Gemstone Meanings and History: Give a Gift That Says Something More

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Like flowers, specific stones used for jewelry can have very particular meanings. Others are steeped in history, depending on who found them valuable in the past and which notable people wore them. While each stone is unique and beautiful on its own, sometimes the interesting meaning can give even more significance to a lovely piece of jewelry.

Gemstone Meanings and History

If you’re hoping to choose a gemstone for your significant other, family member, friend or parent, you should learn some of the amazing meanings and stories behind these popular stones.


This beautiful, purple-hued gemstone is the birthstone associated with February. Amethyst is a rare strain of quartz, and it is colored by a combination of elements, usually iron and manganese. The intensity of the purple hue can vary based on where the gem is from and how it is treated. But the lore and history surrounding the gem are of particular note.

In ancient times, amethyst jewelry was associated with the Greek god of wine because of its wine-like color. The people of the time believed that wearing amethyst helped to prevent against drunkenness.

But the jewel was more than just a “cure” for a hangover. Amethysts were reflective of royalty, and were one of the most prized gems of the church and of European royalty.

Before extensive colonization in gem-rich Africa, amethysts were quite rare and revered as symbols of Jesus Christ, because of the purple robe given him at the time of his death. They also symbolized the priesthood of Aaron, since they are one of the stones set into the breastplate of the high priest.

As the world progressed toward the Renaissance, the stone gained a reputation for reflecting the highest ideals of mankind: intelligence and beauty. Leonardo da Vinci believed that amethysts could protect a person against evil influences and quicken the mind.


A more feminine but no less royal gem, the emerald was revered anciently as a symbol of fertility, growth, life and even immortality. The green color reflected the circle of life found in nature, a quiet but everlasting power.

Many ancient cultures, including ancient India and the Incas, believed the gemstone to have extraordinary power; some cultures even worshipped the stone as a goddess, and would bring smaller stones to the temple as an offering. Healers would use emeralds as talismans to help ward off diseases.

Some religious cultures even believed the emerald was powerful enough to keep evil spirits away. Aristotle believed that emeralds could prevent or cure epilepsy, and recommended that noble children wear emeralds to prevent the onset of the disease.

The green color was easier on the eyes than other gems, so it was commonly assumed that looking at an emerald would be a cure for tired or poor eyesight. Some early Catholic bishops associated the emerald with endurance and faith in Christ, connecting the emerald stone to the example of the Apostle John the Beloved.


In contrast to the feminine power of the emerald, the ruby is the “stone of kings.” The ruby was prized beyond all other gems, even more than diamonds. Its rich red coloring and its rarity made rubies one of the most precious stones for monarchies across the globe.

Nobles and kings believed that the ruby was a talisman of prosperity. Simply possessing a ruby would help your wealth to grow. Soon, the ruby did not just represent wealth and prosperity, but it also symbolized protection and preservation. It was believed that a ruby would keep your property safe from harm, even from natural disasters and illness. Some conquerors would wear rubies as a means of convincing the enemy of their advantage, and people would fear a king who had many rubies in his crown.

Some rubies have such a noticeable luster that they appear to shine from within. This “fire” allowed for superstitions about the ruby to arise. Some people believed that a ruby could never be hidden beneath clothing, because it would shine out from behind the cloth.


The sapphire is typically thought of as being blue in color, but it can actually appear in many colors, including pink, purple, and green. Blue, however, is the most popular color, and blue is the color that gives the sapphire a lot of its history and meaning.

For example, the Greeks connected sapphires with Apollo, the sun god, because of the color of the sky. Romans associated the stone with Venus, beginning the romantic connection to sapphires that still endures to this day. Diana, Princess of Wales, wore a sapphire engagement ring.

Egyptians used sapphires as a means of healing the eyes. This traditional continued for centuries—sapphires were thought to help with eye ailments. Sapphires were also commonly used as an antidote to poison.

Star sapphires were even more prized, especially by early Christians. Star sapphires came to represent destiny, faith, hope and charity, most likely because of the connection to the star that led the wise men to the Christ child.

In general, sapphires are a stone of honesty, integrity and peace. If your loved one is someone who prizes peacemaking and honesty, the sapphire is the perfect choice.

For more information on gem stones, contact us at Sol’s Jewelry & Loan.

Diamond Engagement Ring Shopping Dos and Don’ts

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Approximately 2.3 million couples say “I Do” each year in the United States. If you’re ready to pop the question, chances are choosing the perfect diamond engagement ring is giving you some serious anxiety. Your future spouse will wear your engagement ring for the rest of their life, so making an informed decision is critical.

Diamond Engagement Ring Shopping Dos and Don'ts

Don’t worry if you’re not an expert and instead, follow these simple dos and don’ts to help you find an engagement ring your partner will adore.

Do Learn the Basics

Before you set foot in a jewelry store, or start asking your female relatives and friends for help, it is important to learn a few diamond basics. A little bit of knowledge can help you find the best diamond and setting possible for your budget.

Diamonds are rated based upon the classic Four C’s: cut, carat, clarity and color. These four aspects of diamonds will determine how much the stone will cost. Here is some information about the famous Four C’s:

  • Cut. Raw diamonds are cut to bring out their natural brilliance. The more skilled the diamond cutter, the more beautiful the stone. Diamonds are typically cut into several classic shapes, including round, radiant, pear, princess and emerald. The type of cut you choose will greatly impact the ring’s cost.
  • Carat. In the jewelry world, “carat” refers to the weight of the stone. Although the weight and size will impact the price, you might be surprised to learn that the cut will affect the diamond’s cost even more.
  • Clarity. Clarity refers to the size and number of the diamond’s inclusions. Inclusions are flaws, and although often subtle, inclusions will impact the diamond’s brilliance. The fewer inclusions, the more expensive the diamond will be.
  • Color. Diamonds are also graded based on their color. The scale ranges from D, E and F, which are diamonds that are nearly colorless, to S though Z, which are a light-yellow color.

These four aspects of a diamond will all impact the price. Learning more about the Four C’s will help you make a more informed choice, which is ultimately one of the best ways to save money.

Don’t Break Your Budget

In an attempt to make their future wife happy, many men break the bank and purchase a diamond ring they simply cannot afford. Popular media has glamorized the engagement ring buying process by insisting men spend two month’s salary on a ring. However, for many men, this cost is unrealistic.

Instead of going into debt, consider several simple ways you can beef up your engagement ring budget. For example, even though you might want to pop the question as soon as possible, forgo several luxuries for a few months, including that morning latte and tickets to professional football games, and put this money aside to purchase the ring.

Do Consider Her Personal Style

If you are the type of man who doesn’t know the difference between a choker and a bangle, you might feel completely overwhelmed at the idea of purchasing a diamond engagement ring. Conversely, you might consider yourself a jewelry expert, and plan on using your skills to purchase the perfect ring.

Instead of utilizing your impressive jewelry acumen, or remaining clueless about the process of shopping for jewelry, sneak a peek at your girlfriend’s jewelry collection. While you search, keep an eye out for the type of metal she prefers, and the overall style of her jewelry.

For example, if your girlfriend has a collection of vintage jewelry, choose a one-of-a-kind antique engagement ring. For the girl who loves funky modern pieces, ask the sales associate to show you some contemporary styles.

In the end, if your girlfriend doesn’t wear jewelry often, or you simply cannot decide, you can’t go wrong with a classic solitaire featuring a gold or silver band.

Don’t Buy from the First Store

Finally, one of the most common mistakes men making while shopping for an engagement ring is to purchase the first ring they find at the first store they visit. Unfortunately, if you don’t comparison shop, chances are you will wind up spending too much money or deprive yourself of the opportunity of finding the perfect ring.

Additionally, another common mistake engagement ring and jewelry shoppers make is limiting your search to strip mall jewelry stores and online sellers. If you truly want to get the most bang for your buck, look no further than your local pawn shop.

In addition to saving you money, most pawn brokers have a far better selection of unique and one-of-a-kind rings. If your bride-to-be wants a unique or vintage ring, or you simply want to purchase her a beautiful ring that her friends will envy, working with a pawn broker is your best option.

Shopping for an engagement ring can be a very overwhelming experience. If you want to save money on the ring, and purchase the piece from a knowledgeable dealer, look no further than the professionals at Sol’s Jewelry and Loan.

Which Color Jewelry Should I Wear?

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While one jewelry color might look stunning on one person, it might not have the same effect on another person. Similarly, a certain color may look good with a specific outfit but clash with another.

Which Color Jewelry Should I Wear

To choose the right jewelry color for you, there are four factors to consider: your skin tone, your eye color, your clothing, and your other jewelry.

  1. Skin Tone

There are three kinds of skin tones: warm, cool, and neutral. To determine which kind of skin tone you have, look at your veins. Green veins indicate a warm skin tone.  Blue and purple veins indicate a cool skin tone. A combination of blue and green veins indicate a neutral skin tone.

Keep in mind that skin tone isn’t the same as skin color. You can have dark skin with a cool tone or light skin with a warm tone.

Once you determine your skin tone, use it to choose the right color jewelry for you:

  • Warm tone. Earthy colors like orange, green, brown, and yellow all work well with warm-toned skin. Look for jewelry with moonstones, emeralds, or yellow sapphires. Copper, yellow gold, and brass are good metal choices for warm-toned skin.
  • Cool tone. Blue, red, and purple all look striking on cool-toned skin. Try jewelry with sapphires, amethysts, or rubies. Also consider silver, platinum, and white gold pieces.
  • Neutral tone. People with a neutral skin tone have the option of trying out a variety of jewelry colors to determine which looks best.

When it comes to choosing jewelry color, skin tone is an important consideration—but it shouldn’t be the only consideration.

  1. Eye Color

Why not choose a jewelry color that brings out the color of your eyes? On the one hand, you could choose a jewelry color that’s complementary to your eye color. On the other hand, you could choose to contrast your jewelry color with your eye color. Both options highlight and enhance the beauty of your eyes, which many people consider their best facial feature.

As with skin tone, the right jewelry color depends on your eye color:

  • Brown eyes. To choose jewelry that aligns with your eye color, wear red gemstones such as rubies. To contrast your jewelry with your eye color, wear blue gemstones such as sapphires.
  • Hazel and green eyes. To bring out the green in your eyes, try green gemstones like jade, emerald, and peridot.
  • Blue eyes. Match your jewelry to your eye color with blue gemstones like topaz. Contrast the blue in your eyes with a jewelry color like pink sapphire.

Your jewelry doesn’t have to match or contrast your eyes in order to be fashionable. But choosing jewelry that works with your eyes is a simple and subtle way to enhance your overall appearance.

  1. Clothing

The color of your jewelry should incorporate well with the colors of your clothing. However, this doesn’t mean you must choose a jewelry color that’s the same color as your clothing. A blue necklace against a blue shirt can be boring and unflattering.

Instead, consider using your jewelry as a pop of color. For example, you could choose jewelry that matches the color of your shoes rather than the color of your shirt.

If you’re wearing a neutral color like black, a brightly colored jewelry piece can brighten your look. But choose simple, plain jewelry if you’re wearing a blouse or dress with various colors, patterns, or embellishments. In this case, adding colorful, expressive jewelry would complicate the outfit and make it look too busy.

  1. Other Jewelry

When it comes to color, it’s important to be consistent with all your jewelry pieces. You’ll want to choose colors that work well together. For example, wearing a deep blue necklace with bright yellow earrings can be jarring.

Choose one piece of jewelry as the centerpiece of your outfit, and build your other jewelry pieces around it. While the various jewelry pieces don’t need to be the exact same color, they should complement each other.

Good color pairings include:

  • Blue and orange
  • Brown and orange
  • Green and yellow
  • Purple and blue
  • Red and blue

Some jewelry colors work with just about any other jewelry color. These colors include silver, gold, and white (such as pearls).

In the past, pairing silver and gold was a fashion faux pas. However, mixing metal colors is now considered acceptable and even trendy. Fashion experts recommend stacking different layers of metal colors, giving equal attention to each color.

Take these considerations into mind before choosing your jewelry colors. Your best option is to purchase many different jewelry pieces in a variety of colors. That way, you have the flexibility to mix and match.

A great place to find unique jewelry pieces in many different colors is Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. We offer dozens of one-of-a-kind rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings. Come visit us today.

10 Occasions To Buy Jewelry For Your Sweetheart

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Think back on the last time you gave your sweetheart a beautiful piece of jewelry. Was it an engagement or wedding ring many years ago? Imagine the surprise and delight on your sweetheart’s face when you surprise her with a unique piece of jewelry on another occasion.

Not sure when to buy her that sparkling diamond bracelet or that gleaming opal necklace? Consider these occasions.

10 Occasions To Buy Jewelry For Your Sweetheart

  1. Christmas

Christians believe that giving gifts to others is a reminder of the wise men who gave gifts to the baby Jesus. However, people of all religions enjoy the gift giving tradition, using it as a time to show love for family members and friends.

You can show love to your sweetheart by buying her a beautiful pair of Christmas earrings. She’ll think of you every time she wears them.

  1. Hanukkah

If you celebrate Hanukkah, you may know that giving gifts wasn’t originally part of the holiday. Because of the influence of Christmas, many Jewish families now give gifts during the eight days of Hanukkah. If giving gifts is part of your family tradition, consider giving your sweetheart a glittering bracelet or anklet.

  1. New Year’s Eve

What better symbol of a new beginning than a valuable necklace, ring, or hairpiece? Giving your sweetheart jewelry for the New Year shows your renewed commitment to her, this year and for all the years to come. It’s also a great gift to present as you’re enjoying a romantic evening together ringing in the New Year.

  1. Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day evolved from Lupercalia, a Roman fertility festival on February 15. It was later changed to a Christian feast day on February 14 and named St. Valentine’s Day. It’s unclear who St. Valentine was. One legend says that he performed secret marriage ceremonies for soldiers. Another says that he wrote the first love letter signed “from your Valentine.” In any case, today, Valentine’s Day is a holiday designated to celebrate love.

It is a wonderful time to remind your sweetheart how much you love her. Buy her a beautiful necklace that she can wear for a night out with you.

  1. National Jewel Day (March 13)

You probably haven’t heard of this holiday, a day designated to give and receive jewelry. It gives you a great reason to surprise your sweetheart with a dazzling new gem ring or pendant. Since it’s not as well-known as Valentine’s Day or Christmas, you might avoid inflated jewelry prices or sold-out items.

  1. Easter

At Easter, we celebrate new beginnings. Many families hide baskets of candies and toys for their children. Why not surprise your wife with an Easter gift as well? Welcome in spring by surprising your sweetheart with a colorful necklace or earrings.

  1. Mother’s Day

If you have children, Mother’s Day is a good opportunity to honor your sweetheart’s role as the mother of your children. You could celebrate her dedication and sacrifice by giving her a piece of jewelry engraved with the names of your children.

  1. Birthday

Your sweetheart’s birthday gives you the perfect opportunity to surprise her with her birthstone. She’ll delight in such a personalized gift.

  1. Anniversaries

Select a stunning piece of jewelry to commemorate your wedding day. Pay special attention to particular anniversaries:

  • 25 years = Silver Anniversary
  • 50 years = Golden Anniversary
  • 60 years = Diamond Anniversary

These anniversary designations are a long-standing tradition. In the Holy Roman Empire, husbands gave wives a silver wreath for their 25th anniversary and a gold wreath for their 50th. Selecting jewelry based on the particular anniversary makes the day all the more memorable. You could purchase a silver bracelet for your silver anniversary, a gold watch for your golden anniversary, or a diamond ring for your diamond anniversary.

Don’t forget about these anniversaries as well:

  • The anniversary of your first date
  • The anniversary of your first kiss
  • The anniversary of becoming engaged

Remembering one of these other anniversaries will show your sweetheart how much you care about her.

  1. Just Because

You don’t necessarily need a reason to surprise your sweetheart with a gorgeous piece of jewelry. Show her how special she truly is by choosing a unique piece of jewelry any time of the year.

The best place to get personalized jewelry is at a pawn shop. There, you’ll find rare treasures that are truly unique from anything you’ll find at a jewelry store. Each piece of jewelry is a valuable antique with many years of history behind it. A pawnbroker has the experience to know exactly what the item is worth. He or she can help you select the right piece of jewelry for your sweetheart’s style and taste.

If you want to show your sweetheart you’re thinking of her, say it with jewelry. Visit Sol’s Jewelry and Loan today to select the perfect jewelry piece.

A Girl’s Best Friend: The History and Timelessness of Diamonds

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You’ve probably heard the slogan “a diamond is forever” or the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Diamonds’ hardness, beauty, and reflective quality have made them the most popular gemstone in the world.

Diamond jewelry has existed for thousands of years, but diamonds themselves have existed much longer. Diamonds had their beginnings 900 million years ago, deep within the Earth.

Early Beginnings

Diamonds form deep in the Earth’s mantle under the right pressure and temperature. Diamonds were first discovered in India at least 3,000 years ago, but perhaps as far back as 6,000 years ago. Indians valued diamonds as a religious symbol. They also wore them as jewelry and formed them into cutting tools.

With time, traders sold diamonds to other areas of the world. In Europe, diamonds were rare enough that only the aristocracy could afford them. In fact, Louis IX made a law that rare, valuable diamonds must be reserved for the king. However, diamonds’ popularity continued to increase among non-royalty as well. In 1887, the French crown jewels were sold and bought by wealthy citizens in the United States.

When most people think of diamonds, they think of engagement rings. The precursor to the engagement ring, the truth ring, didn’t have diamonds. It was actually made of braided hair or twisted copper.

Rings were first given as a symbol of engagement in 1215. The upper class showed off their position with engagement rings made of glittering jewels. In 1477, Mary of Burgundy reportedly received the first diamond engagement ring from Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Today, the diamond is the most popular stone used in engagement rings.

Diamonds in Modern Times

As diamonds’ popularity increased, the diamonds in India’s mines began to disappear. In 1866, people discovered a new diamond mine, the Kimberley Mine in South Africa, ushering in the largest mining operation of our time. Soon, diamonds became available to people of all classes.

Diamonds are now mined from 25 countries, so they are certainly not as rare as was once believed. In the mid-20th century, the world’s largest diamond operator, De Beers, launched an aggressive marketing campaign promoting diamond jewelry as the choice of royalty. The company also coined the phrase “Diamonds are forever.” By portraying diamonds as the choice of the upper class, they were able to increase diamond sales.

Diamonds are still a huge part of popular culture. “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” was first sung by Carol Channing in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Rihanna’s 2012 hit “Diamonds” includes the lyrics “shine bright like a diamond.” Diamond jewelry has appeared in many well-known movies, such as Titanic.

The Appeal of Diamonds

There’s a reason why aristocracy has always valued the diamond and why De Beers’ marketing campaign worked so well. In the world of gem stones, diamonds really do stand out. Here are just some of the reasons why:

  • Strength. Diamonds have a harder structure than any other bulk material. After all, the word “diamond” means “unbreakable.” Plus, diamonds are almost impossible to scratch, and they can resist pressure of up to 600 gigapascals.
  • Purity. Due to their tight structure, diamonds are very unlikely to become contaminated.
  • Color. Colorless diamonds aren’t the only option. Diamonds can come in a variety of different colors, including blue, green, brown, yellow, black, pink, orange, red, and purple. Diamonds also scatter white light into a variety of colors, leading to a colorful sparkle.
  • Notoriety. From royalty to celebrities, millions of people have worn diamonds throughout history. A diamond tiara originally worn by Queen Mary has been passed down to Queen Elizabeth II. At the 2013 Grammys, Carrie Underwood wore a diamond necklace worth $31 million.

Diamonds continue to welcome high revenue, earning $74.2 billion between 2005 and 2013.

How to Find a Real Diamond

Because diamonds are in such high demand, today you can find many knockoff versions of diamond jewelry. Materials like cubic zirconia and silicon carbide resemble diamonds but are not as valuable. You can tell that a stone is simulated if:

  • It is less expensive than a natural diamond.
  • It has no flaws. Diamonds have some kind of defect that you can see under a microscope.
  • It retains heat. A simulated diamond will stay foggy after you breathe on it.
  • It can scratch and chip. Simulated diamonds aren’t as hard as natural diamonds.
  • It is very colorful and sparkly. Simulated diamonds, particularly cubic zirconia, are more colorful than natural diamonds.

Before you buy or sell a piece of diamond jewelry, consult with an experienced jeweler or pawn broker. He or she can help you determine the authenticity and worth of your diamond jewelry.

If you wonder which type of jewelry to buy, diamond is always a classic choice. Visit Sol’s Jewelry and Loan to see our exciting collection of diamond jewelry.

5 Famous Gems From Around the World

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Glittering gems can be mesmerizing, and the bigger the gem, the more awe it generates. High-quality gems can also go decades without growing dull or wearing down, and over the years, there have been several large gems dug up and cut into beautiful, dazzling jewels.

Some of these large gems have made an impact on history and have been passed through several famous hands, such as those of royalty. To learn more about five of these famed gems, read on.

The Star of Africa

Also known as Cullinan I, the Star of Africa is the largest gem to be cut out of a 3,106.75-carat diamond called the Cullinan, which was mined out of an African mine in 1905. The Star of Africa is pear-shaped with 74 facets and weighs 530.2 carats. It sits atop the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and remains the secondlargest cut diamond in the world.

Today, it’s on display in the Tower of London alongside gems from the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain, which include other jewels cut from the enormous Cullinan diamond.

The Millennium Star

As an uncut diamond, the Millennium Star was around 777 carats, but it shrunk to 203.04 carats when it was cut to its current clear, pear-shaped form. Like the Star of Africa, the Millennium Star was also discovered in Africa but at a much later time.

The diamond was found in 1990, and it was purchased by a diamond mining and trading company called De Beers a handful of years later. The diamond was then cut and put in the De Beers Millennium diamond collection in 1999.

Out of all the colorless, or top-color, diamonds in the world, the Millennium Star still stands at second largest.

The Moussaieff Red

When most people think of a diamond, they often think of white diamonds. But the Moussaieff Red is actually a brilliant, stunning red diamond. It has such excellent color that the Gemological Institute of America has rated the Moussaieff Red as a Fancy Red.

When compared to the Millennium Star or the Star of Africa, the Moussaieff Red is much smaller. It weighs
5.11 carats in its current triangular shape but is still the largest red diamond on the globe.

It was originally found in the ’90s by a farmer in Brazil, weighing 13.9 carats uncut. The William Goldberg Diamond Corp. bought and cut the diamond and originally named it the Red Shield. The diamond was then sold to a man named Shlomo Moussaieff in 2001 or 2002 and is still in possession of Moussaieff Jewellers

The Star of India

The breathtaking Star of India is actually a grayish blue star sapphire that weighs an impressive 563.35 carats. A star sapphire is a stone that contains the mineral rutile, The rutile gives the stone its milky color, and the rutile also reflects light in such a way that it looks like there’s a star on the surface of the stone. The Star of India is unique because you can see a star on both sides.

The Star of India was actually a part of the gem exhibit for the Paris Exposition of 1900. The stone was found by a Tiffany & Co. gem specialist named George Kunz, who was commissioned by J.P. Morgan, a wealthy investor, to collect a large collection of gems for the exposition.

It was originally unearthed in Sri Lanka but was donated alongside other gems to the American Museum of Natural History after the exposition. The Star of India still holds its title as the largest and most famous star sapphire on Earth.

The Hope Diamond

Whether you are a great admirer of gems or have a mild interest in rare jewels, you may have heard of the Hope Diamond. The brilliantly blue Hope Diamond has a long and interesting history, and it’s seen quite a bit in the last few of centuries.

It’s unclear when and where the diamond was found, and it’s even more unclear who first owned the gem. However, from written records, it’s suspected the Hope Diamond was mined in India in Andhra Pradesh. The first known owner was Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who managed to get the gem sometime in the 1600s.

In Tavernier’s possession, the diamond was uncut and weighed around 115 carats, and when he brought it back to Paris, it was named the Tavernier Blue. The diamond was sold to King Louis XIV sometime around 1670, and the French king had the stone cut by the court jeweler. After it was cut, it weighed 67.125 carats, and it was renamed the Blue Diamond of the Crown of France.

The diamond was stolen from the royal family in 1792, and the whereabouts of the diamond was largely unknown for a couple of decades until it reappeared sometime in the early 1800s in the United Kingdom. During its disappearance, it had been recut, having been shaved down to 45.54 carats.

Historians suspect the stone was owned by King George IV shortly after it’s resurfacing, but the jewel was later lost sometime after 1830. It was then purchased by Thomas Hope and renamed the Hope Diamond in 1839.

The Hope family owned it for several decades until it was sold in 1901 to pay off debts. It then passed through several hands and developed a reputation for being bad luck with a trail of financial struggles and deaths behind it. It was eventually donated to the Smithsonian in 1958, where it is still happily on display.


These are only five examples, but there are many other famous stones throughout history and the world. And while you may not have something quite like the Hope Diamond or the Moussaieff Red in your collection, even small gems can be valuable.

If you have jewelry in your collection you’d like to sell, trust in Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. Our honest jewelry experts can take a look and give you a reasonable price for any piece.

5 Tips for Spotting an Excellent Blue Sapphire

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People across the globe are often mesmerized by the clear, sparkling beauty of a quality diamond. But when you want a little color, you may look towards the more colorful cousins of the diamond, such as the emerald or ruby.

One vivid gem is the blue sapphire, with its rich, eye-catching cobalt hue. It has a unique elegance, and the bold color can be a great alternative to diamonds.

When you’re purchasing anything with a blue sapphire, you want to make sure you’re getting a quality gem. However, you may not be sure how to spot a fine sapphire from a dud, and you may be worried you’ll be fooled by a more experienced jeweler.

Before you go hunting for a truly blue sapphire, take a look at the tips below. With a little education under your belt, you can avoid the occasional scam and score the perfect piece for your jewelry collection.

1. Examine the Hue

The best blue sapphires are truly blue, or “cornflower blue.” It doesn’t have any violet or green overtones. You’ll also want to take a look at the tone of the gem. If the color is too dark or almost black, the tone detracts from the value, and if the color is too light, it makes the gem look washed out. Generally, you want a blue sapphire that’s somewhere in the medium to medium-dark range.

In addition to the tone and color, you should take note of the color saturation, or the intensity of the color. When a blue sapphire has a high saturation, it’s rich in that coveted cobalt color, upping the value of the gem. But when the sapphire has a low saturation, or isn’t intensely colorful, the gem’s color looks a little weaker with a grayish hue.

Be careful when you look at the hue, tone, and saturation of a blue sapphire. Try to look at the stone in different levels of lighting. Some sellers can trick you with a little bit of well-placed illumination, giving the gem a lighter color than it really has.

2. Check for Blemishes

Most sapphires have to be treated to improve the clarity of the gem. Out of the sapphires pulled straight from the ground, only about 0.5% to 1% don’t need to be treated, making these gems extremely valuable. These sapphires have blemishes called “silk,” and because these small imperfections indicate that the gem wasn’t treated like most others are, they are perfectly acceptable in a sapphire.

But for gems that have been treated, these small imperfections have been eliminated, and you shouldn’t see any kind of obvious flaws in the sapphire. Imperfections can affect the clarity, therefore reducing the value of the stone. The seller is ethically bound to tell you if the gem is treated or not, so ask-if the gem is treated but still has flaws, the value shouldn’t be as high.

3. Avoid Stones with Windows

Windows are essentially areas in the stone that allow you to see clearly through the gem. For instance, if you had an oval cut and can see perfectly through the oval center of the gem, you’re looking at a window.
Avoid any sapphires with these, as they can negatively affect the value and look of the gem.

4. Look at the Cut

Blue sapphires are commonly cut in cushion, round, or oval shapes, but they can be cut in some of the more unique forms, such as heart or marquise. If you have a particular cut in mind and can’t seem to find it, you can get a stone custom cut and find the perfect setting for it.

But there’s more to a cut than shape. An experienced gem cutter will take the color into account and adjust the cut accordingly. With dark sapphires, they may make shallow cuts to allow more light reflection and improve the color and lighten the gem. For paler sapphires, gem cutters may make deeper cuts to darken the gem for a better hue.

5. Consider the Size

Just like any other gem, sapphires have more value when they’re bigger. When a decent-sized stone is combined with excellent clarity, cut, and color, it can be somewhat pricey.

Also, keep in mind that a one-carat sapphire is a bit smaller than a one-carat diamond. Sapphires are denser and heavier than diamonds, so expect sapphires to be smaller than you would expect a diamond to be for the same carat weight.


As you shop around for your next breathtaking piece of sapphire jewelry, use the tips above. Examine the gem closely to ensure you spot everything, but most importantly, find a sapphire you love for a price that works for you. Just make sure you aren’t being swindled out of your money for a low quality stone.

Also, don’t only rely on the popular jewelers at the mall. Try other dependable shops or jewelers, such as Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. We specialize in jewelry, and we can help you find the perfect piece out of our wide selection. And if you’re looking to sell a piece of jewelry, we can handle that too.

Looking for New Jewelry? Learn About Your Birthstone

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Even if you don’t know what your birthstone is, you’ve probably heard of the concept before. Most people know that each month is associated with a different type of precious stone that supposedly reflects the wearer’s personality and brings him or her good luck throughout the year.

Of course, you don’t have to believe that birthstones bring health and luck to purchase one. Each month has a gorgeous stone that can add sparkle, pizzazz, and personality to your current jewelry collection.

If you want to find out more about your birthstone, keep reading. Once you’ve learned more about what sets your gemstone apart, visit our jewelry store to search for necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings that contain your favorite stone.

Where Did the Idea of Birthstones Originate?

Most scholars agree that the idea for birthstones originates from ancient Israel. Aaron, the brother of the biblical hero Moses, had a breastplate with 12 gems on it that signified the 12 original tribes of Israel. Each tribe had a uniquely colored stone associated with it.

Some theorize that the 12 biblical gemstones may have also corresponded to the phases of the moon, which is how the idea transferred from tribes or social groups to months.

Many cultures around the world associate different gems with people born at different times of the year. In Western society, there’s still some dispute about which gem should be associated with each month. In most ancient cultures, gems were often divided by color rather than by type, so while we think of September’s birthstone as a sapphire, ancient cultures might have simply used a lapis.

The American Gem Society keeps a list of all the recommended birthstones for each month. Below, we list the most popular stone for each month, but we’ll also tell you about alternative stones for months that have multiple stones associated with them.

January: Garnet

Most people think of garnets as red, but they actually come in a range of colors, from orange and yellow to deep green. Currently, garnets are sourced from Sri Lanka and various African countries, but they were used by ancient peoples, including ancient Egyptians, as far back as 3000 BCE. Garnets symbolize friendship and trust.

February: Amethyst

Amethyst is a type of violet quartz. It can range from shades of violet so deep they look almost red to pale lavender shades. The name “amethyst” originates from the Greek work for “sober,” so amethysts are believed to give the wearer a clear head.

March: Aquamarine

Aquamarine reflects all the colors of the sea, from a rich green-blue to a deeper cerulean. Greek and Roman sailors believed the stone could protect them from storms while they were away from home. Today’s wearers use aquamarine to symbolize serenity and calm.

April: Diamond

Diamonds might be one of the most commonly worn gemstones, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable or precious. They also come in more than just one color-look for precious, rare, colorful diamonds to give someone with an April birthday a unique gift. Diamonds symbolize endurance, love, and loyalty.

May: Emerald

Most emeralds come in shades of green-which is the perfect color for a spring birthday-but you can also find emeralds with a bluish hue. As a spring gemstone, emeralds symbolize fertility and prosperity.

June: Pearl

Pearl is a unique birthstone, since it’s formed from underwater creatures instead of from the earth itself. Celebrate your individuality by choosing pearl jewelry to celebrate your June birthday. If you’d rather have a gemstone, June birthdays can also choose from alexandrite and moonstone.

July: Ruby

Most people think rubies are always dark red in color, but they can actually appear pale pink as well. Along with diamonds and emeralds, rubies are some of the most highly valued gemstones. Their rich color symbolizes bravery, passion, and luck.

August: Peridot

Peridot is another green stone, but unlike the other green stones described here, it only come in one shade: bright green. And unlike many of the other birthstones, it’s sourced from the United States-Arizona, to be specific. Peridot is associated with healing, confidence, and power.

September: Sapphire

After diamonds, sapphires are some of the hardest, most durable stones. They also come in a wide range of colors-in fact, any non-red type of corundum is considered a sapphire (and any type of red corundum is considered a ruby). Many ancient cultures believed that cerulean blue sapphires would protect the wearer from harm.

October: Opal

Opals are some of the most beautiful gemstones on the planet. The way the colors play against the stone’s background determines how many colors the stone reflects and how vivid those colors are. Each opal is as unique as the individual who wears it.

November: Topaz

Topaz comes in an assortment of colors, but one of the most popular is a pale, fiery yellow, gold, or orange. These fiery topazes symbolized the sun’s power for the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it currently symbolizes clarity and strength. Those with November birthdays can also wear citrine, a deeper orange stone.

December: Turquoise

Turquoise is an opaque blue stone with one of the oldest, richest histories of any gem. Multiple cultures have used it widely for thousands and thousands of years. Like sapphire, turquoise is believed to keep its wearers safe.

Visit Us to Find Your Favorite Gemstone

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or looking for the perfect present for a loved one’s birthday, visit Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. We have jewelry that ranges from vintage, antique necklaces to unique wedding rings, so come to us the next time you want to add some variety or significance to your jewelry collection.

3 Fascinating Facts About Opals

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Australia is a country of extremes-extreme heat in the vast Outback, incredibly deadly snakes and spiders, and uniquely bizarre animals not found anywhere else on earth. Luckily for jewelry-wearers everywhere, Australia’s singular conditions make it home to one of the most unique and most sought-after gems in the entire world: the opal.

90% of the world’s opals come from Australia, but the country only exports certain types of opals. Unless you’ve been to Australia and come back with jewelry as a souvenir, you probably haven’t seen the diverse range of colors and shapes this gemstone comes in.

At Sol’s Jewelry and Loan, we have a wide range of jewelry that our customers bring to us. If you’re interested in unique jewelry, swing by to see what we have for you. In the meantime, read through this blog to learn more about opals.

1. There Are Many Types of Opals

When you think of an opal, you probably picture a pearlescent, shimmery stone that reflects all the colors of the rainbow. This type of opal is called a “precious opal,” and the way the stone broadcasts the entire rainbow spectrum is called “play of color.” Common opals don’t exhibit play of color-instead, they have one basic color. They look nice, but they’re not as interesting or sought-after as precious opals.

Although most Americans picture light, creamy, or milky opals that contain flecks of rainbow colors, opals actually come in varying shades that range from light to dark. Some of the most common types of opals include the following.

Dark/Black Opals

These opals have a much darker background (or “body color”) than the whiter opals Americans are used to seeing. Instead, the body color looks black or navy and reflects a deeper rainbow palette, including dark blues and forest greens.

Most black opals are mined from a few sites near the city of Lightning Ridge in New South Wales,
Australia. Because they come from such a specific spot, black opals are the rarest type of opal. Black opals with red flecks are the rarest type of black opal.

Light/White Opals

These opals look more translucent than dark or black opals do. They’re also much more common than black opals. The name “white opal” can be misleading-light opals can have a body color as dark as light gray.

Matrix Opals

A matrix opal is an opal that fills in the cracks in a host stone like ironstone. This type of opal occurs most frequently in Queensland, Australia, and it rarely forms anywhere else in the world.

Boulder Opals

These unique opals bond to their host stones. Usually, a thin layer of opal forms across the rock, which is usually ironstone-though in one unique area in South Australia, quartzite is the host rock rather than ironstone. All opals might seem to show every color of the rainbow, but boulder opals are actually the only ones that can show the entire spectrum, from red to indigo and violet.

Most Americans are used to light or white opals rather than dark/black or boulder opals. If you encounter another type of opal, count yourself lucky! They can be hard to find outside Australia.

2. Opals Do Come From a Few Other Countries (Including the US)

Again, at least 90% of all the opals in the world are sourced from Australia-the number could actually be as high as 95%. However, you can also find opals from countries as diverse as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Turkey, Hungary, Indonesia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, and Guatemala.

There are even a few cities in the United States that mine opal. In Humboldt County in Nevada, miners have found black and white opals alike. Spencer, Idaho also hosts an opal mine, and visitors can dig for their own opals at a “mini-mine” where miners place opals from the larger mine for adults and kids to dig up.

3. There Are Several Conflicting Superstitions About Opals

Unlike certain gems or precious metals that have always been considered lucky (for instance, gold or gold coins), opal’s reputation has run the gamut between incredibly lucky and incredibly unlucky. In the Middle
Ages, for example, some people considered opals lucky and thought they might have healing powers.

On the other hand, others during the same time period considered opals unlucky (or even evil) because their luminescence made them look similar to cats’ eyes or toads’ eyes, which were associated with witches and the evil eye.

In 1829, Sir Walter Scott published the book “Anne of Geierstein,” where one of the characters wears a piece of opal jewelry that supposedly contained an evil spell. When a little holy water came in contact with the dastardly jewelry, the spell is broken.

After the novel’s publication, sales of opals in Europe dropped exponentially and opals were known as extremely unlucky, even though Queen Victoria is said to have loved them.

Of course, opals aren’t actually unlucky-but they are gorgeous, unique, and extremely versatile. You can find them in gold and silver jewelry alike and in both men’s and women’s wedding rings. They appear in necklaces, rings, earrings, and metallic headbands. Every single opal is unique; they all reflect a different pattern of colors, which means that your opal jewelry is one of a kind.

Visit Our Jewelry Store

At Sol’s Jewelry and Loan, we both sell and accept jewelry. Stores like ours are perfect places to find unique jewelry options-people bring us everything from family jewelry and heirlooms to more recent and exotic purchases. If you’re looking for opal jewelry or any other type of stone, swing by our location today!  

4 Must-Have Jewelry Essentials for Every Occasion

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Your life consists of one special occasion after another: birthday parties, work dinners, black-tie dances, date nights, weddings, graduations, concerts, and funerals. The many events you regularly attend seem to string together, one after another, like beads on a bracelet.

Each of these affairs, ceremonies, and celebrations requires a different look, from formal to informal. How you accessorize that look could impress, inspire, attract, or intrigue those around you, and achieving the right balance of casual and classy takes a little finesse and a lot of planning.

Fortunately, you don’t have to pair each outfit you wear with a specific bracelet, pendant, or ring. When you stock your jewelry box with these timeless staples, you can mix and match your accessories to achieve the perfect look for every occasion.

1. Menswear-Inspired Watch

You likely carry your smartphone with you wherever you go, so you no longer need to ask others for the time. However, a menswear-inspired watch does more than simply let you know when you’re running late or when happy hour has begun.

A classic, large-faced watch adds sparkle to your wrist while grounding your otherwise dainty gear. A bold timepiece oozes confidence, and it lets others know that you can look polished and professional no matter what you happen to wear. But if you prefer a little more eye candy, feel free to layer your watch with a few choice bracelets and bangles.

2. Diamond Stud Earrings

Ready to turn heads whenever you turn your head? Then slide in a new pair of diamond stud earrings. These are the most popular kind of earrings for a reason: they look classy and understated while adding just the right amount of glamour and charm.

Diamond stud earrings are some of the most versatile pieces of jewelry you’ll ever keep in your jewelry box. They look fantastic with almost every outfit, as their dew-drop clear color allows them to match your current style, no matter if you plan to attend a wedding or run to a last-minute business meeting. And with their screw-on backs, you don’t have to worry about your lovely gems falling off at a dance or concert.

Keep in mind that simplicity is key when wearing diamonds. If you want your earrings to truly shine and attract attention, tone down the rest of your jewelry and only pair your earrings with one or two basic rings or bracelets.

3. String of Pearls

Pearls have a long history as a symbol of wealth and status. But despite their age, pearls never cease to make a fashion statement.

Year after year, pearls continue to grace the necks of celebrities, actors, royals, and models alike. Some of history’s most iconic women have wowed the world with their simple, yet elegant, strings of pearls, from Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly to Princess Diana and Kate Middleton.

While many people view pearls as part of the vintage look, you can still keep your style fresh and new when you wear pearl necklaces. If you want to wear fun and flirty off-the-shoulder or spaghetti-strap tops, consider pearl collars and chokers. For more formal events, an extended pearl rope or layered pearl strands will draw the eye upward to your face.

4. Sentimental Pieces

Your jewelry says a lot about you. Large hoop earrings and thick dangling necklaces could hint that you’re an active, social, or bubbly person. Bangle bracelets paired with shell necklaces will let others know you love nature and can’t wait to explore the outdoors.

Shouldn’t you have a lot to say about your jewelry as well?

When you pick your pieces, consider wearing a necklace, bracelet, ring, or earring with a story. Perhaps your grandmother gave you her wedding ring, or you found a stunning turquoise pendant in a gas station while on a road trip. Maybe your father bought you a locket with your mother’s picture inside.

The right piece of jewelry can do more than complete your outfit; it can serve as a conversation starter as well. So feel free to wear something that you’ll always love to talk about.

Need to Expand Your Collection?

These four staple accessories will look great during any occasion. However, you may need to do some shopping before you find the perfect watch, earrings, necklace, or bracelet for you.

As you look for your next pieces of jewelry, don’t leave any stone unturned. Browse your local pawn shop for a unique selection of must-have gems and jewels. 

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