Although Blue Topaz generally takes the spotlight as the birthstone for December, we like to focus our attention on a more elusive December gemstone, Blue Zircon. Many people remain unaware that this magical gemstone exists, as it is often confused with the man-made stone, cubic zirconia.
Zircon is a naturally occurring gemstone mined from the earth that comes in a wonderful array of colors. Because of its popularity amongst collectors and informed buyers, red zircon can be very expensive, but blue zircon tends to be a more affordable counterpart. Because it is doubly refractive, Zircon has a lot of fire and flash of color, meaning you will see double the facets and double the sparkle! It is also not as prone to inclusions as other gemstones, so the clarity of Zircon is usually excellent. Another interesting fact about zircon is that it sometimes contains small amounts of uranium, causing the gem material to irradiate itself and change its own chemical properties. How cool is that?! And last but not least, Zircon has a hardness on the MOHS scale of between 6 and 7.5 making this gem friendly to wear in a ring, and really well suited for earrings and pendants. We love Blue Zircon and we hope you will find this gemstone as wonderful and interesting as we do. It is the perfect gemstone for the month of December with it’s deep glacier blue color!
At the beginning of every year, Seattle Bride magazine begins their “Best Of” voting. This year, we were nominated for “locally designed wedding jewelry” and “engagement/wedding rings”. After a couple rounds of voting, Everling made it to the finals, and we are so excited to be in the running against some very large jewelry shops in the area! We might be small, but our love for our clients and our commitment to great design has carried us father than we could have imagined. Thank you to all of our clients, fans, and anyone who voted! You can see the finalists here, and the winners will be announced at the end of June. Best of luck to all the finalists out there!
Looking for a fun read this month? Sunset magazine has an article in their June issue about Seattle designers who are “adorning the Emerald city” – And Everling Jewelry made the cut! We are excited to be included and recognized for the work we are doing to be a part of Seattle’s recycling ethos! Check it out. The name of the article is “Bling Fling”
Burmese rubies are back. Is that a good thing?
Thanks to Hollywood portrayals and activist campaigns, many are familiar with the term “blood diamond,” which refers to human-rights abuses and other serious concerns in the diamond-mining industry.
Fewer people know that U.S. imports of Burmese rubies were banned for years due to similar concerns. And although an executive order signed by President Obama in late 2016 lifted those restrictions, questions remain about whether the sourcing of these gemstones is ethical.
The history of Burmese rubies:
Myanmar, the country formerly (and still commonly) known as Burma, has been a source of rubies for more than 1,500 years, according to the Gemological Institute of America. Burmese rubies, known for their clarity and deep red hue, command premium prices in the marketplace.
However, similar to “blood diamonds,” that beauty historically has come at a steep human price. A 2010 report by the Daily Mail, a UK publication, painted a picture of brutality in the ruby mines of Myanmar including forced labor and systemic human-rights abuses. Profits from these gems funded the military junta that controlled the country at the time.
The U.S. first imposed sanctions in 2003 (and strengthened them in 2008) in response to these abuses, preventing the import of rubies, jade and other items from Myanmar in an effort to defund the regime. By 2010 Myanmar began to gradually liberalize and within the next few years the country had made significant strides toward change. U.S. sanctions were lifted for many items in 2013, although not for rubies and jade, as many mines were still controlled by the military.
The current situation, and Everling’s stance:
Although Obama noted his concern about continuing human-rights abuses, he signed an executive order allowing imports of rubies and jade from Myanmar in October 2016. This decision was based on Burma’s substantial advances to promote democracy in the years following the 2008 legislation prohibiting the import of rubies and jadeite mined or extracted from Burma.
While it appears that Myanmar and its government are continuing to rebuild from decades of suppression and oppression, we still are concerned about current mining practices and conditions, as well as the potential that an influx of money from these gem exports could result in a return to widespread corruption and abuse.
We hope this will be a positive development for the people of Myanmar and the jewelry industry, and will be watching closely as these rubies circulate back into the marketplace. There’s no question that they are of exceptional quality, however, because of Everling’s core commitments, we simply cannot recommend Burmese rubies at this time. We hope that by helping consumers understand the complex issues around gemstone sourcing and production practices, we can move toward more socially and environmentally responsible practices.
Written by Emily Codling for Everling Jewelry
When couples come into my shop to pick up their wedding bands they are so excited to try them on! But after a minute or two with their new rings, they very gently put them back in their respective boxes- not taking them back out until the day of the wedding. Here is what I tell them. “You might want to practice putting each others bands on before the big day.” Most people don’t think about it, but wedding days are typically hot and stressful, and those two factors weigh in heavily for the swelling of your hands, and thus, ring size. Here is how you can plan your “with these rings” moment, that moment your audience, I’m mean guests, are so happily anticipating.
1. Stay cool. It might be easier said than done, but keeping your body cool will keep your hands on the smaller side. (I know it is difficult for those in Seattle, but find some air conditioning!) This brings me to my next point.
2. Drink water. Not only should you drink a lot of water the day of (or something with good electrolites like coconut water) but this also means avoiding salt and alcohol. I’m not just talking day of. If you have bachelor/bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and so on with in a couple days of your wedding day, go easy on the salty foods and alcohol. Or at least be drinking enough water in conjunction to counter the swelling they will cause.
3. Practice. Practice putting each other’s rings on before the ceremony -maybe at a few different times of day, as your ring size can fluctuate.. A ring typically fits snug enough that it might take a little more of a push to get over the knuckle. So, practice as you approach your wedding day. Anything you practice before the big day will help eliminate that anxiety before your wedding- ring exchange included.
4. Stop. Even if the rings are going on easily in the comfort of your living room, the maneuver I am about to describe might be a technique you want to practice. With heat, nervousness, and swelling, you don’t want to be surprised when it comes time to put your rings on in front of your wedding guests. Practice placing the ring on your partners finger as far as it will go. Usually the knuckle is your biggest stopping point. Partner- lower your hand dicreetly, pop the ring over the knuckle to the back of your finger. Continue on as though it was nothing. It might sound simple, but to make it look smooth, it takes practice!