Jewelry Guide

Huge wall of natural handmade beaded necklaces. Learn about gem treatments and jewelry care here.

Gemstone Treatments

With the large variety of gemstones available in the marketplace today, it’s an exciting time to be purchasing and wearing beautiful gemstone jewelry. To enhance the beauty and bring out the best qualities of the gemstones, it is common for special treatments or enhancements to be done to most stones used in jewelry today. These treatments methods may include one or more methods and may or may not be permanent. These processes are not only accepted in the jewelry industry but are often required in order to achieve the desired appearance of the stone. Because of this, you can expect that gemstones used in our jewelry have undergone some sort of treatment or enhancement as well.

The following codes indicate the types of treatments which are standard in the industry:

N = Not Enhanced

D = Dyeing / Color-enhancement

H = Heating

HP = Heating & Pressure 

O = Oiling/Resin Infusion 

SC = Special Care Required 

B = Bleaching 

F = Filling 

I = Impregnation 

R = Irradiation 

C = Coating 

L = Lasering 

U = Diffusion 

W = Waxing/Oiling in Opaque Stones

Pearl Information

Pearls are one of nature's most amazing creations, coming in a wide range of colors and shapes. Natural pearls are formed when a foreign object, such as a grain of sand, becomes trapped inside the oyster’s shell. To protect its soft tissue, the animal surrounds the object with several mineral layers known as nacre which cause the pearl to form. Most pearls used in jewelry today are cultured pearls, created by intentionally inserting small mother-of-pearl beads inside the oyster's shell. Depending on the type and size of pearl, it can take 2 to 10 years for an oyster to form a pearl, at which point the pearl can be harvested.

Mabé  pearls are pearls which grow against the inside shell of an oyster rather than in the mollusk's body. Unless stated otherwise, you should assume the pearls featured in our jewelry are cultured pearls and have received some sort of treatment to enhance the color or finish of the pearl.

Another type of pearl you may see is called a shell pearl. Shell pearls are a man-made imitation pearl. They can be made various ways, sometimes with conch shell, mother-of-pearl, or other shells. Some are made by grinding shell into a powder and adding a binder to create the shape. Most will be dyed to achieve a certain color and may be treated with a coating to provide a pearl-like luster similar to nacre. They are an inexpensive way to create the look of a genuine pearl.

Birthstone Information

JANUARY: Garnet (traditional)

FEBRUARY: Amethyst (traditional)

MARCH: Aquamarine (traditional); Bloodstone (alternate)

APRIL: Diamond (traditional); Crystal (alternate)

MAY: Emerald (traditional)

JUNE: Pearl (traditional); Moonstone, Alexandrite (alternate)

JULY: Ruby (traditional)

AUGUST: Peridot (traditional)

SEPTEMBER: Sapphire (traditional); Lapis (alternate)

OCTOBER: Opal (traditional); Pink Zircon, Pink Tourmaline (alternate)

NOVEMBER: Imperial, Orange & Golden Topaz (traditional); Citrine (alternate)

DECEMBER: Blue Zircon (traditional); Blue Topaz, Turquoise, Tanzanite (alternate)

About Estate Jewelry

Some of the jewelry items sold on the J'tara Web site are previously owned or used. If this is the case, it will be stated in the title of the category or the description. It is typical of preowned jewelry to "have a story" as we say, in that it may show slight signs of wear, age, patina, or other indications that they are not new items. This is especially true for vintage and antique jewelry. This is part of the beauty of the objects and is often considered desirable by collectors. 

Newer estate jewelry will show little or no signs of wear. Any notable imperfections, if present, will be described in the product description. While J'tara does its best to provide thorough descriptions and photographs of these items, the beauty of such objects is subjective to each client and may or may not be suitable for your needs. Therefore, these items are returnable in accordance with J'tara's standard Return Policy.

Caring For Your Jewelry

When selecting jewelry pieces, please be aware that certain gemstones and jewelry components may need special care. As a rule of thumb, jewelry should never be worn when working with household chemicals, pesticides, soaps, abrasives or in a wet environment such as showering, swimming, dishwashing, etc. Jewelry should not be worn when working out or left in areas prone to dampness or moisture, such as bathrooms, near sinks, etc. It is always best to apply cosmetics, hairsprays, perfumes, and lotions prior to putting on your jewelry and, when possible, avoid those areas of the skin where jewelry is worn. Jewelry should also be removed prior to working with nail polishes and polish removers. Chemicals contained in any of these products are often harmful to jewelry and may erode the finish or damage the gemstones. Extreme temperatures, hot or cold, or extreme temperature changes should be avoided as well, especially when wearing natural stones.

When selecting jewelry, keep in mind that certain gemstones are more porous or “soft”, making them more susceptible to scratching, chipping or cracking than other stones. The most common include amber, bone, coral, fluorite, howlite, apatite, ammolite, azurite, chrysocolla, malachite, opal (including fire opal), shell (paua, abalone, mother of pearl, etc.), pearl, serpentine, sodalite, turquoise, and variscite. Care should be taken when wearing and storing jewelry made with these stones. Such items should be stored individually in a soft bag or wrapped with a soft cloth, separate from other jewelry or objects that could potentially scratch the stones. Softer stones should never be soaked in water or exposed to high heat or sudden temperature changes. Special care should be given to jewelry made with leather, seed beads, glass beads, or crystals, as well as stones set without prongs or bezels (glue set). In such instances, all contact with water or chemicals should be avoided to prevent damage to the leather/stone or loosening of the stone.

When cleaning your jewelry, use only a soft dry cloth. We never recommend using liquid cleaners, ultrasonic cleaners, toothpaste, or polishers on any type of jewelry. To clean non-silver items and silver items with "soft" or porous stones, buff softly with a dry untreated cloth. Avoid using water as it may damage the finish on some beads. To clean silver tarnish on most items, it is best to polish after each wear with a dry treated polishing cloth made for silver. 

Liquid silver polish should not be used on any jewelry that contains stones or has been given an oxidized or antique finish. Doing so may damage the stones and remove the desired finish. If you must use liquid polish, it is only recommended for use on plain silver jewelry (even though the product may say it is safe for use on stones or other metals). To prevent tarnishing, silver jewelry should be stored in an anti-tarnish jewelry box or treated jewelry bag. Mini plastic jewelry bags are also a convenient and easy way to protect jewelry and also slow down the oxidation process. These are available on this Web site.

Other Information About Our Products

J’tara is proud to bring you exciting jewelry styles and other unique products unlike any other found in the marketplace today. The variety of materials and originality of our merchandise are what makes J'tara so beloved by our clients. 

The various components used in our pieces are gathered from numerous sources around the globe and, in many cases, are entirely handmade by artisan craftsmen. Because of this, J’tara may not know the precise makeup of each material component used in the jewelry or other merchandise we offer. Furthermore, since we are not certified gemologists nor jewelers, we must rely on the information provided by manufacturers and suppliers as to the treatments and physical properties of the various stones and jewelry components. This information is stated in each item’s description and is not provided by us. In some cases, certain information may not be available. In either instance, J'tara cannot confirm with absolute certainty the accuracy of such information, nor can we guarantee the lifespan of any stone, component, or finish. Because our items are not offered as investment pieces, rather solely for their beauty and the enjoyment of the wearer, purchasing from J’tara is done so with this understanding. To that end, we offer a ten (10) calendar day inspection period from the date of receipt on all J’tara merchandise. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you may initiate a return within the inspection period for a refund in accordance with our Return Policy stated in the Terms and Conditions Agreement. By purchasing from J'tara, you understand and are agreeing with the terms and conditions of the Agreement and our Return Policy.

To learn more about gemstones, what goes into our jewelry designs, and how to care for specific types of jewelry, check out our blog articles. We always have something new and exciting to share!

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