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Gem Mining in Pala, California

The west coast was nothing but fun, especially getting a chance to head to the Oceanview Mine in Pala, California. Known for housing an abundance of tourmalines (pink, green, and the combination of both known as 'watermelon'), aquamarines, kunzite, morganite, quartz crystals and many others. The mine was even featured on Travel Channel's Cash & Treasures.

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Getting there was tricky--many curvy dirt roads and even going outside of the navigation system range. We paid a fee to sift through a gigantic pile of tailings from the active mine. Tailings are all the "leftovers" from blasting inside the mine. We got downright dirty and super sweaty, shoveling all we could into our buckets and then sifting through it all, using the screens. Our day pass got us 4 hours of digging and a tour deep into the mine--450 feet into the Earth!

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I actually got extremely lucky, and stumbled upon a large chunk of Kunzite--about the size of my palm. And it was only my second bucket full! One of the owners of the mine came around to help everyone out and help identify what had been found. He was amazed by the deep purple/pink color of what I had found and its size. He guessed it to be worth anywhere from $400-600! I couldn't believe it! Check it out below!

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Kunzite was actually first discovered in Pala, California in 1902. It is interesting to think that my chunk of kunzite had been in the Earth for millions of years until a few days ago when I found it! With that in mind, and having the feeling of how exciting it is to have found something so rare, I knew I wanted to keep it instead of trying to sell it. All that sweating and hard work definitely was worth it!

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If you want to try your hand at gem mining or just want to do something different for a change, I strongly recommend the Oceanview mine. You just have to call ahead of time to make a reservation and get the directions. Mining reservations can only be made on Sundays or Thursdays, so make sure to check the website. Pala, California is just 50 minutes outside of San Diego. It is exciting because you never know what you're going to find! I ended up walking away with a $600 Kunzite!!

Gem Gossip's Pick of the Week!

I've decided to start a weekly post for my pick of the week.  There are no rules or stipulations--just whatever bracelet, necklace, ring, or earrings I feel should be mentioned, or is currently on my personal wish list.  Hopefully you will enjoy my choices, and you can even chime in with items you've spotted that you just "can't live without!"  Feel free to post links in the comments section below each weekly "pick of the week!"  

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This week's pick is this princess skull necklace. It is made of 9k gold, and rubies with white sapphires. Definitely a glammed up version of the rocker chic look. The shape almost resembles a cross--done purposely? Not sure, but you can purchase this at Kabiri which is a website that houses all sorts of eclectic pieces of jewelry from across the pond. Check it out at www.kabiri.co.uk

Miley's Sweet Sixteen: My Proposed Gift List

Sweet Sixteens only come, well, once in a lifetime--so you better make your wish list count!  Miley Cyrus' sweet sixteen will soon be upon us (November 23), and the whole world will be watching.  Let's hope she is more grateful than those bratty girls on MTv's Sweet Sixteen tv show.  And it seems that may be so...

Miley's birthday party will be held at DisneyLand, where she will have the whole place to herself and her birthday "guests."  Anyone who purchases a $250 ticket will be an official partygoer.  So not only is she sharing her fun-filled day with complete strangers, but all of the proceeds will benefit a charity.  Seems like Miley has a good-heart and is not a greedy birthday girl. 

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But, of course anyone who is anyone needs at least one present on his or her birthday.  So I've devised my own list of potential birthday presents.  Some sort of jewelry item has got to be on her wish list!  Maybe she will choose one of these great finds!  Enjoy!
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This heart necklace is dainty and cute, while still having a "grown-up" side to it. The purple amethyst is encased in 14k gold filigree, with a magnificent detail on the back. Designed by Becky Kelso and priced at $763, I could see Miley rocking out with this on. www.ElizaPage.com
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Miley is not one to obstain from the multiple bracelet trend. She's been seen wearing plenty of bracelets--on both wrists! I think this vintage diamond bangle would really add some elegance and edge to what she normally wears. And besides, the older you get, the wiser you get--why not opt for diamonds and gold, while other teenie boppers are wearing plastic bangles? This one is $550 from Fay Cullen.
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And lastly, Miley needs something extremely unique for any red carpet event. This ring will get heads turning! It is a purple sapphire (very rare) surrounded by champagne diamonds, set at an angle. Something so slight, like angles, will turn any ring into a piece of artwork. This unique ring is designed by Fatima Maria, and can be purchased for $2570 at Twist.

Well, there you have some great gift ideas for Miley's sweet sixteen. Any of these are worthy and might very well be unwrapped come November 23.  Did you receive any memorable piece of jewelry for your sweet sixteen?

Shake it Fast;; Watch Yourself!

Whether it's floating diamonds, rubies, sapphires or even flecks of gold, shaker jewelry is back in action.  But don't get this trend confused with what it was several years ago.  It is hard to explain, so I'll give you some visual pictures.  You will see the difference!

Okay, here is what the trend looked like when it first debuted.  Usually a few diamonds, bezel set (gold around them) "floating" in usually a white sapphire crystal.  Not so cute anymore.

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Now here is the newly updated version of the shaker jewelry trend. You can definitely see the difference! Gemstones are not carefully placed inside the crystal anymore, no more gold border to them, and I even like the flecks of gold rather than gemstones. It's like you just went gemstone hunting, and put all your finds into an empty case.

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This necklace has faceted rubies inside a vintage crystal locket. I wonder how many little rubies there are? You can also special order this piece in sapphires or diamonds. Price ranges for this necklace are anywhere between $800-$4000. http://www.77thstreetimports.com

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So pretty! This is a different take on the shaker jewelry trend. Why not use flakes of gold? These flakes are actually rose gold, which makes it even more unique. The ring, designed by Moritz Glik, is set in 18k rose gold, using two white sapphire plates to hold the flecks of gold. It is $3160 and can be purchased at Ylang|23.

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Another great example of this trend is this peridot shaker necklace designed by Elisa Solomon. Many of us will like the price on this 'usually very expensive' trend--only $370. How was this accomplished? Just by using peridot gemstones, instead of diamonds and using 14k gold rather than 18k gold. Still top notch, by all means and the pretty green color of peridot will make this shaker necklace stand out above the rest!

Designer Spotlight: Karen Karch

When I came across jewelry designer Karen Karch and her website, it was like Christmas morning for me. Every time I clicked "next page" I got more and more thrilled by her jewelry designs. Talk about one-of-a-kind! Brides-to-be love her organic and simply stunning engagement rings. They are different, and will continue to be beautiful throughout your lifetime. Brides can choose from a wide range of wedding bands, many featuring vines and tiara shapes. White and Cognac diamonds are used in engagement style rings.
Karch also has some breath-taking everyday jewelry. Her collection features lapis, jade, coral, turquoise and tiger's eye. Any jewelry lover who is not familiar with Karch's designs should check out her site--you will love it!

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The bright blue of the lapis against the yellow gold really makes this ring stand out. The band is made out of golden vines, which give the ring an organic look. The lapis is rose cut, making it even more unique. The prongs look like claws--so neat! Price is $4200, and the ring is called Spellbound.

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Karch has many lucky horn pendants in her collection. You can purchase them in turquoise, jade, coral, onyx, tiger's eye, even a diamond encrusted horn. Some have different caps, having more or less diamonds...it depends on your style (and budget!) This one is the most simple, and is green jade. Price: $1900

14R6B-A_Supreme

This is called the Supreme ring--the name says it all. The black diamonds really contrast against the 18k rose gold. Tiny white diamonds border around the center stone. The total carat weight of diamonds in this ring is 2.17, price $6800.

 

Karen Karch ♦ 240 Mulberry St. New York, NY 10012 ♦ 212 965-9699