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Opus Jewels of Distinction

  • The History of Jewellery

    Adornment of jewellery is a world wide human trait, and has been so since the dawn of human existence. Pre-historical artefacts show jewellery, which was made from shells and bones, and research of carvings has shown that jewellery was likely worn as a symbol of status, love, or protection, just like today.

    Metal working discoveries during ancient times started the art form of jewellery making. And as the centuries progressed the art has become more refined and sophisticated.

    The jewellery worn in medieval Europe reflected an intensely hierarchical and status-conscious society. Royalty and the nobility wore gold, silver and precious gems. Humbler ranks wore base metals, such as copper or pewter. Colour (provided by precious gems and enamel) and protective power were highly valued.

    Until the late 14th century, size and lustrous colour determined the value of gemstones.
    Some jewels have cryptic or magical inscriptions, believed to protect the wearer.

    Renaissance jewels shared the age's passion for splendour. Advances in cutting techniques increased the glitter of stones.

    The enormous importance of religion in everyday life could be seen in jewellery, as could earthly power - many spectacular pieces were worn as a display of political strength.
    The designs reflect the new-found interest in the classical world, with mythological figures and scenes becoming popular. The ancient art of gem engraving was revived.
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    HISTORICAL TIMELINE- JEWELLERY

    • 110.000 - 73.000 BC - Decorative sea shell beads were found in Morroco They were probably used as amulets. Drilled shells have also been found in Israel, Algeria and South Africa.
    • 38.000 BC - Beads made from bone and animal teeth found in France.
    • 28.000 BC - Fossilized shells and ivory beads found in the East Gravettian culture, located in modern Czech Republic.
    • 4400 BC - Around the time of first domesticated animals and invention of wheel, ancient Thracian civilization produced oldest known objects made from gold.
    • 5000- 30 BC - Use of copper starts a new era in jewelry production, and secrets of alluvial gold gathering arrives in Egypt around 4000 BC. They quickly start producing glazed steatite beads and countless jewelry designs based on scarab beetles, scrolls, winged birds, tigers, jackals and antelopes. Popular gemstones of that time were carnelian, feldspar, amethyst, chalcedony, lapis lazuli and turquoise.
    • 2750 - 1200 BC - Ancient Mesopotamia produced wide range of jewelry based on the design of lives, grapes, cones and spirals. Gemstones that they used were agate, lapis, jasper and carnelian.
    • 1400 - 30BC - Greek jewelry was made in the style of animals and shells and was infused with the amethysts, pearls, chalcedony, cornelian, garnet and emeralds.
    • 500 BC - 400 AD - Ancient Roma preferred seal rings, brooches, amulets and talismans that were infused with the designs of animals and coiling snakes. Most popular gemstones were sapphires, emeralds, pearls, amber, garnets, jet and diamonds.
    • 400 - 1000 AD - In European Dark Ages use of jewelry was not common, except among higher nobility and royalty.
    • 1066 - 1485 - Medieval jewelry finally become widespread by the help of religion. The most famous designs of that time were hair and cloth jewelry that was worn during religious ceremonies. They were adorned with gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, pearls, emeralds, semi-precious stones and diamonds.
    • 1500 -1830 - Arrival of Renaissance and Georgian time period brought rise of jewelry use in entire Europe. Necklaces (single or multi strand), earrings (ordinary or with chandeliers), and many other designs were decorated with the images of animals. Intricately designed gemstones became very popular to the point that diamond jewelry became commonly used as a part of evening attire.
    • 1835 - 1900 - Reign of English Queen Victoria had a profound effect of fashion and jewelry tastes in Europe.
    • Early 1900s - These years were remembered for the Art Noveau and Edwardian styles.

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    • 1920 - 1935 - Roaring Twenties brought the rise of the Art Deco, which introduced jewelry of vibrant colors, filled with geometrical shapes, abstract designs, cubism, modernism and oriental art. It also popularized wearing of wristwatches.
    • 1939 - 1949 - Because of influence of World War II and widespread embargoes on gemstones, popular jewelry shifted to the more metal based designs adorned with patriotic motifs and semi-precious and synthetic gemstones.
    • 1950s - Post war years saw the return of brightly colored jewelry, heavy use of rhinestones and big beads. Diamonds solidified its spot as the most popular gemstone.
    The History of Jewellery

    Development of early jewellery can be roughly divided across three ancient civilizations - Egypt, India and China. Egypt and Mesopotamia set standards in metallurgy, gem collecting, and glass manufacture. Their several thousand year long tradition of jewellery production laid a solid foundation for all European civilizations that came after them, and their unique style affected fashion trends even four thousand years later.
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    After more than 100000 years of use of decorative items, and more than 6 thousand years of metallurgy and gem processing, we can surely say that jewels will forever remain integral part of humanity and our entire civilization. The constant presence of jewellery through the history of the human race, makes it one the pivotal driving forces for expressing our culture, fashion and individuality

  • April's featured gemstone: Diamonds are forever.

    Both the old saying, and song, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend", are well known, and widely used. These days, however, there is much debate and controversy regarding the famous - and exquisitely beautiful - stone. This month, we will take a look at the history of the diamond, tell some stories of its popularity, and give you a brief guide on how to seek out and purchase ethical diamonds.

    The diamond is the stone for the 60th wedding anniversary, and one of the birthstone's for April. It holds significant meaning for those born in that month, thought to provide the wearer with better relationships and an increase in inner strength. Wearing diamonds is purported to bring other benefits such as balance, clarity and abundance.  It's also symbolic of eternal love.

    Thought to be one of the hardest substances on the globe, diamonds date back billions of years.  Dating the discovery of diamonds is difficult. In the time of the pharaohs, the diamond represented the sun, symbol of power, courage and truth. A diamond was placed in the middle of the ankh, the cross with a loop on top, that was the Egyptian hieroglyph meaning life.

     

    In a relatively recent tradition, the diamond has come to symbolise the engagement ring. We have Marie de Bourgogne to thank for this custom, after she received a diamond ring from the Archduke Maximilian of Austria in 1477.

    Wearing an engagement ring, or a wedding band on the third finger of the left hand, actually dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the ‘vein of love’ linked the heart and the ring finger. Today, it is equally linked to the month of April and to the virtues of strength and patience.

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    Supermodel Naomi Campbell was in the press a few years ago, over the alleged possession of ‘blood diamonds’ that were linked to financing rebel groups in Africa’s Sierra Leone. 

    Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie Blood Diamond gave attention to a question some people had never thought about before: Could an exquisite diamond have a terrible history? The film took place in the 1990s, when diamond mining financed rebel fighting in places like Sierra Leone (where Blood Diamond takes place), Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By one estimate, these smuggled diamonds — called “conflict diamonds” — represented as much as 10-15 percent of the global diamond trade in the ’90s. Dramatic change has been made to eliminate these practices, but how can you be sure your stone is conflict-free? 

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    The united nations has adopted a system to end the practice of diamond trading for dubious means. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme outlines the regulations and requirements countries must follow to make sure a diamond is mined and shipped in a humane, legitimate way. Diamonds that meet these regulations are shipped with a Kimberley Process certificate. When you buy a diamond, the jeweller should be able to provide this certificate — if they can’t, you should be wary of the stone’s origin. Australia is one of 71 countries that are signatories to the Kimberley Process. A reputable jeweller should be able to tell you about the diamond's history and guarantee that it is 'conflict free'. The jeweller should have a "System of Warrenty" statement; you can see examples of these statements at

    DiamondFacts.org.

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    There are many countries that mine diamonds that are conflict-free including Australia, Russia, Canada and yes, many African countries. The important thing is that the diamond has documentation all the way from the mine to the jeweller. Currently, the Ivory Coast is one country the UN cites in which diamonds are being mined and smuggled by rebels. There are many different factors that can make a diamond pricier, but being conflict-free certified should not be one of them. If you work with a jeweller you trust and research before you buy you can know you’ve done your part in being a responsible diamond shopper.

    The majority of diamonds mined today are used for industrial purposes, not engagement rings, as we all presume - and that may also be the very first use of diamonds by humans, too. Archeologists found that ancient Chinese used diamonds to polish ceremonial burial axes in the late stone age or over 4,500 years ago. 80% of mined diamonds today are used for the industrial purposes of cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing. Diamonds were quite rare in the past, but these days, despite the mining process being quite hard, diamonds are plentiful because the supply of them actually exceeds the demand.

    There are many famous diamonds. There's the 45-carat Hope diamond, the mystical Koh-l-Noor diamond, and the largest diamond discovered in history, the 546 carat Golden Jubilee. 

    Golden_jubileeThe Golden Jubilee diamond

     Do you own diamonds or diamond jewellery? Is your engagement ring a diamond ring, following tradition? Did you pick the ring out, or design the cut of the diamond? What is the story behind your diamonds? 

  • March's featured gemstone is aquamarine

    Aquamarine is a beautiful, serene, peaceful coloured gemstone: the colour of the sea, bluish – green. It is the birthstone for March, and also the gemstone for the 19th wedding anniversary:

    "A March born shall always be, soothed by aqua, gem of the sea. This mermaid's treasured stone you wear, will bring happiness, love, affection and care".

     

    aquamarine

    The first documented use of the aquamarine crystal was in Ancient Greece between 480 and 300 B.C., when the stone was used as an amulet engraved with Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea, on a chariot. Because of the relationship between the aquamarine stone and the sea, it was used as a talisman to bring sailors good luck and a safe and prosperous journey across the ocean.

    Aquamarine stone is known as a sailor's gem and legend tells us that the aquamarine crystal was the prized possession of mermaids, so it would protect sailors during the hazardous journey across the seas.

    The Romans associated the beautiful blue stone with Neptune, King of the Sea, and carried the stone as an amulet to protect against the dangers of the sea.

    Ancient Egyptians put aquamarine crystals in tombs for the journey to the afterlife.

     _64636019_aqua Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History - largest found aquamarine stone.

    Aquamarine is one of the more popular gemstones around. Aquamarine is found in many parts of the world including North America, South America, Russia, India, Madagascar and Africa. In 1910, an aquamarine crystal weighing 243 pounds (110 kg) and 19" long was discovered in Marambaia, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The largest cut aquamarine gem is the Dom Pedro aquamarine, which is located in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. It is the most flawless of all crystals and has excellent transparency and clarity. It is so flawless, when eyeglasses were first made, slivers of aquamarine was used to correct near-sighted vision. It is believed that aquamarine crystals can cure insomnia, reduce anxiety, enhance communication, mental clarity, and emotional balance. During the Roman times, aquamarine crystals were believed to cure ailments of the mouth, throat, jaw, and liver. 

    Aquamarine is derived from the Latin word, "agua," meaning "water," and "marina" meaning "the sea" - Water of the Sea.

    Aquamarine has many great attributes that make it an excellent stone for ornamental jewelry and it is usually fashioned for earrings, rings, bracelets and charms. For instance, its hardness is rated a 7.5 o 8.0 on the Moh’s scale. This means it is generally a decent stone to wear on a day to day basis due to its strength. It normally comes in hexagonal crystals and is transparent or translucent giving a glassy look to it.

     

  • Happy Valentine's Day!

     

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    It is Valentine's Day today, so we thought it would be fun to explore some of the history of Valentine's Day, and the traditions of romance, both popular and unpopular.

    Contemparary Western society tends to embrace Valentine's day as a day for lovers. We buy flowers, cards, and even jewellery for our significant others to express our love, and enjoy that little bit of extra romance on February 14th. 

    Valentines-day

    In fact, the second half of October, and first half of November are the busiest times of the year in Australain maternity wards - do the maths... Evidently, Valentine's week is an extremely popular week for expressions of love between couples country-wide: hit by Cupid's arrows...

    Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols -- a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. Cupid aims his arrows at people, causing them to fall deeply in love.

    In Roman mythology, Cupid's mother Venus was jealous of the beauty of Psyche, and ordered Cupid to punish the mortal. Instead, Cupid fell deeply in love with her. He took her as his wife, but as a mortal she was forbidden to look at him.

    Psyche was happy until her sisters persuaded her to look at Cupid. As soon as Psyche looked at Cupid, Cupid punished her by leaving. Their lovely castle and gardens vanished too. Psyche found herself alone in an open field with no signs of other beings or Cupid.

    As she wandered trying to find her love, she came upon the temple of Venus. Wishing to destroy her, the goddess of love gave Psyche a series of tasks. Psyche was given a small box and told to take it to the underworld to capture some of the beauty of Proserpine, the wife of Pluto.

    During her trip she was given tips on avoiding the dangers of the realm of the dead and was warned not to open the box. But Temptation overcame Psyche and she opened the box. Instead of finding beauty, she found deadly slumber. Cupid found her lifeless on the ground. He gathered the deadly sleep from her body and put it back in the box. The gods, moved by Psyche's love for Cupid made her a goddess.

    Today, Cupid and his arrows have become the most popular of love signs, and love is frequently depicted by two hearts pierced by an arrow : Cupid's arrow.

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    Fun facts about Valentine's day:

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    • Many believe the X symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn't write their names signed in front of a witness with an X. The X was then kissed to show their sincerity.
    • Girls of medieval times ate bizarre foods on St. Valentine's Day to make them dream of their future spouse.
    • In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression "to wear your heart on your sleeve."
    • In 1537, England's King Henry VII officially declared Feb. 14 the holiday of St. Valentine's Day.

    • Physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.
    • Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine's Day in the late 1800s.
    • More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day.
    • chocolate has been proven, only in the past ten years to be a natural mood lifter, so why not eat more on Valentines day to make you smile even more!
    • 73 percent of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
    • 15 percent of women in a recent survey, said they bought themselves flowers on Valentine's day. What a great idea to brighten up your day by treating yourself!
    • The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
    • Red roses are considered the flower of love because the colour red stands for strong romantic feelings.
    • Approximately 110 million roses, mostly red, will be sold and delivered within the three-day Valentine's Day time period.
     
    • Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.
    • Over 50 percent of all Valentine's Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the holiday, making Valentine's Day a procrastinator's delight.
    • Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, partners and pets.
    • In addition to the Australia, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, USA, Denmark and Italy.
    • The most fantastic gift of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.
    • In the 1800s doctors commonly advised their heartbroken patients to eat chocolate, claiming it would sooth their pain. To this day, many women find comfort in a box of chocolates when dealing with heartbreak.
    • A love knot is a symbol of undying love, as its twisting loops have no beginning and no end. In the past, they were made of ribbon or drawn on paper to prove one's eternal love.
    • Every Valentine's Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.
    • About 3 percent of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.
    • 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine's Day each year.
    •  64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts.
    • Valentines-day-for-friends

     So, love is the main theme of Valentines day, but don't forget the lonely - Valentine's Day this year coincides with Random Act of Kindness week, and there are plenty of people, probably just in your street who might get a little thrill from opening their mailbox and finding that someone thought of them on this day for lovers: save a heart chocolate or two for the elderly lady next door, or get your kids to make a little heart card for the single parent two doors down... share the love, this Valentine's Day.

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  • February's featured gemstone is the Amethyst.

    Amethyst is the birthstone for February.  It is also commonly the gemstone for fourth and sixth wedding anniversaries.  With its colour purple, the promise of protection, and a peaceful existence, the amethyst is one of the most sought after gemstones in history.  The amethyst has an extremely interesting background of legends, beliefs and discovery, and a fascinating composition.

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    Here’s a tale from Greek mythology which may have slipped by you when buying your amethyst jewellery. Dionysus was the god of wine and inebriation, and decided one day to pursue the affections of a maiden named Amethystos. She was far from interested in the drunken deity, and she pulled a clever trick on him: she prayed to the god Artemis to help her stay pure, and was promptly transformed into a white stone. A humbled Dionysus splashed some wine over the stone as an offering and the purple amethyst stone was born. Because of this story, ancient greeks thought that the amethyst guarded against intoxication. In fact, the word amethyst comes from amethystos, a Greek word meaning "sober."

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    Science, though, has shown us the amethyst stone is actually irradiated quartz. The traditional source for the amethyst is Brazil. Large deposits were found in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in the 19th century. Amethyst occurs there in volcanic rocks in large geodes. The colour of Amethyst is determined and caused by the gemstone's selected absorption of wavelengths of light, called the body colour. The colours of the Amethyst consist of three components: hue, tone and saturation.

    But whether you choose to believe the myth or the reality, it is still one of the most beautiful stones you can buy, and OPUS Jewels counts it as one of our firm favourites.

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    Amethyst is known as one of the best stones/crystals  for healing, and the release of negative energy. It is said to help boost courage, determination, the immune system, and even aid those suffering from addictions. There are many ideas regarding how best to utilize this gorgeous gemstone, such as, place one on your bedside table at home for peaceful nights and sweet dreams. Or keep an amethyst on your office desk to deflect the stress in the room and create a relaxed working environment. Another lovely idea is to have an amethyst with you wherever you go, and whatever you are doing; which means, wear amethyst jewellery!

    amethyst_lantern_earrings

    Amethyst is ideal for any type of jewellery design because it is considered both hard and durable. Amethyst gemstones are typically worn as pendants, necklaces or rings. Due to amethyst having a purple colour, historically it was traditional that amethyst be worn by feminine personalities. Then it became a popular colour and gemstone used in the church to symbolize Christ, and was one of the 12 precious stones in the high priest Aaron's breastplate. St Valentine was said to wear an amethyst ring with a carving of cupid visible within it. Purple also became the colour of royalty and royalty has no gender preference. Therefore, it is an excellent choice of stone for man or woman.

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    Amethyst is harder than most other materials, so it is very resistant to wear and tear. Amethyst is a favourite for many jewellers, because of the large sizes and shapes available. Please take a look at our website for many stunningly designed amethyst pieces we have for sale.

    Discussion:

    Have you any amethyst crystals or jewellery pieces that you wear or use often?

    Do you believe the ancient stories about the gemstone, or are you more inclined to stick with the scientific theories (or both!)?

  • January's featured gemstone is garnet.

    Happy new year 2014!

    Garnet is the official birthstone for the month of January, my birth month!

    Garnet’s name comes from the Latin word ‘granatus’, meaning grain or seed. It is thought that the name was meant to liken the stone to pomegranate seeds because, while the gemstone appears naturally in every color in the spectrum, garnet is most popularly associated with deep red coloring. Because of its colour it is often associated with love, passion, and, at least in the case of the Ancient Greeks, the God of war.

    Garnet Radiant Cut Pendant framed

    OPUS Jewels; Garnet radiant cut pendant

    Garnet is a protective gem- particularly for travelers. However the association is a much longer one historically than you’d first think. Archaeologists have found garnets dating back to 3000 BC. Biblical stories tell us that Noah hung a garnet on the ark to help light his way through the flood. Crosses often have 5 garnets embellishing them, to symbolize the five wounds of Jesus. But garnets are not simply part of Christian religious belief. The Koran describes Heavens light as all pervasive because it glows with garnets. In Ancient Egypt it was known as the Blood of Isis.

    Garnet Lantern earrings framed

    Garnet Lantern earrings - OPUS Jewels

    Native American tribes used garnets to decorate dream catchers and the shields they carried while hunting. They had a strong belief in the medicinal qualities of the stone. Many cultures around the world have thought wearing garnet could help break fevers, protect the wearer from poison, reducing swelling, and stop wounds from bleeding.

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    Garnet teardrop pendant by OPUS Jewels

    Some Eastern traditions held that dragon’s eyes were made of garnet, others that they were a favorite snack of the mythical beasts!

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    OPUS Jewels' Dancing flower drop earrings

    Garnet is a stone that inspires love and is said to balance sex drive!  Due to it's balancing energy it seems to bring calmness or passion as appropriate.  Garnet is considered a lucky stone, for love, success, and for business relationships.

    Discussion:

    1. What draws you to a gemstone, vibrant colours, history and legend, or energies they contain?

  • Rose Quartz; love in a gemstone

    Rose quartz is widely known as the stone of love and marriage; it is said that keeping a rose quartz gemstone under your pillow can keep your marriage alove and full of love, passion, and excitement.

    As well, for thousands of years, women have kept rose quartz under their pillow, as it is believed the delicate beauty of the stone will help humans maintain a physical glow.

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    Rose quartz is also recommended to be used in times of emotional hardship or stress, as the stone or piece of jewellery can bring peace and calm to a tense situation.

    A rose quartz stone kept in a room will help remove negativity.

    And if you are admiring someone special, and want to add to your allure, include on your person a couple of rose quartz gemstones, or jewellery pieces, to help draw that someone to you.

    The soft appearance of rose quartz is endearing, as it has a rosy hue, almost as if it were actually blushing. 

    The first rose quartz stones recorded in modern history were found in Maine in the US. The majority of rose quartz rocks are mined in Brazil.  Smaller amounts are found in Australia, Canada, England, Mexico, Namibia and Sweden.

    The love stone brings so many great, delicate, and subtle qualities to the wearer of rose quartz, such as: gentleness, kindness, inner peace, self-worth, tolerance and contentment.

     

    Rose quartz can be bought as stones, chrystals, or beautiful pieces of jewellery, which make wonderful gifts.

  • Lapis Lazuli the gem of all gemstones

    Lapis Lazuli has perhaps the most captivating sounding name of all the gemstones when you say it out loud. It is a stunning stone, with azure beauty, and flecked with golden sparkles, and it is one of the most popular gemstones of the millennia.

     

    lapis_lazuli_tear_drops_2Lapiz Lazuli Blue Sea Navaho Spirit earrings, OPUS Jewels

    The name Lapis lazuli means sky stone . It has been used since at least 5000BC, and was popular with many ancient cultures.In the Middle Ages, it was thought to keep the limbs healthy, and free the soul from error, envy and fear. Greeks believed that dreaming of lapis would foretell love that would be forever faithful.

    Marco Polo found a Lapis mine in 1271 which existed for more than 5000 years. Stones were transported from there to all over the world and were used for vases, seals, jewelry, palaces and churches. It was also used in a grounded form to make expensive paint.

    The beautiful blues in paintings from the Renaissance are thanks to the blue of lapis lazuli, the blue rock loved by the ancients. Ground lapis was the secret of the blue in ultramarine, the pigment which painters used to paint the sea and the sky until the nineteenth century. Lapis was also popular in inlays. The columns of St. Isaac's Cathedral in Petersburg are lined with lapis and the Pushkin Palace in Petersburg has lapis lazuli paneling.

    Even the Hebrew Bible reverences to the Lapis lazuli in Job 28:6 The stones of it - the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.

    Today , Lapis lazuli is often used because of claims of healing powers. Lapis Lazuli is used with other stones when parts of the body need to be purified and cleansed. Lapis Lazuli has high intensity and can open many of the chakra centers. That's why this stone is often used by people who believe in aura and chakra healing.

    It is suggested, believed thatLapis Lazuli enhances the interconnectedness of the higher bodies with the physical body, resulting in a heightened willingness to communicate freely with the outer world.

    The primary effect of Lapis is upon the throat; as such, Lapis affects the speech and the ability to communicate freely and stay in touch with one's surroundings.

     

     

    hinged_hoop_pendant_1Lapis Lazuli Azure pendant designed by OPUS Jewels

    Of all the gemstones, Lapis Lazuli is thought to be the most powerful; it is worn in hope for the following:

    -For improvement of sight

    -to ease laryngitis

    - to lower blood pressure and Cholesterol

    -Positive influence for the nervous system; calming effect

    -With Insomnia and fatigue

    -Against fear and prejudice

    -Improves your self confidence

    -Gives willpower

    -For a good harmony and balance between body, mind and soul

    - for friendships

    -Against depression

    -Lessens anxiety and biting nails

    Lapis lazuli is also known widely as the stone of friendship and love, so a piece of jewellery containig this beautiful gemstone is an extremely popular gift to give.

     

  • December, the month for many birthstones.

    Tanzanite, turquoise, and blue topaz, are all commonly associated with the month of December, as birthstones, and gemstones of favour for the season. So, for our December Christmas blog, we will give you three blogs in one. First examining the fascinating and rare stone that is tanzanite, then following, are our two popular past articles all about turquoise and blue topaz. Make sure you look out for our updates pictures of recently added stock; we've some beautiful new pieces.

    Tanzanite

    images Image wikipedia.

    Tanzania is endowed with a rich and intriguing folklore. From the time of tanzanite’s discovery, local Maasai communities have built their own legends about the origins of this extraordinary gem. They believe that the land was set ablaze by a bolt of lightning, with the heat from ‘the magic fire from the sky’ transforming crystals on the ground into shimmering Blue-violet stones. When the last cinders dissolved into the earth and the thick smoke settled, awestruck Maasai tribesman filled their pouches with the mystical gems, intuitively knowing that these jewells would bring about a better life.

    Tanzanite’s actual discovery remains somewhat a mystery. Although these are various versions, it is not known for certain who actually discovered tanzanite. The most widely accredited narrative suggests that in July of 1967, an indigenous pastoralist and tribesman named Ali Juuyawatu discovered a piece of translucent crystal near Mount Kilimanjaro. Fascinated by its colour, Juuyawatu shared his find with Manuel D’Souza, a tailor by profession and prospector by passion, who was looking for rubies in the region. Believing the find to be a ‘vibrant sapphire’, D’Souza did not realize that he had stumbled on an entirely new specimen. Gemological tests soon revealed that the crystal had a composition more complex than sapphire and a colour that was more intriguing, more alluring and totally unexpected.

    Tanzanite, the birthstone , is the gift given on the birth of a child. Fittingly this theme draws on the inspiration that we are all born to something special. The promise of a person begins with the earliest moments of life and every tradition cherishes and celebrates a child being born, the miracle of birth, and the gift of life. From the heart of Africa comes a powerful tradition. Maasai women who have had the honour of giving birth to a child wear Blue beads and fabrics to bestow upon the child a healthy and positive life, whilst setting themselves apart as creators of new life.

    This custom, protected and preserved by the proud Maasai over generations, is embodied in the unique color of a mystical gem, tanzanite. Great Maasai chiefs give tanzanite to their wives on the event of a birth, marking the occasion and blessing their baby with luck. Found only at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, tanzanite’s kaleidoscope of Blue-violet colors draws on the mysterious beauty of its place of origin. The gift of tanzanite at birth uniquely symbolizes new beginnings and pays tribute to those who have shown the greatest of loves by becoming a parent.

    Turqoise: 

    The breathtaking turquoise gemstone is a favourite of many specialists in jewellery.  Turquoise is a vibrant shade. One pictures tropical paradise- pristine waters , rich in colour and depth.   Turquoise makes you think of Summer, and is a great gemstone to wear in the hotter months.

     OPUS Jewels turquoise Empress Ring

     The properties of turquoise are vast. It is a fascinating stone; it has a great history and is steeped in mystery, with tales from across the ages. Few gemstones are more attractive, and whilst most turquoise is used for jewellery today, in the past the captivating stone was used in art, trade,  and religious rituals. 

    One of the earliest known turquoise producing regions is Persia, where historians believe the stone has been mined for more than 2000 years. Turquoise stones from this region are known for their pure, robin’s egg blue colour.

    Early Persians believed turquoise represented the heavens because of its beautiful blue colour and used it to cover the domes of palaces and places of worship

    The South - western United States is a significant source of turquoise and plays an important role in the history of turquoise. Archeologists believe ancient native American tribes began mining turquoise stones at what is now known as the mineral Park Mine thousands of years ago.

    Tribes such as the Aztecs believed the stone was sacred and made intricate masks and other adornment for ceremonies and important rituals.

     

    But the real story of this stone began in the Middle East, where it is believed turquoise was first used. Then China began acquiring turquoise in the 13th century.  In 1900, the world’s oldest known turquoise jewellery examples were discovered when the body of Egyptian Queen Zer was found to be wearing a wrist bracelet made of gold and turquoise.

     

    OPUS Jewels turquoise Teardrop earrings.  

     

    Turquoise contains the chemical properties of aluminium and copper. Turquoise is formed during the weathering and oxidation of pre-existing minerals. Hundreds of years ago people began working with turquoise and constructed the most popular types of turquoise jewellery, still known today. 

    Throughout history, people have believed turquoise can bring good luck and fortune. Turquoise has also been used to promote good health and healing. 

    The brightness of the colour is supposed to be the symbol for happiness, and is also believed to increase a person’s self confidence

     Blue topaz:

    We are great fans of Topaz here at OPUS Jewels, particularly blue topaz, and it seems we are in good company, because blue topaz has been declared the most admired gemstone in the world at present.

    #Bluetopaz #earrings #sterlingsilver

    Order these beautiful earrings from us at OPUS Jewels.

    http://www.opusjewels.com.au/earrings/blue-topaz-lantern-earrings.html

    Blue topaz come in a variety of different shades of blue. It ranges from a very light to a fairly dark shade of medium blue in colour. When it is at its lightest shade of blue, the December birthstone can be easily mistaken for Aquamarine, which is another gemstone that is recognized for its beautiful blue hue. At times, Blue Topaz can appear transparent, but it is more common for it to look translucent.

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    OPUS Jewels' stunning blue topaz ring, available now.

    http://www.opusjewels.com.au/rings-bracelets/blue-topaz-delicate-filigree-wide-band-ring.html

    Most people do not know it, but there are several different names that are used to describe the specific shade of blue that a Topaz gemstone may be. These names include Sky Blue Topaz, Swiss Blue Topaz, and London Blue Topaz. Sky Blue is the lightest shade of Blue Topaz, while London Blue is the darkest shade of the gemstone. Many people feel that Swiss Blue is the most ideal colour option, but it really depends on your own taste in gemstones and colours.  

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    Prior to popular belief, it is not all that uncommon for Blue Topaz to be derived from the natural environment. There are certain areas throughout the world where mining blue varieties of Topaz is a much more common occurrence. Much like the other colours that this gemstone can be found in, blue varieties are not found in every single location where Topaz is mined. While blue is not the most rare colour variety discovered, it is not all that common in most mining locations.

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    OPUS' blue topaz pendant available now!

    http://www.opusjewels.com.au/pendants/square-cut-blue-topaz-pendant.html

    Keep in mind that although it is possible for Blue Topazes to be found in the natural environment, it is much more common for the gemstone to be created synthetically. It is very common for the colour of light brown or colourless gemstones to be enhanced to a shade of blue. The main reason that this is so common is because Blue Topaz is one of the most popular and desirable varieties of the gemstone.

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    The word Topaz originates from Topazos, which is a small island located in the Red Sea, where the Romans originally found this gemstone.

    For a long time, people have believed that the Topaz birthstone promotes good health, and a calm mind. The blue colour brings to mind the sky, or the sea, so nature is brought to the fore whenever one wears it. It is also associated with courage, wisdom and strength, ensuring that the person wearing the gem stone feels confident. Topaz can also symbolize loyalty, faithfulness, and constancy, which is perfect when giving this stone as a wedding anniversary gift.

     If you are thinking about purchasing a Topaz for yourself or as a gift for someone else, then you may want to think about choosing a Blue Topaz. Not only is this gemstone incredibly beautiful, but it is a great choice for those who like the colour blue.

     

     

  • November's featured stone is Citrine

    Citrine is the birthstone for November. It is also commonly used as the stone for 13th and 17th wedding anniversaries. 

    The name Citrine is derived from the French word citron, meaning lemon. The gemstone was given this name because of its yellow colouring.  Citrine is often mistaken for topaz quartz, a mineral which is of similar colour.  Citrine has its own characteristics, however.

    Citrine has been found in volcanos. The colour, usually lemon - or some describe it as champagne - of Citrine is due to small amounts  of iron impurities in the crystal structure of quartz. The difference between Citrine and amethyst is only the oxidation state of the iron impurities present.

     

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    Citrine - Delicate Filigree Wide Band Ring. OPUS Jewels of Distinction. 

     

    Brazil is the largest producer of Citrine. Other sources are Argentina, Madagascar, Zaire, Namibia, Spain, and Russia.

    The legend of Citrine is it is full of charm and goodness, keeping the wearer cheerful and bright. It was carried, during ancient times, by travelers, as it was believed to be of protection against snake venom, evil, and impure thoughts.

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    Citrine Dancing Flower drop earrings. OPUS Jewels of Distinction.  http://www.opusjewels.com.au/earrings/citrine-dancing-flower-drop-earrings.html

    Citrine is nicknamed as The Success Stone, as it is also known to attract prosperity and is a symbol of abundance, stamina, and intuition. It is believed to improve blood circulation, digestion, and allergies. 

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    Citrine Lantern Earrings by OPUS Jewels of Distinction.  http://www.opusjewels.com.au/earrings/citrine-lantern-earrings.html

    Though Citrine has been used in jewellery and ornaments for thousands of years, it wasn't until around the 1930's that westerners became excited about this gemstone. Jewellers began to use the term  Gold Topaz to sell Citrine, which initially made it more appealing. Then, in America, Citrine was chosen to be the stone of November, due to its colour; it became synonymous as the stone which brings sunshine to dull days.

     

    Citrine is a durable gemstone, suitable for everyday wear. Whilst sharing a close chemical make-up, it is less expensive than its closest relative, Amethyst. Thanks to its durability and availability, Citrine is one of the most affordable gemstones on the market, presenting excellent value for money.

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    Citrine is often custom cut into intricate shapes. It is also commonly cut into Cabochons, Emerald, Oval, Pear, Round and Square shapes.  Citrine is also often sculpted into ornaments and cut into beads.

    Nowadays, taking advantage of the benefits of Citrine is not only limited to wearing it on jewellery pieces. It is now one of the most gentle and safe ingredients in mineral makeup. From eye pencils, lip gloss and eye shadows, to shimmer and powders. In delivering its goodness to the many products that help promote beauty and well-being, Citrine managed to infuse beauty in its ever increasing health and cosmic advantages and benefits.

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    Care & Cleaning:

    Use warm, soapy water and a soft brush to clean Citrine. Ultrasonic cleaners are generally safe though not recommended. Never use chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid or ammonium fluoride to clean Citrine because it can erode the stone. Much like it's relative the Amethyst, Citrine should be kept away from prolonged exposure to extremes of heat and light as this can cause permanent colour change. 

     Discussion:  

    Citrine has become a very popular gemstone with OPUS Jewels customers. Would you like to see more pieces featuring this champagne stone? 

    Did you know about Citrine being used as a mineral in make-up. Check to see if any of your make-up has it an an ingredient - you may be surprised!

     If  you have a minute to leave a comment and let me know, that would be awesome!

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