Aquamarine March Birthstone

March Birthstone – Aquamarine

The birthstone for the month of March is aquamarine.  Aquamarine is a type of beryl. It can be sea green, green-blue, light to dark blue. The preferred color is a strong dark blue.  This gemstone is often naturally bluish green and is heat treated to look light blue.  Aquamarine crystals are large and usually have few inclusions.  The price of the stone will drop quite a bit if it does have inclusions.  Aquamarine has a Mohs’ hardness of 7.5 to 8.  It is brittle and sensitive to pressure.


Aquamarine should be safe to be cleaned using steam or ultrasonic unless it can inclusions. It can be cleaned in soapy water.

Origins Story

The name aquamarine is from Latin, meaning “water” (aqua) “of the sea” (marina).  According to lore, it was believed to be mermaid treasure and was used as talismans for good luck and protection of sailors.  Aquamarine was also said to bring eternal youth and happiness.  It was first used in Greece between 300 and  500 B.C.

Amethyst February Birthstone

February Birthstone – Amethyst

The birthstone for the month of February is amethyst.  Amethyst is a type of quartz.  It can be a beautiful light to deep purple gem with tones of warm reddish purple to cool bluish purple.  It commonly has color zoning, meaning you might be able to see zones of light color and zone of darker purple in the same stone.   As with other quartz gemstones, amethyst also has a Mohs’ hardness of 7.


To clean amethyst, avoid steam cleaning since amethyst should not be heated. Be careful with ultrasonic cleaning, as it can damage certain stones. It can be cleaned in soapy water.

Origin Story

The name amethyst comes from Greek, meaning “not drunken.” The story is that the god, Bacchus, was insulted and became angry and stated that the first person he met would be eaten by tigers. It so happened to be that person was a woman called Amethyst who was on her way to worship at the shrine of the goddess Diana. As the tigers were about to eat her, Diana transformed Amethyst into a transparent crystal. Bacchus was so remorseful, he poured wine onto the crystal as an offering, and it turned purple.  The ancient Greeks believed the gemstone amethyst prevented intoxication, calmed anger and relieved frustrated passion.

Peridot for the year!

Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2017 is “greenery.”  For jewelry lovers, one of the best examples of this color is peridot. Also the birthstone for the month of August!  See the Pantone article for more info.

The following are jewelry pieces with peridot to help you feel beautiful, feminine, confident.

Teardrop Shadowbox Earrings with filigree and peridot

Teardrop post earrings shadowbox style with filigree and peridot

wavy 14k peridot pendant

14k gold pendant with sterling silver filigree and oval peridot



How to Clean Your Jewelry at Home

The holidays are coming up and that mean parties! We all want to look our best and make sure our jewelry looks fabulous under those lights.  You don’t need to buy special cleaning solution.  Simply put in a few drops of a mild liquid detergent into warm (not hot) water and let your jewelry soak for a few minutes.  If needed, use a clean soft bristle toothbrush to get into the little spaces.  Then simply rinse in clean warm water. Dry with a soft cloth.  I keep an extra lens cloth (like the kind for wiping your eye glasses)for just this purpose.

Be aware, though, some materials are delicate, and may not take too well to this method.  When in doubt, ask your jeweler for advice.



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November Birthstones

The birthstones for November are topaz and citrine.  Here is some information of each.


Citrine November Birthstone

Citrine is a quartz gemstone whose color range is pale yellow to brownish or orangey. It’s fairly readily available, and is a good stone to wear in jewelry.  A lot of citrine is amethyst (also a quartz) that has been heat treated to show the yellow color.  It has a Mohs’ hardness (1) of 6.5 – 7, so it’s fairly durable against scratches.  It has a good toughness (2). Avoid steam cleaning it, but can be okay in the ultrasonic.  Note that these are just general recommendations. How you clean your citrine really depends on your specific gemstone.





Topaz November birthstone

Topaz gemstones come in a variety of colors, including colorless, yellow, orange, redish brown, blues, pinks, and greens.  It has a Mohs’ hardness of 8, so it’s pretty durable. But it’s not very tough and has perfect cleavage. So it can chip or crack.  Nonetheless, if it is cut well, it should be okay to wear in jewelry.  Avoid steam and ultrasonic cleaning.

Blue topaz is easily mistaken by aquamarine. A lot of it is actually colorless topaz which is irradiated to look blue since naturally occurring blue topaz is rare.  Colorless topaz makes a good diamond alternative.



(1) Mohs’ hardness is a scale from 1 through 10 which indicates how easy it is to scratch this stone by another stone. So for example, diamond has a Mohs’ hardness of 10, but rubies are 9. So a diamond can scratch a ruby, but a ruby cannot scratch a diamond.

(2) Toughness is the ability to take mechanical shock, such as being bumped against something or getting hit by something.




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Layering necklaces

Layering necklaces is a fun trend.  Some years ago, it would not have been considered desirable.  However, by putting together combinations of similarly styled pieces, themes, or shapes, it can look good.  For example, take a look at these pictures.

layered shadowbox citrine round necklaces

Layered necklaces of stacked half spheres with citrine gemstone combined with a round reversible shadowbox.

layered filigree pink sapphire teardrop necklaces

Layered teardrop shaped necklaces: one is a filigree teardtop, the other a reversible shadowbox pendant with a pink lab-grown sapphire.

layered silver filigree butterfly flower necklaces

Layered silver filigree butterfly and flower necklaces

How to Remove Tarnish from Silver Jewelry

So you have a bunch of tarnished silver jewelry.  You don’t wear it.  You keep meaning to buy that jar of cleaning stuff and forget every time.  Plus, you’re not sure that stuff is all that safe for the environment anyway.

Let me share with you how I remove tarnish from silver jewelry with stuff I have in my kitchen.

  1. Line a bowl or pan with aluminum foil with the shiny side facing up.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda in the bowl.
  3. Pour boiling water in the bowl.
  4. Drop in your silver jewelry so that it’s completely immersed in the water.
  5. Rinse with plain water.
  6. Dry with a soft cloth.

In just a short time, you can see your jewelry look clean again.  If the piece is really dark, you may need to repeat this process.  Be aware, though, this process may  damage some stones, pearls, coral, etc.

See this video as an example.




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