Category Archives:Blog

TURQUOISE: The Historic Opaque Mineral

One of the three “Birthstone of December” is Turquoise. As water moves through porous rock, minerals are dissolved, such as copper, aluminium and iron. Over a long time, these minerals accumulate in pores and cracks to form deposits of the material we know as Turquoise. The colour of the stone varies depending on the amount of iron and copper present.

The name “Turquoise” is said to derive from “Turkish”, because the trade route that brought it to Europe first time came via Turkey.  Most of the world’s turquoise rough is currently produced in the southwestern United States, China, Chile, Egypt, Iran, and Mexico. Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada have all held the position of the leading turquoise-producing states in USA.

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CITRINE The Light Maker

Along with topaz, citrine is a birthstone for November. Citrine is recognized as one of the most popular and frequently purchased yellow gemstones. Citrine—the transparent, pale yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz—is rare in nature.

In the days before modern gemology, its tawny color caused it to be confused with topaz. Today, its attractive color, plus the durability and affordability it shares with most other quartzes, makes it the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem. Since natural citrine is rare, most of the citrine on the market is the result of heat treatment.

This gemstone has been an ornamental gem for civilizations as early as 300 B.C., and a favorite with jewelry makers since the ancient Greeks and Romans. Even in first century A.D., citrine was being fashioned into cabochon rings and used in intaglio work. Later in the 17th century, Queen Victoria would become fascinated by the beauty of the stone, and as a result it would be used by Scottish men in kilt pins, shoulder broaches, and to adorn their swords and the handles of their daggers. The stone’s popularity re-surged again during the Art Deco era, as early Hollywood stars boasted citrine jewelry like elaborate brooches, grand necklaces and other pieces where large faceted citrine was the centerpiece.

Virtually all natural citrines come from Brazil. Other notable gem-quality sources are Bolivia, Madagascar, Myanmar, Zambia.

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TOPAZ The Fire

Topaz is a traditional birthstone for the month of November. Today most topaz offered in mall and department store jewelry stores at low to moderate prices has been treated in a laboratory. Colorless topaz can be heated, irradiated, and coated with thin layers of metallic oxides to alter its color. Most topaz is colorless to milky. Yellowish and brownish colors are also common. Natural pink, orange, red, purple, and blue topaz are rare and valuable if they are of gem quality.

Natural blue topaz is extremely rare and is usually pale blue. Almost all of the blue topaz offered in stores today is colorless topaz that has been irradiated and then heated to produce a blue color. “Swiss blue” and “London blue” are trade names for two of the most common varieties of treated blue topaz seen in today’s market.

Brazil is the leading source of gem-quality topaz today. Sri Lanka is another important producer. Small amounts of topaz are produced in Nigeria, Australia, Pakistan, Russia, India, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and Namibia. In the United States, Utah named topaz as its state gemstone in 1969.

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OPAL The Precious Stone

OPAL is the birthstone for the month of October, along with Pink Tourmaline. Opal symbolizes love and hope and is the most magical of all gemstones. Because it shows all colors. It is easy to identify it with its many colored flashing lights.

Opal was rare and very valuable in antiquity until it was found in Australia. The discovery of black opal in Australia in the late 1800’s with its bright colours changed the gemstone world. This new black opal became to be known as the ‘Queen of Gems’.

Unlike the most of other gemstones, opal is not a crystal, but an amorphous solid. It is found in fossilized shell, wood or bone.

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SAPPHIRE The Royalty

September’s birthstone is the sapphire—a precious gem of wisdom, loyalty and nobility. Sapphire has been popular since the Middle Ages. Sapphire has always been associated with the color blue. But, it comes in every color except red, which earn the classification of rubies instead.

Australia was a significant source of sapphires until deposits were discovered in Madagascar during the 1990s. Madagascar now leads the world in sapphire production. A special orangy pink sapphire color is called padparadscha, which means “lotus flower” in Sinhalese, the language spoken in Sri Lanka.

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PERIDOT The Olivine Gem

Peridot is the birthstone for the month of August. Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occurs in only one color: an olive-green / yellowish green.

The Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun.” The main source of peridot in the ancient world was today’s St. John’s (Cont…) Island in the Egyptian Red Sea.

Most of the peridot formed deep inside the earth and was delivered to the surface by volcanoes. This gem often occurs in volcanic rocks. Some also came to earth in meteorites.

Most of the peridot mined today comes from China, Pakistan and Arizona. Peridot also can be found in the Canary Islands, Norway, Hawaii, Australia and South Africa.

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RUBY The Stone of Love!

A short overview about July’s Birthstone, RUBY: In the history, ruby was called as “The stone of Kings and Queens”. It has been told that, Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan had offered a city for a piece of Ruby. Ruby was one of the major preferred precious stones for the (Cont…) jewelry of the Sultans in Ottoman Empire.

Myanmar is accepted as ruby’s native country since the 6th century. Many rubies in the market are from Thailand. In USA, there are some ruby mines in North Carolina.

In essence, ruby is a red sapphire since they have identical specifications in all properties except for color. The late 1800s was the beginning phase of creating synthetic ruby the first time. In 1902, it was announced that large size synthetic rubies were created to use in jewelry.

Please check our Haute Jewelry Collections under “Shop” for Ruby jewelry…

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PEARLS, Purity & Innocence!

Another birthstone of June is Pearl. For formal occasions, casual fashion, a luncheon meeting or an evening out… Regardless of the occasion or the style of dress, pearl necklaces bring out the beauty and elegance of their wearer. Colors range from white, cream to pink, light green, blue, silver (Cont…) and black.

The finest white pearls and black pearls are cultured because they are so rare in nature. Natural (wild) ones are mostly found in the waters of Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Today, cultured freshwater pearls are mostly produced in China.

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Emerald by day, Ruby by night-ALEXANDRITE

One of the June’s birthstones, Alexandrite, was discovered in the Russia’s Ural Mountains early 1800s. This unique gemstone changes colors from green to red. They are the national colors of Russia. It has been said that Alexandrite is the Imperial Russia’s official gemstone.

Besides Russia, Brazil, Sri Lanka and (Cont…) East Africa are now the main sources for this rare found gemstone. Natural and fine quality Alexandrite is highly  expensive The process of creating synthetic Alexandrite is also an expensive process due to nature of this unique stone.

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Garnet: Ring in the New Year with Color

Garnet is the birthstone for January and the gem for the second anniversary.
Red garnets have a long history, but modern gem buyers like yourself, can pick from a rich palette of garnet colors: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, and even some blues.
Let us design a one of a kind jewel with “Garnets” that will be treasured for generations to come! 

Our jewelry designs are unique and range from traditional to modern contemporary.

We design with comfort, style and durability in mind.

Email us at:
 to schedule your complimentary 30 min. design consultation.

Red Rose Giveaway!

Red Rose Giveaway

This Valentines Day Tuesday February 14th 2017 come in to any of our locations and get a FREE* Red Rose on Valentines Day! No purchase is necessary. Just in case you waited until the last minute to get her something, we’ve got you covered! And Check out our fine Jewelry and Watches!


Long Beach Locations:

How to Remove a Watch Link Video

Below is a how to video. Gems and Jewels fine jewelry and repair in long beach will show you how to DIY!

IF you have any hesitations or your links don’t have the “arrows” Please do not attempt to remove the links. Please Bring it in for us to service. Our Link Removal Fee is $15 ( Mid Grade) -$30 (high end, Rolex)


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The million dollar question….What’s my jewelry worth?

What is my jewelry worth?

One of the most common questions about jewelry is also one of the most difficult to answer: “What is my jewelry worth?” Whether the the jewelry is a family heirloom passed down, or a lucky find at a swap-meet, knowing the value of our jewels is a strong desire. However, to properly answer the question of what jewelry is worth, we need to understand what “value” actually is.

Sentimental value Vs. Monetary value

No item has an intrinsic value. All forms of value come as a relationship between the item and how it interacts with the people around it. Much of that value can not be directly expressed as an amount of money. The emotions we feel when wearing jewelry, or when seeing others wear it, or the pride we feel in our own collections, are all examples of value that jewelry has to it’s owner. Monetary value also relies on these relationships and comes in two primary forms: Jewelry Replacement Cost and Jewelry Trade In Value.

Jewelry replacement Cost

Jewelry Replacement Cost is exactly what it sounds like; the cost to make or acquire a new jewelry item as closely identical to the original jewel as possible. This is the value that is placed on jewelry insurance appraisal documents as it informs the insurance company as to the amount of money needed to replace the jewelry if it is damaged, lost, or stolen. Jewelry replacement cost is the sum of the cost of materials and labor and is typically the type of monetary cost with the highest numerical value.

Jewelry Trade In Value

Jewelry Trade In Value, on the other hand, is what a jewelry store is willing to pay a customer for a piece of jewelry. This is always a much lower value. Often, the labor that went into making the jewel is ignored and only the value for the raw materials (gold,gemstones,diamonds,) is given. For this reason, and because sometimes the intention is to melt down the gold material, this is often called the “Gold Scrap Value”. The most notable exception to this comes in the form of fine swiss watches, where the craftsmanship is far more prized. In all situations, however, the Jewelry Trade In Value represents the lowest numerical value of the jewelry piece.

Jewelry Retail Cost

So where does the Jewelry retail price come in? Somewhere in between. Although it will often be close to the Jewelry Replacement Cost, the Retail Cost usually does not need to account for the extra labor of attempting to exactly duplicate an item. Jewelry Sales and incentives may drive the price down lower, but never below the Jewelry Trade In Value. A store that sells below Jewelry Trade In Value, or buys above it, is losing money and will not be in business for long.


Of course there are a few exceptions. Jewelry Clearance sales may sell at a loss out of the necessity to create space. And on the other side of the scale, vintage watches for which parts are no longer available may not even have a replacement cost on account of being irreplaceable.


Fundamentally, any  monetary value comes down to the connection a person had made with the jewelry item, whether it is a symbol of eternal love, a reflection of one’s faith or something so unique the purchaser  is willing to pay any amount for it.


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Shared Ring Prongs

Shared Prong


Shared Prongs Gems and Jewels Fine Jewelry

In the above picture, the diamond ring has stones mounted on the ring shank. Smaller diamonds stones are being held by smaller prongs, making this a very delicate ring and the prongs very vulnerable. It is recommended that all jewelry especially those rings with gemstones be checked twice a year, but given this ring’s design it would be advisable to have it inspected three times in a year to make sure every single prong is in good condition, potentially avoiding losing a valuable gemstone or diamond.

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Pavé Diamond and Gemstone settings

 Pavé gemstone settings makes the center gemstone  or diamond pop and are a great option to give extra sparkle to a lower-set or less sparkly center stone. Just a word of caution: if the ring is Pavé set around the entire band, ring sizing can be very difficult.


Pave settings Gems & Jewels Fine Jewelry

By closely setting small diamonds together with minimal visibility of the tiny metal beads or prongs holding the stones in place, the effect is one of continuous sparkle. (The Diamond



This gemstone setting technique is also known as a bead setting and in the case of especially small stones, may be called a micro-pavé setting. Diamonds are said to be pavé-set when they are as small as .01-.02 carats and any smaller than that would be called micro-pavé. (The Diamond Pro)











  • “Ring Settings Guide.” The Diamond Pro. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2016.>.

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Jewelry Remounts

Jewelry Remounts

Jewelry remounts is when you use a customers gemstones or diamonds, to create new jewelry. The gemstones are set in the metal or in some instances, altered used settings.

BEFORE :Old scrap jewelry Gems and Jewels


In the above picture we have a ring brought in by a customer who requested to have stones from an earring be placed in the ring. The prongs in this ring were worn and needed some work.




AFTER:Ring made with customers stones Gems and Jewels


In the images shown above we are able to appreciate the results of mounting the new gemstones and diamonds into the gold ring. After polishing and cleaning, the ring is left in great condition.

Birthstone Blog November: Topaz and Citrine

November has nearly arrived. While we may not get the chill winds and falling leaves of autumn here in southern California, this is still a time of feasting and family for us all. And of course, among our friends and family are the November-born who’s birthdays are coming soon, and who’s birthstones are the topaz and citrine. To find them the perfect gift, let’s take a moment to learn about the stones.

Firstly, these are both hard stones with citrine rating a 7 and topaz rating an 8 on the Mohs scale making them great for every day casual wear. Of course no stone is invincible, and these two share a peculiar relationship with heat. At temperatures common in the steam of most showers, citrine and topaz can change color in undesirable ways. As such, it is best to avoid wearing them while doing any heavy work, taking a shower, or leaving the stones in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

So what makes citrine and topaz different? Chemicals. Topaz is very sensitive to chemicals such as those used in jewelry polish. You should never use a home cleaning kit for jewelry with topaz stones, instead take it to a professional who can remove the topaz before cleaning, and re-set them again afterwards.


Citrine on the other hand is a form of quartz and has very little risk when exposed to cleaners. It is noted for its bright yellow color reminiscent of citrus fruits, and can show remarkable clarity such as this beautiful ring, pictured above, which was produced by Thistle and Bee and is available for purchase in our store.

Also available is the ring pictured below, which has a very special stone called an ametrine. Very rarely, when the conditions are just right, a quartz will have formed as a citrine on one side and an amethyst on the other. Thanks to the development of expert gem-cutting, the smooth transition from yellow to purple can be seen; a signature trait of the ametrine stone.


With all these nice advantages of citrine, what does topaz have going for it? Firstly, there is the value. While citrine is a type of quartz, topaz isn’t a type of anything. Topaz is a defining mineral all its own. Throughout history the word “topaz” has been intertwined with the colors of yellow and gold. When cut right, this defining gem makes for a dominating presence in fine jewelry.


But topaz has one more feature to delight our November-born friends. In addition to the classic yellow, as shown in the pendant above, topaz can be found in several other colors to suit the style and taste of anyone. While most at home in the warmer colors, even going so far as deep reds and rich earth tones, topaz can also be found in clear, grey, and even light blue varieties. Below is a variation of the citrine ring we looked at above, also created by Thistle and Bee, but this time with a blue topaz to match the cooler tones of the silver.


And, of course, both the ring and pendant are available for purchase in our store.

Watch Wednesday 3: Opening a TAG Heuer part 3

Welcome to part 3 of our adventure into our friend’s TAG Heuer. This will be our final episode with this watch before moving on to other time pieces and maintenance practices. In our last episode we finally got a look inside the watch. So today we’ll give it a fresh battery and put it all back together again. First we remove the battery cover, very gently, with our magnetic-neutral tweezers.


As we mentioned in our first Watch Wednesday, all of our tools are magnetically neutral to prevent damage to the delicate inner workings of the time pieces we work on. The battery itself comes out next.


The battery is in good shape and has plenty of charge left. But if our friend decides to sell this time piece, we’ll want the customer purchasing it to have a full charge right from the start. Here on the blog you may be able to see the numbers on the face of the battery, but at the work bench I need to check it with a loupe (that’s a fancy word for a magnifying glass).


We can see above that this battery is an SR927SW. This size of battery can also be referred to as a size 395, depending on the battery manufacturer. With a fresh battery in place, we are ready to close up the watch.

But wait! The big red machine we used last week to open the back could put too much torque on the screw back and damage the threading. So to close the back, we’re going to make use of a different tool.


The device you see in the picture above is what will let us use a more gentle and controlled force to put the backing of the watch back on. But just being on isn’t good enough for such a distinguished watch. We want the TAG logo to be upright for the best possible appearance when not being worn.


This particular watch has made this easy. We start with the back in the exact orientation we want it to end up in when tightened, as shown above. Then using our fingers, we gently turn clockwise allowing the screw-back threading to slide into place.


After about one and a half turns, the turning motion will start to stiffen, coming to a stop about a quarter turn later. In the picture above we have it as far as we can trust fingers to get it. Now it’s time to make use of our tool. We gently place the tool over the back of the watch and adjust it’s prongs until they fit perfectly into two indentations at opposite sides of the back, as shown below.


Just as last week, we don’t want it to be so tight that it grabs the watch. We only want the prongs to rest inside the indentations. Then we hold the watch firmly in our hand and use the tool to give the final quarter rotation.


With that one twist…


…the back is now upright with the logo clearly displayed. Now we need to reassemble the band. Do you remember the cotter pin we removed? It’s time to put it back. First we need to make sure we are putting it back against the arrows so that the next technician to make adjustments to the watch will find it in the correct position.


Next we connect the links together, and slide the cotter pin through them both. It is best to test the links with a gentle pull to make sure the pin has connected them all correctly, before continuing.


With all the pieces in place, we are ready to mount the band on our plastic stand and use our mallet to push the cotter pin the rest of the way in.


It is very important here that we make sure we are using the rawhide side of the mallet. This is because the mallet will be striking the metal of the watch. The rawhide will apply enough pressure to push the cotter pin in, while still being too soft to damage the metal of the band. When the cotter pin seems to be inside, we run a finger over the band to make sure it is smooth.


In the picture above you can see that the pin is not quite in all the way. We don’t want it to snag on bits of a customer’s clothing, or worse, bits of the customer. The rawhide material of the mallet is able to compress enough to push the pin inside the band with nothing sticking out. A few controlled strikes later and we have it smooth and ready for wear.


And there we have it. One TAG Heuer watch with a fresh battery ready for our friend. If you live in or near Long Beach, CA and have a watch you would like us to showcase on Watch Wednesday, come visit our store during regular business hours for a free photo-shoot. Join us next week when I’ll be talking about courtesy practices between stores while replacing a battery for a Timex. Until then, keep ticking.

Making the Child’s Play Charity Pendant

We, here at the Gems and Jewels store, are proud to support this year’s Game On Marathon raising money for the Child’s Play Charity. To show our support, we have hand crafted a sterling silver pendant to be given away by raffle at this year’s live online event. But before I show you how we made it, I want to talk about the charity itself.

Child’s Play Charity is an organization that has been raising money for over a decade to provide children’s hospitals and domestic violence shelters with toys and games for children in need. Whether it’s illness, injury, or abuse, being uprooted from their lives is a traumatic experience for a child. Toys and games provide an important distraction and help children keep a positive outlook when it matters most. The Child’s Play Charity has deep roots in the gaming community which they use to make the most of the donations they collect to bring the most good to the hospitals and shelters.

Game On Marathon is an annual online event to raise money for the Child’s Play Charity through the power of play. Gamers from across the country will gather together to play through their favorite old video games in a live interactive broadcast. While they play, donations made will enter the donator into raffles for games, game systems, and hand made crafts. 100% of all donations made go directly to the Child’s Play Charity.

Seeing all the wonderful hand made crafts given out previous years, we wanted to contribute something hand made of our own. One of our store specialties is custom made jewelry, so that’s exactly what we are going to make: A custom sterling silver pendant of the Child’s Play Charity logo, hand crafted by our very own metal-smith, Liz.

To start, we’re going to need some sterling silver. We have plenty on hand, but none of it is in the right shape. This is a problem Liz solves with fire.


Extreme care is needed when using fire of any temperature, but a fire hot enough to melt metals takes special tools as well. A fire brick forms the base of our work area, protecting the work bench under it. The crucible we melt the silver in is ceramic, but it will still get to be too hot to touch. So when it’s time to pour the silver into the ingot mold, Liz uses pliers to hold it.


Once the silver is poured into the mold, we take a moment to safely shut down our source of fire and clean up the area. We take our time with this. Rushing is dangerous when dealing with the fires and chemicals of metallurgy, and our silver needs plenty of time to be cool enough to touch. When we are certain it’s ready, Liz opens up the mold.


We now have a sterling silver ingot to work with. This basic shape is useful when starting work on most forms of silver jewelry. It can be rolled in different ways to create the basic starting shapes most jewelry uses. Silver, even sterling silver, is relatively soft. So as we feed it through a rolling press over and over again, the ingot slowly changes shape into a rectangular plate.


This takes a very very long time. But in the end, we have a plate of sterling silver to place our design pattern on. Using the GNU Image Manipulation Program, we scale down a high resolution image of the Child’s Play Charity logo, removing the wire from the top, and printing it to the exact size we want the pendant to be.



A punch-press is used to place a hole in the cross in the middle of the logo. A guitar string sized saw blade is threaded through to gently cut out the cross, as well as cut out the outline shape of the logo.


This is the hardest part. Mistakes made here are harder to fix than anywhere else in the whole process. Liz makes sure every angle is perfectly aligned before sawing each line of the shape.


As you can see above, Liz has added holes in the corners for the chain. She has also kept the shape just slightly larger than the design. This is to allow for shrinkage as she files the edges into a more rounded form.


After carefully filing, buffing, and polishing, our hand crafted pendant is ready for display.


Remember, this hand crafted pendant is NOT for sale. The only way to get it is from the raffle prizes during the Game On Marathon event for the Child’s Play Charity.

Watch Wednesday 2: Opening a TAG Heuer part 2

Welcome to part two of our adventure into the inside of our friend’s TAG Heuer watch. Last week we detached two links from the watch band as you can see below.


We did this so that the band would not restrict our access to the screw-back of the watch. With that out of the way, it’s time to get that screw-back off so we can take a look inside. To do this we’re going to make use of a tool built exactly for this purpose.


Although big and complex looking at first glance, this is actually a very simple to use tool produced by Horotec in Switzerland. The device is bolted to the work-bench to keep it steady while working. One piece, however, is not held in place.


We gently slide out the sled as shown above. This is the platform that will hold the watch in place while we use the mechanism to remove the screw-back. Our Swiss made time piece will be right at home on this precision Swiss tool. The sled has adjustable prongs to hold the watch in place, which I will set to the middle position for this watch. After gently placing the watch inside, we tighten it with the adjusting knob so that it is held snugly like so.


While this watch is relatively robust, we are still careful to make sure the prongs are pressing against non-fragile parts of the watch, and that the watch is completely stationary and even as we tighten. We also want to make doubly sure that the watch is held by the curved indentations in the upper half of the prongs, and not the smooth portion lower down.


As you can see above, being held in the upper section of the prongs keeps the crystal covering the watch face far up above the screw running through the sled. This keeps it safe from pressing up against anything during the removal of the screw-back. As always, care and safety come first.


With the watch safely secured in the sled, we slide it into the device as above. If mounted properly, the watch should slide just below the two black pins that we’ll be using to remove the screw back. Once you have the sled centered, it’s time to adjust the pins. Remember the six indentations in the back of the watch from last week? We’ll be lining up the pins with two of them and very gently tightening until the pins rest inside the indentations. We do not want to squeeze the back, we only want to bring them in close enough to rest inside, as shown below.


At the top of the device is a large wheel. To keep the pins in place, we will need a very gentle downward pressure on the top of the wheel. Remember, we are unscrewing the back, which means we want it to come up. So we only want the smallest amount of pressure to keep the pins in place.


With both hands firmly on the wheel we turn slowly and gently counter-clockwise, keeping a close eye on the watch. We shouldn’t need more than two complete rotations to see a visible gap between the back and the rest of the watch, like you see in the picture below.


With the screw-back loosened (but not off yet) we carefully remove the sled, and then the watch from the sled. Once the watch is safely back on our suede mat, we can gently lift the screw back off and place it to the side. We have revealed the inner watch. In the picture below you can see the battery powering the quartz seven jewel Swiss movement.


This is as deep into a watch as a technician should ever go. For deeper problems, you should always consult a professional watchmaker. Next week we will put in a fresh battery and reassemble the watch. Putting the back on again will require a different tool, so don’t miss out. Until then, keep ticking.