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Birthstones – May

Emerald, that gorgeous glossy green that has been a fan favourite since the dawn of time, and the perfect stone to ease us into the warmer spring season.

May only has one birthstone, and it’s definitely hard to compete again that grassy-green. However, for the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice).

BVLA – Flourish Illusion

A massive thank you to Becky at Inkhaus for the above photo!

Just like Aquamarine, Emerald is a form of Beryl – a mineral which can grow up to a foot in length, and with six sides. Typically Emeralds can range from light green to that typical deep and rich green associated with Emeralds. However, there are arguments whether or not these lighter forms are beryl’s are true emeralds! The deeper the green, the more valuable the stone, the rarest emerald gemstone is an intense green-blue colour. And yet again, just like aquamarine, the way the colour presents depends on how well its cut by a skilled gemmologist.

Mining of Emerald dates back to as early as 330BC in Egypt, but some estimate that the oldest emeralds are 2.97 (nearly 3!) billion years old! However old they are though, they have been a long time royal favourite. Cleopatra is one of the most famous historical figures to have an affair with emeralds. During her reign shed actually claimed ownership over all Emerald mines in Egypt.

The green gemstone is now mined all over the world. It has mainly been mined in Colombia for over 500 years, and has actually set the standard at which all other emeralds are now measured at. The Muzo mine in Colombia is actually one of the most noteworthy! They had such hidden and prized mines that it took the Spanish conquistadors nearly 20 years to actually find them.

The May gemstone is also found in Brazil, and one of the most productive emerald mines is the sophisticated Belmont mine. They can also be found in Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan!

Anatometal – Mini Kandy

David at Talisman tattoo came through with this photo!

Wildly considered the definition of Green, emerald has been loved for thousands of years. It is seen as the perfect stone to welcome spring, and along with that brings the belief that it invokes rebirth and renewal and new beginnings. It is believed that it brings loyalty, wit and intelligence to the wearer! It was also once believed to cure cholera, malaria and other diseases (although I’d still highly recommend checking with a doctor for these before self medicating with a stone). Now a days however, it is used as the stone given for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries!

Unlike last months birthstone (Diamond), Emerald only falls at a 7.5-8 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, making it more susceptible to scratching. Quite often the stone is treated with methods such as dyeing paler stones, or filling fractured stones with oils/waxes/resins. This is to help improve colour and clarity of the stone.

Emeralds require special care. They should be avoiding exposure to heat and harsh chemicals. They should also never be placed in an ultrasonic. This can cause any filler in the gem to ‘sweat’ out from any fractures. Filled emeralds can also be damaged by hot water. They should only be cleaned with mild and lukewarm soapy water, and a soft bristled brush (a tooth brush designed for babies would be perfect).

Thank you to Jess at The Luna Collective for a photo of this end!

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

Make sure to follow us on social media for regular updates, and keep an eye out as we post new blogs every single Friday!

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Birthstones – April

Some say that diamond’s are a girl’s best friend, and we’re definitely a fan of them over here at Rogue. As April begins, and we’re starting the embrace Spring once again, let’s take a look at one of the most well-known gemstones in history! Those born in Aprils, definitely have an exciting celebratory stone.

Seasons handmade ‘Installation 2’ 14k Yellow Gold – 2xVS White Diamond

April only has one birthstone, which we can completely understand why! It’d be very hard to compete against the famous diamond. For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice).

The vast majority of diamonds are colourless and transparent. They show an amazing display of colours and flashes of white under the light. However, they can rarely come in a rainbow array of colours, including green, yellow, black, blue and so on. The colour of a diamond stone is dependant on the impurities present in the stone. Chemical elements such as Nitrogen, Sulphur, and Boron can cause the colour changes (for example yellow diamonds have traces of nitrogen.) Colourless diamonds (that have less amounts of colour) are much rarer, thus much more valuable. The precise levels of colours present (if any) have such a drastic effect on the price-per-carat value. The standardized scale describing the exact amount of colour in a stone (the D-Z colour scale) was developed by the GIA and is now accepted globally. Diamonds with a colour of ‘D’ have absolutely no colour in them, while gems graded ‘Z’ have the most colour allowed to still be considered colourless.

BVLA ‘Oasis’ – 14k Rose Gold – 6x VS Ocean Blue Diamond

It is speculated that Diamonds have been around since the biblical times, when the breastplate of a high priest (also known as Adams’ Breastplate) was decorated with 12 stones. As time continued moving forward, these stones became connected to Zodiac symbols and then birthstones.

April’s birthstone is now mined all over the world. By the early 2000s, South Africa had been joined by other African nations (such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana) as major producers of rough diamonds. Diamonds mined in Botswana are typically found in the hot and dry eastern region of the country. The mines have brought a massive increase to the economy, which has resulted in creating a growing middle class society.

Russia is also now one of the biggest producers, opening its first major mine in the 1960’s, and the opening of the Argyle mine in Australia (1983) expanded the mining of diamonds massively, and are the primary source for the rare red and pink diamonds.

However, one of the original sources for diamonds, was India! They were credited for being the ones to introducing diamond mining into the world, and was the only major source of diamond mining until the 18th century. Now a days, most diamonds you come across on the market will not be from India, but instead one of the many major sources globally, but there is an estimate that 90% of these diamonds are processed there!

The current Diamond collection at Rogue!

Those who are April born are lucky to have this gem as their birthstone! Often seen as a symbol of clarity and strength! Diamond is actually so strong and durable, it’s name actually comes from the Greek word “Adamas” which means invincible or unbreakable. They have been a representation of love and life across many religions and centuries. It is also the gift of choice for 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries! Alongside being a symbol of love, Diamonds have been thought to be an antidote to poison (although we wouldn’t recommend any self treatment with a doctor, if you think you have been poisoned please see doctor!).

Diamond is a 10 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, making it incredibly durable! You do not want to store a diamond amongst others as they can scratch each other. We also wouldn’t recommend storing them with other gemstones as Diamonds can scratch and damage those too. They can be placed in an ultrasonic to be cleaned, however if it has any inclusions or has been treated it is best to clean with a lint-free cloth and some mild soapy warm water. You can also choose to use a soft bristled toothbrush and a commercial jewellery cleaner!

BVLA ‘Afghan’ + 2x ‘Prongs’ – White Diamond

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

Make sure to follow us on social media for regular updates, and keep an eye out as we post new blogs every single Friday!

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Blue Gemstones

Today we’re moving onto a favourite colour at Rogue – Blue gemstones! Your choices for blue gemstones are wide, varied, and in a huge array of tones. From the palest sky blues, to the richest oceanic colours. There’s a blue for every season!

Ocean Blue Diamond

Diamond-shaped Rose Gold jewellery set with six Ocean Blue Diamonds.

Ocean Blue Diamonds are hard-wearing, rich in colour, and truly beautiful. These are available in the widest range of cuts and sizes, so are the most versatile when it comes to designs.

They are a really lovely option for a blue gemstone!

Ice Blue Diamond

Ice Blue Diamonds are hard-wearing, lighter in colour, and are a really gorgeous aqua tone. Diamonds are available in the widest range of cuts and sizes, so are the most versatile when it comes to designs. They are also guaranteed to be the sparkliest genuine gemstones on the market!

They are a really lovely option for a blue gemstone!

London Blue Topaz

We work with a tonne of London Blue Topaz. We love it for it’s rich colour and versatility! This is a more affordable alternative to Ocean Blue Diamonds. It looks amazing in Yellow, White, and Rose Gold too! London Blue Topaz is a rich, deep, sea blue colour. It is a really good option if you want to branch out into colour if you generally wear a lot of black.

Swiss Blue Topaz

Swiss Blue Topaz is the light, breezy cousin of London Blue Topaz. With a slight grey-blue hint, this super pale blue is a really nice choice if you’re struggling to break away from White gemstones but still want something a little bit different! It also looks brilliant when it is sandblasted, but we will talk about that process in a different video.

Turquoise

A Nose piercing close-up wearing an opaque blue gemstone.

Turquoise is a vibrant, opaque gemstone that works best in Yellow Gold – This is where it truly shines! Turquoise is available as both a genuine and synthetic gemstone. The synthetic option is generally the better choice, as it is much more hardwearing and can be used in both fresh and healed piercings.

Polar Sapphire

Septum ring set with a set of lilac blue gemstones.

Polar Sapphire is practically lilac-blue, and is definitely on the lavender side of things. This is a really gorgeous gemstone, whose tone works really well in all colours of Gold. We love pairing Polar Sapphire with bright pinks for a pastel, spring-time look that is a little bit unexpected!

Aquamarine

Yellow Gold honeycomb-shaped end set with a smooth Aquamarine blue gemstone.

Aquamarine is the green-blue to true blue variety of the mineral beryl. Its colour is usually a light pastel greenish blue, but in smaller cuts used in body jewellery tends to be quite a pretty sky-blue.

We find that Aquamarine works best in a cabochon cut, where it can truly shine in all of its soap-bubble glory! Yellow Gold tends to bring out the best in Aquamarine, allowing its pale blue to really pop.

Blue Sapphire

BVLA Mini Kandy jewellery, set with a bright blue gemstone called Blue Sapphire.

If you are looking for a classic ‘true blue,’ then Blue Sapphire is definitely the one for you! This rich, primary blue is definitely up there amongst our favourites.

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Black and Grey Gemstones

Happy Friday! Today we’ll give you an overview of our favourite part of the rainbow: Black and grey gemstones! The black gemstone is a classic option, and can work well as a standalone or as part of a wider curation. If in doubt, order it in black…

Black Diamonds

Black Gemstones set in White Gold, on a white paper background.
Triple Flat inspiration using BVLA – White Gold, Black Diamonds. From left to right: Afghan, Mini Kandy, and Tiny Quadbead.

Black Diamonds are the eponymous black gemstone. Hard-wearing, intensely sparkly, and richly dark, Black Diamonds are by far our favourite black gemstone to use in our curations.

Black Diamonds are available in a huge amount of sizes and cuts, making them a versatile option for pretty much any jewellery design and placement. They are one of the only black gemstones available in super-tiny 1mm and 0.8mm cuts, which means they can be used in a lot of different ways.

Onyx

Black Gemstones set in Yellow Gold on a mirrored background.
Yellow Gold and Onyx setup from BVLA.

Onyx is another classic black gemstone option. It is Black Diamonds more affordable cousin! It is not available in as many sizes and cuts, but it can look really really cool! We love how inky black it is.

Onyx is also available as a Cabochon cut, which means it can look really smooth. It can also be sandblasted for a matt finish!

Pyrite

Black and Grey Pyrite gemstone set in a kite-shaped setting with a chain set across the front on a mirrored background.
BVLA ‘Captain’ End.

Pyrite is an incredible gemstone, with lots of natural variation. It is available in a limited range of cuts, but is available in unique shapes like the Kite cut you see in the photo above!

We like Pyrite as a masculine, industrial-looking option. Its glossy matte finish makes it the perfect choice for a dark and understated look.

Grey Diamond

Septum piercing set with grey gemstones. A second ring is visible in the background, with a chain welded to it.
BVLA ‘Oaktier’ Ring

Not sure whether to go with White or Black Diamonds? Grey Diamonds might just be the answer. These are the sparkliest truly grey gemstones! Hard-wearing, you will be able to enjoy their understated look for a lifetime.

Grey Sapphire

Grey-blue gemstone set into a beaded white gold marquise setting. Placed in a healed helix piercing, with the scar of a tight ring visible.
BVLA ‘Beaded Marquise’ End.

Grey Sapphire is a good way to add some monochrome colour to your curation. The sibling of Grey Diamond, Grey Sapphires are a slightly softer, slightly less sparkly option. The main think to keep in mind with Grey Sapphire, which you can see in the photo above if you have an artists eye for colour, is that Grey Sapphires are not perfectly grey. They have a very slight blue tint, which gets more obvious as the gemstone gets larger. If that is actually an attractive choice for you, then amazing!

Grey Sapphires are available in a lot of different cuts, which makes them quite a versatile and affordable gemstone option.

Marcasite

Marcasite gemstones set into a large, ornate septum ring.
BVLA ‘Shaman’ Ring

Marcasite is a really fun option for a grey gemstone! It is a very metallic, almost mercury coloured natural gemstone. We love using it in more masculine, edgy curations for its not-sparkly sparkle.

Tourmalinated Quartz

Vertical helix pierced with bullet-cut Tourmaline Quartz, set into a white gold setting shaped like a crown.
Anatometal ‘King Bullet’ End

Tourmalinated Quartz might be one of our favourite monochrome ‘Black and Grey’ gemstones. Naturally occurring, this type of quartz has rods of black tourmaline shooting through the gem, which gives it a very interesting and spiky look. We love this gem because it is often cabochon or bullet-cut, meaning that its smooth profile can work well alone or as a foil to super sparkly pieces within a larger curation.

Black Pearl

Navel bar set with two black pearls, in an ornate Yellow Gold setting.
BVLA ‘Bead Prong’ Navel Bar

And finally, you have Black Pearls. They are not cursed, we promise! Black Pearls are incredibly unique, and there really isn’t anything like them.

Their only downside is, like all pearls, they are very soft and very delicate. Keep them for special occasions, like the goth wedding night of your dreams… And don’t let your hairdresser get bleach on them!

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White Gemstones – So Much Choice!

Today we’re going to give an overview of some of the most popular gemstones within the most popular colour category. The White Gemstone, or Clear gemstones, are probably the most common choice from the whole rainbow. They are crisp, sparkly, and match any colour scheme. So what choices do you have within the White category?

If you see anything you like, or want to explore the infinite jewellery options available to you, then definitely look into custom ordering!

White Diamonds

Amazing BVLA Inside-Out Eden Pear set with Genuine Diamonds.

White Diamonds are potentially the most well-known white gemstone. Crisp, intensely shiny and very long-wearing, Diamonds have a reputation as the perfect gemstone for body jewellery! Diamonds are composed of pure carbon – The fewer inclusions (dots of non-Diamond), the higher the quality. Diamonds are rated on Clarity and Size. Clarity is graded on a number and letter system (from Fl to I). Most smaller diamonds, such as those used in body jewellery, rate at VVS1 or VS1 which means that they contain very few inclusions. The less inclusions, the clearer and sparklier the gemstone is!

White Diamonds are available in body jewellery from a number of brands, however we love BVLA for our diamond collection.

White Sapphire

BVLA ‘Mini Marquise Fan’ End

White Sapphires are another classic white gemstone – We use a lot of White Sapphire in our jewellery curations! The main benefit of White Sapphire is that it is a lot more affordable than White Diamonds whilst still being a genuine gemstone! When it comes to bespoke Gold jewellery, we always aim to use genuine gemstones to be in keeping with how special these pieces are to our clients. Interestingly, a White Sapphire is often only 5% more expensive than a White CZ – So why not, right?

Rainbow Moonstone

Yellow Gold – Rainbow Moonstone

Rainbow Moonstone is a really fun alternative to traditional white gemstones, and is the perfect way to branch out whilst still ‘playing it safe,’ so to speak! Rainbow Moonstone has a really subtle blue flash to it – It can be hard to catch in photographs, but is really obvious in natural light!

Pearls

Cosmic BVLA Pearl cabochons.

Pearls are relatively rare in body jewellery – Currently only BVLA works with genuine White Pearls! This is because they are a very fragile naturally occurring material which is not suited for permanent wear in many positions. We recommend White Pearl in special pieces, like wedding curations!

Despite being high maintenance, White Pearls are STUNNING when it comes to jewellery. There truly is nothing like it!

White Opals

Yellow Gold – Genuine White Opal

White Opals are another classic option. These can be purchased in both Genuine and Synthetic options, however genuine White Opals are by far the more interesting and aesthetically pleasing of the two!

White Opals are again, relatively soft and fragile in comparison to other gemstones. You need to exercise common sense when wearing them – Don’t let your hairdresser douse them in peroxide, for example!

Mercury Mist Topaz

Mercury Mist Topaz is a treated gemstone with an opalescent, rainbow flash! It’s a really fun way to add a pop of colour whilst keeping with a natural gemstone.

The main thing to note with Mercury Mist is that it is a coating, which can wear away over time. Keep this in mind, however BVLA will replace worn gemstones!

So there you have it, some fabulous white gemstone options! What colour of the rainbow should we cover next?

Make sure to follow us on social media for more awesome jewellery and piercing content!

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Birthstones – March

March is full to the brim this year with both a very early Easter weekend and mothers day happening. And what better way to celebrate than gifting a very beautiful shiny gemstone. This month we are specifically looking at the gemstone Aquamarine, which is March’s birthstone.

Now technically, March does have two birthstones: Aquamarine and Bloodstone, however bloodstone isn’t typically used in body jewellery so we wont be going into great depths this blog post. For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice).

BVLA – Miel

Aquamarine is a gorgeous light toned crystal, often seen in pale blues but can range between greenish-blues and blue/greens. It typically doesn’t achieve dark tones or deep saturations, but the few that do can be compared to that of Sapphire, but still being lighter. The intensity of the colour is determined by the size of the stone, typically being the larger the stone the deeper the tones and saturations.

It is a pale/lighter version of Beryl, and the colour can be changed through heat treatment. This actually means it is a close cousin of Emerald!

The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has been a predominant root of sourcing aquamarine for the last two centuries. Aquamarine is found in hard rock and weathered pegmatite deposits in the eastern portion of the state. Pegmatite is the host rock for many rare mineral deposits. Often composed of quartz , mica and feldspar. More often than not, the mining processes is quite small with less than a dozen employees.
 
Aquamarine can also be found in the Karakorum foothills of Pakistan. To reach the deposits, miners must climb steep paths to elevations, around 3,000 to more than 4,000 meters, and work the sides of forbidding cliffs. Below this uninviting rocky world lay valleys, rivers and small towns. Aquamarine from this area has been described as “water clear” due to their incredibly pale colour.

There is also many other sources of Aquamarine though, including Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia and many more countries.

This ocean coloured stone has some beautiful history behind it. Often thought to protect sailors at sea and calm the waves for a smooth journey, the stones name is a direct reference to its colour. Originating from Latin, “Aqua” meaning water, and “Marina” meaning “of the sea”, there’s no question on why there is much ocean lore surrounding the beauty of a gem. This March birthstone was also believed to have brought happiness into marriage, which is no surprise that while also celebrating march births, it is the gem is also given as a present for the 19th year of marriage.

It also has some famous history as well! In 1963, the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt received a deep blue, rectangular cut piece of Aquamarine that weighed in at 1’298 Carats. This was gifted by the government of Brazil when both the president and the first lady stopped in Rio De Janeiro where they met Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas. The gift was actually the larger of two pieces that had been faceted from a much larger piece of aquamarine rough that and weighed 1.3kg! The stone is now held at the ‘Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum’ in Hyde Park, New York.

Lady Roosevelts Aquamarine gift.

This sea tone stone scores a hardness of 7.5-8 on the Moh’s Hardness scale, meaning it is durable for everyday wear. The cleaning of this stone is easy too, with mild and warm soapy water, and a toothbrush. This will also help clean out dirt from those tricky to reach places. And as long as there isn’t any fractures in the gem, both ultrasonic and steam cleaners are absolutely fine to be used!

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

Make sure to follow us on social media for regular updates, and keep an eye out as we post new blogs every single Friday!

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Birthstones – February

Love is in the air this month with Valentines day quickly and surely approaching. We’re also celebrating another birthday at Rogue (Hi Gemma!). And what better way to show off your birth month than with the February birthstone: Amethyst! (Possibly the studio’s favourite genuine gemstone).

Following on from January and Garnet, February is one of the few months that only has one birthstone, rather than two or three. For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice). So what about the February birthstone?

With a great contrast to the colder and short lived month of February, the February birthstone Amethyst is a gorgeous and rich-coloured gemstone that should be enjoyed for an eternity. Being a purple variety of Quartz, it comes in all sorts of hues including lilac to deep purples. For Amethyst to get its colour, the quartz needs to have trace amounts of iron. This iron has tiny impurities which are then exposed to natural radiation (irradiation) which results in oxidation of the impurities. This process changes the absorption spectrum of the Quartz, resulting in the beautiful purple shades we see.

Russia was the main source of Amethyst until the 19th century, when large deposits were found in Brazil. Originally being super rare, this new found discovery led amethyst to suddenly become quite common . Today, the most important sources of amethyst are in Africa and South America however Brazil is still a major supplier, especially in Rio Grande do Sul, although the amethyst mined there tends to have a lighter colour than most found in other countries. .

In Africa, Zambia’s Kariba mine is one of the largest amethyst producers in the world. The Amethyst that is mined here typically tends to have excellent quality with richly saturated colours. There is also the ‘Four Peaks Amethyst Mine’ located just outside of Phoenix is the United States. This mine is is in a remote location, with extremely challenging conditions for Amethyst to form, yet somehow forms some of the deepest purple, and purplish red crystals.

This purple stone also has a great history behind it, often being found in collections of royal families across Europe and Asia. Because of the original rarity of Amethyst, it was held as high as a diamond, and was incredibly favoured royalty, or the Clergy as a symbol for the deity of Christ. It wasn’t until the discovery in Brazil that made Amethyst more available to a wide range of wearers.

Amethyst lore is just as great as its history. The lore includes many claims of bringing personal empowerment or inner strength if worn, as well as it’s claims to mystical powers. Leonardi Da Vinci once wrote that this stone has the power to protect against evil thoughts and quicken intelligence. Apparently he was well known for making use of this stone. Throughout time Amethyst has been ground down and ingested for medicine, or been used to make drinking goblets due to the reports of preventing intoxication. Although Amethyst is not toxic, it is no longer recommended to ingest through eating or drinking. So please do not try this at home!

In the modern day, Amethyst is the stone that is traditionally given to celebrate the 6th year of a marriage!

This purple quartz scored a 7 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, making it appropriate for daily wear in jewellery, although over time may show wear and need a repolish. As it is more susceptible to damage than harder stones (such as rubies and diamonds), it should be stored away safely from anything harder to avoid it being scratched or damaged. As always, the safest way to clean this stone is with a soft toothbrush and some mild soap, but it is also safe in an ultrasonic. However, steam cleaning should be avoided. This is because extreme treat (or some heat treatments) can change the shades of purple , or make it more brittle.

BVLA TRIO
Afghan, Mini Kandy, Mini Reema.

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

Make sure to follow us on social media for regular updates, and keep an eye out as we post new blogs every single Friday!

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Birthstones – January

We’re officially into the new year, with Christmas gone and passed, but it’s not all doom and gloom in the studio. This month we’re celebrating the birthday of our apprentice, and this weeks blog is all about the January birthstone (well not just theirs). Garnet! Mostly known for it’s very intense red that will surely keep that fire going in the cold long days of January.

January is one of the few months that only has one stone, rather than two or three. For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice).

But don’t worry, if that brilliant Red of Garnet isn’t your personal choice of colour, you’ll be happy to know that the January Birthstone comes in a whole rainbow of colours; green, blue, oranges, pinky/oranges, and purplish reds. There are even Garnets that have a colour-change effect when under different lighting or Star Garnets, which is where the stone displays a ‘multi-rayed’ light reflection on its surface that resembles a 4 or 6 pointed star. However, despite the wide range of colours available, this stone is well known for for their deep red varieties, that often are compared to fruit seeds of pomegranates.

Star garnets are found in India, the U.S. state of Idaho as well as Sri Lanka. Green garnet ranges in location. For example, Tsavorite is mined in Kenya and was named after the Tsavo National Park where it is mined nearby, while Demantoid garnet is hugely sourced in Russia. Yellowish/orange, or bright orange Garnet is named after Spessart in Germany where it was discovered but Namibia and Tanzania are also key sources for Spessart Garnets. The colour changing Garnets are found in Kenya, Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Garnets are also found and mined in many other countries. So many different ways to celebrate the january birthstone!

According to Indian astrology, Garnet helps eliminate negative feelings (such as depression or guilt) while improving self-confidence and mental clarity which helps promote creative thinking and peace of mind. In ancient and medieval times, gems like garnet were also thought to be remedies for inflammatory diseases and to soothe the angry heart. Garnets are also a symbol of eternal love thought to held protective healing powers, which makes it another good reason to gift Garnet to your loved one to celebrate your second wedding anniversary.

The different types of Garnet which change where it sits on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, but it typically ranges between 6.5 and 7.5, making it more susceptible to damage than diamonds or rubies. Be careful on storage for Garnets, because it can be scratched by other stones. While Garnet is not ideal for everyday wear, it is ideal for earrings (including body jewellery), brooches and pendants. Most garnet stones are not treated except in rare instances where they might be fracture filled. However, the best way to clean your garnets is with a soft toothbrush (we always recommend baby tooth brushes the bristles are always softer) and warm soapy water. If you have an ultrasonic at home, you’ll be happy to know that you can give your garnets a quick whizz about in there, unless they are fractured, or fracture-filled. Steam cleaning is not recommended.

BVLA – Round Prong

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

Make sure to follow us on social media for regular updates, and keep an eye out as we post new blogs every single Friday!

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Birthstones – December

December is officially Holiday season, and all over the world people will be celebrating their own holidays in their own special way. This month, we are looking at 3 special gemstones to commemorate you December babies. Turquoise, Tanzanite, and Zircon are three beautiful December birthstone that vary in their hues of blue, which is perfect for that cold chill of December!

Three Birthstones?

The majority of months know how to celebrate with their stones by having multiple stones. December is one of two months that decided to ramp it up to three for an extra kick – So what options do you have for the December birthstone?

For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice). Turquoise is Decembers traditional stone, with Tanzanite and Zircon being the more modern and newer stones.

Whatever your style, budget, taste or preferences are, there is definitely something for all you cold December babies.

Turquoise!

Turquoise is well known for it’s bright blue colour! With shades ranging from sky blue to apple green, and its standout veins of matrix (black, brown or grey remnants of the rock it was formed in), it’s no shock that Turquoise is very well recognised. Turquoise is formed when mineral-rich water seeps in-between the gaps of rocks, and over time the water dissolves, leaving only behind the formed minerals, i.e. Turquoise. The minerals left that form the stone, are the ones that give it its colour. For example, copper gives turquoise its shades of green and blue.

Purple Copper Turquoise – BVLA Round Prong

There is an assumption that the gemstones name can be translated to ‘Turkish Stone’ which hints that this is where it may have first been found. If it was, it definitely didn’t stay there long. Apparently they were buried (and later found) in the mines in The Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, which date back to as early as 4000 BC. This makes Turquoise one of the oldest gemstones in history.

The ‘sky blue’ stones were originally sourced in Ancient Persia (now Iran) are often still referred as ‘Persian Blue’. The U.S is currently the biggest supplier of Turquoise, where most production comes from Arizona and Nevada. The ‘Kingman mine’ in Arizona is a historically important source that is known for producing intense blue turquoise. Although it is no longer open for turquoise mining, Arizona’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ mine was a prolific producer for more than four decades.

Turquoise Prong- Anatometal

For centuries, Turquoise has believed to be a protective stone, often being worn as amulets. From the 13th Century it was believed that the stone would protect its wearer from falling (particularly, falling off of horses. We’re not sure how relevant this is these days…), as well as the common belief that the stone would break into many pieces at the face of danger. There are also many other beliefs, such as the guarantee of good health and fortune. Hindu mystics maintained that seeing a turquoise stone after beholding the new moon ensured fantastic wealth. Turquoise was often seen through many royal families, such as the Duchess of Windsor who wore a beautiful Amethyst and Turquoise necklace. Queen Mary had a collection of Persian turquoise jewellery, including a tiara, necklace, brooch, and earrings. The Persian Turquoise Tiara was eventually passed down to Princess Margaret, who wore it until her death in 2002. In the modern day, Turquoise is also the gem of the 11th wedding anniversary.

On The Moh’s scale of hardness, Turquoise is typically around 5-6, although some Turquoise is treated to improve its durability. Turquoise can be dyed or chemically enhanced by adding an epoxy or acrylic resin for greater hardness or better colour. Typically, Turquoise is pretty durable when it comes to light, but can be sensitive to high heat , which can cause discolouration or breakage. It is for this reason hat Turquoise stones should not be cleaned with steam or an ultrasonic. Acids, chemicals, and cosmetics can also damage or discolour your stone. The best method of cleaning is warm soapy water.

A large amount of Turquoise is synthetic these days – This improves it’s day-to-day wearability!

Tanzanite!

Tanzanite is the newest addition to the December birthstone, being the first gemstone added to the official birthstone list in almost 100 years. It is one of the most fascinating gem discoveries of the 20th century. Harry Platt (the president of Tiffany and Co.) stated: “The most Beautiful stone to be discovered in 200 years. And honestly, we might have to agree. Often described as ‘velvety’, Tanzanite comes in an array of shades, ranging from pastel and pale lilac, to rich blues, flirting with violets, lavender and cornflower blue hues on its way. In 1968, Tiffany and Co. became the biggest distributor of Tanzanite, advertising of its vivid colours, high clarity, and ability for larger cuts, caused this stone to rise massively in popularity.

Tanzanite is one of the most unique and rare gemstones we have, and works perfectly as the December birthstone. It was formed over 500 years ago under extreme geological conditions that are seen as completely unique. It is also only found in one small area of the foothills of the mountain it was discovered, and to be found anywhere else it is believed to have a on “one in a million” chance. In 1967 it was discovered in the “Merelani Hills” . It is believed that sometime in the future, we will have completely run out of this stone.

Most of the Tanzanite found on the market is actually heat treated, to enhance the blue/violet hues and remove the brown that is naturally found. The colouring of this is permanent, and there is no durability concerns. The stone typically ranges around 6-7 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is resistant to normal heat, light and chemicals. But if exposed to very sudden high or rapid changes in heat, it can cause the gem to crack. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are not recommended to be used to clean this stone, and therefore the best option is warm soapy water.

The below photos were kindly borrowed to us by the amazing Becky Crossan at Inkhaus Piercing!

Zircon!

Zircon is a classic gemstone, that has often caused confusion with synthetic Cubic Zirconia due to its similar name. Very few people realise that it is its own special naturally formed gemstone which ranges in a fantastic array of colours. The broad colour palette of this December birthstone includes red, blue, orange, yellow, brown and green. It is well known for its intense flashes of multicoloured light (called fire), and its brilliance. This resulted in Zircon being confused with diamonds for centuries.

Zircon is one of the many gems that are found in Sri Lanka. It is often found close by to Sapphire sources, so in addition to Sri Lanka, it is also found in Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia. Mining for Zircon in Australia dates back 4.4 billion years, possibly making it the oldest mineral as a gemmological found. Australia’s Hart Range is most commonly known for producing the Zircon birthstones in yellow and brown, however Australia dominates in Zircon mining, producing 37% of the worlds supply.

During history, Zircon has had many symbolic beliefs attached to it. In the middle ages, the most common belief was that it would help lull people into a deep and peaceful sleep, while getting plenty of rest. There were other beliefs during that time, such as Zircon bringing forth good fortune and warding away evil spirits. The ‘luck’ associated with Zircon is said to present itself in different ways. For example, it is often believed that Zircon will promote discipline and self confidence, thus leading to better opportunities.

Zircon ranges from 6 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. It is often heat treated to produce blue and colourless varieties, as well as orange, yellow and red. The gem is typically stable when exposed to light, but after prolonged exposure to bright light some heat-treated stones may revert back to their original colours (which is usually a light-ish brown). Exposure to heat can alter the colour of some zircon. Because zircon tends to wear away or chip by friction, it is best to avoid wearing it in rough conditions, such as gardening, playing sports or doing dishes. Cleaning your zircon using a soft brush and mild soap in warm water is the best method. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are not recommended for this December birthstone.

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world such as the December Birthstone, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

Make sure to follow us on social media for regular updates, and keep an eye out as we post new blogs every single Friday!

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BVLA – Fine Body Jewellery

BVLA is the leading designer and manufacturer of fine body jewellery in the world. Rogue also has an entire cabinet stocked with exclusively their jewellery. But why? Why are they so great? What makes them so special, and better than any other goldsmiths on the market? Well, let’s find out.

Who are they?

BVLA, Body Vision Los Angeles. They are designers, manufacturers and innovators based over in the heart of Los Angeles, California. Founded by their owner Nick Martin in 1996, they have proudly built up a business that has exceeded industry standards, provided top quality body jewellery, and defied the status quo. At present, they have 100 employees and five jewellery workshops, all dedicated to the process of turning dreams into reality.

You can find BVLA’s jewellery all around the world. At current, they sell their jewellery to some of the best piercing studios in the world, in over 25 countries. You can find BVLA stockists in New Zealand, France, Spain, Malaysia, the UK, the Netherlands and many more destinations.

Why are they highly recommended?

If you have been looked into a higher quality piercing studio, or different high quality studios, you will notice that there are lots of companies that offer gold, or fun colours and cute designs. But what makes BVLA stand out from the crowd? Why do they have the ultra-lux reputation that they do?

  1. They are ethical: BVLA are arguably one of the most ethical companies in the piercing industry, and consistently make responsible choices in every regard. The Gold that they use is recycled to help minimise environmental impact, and all of their Diamonds are ethically sourced and guaranteed to be conflict free. They are also big believers in equality and diversity for all humans. They currently have a programme called the ‘BVLA Future Stars‘. This programme is an apprenticeship that aims to support and provide full-time paid positions for under-resourced BIPOC, in order to help them forge careers in fine body jewellery and manufacturing.
  2. They have an infinite amount of choice: BVLA is currently the home of over 3000 unique original designs, and this collection still continues to grow and evolve every day. They work with 7 different metals (both 14k and 18k Yellow, White, and Rose Gold, as well as the ultimate luxury: Platinum). They also have the ability to offer over 150 different choices of gemstones, from Sapphires and Diamonds to Labradorite and Rose Quartz. You can find a rainbow of colours a dozen times over. There is also additional choices of textured materials, and the different types of finishes and cuts. Choose between hammering or sandblasting? The choice is truly yours.
  3. They are high quality: BVLA are the basis of high quality jewellery and manufacturing. With every single product being designed, handmade and hand polished in LA. Every part of the the process is intrinsically thought out to achieve the best results. Every time they receive a new order, the responsibility is handed to an individual jeweller. This means the jewellers and makers can avoid the boring tedious task of just making the same design over and over again, and can have pride and joy over their creations, while still keeping their brain active and fresh.
  4. They offer a lifetime warranty: This is a huge factor for piercers. From human errors to machine breakdowns, you can never be 100% certain about anything. Especially with body jewellery. Offering lifetime warranty on manufacturers defects is a big bonus. They take such huge pride in their work and are so confident in their craftsmanship that they will repair or replace any item that they have ever made, totally free of charge.
  5. They offer completely custom work: One of BVLA’s most attractive features is their custom work. Every single piece of jewellery they offer can be customised by the client in hundreds of ways. From choosing between hundreds of gemstones and finishes, to redesigning the minutiae of each item, BVLA really provide the opportunity to be creative. But it doesn’t stop here. They also work with piercers and take on custom order projects and custom designs. If you can think it, they can make it! They also offer a service that is incredibly unique and rare in the piercing industry, and that is reworking. They offer the ability to rework and reset gemstones and traditional jewellery into body jewellery. For example, you can no longer wear your family heirloom Diamond ring because of work? They can help turn that classic earring into body jewellery for you. Fancy something a little different? Lets make it into a septum ring!

Why Do Piercers like BVLA?

Of course, BVLA are not the only jewellery manufacturer making high quality pieces, or fancy gold ends, or even working with genuine gemstones. But apart from the previously listed reasons on why they are amazing, why do piercers have such a connection with BVLA?

Well BVLA work very closely with piercers. Each studio that is a stockist of BVLA has their own personal point of contact. For example, Kat (our jewellery specialist at Rogue) has been in touch with the same personal contact (Hi Phoebe!) for the duration of their time at Rogue. Some piercers will work with the same contact at BVLA for decades. Whether that’s talking about previous or existing orders, any questions or quotes, purchased jewellery etc. This helps provide a truly personal feel between BVLA which creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere, rather than being passed from person to person to find answers.

BVLA also recognise their clients (that’s us!). When we place our jewellery orders, sometimes we like to treat ourselves to something new as well. When piercers or counter staff place an order for a personal piece of jewellery, BVLA offer a small discount on that piece. This helps piercers feel recognised and appreciated, and its a really sweet gesture. We are forever grateful!

They also continue to show their support and appreciation of piercers by attending conferences. They attend the APP conference is Vegas quite regularly, and this year they went out of their way to travel to the UKAPP Safe Piercing Conference in Manchester to be a vendor. They also donated 3x generously priced gift vouchers to the piercers raffle, valued at over £10,000. That could be genuinely life-changing for a piercer or studio!

So, why should YOU care?

Overall, BVLA has arguably the highest level of care for their jewellery, clients, and their own staff and future in the industry. They continuously offer the highest quality jewellery, and a high quality service. They are a consistent pleasure to work with. BVLA offer unique services, not just for piercers and piercees (such as reworking and resetting) but they offer unique advantages such as their Future Stars apprenticeship! Their jewellery is potentially the finest and greatest jewellery that is on the market. While being ‘expensive’, (Price and value are truly personal to each person – What is expensive to one person is not for another) their price consistently matches the quality of the item you receive.

If you are interested in learning more please check out more of our blogs! If you would like to place an order for your own piece of BVLA feel free to contact us at customorder@roguepiercing.co.uk!

Head to our instagram for a full BVLA lookbook of some of our favourite pieces.