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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Second Fridays bring the opportunity to enjoy the talents of artists and musicians in the beautiful downtown historic district of Excelsior Springs. Initiated by the Downtown Excelsior Partnership, local businesses have partnered together to bring an evening of fun that includes food specials, wine tastings and more.
Pictured above, Grant Decker performed live outside of the store during Second Fridays in May.