Jessop Jewelers Blog

  • Topaz - A 2000 Year Old History

    Posted on: November 4, 2015

    In antiquity, all yellow and brown gemstones (and even some green ones) were called “topaz”. Topaz was used as far back as Egyptian times. The Sun God, Ra, was thought to have been responsible for giving topaz its golden colors. In reality, topaz occurs in transparent yellow, yellow to orange brown, light to medium red, light blue, and very light green and pink. The term “smoky topaz” is a common misnomer for transparent brown stones which are actually smoky quartz.

    When pink topaz was first discovered in Russia in the 19th century, ownership was restricted to the czar and his family; hence, it became known as “Imperial” topaz. This refers to sherry-red, deep pink or reddish-orange stones. These are the most prized and expensive colors of topaz. Some flesh and salmon colored topaz (which comes only from Brazil) can be heated to a deep, permanent pink. This is a rare color and is priced accordingly.

    Next in value are the less intense (but still beautiful) shades of peach, orange and deep golden topaz. These stones are referred to as “precious” topaz. As the color becomes yellower and browner, the price drops.

    Blue topaz has become one of the top two or three selling non-traditional colored stones. It actually starts out colorless and the blue is achieved by irradiating the stone. This gamma and electron treatment does not make the stones radioactive; the color is then made stable through heating. In contrast, stones which have been reactor treated do become radioactive, but U.S. law requires they be quarantined until the radioactive readings are negligible. There are only two U.S. facilities licensed to treat topaz. The treatment process is a lengthy one with the minimum turnaround time generally about six months.

    Topaz is relatively hard at 8 on the Mohs scale, but its toughness is poor and should be handled with care. The prime source of topaz is Brazil, but it is also found in Mexico (lower quality brownish-yellow), Sri Lanka, South Africa (blue), and Russia.

    All in all, topaz gives those with a November birthday some truly lovely colors to choose from for their birthstone!

    View topaz jewelry from our Jessop's Collection

  • Warm Up to Citrine

    Posted on: October 29, 2015

    Bring some warmth and vitality to your jewelry collection with the beautiful gemstone, citrine quartz. As one of the designated birthstones for November, citrine is known for its pretty, golden shades ranging from pale, pastel yellow to dark brownish orange. The name citrine comes from the Greek work for ‘citron’, a citrus fruit that is lemon yellow in color and correlates to the yellow color tones popular in this gemstone.

    Did you know that amethyst and citrine are part of the quartz family? Natural citrine is mostly pale yellow and rare to find in nature. Because of this, it is common practice for purple amethyst or smoky quartz (that has been graded to be of a lesser color value) to be heat-treated, producing the beautiful, warm color variations of citrine. Known as the “healing quartz”, citrine is thought to bring health, healing, and abundance to the wearer.

    What is the most valued color of citrine? Citrine that is an intense yellow to reddish orange color and void of brownish tints is the most desirable. It should also be transparent and free of visible inclusions.

    View our citrine selection

  • Fall in Love with Autumn Colored Jewelry

    Posted on: October 20, 2015

    Fall is here and fall colors can be found everywhere, including Jessop’s. These unique pieces combine beautiful autumn colored gemstones with eye-catching results.

    Handcrafted ring, by our in-house goldsmith, features a center rectangular cushion-cut spessartite garnet accented on each side by trillion-cut chrome diopside gemstones and set in 18K yellow gold.

    From our estate collection, this 14K yellow gold straight line bracelet features alternating square-cut green tourmaline and citrine - the designated birthstones of October and November.

    Whatever color you like, Jessop’s has a wide selection of colored gemstones to choose from. Stop by our store to see all of our spectacular pieces up close or visit our website sampling at Diamonds Colored Gems.

  • Spectacular Colored Gemstone Event

    Posted on: October 13, 2015

    20% Off All Jewelry Purchases (Selected items excluded)

    Thru Friday, October 16th
    9:30 am to 5:00 pm
    - Please call for Saturday Appointment -


    Please join us as we unveil our stunning new collections of spectacular jewels!
    Because of the success of our Grand Inventory Reduction Sale last winter, we were able to make room in our showcases for new and exciting pieces sure to please!

    ** Mention this offer when you visit **

  • Tourmaline – A Rainbow of Choices

    Posted on: October 8, 2015

    tourmaline-20151008aTourmalines come in a wide variety of exciting colors and have one of the widest color ranges of any gem. It is one of the designated birthstones for October, the eighth anniversary gem, and the gemstone said to ensure lasting love and friendship.

    Tourmaline was first discovered in Brazil in the mid-1500’s and mistaken for emerald. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that tourmaline was finally named and recognized as a distinct mineral. Both California and Maine became world renown for tourmaline production starting in the late 1800’s. Locally, San Diego County shipped 120 tons of gem quality pink and red tourmaline to China between 1902 and 1910 because the Dowager Empress Tzu-hsi cherished the gemstone. When the collapse of the Chinese government occurred in 1912, the market for tourmaline from the United States virtually ceased.

    tourmaline-20151008bSince tourmaline can be found to exist in almost any color (including bi or multi-colored stones), many are referred to by their own jewelry trade names, such as:

    • Rubellite – intense pink, red to violet-red
    • Chrome tourmaline – rich, green hues that compete in color to emerald and tsavorite garnet
    • Paraiba – rich blue, greenish-blue or violetish-blue
    • Savannah tourmaline – bright yellows
    • Watermelon tourmaline – tri-color stone featuring green, white, and pink color bands

    The most desired colors of tourmaline are rich, intense blue, pink and green. Yet, with so many colors to choose from, most everyone can find a tourmaline color to their liking.

    View tourmaline jewelry from our Jessop's Collection

  • Opal – A Kaleidoscope of Color

    Posted on: September 25, 2015

    Since ancient times, opals have been associated with various powers and superstitions, some good and some bad. On the good side, Romans believed opals were a symbol of hope and purity and made one magically invisible; thus, Roman warriors were known to carry opals into battle for protection. Conversely, the bad luck superstitions of opals began in the 19th century with a female character in a Sir Walter Scott novel. The lady wore an opal in her hair and when a drop of holy water fell on it, she died! Queen Victoria (who coincidentally owned several opal mines) was somewhat successful in putting that myth to rest by giving opal jewelry as wedding gifts to all her relatives.

    Opal traditionally serves as a birthstone for October and is available in several different types. Solid opals range in base color from “black” (any dark body color) to semi-black, crystal, semi-crystal and opaque “milk” opal. In addition to the base color, opals can also exhibit color patterns, ranging from broad flashes to pinpoint “color play”.

    The most valuable base color of solid opal is black, and in all opals the more valuable ones exhibit all colors in their color play. That being said, the presence of pronounced red color is best, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Also the intensity or brightness of the color will markedly affect the price. Opals with no color play are known as “common opal”.

    Opals are also available as “triplets”, which consist of a thin layer of opal secured between an opaque backing material and a crystal clear cap to protect the stone. This can create a brilliant play of colors. “Doublet” opal is the same as triplet but without the crystal top layer. There is also a natural mix of an opal face on ironstone rock known as “boulder opal”, which is sometimes referred to as “nature’s doublet”.

    It is interesting to note that ninety to ninety-five percent of the world’s opals come from Australia, with the main fields located in the South Australian towns of Andamooka and Coober Pedy. The main source of black opal (which is far rarer than white) is in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, Australia. Other sources of opal include China, Brazil, the United States (California and Nevada), Mexico, and Ethiopia.

    Opals are relatively soft at 5 ½ to 6 ½ on the Mohs hardness scale and their toughness is only fair to poor. This makes them easily wearable as pendants or earrings. Customers who purchase opal rings simply need to be advised to handle and wear them with care. Opal jewelry can be cleaned with a very soft brush and mild soapy water, then rinsed with water and polished with a soft cloth. Doublets and triplets generally should not be submerged in liquids which could penetrate between the layers and cause them to separate.

    One last thing to be aware of is that opals can be re-polished if scratched. Also, there is no need to oil them or soak them in water or glycerine after they have been cut and polished. Most cracking or crazing occurs very early in an opal’s life and the weak ones can be weeded out at that time.

    Sharon S. Axelson
    Graduate Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America
    Certified Gemologist Appraiser, American Gem Society

    View opal jewelry from our Jessop’s Collection...

  • Yellow Gold – What’s Old Is New Again!

    Posted on: September 14, 2015

    Historically, around the world, yellow gold has always been prized in fashion. Yet during the 1990’s, white gold and platinum began to overtake yellow gold in popularity in the U.S. Today however, as the trend of ‘what’s in vogue shifts again, vintage is ‘in’ and so is yellow gold. It is making a noted comeback, especially in engagement rings.

    There are many advantages to yellow gold. It is easier to maintain than white gold, which usually requires periodically re-doing the rhodium finish to maintain its bright, white appearance. Yellow gold is also lower priced than platinum, hypoallergenic, resistant to tarnishing, and very complimentary on most skin tones.

    18K yellow gold (75% pure) will appear richer in color than 14K yellow gold (58.5% pure) and wears to a beautiful patina over time, yet both are ideal for fine jewelry. Choice usually comes down to personal preference.

    With its rich history, tradition, and association with affluence and royalty, yellow gold will continue to be a classic and timeless choice.

  • Say It With Sapphires

    Posted on: September 4, 2015

    Sapphires belong to the gem species corundum and although most sapphires are blue, they can occur in virtually any color except red. Essentially, if the corundum in question is considered to be more than 50% red, it is called a ruby! With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale (second only to a diamond) and excellent toughness, sapphire is the most durable of all colored gemstones and holds up well to everyday wear. This fact was not lost on England’s royal family as sapphire was the gemstone of choice for Princess Diana’s famous (and fabulous!) engagement ring. Diana’s son William subsequently presented this same ring to his future wife Kate when he proposed.

    In ancient times, sapphire was believed to protect the wearer against capture by an enemy and also against poison. According to legend, if a poisonous snake was put into a container with a sapphire, the gemstone’s rays would kill the snake! In modern times, sapphire has come to symbolize truth, sincerity, and constancy and is recognized as the birthstone for September.

    What is the “best” color for a sapphire?

    This is truly a matter of personal preference, but sapphires are generally grouped into “trade grades” (most often related to their source) and traditionally the finest sapphires are considered to be the Kashmir stones from India. These gems exhibit a medium to medium-dark, velvety, slightly violetish blue (also described as “cornflower blue”) with a milky or “sleepy” transparency giving them a beautifully subtle look. Today, Kashmir sapphires are very hard to come by. Next on the most desirable list are Burma sapphires, which are characteristically a more “royal blue” and don’t have the haziness of Kashmir (considered desirable by connoisseurs). For those who prefer a lighter tone, Ceylon sapphires (from Sri Lanka) are slightly grayish and notable for being fairly brilliant.

    Colors of sapphires other than blue are referred to as “fancy” sapphires. These colors range from vibrant pinks to spectacular oranges (called “padparadshca” sapphires) and also include purple, yellow, and even green! These gemstones provide the best of both worlds for color and durability.

    Although unheated sapphires are available (always get certification if you are considering a purchase), heat treatment of sapphires, to bring out their color and clarity, is quite prevalent and the results are stable.

    Prices vary widely among the great range of sapphire colors and qualities, so no matter what your budget, there is a sapphire somewhere waiting just for you!

    Sharon S. Axelson
    Graduate Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America
    Certified Gemologist Appraiser, American Gem Society

    View sapphire jewelry from our Jessop’s Collection...

  • A Rosy Outlook for Rose Gold

    Posted on: August 20, 2015

    Since the beginning of the 21st century, rose gold has been having a comeback in popularity. As fashion trends have become more colorful and feminine, the interest, desire, and demand for rose gold has risen.

    Rose gold (also known as pink or red gold) is made from combining yellow gold with copper. The intensity of the rose color depends on the ratio of yellow gold to copper; less copper in the mix produces a softer shade of rose, while more copper deepens the rose color of the metal.

    The origin of rose gold dates back to 19th century Russia. During the Mid-Victorian era, rose gold was considered the color of romance. Then in the late 1920’s, Cartier introduced the ‘trinity band’ consisting of three interlocking gold bands in white, yellow, and rose. This reignited interest in rose gold and introduced the trend that continues today of mixing metals.

    Rose, White & Yellow Gold Diamond Band by Simon G Rose, White & Yellow Gold Diamond Band by Simon G

    So next time you are looking for that special purchase, consider romantic rose gold. It is very complimentary to all skin tones, appeals to all age groups, and is a way to have something unique and modern, yet with a vintage feel.

  • Spark Creations – New at Jessop's

    Posted on: August 14, 2015

    After a year of consideration, we are pleased to be selected to represent Spark Creations as an authorized retailer for this very exciting jewelry line.

    Spark Creations has been a leading creator for the most beautiful collections of precious jewelry for over forty years. Their motto is, “When it comes to color, nobody does it better!” Their One-of-a-Kind Collection features distinct and unique pieces.

    Spark Creations Ring Spark Creations Necklace

    Come by and visit our showroom to see and marvel at the stunning colored gemstone jewelry from their collections. We know you will appreciate the fine quality craftsmanship, elegant top quality gemstones, and exquisite style of Spark Creations.

    Sample of some of the stunning pieces created by Spark...

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