Treasured Gift Ideas…for Babies

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

These days’ shoppers for baby gifts are parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles. All are searching for special gifts that the baby will have as a keepsake. Many times this is a shopping challenge with the number of relatives wishing to shop for something meaningful.

Girls are easiest to buy for with baby rings with or without gemstones the classic choice. Orienta® cultured pearl necklaces are the #1 legacy present with additional pearls able to be purchased individually or by the inch. Available with gold or silver chains, prices start under $30. Cross pendants hand engraved or high polished in either gold or silver are also a favorite. Bangle bracelets, mini sterling silver bracelets with a heart charm are much appreciated especially when engraved with a personal message. Starting a diamond Add-A-Link bracelet is one of the newer options for the baby girl. A loose gemstone of her birth month would be a creative choice.

“Baby’s First Dollar” – the American Eagle is the current most popular item for baby boys. First minted by the United States Treasury in 1986, it is guaranteed to contain one troy ounce .999 silver. The silver eagle has been produced at three mints: the Philadelphia Mint, the San Francisco Mint, and the West Point Mint. Pricing is based on the daily silver price fluctuating with the precious metals market.

Engravable identification bracelets or dog tags in sterling silver as well as classic gold band rings are a popular choice, too.  Novelty banks are available in dozens of designs: football, soccer ball, motorcycle, fire truck, frog, elephant, bear, owl, whale and many more.

We have a variety of gifts for every budget.  Some are suitable for all babies such as birth record frames, rattles, and traditional baby cups. The cups are priced depending on the quality of the metal from sterling silver, silver plate or stainless steel. Personalizing with engraving adds to the remembrances.

These loving tokens to welcome the little one will be cherished for a lifetime!

OFFICINA BERNARDI: AFFORDABLE, BEAUTIFUL ITALIAN SILVER JEWELRY    

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

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

A few years ago while in Chicago, a friend of mine suggested we look at an Italian jewelry vendor’s line that had an innovative design. That recommendation was the best tip I think I ever received from another jeweler as it fast became our most popular and recognizable merchandise.

The Italians are artisans in many areas but shine best in their jewelry. The brothers Carlo and Francesco have an assortment of necklaces, both hoop and drop style earrings, bracelets and rings that rival many more expensive designer looks. Having started in chain manufacturing in 1987, it was inevitable that beads would enter this collaborative duos design plan.

Their Moon collection was originally manufactured in gold, for a very discerning audience. In 2008 it was introduced in silver with great success. Available in 800 upscale shops in the USA, including Eichhorn Jewelry, it is also available in Italy, Spain, Mauritius, and Brazil.

The Moon name comes from the shape of the bead facet, the compositional unit of Bernardi jewelry. Associated with the crescent Moon and the white-silver dress worn by Selene, the ancient Greek Moon Goddess, Bernardi jewelry glitters. The idea was to manufacture an effect with the same brightness and light. High technology and jewelry know-how became one producing this beautiful jewelry. Special diamond-cutting tools are the secret-formula to their inspired designs.

Other special techniques detailed with gold plating over silver, blackened silver and the newest: rose gold plating over silver continue to attract buyers. You can’t help but love the “bling” as well as the compliments everyone says they receive while wearing Bernardi!

Priced from $45 and up, this affordable luxury is highly addictive. You will want to build on your private collection of Bernardi jewelry with mix or matching pieces!

Ruby

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Throughout most of recorded history, ruby has been the world’s most valued gemstone. Even diamond was considered common in comparison to the supreme beauty and value of this glowing red gem. Named from the Latin word for its hue, ruber, ruby is the epitome of the boldest of colors: the gem of desire, passion, courage, and emotion.

In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.” In the Bible, only wisdom and virtuous women are “more precious than rubies.”

Early in the eleventh century, Persian sage al-Biruni was only conveying the popular wisdom of the time when he wrote that ruby has “the first place in color, beauty and rank” among all gems.

Nine centuries later, British author Max Bauer, in his 1894 Masterpiece Precious Stones, writes: “A clear, transparent, and faultless ruby of a uniform red color is at the present time the most valuable precious stone known.”

Granted, the value of fine ruby relative to other highly prized gems wasn’t as extreme in Bauer’s day as it had once been. Around 1550, Italian goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini reported that the finest one-carat ruby cost eight times more than a comparable-quality one-carat diamond. By Bauer’s time, the same ruby was only two times as expensive as its diamond equivalent.

Nevertheless, a 2:1 value ratio between fine rubies and diamonds is impressive. Certainly, ruby’s status as the most valuable gem of the age helps to explain why England took the rather drastic step of invading and annexing Upper Burma in 1885 when it learned a French company would begin mining of this gem at the famed Mogok ruby tract—the most celebrated source for ruby ever known and still the most important today.

Although certain color tones are associated with different country’s mines: Burma, now known as Myanmar, with pure reds, Vietnam with vivid pinkish rubies with exceptional clarity, Sri Lanka with more pastel softer pinkish reds, Thailand with dark red to burgundy, Kenya with translucent stones with juicy pure reds, Madagascar with pure transparent reds, color alone cannot tell you where a stone was born: a laboratory report may be required. When confirmed, stones from Burma’s famed Mogok mine command a premium, particularly if the color is natural.

Most rubies are heated almost to 2,000 degrees in order to maximize the red and remove secondary colors of blue and brown. Some rubies are also heated to improve clarity. Sometimes glassy residue can be trapped in fractures when the ruby cools. Heat enhancement is stable, does not require special care, and does not reduce the stone’s value unless significant residue is present.

If ruby shows no signs of heating, it is very rare. The stone’s natural color must be confirmed by a laboratory report if it is to command a premium. The ruby must also possess a pleasing color and appearance.

Ruby is most common in oval and cushion shapes. Other shapes may be difficult to find in sizes above a carat. Rubies above five carats are extremely rare and valuable.

Ruby, like sapphire, is the mineral corundum, one of the most durable minerals, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide. Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale and is also extremely tough. In its common form, it is even used as an abrasive. As a result, rubies are the most durable of gems. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

GIFTS OF APPRECIATION

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.