Vicky Jo's preferred classic symbols (lately) include Eiffel Towers, mandorlas (vesica piscis), and Moravian stars. Dragon symbols are receding in importance now. She continues to hold a fondness for mustard seeds, a remnant from childhood. Robin's favorite symbols (lately) include the number 57, moebius strips, and the trefoil. Because we use symbols to express what is in our life path at the moment, they tend to fluctuate throughout the course of our lives. (Introverted iNtuition habitually "envisions archetypal symbols*.")
*Beebe combined with Berens
The McCloud Ringworks
Ports O'Call Village
San Pedro, CA 90731
I used to share John Anderson's contact information here so that others seeking Orange Blossom information could connect with him. Unfortunately, John later emailed me that "the Orange Blossom company has been sold here in Canada and we are going to be no longer dealing with them.
"I think this would be a good time to remove my personal contact info from the website. I certainly have no problems with my name or our story as this is fact but Mr. Patterson and myself will no longer be doing any Orange Blossom work unfortunately.
"Hopefully this is ok with you as I certainly appreciate it and was glad we were able to do the rings for you. I feel it truly unfortunate that we have to discontinue our dealings with this company; however, we have no choice.
I have subsequently received other updates that may be found in the Postscript (see main page left menu).
Robbins 8th & Walnut
801 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
(A&Z is a manufacturing jeweler, and have no relationship with Orange Blossom.)
Note: Marquise is pronounced mar-keys not mar-kee.
Aromatic leaves and fragrant star-shaped white flowers
Why Orange Blossoms?
Another story has it that the wearing of a wreath of orange blossoms as a crown over the bridal veil was a Saracen custom introduced by returning Crusaders.
Orange blossoms were so expensive that only the wealthy could afford them and poorer brides resorted to artificial ones. The orange blossom tradition became so popular in France that brides wore the flowerets molded in wax when they couldn't get fresh blossoms.
The meanings vary: the orange tree is one of the very few in all nature that bears its flowers and its fruit at the same time-- a symbol of the young and fruitful spouse. Because the tree from which orange blossoms come is an evergreen, they are also thought to symbolize the everlasting nature of the newlywed's love for each other. Orange Blossoms are also thought to signify chastity, purity and loveliness
Fluorescence and Overblues
A study of fluorescent diamonds, published in the Winter 1997 issue of Gems & Gemology, concluded that except for rare "overblue" stones, fluorescence has no consistent effect on a diamonds appearance. Because "overblues" are so rare, none of these diamonds were included in the GIA study. Overblues clearly do have a different appearance than ordinary strongly fluorescent diamonds. Stones exhibiting "overblue" will give the diamonds a milky appearance in normal lighting. If you are ever in the Smithsonian institution in Washington D.C., you can see the most famous example of an overblue: the 127 carat Portuguese Diamond. While you are there, make sure to visit the famous Hope Diamond, which owes some of its legendary curse to the fact that it fluoresces an extremely unusual red, which is only known to happen in blue diamonds.
About Filigree Jewelry
Difficult to create and painstakingly finished by
hand, the art of filigree jewelry started during the Edwardian era (early
1900's) and extended through the 1920's and 1930's. It reached the height
of its popularity during the Art Deco period.. In the late 1880's platinum
was first commercially used in coins and in jewelry by the Russians. As the
millennium approached, western jewelers searched for a new style to differentiate
the staid Victorian styles. Jewelry designers started using platinum and
they discovered that it was a stronger metal than gold and a small piece
of platinum could maintain a design. Also fine quality white diamonds and
strong colored gem stones looked much better against a white metal than gold.
Since the guild system was in effect (in which apprentices paid jewelers
to learn the "trade"), jewelers could afford to create extremely time consuming
and intricate designs in their jewelry. Hence filigree with its illusion
of light airiness and its fine intricate artistic designs became popular.
Only the rich could afford this type of platinum jewelry. As this style became
even more popular in the early Art Deco era, jewelers sometimes substituted
platinum with a new type of gold...white gold with its alloy of nickel to
give gold a white color. Handmade platinum jewelry of first quarter of the
20th century is extremely rare.
When dealing with stones which are under one carat, a sort of slang has evolved to avoid the use of decimals and fractions. The term which has become the standard in the industry is the word "point." One hundred points equals one carat -- one point is equal to 1/100th of a carat. Therefore, a diamond weighing 0.35 carat would be said to weigh 35 points. Likewise, a diamond weighing 0.10 carats would be referred to as a 10 pointer.
Soot from a smoky candle -- soft, black, opaque, so worthless it is wiped away as a nuisance. This is the element called Carbon, the building block found in every living animal and plant, and the commonest element on earth. This is also the single ingredient comprising a diamond. The difference between them is this: soot forms at ordinary temperature and pressure while diamonds form at a temperature and pressure equivalent to the Eiffel Tower turned upside down with all its weight resting on a 5 inch plate.
Composed of this sole unadulterated element, a diamond is the purest of earth's gemstones, since all other gems are composed of a combination of elements. As a natural forming crystalline mineral, the diamond for all its other properties is the simplest of the gem minerals.
Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance in the world. They can cut through steel by pressure alone. However, sharp impact may cause damage to a diamond.
Every natural diamond is unique. Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. A diamond possesses unique powers of light reflection. When cut to proper proportions, it gathers light within itself, sending it back in a shower of fire and brilliance.
No one is certain of the origins of diamonds, other than the fact that they were most likely formed millions of years ago under immense pressure and heat, but how this resulted in ordinary Carbon being transformed into diamond is a mystery. It is widely believed that diamonds were formed deep in the earth's core -- 70 and 140 miles beneath the earth's surface -- and were forced upward by volcanic and lava flows. Arriving by a unique delivery system, violent and powerful volcanic eruptions pushed cone-shaped veins of diamond-bearing ore – called Kimberlite -- to the earth’s surface, where it could be found and mined. Diamonds are mined all over the world, and often in the world's most inhospitable areas from Africa to South America, Canada, Russia to Australia. Vast quantities of the earth have to be moved to retrieve one Diamond.
Rough diamonds look like beach glass -- pretty, but not particularly amazing.
Diamonds also offer an awesome connection with a Darwinian pre-history and lands populated with dinosaurs, not people. The youngest volcanic rock in which diamonds are brought to the earth's surface is about 70 million years old. The diamonds we are finding today were actually formed 900 million to 3 1/2 billion years ago! Diamonds forming beneath our feet today will remain unseen for billions of years.
But, surprisingly, diamonds are not rare! This might come as a shock to a person who has just paid 1,000 dollars for a two-carat stone, but there are enough diamonds in the world to give every man, woman, and child in America a cupful. Diamonds get their reputation by defining rarity another way: while diamonds are relatively common in nature, diamond crystals suitable for jewelry are relatively rare. And a one carat diamond is a "One-in-a-Million" diamond, in the sense that millions of smaller diamonds will be mined before a rough diamond is found that will yield a one carat finished gem.
Mining techniques can process thousands of tons of diamond ore a day, but it takes 250 tons of ore to produce this single, one-carat, polished, gem-quality diamond. Of all retrieved diamonds, only 20% are gem quality stones. The rest are too poorly formed or flawed, and are considered industrial grade quality diamond.
While there are huge diamond mines all over the world, and people may believe that there are enormous quantities of diamonds available, in fact the entire world production of cut gem diamonds of a given year can be hauled away in a small truck. Cutting techniques that bring out the diamond’s brilliance can increase its market value four times, but about half of a rough diamond's total weight is lost in the cutting process.
Among gem quality diamonds, the larger the piece the rarer and more desirable. Of all the diamonds mined in the world, less than one percent are big enough or fine enough quality to be cut into a one carat gem. The degree of scarcity increases geometrically for diamonds of greater carat weights. Thus, a two carat diamond is more than twice as rare as a one carat gem. As a result, with all other characteristics being equal, the cost will be more than twice that of a one carat diamond.
Flawless, colorless diamonds--the most perfect, desirable and, therefore, most costly--are also the rarest of the rare. Of the 100 million or so carats mined each year, those in the very top grade number in the hundreds. De-Beers have estimated that only one in seven million diamonds recovered will produce a one carat D Flawless polished stone.
While they enjoy the best reputation, ironically, diamonds are not the most expensive gemstone. A top-quality ruby would be double the expense of a diamond of the same carat. But diamonds are perhaps the most cherished of all gemstones. Because gem-quality diamonds are among the most brilliant of all materials, they have become prized above all other gems -- they are the best known of all gemstones in the world. Because of this, and its other unique qualities, a diamond ring became the perfect symbol of engagement. Since a diamond was the hardest and most enduring substance in nature, it followed that the engagement and marriage would endure forever.
Sadly, if we define a good diamond in general terms as one that has a large carat, is perfectly white, that has no fissures or cracks or clouds, has all of its potential brilliance, and will appreciate over time, less than 25 out of 1000 diamonds sold in the U.S. would be good diamonds. American shoppers spent almost $12 billion on diamond jewelry last year-- $6.7 billion on engagement rings alone. That's 30% more than they spent on all beauty aids and more than six times what they spent on furs. They said "I love you" with engagement rings. They said "I love you more than ever" with anniversary bands. They celebrated birthdays and Christmas and special private moments with tennis bracelets and cocktail rings and necklaces and pendants, all of them ablaze with diamonds. But the average person in the U.S. pays twice what they should for their engagement ring, and the average diamond has been laser-drilled, is tinted yellow, and has cracks, breaks or carbon that you can see with your own eyes. Worse, De Beers claims that less than one percent of all women will ever own a one-carat or larger diamond
(Before you get your panties in a bunch, consider De Beers' talent for effective advertising. Perhaps just as the "one-in-a-million" gem quality diamond is compared to all the industrial diamonds mined, perhaps the one percent of the women who will own one is compared to all the women in the world, including those in poorer developing countries.)
Diamonds are highly touted as investments because they have such an excellent history of regular increases in value. However, the diamond market is controlled by a monopoly. These values are artificial and are NOT a result of market forces. A diamond’s expense comes from a human-imposed drought rather than a true drought. The whole theory of supply and demand plays very nicely here into the hands of the diamond-governing corporations!
The DeBeers Corporation controls almost all of the world’s diamond rough and has done so for about a century. They only release select amounts of it at any given time and choose what price it sells for. For several decades now, the supply of diamonds has exceeded the demand. Since they are controlled by a monopoly, the prices are set to where it is profitable and the excess is simply stored. How long this can continue is questionable. And consider the following facts:
Diamond sources can now be found by the same satellite technology that is used to find oil and other mineral reserves. Recently several large diamond sources have been found in the U.S. and Canada. They have been bought by large corporations that are in the process of setting up mining operations.
Both the U.S. and Canada have tried to sue DeBeers in the past under their antitrust laws. They were unsuccessful, because DeBeers does not do business directly in those countries.
With significant diamond supplies now available in the U.S. and Canada, the picture is likely to change. It is possible that DeBeers will make these corporations an attractive offer, (from outside North America,) and continue to control market for some time to come.
It is also possible that the time has come for a free marketing of diamond rough. Since DeBeers has large stockpiles of diamond rough, that would be an important factor in the future price of diamonds.
Thomas Jefferson vs. the Yankees
In the early 1800s, news traveled rather slowly. People did not get frustrated waiting 15 seconds for a page to load from 3,000 miles away. New information could take months or even years to be collected, analyzed, published, and distributed.
In the cold chill of a December morning in 1807, Judge Wheeler walked from his home in Weston, Connecticut, USA, and was surprised to see a ball of fire moving across the northern horizon. He watched as it passed to a point almost overhead where it flashed several times and disappeared.
A few moments later, he heard a great noise. Thunderous and roaring, the noise grew to a frightening level. He then heard the whizzing sound of something falling. As the judge looked up, he observed a small stone strike a nearby building, bounce off, and roll onto the grass.
The judge decided to contact
nearby Yale University and have the event investigated.
Two very skeptical professors came out to look into the matter, fully prepared to dispel the story of stones falling from the sky. The two professors conducted a lengthy investigation. They knew these stones were different from any they had ever seen, and they witnessed local townspeople extracting them from holes in yards and nearby fields. Finally, the two wise professors from Yale concluded the stones must have fallen from the sky.
Eventually, the story found its way to the White House in Washington, D.C., to the President of the United States -- Thomas Jefferson, who was a scientist as well as statesman. When he heard this story, he declared it could not be true, despite his advisors insisting that stones were observed falling from the sky and two Yale professors investigating the incident had vouched for its truth.
Thomas Jefferson responded with great skepticism, "Gentlemen, I would rather believe that two Yankee professors would lie than believe that stones fall from heaven."
Whether Jefferson's words are truth or myth, his belief real, or whether this was merely an opportunity for a witty Virginian to take a shot at two Yankees is not known and really not important. What is important is that the story reflects the mindset of a scientific community struggling to reconcile observation with entrenched belief.
The wedding ring is the concrete sealing of the marriage pact. In every ancient culture can be found rings with inscriptions and designs denoting them as marriage rings. In the 12th century Pope Innocent the Third ordained that marriages must be celebrated in the church, and that the ceremony must include a marriage ring. Consequently, the wedding ring has a religious significance which the engagement ring lacks. The wedding ring is placed on the ring finger first to be closest to the heart.