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All About Birthstones - September

From opaque and shimmering to clear and brilliant, sapphires have captured the imagination of people from traditions all over the world. The familiar color of deep blue sapphires conjures images of royalty and greatness, while its other colors and hues remind us of the variety and beauty of the natural world. These meaningful and beautiful gemstones have been worn in jewelry and as protective amulets throughout history, imbuing them with even more mystery and symbolism as we celebrate their beauty today.

Like its cousin, Ruby, Sapphire is a member of the Corundum mineral group. Although it may seem that the word “Sapphire” is synonymous with the color blue, sapphires can actually form in a range of colors. The traditional “cornflower blue” color has been historically most desirable, but sapphires also occur in a variety of “fancy” colors like yellow, pink, orange, and green. As with most gemstones, the color of the sapphire depends on the presence of certain trace elements within the individual crystal’s structure (iron and titanium being the primary coloring agent for blue sapphires). These traces, and thus the color of the gem, will vary with location of origin and can also be brought about through laboratory treatments like heating, irradiation, and titanium diffusion (a sophisticated laboratory process involving bombarding a crystal with microscopic particles of titanium and other elements until the crystal lattice is saturated, mimicking the appearance of naturally blue sapphires). Sapphire can even exhibit a range of colors within a single crystal, from pale yellow to blue to green. This is referred to as partitioning, which describes the division of the colors within a single crystal. In the trade, these are sometimes called parti sapphires.

An extremely rare orange-pink variety of sapphire is only found in one mining locality, and called a padparadscha (which translates to “lotus flower” in Sinhalese, the language spoken in Sri Lanka where this particular type of sapphire is found).This color is only found in nature very rarely, so although the gemstone market has adopted the term to refer to sapphires within this range of orange to pink, the true term only describes the stones of a particular hue and saturation that naturally occurred in mines in Sri Lanka.

More commonly, sapphires come from several other mining localities, primarily also in Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), and Kashmir. There are also deposits in other parts of Asia, Australia, and even the United States (Montana).

In addition to variances in color, sapphires also form at different clarity grades, and saturation and presence (and type) of inclusions can vary greatly from one crystal to another. Depending on the conditions of the crystal’s growth (determined by geological forces in the crystal’s growth environment), the sapphire crystal structure can be very clear and free of visible growth lines and inclusions, resulting in a brilliant and evenly saturated crystal that will return the most light when properly fashioned into a cut gemstone. Occasionally, though, sapphires have a milkier composition, sometimes with inclusions of the mineral rutile, which can be cut to exhibit an optical effect called asterism in which the rutile needles within the sapphire’s crystal structure scatter the light so that it looks like a 6-pointed star. Accordingly, these are called star sapphires!

Sapphires carry deeply-held traditions and symbolism, catalogued throughout history; in ancient times, sapphires were regarded as protective amulets, believed to protect the wearer from envy and harm. These glowing gems, especially the blue variety, have also often been used in wedding and engagement jewelry as a symbol of faithfulness, sincerity, and nobility. With its range of colors, qualities, and symbolic attributes, Sapphire is sure to endure as one of the most beloved colored gemstones in history.

Sources:

https://www.gia.edu/sapphire-history-lore

https://www.gia.edu/sapphire-description

https://www.gia.edu/birthstones/september-birthstones

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All About Birthstones - August

Late summer is the time for savoring the warm weather, getting your hands on the last of the season’s fresh fruits and veggies, and dressing in bright, playful colors. Peridot, the birthstone for August, hits all the marks with its unmistakable apple-green hue and sparkling internal characteristics. Under the surface of these delightful gems lies an extraordinary story about their origins.

Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral Olivine (so named for its olive-green color). This mineral is typically found in volcanic areas, and forms deep within the Earth’s mantle. The crystals come to the surface as a result of the fire and brimstone of tectonic plate movement and volcanic activity. They are often found in basalt, a type of volcanic rock which is rich in iron and magnesium; iron is the primary coloring agent for Peridot.

Sometimes, although rarely, Peridot is found in extraterrestrial formations, like meteorites, that have found their way to Earth. Although this makes sense from a geological standpoint (the matter that forms rocks on earth is virtually the same as the matter that forms meteorites and planetary bodies), these little green gems can be imagined as celestial messengers, carrying with them the elements formed in the totally alien environment of outer space.

In 2006, a rare type of meteorite called a Pallasite meteorite (after the scientist who first discovered this type of extraterrestrial rock) landed on a farmer’s property in Northwest Missouri, bearing green olivine crystals embedded in an iron and nickel-based host material (matrix). Although the olivine discovered in this meteorite were not of gem quality, the rarity of their presence on earth as part of a meteorite made the meteorite extremely valuable, fetching a price of over $850k. Interestingly, “Pallasites are thought to represent material from the boundary between the asteroid’s metal core and the olivine of its lower mantle,” and can provide clues about the way our own planet formed long ago (see source: EarthSky.org).

More commonly, these gems come to us as a result of earthly forces. In 2018, we got a glimpse of this when Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano erupted. In the aftermath of the eruption, locals began to find tiny green crystals of the mineral olivine, which had been brought up to the surface during the course of the volcanic activity. Although these were tiny crystals that were not gem-quality (and thus technically not “Peridot”), it is still amazing to think about how nature provides beautiful surprises amidst the destruction and chaos of a geologic event like a volcanic eruption.

Any way you slice it, Peridots are a fine example of the way ordinary elements like iron and magnesium can come together under the magnitude of nature’s forces and create beautiful gems that we can use to adorn our own Earthly bodies.

https://www.gia.edu/peridot-description

https://www.sciencealert.com/hawaii-kilauea-volcano-olivine-peridot-gems-recent-eruptions

https://earthsky.org/space/cosmic-rock-found-in-farmers-field-worth-up-to-850000

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Let's Learn About Dendritic Agate

Have you ever noticed that the patterns in nature repeat themselves? From tree branches to the way cracks form in the ground, to the web of our own human cardiovascular system, nature finds ways to build upon itself in intricate, regular arrangements called fractal patterns. These can be on a large scale, like the branches of trees, or infinitesimally small, like snowflakes. The definition of a fractal pattern is that, if its large scale pattern is examined at a much smaller level, it looks exactly the same. If you’ve ever looked at veins in a leaf, you can see that the pattern they make is not too different from the branches of the tree that the leaf came from.

Another amazing display of fractal patterns are those that appear as dendrites (Greek, meaning “tree-like”) in rocks and minerals. Appearing as tiny, whimsical landscapes, gemstones displaying dendritic inclusions give us a truly fascinating peek into the science of mineralogy and a glimpse at how nature likes to create these patterns.

So how do dendrites, these tiny tree-like images, wind up in our gemstones? When water rich in manganese and iron oxides flows through fissures and cracks in rocks or minerals, these metallic elements are sometimes deposited within the crystal structures they encounter. This often occurs along deep fissures, down a flat, narrow plane between rock layers, causing the dendritic forms to grow flat alongside the planes of rock in which the water flowed. Sometimes, as in quartz, the dendrites can seep into the three-dimensional crystal structure and develop into much more elaborate formations. When manganese or iron oxides are deposited within microcrystalline quartz, and under the right conditions, the result is what we call Dendritic Agate.

As water containing these oxides enters the crystal’s structure (known as the “crystal lattice”), the particles of black or brown manganese or iron are left behind. Over millions of years and cooling conditions, the tiny particles that were deposited into the host material solidify, crystallizing into a branch-like imprint. This is very similar to the way that snowflakes form; when liquid water is cooled, it forms into dendritic patterns as the water molecules freeze and crystallize, growing upon each other in intricate and beautiful forms.

Interestingly, the term Agate used in reference to these dendrite-containing quartzes is actually a misnomer. Generally speaking, Agate is the microcrystalline (cryptocrystalline) form of quartz, but more specifically refers to those specimens that exhibit bands of alternating colors (usually black or brown and white or grey).

What we refer to as Dendritic Agates are actually Chalcedony, interspersed with dark black or brown inclusions of manganese- or iron-oxides that form in tree-like patterns (not bands). Like Agate, Chalcedony is also a microcrystalline form of quartz. It consists of a “fibrous” crystalline structure, in which the crystals grow in parallel planes at a microscopic level. These usually appear as milky, translucent, or slightly opaque and often are whitish-grey in color.

When dendritic inclusions end up in Chalcedony, the result is a beautiful combination of dark grey or black dendrites against a cloudy, diffuse background. This sometimes resembles trees on a landscape against a dusky sky -- when these are used in jewelry, it’s like wearing a little reminder of nature all around us.

 

Sources:

Manganese Dendrites

Dendritic Solidification

How do Dendrites Form?

https://www.manganese-dendrite.com/

https://www.mindat.org/min-960.html

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All About Birthstones - July

Rubies are one of the gemstones we’re perhaps most familiar with; its iconic color has inspired imagery in popular culture, and we often hear the term “ruby-red” in describing the most intense and saturated of red hues. But there is more to rubies than their red color--read on to learn more!

Ruby is a variety of the mineral species Corundum. Pure Corundum (an Aluminum Oxide) is actually colorless, and as is the case with most gemstones, its color comes from trace amounts of another element. Trace elements are so barely present in the mineral’s composition that they don’t even make it into the chemical formula, and yet in combination with other factors related to the growth environment, can have such an effect on the color of the gemstone that it can change the way we categorize them. Did you know, for example, that Rubies share their mineral species with another well-known gemstone, Sapphire? The only thing that separates them is the trace elements that are present in the Corundum, which affect the color and thus our identification of the gem.

Rubies are red because of the trace presence of the element Chromium (in the case of Sapphire Corundum, the coloring agent is Titanium). The host environment of the crystal also impacts its color profile; if the ruby crystals are growing in an iron-rich host material such as basalt, they have a darker and less intense color. The rubies that form in host material that contains hardly any iron, such as marble, are those that exhibit the unmistakable glowing red color that we see in high quality rubies. The geographical mining location dictates the type of host and gem material present, since the geological forces that form gemstones are different in different parts of the world.

Since the latter color and quality are considered more desirable for the gem and jewelry trades, the most famous deposits of rubies are those that have formed in marble. These are found mainly in Thailand, Myanmar, the Himalayas, and Vietnam. Other notable ruby deposits recently discovered are in Tanzania, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Natural rubies also have many inclusions and can exhibit a soft shimmer known as “silk,” which is due to the presence of the mineral Rutile.

Other than those found naturally, rubies are also sometimes synthesized in a laboratory. The most popular process of synthesizing rubies even to this day, the Verneuil process was invented in the 1800s and is considered the first successful synthetic crystallization process. The Verneuil method involves a process called flame-fusion, which consists of dropping powdered chemicals through a high-heat flame onto a rotating plate, producing a synthetic crystal.

Gemstone vendors are expected to disclose whether a ruby is synthetic, but sometimes this doesn’t happen, or there is a stone whose origin is unknown and needs to be tested. A gemologist can look at the gemstone under a microscope and determine whether it is synthetic by looking at the types of inclusions that are present. Flame-fusion produces characteristic inclusions that are usually only visible under a microscope, but to the naked eye will look like a gem with a high degree of clarity and color intensity (which would be very, very rarely found in nature). Unless you have a very rare and expensive gemstone, a perfectly clear, large, and saturated ruby is probably a synthetic.

Rubies have also carried many different types of symbolism throughout the centuries; in ancient times, warriors in Myanmar (one of the largest and oldest ruby deposit locations, then called Burma) would carry rubies and even find ways of putting them into the flesh to protect them in battle. Indian legend suggested that rubies would allow one to live in harmony with one’s enemies. In Medieval Europe, the gems were used to denote status, often worn by royalty and upper class individuals. They were also symbolic of passion and were said to bring success in romance.

With their huge variety of color, hue, saturation, and clarity, rubies give us an abundance of design opportunities for jewelry that celebrates them in all their forms. Take a look at our Ruby Collection to see some of the varieties of natural rubies that are just waiting to bring a burst of color to your day.

Sources:

https://www.gia.edu/ruby

https://www.gia.edu/gem-synthetic

https://www.minerals.net/gemstone/ruby_gemstone.aspx

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My Statement on Black Lives Matter

Hello Friends,

It's been an extraordinary week in an extraordinary year. The murder of George Floyd and the uprising that has followed has had a profound impact on me. I took this past week to absorb everything that's happening and think about what I need to do next.

I don't talk much about my background. I was born in Puerto Rico to Puerto Rican parents. When I was a baby, we moved from Puerto Rico to New York City. My parents had a little apartment in the Bronx. One day, my dad was stabbed and nearly died. My mom packed everything we owned (not much), bought two bus tickets and took me to Tacoma, Washington. She thought it was a place where we would be safe. My dad followed a little while later (minus one kidney, which had to be removed due to the stabbing) and we all started fresh.

I grew up in a very white part of the country. I can't say that I have ever been the victim of discrimination, but I remember my parents experiencing it when I was young as they did everything they could to provide for me and my younger sister and give us the best possible chance to be successful in our lives.

I am light skinned. Every once in a while, someone will look at me and say "what are you?" as if they can tell that there's something different about me, but they aren't sure what. I have often felt that I lived in a fuzzy area in between two worlds. Am I Hispanic? Am I white? I guess you could say I had a choice over which aspect of myself I could emphasize in my life. Over this past week I have finally come to acknowledge that I have embraced my light skin and the privileges that it has brought me to move through life comfortably, unchallenged and without a full appreciation for the challenges and trauma that people of color face on a daily basis. Throughout my life, I have been able to leverage my appearance to my benefit in a society that is built to ensure the success and comfort of white people.

I am ashamed of this. I know that I have a lot of work to do. It is far past time for that work to begin. So here's what I am going to do.

First, I will state that I believe unequivocally in equality. Black people have been oppressed in our society. Systemic racism exists and must be abolished. This work will cause all of us who benefit from latent and overt white supremacy to feel uncomfortable. We must lean into that discomfort in order to effect true change.

I believe that change begins at the local level and moves upward. I pledge to give a minimum of 10 hours per month of my time to grassroots, local activism. I will begin attending the local meetings of my state legislative district. I will call, text and knock on doors to support candidates of color locally and nationally.

Silver + Salt will immediately provide 20 hours per year of paid volunteer time to our team to encourage volunteer work in the causes that they believe in.

Silver + Salt will begin the process to fund a scholarship for women-identifying makers of color in the jewelry trade. I still have work to do to determine the specifics of how this will work. The jewelry trade is dominated by white voices. We will do what we can to increase diversity in the industry not only by encouraging makers of color, but by actively seeking suppliers, partners and vendors who are owned by people of color and who share our values on social justice and equality.

I am also opening my door as a mentor to women-identifying makers of color who are starting out in their careers and want support. If you are a small, handmade business and want to talk, I am ready to help. I can accept 3 makers for a free 3 month mentorship. Applications will open soon, so stay tuned for that.

All of this is just the beginning of my efforts to change and bring change. I pledge to continue to share updates on my efforts. This is not a single moment where we can simply say some words and move on. It is the first step on a long journey that we must travel, hand-in-hand, with those whose lives depend on change.

In solidarity,
-Christine

Me and my family when I was probably 17 or 18 years old. 

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All About Birthstones - June

 

Those lucky June babies! They have not one, not two, but three awesome gemstones to celebrate the month of their birth.

Traditionally, the birthstone for June is Pearl. Pearls are not true gemstones, but rather are classified as “organic minerals.” This means that pearls form not in a crystalline structure, but instead form from a biological process. Pearls result from an oyster that has enveloped a tiny particulate and covered it with many layers of a calcium-rich fluid called nacre. Over time, the nacre builds up to form the lustrous pearls that we are familiar with. Other types of organic “gemstones” include petrified wood, jet, and ivory, which all come from carbon-based life forms. Pearls are very rarely found in nature, so most of the pearls commercially available are cultured or farmed from freshwater mollusks.

Moonstone, on the other hand, is definitely classified as a gemstone. A variety of the mineral Feldspar, Moonstone forms in two slightly different ways, and are classified as either orthoclase or plagioclase feldspar, depending on their slightly varying chemical compositions. The crystals sometimes appear glassy and transparent, and can be cut to showcase optical qualities such as chatoyance (cats-eye) or adularescence (which appears as light floating just under the surface of the cut stone); alternatively, Moonstone can sometimes be of a denser, more opaque composition, and can display labradorescence, a prismatic flash of color that appears with the right lighting (this variety is sometimes called “Rainbow Moonstone”). Both forms are beautiful and have been used in jewelry and as talismans for many centuries. Ancient Hindu texts have been found to describe Moonstone as solidified moonbeams, and many cultures throughout history have revered it as a symbol of luck, fortune, and especially of feminine energy and motherhood.

Of the June birthstones, Alexandrite is definitely the most unusual. It is a rare form of the mineral chrysoberyl, distinct in that its color changes in different light as a result of the way the mineral structure absorbs the light. It is also pleochroic, meaning that it can appear different colors depending on the angle at which it is viewed. Like Moonstone, Alexandrite can also display chatoyance. One gemstone with three different phenomena--no wonder it’s a rare one! Because of its rarity in nature, gemologists and scientists have developed a way of synthesizing it. Synthetic gemstones have the same chemical, physical, and optical properties of their natural counterparts, but are grown in a lab instead of in nature. The process of gemstone synthesis allows us to have access to this amazing stone.

All of these gems are beautiful, and serve as reminders of the amazing science that brings them to us. Be sure to check out our June Birthstone collection to see Pearls and Moonstone pieces handmade in Sterling Silver and 14k Gold. And, if you love gemstones as much as we do, take a look over on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) website to learn more about them!

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Let's Learn about Emeralds

As Spring continues to awaken around us, we’re starting to see green everywhere--new buds on trees, flourishing leaves in the garden, lush green lawns. Right in keeping with all this green is May’s birthstone, Emerald! Emeralds are the highly prized blush-green form of the mineral Beryl, and the story of where they come from and how they’re classified is pretty interesting.

First off, it’s important to understand that colored gemstones are evaluated a bit differently from diamonds. Fittingly, in the world of colored gemstones, color is the most important characteristic of the mineral specimen in question (whereas in diamonds, clarity is considered more important). The familiar names of colored gemstones are specific to the particular color or range of colors of that mineral specimen. The reason for this is to differentiate among colored gemstones that are formed from the same mineral, but with varying small amounts of elements that affect the color.

Emerald is a variety of the mineral Beryl. Beryl that is of a pure chemical composition is actually colorless because it is free of elements other than those forming its mineral structure (clear, colorless Beryl is known as Goshenite). When trace amounts of elements like Chromium, Vanadium, and Iron are present, and depending on the oxidation state of those elements, Beryl displays a greenish color. When the particular hue of that green falls within a range of bluish-green to yellowish-green, the green Beryl is classified as Emerald. It’s only this particular range of blue-green to yellow-ish green that allows Beryl to be classified as Emerald.

The quality of the Emerald is assessed by the saturation or intensity of color as well as the clarity of the specimen. The internal characteristics of the stone, or inclusions, are often visible to the naked eye in Emeralds. While stones of particular color and color intensity are highly valued even when they have inclusions, those with a high degree of color and clarity are even more rare and highly prized. Gem-quality Emeralds are found in only a handful of locations around the world, mostly in South America and Africa. Small deposits have been found in Afghanistan, Russia, and even Canada and parts of the United States.

Beryl comes in a wide variety of colors.

The Emeralds featured in our jewelry range in color and clarity, but they all exhibit the characteristics we’ve come to love from Emerald. Their sparkling internal structure as well as their variance of color, saturation, and clarity can be seen in these unique jewelry pieces. It’s worth noting that, although Emeralds are very hard and resistant to scratching, their crystal structure makes them prone to brittleness.

While all of the Emeralds in this collection are set in protective bezel settings, we recommend reserving your Emerald rings for special occasions only, as rings worn daily encounter a lot of wear and tear. Additionally, Emeralds should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner or with abrasives. Instead, a soft microfiber cloth and warm water will remove dirt and oils from your Emerald jewelry.

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All About Salt and Pepper Diamonds

One of the stones that I love working with in my jewelry designs is salt and pepper diamonds. But what exactly are salt and pepper diamonds?

To understand salt and pepper diamonds, you need to first learn a little bit about how diamonds are formed. Diamonds were formed 3 billion years ago deep within the earth’s crust. Extreme heat and pressure caused carbon molecules to crystalize, forming diamonds. Then, volcanic activity would bring rocks bearing diamonds to the surface where they are mined today.

You have probably heard of the 4 Cs of diamond grading. One of the C’s is clarity. It measures how visible the inclusions are in a diamond. Inclusions are imperfections within the stone that range from white spots (salt) black carbon (pepper), feathers, clouds and chips. Salt and pepper diamonds happen to have a lot of these inclusions, which is what makes them special and unique. When you look at the inclusions within a salt and pepper diamond, you are seeing what was trapped within that stone when it was formed 3 billion years ago.

Another difference between traditional white diamonds and salt and pepper diamonds is how they are cut to reflect light. With a traditional white diamond, the goal is to reflect light outward. Stones are cut to capture light, bounce it around the stone’s facets and reflect it back out as brilliant sparkle. In a salt and pepper diamond, the goal is to pull you in to appreciate the unique inclusions, color tones and variability within the stone. Salt and pepper diamonds can also range from opaque to translucent, impacting how you perceive the inclusions within the stone.

The video on the right shows a custom salt and pepper diamond engagement ring that I designed for a client. One of my favorite things about this particular diamond is that it has large areas of translucency that allow you to appreciate the carbon inclusions within the stones. They appear to be floating in glass. As you observe the stone from different angles, you perceive the stone differently. It is both light and dark and draws you in to observe more closely.

While every diamond is unique, only salt and pepper diamonds are visibly unique. They each contain their own world within. Salt and pepper diamonds aren’t graded by the 4 Cs and don’t aspire to be anything but what they are - perfectly imperfect.  

I think that’s a big part of why these stones appeal to me. They are an honest reflection of nature and all that went into creating that gem. I love the idea of finding the inherent beauty in something the way nature created it and I try to let that concept guide my life and my jewelry designs.

A salt and pepper diamond engagement ring set in 14k rose gold and accented by french-set white diamonds.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about these unique stones. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please contact us!

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We're Giving Back

The past few weeks have been an incredibly surreal and challenging time. I can't really describe what it was like to be living and working in the city where COVID-19 made it's American debut. Watching this crisis unfold has been a roller-coaster of emotions. Some days, I have felt strong and confident in my decisions. Other days, I have been a mess of grief, fear and even anger.

The changes in my life and business since this crisis began are almost too numerous to count. Like so many others, our family is now homeschooling. The brick & mortar shop that I dreamed of for so long is temporarily closed and my little team is now working from home, trying to keep the magic going as much as we can.

There have been days when I just wanted to sort of go dark and emerge when things didn't quite feel so big and scary. Jewelry doesn't seem like the most important thing right now. At the same time, Silver + Salt is my livelihood and my passion. It brings me joy and I believe that the things we make bring joy to other people to. What's more, I believe we can also use this time to give back.

I am so grateful to all of my customers who have ordered online and continued to support Silver + Salt through this time. I want to try and pass some of that on to my community as well. That's why I'm so excited to be donating a portion of my sales to the Pike Place Market Foundation.

The Pike Place Market Foundation supports the Pike Place Market community through things like low-income housing, health care, access to healthy food, high-quality preschool and a senior center.

Our next door neighbor at the studio is the Pike Place Market Senior Center’s Activities Center, which is also supported by the Foundation. We have loved having them as neighbors and enjoy listening to them OM during their yoga classes. It's always a highlight for me to see that community come together each week. It was devastating to see their doors close temporarily just a few days before we also had to close.

The organizations supported by the Pike Place Market Foundation continue to support the community during this time: The food bank is collecting groceries for shoppers and providing delivery services. Neighborcare Health continues to provide medical care and a pharmacy. And, the Senior Center is continuing to provide 2 meals per day on a take-out basis.

10% of all sales from our We're In This Together collection will be donated to the Pike Place Market Foundation. And, my family also personally matching that donation too. If you'd like to help support this worthy cause, please consider shopping the collection. Or, simply donate here.

A donation of $100 supports 66 shoppers to the Pike Place Market Foodbank. Let's see how many shoppers we can support together.

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About Herkimer Diamonds

If you've been in the shop, you've likely heard us talk about a particular gemstone called Herkimer diamond quartz. Let's take a bit of time to dive into what Herkimer diamonds are and why we love them so much around Silver + Salt.

Herkimer diamonds are not actually diamonds at all. They are a form of double-terminated quartz crystals that began forming 500 million years ago in the dolomite outcrops throughout Herkimer County, New Year and the Mohawk River Valley. These crystals were discovered in the 18th century and given the "diamond" nickname because of their exceptional clarity and natural faceting.

Each stone naturally forms with two points and around 18 facets. The Herkimer diamonds you see in our jewelry are not cut or polished in any way. While you can find double terminated quartz crystals in other parts of the world - only those that are mined in Herkimer County can be called "Herkimer diamonds".

Herkimers can be exceptionally clear and colorless or they may be included with air bubbles or flecks of black carbon. If you are lucky, you will come across a stone with an en hydro inclusion - a bubble of water that was trapped in the crystal during its formation.

Some of the natural shapes and faceting patterns that you see in Herkimer diamonds.

I started using Herkimers in my work in 2014. I came across them at a local rock shop and became completely enamored with their unique shapes and wonderful sparkle. I purchase all of my Herkimer diamonds directly from the mine in Herkimer, NY and love that I can use a beautiful American mined gemstone in my work. Bonus: Herkimers are an exceptionally durable stone that holds up well to everyday wear. A gentle cleaning with some a mild soap or glass cleaner is all you need to keep your crystals sparkling.

The Classic Herkimer collection features Herkimer diamonds that are set in 4 prong settings. These designs really allow the stone to take center stage so you can fully appreciate its shape, natural faceting and clarity.

We also use Herkimer diamonds in the Glacier collection which features Herkimer diamonds set in handmade bezels. This collection was inspired by my travels to Iceland - and particularly my time spent on the Glacier Lagoon at sunset. I loved the contrast of the ice, the black sand and the color of the setting sun and I echo those themes in some of the pieces with blackened silver, 22k gold and icy Herkimer diamonds.

I have been really privileged to make bespoke Herkimer diamond pieces for several clients - from epic necklaces to one-of-a-kind engagement rings. Do you have a vision for a piece of Herkimer diamond jewelry? Learn more about our Bespoke Jewelry process here.

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