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General Jewelry Info

  • The Symbolism of the Maltese Cross

    (above) An original design by Joe Schubach. This solid 14kt white gold hand made, hand fabricated pendant features a 15mm natural gray Tahitian pearl along with 1/3ct total weight pave and bezel set natural diamonds. The piece hangs from a 16" black rubber cord with a 14kt white gold clasp.

    As we prepare for Valentine’s Day at our shop in Scottsdale, we began uncovering the meaning behind certain pieces of jewelry. Valentine’s Day is loaded with symbolism and often, it’s reflected in the jewelry: hearts, keys, circles, etc.

    Today, we wanted to share with you the information we found out about the Maltese Cross, inspiration for one of Joe’s most popular pieces (seen above):

    According to one website:

    The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection and a badge of honor. Its story is hundreds of years old.

    When a courageous band of crusaders known as The Knights of St. John fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but horrible device of war. It brought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross.

    As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens would hurl a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.

    Thus, these men became our first Fire Fighters and the first of a long list of courageous men. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor – a cross similar to the one fire fighters wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.

    The eight points are said to symbolize the eight points of courage:

    • Loyalty
    • Piety
    • Generosity
    • Bravery
    • Glory and honor
    • Contempt of death
    • Helpfulness towards the poor and the sick
    • Respect for the church
  • A Quick Look at Jewelry from the 50’s

    Time for another jewelry lesson from Joseph Schubach Jewelers. Since we’ve been in existence for 100 years (you read that right), we’ve seen styles come and go. Interestingly, they always tend to come full circle and as the song goes, “Everything Old is New Again.” So what did the 1950’s offer in the jewelry department?


    Mid-century modernism influenced this period with the use of abstract sprays of diamonds in mixed cuts, starbursts and “atomic” shapes. Textured gold dominated this decade with Florentine finishes, foxtail chain, twisted rope, braided wire, mesh, reeding, fluting and piercing. Gold jewelry without gemstones was worn primarily in the daytime, with diamond jewelry for the evenings. Amethyst, turquoise, and coral were the favorite colored gemstones while cultured pearls were gaining acceptance into day wear.

    Source: Joden World Resources

    (above) 1950s Handmade Sterling Silver & Natural Kingman Turquoise Brooch

    (above) Demi Parure Set Thermoset Plastic Pastel Pink Blue Yellow Green Lavender Tulip Flower NECKLACE Screw Back EARRINGS with Clear Rhinestones and Gold Metal Leaf Chain

    (above) Vintage Sputnik Costume Jewelry

    (above) Strapless party dress with sparkling choker necklace and earrings

    (above) Pearls, pearls and more pearls

    (above) Our Classic Pearl Necklace, for under $300 - Single strand freshwater cultured pearls, 17" with 14kt yellow gold clasp. Click for more details.

  • The Best Ring for your Hand Type

    You might gaze longingly at an engagement ring in the window only to find that it’s not as picture perfect when you put it on. Just like clothing should be chosen based on your body type, rings should be purchased according to your hand type. Here are a few pointers:

    Long fingers — Marquise shapes often just make long fingers look even longer. The marquise is a stretched out oblong shape with pointed ends. Pear or oval stones may also not be very flattering on long fingers. Round rings are often the most flattering ring for this finger type.

    Marquise-shaped stone, good for short or wide fingers.

    Short fingers — Round stones can seem to shorten short fingers even further. The marquise shape can help add the illusion of length to short fingers. Pear or teardrop shapes are also usually flattering on short fingers. Big rectangular rings are probably the least flattering as they can overwhelm short fingers.

    Narrow fingers — Heart-shaped or round stones may not be the most flattering ring for a hand with narrow fingers. Thicker band styles of rings may help add horizontal lines to narrow fingers to help them look wider. Wearing rings with small stones may also help thinner fingers look wider.

    Wide fingers — Wider types of marquise styles may flatter short, wide fingers. The idea with wide fingers is not to have two much skin showing on each side of the ring or fingers may look even wider. Round stones in larger settings may look best on this finger type. Cluster-styles may be the most flattering ring on hands with wide fingers.

    Large hands — Rings with small stones may just look lost on large hands. Try larger rings that suit your personality. You may even be able to wear really bulky or chunky ring styles well.

    Heart shaped stone for narrow fingers

  • Delicate Jewelry – from Streisand to Aniston

    A few months ago, Jennifer Aniston decided to pay homage to one of her favorite and funniest stars, Barbra Streisand. The shots are amazing but what impressed me was one particular shot that showcased Jennifer (and Babs) wearing a simple necklace, with multicolored rings hanging from it.

    For the last several seasons, we have been bombarded by statement necklaces – oversized, bold and occasionally bordering on the garish. It was refreshing to see a delicate piece that seemed to enhance, ever so slightly, an average gal’s outfit (though these ladies are far from average!)

    The necklace is Cartier’s Trinity necklace, which goes for about $1000. (We can make one for you at a fraction of the cost!) It features 3 intertwined circles of gold – each representing different stages in a relationship: yellow gold for friendship, pink gold for love and white gold for loyalty.

  • Chandalier Earrings – Maintaining its Trendy Lead

    Yesterday, I read about chandalier earrings and their continuing popularity over the last few years. It got me wondering about the history of chandelier earrings and sure enough, they’ve been around for quite some time. “Everything old is new again” continues to remain true. Chances are, there isn’t a piece of jewelry you possess that doesn’t have a story tell, sometimes reaching back many centuries.

    Here’s a little more on chandalier earrings:

    Chandelier style, also known as girandole, are characterized by a bow, central stone or circular cluster of stones at the top from which are suspended three gemstone drops. The tops as well as the drops can be from simple to elaborate in execution. This style of earrings, and pendants, is first noted during Roman times, re-emerged during the Renaissance and persisted until the late Victorian period. With the revival of antique style jewelry in the late 20th and early 21st centuries many adaptations of the Chandelier earring are seen.

    Source: Antique Jewelry University

    Some examples (and remember, if any appeal to you, we’re happy to design a pair with your tastes in mind.)

    Cheryl Crow dons pink chandalier earrings

  • Stones that Give you the Blues

    We work with a variety of gems here at Joseph Schubach Jewelers. Today, I’d like to highlight some of the breathtakingly beautiful blue stones. Many people will think of sapphire or lapis or even tanzanite, but there are a number of other blue gemstones which come in different shades including azure, cobalt, navy and indigo.

    Lapiz Lazuli

    Rainbow Hermatite

    Titanium Drusy

    London Blue Topaz

    Blue Moonstone



    Boulder Opal

    The “Star of Lanka” is a 193-carat, oval, cabochon-cut, high domed, blue star sapphire with a distinct six-rayed star positioned at the center of the dome-shaped face, with its arms extending down to the base of the stone. In terms of the quality of the star, the “Star of Lanka” rivals its more famous cousins such as the “Star of India” and the “Star of Bombay.” The stone is opaque and milky, which tends to reduce the tone of the blue color of the sapphire. The color of the sapphire is a grayish blue. The dimensions of the gemstone are 30mm x 27mm x 23 mm.

  • Middle Eastern Jewelry

    Take a look at these amazing (and ancient) pieces of jewelry from the Middle East.

    Every artifact serves as a symbol of information. Apotropeic emblems, borrowed from everyday life, epos, or myths, and used in the art of jewelry making, carried a certain magical connotation. Popularity of a particular mythological plot line was connected to the very zeitgeist of the given time period, since the jewelry maker lived through it and tended to be deeply involved with the contemporary events. The art reflected the master’s interests in what was currently happening with the society.

    The simple-style earrings- as a ring, can be dated precisely by using radioisotope analysis, especially consider the items’ popularity. Earrings of that type are well-known from the images of the Achaemenian era (guards of Persepolis wore a single earring similar to the one in our collection; today youths and young men prefer this type as well). Earrings of this type were produced by casting method followed by polishing.

    It is known that diadems were a special sign of a god or royalty. Gold garlands were kept in temples as parts of gold funds and were given as rewards for special achievements. Fragments of diadems were found among the finds of Oxus (see Treasure of Oxus, Dalton, London, 1964), and Tillya-tepe (Bactrian gold, Leningrad, 1985). Characters crowned by similar head jewelry can be found on coins, intaglios, pottery, paintings, frescos and reliefs, which allow us to recognize them as royalty or god-like creatures. Most of diadems were gold. Sometimes they are made by the stamping method. Details and fragments of diadems are made in the shape of leaves, trefoils or rosettes.

    Gold earrings, from Jerusalem, represent a miniature nude male figure stamped in thin sheet gold. Each is bent into shape of ring and soldered to the hoop, together forming an earring. The man is wearing a wide headband, which fastens the top of the figure to the hoop. A miniature disk, in the shape of an eight-petal led rosette adorned with granulation, is soldered to the hoop above the figure's head.

    Neck adornments were mostly worn by members of high social standing; perhaps this is the reason that the museum collection does not have a lot of samples of neck ornaments.

    Source: Kunstpedia

  • Use Old Jewelry Anew

    At Joseph Schubach Jewelers, we are concerned about eco-consciousness. That’s why we use diamond alternatives, like moissanite. And we all use recycled materials in our jewelry making.

    But there are some actions you can take with your old jewelry to give it a new look. Take a look at these interesting suggestions. And blow the dust off that old jewelry box of yours!

    Sell Your Old Jewelry Pieces on EBay or Etsy

    You can list old jewelry for sale on eBay as pieces of jewelry, or as jewelry parts that can sell as components to create new pieces. Old jewels are popular sellers among jewelry makers for the parts, so don’t hesitate to add orphan earrings or broken jewelry to the lots.

    Etsy is another website where you can sell your jewelry parts or your vintage jewelry. Visit a number of Etsy storefronts to get an idea of what is selling and at what price. To sell your items, you will then need to open up your own “store”.

    Donate Your Old Jewelry To CharityUnwanted jewelry can be put to good use by various charities. If a favourite charity of yours is holding an auction, donate your old and unused jewelry so the charity can make a little money. You might even be able to ask for a tax receipt.

    Use Jewelry in Unexpected Ways

    If your brooches or earrings are missing bits, you can still recycle them as gift toppers and add a bit of bling to perhaps a ho-hum gift. It’s fun and eco-friendly and your recipient is getting two gifts in one.

    • Decorate a picture frame, lampshade, plain box–the options are endless. Practice making a pattern before gluing the jewels to their new home.

    • Dress up pretty bottles with beribboned brooches or earrings. Fill the jars with bath foam and oil for a jewel-charmed gift.

    • If you have old clip-on earrings you will never wear, clip them on as shoe clips to glamorize a pair of plain high heels.

    • Wrap unused gold or silver chain necklace around your wrist several times and wear it as a multi-strand bracelet.

    • Or combine that plain chain with an unused charm bracelet to create an unusual and original combination. If you have single charms in your jewelry box, you can simply slip one or two onto the chain necklace for a fresh look

    • For a stunning new look, slip a few of your unused rings on to a kilt pin (those large safety pins used to hold kilts together) and create a one of a kind brooch instantly.

    • Kilt pins for Rings

    Read more at Suite101: Recycling Old Jewelry: New Uses for Your Vintage and Unused Baubles

  • Top Trends in Platinum Bridal Rings

    Platinum is hot…but was it ever not? Known for its rarity, purity and durability, platinum is the perfect choice to represent ever-lasting love. Here are some recent bridal ring trends that use this classic metal:

    From ever-popular sapphire to trendy “champagne” and “cognac” hues and rare pinks and yellows, colored diamonds and precious gemstones continue to be bridal favorites among ladies seeking a little something different.Fusaro

    Above: Fusaro engraved wedding band in platinum with diamonds and sapphires; suggested retail price is $4,600. (800) 258-0385 or

    Yves Frey

    Above: Yves Frey oval-shaped yellow diamond ring with two kite-shaped side stone diamonds flanked by small brilliant-cut diamonds and six small yellow diamonds.


    Brides continue to show a penchant for new rings that don’t look quite so new. To help them tap into the vintage-style bridal trend, point out platinum designs with milgrain detail, engraving and halo settings.

    beaudry Kirk Kara

    Above Left: Beaudry “Boutique Colisee” semi-mount ring in platinum for 0.90-carat round brilliant center stone.

    Above Right: Kirk Kara platinum and diamond wedding band for her from the “Charlotte Collection” and platinum satin-finish wedding band for him from the “Artin Collection;” suggested retail prices are $4,160 and $5,220, respectively.

    Platinum bridal designs at entry levels have been making further entree into the market as designers continue to cater to cost-conscious yet value-seeking consumers via platinum pieces with lighter diamond weights and less metal.

    True Knots Ostbye

    Above Left: True Knots 6-millimeter brushed-finish wedding band for him and 5-millimeter brushed-finish wedding band for her; suggested retail price is $1,500 for the men’s ring and $1,000 for the ladies ring.

    Above Right: Ostbye ladies engagement ring in platinum; suggested retail price for semi-mount is $2,186.

    Floral motifs have been blooming in bridal designs, with jewelry artisans finding newfound inspiration in the beauty of nature. Ever romantic and supremely feminine, intricately detailed floral designs fit right in with the trend for antique-style jewelry.

    Saturn Ritani

    Above Left: Saturn Jewels platinum semi-mount engagement ring with 0.50 carats of diamonds and wedding band with 0.52 carats of diamonds.

    Above Right: Ritani floral design engagement ring in platinum with round center stone supported above micropave diamond-encrusted petals and micropave diamonds on the mounting. The ring features a graduated diamond shank with two rows of micropave diamonds.


    And remember, we specialize in designing rings just like ones above for a fraction of the price (but the quality and craftsmanship remain firmly in place!)

    Right now, our Design it Yourself contest is officially ON – you tell us about the piece of jewelry you’ve dreamed of and we create it, with your budget in mind. If your piece is chosen by our online audience, you save even bigger!

  • The Art Noveau Movement in Jewelry

    The Art Noveau movement in jewelry, albeit brief, ushered in a tremendous amount of change in the jewelry making process. Suddenly a more expressive, mystical and personal form of adornment became popular.

    The Art Nouveau movement, although short lived (approximately 1890 through 1910) made a lasting impact on the jewelry industry which is still felt today. It was a reaction to the mass produced jewelry that had become so popular late in the Victorian period. The style of Art Nouveau jewelry was a radical change from the somberness and adherence to strict rules which characterized both French and English jewellery in the 1860’s and 1870’s. There were few restrictions in the design of Nouveau jewelry.

    The most common motifs incorporated life forms, orchids, lilies, irises, ferns, snakes, dragonflies, animal and human forms. Life-like to dream-like simplicity of metal alone to the complexity of enamel and precious gems. The rebellion against the strict customs of the Victorian and Edwardian periods released an incredible out-pouring of creative energy that not only produced pieces of subtle beauty but also touched the sublime and the mystical. No longer would a piece of jewelry be a mere adornment, now it became a part of one’s soul.