Pantone’s Color of 2018, Ultra Violet, Suggests New Gemstones

Ultra Violet, Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year

In December, Pantone came out with its Color of the Year.  This year it’s Ultra Violet.  My mind goes to the gemstones that exhibit this glorious hue.  Many people will think of Amethyst and Tanzanite.  I’d like to introduce some other options– two gems most people have never heard of and two gems most people have heard of but never in this hue.  

SUGILITE was first identified in 1944 by  Ken-ichi Sugi from Japan.  But gem quality Sugilite wasn’t discovered until 1979 in South Africa, making it a very new gem in the jewelry industry.  The color ranges from a pinkish purple to a deep bluish-purple.  The hardness is between 5.5-6.5 on the Mohs scale.  Sugilite is generally cut as a cabochon because it’s opaque.  It usually has veining and a mottled appearance. 

CHAROITE is another “young” stone.  Named after the Chara River in Eastern Siberia, the only place it’s ever been found, it was discovered in the 1940s but not really known until 1978.  The stone ranges from lavender to purple in color, is usually opaque, and is readily identified by its swirling, fibrous appearance.  Considered a rock rather than a mineral, its hardness on the Mohs scale is listed as 5 – 6.








JADEITE has been known and valued for centuries.  It comes in many colors, not just green.  Lavender jade is beautiful!  It can be semitransparent to opaque and is usually cut into cabochons or beads.  It comes from many different places–Myanmar, New Zealand, Russia, and Canada to name a few.  Jade is a harder, tougher stone than either Sugilite or Charoite.  But it also has the possibility of being dyed, which brings down the value.  Neither Sugilite nor Charoite undergo treatments.  Always ask if the jadeite has been treated or enhanced before you buy!  

PURPLE SAPPHIRE is very rare, coming usually from Sri Lanka or Madagascar.  Again, sapphire has been valued as a gemstone for centuries, but most people don’t know that it comes in so many different colors.  Most sapphire is heat-treated, but purple, lavender, and violet sapphires usually don’t need to be.  Purple sapphire has a Mohs hardness of 9, so it’s the most durable of the options presented here.  Because it’s hard and transparent, this gem is usually faceted.  Not surprisingly,  it’s also the most expensive option listed. 

Lavender Jade

Violet Sapphire





Amethyst and Tanzanite are lovely purple gems, and they would work well with this year’s fashions.  But now you have LOTS of options if you want to be “styling” with the Color of the Year!





Out of this World Jewelry made of Meteorite

Jewelry is made of things from the earth–like metals and minerals.  Or it’s made of animals from the sea–like pearls and coral.  But meteorite is one material used in jewelry that doesn’t come from the earth or the sea.  Meteorite is extraterrestrial material, recovered after it hits Earth.  It’s used a lot in men’s wedding bands, and its use is starting to seep into women’s pendants and bracelets.

Lashbrook's Meteorite Men's Wedding Band

Lashbrook’s Meteorite Men’s Wedding Band

What is meteorite made of?   Well, it depends on which type you’re thinking about.  The three types are stony, iron, and stony-iron.  Only 5% of meteorites are classified as iron, but they are the ones that are used for jewelry.  These meteorites are primarily iron but contain trace elements like nickel, cobalt and gold.  The metal shows a distinctive crystalline pattern when cut, polished, and acid etched.  The pattern is the result of slow-cooling iron and nickel crystals.

One manufacturer of men’s wedding bands, Lashbrook, uses material from the Gibeon meteorite.  The Gibeon material is found near the town of Gibeon in Namibia.  Turns out that all meteorites are named for their location. It’s believed the tons of material that showered Gibeon 30,000 years ago is about 4 billion years old.

Suppose you want a piece of outer space in your ring.  After all, how cool is that?  But you should know a few things first.  Iron meteorites are magnetic so, if your job is working with magnets, you may want to reconsider.  If you have a nickel allergy, you shouldn’t wear meteorite.  Gibeon material is about 9% nickel.  And, even if none of the above holds true for you, you will want to treat your ring with care.  It’s important to never wear it in a pool or hot tub.   Because iron can rust, keep the ring dry as much as possible.  If you do notice rust, rid the meteorite of any moisture by soaking it in 90% rubbing alcohol and then air drying it.  You can clean it gently with a soft toothbrush, and then apply a small amount of gun metal oil, wiping away any excess.  Finally, the etch pattern that makes meteorite so distinctive can wear down and become fainter over time.  It is possible to re-etch the pattern, however.

A raw piece of Seymchan Meteorite

A raw piece of Seymchan Meteorite

One thing that surprised me was how many meteorites exist on Earth.  Over 40,000 have been found and cataloged.  Small pieces of meteorite fall to Earth everyday, but most of them are small and impossible to find because they fall into an ocean!  If you want to look for iron meteorite, here are a few tips.  Look in regions that are dry and have a barren expanse, like the Mohave Desert or the Great Plains.  The black to dark brown color of a meteorite’s exterior, due to the fact that it’s on fire when it enters our atmosphere, is easier to see when the land is tan-colored and without vegetation.  Also, the dryness of desert areas helps keep the meteorite from rusting.  Use a metal detector to find iron meteorites.  And check with the land owner before beginning your search.  It’s usually okay to search on public land, but you can’t take any specimens from a National Park.

I have only one tip if you want a meteorite ring.  Come to Dearborn Jewelers!!

The Latest Trend: the Two-Stone Ring

Maybe you’ve seen the ads on TV.  A laughing couple in a car, sharing a private moment as they drive a country road.  They are in love.  But they’re also best friends.  And that’s the story of the two-stone engagement ring.  It represents the dual nature of their relationship.

two-stone ring

The two-stone ring is the latest in a fairly long line of styles promoted by De Beers, the diamond company that, for most of the last century, was the biggest supplier of uncut diamonds.  Their ability to create demand for diamonds started with the famous phrase from the 1940s–A Diamond is Forever.  And it worked so well that Ad Age, a magazine that analyzes and reports on the marketing world, named it the number one slogan of the 20th century.

A decade ago, it was all about the three-stone engagement ring, or, as it was sometimes called, the trinity ring.  The three stones signify your relationship’s past, present, and future.  Or the trio can be seen as signifying friendship, love, and fidelity.   The most common version of this ring had smaller stones on the left and right with a larger stone in the middle.

three stone ring1

Also around ten years ago, the journey necklace was advertised widely as a sentimental way to think about your journey together with the person you love.  Their were several styles, for example the ladder, circle, heart, or S, but most had five or seven diamonds.

journey necklace1journey necklace2






Other pieces De Beers promoted were the diamond tennis bracelet (1988), the bezel-set diamond solitaire necklace (1998), and the right-hand ring (2003).  I laughed when I saw the date on the bezel-set necklace.  My husband bought me my necklace in 1999.  It’s funny because I’ve never thought of advertising as being influential on my husband or myself.  We don’t watch much TV and we hardly ever pay attention to commercials, except for the Superbowl ads.  But good advertising does work, and the company that advertises for De Beers is very, very good at it.

And their goal is obvious.  They want you to buy more diamonds and especially smaller diamonds.  Why smaller?  Because there are many, many more small diamonds than large.  That’s also the reason why buying a carat’s worth of small diamonds is much less expensive than buying a single, one carat stone.  As a quick test, I looked at one diamond vendor’s pricing on one carat, one-half carat, and one-third carat stones.  The pricing follows a more exponential pattern.  Keeping the other variables of cut, color, and clarity stable, a 1/3-carat stone was about $1000, a 1/2- carat was $3000, and a 1-carat was around $9000.  A three-stone or two-stone ring, by carat weight, can be quite cost effective.

The point of my blog is this:  Buy a style of ring you love rather than the style that is being promoted at the moment.  Don’t get swayed by the sentimentality of the story.  Your ring should represent what you want it to represent–not some story made up by someone in advertising.



Current Jewelry Trends

stackables-blogSTACKABLES are in fashion!  People like to stack bracelets, necklaces, and even rings.  This trend has led to thinner, smoother styles that stack easily.  The picture above features “bamboo” bangles from Thistle and Bee.  The agates and topaz stones can be easily offset so the bangles fit nicely together.

In reading articles from Huffington Post and Harper’s Bazaar,  I learned that stacking is rather an art form.  It strives for a carefree feeling, fun and not too heavy. If you are stacking necklaces, stick to thinner chains, smaller pendants or charms, and only a few small stones or beads.  It’s best if you stagger the lengths and not wear anything too chunky.  If it’s rings you want to stack, try mixing metals and textures.  Again, it’s best if the rings have flat edges and small, single, or no stones.  Keep your stacked rings to one finger per hand.  It’s just as important to have fingers bare, so that the eye goes to the stack.   Bracelets, on the other hand, can be wide and bold.  The more, the merrier with these!  You can dress up both arms and stack them to your elbows if you want.  Mixing a couple of different metals is fun, and using different shapes and thicknesses is preferred.  The main caution is to minimize other types of jewelry if you’re wearing a lot of bracelets.

ROSE GOLD is quite the rage!  This alloy of gold and copper is not just for the strawberry blonde.  Some people say it looks great on those with a warm skin tone–think peaches and autumn.  But other people say it looks wonderful on those with a cool skin tone–think strawberries and summer.  Obviously, rose gold is a lot more versatile than one might think.  Rose (or pink) gold looks fabulous with the vintage ring styles that are popular right now.  It has a delicate femininity that coordinates with the vintage look.

CIGAR BANDS are an up and coming trend, according to David Connolly.  These are wider than the traditional wedding band, and they can be ornate or simple.  Think of years back, when men proposed to the women they loved with an actual paper cigar band!  Years ago we had a client who kept the paper her husband had used to propose and, decades later,  had us custom make a gold version of it.  She was ahead of her time!  Or maybe it’s just that trends operate with the “what goes around, comes around” philosophy.

Trends are fun to observe, even if you don’t want to follow them.  They are more obvious if you know what to look for.  For instance, the Pantone Color of the Year is Marsala, so make sure to look for it this fall!  If you pay attention to people’s jewelry, you’ll see more stackables and rose gold.  Have fun and don’t forget to see our selection of rose gold and stackable jewelry!

rose gold for blog


Remodel Your Jewelry

So many women these days have jewelry they never wear.  It’s too big, it’s too small, it’s not my style, it has too many bad memories. Hearing their stories always makes me sad.  I understand the reasons but I don’t understand the waste.

I’ve never met a person who didn’t value putting things to their best use.  We all tell our story of a ratty old sweater we finally had to throw out because it just had too many holes in it.  We scrape the inside of the peanut butter jar.  We like candles that burn to the end of the wick.  My mother even cuts old bath towels into dust rags and, when they get too unsightly to dust with, they become my father’s rags for the garage.

Time to repurpose it!

Time to repurpose it!

So when jewelry isn’t getting used, it’s time to repurpose it!  One way to do that is to bring it in to Dearborn Jewelers for a remodel.  Not long ago, a customer came in with the wedding ring from her first marriage, a pair of diamond studs from her high school graduation, and two opal rings she no longer wore.  We talked about what she would want, and then sketched out a pendant for herself and one for each of her two young daughters to receive when they get a bit older.

Nick, the master bench jeweler, was able to use, not only the stones, but also the metal from the old jewelry to create some unique, one of a kind pendants for our customer and her daughters.  She wears hers often and loves it.  And, certainly, it is beautiful.  But one of the reasons she loves it is because it comes with a story of taking something useless and transforming it to something treasured. How might you create a new treasure?

Daughter's pendant

Daughter’s pendant

Mom's new pendant

Mom’s new pendant

Daughter's pendant

Daughter’s pendant


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