march birthstone – aquamarine

OK, March is almost over, but gemstones last a lifetime.  Not just one month.  Aquamarine is one of my favorite gemstones for cutting because it polishes beautifully without using diamond paste.  This stone is easily polished with a plastic film lap and water.  Because of the water you don’t need to worry about heat from friction that could crack the stone or make it fall off the dop.

Beryl family

Beryl is a family of stones that has very famous members.  This gem is a hardness of 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.  That makes it ideal for rings and all other jewelry because it will wear well.  Family members include Green Beryl, Emerald, Heliodor (yellow), Morganite (pink), Goshenite (colorless), and a more recent discovery Red Beryl (Utah, USA), and Aquamarine (blue to blue-green).  Some people refer to the blue – green variety as sea foam in color.  I happen to love the blue-green aquamarine and always leave the color alone rather than heat treat it to get rid of the green.  But as always; the market dictates and blue is the most popular color.       

There is a growing market for aquamarine engagement rings.  The center stone is the blue aquamarine and then surrounded by diamond melee.  I have a photo of one with a halo that really shows off the blue.  A beautiful ring that costs a lot less than a large diamond of quality.    

Emeralds are very well known and the most famous of the beryl family. People have written entire books on emerald and I do not have a real expertise on this gem because good emerald is as expensive as diamond. So everyone knows that emerald is a gorgeous green and costs a bundle.   What more can I elaborate?  An acceptable practice in the gem business is to oil emeralds with cedar oil to enhance the color and clarity.  I have cut some cheap emeralds that people brought to me for cutting and I oiled them.  A rather milky looking emerald gets a little more clear after oiling and definitely improves the over all look of the stone.  Now the good stones:  I really don’t know, but I would strongly recommend you consult a gemologist if you are contemplating spending $10,000 or more.  Also demand a GIA cert.  Look at this expense as insurance.  What’s another $100?     

Heliodor – from the Greek meaning sun.  This gem is a beautiful golden yellow color.  Most of it today is coming out of Brazil.  Back in the mid 1990’s I was able to get wonderful heliodor crystals from Tajikistan.  The Taliban seems to have curtailed mining from that part of the world.                                                  

Morganite – Named after financier J.P.Morgan in 1910.  Pink, peachy-pink, yellow-pink.  Mostly out of Brazil these days.  Hard to come by in large sizes with good clarity.  Very pretty.                       


Red Beryl – formerly called bixbite and named after Maynard Bixby of Utah.  Some people market this gem as “red emerald”.  Red emerald is very rare and therefore pricey.  Not many faceted stones are available to the public and even then only in small sizes of 1 to 2 carats.  Truly a collectors stone.  It’s one of those “put it in a box” gems that I’m so fond of talking about.      


Green Beryl –  This stone is also beautiful when cut well.  Emerald is distinguished by the prescience of chromium.  All other shades of green that do not have chromium are classified as green beryl.  One problem I see here is that citrine (yellow quartz) has a reflective index (ability to reflect light) very similar to beryl.  Citrine can be exposed to radiation until it gets a green-yellow color.  This stone is quite common and not of the same value as beryl.  Make sure you are guaranteed that what you are getting is green beryl.       

The photos on this post were not all that easy to find.  The blue aquamarine was the easiest because of its popularity. Next I searched for emerald.  I have never seen so much garbage in faceted stones.  Absolutely shameful.  Highly visible flaws and cutting that looked like a beginner was learning to cut.  I appreciate the fact that photographing gemstones is very difficult and the people with the best stones seem to have the best photography.  Try it sometime.  It took hours of research to get these photos.  I can’t just throw anything up here, and I’m reviewing not just one product.  I need to use photos that are not copyrighted for my blogs and photos I have permission to use.  As an affiliate I can use photos published by the advertisers I represent.  In the case of emeralds, the best photos that represent the true beauty of these gems were very expensive stones.  I’m not trying to push these particular stones, but these are truly great examples.  Heliodor, green beryl, and morganite is also rather scarce these days in good quality.  I took the time to research for representative photos to help you see what good gems look like.  Thank you for stopping by.  Robert


This is an affiliate review page.  I am not personally selling these stones, nor do I have them in my possession.  After being a gem cutter for 25 years I have a good eye for stones that stand out and deserve special attention.  Any and all warranties are between you and the seller.  I hope you appreciate my perspective.  Buying through one of my links will not cost you anything more, but I would be paid a small commission.  Thank you.  Robert

New friends that will open your eyes

I will not be reviewing individual items in this post.  I am reviewing individual websites that I feel are doing a wonderful job in bringing you great choices in their respective niches.  We will be looking at all things beautiful from the easily affordable to the quite expensive.  All of these sites deliver quality merchandise that is unusual and they provide excellent service.  These sites have thousands of great items and it is up to you to explore and enjoy.  I could not possibly do justice to all of the available items in a short blog.  This is meant to be a guide.  Nothing more.

Silver rush style

A family run business that specializes in silver jewelry with gemstones.  



ONE OF THE KIND QUALITY MEXICAN FIRE OPAL HAMMERED STERLING SILVER BRACELET / CUFF   $ 119.55                                                                                                                                   






                                                                                                                                                                       NOVICA                                                                                                                                                         This company has fascinated me for years.  They look all over the world for handmade artistic items.  We will look at some jewelry today.  Mostly with stones.  Many, many items too numerous for this review.  take your time and enjoy this site.

Blue Topaz on Sterling Silver Ring with Gold Plated Accents, ‘Romantic at Heart’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     $ 77.99                                 

Handcrafted Bali Hinged Silver Cuff Bracelet with Amethysts, ‘Empress of Gelgel’                   

                                $ 97.99 

Beaded Jade and Quartz Bracelet with Elephant Charm, ‘Elephant Remembrance’                                                                                                                                                         

         $ 31.99

White Rose and Yellow 14k Gold Ring from Brazil, ‘Tricolor Ensemble’                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                   $ 230.39                                                                                                                              

Jade Beaded Bracelet Handmade in Thailand with Elephant, ‘Jade Elephant’                                                                                                                                                                                                                           $ 22.99                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


This is a wonderful company that can offer one stop shopping.  Choose your setting.  Choose your diamond.  Choose colored stones if you like. Decide what metal you want.  You can control the price of the finished product.  A huge selection that you will never find in a conventional jewelry store.  Cutting edge in the jewelry industry.  I have chosen six examples for you to see from the $600 range up to the $5,000 range. Look at these beautiful designs!  Please enjoy.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Two Hearts Ring

Two hearts meet in one simply perfect ring style. Create this style in your birthstones to add extra meaning.   14k yellow gold and emeralds in this ring.  Super design.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         $ 590.00    

Ocean Ring

Gently curving waves embrace a brilliant gem in this feminine design with elegantly simple lines.   14 kt white gold and London blue topaz in this ring.                                            

                $ 630.00        

Isabella Ring

This inspired design has a delicate wave of bezel-set gemstones curving on opposite sides of the center gemstone.    14 kt white gold and aquamarine in this ring.  Simply beautiful.                                                                                                                                                     $ 1,420.00               

Adele Ring

Love the brilliance of a round gem but the geometry of a princess cut? The gems surrounding the round brilliant center gem in this gorgeous design have a square profile, allowing you to have the best of both worlds. And with its sparkling halo and gem-covered shank the total effect is dazzling. 14 kt white gold.   Aquamarine and diamonds in this ring shown here.                                                                                                                                                                                                        $ 2, 130.00                                       

Va Va Voom Ring

Packed with 58 bright pave-set gems surrounding a princess-cut gem center, this stunning ring is brilliant from every angle. This statement signature piece is a jewelry wardrobe must-have.  14 kt white gold.                                                                                                                                                         $ 3,300.00                                                                                                                                                                                         

Roxanne Ring

A sleek circle of channel-set round brilliant-cut gems surrounds the center stone and then continues down the band in this modern and feminine design.  14 kt rose gold and white gold.  1 ct center stone – diamond with tanzanite and diamond melee.  Great design.                                                                                                                                                                               $ 4,965.00                                                                              



custom jewelry today

Online engagement rings!  Silver gemstone jewelry!  Custom made jewelry!  It is so easy and wonderful today because of technological   advances.  We no longer need to seek out a bench jeweler; make an appointment; and then spend time trying to explain your idea while they try to make a sketch.  The bench jeweler then would sit and painstakingly carve a wax to create a mold for a casting.  Maybe your dream piece could be hand built.  Maybe not.  The jeweler probably would not have the stones of your choice in stock.  He or she would need to get the stones from a gem dealer on memo and then let you pick your stones.  More lost time and running back and forth.          

Not so today.  Today we have fine online jewelry companies that offer one stop shopping for anything you desire.  A brick and mortar store these days simply cannot compete.  They can’t afford the overhead and many are closing their doors permanently.  Online you are dealing directly with the manufacturer.  A marvelous piece of equipment that is very expensive is a 3D design computer that will then control the automatic carving of a wax for casting a setting.  This eliminates hours and hours of hand carving and enables your design to be less costly.  The manufacturer has thousands of stones in stock ready to go.  You can get the piece made in any precious metal you like.  Silver, platinum, yellow god, white gold, rose gold, maybe even green gold if you ask for it.  This is truly exciting.  I remember a good jeweler that would place orders for his Christmas inventory.  The cost was heartbreaking and choices were limited by his finances.  His concentration was constantly being interrupted by many things and this would cut down on his productivity.       

Buying online engagement rings

You can choose your setting.  You can choose your center stone.  You can buy a center stone diamond in many clarity and color grades.  This allows YOU to control the price.  You will not need to deal with a person trying to sell you on a stock item.  More good news:  PAYMENT OPTIONS!  Take up to 90 days to pay for your ring.  Everything is guaranteed and you get a GIA certification with your diamond.

Alternative engagement rings

Being a gem cutter who loves color, I am very fond of other center stones. Aquamarine, morganite (pink beryl), tanzanite, heliodor (yellow beryl). All surrounded by white diamonds to enhance the center stone.  These make a great alternative to an expensive diamond center stone.      

Go out to a local mall and take a look at what many young people are driving  today.  Big trucks!  They are comfortable.  Safe.  You can move things and haul things and go in the snow.  This is an example of the generational shift.  A truck. A widescreen TV.  A smart phone and a computer.  Priorities are different.  BUT; they fall in love and naturally want to commemorate the beginning of a huge life event.  What I’m saying here is think about your priorities and your finances; your likes and dislikes;  openly discuss the subject of engagement rings and celebrate your love for each other.  Go shopping online.  No pressure. Lots of choices and nothing to fear.

Blessings.  Robert