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Gemvara Blog » Mary Halpin
5 August

Gem Class: Emerald

From Left: Love Letter “P” Pendant, Initial “J” KeyInfinite Heart Pendant, Lucky Horseshoe Pendant 

Today, you decide you want to buy emerald. But what do you really know about it? Let me help you out with a few extra facts!

Besides that you love the typical pure vivid green color, there is so much more to emerald. Did you know that emerald comes in many different shades of green but the favorite being an amazing, rich green hue?

Additionally, it is the birthstone for May and the anniversary stone for couples celebrating 20th or 35th anniversaries. Emeralds can be more expensive then a top-quality diamond of the same weight because its extremely rare to find an emerald with an inclusion (an imperfection!).

One of the largest emeralds weighs in at 217.8 carats and stands over 10cm tall. This gem auctioned off for $2.2 million!

Emeralds were traditionally worn to develop clairvoyance of their wearers but now many people believe emeralds promote healing, love, and satisfaction.

A magical gemstone, emeralds are a worthy investment and are said to bring about a tranquil and peaceful spirit.

Do you prefer emeralds over diamonds?

4 August

One Piece, Three Ways: Studded Hercules Knot Ring

When looking for an investment piece of jewelry, you want to make sure that you will be able to wear it frequently and minimize the piece’s cost per wear.  The Studded Hercules Knot Ring is a great piece for that because it is a mid-range price in a classic style.  This ring will never go out of style, and if you customize it with gems in the colors you always wear with a metal that is complimentary to your skin tone, you are sure to wear it all the time.  This particular ring is created with 14K yellow gold, and alternating tanzanite and iolite gemstones.  Here, we have styled it with three outfits, a formal event, a focused day at the library, and at work.  What do you think about this ring?  How would you customize the ring and style it?

Studded Hercules Knot Ring at a Formal Event


Studded Hercules Knot Ring at a the library


Studded Hercules Knot Ring at a Work


Shop more of Gemvara’s Endless Love Knots

3 August

Customer Creation: Engagement Rings & Matching Bands


Natalie Ring, Duchess of Hearts Ring, Cecilia Ring

 A wedding ring doesn’t just have to be a simple diamond anymore. As our customer favorites show, engagement rings and matching bands have more flair and style than ever before.  Add a gemstone, add two gemstones, and create that perfect engagement ring for you! These customers didn’t let their engagement rings stand-alone but also added the perfect complimentary matching band.

Personalizing the Cecilia Ring with peridot and surrounded by diamonds, this customer created a classic but modern engagement ring. Feminine and delicate, the Cecilia Ring won’t be a wallflower. Add our Matching Band in peridot (or any gemstone you choose!) to compliment the ring.

Compliment your demure style with a simple, vintage ring. A classic combination rose gold and amethyst, this Duchess of Hearts Ring also boasts 28 iridescent diamonds and was made perfect for this customer. Matched with the Duchess of Hearts Band in rose gold, this customer now radiates nobility.

Demure and classic not your style? Go bold with the Natalie Ring. This customer chose a yellow gold metal and a citrine center gemstone for quite the impact. No one will miss their engagement thanks to the two rows of diamonds and white sapphires surrounding the gem and running down the band. Add the Matching Band for the ultimate sparkle combination.

Whether you design your engagement ring yourself, with a partner or are pleasantly surprised, these three creations are sure to make their future owners very happy! Slide your ring on your left hand ring finger and admire the subtle brilliance of a gemstone engagement ring.


Shop more Customer Creations at Gemvara

2 August

Ringspotters Guest Post: Americana Weddings

Olympic fever is in full swing and this week, for our wedding round-up we wanted to proudly show off the red, white and blue. So whether you’re planning an Americana wedding or want a bit of patriotic inspiration for your next event, look no further than these festive pieces!

Colorful Jewelry. Look no further than Gemvara’s fabulous collection of patriotic jewelry. We particularly love their Shooting Star Pendant, the Star Flower Earrings and their Written in the Stars Ring.

Headbands$14. A delicious headband with a trio of flowers made of shabby chiffon and a jeweled center for an extra sparkle. Flowers are attached to an alligator clip so that they can be removed from the headband and worn alone.  Order them in red, white, and navy blue!

Bowties$22.  How can you resist putting one of these onto your little man? The most classic of all ties, the bow tie, will surely make for many cute photos.  (Available in other colors, patterns.)

Bold Clutch
, $53. Add some color to your basics with a bright bag. We’re loving this blue Frieda clutch from NIna Bridal, also available in red and white!

Ties$22. These preppy neckties are made as a full tie with back velcro release for safety and easy on/off for the little ones. 

A Little White Dress. You can’t go wrong with a LWD for the summer. Pair it with bold colorful accessories, and you are good to go!

1 August

August Birthstone: Peridot

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Peridot is August’s birthstone and comes prepared with a bright demeanor and fascinating history!  Romans used to call peridot the “evening emerald” because it shines brighter in incandescent lighting than daylight.  Because of this, peridot was formerly mined at night.  Cleopatra was said to have an impressive collection of light green emeralds, and many geologists believe those stones were most likely peridot.  The largest cut stone can be found at the Smithsonian museum in Washington DC weighing in at 310 carats!  Peridot is also the 16th anniversary gemstone and is known to symbolize love, truth, faithfulness, and loyalty.

Still unclear how to pronounce it?  Though it look it should be pronounced “per-i-dot,” it is actually “pear-a-doe,”. Those tricky “T’s!

Below are  a few of our stylists’ favorite pieces in Peridot: Pear-Shape Solitaire PendantHurricane Ring, and Princess Halo Earrings?

Want to see more green baubles? Shop peridot here.

31 July

7 Wedding Planning Tips for Brides on a Limited Budget from

Lower wedding budgets are today’s reality. Can a bride-to-be still have the wedding of her dreams? Absolutely. The secrets are prioritizing and being conscientious about what you spend. (Note, the engagement ring and wedding bands are often decisions separate from planning of the wedding because, unlike the products for the wedding itself, they will be worn and cherished for a lifetime.)

1. Prioritize wedding expenses. When dreaming of the perfect wedding, there are likely two or three elements you see vividly. What are they? The gown? Decor? Location? The people? Whatever the aspects, these are where you should put your priorities. Focus on the few elements that make the dream a dream and you will soon forget the insignificant pieces that did not happen as originally anticipated.

2. Pick and choose personalized service providers. Your top contenders for personalized services are (a) aspects of your wedding most important to you and (b) those things you do not have the time or talent to do yourself. Cut costs in areas you have the time, talent, and friends or family to help you with and those outside your top priorities . Before doing so, however, evaluate what quality you will give up by having your cousin do the videography or Uncle Walt running a boom box. Expertise and experience do matter, so scrimp here with your eyes wide open.

3. Choose a non-traditional venue. Many couples are having their receptions in unconventional spaces like empty buildings, barns, or the outdoors. This can save on rental fees.

4. Scrutinize guest count. Inviting a more intimate group of family and friends allows you to spend more per person on food, favors, and ambiance.

5. Choose lower cost food options. Serve a generally lower cost buffet, for example, or have only the entrees catered. Another idea is to ask each person in your family cook their specialty for your wedding.

6. Do it yourself (DIY). Making your own centerpieces or veil,  for example, is perfectly acceptable, as is giving handcrafted and personally meaningful gifts to the wedding party.

7. Harness the power of the Internet to keep costs down. Shop online sales, discounts, and low cost websites. Not only is the selection much larger than what you find locally, but lower priced options are more plentiful as well.

Here are some ways you can save by shopping online through

24 July 7 Easy Floral Centerpiece Ideas for the Non-Crafty Bride



One of the most popular do-it-yourself (DIY) projects for a wedding is the centerpieces. By making them yourself, you save money that could go elsewhere (toward a top quality Gemvara wedding band,  for example). If, however, you are on the non-crafty side (like me)  the prospect of creating them yourself can be a little scary.

You don’t have to be afraid! There are ways you can make creative and beautiful centerpieces with very little talent. In fact, I put together the seven floral centerpieces below, plus  18 or so other styles, with few problems. For more details, a photo, and a supply list for each, click on its title below. Or go to the Easy Centerpieces Homepage to see all 25 at once.

Creating these centerpieces doesn’t have to be complicated. The trick is to either (a) buy your flowers already arranged (silk flower sprays or bunches) or (b) use only one or two types of flowers with little or no fillers. That way, we non-crafty folk can have beautiful flowers by simply picking them up, sticking them into a vase, and fluffing.

1-3. Flowers in interesting vases and bottles. We put single stems into opaque bud vases, combined two types of flowers in a wine bottle, and stuck full blooms into a short, square container. You really cannot get any simpler and we think they all look wonderful. Plus, you can easily adapt this concept to include other unique containers.

4-5. Tall Centerpieces.  Tall, slender centerpieces are popular not only for their dramatic effect, but also because they allow for easier conversation across the table. For the first, we used a slender tube vase filled with crystal confetti,  along with ball-shaped (i.e. topiary) blooms. The second is white blooms bunched together in a tall, trumpet-shaped vase, with smaller blooms filling the “stem” of the vase. You can find more tall centerpiece ideas on my Tall Centerpieces pinboard.

6-7. Blooms Under Glass.  Another super-easy and popular type of centerpiece consists of blooms placed beneath upside-down glasses and topped with a tea light or votive candle. We created three different looks with margarita glasses, wine glasses, and mason jars. You could also use other glassware or cylinder vases.

Sidenote: If mason-jar rustic suits your style, you will want to read Top 6 Rustic Wedding Trends on the Gemvara blog and take a look at my Mason Jar Wedding pinboard on Pinterest.

Now that you have some simple centerpiece and decorating ideas, it is time to get started on your own!


About the Author

Bobette Kyle is owner and publisher of

Where you can create your dream wedding on a do-it-yourself budget via the site’s tips, tutorials, videos, and products. The products there are from hundreds of merchants, ranging in size from well-known department stores to niche boutiques.


About the Photographer

Amarette Arnold, Amarette Arnold Photography
In addition to being Bobette’s daughter, Amarette makes lasting memories one picture at a time through her photography. She serves the St. Louis, Missouri area.


23 July

Interpreting the Trends: Black and Navy Blue

Fall is just around the corner which can only mean one thing, shopping the fall trends.  This year, rules are being broken as the runways were sprinkled with black and navy pairings.  This long forbidden matchup has been blown out of the water by fashionistas everywhere.  This trend evokes a “dark romance” with different hues and textures making it perfect for date night wear.  You can incorporate this trend into your wardrobe long before the weather turns cold by stocking up on some beautiful Gemvara pieces that are sure to make a statement long before your long sleeves and opaque tights.

Victoria Band, Renaissance Band, Mantilla Ring

Cascade Pendant, Bouquet Ring, Vine Leaf Studs

22 July

Gem Class: Gold

 Atlantis Eternity Band, Laurel Ring, Balcony Band

Gold is the most popular choice of metal for jewelry comes in different colors.  Gemvara offers yellow, white, and rose gold; but can be made into other colors depending on the alloys it is mixed with.  Pure gold is a bright, shiny yellow color, and is very dense and malleable; therefore requiring it to be mixed with other alloys to become suitable for use.  Gold has been a valuable precious metal used for coinage, jewelry, and a variety of other things since before recorded history and throughout human history has been the most common basis for monetary policies.  As of 2009, 165,000 tons of gold has been mined, equivalent to a cube 20.4 meters on each side.

Pure gold is 24k but gold jewelry is typically 22k, 18k, 14k, or 10k.  Yellow gold in jewelry is alloyed with a 50/50 ratio of silver and copper to maintain the bright yellow.  White gold alloys are typically made with palladium, silver, zinc, or nickel.  Although nickel has been phased out of creating white gold as some people have a skin reaction with the metal.  Rose gold is formed by mixing mostly pure gold with a small amount of copper to enhance the reddish tones.  Blue gold contains iron, while purple gold has aluminum; both are rarely used since they are particularly brittle and difficult to work with in jewelry.  When pure gold mixes with only silver, the result is a greenish-yellow shade and is referred to as green gold.

21 July

One Piece, Three Ways: Racetrack Ring

A statement ring is an easy way to take an outfit to the next level and the Racetrack Ring by Gemvara is exactly does exactly that in these three outfits, taking the ring from work, to a casual weekend, and a wedding reception.  This customized ring features a large green amethyst gem encircled with diamonds and set in palladium.  The light green plays well with every color, especially pinks and other greens.  Palladium is a little known precious metal but an excellent choice for settings since it is naturally white and will never tarnish as well as being a hypoallergenic metal.


Work with Gemvara Racetrack Ring

Wear this ring to work to spice up a basic black dress.  Add a coral blazer which is the perfect shade for summer, but will keep you warm in an overly air conditioned office.  Throw your keys into a chic green clutch that will bring out the green amethyst in the Racetrack Ring for extra sparkle.  Break up the all black dress by adding a simple long chain necklace or thing belt to accentuate the thinnest part of your waist.


Weekend with Gemvara Racetrack Ring

For a lazy weekend day running errands and window shopping, try pairing a light and flowing tank top with edgy leather shorts.  You’ll be able to walk miles in a pair of comfortable oxfords, we like the cut-outs in these to keep you cool.  A pair of oversize shades is always the best substitute for wearing makeup and with the Racetrack Ring as a statement; you won’t need any other jewelry for a fuss free yet stylish day!


Wedding Reception with Gemvara Racetrack Ring

Summer is wedding season, meaning dancing the night away.  Stay cool with a lightweight dress in a pastel hue.  This one has awesome draping and large arm holes to keep the air flowing.  Play up the earth tones in a pair of wooden-sole wedges (much more comfortable then stilettos) and a warm chocolate brown clutch.  Keep your makeup simple so it doesn’t melt off during the day.  This NARS multiple is small enough to throw in your bag for a quick reapply later in the evening.  The Racetrack Ring is all you need to polish off this look and you are ready to go!

Or shop other statement rings from Gemvara!

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