Birthstone of the Month: November

Birthstone of the Month: November

By: Morgan Garrison

November is kind of like Golden Hour - the time of day just before the sun sets when the world is bathed in orange and gold. The earth begins her melancholy transition from fall to winter as the days become shorter and sunshine becomes scarce. The last of the leaves cling desperately to the trees, holding on those last few moments before being forced to sleep for three months. It only makes sense that the November birthstones, Topaz and Citrine, would represent the colors of this time of year. Modern birthstone jewelry features citrine to represent November which makes sense because citrine is the most readily available and affordable yellow/orange gemstone. However, the yellowish orange variety of topaz is the traditional birthstone for November. Both stones have origin stories as rich as their golden color.

Topaz occurs naturally in an array of colors from colorless to yellow and orange, pink and violet, even brown. Red and blue topaz can be found naturally but they are very rare. In fact, most blue topaz is actually colorless topaz that has been irradiated or heat treated to make it blue. In addition to heat treatments, colorless topaz can also be coated with a thin, artificial coating to make the color-shifting “Mystic” topaz. The striking orangey-red-pink topaz called Imperial topaz was first discovered in Brazil in the 18th century. It was also discovered in the Russian Ural mountains. This variety was a favorite of the royal families of both countries. So much so, there’s even debate about where the name “Imperial Topaz” comes from.

When red and pink topaz was discovered in Russia, the Romanovs kept the finest samples for their exclusive use. In the late 19th century, Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, paid a visit to a mining town where he was given a reddish topaz as a gift. Two imperial families, two locations, two theories. Where the name came from will probably continue to remain a mystery. Today, The vast majority of topaz on the market still comes from Brazil and Nigeria. But it can also be found in Madagascar, Mexico, and it’s even still found at some old Russian sites.

There’s even debate about where the name “Topaz” comes from. Some believe it comes from the Sanskrit word for fire, “tapas”. Others believe it comes from the Greek “topazos”. There is also an island off the coast of Egypt in the Red Sea formerly called Topazios but, you won’t find any topaz there though. You’d find peridot, the August birthstone. The first recorded topaz were yellow stones discovered in Ancient Egypt.. The Egyptians believed these stones were given their golden color by the sun god, Ra. This connection to sunlight could help explain some of the healing properties topaz was once believed to possess.

Ever notice how your mood improves on a sunny day? It’s not a coincidence, it’s vitamin d from the sun’s rays. Ancient cultures wouldn’t have known about vitamin d, but it’s probably safe to assume that they made a connection between the sun and happiness and improved mood. It’s possible that this connection, combined with the legendary origins of it’s sunny color led people to believe that topaz could help dispel sadness. The ancient Greeks believed topaz gave them strength. In Europe from the 12th to the 15th centuries people believed topaz could calm the wearer, dispel anger, and even block magic spells.

Even though the Ancient Greeks thought topaz could give them strength, the stone itself does have some weaknesses. Topaz has a Mohs hardness of 8 making it suitable for daily wear, but it has poor toughness meaning it can chip or crack upon impact. Heat and irradiation treatments used to make colorless topaz blue are permanent however, the coating used to create Mystic topaz can be damaged by the ingredients in jewelry cleaners and by high heat. It’s best to stick with warm water and mild soap for cleaning.

Topaz may be the traditional birthstone for November, but Citrine is arguably the more popular. Citrine ranges in color from transparent yellow to brownish orange with stops at yellow-orange, orange and orangey-red along the way. Citrine is actually one of the most readily available and affordable yellow gemstones. Yellow and orange citrine does occur naturally, but it’s rare. You’re probably thinking, how can citrine be so prevalent, but also rare? That’s because most of the citrine on the market today is actually heat treated Amethyst or Smoky Quartz. This practice is common, permanent, and has been done since the 18th century.
The name Citrine, most likely comes from the French word for lemon, “citron”. It’s name may be French, but it’s Spain we have to thank for bringing citrine to Europe. Madeira, Spain is where heat treating different varieties of quartz to produce citrine was first discovered in the mid 1700s. Some argue that had the heat treating process not been discovered, citrine would not be nearly as popular as it is today. Though today its name refers more to the color than the origin, Madeira Citrine is known for its deep rich orange color. It might be hard to believe that jewelers have been heat treating citrine for over 3 centuries, but the gem’s history goes back even further than that.

One of the most historically significant citrine mines is in Bolivia. First discovered in the 1600s, the Anahi mine was given to a Spanish Conquistador as dowry when he married an indigenous princess, Anahi. The mine was lost to the jungle for over 300 years. It was rediscovered in the 1960s and continues to produce citrine, amethyst and ametrine, a bi-colored fashion stone that’s half amethyst, half citrine. Today, citrine is still mined in Bolivia. Other important sources include Brazil, Spain, Madagascar, Mexico and Uruguay.

Due to its similarity in color, citrine has been mistaken for topaz many times throughout history. Because of this, citrine was believed to have most of the same healing properties as topaz. Where the two differ, is that citrine was once believed to protect the wearer from snake venom. But you won’t find me testing that theory!

Citrine scores a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale and has good toughness so It’s durable enough to wear everyday. It’s strong enough to withstand the ultrasonic cleaner. You can steam clean citrine but do so with caution as high heat can cause your stone to crack. When in doubt, stick with warm soapy water and a soft brush.

When it comes to November birthstone jewelry, we have several options for you! First up, the ever popular “This is Us: Our Life, Our Story” collection. This collection features simulated gemstones set in sterling silver. All the pieces match making it easy to build the birthstone set of your dreams! This collection has necklaces, earrings, rings and now bangle bracelets!
If you’re looking for something a little more bold, check out this gorgeous pendant. Featuring a round cut 4.65 carat orange citrine and .06 carat total weight of diamonds on bail. It’s almost like wearing a drop of solid sunshine around your neck! Setting is sterling silver and it is $129.

So November Babes, I hope I’ve convinced you that your birthstone is much more beautiful than you previously thought. Just like emerald represents the rebirth of spring in May, topaz and citrine are the perfect representation of fall. 11 months down and one to go, I hope you enjoy the golden hour that is November!

November 18, 2021 — Brian Van Duyne
Birthstone of the Month: October

Birthstone of the Month: October

By Morgan Garrison

October brings with it crisp weather, pumpkin spice lattes and two birthstones: opal and tourmaline! These multicolored gemstones come in as many colors as the changing leaves. Both stones also have colorful lore that include mistaken identity and atmospheric origin stories. Read on to discover more about these gems!

Opal’s name comes from Latin “opalus” and Sanskrit “upala” which means “precious stone.” Bedouin once believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. The Ancient Greeks thought opals granted the gift of prophecy. Perhaps the color shifting stone reminded them of the goddess Iris, personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. In Western Europe, opal was a symbol of purity, hope and truth. 

First brought to the West from India, the most productive opal mines today are in Australia. New South Wales is an important source of both black and white opals. Queensland, in the north east, is the only location in the world that produces the Boulder opal. Other important mines are located in Ethiopia, and Mexico. 

Opals can come in a whole rainbow of colors from white to yellow, orange, red, even brown and black. The color changing phenomenon is called “play-of-color.” Caused by its crystal structure, play-of-color means no two opals are exactly alike. It’s important to take care with opals not only because you’ll never find an exact replacement but because they are also quite delicate stones.
Opals fall at about a 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. They can be easily scratched by other gemstones so it’s recommended that you store your opals by themselves. At home, it’s best to clean your opal with warm soapy water and a soft brush and avoid high heat and harsh cleaning products.

Opals are very popular with Fernbaugh’s customers, they are hard to keep in stock! Right now we have a few beautiful opal pieces in the store like this jaw-dropping opal and diamond ring. The ¾ carat oval white opal is set in 14 karat yellow gold and surrounded by just over ½ a carat of diamonds. 

If you're looking for something a little more wearable for daytime, check out our 14 karat gold Aurelie Gi line! This ring is brand new to our collection and has an oval cut white opal flanked by two white topaz stones for a total weight of just over ⅓ of a carat. 

While Opal is the traditional birthstone for October, tourmaline has been adopted as a secondary birthstone. Tourmaline has been around for a long time, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that scientists finally recognized tourmaline as its own mineral species. This combined with it’s wide variety of colors, helps explain why tourmaline has been mistaken for other gemstones for centuries. In fact, “Ceasar’s Ruby”, one of Russia’s crown jewels, is actually a red tourmaline. 

Tourmaline comes in such an array of colors ancient mystics believed it could inspire artistic expression. Tourmaline can even have multiple colors in one crystal. In fact, the Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) word its name comes from, “toramalli,” means “stone with mixed colors.” The most popular varieties of tourmaline are rubellites (pink and red), chrome (emerald green) and paraiba (neon green and blue/violet). The different colors were believed to have different healing properties and powers. For example, pink tourmaline is associated with love, compassion and gentleness while green promotes courage, strength and stamina. 

Tourmaline has been found all over the globe. Arguably, the most important source is Brazil, but it is also mined in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and the United States. Brazilian mines are best known for being the first source of Paraiba tourmaline. These electric green, blue and violet stones were first discovered in the late 1980s. Scientists found that the striking color was caused by the trace element copper which wasn’t previously known to be a coloring agent for tourmaline.
Tourmaline is a stronger stone than opal. Ranking a 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, they are generally suitable for daily wear. Though they are typically stable enough to withstand chemicals and prolonged exposure to light, the Gemological Institute of America recommends avoiding ultrasonic and steam cleaning as heat can damage a tourmaline. As with many stones, the best way to clean a tourmaline at home is with warm soapy water and a soft brush. 

While tourmaline can come in every color in the rainbow, pink tourmaline has been adopted as a birthstone for October. If you’re looking for a simple, everyday piece to incorporate into your jewelry wardrobe, look no further than our “This is Us: Our Life, Our Story” collection. This line allows you to build your perfect personalized necklace by choosing the birthstone colors you need. You can even mix in initials and objects like hearts and pawprints. We’ve also recently expanded this collection to include bangle bracelets. Specially designed charms don’t slide or spin and the bracelet itself opens up at the back for easy wear. 

If you’re looking for something a little bolder, consider this gorgeous ring! The pink center stone is a sapphire, but the color is the perfect representation of the October birthstone. Sapphire’s are a harder stone which makes them a more sensible choice for a ring. This 1.5 carat oval pink sapphire is surrounded by .43 carat total weight of diamonds set in a rose-gold halo. The rest of the mounting is 14 karat white gold. 

Opals and tourmalines and their rainbow of colors really are the perfect birthstones for a time of year when the earth itself is changing colors. We hope that you'll stop into the store and check out all our birthstone jewelry soon!

Fernbaugh's Family Celebrations

Fernbaugh's Family Celebrations

Today is a big day for the Fernbaugh's family!

Our amazing manager, Samantha, is celebrating not only her 15 year work anniversary, but also her birthday! Samantha means so much to us and our customers. She's incredibly knowledgeable about jewelry and the industry. It seems like she knows everyone who walks in the store and even if she doesn't, she'll greet you with a warm smile and do everything she can to help you out. 

In addition to Samantha's birthday, it's also customer specialist Morgan's one year work anniversary. In a year she's learned a lot about the industry and continues to learn more every single day. If she's not out on the sales floor, she's working behind the scenes taking photos and writing for the website and social media. 

Stop in and congratulate these two on their milestones!

October 13, 2021 — Brian Van Duyne
Birthstone of the Month: September

Birthstone of the Month: September

By Morgan Garrison

When you hear “sapphire”, the image that comes to mind is probably that of a rich, deep blue gemstone. While blue sapphires are the most famous and recognizable type, it’s only one of the many varieties of sapphires that many, this author included, didn’t know existed. Keep reading to find out what else you might not know about his captivating gem!

The name Sapphire comes from the Greek “sappheiros” and Latin “saphirus” meaning blue. It’s blue color has contributed to it being associated with the sky by many cultures. The ancient Persians believed that the earth sat on a giant sapphire and it’s reflection is what made the sky blue. Medieval clergymen favored sapphires because the color symbolizes Heaven. 

Sapphires have also long been associated with the soul, romance, fidelity and royalty making it a perfect choice for a royal engagement ring. Perhaps Lady Diana Spencer knew the significance of the stone when she chose her engagement ring in 1981. The 12 carat oval sapphire surrounded by a halo of diamonds is now worn by her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Interestingly enough, she’s not the only member of the royal family sporting a sapphire engagement ring. Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, also wears a halo style ring set with an oval sapphire estimated at about 2 carats. 

If you keep up with the Windsors, you might be thinking, “but Princess Eugenie’s ring is pink? Sapphires are blue!” You’re not wrong, blue is the most well known variety of sapphire, but they are found in an array of colors including purple/violet, yellow, green and even pink. Princess Eugenie’s gem is actually a Padparadscha sapphire. This orangy-pink variety is named for the lotus flower and is found in Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka is an important source for sapphires. Sapphires are also found in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar and high in the Himalayas in the Kashmir region. Sapphires were first discovered in Kashmir in 1881 when rockslides exposed a pocket of cornflower blue stones. The color and quality of the stones mined here quickly made Kashmir a sapphire capital. Kashmiri sapphires are still some of the most coveted in the world because of their rich blue color that looks almost velvety. 

Color is one of the most significant factors that determines a sapphire's value. Sapphire’s with the prized blue color are found naturally, but sapphires can also be heat treated to improve their color. The practice doesn’t harm the integrity of the stone and the results are permanent so it’s widely accepted in the jewelry industry. Sapphires also have a hardness rating of 9 on the Mohs scale which makes them suitable for daily wear. They can also withstand ultrasonic and steam cleaning. 

Here at Fernbaugh’s, we have an assortment of gorgeous sapphire jewelry. This adorable pear shaped sapphire pendant is brand new to our collection. Set in sterling silver with a halo of diamonds surrounding the sapphire, this necklace is a perfect everyday piece. It even has matching earrings! The necklace is $199 and the earrings are $269. 

Looking for a royal inspired ring for the queen of your heart? Look no further than this regal oval sapphire ring. Pictures don’t quite do it justice! The dark blue sapphire is surrounded by a halo of diamonds set in a vintage style head with scalloped detailing on the band. This 10 karat white gold ring is $699. 

Did you know that sapphire is also the official gemstone of the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries? Sapphire and diamond band would make the perfect anniversary band! 4 oval shaped sapphires are nestled together with ⅜ carat total weight of round diamond accents set in 14 karat white gold. This band is $2299.

September’s birthstone has lore as rich as its blue hue. Whether you're a September baby or you just like blue, a piece of sapphire jewelry would make a perfect edition to your wardrobe! 


Birthstone of the Month: August

Birthstone of the Month: August

By Morgan Garrison

August’s birthstone is Peridot, a beautiful green stone with a long and intriguing history. Mining of this gem may have started as early as 340 BCE. It’s also been confused with topaz and emerald through the years. Considering it didn’t have an official name until the end of the 18th century, it’s no wonder ancient and medieval peoples were often mistaken. 

Peridot’s history starts off the coast of Egypt, on an island in the Red Sea once called Topazios. It was later renamed Zabargad (or St. John’s Island), but odds are you haven’t heard of it by any name. That’s exactly how the Ancient Egyptians would’ve liked it. According to legend, Topazios and it’s mines were a precious secret heavily guarded by the Egyptians. 

Records date the mines to around 340-279 BCE and the gems mined here have been prized for centuries. Topazios was the source for some of the finest specimens in museums today. The largest known faceted peridot, weighing in at 310 carats, came from Topazios and is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. 

From the time of the Crusades (1095-1219) up until World War I, Topazios was considered the source for the finest peridot. But mining operations have been started and abandoned throughout the years because of the harsh conditions on the island. Nicknamed the Island of Death, Topazios has no fresh water sources and very little flora and fauna so keeping miners hydrated and fed has always been an issue. Mining there has mostly stopped simply because it’s too expensive. Mining operations in Myanmar, Pakistan and the United States are simply easier and less expensive to run. 

The name of the island is believed to be the source of the name Topaz, which explains why peridot has often been mistaken for that gem. But how was it confused for emerald? The island has produced large gems with pure, rich green color which closely resembles that of an emerald. Some historians argue that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection may have actually been peridot from Topazios. Considering it’s location, this theory holds up. 

So where did the name Peridot come from? It is derived from the Arabic word “faridat” which means “gem”. It’s a member of the mineral family Olivine so named for its color which, according to Pliny the Elder, “resembles that of fresh [olive] oil.” The name Olivine was coined by mineralogist A.G. Werner in the 1790s. The English adopted that name for the gem, but the French called it peridot. The majority of peridot on the market from the 18th-20th centuries was being cut in France so the French name stuck. Officially, “Peridot” is the name for the gemstone and “Olivine” is the name for the mineral. 

It’s color is another fascinating aspect of peridot. Unlike many other gems whose color comes from trace elements like iron, peridot’s green color occurs naturally. The finest peridot is a pure grass green without any hints of yellow or brown. This pure color tends to appear in gems 10 carats or greater. Most peridot on the market today is yellowish green to greenish yellow. 

Today, peridot is mostly being mined in Asia and the United States. In Myanmar, it’s possible to find loose peridot crystals in crevices in the rock near the gem city of Mogok. Mines in Pakistan are located in the Himalayan mountains. Here in the US, peridot is mined in Arizona but it has also been found in Hawaii. Oddly enough, peridot has even been found in space. Though most of it isn’t gem quality, it has come to earth in meteorites, and scientists found traces of it in 2005 in comet dust retrieved by the Stardust space probe. 

As far as jewelry goes, peridot isn’t recommended for 24/7/365 wear in a ring as it’s a softer gem. Measuring a 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, peridot is vulnerable to scratching, thermal shock, and can even be damaged by long term exposure to acid perspiration. It’s best to handle peridot with care and clean it only with a soft brush, mild soap, and warm water. Don’t let this deter you from putting peridot in a ring, you certainly can, just make sure not to wear it every day and especially not when you’re doing hard work with your hands. To be fair, we wouldn’t recommend you wear any rings while you’re doing hard work with your hands. 

In addition to our staple pieces like our “This is Us” and stackable ring collections, we have two brand new peridot pieces here at Fernbaugh’s that we handpicked at the Summer Jewelry show back in July. 

First up is this gorgeous peridot and diamond pendant. Set in sterling silver, a halo of diamonds surrounds an oval checkerboard cut peridot. The pendant slides on a 16 to 18 inch adjustable chain. The stone itself is a beautiful example of an eye-clean lighter colored peridot. 

If you’re looking for an extra special piece, check out this peridot and diamond ring. The oval cut stone in this ring is the quintessential rich yellowish green color. The setting is white gold and there are 4 round diamonds on either side of the shank. 

If you have an August birthday and think you don’t like your birthstone, I hope that I’ve convinced you to take a second look. The bright green color is perfect to represent the height of summer.


Birthstone of the Month: July

Birthstone of the Month: July

By Morgan Garrison

The color red has long been synonymous with heat, passion and love. So what better birthstone for a month that falls in the height of summer than the fiery red Ruby. Rubies are considered to be one of the most important stones on the modern colored gemstone market. But what makes rubies so special? It might seem obvious but color is the most significant factor in determining a ruby’s value. Keep reading to learn all about them! 

The name ruby comes from the Latin word “ruber” which means red but, rubies are definitely not just basic red. Their color can range from red-orange to true red to a deep purplish red. Rubies are a member of the corundum mineral family and the trace element chromium is what gives it its red color. The finest rubies grow in marble where the higher chromium and lower iron content of the rock make for very intense, fluorescent gems. Rubies also grow in basalt rocks but the higher iron content makes the rubies darker in color and can mask it’s fluorescence. 

If you know a little bit about diamonds, you may have heard of fluorescence and have probably heard that it’s a bad thing. In diamonds it is, but in rubies it’s actually a good thing. Fluorescence means that the gem will appear to glow under black light or even sunlight. In fact, it was the fluorescence of rubies that was used to create the very first laser in 1960.

A ruby’s Mohs hardness rating is a 9 which makes it suitable for everyday wear. It can also withstand ultrasonic and steam cleaning. You probably don’t have these types of cleaners at home but warm soapy water and a toothbrush will do the trick. If your ruby has undergone a filling treatment to help reduce inclusions, you should, only ever clean it with a damp cloth. Your jewelry retailer is required to disclose what treatments your stone has undergone. 

Today, ruby is one of the most expensive per carat colored gems, but it has been an important gemstone to many cultures throughout the ages. Its Sanskrit name, “Ratnaraj,” means “King of the gems.” The name could not be more appropriate as Ancient Hindus believed that offering fine rubies to the deity Krishna would ensure one was reincarnated as an Emperor. Warriors in Burma (now Myanmar) once believed that rubies would protect them and would wear them into battle. Medieval Europeans associated the gem with blood and the power of life and believed they could bring good health as well as wealth and luck in love.

Whether or not they actually bring luck in love is yet to be proven, but rubies are the traditional gem for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversary. If you have one of these anniversaries, or any relationship milestone coming up, consider a ruby stackable ring! Starting at just $299, our stackable collection is available in 10 and 14 karat white, yellow and rose gold in a wide variety of designs.

What better way to show your love than with a ruby set in a heart? This adorable set from our “Rhythm of Love” line is set in sterling silver with simulated rubies and diamonds. The earrings are $249 and the necklace is $125. 

We’d love it if you stopped by to check out all the ruby pieces we have in store. But you must be sure to say hello to the most precious ruby of all, Ruby! I could not let this post end without a shout out to Fernbaugh's mascot and arguably best employee. 


Ruby Gemstone | Ruby Stone – GIA
Ruby Description (

Birthstone of the Month: June

Birthstone of the Month: June

By Morgan Garrison

If you were born in June, consider yourself lucky because you have not one, not two, but three birthstones! June’s three birthstones are Alexandrite, Pearl, and Moonstone. All three stones are very different but all beautiful. Keep reading to learn about each one and choose your favorite.

First up, Pearls! Pearls have been treasured by ancient and modern civilizations for thousands of years. Ancient Middle Eastern cultures believed that pearls were teardrops from Heaven. The people of ancient China believed that pearls came from the brains of dragons. The actual process of formation isn’t quite that exciting, but the Chinese were on the right track thinking that they formed inside a living creature.

Pearls form when an irritant, like a piece of sand, gets inside the shell of an oyster or mollusk. The irritation triggers the mollusk to secrete a substance called nacre. Layers of nacre build and layer and eventually a pearl is formed. This process happens naturally, but it can also be helped along with some human intervention. Natural pearls are increasingly rare because of overfishing, predators, and water pollution around the world, but they can still be found in warm, clean waters. The modern pearl market is mostly made up of cultured pearls which are farmed rather than harvested from wild oysters.

Cultured pearls form the same way as natural pearls except the irritant is placed in the mollusk’s shell by humans. Cultured pearls are grown in farms where the environment can be controlled and predators can be kept at bay. Cultured pearls can be farmed in both fresh and saltwater. China produces a majority of the world's freshwater cultured pearls but saltwater pearls are also cultured there. Other important sources of saltwater cultured pearls are Japan and several countries that border the South Sea including Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Tahitian black pearls are cultured in French Polynesia. 

Pearls require special cleaning and care because of their delicate nature. They’re only a 2.5 to 3 on the Mohs hardness scale (a diamond is a 10) so they are highly susceptible to scratches and other damage. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) recommends storing your pearls separately from other jewelry to prevent scratches. They also recommend that you clean your pearls with a soft, damp cloth ideally after each wear. 

From classic to unique, we have a variety of pearl pieces in store here at Fernbaugh’s. Check out this adorable sterling silver heart pendant with a white cultured pearl. This necklace would make a perfect graduation or sweet sixteen gift. If you’re looking to add a different kind of pearl to your collection, this twisted shell pearl ring fits the bill. It’s also part of a matching set for a complete jewelry wardrobe. 

June’s other light colored birthstone is Moonstone. Moonstone has some pretty wild origin stories too. For example, Hindu myths say that moonstone was solidified moonlight. Moonstone has traditionally been associated with love, passion, fertility and good luck. It became popular during the Art Nouveau movement of the late 19th century and again in the 1960s and 1990s. 

Moonstone is the most famous member of the Feldspar mineral family which is the most abundant mineral family in the earth's crust. It forms when two minerals from the feldspar family combine. As the combined minerals cool down, they stack in alternating layers and form a moonstone. The finest moonstones have a blue sheen on a colorless background. They can also appear to glow. This phenomenon is called Adularescence and it occurs when light between the layers of mineral scatters in different directions creating the illusion that the stone is glowing like the moon in the night sky. 

Because feldspar is such an abundant mineral, moonstones can be found all over the world. The most important mines are in India and Sri Lanka, but they can also be found in Brazil, Myanmar and Tanzania. In the United States, moonstone can be found in New Mexico, Virginia, and North Carolina. 

Moonstone is quite a bit harder than pearls, coming in at a 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale. While they’re harder, they should still be handled with care. High heat can crack a moonstone so it’s best to avoid ultrasonic and steam cleaning them. Warm, soapy water and a soft brush is the best way to keep moonstone clean at home. 

Last but certainly not least is Alexandrite. Named for Alexander II, Emperor of Russia, alexandrite was first discovered in the Ural mountains of Russia in the 1830s. This color-changing stone was quite popular in Russia because its green to reddish-purple shift resembled the colors of the Imperial army. The Russian alexandrite mines are now fully depleted but, according to the GIA, the alexandrite being mined today can’t hold a candle to the 19th century Russian specimens. 

Today, alexandrite is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, and eastern Africa. These mines do produce some high quality stones, but the color change tends to be less precise than the stones once found in Russia. Fine alexandrite is also hard to find in large carat weights, making this gem one of the most expensive colored gemstones. Lab grown and synthetic options are available so you can get the look of genuine without the hefty price tag. 

Alexandrite might be hard to find, but they’re pretty easy to take care of. At an 8.5 on the Mohs scale, they’re suitable for everyday wear. They also don’t tend to crack or break if you accidentally hit it on something. They can withstand ultrasonic and steam cleaning. At home, warm soapy water and a brush will do the trick. 

If you’re looking for a great piece to introduce alexandrite into your wardrobe, check out our super popular This is Us collection! This collection has all the birthstones and more including June. Available in a necklace, ring, and earrings, you can mix and match or get all three! All pieces are set in sterling silver with synthetic gemstones so they make a great starter piece or gift for a younger recipient. We just expanded this line so you have to stop by and check out what’s new! 



Birthstone of the Month: May

Birthstone of the Month: May

By: Morgan Garrison

Spring, a time of rebirth and renewal. The grass is green again, flowers are coming up, and trees are growing leaves and buds. It couldn’t be more appropriate that the birthstone for May is the luscious green beryl, Emerald! 

Despite the fact that there are other green gems, everyone always thinks of emeralds as the green gem. It has been associated with lush, green landscapes since antiquity. Roman Natural Philosopher Pliny the Elder wrote, “Indeed there is no stone, the colour of which is more delightful to the eye; for whereas the sight fixes itself with avidity upon the green grass and the foliage of the trees, we have all the more pleasure in looking upon the smaragdus, there being no green in existence of a more intense colour than this.” This could help explain why Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle” and Seattle is nicknamed the “Emerald City”. 

Rich, saturated green color is a sign of a high quality emerald, though color can range from paler green to bluish green. Gemologists even have a tough time agreeing on how light or dark a gem can be and still be considered an emerald. Some emeralds are dyed to make them darker, but exposure to chemical solvents, like acetone, and UV rays can fade or even remove added dyes. Like emerald’s sister aquamarine, the color is determined by the kinds and amounts of ores in the earth where the crystal forms. For the most part, the finest emeralds come from Colombia. Bluish-green emeralds are mostly found in Zambia. Other important sources of emeralds are Brazil, Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

At a 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale, emeralds are quite a bit softer than diamonds and are more susceptible to cracking and inclusions. But this isn’t always a bad thing. Inclusions in emeralds often resemble foliage and are called “jardin” which is garden in French. When these inclusions reach the surface, the cracks can be filled with a glass, resin, polymer, wax, or oil to improve the apparent clarity of the stone. While it makes the stone look better to the naked eye, emeralds treated like this require special care. Fracture/cavity filled emeralds should not be exposed to high heat, even hot water for washing dishes can be too hot. Extreme changes in air pressure, like in an airplane cabin, can also potentially alter or remove the treatment. Regardless of whether an emerald is treated, it should always be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth and warm, not hot, water and a mild soap. 

Emeralds themselves might be fragile, but they’ve been a favorite of some power-house women throughout history. Cleopatra was partial to emeralds and used them in her royal adornments. Elizabeth Taylor, who coincidentally portrayed Cleopatra on screen, also loved emeralds. Liz had a whole suite of emerald and diamond jewelry made by Bulgari, given to her by Richard Burton. She mixed and matched the pieces often and even incorporated some of them into the costumes for her movies. The necklace alone, not including the detachable pendant, sold at auction for over 6 million dollars in 2011. 

Here at Fernbaugh’s, we have a wide selection of both mined and simulated emerald jewelry to fit your taste and budget. A piece from our Our “This is Us: Our Life, Our Story” collection makes a great starter birthstone piece for younger May babies. Set in sterling silver with simulated stones, this collection has a timeless look that won’t break the bank. The classic round halo style is available in a necklace, earrings, and ring as well as rose and yellow gold plated styles. 

Did you know that emerald is the traditional gift for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversary? If you’re celebrating one of those milestones this year, an emerald anniversary band would make the perfect gift! For a spouse with classic taste, perhaps this white gold band with channel set round emeralds. If your spouse would like something with a little more flair, check out this stackable style anniversary band which features round emeralds and a beaded edge. 

Last but certainly not least, check out this one-of-a-kind emerald and diamond bypass ring. This oval cut genuine emerald is a great one to look at for an example of jardin. This ring is perfect for the gift recipient that likes unique pieces as this is the only one we have in the store! Stop by and check this beauty out. 

Thanks for sticking around for another birthstone blog post! This author was born in May so this post has been extra fun for me to write. Whether you were also born in May, or just like the color green, we’re sure to have the perfect emerald piece to complete your jewelry wardrobe.


Birthstone of the Month: April

Birthstone of the Month: April

by Morgan Garrison

If you were born in April, your birthstone is the most famous gemstone of all - the  diamond! The history of the diamond industry alone is enough to write a book. Wish me luck trying to fit all the important information into a post! 

1 carat oval diamond

Diamonds have been a girl’s best friend since long before Marilyn Monroe sang about them. Historians believe that diamonds, which were first found in India, were being traded as early as the fourth century BCE. The infamous Hope Diamond is believed to have been mined in southern India. Diamonds eventually made their way to Europe via Venetian markets in the Middle Ages along with other exotic goods like silk and spices. India remained the main source of diamonds for several hundred years. 

Indian supplies started to dwindle by the early 1700s, just as diamonds were discovered by gold miners in Brazil. Brazil dominated the diamond market until the late 1860s when diamonds were discovered in South Africa. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA)  marks this as the beginning of the modern diamond market. In 1888, Cecil Rhodes founded De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, and by 1900 controlled 90% of the world's rough diamond production. 

The African continent has remained an important source of diamonds with mines in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Botswana, which has become a diamond hub. Roughly 40% of the world’s rough diamonds are sorted and valued in Botswana. In fact, the center stone in Meghan Markle’s engagement ring came from Botswana. 

Another important source is Russia, where diamonds have been mined since the 1960s. The country’s top mining company claims there are around 970 million carats waiting to be mined from the Siberan tundra. Diamonds are also mined in Australia and Northern Canada where deposits were found in the 1980s and 1990s respectively. 

The name diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas” which means “invincible” or “unbreakable.” With a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, diamonds are not only the hardest gemstone, they are the hardest substance in nature. The only thing that can cut or scratch a diamond is another diamond. A diamond's hardness has made it a symbol of strength, longevity, and everlasting love.

Most people associate the 4Cs (Color, Clarity, Cut, Carat Weight) with diamonds. The 4Cs were developed by the GIA in the mid-20th century to be the universal standard way to judge diamonds. Color is graded on a scale of Z to D where Z is light yellow and D is colorless. Completely colorless diamonds are very rare. Most diamonds have slight tints of yellow.  Clarity ranges from very included or imperfect to internally flawless and clear. 

Cut refers to the proportions and angles of a diamond’s facets rather than the shape. If not done properly, the diamond won't reflect enough light and will appear lackluster. Carat is the measure of a diamond’s weight, not its size. Large rough diamonds are harder to find so a 1 carat diamond can cost more than twice what a ½ carat diamond costs. The rarity of one of the 4Cs can affect a diamond’s value. So, a super clear and bright diamond would be expensive because colorless and internally flawless diamonds are extremely rare. 

Diamonds are our middle name here at Fernbaugh’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry! We have a wide selection of diamond jewelry, engagement rings, and loose diamonds in store and online. This month’s products have been selected from our Spring Collection

First up is a timeless classic: diamond stud earrings. We carry a variety of quality and carat weights in our store starting at $149. These make a great gift for any occasion from graduations to birthdays and anniversaries. We also have a trade-in, trade-up program so you can upgrade to a larger size down the road, you just pay the difference.

For something cute and trendy, check out these brand new cluster diamond stackable rings. These rings are available in rose, yellow, and white gold and feature a beaded band and a round diamond cluster. At just $149 each, you can mix and match for a two- or even tri-toned statement. These also make great promise rings!

Last but not least, the always popular Love’s Crossing line. The love knot pendant from this line is made of two hearts intertwined. What better way to show your love! This design also comes in a ring, and earrings for a full jewelry wardrobe. Starting at $199, this pendant is available in a variety of carat weights. 

Come back next month for another installment of this series! 


A History of Fernbaugh's Jewelers

A History of Fernbaugh's Jewelers

Fernbaugh’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry is a community gem to the proud folks of both Plymouth and Logansport, Indiana. The two friendly and stylish stores boast a wide selection of engagement rings, gold, and fashion jewelry, with even more online. Both stores specialize in ready to wear engagement rings as well as custom engagement rings, but it doesn’t stop there. Fernbaugh’s staff can customize a piece for any of life’s occasions. For the past 88 years, Fernbaugh’s has been there to help customers find exactly what their heart desires.

Fernbaugh’s was established in 1933 by Earl and Geraldine Fernbaugh. Originally a small jewelry repair shop, their business quickly grew into a jewelry store a repair shop in house. The store moved to its current location, 416 East Broadway, in downtown Logansport in 1947. After Earl Fernbaugh’s passing, the store was operated by Alvin Scheerer, Florence Sutton, and Oris McGuire. 

Earl and Geraldine Fernbaugh 

In 1982, Oris and his wife, Sally, took over the store as owners. After more than 20 years, Oris and Sally handed the reins over to their son, Derek, daughter, Lori and son-in-law, Brian in 2005. Oris continued to work at the jeweler’s bench until his passing in December 2020. In February 2006, Brian and Lori opened the second location at 206 North Michigan Street in Plymouth. Since then, they have enjoyed working alongside other business owners and being a part of the Plymouth community. 

Sally and Oris McGuire 

“We feel fortunate to have this rich history guiding us into the future,” comments Lori McGuire Van Duyne, “I remember Mr. Fernbaugh from being a small child in the jewelry store with my parents.” Lori has fond memories of working with Alvin and Florence from when she started working in the original store in high school. She feels secure in knowing that both stores’ futures look brilliant for the next generation.

Lori has been working in the jewelry industry since she was a teenager working for her parents. She specializes in diamond buying and has traveled to Antwerp, one of the diamond capitals of the world, several times to buy loose diamonds. She enjoys custom design whether from scratch or remaking or redesigning an existing piece. She also handles all appraisals. She knows her customers’ jewelry top to bottom and can even identify a customer by their pieces alone. Plymouth can always trust Lori to find or build the perfect piece. 
Lori’s husband, Brian, acts as the Plymouth location’s in house jeweler. He has been working as a jeweler since the early 90s. He can handle almost any repair from ring sizing to watch movements, laser welding, hand engraving, stone setting, custom design and sketching. Unlike jewelry store chains, having an in house jeweler gives shoppers peace of mind that their jewelry won’t be sent to an outside contractor. In addition to his responsibilities as jeweler, Brian has taken on updating the store’s technology since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. From the website to the store’s Facebook live presentations, Brian has been behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly.
L to R: Samantha Murray, Morgan Garrison, Lori Van Duyne, Brian Van Duyne
In the years since opening in Plymouth, Lori and Brian have built a knowledgeable staff who keeps customers coming back. Manager Samantha Murray, who started in 2006, can help with anything from picking out the perfect engagement ring to answering questions on jewelry repair. Sam knows everyone that walks in the door and makes patrons feel like they’re visiting with a friend, not dealing with a salesperson. She knows her customer’s tastes and can help anyone find a gift their loved one will enjoy wearing for years to come.
This past year, they added customer specialist Morgan Garrison. While she’s still learning the ins and outs of the jewelry business, she helps Brian with the website and social media channels by photographing product and writing blog posts. She also helps out with small jewelry repairs, watch batteries, and hand engraving. The next skill she’s hoping to master is laser welding.
Fernbaugh’s is also a member of the Retail Jeweler’s Organization, or RJO, a national buying group that allows them to get manufacturer direct pricing on sparkling diamonds, colored stones, and detailed gold. Being an RJO member also allows Fernbaugh’s staff to reach out to other jewelers for help finding an elusive piece of jewelry.
Whether a customer is in search of the perfect bridal set, a unique birthday gift, anniversary band, an add-a-pearl for a precious daughter, or a keepsake gift for a graduating young man, the Indiana jewelers of Fernbaugh’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry can help. If nothing in stock fits the bill, everything from ash holders to long lost favorite necklaces can be custom made. Fernbaugh’s thrives on helping customers find the perfect gift, the perfect memory, whatever the moment means to that customer.
April 06, 2021 — Brian Van Duyne
Birthstone of the Month: March

Birthstone of the Month: March

Welcome back to our Birthstone of the Month series! March’s gemstone is the light blue beauty Aquamarine.
March 20, 2021 — Brian Van Duyne
Birthstone of the Month: February

Birthstone of the Month: February

Welcome back for the second installment of our Birthstone of the Month series. This month we’re taking a look at February's gem, Amethyst! The purple variety of quartz, Amethyst was once as expensive as Rubies, Emeralds, or Sapphires. But when large deposits were discovered in Brazil in the 19th century, abundance drove the price down. Amethyst may no longer be considered as valuable as other gems, but they’re no less precious to us!
February 09, 2021 — Brian Van Duyne