10 WAYS TO SPOT A FAKE PEARL SANS ANY FANCY EQUIPMENT

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Like diamonds, pearls have always been a must-have for any women with a taste for fine jewellery. Apart from the lure of their luminescence and their practicality in terms of going with almost any ensemble, these shiny orbs have a long and glamorous history with an innate sense of mystery. Clearly more than enough to draw attention to almost every facet of the wearer’s personality.

Pearls ooze sophistication and understated elegance! One only needs to remember the late Princess Diana’s magnificent multi-strand pearl choker, (the one with the huge sapphire clasp) worn with a black dress.

Going back even further, aristocratic Russian dukes were said to have a habit of showering their favoured opera singers with fine pearls while Belle Epoque courtesans are said to have judged their lovers by the length and shine of the pearl belts they were gifted with.

More recently, pearls have been flaunted by the likes of actor Sara Jessica Parker (of Sex & The City fame) and adored by other celebrities including singer Mariah Carey, actor-singers Rita Ora and Rihanna.

But despite their obvious global appeal, pearls have a dubious reputation for being replicated widely. It is often difficult for consumers to distinguish between the real thing from and artificial pearls.

To the naked, untrained eye, fake or imitation pearls seem to have the glitter and shine of real pearls. Artificial pearls are usually made from cheap materials like glass, ceramic, shell or plastic, and then coated with a special varnish or lacquer to imitate the luster of a genuine pearl. Unlike real pearls which are purely an act of nature, fake pearls are machine-made, mass produced and readily available.

Listed below are 10 ways which can help you determine whether the pearl string you so badly want to buy is made of real pearls or cheap plastic/ceramic imitations.

The easiest way to identify a real pearl is by just using your observation. Real pearls are nature’s bounty. Each one unique in itself. Ergo no two ‘real’ pearls can ever be alike in terms of their size, shape, luster or colour. Fake pearls on the other hand tend to be exactly alike in every respect.

Ever seen a necklace of perfect pearls? If you have, chances are it either costs tens of thousands of dollars or it’s an imitation piece available with most stores that sell imitation jewellery.

It’s extremely rare to come across a natural pearl with the perfect size, shine and shape, much less a necklace full of them. Now you know why perfect pearls of above average size are so sought after and sell for a small fortune.

True pearls are cool to the touch even when the temperature outside may be soaring. Fakes made from either glass or plastic tend to get sticky with heat and are much heavier than the genuine variety.

Further, real pearls when rubbed against the skin or teeth have a rough, gritty and sometimes uneven feel while fakes will boast of a smooth surface and in some cases, show teeth marks if it’s been made using plastic.

Sound can also be an important ally when trying to spot a genuine pearl. When shaken gently, real pearls produce a softer sound while most fakes give a thin almost metallic sound.

Cultured or natural pearls can also be identified using basic magnification (5x, 10x), wherein their surface will appear to be grainy with hints of rings or ridges around the drill hole. Fake or imitation pearls will usually reveal a rough, eggshell-like surface under magnification.

10 WAYS TO SPOT A FAKE PEARL SANS ANY FANCY EQUIPMENT

THE HEALING POWERS OF GEMSTONES

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Gemstones, in all their array of colours, monetary values, lustres, shapes and sizes have fascinated and been coveted by mankind for centuries. They have adourned the body in jewellery for as long, enhancing physical appeal.

But, in addition to their physical appeal, many gemstones are said to possess unique healing properties and energies that can be harnessed to remedy all kinds of physical and psychological problems.

Across the globe, there are several examples of successful business people, actors, professionals, politicians and sports persons who swear by the healing powers of gemstones and the positive changes that they have brought into their lives.

Here’s a closer look at five such popular gemstones and their legendary healing properties, which if harnessed properly are said to exert a positive impact in the wearer’s life.

Citrine:  To Increase Wealth & Enhance Creativity:

Also commonly called the “Success Stone” or “Merchant’s Stone” (for its ability to increase cash flow), this yellow-to-golden member of the quartz family is said to possess the power to infuse positive energy into the life of its wearer. A stone of abundance, Citrine is especially useful for those who want to attract long lasting material wealth and flourish in their respective careers and businesses. Carrying a Citrine attracts love and happiness, and guards against those who would break your heart. It is also an effective shield against spite and jealousy.

Its many positive energies are also said to improve the flow of positivity and good fortunes into the life of the wearer in unexpected ways, in keeping with its reputation for being a gemstone of abundance.

Blue Lapis Lazuli: Enhances Intellectual Ability & Communication:

This deep, celestial blue semi-precious stone is known to be a universal symbol for wisdom and truth. It is also said to be ideal for those who want to improve their intellectual abilities and improve their communication skills significantly.

Lapis Lazuli is a powerful tool for activating the higher mind and enhancing intellectual ability. It stimulates the desire for knowledge, truth and understanding, and aids the process of learning. It is excellent for enhancing memory and ideal for executives, self-employed professionals and business people to stimulate their wisdom and good judgment when dealing with the practical world.

Also called “Stone of Truth”, this gem is said to have the ability to encourage honesty in its wearer, promote meaningful friendships and bring about harmony in relationships. An intense gem, the Lapis Lazuli is perfect for those who want to ensure harmonious communications with their near and dear ones.

Bloodstone: For More Energy & Good Luck:

Since time immemorial, Bloodstones have been valued not only as a good-luck charm that bestows its wearer with a long life, but also as a gem that enhances wealth and popularity.

It is also reputed to bring its owner respect, good fortune, riches and fame. It is said to protect the wearer from all kinds of deception, help him overcome enemies in battle, and help bring victory in court and legal matters.

Bloodstones are also said to possess the unique ability to improve mental clarity, help in adjusting to new conditions and aid the wearer in taking correct decisions. These stones were said to be distributed to warriors and soldiers during medieval times to give them courage and sanitize their blood before a war.

Amethyst: To Ensure Balance In Life:

It is the birthstone for those born in the month of February. A gem blessed with abundant positive energy and the power to balance the body’s chakras, Amethysts are used to stimulate the Etheric Chakras, Crown and Third Eye, which is said to control our sense of perception and self-belief.

Ancient Hindu texts reveal that wearing an Amethyst bestows the wearer with a calm mind, invites true love and enhances concentration. These gemstones are also said to have the power to cure illnesses such as alcoholism, depression, headaches and insomnia.

Rose Quartz: To Mend A Troubled Mind:

A symbol of love and beauty, Rose Quartz helps the wearer calm his mind and control his emotions. Said to represent Venus – the planet of love and beauty, this gemstone helps to mend those wracked by troubled emotions and mental instability.

It is known as the “love stone” as it emits a strong vibration of unconditional love, joy, warmth and emotional healing. This beautiful pink crystal has a powerful energy that resonates within both the heart chakra and the higher thymus chakra, the area related to compassion.

In addition to helping in calming the mind, Rose Quartz is believed to be useful in healing other physical ailments, most notably those related to our heart, blood circulation, skin complexion and in curing sleeping disorders.

THE HEALING POWERS OF GEMSTONES

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT JEWELLERY

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Jewellery has always been an integral part of a woman’s attractiveness and a reflection of her personality. From crude handmade baubles of wood, stones and pieces of bone to jewellery made from precious metals and gemstones, jewellery has continued to be a major accessory in a woman’s lifestyle, down the ages!

So, how does one choose this essential and often expensive accessory? Impulse buys apart, it’s always advisable to buy jewellery that matches your face, skin tone and body type.

But, how does one choose this essential part of one’s wardrobe? Sure, it can simply be a love-at-first-sight buy, but should you wish to delve deeper into understanding and accentuating your look, a great place to start would be to select jewellery that matches your face shape, since that’s the first thing that people notice about you.

For some, the kind of jewellery they wear has become synonymous with who they are or the image that they want to project. For today’s urban Indian woman, the significance of jewellery has increased manifold since she has to strike a balance between traditional and office-wear.

This is where the shape and size of the jewellery you choose – from rings, necklaces to earrings and bracelets – can actually work to enhance your appearance and your self-confidence.

So here are some handy pointers on how to go about making the right choice when it comes to buying jewellery.

Necklaces:

Akin to the clothes you wear, necklaces also play a big role in altering your height perception. For example, a short woman should opt for longer necklaces to appear taller. Similarly, those who want to take the attention away from their tall frame need to choose shorter necklaces (16-18 inches) that don’t go below the collar bone. For example choker necklaces make for an excellent choice in this category.

Chunky necklaces like those with large stones are best suited for women with a wider frame as opposed to petite women who would naturally prefer to wear something a little more delicate and light-weight.

Earrings:

Earrings are important to accentuate or play down the natural contours of your face. Choosing the right earrings that suit the shape of your face can do wonders to hide your facial flaws and/or enhance its positive attributes. Women with an oval face can pretty much carry off earrings of any shape be it – round, rectangle, oval or even heart-shaped. Conversely, someone with a round face needs to stay away from large earrings or hoops and choose long or square shapes to make their face appear longer.

Triangular or chandelier earrings are best suited for those with a heart-shaped face since they tend to make the chin appear wider, while smaller stubs are best suited for women with more elongated faces.

Bracelets and Rings:

Bracelets and rings are worn on the hands and not the face, yet they have a lot to do with shaping the facial perception of their wearer. The reason for this is, a lot of times even when sitting at home or chatting with friends, women tend to bring their hands very close to their face – this is why you need to choose rings that complement not just your hands but face as well.

Again it’s important to review your body type before making a choice. Petite women tend to look their best flaunting thinner, delicate bracelets on their slender hands, while a large boned woman can just as easily carry of a chunky bracelet or even a stack of medium/thin ones.

It’s the shape of your finger that matters when selecting a ring. Smaller, delicate rings like those with an oval setting for example, tend to look best on shorter fingers. On the other hand, those with long, slender fingers have the option of choosing rings with a round setting or wide bands that accentuate their long hand.

So there you have it. Now all you have to do the next time you go jewellery/accessory shopping is to take an analytical look at yourself in the mirror and choose what works best for you. And yes, you can allow yourself the luxury of an occasional impulse buy for a love-at-first-sight piece. No problem there!

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT JEWELLERY

ROCK CRYSTALS: TEARS OF GODS THAT FELL ON EARTH

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Rock crystals are the purest examples of quartz – a material that has been widely used in jewellery, art and tableware for centuries. It is still widely used as a popular ornamental stone and is also used as a gemstone.

Although it is one of the least expensive gemstones, cut rock crystal has been used as imitation diamonds. Rock crystal lacks the fire, colour and the rarity to be ranked as a fine precious gemstone. Yet it is widely used as a gemstone due to its beauty, affordability, availability, and ease of cutting.

The ancient Greeks called it Krustallos, a name derived from a word that translates as “ice” or “icy cold”. Their legends said that the Olympian gods had cried for mankind and when their tears fell on earth they turned to ice and formed rock crystals.

The most common use for rock crystal is in ornamental carvings. A well known use of this crystal is in the manufacture of crystal balls – used for fortune telling and large, intricate chandeliers that are often adorned with rock crystals.

Powers of Healing:

Some believe a rock crystal is one of the most powerful healing stones which can be applied to a broad scope of metaphysical problems. It is said to be very suitable for healing wounds that originate in the past, like for example those suffering from memories of a bad childhood.

They are also said to be useful for enhancing an individual’s self-esteem and confidence. Rock crystals are known to multiply energy in general and are also used to re-energise other crystals, by virtue of their inherent ability to accommodate and incorporate energy emitted by other crystals.

Given their power to cleanse, balance and energise other crystals, rock crystals have been used by practitioners of the mystic arts for a variety of purposes including astral travel, channeling, inducing lucid dreaming and dream recall.

Different Types of Rock Crystal:

Rock crystal can have many different shapes. It can be short or long, terminated on one or both sides it can even be a member of an extended cluster formation. Many rock crystals have different inclusions throughout their bulky structure, like bubbles, wedges, phantoms, keys, eyes, bridges, etc. These can be faceted very differently in all crystal shapes and forms.

The best rock crystal sources are in the famous Hot Springs area of Arkansas, USA; Cumberland, England; St. Gotthard, Switzerland; Brazil and Madagascar. Large individual deposits of quartz have been found in Brazil, with the largest specimen said to be weighing in excess of 44 tons.

Rock crystal often has inclusions of other minerals and these inclusions sometimes produce popular varieties of ornamental stone. Golden rutile inclusions produce aunique stone named rutilated quartz, which has a very hair-like look.

Another aptly named stone is called tourmalinated quartz and contains intricately crossing needles of black schorltourmaline trapped in the clear crystal.

Phantoms are a result of inclusions that occur when other minerals such as chlorite, hematite or even milky quartz form as a crust on the surface of the crystal during a hiatus in the crystal’s growth.

The crystal then grows out and surrounds the encrusting growth, encasing it inside. It appears that there is a crystal inside the crystal. The encrustations are often incomplete or diffuse and appear ghostly, hence the name phantom.

Other Varieties of Quartz:

Rock crystal is only one of several quartz varieties. Other prominent varieties of quartz include:

Amethyst  – (Purple gemstone variety).

Citrine – (Yellow to orange gemstone variety).

Milky Quartz– (Cloudy white).

Prasiolite – (Leek-green).

Rose quartz – (Pink to reddish pink).

Smoky quartz – (Brown to gray).

So, the next time you chance upon a large chunk of colourless gemstone in a fine piece of jewellery, it could well be a large rock crystal that has been placed there by the designer due to its versatility, affordability or perhaps its healing powers.

ROCK CRYSTALS: TEARS OF GODS THAT FELL ON EARTH

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – APRIL

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Diamond – A Symbol of Purity & Strength

People born in April, fall in the zodiac sign of Taurus and can be described as brave, outgoing and firm. Their activeness induces an aura of freshness wherever they go. Friendships mean a lot to them and they are keen to solve other people’s problems.

They are affectionate and encouraging. However, they can be vengeful when people or circumstances turn against them. These individuals are born leaders and are usually attracted to sports, engineering and the military services, as career choices.

They also enjoy the privilege of having one of the most highly prized gemstones – a diamond – as their birthstone.

About the Diamond: Popularly referred to as – a girl’s best friend – diamonds are among the hardest substances known to man and are made only from one element namely — carbon.

The unique structure of this gemstone is approximately 58 times harder than anything else in nature. A diamond can only be cut with a diamond-edged tool, hence, the saying “To cut a diamond, you need a diamond”!

When cut and polished properly, the lustre and sparkle of a diamond is unlike any other gemstone. They are synonymous with engagement and wedding rings, but are also popular for wearing on special occasions, and make fabulous gifts for individuals who want something special as well as appropriate for everyday wear.

Diamonds are known to come in multiple colours including – white, yellow, red, pink, blue, and green, although their intensity may vary from intense to faint. However, diamonds with an intense streak of colour are highly prized and more valuable than lightly coloured stones.

Healing Powers: A symbol of purity, the pure white light of a diamond is said to bring love and clarity into partnerships and enhance fidelity, trust and commitment in relationships. It is said to have the power to bring strength and endurance to all forms of energy and amplify the power of crystals.

A diamond is also supposed to impart its wearer with fearlessness, invincibility and fortitude. It is said to be able to clear emotional and mental pain, reducing fear and bringing about new beginnings.

Diamonds are also believed to stimulate creativity, inventiveness, imagination and ingenuity, bring clarity of mind and aids enlightenment,aid spiritual evolution and help to detoxify the body and mind!

Famous personalities born in APRIL:

  • Chance the Rapper (Hip-hop artist/ 16 April)
  • Patricia Arquette. (Actor/08 April)
  • Doris Day (Actor/03 April)
  • Russell Crowe (Actor, Producer, Musician/07 April)
  • Thomas Hobbes (Philosopher/05 April)
  • Renee Zellweger (Actor/April 25)
  • Mandy Moore (Actor/ 10 April)
  • Andre Agassi (former Tennis player/April 29)
  • Sachin Tendulkar (cricketer/April24)
  • BR Ambedkar (social reformer/jurist/April 14)
  • Mukesh Ambani (billionaire industrialist/April 19).

(Disclaimer: The information provided here is purely for entertainment and reference purposes only.)

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – APRIL

What Is A Marquise Cut Diamond

Popularly referred to as “boat-shaped cut”, “football-shaped cut” and also “eye-shaped cut” or Navette, a French term which translates  as “a little ship”, , a marquise-cut diamond can be identified by its distinctive 56 facets and elliptical shape outlined by pointed ends on both sides.

Despite its brilliance and rather unique shape, a marquise cut diamond is seldom seen adorning an engagement ring for example, even when compared to other less vintage cuts.

Ironically enough, this cut has been around for a while, centuries in fact, but still lags behind other preferred cuts like the princess or round cut when it comes to adorning a ring, although its long and narrow shape is well-suited to enhance the beauty of a ring finger.

History of Marquise Cut diamond:

It’s a cut that goes back a long time, to the 18th century, in fact. The story goes that the French monarch King Louis XV ordered his jeweller to create a cut that reminded him of the full lips of his mistress – Jean Antoinette Poisson–  who was also known as the marchioness Madame de Pompadour.

It’s also believed that the term – Marquise – actually refers to a rank said to be above a Count (but lower than a Duke) and royal officials of this rank wore marquise cut diamonds in order to flaunt their importance and prestige.

The shape was then developed and modified throughout the 20th century, evolving into the Marquise Brilliant cut as it is known today, peaking in popularity between the 1960s and 1980s. While it is best known as a cut for diamonds it is also used to shape other precious gemstones like sapphires, rubies and emeralds.

Buying A Marquise Cut Diamond Ring? Here’s What You Need To Know.

Given their versatility of use in jewellery making that ranges from rings, earrings and necklaces, there are a few points that you need to familiarise yourself with prior to making the purchase.

  • It’s all about Symmetry: Make sure the two sharp ends of your marquise cut diamond are in perfect alignment with each other and the right and left sides should form a near mirror image. Even the tiniest imbalance in symmetry can adversely impact the balance of your marquise cut diamond ring once it’s made. For this reason, excellent or very good symmetry is strongly recommended.
  • Options in Colour: Given their heritage and unique shape, many customers may actually prefer the ever so slightly warmer colours of a G-H diamond over the cool colourless hues of a D-F diamond.

In fact, most of the premium in price associated with a marquise-cut diamond at the higher end of the colour scale is driven by supply and demand; customers want the D-F colour grades, and are willing to pay a premium to get them.

In larger marquise diamonds (over 1 carat), the colour may appear slightly darker at the points. For this reason, buyers may choose to move up one colour grade as compared to other diamond shapes.

  • Keeping the corners safe: All jewellery needs to be properly cared for and a marquise cut diamond ring is no exception. Given the sharp edges a marquise cut stone has a tendency to chip if not protected by the right jewellery setting. In the case of rings, a V-End or V-Tip prongs or claws are generally considered the best way to ensure the corners stay secure.
  • Check for colour fading: Given their long, narrow shape, some marquise cut stones are known to have an inherent area of uneven or reduced colour at their center – a phenomenon often referred to as the “bow-tie effect”. While a majority of elongated stones with fancy shapes are known to have this problem, a marquise-cut diamond that has been cut by an expert will hide this effect by the sheer brilliance of its 56 facets.

Celebrity Owners of Marquise Cut Diamonds:

Catherine Zeta Jones – This celebrated actor of Hollywood blockbusters like Chicago, Entrapment and The Terminal is said to own a fabulous Fred Leighton antique ring from the twenties that features a huge 10-carat marquise stone which is surrounded by approx 28 smaller stones

Ashley Simpson – Ashley Nicolle Ross (nee Simpson, born October 3, 1984) & known by her stage name Ashley Simpson, is an American singer-songwriter, actress and media personality. She also owns a 5-carat marquise-cut diamond flanked by 12 calibrated rubies and 140 accent diamond melees – said to be a gift from Hunger Games actor Evan Ross.

Victoria Beckham: This former Spice Girl and now wife of soccer superstar David Beckham is also the proud owner of a 65,000-pound marquise cut diamond ring – which was presented to her by husband David Beckham when he proposed.

What Is A Marquise Cut Diamond

6 Things That You Need To Know About Handcrafted Jewellery

Jewellery crafted painstakingly by hand has been an integral part of the Indian culture and civilization since ancient times. Relics of beautiful handcrafted jewellery have been found throughout our history dating back to the ancient Harappa and Mohenjodaro civilisations.

The passage of time hasn’t dimmed the demand for such traditional, handcrafted jewellery – an ancient art for which India enjoys a  great reputation, globally. Made out of a variety of materials, the personal attention and love that the makers and artisans infuse into their work is evident in every creation be it traditional jewellery or something with a more contemporary design.

However, most people don’t understand why handcrafted jewellery is more sought after and makes for a better investment than pieces that are mass produced. Below are 6 key reasons that might help you understand the reasons for this.

Labour of Love: By definition, jewellery that is made by hand is literally ‘made’ by the skilled hands of an artisan. Every piece is individually soldered, carved and shaped sans the use of any heavy-duty equipment. While a machine can spew out hundreds of pieces in an hour, a hand-crafted piece takes a lot longer to create, with only a limited number of pieces being made by a single artisan.   

Game of Patience: Handcrafted jewellery normally takes a lot of time – from concept to creation. The more intricate the piece, the longer the time needed to finish it. Reputed jewellery designers are known to take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple to months to produce a custom piece for their clients. The fact that you get a one-of-a-kind piece usually makes it worth the wait.

Maker is Key: The jewellery designer or maker shares an intimate relationship with every piece of jewellery created by him/her. It’s the entire design process that holds the key – from knowing every line and curve that is painstakingly carved onto the piece with a specific intention. Every piece of handcrafted jewellery is the sum of the maker’s ideas, skills and execution capabilities.

Quality of Materials: Unlike mass produced items, the materials used in the making of handmade jewellery are usually of the highest quality and sourced from only reputed suppliers. While mass produced pieces are known to use a variety of metals to create the final product, handmade jewellery pieces are usually of the highest grade in terms of their quality and workmanship.   

Usually Ethically Sourced:  Some of the world’s foremost jewellery designers not only have a reputation for making exquisite jewellery but are also known for their dedication to using only ethically sourced materials. More often than not, this is a more costly and difficult route as opposed to sourcing from the closest refiner or dealer at hefty discounts, no questions asked.

Assured Quality of Finish: By virtue of being produced in limited quantities, handmade jewellery pieces almost always offer a better quality. This is also because of the inherent ability in the making process to track and control the process from start to finish. Most designers have a reputation to protect and will generally not allow a piece of inferior quality to leave their workplace with their professional “seal” on it.

So, the next time you’re contemplating buying a handcrafted jewellery piece, do remember that besides its uniqueness and investment value, you are supporting something bigger – the talent and efforts of local artisans – and also probably doing your bit to reduce the carbon footprint, which alone makes it worth the effort.

6 Things That You Need To Know About Handcrafted Jewellery