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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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The Wonderful World of Color pt.9

Written by Erick Razo On October 2, 2017.

Rain is one of the most beautiful gifts that we have been blessed with. Rain provides life to anything it touches; it gives kids a chance to jump in the puddles it forms, some people just close their eyes and listen to the gentle sound it creates on a roof. In the gemological world it begins the process of formation for one of the most amazing gems that exists.  This month we will take a closer look at Opal.

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Origins

Opal’s unique display of colors, lead the Romans to believe that it was the most precious and powerful of all gems. To them it symbolized love and hope, that is why the Romans would give Opals to their loved ones. As providence would have it, the Romans gave Opal its name from the word “opalus” which means “precious stone.” Many Arabic nomads believed that Opal contained lightning within them as they fell from the sky during thunderstorms and they wore them as protective tokens. In the middle ages, Opals were a symbol of hope, purity, and truth; many maidens had jewelry pieces adorned with Opals and Pearls to symbolize their purity. One of the most known lore about Opal is that anyone who’s birthday is not in October will have bad luck if they wear them. This myth dates back to 1829 when author Sir Walter Scott published Anne of Geierstein. The main female character in the story wore an Opal on her head, in the story, her Opal gets sprinkled by holy water, and it caused her to faint. When she woke up from her sudden faint, the opal had turned into ashes. The act of holy water turning the Opal into ash, made many believe that Opals were bad luck. The Opal in the story was a reminder of a tragedy that happened to her, the Opal turning into ash was supposed to symbolize her rebirth from that tragedy. In the end is just superstition.

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Geography of Opal

Opals form in many parts of the world, especially in semi-desert regions. Australia, Ethiopia, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico are the countries with the highest quality of Opals found in the market.

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Chemical Composition, Crystal Structure, and Physical Properties

Opals begin to form when seasonal rain drenches dry ground in semi-desertic regions. The water soaks deep underground carrying dissolved silica (a compound of silicon and oxygen, which is one of the key ingredients in sand) downwards. When the dry seasons return, much of the water evaporates, and it leaves behind solid deposits of silica. The deposits are found in cracks and layers of sedimentary rocks; the silica deposits forms Opals. The unique display of rainbow colors that is characteristic of this gem is called play-of-color. It is caused by submicroscopic spheres that are stacked on top of each other, like marbles in a jar. When light passes through these spheres it breaks the light into spectral colors, the size of the sphere determines the color it displays. Opals get divided into two classes: Precious Opals that shows play-of-color and common Opal that does not show this phenomenon. Opals have many variations, of which there are five main types:

White Opal- This Opal is translucent to semi-translucent, it displays play-of-color against a white or gray background color, the background color is also referred as body color.

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Photo courtesy of GIA

 

Black Opal- This Opal is translucent to opaque, it displays play-of-color against a black or another dark background.

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Fire Opal- This Opal is transparent to translucent, with a brown, yellow, orange or red body color. This material often does not show play-of-color and is also known as “Mexican Opal.”

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Boulder Opal- This Opal is translucent to opaque, displays play-of-color against a light to dark background. The unique feature of this Opal is the remaining fragments of surrounding rock, called matrix, become part of the polished gem.

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Crystal or Water Opal- This Opal is transparent to semi-transparent, with a clean background. This type of Opal displays exceptional play-of-color.

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All Opals have a unique play-of-color, the colors they produce are exclusive to each one. No two Opals are alike.

 

Opal Jewelry

The unique displays of color combinations that Opal provides allow for designers to create pieces that feast the eyes. Most Opals are cut into cabochons, a smooth stone with no facets, a domed top and a flat or slightly domed underside. You will see them in necklaces, rings, and earrings. Some colors can be scarce and can demand a premium price. Here is an example of a white Opal pendant we designed.

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Wear and care of Opal

Opal has a 5.5-6.5 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 low hardness, Opal is not ideal for heavy everyday wear. In the right mounting with the right protection, Opals will last a long time.

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The gentle touch of the rain as it falls and soaks the ground, it provides the perfect setting for a kiss under the rain or maybe just a romantic walk under the same umbrella with your significant other. Their simplicity makes them stand out from all the other gems, their colors are vivid, and their uniqueness from one another makes them even more appealing. So this October experience the wonderful world of color at Diadem Jewelers.

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The Wonderful World of Color PT.8

Written by Micah Brown On September 1, 2017.

As we enter September where the heat of summer begins to wane, and the cool winds of fall start to make their ways into our lives.  The colors of our wardrobe shifts, making Sapphire a perfect companion gem to match those new outfits.When you think of the word Sapphire, the color blue is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but did you know that Sapphire comes in every color of the rainbow, except for red?

Let me explain, Corundum is the species of gemstone that includes the varieties: Sapphire and Ruby. Surprise! Rubies and Sapphires are almost identical! It is only miniscule amounts of different trace elements in their chemical makeup that dictate the color of Corundum transforming it from it’s pure state, which is transparent, into the deep blues and commanding reds we are used to seeing in Sapphires and Rubies as well as every other hue imaginable. When the term Sapphire is used by itself, in jewelry world, it is assumed to be referring to the blue color. When corundum falls within a specific range of hue, tone and saturation it is called Ruby. To specify every other color, the color description is followed by the term Sapphire. For example Yellow Sapphire, Green Sapphire, Orange Sapphire and so on. If  red or reddish corundum is close to that “ruby zone” but is to light in saturation, it is Pink Sapphire. If it contains too much yellow, it’s Orange Sapphire and if it’s tone is dark it could end up being Brown Sapphire.

3.08 ct. blue Kashmir sapphire. Unheated, cushion, antique mixed cut.

Origins

Sapphire comes from the Greek word “Sappheiros, which was a term used to describe Lapis Lazuli an opaque blue gemstone. In ancient Greece, blue Sapphires were given as gifts to rulers of the lands to protect them from harm and envy. With time, a Sapphire became a symbol of nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. Romanticism has always gone hand in hand with sapphire. In the 1980’s this became mainstream as Lady Diana Spencer was engaged to Prince Charles of Wales in February 1981, and her ring was a lovely 18ct blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds in 18K white gold. Many remember the wedding of Princess Di and Prince Charles; it was the closest our popular culture has had to a real life fairy tale. Her choice to use a blue Sapphire as the center stone for her ring catapulted the idea of a Sapphire as the center stone for engagement rings into the forefront of the jewelry buying public and reinvigorated the age old idea of having a colored center stone. A choice which was much more common prior to the overwhelming marketing by De Beers in the early 1900’s that Diamond was the “right” choice for an engagement ring. The ripple effect of this event is not only felt today but it is growing, fed by the fuel of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 in which Prince William used the fairy tale ring of his late mother, Princess Diana, to propose. More and more brides are desirous for something unique, “Everyone has a diamond, I want something different.” is a common statement in today’s bridal market.

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Geography of Sapphire

Sapphire can be found on almost every continent, but the best quality sapphire is found in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Australia, and Madagascar. Sapphire found outside of these primary sources, tend to be lower quality. Sapphire that is found in Kashmir has some of the deepest, intense blues in the world and set the standard against which all other blue Sapphires are measured. In today’s millennial market, there is an increasing demand for Sapphires that break from the traditional deep blue that is the standard of the industry. For example, sapphires from Montana in the United States commonly have a light saturation and tone, yielding some stones with a delightful violet color

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Chemical Composition, Crystal Structure, and Physical Properties

Natural sapphire occurs when aluminum and oxygen combine to create a compound, along with color-causing trace elements. Most quality sapphire grows in silicon free environments; however, since silicon is a commonly occurring element, this makes natural sapphire relatively uncommon. In its purest form, Sapphire is colorless, but trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, and vanadium give all colored Sapphires and Rubies their unique color. Almost all Sapphires have internal characteristics that often dictate how the stone will be cut and fashioned. They are often cut in many standard shapes like round, oval, pear, and marquise. When stones are heavily included, they are typically cut into cabochons, a smooth stone with no facets, a domed top, and a flat or slightly domed underside. Sapphires can display a phenomenon called asterism, or the star effect. This star effect can be seen gliding along the curved surface of a cabochon; the phenomenon is caused by a light source reflecting on many tiny needlelike inclusions called silk.

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Sapphire Jewelry

Sapphire gives us a range of colors that allow for many astonishing designs to be created. Deep rich blue is the most common color you will see in Sapphire jewelry, but pink, purple, white, green, orange, yellow are all used in necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings. Padparadscha is a rare and valuable pinkish-orange sapphire that imitates the color of a lotus blossom. Some colors can be scarce and can demand a premium price. Below are just a few examples of different color sapphire rings that we have produced featuring different and varied Sapphire colors.

Wear and care of Sapphire

Sapphire has a 9-9.5 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 exceptional hardness, sapphire is ideal for heavy everyday wear.  This is why sapphire tends to be one of the primary colored gemstones in the market today and a common go-to for engagement rings with a colored center stone.

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Romance is a feeling that awakens when the person who makes you smile gets close to you. Romance is when you hear your name being called by the voice that makes you feel warm on the inside. Romance is remembering when you first meet, your first kiss. Romance can occur in many shapes, colors and forms. Sapphire is similar to romance as it provides us with a range of colors, shapes, and sizes that captivate our eyes and our hearts. So this September come experience the wonderful world of color at Diadem Jewelers.



 

The Truth About Creativity

Written by Micah Brown On August 31, 2017.

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“I cannot write poetically, for I am no poet. I cannot make fine artistic phrases that cast light and shadow, for I am no painter. I can neither by signs nor by pantomime express my thoughts and feelings, for I am no dancer; but I can by tones, for I am a musician.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


This is not a post about how our custom pendants, reminiscent of musical notes, are delightful and different. Nor is it a post about how these elegantly simple necklaces can convey a warm message to a loved one that they are the song in your heart. Those things are true, but this post is more than that, it’s about what it really means to create and be creative.

Mozart is arguably the most well known composer in all of history. In summary of his own words, quoted above, Mozart knew who he was. He realized the talents and abilities he possessed were unique and he pursued them with great vigor, producing over 600 pieces in his relatively short life of thirty-five years. Every single person in this world is designed totally unique from every other soul. God as the creator and sustainer of all things, makes individuals with an unimaginable array of variety. This same God, who created the universe and everything in it Ex Nihlo or “out of nothing”, placed within the only creatures made in His image the ability to be creative.

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Humans do not create, we only mimic a dim reflection of our creator, for we are unable to bring something into existence that was not already there, we are merely creative. We only borrow, imitate, and remix already existing elements. King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes made this point black and white, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV This is as true today as it was after the fall of man. Even in things as trivial as our clothing is easily seen as cyclical borrowing from the past to make “new” ideas and jewelry is no different.

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This is not to say that a person can’t claim being original or trying to make something different or stand out. We are, after all, each individually bestowed by the Creator with a specific personality and aptitude for all sorts of things. So why wouldn’t a person strive for variety? Creativity? Mozart framed it wonderfully by linking the creative arts all together, understanding that the same things he strove to produce in his music were the same things that every artist was trying to convey in his own craft, communication that conveyed thoughts, feelings, and emotion. This is how we relate to one another as humans. Once again, we are the only created beings with these attributes to feel, empathize, collaborate, and communicate in a way that others, regardless of who they are or where they are from, can understand.

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We at Diadem Jewelers, like Mozart, know who we are and we are confident in that. We are not “the next big thing” We are not a designer name that will grace the pages of well known magazines or get mentioned from the red carpet. We are a jewelry store managed and operated by individuals who are dedicated to taking care of the needs of customers. Especially the greatest need of all, salvation.

Salvation from the imminent wrath of a righteous and holy God which comes only through believing: That man is totally sinful from birth because of the curse put on all creation after Adam and Eve committed the first acts of disobedience in the garden. That man cannot earn this salvation by any work done on earth. That God being infinite in knowledge and existence made a way before even time existed for sinful man to flee eternal punishment in hell for his sins. That way is only through repentance and faith in the son of God, the one true and living savior, Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except though me.”

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Believing in faith that Christ came to earth, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect and sinless life so that he might die a death we deserved to die. That he rose three days later, ascended to Heaven and will return at any moment of time to bring his elect, adopted, chosen and beloved sons and daughters into glory and communion with him forever in Heaven. While at the same time, bringing death, destruction and punishment for all those who would reject the truth of God in unrighteousness.

Finally, that these truths have been made plain to all mankind through the world around us in a general way and conveyed to us in a special way through the written, inherent, infallible, living and active word of God, contained in only the sixty-six books which together make up the complete and unalterable truth for all of life. The Bible. This is where creativity should lead us, to stand in awe at the feet of the one who created all things for his perfect plan and purposes.

 

Break out the bubbly

Written by Micah Brown On August 15, 2017.

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Champagne, the ubiquitous sparkling wine that has been a centuries old symbol of opulence. It has been referenced innumerable times throughout popular culture, is a common and often integral part of many traditions and festivities, and has now moved on to being not just a staple of celebration but a statement of personality, especially when it comes to the color.

The rise in popularity of a the lightly golden hue is apparent in everything from iPhones to wedding dresses. As with most trends, the uptick in notability is usually due to a desire to be different coupled with encouragement from an outside source (like a celebrity or designer). Arguably the most influential sector driving the demand for color options in our daily lives is the fashion industry. Other sectors follow suit from car companies to home furnishings and even kitchen utensils. There is a desire to make one’s possessions align with their personal tastes. One of Henry Ford’s famed lines, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” comes to mind when reflecting on color choice in culture. In Ford’s day companies were not as concerned with the personal preference of customers. Fast forward to today, where you have over forty different colors for a common household mixer, the color options for jewelry are very limited. You have three colors to choose from, white, yellow, rose or green. If you want more options you can move to a two tone piece but even then you still only have three color choices for each element. Variations of saturation can be achieved by changing the alloy of a metal but the hues remain the same.

In a recent project for a customer, she had several sentimental pieces that she wanted to utilize in creating a new piece. Most people attach a greater sentiment to the stones in a ring then they do the metal, but occasionally the memories behind the ring make metal just as important. Since this was the case for this customer we recast all of her metal into a new ring. She had some white and some yellow gold of varying karat content. Once we received the casting, set the stones, and completed the final polishing and detail work, we were smitten. We had never seen a ring with such a delicate warm appearance. Immediately we saw a resemblance to the color of champagne. So we called it, “champagne gold”.

Pictured above and below, on the far right, next to white and yellow gold the difference is stark. There is something truly unique about the color. Not only does the sentiment of the stones and metal from a family’s history make this ring very special, but now the ring takes on a totally new level of intrigue through its characteristic color.

So, break out the bubbly and let’s celebrate. Here’s a toast to jewelry that means something more than the price tag, here’s to making something new from something old and here’s to you.

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