Scarlett Willow Designs

Jewellery is like a biography ~ a story that tells the many chapters of our life


Ruby ~ July's Birthstone

BirthstonesScarlett Willow DesignsComment
_The gleaming Ruby should adorn All those who in July are born, For thus they'll be exempt and free, From lovers doubts and anxiety_.jpg

July babies get the stunning Ruby as their birthstone. Rubies are actually a form of Sapphire and is the most valuable form of the mineral corundum. The most sought after colour is a pure vibrant red to slight purplish red ~ fine ruby glows in sunlight thanks to red fluorescence which intensifies the colour.

Most of the finest Ruby is found in a region of Myanmar (Burma) called Magok, the legendary valley of rubies. In fact, a ruby from this region, set in a ring by Cartier and known as the “Sunrise Ruby”, broke records in 2015 when it was sold in Geneva by Sotheby’s. This huge 25.59 carat ring was expected to sell for between $12-18 million but eventually sold for over $30 million! That’s a whopping $1,185,451 per carat!

Here’s a few lesser known facts about the fabulous Ruby:

  • In Sanskrit, rubies are known as Ratnaraj, meaning the king of gems

  • the first laser was created in 1960 using the red fluorescence light emitted by ruby

  • ruby is the gemstone for the 40th wedding anniversary

  • people living in India believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in harmony with their enemies

  • warriors in Myanmar possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle but it wasn’t enough to just wear the rubies…they had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies!

If you would prefer not to go to that extreme(!) and prefer to wear your rubies in a beautiful piece of bespoke, handcrafted jewellery, get in touch

January's Birthstone ~ Garnet

Gemstone of the Week!Scarlett Willow DesignsComment

While researching for this blog post, I came across something I didn't know and is really unusual.  I know Garnets are found in a variety of colours and I know that most gemstone colours are due to the presence of certain minerals.  What I didn't know is that Garnet is not a single species but several species and varieties and that you cannot get a "pure" Garnet (they all have the same crystalline structure which makes them all Garnets) ~  you really do learn something new everyday!

The colour of the Garnet depends on the blend of varieties, these are:

Almandine is the most common type of Garnet and comes in a wide range of colours. The purest found was 80% almandine

Andradite is very rare and has more fire than a diamond! This has been found at 95% pure.

Grossular are rarely dark or red but are light to medium in tone.  They come in every colour including colourless but never blue. The purest found was 80% grossular.

Hydrogrossular are usually blueish-green but sometimes pink, white or grey and always opaque (there is some debate as to whether hydrogrossular can be classed as a garnet)

Pyrope is a red that rivals ruby although it is very dark. The purest found was 80% pyrope, 15% almandine and 2% other garnet

Spessartite comes in a range of oranges and is quite rare. One of my favourites! This has been found at 95% pure

Uvarovite is the rarest in the Garnet family and is a beautiful green that rivals Emeralds

Rhodolite Garnets are distinctly purplish and are a blend of pyrope and almandine, while Malaia is a blend of spessartite and pyrope.  One that was discovered in 2007 in Madagascar is an almandine and pyrope mix but this one changes colour in artificial light ~ blue that change to red with flashes of purple!

Rhodolite Garnet

Rhodolite Garnet

In the last 50 years, new blends have been discovered in East Africa and there's no reason to believe that there will be more to come.  Exciting news for the gem world, jewellers.....and January babies!



December's Birthstone ~ Zircon

Gemstone of the Week!Scarlett Willow DesignsComment

If I say Zircon to you, what do you think of?

I'm guessing you would fall into one of two camps......1 ~ never heard of it......2 ~ isn't that cubic zirconia??

Zircon and Cubic Zirconia are very different.  CZ is a lab created stone that is used as a diamond substitute along with Moissanite, whereas Zircon is a natural gemstone.  Zircon has such similar properties to diamonds that the two were often confused.  

Zircon comes in almost any colour you can think of, from white/colourless to pinks to blues to yellows to oranges to violets and everything in between! My personal favourite is Cognac Zircon, such a lovely rich colour.  Green is the rarest and therefore very expensive. 

George pendant.jpg

An example of green Zircon can be seen in the George Pendant.  This is a huge 43.79 carat natural green Zircon (virtually all Zircon is heat-treated to enhance the colour) from the Ratnapura mines in Sri Lanka, and was cut  by George Cravoshay and set into this pendant by his wife, designer Paula Crevoshay.  It's large size and the fact that it has not been treated makes it incredibly rare and currently sits in the Smithsonian.

Zircon Fun Facts!.jpg



Gemstone of the Week ~ Topaz!

Gemstone of the Week!Scarlett Willow DesignsComment

And so we come to November!  You lucky November babies have two stunners as your birthstones and this week it's the turn of........Topaz!

The most common colours of natural, untreated Topaz are pale yellow, brown and grey as well as pastel shades of green and pink.  As these are pale, most Topaz are treated through irradiation and/or heat to produce those vivid colours we know and love!  The most popular are the three stunning blues ~ a deep blue is known as "London Blue"; a highly saturated medium blue is known as "Swiss Blue"; and a bright light blue is called "Sky Blue"



Imperial Topaz, with its distinct peach, pink, orange or champagne hues, is  the rarest topaz variety. It is mined in the Ouro Preto mines of Minas Gerais, Brazil and deposits were also found in the Urual Mountains in Russia. In fact Imperial Topaz was named in honour of the Russian Tsars of the 17th Century who prized its luxurious golden-sherry hues. Today Imperial Topaz is classified as a very rare gem!


It was discovered over 2500 years ago and has more folklore and legend surrounding it than any other gem. It is said to attract love and fortune, protect against enemies an is even thought to aid with willpower to lose weight when worn with moonstone!

The Greeks believed Topaz gave them strength, relieved insomnia and restored sanity ~ sounds perfect for today's hectic lifestyle!  They also thought it had supernatural powers and could make it's wearer invisible

Topaz became a talisman of power in Ancient Egypt, protecting it's owner from harm.  The Egyptians thought it received its colour from Ra, the Sun God.

Topaz is a great gem to wear in jewellery as it's strong and durable.  It's also pleochroic, a fabulous term that describes the different colours you can see in a gemstone as it's moved in the light eg red topaz can show reds, pinks and even yellows.  Get in touch if you would love to add Topaz to your jewellery collection!


November's Here!

NovemberScarlett Willow DesignsComment
November poem.jpg

November....the month of Bonfire Night, Toffee Apples, stunning colours in the trees and frosty mornings! I love this time of year!

From a gemstone point of view, we have the lovely Topaz and Citrine as this month's birthstones.  The poem above indicates that Topaz is an "amber hue" but the truth is that Topaz comes in many different colours including shades of blue and pink.

More to come on those beautiful gemstones over the coming month.  If you are a November baby, or know someone who is, and would like to commission a special piece of jewellery featuring one of these lovelies, then drop me a line via the "Contact" page.