Moonstone – the other June Birthstone

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

The ancient Romans theorized that moonstone, with its unearthly shimmer, was formed from frozen moonlight. This appealing gem variety does shine with a cool lunar light but it is the mineral feldspar, quite terrestrial in origin. The shimmer, which is called schiller or adularescence, is caused by the intergrowth of two different types of feldspar, with different refractive indexes.

Moonstones come in a variety of colors. The body color can range from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. The clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. The best moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color.

Sometimes moonstone will have an eye as well as sheen. Another related feldspar variety is known as rainbow moonstone. In this variety of labradorite feldspar, the sheen is a variety of rainbow hues, from pink to yellow, to peach, purple, and blue. Sometimes one gem will show all these colors.

Fine moonstone is quite rare and becoming rarer. It is mined in Sri Lanka and Southern India. The rainbow variety can be found in India and Madagascar.

Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth-domed oval cabochon shape to maximize the effect. Sometimes they are carved to show a man-in-the-moon face.

Eichhorn Jewelry, Inc. recently acquired from Eichhorn-Gems of San Jose an 18K white gold fine moonstone bracelet with black and white diamonds. It is truly a beautiful example of moonstone at it’s best! You must see it to appreciate how spectacular it really is…


By Eileen R. Eichhorn

If you love magic, especially the magic of science, you’ll love alexandrite, the color-change gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Inside in lamplight, it is a red gem, with a warm raspberry tone. You can watch it flick back and forth by switching from fluorescent to incandescent light. Alexandrite is a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl discovered in 1830 in Czarist Russia. Since the old Russian imperial colors are red and green it was named after Czar Alexander II on the occasion of his coming of age.

How does the color change work? Most gems transmit and absorb light throughout the visible spectrum and we interpret the mixture of the transmitted wavelengths as the gem’s color. Alexandrite transmits light only in two discrete windows of the spectrum, in the blue-green and red regions. The rest of the spectrum is absorbed. When viewed under light sources active in those particular regions of transmission, you see one of the two colors. In daylight, or in artificial light that simulates it, like fluorescent light, light waves in the green region predominate. In candlelight, or artificial light that simulates it like incandescent or tungsten light, light waves in the red region predominate. The gem is displaying changes in the light, not changing itself.

Today, fine alexandrite is most often found in period jewelry since newly-mined gems are extremely rare. You’ll see fine gems offered at auction with impressive estimates. The original source in Russia’s Ural Mountains has long since closed after producing for only a few decades and only a few stones can be found on the market today. Material with a certificate of Russian origin is still particularly valued by the trade. Some alexandrite is found in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and Brazil but very little shows a dramatic color change. For many years, alexandrite was almost impossible to find because there was so little available.

Then in 1987, a new find of alexandrite was made in Brazil at a locality called Hematita. The Hematita alexandrite shows a striking and attractive color change from raspberry red to bluish green. Although alexandrite remains extremely rare and expensive, the production of a limited amount of new material means a new generation of jewelers and collectors have been exposed to this beautiful gemstone, creating an upsurge in popularity and demand.

When evaluating alexandrite, pay the most attention to the color change: the more dramatic and complete the shift from red to green, without the bleeding through of brown from one color to the next, the more rare and valuable the stone. The other important value factors are the attractiveness and intensity of the two colors, the clarity, and the cutting quality. Due to rarity, large sizes command very high premiums.


In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our vendors each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Cordova has been one of Eichhorn Jewelry’s select fine jewelry suppliers since the early 1980’s. A multi-generation family-owned and run jewelry manufacturer specializing in fashion and bridal design, they are dedicated to outstanding quality and exceptional service. Cordova was founded in 1950 by Murray Kagan. Bob Kagan, CEO has been managing the company since 1965. Bob’s wife, Arlene, joined the firm in 1985 and became its Executive Vice President. The grandson of the founder, Ron Rosen, Bob and Arlene’s nephew, graduated from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in 1992. With encouragement from Bob and Arlene, Ron started Rosen Block Design in 1993. In 2008, the two firms merged and Ron became Cordova’s President and Creative Director.

Eileen Eichhorn has a very close and personal relationship to a handful of jewelry suppliers in New York, speaking several times a year to Mr. Kagan for custom jewelry requests.

For many years Cordova was Eichhorn’s Christmas catalog supplier. In recent years, the catalog was then provided in a digital format and emailed to Eichhorn Jewelry customers.

In addition to their high-end diamond and colorful gemstone designs, their Encore® collection is the most popular item Eichhorn Jewelry features. Elements of 14K white gold birthstones surrounded by diamonds can be added either one or more at a time in rings, bracelets, or pendant necklaces. These are timeless classics to be cherished for a lifetime.


By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Most days at Eichhorn Jewelry we assist customers in selecting gifts for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. This past week one of our loyal shoppers requested a gift for her husband for their 15th wedding anniversary. She was looking for something to represent crystal – and we had the perfect gift: a silver-tone Bulova anniversary clock with a glass dome and four revolving crystals!

Once in a great while we have a more unusual request for a gift. What if you could go on a dream trip and a family member agrees to watch your children for free? Upon returning home a gift of a lovely peach color carved cultured pearl by Artist Chi Galatea Huynh would represent your greatest appreciation!

What if someone saved your life? A gift of appreciation is difficult to measure in dollars but a token jewelry gift can be a remembrance of the event. The gift is not measured in dollars and cents but selecting a truly memorable token, perhaps an engraved charm for either a bracelet or pendant?

These days ‘push’ presents are more popular than ever. When my mother delivered twin girls at the age of 45 (number 9 and 10 respectively) my father gave her a trophy.  In later years she laughed she would have rather had a lovely piece (or two) of jewelry for bearing the gems!

Many years ago one of our loyal customers added two diamonds to his wife’s 14K gold bracelet on the delivery of twin boys. It is still a fond memory that we were able to help him celebrate the couple’s happiness.

One of the areas high schools continues a tradition of presenting perfect four year attendance with a reward gift of a Cross® Pen.  Engraved with the student’s name on each, these represent a crowning achievement.

Gifts of appreciation are well-meaning and can represent a very special keepsake.


In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our employees.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Over the course of fifty years many students have had the opportunity of employment at Eichhorn Jewelry. Kathy Jenkins, a recent graduate of Bellmont High School, has been a personal assistant to Eileen Eichhorn apprenticing since September 2013.

In her senior year Kathy participated in ICE – Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education. The primary purpose of this program is to prepare a student for entry-level employment in a future career. This on-the-job learning experience has benefits more than just a year commitment and a paycheck. The student takes on responsibility in exchange for one half of the day to show up and participate within a team of other employees to learn a trade. Because of the complexities of the jewelry business she observed other professionals in a variety of specialty areas from back office mail tasks to sales, gem identification, engraving, manufacturing, marketing, photography and appraisals. Touching on many aspects of the jewelry industry each day should help her transition from high school to the real world with this background. Hopefully, Kathy would agree that her most important learning experience is the attention to detail required in the jewelry business.

Kathy has been fascinated with gems for many years now having the distinction of being born into a family of lapidarists. Those gemstone cutters were the impetus for her curiosity. Her foray into Ft. Wayne Science Central – the meeting place for Three Rivers Gem and Mineral Society is where she and I met. She is mostly self-taught in faceting gems and shows a contagious enthusiasm for gemstones!

Having been accepted into the prestigious Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologist program, Kathy will be attending the main campus in Carlsbad, California, this fall. Her plans are to complete her GG (graduate gemologist) and return to work at Eichhorn Jewelry.

We wish her success in all her endeavors knowing the discipline the program requires.

Trivia: What is Kathy’s favorite gemstone? The verdict’s still out. This list changes daily! Ask her when she returns from California…

Kathy Jenkins Eichhorn Jewelry Decatur Indiana

Kathy Jenkins Eichhorn Jewelry Decatur Indiana