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Jewelry is a common thread among societies that serve as a way to celebrate the history and cultural trends at any given time. What is seen as a symbol of beauty and heritage to some may seem odd or repulsive to others. In western societies, some sub-cultures pierce parts of their bodies other than, what is most common, their ears. Nose, upper ear and lip piercings are becoming increasingly popular in western culture. Travel to the other side of the world and go deep into the jungles of the African continent and Brazil and you will find a few tribes that wear lip plates as symbols of beauty and fertility for women, and, for young boys, his venture into manhood.

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The Blue Wittelsbach Diamond is one of the most precious gemstones in the world. Its story is shrouded in mystery, intrigue, centuries of royal history and drama. This breathtakingly beautiful gem is 35.56 carats of one of the most pristine VS2 deep, greyish- blue diamonds in recorded history. In December of 2008, the Blue Wittelsbach Diamond sold at a Christie’s auction for a record-breaking $24, 311,190 to world renowned jeweler Laurence Graff.

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The garnet is the official birthstone for the month of January as named by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It can also be given as a milestone gem on the second and sixth anniversaries. These scintillating gemstones come in a gorgeous array of colors including orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black and colorless; but the sultry, red garnet is by far the most popular.

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Amethysts are the official birthstones for the month of February as named by the American Association of Jewelers in 1912 as well the birthstone for the Pisces Zodiac sign. It is traditionally given as a gift on the fourth, sixth and seventeenth wedding anniversaries. Amethysts are the most valuable members of the quartz family. These whimsical gemstones also happen to be the most popular selling gemstone in the marketplace.

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The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas has become a hot spot for eager diamond hunters hoping to find a little buried treasure. Each year, nearly 200,000 people flock to the 800-acre park with their diamond hunting equipment, $7 for admission and big dreams. Every individual has their own method for finding a diamond. Some come prepared with a seruca, which is a screen designed to separate the diamonds from debris. Others get on their hands and knees in hopes of getting lucky. In 2007, visitors pulled over 1,000 diamonds from the ground. The Crater of Diamonds State Park’s philosophy is that anyone who visits may leave the park with a diamond, and some say, that also leaves room for some bad behavior.

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There are certain gemstones that are so beautiful and so rare that they achieve worldwide notoriety. However, for one of these gemstones to achieve infamy, there is one requirement: it has to have been stolen. Believe it or not, jewelry theft is actually quite common. There are some jewelry heists that people in and out of the jewelry world will be talking about for years to come. The De Long Star Ruby currently resides in the Museum of Natural History in New York City. It has a magnificent red hue with a luminous asterism, a six-rayed star, and weighs a whopping 100.32 carats. Its story is one of rich history, drama and intrigue.

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Have you ever looked at a picture of a piece of jewelry online and thought “this is absolutely gorgeous”, ordered it and then wished you had never even visited the site in the first place? It’s happened to all of us. We get deceived into purchasing an item based on an absurdly photoshoped picture that, if you had paid close attention to it, looked more like a cartoon drawing. It’s no different than the pictures of extremely photoshopped celebrities in magazines that look nothing like the pictures taken of them on the street by paparazzi. These photos are designed to sell an illusion. The difference is you are not paying money to look pictures of celebrities but you are spending your hard earned money on the piece of jewelry you’ve just purchased.

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The Hope Diamond is an infamously breathtaking jewel whose long, tortured history is shrouded in mystery, intrigue, decadence and a rumored curse. The saga of the exquisite deep grayish-blue gem starts hundreds of years ago and millions of miles away from its resting place, The Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. Millions of people flock to the museum to catch a glimpse of its brilliant design, deep-sea blue hue and gossip about the “curse” bestowed on anyone who has owned it.

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Geometric patterns are going to be huge this year. They emerged in jewelry designs in 2008, but this year you will see more designers incorporating them into their pieces. Wearing a geometric-themed piece of jewelry shows the world that you are not afraid to experiment with your style. The trick is knowing how to wear them.

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