For a while now I’ve had the notion that I might one day write something to help demystify the jewelry industry and make jewelry fun to read about. There is of course the small factor that it could make some jewelry stores uncomfortable since shrouding their goods in flashy jargon and quick sales makes everything sound so important (raspberry flavored diamonds anyone?)

I am comfortable with shedding light on the industry plus I am planning on making this a fun and hopefully fascinating place to visit. You can bring a cup of coffee or tea and relax while you read about gemstones, properties of metal, find out how things are made and, there will be updates about what is being made.

You are reading the words of a gal that is a true geek for metallurgy and gemstones. Studying said topics from historical use to modern day trends is my hobby and knowing the science and mythos behind them is my passion. Without further ado, I shall start off by giving you some basics and my word that it will only get better from here.

Birthstones, ahhh, birthstones…..

I use fair trade gemstones, I will expound upon this later.

I encourage people to wear whatever stone speaks to them; we all have such different opinions of beauty. Listed here are zodiac stones for the months; this is the commonly recognized list established in the United States in 1912 (and yes, there are other lists for Europe and Asia).

Conventional birthstones with some unconventional information regarding them:

  1. January- Garnet (garnets come in all colors but blue)
  2. February- Amethyst (there is now green amethyst in addition to traditional purple and ametrine which is yellow and purple)
  3. March- Aquamarine or Bloodstone
  4. April- Diamonds (diamonds come in all colors!)
  5. May- Emerald
  6. June- Alexandrite, Pearl or Pink Tourmaline (lucky June gets three to choose from)
  7. July- Ruby
  8. August- Peridot
  9. September- Sapphire (Sapphires come in all colors)
  10. October- Opal or Tourmaline
  11. November- Topaz (Topaz comes in many colors)
  12. December- Blue Zircon, Turquoise or Tanzanite (also lucky like June)


Common metals used in jewelry making today and their properties in brief (and it is brief, I will expand on metals later again).

I use recycled metals whenever possible in my studio. Ooh, shiny!

Gold (Au), 24 karat is a warm yellow metal that is not often used in a pure form in jewelry because of malleability and most likely to be alloyed for strength. Gold can be alloyed with other metals like copper, palladium, silver, and zinc, to add strength or change the color of the metal. Here are a list of alloys and their percentages of pure gold: 22K (92%), 18K (75%), 14K (58%), 10k (41%) and 9K (38%).

  • White gold is harder than yellow due to the alloying process. It makes a strong, very wearable metal that comes in a variety of karats, most common being 14K. Most settings are offered in white gold even if the ring is yellow because of this strength.
  • Rose gold is an alloy of yellow gold and copper for a warm reddish tint. This alloy looks really good on a lot of skin tones and is worth trying on if you haven’t seen it.

Silver (Ag) Pure (or fine) silver is quite soft, so it is alloyed to sterling at 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (or other metals, often nickel). In the alloying process, silver becomes hard enough to be used in jewelry making, but it is not as hard as 14K gold. In my jewelry, I only use nickel free silver to reduce potential allergic reactions.

Platinum (Pt) is another story in metal-land altogether. It is one and a half times denser than gold which gives it lasting power in jewelry. Because of its weight and because it is alloyed at 90-95% pure it has a higher cost than 14K gold for the same sized item (14 Karat being alloyed at 58% pure gold).

This is the tip of an iceberg. I just wanted to get my feet wet and discuss some basics here. There will be more information and fun factoids to come, I promise.


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