April's Birthstone: Diamond

As one of the most precious and sought after gemstones, Diamond is commonly accepted as April's Birthstone. Diamonds are created by natural conditions that only occur about 100 miles under the surface of the earth. Before we ever see what beauty a Diamond holds, it goes through several processes. After it is taken from the earth, the rough gemstone must be cut and polished in a specific way to enhance their luster. 

The Diamond has been admired and beloved for many years. Getting their start in India, Diamonds were gathered from rivers and streams throughout the country. It is possible that India was trading in Diamonds as early as the fourth century BC, and over time Indian Diamonds traveled all the way to Venetian markets where they quickly became popular among British nobility by the 14th Century.

 At the start of the 1700's, India's Diamond supply began to decline, and around this same time Brazil emerged as an important World Diamond source, and they dominated the market for more than 150 years. However, political changes and upheavals changed the distribution of wealth, and the 1800's brought about the affluence of western Europe and America. At the end of the 1800's, rich Diamond deposits were discovered in South Africa, and demand broadened. With the founding of De Beers, by 1900, 90% of the Diamond market was controlled through its mines in South Africa.

The four characteristics that generally determine a Diamond's quality are called the 4 C's: Color (or how close to colorless the Diamond is; for "fancy" colored Diamonds, this refers to the intensity of the hue), Cut ( accurate proportions, symmetry, and polish), Clarity (how many inclusions are visible within the stone), and Carat (the Diamond's weight). All of these factors are carefully considered to determine a Diamond's value. 

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Get Your Green On

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Claddagh: Meaning and Origins

As we get nearer to what is considered in American culture as a prominent holiday which includes lots of green, eating and drinking, and various parades throughout the nation, Claddagh Rings and Jewelry become more and more popular. We often get asked what the Claddagh symbolizes. The Claddagh Ring is among a group of European Rings called "fede rings," which derives from the Italian "mani in fede" or "hands in faith/loyalty." "Fede rings" are made with two hands clasped, which generally symbolizes pledged vows, and because of this were often given as engagement and wedding rings in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. 

The traditional Claddagh Ring is a variation on that, showing two hands holding a heart topped with a crown. The hands signify Friendship, while the heart means Love, and the crown Loyalty. 

The current form of the Ring was first produced in the 17th Century in Claddagh, Ireland, situated outside the old city walls of Galway. However, the term "Claddagh" wasn't used until the 1840s. While there are many different legends about the origin of the Ring, perhaps the most likely is about Richard Joyce, a native of Galway. Captured and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith while working in the West Indies, Joyce learned the craft from his Master. When William III became King he demanded the release of all British prisoners, thus Joyce was set free. During his time in captivity, he fashioned a Ring for his love in Galway, and upon his return, presented it to her and married her.

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March's Birthstone: Aquamarine

Presenting in stunning ice blues and even an eye-catching greenish blue now and then, the Aquamarine is March's dazzling birthstone. 

Named for the Latin for seawater, the Aquamarine certainly does give the impression of watery depths. This gemstone is also thought to improve happiness in marriages. Aquamarines belong to the Beryl family (as well as Emeralds); many Beryls form large crystals, making the Aquamarine ideal for larger cuts that can be suitable for Fashion Jewelry.


Sitting at 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, the Aquamarine can be a durable stone for jewelry as long as care is taken against scratching and knocks on hard surfaces. 


View our Aquamarine pieces

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IJO Spring Show 2015

We are at the IJO show picking out some great new things for the store. Today we focused on getting some new earrings that we know you will love! From sapphire to amethyst and many stones in between, we've picked out some unique pieces that are unlike anything we've offered before. We have also picked out a few fantastic engagement rings. We cannot wait to get them in stock and photographed! Rose gold has been a big trend at the show this year, and we found two-toned pieces that are phenomenal. We've also met some great vendors who will help us better serve you. Stay tuned for great communication from us coming up soon!

Our favorite part of the show is finding the perfect piece that you are looking for. We've found everything we've been on the lookout for so far. If you are looking for something specific, please email by 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 23, and we will do our best to find it! 

Finally, we've partnered with some friends to bring you the ultimate buying experience this fall. We'll be announcing more information soon.

We're excited to get back to Marquette with these awesome new products and opportunities. 

- Chris

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