Education

Pure gold is equal to 1/24 pure gold in alloy. Thus, 14 karat means:

  • 14 parts of 24 are pure gold, while the remaining 10 parts are mixed with other metal.
  • 24k=100% = .9999
  • 18k =75% = . 750
  • 14k=58.3%= .5833 (.585)
  • 10k=41.6%=.4166 (.417)

Throughout the world gold weight is based on the troy ounce. Listed below is a reference table.

  1. 24 Grains = 1 pennyweight = 1.55552 grams
  2. 20 Pennyweight = 1 ounce = 31.1035 grams
  3. 12 ounces (troy) = 1 pound = 373.2417grams

The Elements used to produce different gold colors are:

  • YELLOW GOLD = GOLD, COPPER & SILVER
  • Gemstone Information

  • WHITE GOLD = GOLD, NICKEL OR PALLADIUM, ZINC & COPPER


October Birthstones

Michael's Diamond and Gold ClubIndividuals born in October get to choose between two birthstones tourmaline and opal. Each gem then unveils nearly limitless possibilities, as each one comes in a rainbow of shades and color combinations.

In fact, both of October’s birthstones came to earth through a journey involving rainbows, according to legend.

Between tourmaline (whose color depends on trace elements in its chemical makeup) and opal (which diffracts light to show a play of multiple colors), October’s birthstones offer a full spectrum of gems to suit anyone’s personal tastes.

Opal Overview

Michael's Diamond and Gold ClubThe name opal originates from the Greek word opallios, which meant to see a change in color. The Roman scholar Pliny used the word opalus when he wrote about this gem’s kaleidoscopic play of colors that could simulate shades of any stone.

Opal’s characteristic play-of-color was explained in the 1960s, when scientists discovered that it’s composed of microscopic silica spheres that diffract light to display various colors of the rainbow. These flashy gems are called precious opals; those without play-of-color are common opals.

Dozens of opal varieties exist, but only a few (like Fire Opal and Boulder Opal) are universally recognized. Opals are often referred to by their background body color black or white.

Michael’s Diamond and Gold ClubOpal’s classic country of origin is Australia. Seasonal rains soaked the parched outback, carrying silica deposits underground into cracks between layers of rock. When the water evaporated, these deposits formed opal. Sometimes, silica seeped into spaces around wood, seashells and skeletons, resulting in opalized fossils.

Since opal was discovered in Australia around 1850, the country has produced 95 percent of the world’s supply. Opal is also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho.

The water content of opal can range from three to 21 percent usually between 6 and 10 in gem-quality material. This, combined with hardness of only 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale, makes opal a delicate gem that can crack or craze under extreme temperature, dehydration or direct light.

Wearing opal is well worth the extra care, though. For centuries, people have associated this gem with good luck. Though some recent superstitions claim that opals can be bad luck to anyone not born in October, this birthstone remains a popular choice.

Opal History

Michael’s Diamond and Gold ClubAccording to Arabic legend, opals fell from the sky in bolts of lightning. Australian aborigines, meanwhile, believed that the creator came to earth on a rainbow, leaving these colorful stones where his feet touched the ground.

In 75 AD, the Roman scholar Pliny compared opals to volcanoes and vibrant paintings, noting that their dancing play of color could simulate shades of any gems.

During the Middle Ages, people believed that the opal possessed the powers of each gemstone whose color appeared in its sheen, making it a very lucky stone.

But Sir Walter Scott’s 1829 book, Anne of Geierstein, transformed opal’s lucky perception. The story featured an enchanted princess who wore an opal that changed colors with her moods. A few drops of holy water extinguished the stone’s magic fire, though, and the woman soon died.

People began associating opals with bad luck. Within a year after publication of Scott’s book, opal sales in Europe fell by 50 percent.

Discoveries of opal deposits in Australia revived opal’s image after 1850. The outback began producing 95 percent of the world’s supply, and many of its finest opals.

The world’s largest and most valuable opal, Olympic Australis, came from Coober Pedy, Australia in 1956, during the Olympic Games in Melbourne. Valued at $2.5 million in 2005, this gem measures 11 inches long and weighs 17,000 carats (7.6 pounds).

After scientists discovered the spherical silica structure of opal in the 1960s, they figured out how to synthesize it in 1974.

Since then, opal has gained more popularity through recent discoveries in Ethiopia. Material mined in the Shewa Province in 1994 wasn’t desirable because it was dark and tended to crack easily. But deposits in the Wollo Province, discovered in 2008, brought vivid play-of-color displays to the market.

Australia’s depleting supplies of classic opal impact the price of this uniquely kaleidoscopic gem. Because its flashing play-of-color can suit many changing moods and tastes, the opal stays in high demand.

Tourmaline Overview

Michael's Diamond and Gold ClubThe name “tourmaline” comes from the Sinhalese words tura mali, which mean “stone of mixed colors.” As its name implies, tourmaline stands apart from other gems with its broad spectrum of colors in every shade of the rainbow.

Tourmaline is not one mineral, but a fairly complex group of minerals with different chemical compositions and physical properties. Certain trace elements produce distinct colors, and many resulting varieties have their own names:

The name "tourmaline" comes from the Sinhalese words tura mali, which mean "stone of mixed colors." As its name implies, tourmaline stands apart from other gems with its broad spectrum of colors in every shade of the rainbow.

Tourmaline is not one mineral, but a fairly complex group of minerals with different chemical compositions and physical properties. Certain trace elements produce distinct colors, and many resulting varieties have their own names:

    Michael’s Diamond and Gold Club

  • Schorl or black tourmaline is rich in iron, which causes dark shades from deep brown to bluish-black. This variety makes up 95 percent of all tourmaline, though most of it isn’t gem-quality. Schorl, in particular, is said to have protective powers against harmful radiation, toxins and anxiety.
  • Dravite or brown tourmaline is rich in magnesium, which causes colors ranging from brown to yellow. It’s named for the Drave District of Carinthina (now Slovenia) where it’s found.
  • Elbaite offers the widest range of gem-quality tourmaline colors, due to lithium traces combined with other coloring elements:
  • Rubellite or red tourmaline is caused by manganese; but if the color becomes less vibrant under different light sources, it may be called pink tourmaline. Indicolite or blue tourmaline can appear purplish blue or bluish green, depending on the amount of iron and titanium.
  • Verdelite or green tourmaline can resemble emerald, but if its color is caused by chrome and vanadium, it’s called a chrome tourmaline.
  • Paraba tourmaline is a vividly colored purplish or greenish blue variety found in Paraba, Brazil. It’s the most recently discovered, and because of its desirably intense colors, it’s one of the most valuable.
  • Achroite or colorless tourmaline is rare.
  • Parti-colored tourmaline displays more than one color, due to chemical fluctuations during crystallization. A common color combination is green and pink. These are often cut in slices to reveal a red center surrounded by a green rim, earning the name watermelon tourmaline.

Tourmaline is mined in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Mozambique, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S. mainly Maine and California.

Tourmaline is desirable because of its sheer range of color options. Combined with a good hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, tourmaline makes very wearable jewelry.

One of this gem’s most impressive traits is its ability to become electrically charged through heat (pyroelectricity) and through pressure (piezoelectricity). When charged, tourmaline can act as a magnet by oscillating, and by attracting or repelling particles of dust.

Ancient magicians used black tourmaline as a talisman to protect against negative energy and evil forces. Today, many still believe that it can shield against radiation, pollutants, toxins and negative thoughts.

Tourmaline History

Michael’s Diamond and Gold ClubEgyptian legend tells that tourmaline found its famed array of colors when, on its journey up from the earth’s center, it passed through a rainbow. Because of its colorful occurrences, tourmaline has been confused with other gems throughout history.

In the 1500s, a Spanish conquistador found green tourmaline in Brazil which he mistook for emerald. His error held until the 1800s, when mineralogists finally identified tourmaline as its own mineral species.

Variations of the name schorl may have been used to describe black tourmaline even before 1400. The name comes from a village in Saxony, Germany, (now called Zschorlau) near a mine with black tourmaline deposits.

The Dutch East India Company brought Sri Lankan tourmaline to Europe for centuries before traders realized it was the same mineral as schorl.

American tourmaline deposits caused the gem’s spike in popularity. In 1876, mineralogist George Kunz launched a craze when he sold green tourmaline from Maine to Tiffany & Co.

In the early 1890s, tourmaline was reported in California where Native Americans had, for centuries, given certain colors of the gem as funeral gifts.

At that point, China represented the biggest market for tourmaline. The Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi was particularly fond of pink tourmaline, and she purchased large quantities of it from deposits in San Diego County.

The Chinese market was so critical to tourmaline, in fact, that when the Chinese government collapsed in 1912, it took tourmaline trade down with it.

Brazilian tourmaline discoveries in the 1980s and 90s reignited interest in this gem, because material mined in Para�ba displayed such striking neon greens, radiant blues and vivid violets. This region has produced the world’s finest, most valuable specimens of tourmaline including the world’s largest, weighing 191.87 carats.

While plenty of tourmaline is mined around the world, it’s rare to find fine gem-quality tourmaline in bright colors. This range of material means that the price of tourmaline can vary almost as much as the color.


Gemstone Information

Bying a gemstone is often a very different experience than buying a diamond. Gemstones are selected based on favorite colors, wardrobe matches, personality, and fashion trends. While gemstones are judged using the 4Cs, just as diamonds do, each is judged separately. For example, a sapphire is compared to another sapphire, but wouldn’t be compared to an emerald or aquamarine. Choose your gemstone jewelry based on your personal preferences.

TRADITIONAL GENUINE BIRTHSTONE
MONTH STONE
January Garnet
February Amethyst
March Aquamarine Bloodstone
April Diamond Cubic Zirconia
May Emerald
June Alexandrite Moonstone
July Ruby
August Peridot
September Sapphire
October Tourmaline Opal
November Citrine Topaz
December Blue Zircon Tanzanite Turquois

GEMSTONE CARE

Alexandrite
Alexandrite is rated “excellent” for everyday wear. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Amethyst
Amethyst is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid direct sunlight and exposure to heat which may cause color to fade. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Ametrine
Ametrine is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid direct sunlight and exposure to heat which may cause color to fade. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Aquamarine
Aquamarine is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Bloodstone
Bloodstone is rated “fair” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Cameo
Cameos are quite fragile and are not for everyday wear and special care should be taken wearing. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, wipe gently with a moist cloth.

Carnelian
Carnelian is rated “fair” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Chalcedony
Blue and lavender Chalcedony is rated “fair” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Chrysoprase
Chrysoprase is rated “fair” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Citrine
Citrine is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid direct sunlight and exposure to heat which may cause color to fade. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Coral
Coral is not for everyday wear, and one should take care when wearing. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, wipe gently with a moist cloth.

Emerald
Emerald is rated “fair to good” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Garnet
Garnet is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat and sudden changes in temperature. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Iolite
Iolite is rated “fair” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Jade
Nephrite Jade is rated “fair” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Lapis
Lapis is rated “fair” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Marcasite
Marcasite is rated “fair” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat and protect from scratches and harsh blows. Typically, the surface will oxidize over time. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Moonstone
Moonstone is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Onyx
Onyx is rated “fair” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Opal
Take care when wearing Opal. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Opal, Fire
Take care when wearing Mexican Fire Opal. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches.

Pearl
Pearls are not for everyday wear, and one should take care when wearing. Avoid exposure to heat and protect from scratches and harsh blows. Avoid contact with chemicals, especially perfumes, perspiration and hair sprays. To clean, wipe gently with a moist cloth.

Peridot
Peridot is rated “fair” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat and sudden changes in temperature. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Quartz, Smoky
Smoky Quartz is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid direct sunlight and exposure to heat which may cause color to fade. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Ruby
Rubies are rated “excellent” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat and contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Sapphire
Sapphires are rated “excellent” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat and contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Tanzanite
Tanzanite is not for everyday wear, and one should take care when wearing. Avoid exposure to heat and sudden changes in temperature. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Tiger’s Eye
Tiger’s Eye is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat and sudden changes in temperature. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Topaz, Precious
Precious Topaz is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid direct sunlight and exposure to heat which may cause color to fade. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Topaz
Blue and White Topaz is rated “fair to good” for everyday wear with care. Avoid direct sunlight and exposure to heat which may cause color to fade. Avoid contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Topaz, Diffused
Diffused Topaz is rated “good” for everyday wear. Avoid contact with chemicals. Re-cutting is not recommended. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.

Tourmaline
Tourmaline is rated “fair to good” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Turquoise
Turquoise is rated “fair” for everyday wear with care. Avoid exposure to heat, contact with chemicals, and protect from scratches and harsh blows. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

Zircon
Blue Zircon is rated “fair” for everyday wear with care. Avoid direct sunlight and exposure to heat which may cause color to fade. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.

The Origin of Birthstones

It’s uncertain how the specific months became connected with the various stones. However, some speculate that their origins date back to biblical times when the breastplate belonging to a priest was decorated with 12 assorted colored gems. As time wore on, the 12 gems became associated with the zodiac and the months connected to it.

This started the tradition of wearing a colored stone each month as a sort of good luck charm. Initially people wore all twelve stones, rotating according to the month of the year to derive the greatest benefit of each stone. Believing that the various gems held magical powers for the individual born within a given month, people started to wear the stone associated with their birth month for the entire year. In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers designed a list dedicating different gems to various months. What was once thought to be controversial based on its commercialism is now widely accepted as the official birthstone list.

The History and Beliefs Surrounding the Diamond

As told through the Encarta, Sanskrit texts dating back before 400 B.C. found that people associated significant value and wonderment with crystals. There is also significant research that dates back to the 1330s showing diamond cutting in Venice. The diamond trading business flourished towards the 15th century with the opening of Eastern trade routes. Ancient theories touting the magical powers of diamonds were prevalent: some thought lightning bolts formed diamonds, while other theories asserted that diamonds were the tears of god.

The Healing Powers of Diamonds

During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers and to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body. It was believed that diamonds could also have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst.

The diamond as the April gemstone has garnered the hearts of many and is the most coveted crystal to date. Deemed as the King of all birthstones, diamonds make the ideal choice for an April birthday gift. She’ll love you for it!

Diamond Shapes & Descriptions
Learn the 4 C’s and choose any diamond cut you like!

Round
Round

Heart
Heart

Emerald
Emerald

Cushion
Cushion

Oval
Oval

Pear
Pear

Princess
Princess

Radiant
Radiant

Marquise
Marquise

Asscher
Asscher

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Michaels Diamond Club
Michaels Diamond Club
Michaels Diamond Club
Michaels Diamond Club
Michaels Diamond Club
Michaels Diamond Club
Michaels Diamond Club
Michaels Diamond Club