Friday, May 29, 2009

Remember that gem?

Mother's Day brought with it a super 18Karat-meets-Bijouxbead promotion.. remember that stellar necklace by Darlene Martin...
If not, here it is gracing the very lovely neck of Whitney, our winner, who just received it via snail-mail.
Congratulations again to Whitney. Couldn't imagine that gem finding a better home.

So Pretty!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Don't forget.... Metamorphosis Exhibit is two days away!

Just a reminder to everyone who loves the hand-crafted -
Lara Bazant will be in our shop Wednesday May 27th from 5pm to 8pm to meet and discuss her work.
You may remember a previous entry we did on Lara, but if you don't - here's a little recap.

Using reclaimed, natural, and fair trade materials sourced from all over the world, Lara Bazant aims to fuse global sustainability with a unique and individual sense of style.
We hope to see you Wednesday to help support this local and ethically minded artist.

We appreciate everyone who stops by and encourages local art to grow!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meet Alex..

You may have never met, but let me introduce you to one of the most expensive gemstones commercially available – Alexandrite. Not only can top quality alexandrite sell for over $100,000 a carat.

This beauty is remarkable for its seemingly magical colour changing capabilities - especially higher end stones - from an emerald green to a plum red.

A variety of chrysoberyl, (derived the Greek chrysos and beryllos meaning 'a gold-white spar' and not to be confused with beryl - those are emeralds and aquamarines to name a few) alexandrite is the result of a small scale replacement of aluminum by chromium oxide, a process which results in its stunning colour change. Green by daylight and red by incandescent - it's like having two stones in one.

This stone apparently acquired its name when Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiol discovered the gem upon the sixteenth birthday of the future Tsar, Alexander II of Russia.

The most stunning examples still come from Russia, specifically the Ural Mountains... but don't be fooled the fakers still run rife. Some lab-grown (synthetic) stones are actually corundum lanced with various chemicals such as vanadium or colour-changing spinel. Like always folks, if one of the most expensive stones is selling for a super deal..... too good to be true.

Recently we had a beautiful 1.05ct. alexandrite come through the shop, and honestly... what photos can't capture. As the stone dazzles, flecks of red, green, and plum compete for your attention in the most breath-taking way.

Between you and me... diamonds are soooo boring in comparison!

Monday, May 11, 2009

and the winner is.........

...... (drum roll) ......
...... (which continues) .........
Whitney from Virginia!

Look at us, making friends all over the world.

Thanks to everyone who took part, and especially to Bijouxbead for entrusting us with her lovely treasures.

So stick around, because you never know when the Give-Away Spirit might return to 18Karat!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Here Comes the Bride.

Engagement season has been in full swing over at 18Karat – and the gents were lacking in imagination.

Why not give you a gander at two very different, but very stunning beauties. (Our fingers are crossed for you boys!)

A gorgeous cushion cut diamond sitting upon a truly beautiful hand engraved shank; set with diamonds of course.

A lovely princess cut diamond sit atop a tapered shank with 2 trilliant diamonds flanking it.

Aren't they pretty.. Let us know & leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Imitation, Synthetic, and other Man-Made Gemstones

As with anything worth a pretty penny, gems (especially the big '4' – diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and rubies) are prone to imitation and... 'dark-dealings', (ooh yes, I said it.. dark dealings.)

So when putting down a large wad of cash on that which twinkles.. make sure, as always.. that you are dealing with a reputable and trusted jeweller. And remember – if it seems too good to be true, it always is.

Synthetic Stones

These stones are laboratory grown stones that exhibits essentially the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as their natural counterparts.
Formed under laboratory conditions, these stones are created using extreme pressure and heat.

While these gems are much, much cheaper then their natural counterparts (which is often the tip off that something just doesn't smell right) they are usually more expensive when compared to other fakers.

Imitation Stones

These stones are not necessarily laboratory grown stones, but are materials used to replicate the appearance of a costly stone, without having the same chemical composition. This ranges from stones such as synthetic white sapphire and cubic zirconia in place of a diamond to ceramics and glass. The history of imitation stones dates back hundreds of years, and of course we are all familiar with the rhinestone - originally crystal found along the Rhine that evolved into glass with a metallic backing.

Assembled Stones

This method is often reserved for specific types of gem stones, specifically opals and turquoise. Assembled stones are exactly as they sound – multiple layers or combinations of manufactured and/or natural materials fused, bonded, of joined together to imitate the appearance of a natural gemstone. In the case of an opal, it can exist as a solid stone, a doublet, or a triplet.
Doublet - when two layers (a black backing often made from plastic, glass, or inexpensive black potch and a thin layer of opal) are glued or fussed together.
Triplet - when three layers (a black backing often made from plastic, glass, or inexpensive black potch, a thin middle layer of opal, topped with a clear glass, quartz, or plastic) are glued or fussed together.
Reconstructed Turquoise - Pulverized turquoise that is fussed together.

All in all.. these man-made gems are worth next to nothing. With absolutely no resale value, unless they are of historical importance.. or are set in a gold or platinum setting, (and yes.. they do exist..) and then, they are only worth their setting.

**Don't forget to subscribe to this blog before the 10th to be included in our Mother's Day draw... Good Luck to those who have!**

Saturday, May 2, 2009

M E T A M O R P H O S I S Exhibit.

May breezes bring in more then the summer ladies and gentlemen, they have also brought us this months featured designer – Lara Bazant.

[As a side note, can I just add how talented all those thousands of Etsy-ers are? First Darlene, then Inna, and now Lara. But you already knew that right..?]

For Lara, years of travel have culminated in jewellery that has been inspired by every unique country and its tradition, culture, and aesthetic. Using fair trade, natural, and reclaimed materials sourced from all over the world, Lara Bazant combines global sustainability with individual style.

Be sure to drop by 18Karat to view some of these interesting and well-traveled pieces –
especially the Fair Trade Kazuri beads (made in a community of single mother's outside of Nairobi $34-$60) and the adorable bamboo button rings ($12), not to mention the one-of-a-kind necklaces that also function as a bracelet with a few clicks of the clasp.

A reception will be held May 27th at 5pm. Drop by to meet the artist and view the exhibit. Support local artists!