Fire Opal – Mined in America – Holding Fire in Your Hand.

You can hold “fire” in the palm of your hand and not be burned.  If you hold a Lake County, Fire Opal, that is. Fire opal is a hottest opal in the gem market.   It isn’t your grandmother’s gemstone.

Lake County Fire Opal™ comes from mines in Oregon, very close to the California state line.. The Sunstone Butte Mine is owned by a coupe named  Dave and Tammy, who use mostly hand tools to mine for the Fire Opal.   They have trained their eyes to take advantage of what is termed ‘float.'” There is so much opal in the ground, that erosion exposes the underlying opal and it “floats” to the surface. The slope is covered with opal rough.

Fire opals display an even, saturated burnt-orange color. The color of fire opal is due to fine traces of iron oxide. This variety does not usually contain the flashes of light and color typical of other opal. Typically, transparent opal rough is faceted/ The opaque opal is cut cabochon style. The 4 x 6 fire opal gems featured in our photograph were cut in Germany in an elongated oval shape using  modified brilliant facets.

Lake County Fire Opal hasn’t been enhanced or treated.  The striking orange/yellow color of the gem is as nature created it.  This opal is 5-6.5 on the MOHS hardness scale. Like all opal, fire opal is soft and breaks easily.  Best suited for earrings and pendants, fire opal creates an eye catching ring none the less.

The Aztec culture held that a stone with this fire and beauty had to have originated in the seas of Paradise. You too could hold “fire’ in the palm of your hand.  Stop in our showroom and see for yourself.  Your jewelry adventure awaits at Sturm Brothers’

What’s in a name? Gemstone Shapes and Cuts

Did you know?  Gemstone’s shape isn’t the same as a gemstone’s cut.  Really? Really.


These are gemstone shapes. 1.  round, 2. oval, 3. marquise,or navett , 4.  emerald  and  5.  pear, tear drop or pendeloque.

Let’s name a gemstone.  Most gemstones have two names, a first name which is the shape and the last name which reflects the cut.  The shape of the gem reflects the shadow it leaves.  A round gems casts a round shadow and an oval gem an oval shadow. The second name reflects the cut.  The cut of a gem is the pattern surface facets or the lack of facets altogether.

 This is drawing of a round, brilliant cut gemstone.  The brilliant cut is a round cut of 58 facets, mathematically devised to produce the greatest brilliance.  Other round gems could have rose, old European, mine or cabochon cuts.  So these gems would be called round rose cut or round cabochon.


This picture depicts an oval shaped gemstone with a brilliant oval cut. Because the same term describes both the cut and the shape, we would not call it an oval oval, we just call this an oval.  There are other cuts and treatments for ovals such as oval cabochons or oval checkerboard cuts.

 Just as the oval drawing above, this drawing pictures a marquise shaped gem with a brilliant marquise cut. A marquise is an oval shape gemstone cut with pointed ends.  And just as the oval above, wouldn’t call this a marquise, marquise but just a marquise.

 The pear shape is most often cut with the brilliant pear cut.  This drawing depicts an pear shape and a pear cut, so we call it a pear. 

 This drawing’s title is a bit confusing.  This is a emerald shaped gem with mixed cut.  Most emerald shaped gemstones have an emerald step cut.  There are 58 facets in a typical emerald-step-cut gem. The drawing to the left depicts an emerald stone with a cut that is a mix between a traditional step cut and a brilliant cut, hence the name mixed cut,  The name of this gem: emerald, mixed cut.


If you’re finding these terms, shapes, cuts and details fascinating, drop by the Sturm Brothers youtube page or follow us on instagram @sturmbrothers or on facebook @sturmbros.,  What would you like to learn about next?  The jewelry world is full of unique terms and topics.  It is our favorite subject, so we’re happy to oblige.


It’s Rainin’ Men . . . . ‘s Jewelry, Hallelujah!

Men’s fashion designer jewelry has arrived in the showcases @ Sturm Brothers’.

INOX creates accented stainless steel jewelry.  Collectible, stack-able, and functional, these pieces are built for the rugged demands of every day wear.  Each is an original design of wearable art with a one year warranty.  INOX takes its brand name from the jewelry term, inoxidizable.

Inoxidizable:  metal that will not tarnish or corrode. All INOX metal jewelry designs can be worn in the ocean and the swimming pool, because INOX metals will not react with salt or chlorine.

Some jewelry is accented with wood, leather and rubber. The colors, red, blue, gold, rose gold, and copper are created by IP plating.  IP plating of stainless steel is more durable than a traditional plating method.  Traditional plating is layered over the stainless steel in a dipping process.  IP stands for ionized plating.  Ionized plating is much more like a staining process.  The stainless steel is placed in a vacuum and ions of gold or enamel are injected into the vacuum chamber.  The stainless steel absorbs the ionized plating solution. This absorption of the color is much more durable and will not flake.

Stop in an see us.  Contact us on facebook, instagram or by email.

Until next time.   –the Sturm Bros staff 🙂


Phoenix 2019- Laughing and Learning


Before the sun was up, the Sturm Bros.’ Design Team, was in the air and on our way to Phoenix,AZ. Twice a year, we attend the Independent Jewelers Organization Conference, to keep our motivation high, our skills sharp and our showcases full of extraordinary jewelry and gemstones. We had a view of Downtown Phoenix and the picturesque mountains in the distance. A wonderful breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and some stimulating conversation with our table mates, jewelers from Tahoe and Arkansas, we then headed to training seminars. We studied the legal issues surrounding the growing market of Lab-grown diamonds, body language, and new marketing techniques. Our break for lunch was long enough to set outside and soak up a little sun. We returned to seminars in the afternoon about the similarities of baby boomers and millennials .

Sunday morning started early with a Church service, continental breakfast and opening session. Our key note speaker was Mark Shulman, a professional drummer, author, and speaker. Currently, Mark plays for Pink. He has drummed for Cher and Billy Idol in his long career. The Sturm Brothers, Jordan and Joseph, had an opportunity for a press photo. Mark emphasized the need for an extraordinary attitude to be successful, “Attitudes guides your destiny.” We ate lunch at TGI Friday’s, which was located inside the Arizona Diamond Backs’ stadium. #baseballdiamonds We sat by the window and watched them prepare the field for baseball season. Sunday was opening day for the buying room. The buying room is an expansive room the size of a football field. We walked and looked for the rest of the day. Our evening ended soaking our feet and bodies in the hot tub under a clear Arizona sky.


These pictures don’t do the buying room floor justice. This place is awash with chatter and clamor. It’s a sea of diamonds, gold and just plain old, “Wow!”


Meet Yosef, our diamond dealer. Yosef purchased new cuff links just for the show, two carrot cuff links. we enjoyed the pun. Yosef sells diamonds of all shapes and sizes. All of his diamonds are earth mined diamonds. Some might be heat/pressure treated but these beauties are dug from the earth. Diamonds come in sizes so small they’re called flea flickers because breathing on them can knock them to the floor and much, much larger like the one pictured with my thumb. Yes, that is an earth mined diamond as large as my thumb. It was over 4 carats. The weight of a carob seed was the original measure for 1 carat of diamond weight. Now, jewelers use .20 grams as the standard weight of 1 carat. #loosediamonds

Below are the men’s jewelry brands we investigated before we left Phoenix. Inox is a preeminent men’s line. Sturm Bros.’ will be expanding their showcase collection over the summer. Inox jewelry is stainless steel, silver and gold with elements of wood, Italian rubber, and enameled elements mixed in. The entire collection is rugged, masculine, and built for real-life wear. The last photo is taken inside the TGI Friday’s before we boarded the light rail back to the airport. We left in the dark and we returned in the dark, for it was after midnight when we boarded the shuttle in Kansas City. #inoxjewelry

I encourage you to look back in every week or so for additional blog posts about our trip. Later posts will be full of details about diamond, gems and jewelry in general. I might even share my experiences with packing cubes. Like the look of what we do? Stop in; we’d be happy to show you around and let you experience jewelry the way we do jewelry.

Until next time. —The Sturm Bros.’ Team

Just our kinda of Chocolate – Chocolate colored gems – Smoky Quartz

Downtown Excelsior Springs, MO merchants are gearing up for the 2019 Chocolate Tour.  400 ticket holding chocolate lovers will fill downtown eating, drinking, smelling and completely basking in the glory that is chocolate.  At Sturm Bros.’ we love chocolate too, chocolate colored gems that is.  This year Sturm Bros.’ will give each ticket holder a genuine 3 mm smoky quartz gemstone.

Smoky quartz is also known as cairngorm after the Scottish mountains where it was first discovered, the Cairngorm Mountains.  Smoky quartz is the national gem of Scotland.  The color range of this gemstone is from smoky-yellow to nearly black.  The nearly black variety of smoky quartz is called morion and was a standard in Scottish mourning jewelry. There is a connection between the amount of radiation in the surrounding rock masses and the intensity and deepness of the color of smoky quartz.

Smoky quartz can be found all over the world with deposits in Sri Lanka, Spain, Switzerland, and the US.  Maine, New Hampshire and the Pike’s Peak region of Colorado each have deposits of smoky quartz. Quartz is the most common single mineral in the earth’s crust and is found in igneous, sedimentary,  and metamorphic rock.  It is usually the last major mineral to crystallize in the molten rock as it cools. Gem quality quartz occurs most commonly in vein or geode deposits.

Extremely facet-able and occurring in a rainbow of colors, quartz is an amazing and versatile gem for jewelry.  Imagination and quartz –nearly limitless.

Sturm Bros.’ does Slow Fashion

Slow Fashion is a little sister of the Slow Food Movement.  Both movements have similar premises, encouraging consumers to buy better quality less often, with an eye towards ethical production. Slow Fashion is at the center of Sturm Bros.’ creative process and business model.

The full name of the little store in Historic Downtown Excelsior Springs, MO is Sturm Brothers’ Custom Design and Fine Jewelry.   Our middle name is Custom Design and custom is at the heart of the slow fashion movement.



Slow Fashionistas shop their closets, their mother’s closets and even their sisters before they purchase.  Their eye is trained to what suits their tastes, color palettes and life styles. Trends don’t rule a Slow Fashionista; it adds spice to an already beautiful wardrobe. Inheriting three well worn rings from Aunt Lucy bring joy to these ladies.  Why?  Sturm Brothers’ Custom Design use creativity and craftsmanship to turn those three beloved rings into a new-to-her jewelry piece that the Slow Fashionista will wear for her lifetime.

  After melting the precious metals, the jeweler shapes the band.  

This ring has two bands.   

 The next step is to solder the two bands together and shape the boxes that holds the unique stone.

The beautiful new ring emerges from the “found” and inherited items. 

Fall Fashion Trends – Tassels

Tassels are returning on the Fall Fashion scene. Last year the tassels were metal and generally on a long chain.  This year tassels are making appearances on handbags, keys chains, earrings and necklaces.  The featured leather tassels are in 3 lengths and 6 different colors.  Made of soft, smooth Napa leather, these tassels are a fun and affordable accent.

Fall Fashion Trend – the Layered Look

The perfectly layered look can be effortless for all.  One this fall’s biggest trends are layered necklaces.  Choosing the right lengths of chain — puzzling?  Getting the chains to rest photo perfect around your neck all day — near impossible?  Not with a Layered Duo necklace, one piece of jewelry perfectly matched for length and style and attached so that each chain lays perfectly…all day.  Metal color options include white, yellow and rose gold and sterling silver. Starting at a collectible price of $85

A Diamond Training Day – Bringing world class knowledge to Excelsior Springs, MO.

Improving our skills.  Diamond Clarity Grading Class.  Bringing world class knowledge to Historic Downtown Excelsior Springs.

Part of the Sturm Bros.’ summer break was a class headed by the Gemological Institute of America.  Diamond grading consists of the 4 C’s – cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.  On a bright, clear day in Cleveland the fellas honed their skills in clarity identification during a two hour, hands-on lab.

Diamond clarity is ranked F (flawless) to I (flaws visible by the naked eye).  The grades in between are IF, VVS, VS and SI.  Each of these grades requires magnification of 10x.  I explain these clarity grades like this : IF means internally flawless,  VVS means very, very slight inclusions, VS means very slight inclusion and SI stands for slight inclusion.

Numbers are added to each of these grades except for F and  IF, because if you’re a flawless diamond there is nothing left to say.  So, SI1 is better than SI2. I1 is better than I2 and so on.  Many grading houses have begun to add an SI3 but the GIA doesn’t accept this category of clarity.  If a diamond is SI3 then by GIA standards it is an I1.

Inclusions are birth marks for diamonds.  These birth marks are left behind from trapped air bubbles, carbon, and fissures.  Air bubbles are pretty easy to recognize because they look like the bubbles in a carbonated beverage. Carbon is blackish, coal piece left suspended in the diamond like a tiny chocolate chip in a cookie.  Fissures look like miniature canyons running through the diamond.

Yellow Diamonds…What makes these special?

Rare:                       1 in 10,000 is the rate of occurrence of a natural colored diamond.  You have a 1 in 3,000 chance of being struck by lightening in the United State and shark attack occurrence rates are 1 in 8,000,000..

Bold                       The bolder the better.  Unlike colorless diamonds, the stronger the color the more valuable the diamond. The slightest color differences can impact price.

Unique                    Flaws or loss of clarity do not typically impact the value of a colored diamond.  Collectors and designers prize these ‘imperfections’ because they add character and impact color.

Intense                           The strength of the color or saturation is defined by four grades.  Fancy light, fancy, fancy intense and fancy vivid.

Natural Yellow                   Natural yellows are the 2nd most common of the colored diamonds.  Brown being the most common.  Canary diamonds are yellow diamonds.  The term ‘canary’ is a trade name and isn’t a grading term.

Treated Yellow                Fracture filling, surface coating, high pressure & high temperature, and irradiation are all treatments used to change or enhance the color of a natural diamond.  An irradiated and temperature/pressure treated ‘nearly colorless’ diamond might emerge from the treatment yellow or green.  Treated colored diamonds are not rare and are less expensive to purchase.  However, treated diamonds are heat sensitive and the color can be altered if the treated diamond is heated during a ring sizing or repair.  Ask the jeweler or the seller, if the colored diamond you are purchasing is natural or treated. The long term beauty of your diamond depends on this knowledge.

Available                Pear Shaped – yellow – fancy and light fancy – natural colored diamonds are in stock and available for viewing, June 30th to July 7th.  Prices range from $2000 – $3000 for these rare, certified diamonds.