Category Archives: All Things Jewelry

Financing and Layaway now Available

EraGem is thrilled to partner with Affirm to offer our customers a great financing option conveniently integrated into our check out.  Here is some information about the program Buy with Affirm.

Purchases from EraGem are also also qualify for paypal’s financing option Bill Me Later (PayPal Credit).  To apply for this program select Paypal at check out and follow their system to get set up.  Here is some information about Paypal Credit.

EraGem offers a convenient interest free layaway option as well.  We prefer 1/3 down and the balance be completed within 90 days.  When the balance has been paid in full, the item will ship via overnight delivery.  If a different arrangement will work better for you please contact us to discuss.  To purchases an item on layaway, select the layaway option at the payment stage of checkout and place an order. Then give us a call at 206-832-6850 to provide credit information for the deposit and call anytime you want to make additional payments.


Vote for EraGem’s Best Wedding Rings!

EraGem has been nominated in the “Best Wedding Rings” category of the Best of Western Washington 2015.  We would love your vote and are offering a great giveaway on EraGem’s Facebook page to celebrate.

Enter for a chance to win this beautiful Montana sapphire ring

Montana Sapphire Facebook Giveaway

First go and leave us a vote for “Best Wedding Rings” HERE

Then leave a comment on EraGem’s facebook post announcing the giveaway to let us know that you voted.

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!

Natural Emerald Engagement Rings

Emerald is the traditional birthstone of May and is also a popular gemstone choice for an alternative engagement ring.  Emerald engagement rings and emerald rings in general are suitable for every day wearing but the stone is softer than a diamond so the wearer should be more conscious of activities where impact is likely to occur.

natural emerald engagement rings
Stunning natural 4.8 carat Emerald with diamond baguette accents in platinum View Here


Most emeralds have some degree of internal inclusions but typically when shopping for an emerald one should look for good transparency and a vibrant green color.  Inclusions will be present but should not be the first thing noticed about the stone.  Typically the more clear crystalline inclusions are visually preferred over dark or black spots, as is the case with diamonds as well.

Genuine Emerald Engagement Rings
A magnificent vintage emerald  nearly 2.5 carats and flanked by diamond baguettes View Here


Natural emeralds are almost universally treated to enhance their clarity with oil or resin.  These treatments are mostly permanent for the wearer by can sometimes be disrupted in the goldsmithing or cleaning process if the stone has to take any type of significant heat. Ultrasonic cleaning is not recommend for emerald jewelry, gentle detergent in warm water with a soft toothbrush to remove dried on lotion or gunk should be sufficient to keeping the stone looking good.

Art Deco Emerald Engagement Ring
Stunning antique emerald ring is from the 1920’s and ready for another long lifetime View Here


As seen in the ring above, emeralds can stand the test of time and should be considered as a great alternative engagement ring.  Emeralds also make a great anniversary present, it is the traditional stone for celebrating a 20 year anniversary.

Emerald Engagement Rings Gold
Celebrate an engagement, May birthday, or 20 year anniversary with Genuine Emeralds. View Here

Dutch Wedding Customs

Mens Benchmark Wedding Band

A Dutch wedding can last from mid-morning one day until the wee hours of the next day. Dutch couples typically manage two guest lists. The first list includes their closest friends and family members. These “day guests,” as they’re called, will participate in every aspect of a Dutch wedding.

The second list incorporates their wider social networks, to include extended family, coworkers, acquaintances, and others whom the bride and groom wish to include in the festivities.

A typical Dutch wedding begins mid-morning at the bride’s parents’ house. Their day guests enjoy a light snack of coffee or tea and “small bites.” Photos are passed around, stories are told, laughs and hugs are shared, and the bride and groom are made ready for the ceremony.

Many Dutch brides follow the European tradition of wearing a white wedding gown, and grooms wear a dark suit or a tuxedo. The day guests typically dress in Sunday best, but formality is reserved primarily for the betrothed. If a Dutch bride wishes her day guests to dress more formally, she is advised to note her dress code on the formal invitations, as the norm is far more casual than most U.S. weddings.

A Dutch couple is often seen together at these morning receptions, and typically all of those present will travel together to the ceremony venue.  Holland is a secular nation, so the government does not recognize a religious ceremony as a legally binding marriage contract. Those couples who desire to be married by a priest or pastor must plan two ceremonies.

The first is presided over by a government official, who spends time getting to know the couple before their big day. These civil ceremonies usually include music and readings by the bride’s and groom’s closest friends. They also include a brief account of the couple’s love story, shared with guests by the officiant.

Religious ceremonies typically follow the civil ceremonies and are routinely structured as a full church service. The pastor or priest will give a full-length sermon or message on topic to marriage, and the rites and rituals of that church’s denomination will be observed in full tradition.

A Dutch wedding ceremony, whether civil or religious, is typically an open event, where both day guests and the guests from the second list will attend together. After the ceremony, the smaller group of day guests will accompany the bride and groom to the reception venue. Those guests that are not a part of this intimate group will go home until after dinner.

At the reception, the couple is seated beneath a canopy of evergreen boughs. This display of greenery is meant to symbolize everlasting love. Here their friends and family members toast the couple with champagne and share the wedding cake together.

Gifts are presented, and the bride and groom are expected to open them in the company of their day guests. Each gift is lingered over, admired and passed around. As the guests ooh and aah and wait their turn to peek at all the lovely gifts, bowls of brandied raisins are passed around for nibbles.

Following the toasts and gifts, a formal feast is then served at the same location. These feasts are one of the pivotal events of the day. Again, this part of the celebration is shared only with the couple’s most intimate friends and family members. A main meal is served, often buffet style.

In addition to whatever main courses are served, the traditional sweetmeats called Bruid suikas (Bridal Sugar) are served. Five pieces of this special savory pastry are arranged in tuule bags, to represent a hope of love, happiness, loyalty, prosperity, and virility.

A spiced wine called Bruidstranen (Bride’s Tears) is also served. In addition to the pungent spices, gold leaf is a customary ingredient in this special mulled wine. The golden flakes are meant to symbolize the tears of joy shed by the bride on her momentous day.

After dinner, the tables are cleared and a dance floor is arranged. The music is turned up, and the bar is opened. The couple stands ready to once again greet their broader circle of friends and extended family. They kick off their shoes and start in with a proper Dutch celebration – a dance party with a festive air of joy and love and laughter. These parties are rumored to be among the best of the best and typically last until 2AM or later.

Dutch wedding traditions focus on the simple pleasures of a couple’s favorite stories, favorite songs, and favorite people. The bride and groom are celebrated all throughout the day, sent away on their honeymoon buoyed by the love and support of their friends and families. It all sounds so very lovely to me.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer

A Leo Diamond®

A Leo Diamond exhibits excellent brilliance and scintillating fire. This diamond solitaire engagement ring features a .48-carat Leo Diamond mounted in platinum and 18k white gold. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
A Leo Diamond exhibits excellent brilliance and scintillating fire. This diamond solitaire engagement ring features a .48-carat Leo Diamond mounted in 14k white gold with a platinum head. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

A Leo Diamond® effortlessly emits an exquisite brilliance in an original way due to its patented modified round brilliant design. Each Leo Diamond® is precisely cut with 66 facets.

The cut’s eight additional facets, which distinguish it from the round brilliant cut, are carefully placed on the pavilion of the diamonds. This precise design ensures excellent return of light, thereby maximizing brilliance and fire.

As one expert commented after inspecting a Leo Diamond®, these extra facets “do a good job of lighting up the center” of the stone. It is this increased brilliance that serves as the signature characteristic of these specially crafted diamonds.

This unique cut is the genius of Leo Schacter and his team at Leo Schacter Diamonds. Mr. Schacter navigates his work with a distinctive passion for diamonds and a dedication to excellence and integrity. Every Leo Diamond® conveys this commitment to quality and brilliance.

Pictured above is a classic diamond solitaire engagement ring which features a .48-carat Leo Diamond® mounted in solid 14k white gold with a platinum head. The inside shank of the ring is engraved with the words “THE LEO”, with a small white diamond set in place of the “O”. The diamond itself is laser inscribed with the serial number LEO 063720.

Each Leo Diamond® carries one of these distinctive serial numbers. This “fingerprint” allows a prospective buyer to trace the stone back to the diamond cutters and/or polishers who crafted that particular diamond to perfection.

In the case of this particular stone, an inquiry informs us that a group of four artisans worked together to craft this Leo Diamond®. Yankee Cohen and Elijah Zariff from Israel, together with Haim Amoyal and Albert Iluz from Morcco,  cut and polished this diamond to perfection. Each of these men are celebrated by Leo Schacter Diamonds as specialists in what they call “brilliandeering”–the art of “revealing the maximum sparkle and fire from within the stone.”

To own a Leo Diamond® is to own a work of distinction. These remarkably cut stones reflect an “unmistakable passion for diamonds” and are endowed by their makers with the symbolism of true and passionate love.

Cartier Turban Ornament for the Maharajah of Kapurthala

The Maharajah Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala wears the Cartier Turban Ornament fashioned in 1926. The largest hexagonal emerald weighs 117.40 carats.
The Maharajah Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala wears the Cartier Turban Ornament fashioned in 1926. The largest hexagonal emerald weighs 117.40 carats.

The Cartier Turban Ornament, made in 1926 for the Maharajah Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala, has been called by Newsweek “one of the most famous pieces Cartier has made” {2}.

Designed by Royalty?


According to the Maharajah’s great-grandson, Tikkaraja Shatrujit Singh, the ornament was drawn by Jagatjit Singh himself {2}. It features nineteen emeralds in varying sizes and shapes and numerous pearls and white diamonds for accent. The emeralds belonged to the vast treasury of the Maharajah, who commissioned Cartier to reset them in this exquisite modernized turban ornament.

According to Hans Nadelhoffer, former president of Christie’s in Geneva, who wrote Cartier, the definitive work on the jewelry maison’s legendary history, notes that the design was pure Orientalism, a sure departure from the Art Deco style Cartier was known for during the 1920s. This may serve as further proof that Jagatjit Singh did indeed design the ornament himself.

The Cartier Turban Ornament

Nadelhoffer calls it a “pagoda-style tiara,” an apt description indeed {p. 166-67}. The large central emerald, a hexagonal cabochon, weighs 117.40 carats. It is surrounded by round and rose-cut diamonds with six white pearls at each point.

Just below it rests a smaller emerald cabochon with two wing-type clusters of diamonds set on either side. Beneath this stone hangs a cluster of pearls. Above the central stone rises a top knot of three more emeralds, one smaller hexagonal cabochon, one crescent-shaped, and one pear-shaped. Diamonds serve as accents between and atop these stones.

Shop Mens Vintage Jewelry

Symmetrical swags of diamonds, emeralds, and pearls round out the piece on either side of this central display of opulence. Three oval-shaped cabochon emeralds form the foundation of these swags. Each one is surrounded by pave-set diamonds, and each has a round-cut diamond perched atop it.

Placed in between are two faceted, oval-shaped emeralds with a small emerald bead and a pearl mounted atop each one. A curving arch of diamonds holds everything in place, and a final diamond flourish in the shape of a crescent, with a single pearl resting in its shadow, finishes off the piece.

Upon the Brow of a Great Prince

In his book Cartier, Hans Nadelhoffer included a photograph of an ad taken out in Star Magazine in 1931. The ad included a full-spread photograph of the exquisite turban ornament along with the following caption: “For the Brow of a Great Prince” {1}.

Indeed, the Maharajah of Kapurthala was a great prince, and he loved the opulence his position and wealth afforded him. He commissioned the piece for his Golden Jubilee in 1926, and sat for the above portrait before the painter Marcel Baschet {1}. He wore the ornament throughout his jubilee celebrations and perhaps on other state occasions over the next ten years.

These occasions, if they happened, do not appear to have been recorded. There are only two other occasions Jagatjit Singh was known to have worn his Cartier Turban Ornament. One was during the Silver Jubilee of King George V of England in 1935 and two years later at the coronation of King George VI {3}.


  1. Nadelhoffer, Hans. Cartier. Chronicle Books, 2007, p. 162.
  2. Reddy, Sameer. “There’s Nothing Else Like it in the World,” Newsweek, May 26, 2008.
  3. Traveler’s India. “Lives of Indian Royalty in Europe: The heyday of European jewelers.” Zeno Marketing Communications, Inc., 2004.

What’s So Special About Orange Diamonds?

Capture the Essence! of Orange Diamonds with this Colored Diamond Cocktail Cluster Ring with Orange Diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Orange Diamonds with this Colored Diamond Cocktail Cluster Ring with Orange Diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

A fancy orange diamond mingles with fancy yellow, fancy green, blue, champagne, and white diamonds to form this gorgeous cluster cocktail ring set in 18k yellow gold.  Colored diamonds enjoy a special status in the world of jewels.

Not only are they rare, but they take the exquisite fire of a diamond to a whole new level. As demonstrated by this magnificent ring, colored diamonds come in nearly every color, but it is the orange diamond with which we are concerned today.

Orange Diamonds

Orange diamonds come in a variety of shades, ranging from faint orange to deep, vivid orange. It has long been believed that the color is a result of a nitrogen impurity in the carbon crystal structure. However, experts disagree about what causes the orange in diamonds.

Gemologists at William Goldberg cite nitrogen as the element responsible {2}. However, Harry Winston believes hydrogen is the culprit. Perhaps it is a combination of the two that really comes into play. For now, the true source of orange in diamonds remains a mystery {2}.

These orange beauties are found primarily in the mines of South Africa and Western Australia. Orange diamonds are counted among those other hard-to-find colors, such as blue, pink, red, and green.

The most desirable would be a Fancy Vivid Orange, which is an orange diamond without a hint of brown.  As you might expect, most of these rare beauties have become historically famous and now reside in the collections of some of the world’s most celebrated jewelry collectors.

Famous Orange Diamonds

Two of the most famous orange diamonds are the Pumpkin Diamond, owned as recently as 2003 by Harry Winston {7}, and the Koi Diamond, owned as recently as 2013 by the Rawstone Business Holding {1}.

The Pumpkin Diamond is a Fancy Vivid Orange which weighs 5.54 carats. It was mounted in a pinky ring designed by Harry Winston in 1997/98. It was worn by Halle Berry on her left hand during the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony. If you haven’t seen her acceptance speech, I highly recommend giving it a viewing. It remains one of Hollywood’s most moving moments.

The Koi Diamond is a multi-hued orange and white diamond weighing 32 carats, which has been cut in the shape of Japan’s celebrated Koi fish {1}. The pattern of colors adds to the resemblance and makes the Koi Diamond one of the most unique fancy-colored diamonds in the world.

Rare and Wonderful

Orange diamonds are the second rarest colored diamonds, with red being the rarest. According to William Goldberg, less than 1% of all diamonds are orange, with pure orange coming in at an even lower rate {8}. The grading of an orange diamond is based on tint and undertones. The Pumpkin Diamond has been classified with the rare distinction of pure vivid orange without a hint of brown, making it among the rarest of the rare.

What do you think of orange diamonds? Would you wear a fancy vivid orange diamond?

Perhaps your style would lead you away from the rarest of the rare and more toward a yellow-orange stone, or a browner orange, like the one pictured in the cocktail ring.

What about it? Which shade of orange do you prefer?


  1. Butler, Phil. “Sparkling Koi Diamond, the ultimate embodiment of Japanese legend and tradition,” Japan Today, May 19, 2013.
  2. Genis, Robert. “Collecting Orange Diamonds,” Gem Forecaster, November 2003.
  3. Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDA). “Orange Diamonds.” Accessed January 30, 2015.
  4. Naturally Colored. “Orange Diamonds.” Accessed January 30, 2015.
  5. Rachminov Diamonds, 1891. “Fancy Color.” PDF accessed January 30, 2015.
  6. Rare Colored Diamonds. “FAQs.” Accessed January 30, 2015.
  7. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “The Splendor of Diamonds.” Accessed January 30, 2015.
  8. William Goldberg. “Orange Diamonds: Colors of the Fall,” October 24, 2012.

Aquamarine: Birthstone for March

Capture the Essence! of March's birthstone with this magnificent 66-carat, oval-cut aquamarine pendant in white gold and white diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of March’s birthstone with this magnificent 66-carat, oval-cut aquamarine pendant in white gold and white diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

Aquamarine, that lovely ocean-hued gemstone, is the birthstone for March. As such, it is fabled to grant those born in this month, which straddles winter and spring, with the gifts of personal courage, loyal friendship, unity, and love.

It is this last point which makes aquamarine the perfect choice for an engagement ring or anniversary gift. That, and its exquisite beauty, which radiates in hues of blue or blue mixed with green.

Aquamarine is cousin to the enchanting green emerald, both being forms of beryl. It owes its range of colors, from pale sky blue to greenish-blue to deep blue, to the presence of ferrous iron in its crystal structure. It is a durable stone, often coming to the surface in large chunks of eye clean rough.

A rating of between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness ensures that aquamarine jewels can withstand most of the hazards associated with daily wear. It can be cut in almost any form, making it suitable to all forms of jewelry, including pendants, finger rings, brooches, and more.

Its historic use as a protective stone, worn most prominently by the seafaring men of Ancient Greece and the royal families of Ancient Egypt, dates back several millennium. In these historic accounts, it is frequently associated with the most celebrated gods of the sea, Neptune and Poseidon, and has been called the gift of mermaids, mermaids’ tears, and mermaids’ treasure.

At EraGem we have a large selection of beautiful aquamarine jewelry. It would be our pleasure to share the wonders of these exquisite gems with you in person. Call today to make your personalized appointment with our knowledgeable sales staff.

Big Diamonds Are Irresistible

Big diamonds flash with blinding light and capture the attention of every passerby. This month, EraGem welcomes these two grand rocks which have recently graced our presence.

A spectacular 1.74-carat Princess Cut diamond engagement ring by Simon G. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
A spectacular 1.74-carat Princess Cut diamond engagement ring by Simon G. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

The big diamond on this dazzling Simon G engagement ring weighs in at 1.74 carats. The central princess cut diamond is flanked on either side by white baguette diamonds. These exquisite accent stones are set into channels decorated with milgrain edging. The shoulders of the ring are bead set with 36 round brilliant diamonds on all three sides.

A princess cut is a wonderful cut for a big diamond. Its unique pyramid shape and extra facets create greater light dispersion than any other square-shaped diamond. Simon G has maximized this light dispersion by setting this central diamond in a gorgeous cathedral setting, allowing the diamond to catch the light from nearly every possible angle from top to bottom. This is an absolutely stunning ring!

This gorgeous pear-cut diamond weighs an astonishing 1.71 carats. The two side stones are also pear cut and bring the total carat weight for this diamond and platinum engagement ring to 2.71 carats. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

This ring has three big diamonds. The central stone is a 1.71-carat pear-cut diamond with E color and SI2 clarity, as certified by the GIA. On either side, set horizontally, are two pear brilliant cut diamonds weighing a total of 1 carat together. All three are three-prong set in a hefty mounting of solid platinum.

This ring is absolutely gorgeous, a true celebration of the pear brilliant cut. This cut features triangular facets and is half-oval and half-marquise in shape. The elongated nature of the pear makes it perfect for accentuating length in the fingers. It can make long fingers appear elegant and pronounced, and can visibly lengthen the appearance of shorter fingers. This ring is absolutely beautiful!

The Historic Use of Aquamarine

Capture the Essence! of Aquamarine's amuletic powers with this stunning 36-carat Aquamarine Pendant mounted in yellow gold and white diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Aquamarine’s amuletic powers with this stunning 36-carat Aquamarine Pendant mounted in yellow gold and white diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

The use of aquamarine as a sign of royalty dates back to Ancient Egypt. They were engraved with the names of the tribes of Egypt and worn on the shoulders of the high priests {1}. Aquamarine was also used in burial rites, left in the tombs of the dead as an offering to the gods for safe passage to the afterlife {1}.

Writing in 1913, in his book The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, Dr. George Frederick Kunz reports on the use of aquamarine by the Greeks. He cites a book called Specilegium Solesmense, what he calls a “Greek lapidary” written in the 3rd or 4th century.

Dr. Kunz describes the practice of seafaring men to make use of a collection of seven amulets to protect them at sea. Each amulet was carved out of a different type of stone, and each served a different protective purpose.

Most of them were worn around the neck, though one was actually tied to the prow of the ship. It was the third of these amulets, worn or carried as a charm, that was believed to be made of aquamarine, “a transparent, brilliant [beryl] of a sea-green hue” {p.39}. This amulet was worn to vanquish fear.

Another lapidary, called the Nautical Lapidary, is discussed in Richard Lindsay Gordon’s book Magical Practice in the Latin West. According to Mr. Gordon, this lapidary describes the practice of engraving upon the stone the image of Poseidon being pulled by two horses in his chariot.

Another reference, Kerygmata, also described by Mr. Gordon in his book, speaks of the beryl and the topaz as inseparable. These were engraved with the same image of Poseidon in his horse-drawn chariot, only on these stones Poseidon was holding ears of wheat in his right hand.

Once consecrated, these gems were believed to ensure success in love and generous provision to any who carried them on their person. They also ensured safety upon the seas and profitable trade for seafaring merchants.


  1. Ferguson, Sibyl. Crystal Ball: Stones, Amulets, and Talismans for Power, Protection, and Prophecy. York Beach: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2005.
  2. Gordon, Richard Lindsay, ed. and Francisco Marco Simon, ed. Magical Practice in the Latin West. Netherlands: Brill, 2010.
  3. Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Philadelphia & London: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1913.