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Ruby Lane's Past Times Newsletter for May 2008
In This Issue
- Happy Mother's Day from Ruby Lane
- Visit Ruby Lane's Blog
- Watch Where You're Going
- May Birthstone: The Emerald
- Preserving Your Fine Jewelry by Baya Gatter of Eternal Fine Jewels
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY FROM RUBY LANE
Click here to see a special Mother's Day video message from Ruby Lane, or go to:
VISIT RUBY LANE'S BLOG
Notes from The Lane is Ruby Lane's new blog, where you'll find hundreds of articles on antiques & art, vintage collectibles, jewelry, e-commerce success and much more with new content added daily. We invite you to stop by to read, learn, comment, contribute or advertise. Visit http://blog.rubylane.com
WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING
In 1939 a new car could be purchased for less than a thousand dollars and its tank filled with gasoline at 10 cents a gallon. With the Great Depression lingering, but waning, and the war in Europe not yet a grim reality, that year arrived on a quiet tide of hope. It carried optimism for the future in tow, as brighter days seemed to beckon. The Bureau of Public Roads encouraged local road building projects during the Depression. Throughout the 30's road conditions had steadily improved across the nation. Better roads and innovations in automobile suspensions and interior appointments helped to make motoring more enjoyable.
For many drivers the preferred objective when `hitting the road' might have been that of the New York World's Fair, which opened in April of 1939 with the theme, `The World of Tomorrow.' At the New York World's Fair a bodiless mechanical voice addressed visitors at the AT & T exhibit and IBM displayed an amazing gadget that could `think' well enough to do math. It was an electric calculating machine that tabulated numbers via holes punched in cards. Moving stairs lifted you up inside the ultra-modern looking Trylon building and took the wide-eyed visitor inside the enormous circumference of the Perisphere. The high moving walkway offered a birds-eye view of a spectacle below: a model representation of an entire city of the future.
Thanks to forebears always-seeking modern, scientific `advances,' we now populate the "World of Tomorrow." We collect the things other generations were familiar with and take the things with which we are familiar for granted; like mechanical transportation. Automobiles are ubiquitous and vacationers today commonly use them only to reach other points on the compass as expediently as they are able. Superhighway access and the satellite navigational tools standard on many new vehicles have mostly eliminated the possibility of perhaps losing one's way and accidentally being forced to visit some extraordinary place down a different path on the map. Traveling for vacation was once a fully self-contained adventure. There was the epic taking on of the entirety of Route 66, end to end, stopping for a swim at the Big Blue Whale or to gawk at the World's Largest Ball of String. There's always a chance that where we are going will be every bit as good as where we have already been. But, sad, should individualized family travel disappear into the same mist of time where went those fat buttons on car radios that once were able to entice "Moonlight Serenade" by Glenn Miller out of the stratosphere.
In 1939 the Straight Eight would have maintained a pleasant cruising speed under the hood while the kids read Superman comics in the backseat or eagerly watched the side of the road for the next sequence of Burma Shave signs:
The Queen of Hearts Now loves the Knave. The King ran out of Burma-Shave
Are we There Yet?
MAY BIRTHSTONE: THE EMERALD
The primary May birthstone is Emerald, and the unique green color makes it a perfect stone for a mid-spring celebration.
While Emeralds have many sources, ancient and modern, it was the exploration of South America in the 16th century that made Emerald much more widely available. Many of the world's finest Emeralds come from South America.
It is a variety of the mineral Beryl, as is Aquamarine. While many Aquamarines are very "clean" to the eye, with virtually no visible inclusions, this cannot be said of Emerald. Sellers of emerald even use the term "jardin", French for "garden" to describe the interesting internal characteristics of the stone. The actual name Emerald probably comes from a Sanskrit word meaning "green".
Small traces of chromium are responsible for the green color. Some Emeralds are colored by vanadium, and some gemologists believe these stones should not be sold as Emeralds. Vanadium colored stones often exhibit fewer inclusions than chromium colored stones. There is also a pale green beryl, colored by iron, which resembles greenish Aquamarine more than it does Emerald. This material should be represented and sold as Green Beryl, although not all stone vendors agree.
Due to the presence of natural inclusions, which often break the surface of stones, virtually all natural Emeralds are treated to improve their appearance. Cedar wood oil has been used for centuries to mask these inclusions. Colored oils which mask the appearance of inclusions and improve the color are also used, though frowned on by many. Modern optical mediums, such as Opticon have also been used, and some stones are fracture-filled. In this process, a glass like material actually fills the fissures and voids in the stone.
All these treatments require disclosure, and it is best to assume that an Emerald has at least been oiled to improve its appearance. It has been reported that some stones are being irradiated to improve their appearance.
While relatively hard, with a Moh's scale rating of 7.5-8, Emerald is considered rather brittle, and the presence of inclusions makes this stone rather prone to chipping and fractures. Antique pieces with Emerald will often show wear to the stones, with a loss of crisp facet edges, and some replacement stones may often be seen in older cluster designs.
Certain color ranges of Emerald are so closely associated with Columbian sources that Columbian Emerald is often used as a color description, and may not always refer to the actual country of origin. The Muzo mine in Columbia is legendary for the fine stones produced, which include the Devonshire Emerald. This uncut stone, weighing over 1300 carats, was given to the Duke of Devonshire by the Emperor of Brazil in 1831. Muzo is located in a large area known for Emeralds, northeast of Bogota, Columbia. The Chivor mine, also in Columbia, produced the stone that was fashioned into the Patricia, a 632 carat gem named after St. Patrick. This area also produces a very rare type of Emerald, a Trapiche. These Emeralds have a 6-rayed dark star in them, created by a radial formation of carbon inclusions. Some Emeralds have been reported to display chatoyancy, the "cat's-eye" effect, but this is extremely rare. Some other Emeralds from Columbia can be identified by a unique three-phase inclusion.
Emeralds are also produced in other parts of South America, Brazil produces some, along with much material which is more properly identified as Green Beryl. Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, some former Soviet republics, and Australia are also commercial producers of Emerald. Jamie Hill of Hiddenite, North Carolina gained a great deal of notoriety 10 years ago when he discovered a great source of Emeralds on his property. This find, located at a shallow depth, has produced some phenomenal stones, including rough stones with weights in excess of 800 carats. Some gems fashioned from this rough have sold for over $1,000,000.
Chrome Tourmaline and some green Garnets can be mistaken for Emerald. Chrome Tourmaline is seldom encountered in older pieces. Of the green Garnets, Tsavorite is a newer arrival on the gem scene. Both Tsavorite and green Demantoid Garnet have an optical appearance which is slightly different than Emerald, but the color range may mimic that of Emerald.
Emerald may also be imitated by glass, doublets, and by synthetic Emerald. Synthetic Emeralds can be made by several different processes, and those made by Chatham and Gilson are probably the best known. Carroll Chatham developed his process in 1938, so these stones have been available for decades and can be present in vintage pieces. Doublets, often formed of garnet and glass components, have also been in use for quite a while, and were often used in moderately priced birthstone jewelry and Mother's rings. Under magnification, the joint line is often visible on the crown of the stone near the girdle. Ultra-violet lighting will often reveal this.
Natural and simulated Emeralds may both be seen as faceted stones, cabochon stones, and beads. Variations in quality and treatment can create a vast range of prices for Emeralds. They are heat sensitive and often need removed from settings for repair work. Emeralds should never be cleaned with steam cleaners or ultrasonics.
PRESERVING YOUR FINE JEWELRY BY BAYA GATTER OF ETERNAL FINE JEWELS
Your first piece of jewelry is always the most precious and dearest piece since it was most likely given to you by a much cherished person--it is your own personal treasure. As the years pass, you acquire more pieces, whether they are gifts, inheritance or you purchase them for yourself. Some you will like more than others and there will be those that are your signature pieces--the ones you wear everyday or quite frequently. Regardless of how many pieces of jewelry you own, your jewelry should be well maintained and cared for. Your jewelry will remain in pristine condition with a little TLC.
Let's begin with daily wear. Are you aware that soaps, shampoos, powders and lotions can build up a lot or residue and leave a filmy build-up under and around a setting? This would reduce the brilliance of a diamond or the brightness or intensity of a colored gemstone. This can also give gold a dull appearance.
Most people enjoy outdoor activities--whether its sports or chores. However, these can also cause havoc for your jewelry. As an example, if you are an avid gardener, and like most people, you want to feel the soil and avoid wearing gardening gloves, you risk losing your rings as they could slip off your fingers. Also, dirt could be embedded within the setting and the stones could possibly get chipped. A bracelet or chain could get caught in something and could get damaged or lost
If you go to the gym, spa or even have the facilities at home--do not hot tub, sauna or swim in chlorinated pools as these elements can damage gems by wearing away at the polished finish creating a very dull surface. They can also discolor a gemstone.
Jewelry that has stones that are set with claws and/or prongs, should be regularly checked as they can wear down with time and get broken which will result with a stone breaking or falling out of the mount. A jeweler can retip the prongs. Sometimes in our daily routines and activities whether at work or home, a ring can be knocked or hit against something which can damage the claw--most of the time we are not even aware. I can tell you first hand, it happened to me--two of the claws in my engagement ring were bent sideways, when my hand accidentally hit a wall. I could hear a distinct rattling sound because the diamond was loose in the setting.
Link chains and bracelets, especially larger links can wear thin over the years, especially if worn everyday. The interconnecting links rub against each other from movement thereby thinning them out.
The earrings that you just purchased or received as a gift should have the closure cleaned with an alcohol swab--this will kill any bacteria. You do not know who tried on those earrings before you.
When putting on earrings, especially studs, most people press their index finger against the stone while pushing in the butterfly. It is wise to put a tissue over the surface of the stone as you apply the closure since your finger leaves an impression on the stone's surface and takes away from the brilliance, sparkle and shine of the stone.
If you have post and butterfly earrings, the butterfly should not glide on too easily, but rather should be pushed on the post. If it glides too easily, it can also slip off easily and you would lose your earrings.
Rings should have the bottom of the shanks checked, especially if they are worn everyday. Shanks can thin out and snap off your finger.
When removing your chains, try to place the chain flatly on a surface to avoid knots or kinks. Beaded necklaces should also be flatly stored since the silk strand can stretch over time. If too stretched, they could come apart.
Since cameos are prone to cracking and discoloration from age, dryness or elements, they must be carefully cared for and stored. With a soft brush, dust it. You can also rinse a cameo with warm water and pat dry.
Diamonds measure 10 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness, but still require proper care and cleaning. A diamond's sparkle can diminish from hygienic, grooming, household chemicals and powders. Also, the skin's natural oils and sweat can also diminish the brilliance. Using a gentle dish washing soap with a soft brush and warm water, you can clean the surface and around the settings and then rinse. Or if you wish, you can also use a commercial jewelry cleaner.
Ladies, when applying certain sprays, i.e. perfume, hairspray, deodorants--wait for a few minutes before putting on your jewelry. As an example, if you applied perfume and then put your pearl necklace on and the perfume was not completely dry, the iridescence, luster and color of the pearl could be altered and would become dull and lifeless overtime. It is highly advised to have your pearl strand restrung every 1-2 years and to have knots between your pearls. If your stand breaks, your pearls will not be scattered all over and by having a knot in between each pearl bead, they avoid scratching against each other. It's best to keep them clean by placing them in mild soapy water and then letting them dry on a towel. If you wear your pearls frequently, wipe them with a soft damp cloth to avoid any kind of chemical build-up.
It is advisable not to wear opal jewelry in extreme heat. Do not have it exposed to direct sun, or extremely cold weather as the opals may crack when subjected to these conditions. Opals contain water within them and if you live in a dry climate, it is best to store your opal jewelry in a plastic bag with a damp piece of fabric or cotton ball--this will prevent it from dehydrating since opals crack easily when dry. Do not clean opals with chemical jewelry cleaners since they are porous and can absorb the liquids. It's best to use a gentle dish washing liquid, mild water and a soft toothbrush.
Corals are very porous gems and should not come in contact with any chemicals. It is also a very soft gem and should be carefully stored so it doesn't get scratched or chipped. Coral jewelry should be cleaned with a moist soft cloth.
Turquoise is also another very porous and fragile stone which should be kept away from heat and chemicals. Since they scratch easily, store them separately in a jewelry pouch and clean with lukewarm water and soft brush.
A very, very soft gem is amber and it can get scratched very easily. Since it is a very porous stone, please apply your perfume or hairspray before putting on amber jewelry, this way it won't be coated with a dull film. Wipe your amber jewelry with a soft cotton or flannel cloth and also store separately.
Gold jewelry should be removed when using any kind of household chemicals since they create abrasions on the metal which would minimize the gold's luster. Gold's biggest enemy is chlorine--remove your gold jewelry before entering chlorinated pools and hot tubs and avoid cleaning products that have chlorine in them since gold jewelry will weaken over time causing it to crack or break. Clean your jewelry with warm water and a gentle brush.
Silver jewelry is best cleaned with a soft cloth or a fine piece of felt. If silver is very dirty, try silver cleaner. Silver will discolor from chlorine. When you wear your silver jewelry it will tarnish from exposure to light, air and from physical activity (sweat). Remove it at the end of the day and clean thoroughly. Since it is a soft metal, it will scratch easily and should be stored in a soft cloth bag.
Try to keep your individual pieces of jewelry in small plastic bags--they look like mini Ziploc bags, they are available in craft shops. This will prevent your jewelry from scratching against each other.
At home care for your jewels requires minimal time and is so simple. Jewelry that you wear everyday should be cleaned on a weekly basis.
Like a doctor, you should have a trusting relationship with your jeweler and should have your jewelry checked and looked after annually.
Jewelry can retain its brand new appearance as along as its cared for. By adhering to basic care and cleaning tips, your jewelry will always retain their original beauty, brilliance, shine and will last a lifetime.
We invite you to visit Eternal Fine Jewels