Storefront on Jeweler's Row in Philadelphia

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: