Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Amethyst is Always a Favorite

Beautiful purple amethyst, the birthstone for February, associated with power and wealth, thus associated with royalty and with the trappings of privilege such as an easy life. It is a gem of luxury said to bring peace, happiness and spiritual wisdom.  Rumor has it that amethyst was a personal favorite of Queen Catherine the Great of Russia.

In popular belief, the amethyst offers protection against drunkenness - for the Greek word 'amethystos' means 'not intoxicated' while the Hebrew word for amethyst is achlemah, meaning "that which gives pleasant dreams".

This beautiful crystal quartz gemstone also poses riddles for the scientists which still haven't been completely solved to this day. The amethyst has its hardness (7), its moderate refraction and its weight in common with the other quartzes, but the crystal structure is different and unconventional. The construction is stratified, as a result of which areas and lamellae of varying colour intensity often come about. This explains why there are relatively few large cut amethysts of an evenly distributed dark colour in spite of its having been found so abundantly in all parts of the world. It is only in the last few years that scientists have been fairly certain of having found the real cause of the colour. It is now attributed to certain iron constituents in connection with natural radioactive radiation.

Some amethysts pale almost to colourlessness in daylight. The reason for this has not yet been discovered, but it is possible to re-colour them by means of radium radiation. The fact that these stones can lose their colour makes it obvious that amethyst jewellery should not be worn while sunbathing, in a solarium or in a discotheque with black light. Sudden changes of temperature can also be harmful to the stone.

Amethyst is a variety of quartz and varies in color from pale lavender to a deep, rich purple. The presence of manganese produces Amethyst, while varying amounts of iron content vary the purple intensity. Amethyst is found all over the globe and in every country, but the deeper colored amethyst are found in Uruguay, Siberia, Africa and Colorado.

Amethyst is a stone of "Spirituality and Contentment". It balances the energies of the intellectual, emotional and physical bodies and bestows stability, strength, invigoration and perfect peace.  It brings one serenity and composure in decision making. Amethyst is also a 'Stone of Meditation'.

Moses described amethyst as a symbol of the Spirit of God in the official robes of the High Priest.

As you can see from the photos, amethyst is used in all kinds of jewelry and is also one of the most economically priced gemstones.  That and the many tints and shades of amethyst please a variety of people.  Visit our Ebay store or visit us in person at our Humble, TX store to choose your favorite!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aquamarines to Heighten Intuition

Aquamarine is one of the official birth stones for March, and like emerald, a gemstone form of beryl. Although aquamarine is transparent, it usually has a hue of one of a variety of colours: blue or blue-green are most common, yellow, pink and white are also known. 
The name aquamarine means "sea water", however this was probably coined relatively recently, perhaps during the Renaissance.  It's said that sailors would sometimes wear aquamarine to protect them at sea and this could be where it gained the name.

In older times aquamarine was often not distinguished from other forms of beryl, which is probably why there are less legends concerning this gem than some others. It's said that the Roman emperor Nero used a cut beryl as a monocle - it's likely that this was in fact formed from aquamarine.

Aquamarine is a hard gemstone, (Mohs scale 7.5 - 8.0) which makes it an excellent choice for jewelry that will be worn frequently. However, be sure to store Aquamarine in a dark place, as they often become paler if left out in the sun.
Sources of Aquamarine include Brazil, India, Russia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This gemstone is further associated with the Christian Apostle Thomas.  Aquamarine and Aqua Aura are both gemstones related to Archangel Raguel. His name means Friend of God and he heals personal and professional relationships. His aura shows as pale blue.
It is said that aquamarine's strengths are developed to their best advantage when it is placed in water which is bathed in sunlight. However, it is better still to wear Aquamarine, since according to the old traditions this promises a happy marriage and is said to bring the woman who wears it joy and wealth into the bargain.
Aquamarine is called a "Stone of Courage". It enhances ones innate abilities to always be prepared. It provides a shielding quality against 'Spiritual Pollutants' while emitting a gentle compassionate energy.  Aquamarine has been said to give good memory and general well-being. There is an ancient story that it would change colour to distinguish between truth and falsehood, friend or foe. It is sometimes therefore connected with heightened intuition, possibly even clairvoyance.

As in this ring, aquamarines are sometimes used in combination with other stones, mainly with diamonds and seems to be most often used in rings. 
At The Gold Exchange we have these exceptional aquamarine rings you see here as well as many other birthstone rings.  Click our Ebay link to the right to see your birthstone jewelry.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gold & Silver Coins

At The Gold Exchange, we have U.S. coins of all kinds, starting from the very common silver, nickel and copper currency that is circulated but old enough and rare enough to be worth more than face value.  This kind of coin is excellent for a beginner collector as they are relatively inexpensive and are raw coins, meaning they are not in any kind of capsule or holder.

Then we have the more rare numismatic coins, they can be older coins like the 1856 dime above and the 1940 half dollar at the top.  Due to condition and quality as well as how many were minted in any particular year, these coins have value beyond the metal value and face value.

If you are serious about collecting numismatic coins and want to have them as an investment, we would recommend buying coins that are slabbed as is the gold coin above.  This means they will be in a plastic holder from one of the reputable grading companies and will have a grade applied to it.  The coin above was slabbed and graded by NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation), the grade is AU58.  AU stands for Almost Uncirculated and the higher the number the more pristine the coin, also the higher the value.
If you do a Google search for Sheldon Scale you will find all the info you need on how coins are graded.

Below are some of the more common coins we see.

This silver dollar is known as a Morgan silver dollar as George T. Morgan was the designer.

This is known as the Peace silver dollar as the word PEACE shows below the eagle on the reverse.

If you are very lucky you may have a $20 gold coin such as this that your grandparents or great grandparents did not turn in to the government to be melted during the depression era.  These double eagles, as they are known, are beautiful and valuable in any condition.

Coins like the one above are commemorative, minted for a special event but having a real currency value.  These are collectible as the number minted is usually very small.

The Gold Exchange also has gold and silver bullion coins such as the 1 oz. fine silver coin above, this one was recovered from the destroyed World Trade Center.  Because of the tragedy, these now have a historical value beyond the worth of the silver itself.

We also acquire and sell gold and silver bullion in coins and bars from other countries like these 1 oz. silver Panda coins from China.  Others you might know of are Krugerands and Suisse Helvetias.  When looking to buy coins or bullion from countries other than the U.S., be sure what the metal content and weight is as well as whether it is an authentic coin or whether it is a copy.  Copies are not worth much, beware of unreputable dealers.

The U.S. Mint also produces special editions of coins in limited quantity and which should increase in value in the years to come.  Some are even platinum.
If you are looking for numismatic coins or bullion coins, please check our Ebay listings or contact us if you don't see what you are looking for.  If you are already a collector or are looking to become a collector and need some guidance, please call us at 281-548-2646 and we would be happy to help you with your collection or investment.  We have clients nationwide and over 30 years experience in dealing with numismatics.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Designer Jewelry

There are many jewelry designers out there whose names are well known.  Others are lesser known, but they all have their own style and their own followings. 
I am presenting here some designer jewelry we happen to have in our Ebay store.

The names Cartier and Tiffany are world famous for quality fine jewelry and this signed Cartier diamond ring is no exception.

This Dolce & Gabana stainless steel bracelet would be popular with the younger crowd and its diamond encrusted letters add that bling that is so popular now.

This is a wonderfully classic Scott Kay bracelet with matching earrings, sold as a set.

This beautiful James Avery necklace we just acquired, handcrafted of 14kt gold with its original wooden gift box.  The James Avery studio is based in the hill country of Texas, he is most well known for his christian jewelry.
We also have designer luxury watches like Rolex, Icelink, Gucci, Movado, TechnoCom by KC, Renato, Invicta, Rado and more.  You just never know what we will have next.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Everyone Loves A Bracelet

At The Gold Exchange, folks come in all day long to buy and sell coins and jewelry.  We are not a pawn shop, we don't loan money.  But we do give a fair value price if someone wants to sell something and many times that something is a nice piece of jewelry.  Sometimes we acquire estate pieces and they are usually unique, something you won't find in the stores in the mall.

The bracelet and ring above left is an example of estate jewelry.  Art Deco styling and quality craftsmanship.

Sometimes we receive designer pieces like the Dolce Gabana bracelet above left and the Scott Kay below left.

Most often we receive pieces that no one wears any more.  Then it makes sense to trade them in and let someone else have them who will wear them.

We have bracelets in both yellow and white gold and some platinum.

Most set with diamonds.

And in all price ranges.

Not to mention all different styles.

We have bangle bracelets,

and bracelets set with precious gemstones.

You just never know what we will have from day to day.  Be sure to check out our Ebay store when you are thinking about jewelry for gift giving.  You will find some wonderful jewelry pieces and excellent pricing, and you always have the option to make an offer on any item.  Just click the link in the right column to visit us on Ebay, to follow us on Facebook or to follow us right here on our blog. 
We also welcome comments!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Stones of Destiny' - Sapphires

The sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September and the anniversary stone for the 5th and 45th aniversaries. The name sapphire is derived from the Latin word 'saphirus' and the Greek word 'sapheiros', both meaning blue.  It was also known as the 'Stone of Destiny'.

Ancient Persians believed Sapphires gave heaven its blue color, and some believed that the heavens formed a huge sapphire to act as a support for the earth, and its reflection colored the sky.

The sapphire has long been identified with chastity, piety, and repentance. It brings wisdom and truth, increases perception and the understanding of justice. It helps find peace of mind and serenity and promotes a life of sincerity, helping preserve one’s innocence while learning life’s truths. Sapphires also are associated with romantic love, representing fidelity and romantic devotion.

The sapphire is a corundum, an aluminum oxide with a trigonal crystal structure, in the same family as the ruby. The only difference between a ruby and a sapphire is simply the color. A red corundum is a ruby. Other colored corundums are called sapphires, which come in many colors, the most well known being blue. Sapphires also come in violet, dark gray, orange, yellow, pink, green and black. 
Blue sapphires come from Burma and Kashmir, where the blue tone is the most pure to the true spectral blue, and the stones tend to have a unique velvety luster. Sapphires from Sri Lanka are a less deep shade, almost a pastel blue. Many sapphires also come from Australia, which are dark blue but with a slightly green undertone, as those from Thailand.
The value of sapphires depends on their size, colour and transparency. With stones of exceeding fine quality  the origin of the gem also plays a major role. The most valuable are genuine Kashmir stones. Burmese sapphires are valued almost as highly, and then come the sapphires from Ceylon. The possibility of the gemstone's having undergone some treatment or other is also a factor in determining the price, since gemstones which can be guaranteed untreated are becoming more and more sought-after in this age of gemstone cosmetics.

Sapphire can be found naturally, or manufactured in large crystal boules. Because of its remarkable hardness, sapphire is used in many applications, including infrared optical components, watch crystals, high-durability windows, and wafers for the deposition of semiconductors.
Because of their hardness, Sapphires can be cleaned in almost any way. Warm, soapy water is best, though you might also try ultrasonic cleaners and steamers. You can also try using water with a touch of ammonia in it. If you have a fracture in your sapphire or own a star sapphire, do not use mechanical cleaning methods as a sapphire can shatter with one single blow, if hit sharply. This may be especially risky if the stone has inclusions, which weaken the crystal structure. As with most valuable stones, avoid doing heavy work or coming into contact with chemicals while wearing your stone, as they can damage your settings.

In the middle ages, people believed wearing a sapphire suppressed negative thoughts while ancient Persians ground it up to be used as an all purpose medicine. Ivan the Terrible of Russia stated that the sapphire strengthened the heart and muscles and endowed a person with courage. Others said it was an anecdote for poison- it killed snakes on site and if engraved with the figure of a man or a ram, would cure all illness and elevate the owner to a high position.

The 423 carats (85 g) Logan sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in the world.
The jewelry pieces in the photos, along with many more are available in our Ebay Store, just click on the link in the right hand column.