Are Opals a Girl’s New Best Friend?

Cate Blanchett Oscars opal earrings

Opals have emerged as one of the big jewelry trends of 2014. Cate Blanchett’s stunning Chopard opal earrings received almost as much attention at the Academy Awards as her Oscar-winning performance. Her earrings demonstrated all the traits that are making opals so popular right now: they are lustrous, reflecting the fire of many colors. Blanchett explained her decision to don them for the Oscars, saying that opals are “must-haves” for Australians, as they are the country’s national gemstone. Opals are found in deposits around the world, but are most abundant in Australia, which produces 97 percent of the world’s opals.

As more women purchase opals, or pull vintage pieces from their mother’s or grandmother’s jewelry box, they probably do not know a lot about proper care and cleaning of the stone. Opals are delicate, requiring a gentle, non-ammoniated jewelry cleaning formula and tender care with a polishing cloth. In fact, the best way to clean opal jewelry is to dampen a polishing cloth with a gentle cleaner and just wipe the opals clean. This is especially true if the stones are glued into the piece, as they often are when used in doublets, triplets, brooches and even rings. It is not safe to soak such pieces in a jewelry cleaner, as the glue can come loose.

Kristie Nicolosi, President & CEO of The Kingswood Company, the world’s leading supplier of fine jewelry care products, shared some other information about opals.

“I attended the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show last year and learned something surprising about opals,” explained Nicolosi. “If you don’t store them properly, they can literally turn to dust!”

That’s right; while a diamond is forever, opals actually have a lifespan. Because they are composed of five to 10 percent water, opals will deteriorate over time as they dry out. As they dry, they turn milky, losing their beautiful layers of color, and may crack. Once they become too dry, one can try to add moisture back, but often they cannot be repaired. That is why it is very important to store them in cool, moist places, minimizing exposure to heat and dry environments.

It is pretty hot and dry down under, so Aussies like Ms. Blanchett must be extra careful.

 

Social Media Standouts

This week has been another outstanding week on social media for the American Gem Society.  Our fans have been extremely engaged with our posts and there were a few that have really stood out.

First, this yellow diamond pendant from Armadani.  Our fans immediately fell in love with it, and rightfully so. It is stunning!

Armadani

Then today, we posted this pink diamond ring from Supreme Jewelry. It has been an instant hit! It has racked up more likes and shares in just a few hours than other posts will get in a week. Obviously, it is a special piece.

supreme

 

These are just a couple of the pieces that we shared throughout this week.  Visit our Facebook page to see all of the amazing jewelry we have to share.  Also, while you’re there make sure you register to win a $2,500 gift certificate to an AGS Jeweler near you!

Aquamarine: the Calming Blue

by Anna Samsonova, CGA
Ben Bridge Jeweler

The name says it all for the birthstone of March: Aqua. The word alone is relaxing.  Which is good, because the historical and substitute birthstone does not have as relaxing of a name: Bloodstone.

Aquamarine is usually a light blue stone, think of the clearest of beach waters that you can imagine. Smaller stones tend to stay on the lighter side of the spectrum, where as larger stones may yield a darker color. That slightly darker color, especially with a greenish tint, is quite sought after and has a greater value. Just as its birthstone neighbor Amethyst, it is quite a clear stone and makes for amazing large statement pieces.

aquamarine

Aquamarine–a tall drink of cool light blue.

The name also promises to calm your soul. It relaxes you in stressful situations and is great for couples and as an anniversary gift.

Bloodstone is usually used in fashion pieces as Turquoise would be. It is usually a dark green stone with red dots and veining on it. Although the name may throw you off, it is quite an interesting piece of Mother Earth.

bloodstone

Bloodstone. Beautiful, yet not as calming as Aquamarine!

The name also serves its purpose. Bloodstone is said to help with your vascular health, especially poisoning and diseases. It is also believed to energize you and rid you of bad feelings.