Birthstone December: Guide to Tanzanite

As the nights draw in, we’re starting to talk about the latest addition to the list of December birthstones; tanzanite. This beautiful dark blue gemstone has a fascinating history and a one-of-a-kind light-refracting structure that really makes it stand out from the crowd. Read on to find out what makes it so unique, and how it became an instant hit with the public when it first appeared in shops in the mid-20th century.

What is tanzanite?

Tanzanite is a relatively new gemstone to come to the market, having only been discovered for the first time in 1967. Its popularity quickly grew, and in 2002 it was added as a birthstone for December, joining the original birthstone of turquoise, and the existing alternate option of zircon. It was the first gemstone to be added to the official list of birthstones since the list was standardised in 1912.

Colour of tanzanite

It’s not difficult to see why tanzanite is so popular, with its rich deep blue and purple tones. It’s the only trichroic stone in existence, meaning that in its rough form, it gives off three different colours from each of its crystallographic axes: blue, violet, and even flashes of red.

The depth of colour of the tanzanite is one of the main factors in determining its value. The darker and richer the blue, the more valuable the piece is considered to be. Whilst the paler blues are still sought after, it’s the rich sapphire tones that are most highly prized.

With so many colour variations, tanzanite would be a fantastic addition to any outfit, highlighting and bringing out any cool blue and purple tones, whilst also complementing the contrasting warm oranges and yellows. Its rich hues and unusual structure will surely be a talking point at any special occasion, so its perfect for weddings, award ceremonies, garden parties, or anywhere it will be able to catch the light. Worn in different lighting, it may appear a completely different colour throughout the day and evening, making it a unique and intriguing addition to engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, or bracelets.

Pear Shaped Tanzanite & Diamond Pendant

Pear Shaped Tanzanite & Diamond Pendant


History of tanzanite

Tanzanite is one of the rarest gemstones available today, due to the fact that it is only found in one specific area of Tanzania. As a result, reserves will deplete quickly, with geologists estimating that the supply will run out completely within a decade, so it’s become known as a “one-generation gemstone”.

It was first discovered in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro by local Maasai tribesmen, who were said to be searching for grass for their cattles after a bush fire, when they noticed the shiny blue stones on the ground. They took some to a local trader who didn’t know what to make of it. At first they believed it to be a sapphire, so they were confused when they noticed the glints of pink and red. A sample was taken to Tiffany’s in New York, who quickly negotiated a deal to become the main distributor of this exciting new product, which they termed “the loveliest blue gemstone discovered in over 2000 years”.

Most gemstone deposits are mined by small artisanal companies, but tanzanite is one of the few that has attracted a multinational conglomerate in the form of Tanzanite One. In 2005, they were listed in the Guinness Book of Records for finding the largest piece of rough tanzanite stone which measured 16,839 carat (3.38 kg, or 7.46 lb).

Structure of tanzanite

Alongside the unusual crystalline axis which leads to the tri-colour effect, tanzanite is denser and weighs more than diamonds, so a 1 carat tanzanite would actually be a slightly smaller stone than a 1 carat diamond. Even though it’s rarer than diamonds, it’s also much less expensive, due to the ongoing popularity of diamonds for all kinds of jewellery and the subsequent tightly controlled structure of the supply.

Whilst tanzanite can be worn every day, it is a relatively soft stone, only ranking around 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale (compared to sapphire’s rating of 9) so it can be susceptible to damage in certain environments.

The cut of the stone is also an important factor for tanzanite, and a quality cut can cause a large disparity in the value of the stone. If the desired shape is cut slightly too large, there will be a significant weight discrepancy which could considerably push up the cost. If cut too shallow, the clarity of the stone will be adversely affected and lose some of its brilliance and sparkle in certain light refractions.

Who is tanzanite for?

Anyone can wear tanzanite, and it’s been spotted being worn by celebrities from Beyoncé to Cate Blanchett. The large blue heart necklace worn by Kate Winslet in the 1997 movie Titanic is also rumoured to be made from tanzanite, and represents ‘the heart of the ocean’. Astrologically, it’s been said to be particularly relevant to Pisces and Aries, and as a December birthstone, it would add a personalised touch to anyone whose birthdays fall within these windows.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to sapphire, whilst still getting something special and unique, tanzanite jewellery is the perfect option. The mesmerising shifts in colour offer an unusual alternative look, ideal for people with a varied wardrobe or who would enjoy owning a quirky, contemporary, and modern piece with a fascinating history.

If that sounds like you, or someone you’re looking to buy a gift or engagement ring for, contact the team at Cry for the Moon now to discuss how we might be able to help you find that perfect piece.

November Birthstone: Citrine & Topaz

As we enter November, we’re looking at the birthstones for this month; citrine and topaz. Yellow is the colour most associated with these gems as the November birthstones, but in fact topaz can be found in a whole myriad of other colours to complement any outfit or skin tone. Read on to find out more about the history and background of these beautiful stones, their meanings, their alleged healing properties, and why you should consider adding them to your existing jewellery collection.

What’s the difference between these two November birthstones?

The original birthstone for November was topaz, but in 1912 American jewellers decided to standardise the birthstones, by introducing alternative options which were easier to manufacture and sell in large quantities. Citrine was introduced as a lower-cost option as it was more widely available. Traditionally the topaz associated with November birthstones would have had a yellow hue, similar to citrine, and was referred to as “precious topaz”. However, it is now more commonly found with an artificial blue colour added through irradiation of the lower-value colourless gems.

The International Gem Society explains the differences between the two gems, “Because of topaz’s long association with the colour yellow, citrines are sometimes misidentified as topazes. However, citrine is a quartz, a distinct gem species. Topaz has different physical and optical properties than citrine, most notably greater hardness and brilliance.”

Popular jewellery options

One of the wonderful things about topaz is that it comes in such a wide variety of shades, so you can always find a piece of jewellery in a colour to suit your outfit or your skin tone. Whilst the yellow/orange hues are traditional for this November birthstone, evoking gorgeous warm autumnal vibes to match the season, other colours are still a great option for birthday or even Christmas gifts.

Another popular and meaningful choice is to factor your beloved’s birthstone into their engagement ring. These stones can be set alongside diamonds or other stones for an elegant and personalised extra touch. Due to the hardness and durability of topaz, as well as the range of colours available, it’s an excellent choice for daily wear. The natural structure of these stones also gives them a great sparkle!

Golden Topaz & Diamond Cluster Ring
Golden Topaz & Diamond Cluster Ring

History and benefits of topaz

The original 12 birthstones have their roots in the Bible and other ancient texts. It’s believed they were worn on the breastplate of Aaron, the elder brother of Moses and High Priest of the Israelites, which was used to communicate with God. Each of the stones on the breastplate was later adopted for one of the 12 months of the year.

The word ‘topaz’ originally referred to any yellow/orange stone, so there is some confusion around its history, since actual topaz can be found in a range of different colours. The first ‘modern’ topaz was found in Germany in 1737, but the different colours can still often be mis-identified.

Topaz has generally most often been mined from areas of Brazil and Russia, however more recently deposits have been found in locations across the world. Since the early 1970s, a particular kind of pink/violet topaz has been mined only in north-western Pakistan.

Traditionally, topaz has been associated with true love, success, good health, and joy, so would be a perfect addition to any piece of jewellery being gifted to a loved one. In India, topaz worn above the heart is said to bring long life, beauty, and intelligence.

Topaz is one of the hardest gemstones available, ranking an eight on the Moh’s scale, just behind diamonds and corundum. This means it’s one of the most durable options out there, being highly resistant to scratches, so you can feel peace of mind when wearing it on a daily basis.

Oval Citrine & Diamond Victorian Style Trilogy Ring
Oval Citrine & Diamond Victorian Style Trilogy Ring

History and benefits of citrine

Citrine is a great low-cost alternative to topaz, as it is a form of quartz, probably the most widely available mineral on the planet. Naturally occurring citrine is rare, but amethyst and smoky quartz are often gently heat-treated to produce the warm golden hues, and this is what makes up most of the cheaper citrine you would find on the market.

As a member of the quartz family, citrine boasts a number of healing properties, so is recommended for anyone feeling either physically or emotionally tense. It’s said to promote better self esteem and increase energy, and in ancient times was used to improve circulation, purify the body of toxins, and strengthen the immune system.

Citrine has also been said to increase creativity, so it’s a popular option for artists and other creative professionals. If you’re feeling in a creative slump, perhaps adding some citrine jewellery to your outfit might give you just the boost you need.

Choosing the right colour

Whilst citrine only comes in yellow/orange hues, topaz affords a wealth of colourful options. Blue topaz is a popular low-cost choice, as they are artificially coloured through an irradiation process which closely mimics what would happen to create that colour in the earth.

The yellow/gold hues of traditional precious topaz and citrine are a beautiful addition to an autumnal wardrobe, and would generally complement warmer skin tones. Paired with a gold ring or chain, they offer a comforting and subtle antique air. Natural citrine is rare these days, so is more commonly found in vintage pieces, where the striking yellow colour makes a bold statement.

Final thoughts

At Cry For The Moon, we stock a variety of beautiful pieces, with new items being added all the time. If you’re interested in adding a piece of topaz or citrine jewellery to your collection, or buying an engagement ring or a gift for a loved one, please pop in to our store, browse our selection online, or contact us for more information about what we have available.

October Birthstone: Opal

With a rainbow effect and flashes of brilliance, opal is quite unlike any other gemstone. It has incredible fire, with a name that stems from the Greek ‘Opallios’ which means a change in colour and the Latin term ‘Opalus’, meaning precious stone. It’s been a popular choice for jewellery for many centuries, due to this chameleon-like ability to change colour in different light.

A history of opals

Opals have inspired folklore for centuries, dating back to the ancient Greeks who believed they were the tears of Zeus and the Aborigines who believed they were a sign of the rainbow serpent god. In the Middle Ages, opals were considered a source of luck and possessed all the virtues of each gemstone colour found in the spectrum of the opal. They’re also the birthstone for people born in October. It was even referenced in William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, calling it the queen of gems. As with so many of the trends we enjoy today, Queen Victoria popularised the opal, wearing it regularly and increasing sales worldwide as a result. As such, it’s a common feature of vintage jewellery.

Where are opals found?

Opals are considered one of the more difficult gems to mine, because on the surface, it’s difficult for miners to tell if there are any opals below the ground. So it’s often a case of trial and error to find them. The best examples of this precious gemstone tend to be extracted with handpicks and screwdrivers, rather than machinery, making it a time-consuming and laborious job. Most of the world’s opals are mined in Australia, but they are also found in Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Czech Republic and the USA.

Types of opal

There are two classes of opal: precious and common. Precious opal has an iridescence that’s referred to as a ‘play of colour’, while common opal does not. Opalescence is the term applied to a milky sheen that occurs with common opal. Depending on the conditions in which an opal is formed, it can be transparent, translucent or opaque, while the background colour can be any shade.

Black opals

Black opals are considered to be the rarest kind, and the most valuable for this reason. Even thin slivers of black opal can fetch thousands. It’s been highly prized throughout history by kings, emperors and sultans for its beauty. It has a black background and little to no opalescence. Unlike other opals, black opals have trace elements of carbon and iron oxide which is what makes it unusually dark compared to other types of opal.

White opal

This is the most common type of opal, with a white background and a sub-transparent or translucent display of opalescence. It showcases a wide spectrum of colours.

Fire opal

This is a transparent to translucent opal with warmer body colours of yellow, orange and red. It doesn’t typically have a play of colour but sometimes rarer stones will have flashes of green. In indigenous cultures, fire opals were highly prized, and in ancient India and Persia, it was considered to be a symbol of ardent love.

Girasol opal

This opal has a bluish tint or sheen that follows the light source, which is not a play of colour seen on precious opals, but an effect caused by microscopic inclusions.

Peruvian opal

A semi-opaque opal that is often cut to include the matrix in more opaque stones. There’s no play of colour with this type of stone, but it has a blue-green tint to it.

Boulder or matrix opal

This is the term used for rough-cut opals that display a precious opal within them or attached to them. They often have just a thin vein of precious opal in the host rock.

Hyalite opal

A colourless opal which looks like glass but in very rare cases, will have a faint tint of colour, often blue, green or yellow.

There are also terms for the patterning found in opals. Experts and collectors tend to look for large, closely arranged patches of colour or pattern, and the brighter the colour, the more valuable the opal will be. A pinfire or pinpoint pattern is a small, closely-set patch of colour, while a harlequin or mosaic pattern is more broad and angular. Flame patterns are sweeping bands of reddish streaks which carry across the stone, and peacock patterning is an opal with mainly blue or green colouring.

Opals in jewellery

Doublet opals consist of a top slice of the gem glued onto a darker backing made from either plastic or another gemstone. Triplet opals are similar, but the slice of opal is thinner and crowned by a transparent dome of quartz to protect the opal underneath and to refract the colours more effectively.

Opals are softer than many other gemstones and can be more easily chipped as a result. For this reason, triplet opals are more commonly chosen for a long-lasting, wearable piece of jewellery.

Opals can be used in many types of jewellery, from bracelets and earrings to pendants. It’s also a fun alternative to the traditional engagement ring, adding those enticing flashes of rainbow colours that make for a unique and personal item of jewellery.

Final thoughts

Opals have been treasured for thousands of years, inspiring folklore and being desired by royalty. The iridescence of precious opals and the wide range of colours, patterns and types you can source them in make them a unique and beautiful gemstone, especially for jewellery. Whether you choose an opal ring, pendant or you’re buying a memorable item for an October birthday or anniversary, this inimitable gemstone is perfect and offers a wide range of colourful options to choose from.

Contact us

At Cry for the Moon, we offer a host of jewellery in a variety of beautiful styles, from bridal jewellery and wedding bands to vintage pieces. Browse our selection online or get in touch with us directly if you have any further questions.

Birthstone Ruby: A Guide to Ruby

The deep, rich red of a beautiful ruby is a sight few can resist, so it’s no wonder that we’ve been creating jewellery from this particular gem for centuries. Rubies have a vibrant colour that demands attention and it’s also the birthstone for people with birthdays in July. As the “King of Precious Gems”, it’s a stone that has a keen following around the world for its breath-taking beauty and elegance.

Rubies have a specific crystal structure that means that oval and cushion cuts, in particular, show it off to its full potential. But they can also be cut beautifully in other shapes, such as round, antique square, emerald, marquise, heart and pear-shaped rubies. It’s a gem that works in a variety of ways for stunning ruby jewellery.

Ruby Jewellery

Ruby Jewellery

From just £390

Where are rubies found?

Rubies were originally found in Myanmar, and it’s one of the main sources for rubies to this day. But they are also mined elsewhere around the world, including Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Mozambique. Rubies from Myanmar, previously known as Burma, are considered to be the highest standard of rubies, in part because this area is historically the main producer of rubies. Mozambique rubies have a different appearance and tend to be darker and clearer. Other sources can produce gems that have overlapping colour and quality, and more inclusions, though there are region-specific characteristics among them.

A symbol for love, courage and devotion

The striking ruby is the perfect gemstone for a gift for your partner, as it’s long been a symbol of love, courage and devotion, as well as power and passion. Wealthy people throughout the ages have used rubies for their rarity and prestige, and admired for their beauty. Ancient warriors would set rubies beneath their skin with the belief that it would impart invincibility and courage, while others believed it to bestow safety and integrity, and even cure illnesses. Today, we use rubies as a way of symbolising love and romance, and it’s commonly used as an alternative for engagement rings for this reason.

The perfect hue

The first rubies were mined around 3000BCE in an ancient region around Mogok, where the finest rubies had a deep, vibrant red colour with purple hues that were referred to as ‘pigeon’s blood’. These purple elements to the ruby are very important – set in gold because of its intense yellow colour, the surrounding metal cancelled out the purple hue in the ruby to produce a purely red gemstone.

Today, it’s this particular shade of red that is the most desirable and valuable. In fact, it’s so in demand that large transparent rubies command even higher prices per carat than the same weight of diamonds. Since large rubies are so rare, gem cutters aim to preserve as much of the weight as possible, which results in a broad array of innovative and artistic techniques to remove as little weight from the stone through strategic cutting that will still maximise the colour and sparkle.

0.25ct Round Cut Ruby & Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Half Eternity Ring Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings Ruby and Diamond bar Brooch
0.25ct Round Cut Ruby & Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Half Eternity Ring Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings Ruby and Diamond bar Brooch
 £1,225  £3,165  £475


The rarest ruby

The Pigeon Blood Sunrise Ruby is named after a poem by Rumi – a 13th century Sufi poet – and is an incredibly rare 25.596-carat gem which is of the highest possible purity. It set a record in 2015 for a coloured gemstone when it was sold to an anonymous buyer for $30m USD. This figure was three times the previous record for a ruby and remains the most expensive one sold to date.

The value of colour

In a similar way to sapphires, rubies are found in a wide range of red shades, from light rose pink all the way to deep reds that are almost burgundy. This is because of trace elements of chromium which change how rich the red tone is – the more chromium, the deeper the shade. In Asia, the lighter reds are still considered rubies, whereas in North America and Europe, they’re referred to as Pink Sapphires.

The reason for this change in label is that medium-red rubies are still the preferred colour and the most valuable, which resulted in lighter coloured rubies being less valuable. However, they’re still a very beautiful stone and by changing the name, jewellers are able to sell them on their own merit without them being compared to rubies.

Ruby Diamond Cluster Ring 18ct White Gold, Oval Shaped Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings Petite Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings
Ruby Diamond Cluster Ring 18ct White Gold, Oval Shaped Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings Petite Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings
 £3,450  £4,035  £905


When to buy ruby jewellery

As the birthstone for July, it’s a wonderful gemstone for a gift during this month but it can also be bought for other special occasions. For example, it’s the gemstone associated with 40th wedding anniversaries, serving as a symbol for strength and happiness.

It makes for a memorable present for someone’s birthday during the month of July, whether you buy a unique christening gift to commemorate the birth of a July baby or as a special gift for a milestone birthday, such as a loved one’s 18th or 30th.

Rubies make for an elegant choice for a less traditional engagement ring or wedding band too. The bright colour is a lovely reminder of love and romance, and the durability of this gem makes it a great representation of commitment and devotion. Rubies pair beautifully with diamonds, and can be set in gold for a traditional look, or white gold or platinum for something more contemporary.

A sophisticated choice

Of all the coloured gemstones, rubies are certainly one of the most desirable and the most expensive when it comes to price-per-carat. The elegance and vibrancy they bring to any outfit makes them a wonderful choice for jewellery, whether you choose a traditional ruby ring, a pendant or earrings. It’s no wonder that rubies have been used in jewellery for so many years, and why their symbolism is something that remains to this day.

At Cry for the Moon, we stock the highest quality ruby jewellery, including engagement rings, wedding jewellery and vintage pieces. Browse online or stop by our store, or get in touch with us for more information.

Birthstone Emerald: A Guide to Emeralds

Emerald, the striking green gemstone that is not only the birthstone for May – but also the marker of a couple’s 55th wedding anniversary. A stunning addition to one’s jewellery collection, the intensely glamorous stone has a rich history dating back as far as the Egyptians, and remains a hugely popular choice to this day.

Emerald Origin

It’s believed that the oldest emeralds are circa 2.9 billion years old, with the earliest references to the stone originating from Egyptian times, where they were believed to be a symbol of eternal life. Cleopatra was a particular fan of emeralds and regularly wore jewellery including this stone.

During the Victorian era, emeralds received a royal endorsement when Prince Albert presented Queen Victoria with an 18-carat gold serpent engagement ring, which had rubies for eyes, diamonds for the mouth and a large emerald at the centre of the head. Snakes were a common motif during this time in jewellery and symbolised eternal love, much like emeralds, which are believed to represent a bridge between two people when given in love. Before this, engagement rings were a rarity, but they became a fashionable display of wealth for women.

Emeralds were also very popular during the art deco era, with socialites and famous entertainers wearing a variety of extravagant pieces which included emeralds, from rings and necklaces to decorative brooches. Emeralds increased in popularity even more when in 1942, Queen Elizabeth was given the striking Greville Kokoshnik tiara which was made from rose-cut diamonds and featured a large centrepiece emerald, with 12 more emeralds around the sides.

Where are emeralds found?

Emeralds are primarily mined in Columbia, although they can be found elsewhere in the world. Columbia produces around 95% of the world’s supply of emeralds, followed by Brazil, the USA, Pakistan and Zambia. In fact, it’s only in Columbia that one of the rarest types of emeralds can be found – the trapiche. These stones have darker impurities which create a hexagonal core to the gem, with lines that emanate from the centre to the outer edges, creating a wheel-like illusion.

Healing properties of emeralds

For millennia, emeralds have possessed strong symbolic power for the wearer and are thought to represent the prospect of renewal and hope. Emerald jewellery is believed to alleviate feelings of overwhelm, opening up the mind and releasing negative energy. It’s a stone that is said to leave you feeling calm and collected, as well as bringing about good fortune. The elite have long worn emeralds to achieve greater wisdom, but also to protect themselves from disease.

Emerald Qualities

Emeralds usually contain inclusions which are visible to the unaided eye, and as a result, “eye clean” emeralds are incredibly precious because they’re far rarer. The Sandawana mine in Zimbabwe is known for its vividly green stones which, while small, are intensely bright and clear. The stones from this mine average between 0.05 to 0.25 carats, and rarely weigh over 1.50 carats. 1 to 5-carat stones are usually used as centre stones and highly expensive, prestigious pieces can include emeralds of over 20 carats. In fact, since large emeralds are so rare, the price of a 10-carat gem can be as much as 50 times that of a one-carat stone.

Emeralds are relatively hard stones but because they’re prone to inclusions, they can be vulnerable to damage, so they require a lot of care. The ‘Emerald Cut’ is a particular shape used for emeralds, with rectangular step cuts with the corners cut off, as it protects the stones. Jewellery including emeralds is often surrounded by diamonds to protect the edges from damage and chipping.

The colour of an emerald gem is the most important aspect when choosing your jewellery, and it impacts the value of the stone considerably. Unlike diamonds, which have a recognised colour grading system, there’s no such grade for emeralds but instead, many sellers will categorise an emerald’s colour intensity from Deep to Light. Vivid stones are the most sought-after as they provide the perfect balance of tone and saturation. Emeralds can be classed as pure, bluish or yellowish-green. A stone with an intense green colour will be more valuable than one with strong yellow or blue overtones.

Gift inspiration

Emeralds make for beautiful pieces of jewellery that you can truly treasure, and if you’re looking for a unique alternative to the classic diamond, emeralds are a wonderful choice.

Emerald gemstones come in a wide range of shapes, from the rectangular Emerald Cut to Oval or Round. As an engagement ring, emeralds are a stunning option proving the perfect alternative for the bride-to-be who wants something striking, elegant and different from diamond.

As the birthstone for May, emerald necklaces and bracelets also make great birthday gifts for someone special. Or, perhaps a pair of sophisticated earrings are the perfect way to mark a special occasion? With the rich green hue and a variety of shapes to choose from, earrings are a wonderful way to enable the emeralds to catch the light and shine.

Final thoughts

Emeralds have such a rich history and are one of the most striking gems you can buy, making them a wonderful addition to a fine jewellery collection. Symbolising hope and renewal whilst evoking wealth and status, the emerald has long held its place as a prized possession among royalty and the elite.

From rings and wedding jewellery to necklaces, bracelets and statement earrings, we keep a wide range of emerald jewellery in our Guildford shop. Whether you’re looking for a unique engagement ring, a special birthday or anniversary gift or simply a beautiful item to mark a special occasion, please feel free to get in touch with us or come into the shop. Our friendly team would be glad to help you choose the perfect emerald for your collection.

Pearls: Nature’s Natural Gems

Almost all gemstones are crystal structures formed under huge pressure, but a select few are created by Mother Nature herself. These organic gemstones are coral, amber, jet, bone or mother of pearl – but the most popular and versatile would be pearls.

Throughout history pearls have been coveted by royalty and the rich and famous. Demonstrated by none other than ‘The Imperial State Crown’ (perhaps the most important item within the Crown Jewels) containing a stunning 269 pearls.

Dating further back, Cleopatra is said to have swallowed a pearl earring to win a bet with Marc Antony in order to host the most expensive dinner in history. According to historians she dropped one of her expensive pearl earrings (said to be worth ten million sesterces) into a cup of wine vinegar and crushed it until ‘melted’ – and then drank it. Not only winning the bet, but also Marc Antony’s heart in the process.

Fortunately, Marc Antony declined to swallow the second earring!

Pearls are formed in a mollusc of either oyster or freshwater mussels

The most popular cultured pearls, or Akoya as they are often referred to, are grown in farms. This process places a tiny bead of mother of pearl into a mollusc for between 10-15 months to protect the nacre from irritant, creating a fabulous gem of irradiance pearl.

These are then sorted for colour and shape, and polished to improve the lustre of the pearl. As a natural product, not all pearls grow perfectly round. The misshapen and irregular pearls are known as ‘baroque’ or ‘blister pearls’ but can have their own special beauty and character. The largest pearl ever found ‘The Pearl Of Allah’ weighs over 14lbs and was found in the Philippines in 1934.

The birthstone of June and the gem of 30th wedding anniversaries

Pearl Jewellery changes with fashion, but will always be a classic ‘must have’ to every jewellery collection. Necklace, Pendants, Earrings, Bracelets, Rings, Brooches & Tiaras.

Pearl Jewellery


From just £115


At Cry for the Moon we have a large range of classic modern pearls, alongside traditional two and three row previously owned items. Large Southsea pearls of 12-16mm, Tahitian (Grey), Akoya and freshwater, set with diamonds or plain. Long lariats, short chokers feature design pendants and so much more starting from £510.


Pearl earrings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from a simple stud to a large southsea diamond set drops, ranging from £115-£7000+. With 70 different designs, we have a design for all tastes.


Pendants are an ideal bridesmaid gift and set off any bridal dress, a simple sign of purity to bold strong contemporary features.


Bracelets that match necklace or Victorian seed pearl bangles are an ideal accompaniment for your special occasion.

Now, we’ve touched on several of the organic pearls, such as Southsea, Tahitian, freshwater and seed pearls. South Sea pearls are grown in the warm waters of South China and Japan, forming the great layers of nacre created by the oysters nucleated with a small bead. These are usually farmed for between 2-4 years allowing for longer growth – up to 20mm on some rare occasions.


Tahitian are natural grey or dark grey pearls grown in black lipped oyster’s. Many pearls that are dyed black or grey are called Tahitian, but mistakenly so.


Freshwater pearls have seen a huge boom over recent decades as they grow quicker, proving a more cost effective solution to their Akoya equivalent size. However, the lustre and irradiance may fade quicker with freshwater, and they do not appear as bright.


Seed pearls were extremely popular in the Victorian and Edwardian era, either small whole or half pearls of perhaps 1-3mm .

So, what is a natural pearl and how can you tell?

Honestly, looking at them with the naked eye it is impossible to tell. Perhaps the age and colouring could give you some indication, but unless you can spot a bead nucleus by looking down a drill hole, the only way to verify is by Xray.

  • If there is no bead, it is natural
  • If there is a visible bead, it is a Cultured Akoya

Are Mikimoto better than cultured pearls?

No, they are the same. Mikimoto is simply a brand that sells different qualities of pearls like many good jewellers… such as ourselves!

Please view our range here for your perfect pearl accessory.

October’s Opals

Opal is the birthstone for the month of October, along with pink tourmaline. It is also the stone given to celebrate the 14th year of marriage.


The name ‘opal’ is thought to be derived from the Sanskrit ‘Upala’, meaning ‘precious stone’ and later the Greek derivative ‘Opallios’ meaning ‘to see a change of color’. The Greeks believed they possessed the power of foresight, invisibility and prophecy, and the Romans considered Greeks as talismans for protection from danger.

Today, the most valuable opals come from Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, which have been the main producer of opals since their discovery in the 1870s. Opals are mostly found in Australia, Ethiopia, Mexico, the USA, South America, Canada, Brazil, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Australian opal was known as the ‘fire of the dessert’, formed from the weathering of sandstone deposited over older host rock in the Australian basin. The structure of of the gemstone is unique and comprised of tiny spheres of silicon dioxide, forming a pyramid shaped grid, interspersed with water. It’s the refraction of light through the spaces between these spheres that produces the recognisable opal characteristic, and unique ‘play of colour’. Australian opals are also valued for their stability, a key consideration for a gem containing 6-10% water.

Here in our Guildford shop we have a fine collection of opal jewellery, which you can see a selection of on in our dedicated category.

Opal Diamond Cluster Earrings Opal Diamond Cluster Pendant Opal Diamond Cluster Ring Opal Diamond Cluster Pendant
Opal & Diamond Cluster Earrings Opal & Diamond Cluster Pendant Opal & Diamond Cluster Ring Opal & Diamond Drop Pendant
 £4,500  £6,850  £3,995  £2,560


There are several classifications:

The preface

Solid means that the stone is a natural cut and polished, which does not have any kind of backing adhered to the stone to enhance the colour (as is the case with the partially fabricated stones – doublets or triplets). Queensland Boulder Opals – even though they have a natural brown ironstone backing which makes the stone darker – are still known as ‘solid opals’ since this is the natural formation of the stone.

Black refers to opal which has a dark grey to black body tone, and is generally mined in the Lightning Ridge area of New South Wales. As a general rule, Black Opal is the most valuable form, since its dark body tone causes the colours to be more vibrant.

Boulder is opal mined in Western Queensland. which normally has a natural brown ironstone backing attached to the stone. Boulder Opal usually has a very dark body tone and is the second most valuable form.

Crystal means any kind of opal which has a translucent or transparent quality. Translucent or transparent stones often have an enhanced clarity of colour, and for this reason it usually increases the value of a stone. The term ‘Crystal Opal’ normally denotes stones with a very light body tone, however Black Crystal Opal refers to a crystal opal, which has a dark body tone.

Semi-Black refers to opal which has a light to medium grey body tone and is therefore not quite dark enough to be called Black Opal. ‘Semi Black’ is generally found in Lightning Ridge, but is also found in White Cliffs and occasionally South Australia and can be one of the lesser valuable forms.

White means opal with a white to light body tone, and is also known as ‘milky opal’. White Opal is found in large quantities in South Australia, and the bulk of it does not have the same vibrancy of colour as found in other forms of the gemstone. For this reason, it is generally one of the least valuable forms.

September’s Sapphires

It’s nearly the end of September already, and we can’t go through this month without addressing its birthstone’s biggest myth:

Sapphires are blue, right?


Sapphires are perhaps the only natural gemstone that is available in almost every colour of the rainbow. Though blue is the most popular stone colour, and most often thought of when talking about sapphires, colours of yellow, green, orange, pink, purple and even clear (white) can also be found! In fact, September’s birthstone even come in every colour except red (red being rubies).

How can the same stone be so varied?

Both rubies and sapphires are part of the Corundum family of gems – a family in which is highly influenced by the presence of elements such as chromium; more chromium equals more red. Here’s how it works:

  • No chromium or iron and the stone appears colourless
  • Vanadium, and the stone appears violet or purple
  • Iron and chromium give the stones a yellow or orange colour
  • Padparadscha sapphires display a very specific pinky-orange hue
  • (though this is particularly rare and associated with Sri Lanka)

    About Sapphires

    Not only are sapphires the birthstone of September, but they also represent the 45th wedding anniversary gemstone. Since they have such an array of colours, they can be admired and worn by almost everyone!

    Many countries have sapphire deposits, with the most prized and valuable coming from Sri Lanka (formally Ceylon). Still today, the bright velvety cornflower blue stones are referred to as ‘Ceylon sapphires’.

    Here at Cry for the Moon we purchase many of our sapphires from our supplier of many years direct from Sri Lanka. We have built up a strong relationship allowing us to pick the brightest and most amazing sapphires to set in our beautiful bespoke jewellery.

    One of our favourite sapphires, the ‘Star Sapphires’, result from a rare naturally occurring phenomenon and exhibit a six-pointed star known as an asterism (and commonly a ‘Star Sapphire’). These stones will be cut into cabochon cut, finished with the look of a polished pebble, flat on one side.

    But don’t take our word for it! Even British Royalty show an admiration for the sapphire, with perhaps one of the most famous sapphires ever being available to view within the Crown Jewels. The Stuart Sapphire of 104ct is set within the Imperial State Crown and can be viewed with a visit to the Tower of London.

    Visit our sapphire page or pop in store to see our fabulous range of jewellery and rings.