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What Is Sterling Silver 925_

What Is Sterling Silver 925?

Hi, everyone! Today I want to share a secret – all silver is not created equal. You’ve probably seen some sterling silver jewelry left unmarked and other pieces stamped with the words like sterling , sterling or 925. Ever wondered what these mean?

Read on to find out all about 925 sterling silver and what it really means when you hear ‘pure 925 sterling silver.’

What is real sterling silver 925?

Let’s start with clearing one thing up – is there a difference between sterling silver and 925 silver? Well, the answer is – no, there is no difference. Both terms signify the same silver alloy, often used in jewelry.

No matter how in love with silver you are, you will never be able to wear pure silver. This is because silver, in its pure form, is too soft a metal for jewelry making. That is why pure silver is combined with other metals, to help make it durable and long-lasting.

The magic number here is 925. This means that your jewelry is made up of 92.5% pure silver, and 7.5% of other metals (these are often copper, nickel or zinc). The result of this combination is 925 sterling silver. Various countries have their own standards when it comes to sterling silver. For example, in the USA, the strict standard for quality silver is a 92.5% purity. However, in France, the standard for sterling silver is 95%.

Each piece of jewelry made of sterling silver will have a mark (a hallmark) stamped somewhere on it. The 925 hallmark, for example, denotes the percentage of silver in your jewelry and is a sure sign of quality. Other marks you can find stamped on your (real) silver are STER, STG, SS, or sterling silver. In case your jewelry is unstamped, you might want to take a closer look at it. It might not be real silver at all.

Is sterling silver worth It?

At Pink Camel, we use only the best sterling silver for our jewelry, so when asked is sterling silver worth it, we proudly answer yes!

If you want a necklace that will last for years and never lose its shine, you should choose sterling silver, instead of wasting your time and money on fake knickknacks. Its value may even increase over time!

Many jewelers might try to pass off fake silver for the real deal, but don’t be duped. You should be careful about silver plated jewelry. Those pieces may look and feel just like silver, but once they start tarnishing and flaking, you’ll end up with nothing but disappointment.

Truth be told, there is nothing worse than finding that perfect silver bracelet and discovering you’ve been tricked into thinking it was silver only after it starts to blacken and flake! So, here are some quick tests you can do to check if what you have, or what you’re buying is pure 925 sterling silver.

How to identify sterling silver 925?

If you’re anything like me and want to know exactly what material your jewelry is made of, you can use several techniques to identify the real 925 sterling silver.

  1. It will always have marks

This one’s easy because real sterling silver will always have a mark (STER, STG, SS, Sterl, 925, or sterling silver) in a fairly hidden place. If you can’t find any markings on your jewelry, be wary of it – it might not be a quality piece.

  1. Real 925 sterling silver shouldn’t smell

The easiest and quickest test you can do is the smell test. If your sterling silver is real, it should be odorless. If, however, it does smell, it means there’s too much copper in it and your jewelry, while pretty, is likely fake.

  1.  Magnets have no effect on it

Another easy way to see if your jewelry is made of pure 925 sterling silver is to use a magnet. A magnet should not have any effect on silver. Just like gold and platinum, real silver will not budge when you hover a magnet near it. If your jewelry reacts to a magnet, it’s sadly not real.

  1. No black marks on a soft white cloth

What you need for this test is only a soft white cloth. Rub the jewelry with it, and if, once you’re done, you find black marks on the cloth, you can be sure the silver is real. This sounds weird, I know – who’d want your silver to stain?! Well, this happens only because air exposure causes real sterling silver to oxidize and that is the reason behind the black marks on your cloth.

Hopefully, you’ve found all the necessary information about sterling silver in this blog. We hate to see anyone disappointed with the quality of their jewelry, so that’s why at Pink Camel we use only real sterling silver. Check out our store – we are sure you’ll find something to fall in love with!

XOXO DeeDee

cultured opal vs pure opal

Cultured Opal (Opalite) vs. Pure Opal

Ever wondered what the difference is between cultured opal and pure opal? Well, cultured opals are beautifully synthetic and pure opals are all natural. The differences between cultured and pure opals can usually only be distinguished by a certified gemologist. Cultured opals, often referred to as opalite, are created in laboratories. Pure opals that occur in nature take many years to develop. Mines of natural opals are found across the globe. In the Southwest United States, there are naturally occurring opal fields that are mined. The artisans of Pink Camel Boutique, along with the owner DeeDee Hawash, are producing handcrafted one of a kind pieces with beautiful, naturally sourced opal inlays; they also have opalite jewelry.

Romance of the Opal

The Opal, birthstone for all those born in the month of October, has enchanted people since the middle ages. Romans believed an Opal to be most powerful because it contained a multitude of colors; as if all gemstones were combined into one powerful stone. A novel, Anne of Geirstein, written by Sir Walter Scott and published in 1829, damaged the opal’s reputation by associating it with bad luck or even death. Many Americans believe it is bad luck to wear an opal if it is not your birthstone. However, in the 21st century, modern women are setting aside superstitions and the Opal is growing in popularity.

Cultured Opal vs. Pure Opal: How are they created and how to spot one?

When considering an investment in fine opal jewelry, there are a few basic facts. Opals come in differing forms. They do not all have the same color like most gemstones. Many people want to understand how opals are created naturally. Silica is a key factor because a natural opal’s silica is what creates the vibrant colors. Some opals are colorless. Most, have a core blue coloring with shades of yellows, oranges, greens, browns, reds, and blacks flowing through them. The spectacular uniqueness of each opal makes them highly sought after gems.

To spot a natural opal, pure opal, it will be slightly transparent and have a body tone that is white. Being able to spot natural opals by eye is not easy. The best way to know what you are purchasing is to have it examined by a certified expert gemologist. Opals have two different types that occur in nature. When found in nature, an opal is classified as either a precious opal or a common opal.

Naturally Forming Opals Found

Opals can be found in many locations across the globe. The main sources of the natural opals in North America are from either Mexico or Virgin Valley, NV; these two areas are known globally for the quality of opals that can be found naturally occurring. Australia and Ethiopia are the other two main areas with large naturally occurring opal fields. Brazil and Idaho also have opal fields with naturally occurring opals. Miners seek out these spots through the assistance of geologists and high technology in order to bring high-quality precious stones to market.

The naturally occurring opals across the globe vary and are known by differing names. In Australia, the world’s largest opal producer, they have a small opal field that produces Andamooka opals. The most well-known opals are Black Opals. Black opals come mainly from Australia and have a dark body color with brilliant sparkling colors. Dark opals are actually a different category than black opals because they are not dark enough to be considered black opals they are called “semi-black” or Dark Opal. White Fire Opals are the traditional version of opal people imagine; white in color with beautiful milky tones of brilliant blues, pinks, greens, and other colors.

Opalite Man-made Opal vs. Nature’s Opal Creation

An Opalite is simply a fancy word for a man-made opal. An opalite is actually glass so there will be a few signs when examining a stone to see if it’s man-made. First, if you see anything resembling a bubble it’s clearly an opalite. Second, using a light and dark background you can check to see how it’s appearance might change. A dark background will give away an opalite by making it appear blue. A light background gives away the opalite by giving the appearance of pink, milky white, or possibly an orangish color.

It is the silicon dioxide that helps a pure opal to form deep within the earth. Water runs through the sandstone taking the silica and depositing it. The water evaporates, the water returns, and the process repeats. Over many years this natural process creates what we call a Pure Opal.

However, while we understand opals to some degree it is important to note that research is still pursuing answers. There are still many questions about the chemical conditions that create natural opals and as scientists study some believe microbes or acidic conditions may impact the creation of opals. However they come to be, Opals are enchanting birthstones.

Just the Facts

Cultured and Simulated Opals are both lab created. While a cultured, lab created opal, will be identical to a natural opal, a simulated opal won’t have identical chemical and physical properties. A mosaic opal comes from chips left over after an opal is cut. Then, there’s opal’s called doublets or triplets because they are partially real and partially man-made through layering. Pink Camel Boutique is proud to bring you the highest quality cultured opal in many of our inlay pieces.

At Pink Camel Boutique, you can always find handcrafted designs of sterling silver jewelry that include brilliant colors of cultured opal inlay combined with many other gemstones like turquoise and black jade. The variety of artists who use cultured opals to create brilliant opal inlay jewelry are unique to the Southwest United States. The artists who display their Southwestern jewelry at the Pink Camel Boutique invite you to come to see the newest pieces and be sure to check out our cultured Opal!

XOXO DeeDee

teaspressa

TEASPRESSA’s 1st Sunday’s Pop Up Oct. 7th

TEASPRESSA’s 1st Sunday’s Pop Up Oct. 7th

Date: Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Time: 9am – 12pm

Come join me Sunday October 7th from 9am-12pm for TEASPRESSA’s 1st Sunday’s Pop Up. Follow us on Instagram to check out the other local vendors that will be there! Hope to see you there!

TEASPRESSA
4628 E. Indian School Rd.
Phoenix AZ 85018

turquoise mines of the southwest pendant

The turquoise mines of the southwest

Hi, all! Today, I’ll tell you a secret – you can find out where your Turquoise came from just by looking at it! This is because of Turquoise mines – every mine produces a unique stone. This way, you can find out if your turquoise necklace came from Arizona, Nevada, or one of the turquoise mines of the Southwest. I want to tell you all about them and the fantastic stones they produce.

So, let’s get to it!

Turquoise Mines in Arizona

The Bisbee Mine

Bisbee Turquoise was one of the first on the market under its registered name “Bisbee Blue.” This mine, also called the “Lavender Pit,” provided Turquoise that is of a high blue color, hard, gently webbed, and with a soothing, chocolate brown matrix. Aside from the more “traditional” blue, the Turquoise mind from Bisbee was also green! Closed in the 1970s, stones from this mine are very hard to find – they’re mostly sold and bought by collectors.

The Castle Dome Turquoise Mine

Sadly, this mine has been closed since the 1970s. The area has since been reclaimed – the hole’s been filled, and the soil is again a home for many native plants and grasses. Nature always wins!

Turquoise from Castle Dome is of an otherworldly blue color, and with a light brown to the gold matrix. The most unique aspect of this stone is the presence of a honey brown crust before it is cut.

Gleeson or Courtland Turquoise

Discovered in the 1890s, the Gleeson mine boomed with the production of turquoise, silver, gold, and copper. Story has it that even Tiffany and Co. bought up the turquoise mines in Gleeson, which tells you something about how gorgeous and valuable these stone were!

Ithaca Peak

Just above the Kingman mine, in northwestern Arizona, is where you can find the Ithaca Peak mine. Turquoise mined there is of a clear sky blue color, with a pyrite matrix. It’s pretty rare, however, to get one of these stones, since production is more focused on Turquoise Mountain and Kingman Turquoise.

The Kingman Turquoise Mine

The largest Turquoise mine in the whole of North America is right in our backyard – northwestern Arizona! The stones coming from the Kingman mine are of a blue color, a ‘high blue,’ with a black matrix. The stones are found in nuggets, and of an exceptional quality. This is why most of the Turquoise jewelry you see around today can be traced back to this mine, in our very own Arizona.

Morenci Turquoise

Morenci Turquoise mine

The stones from Southeastern Arizona found and produced in the Morenci mine are something truly special. With colors ranging from a high to light blue (rarely in a dark blue), come with a matrix of irregular black pyrite. After polishing, the pyrite looks almost identical to silver! Matrix patterns in Morenci Turquoise can also come in Birdseye or Water Web, and the matrix itself can also be made from quartz.

The Sleeping Beauty Mine

Not too far from Globe, Arizona is a hill that looks like a woman asleep. This is how the mine and the stone got their name – The Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. A solid, light blue colored stone with no matrix or webbing has been a favorite of the Zuni Pueblo silversmiths for decades. With its robin’s egg blue, a strong resemblance to Persian Turquoise, and an out of this world quality, the Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is both of the highest value and the most popular choice of Turquoise stone today (and it’s also my favorite of them all!).

Turquoise Mountain

Located in northwestern Arizona near the Kingman mine, Turquoise Mountain produces stones of a light to the high blue color whose matrix can be both webbed or non-webbed. A Birdseye matrix, common among these stones, is one that shows areas of light blue rimmed with a darker blue matrix – so it really does look like an eye of a bird! Another absolutely beautiful detail about the Turquoise from this mine is that the stone can exhibit a whole range of color in just one piece, from a pale blue to a (surprising) lime green.

Turquoise Mines in Colorado

Cripple Creek

Cripple Creek coloradoOriginally a by-product of gold mining, Turquoise from the Cripple Creek mine in Teller County has become a little more common than before. It’s still mined by a group called the Bad Boys of Cripple Creek. The stones found here are mostly greenish in color, though they can also be from a light to dark blue, with a brown matrix. The amazing thing about Turquoise from Cripple Creek is that sometimes, though not too often, you can find natural Gold Ore in it!

Manassa Turquoise

Historically called the Lickskillet Turquoise Mine, the Manassa turquoise is still in production, though it is sometimes referred to as “Kings Manassa” (this is because it had been in the King family up until 2010). These stones can range from a blue-green to green color, with a golden or brown, non-webbed matrix. It’s believed that the first people to mine this location were the Anasazi people!

Villa Grove Turquoise Mine

This mine is sadly forever closed – it’s covered by a small lake created by a diverted creek. Turquoise from Villa Grove is of a deep blue, similar to the Bisbee stones. The main difference between the two is the matrix – Villa Grove has a gold or black matrix color, and can even feature dendrites and a fine, spider-web matrix. It’s amazingly rare, but also jaw-droppingly beautiful!

Turquoise Mines in Nevada

Ajax Turquoise Mine

Located just south of Reno, this small mine is no longer active. Turquoise that had once been produced in Ajax is of a light blue color with darker blue veins, though it can also be predominantly of a dark green color with light blue areas. The most striking detail about the Ajax Turquoise is that the mine often produces bi-color nuggets. So a stone can have not only a light blue, but a very dark green within it! This can look striking, as though you molded two different stones together, or it can be more subtle, like the confluence of two differently colored rivers.

Black Diamond Nevada Turquoise Mine

Some call this stone the classic American Turquoise look. The Black Diamond mine produces a dark blue Turquoise with a black matrix of dendrites and a triangle-shaped black chert. It can also be a dark blue with a smoky black matrix, or one blue color can swirl into two darker blues – stunning!

Carico Lake Turquoise

This mine is located in a dried up lake bed in Lander County, Nevada. Turquoise produced here is mainly light blue with a light brown or sometimes black spiderweb matrix. Lime Turquoise also comes from this lake – a clear, spring green color makes it dazzling. The Carico Lake Turquoise can also be of a dark blue-green color with a black or brown spiderweb matrix.

Cortez A.K.A. Fox Turquoise Mine

Despite being known to local Native Americans for centuries previously, the first ‘official’ claim to this location was filed in 1914. The Fox Turquoise mine was one of the most productive mines in Nevada; today, it’s no longer active. The stones mined here are in a multitude of shades of blue and green, with both often in the same stone.

Turquoise Mines in New Mexico

The Cerrillos Turquoise Mines

Cerrillos Turquoise MinesLong before the Europeans, the Cerrillos was mined by the people of the Pueblos in the area. The stones from these mines used to be “Tiffany Turquoise” because of their color – sadly, that kind of stone is no longer mined, but only found among private individuals. Today, the mined Turquoise color is mostly green, ranging from jade to pale seafoam, with a flecked matrix in gray and black. The matrix can range from little to none, with lines and rivulets of webbing.

Hachita Turquoise Mine

The mining at Hachita goes way back to pre-history and all the way to 1905. That’s why it’s so rare to see today, and you may have seen it only in vintage pieces. It used to be that these stones were of a wide range of colors and matrixes, from a sky blue to a deep green. Today, it ranges from teal to a light seafoam color with a relatively little matrix.

The Tyrone Mine

Sadly, no Turquoise is mined in Tyrone anymore. You can, however, recognize these stones by their deep shades of blue, green, and teal. There is not much matrix, though when there, it can look black in natural light. It’s a beautiful rarity, today mostly found among collectors or jewelers who release their own holdings.

There you have it – all the Turquoise mines of the Southwest! There are so many of them, and each has its very own unique Turquoise.

We carry almost as many types of Turquoise, and I’m sure you’ll find the one that’s just screaming your name! Check out our store, and pick a piece of jewelry to brighten your day!

XOXO DeeDee

pink camel new event

Hello Handmade Market

HELLO HANDMADE MARKET

Date: Saturday, December 15, 2018

Time: 10am – 4pm

Location: Heritage Square
113 N 6TH ST
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Bring the family for music, food, fun workshops & local Arizona makers!

www.hellohandmademarket.com

TEASPRESSA Pop Up

TEASPRESSA Pop Up

TEASPRESSA Pop Up

Sunday August 5th, 2018
9am-12pm
4628 E. Indian School Rd.
Phoenix AZ 85018

Come join me at TEASPRESSA’s First Sundays Pop Up. Shop other amazing local vendors and try some amazing Tea from TEASPRESSA!

XOXO DeeDee