January Birthstone: Garnet

January Birthstone: Garnet

Those born in January are lucky to claim garnet as their birthstone. In this article, we explore this stunning gem; it’s meaning, history, folklore, as well as provide you with care and cleaning tips to ensure your garnet jewelry continues to sparkle with each year.

Meaning & History


Garnet’s word derives from the 14th century, where “garnet” meant a deep red color. It is derived from the Latin word granatum, which means seed; in this instance, a pomegranate seed.

Garnets have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. Necklaces studded with red garnets adorned ancient Egypt’s pharaohs and were used in amulets and talismans, also buried with the dead. Garnet jewelry dating to around 2000 BC has been found in Sweden, and there’s evidence that the Greeks were wearing garnets as signet rings beginning around 400 BC. Signet rings in ancient Rome featured garnet intaglios that were used to stamp the wax that secured important documents. The clergy and nobility of the Middle Ages had a preference for red garnets.

One of the most famous garnet jewelry pieces (pyrope is from the Greek pyrōpos, which means “fiery-eyed”) is found at the Smithsonian – an antique pyrope hair comb. A large rose-cut garnet sits at the crest. The pyrope garnets came from the historic mines in Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). During the Victorian era (1837–1901), these rich red gems were very popular.

Folklore, Religion, and Healing


In Indian astrology, garnet helps eliminate negative feelings, such as depression and guilt, and is believed to instill self-confidence and clarity to promote creative thinking and peace of mind. Garnet was also thought to alleviate inflammatory diseases and soothe the angry heart.

In the Old Testament, garnet is known as carbuncle, and is said to have been one of the 12 stones in Aaron’s “Breastplate of Judgement ” (Exodus 28:15-20).

Medieval warriors wore garnets to ward off being wounded in battle and as lucky talismans to help bring victory. King Solomon also wore garnets into battle, according to legend.

Fun fact: In the Middle Ages, people believed garnets would protect from poisoning.

Garnets have adorned many a royal garment, including Queen Victoria, Mary Queen of Scots, and the wives of Russian Tsars.

One of the most curious uses of garnets was during the early 1890s in India during a rebellion in the Kashmir territory when Hanza tribal soldiers used garnets as ammunition to fire upon British soldiers!

Where Garnet is Found


Bohemia was the primary source of the red pyrope garnets popular during Victorian times. In 19th century Russia, green demantoid garnets from the Ural Mountains were prized by the Russian royal family and used by the great jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé (1846–1920).

Today, the African continent supplies much of the world’s garnet. Namibia produces demantoids and bright green tsavorites come from Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar. Namibia and Tanzania have rich orange-to-yellow spessartine garnets. Garnet is also found in Myanmar, Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.

Garnet Care & Cleaning


The different garnet types range between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and are more susceptible to damage than rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. So while not all garnets are good candidates for daily wear, they are ideal for earrings, brooches, and pendants. Give thought to how you store your garnet jewelry. If you let it rub against harder gems – again, think diamonds, rubies, and sapphires – they can be scratched. And in turn, garnet can scratch softer gems, such as opals or pearls.

Most garnets are not treated. Rarely, however, some garnets might be fracture-filled, whereby treaters try to improve the apparent clarity of the gem by filling surface-reaching breaks with a glass-like substance. Such treated stones require special care. Regardless, using a soft brush with warm soapy water is always safe for cleaning garnets. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe, except for stones that have fractures or have been fracture-filled. Steam cleaning is not recommended.

Do you have a loved one with a January birthday? Garnet jewelry makes for a perfect gift. Browse our gallery or reach out to us to discuss creating the perfect custom garnet piece.

December Birthstones: Turquoise, Tanzanite, Zircon

December Birthstones: Turquoise, Tanzanite, Zircon

There are three birthstones for December: turquoise, tanzanite and zircon. All three stones are a deep blue color and have their own history and chemical composition. In this article, we will focus on turquoise.  In the coming days, we’ll share articles covering tanzanite and zircon.


Turquoise Meaning & History

Turquoise is a semi-translucent to opaque gem that ranges from blue to green and often has veins of matrix (remnants of the rock in which it formed) running through it.

Turquoise was treasured by the ancient pharaohs and high ranking officials. In fact, turquoise adorns the funerary mask of King Tut. And, over 3,000 years ago, Chinese artists were carving turquoise.

Wallace Simpson (1896–1986), Duchess of Windsor (the woman for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne), wore a famous amethyst and turquoise necklace made by Cartier. 



There’s much folklore around Turquoise. Here are a few we thought were noteworthy:

✔️Turquoise is thought to possess special powers guaranteeing good health and fortune.

✔️Beginning in the 13th-century, turquoise was supposed to protect the wearer from falling off horses and was believed to shatter at the approach of danger. 

✔️Hindu mystics claimed that observing turquoise after seeing a new moon ensured wealth.

✔️In European tradition, the gift of a turquoise ring means “forget me not.” 

✔️Turquoise is considered a national treasure in Tibet, where it is believed to grant health, good fortune, and protection from evil.


Traditional Cultural Beliefs

In the United States, turquoise has long been associated with Native American culture. The Apache thought turquoise could be found at the end of a rainbow. It was thought that turquoise, when added to a bow or firearm made one’s aim more accurate. The Pueblo maintained that turquoise got its color from the sky, while the Hopi thought the gem was produced by lizards scurrying over the earth.

According to expert Maxine Mcbrinn, Curator of Archeology at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, “Turquoise stands for water and sky, for bountiful harvests, health, and protection.” 

In the Native American culture, turquoise confers status and power. Native American deities carry weapons and live in homes made of turquoise. Zuni ceremonies include turquoise-colored faces, masks, and body paint to represent Awonauilona, the sun’s life-giving power.


Where Turquoise is Found

For more than 1,000 years, turquoise has been mined in the Nishapur district of Iran. This prized blue turquoise is called “robin’s egg blue,” “sky blue” and “Persian blue.” 

Until the 1920s, New Mexico was the largest producer of turquoise in the U.S. Currently, the U.S. production of turquoise is found in Arizona and Nevada. The Kingman mine in Arizona is famous for producing intense blue turquoise.  Arizona’s Sleeping Beauty mine produced great quantities of turquoise for about 40 years.


Turquoise Care & Cleaning

Turquoise may be treated to improve durability, appearance, and polish. 

Turquoise is generally stable to light, but high heat can cause discoloration and breakage and can be damaged by acids. Chemicals, cosmetics, and skin oils or perspiration can cause discoloration. 

Clean turquoise jewelry with warm, soapy water, but never with steam or ultrasonic cleaners. Heat or solvents can damage the treated surfaces on some turquoise.

Have your 11th wedding anniversary coming up? Turquoise is the gem of the 11th wedding anniversary. Make it an extra special anniversary by having a custom piece of jewelry made using turquoise! 


Gratitude in 2020

Gratitude in 2020

If I had to sum up 2020 with one word, I’d say gratitude. Gratitude for all the little things I took for granted that now seem like a lost memory of a different life. Sometimes it takes something shocking to open your eyes to the world and remind yourself of what truly matters. While the feeling of nostalgia is ever-present, I am now so grateful for all the little things I previously was so nonchalant about in the pre-pandemic life. I did not realize my deep appreciation for the little things until they were taken away. The ability to walk outside without a mask, for instance, and hugging family and friends. 

During this unusual Thanksgiving season, we have to reflect on the moments that fill our lives with joy. When we take time to appreciate each precious one, the simplest things take on a new perspective.

As a small business, we at Patronik Designs are so grateful for all the heart-warming memories we have created with our loyal and kind clients. Your continued patronage is so greatly appreciated, especially this year when so many companies are struggling to survive.

Though it’s been a challenging year, make this season of giving highly thoughtful and memorable by sharing your love and appreciation with family and friends. Stay positive and focus on the blessings in your life. Do things that make you happy, like wearing a fabulous pair of earrings or a necklace on your holiday Zoom calls. After all, a little sparkle can go a long way in lifting your spirits.

From all of us at Patronik, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day filled with health, hope, and joy. 

November Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine

November Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine

Topaz is very popular and comes in a variety of yellow hues. The name topaz comes from the Greek name for St. John’s Island, which is located in the Red Sea, Topazios, although others believe it comes from the Sanskrit word tapas, which means “fire. This is because yellow gems were mined on this island, however, they were probably not topaz.

Before the 20th century, all yellow gemstones were called topazes. Since then, gemology has recognized topaz as a distinct gem species that can actually occur in many colors. 

Topaz picks up its bright yellow color from impurities, as with most gems. Although topaz has been used in many forms for thousands of years, the term was widely used for any light-yellow gem, hence most references to topaz in earlier times could actually be other gems.

Citrine is the yellow to red-orange variety of crystalline quartz. Clever marketing and the rise of “earth tone” fashions have made this durable and readily available gem a popular modern birthstone in recent years.

Facts & Folklore

The Egyptians believed that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the sun god, Ra.

The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase one’s strength and make its wearer invisible in cases of emergency. The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, who is also the god of the sun. In the 19th century, pink topaz was discovered in Russia. The gemstone was so coveted that only the Czar, his family, and those he gave it to were allowed ownership.

When worn as an amulet, topaz was said to drive away sadness and strengthen the intellect. Mounted in gold and hung around the neck, it was believed to dispel bad charms. Reduced to powder and put in wine, topaz was a cure for insomnia, asthma, burns and hemorrhage.

Topaz was also said to change its color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. All of these mystical powers were believed to increase and decrease with the phases of the moon.

If worn on the left arm, some believed a topaz amulet could protect the wearer from dark magic. In addition, this could relieve arthritis pain, improve digestion, aid in weight loss, and attract love. If taken in a potion, some believed it could cure an even wider range of ailments.

St. Hildegard recommended the topaz as a cure for dim vision. After soaking a topaz in wine for three days and nights, rubbing the stone gently on the eyes would help. Perhaps this connection to vision helps explain another popular belief — that topaz could render its wearer invisible.

If kept in the home, some believed topaz could ward off accidents and fires. If kept under a pillow, it could prevent nightmares.

In Hindu traditions, topaz is associated astrologically with Jupiter. Rings set in an astrological sequence as represented by different stones are called the “nine-gem” jewel, Naoratna or Navaratna. Since ancient times, talismans set in the prescribed manner with flawless gemstones were considered very powerful. 

Where is Topaz Found?

In its pure form, topaz is colorless but can take on a variety of colors depending on certain impurities. The majority of topaz comes from Brazil, however, it’s also produced in Australia, Russia, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Germany, the US, Namibia, Madagascar, and Myanmar. The Brazilian state, Minas Gerais, has been one of the most important sources for high-quality topaz for more than two hundred years. Yellow to orange, red, pink, violet, and blends of red with orange or purple are some of the colors produced there. Northwestern Pakistan is known for producing pink topaz. Ghundao Hill, close to the small town of Katlang, has been mined since 1972. The most sought-after shade of pink topaz from Katlang has a tinge of violet, which some in the gem trade call cyclamen pink, which is quite rare.

Care & Cleaning

Topaz is an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, but it has poor toughness, so care is required to avoid chipping or cracking. To clean this November birthstone, do not use steam cleaning or ultrasonic cleaners. Warm, soapy water works best. High heat or sudden temperature changes can cause internal breaks in topaz. The birthstone’s color is generally stable to light, but prolonged exposure to heat or sunlight may cause fading in some yellow-to-brown gems. Topaz may also be affected slightly by certain chemicals.

The coating on Mystic Topaz can withstand normal wear, but abrasive cleaners or buffing wheels will remove it. Only a mild soap solution should be used to clean a topaz birthstone treated in this manner.

Even though topaz has a greater hardness (8) than citrine, citrine still makes a more durable ring stone. It has greater resistance to breaking than topaz. Both topaz and citrine make wonderful jewelry stones, but citrine is a more popular and practical choice.

At Patronik Designs, we can provide safe care of all your jewelry. Topaz is a delicate gem that requires appropriate maintenance to ensure its natural beauty. Feel free to bring your topazes to our store for inspection and cleaning.

Skull Jewelry

Skull Jewelry

So what does that skull ring on your finger really mean?

Skulls are the most recognizable human body part, so it makes for a powerful symbol.  The most obvious meaning of a skull is death.  It carries an important message.  Life is short, so you should make the most of it.  Live life to the fullest.

Skulls can also symbolize the power of life.  They have been associated with the afterlife in many religions.  Ancient civilizations, like the Egyptians and Aztecs, used the skull as a symbol of the cycle of death and rebirth.  The skull is a symbol of equality too. All skulls look the same. No matter if they come from a king or a servant.

Before Keith Richards wore skull rings on every finger, Plato and Tibetan monks claimed it as a symbol of power.  Queen Victoria started a trend of memorial jewelry which commemorated the memory of a loved one who has died.  Skulls made it back in the 1960’s with many rock stars flashing their sparkling creations.  Not to mention Alexander McQueen, who influenced the entire fashion world with his skull designs.

The reason people enjoy wearing skull jewelry is because it looks cool. It represents freedom, individuality, and the fact that you don’t adhere to the rules set by society.  Skulls can be unusual, rebellious or plain edgy.  Skull rings in 2020 never cease to amaze, so be adventurous and slip one on for size!


Make Your Jewelry Sparkle!

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