Isadoras antique jewelry

Birthstones

  • August Birthstones: Peridot & Sardonyx

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    The two August birthstones – grassy green peridot and earthy sardonyx – represent August as a month luxuriating in the bloom of summer, yet waiting on bated breath for fall’s first frost.

     

    If you were born in August, you are lucky to celebrate your birthday in one of the loveliest transitional months of the year.

     

    Peridot, or what the Egyptians called the “gem of the sun,” is a yellow-greenish transparent gemstone formed within the cooling magma of active volcanoes. 

    For Hawaiians, peridot is the manifestation of the tears of Pele, the jealous and powerful goddess whose domain encompasses all volcanic activity on the Big Island of Hawaii.

     

    Peridot, beautiful and affordable, comes in a range of sizes and cuts; it is the perfect stone to partner with other gems. The majority of stones are yellow-greenish; higher-quality stones have a more intense green hue.

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    Peridot as a UFO?!

    In 2005, peridot was discovered in comet dust retrieved by the Stardust space probe. Peridot crystals have also been found in meteorites; some of these crystals have been large enough to cut into faceted gemstones (FYI, this makes the Star Trek nerd in each of us very happy).

     

    While peridot is known to project an aura of stellar mystery, sardonyx is a down-to-earth form of banded agate that has been used for centuries to depict the profiles of gods, royalty, and the everyday man and woman.

     

    Sard is a form of onyx (onyx has parallel bands, while agate has curved bands) with a reddish-brown base and an upper white layer.

     

    This pair of Victorian intaglio sardonyx earrings is a perfect example of the contrast between light and dark, foreground and background.

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    Cameos are fascinating and the sardonyx Blancas Cameo, circa 14, is no exception. This cameo depicts the Roman Emperor Augustus shortly after his death. Augustus is always depicted as a young man – quite an idealized version compared to reality. (The royal diadem he wears around his head may be an addition from medieval times.) Notice the medusa head on his shield.

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    Sardonyx was believed to promote mental acuity, optimism, oratory skills, and robust health. It was said to attract friends and bring lasting happiness to partnerships.

     

    Both sardonyx and peridot are intriguing gems that we are happy to offer in our heirloom collection at Isadoras.

     

    Below are some of our favorite August birthstone pieces.

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    Upper Left:  Fine Estate Peridot Diamond Ring

    Upper Right:  Peridot & Seed Pearl Necklace

    Bottom:  Edwardian 9KT Gold & Peridot Bracelet

     

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    Upper Left:  Sardonyx Intaglio 18KT Ring

    Upper Right:  Antique French Sardonyx Ring

    Lower Left:  Victorian Shield-Shaped Sardonyx Ring

    Lower Right:  Vintage Sardonyx 9KT Ring


    If you have any questions, you can reach our knowledgeable staff at 206.441.7711, or e-mail Isadoras Antique Jewelry at info@isadoras.com.

  • November Birthstones - Topaz and Citrine

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    Topaz and citrine both share the spotlight as November birthstones. In the ancient world, all yellow gems were referred to as “topaz.”  Today, topaz and citrine are recognized as two distinctly different, splendid gems.

     

    • Lustrous topaz, a silicate mineral, occurs in many colors including white, yellow, violet, orange, brown, light green, gray, various shades of blue and the uncommon pink. In antique jewelry, we most commonly see lovely shades of brown and yellow, and the marvelous Imperial Topaz.

     

    • Glassy, joyful citrine (quartz) is pale yellow, but can vary in color from pale orange to deep reddish-brown.

     

    Topaz and citrine make us happy and here are some gorgeous reasons why…

     

    In The Precious Stones (Series), painted in 1900 by Art Nouveau master Alphonse Mucha, topaz is one of four gems personified as a beautiful woman. Framed by distinct bold outlines, La Topaze herself is enhanced by the golden, warm orangey-yellow hues that define both topaz and citrine gems.

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    Our vintage Edwardian Golden Topaz Ring makes a bold and beautiful statement by featuring a lovely four-carat center gem accented with 30 rose-cut diamonds.

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    Our 16.25 carat vintage citrine cocktail ring and late-Victorian citrine festoon necklace both demonstrate that citrine’s delicious golden and brown hues pair wonderfully with gold OR silver for a stunning combination.

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    Let your November sparkle with lovely topaz and citrine pieces from Isadoras! 

     

    We invite you to call our toll free number (1-855-663-9672) or e-mail us (info@isadoras.com) with any questions.

  • February's Birthstone, Amethyst

    The God Bacchus had grown angry with mortals and therefore decided a tiger would devour the next mortal to cross his path. Unfortunately, the young maiden Amethyst had just set off to worship at the goddess Diana’s temple. Diana knowing Bacchus’s plan turned the young maiden into a white statue of colorless quartz to save her from Bacchus’s wrath. When Bacchus realized what he had forced Diana to do, he cried tears of wine, staining the statue of Amethyst a beautiful purple.

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    The origin myth of the amethyst is beautiful and tragic, like so many Greek legends. It is easy to paint a picture in your mind of the beautiful white quartz dappled with purple tears, the tears bleeding into the stone until it reaches a rich purple hue. And my jewelry-obsessed mind wonders, what shade of purple did those tears create exactly? Were there only a few tears, creating a pale lilac statue, the stone sometimes referred to as “The Rose of France”, or were his tears plentiful producing a deep purple amethyst with red flashes?

    Amethyst

    It is February, and February is the month of amethysts in the jewelry world, so I decided to explore the myths and legends surrounding this stunning stone.

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    A quartz, it rates a 7 on the Mohs scale and has a color ranging from palest lilac to deepest purple. A royal color, it has often been worn by the clergy and royalty and it can be seen in the crown jewels of Britain and Russia. And today most amethysts can be found in Brazil.

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    This incredibly beautiful stone has wooed warriors, intellectuals and great monarchs. It is said the ancient Egyptians brought an amethyst stone into battle for protection, that Leonardo da Vinci considered the amethyst the seat of intelligence and a means of warding off evil, and that Catherine the Great prized the amethyst above all other stones.

    Vintage-Amethyst-Brooch

    Each jewelry lover has her personal relationship with a stone, whether it is a fascination founded on a birthstone connection or the moment when one espied a perfect jewel. My fascination with amethysts began with a 1950’s cocktail ring centered by an amethyst that could be called nothing short of utterly charismatic.

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    And as I look at amethyst today I wonder what stone began Catherine the Great’s fascination or Leonardo de Vinci’s, and it gives me pleasure to know that while the world moves forward there are some things that maintain their beauty and fascination from ancient Greece through my own personal history.

    Please visit our website for more beautiful vintage amethyst jewelry!

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