October 17, 2019
September 16, 2019
I have been given the opportunity to create engagement and wedding rings for many people in my years as a jeweler. Some of the most memorable being when friends or friend’s partners ask me to design a ring or rings for their engagement and wedding. It’s not only about making a piece of jewelry that they will treasure for years to come, but also about being brought into the circle of trust, being one of few people to know about this exciting surprise that is right around the corner.
July 26, 2019
June 14, 2019
May 31, 2019
April 24, 2019 3 Comments
Alternative engagement rings are all the rage these days. Maybe you have heard the term and not quite understood it. “Alternative” really is defined as “available as another possibility”. I love possibilities! When it comes to a uniquely designed engagement ring… “imagine the possibilities!”
I’ve been doing [custom jewelry design] for quite a long time now, and one of the things I always say to custom clients is, “the possibilities are endless!” And they truly are! It’s a really fun part of my job to ask questions during this process and to offer some suggestions on what a custom ring, designed with their specific story in mind, could look like.
April 09, 2019
March 22, 2019 3 Comments
Larimar is a gemstone found exclusively in the Caribbean, on the island of Hispaniola. Though it looks like this watery patterned, natural gemstone could come from the ocean, it is actually found in a dormant, volcanic mountain range in the Baoruco Mountains of the Barahona region of the Dominican Republic.
March 02, 2019
Aquamarine healing properties include harnessing the energy of the ocean and promoting safe travel over the water. Appropriately, the name “aquamarine” comes from the Latin “sea water”. Besides the obvious association with the ocean, aquamarine is also a gemstone known to aid in healing and overcoming one’s fears, and clarity of thought and expression, especially verbal communication. It is also the birthstone for the month of March and the gemstone for the 19th wedding anniversary.
The delicate blue of this gemstone resembles the blue shades of the Caribbean skies more than the waters, and just like the sky with its varying shades of blue, aquamarine is found in many different hues and qualities. Very pale aquamarine are found readily and can often look like a blue tinted diamond, however, without as much brilliance. These icy, cool aquamarine stones look great in white metals like silver and platinum. More deeply saturated stones are also found, and these generally command higher prices.
Drawing of an Aquamarine Crystal by Squirrelly Minds Paper
Aquamarine is a variety of the mineral “beryl” which is a family that also includes emerald, morganite and heliodor (also known as golden beryl). It is most commonly seen faceted, or cut, like a diamond in standard and fancy shapes. Since the material itself grows in long crystals, cuts like oval, pear shape, and emerald are common as well as elongated versions of the same. All shapes are easily found however, including more symmetrical shapes like round, trillion and square or princess. Aquamarine can also be found cut as a cabochon, or domed and smoothly polished, as often seen with material that doesn’t have good clarity. The selection of cabochons and crystals in the photo below are stones I hand selected on a trip to Southeast Asia in 2015.
Aquamarine Cabochons and Crystals from Vietnam
Brazil remains the most significant source of Aquamarine, but it is also found in African countries such as Nigeria, Namibia and Mozambique. There are also aquamarine deposits in the United States, India, China, Vietnam and Russia.
As the gemstone of conquering one’s fears - I purchased a high quality aquamarine for myself after my very first skydive! Not only did it represent getting over this particular fear (and a couple others) but the beautiful, vivid sky blue of the gem reminded me of the blue skies from which I jumped! Years later I purchased a large aquamarine cabochon, which I wore as a necklace in an attempt to promote clarity of expression at a time when I needed to find my voice. This has always been a meaningful gemstone for me.
Skydiving over the West End of St. Croix!
Associated mainly with the throat chakra, clarity in verbal communication and healing of illnesses of the throat are some of the metaphysical ways this gemstone is used. Also used in working with the heart chakra, aquamarine is said to open up the heart and help us to recognize our innermost truth, releasing that which no longer serves us. A pretty powerful stone in all senses!
This aquamarine ring was made with one of the gemstones I brought back from my trip to Southeast Asia!
Is this wondrous gem YOUR birthstone? Do you have an aquamarine story? If not, let's create one! I have many beautiful loose gemstones just waiting to become part of your treasured collection.
February 07, 2019
February 02, 2019
You can’t take your eyes off that ring on your finger, the color, the luster, the flashing inner beauty of this stone draws you in, slight movement in the light makes the gemstone come alive. Her secret comes out of hiding, delicately, as the first rays of light hit her smooth, sinewy surface in a glimmer of etherial blue. Flooded with light, this beauty illuminates from within, making magic with her dancing glow.
Imagine the swirling and twirling of a flowing dress made of fine blue satin chiffon as a woman dances elegantly, with long graceful movements, or the light of the full moon as it casts its divine night’s light onto the quiet ocean at midnight, a satin sheet thrown up in the air that seems to float onto a plush fairytale bed in slow motion. How would you describe the shimmering effect of the magical moonstone?
Moonstone is a mysterious and seductive gem, possessing feminine qualities and being thought to connect the wearer to the powers of the moon. This powerful mineral (a variety of feldspar) is a very personal and reflective stone which is often used in meditation. It is said to promote calm, balance and serenity while also enhancing “feminine energies” such as intuition, creativity and inspiration.
In history, moonstone gems were thought to have been solidified moonbeams that had fallen down to the earth and were used in a lot of antique and vintage jewelry designs. For centuries, people have been drawn to, and mesmerized by, moonstone for its unique and mysterious visual properties.
Moonstone is literally a phenomenal gemstone! The term “phenomenal” in gemstones refers to a stone that reacts to different light conditions. The same light effects that make the sky blue also makes moonstone phenomenal! Looking like a luminous layer of billowing, blue silk that dances just beneath the surface of moonstone when turned in the light, this effect is called adularescence.
An orthoclase feldspar, with most high quality gems coming from India and Sri Lanka, moonstone occurs naturally in several colors including white, grey and pink. Rainbow moonstone, one of the most popular and recognized varieties, is actually not moonstone at all! Rainbow moonstone is actually white labradorite, another feldspar and close relative to moonstone. Labradorite (including rainbow moonstone) exhibits a lustrous, dancing phenomena of color sheen similar to that seen in moonstone, but appropriately called, “labradorescence”.
Moonstone is most often seen cut as a cabochon - which is a smoothly polished, domed gemstone cut, these can be any shape, such as oval, round, pear or square, but are identified by the dome and usually the absence of facets (cuts). The cabochon cut allows the gemstone’s flash to be best displayed. Some moonstones are faceted, or cut like a traditional round brilliant diamond, or other faceted shapes and moonstones can also be found in gemstone beads and briolettes.
Moonstone Cabochon Photo via the Gemological Institute of America
Moonstone is not a soft gemstone, but it does require a bit of extra care, as with any gemstone, a little care goes a long way! It is not recommended to wear moonstone everyday, or at least not around the clock, 24 hours a day. A 6 on the gemstone and mineral hardness scale, this gem can acquire surface abrasions over time if worn constantly, but can be re-polished by a lapidary (gem cutter) if needed. Special gems deserve special treatment! Moonstone rings should not be worn for household tasks and jobs that are very “hands on”. Certain chemicals and an accidental whack to your stone can cause damage, some that cannot be undone. Take care of your beautiful moonstone gifts and they will share their beauty with you for years to come!
I fell in love with moonstone myself about 15 years ago, when I was traveling and the most beautiful moonstone ring I had ever seen caught my eye in a jewelry store. This designer specialized in high quality jewelry with fabulous gemstones, many of which were not commonly seen. I was immediately in my element. The ring was platinum and 22kt gold, the elongated oval moonstone cabochon was close to one inch long, in its perfect, smooth, heavy bezel setting. This fabulous stone was crystal clear and the blue silk that danced over this perfect gem was absolutely what dreams are made of. I could not put this ring down, I felt the weight of it on my finger, and stared deep into this magical moonstone, moving it side to side to admire the perfect shimmer of this gem. Even though I was designing jewelry at that time, I was tempted to purchase this ring, which was certainly an investment piece.
I still wear a moonstone ring almost daily, and I own many pieces of this fabulous, magical mineral. When I design moonstone pieces, I hand select each moonstone I use for fabulous quality and color flash. I want everyone who wears a piece of my moonstone jewelry to enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed trying on that ring I saw over 15 year ago, a ring I still think of from time to time. I still admire my moonstone pieces with just as much wonder and excitement - and I hope when you wear your FantaSea moonstones you feel the same way!
Do you have a question about moonstone, or any other gemstone used in our jewelry? Send me an email and I will be happy to answer them for you!
January 21, 2019