We recently explored the magic of gemstone inclusions .
Now, let’s take a deeper dive into one of the most fascinating things about gemstone inclusions - how they can help us determine where in the world a stone was formed and mined.
First, a reminder. Inclusions are characteristics within the structure of the stone itself. These features can be things like gas-filled bubbles, trapped materials, small lines, or heat fractures.
A blue apatite crystal (identified with micro Raman) is suspended amidst a cluster of needles in this garnet from Tanzania. Specimen courtesy of Mark Saul. Fabrication courtesy of Indy Khurana. Gübelin, E.J. and Koivula, J.I. (2005) Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, Volume 2. Basel, Switzerland, Opinio Publishers, 830 pp.; RWHL*.
Gemstones are formed miles and miles beneath the earth's crust, and the pressure, heat, and time that go into forming the gems mean chemical elements or natural materials can get trapped below the surface of the stone.
Inclusions can be seen as flaws - but we see them as part of the story. Inclusions are microscopic reflections of the earth magic that resulted in a wondrous gem. They can create swirls of colors, flecks of light, merging hues, and pools of wonder waiting just below the stone’s surface…
This blocky, transparent crystal stood out in its Zambian emerald host. Analysis with micro Raman revealed that it is fluorophlogopite. Gübelin, E.J. and Koivula, J.I. (2008) Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, Volume 3. Basel, Switzerland, Opinio Publishers, 672 pp.; RWHL*.
Where in the world have you been?
Aesthetically, inclusions can create beautiful patterns and shades within a stone. They also render the gemstone to be completely unique - no one stone will have the same inclusions. Think of inclusions as a gemstone's fingerprint, they’re completely individual and personal to that stone.
Practically, this ‘fingerprint’ can also help us identify both the type of stone and also its geographic origin. The kind of inclusions and elements present tell us about the conditions in which the stone was formed and therefore also where it was formed.
This blocky, transparent crystal stood out in its Zambian emerald host. Analysis with micro Raman revealed that it is fluorophlogopite. Hughes, R.W., Manorotkul, W. and Hughes, E.B. (2017) Ruby & Sapphire: A Gemologist's Guide. Bangkok, Lotus Publishing, 816 pp.; RWHL*.
For example, rubies from Burma will often feature rutile needle inclusions that have a uniquely oil-spill like or iridescent color to them. These unique inclusions create a visual effect known as ‘silk’ which helps determine their Burmese origin.
Garnets that feature horsetail inclusions (lots of feathery threads of chrysotile running through the stone, resembling a horse’s mane) tell gemologists the stone originates from Russia.
Fibrous needles radiate from the center of this demantoid garnet. Gübelin, E.J. and Koivula, J.I. (2005) Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, Volume 2. Basel, Switzerland, Opinio Publishers, 830 pp.; RWHL*.
What minerals are present in the stone also affects what kind of inclusions occur and the geographical growth environment. For example, an emerald that contains a mica inclusion (which sort of looks like a droplet within a stone) tells us that the stone was mined from mica-rich rocks. These are mostly found in Russia. On the other hand, emeralds mined in Columbia will often feature veins running through the stone, rich in carbonate from hydrothermal deposits beneath the surface of the earth in that country.
Why does it matter where it’s from?
Being able to determine where in the world a stone has come from isn’t essential by any means - but it does have a few distinct advantages.
First, it means you can ensure the stone was mined ethically. This is one of the reasons a lot of SKYDOG pieces feature gemstones from California - it’s important to us we know where the stones have come from and what’s gone into getting them out of the earth.
It also means our jewelry contains a little piece of California. We celebrate our local environment and appreciate the earth beneath our feet that brought forth these gems.
Knowing the geographical origin of our gemstones means that we can offer customers stones that originated from a place that means something to them. We recently made an inlay men's wedding band with Carrera marble from Italy to reflect the Italian heritage of the groom. Previously, we also crafted an inlay band with Big Sur Jade for a couple to whom the region meant a great deal and held personal memories.
Jewelry has the potential to be deeply personal - a physical manifestation of something about its wearer.
Gemstones are fascinating and magical for so many reasons, but being able to determine a stone's origin means jewelry can be made even more personal - with stones mined from the wearer's ancestral past, present love, or memorable place..
Want to know if we can celebrate your special place? Drop us an email on email@example.com and let’s see…
Jade is quickly becoming a SKYDOG signature stone, and founder Jordan has been heading out to source and explore this gemstone for himself. Here he describes gem-hunting in Jade Cove…
“This October I’m headed to the Big Sur Jade Festival. I’m pretty excited to be returning to the region after last April’s trip with my girlfriend to Jade Cove.
This is a shot headed south on PCH, it's impossible not to stop.
Big Sur is renowned for its beautifully scenic coastline that has an ancient and mythic reputation. Having been, I know why. Looking out over the cliffs and sea, I had a feeling this part of the earth probably looked exactly this way in prehistoric times. It was a place that had been there long before humanity, and will be there long after us too.
Very behind the scenes. When I'm on a rockhounding mission there is little time for other activities. I cooked breakfast in our cabin each morning both to save time and because I'm particular about food quality.
We stayed in Carmel, and each morning drove south to Jade Cove to hunt for jade at low tide. To get to the coves you hike along the coastline, past wildflower patches, through brush and briar, and down to the rocky beaches.
From the trailhead down to the cliff, maybe a 20 min walk
Wild blackberries on the side of the trail
Me and Tifany taking turns down the muddy trail into Jade Cove
Jade Cove has been mined for hundreds of years now, so most of the remaining gems are underwater. As such, it can be pretty hard work for very little reward. If you’re lucky though there are small pieces to be found along the cobbled shores.
A quick walk over to the first cove where we searched for jade
Here I am at the second jade spot, trying to avoid the waves. Moments later we met a man named Ken who told us someone had been swept out and died a week earlier after wading too far into the water in search of the jade.
On our hunt one morning we met this amazing jade-hunter called Ken, who showed us the ropes and exactly what to look for.
The green hues of the cliffs are mostly created from serpentine, which is a similar shade to Jade. You have to watch out for mistakenly collecting serpentine, along with a few other rocks present in the area like agates or sandstone. Ken talked us through a few different ways of spotting the difference between these stones and the jade we were searching for.
Ken showing us how the jade is sometimes encapsulated in other rocks. He picked up this stone after thinking I was going to snag it. Ultimately he gifted it to me after seeing my excitement.
Ken is a great guy. He's a gardener in Cambria and rock hounds in his free time.
These are a couple chunks I fished out of the water. Ken was the winner of the day with a beautiful fist-sized black jade stone. Of course I forgot to take a photo.
Most of the stones there are quite small compared to the large deposits on the seabed, so if (like me) you’re looking to make jewelry from the stones, you want to make sure they’re of a big enough size for cutting. You also want to check the stones are not cracked. This will make them porous and too fragile to last in a piece of jewelry.
Of course, one of the biggest things I look for in a stone is color! The hue of a stone is what first ignites my design inspiration. The shades and inclusions contained within a stone will depend on the conditions in which it was formed and the minerals that are present in it.
Because of this, jade is not just the green-colored stone you may think of it as. Jade is usually made up mainly of nephrite or jadeite which give the classic emerald shade. But the presence of other elements can completely change its color or appearance. For example, the more chromium present the more neon green the color will be. In contrast, the presence of graphite will make the stone almost inky black in hue. The formation process creates unique stones that are reflections of the earth history in which they were formed.
A large specimen collected by a local diver. Anything this size will only be found under the water.
Other specimens from the same seller. When you pass through town on your way south there's usually one or two people selling what they've collected.
The most common colored jade found at Big Sur is green jade, but this can range drastically in color from a vibrant emerald hue to a dark botanical tone.
Its color can also be heightened or dimmed by its opacity - some green jades are translucent, whilst others are cloudy. Big Sur jade is much rarer to find and, as the name suggests, can only be found in this region.
We were lucky enough to find a few pieces of jade that I plan to make into small pendants and rings.
If you’ve kept up with our blog posts you’ll know I love to source my own stones for my jewelry, even going to the mines when I can. Keeping the pipeline small ensures that all the stones I use were mined ethically and with reverence and appreciation for the earth from which they came.
We managed to grab a room for one night at Glen Oaks before leaving town
Sorting through the small pieces we had found on the first day
This is an entire days worth of jade...
If you are ever near Big Sur, do yourself a favor and stay at Glen Oaks
For me, this isn’t just an ethical motivation but also a spiritual and emotional one. I have always been awe-inspired by the earth magic of gemstones - the way their formation over thousands of years creates spiritual stones imbued with the history of the earth and the powers of the universe.
Sourcing jade with my own hands meant I could see the incredible conditions and the environment in which it was formed. Jade has been renowned by civilizations across time for its powers of forceful protection and gentle tranquility. And I can see why.
One home, I cut into this piece of jade I collected. Not to shabby IMO
Wild flower collage by Tifany
Every piece of Jade I found seemed to contain within it the power of the ocean in which it was formed. It was a really special trip that only heightened my appreciation for gemstones and connected me to our earth.
Bring on the Big Sur Jade Festival!”
We love the fascinating and individual nature of the gemstones we work with.
Here, founder and designer Jordan explores why he finds inclusions so bewitching - and what they mean for your jewelry…
What are gemstone inclusions?
“One of the reasons I love working with gemstones is for their multitude of colors and inclusions. Almost every gemstone is unique.
Inclusions are internal characteristics - features beneath the surface of the stones - which are created by the conditions under which the stone was formed and the elements present within it.
Inclusions are like internal blemishes in the structural makeup of the stone. These can include material that has been trapped within the stone during its formation, gas-filled bubbles or liquid, or marks from pressure and heat like fractures, small lines, or dots.
The geological growth environment of marble-hosted rubies from Myanmar (left) is reflected in their internal features, such as calcite inclusions (right). Photos by Robert Weldon (left; courtesy of William F. Larson) and Nathan Renfro (right; field of view 1.44 mm).
For some stones like diamonds, smaller and fewer inclusions are desirable. The clarity of a diamond is determined from the amount and visibility of inclusions, varying from ‘included’ to ‘flawless’.
We use a grade of diamond that requires magnification to see inclusions, very small marks deep within the stone.
Small transparent crystals form clusters in a Vietnamese spinel. These tabular crystals are transparent and doubly refractive, but their host's morphology has been forced upon them, a characteristic John Koivula has dubbed "philoxenism." Dark field illumination. Photos: E. Billie Hughes
Inclusions in colored gemstones
When it comes to colored gemstones, however, their inclusions can actually be what makes them so beautiful and so special.
With many colored gemstones, inclusions can be seen by the naked eye, creating beautifully unique colors and patterns within them.
Inclusions quite literally represent the chemical processes the stones have undergone - the time taken, the pressure and the heat that the earth has put on them. They are reflections of their very formation and the sheer effort - dare I say magic - that has gone into creating each stone over thousands of years.
Because inclusions come about from a variety of different conditions and factors, no stone will have the same inclusions. To put it simply, it means that every stone is completely unique.
Inclusions of insects entombed in amber, such as these two wasps captured in an eternal embrace, offered ancient naturalists a clue to the geological origins of this gemstone. Photomicrograph by John I. Koivula.
Personality & individuality
Imagine inclusions as a fingerprint of a stone. Each line, ridge, and pattern is completely unique. This has both practical and aesthetic implications.
Practically, inclusions can be used to identify your stone. For example, if you’re getting a gemstone report for insurance purposes or to know the origins of your stone, inclusions are what gemologists use to identify your gemstone, often mapping out the inclusions on a report.
Emeralds from mica-rich schists, such as Russian emeralds (left), display inclusions that give away their geological origins, such as fields of dark mica platelets (right). Photos by Robert Weldon (left; courtesy of R.T. Boyd Limited) and Nathan Renfro (right; field of view 2.04 mm).
The same gemstone type from different countries will have different inclusions, due to the different chemical make-up of the land under which they were formed. The right equipment can use this information to trace the origin of the stone.
For instance, a ‘wispy horse tail’ inclusion often appears in garnets, looking like trails of light shooting stars gliding through the stone. This type of inclusion also tells us that the origin of the stone is Russia. I find it incredible a stone’s marks can tell us so much about its history and identity.
What types of inclusions are there?
There are thousands of types of inclusions, but some of the most common are;
- Pinpoints - tiny black dots
- Feathers - tiny cracks that resemble a feather
- Crystals (tiny minerals or even tiny bits of diamonds that became trapped in the crystal as it formed)
- Needles - long, think lines, usually white
- Clouds - small clusters of pinpoint inclusions, which together look like a cloud)
- Twinning wisps - a little like stretch marks, these are mixes of crystals, clouds, feathers and pinpoints
- Indented natural - looks like a chip beneath the surface of the stone
- Internal graining - waves or lines within the diamond, when the stone has formed or grown slightly unevenly
Inclusions really tell us a lot about the way a stone was formed and what it went through beneath the earth’s crust.
A web-like fingerprint creates a maze-like pattern in this spinel from Vietnam, observed with darkfield and diffuse fiber-optic illumination. Photomicrograph by E. Billie Hughes; field of view 5 mm. Courtesy of Vitalit Gems.
Can inclusions be a bad thing in a gemstone?
Of course, there are some inclusions to watch out for.
Surface breaking inclusions can make the stone less hard-wearing than it should be, and too many large inclusions can also create concern for durability.
One of the reasons emeralds are so special and valuable is because of their frequent and beautiful inclusions, sometimes referred to as ‘jardin’ thanks to their mossy appearance.
However, this is also what makes emeralds require a little extra care than other precious gemstones, because their inclusions can make them a slightly more fragile stone.
Left: Magnesium-rich spinel often forms in impure marbles where the magnesium-rich mineral dolomite is present. Right: These spinels contain inclusions where carbonate minerals are more likely to be dolomite than calcite, as seen in this dolomite-filled negative crystal. Photos by Robert Weldon (left) and Nathan Renfro (right; field of view 1.30 mm).
SKYDOG’s take on gemstone inclusions…
There are plenty of jewelry aficionados who desire their gemstones clear and perfect - and I too always appreciate a dazzling, eye-clean diamond or scintillating sapphire!
But I also love gemstones with a little personality. Inclusions are what create the stunning patterns within some of my favorite stones, such as the shifting colors and milky-way markings of a lapis lazuli or turquoise.
Recently I’ve been working with using large pieces of gemstones on the face of my oversized men’s signet rings. The space this provides means you can really see the whirlpools of inclusions within the stone.
There’s an incredible feeling that earth history is dancing beneath the surface of your stone when you look at a gorgeously included gemstone.
And being able to wear a piece of earth history is just… well, magic.
SKYDOG loves signets.
One of the oldest of jewelry styles, their enduring popularity is thanks to a long history of functionality and beauty. Here’s a look at how it all began…
The history of the signet ring
Dating back to 3500 BC, signet rings have a long and rich history throughout human civilizations.
The word ‘signet’ is derived from the Latin word ‘signum’ which means ‘sign’. Originally, signet rings were largely practical pieces of jewelry.
Throughout the Byzantium period to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, rings consisting of a flat bezel engraved with a sign, symbol, or family crest were used by members of high society to mark their identity and their status.
The people of Mesopotamia would use cylindrical seals attached to a ring to authenticate identity, and in Ancient Egypt Pharaohs and powerful individuals would wear gold rings with symbols that detailed their position.
The earliest personalized jewelry
We sometimes think of personalization as a modern desire, but we can trace the origins of the trend back to signets. A signet ring was classically a completely bespoke piece - no signet ring was the same as another. In fact, many signets were actually destroyed when the owner died.
Signet rings were emblems of identity, a visual fingerprint, completely unique to the individual. It’s why they were so important and effective as identifiers and signatures.
This ability to identify their owner also played into the most common usage for signet rings - marking and sealing documents by pressing the engraved face into clay or hot wax.
Whilst this was a common usage throughout their history, it became particularly prominent during the Medieval Ages. At this time, the design changed from raised engravings to being intaglio (sunken) and the image was engraved in reverse solely for the purpose of creating a raised image in a wax seal.
In England in the 14th century, it was decreed by King Edward II that all official documentation had to be sealed with his own signet ring, and noblemen across the globe soon followed suit.
At a time when many people were not able to write, signing a seal with your signet ring was an equivalent of a signature - a distinguishing mark of identity. Family crests and coats of arms were very important to the Medieval Ages, so the idea of being able to have your heraldry on your signet ring made them incredibly popular items amongst the nobility.
Gemstones & signets - a perfect pairing
As the world moved into the Renaissance period, it became popular to set signet rings with bloodstone, carved or engraved with a family crest.
The reason for this was purely symbolic - the red specks in the stone were thought to symbolize family blood and the lineal heritage behind a family crest. With this, the idea of passing down signet rings as family heirlooms gathered popularity.
Bloodstone is a classic choice for signet rings, particularly men’s designs. But today we also draw upon the meaning and properties of a wealth of other stones, the relatively large size of a gemstone-set signet offering perfect opportunity to show off the individual nature of the stone.
Signets are usually set with cabochon and flat-cut semi-precious stones, all the more beautiful for their unique colors, inclusions, and texture.
Once the preserve of society’s elite, signet rings soon spread. Merchants or tradesmen began using signets engraved with symbols of their trade (a hammer, a boat, etc) to sign business documents or even mark their goods.
Even when seal waxes became a thing of the past, signet rings continued to be used by military groups, secret societies, and clubs as a marker of membership.
Passed down through generations, signet rings became the ultimate heirloom, their personal nature making them precious objects of belief, belonging, and family history.
Whilst signet rings were no doubt practical pieces of jewelry, they were also ornate, beautiful, and often highly decorated pieces. Mainly made from gold and sometimes set with precious gems, the large size of the face of signet rings lends itself to beautiful and intricate designs.
The practical use of a signet ring is no longer relevant for most wearers, but their capacity for individuality makes them one of the most compelling pieces of jewelry.
Having a signet engraved with initials or symbols continues to make signet rings meaningful and potent pieces of jewelry. How wonderful to have a tangible representation of your identity and individuality.
If celebrating the past isn’t your thing you can look to the future, carving out your hopes and dreams in symbolic form. Or perhaps you simply like the aesthetic of a signet ring, a real statement piece of jewelry in minimalist metal or beautiful gemstones.
Excited to create your own unique signet ring? Reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org to begin your bespoke process.
From the earth in which it was formed to adorning its new owner, the journey of a gemstone is a special one.
Often the pipeline of a piece of jewelry can be lengthy, with different companies and people involved at each step.
At SKYDOG, our approach is a little different. By keeping the SKYDOG creation journey as small and personal as possible, we know exactly where the stones we use in our pieces have come from.
Founder Jordan explains his approach…
“For me, one of the most wondrous things about gemstones is the layers of earth history each holds inside, the colors and inclusions formed over years of geological processes.
Understanding the origins of each stone is essential to the way my pieces are formed.
I want to know who has mined or found them, who has collected and held them, where they have come from.
It means I know I’m using ethically sourced stones - and it also means I know their stories.
I love working with precious gems. I appreciate the gift the earth has given us, forming these incredible stones over thousands of years. I love the little bit of earth magic contained within each piece of carefully crafted jewelry.
Sourcing the stones I use in my pieces for me is deeply personal. One of my favorite things to do is actually visit the mines and my contacts to see exactly where my stones are coming from.
If I’m not getting stones directly from a mine or cove, I source them from my small and trusted network of cutters and collectors. These stones tend to be ones they’ve sourced themselves directly from the mines and coves themselves, so the pipeline is still kept as small as possible.
For example, this piece of Black Jade from the Big Sur region of California was collected in the 1970s and has been held since then by a collector in the region. Collecting the stones directly from him, I heard all about his fascinating life and work.
If you want to hear the stories behind the SKYDOG stones you choose, I’m always delighted to share. I can tell you where your gemstones have come from, and usually have a story or two to tell about how and why I chose them.
And personally, I think it makes our gemstone jewelry all the more magical….”
At SKYDOG, it’s one of our core values that jewelry should speak to the wearer and reflect what they hold in their heart.
Fine jewelry is always a celebration, whether it’s an investment in yourself or marking your love for another. Jewelry should reflect your individualism; your life, love, and values.
Many of our pieces are one of a kind - and even in our signature lines, the individual nature of gemstone inclusions means almost every stone looks completely unique. But to take it one step further (or rather, three steps further…) we also offer three ways to make your own personal mark on your jewelry.
1. Customizable and stackable rings
Our rings are designed as statement pieces on their own, but also with the ability to stack two or more rings together.
In particular, our shaped wedding bands pair beautifully with our multi-stone, halo, and large solitaire rings.
Choose different rings to stack together in the metal, stones, and colorways that speak to you - adding an individual touch to your wedding, engagement, and celebratory sets.
To make your rings even more personal, you can customize them to add a particular gemstone you love or to suit your engagement ring - like this;
Here, our customer Rachel wanted a wedding band that would compliment her engagement ring.
We did just that, adding small stones of Arizona turquoise into our diamond set shaped wedding ring to match the solitaire Arizona turquoise of her engagement ring.
2. Bespoke pieces
If you follow along on Instagram you’ll know creating bespoke SKYDOG pieces is one of our favorite things to do. We love taking the ideas of our customers and turning them into a fully realized, personal piece of jewelry.
From pendants to engagement rings, we collaborate with you to make a piece unlike any other - whether simply to incorporate a gemstone you love, or creating a piece to speak of your unique life and values. Helping bring your ideas to life is part of the SKYDOG DNA.
There is nothing more magical than taking our customer’s unique idea for a piece and transforming it into a tangible manifestation of that dream.
All bespoke projects involve working closely with founder and designer Jordan. Starting with a one-on-one consultation to discuss unique ideas, stories, and lifestyle, Jordan ensures all SKYDOG commissions start with the individual… and end with an authentic and personal realization of their life and loves.
This is also an opportunity to meander through Jordan’s collection of one-off gemstones. Each with its own inclusions and histories, choosing a unique stone adds to the magic of creating bespoke pieces.
Here’s a snap of one of our engagement rings and wedding bands, featured in our love stories.
This bespoke commission commemorated the unique love between Triss and Vinh, with a bespoke Carico Lake Turquoise halo engagement ring and wishbone inlay wedding band.
With Turquoise having significance in Triss’ culture, the rings were both a celebration of their love for each other and a reflection of personal values and cultural history.
3. Bespoke pieces using heirloom jewelry
Jewelry should be made to love and to last.
When we use the earth’s elements to fashion our jewelry, we respect and are grateful for precious metal and stones made over thousands of years. On top of these pieces of the earth’s history, we layer our own.
Jewelry becomes infused with personal stories and unique histories, from family heirlooms, stones passed down through the generations, bequeathed engagement rings, and treasured wedding rings.
At SKYDOG we know how special jewelry is, and we honor that by offering bespoke pieces that can incorporate heirloom jewelry or precious family stones. Our aim is to pay tribute to the past and the stories enshrined in the stones, whilst breathing fresh life and a new layer of meaning into them.
In one of our recent love stories we crafted a bespoke engagement ring for Gabriella.
This stunning commission involved taking a ring from Gabriella’s grandma and using the sentimental diamonds to reimagine her personal heirloom with a modern style. Not only was the new piece far more Gabby’s style, but it also helped tell the couple’s own story, blending in ideas from fiancé Parker to become a physicalization of his feelings for Gabriella.
In many ways, heirloom stones used in engagement rings are a piece of history. Layering together thousands of years of earth history, years of family histories, and personal moments from our past, they then help us celebrate the future.
At SKYDOG, being able to offer unique and personal pieces is one of the most magical parts of designing and hand crafting jewelry. Whether it be a customized, bespoke, or heirloom rework piece, we are always honored to be part of your stories.
As Californians, we know something about summer.
Whether you’re a year-round sun seeker or day tripping to the beach, as summer starts it’s time to start thinking about how to properly care for your jewelry…
A lot of the things we love most about the season aren’t so good for your precious pieces - sun, sea, and sand. But with a little attention and the right cleaning and care, you can avoid any damage.
Stay out of the water…
SKYDOG jewelry may be made near the sea - but like all fine jewelry, it’s not made for it.
The salt in seawater can damage gold and platinum jewelry and some gemstones. Erosion to softer stones can loosen them from their settings. So it’s a good idea to keep your pieces out of the sea to prevent any damage or even potentially losing your stone.
Similarly, chemicals used in pools and hot tubs can tarnish your jewelry and cause discoloration of the metal. Gold alloys are particularly affected by chlorine, and with repeated exposure will become brittle and weak. If you’re taking a dip it’s best to remove your jewelry.
Beach days = best days
If you’re planning on a beach day, we’d recommend leaving your precious pieces at home. Not because they might go missing (if you read the love story of Chantz and Abigail you’ll know what we mean…), but because sand can be damaging to gemstones - especially if any tiny grains get into inlays or settings.
And while suncream won’t necessarily damage your jewelry, it will leave a slight film on the pieces which can make them look dull or dirty.
Spring summer cleaning
If you’re taking your jewelry off whilst you swim or sunbathe, remember to store your jewelry carefully to avoid damaging the surface of the metal or the stones.
Use a soft, cloth lined jewelry box or bag and use dividers or store pieces separately to avoid them scratching each other.
To clean your piece, use a mild solution of soap and warm water and gently clean your jewelry using a soft toothbrush. Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth, and buff the jewelry with a soft or polishing cloth to shine.
And that's it! Please reach out to email@example.com with any additional questions about cleaning and caring for your jewelry.
May’s birthstone is emerald, a gemstone we’ve had the pleasure of crafting into some beautiful one-of-a-kind and bespoke pieces over the years. Here’s a detailed look at this mesmerizing stone.
Why are emeralds special?
One of the ‘big three’ precious colored gemstones, emerald is a beautiful and prized stone that has been adored for generations.
When it comes to emerald, this gemstone is all about the color. The classic emerald shade ranges from bluish green to pure green, with unmistakable bright and vivid tones.
While ‘emerald’ also calls to mind the geometric diamond cut, emeralds can be found in any cut, from round to fancy shapes, cabochon to faceted.
Emeralds are known for their inclusions. An eye-clean emerald is incredibly rare, so even the most beautiful stones are expected to have visible inclusions inside.
Inclusions are part of the stone’s beauty, sometimes referred to as an emerald’s jardin, French for garden, thanks to their mossy or plant-like appearance.
What do emeralds symbolize?
Emeralds make a romantic choice for engagement rings, thanks to their long history as a stone of love, unity, and truth.
In ancient times emerald was said to be the gemstone of the goddess Venus, herself a symbol of hope and love. This alone makes emerald the perfect choice for beginning a life together!
But with love aside, emeralds are also a buoyant talisman of rebirth and vitality.
Perhaps inspired by their vivid, spring-like hue, emeralds symbolize looking to the future for hope and renewal. They are a powerful choice to celebrate or encourage change and new starts.
What are the properties of emeralds?
Linked to the heart chakra, emeralds are said to help calm the emotions and bring balance to your mood.
For creatives and entrepreneurs, emeralds help support your vision, promoting inspiration and wisdom.
Said to help open the wearer up to commitment and friendship, emeralds are used to encourage the giving and receiving of love.
Are emeralds safe to use in jewelry?
Emeralds have a reputation for being a bit temperamental, but that doesn’t need to put you off your dream piece of emerald jewelry.
Contrary to rumor, emeralds are strong enough for engagement rings and regular wear. Emeralds will need a little more care than ruby, sapphire, or diamond, but can be loved and last just as long - as the abundance of vintage emerald pieces show!
To understand emerald’s slightly higher risk of damage from impact, we need to look again at their inclusions. If an emerald’s inclusions reach the surface of the stone, they can make the gem more prone to cracking or chipping if dropped or knocked.
A skilled designer and setter will know how to set an emerald to best suit its individual properties. They’ll recognize problematic inclusions, and either steer you towards another stone or choose a protective setting like a bezel or halo.
While a pair of earrings or a necklace may be a safe choice for emeralds, there’s also no reason a well-designed and made emerald engagement ring shouldn’t be your forever piece.
How to care for emerald jewelry
Simply giving your emerald jewelry a little extra care when cleaning and wearing will help keep your piece beautiful forever.
First, always remove your emerald jewelry for exercise or other vigorous activities, especially rings or bracelets.
You should only clean your emerald jewelry with warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Never soak your emerald, use an ultrasonic, or clean with harsh detergents or solvents.
It is best to gently clean your emerald regularly, to avoid the build up of dirt that may tempt harsher cleaning.
If you would like SKYDOG to craft a piece of emerald jewelry or emerald engagement ring, you’re in safe and experienced hands.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or begin your bespoke emerald engagement ring journey.
April’s love story featured a beautiful engagement ring reworked from an heirloom piece.
Bride-to-be Gabriella had been gifted an antique ring by her grandma, but as much as she adored it, it wasn’t suitable to be her own engagement ring.
Using the original diamonds we designed a new ring, capturing the spirit and sentiment of the original. Here Jordan takes us through this personal process.
Using the heirloom ring
“Parker approached me and described the antique ring he had and what he hoped to achieve. He had seen my work and thought Gabriella would love my design style, so we knew SKYDOG would be a great fit for the surprise engagement ring he had in mind.
In our initial consultation, Parker told me about Gabriella and their life together, plus some information on the heirloom ring and his hopes for the bespoke piece. In the consultation stage of any new design project I also ensure budget and time frame expectations are aligned.
After agreeing on some initial ideas I asked Parker to send the ring to me so I could work up some designs based on its diamonds.
Until we unset an antique ring we can never be entirely sure exactly the size or number of stones we have to work with. A diamond or gemstone may have become chipped over the years, for instance, and we may need to have the stone re-cut and polished before it goes into a new piece.
Happily, we didn’t have any such issues with Gabriella’s rings. Our setter expertly retrieved the stones from the original piece, leaving me a wonderful selection of diamonds to design around.”
Designing the heirloom remodel
“Heirloom engagement rings can use one or more of the stones from the original piece of jewelry, even combining stones from multiple pieces. Sometimes we will only use the one largest stone for the final ring, using the rest of the smaller stones to create another piece of jewelry such as a pendant. In other cases we need to add new stones, such as adding a diamond halo to an heirloom colored gemstone.
Parker was keen to use as many of the heirloom diamonds as possible in his design, so I proposed three different designs using a cluster arrangement of large and small diamonds. Parker’s ideas helped shape the design, as he told me about Gabriella and her style.
I laid the stones out on paper so Parker could begin to see how the final arrangement would look. From the three designs, Parker chose his favorite - and then we began to bring the ideas to life.”
Transforming the design to a three-dimensional CAD render
“After he had chosen his design, I wanted Parker to see what the finished piece would look like.
We created the ring using CAD - computer aided design - technology, creating an on-screen model and realistic render so Parker could picture the final ring. Renders allow us to show different metal types, such as choosing between white or yellow gold, and even show how the piece will look to scale on the finger.
At this stage, any tweaks and changes can be easily made to ensure the finished ring is perfect. Full of confidence, and excitement, Parker signed off the design. We created a three dimensional model, and sent the ring for manufacture.”
Crafting the heirloom ring
“Once the heirloom design has been approved, the crafting process follows the same route as any SKYDOG ring.
Our experienced setters know exactly how special heirloom stones are, and are experts at carefully setting each stone into the new piece.
An heirloom remodel can take between 6 to 8 weeks to design and complete - but the final piece will be treasured for another lifetime.”
Want to sound Jordan out about your own heirloom rework? Drop him an email on email@example.com.
For Abigail and Chantz, a double-date with mutual friends led to a five year long-distance relationship. Waiting to be together only brought them closer - here’s their beautiful story.
Long distance love
Ask Abigail and Chantz about their relationship, and their love for each other shines through.
Abigail knew she’d found the one when she realized how Chantz made her laugh and smile like she never had before. Over their relationship they have never stopped fighting for love, whether far apart from each other or as a married couple.
“The best part of finding my husband was finding my forever best friend. I feel incredibly grateful to be his wife… he helps me see the brighter side of life & encourages me to be the best version of myself”.
Describing his wife as “bringing out the best” in him, Chantz effuses about how with every day his feelings for Abigail grow.
“I first thought I loved her, and then she’d do something that would make me fall even more in love with her - I’d think ‘okay, now this love.’ I was very wrong because she would just keep finding ways to make me fall even more in love with her, even to this day”.
When it came to her engagement ring, Abigail fell in love at first sight. Seeing a SKYDOG pear shape, opal ring on her Instagram explore page, she knew immediately she’d found the one she wanted on her finger for the rest of her life.
But while Abigail might have chosen the ring, the engagement was a complete surprise.
After waiting to propose for almost three years, when the time was finally right Chantz wasted no time.
“We agreed we should finish up long distance first - and with being at college I needed to save money for a ring. I finally graduated, and two weeks into my new job ordered Abigail’s ring. I proposed two days after it arrived in the mail because I couldn’t wait any longer”.
Having first asked Abigail’’s dad for permission, Chantz recruited her little sister to come along and take pictures as they hiked to a sunset lookout spot near the house. Posing for her sister to take a photo, Abigail realized Chantz was on one knee, asking her to marry him.
“Here’s the thing… Chantz had always liked to pretend to tie his shoes & ‘propose’… so when he actually proposed I thought he was messing with me & I was completely taken off guard!”
With the moment sinking in, Abigail and Chantz were engaged, watching the sun set as they listened to music.
There was to be one more twist in their engagement story. On vacation in Hawaii, Abigail took her engagement ring off before going into the ocean. When she came back to her belongings, it was gone.
Before it could spoil her trip, Chantz offered Abigail the love and perspective she needed - “It’s an object and is replaceable, you aren’t. Relax & enjoy the rest of our vacation.” On their return, we crafted a replacement.
In September 2021, Abigail and Chantz married on a cold, breezy day in Fort Bragg, California. Married on a cliffside with the ocean behind, at the perfect moment in the ceremony the sun broke through to shine on them.
Having both wanted a small and cozy wedding, twenty of their closest friends and family joined them for their intimate day. With a teepee, beautiful flowers, and a magical sunset, the day was as personal and special as they’d dreamed.
Chantz sums up his memories with a tribute to his bride and their day. “My favorite part of it was how beautiful Abby was that day and how happy I was to finally be able to call her my wife. Everything fit together so perfectly that I still can’t believe it even happened”.
For Abigail’s engagement ring (both of them!) we custom-made a pear-shape opal halo ring in a style similar to our Thea ring.
For the wedding, we crafted a fitted wedding band for Abigail.
All photos by Chelsi McFadden
If you’d like a SKYDOG piece of your own, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d love to hear your own SKYDOG love story! Email Jordan at email@example.com if you’d like to be featured.
Diamonds are one of the most popular precious gemstones, making them a classic choice for engagement and wedding rings.
But whether you’re swayed by budget or a desire to rebel, you might be keen to explore some alternatives. Here’s our pick of the best options…
For color: white sapphire
If your heart is set on a colorless diamond, white sapphire is a gorgeous alternative.
To best achieve that diamond look, choose a good white sapphire with minimal inclusions and an excellent cut.
A faceted white sapphire won’t have quite the same fire and brilliance as a diamond, but it will still sparkle beautifully. White sapphire works particularly well in a cut that shows off clarity rather than sparkle, such as this elegant emerald cut.
Although no stone can match diamonds for strength and hardness, sapphires are also a very durable gem. This makes them perfect for a ring you’ll wear day-in, day-out.
For brilliance: moonstone
Moonstone is the gem to pick if you love diamond’s unique sparkle. Because if you can’t replicate it exactly, why not pick something just as individual and magical?
Thanks to its unique mineral inclusions, moonstone has a completely unique fire, glowing with pastel colors that shift as you move.
We love to incorporate ethereal moonstones into designs that would classically contain diamonds – whether center stage or accent stones.
For the real deal: lab-created diamonds
Lab diamonds are big news in jewelry, and we’ve had the pleasure of making some incredible bespoke pieces containing these stones.
With exactly the same look and chemical composition as mined stones, lab-created diamonds are real diamonds. They’re created above ground, in laboratories replicating the natural processes under which diamonds are created.
As there’s no mining involved, the environmental impact is limited to the energy used to create the stones. And lab diamonds aren’t as rare as mined diamonds, so the cost of stone itself is slightly less.
Unlike simulants such as CZ and Moissanite, lab-created diamonds are genuine diamonds – only specialist labs and equipment can tell them apart. So if budget or concerns over mining are your sticking points, a lab-created stone might be your answer.
SKYDOG signature and OOAK lines are made with natural, mined diamonds, but we can make any piece with created diamonds on request – just contact us for a quote.
Choosing between lab and mined diamonds is a personal decision, and we’re happy to talk you through your options and offer quotes for both. To allow you to make an informed choice, pieces containing lab-created diamonds will always be clearly indicated.
We love talking jewelry, diamond or otherwise. Drop us a note on firstname.lastname@example.org to commission your own rebellious engagement ring…
Why is moonstone special?
At SKYDOG, we love moonstones for their ethereal glow and pastel fire.
This distinctive shimmer of color is called schiller or adularescence, and is caused by inclusions of a mineral called feldspar. When two different types of feldspar meet in a stone, the characteristic effect is produced.
Each piece of moonstone is unique, revealing its individual personality at the hands of skilled cutters and polishers. Cut into a cabochon or with facets, it reveals its singular beauty.
What does moonstone symbolize?
Moonstone is a symbol of strength, hope and new beginnings – the perfect stone to mark the beginning of your life as a couple together. Historically, it was often gifted between lovers as a symbol of luck and romantic desire.
Inspiring personal change and growth, this stone is also a powerful choice for self-gifted talismans.
Associated with love, understanding, and motherhood, moonstone also makes a touching touch for anniversary rings and gifts.
What are the properties of moonstone?
Moonstone is said to help channel your intuition, helping you get closer to your true feelings. Moonstone also helps soothe emotions, encouraging calm and serenity.
Named for its celestial glow, moonstone’s innate connection with the moon fills it with feminine energy and bestows a connection with motherhood.
How do you care for moonstone jewelry?
Your moonstone jewelry can be cleaned with a gentle solution of soap and warm water.
Do not use an ultrasonic or steam cleaner, as high heat can cause moonstone to crack. You should avoid the use of cleaning chemicals, even those designed for jewelry, as they may damage the luster of your moonstone.
After gently cleaning your jewelry, dry thoroughly and use a soft polishing cloth to shine the metal.
Falling in love? Explore our moonstone jewelry here.