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The Wonderful Wold of Color PT.11

Written by Erick Razo On December 6, 2017.

The atmosphere is getting colder, but our hearts are getting warmer. The sounds of holiday music is everywhere, the smell of our favorite hot drinks and of course the sights of all the beautiful color lights that adorn our homes and streets. In the gemological world December gives us a stone that can match much of the seasons color palette. From the decorations to snow covered fields. This month we will look at Zircon.

Gubelin Macro Photos. Zircon,

Origins

There are two theories as to how zircon obtained its name. One of the theories suggests that it came from the Arabic word Zarkun which means “cinnabar” or “vermilion.” The second theory suggests it derived from the Persian word Zargun or “gold colored.” Some of the colors that Zircon offers can match those descriptive words, making both theories believable. Colorless Zircon is known for its outstanding brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire. This stone is so similar to Diamond when viewed with the unaided eye, that it has bred a common confusion between the two gems for centuries. The consequence of this confusion has led many people to think of Zircon as an only a diamond imitation, but fail to realize the beauty and special characteristics of this beautiful stone. During the Middle Ages, Zircon was thought to induce sleep. Drive away evil spirits and promote riches, honor and wisdom. Blue Zircon however obtained huge popularity during the Victorian Era (1837-1901) thanks to its delightful color and great amount of brilliance, it was worn in almost all colored stone jewelry of the time. Gemologist George Kuntz -Tiffany’s famed gem buyer and discoverer of Kunzite- was an advocate of Zircon. He proposed the name “starlite” for Zircon to make people aware of the stones unique optical properties, but it never caught on.

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Geography of Zircon

Zircon can be found in places like Madagascar, Australia, China, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. They are found in a range of colors. Matara Zircon is name given to colorless Zircon that is mined from the city with the same name near Sri Lanka near where it is mined.

Zircon-Map

 

Chemical Composition, Crystal Structure, and Physical Properties

The chemical compound of Zirconium and Silicate (a compound of silicon and other minerals) create Zirconium silicate which in nature occurs as Zircon. It is usually colorless, but impurities in the crystal structure can cause different colorations. Zircon crystals can grow in many different type of host rocks, because of this they posses a range of optical and physical properties. Some Zircons can have radioactive trace elements like Uranium.  This radioactive trace elements can cause a process called metamictization, which is a natural process resulting in the gradual (and eventually complete) destruction of a mineral’s crystal structure. This causes the Zircon to irradiate itself and change its properties both optical and physical.Zircons are classified into three different types: High, intermediate, and low. They receive a classification depending on their properties, which are directly related to the amount of damage the radioactive trace elements have done to the crystal structure.

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Zircon Jewelry

Zircon comes in many colors such as brown, blue, green, yellow, red, pink, reddish and colorless. Zircon colors are so variant and beautiful that allows jewelery designers to create one-of-a-kind pieces, but it is also a stone that is sought after by collectors due to its unique colors. Necklaces, pendants, rings, bracelets, and earrings are adorned by Zircon.

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Wear and care of Zircon

 

Zircon has an 6- 7.5 on the Moh’s scale. The Moh’s scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals on an exponential scale from 10 to 0. The top of the scale is Diamond at 10 and graphite at 0. Due to its good hardness, Zircon is ideal for occasional wear, due to its brittle nature. In the right mounting with the proper protection, Zircon will last a long time.

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Just like each family has their own special traditions, languages, memories, and foods making them one of a kind, the many different colors and interesting optical properties of Zircon make it stand out from all others.  Getting together with those loved ones makes this the most wonderful time of the year. From all of us here at Diadem Jewelers we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Range of unheated, natural color zircons from Sri Lanka, sizes from 1-7 ct

Revisionist History

Written by Micah Brown On November 21, 2017.

It’s no secret that we are one of the few places in the triad, maybe even the state, where you can receive high quality watch repair. We service just about any watch from basic Walmart to sophisticated Swiss and everything in between, especially pocket watches.

Believe it or not, prior to the 1900′s America was a premiere watch manufacturer. Bringing us some of the most prolific brands in pocket watches. Names like Elgin, Waltham, and Illinois all were hugely successful during this era, producing what would become millions of watches for the American public. Sadly, this era of fine craftsmanship that produced not just a time piece but a moving work of art is all but dead. The advent of the smaller movement that could fit on the wrist and eventually the breakthrough of battery powered watches was pretty much the nail in the coffin for pocket watches.

Watch-Timelapse-AdjustedHowever, every generation after that has still had an affinity for these meticulously hand crafted little machines. It was their great great grandfathers, passed down from father to son for generations. Some live in drawers with broken gears and missing crystals, the lucky ones still tick but can’t keep time. The sentiment they carry of lost loved ones is there but it’s out of site and out of mind. Often they are sadly relegated to those few individuals who enjoy tinkering or collecting them like trading cards or art.

That is all changing.

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The demand for larger watches coupled with the desire for total individuality is at an all time high. Concurrently, the modern individual is seeking something unique yet bespoke. From their coffee shops to to their shoes, they want quality. They want not just quality in a piece but seek to understand provenance in what they buy. We are brining the bygone into a new era.

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The watch pictured above is a Waltham. The American Waltham Watch Company began making fine watches in 1850. The company was founded by David Davis, Aaron Dennison, and Edward Howard. Their vision was to form a watch company that could produce high-quality watches at a lower cost using interchangeable parts. In 1860, as Abraham Lincoln was elected President and the country found itself amidst the Civil War, the American Watch Company was faced with serious financial problems. Lincoln carried the whole nation, and a Waltham pocket watch, with him through one of the darkest chapters of our history. Alongside our nation, the company barely survived the war but was able to rebuild, restructure, and reinvigorate the economy.  Waltham continued to manufacture watches until 1957. 

The watch pictured above, and all the history it represents, is going to be made into a new American venture. By utilizing cutting edge manufacturing processes including 3D printing and laser engraving, united with care and attention to detail that can only come from a hand assembly, this watch will be given a place where it is never out of sight or out of mind. It will go on your wrist.

Introducing Diadem Special Edition watches

watchChoose from our carefully curated selection of American made pocket watches that have been completely updated and overhauled, ready to keep you on time in a way no other watch can.

Or, take your own beloved pocket watch and give it a new lease on life. Above is shown a just a couple of the hundreds of possible combinations for cases, crowns, and straps that are available in order to make your watch as unique as you are. Currently we can only convert certain watch brands and sizes but there are plans to include more options in the future.

CRYSTALS

The front and rear crystal (showcasing the gorgeous inner workings) on each watch are made from Corning Gorilla Glass. Each crystal is precision cut by Abrisa in Santa Paula, CA. Gorilla Glass is known for superior clarity, resistance to shattering, and scratch resistance.

CASES

Choose from four totally diverse titanium case colors. Each water-resistant case is 3D printed in titanium by Imperial Machine and Tool in New Jersey. This company specializes in advanced machining practices for the aerospace and military industries.

cases

CROWNS

Choose from eight different crowns as the perfect accent. From Raw Copper, Nickel or yellow or rose Gold plated. The crowns, screws and other internal parts of each watch are masterfully machined at Swiss-O-Matic in Montrose, CO. Running a swiss-turning machine takes a great deal of precision and specialized skill, and we are fortunate to partner with one of the top facilities in the United States.

Crowns

STRAPS

Choose from four American cowhide leather bands from Hadley Roma’s Stylecraft division in Largo, FL. or two premium, Famous Horween Shell Cordovan horsehide leather straps from Chicago, IL. Each buckle is hand-forged by Smith Shop in Detroit, MI.

strapsFor the final element of total tailoring that goes into each handcrafted masterpiece, several areas on the watch are available for laser engraving to emblazon personal messages, images or designs.

These watches are undeniably one of the most unique timepieces in the country.

 

 

 

The Wonderful World of Color! Pt.10

Written by Erick Razo On November 2, 2017.

The attic is calling you to grab your favorite sweater because the cold winds of fall have arrived. Bonfires become a mainstay as we gather with our friends, roast marshmallows and laugh at the stories we share. In the gemological world, November gives us a stone that comes in all the colors of fall. Cool blue hues like the cold winds and vibrant reds and oranges like the colors of the bonfires that we love so much. This month we will take a look at Topaz.

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Origins

There are two theories as to how topaz obtained its name. Many believe it came from the old Greek name of a small island located in the Red Sea, called Topazios. The island is now called Zabargad, and it has never been a source of topaz, but it once became a known source for peridot. The ancient Greeks used to wear topaz as they believed it would grant them strength. The second theory is that it comes from an old Indian language called Sanskrit. Topaz got its name from the word topas or tapaz, which means fire. For centuries many people in India believed that wearing topaz above the heart assured them a long life, beauty, and intelligence. Which one is correct? Well, we may never know. Topaz acquired a lot of favoritism as a stone of choice for jewelry during the Renaissance period in Europe, as they believed it had the power to dispel anger and block magic spells. During the 19th century, in the Ural Mountains Imperial topaz was discovered (more on this later.) It obtained the name Imperial topaz as it was named to honor the Czar of Russia. Only those of the royal family were allowed to wear the pinkish-orange stone.

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Geography of Topaz

Topaz can be found all around the world ranging from light to dark hues of multiple colors, but  Brazil is the only country with a known deposit of Imperial Topaz. Imperial Topaz is a medium reddish orange to orange-red color; this is the most valuable of all topaz colors.

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Chemical Composition, Crystal Structure, and Physical Properties

Topaz is an aluminum silicate-containing fluorine. The topaz crystal begins to form, thanks to the fluorine-bearing vapors are given off during the last stages of crystallization of igneous rocks. Topaz is an allochromatic stone; this means that the color topaz obtains from impurity elements or defects in its crystal structure. Unlike most other gemstones that gain their color from their basic chemical composition. An example would be how the trace element chromium produces natural pink, red and violet colors in topaz. Imperfections at the atomic level cause the color to change into a yellow, brown and blue colors. Topaz grows in an elongated fashion, with grooves parallel to their lengths. To take advantage of their growth, oval and pears are the predominant shapes of topaz finalized gems.

Range of color in Imperial topaz rough from Oro Preto, Brazil.

Topaz Jewelry

Topaz comes in many colors such as brown, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and colorless. Topaz colors get their names based on the hue they display, and jewelry designers love the pieces they can create with the many colors and shapes topaz offers. Necklaces, pendants, rings, bracelets, and earrings are adorned by topaz.

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Wear and care of Topaz

Topaz has an 8-8.5 on the Moh’s scale. The Moh’s scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals on an exponential scale from 10 to 0. The top of the scale is Diamond at 10 and graphite at 0. Due to its good hardness, Topaz is ideal for everyday wear, in the right mounting with the proper protection, Topaz will last a long time.

Sherry Topaz

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays in the year. People travel from all over the world to gather together and share memories that are never forgotten. That feeling of seeing your loved ones gathered around the table to share a meal and tell the stories of their crazy year so far. The color of warmth, the color of comfort, the color of love, the color of adventure, and the color of laughter. All of those colors are part of the many beautiful hues and tones that Topaz offers, would you like to see them up close? Come see us this November and let us show you the wonderful world of color.

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We are not a jewelry store!

Written by Micah Brown On October 23, 2017.

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If you read the title, we are in fact not a jewelry store. Not a traditional one anyway. As the saying goes, “One’s man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” We take that saying to the next level. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat with a person who has rings and necklaces that were their mom’s, grandma’s, or great aunt’s and they have said, “What will you give me for all this, I just don’t wear any of them.” My response is almost always, “You will get greater value out of these if you can see them as raw materials, as metals and gemstones, and put them into something  you would wear.” It’s shocking to people when they are told they can repurpose jewelry. (Click here to read one of our success stories.)

We find any way we can to repurpose, reuse and recycle your jewelry in order to get you the most value out of what you already own. Not only that, but in cases of high sentimental value, that sentimentality is retained as the stones and metals are the same but the design is changed to align with your own personal tastes. We are so committed to helping you get the most out of what you already have, that we made all of our own jewelry displays out of all reclaimed materials. Through frequent visits to the “Creative reuse center of the Piedmont Triad”, Reconsidered Goods, we found a plethora of unique items that had great potential as jewelry displays. Each unique display was a labor of love to showcase that old pieces can be given a new life, just like jewelry. Scroll through and see a sample of a few of our displays, better yet, come by and see for yourself! IMG_8447IMG_8435 IMG_8434 IMG_8442

In addition to chaining our displays, we have begun to switch some of our furniture as well. Opting for unique and individualized pieces that are not only functional and comfortable but have a story as well! Like the chair pictured below. Manufactured in Siler City, NC by the Boling Chair company. Boling Chair Co. started out in 1901 as Siler City Bending Co. One of the company’s founders, Mal Boling, rebranded as High Point Bending and Chair Co. in 1904. Up until that point, it made bentwood parts for other companies before producing its own bentwood furniture. The company’s name became Boling Chair Co. in 1956 or ’57, and then Boling Co. in 1979. They are still around today! based in Mt. Olive, N.C., and called Boling Furniture Co. Just like your jewelry has a history, a story, and a unique air about it we want to produce new jewelry for you that becomes an instant heirloom.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?

Written by Andrea VanDerwerker On October 7, 2017.

In this day and age, we are all familiar with the term “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Well we here in the jewelry business have our own take on this. Curious now? Read on to learn about how we inure no jewelry goes to waste!

We have all lost someone special. We long to have a piece of them back, those people that changed the way we think, changed the way we see the world, and changed our lives. There is a reason that so much of what we refer to as an “heirloom” are pieces of jewelry, passed down from generation to generation. Unlike other heirlooms such as a picture, dresser, or book, jewelry is worn. We wear it through different circumstances in life, both the easy and the hard, and it reminds of the person that wore it, helping us think, “Maybe this ring has been through this situation before?”

Dawn came into our store one day with a ring that had been loved and cherished for many years. It was her grandmother’s engagement ring and had recently been passed down to her. It had clearly been well loved, which presented itself in the visible wear and tear of the piece. She brought it to us in hopes that we could create something similar to the ring so that she could give the original to another family member and keep the copy to remember her grandmother by. After some deliberation, we suggested that we make a ring that would look as close to what the original ring may have looked like when it was first bought. She loved the thought of a ring almost identical to what her grandmother’s would have looked in its original glory!

This is where the “three R’s”, if you will, of the jewelry industry come in.

  • Refurbish
  • Recreate
  • Recycle

Refurbishing your jewelry means we will take the existing piece and do our best to restore it back to what it may have looked like when it was first purchased. How amazing would it be to look at a piece of jewelry and think about how that was what your mother or grandmother would’ve seen when she looked down at her hand.

Recreating a piece means that we will make a copy of the piece that you already have to the best of our ability.  If you, like Dawn, wanted the opportunity to share your memories with another family member, this is a great way to be able to do that.

Recycling heirloom jewelry is becoming more and more popular as we see customers bringing in pieces that have great sentimental value but aren’t their style. I think that we can all agree that we don’t go into a clothing store and buy clothes that we would never wear. Jewelry is no different. We want it to match our own style and personality. In this case, we can use the stones and metal from a piece, or several pieces, which retain their sentimental value, and use them to make a brand new heirloom.

Whatever the case, we give you several ways to get the most value out of every piece you own! Our passion is helping people create something that they will enjoy wearing for years to come. Something to bring back memories of a simpler time. Something that will stand the test of time.

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