September Birthstone Spotlight

September’s birthstone is SAPPHIRE!

white gold ring with sapphire center and diamond side stonesHistory & Folklore

Derived from the Latin word for blue, “sapphires” were believed to be the guardians of love. Ancient Persians believed the Earth rested on an enormous blue sapphire, and its reflection caused the blueness of the sky.

Traditionally, sapphires have been worn as amulets to protect against disease and to grant peace and happiness. A gift of sapphire represents loyalty and love. With all this symbolism, it’s no wonder that the British Crown Jewels are full of large blue sapphires!

Facts about Sapphireswhite gold hoop earrings with oval sapphires and diamond side stones

Fine sapphires were originally mined in India, specifically in the Himalayas. Newer sources of sapphires include Thailand, Australia, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Kenya.

The most valuable sapphires possess an intense, light violet-blue color. However, beautiful sapphires can come in a range of colors, such as pink, yellow, green, and purple. The pinkish-orange sapphire even has its own name – Padparadscha, which is Sinhalese for “Lotus Flower”.

With a hardness rating of 9, sapphires do well in all types of jewelry settings and have even become quite popular as a center stone for engagement rings. You can safely clean your sapphire jewelry in warm, soapy water or bring your pieces in for professional cleaning and inspection. We’ll get you bright and shiny in no time!

Happy Birthday, September Babies

white gold pendant with oval sapphire and diamond side stones white gold huggie hoop earrings with princess cut sapphires and diamond side stones white gold band with round sapphires and diamond side stones white gold teardrop shaped pendant with 5 round sapphires and diamond side stones

Surprising Engagement Ring Facts From Around The World

engagement ringsEngagement rings are a sign of love, promise, and most of all future marriage. However, engagement rings have an interesting tale to them. The tradition of giving a betrothed a ring began in 1477 when Maximilian of Austria gifted his fiancee, Mary of Burgundy, a ring in the promise of marriage.

Since the engagement ring’s introduction in 1477, cultures around the world have shaped it according to their heritage and history. The following are some interesting facts about engagement rings around the world. How many facts about this fine jewelry do you know?

  1. In West Bengal, India iron bangle bracelets are worn as symbols of engagement rather than rings.
  2. The Irish use the Claddagh ring to symbolize various meanings depending on which hand the ring is worn on and which direction the heart on the ring is facing. To indicate engagement, the wearer (man or woman), must wear the ring on their left hand with the heart turned inward.
  3. In France, diamonds aren’t the preferred choice of soon-to-be brides. The women prefer semi-precious stones.
  4. In Chile, both men and women receive engagement rings when they’re to be married and wear them on their right hands. During the ceremony, the couple then places the rings from their right hands to their left.
  5. Engagement rings are typically worn on the left hand in England, France, Canada, and the United States. In Russia, India, Norway, and Germany the engagement ring is worn on the right hand.
  6. In Argentina, rings are exchanged among couples during engagement, but wedding rings are not exchanged during the wedding ceremony.
  7. In China, many couples don’t engage engagement rings at all. Instead, they often exchange money and other betrothal gifts.
  8. While the engagement ring is associated with Austria, the wedding band was first seen in Egypt where rings were sometimes worn as a symbol of a contract in marriage. The circle was a sign of eternity.

There are many types of wedding rings and engagement rings in the world and just as many ways to wear them. Culture is passed down through generations and influences us every day. Consider your own heritage and how it may influence how you wear your engagement ring.

Happy Birthday, August Babies!

August’s birthstone is PERIDOT!

Peridot [per-i-doh] artifacts and mining date back to as early as 1500 B.C. Ancient Romans were big fans of Peridot. Cleopatra also loved Peridots, but probably because she mistook them for her favorite gem – emeralds.

Some of the legendary uses of Peridot were to calm anger and sooth nerves, ward against evil, and nurture friendships. Peridot was believed to bring luck, success, and peace to its wearer. With lore like that, it’s no surprise that relics decorated with Peridot can be found in Medieval churches in Europe.

As opposed to stones like sapphire and garnet that come in many colors, Peridot only comes in green. It can range from yellowish green to brownish green to true green. Yellowish green is the color most often found in jewelry.

Miners can find Peridot around the world, including Myanmar and China. One of the largest sources on Earth is here in the U.S. –  on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. Some Peridot gems have even been found in meteorites!

You can safely clean your Peridot jewelry in warm, soapy water. Avoid steam cleaners and ultra sonic cleaners. Stop in today to see our selection of Peridot jewelry!

sterling silver bracelet with peridots
Sterling silver tennis bracelet with peridot.
white gold pendant with peridot and diamonds
Pendant with Peridot center stone and diamond accents
white gold ring with peridot and diamonds
Freeform ring with Peridot center stone and diamond side stones

Looking for a Jeweler You Can Trust? Ask These 3 Questions

local jewelersFor many people in America, the engagement ring is the symbol of love and fidelity. It is the promise of a lifetime of commitment and happiness given physical form. That is why so many people place so much importance on finding the most beautiful ring available.

Of course, this can result in a great deal of pressure on the party buying the engagement ring. That is why 61% of people consult with their partners before choosing which of the engagement rings is for them.

All too often, however, another important advisor is neglected: local jewelers. While many people are wary of jewelers because of the high-pressure sales techniques used in some chains, many local jewelers will go out of their way to make sure the engagement ring you choose is a perfect fit.

This five-minute guide is designed to give you the tools to tell when a jeweler has your best interests at heart.

  1. Ask About Expertise
    You can tell a lot about a jewelry store by the people they hire. Do they have an in-house expert on fine jewelry? An in-house custom jewelry designer? Whether you are working with local jewelers or a big chain, the people working there should be able to answer all of your questions, or at least point out the employee you can.
  2. Ask About Certification and Appraisal
    Whether you are looking for a wedding band or custom jewelry, it is important to make sure that your jeweler is going through the proper channels to have their diamonds and precious gems verified.

    You should always ask for a third party certificate when buying diamonds. There are a number of reputable and independent labs that offer the services, including the Gemological Institutes of America, American Gem Society and more. The certificate should say if the stone is natural and what treatments have been applied, as well as listing color, carat, and diamond quality.
  3. Ask About the In-House Services They Offer
    It is important to know what a jeweler can and cannot do. A gemologist has expertise in precious and semi-precious stones and can be amazingly helpful when trying to find the right stone for your personal tastes and your budget. A Bench Jeweler can resize and even repair your ring. The more services that are offered, the more likely they are to be invested in the quality of your ring and ensuring your happiness.

Local jewelers are your best tool for finding the perfect engagement rings for your partner. Using these tips can help you feel more at ease when looking at engagement and wedding rings.

Don’t Forget Your Skin Tone When Shopping For Your Wedding Ring

beautiful jewelryWhen shopping for beautiful jewelry, women often look for metals that complement their skin tone. However, when it comes to engagement and wedding rings, the color of the band is often forgotten in lieu of the diamond. This can be a detrimental mistake as skin tone often influences what colors we look best in.

Before you choose your engagement ring or the engagement ring of your partner at your local jeweler, consider the two categories of skin tone — cool and warm — and how the metal in different types of wedding rings and engagement rings might complement them.

Cool Skin Tones
A person has a cool skin tone if their veins appear blue through the surface of the skin. People with cool skin tones tend to look particularly beautiful in rose gold, white gold, and silver. Rose gold, in particular, is a popular choice for people with cooler tones. However, keep in mind is that rose gold is a contemporary color choice in terms of engagement rings and wedding bands. Therefore, you should think about the long term and whether or not you’ll still love the color choice of your ring years in the future.

Warm Skin Tones
On the opposite side of the spectrum are warm skin tones, which is when a person’s veins appear green beneath the surface of the skin. Of those American brides who received engagement rings, 75% of those rings were made from gold and diamonds. Those with warm skin tones look incredible in beautiful jewelry made from yellow gold. However, rose gold isn’t an exclusive color for those of cool skin tones. Those with dark skin bring out the feminine quality of rose gold and the color looks wonderful when placed in contrast either with pale or dark skin.

Beautiful jewelry made of different metals can complement people of different skin tones. However, when it comes to an engagement or wedding ring, the choice is ultimately yours. If a particular metal feels good to you and you love a specific ring, then listen to your heart. After all, your ring is a symbol and it should be a symbol you love.

Consider a Claddagh Ring For Your Engagement

fine jewelryWhether you’re Irish or not, the Claddagh ring is considered a beautiful piece of fine jewelry whose symbolism has been enjoyed by a myriad of women (and men!) for over 400 years. Characterized by a pair of hands clasping a heart with a crown placed above, the Claddagh ring is designed to represent love (heart), loyalty (crown), and friendship (hands).

For those of Irish heritage, the Claddagh ring is fine jewelry worn to elegantly represent the wearer’s romantic relationship status without the use of Facebook. On which hand one wears the ring is of utmost importance.

The right hand
Wearing the Claddagh ring on the right hand typically means the wearer is not engaged or married. To wear the Claddagh ring on the right ring finger with the heart faced away from the wearer indicates that the wearer of the ring is looking for love. However, to wear the ring with the heart faced toward the wearer indicates that he or she is in a relationship and is not available.

The left hand
To wear the Claddagh ring on the left hand, traditionally on the ring finger, with the heart facing outward means the wearer is engaged. During the wedding ceremony, the ring is then turned by the bride and/or groom to have the heart face the wearer as a physical representation of their marriage.

Choosing a Claddagh ring
Claddagh rings come in a variety of styles at a variety of prices. Although typically made of a simple silver or gold band, for the one-third of people buying diamond jewelry who are willing to spend over $1,000 on their loved ones and for those who are looking to purchase Claddagh rings as engagement rings or bridal jewelry, diamonds can be integrated into the design by a custom jeweler.

Claddagh rings as wedding jewelry
For the Irish, Claddagh rings are a traditional piece of fine jewelry. However, they can be worn by anyone, especially on their special day. While originating in Galway 400 years ago in a village by the same name, Claddagh rings aren’t restricted to the Irish. If you like the symbolism of the ring and would love to use it in your wedding ceremony, you should absolutely consider it!

Mother’s Day Picks – Staff Favorites

I asked our sales associates for their Top Mother’s Day Picks.

Adam’s favorites are these elegant tennis bracelets. We’ve currently got three in stock – one each in 14k rose, yellow, and white gold. .70 total carat weight, regular price: $2795, Mother’s Day Special: $1695 + tax.

3 Diamond Tennis Bracelets
Adam’s Pick – Diamond Tennis Bracelets

 

Carolyn picked this amazing 14k two-tone ring that features Round Brilliant Cut and Princess Cut Diamonds, .74 total carat weight. Regular price: $3985, Mother’s Day Special: $2799 + tax.

three row diamond ring with two-tone gold
Carolyn’s Pick – two tone ring with round and princess cut diamonds

 

Doug’s pick is this stunning pendant from LeVian. .17ctw of Chocolate and Vanilla diamonds are set in 14 karat Strawberry Gold. Regular price: $825, Mother’s Day Special: $599 + tax.

LeVian Pendant
Doug’s Pick – LeVian pendant with Strawberry Gold, Chocolate and Vanilla Diamonds

 

Stephany picked out this fabulous pendant with a pear-shape opal center stone and diamond halo set in a 14k white gold mounting. 1.19ct Opal, .13ctw diamonds. Regular price: $879, Mother’s Day Special: $615 + tax.

pear shape opal pendant with diamond halo
Stephany’s Pick – opal pendant with diamonds

 

Last, but certainly not least, is Bob’s pick! He chose this gorgeous vintage brooch. Made of 18k white gold, this pin features .40ctw of diamonds. Regular price: $1895, Mother’s Day Special: $948 + tax.

white gold diamond pin
Bob’s Pick – vintage diamond brooch

These are just a few of our favorites for the Mothers in your life. Of course, we have a huge range of styles and prices available. Come in and let us know what we can do for you.

3 Critical Mistakes To Avoid When Shopping For An Engagement Ring

outstanding bridal jewelryWhen it comes to wedding jewelry, engagement rings are usually the first to come to mind. Many women dream of the day they’ll get married, and as a powerful symbol of love, engagement rings can say a lot about the personality of the couple. That being said, it’s easy to make some mistakes when shopping for an engagement ring, especially if it’s your first time. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when shopping for engagement rings.

  1. Mistake: Not doing enough research
    Don’t expect to walk into the first jewelry store you see and find the perfect ring. You should start doing research early enough to come up with a concrete list of local jewelers. After that, visit each one, discuss your needs, and explore their variety. While all of them are likely to have some outstanding bridal jewelry, not all of them may have exactly what you’re looking for. Take all the time you need for this process; finding the right engagement ring is a process that should never be rushed.

  2. Mistake: Not getting insurance
    Many people don’t get insurance simply because they don’t think it’s possible for them to lose the ring. But anything is possible, and many times, people who don’t get insurance end up losing their rings and regret that they didn’t invest in an insurance policy. Engagement rings are one-of-a-kind pieces of outstanding bridal jewelry, and to be safe, it’s ideal to invest in insurance.
  3. Mistake: Not having a budget
    Budgeting is important when buying an engagement ring. It’s easy to get so caught up in making a decision that you neglect to think realistically about future finances. That’s why it’s crucial to limit yourself to a budget. The rule of thumb is three months’ salary, but it’s not a hard and fast rule and should not be adhered to no matter what. Take a look at the big picture and choose a reasonable budget. You still need to be able to afford the wedding, after all.

In any given year, 38 million Americans will buy fine jewelry or watches, and ultimately, it’s important to exercise caution when buying any piece of fine jewelry. Getting engaged is a beautiful and exciting time in a person’s life, and avoiding these mistakes brings you one step closer to buying the perfect ring. For more information about outstanding bridal jewelry, contact McGee Jewelers.

April Birthstone Spotlight

April’s birthstone is diamond!

Diamonds, they’ve been prized for millennia. What is about diamonds that has captivated us for so long? Maybe the ancient myth that they were pieces of stars fallen to Earth has stuck with us. Maybe the fact that there is no natural substance harder than diamonds impresses us. Maybe the thought of its being the only gemstone made of a single element (carbon – the foundation of life) makes it special. Whatever the reason, diamonds have made their mark on popular culture and our ideas of romance and success.

As a symbol of fearlessness and invincibility, diamonds are a popular choice for crown jewels and accessories for royalty. Symbolic of love, diamonds are intertwined with our thoughts of engagements and weddings.

Anyone who has shopped for a diamond probably knows of the 4Cs, carat, cut, color, and clarity. All of these characteristics describe a diamond and ultimately affect its worth.

Carat – the weight of the diamond. Are you replacing a .05ct accent stone in your ring mounting? Looking for a 1.00ct center stone for your engagement ring? Trying to decide on earrings featuring .50ctw or .75ctw? The size of the stone is one of the first things that affects the price. Balance a larger stone with a less desirable traits and give yourself some wiggle room on price.

Cut – Round Brilliant, Princess, Oval, Marquise, there are many different shapes of diamonds. The better the cut (regardless of shape), the brighter the stone.

Color – Graded on a D-Z scale. The closer to colorless (D-F), the higher the value, except in cases of fancy colors.

Clarity – Internal features and surface irregularities (inclusions and blemishes) affect a diamond’s clarity grade. There are 11 clarity grades on the GIA grading scale. The better the clarity, the higher the value.

Stop by our showroom today and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members about how to get you the best diamond for your dollar!

Happy Birthday, April Babies!