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Gemstones: San Diego’s Rich History

Gemstone on the Beach

Southern California has produced some of the most beautiful gemstones, and San Diego has played a large role in that history. Six years before the 1848 California Gold Rush started, miners in 1842 were pulling museum-quality gems out of the hills of San Diego County.

The Dowager Empress of China was particularly obsessed with pink tourmaline, making this gem especially lucrative. Now famous Tiffany & Co. was the facilitator of the pink tourmaline trade between Southern California and China.

Royalty in China would place an order and a Tiffany gemologist, J.L. Tannenbaum, commissioned miners in Southern California to mine and ship the order. This continued until 1911 when the Empress died. San Diego’s mines sent over 120 tons of gem-quality pink tourmaline in just their last decade.

Pink Tourmaline Pendant

Topaz is another gem that is a Southern California specialty. John W. Ware was a San Diego jeweler who owned and operated a small mine on Smith Mountain that produced blue topaz. He had marketed the product from his small mine so well that he eventually was importing the gem to meet his demand.

Blue Topaz Earrings

Sempe and Tourmaline Queen are two of San Diego County’s mines where another gemstone, Morganite, was discovered. The gemstone was named by George F. Kunz, another Tiffany & Co. gemologist, after one of Tiffany’s most distinguished customers at the time: J.P. Morgan. While the discovery and rise in popularity of morganite is attributed to Southern California, it’s since been mined from Afghanistan, Brazil, and Madagascar.

Morganite Engagement Rings

Local Gemstones On Display

San Diego structures are still home to some of these local gems. One of the most notable of these displays was Jessop’s Clock in downtown San Diego. The clock was designed by Joseph Jessop (second-generation jeweler with a local mine at Mount Palomar) and finished construction in 1907. It contains 17 gems that were mined from the Jessop Mine including tourmaline, agate, topaz, and jade.

The clock stood outside of J. Jessop and Sons Jewelry Store through two downtown locations. In 1984 it was relocated to Horton Plaza where it was on display until 2019 when the lease agreement at Horton Plaza ended. Since 2019 it’s been kept safely in storage, awaiting a new lease to be signed for its public display.

If you’re looking to add these or other stones to your collection, visit Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers on San Diego Avenue to find the perfect gemstone jewelry piece.

2022 Christmas Gift Guide from Leo Hamel’s

Are you still looking for a last-minute Christmas gift? Christmas shopping later in the season can be extremely stressful, and we’re to help! We have gifts for everyone that are sure to leave a lasting impression this Christmas.

Here’s a peek into our jewelry, watch, and handbag collection. All of the items are available to view at our San Diego showroom at 1851 San Diego Ave., Suite #130.

Christmas Gifts For Her

Need a shiny gift for her this Christmas? We have a huge collection of jewelry, new & pre-owned watches, and handbags for all your gifting needs.

Lab-Grown Diamond Gifts

Looking for an ethical, earth-friendly Christmas gift? Our collection of lab-grown jewelry is sure to wow. Lab-grown diamonds are chemically, physically, and visually the same, the only difference is the price!

Christmas Gifts For Him

Want to dazzle him with the perfect Christmas gift? You’re sure to find an amazing gift for any man in your life in our large selection of new & pre-owned watched, including Rolex, IWC, Tissot, Hamilton, Omega, and more!

Engagement Rings

Planning a proposal this holiday season? We have a wide variety of engagement rings to make your moment perfect. Our team is happy to assist you in finding the perfect piece for that special woman!

Extraordinary Christmas Gifts

If you’re looking to go big this Christmas season, we have the perfect selection for you! These extravagant pieces are just a peek into our collection.

The Leo Hamel team is here to help you find the perfect gifts this holiday season. We have an extensive collection, if you would like to see any of the above pieces, please visit our showroom on San Diego Avenue or contact us here. Our knowledgeable team is excited to help you make this Christmas the one that special someone in your life will remember.

Tips for Engagement Ring Care

Engagement Ring Care

Diamonds are the hardest mineral; however, it’s important to remember that they’re not indestructible. Following these tips for the care and protection of your engagement ring will ensure that your diamond lasts a lifetime. 

Schedule Regular Cleanings

Leo Hamel’s offers free jewelry cleaning services for rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and watches as well as free ring polishing. Your engagement ring will be put in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner to remove dirt or oil. (Rings that include softer gemstones that may be damaged by ultrasonic vibrations and heat are cleaned by hand). After the ultrasonic, the ring will be steam-cleaned and polished by hand by the jeweler.

Prior to all cleaning services, our certified graduate jewelers will inspect your ring under a microscope to inform you of any issues with the prongs as well as any chipped or loose diamonds. You should plan to bring in your engagement ring (and other jewelry you own) twice a year for a professional cleaning and inspection. 

Gentle Home Ring Cleaning (only if you must clean at home)

While we always recommend bringing your jewelry into our jewelers for cleanings, we understand that sometimes that doesn’t always work out. If you must clean your engagement ring at home, make sure to use only warm water, dish soap, and a soft bristle brush.

Insure Your Valuables

Most people think of insurance when it comes to their life, car, or health, but what about your engagement ring? It can cost as much as a car and symbolizes one of the most important bonds in your life. There’s always an emotional toll when losing an engagement ring, but when it’s insured, you don’t have to worry about the financial hardship of replacing it. Leo Hamel’s works with the independent gemologist appraiser at San Diego Gemological Laboratory to supply appraisals for insurance purposes.

Consider an Alternate

Having a “backup” ring is an increasingly popular choice for many people. The alternate ring is less expensive and has less emotional ties to it. It’s worn regularly without many worries about it getting lost or damaged since it’s just acting as a placeholder. This alternate ring is worn during activities that may expose the ring to dirt, grease, or damage. Like while out partying at a club, or while traveling to less secure locations, and your main engagement ring is kept locked in a safe at home.

Engagement Ring

Avoid Chemicals

Chemicals in perfumes, lotions, and sunscreens may cause damage and add residue to your jewelry. Remove your engagement ring and other jewelry before using these substances or any other chemical. Chlorine can also damage jewelry so keep that in mind before getting into a treated pool or jacuzzi.

Weather Matters

Fingers can swell in the heat and shrink in the cold. It’s important to take note of any extreme weather so that you don’t have to worry about your engagement ring slipping off in the cold or being uncomfortable in the heat. Some gemstones are also affected by extreme weather so keep that in mind when deciding what to wear for the day.

Safe Keeping

Make sure you have a designated place to keep your engagement ring when you’re not wearing it. By keeping it in one place whenever you’re not wearing it, you lessen the risk of leaving it somewhere that you won’t remember later. You should also keep ring holders around the house in places where you might need to take it off for just a short amount of time.

Places like in the kitchen (away from the sink) for when you do dishes, in the bathroom for when you need to use any cleaning products, at your makeup table for when you are applying lotions and perfumes, etc. For longer term storage, or whenever your ring is at home but you are not, a home security safe is relatively inexpensive to install.

Restore White Gold

Over time, the shine on white gold rings will start to dull and display a yellow hue; this happens over time from normal wear, even with perfect care. Re-plating the white gold with rhodium will bring back the original shine to your engagement ring. Leo Hamel’s jewelry repair department can restore your white gold jewelry with expertly applied rhodium plating. Just stop by our San Diego Avenue showroom today to check your jewelry in!

What Properties are Gemstones Associated With?

Gemstones Properties

Have you ever wondered what properties certain gemstones hold? Or maybe you’ve been wanting to surround yourself with gemstones that are associated with certain feelings. There are many feelings and properties that gemstones can be associated with. The main four are: Love, Protection, Anxiety, and Wealth. Let’s talk about where these stones come from along with the ancient deities and property they’re connected to.

Love

Rose Quartz Comes from Japan, Madagascar, Brazil, and the USA. Linked to Aphrodite and Adonis. Speaks to every kind of love: healing communication with family, developing a deeper connection with a spouse, or guiding you through self-love.

Rhodochrosite – Comes from Argentina, South Africa, Peru, Montana, Russia, China, Mexico, Gabon, and Japan. Linked to Aphrodite and Persephone. Tied to the heart chakra, this stone encourages you to put yourself first and will help you sort through emotions.

Pink Tourmaline – Comes from the USA, Brazil, Nigeria, Mozambique, Madagascar, Afghanistan, and Namibia. This stone encourages you to heal old wounds and open your heart chakra. It brings comfort and compassion when you need it.

Yellow Jasper – Comes from Africa, Brazil, India, Madagascar, South Africa, Russia, Venezuela, Australia, Uruguay, and the USA. Linked to Persephone. Encourages learning and attracts positive energy for building self-confidence.

Garnet – Comes from Brazil, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Russia, the USA, and China. Linked to Artemis, Ares, Persephone, and Hestia. This stone is connected to your root chakra and is great for building last relationships. It gives the confidence you need to ask for what you want and to avoid jealousy in relationships.

Aventurine – Comes from India, Chile, Spain, and Russia. Linked to Dionysus and Persephone. Aventurine bring prosperity and luck in love, and is great to have when you’re looking for a relationship.

Moonstone Comes from Sri Lanka, Southern India, Australia, Armenia, Mexico, Brazil, and the USA. Linked to Artemis, Nyx, and Selene. If you’re looking to find that missed connection or rekindle an old relationship, this is the stone to keep. Moonstone brings the balance and calm needed to mend relationships.

Gemstones Properties

Gemstones for Protection

Obsidian – Comes from Mount Hekla in Iceland, Eolie Islands off the coast of Italy, and Obsidian Cliff in Yellowstone National Park. Linked to Pele, Hephaestus, and Hades. Obsidian is the protector of the heart and helps you by bringing safety into your relationships.

Lapiz Lazuli – Comes from Afghanistan, Chile, Serbia, the USA, and Myanmar. Linked to Aphrodite, Athena, Zeus, and Hera. This stone provides the protection needed to speak as your authentic self and is connected to your throat chakra.

Black Tourmaline – Brazil, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, and Namibia. Linked to Aradia and Hecate. Black Tourmaline releases negative energy from your mind and inspires a positive attitude.

Smoky Quartz – Comes from Mozambique, Switzerland, Brazil, the USA, Madagascar, Australia, and Scotland. Linked to Persephone, Ares, and Gaia. Protecting you from fear, negative thoughts, instability, and depression, this stone is often used for grounding.

Amethyst – Comes from Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, Russia, the USA, and Southern India. Linked to Dionysus and Artemis. Providing healing energy and peace, amethyst is often kept after a breakup to nurture self-worth.

Carnelian – India, Brazil, Egypt, and Uruguay. Linked to Pele, Hephaestus, and Apollo. Carnelian protects you from fear and provides a sense of safety to take risks and try new things.

Hematite – Comes from sedimentary deposits in Lake Superior, Brazil, Venezuela, and Canada. Linked to Hephaestus, Ares, Hades, and Aradia. This stone protects you from negative energies of those around you and it kept to boost self-esteem, confidence, and willpower.

Anxiety

Amethyst – Comes from Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, Russia, the USA, and Southern India. Linked to Dionysus and Artemis. In respect to anxiety, amethyst encourages balanced emotions, courage, and decision-making.

Labradorite – Comes from Canada, Poland, Norway, and Finland. Linked to Hecate. Labradorite helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel and provides new perspective.

Rhodonite – Comes from Russia, Sweden, New South Wales, California, and New Jersey. Linked to Aphrodite. Clearing away past emotional wounds, rhodonite eases the anxiety of new relationships.

Kyanite – Comes from Myanmar, Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal, Tibet, Brazil, Switzerland, Russia, and Virginia. Linked to Nemetona. Kyanite brings tranquility to anxious minds and encourages meaningful communication.

Howlite – Comes from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Germany, Russia, and California. Linked to Selene. This stone is a calming stone and rids you of rage, pain, and stress. Howlite also teaches patience, calm communication, and emotional expression.

Selenite – Comes from Mexico, Poland, Russia, Greece, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and the USA. Linked to Artemis and Selene. Selenite promotes mental clarity and deep healing, minimizing the weight that anxiety holds.

Shungite – Comes from Shunga Village in Karelia, Russia. Linked to Bacchus. This stone helps ground you and eliminate bad luck and bad energies.

Gemstones Properties

Gemstones for Wealth

Pyrite – Comes from Italy, Spain, Kazakhstan, and the USA. Linked to Apollo, Hephaestus, Athena, and Persephone. This stone enhances connection, protection, and security to bring good fortune and prosperity.

Green Jade – Comes from Myanmar, New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, Guyana, Surinam, Southern Europe, Russia, and China. Linked to Dionysus and The Fates. Green Jade brings the wholesome and nurturing nature of the Earth to increase physical prosperity and wellbeing in your life.

Amazonite – Comes from Brazil, Peru, Pike’s Peak in Colorado, and Virginia. Linked to Athena and Artemis. Connected to the heart and throat chakra, amazonite brings self-discipline, creativity, and compassion to help make dreams a reality.

Peridot – Comes from China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam, and the USA. Linked to Pele and Apollo. Peridot rids you of a bad conscious to assist you with your mistakes and provide space for great prosperity.

Malachite – Comes from Congo, Gabon, Zambia, Namibia, Mexico, Australia, and Russia. Linked to Hathor. Malachite helps you recognize and use your power, protects against harm, and brings wealth.

Citrine – Comes from Brazil, Russia, and Madagascar. Linked to Apollo, Hestia, and Demeter. Citrine promotes positivity, drives personal growth, and improves motivation to help you increase self-esteem, optimism, and good luck.

Tigers Eye – Comes from Griqueatown West in South Africa and Wittenoom Gorge in Western Australia. Linked to Ares. Tigers Eye is tied to the root and sacral chakra which help you get grounded. This stone helps you build a safe and strong foundation to increase motivation and bring good fortune.

Gemstones in San Diego

If you’re looking to increase these qualities in your life, visit our showroom on San Diego Avenue to find the perfect gemstone jewelry piece!