k White Gold. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

 

Diamonds belong to the month of April. Ice white, blood red, azure blue, verdant green, champagne or chocolate. These are just a few of the luscious colors you can choose from to celebrate your special day.

Is it your birthday this month?

Would you like a jewel featuring your diamonds this year?

Perhaps you prefer to receive your diamonds as a gift. If so, you are in good company, as both Paulette Goddard and Wallis Simpson received nearly all of their jewelry from their husbands.

Ms. Goddard received several stunning diamond jewels from Charlie Chaplin, whom she married in the 1930s. One such piece was a gorgeous diamond, emerald cabochon, and gold bracelet with a floral motif made by Trabert & Hoeffer, Inc.–Mauboussin. Charlie Chaplin presented this lovely retro bracelet to Ms. Goddard after she lost the part of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind.

Wallis Simpson, more popularly known as the Duchess of Windsor, received from her adoring husband David, the former King of England, numerous diamond jewels. One of the most captivating is a diamond double-leaf necklace by Cartier. This necklace wraps around her neck in an exquisite hug of ice in a portrait taken by Dorothy Wilding in 1943.

Perhaps you’re not expecting diamonds from your sweetheart this year. If not, then why not join the company of Elizabeth Taylor and Daisy Fellowes, and lavish diamonds upon yourself. In 1987, Elizabeth Taylor purchased a gorgeous diamond jewel at auction in 1987, the ‘Prince of Wales’ brooch previously owned by none other than Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor.

The Prince of Wales brooch is a stunning interpretation of the insignia of the Prince of Wales, with three diamond encrusted feathers emerging from a platinum and diamond crown. It was one of the only royal-affiliated jewels the former King of England was able to keep while in exile.

In her own act of independence, Daisy Fellowes purchased for herself a notable pink diamond, which weighed 17.47 carats, from Cartier. This diamond, called ‘Tete de Belier’ (‘Ram’s Head’), once belonged to Prince Youssoupoff of Russia, who sold it to Cartier in 1927. Though it was stolen in 1939, this stone is said to have inspired Elsa Schiaparelli’s ‘shocking pink,’ which for a long time belonged solely to Daisy Fellowes.

Whether you prefer to receive your birthday diamonds as a gift, or whether you delight to purchase diamonds for yourself, we offer here a few gorgeous diamond pieces to celebrate your April birthday.

Send this link to your hubby. Let him know you fancy the above pictured ornate and delicate diamond pendant. This shimmering jewel, with its elegant floral motif in diamonds and platinum, most closely matches the taste of Paulette Goddard, silent and talkie film star, married to Charlie Chaplin.

Diamond & Sapphire Fan Pendant

Click here to purchase for yourself this lovely Art Deco style diamond and sapphire pendant, fashioned in the Art Deco style. This jewel, with its geometrical fan shape and its bold pairing of deep blue sapphire and white diamonds in platinum, most closely matches the taste of Daisy Fellowes.

 

 

Vintage Teardrop Diamond BroochClick here to purchase this stunning vintage teardrop diamond brooch featuring over 2 carats in white diamonds. With its royal flourishes and its inclusion of captivating diamonds set royally in platinum, his jewel most closely matches the tastes of Elizabeth Taylor.

 

About Kunzite

Kunzite is the pink-to-purple form of the mineral known as spodumene. Kunzite was first discovered in California in the late 1800s.
Kunzite is the pink-to-purple form of the mineral known as spodumene. Kunzite was first discovered in California in the late 1800s.

Kunzite was first discovered during the late 1800s in the Pala Mountain region of San Diego County in California. It was first written about in 1905, described by William B. Gross, in Sunset Magazine, as “the most remarkable gem in which the world generally, and scientists in particular, are interested…” {p. 556}.

Mr. Gross relates that the first specimens of this rare and wonderful “heliotrope-colored” spodumene were discovered in the mine belonging to Frank A. Salmons. In the same year, Dr. George Frederick Kunz, who was the first mineralogist to identify kunzite as a new variety of spodumene, wrote a paper for the California State Mining Bureau.

While he discusses the importance of the Pala Chief mine owned by Frank A. Salmons, Dr. Kunz relates that the first kunzite specimens were actually sent to his offices in 1902, by Mr. Frederick M. Sickler and the partners of Tiffany & Co {2}. At the time, Mr. Sickler, who owned several claims in the Pala region, believed they were a type of tourmaline {2}.

A year later, Mr. Sickler announced that the kunzite samples he sent to Dr. Kunz were discovered in his White Queen mine, which Dr. Kunz wrote was on a ridge east of the Pala Chief mine owned by Frank A. Salmons {2}.

It was, Dr. Kunz writes, a colleague of his, one Charles Baskerville, a professor at the University of North Carolina, who proposed that the stone be named after the esteemed doctor who was the first to identify the gemstone as a new variety of spodumene {2}.

Dr. Kunz’s report appears to be the official record of kunzite’s discovery and initial introduction to the gemstone market. In it, the esteemed gemologist explains that the majority of kunzite crystals found in the Pala region, with the exception of those found in the Pala Chief mine, were cut in San Diego and distributed into the marketplace from there.

The Pala Chief crystals were purchased directly by Tiffany’s representatives and were shipped straight to New York, where they were cut, set, and sold directly to the firm’s elite clientele, who paid between $6 and $20 per carat for the rare and beautiful lilac-colored stone {2}.

Today, though kunzite continues to be harvested in the United States, the largest gemstone-quality producer is the Minas Gerais in Brazil {3}.

References

  1. Gross, William B. “Kunzite the Precious,” Sunset Magazine, October 1905, pp. 557-560.
  2. Kunz, George Frederick. “Kunzite–Spodumene,” Bulletin No. 37, Gems, Jewelers’ Materials, and Ornamental Stones of California. Issued in San Francisco, June, 1905, by the California State Mining Bureau, pp. 81-93.
  3. Schumann, Walter. Gemstones of the World. New York City: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2009.

Orange Citrines and Garnets

garnet-citrine-cocktail-ring-pb2579e

Orange citrines or garnets are a beautiful choice for a cocktail ring, especially if your budget is tighter than fancy colored diamonds or sapphires might allow. Both rate between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making citrine rings suitable for finger rings worn on a daily basis.

Orange Citrines

Citrines are part of the quartz family, which means they are abundant in nature. Citrines range in color from citrus yellow to red-brown. However, according to Dr. Lance Grande and his colleague Allison Augustyn, citrines of a dark golden or orangeish-yellow hue are the most desirable. (Dr. Grande is the senior vice president and head of Collections and Research at The Field Museum in Chicago. Allison Augustyn is also on staff at The Field Museum.)wms11418a

It is the oxidation of iron (the mixing of iron and oxygen) within the crystal structure of citrine that lends citrine its variation of hues, including orange. This oxidation is primarily the result of heat and/or irradiation.

Quartz in its non-radiated form is typically colorless. With a slight amount of irradiation, it turns pink or purple (amethyst). However, when heated to high temperatures or exposed to higher levels of radiation, the iron and oxygen combine together to produce yellows, reds, browns, and oranges.

pb11143a

According to the GIA, most citrine is found in Brazil, though small pockets have been discovered in Bolivia and Africa {1}. Orange citrine has been associated with success and prosperity, especially for those who work in sales. In some circles it has been called The Merchant’s Stone. Citrine is the birthstone for November and symbolizes success, hope, and strength.

Orange Garnet

In appearance, orange garnets appear to be the twin sister of citrine. However, their chemical differences suggest they are perhaps more like cousins. Unlike citrines, which consist of one mineral group, quartz, which is colored by varying combinations of iron and oxygen, orange garnets belong to one subtype of the mineral tribe called garnet.

Garnets have a silicate base like citrines, but unlike citrines they are not comprised solely of silicone dioxide. Instead, the silicate base combines with some combination of iron, manganese, chromium, calcium, and/or aluminum {4}. Iron in the mix lends the color red, manganese the colors yellow and/or orange, and chromium lends green. Other factors can also affect color, though with orange garnets the color is chiefly attributed to the presence and quantity of manganese {4}.

Within the garnet tribe, there are several possible chemical variations. Almandine (violet-red hues) and Pyrope (blood-red hues) are the most common, and therefore the most popular. However, the orange Spessartines (yellow-to-orange) have also been highly desirable since the early ’90s.

According to Dr. Grande and Ms. Augustyn, Spessartine garnets became especially popular when Mandarin Garnet, a particularly fiery orange-red variety, was discovered in 1991, in Namibia, Africa. Since its discovery, all forms of Spessartine garnet have been popular {2}. In addition to Africa, orange garnets can also be found in Southeast Asia, South America, North America, and Australia {2}. With a rating of 7 to 7-1/2 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, Spessartine garnets prove themselves a lovely choice for an engagement ring.

If you’d like to see our selection of orange garnets and citrines, we welcome you to make an appointment to visit our Seattle-area showroom.

 References

  1. GIA. “Citrine: November’s Sunny Birthstone.” Accessed January 30, 2015.
  2. Grande, Lance and Allison Augustyn. Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
  3. Minerals.net. “The Gemstone Citrine.” Accessed January 30, 2015.
  4. Williams, Cara, F.G.A. “The Colors and Varities of Garnet,” In the Loupe Volume 1, May Issue, 2010, pp. 4-5.

Jessica Biel’s Engagement Ring Details

Capture the Essence! of Jessica Biel’s Engagement Ring with this 7.66 carat Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

Jessica Biel’s engagement ring features a square hearts and arrows diamond.  Some report that her stunning diamond is 6 carats, though we have not been able to confirm this detail. We can confirm that the diamond does have the appearance of a royal step-cut stone. A perfect choice for one of Hollywood’s celebrated royals.

Ms. Biel’s central diamond is surrounded by a double halo of smaller round diamond accents. It rests atop an ornate gallery featuring scrolling openwork layered between circlets of diamonds.

On either side of the gallery, a single round aquamarine is bezel set in black rhodium. These beauties are rimmed by half-circles of graduated round brilliant diamonds. The 18k white gold band features a row of four round-cut diamonds channel-set into the shoulders.

The Jewelers of Las Vegas

Ms. Biel’s engagement ring was crafted by Leor Yerushalmi of The Jewelers, Inc. of Las Vegas. It should come as no surprise that Justin Timberlake chose the Las Vegas company. Not only have they made absolutely beautiful jewelry for over 35 years, founders Vicki and Mordechai Yerushalmi have long been favored by a number of America’s top music idols.

Their first big break came In 1976, when Mordechai received a thrilling phone call in the middle of the night. The King made a request for a private viewing of a selection of rings in his suite at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. A check signed by Elvis Presley for $5,368 stands as proof that the Yerushalmi’s know how to make music with their jewels.

Justin Timberlake Is Fearless

Ms. Biel told the press that the ring was a complete surprise. Justin picked the ring out himself, working closely with Mr. Yerushalmi to make the specialized ring perfect for his lady love. Though most of the symbolism of the ring is lost on us, Leor did confirm that the aquamarines were chosen in honor of Ms. Biel’s March birthstone.

Justin Timberlake popped the question back in December 2011, with conflicting reports of a mountaintop proposal in Montana (People) or Jackson, Wyoming (Us Magazine). We caught our first glimpse of Ms. Biel’s engagement ring in March 2012, when the couple was spotted leaving Tavern, an eatery in Brentwood, California.

The actress told InStyle that she gave no input for her ring. “He is fearless in his choices and has a real eye for design….And I’ll be honest, he has better taste than I do!” she said.

Do you think Justin Timberlake has good taste? Would you like your birthstone incorporated into your engagement ring?  Guess who has the Best Seattle Engagement Rings.

Citrine: What’s in a Name?

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Citrine jewelry has a warmth reminiscent of sunshine and has long been considered a stone of the sun. However, it’s name does not necessarily reflect this connection.

‘Citron’–A Lemon?

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), citrine derives its name from the French word citron, which means “lemon.” Natural untreated citrine is often a pale yellowish color. However, it rarely matches a true lemon yellow, leaning more toward a light honey or smoky gold.

These naturally-colored citrine specimens are becoming rarer. Today, much of the new citrine on the market is heat treated right at the mines {2}. This has become a widely acceptable practice, which often results in a yellow with reddish undertones. According to GemSelect, the effects of this heat treatment are considered permanent and stable.

Madeira Citrine

While citrines are rarely lemon yellow, there is one special citrine whose name perfectly captures its essence and hue–Madeira citrine. On the islands of Medeira, Portugal, near the Canary Islands, a unique practice of winemaking has been perfected for well over 500 years.

The wines in Madeira are made after the fashion of a long boat ride. One forsaken shipment of wine made the full journey through the trade routes and back to its port of origin in Madeira. Upon its discovery in the ship, winemakers realized that exposure to heat on the constantly moving ship completely changed the flavor of the wine.

 

Once these artisans discovered the reason for the wine’s transformation, they engineered a way to simulate the process on land. Today, the simplest method is to fill a large stainless steel container with the wine. A system of pipes that pass through the container will circulate hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit) through the wine for three months {4}.

In another method, casks of wine are taken to a rooftop and left beneath the beating rays of the sun for several months. This method, called the Canteiro method, is reported to produce the best Madeira wines {4}.

The birth of this new wine put the region on the map, and the Madeira wines, known the world over for their “profound complexity, crisp acidity and marvelous richness on the palate” {5}, also happen to be a rich, smoky red-hued brown in color, just like the citrine that is believed to be named after them.

Brazilian Wood?

While this connection to Madeira wines seems to be the most commonly held theory of the origins of the stone’s name, some believe Madeira citrine is actually named after a Brazilian word meaning ‘wood’ or ‘wood-colored’. This makes some sense, since most of the world’s most beautiful citrines come from Brazil’s southern tip. However, it is not the most romantic of theories.

Wherever it derives its name, don’t you think the Madeira citrine is stunning?

Notes
  1. “Citrine: November’s Sunny Birthstone,” GIA 4Cs Blog, November 1, 2013. http://4csblog.gia.edu/2013/citrine-novembers-sunny-birthstone.
  2. GemSelect. “Citrine Gemstone Information.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/citrine/citrine-info.
  3. International Colored Gemstone Association. “Citrine.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.gemstone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=104:sapphire&catid=1:gem-by-gem&Itemid=14.
  4. Madeira Wine Guide. “The Making of Madeira Wine.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.madeirawineguide.com/2006/05/the_making_of_madeira_wine.html.
  5. The Rare Wine Co. “Historic Series Madeira.” Accessed November 3, 2014. http://www.rarewineco.com/rare-wine-co-historic-series-madeira/.