Enhance your favorite necklace or charm bracelet with this killer piece! Don't worry, she's harmless! A round black and white agate showcases the carved visage of the mythical Medusa, whose gaze held the power to turn one to stone. She resides in a frame of milgrain and scrollwork from a 4mm bail.
Vendor warranty: One year from the date of purchase. Includes a gemstone romance card.
All weights pertaining to gemstones, including diamonds, are minimum weights. Additionally, please note that many gemstones are treated to enhance their beauty. View Gemstone Enhancements and Special Care Requirements for important information.
Pronounced "vermay," vermeil is an electroplating process in which 14K gold or higher is coated over sterling silver. Officially designated by the jewelry industry, items may only be sold as vermeil if they have a minimum thickness of 100 millionths of an inch (2.5 microns) of gold over the silver. Regular gold plating is less than 2.5 microns.
The "vermeil" technique of plating sterling silver with gold originated in France in the 1750s. It differs from "gold filled" or "gold plated" in terms of the thickness or thinness of the microns over sterling silver. "Gold filled" pieces have a much thicker layer, between 15 and 45 microns, which is mechanically bonded to the base metal with heat and pressure. Vermeil is a more expensive version of "gold plated". It does not wear off as quickly as gold plating does. However, over time, vermeil wears off and therefore will require re-plating.
Gold/Platinum Embraced Silver or Bronze:
Our platinum and gold embraced collections feature layers of platinum or gold over sterling silver or bronze for a lustrous, radiant finish everywhere you look and touch.
To care for your plated jewelry items:
Found all over the world, agate has been creatively striped by nature. It is a type of chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers of colors and textures. Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in a host rock. As a result, agate often is found as a round nodule with concentric bands like the rings of a tree trunk. Tiny quartz crystals called drusy (sometimes spelled as druzy) often form within the stone, adding to its beauty and uniqueness. Agate is a hard stone, within the range of 7.0-9.0 on the Mohs Scale.
In 1497, the mining of agate in the Nahe River valley in Germany gave rise to the cutting center of Idar-Oberstein. When the Nahe agate deposit was exhausted in the nineteenth century, Idar cutters started to develop the agate deposits of Brazil, discovering Brazil's rich deposits of many other gemstones. A famous collection of two to four thousand agate bowls, accumulated by Mithradates, King of Pontus, shows the popularity of agate at the time. Agate bowls were also popular in the Byzantine Empire. Collecting agate bowls became common among European royalty during the Renaissance and many museums in Europe, including the Louvre, have spectacular examples.
Although the small town of Idar-Oberstein is still known for the finest agate carving in the world, today Idar imports a huge range of other gem materials from around the world for cutting and carving in Germany. Cameo master carvers, modern lapidary artists and rough dealers flourish there, exporting their latest gem creations. It is an entire industry that grew from the desire for agate products during the Renaissance.
Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers. Persian magicians used agate to divert storms. Today, some believe that agate is a powerful emotional healer and helps people discern the truth.
A selection of our jewelry is made of sterling palladium alloy. Palladium is a member of the platinum group of precious metals. By replacing a portion of the copper content used in standard sterling silver with palladium, this proprietary formula renders a precious metal with superior performance attributes. Sterling palladium is five times more tarnish-resistant than standard sterling silver and has strength similar to that of 14K gold.
Palladium has been used as a precious metal in jewelry since 1939, originally as an alternative to platinum for making white gold. Its naturally white color requires no rhodium plating. Additionally, palladium is proportionally much lighter than platinum and is ideal for use in heavier gemstone jewelry. It is a more expensive alloy than nickel, but it seldom causes the allergic reactions that nickel alloy can.
To care for your plated jewelry items:
Paua Shell (Abalone)
Paua shell features vibrant color variations of blue, green, silver, pink, purple and mother-of-pearl. Although its rough exterior is black, paua's interior is the most colorful type of abalone shell in the world. Its iridescent patterns even change color when viewed from different angles. Because color range and patterns vary from shell to shell, each piece of paua is unique and one-of-a-kind.
Paua is a species of abalone that is found only in the seas around New Zealand. It has larger cousins located around the world, such as in California and Japan, but those species aren't as colorful. Paua's unique coloring is produced from the rich volcanic sediments found within the unpolluted southern New Zealand waters. They are marine mollusks that eat seaweed and cling to rocks at depths of one to ten meters. The holes in the shells are for breathing and reproduction. Starfish are paua's main predator and can suffocate the shellfish by putting their tentacles over the breathing holes, forcing it to let go of the rock.
Used for food since ancient times, paua meat is considered a delicacy. The exquisite shells used for ornamentation are simply natural by-products. The New Zealand government strictly controls the harvesting of abalone to ensure the sustainability of this natural resource. It has enforced a quota system for the gathering of paua by both commercial and individual fishermen. Paua fishers must free-dive to pry the mollusks from the rocks, as no compressed air diving is allowed. Moreover, all paua that is gathered must be no smaller than five inches in size. There are stiff penalties for those caught removing undersize shells.
Pacific Rim cultures have considered paua shell a symbol of good fortune and believe it to have powers as an aphrodisiac. Some believe that wearing paua shell aids in creativity and calming. Folklore identifies paua with beauty, physical strength and power. It is believed to improve self-image and increase personal strength and endurance.