April 16, 2021
FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Deeks
Rick Deeks is one of my favorite jewelry designers at Topaz Gallery. Hailing from Eugene, Oregon, Rick incorporates both Baltic and Mediterranean hand engraving in his designs. He also uses spectacular 18kt gold bezel-set pigeon blood rubies and sapphires. No one I know of is doing this kind of work. His pieces are truly today's heirlooms to be passed down from generation to generation.
Rick has provided Topaz Gallery with some stunning bracelets, brooches, and money clips, as well as light-weight but substantial hand-engraved earrings.
Rick is in great demand in the northwest, where he is embellishing hunting knives and motorcycles. Yes, you read it correctly: Motorcycles. Talk about a "unique ride!"
Please stop in and let me show you why I'm so impressed with his creations.
April 1, 2021
Diamond: The Birthstone for April
April's birthstone is the diamond, a white or clear symbol of strength and everlasting love. Among its characteristics is its ability to split white light into the seven colors of the rainbow, a process known as diffraction. This is what gives diamond the sparkle that makes it such a delightful gem. Diamonds are typically known to be colorless or white, but the most common colors are yellow and brown. Yellow and brown diamonds are often referred to as 'champagne' or 'cognac' diamonds. Other diamond colors include pink, red, orange, blue, green, gray and black. These are referred to as fancy diamonds.
With its enduring beauty, clarity, and shimmer, diamond is believed to provide the wearer with emotional balance and clear-headedness. As the hardest of all gemstones, those who wear diamonds can experience increased perseverance and inner strength. Diamonds are believed to amplify energy, thus imparting endurance, strength, and energy to the wearer, enabling them to power through calamity. The April birthstone detoxifies and purifies the body systems, treats chronic conditions and allergies, builds up stamina, and rebalances metabolism.
March 1, 2021
Aquamarine: The Birthstone for March
February 1, 2021
Aquamarine is a type of beryl, the same mineral group as morganite and emerald. The color of the aquamarine stone ranges from blue to blue-green, and can be pale to light-blue, dark-blue, green-blue, or blue-green. The bigger stones often have a darker tone, a trait which makes them more valuable. The more richly-colored the aquamarine, the higher its value.
Aquamarine's name was derived from two Latin words: aqua, which means "water," and mare, which means "sea," given that the color of the March birthstone resembles seawater. Aquamarine evokes images of the sea - a serene and tranquil picture that can bring calm and peace to an owner, thus enhancing intuition and relieving stress. The stone has been associated with fidelity, friendship, health, hope, and youth for centuries.
It is also associated with eternal life, since it combines the color of the sky and the color of water. In some cultures, the stone was believed to have a soothing effect on marriages and relationships. This is because the stone is said to foster awareness and communication skills. In fact, this is one of the reasons that has made it one of the most popular anniversary gifts.
Amethyst: The Birthstone for February
There is really no question in people's minds when it comes to the February birthstone, it is most decidedly amethyst, a gemstone synonymous with purple. This variety of quartz was once highly prized and often valued above ruby and emerald. In fact, amethyst was known in the ancient world as one of the five cardinal gemstones: diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire, and amethyst. Like many of the most well-known gemstones, amethyst's name is used to refer to a specific color between purple and violet. There is more to this February birthstone's color palette, though. The hue (all the colors on the color wheel) and tone (lightness or darkness of the hue) of amethyst vary dramatically. It can range primarily from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple, with hues of red and blue occurring as well.
February is a month that symbolizes the second step into a new year and all the energy and excitement that comes from change and growth. Amethyst calms an active mind, cleanses the body and spirit, and connects us with our higher selves. This soothing gemstone, in all its splendor and charm, is an outstanding choice for February birthstone jewelry.
January 1, 2021
Garnet: The Birthstone for January
December 1, 2020
Garnet is the birthstone of people born in January. This gemstone occurs in a wonderful spectrum of vibrant colors. Whether it is the fiery orange Mandarin garnet, or the rich green Tsavorite variant, this January birthstone is one of the most exquisite gemstones you will encounter. One of the most common variants of garnet is pyrope garnet, which is also deemed to be an excellent gift, symbolizing friendship, loyalty, and trust.
Garnets have a rich history spanning back more than 5,000 years. The January birthstone was believed to be extensively used in Ancient Bohemia (now Czech Republic) during the Bronze Age. In Egypt, garnet necklaces were worn by pharaohs in life, then taken to the afterlife as prized possessions. According to lore, a garnet would warn its owner of imminent danger; hence, it was used as a talisman for centuries. Historians tell us that if your garnet suddenly lost its sheen and luster, it was a direct indication of an impending disaster.
BLUE ZIRCON: The Birthstone for December
November 19, 2020
Zircon is actually the oldest known mineral on Earth. Some samples have been dated 4 billion years old. Popular during the Victorian era, Zircon is often found in English estate jewelry. Throughout the 1900s, Zircon was used as a diamond imitation. Today, Zircon has become an extremely popular gemstone. Australia leads the Zircon market, followed by South Africa. A great deal of Zircon deposits come from Cambodia, Myanmar, and other notable sources include Brazil, Korea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Apart from its shared associations with the color blue and its significance, Zircon expresses balance, spiritual grounding and healing. Blue Zircon is connected to happiness, prosperity, and honor and can be given on the 4th wedding anniversary to convey these meanings. As Zircon occurs in a range of colors, it can be used for a variety of psychic healing treatments and when focusing on the different chakras during meditation. Overall, as a grounding crystal, Zircon can bring physical, emotional and spiritual balance, allowing you to love yourself and others.
FEATURED ARTIST: Michele Walsh
Michele not only tackles but conquers every area of metalsmithing she pursues, from repousse and cloisonne to reticulation and stone setting. They don't really come any better. Sculptor and painter, Michele is a visionary. It's no secret that one of her favorite gemstones is opal, she is passionate about them and uses them in many of her creations. She is joyful and almost child-like in her love of gemstones. We have spent many hours looking and talking about the lure of the gemstone.
Michele creates only one of a kind pieces, and through the years has fabricated many special orders for us at Topaz Gallery. We are always excited when Michele brings in her new creations. Please stop by to see some of her latest pieces, you will be astounded!
November 9, 2020
FEATURED ARTIST: Cherie Magnello
Our relationship with Cherie Magnello from Bernard, Maine, goes back over 20 years. I have had the privilege of attending the Tucson Gem Show with Cherie, and she has a discerning eye when it comes to selecting stones. She is careful to select only the most unique and high-quality gemstones and has the uncanny ability to know almost immediately what she is going to make and how to set them...genius!
Cherie's design philosophy is clean and neat, never fussy. She creates bold, modern jewelry with spectacular stones, clean lines, and little embellishment. She lets the stones speak! Her metalwork is architectural and geometric, again highlighting the stone in uncomplicated settings. She is known for her distinctive square rings, which are surprisingly comfortable to wear.
Cutting edge and contemporary, these pieces are perfect when you want to make a statement!
November 2, 2020
FEATURED ARTIST: Brenda Smith
Black and Gold
Atlanta's own award-winning designer, Brenda Smith, recently brought in some amazing diamond, pearl, and gemstone creations for the Holiday Season. Make an appointment and be the first to see the collection, either privately or with a select few. Refreshments available.
Brenda's ''Simply'' collection features yellow and white gold earrings and necklaces with brilliant diamonds for that SPECIAL Holiday gift.
Her "Vintage'' collection in sterling or sterling with gold accents is sure to dazzle, especially at these modest price points, they will tempt you to take one home for yourself...and why not? It's time to indulge!
The ''Black and Gold'' collection has been enhanced with new color gemstones of peridot, blue topaz, citrine, and garnet, as well as pearl and white topaz. Inspired by a forging class, this collection is dark yet brilliant, edgy, and organic with hints of diamonds sparkling from the blackened metal and high carat gold...a show stopper if ever there was one. They remind me of Diamond Head in Hawaii, a mountain of dark cragginess with little bright shimmers.
November 1, 2020
IMPERIAL TOPAZ: The Birthstone for November
October 1, 2020
Imperial Topaz is believed to enhance creativity, compassion, success, and balance. The name Topaz comes from Sanskrit meaning fire. The Egyptians believed Topaz was colored with the golden glow of the sun god Ra. This made Topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful against harm. The Romans associated Topaz with Jupiter, who also is the god of the sun.
Topaz is said to enhance one’s spiritual potential. Legend tells us that it is used to increase intelligence and creativity, impart wisdom which will in turn lead to wealth. The stone of “true love and success in all endeavors,” it can be used to promote understanding, compassion, kindness, and empathy.
Topaz occurs in a range of different colors. The deep golden yellow and pink of Imperial Topaz are the most valuable. Blue and green stone are also quite popular. Topaz is a hard gemstone, but it can be split with a single blow, a trait it shares with the diamond.
OPAL: The Birthstone for October
Opal is hardened silica gel. It is created of tiny spheres of amorphous silica gel. A non-crystalline stone, almost 20% of its body weight is water that has been encapsulated. The Opal has been known to dry out and crack if not cared for properly. There are a great many colors and names for different types of Opals like the blues, greens, and boulder opals shown here. Gem-quality Opal shows iridescent flashes of color.
Opals are formed by filling the cavities in sedimentary rocks or in the veins of igneous rocks. It is also known to replace organic materials in fossils, wood, and shells, as well as bone. Australia has been the main producer of Opals since the 19th century, with other deposits coming from Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Mexico, Africa, and the US.
Opal is known as a stone of inspiration, enhancing one’s creativity and imagination. It will help one release inhibitions as well as enhance one’s memory. It is said to be a very spiritual stone.
Opal is associated with water and is a silicate containing water, correlating with one’s emotions. Thus this stone will amplify and mirror deep emotions, feelings, and desires that one may have forgotten. With this amplification, one becomes more spontaneous, uninhibited, and will benefit from imagination, visualization, and vivid dreams.
September 17, 2020
TRUNK SHOW: October 2 & 3
We will be hosting a special two-day trunk show for Colorado artist Ryan Gardner on Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3. In his work, Ryan combines stones and metal in new ways, creating works of art for people to wear and enjoy every day. Ryan's work will be available all day, and you can meet Ryan on Friday from 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.
September 5, 2020
FEATURED WORK: Jewelry of India
September 1, 2020
In our effort to support indigenous artists and their amazing skills and craftsmanship, we have collected some special pieces of jewelry in our travels. Many incorporate carved and painted wood beads, hammered silver, amber, turquoise, and other semi-precious stones, and processes that are in danger of being lost. These pieces are not usually displayed in the gallery, so be sure and ask if you would like to see them.
SAPPHIRE: The Birthstone for September
Sapphire is the second hardest crystal, second only to the Diamond. Historically, Sapphire’s beauty and enduring strength made it popular as a talisman among royalty. Legend tells us that medieval kings wore the stone not only to protect themselves from harm, but also to prevent jealousy among their courts.
Sapphire is a corundum. All corundum that is not red, which is Ruby, is known as Sapphire, although the name generally refers to the stone that is dark blue. The treasured blue come from titanium and iron. Iron alone produces yellows, often referred to as Oriental Topaz. Titanium and iron combinations can also result in greens, while all three elements create a purple stone. A rare and popular Padparascha Sapphire gets is pinkish orange hue from a mixture of chromium and iron. A white Sapphire is perfectly clear with no inclusions whatsoever.
Sapphire was used as protection from the evil eye as well as to reflect harmful or evil spells. Sapphire may be used to open oneself up to receive heavenly messages, as well as aiding one in clarifying the meaning of messages received. When used during meditation, Sapphire may assist in finding hidden potential, and sharpening the vision of one’s life work. Sapphires can help achieve material dreams and desires, as well as sustain wealth once it is acquired.
August 13, 2020
FEATURED ARTIST: May Tzou
May Tzou works primarily in rose cut diamonds set in sterling silver with accents of high karat gold. Her collection has a very elegant feel with clusters of large diamonds, and at the same time an almost rustic feel with timeless designs and natural stones; a perfect combination of casual elegance. Her workmanship is meticulous, but her pieces are affordably priced.
August 1, 2020
August 1, 2020
PERIDOT: The Birthstone for August
Peridot is one of the few stones found in only one color. The reason for the deep green color with a slight golden hue is due to fine traces of iron. The amount of iron is what gives the stone a range of color from yellow-green and olive to brownish green. The olive green stones are called Olivine, the yellow ones Chrysolite, and the spring green are Peridot.
Peridot is gem quality specimens of the mineral olivine. Sources of Peridot include Egypt, China, Myanmar, Brazil, Norway, the USA, as well as Australia and South Africa. The Crusaders brought Peridot to Europe in the Middle Ages from St. John’s Island in the Red Sea, where it has been mined for over 3,500 years.
The friendly and joyous energy of this stone helps to create and seal friendships, clearing the heart and releasing the ego, which in turns cleanses the mind and soul of jealousy and anger thus bringing about the sense of peace and quiet amusement which leads to solid friendships.
Peridot is said to have the wonderful ability to bring vitality and healing to the entire body. Told to increase confidence, patience, and assertiveness simultaneously. Peridot is a visionary stone which helps to connect us to our destinies and to understand the purpose of our existence. It will assist one in visualizing not only the ultimate peak of spiritual continuation but also the peak of our physical bodies as well. It may assist one in looking into the past to find the gift in our experience, but one must be ready as it is attuned to the attainment of spiritual truth. Peridot shows one how to forgive, admit ones mistakes, take responsibility for ones own life and move forward.
July 1, 2020
RUBY: The Birthstone for July
Ruby has always enjoyed a very regal position in legend, myth, and lore. For thousands of years, it has been a favored talisman for royalty worldwide. Ruby has long been considered to be one of the more powerful gifts to honor Buddha and Krishna. The Hindu people have believed that Ruby’s red glow came from an eternal flame that no human could possibly extinguish; thus making it quite spiritual.
Ruby is in the family of corundums, which are aluminum oxide silicates that gain their color by chromium, iron, and/or titanium. Gemologists consider a ‘perfect’ corundum to be crystal clear. It is chromium that colors stones pinkish red to plum, and those are classified as Ruby. All other colors are often classified as Sapphires.
The Ruby is said to bring fire into one’s life, offering encouragement to follow one’s bliss. It will light the darkness of ones life with a spark of energy, conquering darkness on all levels and planes. Ruby will promote creativity and will grant expansive awareness and manifestation. This stone has been used to stabilize one’s economic status. When one seems unable to concentrate , Ruby will help bring clarity as well as wisdom, helping one choose the most productive path and sustain motivation.
June 1, 2020
PEARL: The Birthstone for June
A pearl is produced in a living mollusk such as an oyster (the most common) or an abalone clam. These hard, round, glistening objects appear inside the soft tissue of a mollusk due to the insertion or introduction of some kind of irritant. There are four major types of cultured pearls: Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and Freshwater. This June birthstone is relatively soft, so it is most commonly used in necklaces or earrings, where they are unlikely to be scratched.
Pearls occur in a wide array of colors, the most familiar of these are white and cream (light yellowish brown), followed by black, grey, and silver, which are also very popular hues. This June birthstone can be found in warm colors, such as yellow, orange, and pink; or in cool hues, such as blue, green, and violet.
Pearls are considered to be gems of nourishment and nurturing. Indeed, pearls have been used for centuries for their healing properties, especially in traditional Asian medicine. As spiritual objects, pearls represent a calm and centered being, focused on faith, loyalty, integrity, and purity. They are also potent symbols of femininity that help women discover their inner goddess, and harness the powerful feminine energy of nature and the universe. For many people, the most outstanding spiritual attribute of this June birthstone is its connection to purity and loyalty. As a result, more brides are choosing to wear pearls on their wedding day.
May 20, 2020
FEATURED ARTIST: Jan Mayer
We have a beautiful new collection of scarves from artist Jan Mayer. These are gorgeous hand-painted and hand-dyed silk or silk blend scarves ideal as an accent or shawl. Available is a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles.
May 1, 2020
EMERALD: The Birthstone for May
Emerald, one of the big four precious gemstones (diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire), is the primary choice of birthstone for May. A bluish green to green variety of beryl, emerald symbolizes the verdant growth and luscious abundance of spring. This rich gem has a durability that lends itself well to all types of jewelry, and it will open and nurture the heart of whoever wears it. As a member of the beryl family, the only thing that distinguishes emerald from its siblings (aquamarine, morganite, goshenite, etc.) is its color - emerald green - though what actually constitutes emerald green is up to interpretation. The most desirable emerald is one that has a slightly bluish green hue in a medium dark tone and strong to vivid saturation. Gemstones with weaker, lighter tones are classified as green beryl.
Worn in the ancient world as a talisman to protect from enchantment and evil spells, the May birthstone was also considered a revealer of truth that could "see" through lies and false oaths. The May birthstone's name is synonymous with green, a color that represents growth, nature, money, fertility and safety. As the color of the Heart Chakra, the wellspring of emotions, green is a positive color that balances emotions, enabling us to love ourselves and others unconditionally. As a stone of inspiration and boundless patience, emerald conveys unity and compassion, promotes friendship and harmony between partners, and is particularly well-known for encouraging domestic bliss, contentment, and loyalty in marriage.