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Gemvara Blog » Gems
8 July

July Birthstone: Ruby

Posted by in Blog, Gems | No Comments

July’s birthstone is the ruby, just in time for the Red, White, and Blue Holiday (although over here we refer to it as rubies, diamonds, and sapphires).  Rubies are known for being the stone of passion, courage, and undying love.  It is remains the most valued gemstone in the world monetarily and the Bible even establishes that only wisdom and virtuous women are worth more.  Many legends surround rubies, they gem of the heart with the power to kindle the flame of desire and the unique ability to boil water according to ancient Hindu culture.

The value of a ruby depends primarily on color with deep red rubies having the highest value.  Clarity, cut, and carat also affect the price, respectively.  All natural-occurring rubies have slight imperfections and one of the key factors when determining if a ruby is a fake.

Geologically, rubies are actually red sapphires getting their color from chromium and can range from pink to blood red.  It is also considered one of the four precious stones along with sapphire, emerald, and diamond.  It also has a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of 10.0; only moissanite and diamonds are harder.

Since they are such a hard stone, rubies are perfect for everyday wear, and one of the easiest, especially as a statement piece breaking up a neutral-based outfit.

7 June

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are Engaged!


If you haven’t heard yet, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are tying the knot after dating on and off for three years.  Girls everywhere, including here at Gemvara, are distraught at the news of Hemsworth becoming officially off the market, despite our adoration of Cyrus.  But the juiciest details of this love story is, of course, the ring.  Hemsworth and jeweler Neil Lane worked together to create the antique 3.5 carat cushion cut diamond set in 18 carat yellow gold.  The ring also has intricate detailing with carved diamond floral motifs in an art nouveau pattern.

Luckily for those of us who don’t have a high profile celebrity jeweler on speed dial (or the Hemsworth brothers for that matter), Gemvara has several options that resemble Cyrus’ dazzling ring.



Shop Similar Rings Now


23 May

The Great Gatsby Evokes Great Jewelry

The Great Gatsby is arguably the best “Great American Novel” dripping with love, deceit, and all things materialistic.  The novel is a staple in practically every high school English class, and now being transformed (for the second time) into the next Christmas Blockbuster.  Baz Luhrmann’s, soon to be hi,t is starring Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tobey Maguire and music from this century rather than the last.  The part Gemvara is looking forward to the most is the sheer abundance of extravagant gems.  In a time of flamboyant excess and no rules, everything sparkled and glimmered and this movie will be no exception.  Check out the trailer below and get ready for some major jewelry lust.

22 May

Introducing Alexandrite

Our newest gemstone, adding to the expansive collection at Gemvara, is Alexandrite.  This unique gemstone radiates a beautiful ocean green hue in bright sunlight, but in softer mood lighting shines in sultry red and purple tones.  This stunning gem can be found in the Ural Mountains of Russia and represents the 55th anniversary gem as well as the June birthstone.  Alexandrite was first discovered in the 1830s and named after Alexander II, the future Czar of Russia for his 16th birthday.  It was particularly popular in that time since the stone’s colors mimicked those of the Russian Imperial flag.  Because of it’s chemical composition, Alexandrite is extremely uncommon larger than 3 carats and very rare, in fact it is more precious than a diamond.  It is a variety of the stone chrysoberyl and the color change comes from iron, titanium, and chromium as impurities.

Alexandrite is a very hard stone (8.5) and thus perfect for everyday wear.  It is also known to be a good omen, a good luck amulet and strengthen the intuition of the bearer.  It can be easily cleaned with warm, soapy water.

28 March

April is for: Diamonds

Hope you had a lot of fun learning all about diamonds! They’re amazing gems for everyone, whether or not their birthdays are in April. If you are an April baby, happy birthday from the Gemvara team!

1 February

February Fancies

It may come as a shock, but February isn’t all about pinks and reds. There’s another color that represents the month of February and it goes beyond Valentine’s Day. That color is purple, or what we like to refer to as amethyst.

Amethyst, February’s birthstone, is a welcome change for those who don’t love the super girly colors of V-Day, but still appreciate the romance. In fact, amethyst was actually the gem of cupid – they say St. Valentine wore it himself.

Have a loved one with a February birthday? Need a more subtle Valentine’s Day stone? Amethyst jewelry would make a marvelous gift. Check out some of our customer’s recent designs (below) for some inspiration.

Written in the Stars Ring, Pear Gem Drop Earrings, Oh La Lovely Ring, Double Helix Ring, Sailor’s Knot Ring, Twin Hearts Ring, Infinite Heart Pendant, Counterpoint Ring, Yin Yang Heart, Lotus Ring, Monsoon Earrings, Twist Ring

5 January

Brilliant Advice

Shopping for a gemstone can be harder than you think. Admittedly, before I began working for Gemvara, I had no clue about the difference between a well cut stone and a poorly cut one. (Not to mention the fact that all stones have different hardness levels! Who knew?)

However, lucky for you, our resident gem expert, Roy Albers, agreed to get under the bright lights and film a few short videos to guide you through the process of purchasing a gemstone.

Roy is the VP of Jewelry Fulfillment at Gemvara and the buyer for all our gemstones. He is extremely well-versed in the business and you will see that as he discusses the guidelines for buying three gems, a ruby, an emerald, and a sapphire, in the videos below.

At some point in each video Roy displays a multitude of stones – some good, some bad. Unfortunately, we were even fooled by a few of the stones. (Good thing we don’t do Roy’s job!) See if you can spot the perfect stones from the imperfect. Did you get it right?

How to Buy: Ruby


How to Buy: Emerald


How to Buy: Sapphire


3 January

January Gem

The month of January is always marked by a desire to start fresh. It’s that time of year when (more often than not) you make a pact to forgo ice cream for dinner and hit the gym instead. While we’re all for positive resolutions, we also think that it’s important to have some help along the way. It may seem silly, but we’ve got the perfect (chic) solution: a garnet.

Garnet is the birthstone for the month of January, but what makes me most excited about this gem is that it is also known to promote constancy, true friendship, and loyalty. Not to mention it also protects travelers on their adventures. What better bauble to have as a reminder to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions? I love the idea of wearing this gem in a cute pendant or gemstone ring.

If carrying around an amulet is not your style, garnets are also simply beautiful gemstones. They come in many variations and colors allowing them to virtually fit any type of personality. For example, red garnets from Mozambique have an earthy, red ocher color, and are a good match for those with a vintage or rock style like Kate Moss (whose birthday also happens to be in January).

For those with a sweeter side, the juicy, raspberry color of the rhodolite garnet is a good choice. Garnets also come in rare vivid green tsavorite and bright orange spessartite varieties. Emma Stone was spotted in mandarin-hued garnet earrings at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards.

If January is the start to a fresh, new you, there is no better way to kick off 2012 than with a gorgeous garnet in your jewelry box.

1 December

Bright Blues

The month of December holds much to look forward to: holiday lights, delicious food, people in good spirits, cozy nights by the fireside, Starbucks holiday drink menu… the list goes on and on. Lucky for those born in this cheerful month, you also have two spectacular choices in birthstones: icy blue topaz and velvety tanzanite.

While traditional turquoise used to be the birthstone for December, it has recently been swapped for these two blue gems. We love the new stones, but how do you pick? Here are some tips.


Blue topaz is a lighter, sky blue while tanzanite has a twilight purplish color. Both gems are vibrant and their color is striking against a silver or white gold setting. Gemvara also offers London blue topaz, which has a darker, more intense shade of blue for extra drama.

You’ll find that blue topaz jewelry complements almost everything in your wardrobe, from browns and grays to vivid tones. Tanzanite pairs well with an extensive palette also. Of course, tanzanite is an ideal complement to all the rich blues, purples, and greens in your wardrobe, but the velvety depths of this gem are also great with earth tones, from chocolates to rusts and golds.

Choose your favorite of the two or test which one looks better against your skin tone.


While blue topaz used to be the rarest color of topaz, it is now the most common thanks to a stable color enhancement process. This makes blue topaz more affordable. On the other hand, tanzanite is extremely rare. It is mined in only one place in the world — a five-square mile area in Merelani, Tanzania near the feet of majestic Kilimanjaro. For this reason tanzanite is significantly more expensive than blue topaz.

Still having trouble? Choose both!

Because the two gems are in the same color family, they pair very nicely together. At Gemvara we make it easy for you to create designs using any gems you like, so have some fun and design a piece using both stones. A bit out of your price range? Enter your design in our What a Guy contest for a chance to win it! Your December dreams may come true!

Which shade of December blue are you?

1 November

Golden Spotlight

For years, citrine has been an understudy, overshadowed by topaz and commonly referred to as topaz quartz. Many people believed (and still do today) that topaz was the birthstone of November. While topaz is November’s gem too, citrine is the star.

This sunny shade of quartz has many reasons to be in the spotlight. Its color reflects the essence of autumn’s golden sunset – the perfect gem to represent the month of November. It ranges from pale yellow to reddish orange, and can even contain hints of brown. Citrine’s color can brighten up a gray day or compliment that first warm fire, cup of apple cider, or the falling leaves.

Another reason why citrine deserves the spotlight is because it is so affordable. This is great news for those craving a big gemstone ring or large drop earrings. Citrine is the perfect gem to make a bang on a budget. We love pairing citrine with blue topaz or its quartz cousin, amethyst – the gems opposite it on the color wheel. It also looks great when matched with smoky topaz or ruby. Citrine is one of the gems featured in our new Naked Gems line, launching very soon! It looks stunning in earrings, necklaces and rings.

The last reason why citrine merits a leading role may be the best one. Citrine is known as the gem of happiness, joy and optimism. It is also said to protect against jealousy. So wrap yourself in citrine this holiday season and you are sure to remain cozy and content under its golden glow.

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