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The Different Pearl Types, Cultured, Fresh Water, Salt Water, Natural and Shell Pearls

Duke of Buckingham, rockin’ a few natural pearls

Life was simpler when the only pearls came from oysters. An oyster was opened and there, like a miracle, was a lustrous and beautiful natural pearl. Like a gift from the heavens.
Today if you want pearls you need to know the different pearl types. You need to decide if you want real or fake pearls. But what is a real pearl? Today the high-quality pearls available in fine jewelry establishments are called cultured or farmed pearls. The salt water cultured pearls are the most desireable.

Why is a Cultured Pearl Called Cultured?

Harvesting cultured pearls from the oyster – photo Keith Pomakis

Cultured or farmed pearls are formed in pearl oysters and freshwater mussels. These oysters and pearls are farmed. Or rather cared for in a defined place in either salt water or fresh water farms. They are in a natural environment, but have been encouraged to create a pearl, by the insertion of an ‘implant’ made from the inner shell of fresh water mollusks and a piece of mantle.
Left on their own, only a tiny fraction of these oysters and mussels would create a pearl. The implant that the pearl farmers insert into the mantle or protective membrane, acts as an irritant and the oyster or mussel surrounds the irritant with layers of calcium carbonate, called nacre.
If you’ve seen the beautiful iridescence on the inside of some sea shells, then you know that a beautiful pearl can have not only luster, but a hint of iridescence.

What’s the Difference Between a Natural Pearl and a Cultured Pearl?

Cultured pearl shown in the oyster that created it.

A natural pearl occurs in an oyster, mussel or other mollusk when a calcareous concretion (nacre)  is created to surround an invader, parasite or object.  A natural pearl occurs from a wild mollusk with no intervention from artificial means.

cultured Pearl Necklace After Restring Job

The luster from cultured pearls can vary slightly from pearl to pearl

In the cultured pearl, the implant or irritant than stimulates the creation of a pearl is a particular shape and size. This tends to yield uniform sizes in the harvested pearls. In wild pearls, the shapes are usually non spherical. If you sliced a cultured pearl and a wild pearl and compared them, the wild pearl would have the source of irritation and the balance would be the nacreous substance, in other words there would be a great deal of nacre. In a cultured pearl most of pearl is the spherical implant with multiple thin layers of nacre.

What’s the Difference Between Salt Water and Fresh Water Pearls?

White gold, pave diamonds in bubble theme with Tahitian pearl ring

Tahitian cultured pearl in the peacock color

Salt water cultured pearls are made from oysters that live in salt water. Fresh water cultured pearls are grown from mussels in fresh water. For example, Japanese Akoya salt water pearls are usually round. That is the ideal.

Example of freeform shapes of Chinese dyed fresh water pearls

Chinese fresh water pearls tend to be rice shaped or non-spherical in shape. The luster from fresh water pearl often looks softer and different than the salt water pearl’s luster.
Akoya, salt water cultured pearls, need to stay in the oyster at least two years in order to attain the beautiful luster and iridescent look. The salt water oyster can handle the creation of 1 – 2 pearls for each growing cycle. In contrast to the Akoya pearl’s small output, fresh water mussels can handles 40 – 50 pearls per growing cycle.
Salt water pearls, whether Japanese Akoya, Tahitian, or South Sea Pearls, tend to give a deeper luster and hint of iridescence in comparison to fresh water pearls.

What are Shell Pearls?

Shell pearls, a type of man-made pearl

Almost shiny metallic, shell pearls are military in their uniformity

Shell pearls are so called because they are made of shells. They are made in a lab setting from the mother of pearl inner surface of certain sea shells. Shell pearls are made using a solid mother of pearl inner base to give them a more realistic weight. Their exterior surface is made using powdered mother of pearl. The process of manufacturing them allows for colors like purple and hot pink to be made uniformly by the thousands. Shell pearls are generally uniform in shape. They can be round, oval or any other shape the manufacturer chooses. They are then coated and baked for a sturdier surface than cultured pearls.
Shell pearls are known for keeping their manufactured color, and to be unaffected by perfumes and sweat. Cultured pearls can be damaged by sweat and perfume.
The uniformity of color and shape are one way that you can tell they are not real. And their smoothness is also a hint.

Are Majorca Pearls Real?

Majorca pearl necklace

Majorca pearls are manufactured, but unlike shell pearls their centers are glass and their finished product stands up to the real thing nicely. They are a high-quality fake.
Like shell pearls, their flawless finish tells you they are not real.

What is a Mabe Pearl?

Mabe pearl with turquoise halo on man’s best friend

In contrast to a round pearl, which is cultured inside the flesh of the oyster, the mabe pearl is cultured on the shell wall of the oyster to create a half pearl. This type of pearl was invented to give women who desired a larger pearl a way to have their dream.

The oyster can only survive a certain size of implant or irritant to cover with nacre. But making a half pearl, the oyster can cover a similar amount of surface without added stress. An advantage of the mabe style pearl, is that it can be worn flat against the ear attractively without bulging forward which it would if fully round.

How to Pick Pearls for Yourself

website pearl necklace

Multi-colored jumbo baroque cultured fresh water pearl necklace

Pearls have a special allure and have romanced lovers for centuries. The advantage today is the different pearl types available and the vast amount of choices, real and fake. My mission in writing this, was to answer the question, what are shell pearls? Then I remembered how many people have asked me if Majorca pearls are real and so here we are.

Whether you’re rich or poor, subtle or hot pink loving, there is a set of pearls out there for you.

I wrote a blog about selecting cultured pearls. May your pearl journey lead you to pearls that make you look fantastic.

Your Personal Jeweler,

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Meenakari – The modern flavour of the old traditions

Meenakari is the process of painting and coloring the surfaces of metals and ceramics through enameling. It is practiced as an art form and commercially produced in India. Meenakari art usually involves intricate designs and is applied as a decorative feature to serving dishes, containers, vases, frames, display ornaments and jewelry.

The word Meenakari is a compound word composed of the words Meena and Kari. Meena is a feminine variation of the word Meenu which means paradise or heaven in Persian. Kari means to do or place something onto something else. Together the word Meenakari means to place paradise onto an object.

Meenakari was introduced to India by the Mughals? Raja Man Singh of Mewar is regarded as the patron of the meenakari art in 16th century Jaipur.  Due to his efforts, Jaipur became the hub of meenakari art with the influx of highly skilled craftsmen. In a few years, the talent of the craftsmen made the place a specialized center of meenakari designing. The beauty of this art lies in the intensity of technical skills required for its creation which gives perfection to the ornaments.

Nakhrali Coloured Tassels Enameled Earrings Nakhrali Coloured Tassels Enameled Earrings

Since ages, gold has been a preferred metal for meenakari art as it can hold the enamel in a better manner. Not only this, but the usage of gold in meenakari works also enhances the luster of the art while bringing out the colors of the enamels beautifully. The usage of silver in meenakari work was introduced later which was mainly used for making bowls, boxes, spoons, and art pieces. Later, copper was also introduced in meenakari art after the Gold Control Act which forced the jewelers of India to look for metals other than gold for creating meenakari jewelry and other art pieces. Voylla brings exquisite collections in meenakari on fashion jewelry with brass as the base metal.

Meenakari is a special skill perfected by Jaipur artisans over generations where each color is separately filled in each small part of the jewelry piece. The piece is then slightly heated to ensure that the enamel color makes a bond with the base metal. In case there are multiple colors the entire process of application, heating, and cooling is repeated multiple times. Since the entire work is very specialized and intricate, it is completely done by hand. After the heating and cooling process, the jewelry is dipped in special chemicals to increase its luster and create a protective coating on the jewelry thus giving the jewelry longer life. The motifs most often seen in the jewellery of the region are Phool-Patti (flowers and foliage), peacocks, parrots, and elephants.

Indigo Affair Metal Embellishments Necklace Set Indigo Affair Metal Embellishments Necklace Set

In modern times there has been a lot of experimentation with meenakari jewelry. It is being used with multiple different styles of jewelry to create new fusion jewelry.

Voylla has created some beautiful collections based on

  1. Oxidised jewelry- The exquisite collections like Indigo affair & Maandna exhibit the use of meenakari on oxidised jewellery.
  2. Kundan jewelry- Udaipur & Kundan stanza collections are the best representation of the original styles of using enamel with Kundan jewellery with a modern touch.
  3. Fashion jewelry – Collections like Nakhrali and treasure from the trunk achieves the new combination of meenakari with the new fashionista jewelry.

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#252 The Fine Jewelry Virtual Trunk Show That Brought in 39K in 2 Hours with Shehana Kimiangatau

Many designers feel weird about selling right now, but now is the time for online businesses to grow in a major way. People are cooped up at home and are shopping online more than ever. 

With so many other luxuries unavailable, like manicures and facials, your Dream Clients likely have some extra money they’d like to spend on something special for themselves or a loved one as a pick-me-up in these stressful times. 

As designers, we want to be able to offer our customers just that – something beautiful that can bring a bit of joy into the lives of others. 

Meet Shehana Kimiangatau. She sells striking high-end jewelry with a cause. Her business used to rely primarily on retail sales, but when shelter-in-place hit, she immediately sought a quick and creative solution to keep sales flowing. 

Some designers think selling high price point jewelry is harder online, but Shehana is here to prove otherwise.

During a 2-hour virtual trunk show hosted on Facebook live, she managed to sell over $30,000 worth of jewelry. 

Yes, you read that right!

Connecting with your community of clients and creativity is all it takes to keep your business growing and thriving!

Click here to download the show notes

Stay Active in Your Online Communities.

Shehana has a private Facebook group with about 400 members. It’s here that she posts videos and announcements to show her customers what’s going on behind the scenes. On top of that, she is always emailing her list.

The community you create as a designer is the heart of your business. 

Staying in contact is always important, but it’s especially vital now. Without face-to face contact, our social media posts and emails are how we can maintain these relationships, so frequency is key. 

You Don’t Need to be Fancy to Host a Successful Show

Don’t get in your own way here.

You probably already have everything you need to host a fire virtual trunk show. What makes a virtual trunk show shine is the creativity, organization, and thoughtful planning that goes into it.

 If you have those things, your Dream Clients won’t care how nice your camera is.

Make Yourself Visible

Your current audience is the best place to start, but ads can give your engagement the boost you need.

Reaching a wide audience is how you expand your business, and it doesn’t take many sales to get a return on the initial investment.

Get people to show up. Make sure your community knows exactly when the event is happening, and build excitement!

You’ve got everything you need to make this happen. Why not give it a shot?

xo, Tracy

Follow Shehana on Instagram!

Shahana Jewels

Strategic Online Sales Accelerator Coaching Program

Get on the Waitlist for the Virtual Trunk Show Bundle



Listen on Apple Podcasts!

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How to solder gold jewellery

Soldering gold jewellery

The art of soldering brings about many different questions. Which metal to use? Which types of jewellery are appropriate? What tools are needed? In this blog, we’ll be focusing on soldering gold jewellery. Discover how to solder gold jewellery and each step involved, as well as all the different tools and equipment that are required for the job. What’s more, we’ll also shed light on some of the most frequently asked questions about soldering gold jewellery, from the differences between using each alloy and what gold solder is made of.

The art of soldering brings about many different questions. Which metal to use? Which types of jewellery are appropriate? What tools are needed? In this blog, we’ll be focusing on soldering gold jewellery. Discover how to solder gold jewellery and each step involved, as well as all the different tools and equipment that are required for the job. What’s more, we’ll also shed light on some of the most frequently asked questions about soldering gold jewellery, from the differences between using each alloy and what gold solder is made of.

Find out everything you need to know so you can get started with your soldering projects below.

What is the difference between soldering gold jewellery and silver jewellery?

First things first, we’ll establish the difference between soldering silver and soldering gold jewellery. One of the key differentiating factors is temperature. Both gold and silver solder come in a range of flow temperatures. Silver can be found in four different types, easy (E), soft (S), medium (M) and hard (H), each with different flow temperatures. On the other hand, gold can be found in many more forms. You’ll have to consider the carat, ranging from 8 up to 22 and also the colour, white gold, yellow gold and red gold. Here’s a breakdown of the melting points for soldering gold jewellery:

  • Low-carat, easy – 650-720°C
  • High-carat, easy – 700-715°C
  • Low-carat, hard – 755-795°C
  • High-carat, hard – 790-830°C

What is gold solder made of?

Most gold solders are made up of a variety of components, with the most significant addition being the low melting point metals. These include cadmium, indium, zinc and tin. However, they have a tendency to whiten the soldering alloy – which requires the further addition of copper.

Tools needed for soldering gold jewellery

Before we move onto how to solder gold jewellery, you’ll need to gather a few tools and pieces of equipment. Here’s what you’ll need to pick up:

Here’s how to solder gold jewellery – step by step

Let’s dive into our step by step guide on how to solder gold jewellery.

  1. Clean the gold. This is the first step when learning how to make gold solder and how to solder gold jewellery. This allows the metal to properly bond together, so to do this, simply soak the piece of jewellery in the pickling solution, using your tweezers to manoeuvre. Then rinse with water to remove the acid.
  2. Secure the piece in tweezers or clamp. Place the jewellery you’ll be working on onto a soldering block and hold in place with either your tweezers or a clamp. Ensure that the gold pieces fit together as tightly as possible. Otherwise, if the gap is too large, the solder may fail.
  3. Add flux for gold soldering. This only needs to be applied to the areas of solder that will be joined together, to help make sure that all impurities have been removed and to prevent any discolouration of the surface.
  4. Heat the flux. Grab your hand torch and gently heat the flux until you see the water boil off, leaving the protective solids on the piece.
  5. Apply gold solder and heat. Add a small chip of gold solder to the join, then heat the surrounding metal with your hand torch.<strong>Top tip!</strong> Slowly move the flame back and forth to ensure the entire length of the join is heated. Stop once the solder starts to melt and flow across the seam, and you should see the sides bonding together.
  6. Cool and treat the piece. Once the piece has cooled, add it to a water bath. Next, using the copper tongs, gently lower the piece into a pickle bath and leave until the fire-scale has been removed from the surface.
  7. Finalise the piece. After the piece has been removed from the pickling solution, rinse in a water bath and inspect for any discolouration. If needed, simply polish off any stubborn fire-scale and you’re good to go!

And that is how to solder gold jewellery. Feel like giving it a go yourself? Pick up all the jewellery tools you need and head to the equipment and technique focus section of our blog for more.

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Throwback Thursday: Arrowhead Jewelry on 1stDibs

Remember when I used to blog about jewelry? Those were the days! I used to create new designs on the regular too. Here is evidence: The wax model of an arrowhead ring I never made.

Wax model for double-arrowhead ring.

This ring would have been part of my mini-collection of arrowhead designs, all cast from an arrowhead found in my backyard when I was a kid. The collection included stud, dangle, and threader earrings …

Only platinum earrings are available now. Click to shop on 1stdibs.

… all of which look nice doubled up.

Click to shop.

The arrowhead dangle rings …

Click to shop on 1stdibs.

… are stackable.

Click to shop on 1stdibs.

The arrowhead necklaces …

Click to shop on 1stdibs.

… well, let’s just say that they’re a crowd pleaser.

Click to shop (for the necklace style) on 1stdibs.

There were several reasons I didn’t complete this ring right after I made the wax model, including custom orders taking priority.

The wax model, seen from above.

Eventually I decided I had enough choices in the arrowhead collection already, and didn’t need to add any.

Another view of the wax model.

Still, when I came across this wax while doing some spring cleaning this week, I couldn’t bear to part with it before sharing it on the blog. So here it is! The gold and platinum arrowhead designs that became reality are all available on 1stdibs, and I’ll put them on sale for your shopping pleasure. I only have one left of each style, so if you love them, grab ’em!

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Urso presents: the Quetzalcóatl Pen!

Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.7


When Urso calls me and tells me about a new project, I am always immediately triggered! Urso is this small boutique-like designer working from a town near Valenza. The Italian town is known for the numerous amounts of highly trained craftsmen and knowledge about jewelry manufacturing. True lovers of luxury and especially writing instruments know all about his highly sought-after limited edition pens. 

A new pen collection called Quetzalcóatl

Two weeks ago, Giuseppe called me to tell me about their latest project, and when I learned the theme of this project I couldn’t wait to see how they translated the idea into an actual pen design!

When I asked Giuseppe about the inspiration for this pen he answered:’’ It was my son Riccardo’s project: he felt a strong curiosity towards pre-Columbian civilizations and the impact of European civilization on hitherto unknown populations, invasions, and conquests”.

Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.9

Giuseppe: ‘’ through the experience of the family, Riccardo interpreted this pen with challenge and creativity by combining new technologies with the goldsmith’s craft giving precious support to the company and the collectors. I am so proud of him’’.


 Quetzalcóatl and symbolism

Mesoamerican culture is hot. Our interest in the culture itself reflects in art, design, and fashion. 

But who is this Quetzalcóatl exactly? What does it represent?

Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.5

The Quetzalcóatl is a deity and related to the gods of the wind of planet Venus. It is also related to the gods of the dawn, the arts, crafts, knowledge, and merchants. In his company were other important gods of the Aztec Pantheon: Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca, and  Huitzilopochtli. The name is a combination of Quetzalli, which means divine and precious and Coatl means snake. 


There are several animals that thought to represent Quetzalcóatl including rattlesnakes (Coatl means serpent) crows, and macaws. But also in spider monkeys, ducks, the harpy eagle. Fun detail: the name also seems to refer to Quetzal, the bird, and snake ( A snake with feathers) but apparently the bird we now know as Quetzal wasn’t called that way back in those days.

People have always used symbolism as a way to express themselves. You might just love the historical aspects and influences of this pen and its inspiration. But many buy jewelry and also writing instruments because the symbolism on the pen itself resonates with them. 

Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.4

Technical details of the Urso Quetzalcóatl pen:

To give you a better idea about the dimensions of the pen: 

  • 148mm in length 
  • 16mm in diameter
  • Nib: 18kt gold and on the barrel the serpent god Quetzalcóatl is represented in the most striking way!


Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.jpg 1

Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.3

some more details: 

The clip represents the Aztec sword (Macuahuitl) and there are three different versions:

1) Sterling Silver Old Style

2) Sterling Silver and Enamels Turquoise blue

3) Bronze (avoid oxidation of bronze)

Limited editions (of course): 50 fountain pens (charging system: pen converter or cartridges) and 50 rollerball pens (charging system Schmidt)

Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.8

What makes this pen unique? 

First of all, this is truly handmade. By goldsmiths, who work in an artisanal way. They stand out because of their incredible craftsmanship. 

Masterpieces for the gentleman or lady that adores holding a beautiful pen in their hands. I own an Urso pen myself and I know how it feels when I take it out to write something when visiting a company, trade show, or client. It’s a conversational piece and especially today when we revalue what true luxury actually means, I get so much joy out of using it. 

Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.5

Owning a pen, such as an Urso Pen is luxury. You won’t need it, but if you can afford it and love the idea of a beautiful piece of luxury that you can actually use and which will last you a lifetime, then you might opt for a pen from Urso!

This is a 5***** pen! I endorse Urso fully and I feel so confident about their pieces as to say: money on luxury well spent!

Mindful luxury

A beautiful writing instrument isn’t just that, it is almost a mindful object. In a world that has gone digital, actually holding a pen, especially when it’s so beautiful and precious as an Urso pen, means something. It demands your attention. It makes you stop and really look at the object itself. 

Urso Quetzalcoatl Pen writing instrument Blog review Bizzita Esther Ligthart Luxury.jpg 2

For whom?

We know there are avid collectors of writing instruments and especially Urso pens, but this is obviously also a wonderful gift to someone who graduates. A very special gift to those who start a new job. It’s the owner of a yacht, the businessman or-woman who cares about details, the poet, the writer, and journalist and for all those, like me, who treasure the feeling of handmade luxury, an utterly beautiful writing instrument, in their hands. 

Details on where to find the pens:

Tel. +39 (0)384.74443 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



This article has been produced in collaboration with Urso Luxury. I only work with companies I personally believe are among the best out there! 

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Jewellery Lover’s Guide to Self-Isolation

If your jewellery lover’s life is like mine, stuck at home dreaming of a private island in the Philippines where you could escape from the coronavirus social distancing, then you could probably use a little sparkle to cheer you up. Self-isolation is no fun on your own! But we all need to self-isolate right now and follow the social distance guidance to help contain the spread of this virus. So let me share with you a few self-isolation tips to help you through these crazy times. You can also support the ‘Loving Hands’ project at All profits from the ‘Loving Hands’ collection will be donated to the UN Foundation #COVID19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.


One of the best things to do during quarantine is to reach out to your loved ones and find out how they’re doing. But first, adorn some beautiful jewels and send some of that sparkle down the phone lines or across the internet. If you’re chatting over Facetime or Skype, let them see you haven’t lost your sparkle. Wear something your loved one gifted you to make it extra special. Spread the love and stay connected.


Next on my self-isolation guide to jewelry lover’s life at home is spring cleaning! Just because you’re in self-isolation doesn’t mean your jewellery has to stay hidden away in some jewellery box. But what a mess! Thankfully, my fine jewellery is arranged neatly inside a safety deposit box, but here I have some Iradj Moini brooches that were gifted to me and some Vickisarge earrings, hand-made in Belgravia. So let’s get to work and untangle this mess!


I love reading books on jewellery and I have quite a collection of these gem treasures that I’m so proud of – I take them with me everywhere I travel. Together we are true globetrotters! Now during my self-isolation fun, I have the best of both worlds: browsing through my jewellery book collection, re-reading my GIA books, and catching up on my Kindle reader, which I just love. Let me tempt your tastemaker tastebuds with some tantalizing jewellery photography in my own GEMOLOGUE: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips. I wanted to create a jewellery/fashion book that inspires other jewellery lovers to find their own unique style, so I hope you like it.


You want to keep that sparkle and shine intact during these difficult times, so let’s show our jewellery some love and give it a good polish. When was the last time you cleaned your jewellery? Probably when you cleaned your makeup brushes – wink-wink! I like to use a fine jewellery solution, it’s a gentle, sudsy soap with twice the bubbles, twice the fun! I find it very grounding and that’s exactly what this self-isolation experience is all about.


You know I have a bit of an obsession with my nails and I love a French manicure to show off my jewels. There’s nothing like adding a splash of colour to your nails to brighten your day, and a little extra gold for sparkle and shine. Who cares if you can’t give the best French manicure, with some black or red polish and a little glitter, you can master it on both hands! It’s quality time and one of the best self-isolation activities.


There are so many ways to work out at home and many of your favourite gyms, yoga and pilates studios are offering classes online. Everybody needs a home workout routine to keep them emotionally and physically fit during these crazy times of COVID19 social distancing. So why not follow my lead and add a little sparkle to your workout routine and gemify your dumbbells. It will help lift your mood and keep your spirits up.


You can have your cake and eat it too when you’re in self-isolation. There’s no better time to whip up something delicious in the kitchen and put the joy back into cooking. Add some sprinkles to your cupcakes and add some sparkle to your fingers! Dress up for dinner and take the whole dining-at-home experience up a notch with a few fine jewels and healthy recipes. You have to stay healthy in times of crisis, so why not make it a fun self-isolation too!


When was the last time you got crazy with your makeup? Coronavirus social distancing is the perfect time to be outrageous because nobody is going to know but you! It’s easy and fun to apply crystal jewel makeup or you can try creating your own pearl face. Let your imagination go wild and transform yourself into a jewellery warrior, braving the pandemic and conquering the hearts of your husband and children. Fun for everyone!


Last one of my self-isolation tips is to surround yourself with crystals and absorb their healing energy, as you contemplate what the future will hold once this coronavirus pandemic is all over. I found a beautiful limited edition set of Dali Tarot cards and I’m enjoying learning how it all works and what all the cards mean. Most of all, I love the beautiful artistry, a true work of art that helps to keep me calm and inspired. Of course, a Tarot reading wouldn’t be the same without your most beautiful cocktail rings. Everything’s better with jewels and gems!

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Since PJs have become our around the clock wear during quarantine, why not start the spring cleaning with the hardest part, the wardrobe! It is just the right time to change our attitude to clothes, understand how much do we actually need and finally decide what to leave behind and donate. You can see my attitude in the photo, but I’m committed to power through!

Thanks for stopping by and discovering jewellery lover’s life at home! Which one of my self-isolation activities inspired you the most? Let me know in comments below!

I am extremely happy to announce that my new jewelry book – GEMOLOGUE: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips – is now on Amazon. I’m so excited. It’s the first book of its kind solely dedicated to jewellery. 

You can sign up for GEMOLOGUE newsletter below and I also share  jewellery on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook  and Youtube if you’d like to connect, or feel free to say hello


GEMOLOGUE jewelry blog by Liza Urla is a celebration of fine, fashion and vintage jewellery featuring talented jewellery designers, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews. This jewellery blog’s goal is to encourage and educate about jewellery online in a fresh and original fashion to inspire women and men across the globe in a fashion and travelling context.

Jewellery blogger, writer Liza Urla, the founder of GEMOLOGUE, is a London-based and NYC-educated gemologist, who has travelled to and lived in many countries. She is now one of the most influential digital jewellery tastemakers. Her jewellery influence has been acknowledged by Financial Times, The New York Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

*Photographed by Julia Flit. Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.

Material on this website may not be copied, broadcasted or adapted without written consent.

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Why Platinum Rings Turn Dull so Fast

Scratches on This Platinum Set Represent Three Months of Wear

Scratches on This Dull Platinum Set Represent Three Months of Wear.

One of the biggest disappointments for newly married couples is feeling underwhelmed with their now dull plain platinum rings.

All they wanted was a plain and simple wedding band with an expanse of shiny platinum. Yummy. Only it doesn’t stay shiny for long. This is not what they signed up for!

In this blog I’ll be comparing white gold and platinum because I am asked most often to compare these two metals.

Three Reasons Why Platinum Gets Dull

1. Platinum is a malleable metal

2. Platinum is used in a more pure form than white gold

3. Platinum is softer than white gold in jewelry making

Platinum vs. White Gold on the MOHs Hardness Scale

MOHS Scale of Gemstone Hardness

Platinum is not a hard metal. It is 4 – 4.5 on the MOHs scale of hardness. This means it can be scratched by anything harder than it is. Diamond is ten on the MOHs scale and can easily scratch platinum. Your amethyst is a seven on the MOHs scale and can scratch your platinum.

For comparison, pure gold is 2.5, on the MOHs scale. That’s about the same hardness as your fingernail. That will not work for jewelry making. When white gold is prepared for jewelry making, by adding alloy metals, for example at 14kt or 58% pure gold, its hardness gets bumped up to 3.5 – 4.  That looks about the same as platinum. Right? But it’s not just the hardness that determines how your metal will wear and look over time. What the MOHs scale doesn’t show you, is the way your chosen metal reacts to harder obstacles when they collide. 

How Density Makes Platinum Strong. Why it Wears Differently than White Gold

Platinum Ring Missing Diamonds and Deeply Scratched

Platinum can Scratch More Deeply Than White Gold. It can also bend.

Platinum is more dense than gold. The same amount of platinum weighs 60% more than gold. This is because on a molecular level there are more and smaller molecules packed into that little bit of space in platinum. Platinum’s density allows it to be used in a purer form than gold. This density translates to strength. But, that does not make it Superman. Or if it does make it Superman, its Kryptonite is the daily-wear bashing about it gets. Platinum is a soft metal. When it gets a scratch or a micro-dent, it is actually moving out of the way of the harder item it is colliding with.

Dents and scratches on Platinum Band

Platinum Dents and Deforms When it Contacts Surfaces.

14kt White gold, which has been alloyed with stronger metals to make it into jewelry and make its normally yellow color white, has become a harder metal than platinum. To compare, we’ll take two identical wedding bands. Each band is 6mm wide and 2mm deep and high polished. Then let’s assume I hit each band against the same three harder surfaces. The white gold can leave a tiny bit of itself behind on the harder surface and show a scratch on its surface. The scratch will be very thin as the hard metal resists the harder surface. The platinum band scraping against the same surface moves, and its scratch may look a bit deeper. This is because the metal is softer. Its response to the surface is to yield, to get out of the way. But because of its density, it does not leave a bit of itself behind.

Scratched White Gold Band Ring

White Gold Ring Still Shining Even With a Ridiculous Amount of Scratching.

The final effect of this experiment is to show us that white gold, though it may have many fine scratches, is still shiny and can be worn quite a while, being banged about and still shine. Platinum by softly yielding and getting micro-dents gets to a state where no part of the surface hasn’t moved. Platinum becomes dull because of this. This dullness happens more swiftly than people like.

I give more detailed information on the behavior of platinum in my blog: White Gold vs Platinum, What’s the Difference?

Why Polishing Too Much Hurts Your Platinum Ring

Jewelry Cleaning With a Polishing Wheel

Polishing a Ring

One of my new clients had been married for six months and gone back and had her platinum wedding band polished up six times. Her little band was thin to begin with and I explained that if she kept polishing it, it would get too thin after a while.

Unlike the microdents and scratches platinum gets when hit or ground against a harder surface, when your platinum ring is professionally polished, we need to even the surface to hold the high shine. The polishing wheel and technique remove platinum from your ring.

Am I Against Platinum?

I’m not saying don’t buy platinum, I love its malleability. It’s fun to work with for certain designs.

It takes curves in hand engraving like a knife to butter. Beautifully.

In my opinion, if you are planning to choose platinum for your wedding ring choice, you should include details in your design, as opposed to plain, flat and shiny.

Dull Platinum, The Video

This video shows white gold and platinum next to each other as I discuss this issue further.


Don’t Chuck That Platinum Ring, Change it!

If you have a platinum ring that is dull all the time, there are possibilities you can consider to make it look nicer.

You might add hand engraving which adds interest and sparkle if the shape of your ring makes it a candidate. You could also consider adding other details or textures. What makes the dull look bad is if that is all you see. I added a hammered finish to a man’s platinum band. When it got dinged up, for some reason, it looked fine. The hammering changed the visual expectation of the band.

Designing For the Daily Wear Ring With Platinum

If you are going to design for platinum, think about differing heights in the design to add interest, engraved designs, and adding little diamonds on the band.  These touches will create sparkle and shiny areas on your ring.

Platinum Hand Engraved Wedding Set With Diamonds

After Dullness and Plain Finish on Her Engagement Ring, We Added Engraving. Now She Loves it.

Do you have a platinum ring that’s been looking dull? Something can be done about it.

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla Gold


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Fashion Jewelry – How To Care Tips For Keep IT Going For Ages

Fashion or imitation jewellery is not made of precious metals like gold, platinum, silver, etc. Normally it would not contain precious stones like diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire Garnet, etc. However, it might contain semi-precious stones like agate, amber, amethyst, aquamarine, aventurine, chalcedony, chrysocolla, chrysoprase, citrine, hematite, jasper, jet, kunzite, lapis lazuli, malachite, moonstone, obsidian, onyx, peridot, rhodonite, sunstone, turquoise, etc. or certain imitations of such stones having similar color but not the kind of required finish.

fashion jewellery

Fashion jewelry is more prone to wear and tear compared to precious jewelry. Hence, it becomes more and more critical to take care of this jewelry especially if you want to wear them for years to come.

1. How to store fashion jewelry for it to last long

First things first. If you can store our jewelry in an ideal way, it would help to reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance the jewelry would require. Following are certain tips to keep your jewelry clean and keep it brand new for longer.

  1. Wipe your jewelry with a clean microfiber cloth after each use, this way you would not need to clean it often. All dirt, water or any effect of air pollution that might have impacted and accumulated on the jewelry would be wiped off, thus making it look like new for a longer period.
  2. Store your jewelry properly. you might try storing the jewelry in ziplock bags. Designate one piece per bag. With no air, the metal cannot oxidize or turn green from exposure to the air.  Jewelry boxes with a closing lid limit your jewelry’s exposed to air. The plastic pouch keeps it from being scratching against any other hard surfaces.
  3. Spray perfume applies cosmetics before putting on your jewelry. Anything water/oil-based can potentially tarnish your jewelry piece. Perfume and lotions can tarnish the finish of the pieces. Spraying perfume and putting on the lotions first, will coat the jewelry and might lead to tarnishing. Refrain from wearing your jewelry in the bath or shower, or when you work out because water and perspiration are corrosive in nature. You should wait until your body is dry, only then wear the jewelry piece. This would help prevent some of the corrosion of fashion jewelry that makes it look dull. This would ensure that the requirement of frequent cleaning is also reduced.

fashion jewellery care tips - bling brush

A small tip here, you can apply a coat of see-through nail polish on your jewelry. This would not only increase its shine but also help increase its life. This happens as the layer of nail paint would help keep the jewelry surface protected from pollutants and corrosion agents.

2. Identify the types of jewelry

In order to start the maintenance of jewelry you should first identify the material of the jewelry piece and then chose the relevant method of cleaning. This is like washing your colored and white clothes separately.

fashion jewellery care tips - types of jewellery

  1. All pieces of similar jewelry should be clubbed together. Polish or plating of one piece of jewelry might affect the plating of the other piece.
  2. Stone jewelry should be segregated as sometimes the stones are stuck on the jewelry with adhesive (not the normal grade). When cleaning you need to be sure of the amount of liquid being used. The liquid might loosen the stone and make it fall out. Also, using water could tarnish the backside of Kundan and enamel pieces.

3. Pick the tools

The right tools are important for good and better cleaning. The tools should be soft on the jewelry.

fashion jewellery care tips - Tooth brush

  1. The ideal would be to use a soft brush. This would be able to go to the internal intricate areas where dirt and flakes get accumulated. The soft toothbrush could also be used but with care. Hard surfaces for cleaning might lead to scratches on the jewelry. Used toothbrushes are hence a strict NO.
  2. A soft sponge could also be used. They would help to clean flat polished surfaces in a better manner.

4. Cleaning agent

Ideally, test a small portion of the jewelry, usually the backside of the earring or a necklace to first check the effect of the agent on the plating. If the plating looks good for at least 24 hours after treatment on the test surface, should one try to use the cleaning agent for the entire jewelry piece? There are lots of commercial cleaning agents available in the market. Ensure that you choose one which contains neither Ammonia nor alcohol. These could be harmful and tarnish your jewelry pieces. If you are someone who likes home based mild cleaners the following could be some of the possible options

  1. Lemon juice –

    Lemon is a natural mild acid. Rubbing some lemon juice (mixed with water) can help the process of cleaning. Lemon works especially well over the silver.

  2. Vinegar with a water solution –

    soak the jewelry in the solution for some time and clean with a soft brush or sponge. A brush might help to remove the flakes from the cracks if any.

  3. Mild baby Shampoo –

    Mix a couple of drops of baby shampoo in water. Shampoo can help cleaning of pearls. The solution should be like thick tomato soup. If the mixture is too thick, add a few drops of water. Apply the solution with a thick brush on the jewelry piece.

  4. Toothpaste –

    Don’t use this on enamel jewelry. Take some toothpaste on a soft brush and rub it on the piece of jewelry.

  5. Contact lens solution –

    Don’t use this method if you have sensitive skin. Enamel jewelry treatment should be avoided. Read the complete ingredients and caution labels before using the contact lens solution. Apply the contact lens solution with a brush and wipe it clean asap.  In case the solution is left out of the jewelry for long, this could lead to tarnishing.

After applying the cleaning mixture and cleaning everything off, rinse the piece off in cool water as soon as possible. Rinse just enough to remove the soapy water solution from the jewelry. Immediately after you rinse off your jewelry, place it on a towel to soak up any excess water. Wipe the excess water using the towel. Immediately, blow-dry the jewelry. If the jewelry piece is not quickly dried, then it may lead to rust and water spots. Ensure to blow dry until it is completely dry. Take special care when blow-drying jewelry with gemstones, a warmer setting of the drier may lead the glue to melt.

[Disclaimer: The above methods as mentioned have been done under the strict supervision of experts. Adequate cautions have been mentioned, however, the author shall not be responsible for any damages that you might incur on your jewelry pieces due to faulty method or usage of heavy chemicals]


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#253 Mind-Blowing Success Stories to Inspire You with Robin Kramer

What’s the most important tool to set yourself up for success? A good support network.

Here at the Flourish and Thrive Academy, we aim to create antifragile businesses that can survive anything.

Robin Kramer is my dear friend and co-founder. As an expert on wholesale and client relationships, Robin has been overjoyed to see all the creative solutions you have been coming up within the #ThriveTribe!

The best quality of any creative entrepreneur is resourcefulness, and our community seems to have an endless supply.

Even better, these success stories seem to have a lot in common…

Click here to download the show notes

Don’t Go Quiet

Your Dream Clients care about you staying afloat and being able to grow, but you have to stay engaged with them online.

Social media is an invaluable tool. With your own personal on-brand spin, you can stay at the top of your customers’ social feeds, and at the top of their minds. Don”t be afraid to have fun and be goofy!

Take some risks when it comes to outreach, try new things that scare you, and learn from your mistakes.

Above all, you need somewhere for your Dream Clients to go. If you still don’t have a website set up, that’s your new #1 priority!

Mindset is Everything

Without the right mindset you become your own worst enemy.

Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others, especially at a time like this. While it’s great to draw inspiration from other designers,  we all have our own personal journeys, and no two are exactly the same.

Always focus on what you CAN control. Keep the glass half full!

Be a Source of Positivity

Folks are dying to see beautiful jewelry right now, whether they know it or not. 

Now is actually a great time to launch new collections. Drumming up excitement on social media and through emails is easier than ever because people are spending more time online.

Plus, beautiful jewelry makes people smile! You and your brand can be a source of joy in a trying time.

xo, Tracy


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Designers Mentioned:

Viv & Ingrid

Foterra Jewelry

Karina Harris

Jewel of Havana

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