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November Special: Orders over $200 receive $7 off shipping, 20% off star lamps  

Stockin' up for Stockin' Stuffers
We've just gotten new shipments in of the Hill Tribe Silver, pendants and rings by the gram, and assorted best selling pieces.

In the past week we've also added almost twenty new designs of limited stock necklaces and earrings. These are more of our Tucson merchandise that have never been added to the site. I will be adding even more of this great merchandise at great prices over the next week or so.

Don't miss out on our 20% off special on star lamps. Christmas is known around here as "star lamp season," so take advantage of these fun lamps now at an even better price!

I'm still waiting on restocks of our textiles. I expect a new shipment in about two weeks of our best selling "thelli bag," among other things.

Article: Stone Enhancement
I sometimes have customers ask for stones that haven't been "treated." With trends like simplifying your life, feng shui, and "going organic" gaining mainstream approval, it's no wonder this concept would find a place in the jewelry world. The idea that something comes straight out of the ground and into a ring has a certain pristine appeal.

But after years of dealing with jewelry and gems from all over the world, I have discovered that there is no such thing as an unaltered gemstone. I can already hear cries of "foul" coming to me through the ether, so let me explain why I believe this and why I think this actually a good thing.

For the sake of this discussion, we are referring to what is commonly called "commercial grade" gemstones: semiprecious stones that are moderately priced and used in large quantities. Rainbow moonstone, labradorite, all the agates (like onyx, chalcedony, carnelian, etc.), jasper, jade, peridot, citrine, garnet, amethyst, iolite, lapis, quartz, some topaz and a handful of other stones that we carry are all used by the jewelry trade in vast quantities.

Unless that stone in your ring still has the dirt on it from the mine, has not been polished, tumbled or cabbed, it has been enhanced. For thousands of years, man has made gemstones more attractive by carving, drilling, cutting and setting them in jewelry. Just polishing a stone is a form of enhancement. Gemstone enhancement is in fact what we have come to expect.

Like any technology, the procurement and processing of gemstones has undergone change over time. Mining techniques have improved to increase productivity and quality. Likewise, techniques used to improve the appearance of gemstones have also become more sophisticated. Enhancing stones is nothing new, and enhancements are market driven. Most people wouldn't be happy with un-enhanced jewelry.

You may be thinking about a certain stone dealer or jewelry vendor you have bought from in the past that offers a promise or guarantee regarding his or her stones. Consider that the vast majority of the stones used in commercial jewelry making come from places like Brazil, China, India or Russia, where there is a huge economy of scale happening. There is no "provenance" as antique dealers call it. Police refer to it as a chain of custody. Whatever name you give it, there is no telling exactly what has happened to a particular piece of rock once it enters the vast confluence of the commercial gemstone system.

So there is no way to trace exactly what has happened to the stone between when it was plucked from earth to when it was set in jewelry. You can perform tests that will tell you if it is dyed or irradiated, but even then you can't be sure because many of the treatments are not 100% detectable.

Also, consider the price involved in most of these pieces: $2 to $20 for items on our site. If we dealt in diamonds and sapphires, we could possibly trace the path a particular stone took from mine to market, but not for the lesser priced stones. Tests for enhancement cost more than the stone itself!

What is the net result of enhancement? Nice looking stones that feed the demand for good quality, appealing jewelry at an affordable price. Technologies like heat treatment, irradiation, dying, etc., are not deceptions. They are not meant to trick an unsuspecting public into paying more for a lesser quality piece. Quite the opposite, treated stones are inexpensive but often look as nice as much more expensive specimens.

When asked if a stone has been treated, we say that all stones are treated in one way or another. Then we turn what is a potentially negative conversation into a positive one by giving information to the customer that reassures them, that is honest, and that ultimately makes them feel empowered because they feel more connected to the process.

Last month I talked about selling with a story, and this concept of enhanced stones is a perfect example of how you can use the power of information to make a sale. In the end, the consumer is looking for a good quality piece that is appealing to their personal taste and that fits their price range.

November Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine
Topaz derives its name from one of two sources-- it might be derived from the Sanskrit word tapas meaning fire, or from the Island of Topazos in the Red Sea. In ancient times, the figure of a falcon carved on topaz was thought to help acquire the goodwill of kings, princes and magnates.

Topaz comes in a wide range of colors, from colorless (the most common) through light blue to golden orange and even pale red (the most highly prized color). Modern technology allows us to make in the lab what occurs only rarely in nature. Blue topaz is generally clear topaz that has been heat treated or irradiated, while green and multicolored Topazes are coatings applied to clear Topaz.

The Egyptians believed that topaz was colored with the glow of the mighty sun god Ra. They made topaz into amulets with the power to protect the faithful from harm. The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, also is god of the sun.

It is said that you should only wear Topaz if you wish to be clear sighted. Legend has it that it enhances both clarity and eyesight! Ancient Greeks said it was useful to increase one's strength and could make a person invisible in times of emergency. Topaz is also said to cure insomnia, asthma and to stop hemorrhaging.

The Braganza, the Portuguese Crown, contains a giant specimen that is said to be the most famous piece of Topaz. It was originally thought to be a diamond.

Naturally occurring blue Topaz is found in Texas and the Ural Mountains of Russia. Colorless Topaz, used for enhancement into blue Topaz, comes from mines in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and China.

Citrine is yellow quartz, with a Mohs scale hardness of 7. The name is derived from the old French word for lemon, "citrin." Quartz is the most abundant mineral comprising about 12% of the Earth's crust. It is found in all three types of rocks: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Primarily mined in Brazil, it is more common and thus much less expensive than the similar appearing yellow topaz or yellow sapphire, which it is sometimes sold as by unscrupulous dealers.

Mental powers are thought to be stimulated by this sunny yellow stone. It is thought to enhance creativity and intuition, and to bolster self confidence. New age practitioners also say it inspires warmth and prosperity, as well as assisting in the the realization of personal goals. Healers say it should be used in times of stress or when a decision is being made as it helps to calm the mind and improves insight. Powerful stuff!

On a physical level, Citrine is used as a cleanser. It is meant to cleanse the body of toxins and help in the regeneration of tissues. Many believe it is essential in maintaining the health of the digestive, circulatory and urinary system. Other properties ascribed to this beautiful stone include relief from the effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and as an assistant in the absorption of antioxidants.


Highlights of the Site
20% off all star lamps.
New Arrivals section has all the latest goodies.
Hill Tribe Silver: Handcrafted s
ilver jewelry from the Karen Tribe in Thailand.
Citrine and Topaz are the birthstones of the month,
New additions to the Tucson Blowout necklaces and bracelets.
Lots of new CLOSEOUTS!!!!

It's time to get fired up for Christmas. We're stocked to the gills and hope things get started with a bang. Forecasts are for an even stronger season than last year's record breaker!


Mike McGinnis
Whirled Planet
808-822-2335 tel.
888-408-0072 toll free (US only)


New Arrivals:

Facets & Filigree Bracelet
Faceted stones with silver filigree. Limited stock, just: $9.50
Tissue Window Star Lamp
Purple star with tissue window cutouts. Really cute and just $7.50 with electric cord set.
Dragonfly Pendant
Hill Tribe pendant in primitive dragonfly shape. Very cute: $5.25

November Special:
$7 off orders over $200
20% off all star lamps

New Arrivals:

Faceted Beads Necklace
Newly added design with beautiful faceted stones. Can't beat this price: $12.50

Turban Shell Pendant
Rich browns, mother of pearl and silver are all found in this one shell from S. Africa. $6.50

Opalite Earring
Magical optical quality, like translucent moonstone, these earrings are stunning. $6.50

Our Promise:
You may return any item for any reason. We have a no-questions-asked policy. If you get something you don't like, for any reason, just send it back!

About Us:
All our silver jewelry is guaranteed sterling (at least 92.5% silver), and whenever possible each piece is stamped to indicate this. All our stones are genuine.

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