Thursday, December 3, 2020

Fun Facts about Festive December Birthstones

online-jewelry-storeDecember birthdays are extra special occasions. Not only do they take place around holiday festivities, but those born in December have three birthstones with which to celebrate: turquoise, tanzanite, and zircon. Below are some interesting and little known facts about these three festive gemstones…

  1. Turquoise is a blue-green mineral, with the chemical name of hydrated copper aluminum phosphate.
  2. The word turquoise is derived from the Old French word meaning Turkish stone.
  3. Some of the finest turquoise is known to come from Iran, but high-grade turquoise is also mined in Arizona and New Mexico.
  4. The ancient Egyptians used turquoise in jewelry, art, ornaments, and statues because they believed it had magical powers.
  5. Tanzanite is named after the East African state of Tazmania, the only place in the world where it can be found.
  6. The blue variety of tanzanite is called zoisite.
  7. Originally known as blue zoisite, the mineral’s name was changed to tanzanite by Henry Platt, Vice President of Tiffany & Co., because he felt zoisite sounded too much like suicide.
  8. In October 2002, the American Gem Trade Association officially named tanzanite as the third December birthstone.
  9. Zirconium silicate is the chemical name for zircon.
  10. The name zircon is derived from the Arabic words “zar” and “gun,” which means gold and color.
  11. Today, zircon is primarily mined in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  12. In the Middle Ages, many people believed zircons could relieve pain, induce hunger, protect travelers from disease and injury, ensure a warm welcome, and promote restful sleep.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone born in December, or you are looking for jewelry to give  that’s perfect for the holidays, Adina by Empire Jewelers has an extensive collection of beautiful vintage and estate jewelry at true wholesale prices. Shop today for all your gift-giving  as well as a wide variety of precious and semi-precious gemstone jewelry. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Autumnal Beauties of November: Citrine & Topaz

 November may be a chilly month, but its two birthstones heat things up. November babies are lucky to have not one, but two gemstones with which to celebrate their birthdays… citrine and topaz. Below are some interesting and little known facts about these beautifully autumnal gemstones…

  1. While the Ayurvedic birthstone list only includes topaz, the Jewelers of America list considers both citrine and yellow topaz as official November birthstones.
  2. Citrines are quartz crystals commonly found in igneous metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
  3. The common colors of citrines are yellow and orange.
  4. The word citrine is derived from the French word, citrin, which means lemon.
  5. Citrine is the gemstone for the Zodiac sign of Scorpio, and the 13th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
  6. In ancient times, citrine was worn as protection against bad skin, evil thoughts, snakebites, and even the plague.
  7. A gift of citrine symbolizes strength and hope.
  8. Some believe citrine began as amethyst, the purple quartz, but the heat from molten rock changed it to yellow quartz.
  9. The presence of fluorine usually indicates that topaz is likely to be found.
  10. When topaz has red or pink overtones, it is known as Imperial topaz, and can be very rare and expensive.
  11. It is widely believed that the word topaz is derived from the Sanskrit word, topas, which means fire.
  12. Topaz jewelry is given for the 4th, 19th and 23rd wedding anniversaries.
  13. Topaz is known as the “stone of strength.”
  14. A gift of yellow topaz symbolizes friendship, strength, wisdom, and courage.
  15. Topaz was once believed to ease bad tempers, cure insanity, and help insomnia.
  16. The ancient Egyptians believed yellow topaz’s color came from the glow cast by the sun god, Ra.
  17. The ancient Greeks believed topaz could make its wearer invisible.

If you’re born in November or just love these beautiful gemstones of the fall, Adina by Empire Jewelers has an extensive collection of beautiful citrine and topaz jewelry, at true wholesale prices, as well as a wide variety of precious and semi-precious gemstone jewelry. Shop online today, and remember, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Opals, October's Birthstone, Origins and Value

 October's birthstone is one of the most interesting gemstones on earth.  In celebration of the magical and mysterious opal, let’s take a look at some fascinating and rare facts about the origin and value of opals.

The first opals are believed to have been found in Ethiopia about 4,000 BC. The ancient Romans called the opal “Cupid Paederos,” which translates to “a child beautiful as love.” The ancient Romans would grind up and consume opals because they believed they had healing properties and the power to ward off bad dreams.

The term opal is derived from the Sanskrit term “upala,” which means precious or valuable stone and the root for the Greek term “opallios,” which translates to “color change.” Opals are created from an ancient mineral known as petrified silica gel that is found near the earth’s surface where geothermal hot springs once existed.

Today, about 97 percent of the world’s opals come from Australia. The first Australian discovery of common opals was made in 1849 near Angaston, South Australia by a German immigrant named Johannes Menge. The indigenous people of Australia call the opal “the fire in the desert.” Most of the world’s supply of precious opals comes from the Coober Pedy and Andamooka fields in South Australia. Coober Pedy is known as “The Opal Capital of the World” because 51 percent of the world’s supply of opals is mined there.

Opals may come from other planets as well. In 2011, scientists discovered opal-like crystals in the Tagish Lake meteorite, which fell to Earth in Canada in 2000. According to a report in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, this was the first extra-terrestrial discovery of these unusual crystals. Some scientists hypothesize that they may have formed in the primordial cloud of dust that produced the sun and planets of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

The classes of opals

All naturally occurring opals fall into one of two classes: precious and common. Precious opals are those that display flashes of iridescent colors when turned and tilted, and light strikes its surface at various angles. This effect is called “play of color,” but is scientifically referred to as opalescence.

Play of color, or opalescence, is caused by tiny sphere formations of silicon which make up the structure of opal. When light is refracted by the spheres, it causes light to be separated into its various spectral colors. The actual colors being emitted are controlled by the size and distance of the spheres to each other.

While opals come in many diverse colors and combinations, precious black opals are the most valuable and in demand because of their rarity and play of color. Precious opals also come in white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, and brown. Reds against black are most rare, while white and greens are the most common.

Any opal that does not exhibit “play of color” is classified as a common opal. Common opals are classified as non-gem quality opals. There are several varieties of common opal and most are opaque. Common opals, sometimes called “potch,” are usually colorless or white, but may also come in gray, brown, yellow, or red.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September Birthstone Q&A: Sapphire

 September’s birthstone, the sapphire, has a rich history.

Blue sapphires have been associated with royalty for centuries. One of the most recognizable pieces is the sapphire and diamond engagement ring given to the late Princess Diana by Prince Charles, now famously passed down a generation to Kate Middleton by Prince William.


Test your knowledge of sapphires, and learn some interesting facts about September’s royal birthstone.

  1. In addition to being the birthstone for September, what number wedding anniversary do sapphires celebrate?
  2. Blue sapphire is a variety of the mineral called corundum. What other gemstone comes from corundum?
  3. The blue sapphire is derived from the Greek word, sappheiros. What does the word mean?
  4. Sapphires come in many colors. What is the most valuable and in-demand color?
  5. The Star of India is the world's largest gem-quality blue star sapphire, and is around two billion years old. In what famous museum is it displayed?
  6. On the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphires rate a 9.0. What gem is harder?
  7. What did the ancient Greeks believe sapphires were a symbol of?
  8. The ancient Persians believed the earth was supported by a giant sapphire and that it gave what its blue hue?
  9. According to Jewish midrash, Moses’ sapphire tablets were carved from where?
  10. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, famously chose a blue sapphire and diamond ring for her engagement to Prince Charles. Replicas of the ring became so popular with people, that it was given what nickname?

September Birthstone Quiz Answers:


  1. Sapphires celebrate the 45th wedding anniversary.
  2. Rubies also come from the mineral corundum.
  3. The Greek word sappheiros meaning blue stone.
  4. Blue sapphires are the most expensive and desirable of all sapphire colors.
  5. The Star of India is on exhibit in the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
  6. Diamonds are the only gem to rank a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
  7. The ancient Greeks believed sapphires were a symbol of wisdom and purity.
  8. The ancient Persians believed a giant sapphire gave the sky its blue hue.
  9. According to Jewish midrash, Moses’ sapphire tablets were carved from the throne of God, making them the most precious gemstone.
  10. Princess Diana’s ring became so popular with the public that it became known as “the commoner’s ring.”

Friday, August 21, 2020

Triple the Fun with August’s Three Birthstones

For many years, people born in August were lucky to have two official birthstones— the peridot and the sardonyx. But in 2016, they got triple lucky with the GIA’s addition of spinel to the list of August birthstones!

Learn more about the triple gemstones of August, courtesy of GIA.org:

The Ancient Sardonyx:

  • The original birthstone of August, the sardonyx, dates back more than 4,000 years.
  • Sardonyx is a combination of two types of cryptocrystalline quartz (chalcedony): sard and onyx. Bands of brownish red to brown to dark orange sard alternate with typically white or black layers of onyx.
  • The word ‘sardonyx’ is derived from ‘sard,’ meaning ‘reddish-brown,’ and ‘onyx,’ meaning ‘veined gem.’
  • Roman seals and signet rings were made from sardonyx, since hot wax won’t stick to it.
  • Roman soldiers wore their sardonyx rings with carved images of Mars in them for protection in battle.
  • For thousands of years, sardonyx was a popular material for carving cameos and intaglios.
  • During the Renaissance, sardonyx was often worn by public speakers to make them more visible to the audience.
  • Today, this August birthstone is believed to bring stability to marriage and partnerships and represents courage, happiness and clear communication.
  • India is known for producing sardonyx with good contrast between the different colored layers. Sardonyx is also found in Brazil, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Madagascar, Uruguay, the US and other countries.

The Popular Peridot:

  • Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine, and ranges in color from yellow-green to lime-green.
  • Peridot is formed in one of two ways, magma deep in the earth’s mantle brought to the surface by volcanic or tectonic activity, or via pallasite (nickel-iron and olivine) meteorites that have landed on earth.
  • The word ‘peridot’ is derived from the Greek word ‘peridona,’ which means ‘to give richness.’
  • Peridot is also known as ‘chrysolite,’ derived from the Greek ‘gold stone’ and ‘olivine.’
  • Peridot is the stone given to celebrate a 16th wedding anniversary.
  • Peridot is an ancient gem which can be found in Egyptian jewelry from the early 2nd millennium BC. Today, it’s the national gem of Egypt, where it’s referred to as the “gem of the sun.”
  • The ancient Romans called peridot “the evening emerald” because of its deep green color when reflected by lamplight.
  • The Egyptian island of Zabargad (the name now given to Topazios) is the oldest recorded source of this August birthstone. Mining may have begun around 340–279 BCE.
  • Other sources of peridot include China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and the United States, including Peridot Beach, Hawaii, where the sands shimmer a luminous green, and the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, where some Apache families have worked the mines for decades.

The New Addition, Spinel:

  • The name ‘spinel’ comes from the Latin word ‘spina,’ which means ‘thorn,’ in reference to the shape of spinel crystals.
  • This August birthstone comes in a wealth of colors: intense red, vibrant pink, orange, purple, violet, blue and bluish-green.
  • For centuries, spinel was mistaken for other gemstones. Some of history’s most famous “rubies” have actually turned out to be red spinel, including the approximately 170 ct “Black Prince’s Ruby,” which was discovered to be spinel in the 18th century based on the chemical differences between the two gemstones. It’s now set in the Imperial State Crown and can be seen in the Tower of London.
  • Major sources of spinel include Tajikistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tanzania and Pakistan. Some regions are known for producing amazing colored spinel, like hot pink and red from Myanmar and Sri Lanka’s blue, pink and purple spinel.

If you’re looking to buy as a birthday gift for a loved one born in August, or some gemstone jewelry for yourself, Adina by Empire Jewelers has a beautiful collection of estate and vintage jewelry, available at true wholesale prices. Shop online today and enjoy our vast selection of fine estate and vintage jewelry, plus watches, diamonds, gold, sterling silver, coins and more. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Wedding Trends Birthstone Engagement Rings

What do Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, Penelope Cruz, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Hurley, Jessica Simpson, Olivia Wilde, and Victoria Beckham all have in common? Birthstone engagement rings!
Indeed, the selection of birthstones as the marquee stone in engagement rings is becoming increasingly popular—threatening to usurp diamonds as the crown jewel in modern engagement rings.
Here’s what to know, courtesy of whattowear.com.
Bespoke with birthstones
Birthstones – the gemstones that represent a person’s month of birth – have long been popular. But sales are currently rising as more and more shoppers seek to personalize their purchases, especially with engagement rings.
There has been particularly high demand for birthstone engagement rings, which Etsy recently described as a “breakout wedding trend.” “For generations, the diamond has been the ultimate stone for proposing, but today’s bride wants to express her personal style and choose a ring that reflects her personality,” Dayna Isom Johnson, an Etsy spokeswoman said.
L.A.-based jewelry designer Jennie Kwon explained why the trend is taking off: “We are at a time where people are more and more interested in creating bespoke things—pieces that are made just for them and feel personal because of it,” she said. “The trend of birthstone engagement rings falls in line with this.”
If you’re interested in the trend, Kwon has some expert advice to consider: “The only thing we’d say is to be careful about how your birthstone is set if you’re planning on wearing it daily as many women do,” she said. “For instance, for our softer-stoned girls whose birthstones are emeralds, opals, pearls, or the like, we would suggest having them set in a way where the stone is protected, such as a bezel setting.”
Background on birthstones
The connection between gemstones and the zodiac can be traced to the Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus. He described in the first century AD in his writings, Antiquities of the Jews, the bejeweled breastplate worn by Aaron, the first high priest of the Israelites, in the Book of Exodus. The breastplate was adorned with 12 stones, each one engraved with the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Reflecting on the significance of the number 12, Josephus suggested that the stones could represent the 12 signs of the zodiac.
The stones subsequently became associated with the 12 months of the year and were purported to have healing properties and bring good luck. Some affluent individuals might well have owned all 12 and carried with them each day the one that corresponded with the current calendar month.
It was only in 1912 that a standardized list was drawn up detailing exactly which stone was connected with which month. This was produced by the United States’ National Association of Jewelers – possibly in an effort to drive up demand for the jewels that made the cut.
In 1937, the UK’s National Association of Goldsmiths produced its own official list – this is the one most retailers here tend to stick to today, although there have been some recent additions.
Recent additions
In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) introduced tanzanite as an alternative to turquoise for December, to acknowledge its popularity. And the Jewelers of America (JA) trade association approved. “JA sees the addition of tanzanite for December as a way to build business,” it said at the time. “Any step that helps retailers sell more jewelry is a good one.”
The most coveted gemstones are diamonds (April), emeralds (May), rubies (July) and sapphires (September) – jewelers refer to them as “the Big Four,” but relatively few people might be familiar with bloodstone (March) and peridot (August).
In 2016 the JA and AGTA jointly announced the introduction of a new birthstone for August to sit alongside peridot on the US standardized list: spinel.
The stone comes in a variety of hues but red is the most popular color. For centuries, spinel was routinely mistaken for ruby – the Black Prince’s Ruby, which sits at the front of the Imperial State Crown worn by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament, is in fact, a red spinel.
Although the gem has not been introduced to the UK birthstone list, it’ll almost certainly come to enjoy greater popularity over there too.
Alt versions of birthstones
Another growing trend among consumers is to opt for alternative versions of the gemstones that correspond with their birth date. The shade people typically ascribe to garnets (January) is dark red, but the stones come in an array of colors – black, pink, green, purple – red is just much more abundant. Lily Faber, a gemologist, likens spessartine garnets, which are orange, to “beautiful little sweets.”
One of the most frequently overlooked birthstones is opal (October). There’s a long-standing belief that opal is unlucky, and only people whose birthdays fall in October can get away with wearing it. Faber is particularly enamored by the stone though, and is keen to dispel this myth.
Opals are also quite soft and are not really suitable for everyday wear, unlike very hard stones such as diamond. It’s possible that the bad luck attributed to the stones is simply down to their fragile nature – for example, they can chip easily when worn in a ring. Diamonds, by contrast, especially colorless ones, have historically been considered good luck.
What’s your birthstone?
January: garnet
February: amethyst
March: bloodstone, aquamarine (alternative)
April: diamond, rock crystal (alt)
May: emerald, chrysoprase (alt)
June: pearl, moonstone (alt)
July: ruby, cornelian (alt)
August: peridot, sardonyx (alt)
September: sapphire, lapis lazuli (alt)
October: opal
November: yellow topaz, citrine (alt)
December: turquoise, tanzanite (alt)
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Source: https://www.whowhatwear.com/birthstone-engagement-ring-trend

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Top Valentine’s Day Jewelry Gift Ideas

Wondering what to get your significant other for Valentine’s Day? Here are 10 jewelry gift ideas courtesy of Overstock.com.

1. Heart-Shaped Rings
While your partner may appreciate rings of all shapes and sizes, a heart-shaped ring is the ideal choice to celebrate the holiday of love. Sizing and style are both important, so determine her ring size and find a design that reflects her personal style. Choices abound — from simple sterling silver heart rings to elegant diamond and gemstone rings. Choose one you know she’ll love wearing for years to come.

2. Heart Necklaces
Similar to heart-shaped rings, heart necklaces styles vary by metal, stone, and setting, and prices range from affordable to high-end. Select from different lengths such as choker, mid-length princess, and extra-long opera. For a sentimental touch, choose a necklace accented with gemstones from the month you first met, got engaged or were married.

3. Dangle Earrings
A beautiful pair of dangle earrings can transition from day to night, making them an ideal gift that can be worn on numerous occasions. If your Valentine prefers subtle jewelry styles, find a pair that’s shorter in length and choose a solid metal such as sterling silver or gold. For those who like their jewelry to pop, choose designs that feature sparkle, length, and vibrant colors.

4. Diamond Tennis Bracelets
A diamond tennis bracelet is a simple, yet beautiful piece of jewelry that any woman would love to add to her jewelry collection. When choosing a diamond tennis bracelet, consider the clarity and uniformity of the diamonds as well as the color of the setting metal. Tennis bracelets can be found in settings that range from yellow gold to platinum to rose gold, and this determines how the bracelet’s diamonds appear. A yellow or rose gold setting complements diamonds with a slight yellow or beige tint.

5. Pearl Jewelry
For a classically feminine look, you can never go wrong with a strand of pearls worn as a necklace. Pearls are sometimes called “teardrops of the moon” and symbolize innocence and purity. Some claim that they can even produce a calming effect. Whether natural or cultured, pearls come in a variety of colors and shapes as unique as your significant other.

6. Luxury Watches
Gift your partner a watch that combines opulence and function. Luxury watches are made from precious metals and can be adorned with diamonds and other stones. Consider your loved one’s personality and lifestyle when choosing a watch. If your Valentine spends Saturdays by the pool, look for water-resistance. The type of watch crystal, construction, and movement are other components to consider when in the market for a sophisticated timepiece.

7. Engagement Rings
It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days to “pop the big question.” Selecting the perfect ring can be overwhelming, but doesn’t have to be if you’re armed with the right information. Look for an engagement ring in the stone, metal, and setting that suits her personality — like a nature-inspired or a vintage design. Go traditional with a round diamond ring or unique with a large marquise emerald ring. Remember that an engagement ring is a piece of jewelry that symbolizes your life together, so choose with your heart.

8. Birthstone Jewelry
Show your Valentine that you know and appreciate all the traits that make her who she is with a piece of birthstone jewelry. Your Valentine is likely to appreciate a beautiful set of diamond earrings, an amethyst necklace, or an emerald tennis bracelet to showcase her birth month. She’ll also be impressed by the effort you put into finding a unique piece of jewelry.

9. Cubic Zirconia
For budget-minded shoppers looking for high design without the high cost, cubic zirconia is a beautiful and smart option. This man-made stone shines with brilliance and features cuts that mimic a diamond. Cubic zirconia stones can be found in pendant necklaces, engagement rings, drop earrings, and tennis bracelets.

10. Unique and Handmade
If your Valentine prefers women’s jewelry that’s one-of-a-kind, try handmade jewelry. Handcrafted pieces can be simple or overstated. Turquoise earrings, coral bracelets, and hand-stamped titanium rings just begin to brush the surface of all the special handmade jewelry available.

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