Storefront on Jeweler's Row in Philadelphia

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hardness a factor in Colored Stone Engagement Rings

In recent years, it has become rapidly apparent that a Diamond Ring is no longer the only option for men looking to propose to their girlfriends.  Many women today are preferring various Colored Stone Engagement Rings as a way to stand out amongst crowd and be unique.  For nearly a century Diamond has dominated the engagement ring market. However, recent controversies in the ethical practices of diamond mining, as well as a consumer trend toward colored stones have made led to an increase in demand for gemstones in beautiful Blues, Reds, Yellows etc.

When choosing an alternative to diamond for your engagement ring, one of the most overlooked factors is the HARDNESS of the gemstone.  Most women simply decide they like a certain color, and begin to explore their gemstone options in that particular hue.  It should be noted that within a certain color category, there are also different DURABILITY considerations that should be made.

Diamond will always be coveted, not just for its sparkle, but for its durability.  On the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, diamond is the hardest and most resistant to chips, breaks, and scratches.  It is this characteristic of diamond that has always made it the most suitable to be worn on an everyday basis.

I can't think of a single woman who wouldn't want to wear her engagement ring everyday, so it is important to make sure you do not buy your fiance a gemstone that is NOT durable enough to be worn everyday.

Here is a brief rundown of some of the more popular gemstones in today's market and how they compare as far as hardness/durability.

(The Mohs Hardness Scale is a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the hardest and 1 being the softest)

10:  Colored Diamond:  Fancy Yellow, Blue, Pink etc.
9:    Corundum: Ruby, Sapphire, Fancy Color Sapphire
8:    Alexandrite, Chrysoberyl, Topaz, Spinel
7:    Beryl:  Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite
       Quartz:  Amethyst, Citrine, Lemon Quartz etc.
       Tourmaline:  Rubellite, Chrome Tourmaline, Paraiba Tourmaline
6:    Tanzanite, Iolite, Peridot, Garnet, Zircon, Chalcedony, Jade
5:    Opal, Lapis, Diopside, Turquoise

Gemstones softer than a 5 on the Mohs Hardness scale are risky choices for engagement rings.  Many jewelers will even warn consumers about wearing Emerald or Tanzanite as engagement rings, as these stones tend to scratch and abrade easily.

Just keep in mind that Sapphire comes in any color of the rainbow, and should be considered as the first choice for a woman looking for a specific colored stone engagement ring!

Your fiance and your jeweler will thank you!

Visit us online at to start s

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Easier Way To Buy Online

In the ultra-information age that is 2014, it is becoming increasingly more common for engagement ring shoppers to purchase a diamond online.  Whether it is the perceived notion that online prices are lower, or the fear of pushy jewelers pressuring them to buy in the store, the internet has become an increasingly popular marketplace for diamonds.  

However, there are cons to purchasing online as well.  Mainly, you don't get to see the quality of the product you are purchasing before you purchase it.  

We have had many a Blue Nile customer come into our store asking for an appraisal, because they are unsure if they paid for the quality ring that they were delivered.  Sure, if you are buying an extremely high quality diamond, the variance in how these stones will look is miniscule.  But medium quality stones will vary considerably in their appearance.  This is something that a customer will learn if he/she shopped in a store, but that you do not necessarily learn when shopping online.  

An appraisal is another thing that most online retailers do not provide.  Insurance for your engagement ring is an important point that many brick and mortar jewelers will stress when selling you a diamond. Online retailers will provide the Diamond Grading Certificate but not a retail replacement appraisal should there be a loss or damage to the ring.  

Basically, buying online does not provide the services that a physical jeweler will provide for you AFTER the purchase has been made.  

Here at Sydney Rosen, we have a different philosophy to buying online.  Any customer who makes a purchase on can come into the store for a complimentary appraisal.  Furthermore, many of the diamonds listed on our Diamond Search are available to be viewed in our store prior to making a purchase.  All diamond prices listed on our website will be honored when purchasing in the store.  

Visit us ONLINE at to search for your engagement ring today! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

What's the deal with Alexandrite?

For all of you June babies, you've probably at one point or another been confused about your birthstone. Pearl and Alexandrite are both consider birthstones for june, but what the heck is an Alexandrite anyway?  Well, to get technical, Alexandrite is a rare variety of pleochroic chrysoberyl found mainly in the Ural mountains.  Or in layman's terms, a color changing gemstone from Russia.  

The gemstone was named for the former Tsar of Russia, Alexander II.  It was discovered by a mineralogist in the early 1800's, who initially thought he had discovered a new deposit of Emerald.  It was only after the sun went down, and he lit candles in his laboratory that he noticed that the gemstone had turned from a blueish-green hue to a vibrant red.  

Gemstone dealers often romanticize Alexandrite with cheesy slogans like "Emerald by day and Ruby by night".  However, Alexandrite only shows distinct color change in EXTREMELY fine quality. Most commercial alexandrite displays only very subtle change in color.  In fact, genuine alexandrite with noticeable color change is usually far too expensive for common jewelry. Typically a synthetic color changing material is substituted for the real thing in things like mothers rings.  

That being said, rare exquisite Alexandrite does still exist in the market place.  The example shown below is a 26.75 carat cushion cut stone that is considered one of the rarest cut stones ever discovered with a high level of color change.

Alexandrite of this quality has not be found in decades.  Most of the original fine material found in Russia has been mined dry, and only very small or poor quality deposits have been located since. Other color changing stones have been found such as color changing sapphires and garnets, however, none match the exquisite beauty or intense gemological phenomenon as the original Russian' material.  

We do not currently have any legitimate alexandrite for sale in our store, and fine quality stones are still hard to come by.  We do, however, offer synthetic versions for sale in our Mother's Ring page.  

Visit us online at to start shopping now! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Apply for Financing at Sydney Rosen!

Our long-standing relationship with the American Gem Society (AGS) has allowed us incredible financing terms through their partners Wells Fargo!

You can now apply for 6-month 0% interest financing applicable to any purchase at Sydney Rosen Company.

Simply follow the link below to get approved today!

Financing with Sydney Rosen

Once approved you will be sent a Platinum Select card with your account information that can be used to purchase Engagement Rings, Wedding Bands or anything else you or your significant other could desire from our store!

Financing options are currently only applicable towards In-Store purchases.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Saltwater vs Freshwater Pearls

June is just a few days away!  With the "unofficial" official first month of summer comes Pearls.  Not just the birthstone for June, but a fun beach-themed organic gemstone that looks good with any outfit.  

Pearls are no longer just a simple strand necklace to be given for at 16th birthday or college graduation anymore.  Freshwater pearls from China and Southeast Asia are inexpensive today, making them a great everyday fashion item.  

Pearls are grown in mollusks using varying sized bead nuclei to begin the culturing process. Freshwater pearls start with a larger bead and are grown in rivers and lakes where faster moving water speeds the culturing process making them cheaper to make and therefore less expensive for the end consumer. Saltwater "akoya" pearls are grown using much smaller bead nuclei, and grow for much longer periods of time.  This makes their "nacre" or outer layers thicker and more lustrous, and more valuable. Saltwater pearls are also generally rounder as the culturing process is more even in still water.  

Many people still prefer to own both varieties of pearls.  Valuable saltwater pearls for special occasions, and funky freshwater pearl jewelry for everyday wear.  Here at Sydney Rosen, we have a wide array of pearl jewelry to suit any taste or budget.  Currently we are stocking tahitian south sea pearls in a variety of darker hues along with our classic white/cream strands.  

Visit us online at to learn about our store, and stop by to see some pearls this summer! 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gemstone of the Month: Emerald

Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May.  Not only is emerald one of the "big three" precious gemstones not called diamond (ruby and sapphire are the other two), but "Emerald Green" was the color of the year for 2013!  

Emerald is a green to blueish green gemstone in the "beryl" family of minerals.  Other gems in the beryl group include aquamarine, morganite, and various other colored stones.  The main coloring agent in Emerald is chromium, in fact, beryl which derives it green hue from another element such as vanadium is not considered to be true emerald and is often referred to as "green beryl".

Though treasured throughout history for its rich green hue, Emerald is usually visually imperfect to the naked eye.  Dark mineral inclusions are so common that almost all emerald in existence has been "oiled" to improve its appearance.  This process makes the eye-visible inclusions in emerald less noticeable.  Emerald is also relatively low on the Mohs hardness scale, leaving the stone vulnerable to breaking.

Columbia is most famous for its emeralds, and most of the finest quality material is still mined there today.  However, large deposits of good quality material have been found in Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Russia.  Many famous artifacts from the Incan empire of Peru, which comprised much of modern day Colombia are carved from solid slabs or Emerald.  Below is a famous Emerald carving known as the "Mogul Emerald"

Today the Emerald trade is still going strong.  It is a popular gemstone from simple birthstone jewelry to impressive red carpet pieces.

You can shop for emerald jewelry on or by clicking the link below:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Continuing Education about Diamonds

As a professional gemologist, it is my duty to periodically brush up on my educational requirements regarding the items I sell.  Since our expertise here at the Sydney Rosen Company is primarily Diamonds, and April is the month of the Diamond, I felt it would be fun to go over some of the fundamentals with you all.

I'll start off with a diagram of the "modern" cut diamond.

There are 4 main parts of a full cut diamond.  The Crown, Pavilion, Girdle, and

.  The Crown is the top-half of the diamond from the Girdle to the Table.  The Pavilion is the bottom half of the diamond from the Girdle to the Culet.  The Girdle is the middle portion, which can range in thickness from thin to extremely thin, to thick to extremely thick, depending on how the diamond was cut.  The Culet is the point at the bottom of the diamond.  Older cut diamonds may have a large polished facet as a Culet instead of a point.  A fifth important part of a diamond is the Table, which is the large octagon shaped facet at the top of the stone.

Next I will briefly go over the 4 C's of Diamonds, which are Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight.


A diamonds cut is determined as the combination of its relative proportions and how well they maximize the diamonds brilliance or light return.  Diamonds cut like the diagrams below will not display the proper amount sparkle.

The proper proportions and angles to create the most brilliant diamond are shown below:

In general, a diamonds brilliance is a factor of the Total Depth Percentage of a diamonds as compared to it's diameter, and the Diameter of the TABLE facet as compared to the Girdle Diameter which is shown below.
If the table size, and the total depth percentage fall within a desired range, the diamonds is said to be well cut.  The GIA goes further to give cut "grades" that range from Excellent, to Poor.  This cut grade system also takes into account Polish and  Symmetry, which are functions of how perfectly the rest of the diamond was finished.

Obviously, with the vast array of different diamond shapes, the desirable ranges for the table size and depth will vary from shape to shape.


Color is a much simpler metric.  It is the degree to which a diamond shows "color".  Diamonds are "Colorless" gems, however the vast majority are not perfectly white.  Most show some degree of yellow or sometimes brown.  The GIA developed a system that rates a diamonds color from D-Z.  D being the whitest, and Z the yellowest.  A Diamond's color is permanent, it is a function of trace elements that formed in the diamond as it was growing.  However, diamond can treated to improve it's Color.


Clarity is a measure of how free of inclusions or imperfection a diamond is.  Diamond is a mineral after all, and not all crystals will be perfect.  Most diamonds have blemishes and imperfections, however, if they cannot be seen to the naked to eye, they usually do not affect the overall beauty of the stone.

Carat Weight:

Carat weight is simple.  It is how much a diamond weighs on a gemological carat scale.  Carat weight and Cut have an interesting relationship, since how well a diamond is cut will determine how large it looks in comparison to it's true weight.

I hope this was a helpful reminder about the 4 C's.  There are more diagrams and more in depth lessons on our website.

Visit to learn more!

Monday, March 17, 2014

All About Aqua

The birthstone for the month of March is AQUAMARINE.  Aqua is a light toned blue to greenish blue gemstone that is found in many locations all over the world.  The word Aquamarine comes from the latin for "seawater".

Aquamarine is in the Beryl family which also includes Emerald and Morganite.  While Emerald is generally known to have eye visible inclusions, Aquamarine is prized for its purity.  

Aquamarine is found on almost every continent in the world.  However, areas that are most famous for the gem are Brazil, Mozambique and Madagascar.  Aquamarine is often confused with another birthstone Blue Topaz, however, Topaz is typically a darker more saturated blue.  Since fine color Topaz is a much more abundant in the marketplace (and less expensive) than fine Aquamarine, it is often used as a suitable alternative for those shopping for a light blue gem.

A few years ago in 2012, the Smithsonian displayed the "Dom Pedro" Aquamarine, which is the world's largest cut Aqua, next to the infamous hope diamond.  This obelisk shape gemstone weighs over 10,000 carats, making it one of the largest gemstones of any variety ever cut.

Keep following the blog for more posts, and as always visit us online at !

Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Academy Awards Best Jewelry

The 2014 Oscar's were last night, and your favorite celebrities did not disappoint in their selections of the worlds finest jewelry to wear on the red carpet.  Here is a recap of some of the most dazzling looks from last nights broadcast....

Charlize Theron in GORGEOUS Harry Winston Cluster necklace and classic diamond studs.

Oscars 2014: Best Jewelry Charlize Theron Harry Winston

Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett's Opal and Diamond earrings from Chopard.

Oscars 2014: Best Jewelry Cate Blanchett Chopard

America's sweetheart Sandra Bullock wore Lorraine Schwartz vintage style diamond ear clips.

Oscars 2014: Best Jewelry Sandra Bullock Lorraine Schwartz

Naomi Watts and Jennifer Biel followed the trend of night by wearing short diamond chokers.

Oscars 2014: Best Jewelry Naomi Watts BulgariOscars 2014: Best Jewelry Jessica Biel Tiffany & Co.

America's OTHER sweetheart wore (yet again) a diamond necklace draped down her back...

Oscars 2014: Best Jewelry Jennifer Lawrence Neil Lane

And of course, who could have missed Angelina Jolie's knockout 42 CARAT flawless diamond earrings...
Oscars 2014: Best Jewelry Angelina Jolie Robert Procop

Sadly, we will have to wait until the Emmy's at the end of the summer to gawk at more of hollywoods most beautiful leading ladies jewelry...but i'm sure i'll find something else to before then to grab your attention.

Visit us at to shop for your very own custom made jewelry.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AGTA GemFair

Perhaps the largest and most colorful gathering of jewels and jewelers in the world occurs every year at the American Gem Trade Association's GemFair in Tucson, Arizona.

Every year tens of thousands of attendees travel across the globe to buy and sell precious gemstones in every hue, tone and saturation.  It is, in fact, the largest trade show in the world specializing in semi-precious stones.

Rarer gemstones such as Black Opal from Australia, fine Aquamarine and Tourmaline from Brazil, and the highest quality pearls and jade from Asia are among the most coveted items up for sale.  However, gemstones are not the only draw.  This year, for example, new CAD design and 3-D printing technologies are on display.

This year, buyers are actually able to purchase a fine gem, create a custom CAD design for the gem, and have a 3-D model of the design printed for them to take home ALL IN THE SAME DAY!

In this way, the AGTA Tucson show is not only a great resource to buy/sell gemstones, but an opportunity to try out the latest and greatest in design technology and see if it makes sense for your business!

Our website does not exactly offer the level of custom design that is available at GemFair, however you CAN build your own custom engagement ring and have it shipped directly to your house.  Try it here!

Design Your Own Engagement Ring

and as always...visit us at our homepage to learn about our nearly 70 year history!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

All About Amethyst

Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February.  It is one of the most recognizable gemstones due to it's unique purple color and its relative abundance in nature.  Amethyst is actually just the name for the purple variety of Quartz, which is the second most abundant mineral in the earth's crust.

 Amethyst's typical hue ranges from a light pinkish violet to the vivid purple most people associate with the gem.  However, Amethyst is commonly color "zoned" so several different tones/saturation of violet and purple may appear in a single crystal.  Gemstone cutters are trained to cut rough amethyst crystal in a such a way that the finished gemstone looks consistent in color.  In rare occasions, the hue of a quartz crystal can change completely from one end of the crystal to the next, resulting in bi-color gems such as Ametrine a combination of the quartz varietals Amethyst and Citrine. (Pictured Below)

Amethyst has been worn as a gemstone for thousands of years.  The word amethyst actually comes from the Greek for "not intoxicated" as they believed that the stone prevented drunkenness.  Drinking vessels were often carved out of Amethyst in hopes that it would prevent them from becoming drunk.  There is also documented evidence of Egyptian's carving intaglios out of Amethyst crystals, and medieval soldiers wearing carved Amethyst amulets due to the belief that they had healing powers.  

Most of the Amethyst mined for jewelry in today's marketplace is located in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil, which is famous for it's large stock of a variety of different precious and semi-precious gemstones.  Other locales that produce a large amount of Amethyst crystals include Uruguay, Russia, Zambia, South Korea and the United States.  Below is a picture of an Amethyst boulder before and after it is cracked open. 

While not a terribly valuable gemstone due to it's abundance in nature, Amethyst is still coveted all over the world for its gorgeous purple color and it's cultural significance as the traditional birthstone for the month of February.  It can occur in very large sizes so it is popular as a gemstone for cocktail rings and large pendants as well as mother's rings and fashion jewelry.  

Visit us online at to view our large selection of settings.  All of which can be customized to accommodate an Amethyst.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grammy Awards 2014 Jewelry

As far as awards season goes, the Grammy's IS usually the red carpet event in which celebrities tend to take the most risks.  Music is, after all, a vehicle for self expression and this year's awards were no exception.

Sparkle seemed to be the theme of the night, as music's biggest names adorned themselves not just in metallic prints and sequins (Taylor Swift practically wore chain mail), but in dazzling statement jewelry as well. From cocktail rings on practically every finger, to huge dangly earrings, the stars were not afraid to show off this.

Here's a brief recap of some of my favorite pieces seen on the red carpet Sunday night:

Taylor Swift's classic elegance in these emerald cut diamond dangle earrings.

Katy Perry's suite of ruby-colored jewels including these edwardian style earrings and cocktail rings.

Miranda Lambert's OPULENT Opal earrings with Amethyst cabochons...HOLY COW!

Pink's gorgeous Pear shape earrings and suite of matching bracelet and rings

And refusing  to be outdone....I give you....Beyonce's 10 Million worth of diamond rings and earrings

Not too shabby if you ask me!

Keep following the blog the next couple months to see what your favorite celebs wear to the Oscars and Emmy's!

And as always visit us online at

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Golden Globes Jewelry Wrap Up

This years awards season started off with a bang thanks to a slew of A-List actors grabbing industry honors for their performances in 2013's biggest television and box office hits.  Stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo Dicaprio, Michael Douglas, Jared Leto and Amy Adams took home some of the more prestigious awards of the evening.

But as you know we like to focus on the ladies and their jewelry here!  

Minimalism and Art Deco designs seemed to be the trend this year. While Yellow Gold reaffirmed its status as a returning trend.

Here are just some of our favorite looks of the evening:

12 Years As A Slave actress Lupita Nyong'o's short hairdo made her classic diamond studs shine.

While Best Actress in a Comedy for TV winner Amy Poehler wore classic yellow gold cuffs from Jacob and Co.

And American Horror Story star Emma Roberts channeled 20's opulence in these gorgeous turquoise chandeliers danglers

Cate Blanchet and Jennifer Lawrence also got high marks for their Deco inspired earrings (Jennifer's earrings are Neil Lane)....

Overall everyone look fabulous as always and got me excited for the Emmys and Oscars when these stars REALLY dress up and take risks.  No offense Golden Globes...

Visit us online at to shop for diamonds studs and other fine jewelry like this!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Today is coldest day in Philadelphia in at least 20 years...

The thermometer currently reads 6 degrees fahrenheit...with a wind chill of -14 degrees...

I honestly debated opening the store at all today...who in their right mind would willingly go shopping outdoors on Jeweler's Row today.  Yet here I am...patiently awaiting those brave consumers who refuse to let a little arctic air get between them and their jewelry.

Today, I am reminded that many of the diamonds in the vault to my left were mined in conditions just like this!

The Mir Mine, located just outside the small Siberian town of Mirny, is the world's second largest man-made hole after Bingham Canyon Copper Mine in Utah.  Here's a picture of the frostbitten beast herself...

The mine has been inactive since 2001, but at one point produced 10 Million carats of rough diamond a year.

Most astounding of all are the conditions in which this mine was developed.  7 months of harsh winter a year made the frozen ground almost impossible to mine, and the brief summer months turned the earth to slush.  In fact, the diamond processing facility had to be moved some 20 km away from the mine to avoid it sinking into the ground.  It got so cold in some years, that the oil and tires for the trucks needed to transport raw materials would freeze.  Jet engines and Dynamite were often the only tools able to thaw the ground enough to reach the diamonds deep underground.

So if you think it's too cold to go shopping for a diamond...think about the siberian men and women who likely got frostbite just so you can have diamonds to shop for at all.

Stay warm Philadelphia...and try shopping our website from the comfort of your heated home!