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Diamond Information Center

What is align Diamond? All About Diamonds

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Diamonds in Poetry Diamond Dictionary

De Beers, The Diamond CartelDebeers Diamonds

History of DiamondsHistory of Diamonds

Buying Diamonds as an Investment?Diamond Certifices

Blood Diamonds, Conflict DiamondsBlood Diamonds

Conflict Free Diamonds Conflict Diamonds

Fight against Conflict DiamondsKimberly Mining

Why Diamonds are Popular?Diamonds or Gems

Why Diamonds are Popular?Types of Diamonds

4 Cs of DiamondDiamond 4 Cs

How to Recognize a Fake Diamond?Real/Fake Diamond

Identifying a Well-Cut DiamondIdeal Cut Diamonds

World's Famous Diamonds Famous Diamonds

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See GIA's Diamond Grading ReportJewelry Industry Affiliations

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Sndgems jewelry guides are easy to use, interesting and helpful guide to buying jewelry onle. Our jewelry guides are indispensable guide to judging jewelry characterstics, distinguishing genuine from imitation, making wise choices, useful to all type of consumers, from professional jewelry to online searchers.  Our diamond guides help everyone in viewing diamonds as gemologists, diamond experts, diamond dealers, experienced lapidaries, diamond buyers and online customers.  Our diamond guides dissects each aspect of diamond value in detail with a wealth of diamond grading information. Our gemstone guides help everyone in viewing colored gemstones as gemologists, gem dealers, experienced lapidaries, gem buyers and online customers.  Our gemstone guides dissects each aspect of ruby, sapphire, ruby value in detail with a wealth of gemstone grading information. Our guides offers step-by-step instructions for how to examine and judge the quality and craftsmanship and materials even if you dont know anything about jewelry.  If you're thinking of buying jewelry online this guide is a best place to start.  Our guides will help you to know about jewelry details such as finishes, settings, flaws and fakes. Our guides cover diamonds, gemstones, jewelry craftsmanship, treatments, diamond and gems sources, appraisals. There is something for everyone.

Famous Diamond Mines

The discovery of diamonds in 1867 in the Cape Colony of South Africa had a profound effect on the world’s supply of diamonds. For the ten years following the discovery a once extremely rare material became more accessible to Western society. Scientists learned that diamonds came from volcanoes. South Africa still maintains its position as the major diamond producer but there are other famous mines located in other areas.

In North America the oldest and most famous diamond mine is the Crater of Diamonds. It is located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. In 1906, John Wesley Huddleston bought the land for farming purposes and noticed two small stones in the bottom of a bucket of feed. He sent the stones to a Little Rock Jeweler who then sent them to Tiffany’s in New York. They were certified as gem quality. John then sold the property to some people in Little Rock for ,000.

De Beers Consolidated Mines are located in several African countries. The company was founded in 1888 and today it is comprised of rough diamond exploration, mining and trading companies. The De Beers companies make up about 40% of the world’s diamond production.

The Kimberley Diamond Mines are known worldwide and are located in the town of Kimberley, South Africa. In 1866 Erasmus Jacobs discovered a small stone by the Orange River. It turned out that is stone was a 21.25 carat diamond. In 1871 a 83.5 carat diamond was found on the slopes of Colesberg Kopje and this led to the first diamond rush in the area.

The Williamson Diamond Mine, which is also known as the Mwadui Mine is located in Tanzania. It was the first significant diamond mine outside of South Africa. Dr John Williamson, a Canadian geologist established the mine in 1940. It is an operating pit mine and mainly produces diamond carats.

The Premier Diamond Mine located in Transvaal, South Africa is one of the most famous mines and is known throughout the world. This mine was found to be a huge volcanic chimney of diamondiferous earth. It covers about 80 acres and is shaped like a pear. It is situated on a level plateau at an elevation of about two hundred feet.

The Ekati Diamond Mine is Canada’s first diamond mine. It is located near Lac de Gras and is about 200km south of the Arctic Circle. It is a joint venture between BHP Billiton Diamonds and the two geologists who discovered the kimberlite pipes in that area. It is only accessible by air except for 10 weeks each year when it can be reached by icy roads.

The Kollur Diamond Mine is located in Guntur District Golkonda, India. It is one of the most productive mines in India and was the first major diamond center. It was operated between the sixteenth and mid nineteenth centuries. The Indian mines were eventually depleted and the diamond center shifted to Brazil where new diamond pipes were discovered.

These are just a few of the more famous diamond mines known today. Diamonds have a very interesting history and also a very bright future.

Active Famous Diamond Mines

Currently there are eleven major 'diamond producing' nations, and a host of other counties with operational and/or historic alluvial, open pit, and hard rock diamond mines. There are also several African nations with ongoing off-shore dredging/vacuming operations.

These lists also contains new project explorations, mining operator info, mining industry inside news, links to satellite images of the mines (where available), and any relevant geographic data.

Active Mines | Inactive Mines | Future Exploration | Mining Companies



Catoca Diamond Mine: Fourth largest diamond mine in world. Kimberlite pipe. map

Fucauma Diamond Mine: Newly constructed. Owned by Endiama (40%) & Trans Hex (35%).

Luarica Diamond Mine: Owned by Endiama (38%) & Trans Hex (32%).

Luzamba Diamond Mine: Angola's largest alluvial mine, Endiama (50%), Odebrecht (50%). map


Damtshaa Diamond Mine: (water for a tortoise) New open pit mine. De Beers / Botswana. map

Jwaneng Diamond Mine: (place of small stones) richest mine in world. De Beers/Botswana. map

Letlhakane Diamond Mine: ("little reeds") second oldest of four - De Beers / Botswana. map

Orapa Diamond Mine: (resting place for lions) Largest/oldest of four - DeBeers/Botswana. map

Congo (DROC or RDC)

Bakwanga Mine: (aka Bushimaïe, Lubilash) Alluvial river mines in Kasaï. MIBA. map

Forminière Diamond Mine: Alluvial mine located on the River Tshikapa, in Kasaï - closed. map


Letseng Diamond Mine: Open-cast mine in Maluti Mountains 70 km from Mokhotlong. map


Elizabeth Bay Mine: Open-cast mine in Namib desert, south of Lüderitz. Namdeb. map

Orange River (Daberas) Mines: Orange River alluvium. Namdeb Namib Gov. map

Marine Mining: Namco Mining operates a dredging fleet off the west coast of Namibia. map

Sierra Leone

Magna Egoli Mine: Largest mechanized mine in Sierra Leone. Waldman Resources, Israel. map

Koidu-Sefadu Mines: Subsistence digging in alluvium pits west of Koidu. map

Koidu Open Pit Mines: Kimberlite open-pit mines just south of Koidu. map

South Africa

Baken Diamond Mine: Located along Orange River in North Cape, So Africa. Trans Hex. map

Cullinan Diamond Mine: Open Pit/Hard Rock diamond mine owned by De Beers. map

Finsch Diamond Mine: Finsch is an open-pit mine near Lime Acres, De Beers operated. map

Kimberley Diamond Mine: Started in 1871, the Kimberley Open Pits closed in 2005. map

Koffiefontein Diamond Mine: The Koffiefontein mine opened in 1870. Closed in 2006. map

The Oaks Diamond Mine: In Limpopo province. Open-pit mine De Beers operated. map

Venetia Diamond Mine: Limpopo, produces over 40% of world's gem-quality diamonds. map


Williamson Diamond Mine: (aka Mwadui mine) Open Pit mine. 75% De Beers ownership map


Murowa Diamond Mine: Open Pit & Underground mine. 75% De Beers ownership. map

River Ranch Diamond Mine: Open Pit & Underground mine. 75% De Beers ownership. map


East Kimberley

Argyle Diamond Mine: Largest producer in world, mostly industrial grade. Rio Tinto. map


Cempaka/Riam Kanan, South Kalimantan

Cempaka Diamond Mines: Alluvials mined by indigenous artisanal Kalimantan miners. map


North West Territories (NWT)

Diavik Diamond Mine: The Diavik diamond mine is located in the NWT. map

Ekati Diamond Mine: Canada's first diamond mining operation, located in NWT. map


Madhya Pradesh

Panna Diamond Mine: Alluvial mine in state of Madhya Pradesh. map



Aikhal GOK Mine: Three open-pit kimberlite pipe mines: Aikhal, Jubilee, and Sytykan. map

Anabar GOK Mine: The norther most location of Russia's diomond mines. map

Jubilee (Yubileinaya) Mine: Newer open-pit kimberlite mine near Udachny. Alrosa.

Mirna Mine: Largest diamond deposit in Russia and one of the largest in the world. map

Udachnaya (Udachny) Pipe Mine: One of the deepest diamond mines in the world. map

De Beers

The De Beers group is an internationally based diamond mining and trading company that has controlled the flow of diamonds in the US market place for decades. Perhaps a more appropriate title would be cartel, as De Beers was formed as a group of producers whose goal it was to fix prices, control supply and limit competition, and this is exactly what De Beers has done historically with the trade of diamonds.

The name "De Beers" originated with two Afrikaner farmers, Diederik Arnoldus De Beers and Johannes Nicholas de Beers. The De Beers brothers discovered diamonds on their farm and unable to deal with the stress of protecting the farm from the influx of diamond seekers, they sold the land and the mines. The land was home to two large mines were involved in the transaction: Premier and Kimberly.

Huge battles raged through the next few years as two entities emerged on top of the competition to acquire the land. These entities were the Barnato Mining Company formed by Barney Barnato and prospective investors, Cecil Rhodes and Charles Rudd. While De Beers had already acquired Premier, they wanted Kimberly as well. The buying began, each company ferociously buying up stock in "Kimberly Central." Eventually Rhodes and Rudd won out and forced Barnato to agree to a merger with De Beers.

De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited was thus formed in 1888. As a group, they owned all of Premier, most of Kimberly, and several other mines. The company was granted an official listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in August 1893 (

Over a decade later, the De Beers cartel formed, made up of the newly named Barnato Brothers, Anglo American, and JCI. Anglo American and the Barnato Brothers owned most of the stock, about 90% combined. Through Anglo American, De beers began to acquire a large number of other mines, including the Consolidated Diamond Mines. Some of the largest during their time, acquiring the CDM was a huge coup for the De Beers Group.

In the 1930's, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, the chairman of De Beers Group and leader of Anglo American, came up with the idea of "single channel marketing" which he defined as "a producers' co-operative including the major outside, or non-De Beers producers in accordance with the belief that only by limiting the quantity of diamonds put on the market, in accordance with the demand, and by selling through one channel, can the stability of the diamond trade be maintained."

This new single channel marketing structure eventually came to be known as the Central Selling Organisation (CSO) ( Basically, Oppenheimer formed a cartel on the premise that he was operating a legitimate enterprise. He stomped out all competition and kept a stranglehold on the supply of diamonds, upping their value and rarity through a limited supply that De Beers doled out carefully. It is safe to say that during this time De Beers Group owned and controlled about 90% of diamond production in the world; thus they could control the "rarity" and value and keep a hold on the lucrative industry. Many of their dealings were shady, and they were known for particular ruthlessness against their competitors.

De Beers Group operated out of London and sold diamonds in the United States through supplying numerous smaller businesses in the States with the coveted gems. Because of anti-trust laws forbidding, among other prohibitions, the formation of cartels, De Beers could not set up shop in the US.

The diamond market came crashing down with the advent of the depression in the 1930's, and De Beers shut major mines like the Kimberly, Premier, and Consolidated Diamond Mines. They kept up the production of non-De Beers companies' mines to keep a hold on the market and waited for events to even out. But conditions for De Beers continued to worsen with the advent of World War Two, when they were forced to shut down almost completely.

They were revived again in the forties with the help of Oppenheimer's son Harry, who took over the helm of De Beers from his father. He visited the US in 1939 with the hope of finding a marketing firm that would agree to direct a pilot marketing campaign. He met N.W. Ayer and engaged the agency to begin a marketing campaign. They came up with a campaign targeting the emotional value of a diamond. Frances Gerety, a young copywriter for N.W. Ayer, coined the famous slogan "A Diamond is Forever."

The goal behind the marketing campaign was to ensure that women kept their diamonds literally forever. The goal was to prevent a secondary market for diamonds by persuading women that diamonds should be untouched by another woman to really have any menaing. This allowed De Beers to maintain control of the diamond trade at wholesale level andretailers to sell diamonds at a high price without competition from secondary markets. They touted engagement and wedding rings, anniversary necklaces, and anything of value that a woman could want. It was this marketing campaign that made diamond wedding and engagement rings so popular, and pushed diamonds to become the number one coveted gem by women.

In fact his campaign was so successful, it worked on an international level and brought countries like Japan into De Beers' sphere. By the late 90's, Japan produced 33% of the worlds diamond commodities (

De Beers flourished and grew over the years, establishing itself as an international diamond cartel that was highly successful, ruthless against its competitors, and king in the world of diamonds. With a wealth of diamonds at its fingertips, the possibilities were endless.

In the early 1980's De Beers hit another snag as sales dropped and they were once again losing money. But by the late eighties and early nineties they were back on their feet and expanding into other parts of the world such as South America and Asia, into the oceans with the formation of an underwater mining company, Debeers Marine Limited, and throughout Europe.

Famous Sapphire Mines

Sapphires are beautiful and rare gems and are largely used to make unique and gorgeous precious jewelry due to its unique characteristics like very good translucence, beautiful colors and hardness. Sapphire is hardest substance next to diamond rated as 9 on Moh`s hardness scale. Sapphires have a great crystal structure and are highly translucent and have high amounts of refraction meaning they have lots of fire and brightness which is essential for making beautiful jewelry. Sapphires also are available in a lot of colors like green, orange, blue, pink , purple, white etc. Colors add glamour to jewelry design. This makes them preferred choice for making precious jewelry since ages.


Sapphire Formation and Properties

Heat and pressure under the earth result in sapphire deposits in metamorphic and igneous rocks. Sapphires can be found in rocks like granite, schist, gneiss, nephaline syenite and many more rocks.
Sapphires are also found in pegmatite occurrences, or in gem-bearing, or "gemmiferous" gravels that are found along river-beds and ancient alluvial secondary deposits.

Sapphires formed from aluminum contain many trace elements, usually precious metals like iron, titanium, chromium and sometimes lithium. Unlike other gemstones that are created from silica, sapphires are usually found away from silica sand and rock. Corundum is found in poor silica environments. Corundum can be found in a variety of colors. During the formation of corundum, the coloring of the stone is dependent upon what minerals are present. For instance, when iron is present, sapphires have a green or yellow hue to them, while the presence of vanadium gives purple color to the sapphires, As yellow comes from the iron so yellow plus titanium becomes blue and the red comes from chromium. Red sapphires are what we call Rubies. Titanium oxide is the most commonly found impurity which looks like silk needles. If the sapphire is treated to a heat radiation of 1700-2000 degrees Centigrade, the needles dissolve, the haze in the sapphire clears and the sapphire acquires a brilliant look. The most prized sapphires are blue sapphires. To learn more about Gemstone heat treatment click here

Sapphire Mineral Facts and Properties

Chemical Composition
Al2O3. Corundum is generally a pure oxide of aluminum with the composition Al2O3, in which there are 52.9 per cent Al and 47.1 percent O. The impure varieties usually contain some iron, mainly as an admixture in the form of magnetite.
9.0 in Moh`s scale. Next to diamond in hardness. Diamond is the hardest substance on earth
Density / Specific Gravity
The density of non metallic minerals is very high. Sapphire has a density of 3.95 to 4.10
Conchoidal to uneven
None( parting in Three directions
Optics (Refractive Index)
1.760 to1.778
Sapphire has a surface luster ranging from Adamantine to vitreous
Blue, brown, yellow, pink, purple, orange, gray and colorless
Crystal System
Hexagonal-Rhombohedral Crystals . Sapphire crystals are usually prismatic or tapering hexagonal pyramid

Sapphire Mining:

Sapphires are mined all over the world and are found in a large number of colors like Blue, brown, yellow, pink, purple, orange, gray and colorless. The most expensive sapphires those which have not been heat treated but are straight from the depths of the earth in their natural form. These are the rich & vibrant blue sapphires. The blue sapphire is a very valuable gem, ranging at times, to around $1000 per a carat.

 Sapphires are mined all over the world. You will find sapphires in India, Srilanka, Burma, Australia, Nigeria, Madagascar, Brazil, Kenya, Thailand, Cambodia,Vietnam, USA, and Africa. Sapphires found in different countries vary in their color and quality. For eg; Srilanka has the world`s oldest sapphire mines.The Kashmir sapphires are the most valuable sapphires. Australia and Thailand have a rich history of mining blue sapphires. Madagascar is a very good source of pinks and yellows blue sapphires. In Tanzania mining is done to find yellow, orange and blue sapphires. Brazil has pink, purple and blue sapphires. Beautiful blueYogo sapphires were found in Montana, USA.

Sapphire Mining in Srilanka - Ceylon Sapphires.

Records of mining in Srilanka dates back to 543 BC. Until 1972 Srilanka was called Ceylon and hence the sapphire from Ceylon is called the Ceylon sapphire. Srilanka has a very rich history and heritage of mining some of the most precious gems and hence is called the Gem Island or Ratna Dweepa. The Blue “Ceylon Sapphire” and the “Padparacha” are a rarity found in Srilankan Island. The Ceylon blue sapphires are prized for their quality, beauty and color which ranges from sky-blue to a deep, vivid blue called cornflower. The padparadscha sapphire, is a stunning pink stone with orange undertones. The name derives from the Sanskrit word that describes the color of the lotus blossom. Unlike other gemstones, Ceylon sapphires aren't heat-treated to achieve their color. Sapphires of similar shades and composition are mined in other parts of the world too and are also sometimes called Ceylon sapphires.

The traditional
Ceylon mines are near Ratnapura which is located southeast of Colombo about 100kms away. Local gem miners rely on traditional mining practices that have been employed in Sri Lanka for 2,000 years without environmental damage. The Mines and Minerals Act of 1992 prohibits any person under the age of 18 from participating in gemstone mining in Sri Lanka. Today Ceylon sapphire faces competition from new finds of high quality material from Madagascar. But Sri Lankan stones continue to be an important factor in the market. Ceylon sapphire has been valued for its vivid color, that tends towards a lighter and brighter blue than the dark blue sapphires from Australia and

Sapphire was so abundant in Ceylon that lower grade material had been ignored for long. The lower grade material was pale and cloudy from an excess of titanium. In the 1979`s gem labs in Thailand discovered a way to turn these geuda sapphires an attractive vivid blue. This new heat treatment brought a flow of new Ceylon sapphire into the market, as stockpiles of once unusable material became saleble Now a days Ceylon sapphires are heated with beryllium to create vivid blue and bright yellow sapphires from pale and poorly colored material. These lattice-diffused sapphires are selling for astonishingly high prices and the yellow sapphires in particular are well accepted in the gem trade.

Our Ceylon sapphires are chosen from the middle of the color spectrum  for the design of our beautiful sapphire rings collection.

Sapphire Mining in Thailand / Cambodia.

Gemstone mining in Thailand is concentrated mainly in three primary regions: Chanthaburi and Trat Province in the south-east pert of the country, Kanchanaburi Province in the west, and Phrae Province in the north. Chanthaburi and Trat boarder on Cambodia 's Pailin region, which is also known for its high-quality ruby and sapphire. The chantanaburi area in Thailand has been mining beautiful and rare, dark blue, green, yellow and black sapphires since centuries. This area had large quantities of corundum from alluvial deposits . But since the beginning of the 19th century the sapphire resources are declining due to excessive mining. Today the Kanchanaburi area is the major center of sapphire mining in the country and is the leading source for sapphire rough in the world. Kanchanaburi’s Bo Ploi sapphire mines were discovered in 1918. Generally yellow, blue , pink and star sapphires are mined in the kanchanaburi mines. To preserve its resourses the government passed an act limiting the extraction only to Thai nationals. But this act did not hold for long and today mining still continues in Thailand`s chantanaburi and kanchanaburi areas though the deposists have largely diminished.

There is a lot of controversy over lattice” or “bulk” diffusion of Thai sapphires and gems. Thai gem-cutters have become experts in the heat-treatment of rubies and sapphire, over the last few decades. As much as 90% to 100% of the sapphire originating from Thailand may have been heat treated, diffusion treated, or both.However Thailands major revenues are from the gem industry.Thailand's gem and jewelry exports were $4.75 billion US in 2008.

Sapphire Mining in Burma/ Myanmar

Burma is mainly known for rubies but the fact is Burma`s Mogok region has very high quality sapphires as well. Cut sapphires of over 100 carats are found in this region. Large fine star sapphires are rare but have been mined at Mogok, in addition to star rubies. Near Kabaing (Khabine), at Kin, is located a mine famous for star sapphires. World's finest blue sapphires are also mined in the Mogok area. Today the world gem trade recognizes the quality of Burmese sapphires, but this was not always the case as Burmese sapphires are overly dark. However not all Burma sapphires are deep in color. The best display a rich, intense, slightly violet blue color. The key difference between Burma , Kashmir and Ceylon sapphires is saturation, with those from Burma possessing much more color in the stone. Color banding, so prominent in Ceylon stones, may be entirely absent in Burma sapphires. While range of tone in Kashmir sapphires varies from medium to medium dark, Burmese sapphires go from medium to darker tones. One can also find few lighter varieties of Burmese sapphires. Gem mining in Burma was practiced long before the Europeans entered Burma .

Sapphire Mining in Australia

Sapphires have been mined in Australia for over 100 years. The majority of Australian sapphires come from three fields: the Anakie fields in central Queensland, the Lava Plains in northern Queensland and the New England fields around Inverell in the northeast of New South Wales. Australia sapphires have a violetish-blue to greenish- blue hue and heavy gray masking. Their tone ranges from extremely dark to medium dark with black extinction areas. During the 1980’s Australia produced approximately 70% of the world’s sapphires. Many Australian sapphires are heat treated to lighten and improve their color and make them more transparent. Beryllium treatments have also been used. Top quality Australian sapphires cannot compare with the finest stones from Kashmir, Burma, Ceylon or Madagascar but however there is high demand for Australian sapphires in the international market. In Australia, freelance prospecting, called "fossicking," is a popular vocation, and every year, Fossickers from around Queensland attend the "Gemfest" to honor the country`s rich gem mining history.

Sapphire Mining in Kashmir India

The most beautiful and demanded sapphires in the world come from Kashmir, but they are rarely seen and auctioned. Political unrest, climate and altitude does not favor discovery of new sapphires in Kashmir making them more rare.Kashmir sapphires are highly valued due to their superb cornflower blue color and a sleepy quality (due to rutile inclusions) that has been described as "blue velvet." The Minute particles of exsolved rutile give Kashmir sapphire its velvety texture.

Sapphire Mining in Madagascar

Sapphires were first found in Madagascar the early 1990’s. Madagascar is most famous for blue sapphire, but many different colors have been found, including yellow, pink, green, white and padparadscha.  Fine color changing sapphires have also been found, that display blue or violet depending on the lighting. The majority of Madagascar’s sapphires come from the gemstone mines of Ilakaka andSakaraha as well as Andranondambo, Andrebabe and Diego Suarez. Ilakaka and Sakaraha are situated a little south of the island Madagascar near a place called Toliara or Tulear. Sapphire deposits in the north come from alluvial deposits of weathered basaltic rocks, while those in the south have metamorphic origins. Madagascar sapphires are one of the highest quality sapphires.The Madagascan gem fields now reportedly account for approximately 20% of the world’s sapphires. Sapphire deposits in Madagascar have not yet been fully exploited as mechanized mining is difficult here due to the natural conditions. Miners manually excavate deep pits and the gravel is carried from the pits and washed in nearby rivers.

Sapphire Mining in USA, Montana

Gem-quality sapphires in the United States are found in Montana . Sapphires from Montana are popularly two types : the Yogo sapphire from the Yogo Gulch in central area of the state, and Fancy Montana Sapphires found mostly in the western half of the state. Montana sapphires have remarkable color and brilliance. They have a unique blue color usually lacking in purple tones, they often exhibit a gray or greenish blue tint and sometimes even flashes of yellow. They also come in other colors, like orange, yellow, green, apricot, pink and colorless. There are some colors from Montana that are found no where else in the world. Like all sapphires, Montana sapphires are tough and relatively scratch-resistant and make great jewelry stones. In Montana the first mined Sapphires were found at the Rock Creek deposit around 1892. The other sapphire deposit region of Montana are Philipsburg, Sapphire Mountain and Gem Mountain. Mining is open to the public at Sapphire Mountain and Gem Mountain.  

Sapphire Mining in Tanzania

The majority of the sapphires from Tanzania are found in three locales: the Umba River Valley in the north, and Tunduru and Songea in the south.
 Guide to Famous Emerald Mines

Emeralds like Sapphires, Rubies and Diamonds have been highly prized since centuries and were used extensively to design precious jewelry due to it beauty and unique characteristics. Natural Emerald gemstones are very rare making them highly in demand. Emeralds have been used in jewelry designing even in 2000 B. C.The earliest stones were mined from the legendary Cleopatra's Mines in the Sikait-Zabara region of Egypt. Until the Europeans discovered the New World it was the only source of emeralds. Emeralds were Cleopatra`s favourite gemstone. She often wore lavish emerald jewelry and bestowed visiting dignitaries with large emeralds when they departed. Mention of Emeralds has also been made in the Bible. Top designers of today use emeralds to give their jewelry the extra elegance and color. Today demand of emeralds is so high that the industry has come up with synthetic emeralds and various methods of enhancing poor quality emeralds. Therefore before buying a piece of Emerald jewelry it becomes essential to know more about the emeralds that are used to design your jewelry, be it an emerald engagement ring, an emerald bracelet, pendant or emerald earrings. To help you understand your emeralds better we have compiled a comprehensive guide of where emeralds are mined across the world along with their quality as emeralds can highly differ in quality in different places.


Emeralds are formed in metamorphic rocks or in pegmatite deposits in metamorphic rocks deep inside the earth. They are made from the mineral beryl. Beryl includes trace elements of beryllium. Besides, beryl, emeralds contain trace elements vanadium and chromium. Depending on the amount of these elements, the emerald can appear light green to a very deep, dark green.


Properties of Emeralds
Emerald Chemical Composition
Be3Al2(SiO3)6 . Emeralds have oxygen, silicon, aluminum, and beryllium in it.
Crystal system
Hexagonal; 6/m2/m2/m
Crystal Habit
Small elongate first order prisms, often with vertical striations and irregular pinacoidal terminations
Can be found in many shades of green like, deep green or slightly yellowish or bluish tones
Specific gravity
2.67 - 2.78. It is an average weight stone. If you hold it, it would seem about the right weight for the size of the stone.
Poor. If you break this stone, it doesn’t split very evenly.
Refraction Index
1.566 - 1.602
Conchoidal producing smooth brilliant surfaces i.e if you shatter the stone, the edges are smooth.
0.005 - 0.008
7.5 - 8.0 . It is a very hard stone. It can scratch glass.
Vitreous . Emeralds shine like glass.
White i.e If you crushed this stone, the dust would be white.
Translucent to Opaque, Emeralds are very rarely transparent . You can see through some stones, but others are blurry or can’t be seen through at all. The most valuable ones can be seen through.
None. It is not attracted to and will not attract a magnet.


Emerald Mining and its Brief History – Learn about the Natural Emerald sources in the World


Emeralds deposits have been identified on every continent except Antarctica. Historical records state that Egyptians mined Gorgeous Green Emeralds centuries back. Ancient Egyptians dug mines of Sikeit during the reign of Tutankhamun (1336 to 1327 BC). The Cleopatra Mines or Mons Smaragdus (Emerald Mountains), were dug as early as 2000 B.C. Queen Cleopatra had so much love for emeralds that these mines were named after her name. Mining in the Egyptians Emerald mines was carried out for a long time until the Spaniards discovered emeralds in Colombia in 1545. While the Egypt may have been the first known miners of emeralds, Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia were the areas with the geological forces for perfecting the gem’s color and transparency. And emerald deposits in countries like Canada and Afghanistan were discovered as recently as the last decade.


The finest-quality emerald has the color of fresh young green grass an almost pure spectral green, possibly with a very faint tint of blue, as in the “drop of oil” emerald from Colombia, which is considered to be the world’s finest. Emerald mining today is a billion dollar industry with major sources of emeralds coming from Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Colombia, Pakistan, Russia, Zambia & Zimbabwe. Half of the emeralds come from Columbia, Zambia accounts for 20 percent of the market and Brazil 15 percent. The next largest producers are Zimbabwe and Pakistan, with smaller amounts from Russia, Afghanistan, Australia, Madagascar, and Tanzania. Until very recently each country played a fairly static role in terms of market preference. Colombia dominated the high end market, Zambia occupied its middle and Brazil was left with the bottom. Today however Zambian and Brazilian goods have won enough trade admiration to seriously challenge the status quo.


Emeralds in Columbia

Known for their vivid green color, Colombian emeralds are usually of exceptional quality. Colombia is the finest modern source for emeralds.The three historically significant areas of emerald mining in Colombia are Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor. Each of these areas comprises of many individual mines

Muzo mine
The famed Muzo mines of Columbia are located 100 miles north of Bogotá. These deposits were first mined by Native Americans but was eventually abandoned and then rediscovered in the 17th century.
 Emerald crystals from Muzo tend to have more saturated color than either Coscuez or Chivor. They are considered some of the finest emerald mines in the world with a gorgeous deep green color. Trapiche emeralds are an extremely rare and highly valued form of emerald only found in the Muzo mining district of Colombia. Star-shaped rays that emanate from its center in a hexagonal pattern characterize these emeralds. These rays appear much like asterism, but unlike asterism, they are not caused by light reflection from tiny parallel inclusions, but by black carbon impurities that happen to form in the same pattern.
Coscuez mine
The emerald crystals of Coscuez tend to exhibit a very wide range of colors but unfortunately also tend to be more included than those from Muzo.
Chivor mine
Another important deposit is the Chivor Mine, northeast of Bogota. Chivor emeralds are best known for their bluish cast and generally have fewer inclusions and a lighter color than either Coscuez or Muzo emeralds. The Chivor mining area is the smallest of the three and is separate from Muzo and Coscuez, which lay adjacent to each other.

Recently new deposits have been discovered which look promising for the future. The La Pita mine is one of the more recently discovered emerald deposits. This mine is thought to contain one of the largest emerald deposits in Colombia accounting for 60 to 70 percent of the annual Colombian emerald production. In recent years production has been intentionally slowed at La Pita to stabilize emerald price trends. The La Pita mine is mined by Santa Rosa LTDA and Prominas Dal Zulia LTDA. Over half of the Columbian emerald exports go to the USA, 24% go directly to Hong Kong and Bangkok. Many of the emeralds exported to the USA continue to Asia, especially Hong Kong.


Still, only a third of the emeralds mined in Colombia are worth cutting. Chromium and vanadium are the two coloring agents responsible, for giving emerald its beautiful green color. Colombian emeralds have a lot of chromium in them. Chromium is good for color but not so good for clarity. Chromium does not fit comfortably into the crystal lattice. This creates a garden of noticeable inclusions. While this jardin lowers the clarity of fine quality emeralds from the Columbia and other major emerald sources like Brazil, Zambia and Afghanistan. The transparency and their vivid color make them much better quality emeralds than those that are found in Egypt.

Emeralds in Brazil

Emeralds were first discovered in Brazil about 500 years ago after the arrival of the Portuguese. However, it was only in 1963 when the first samples with commercial value were found in Bahia, in northern Brazil that brazil came to be recognized worldwide for its emerald resources. Brazil has been known to produce large rough emeralds up to 200 carats in size. In brazil emerald deposits are found concentrated mainly in Bahia, Goias and Minas Gerais.


The Goias is located in the Central Western Brazil with mines at Santa Terezinha District, Campo Verdes and Emerald Locality, Pirenopolis. The Bahia is located in the North Eastern Brazil with mines like Carnaiba mine, Salininha mine, Serra das Eguas, Socoto Emerald Deposit, Anage Township. The north eastern region has more emerald mining areas like The Ceara and the Rio Grande do Norte. The Minas Gerais is located in the South Eastern Brazil and has famous mines Capoeirana Mine, Itabira; Piteiras Mine, Itabira and Itatiaia Mine, Itatiaia, Nova era near Itabera is also famous emerald mining desination in Brazil. In the Northen Brazil lies the Monte Santo Tocantins in the Tocantins district. Brazil's gemstone mine Nova Era produces very good quality emeralds having a deep green color. Brazil also supplies rare emerald cat's eyes and these are extremely rare emeralds with a six-spoked star. The mines at Nova Era are operated by a large number of independent miners with little technology unlike the mines at Belmont and Piteiras.


The color of the Brazilian emeralds is lighter than the Colombian emerald, they tend to a yellow-green. But the Brazilian emerald is often relatively free of inclusions. New deposits have been found since 1980 and Brazil is now one of the most important suppliers of emeralds in the world. While Colombian emeralds are known for their vivid green color, Brazilian emeralds are known for their variety of color, ranging from light green to medium dark blue green.


Brazil is one of the most significant gem-producing nations in the world, with numerous varieties of gems mined in almost every state, many in significant quantities.

New Emerald deposits in Brazil continue being discovered and developed. The quality of Brazilian emeralds also continues to improve with the depths of the mines, with more and more dealers comparing the best material to that of Colombia. Currently, overall gem production in Brazil is down, due in part to strict environmental protection regulations and a recent, universally applied minimum wage.

Emeralds in Africa ( Zambia,Tanzania and Zimbabwe)
In the last several decades, increasing quantities of emeralds have been found in a series of small deposits in East Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. The East African emeralds are quite strong in color, sometimes with the desirable blue-green hue. The most famous of these emeralds are the ones from Sandawana in the south of Zimbabwe. The Sandawana crystals tend to be small but are very high quality.also are mined in South Africa, in the northern Trasvaal. Modern mechanized mining is carried out at the Cobra and Somerset mines, but only about 5% of the product is of good quality. Most stones are light in color or heavily included and only suitable for cabochons. Zambian emeralds are of very high quality. Although Zambia has the world’s second largest emerald deposit, it is

substantially underdeveloped and primarily restricted to artisanal mines near Kagem, Kitwe, Miku and Mufulira in remote northern Zambia. As basic hand tools are mainly used to mine Zambian emerald, this limits supply, increasing its rarity and value. Zambian emerald is extracted from talc-magnetite schists Zambian miners call paidas (when it’s unaltered) and chikundula (when it’s weathered). They call small emerald crystals that may be indicative of bigger crystals ubulunga. Zambian emeralds from the Kagem emerald mine has consistently produced some of the finest Zambian emeralds since 1984. Zambian emeralds can be quite nice, typically a strong green to slightly bluish-green, and frequently less included than Colombian or Brazilian emeralds, therefore requiring less or no enhancement.

Emeralds in Russia - Ural Mountains
Russian emerald is long prized for its breathtaking crystal clarity, green fire and forest green hues. According to history, Russian emerald was discovered by a Russian peasant, Maxim Stefanovitch Koshevnikov, in 1830 in the roots of a tree that had been felled in a storm on the Tokovaya River near Ekaterinburg in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Despite this, rumors persist that Russia actually supplied emeralds long before the Spaniards discovered the famous Colombian emerald in the late 16
th century. These legends even go as far as to suggest that the Scythian emeralds mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Historia Naturalis came from the Urals.
  Rising to fame in the 19th century, the largest and best known source of Russian emerald is the Mariinsky (St. Mary’s) Mine. This mine was discovered in 1833 near the village of Malysheva. The deposits were nationalized after World War I and emerald mining soon ceased when Malysheva became a military security zone. Russian emeralds almost entirely disappeared; thankfully, Russian emerald is now back. Russian emerald is mined from a large beryllium deposit and is one of the deepest colored gem mines in the world. Less than half a percent of the rough crystals mined are suitable for faceting. As a result, Russian emeralds are a “must have” for any true emerald connoisseur.


Emeralds in Pakistan

While an extremely harsh climate prevents the mining of emerald deposits at higher altitudes, at lower elevations in the Swat Valley of Pakistan lay the Gujar Kili mine, and the ancient and historically significant Mingora mine (e.g., ancient Roman earrings featuring Mingora emeralds have been discovered). Severe weather conditions restrict operations during winter, making the hand-dug output very limited. The Pakistani government tightly controls the mining of emeralds from relatively new deposits discovered in 1960 in the Himalayan mountains.

Emeralds in Afghanistan
The Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan is a very valuable source of good quality emeralds-
very beautiful and very transparent . They can be well compared to the emeralds in Columbia and Zambia. It is believed that Afghanistan will be the next emerald mining center of the world once the industry there is properly legitimized. At present almost all of the stones are smuggled out of the country uncut to Pakistan and India, yielding virtually nothing in terms of tax revenue or extra jobs if they were cut and marketed in Afghanistan before export.


Other Sources Of Emeralds

Emeralds are also mined parts of China, South America, India, Australia, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, North Carolina in USA, Austria and Norway in Europe

Natural ruby is the rarest and most valuable of all precious colored gemstones. The price paid for a ruby at auction was $3.6 million, at Christie's. This was for a 8.62 carat unheated  Burmese ruby set in a Bulgari jeweler designer ruby ring. The price of $425,000 per carat set a new record not only for rubies, but for colored gemstones. The buyer was Lawrence Graff, a well-known jeweler from London.

Famous Ruby Mines

Fine Rubies are so valuable because of its extreme rarity like the burma rubies. Ruby is the red color of corundum, the same mineral as sapphire. But where other corundum colors such as blue, yellow and pink are quite rare, gem quality corundum is extremely rare and is found in only a few locations in the world.

The most valuable pigeon red rubies come from Burma, now known as Myanmar. The region is known for the very finest real red rubies is the Mogok Valley, located about 140 miles northeast of Mandalay in Burma. It is believed that ruby mining here has been active for more than a thousand years, and this is the source of the rare "pigeon's blood" ruby. The best Burmese rubies have are fully saturated red and a have rare unique fluorescent quality. Some specimens also have a velvety softness due to tiny inclusions of rutile that are known as "silk" in the gem trade.

While Mogok is the most famous location in Burma for the finest pigeon red rubies, most of the Burmese rubies found today actually come from a different location called Mong Hsu in the Shan State of Burma. The Mong Hsu depositand the deposit was so huge that it was hailed as the most important discovery of burmese ruby for hundreds of years. But these Mong Hsu rubies were not of the same quality as the famous Mogok rubies -- they had a tendency to a slightly bluish or purplish hue which was not as attractive. However, the color can be improved by heat treatment, so virtually all the Mong Hsu ruby in the market has been heat treated.

Prior to the discovery of the Mong Hsu ruby deposit, there was a period when virtually all the world's supply of ruby came from locations outside Burma. In 1962 there was a military coup in Burma and the military took control of the Mogok ruby mines. Burma was virtually closed for decades, as Ne Win pursued his own bizarre brand of socialism. The world was forced to look elsewhere for ruby. They went to Thailand, because Thailand had the largest supply of facetable material.

The Thai rubies came from Chanthaburi and Trat, an area of eastern Thailand bordering Cambodia. The Thai rubies had a very different look from the Burmese rubies. Though the Thai rubies have very excellent clarity, they have high iron content which rendered them a dark garnet-like red instead of Burmese ruby pigeon red color. The Chanthaburi gem dealers  discovered that the color could be improved with heat treatment, and the Thai rubies went on to to have a major market success. But by the middle of 1980's the Thai mines were all exhausted.

As the supply of fine ruby from Burma has gone down, African ruby has been able to meet some of the worlds ruby demand. A significant deposit was discovered in Madgascar in the Andilamena area and for a number of years most of the new ruby in the market was from the Madgascar mines. More recently there has been discovery Tanzanian ruby, but the most of the new African material is now coming from Mozambique in Africa including some rare unheated rubies.


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