Top Three Gemstones for Good Luck

Top Three Gemstones for Good Luck

Have you ever wondered about the symbolic meaning behind the beautiful gems in your beaded jewelry? Whether you purposely seek out gemstones and crystals for their supposed metaphysical properties or you just like the way they look, there's no doubt that it is interesting to understand the traditional meaning behind your unique beaded jewelry. Here are the top three gemstones that have historically been used to bring good luck.
Handmade Jewelry: Past, Present, and Future

Handmade Jewelry: Past, Present, and Future

Handmade jewelry has been a part of the fashion world since the earliest of civilizations. Ancient Egyptians are notably known for jewelry made of fine gemstones and precious metals, such as gold and silver. Mummies of past reigning pharaohs have reportedly been found adorned with exquisite handmade jewelry, along with other amulets that were believed to assist the dead as they crossed over to the other side.
August 25, 2018 by SWCreations Jewelry
The Hidden Lore of Gemstones

The Hidden Lore of Gemstones

There are two things that make handcrafted jewelry special ... beautiful artistry and the significance of the piece. Sometimes, the piece is special because of the moment it celebrates. An engagement or anniversary, the birth of a child, or perhaps it's a memento of a wonderful vacation. But sometimes, what makes that piece so exceptional is something more steeped in lore.
August 11, 2018 by SWCreations Jewelry
Gemstones and Crystals that Look Amazing in Handcrafted Jewelry

Gemstones and Crystals that Look Amazing in Handcrafted Jewelry

Looking to add just the right splash of color to your jewelry? Gemstones and colored Swarovski crystals are some of the most popular, offering a wide mix of styles and shades. When combined with a beautiful diamond or glass bead, they make a bold statement that looks good no matter where you are. Use this brief guide to gemstones to learn more about these precious stones and how to incorporate them into handcrafted jewelry.
Apatite Gemstone - Gemstone Meanings and Magical Traits

Apatite Gemstone - Gemstone Meanings and Magical Traits

Magic is something everyone ponders at some point in their life. We could be living the happiest, most successful lives and yet we'll still long for some abnormal escape from reality. Perhaps getting lost in Harry Potter novels and dreaming about being psychic or having extraordinary healing powers are just not the right way of going about it? It will amaze you, as it amazed me, the things this simple gemstone is capable of when worn in jewelry and beaded jewelry. 

The Masai and the Blue Stone: Tanzanite

Htanzanite gemstone historyow Tanzanite Was Discovered

One day in 1967, a Masai tribesman named Ali Juuyawatu was walking along the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania when he found a stone. Perhaps he stubbed his toe on the rock or maybe it’s unusual color caught his eye, history doesn’t tell us that. We do know that this Masai warrior made history that day; he had discovered Tanzanite! To this day, this rare member of the zoisite group of minerals has been found in only one place on earth: a five-square mile hilltop near Arusha, Tanzania. In fact, Kilimanjaro International Airport is just ten miles north of where this rare gem is mined.

Tanzanite is related to another stone with Masai connections: anyolite (or ruby zoisite) is an opaque green stone with inclusions of large, generally opaque rubies; it’s named after a Masai word for green.

The new gem was originally called blue zoisite, but when Tiffany & Company presented the gemstone to the world in 1969, they had renamed it Tanzanite after the only country where it is found. It’s reported that they renamed it out of fear that mispronunciation of its unfamiliar name into “blue suicide” might affect sales of their new and exotic gem.

Like topaz and diamonds, a tanzanite gemstone exhibits perfect cleavage and a good, sharp blow could cause it to split right in half! Gem cutters have other problems to deal with when turning rough tanzanite into gems; it appears as different colors depending on the angle at which it’s viewed. It can appear blue (ranging from vivid sapphire to ultramarine), violet-blue, or violet. The less than desirable yellowish-brown tinge found in most of the rough crystals is easier to deal with; it vanishes when the stone is heated to between 752 & 932 degrees F. This heat treatment has the added benefit of enhancing the more desirable blue and violet colors.

If you would enjoy the beauty of tanzanite without the expense of this rare (and pricey!) gem, take a look at our tanzanite beaded anklet or tanzanite crystal earrings; they are only two of many tanzanite inspired designs we have available. And be sure to contact us for help in your quest for that perfect piece of beaded jewelry.

August 22, 2015 by SWCreations Jewelry

Jade: Gemstone of Spirit and Virtue

jade gemstone beaded braceletLong associated with Chinese culture, jade is an ancient and beautiful gemstone. The characteristic green color of the stone (which can range from very pale, milky green to very dark green) is caused by its iron content. More iron results in deeper green color. This extremely durable stone has been used to make tools and beaded jewelry, along with other objects used for ornamental or spiritual purposes, for at least 7000 years. Fine examples of jade jewelry and artifacts, both modern and historic, have been found all over the world.

Jade and Chinese Culture

It is hard to overstate the prominence of jade in Chinese culture. Traditionally, jade has been thought to ward off evil spirits and bring good health and long life. Jade is thought to possess almost human qualities, as described by Xu Shen in his work, Shuowenjiezi:

A stone that is beautiful, it has five virtues. There is warmth in its lustre and brilliance; this is its quality of kindness; its soft interior may be viewed from the outside revealing [the goodness] within; this is its quality of rectitude; its tone is tranquil and high and carries far and wide; this is its quality of wisdom; it may be broken but cannot be twisted; this is its quality of bravery; its sharp edges are not intended for violence; this is its quality of purity. (Translation adapted from Zheng Dekun)

Because of the beauty of jade and its spiritual properties, it has been treasured by the Chinese people throughout their history. Jade has been called the imperial gem, and ornamental objects made from jade have been found in ancient royal tombs.

Jade is still popular in China today. Many households own cherished objects made from jade. In addition to jewelry, jade can be fashioned into innumerable things, from hair combs to statues to tea sets. These items are highly valued and often displayed with pride.

Jade and Maori Culture 

jade gemstone beaded braceletThe Maori people are indigenous to New Zealand. Originating in Polynesia, they traveled the ocean by canoe and arrived in New Zealand around 3500 years ago. They have a rich and unique culture largely centered around artistic and religious pursuits. Jade, called pounamu in the Maori language, is sacred to the Maori people. Found only on the South Island, jade was originally mined for use in tools. Eventually, tribal leaders began to use ceremonial objects carved from jade as symbols of rank. These items were considered taonga (treasure) and were highly valued.

Today, jade is a favored gemstone in New Zealand. It is worked into jewelry featuring traditional Maori designs and symbols. Items made from jade are popular with tourists, and New Zealand residents often wear jade jewelry for good luck when traveling out of country.

Jade in Mesoamerica 

Jade has been found in archeological locations throughout Central America. Many ceremonial items made from jade appear in Mayan burial sites. One example is the jade beads often found in the mouths of the dead.  Olmecs were especially fond of rare blue jade. Found only in Guatemala, it symbolized water and was important to their religious rituals.

Jade is prized by people around the world. It is strong, gorgeous, and versatile and has great spiritual significance. For more information about gemstones or to see our beautiful handcrafted jade jewelry, please contact us today.

Five of the Most Famous Gemstones of All Time

Nature makes them.  Men sweat for them, cut them, polish them, steal them and also kill for them.  Gemstones impress everyone, but some stones seem to take on a life of their own.  These famous gemstones still fascinate us today.

The Hope DiamondProbably the most famous gemstone in the world, the Hope Diamond hides quite a tale in her lovely steel-blue facets.  Mined originally in India, the owner sold it to the French King Louis XIV in the mid-1600s.  About 100 years later when Louis XVI lost his throne and his head, the diamond disappeared along with the other French crown jewels.  It turned up in the hands of Henry Hope in 1839 and received the name we know.  Hope died shortly after he bought it.  In 1910 an unfortunate lady named Evalyn Walsh McLean acquired it.  She lost a daughter to a drug overdose, a son to a car accident and her husband to a sanitarium.  She also lost her fortune.  Henry Winston purchased her estate jewelry in 1949 and later donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Natural Museum of History. He seems to have escaped the curse the stone acquired through the years.  Today, it is one of the most popular displays at the Museum.

The Museum also houses another famous gemstone, the Star of India.  About the size of a golf ball, the Star is one of the largest sapphires in the world.  It weighs in at 1563 carats!  Its value lies not only in its size and color but also in the rare double star it carries.  Mined in Sri Lanka, J. P. Morgan owned the stone before donating it to the Museum in 1900.  Due to poor security, in 1964 thieves took it from the museum along with several other stones.  It was later recovered from a bus terminal in Miami and returned.  It currently rests safely in the museum with improved protection.

Koh-i-Noor DiamondThe British Crown Jewels displayed at the Tower of London contain several famous gemstones.  The Koh-i-Noor diamond came originally from Indian mines.  It's name means "mountain of lights" for its dazzling pure white color and near flawless beauty.  It was given to Queen Victoria and set in the crown by Albert.  Like many other famous jewels, it carries a curse.  It's said that if a man wears it he will die.  Only women of the British royal family have ever worn it.  After Queen Elizabeth, it will pass to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

The Black Prince Ruby in the Imperial State Crown of England is also called the "Imposter Ruby."  It isn't a ruby at all, but a huge spinel.  Mined in what is now modern Tajikistan, it originally belonged to the Moorish Prince of Granada.  It passed through several hands before coming to the son of England's Edward III where it was given its present name.

One more gemstone became famous only in the 20th century.  La Peregrina Pearl was found by an African slave in the Gulf of Panama in the 16th century.  It passed through so many hands it was given the name Peregrina meaning "wanderer."   Philip of Spain gave it to Queen "Bloody" Mary of England, then took it back to Spain when she died.  It was later looted from Spain by Napoleon.  It continued its "wandering" until Richard Burton bought it in 1969 for a mere $37,000.  He gave it to Elizabeth Taylor who had it set in a gorgeous necklace.  After her death, it sold at auction for 11 million dollars in 2011.

These stones were famous for their size, their beauty, their perfection and, in part, who wore them.  All gemstones become personalized by their owners and have a story to tell.  What is your favorite gemstone and your story?  Contact us and let us help you find out.

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: Koh-i-Noor Diamond

koh-i-noor diamondIn the history of famous gems and beaded jewelry, the Koh-i-Noor Diamond stands out for its dark tales of tragedy, torture and murder, of thrones, lost and gained. The legend is that whoever holds the diamond will be invincible, and men who believed the legend were willing to slaughter thousands for it. Even now, the gem is at the center of a dispute.

Its origin is a mystery. The strongest legend is that India's Kakatiya dynasty placed the 186 carat diamond in the eye of a Hindu goddess statue, probably starting an enduring trend of legends about cursed gems stolen from the eyes of statues. No one is even sure when it received its name, which translates to "mountain of light." Beginning in the 14th century, the jewel became a spoil of war, changing hands from warlord to warlord until in 1739, Persian ruler Nadir Shah sacked the Indian city of Agra and took Shah Jahan's magnificent jeweled Peacock Throne and the Koh-i-Noor. The Peacock Throne disappeared, apparently broken up for its gold and jewels, but the struggle raged for possession of the Koh-i-Noor. The following years were violent and bloody, with various factions fighting for control. There were

Beginning in the 14th century, the jewel became a spoil of war, changing hands from warlord to warlord until in 1739, Persian ruler Nadir Shah sacked the Indian city of Agra and took Shah Jahan's magnificent jeweled Peacock Throne and the Koh-i-Noor. The Peacock Throne disappeared, apparently broken up for its gold and jewels, but the struggle raged for possession of the Koh-i-Noor. The following years were violent and bloody, with various factions fighting for control. There were

The following years were violent and bloody, with various factions fighting for control. There were blindings, tortures, murders. One royal owner hid the diamond in the plaster wall of his cell. Finally, in 1843, young Dhulip Singh became the Maharajah of the Punjab and owner of the Koh-i-Noor. By 1849, the British stepped in and stopped the fighting by annexing India through the Treaty of Lahore, which specifically stated that the Koh-i-Noor was to be surrendered to Queen Victoria.

Afterward, the Maharajah, then living in London, was visited by the Queen and shown the stone, recut on the orders of Prince Albert to 108 carats. The young man reportedly said that it gave him great pleasure to place the stone in Victoria's hands.

In 1937, the diamond was set in the crown made for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. It glitters regally from the Maltese Cross at the apex. The crown is worn only by female royals; It's considered unlucky for men to wear it. Understandable, considering its history.

Controversy over the fabulous stone hasn't ended. In 1947 and in 1953, India asked that the stone be returned. In 1976, the Prime Minister of Pakistan submitted a formal request that the Koh-i-Noor be returned to Pakistan, one of the many claimants to the stone. Britain maintains that the diamond was not seized – as it was so many times in its history – but was presented under the Treaty of Lahore. India protested a handover to Pakistan, and recently Iran made its own claim.

So far, Britain holds fast to the Koh-i-Noor, the diamond that was so drenched in blood and grief. It rests now in majestic glory, marveled at by tourists, with the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

If cursed jewels aren't your thing, contact us for exquisite beaded jewelry.



April 30, 2015 by Stephanie White
​Harnessing Energy From Gemstones In Handmade Jewelry

​Harnessing Energy From Gemstones In Handmade Jewelry

For centuries gemstones of all types have been said to hold mythical powers and healing energies. In fact, entire businesses were founded upon the belief of these healing properties which people have observed since ancient times. Today, many people may not believe in the healing powers of stones and other minerals, but they do believe the stones contain a certain natural 'force.' Whatever you believe, check out these five gemstones that are said to have some amazing health and wellness benefits.

January 09, 2015 by Stephanie White
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