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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!

 

How to Customize Jewelry at a Jewelers Shop For Your Partner

custom jewelry designWhether you’re taking that big step and buying that engagement ring or simply just want
to get something special for someone, you want to make sure a piece of jewelry is unique, beautiful and speaks your feelings. Before you make that big jewelry purchase, see about getting it customized.

Here are some things you can choose in some custom jewelry designs to give to your special someone.

Style
Usually the first thing that draws the attention of people, the style remains an essential part to choosing any piece of fine jewelry. It’s important to take into consideration the type of life your special person leads before choosing a particular style. If they work with their hands a lot, a thick band with a particularly big jewel might be a bad choice for an engagement ring. Or if they have a rather minimalist style to their wardrobe, they might not fancy a huge, fancy necklace with a long chain.

Take notice of the types of jewelry they normally wear, and you can usually find a style and setting for a new piece that compliments it well.

Stone
Especially if you’re talking about engagement rings, the stone is an important process in the custom jewelry design process. A stone in an engagement ring does not always have to be a clear diamond. In fact, around 52% of brides said they wouldn’t mind having a colored stone for their engagement ring.

Adding a colored gemstone instead of a clear diamond is the perfect way to make your ring more unique and allow it to really speak. If you’re totally stuck on which color could work best, speak to a custom jewelry designer and they’ll be able to help give you some ideas.

Metal
One of the custom jewelry design choices that often gets overlooked is the metal. Whether it is the band of a ring or the chain of a necklace or bracelet, the metal can really make way for some interesting and special pieces. Gold is still a staple of high-end jewelry, but white gold and platinum are becoming good contenders.

Again, this mostly is left up to what your special someone prefers. Take notice of what kind of metal they are usually wearing. Is it more steel and silver colored or more gold? Figuring this out will make the metal choices much easier.

Choosing a unique piece of jewelry can be a bit nerve-wracking a time. There’s a lot that going into finding a nice ring or bracelet. But if you know your partner well enough, soon everything will start to fall into place.

For more information on custom jewelry designs, please visit mcgeejewelers.com

March Birthstone Spotlight

March’s birthstone is Aquamarine!

Aquamarine and Diamond pendantAs a member of the Beryl family of gemstones, Aquamarine is a color variety like Emerald and Morganite. Its name is Latin for seawater and Aquamarine quickly became a talisman for sailors, who would throw the gems into the sea as payments to Poseidon for safe journeys. Legendarily, Poseidon would gift Aquamarines to mermaids. Folklore has also long associated Aquamarine with healing and sustaining youthful love. This gem makes a perfect gift for married couples and it is the traditional anniversary gift for the 19th year.

Aquamarine gemstones typically undergo a permanent heat treatment to improve color. The rich deep blue color is the most valuable.

Use warm, soapy water to clean your Aquamarine jewelry. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe if no inclusions or feathers are present in the stone.

Aquamarine and Diamond ring

Aquamarine and Diamond earrings

Happy Birthday, March Babies!

 

February Birthstone Spotlight

February’s Birthstone is Amethyst!

 

Amethyst and Diamond Pendant

Amethyst, the purple variety of quartz, has a full history and folklore. Scholars believe the name comes from the Greek word amethustos, which means “not drunken.” According to Greek mythology, amethyst was the rock crystal of the dyed tears of Dionysus, the god of wine and mischief. Bacchus is his Roman counterpart. Both Greeks and Romans wore amethyst to prevent intoxication, going as far as to make cups out of it to help keep them sober.

With its rich purple color, it is unsurprising that amethysts have long been linked to royalty and crown jewels. The Bible mentions amethysts several times and in the past, Christian bishops often wore amethyst rings. Leonardo Da Vinci was another amethyst enthusiast; he believed the gem could make evil thoughts disappear and increase intelligence.

Amethyst and Diamond RingMajor sources of amethyst include Brazil, Uruguay, and Zambia. Their colors can range from pale lilac (sometimes referred as “Rose De France”) to deep purples. Today, most amethysts undergo a permanent heat treating process to enhance the color.

Amethyst has a hardness rating of 7, which means it is suitable for all types of mountings, even rings and bracelets. Clean your amethyst jewelry with warm soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe, but steamers are risky.

Happy Birthday, February Babies!

Amethyst and Diamond Earrings

 

There’s More Than One Finger To Wear an Engagement Ring…

bridal jewelryWhile the left-hand ring finger is considered off-limits for any jewelry until somebody pops the question, this long-held notion may be coming to an end. According to a report from Brides.com, more brides are opting for an alternative way to wear their engagement rings, leaving prime real estate on the left hand, ready for any jewelry a woman chooses.

The reason why brides typically wear their engagement ring and wedding band on the left-hand ring finger is because, in Roman times, people believed that a vein, known as the vena amoris, ran directly from your left ring finger to your heart. However, even long after that myth was disproved, tradition still stands, and many will flaunt their wedding jewelry on their left hand.

The idea of an engagement ring didn’t even occur until 1477, when Maximillian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a ring as a token of love and a promise of marriage. Before that, rings were not worn to symbolize marriage.

These days, there is no right or wrong way to wear bridal jewelry, and many choose to mix it up to fit their unique tastes.

While traditionally the engagement ring is worn atop of the wedding band, stacked, some brides choose to add even more dazzle to their fingers. They may choose to wear two wedding bands on either side of the ring for a more symmetrical touch. Some even have custom jewelry made to have the ring look even bigger. Whether you want a subtle, elegant band and stone or something flashy with a “wow” factor, it can certainly be done.

Other brides have decided to wear their rings on separate hands for balance, presumably. You can wear either ring on either hand and perhaps even add anniversary bands later to create a meaningful stack.

One of the biggest problems for left-handed brides is that their engagement and wedding rings may get in the way when they write. But in fact, in some Orthodox communities, it is customary to wear your bridal jewelry on your right hand. Conveniently, this leaves your dominant hand free for other tasks.

Some brides who work with their hands very often don’t like wearing a ring at all. While they may don it on special outings, some choose to wear their ring as a pendant from a matching chain to keep the hands free.

None of these ways are wrong. It is totally the decision of the bride. So if you have a unique idea for your bridal jewelry, consider visiting McGee Jewelers for a custom jewelry design that you’ll treasure forever.

January Birthstone Spotlight

January’s birthstone is GARNET.

Although the history of garnet as jewelry can be traced from the Egyptians to ancient Greek and Roman empires, the origin of the word itself is up for debate. One theory claims a derivative from the Latin word “granatus”, in reference to pomegranate seeds. Another notion of the word’s origin comes from the middle English word “gernet” which means dark red.

Because garnets have such a rich history, they also have a rich lore. Traditionally seen as a healing stone, garnets are said to help with the circulatory system, fevers, and general good health. Another interesting tidbit – Noah supposedly made a garnet lantern for the front of the ark to guide him during his voyage.

Most people are familiar with the beautiful deep reds associated with garnets. However, garnet is actually a name that encompasses a six minerals with a common crystal structure, but different chemical compositions. Just a few: Spessartite is a reddish orange – yellow orange, Rhodolite is a light to dark purplish red, Tsavorite is a light to dark green.

Clean your garnet jewelry in warm, soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe. Never use in a steamer.

Happy Birthday, January Babies!

 

 

Why to Shop Locally for Your Fine Jewelry

local jewelersWhen looking for that perfect piece of jewelry, many people believe that they can find a great bargain online. While this is technically possible, more often than not these people end up disappointed. Online shopping is convenient, and you can sometimes find great discounted prices, but you also have to consider the downside. Certain items, like shoes, cars, and jewelry, really need to be seen in person before handing over your credit card.

Nearly 38 million Americans purchase fine jewelry every year, and of course some will turn to the Internet to do so. But by foregoing trips to your local jewelers, you’re missing out on the following things:

The Feel
When you visit local jewelers, you get a taste of authenticity. You also get the chance to examine a piece closely. If you’re looking at engagement rings or other bridal jewelry, this is especially important. You need the piece to be absolutely perfect.
The only way to truly appreciate a piece of fine jewelry is by looking at it in natural light. An internet photo just won’t do it justice.

Quality
When you’re looking at jewelry online, you can’t guarantee that you’ll receive exactly what you see in the photograph. Virtually all commercial photography goes through an extensive Photoshop-powered enhancement to make the product look better. In the worst case scenario, an internet jewelry dealer will send you a piece that is almost totally unrecognizable.

If you don’t see the piece in person, how can you determine the exact quality of the gemstones? How can you know exactly what color gem you will be getting, or exactly how it glitters in the light? When you go to a local or custom jeweler, you can examine the quality of the workmanship that went into the jewelry firsthand.

Custom Designs
At local shops like McGee and Co. Fine Jewelers, you’ll be able to explain the design you want in exact detail. That means you can craft one-of-a-kind custom jewelry designs.

Say that you want something elaborate or meaningful, but are unsure where to turn. While an online site may give you plenty of options to choose from when it comes to your “custom” piece, they cannot give you the same level of service that local jewelers can. You can also consult with your jeweler and check up on the progress.

For instance, our experienced jewelers know what your options are and will make sure that you are absolutely satisfied before the piece is made. We first opened our doors in 1988, and we have lots of experience in helping customers realize exactly what they want.

We can give you options that you may not have thought of, helping you create a piece of custom jewelry that can be cherished for years to come.

If you want an exceptional piece of custom jewelry that you can’t find anywhere else, a local store should always be your first choice.

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