Archaeologists discovered this 2,000 year old gold, pearl and emerald earring in the ruins of a building in Jerusalem. So much of today's jewelry resembles ancient styles, especially jewelry from designers who are inspired by historical pieces, like Amrita Singh (the first-century collar necklace in the ancient jewelry gallery looks a lot like her gold and ruby necklace from 2006). Another example -- a gold bracelet found in Pompeii, which resembles a corsage bracelet that Maggie Gyllenhaal wore to the premiere of The Dark Knight. Fine jewelry is timeless, and we're seeing a growing trend towards "new" styles that mimic past looks.
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Four important factors that are considered when judging a diamond's quality and value are color, clarity, cut, and carat weight, commonly called the Four Cs. This eCourse takes you step-by-step through the Four Cs, with materials arriving in your in-box once each week for four weeks. Work at your own pace to complete the reading and sort out the facts. Are you're ready to start exploring the world of diamonds?
Created diamonds are becoming more common every year, but the stones produced by LifeGems are unique. These fancy color diamonds are made from carbon that's captured during the cremation process (or from a lock of hair). Would you wear a memorial diamond?
Prongs are the most commonly used gemstone setting technique, but did you know that prongs aren't all alike, and that they're sometimes either not well designed or they're designed in ways that make them poor choices for some lifestyles? For example... if you have a brand new baby you probably don't want to wear a ring with a gem set in tall prongs that could easily scratch soft skin. Take time to learn how prongs differ before you buy jewelry and you'll end up with a prong setting that works for you.
You see Harry Winston jewelry draped on celebrities at every Academy Awards presentation, and a special collection of Harry Winston designs slated for that event was exhibited a couple of years ago. But who was the man behind the jewels? Our Harry Winston biography offers some insights into his life and successful career.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
You've probably noticed the, um... creative way some retailers use gemstone names. Broghton emerald sounds more appealing than its true name -- green glass. Herkimer diamond is a unique variety of quartz, pretty but not a diamond. Blue moonstone sounds yummy until you find out the ring you bought isn't set with a moonstone at all, and that the stone is really cut from the lesser-valued chalcedony. Cape rubies are garnets and a Brazilian sapphire is actually blue tourmaline. There are hundreds more deceptive names tagged onto impostor gemstones.
There is a flip side -- impostor gems are attractive and (should be) affordable. Sellers who misrepresent what's in the box are the problem (the ones who hope we don't catch the iffy terms and who charge an inflated price based on what we think we're buying). Guarantees that what you buy is exactly what's described are only as good as the integrity of sellers who take your money, but knowing some of the warning signs that scream "fake" can put you in enough of a questioning frame of mind to discover the truth before you put down the cash.
More About Gemstones
Natural vs. Genuine, What's the Difference?
Gemstone Treatments to Enhance Appearance
Translate Misleading Gemstone Names
Gems that Are Sliced, Diced and Pasted Together
How to Use a Jewelry Loupe
Why Should You Care About the Mohs Scale?
Photo by Don Farrall / Getty Images
We associate the color red with love and passion, so it's no wonder that rubies have always been among the most popular of gemstones. The 23.1 carat Carmen Lucia ruby, set in the ring shown in the photo, is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Peter Buck donated the ring to the museum in memory of his wife, Carmen Lucia. The ruby was mined in Burma in the 1930s.
If you were born in July, learn the ins-and-outs of rubies before you go shopping.
Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images
Topaz is the traditional November birthstone. The gem is most commonly seen in shades of yellow to brown, but more colors exist (often created by applying intense heat or treating the stones in other ways). Get familiar with topaz before you go shopping, so that you're aware of the many ways the gem can be altered, and to make certain you understand the terms you'll encounter in jewelry store descriptions.
Moissanite is a mineral that was discovered in 1893 by Dr. Henri Moissan, a French scientist. The Nobel Prize-winner was the first person to find tiny amounts of this natural silicon carbide within a meteorite. Synthetic moissanite can be grown in labs, but some gemologists do not feel that current synthetic versions used in jewelry are exactly like true moissanite... read more about moissanite
Photo of Henri Moissan in 1900 © Buyenlarge/Getty Images
Mood rings have been around since the seventies, some say the sixties, but they've certainly changed. You'll still find rings (and other mood jewelry) set with 'plain' beads, but there are lots more choices now, like this fern mood ring from Phoebe's Treasure. Rings, pendants and earrings are just a few types of mood jewelry you'll discover... take a look (and find out how they work, too).
Photo © Phoebe's Treasure