July’s birthstone is the ruby, and, boy, do I have the ruby ring for you! It’s good-looking, has a good story and promotes a good cause.
First I’ll give you the good story and explain the good cause. Monica Stephenson, the tall drink of water who writes the jewelry blog iDazzle, founded ANZA Gems in 2014. Through ANZA — a word that means “begin” in Swahili — Monica offers a transparent journey from the gem mine to the customer. She personally sources ethically mined, colored-gemstone rough from Tanzania and Kenya; brings the uncut stones back to the U.S. to be faceted by gem cutters here; and then has them incorporated into fine jewelry by designers with whom she collaborates. At least 10% of the proceeds from every sale goes back to three East African schools that Monica supports. As she explains on ANZA’s website:
When I saw the first designer collaborations by talented peeps including Jennifer Dawes, Vicente Agor, Rebecca Overmann, Erika Winters and LilyEmme, I got jealous and was like, “Um, Monica, where are my ANZA gems?!” We met to discuss a big orange garnet. While we were looking at the garnet and a few other substantial gems, Monica brought out a pair of tiny rubies. She described how she acquired them in an email to me:
She brought the rubies to U.S. gem cutter Peter Torraca to facet, and he turned them into a pair of emerald cuts (meaning they were cut into a rectangular shape, not that he waved a magic wand and turned rubies into emeralds).
Most of the designs being created for ANZA have used larger stones, so I liked the idea of doing petite stud earrings for variety. I was briefly disappointed when one of the rubies turned out to have a natural internal fracture that could lead to breakage. (It happens. You never know how much rough is going to be usable.) After about two minutes, I cheered up because I knew what I wanted to do with the one good ruby. I made arrowhead dangle rings earlier this year …
… and I’d been looking for a good excuse to do another dangle ring. Here it was, all the way from Tanzania!
I know I’m biased, but I do think this is a good-looking ring.
The ruby weighs 70 points (there are 100 points in a carat) and it is set in 18k recycled rose gold. I added a (conflict-free) two-point round diamond for extra sparkle. As always, I used an F color diamond with VS 1-2 clarity, for those of you who know your 4 Cs . The ring is size 6.5 and it’s one of a kind. (Some size adjustment is possible.) The retail price is $2375, and don’t forget that at least 10% goes back to East Africa.
To buy this ring, contact ANZA Gems at [email protected]
Of course, you don’t have to have a July birthday to treat someone (or yourself) to this beauty.
Rubies rock all year long!
Stay tuned for my next ANZA project. It’s coming soon and it features that orange garnet Monica showed me.