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Go March, it’s your birthday…

Thursday, March 17th, 2011
By La Petite Acadienne

Aquamarine…

The name itself is so evocative, isn’t it? It makes me think of beautiful, crystalline, blue-green waters and white sand and palm trees.

There’s something about aquamarine that just feels like a soothing escape, isn’t there?

The March birthstone, aquamarine, is a form of beryl, the same mineral family that emerald belongs to. The highest quality of aquamarine is very clear, with fewer inclusions than emerald, but aquamarine that is less clear can be just as beautiful (as you will see below).Aquamarine exists in many shades of blue, from pale versions to the color of the sky, and some stones are tinged with green — it owes its color to the presence of iron. Deeper colored aquamarines have the highest value.

When I think of aquamarines, I always tend to think of the very clear, gemstone-cut variety, similar to these earrings:

They’re very lovely, and I certainly would not turn my nose up at them. However, I never realized how gorgeous the “less clear” aquamarines can be, like in this stunning necklace (which just happens to be marked down by 50%.)

Speaking of necklaces, here’s another gorgeous one:

But, if you prefer the clear aquamarines, these earrings should fit the bill quite nicely, no?

Happy birthday, March!!!

LPA


February! When the heck did THAT get here!

Sunday, February 20th, 2011
By La Petite Acadienne

I am soooooooo sorry, February ladies! (Including my own mother, whose birthday was on the 18th — Hi Mom! Love you!)

It’s not that I forgot about YOU, it’s that I forgot that I’ve been doing birthstone posts. My only excuse is the short-term memory loss brought about by severe sleep deprivation (ref: “Pearly Whites”).

So, if you will forgive me and still love me, I will now do my best to bring you all sorts of lovely goodness.

The irony of it is that February’s birthstone, amethyst, is actually one of my favourite semi-precious stones. I definitely share Anne Shirley’s love for them:

“I think amethysts are just sweet. They are what I used to think diamonds were like. Long ago, before I had ever seen a diamond, I read about them and I tried to imagine what they would be like. I thought they would be lovely glimmering purple stones. When I saw a real diamond in a lady’s ring one day I was so disappointed I cried. Of course, it was very lovely but it wasn’t my idea of a diamond. Will you let me hold the brooch for one minute, Marilla? Do you think amethysts can be the souls of good violets?”

Anne wound up choosing a pearl as her engagement ring. She didn’t want a diamond, because she was forever reminded of her disappointment that they weren’t purple.  Pity she never saw this ring.

Gorgeous, no? I love the simple setting, letting the stone take centre stage.

Here are some other amethyst lovelies that would have turned Josie Pye a most unflattering shade of green.

I love the delicacy of this necklace and the contrasting chains. So pretty!

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These pyrite-and-amethyst earrings are so unusual, but so lovely.

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I also love the shape of these earrings with their amethyst drops.

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Of course, if our Anne really wanted to steal the show, and still wanted to incorporate pearls into her look, she could have worn this stunning bracelet:

Isn’t it all just so romantic, Marilla?

Bisous!

LPA


Go January…it’s your birthday…

Thursday, January 6th, 2011
By La Petite Acadienne

Hello, my little winter chickadees!

Well, the holiday season is over, and we now have the long stretch of winter to face. Everybody has turned their Christmas lights off, it’s dark, it’s cold, and we don’t have any statutory holidays until Easter.

Bah.

The only bright spot for me is that my birthday is this month.  And while I am on the far side of my 30’s, I still get excited about my birthday. Mind you, that’s probably just because I love attention.

I also love garnets, January’s birthstone. I’m a bit weird about garnets, though — I’m not a fan of them when paired with diamonds. However (confession time), as a general rule, I don’t like it when diamonds are used to accent precious or semi-precious gems.  I prefer for the gemstone to take centre stage, or for it to be paired with something interesting or unusual. Pairing a garnet (or a sapphire, or an emerald, or a pearl) with little accent diamonds just seems kind of, “Ooh, let’s jazz this up a bit by adding a bunch of little diamonds!” I guess it just seems sort of lazy.  Mind you, I’m sure there IS some fantastic jewelry out there that pairs gemstones with diamond accents — it just seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

I told you I’m weird.

Anyway, back to garnets. Take it away, wiki:

Garnets species are found in many colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, pink and colorless.

Garnet species’s light transmission properties can range from the gemstone-quality transparent specimens to the opaque varieties used for industrial purposes as abrasives. The mineral’s luster is categorized as vitreous (glass-like) or resinous (amber-like).

Of course, red (rhodolite) garnet is the one that we see most often.  The word “garnet” comes from the Latin word “granatus,” meaning “grain” or “seed.”  This name was given to the garnet because of its close resemblance to the pomegranate seed.

A gift of garnet is thought to be symbolic of love and the desire for a loved one’s safe travel and speedy homecoming.  As well, garnets were once used medicinally, to increase strength and ward off several medical problems including blood disorders, heart palpitations and lung disease.

The irony is that this garnet jewelry would CAUSE heart palpitations, thank you very much.

Yes, this is a baby’s pendant, but I see no reason why I couldn’t have it set in a longer chain for myself. It’s just too adorable!

Hammered gold and garnets? Why, yes. Yes, I think I shall!  I’m definitely a sucker for hammered gold, so those earrings are right up my alley:

We also have this simple, but perfect ring. The setting doesn’t distract from the gorgeous, deep, rich red of the garnet.  Delicate, but still very, very striking.  Me likey.

So, happy birthday to all my fellow January babies! May your birthday bring you some pretty new garnet baubles!

Bisous,

LPA


New Year, New Moon, New…Moonstone?

Monday, January 3rd, 2011
By La Petite Acadienne

No, not THAT New Moon. The January 4th will see the first new moon of 2011.  And of course, thinking of the moon makes one think of moonstones.

For years, I had wanted a moonstone ring. A friend of mine had one, and I had always admired it. Mind you, I had always admired everything about this friend’s style — she is one of those people who always looks perfectly, effortlessly put-together. (Of course, the fact that she is a six-foot-tall cool blonde probably contributes somewhat to this effect, I’m thinking.)

Anyway, on a trip to Holland in 2005 with my now-husband, we stopped at this tiny little store in a tiny little town, and there, he bought me a sterling silver ring with a moonstone in it. The funny thing was that I put the ring on my right ring finger, as that is where it fit. When we exited the store, all of our Dutch friends started oohing and aahing and clapping. It turns out that they wear their wedding bands on their right ring finger, not their left.  So they thought we had just gotten engaged.

I look at this ring and am flooded with good memories. If I had a chance to grab any of my jewelry in the event of a fire,  this ring would be one of the first things I would grab.

In India, moonstone is regarded as a sacred stone. It is believed to bring good fortune. And really, couldn’t we all use more good fortune in 2011?

So it is a stone that is reputed to bring good fortune AND it is a stone to which I hold a great sentimental attachment.  Do I really need more reason than that to hunt for pretty moonstone jewelry for my beloved readers? No. No I do not need more reason.

You could have stunning moonstone-and-pearl earrings :

Or you could have this beautiful bracelet:

And of course, you simply cannot go wrong with a moonstone ring! Mine is sterling silver, but this unique gold one is SO eye-catching, no? It’s a wee bit pricey, but it would make a marvelous engagement ring (a deliberate engagement ring, as opposed to my inadvertent false Dutch engagement adventure, obviously.)

May the new moon and the new year bring you plenty of good fortune (and plenty of pretty baubles, of course!)

Bisous,

LPA


Go November…it’s your birthday…

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
By La Petite Acadienne

Let’s talk about birthstones.

I’m guessing that an alarming number of you just had flashbacks to the multi-birthstone jewelry that your mom bought for you at Sears when you were 12.

I had a daughter’s pride ring. I’d begged for it for the better part of a year, and when I received it, I was absolutely thrilled. Six months later, I went on a trip with my parents, and in a rare show of pre-teen responsibility, decided to leave my ring at home so that I wouldn’t risk losing it.

While we were away, my older sister had friends over.

When we got back from our trip, my ring was nowhere to be seen.  I hunted high and low, to no avail.

Now I’m not saying that one of my sister’s friends stole my beloved, cherished daughter’ s pride ring. And I’m not saying that I took umbrage at being accused of just misplacing it, when I KNOW I had done no such thing. And I’m ALSO not saying that I’m still bitter about it, twenty-three years later.

Okay. Maybe I’m a little bitter.

My tale illustrates the point that birthstones often have a certain emotional resonance with us. Sometimes we love our birthstone, sometimes we hate it. However it is always something to which we have a connection.

November’s birthstones are topaz and citrine. Specifically, yellow topaz and citrine. Blue topaz is definitely more common, and much easier to find, but it doesn’t technically qualify as November’s birthstone.   According to my very scientific research (in other words, Wikipedia), topaz  is “a silicate mineral of aluminium and fluorine with the chemical formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2.”  It is most commonly found in Brazil, and believe it or not, during medieval days, “it was thought to heal physical and mental disorders as well as prevent death.”  Citrine is a variety of quartz — natural citrines are rare; most commercial citrines are heat-treated amethysts or smoky quartzes. It is nearly impossible to tell cut citrine from yellow topaz visibly, but they do differ in hardness.

Good to know.

Would this jewelry prevent death and heal disorders? Probably not, but at least you’d look very pretty in the meantime, no?

These earrings are a rather neat combination of hoop earring and drop-style earring, I think.

I love the autumnal tones in this bracelet.

It’s a turtle ring. Why the heck not, right?

Happy birthday to our November readers!!!

Bisous,

La Petite Acadienne












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