The basic pieces that every jewelry lover needs
Three wonderful elements that make up the world around us. These things share something unique in common, something a little more than just matter itself; birthstones! For centuries, cultures around the world have used stones and gems to interconnect phenomenon with the spiritual earth around us. The commonly known “birthstone” is an example of this. Birthstones were assigned in correspondence with the 12-month period of time in a year. Thus, both you and I have our own birthstones.
There is further correspondence between birthstones and the zodiac calendar. Each period of time is assigned a zodiac and is thought to be ruled by each planet in the solar system. With a stone assigned to each zodiac in accordance with each planet, the astral energy can be received through the stones as healing powers.
Above: Crystal Healing/Meditation
Now, if you’re a skeptic, you may be wondering where these ideas came from. However, this is not a new practice. Ancient Greeks would rub crushed hematite on their bodies before battle believing it would make them invincible. Indian tradition practices crystal meditation to heal emotional and physical imbalances, often tuning into and strengthening the flow of energy throughout the seven different energy centers in the body known as Chakras.
The Chinese would use crystal tipped needles during acupuncture, believing they were medicinal. The dead of Ancient Egypt were often buried with a quartz atop their forehead in hopes that it would guide their spirits safely to afterlife. The bible Exodus 28:15-30 spoke of Aaron’s gold breastplate, imbedded with 12 stones to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. This specific reference is where experts believe the concept of the birthstone itself was established.
Damascene Jewelry is truly breathtaking; after all, it was named for replicating the beauty of Damask silk. The intricacy of designs on damask silk are duplicated onto jewelry by inlaying different types of metals into each other. The process is done by first etching designs into darkened (oxidized) metal and then filling the drawings in with spools of silver and gold foil, all done by hand. Genuine damascene jewelry commonly uses 18kt or 24kt gold and silver foil, while faux damascene may be replicated with black enamel paint and raised details (instead of carved.) It may also have a painted white edge, which is very uncommon in genuine Damascene jewelry. Artisans in Damascus, Syria, were the original creators of this process; it is believed that Damascene was brought to Japan via the Silk Road in the 8th century. Japanese designs tend to feature oriental and landscape designs. Pictured on the right is a vintage Damascene pin.
Rubies have represented power and strength for over a thousand years; their color reminded our ancestors of blood, anger, passion, and beauty. They are mentioned in the bible as being tokens of wisdom. Rubies have been carried with warriors to offer protection from enemies, but it doesn’t stop there. In Burma, an ancient ruby source that is now Myanmar, to be invincible a fighter would insert rubies deep into their skin before battle. They are so important in early cultures because they were considered the most precious of the 12 stones created by God. In modern times, the desire for rubies has not subsided; they are the perfect romantic gift. Rubies range in color from pink to deep red; they are essentially red sapphires. The presence of Chromium is what causes the red hue. The most valuable rubies are a medium-deep red that is often called “pigeon’s blood;” much lighter or darker is less valuable. Not only is Ruby the birthstone of July, it is also the traditional gift for 15th and 40th anniversaries.
Acclaimed designer, Lika Behar, creates unique and intimate works of wearable art inspired by ancient civilizations & the Mediterranean. Her hand wrought individual designs reflect ancient history as well as the modern feminine spirit.
She works with 22 and 24 karat gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, oxidized sterling silver and a myriad of beautiful gemstones of extraordinary color. The collection showcases fresh and lively hues with striking color combinations graced with the warmth of pure gold and the shimmer of diamonds.
Diamonds were treasured as talismans as early as 800 B.C. The Krishna River delta in Southern India was the world leader in diamond mining from the 9th century BC to the mid-18th century AD. During the First Century A.D., it was the height of stature for prominent Romans to wear uncut diamonds, mounted in gold rings. These diamond talisman were awarded to a fortunate few by the emperor.
In the 13th century, Louis IX of France, proclaimed an order forbidding all women, including queens, to wear diamonds! He insisted that diamonds were only for Kings. This law was challenged 200 years later by the mistress of Charles VII, who is considered responsible for making diamonds popular to all members of the French court. The 14th century was the start of diamond cutting, however this was mostly superficial polishing. Then came the point cut, which followed the natural shape of the diamond.
Not until the late 1400’s did we see a diamond used in an engagement ring. In 1477 Mary of Burgundy became the first to receive a diamond engagement ring which was gifted to her by Archduke Maximilian of Austria. The ring was said to be set with a point cut diamond and thin flat pieces of diamonds in the shape of an “M”.
Named after seawater, aquamarine’s fresh watery hue has us dreaming of a tropical vacation. March in New England may be mud season but just looking at a gorgeous piece of aquamarine enhances happiness. Its color is usually a light blue with greenish undertones, the more saturated the color is the more rare it is. Aquamarine has been a popular stone for jewelry since ancient times and was even used to cure ailments such as eye diseases and dehydration. With its connection to water you can see why the aquamarine stone has also been said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. Water has the power to create energy, wash away land, extinguish fire, and is vital to all forms of life. March has a powerful birthstone, and the beauty to match it. At Tick Tock Jewelers we have new, vintage, antique, and estate aquamarine jewelry.
Amethyst is the stone of love, an antidote to drunkenness, and a cure for evil thoughts. All the makings for a romantic Valentines Day brought to you by February’s birthstone, amethyst. St. Valentine, the patron of romantic love, wore an amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid. The astrologist, Camillo Leonardi, wrote that it was thought to heighten ones intelligence. The once rare and tremendously expensive stone worn only by royals is now more readily available and affordable thanks to large deposits found in Brazil. Amethyst is a beautiful purple color that is well matched with white gold, yellow gold, and looks spectacular with rose gold. Whether you were born in February, love Valentine’s Day, or just hope to drink all night without the side affects, this is the stone for you.
“Pearls go on and on . . . on everything,” Vogue declared in 1943.
The story of how Cartier got their NYC property…
Mrs. Plant lusted after the most expensive pearl necklace in the world, and to get them, she traded her mansion! In 1916 the residence on the corner of 54th and 5th avenue in NYC was home to the wealthy Plant family. Due to the prime location of the home the Cartier company was very interested in buying the residence. The asking price of both the mansion and the necklace were around one million dollars (equivalent to $18,693,500 in 2017), so a deal was struck and to this day Cartier still resides in the Plant mansion. Who do you think got the better deal?
The natural pearl is formed when a mollusk reacts to an irritant, and in defense the mollusk creates a pearl sac around the object. Pearls can now be cultured, so finding a strand of perfectly matched natural pearls is very rare, making them an expensive and sought after item. This amazing natural event creates an object of wonderment and value that has existed since ancient times.
It was Coco Chanel, in the 1930’s, who showed us how to wear pearls in modern times. "I gave women a sense of freedom," she once said. Pearls are definitely one of a girls best friend; they are easy to wear and hold a special place in every jewelry lovers heart. Lady Sarah Churchill said, “I feel undressed if I don't have my pearls on. My pearls are my security blanket.” With their luminous luster and varying color and sizes, you can be a royal like Queen Elizabeth or a rock star like Rhianna and find the perfect way to showcase your pearls.
The word Garnet originates from the Latin word “Garanatus,” meaning “pomegranate seed”. It has been known for serving guidance while traveling at night and attracting health and cheerfulness. Other characteristics associated with the Garnet include purity, truth, faithfulness, and friendship.
Some believe the healing properties of this stone revitalizes, purifies and balances energy. Available in red, green, orange, yellow, brown, pink & black, it is one of the more color diversified stones. This stone has a long history; a stylish garnet bead necklace was found in a grave in Egypt that is more than 5,000 years old. Red garnet necklaces decorated the necks of Egypt’s pharaohs and were entombed with their mummified corpses as prized possessions for the afterlife. Start shopping for your afterlife now!
Tourmaline is the October birthstone, and considered the stone for the 8th wedding anniversary. Tourmaline was discovered in Brazil during the 1500’s but at that point people confused it with other gems such as emeralds and rubies. The confusion was understandable due to the wide array of colors and the brilliance of the stones. Finally in the 1800’s they became known as tourmaline, from the toramalli, which means mixed gems in Sinhalese (a language of Sri Lanka).
The largest market for Tourmaline was in China during the last half of the 19th century. Chinese Dowager Empress Tz'u Hsi particularly liked the pink and red tourmaline and had the vast majority shipped to China from California mines. She had statues, bottles, sculptures, and jewelry made; most of which is lost now.
This piece in particular has pink tourmaline on top and pink sapphire on the bottom. It is easy to understand how the tourmaline would be mistaken for another gem. The necklace was made in England and also features two small sea pearls on gold ribbons.
The Romantic Era started in 1837 and brought about jewelry that revealed secret codes conveying sentiments of love, friendship, and affection using different stones and symbols to unveil a message. Rings with hidden messages were spelled out with the first initial of the stone, for example, a LOVE ring was made up of lapis-lazuli, opal, vermeil, and emerald while a REGARD ring would be made up of rubies, emeralds, garnet, amethyst and diamonds. While most commonly pendants and brooches were enameled with all kinds of designs here are the most commonly seen images translated from their secret code:
- Eyes: These are called “Lover’s Eyes” and are typically portraits of a loved one’s eye to preserve anonymity and decorum.
- Snakes: Eternity
-Star & Moon: The moon symbolizes spirituality and the glorification of the moon goddess while the stars symbolize direction and guidance.
- Seed pearls: Innocence, purity humility and harmony.
- Swallows: A common gift from a sweetheart as swallows mate for life; also represents the desire for a loved one to return safely or soon.
-Griffin: Bravery, courage, vigilance
- Horse Shoe/Clover: Luck and good fortune
-Buckles: Safety, security, protection
-Buttercups: Happiness, merriment, bliss
Since 1912, Citrine has been the official birthstone of November. Rare in nature, this alluring stone ranges from pale yellow to bownish-orange in color. Usually formed by the heat treatment of Amethyst, Citrine is actually a variety of quartz. The word Citrine in French translates to lemon; an appropriate translation for a stone with such a vibrant natural yellow hue.
With a modest price tag, it’s no wonder Citirne is the most popular yellow gemstone. Large pieces of Citrine were used in Art Deco pieces because not only is the stone affordable so larger stones could be used but it can also be carved like Jade and it is uncommon to see inclusions visible to the naked eye. In terms of durability, Citrine is harder than opal but softer than rubies and sapphires - they do not break easily but they do not have the scratch resistance seen in rubies and sapphires.
In Egyptian times, Citrine was used as a talisman that cleaned and removed unwanted energy. It is said that the stone brings hope and paves the way for spiritual growth. Known as the “merchants” stone or the “success” stone, it is also said that the stone can enhance one’s natural personal power and energy. No matter what you believe, Citirine makes a wonderful gift for those born in November, those celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary, or for those who love a golden fall color. Check out both the Estate and modern collection of Ciritne Jewelry here at Tick Tock Jewelers.
Cameos are a type of jewelry where a gem or shell is carved out leaving a raised relief image in a contrasting color. Common depictions on cameos are Greek Gods & Goddesses, beautiful women, Biblical events, heroes, and rulers. The type of cameo we see today is much different from the very first cameos ever made. In fact while cameos are now often worn by women, they used to be a status symbol and worn mostly by men. Women did not begin commonly wearing cameos until they were popularized by Queen Victoria of England.
Early cameos can be traced back to 300 A.D. where they are made out of carved stones such as Onyx or Agate and these are known as “Hardstone” cameos. Around 25BC - 50AD Roman glass cameos made an appearance, which are rare, and have a blue glass base with a white overlay. The most commonly seen are shell cameos, started in the 15th & 16th century. These are typically carved from mussels or cowry shells, however recently conch shells have been used also. Come see our large collection of cameos in our Estate Selection here at Tick Tock Jewelers.
Named after the English King Edward VII, the Edwardian period of jewelry was inspired when there was a decrease in the demand for machine made jewelry during the last decade of the 19th century. The trend went from large statement pieces to something more delicate and ethereal looking. Pulling inspiration fluidity and line work from the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts period while incorporating them into modern design, Edwardian jewelry was born. Typically seen as platinum pieces with a gold backing, along with milgrain beading and light weight design, Edwardian pieces were made to mimic the delicacy of fabric.
Typical Edwardian pieces featured bows, garland, wreaths, tassels, swag, and dog collars. Earrings changed from simple studs to long, pierced filagree dangles suspended from wires due to the light-weight properties of the platinum. The trend of smaller, stackable rings and the elongated rings with open pierced filagree work became popular during this time as well. Here at Tick Tock Jewelers, we have a large array of Edwardian pieces for you to admire in our Estate Jewelry Collection. Come on by to check them out!
October is the time for change; the time changes, the temperature changes, and the foliage changes. Like the spectrum of colors seen in the leaves, opals (October’s birthstone) too, reflect a multitude of colors. The opal is known as the national gemstone of Australia because about 90% of opals come from Australia and were accidentally discovered there in 1849. Opals, “the water stone,” are said to help ease the handling of life changes. They do contain water and like a river will flow over rocks while staying on course, opals will keep you on your correct path in life regardless of oncoming obstacles.
Diverse like fingerprints, no two opals are the same. In fact, there are different ways light can refract inside of the opal, and that is called “Play of Color.” The presence or absence of Play of Color and the color of the stone can determine the type of opal it is. There are many types of opals, but here are the most commonly seen:
- Common: These have no play of color and are usually a milky-white color.
- White: What most typically think of when they hear opal; play of color visible within a white stone.
- Black: Like a white opal, but darker color stone ranging from grey to black.
- Fire: Colorful and transparent stone (usually within the warm color spectrum) with little to no play of color.
- Boulder: Opals cut with the host rock; look very earthy.
- Jelly/Crystal: Transparent stone with play of color.
- Precious: A rainbow assortment of play of color with no “dead zones” (areas with no play of color.) These are very rare.
The Play of Color creates a “fire” inside the opal, which are intense flashes of bright colors. It is the most important aspect in the determining the quality of the stone, along with color, transparency, and clarity. Due to the softness of this stone, opals should be protected from rough impact. Also due to the water content in the stone (opals can contain up to 20% water), not only can the stone freeze but it can also craze like porcelain, creating little cracks in the stone due to moisture loss. The best way to prevent an opal from crazing is to keep it away from heat, keeping it away from direct sunlight, and wearing it, as your body’s moisture will re-hydrate the stone.
The play of color is what made Romans believe that opals were the most powerful and precious of all stones because they contained all the colors of every stone. To them, the opal symbolized love and hope. In Europe, the opal represents hope, purity, and truth. Many believe that opals are bad luck, which is actually not the case. In 1829 the novel Anne of Geierstein gave the opal a bad reputation after the main characters breaks her opal and soon after she falls ill and dies. In fact, black opals are actually good luck charms for the Zodiac sign Scorpio and boulder opals are good luck charms for Aries.
Said to increase creativity and imagination while also enhancing positive characteristics, opals are not only perfect for those born in October but also for those who love colorful gems. Although soft and delicate, when worn with care opals are a fantastic investment for everyone. Come see our fantastic opal collection at Tick Tock Jewelers.
Truth, nobility, sincerity, and faithfulness; this is the modern symbolism behind September’s birthstone, the Sapphire. Associated with royalty and romance, the most popular piece of sapphire jewelry was Princess Diana’s 18 carat sapphire engagement ring which has now been passed along to Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Like the ruby, sapphire belongs to the corundum family. However, rubies only come in shades of red while sapphires can come in every other color.
Traditionally, sapphires are a vivid, saturated blue that looks like it is lit from within. Since the early 1990’s, however, “fancy” sapphires came into the picture, introducing a rainbow assortment of colors. Padparadscha, an orange-pinksapphire, is the most valuable of them all. Named after a lotus blossom, this type of sapphire is very rare to find, and as you can imagine, very expensive. Some sapphires have an “asterism,” which is a star effect created from light refracting to create a six pointed star shape. They are commonly called “Star Sapphires.” Like the ruby, sapphires are the second hardest substance on Earth to diamonds and because of it’s durability, synthetic sapphire isplaced in objects that require a lot of protection; for example, a nice Swiss watch crystal or the windows of a space ship.
Sapphires can undergo different treatments to change the color and clarity of the stone. The most common form of treatment for sapphires is heat treatment. Heat treatment is when the stone is exposed to high temperatures. The color of the stone becomes more intense and bright while the clarity increases due to the heat removing the inclusions; this treatments is both durable and permanent.
Historically, sapphires came from places like Madagascar, Tanzania, and Australia. However top quality sapphires come from Kashmir, Burma, and Sri Lanka. (The largest known sapphire is kept in the Museum of Natural History in New York; famously called, “The Star of India,” this gem weighs a whopping 563 carats! And it is, you guessed it, a star sapphire!) In ancient Greece and Rome, sapphires were worn by Kings and Queens to protect them from harm while in the Middle Ages, sapphires became more of a religious symbol that the clergy would wear to symbolize heaven. Other beliefs about sapphires are that they can bring peace among enemies, influence spirits, and reveal secrets of the oracles.
With such a wonderful rainbow spectrum of colors, sapphires are a great way to show love and loyalty all while making the wearer feel like royalty. Although typically a September birthstone, sapphires are also the gemstone of the astrological sign Taurus. When a Taurus wears a sapphire, it is said that it protects them from illness and strengthens mental health. With such great history, durability, and a range of beauty from different colors to shapes of light inside the stone, sapphires are a great gift for someone very special in your life. Come check out our fantastic sapphire collection here at Tick Tock Jewelers!
Would you believe us if we told you that Peridot (August’s birthstone) can come from space? Green like the little men some believe are out there, this stone can hitch rides on meteorites and make their way to Earth! But, they are most commonly found deep in the Earth’s mantle and brought to the surface through volcanoes. Extraterrestrial Peridot can be as old as 4.5 BILLION years. You will only find these in the Smithsonian Museum, where you can see the largest known Peridot in the world at 46.16 carats!
While the concept of Aliens and Space Gems may seem far out, it’s very rare. The majority of Peridot gems are found in volcanic rocks. When the word “volcano” comes up, which state pops into mind? Hawaii, right? In Hawaii, Peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes and fire. There’s actually an entire beach in Oahu that has sand entirely made of Peridot that was finely crushed by the oceans waves. Pele’s tears are said to bring personal growth, wealth, and healing powers.
Other cultures, like the Egyptians, believed Peridot can protect it’s wearer from terrors in the night. Referred to as “gem of the sun,” they mined this stone on an island called Topazios (now known as St . John Island.) Treeless with a scorching sun, the land had little to offer except for the glittering green gemstones that caught the attention of Egyptian royalty. In fact, have you heard about Cleopatra’s green gem collection? While many had thought that her collection was made of emeralds, it is actually made of Peridot!
While some gems have a spectrum of different color variants, Peridot is unique in that it only comes in shades of green. Color ranges from a light lime green to a dark deep green depending on the iron content in the gem (the iron gives that yellow hue.) The perfect Peridot comes in a pure grass green color with no black inclusions visible through the stone, however different people prefer different color variants (beauty is in the eye of the beholder.)
Whether be an August birthday present, 15th anniversary gift, or just a gift from the heart, Peridot is always a great option. With such a unique origin, who wouldn’t want to brag about their new prized possession?
Stop by Tick Tock Jewelers in downtown Burlington, VT and see all of our Peridot collection today!
July: a month of summer love, passion, and of course, heat. It’s no wonder the Ruby, a stone that represents burning passion, love, wealth, and loyalty is this month’s birth stone. Stemmed from the Latin word “ruber” meaning red, this stone’s quality is actually measured by its color and clarity. The finest rubies are as red as pigeon’s blood (no pigeons were harmed while writing this article) with an intense fire and very subtle undertones of blue or purple.
In pop culture, the most famous rubies of all are Dorothy’s ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz. They were given to her by Glinda the Good Witch for courage, wisdom, and protection. She later discovers that when she clicked her heels together chanting, “there’s no place like home,” those rubies gave her what she truly desired in her heart- to find her way back home to Kansas. (It’s too bad she couldn’t take those shoes with her)!
Did you know that rubies and sapphires are actually the same stone? They both belong to the Corundum family and since 600 AD, Burma has been the primary source of our most precious corundum. They are second in hardness to diamond and come in other colors besides the tried and true red and blue - colors like white, pink, yellow, and orange. Due to it’s hardness and durability, Corundum makes a fantastic choice for an engagement ring because they are built for a lifetime of wear. In fact, do you use an emery board? Black synthetic corundum is crushed and used to make the sanding side of an emery board.
Here are some interesting historical facts about rubies:
- Ancient warriors from Burma wore rubies because they believed it gave them the power of invincibility.
- Hindus believed the red color came from an internal flame that could not be put out, just like ever lasting love.
- In the Middle Ages, rubies were used to predict danger. Any time a ruby would sense danger, it would supposedly turn the stone a darker color.
- Aristocrats would wear rubies to enhance wisdom and give clarity to those having difficulty making crucial decisions or financial matters
Whether you believe the folk tails or not, one thing is for sure: rubies are a perfect gift for the ones you love, especially if they’re lucky enough to have a July birthday! With a stone that represents everlasting love and loyalty, what else could make a better statement? Check out our newest collection of ruby pieces here at Tick Tock Jewelers!
Now that you know a few reasons why it is worthwhile to have your jewelry appraised, it is important to keep in mind that there are many other practical reasons why you should find a knowledgeable and trustworthy appraiser (besides protecting yourself in the unfortunate case of jewelry theft). Your jewelry is more than just a beautiful accessory. Like a Monet, it is a piece of art; like a Corvette it is an example of inspired design and value.
Most people would never think twice about getting their car or fine art pieces insured, so why think twice about appraising your jewelry, especially when it may be of an equal or superior value?
Even if you have considered selling certain pieces in your collection, having your pieces appraised will actually make this process much easier and more straightforward. Having an up-to-date appraisal can be the surefire way to eliminate buyer-seller tension. It provides valuable information to prospective buyers and allows sellers to know the value of what they have.
However, we would advise against selling all of one’s fine jewelry (despite how compelling this may be in certain circumstances). If everyone sold the majority of their pieces, there would be no children and grandchildren who’d receive beautiful, heirloom jewelry to treasure and remember their loved ones. During these already difficult times, the dividing and passing of a loved one's estate can add undue stress and tension. A lot of people find themselves blindsided by the animosity that results from what is perceived by certain family members as an unfair or unequal division of the estate.
Unless you belong to a family of jewelers and qualified appraisers, determining worth can be especially tricky when it comes to jewelry. When costume pieces can be easily mistaken for valuables and precious pieces can be mistaken for faux pieces, bringing the entire collection to an appraiser beforehand for evaluation is ideal.
The appraiser will separate all costume pieces and then appraise the remaining valuable pieces. With an accurate and up-to date pricing and analysis of the fine jewelry in a loved one's estate, value can be distributed fairly and honestly between heirs.
It is worth noting that having one of your pieces appraised at an inflated value will end up costing you more in the long run. While it may seem like you could reap the benefits if your jewelry ever needed to be replaced, this is inaccurate logic. Not only will it cost you a larger monthly premium, all of the extra money you are paying to insure the item will not come back to you in the event that said item needs to be replaced.
In the case of replacing a lost or stolen item, your insurance company will only be able to indemnify you for the current replacement value of your piece (even if that price is under what your appraiser determined). Therefore, it is important to be working with a reliable appraiser from the very beginning who will provide you with the accurate, uninflated value of your piece.
At Tick Tock Jewelers in Burlington, Vermont we have seen it all when it comes to big jewelry collections and appraisals. Our appraisals start at $75 (for one piece) and we offer very reasonable rates for larger collections. Though we know anyone in the midst of a tense estate squabble will tell you that preventing it in the first place would have been invaluable. Contact us today to set up a time.