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Deco Belle Global Jewelry Archive Page
Monday, November 30, 2009
At Deco Belle Global Jewelry, we enjoy traveling, and discovering new jewelry, cultures, landscapes, sights, sounds, and also, expressions from adventurers and explorers. To quote the famous Bruce Chatwin:

"The word 'Patagonia', like Mandalay or Timbuctoo, lodged itself in the Western imagination as a metaphor for The Ultimate, the point beyond
which one could not go. Indeed in the opening chapter of Moby Dick, Melville uses 'Patagonian' as an adjective for the outlandish, the monstrous and fatally attractive;
(photo: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile)

Then the Wild and distant seas where he rolled his island bulk; the undeliverable, nameless perils of the whale: these, with all the attending marvels of a thousand Patagonian sights and sounds, helped sway me to my wish

...Patagonia was also a land of strange beasts and birds. 'Pen-gwyn' is thought to be a Welsh expression for 'flightless bird'; the Elizabethan sailors had a superstition that jack*$% penguins were the souls of their drowned comrades..." -Bruce Chatwin, Nowhere Is A Place, Travels in Patagonia, 1985

The end of the earth indeed, also the jumping off point to the Great White Continent, Antarctica.
(photo: two penguins at center getting perilously close to three sea lions seen on the extreme left, Antarctica)

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by: Deco Belle Inc.
Friday, November 27, 2009
What is the difference between Cubic Zirconia, Moissanite, Crystal, Glass, and Rhinestone?

(This is the original article, edited version appears in Bride 9 and Mocha Bride Fall 2009 Magazines)

In these recessionista times, shiny, budget friendly alternatives are being sought out in lieu of traditional diamonds for necklaces, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and even rings, but what exactly is the difference? Diamonds, the standard in clear, brilliant quality, and luxe jewelery is the bar for all other simulations.

Cubic zirconia (CZ), is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium, a metal. Since only the finest and rarest of diamonds are truly colorless, most having a tinge of yellow or brown, cubic zirconia is a good alternative in clarity as in most cases it can be made entirely colorless, equivalent to a perfect "D" on the Diamond Color grading scale.

The synthesized material is hard, optically flawless and usually colorless, but may be made in a variety of different colors to simulate gemstones. Due to its low cost, durability, and close visual likeness to diamonds, synthetic cubic zirconia has remained the most economically important competitor for diamonds since 1976 when commercial production first began.

In 1973, Soviet scientists perfected the technique of creating a CZ gem, which they named the jewel Fianit, but the name was not used outside of the USSR and the Soviets published their findings. Once commercial production began in 1976, annual global production grew to 50 million carats (10 tonnes) by 1980. Contemporary production of cubic zirconia is virtually flawless, whereas most diamonds have some sort of defect. Deco Belle.com carries a wide selection of clear, and simulated gemstone Grade A quality CZ jewelry in our China section.

CZ’s main competition as a synthetic gemstone is the more recently cultivated material, synthetic moissanite (named after its Nobel Prize winning discoverer). When first discovered while examining rock samples from a meteor crater located in Canyon Diablo, Arizona in 1893, moissanite was mistaken for diamonds. Its double facet edges (as opposed to single facet edges of a diamond) and its nearly colorless with a grade range of I-J-K on the Diamond Color Grading scale make it difficult to distinguish from diamonds by the untrained eye. Its impressive properties include comparable index of refraction and better than twice the fire of diamond. It is only slightly less expensive than diamonds due to the difficulty in growing the crystals.

Speaking of crystals, all crystals are glass, but not all glass is crystal. What separates the two? Lead. The significance of lead lies in how the refractive index of the finished product increases, straight out shine! In addition to lead, special cutting and polishing processes are used to give crystal glass even more sparkle.

Crystals are often heavier, more delicate, and more expensive than glass, with the ultimate standard in crystal jewelry being Swarovski Austrian. This brand has more fire and brilliance (by adding 32 percent lead creating a high refraction rate) than any other crystal jewelry on the market. In addition different chemical coatings are added to the crystal surface to enhance color and sparkle. The difference is quite remarkable and affordably priced, much less expensive than jewelry made from precious stones. These lovely crystals can be found in our Paris section at DecoBelle.com

Glass in its most basic form is molten sand that is combined with various additives and cooled with such celerity that crystal structures have no time to form. There is not much brilliance, or fire on the surface of glass jewelry. The best and highest quality glass is handmade Murano glass from the island of Murano, in Venice, Italy. At DecoBelle.com we have a wide selection of handcrafted Murano glass jewelry.

Glass goes even farther with some rhinestones being made of glass. Other rhinestones (so named as originally the rock crystals were gathered from the river Rhine) are synthetically made of crystal or acrylic. The difference between the crystals and rhinestones is not that clear-cut. Rhinestone has a metal or foil backing to reflect light and make the stone glitter. Crystal, on the other hand, requires no backing and is always made of glass and lead that give the stones extra sparkle and brilliance. For dazzling craft projects, rhinestones are fine, but crystals fare better in jewelry presentation and quality.

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by: Deco Belle Inc.
Jewelry Care (as published in Bride 9 and Mocha Bride Magazines)

To protect jewelry from scratching or tarnishing, we recommend storing jewelry items in either airtight plastic bags or soft jewelry boxes, armoires, or travel rolls (pictured left as closed). Airtight plastic jewelry (included free in every item order at DecoBelle.com) bags also prevent jewelry from scratching together or becoming entangled.

Platinum, gold, rhodium plated, and silver jewelry have anti-tarnishing qualities directly related to their metallic make-up. The higher platinum percentage allows for a higher tarnish resistance, the same is true for silver, especially when silver is marked “nickel-free”, which provides another degree of non-tarnishing qualities. In gold, the higher the carat count, the less tarnishing will occur. Rhodium is the rarest and most expensive of all precious metals, therefore most rhodium jewelry is only rhodium plated, this providing the ultimate in an anti-tarnish finish.

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by: Deco Belle Inc.
Etiquette: Gifts for the Bridal Party

To thank her bridal party for all of their support and participation in her dream wedding, a bride may want to consider the following gifts: jewelry, jewelry cases, and personalized stationary.

The bride chose the colors, style of dress, and overall theme for her bridal party, thus a nice thank you gift is in order. The groom cannot go wrong with engraved anything for his party, flasks, glasses, multi-purpose knives, cufflinks, money clips, and the ever popular pen set.

Jewelry is the most popular gift for a bridal party. Preferably the gift can be presented before the wedding to be used in both the main event and beyond. Formality of dress is the key factor, as well as colors and styles. Many brides choose jewelry (necklaces, earrings, or bracelets) in different colors and designs of a similar style, customized for every bridesmaid in her party whom all are wearing the same color dresses.

If the entire wedding party is wearing the same dress style, jewelry may follow suit, though this does not allow for a personalized (if albeit
glamorous) gift. To customize for each bridesmaid, tailor each jewelry item with consideration to formality, does this bridesmaid like bold and eye-catching designs, colors, large versus small sizes, or a more subdued classic preference. Also which item would each bridesmaid wear most, someone with non-pierced ears would better appreciate a necklace or a bracelet, or some ladies may prefer necklaces over bracelets and the like.

Another hot trend in bridal party gift giving is jewelry and cosmetics cases. These items can be both useful while traveling and in the comfort of home. This is not as personal a gift as jewelry itself, but colors, and styles may be customized for each party. Many of these cases can even be monogrammed to personalize the gift.

In our times of electronic communication domination, heartfelt written notes are a lovely touch. Personalized stationary is a very thoughtful gift and definitely customizable to each bridesmaid in the bridal party. It may be enough to turn the most die hard texter/e-mailer into a letter writer.

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by: Deco Belle Inc.

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