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GemSelect Newsletter - September 2011

Is Keith Richards the New Mark Anthony?
Keith Richards Wearing a Garnet Ring
Keith Richards Wearing a Garnet Ring

Why do some famous male superstars and celebrities choose to wear distinct jewelry made from precious and semi-precious stones when they could be showing off the world's most expensive jewelry for free?

Do you know the answer? What do these men know that others do not?

Johnny Depp Wearing Blue Sapphire
Johnny Depp Wearing Blue Sapphire

Johnny Depp is well known for his love of jewelry and there are many pictures of him wearing his personal jewelry in his unique style. Depp has been wearing jewelry for years and his appeal is to both ladies and men. There’s something about a man wearing jewelry that women find magnetic and alluring. Whatever it is, they certainly find Depp incredibly sexy.

Other famous men who wear jewelry include sports stars such as David Beckham who plays for LA Galaxy and rock star, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

David Beckham was pictured wearing a bracelet of semi precious stones at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, the opening of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant in Los Angeles and at LA Lakers games. Some people believe that certain stones can have spiritual, psychological and physical benefits. David Beckham’s gemstones include, bloodstone, thought to promote and lengthen physical endurance, tiger’s eye a stone said to promote the flow of energy throughout the body, and rutilated quartz, a healing stone that is worn to enhance creativity.

All 3 men are iconic figures of the 21st century.

Keith Richards used to be notorious for his rock and roll lifestyle. A former self-confessed party animal and hell raiser, he is easily recognizable due to his stylish appearance and use of jewelry. Similarly, Mark Antony, an ancient Roman politician and famous lover of Cleopatra, spent his teenage years getting into trouble in Rome with his friends and brothers. They led a wild sort of life, frequenting gambling houses, drinking too much and involving themselves in scandalous love affairs.

Ancient Carnelian Ring
Ancient Carnelian Ring

Richards plays alongside Depp in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, "On Stranger Tides", as Jack Sparrow's father, Captain Teague. Through their characters, both men indulge their natural bohemian style of dress and associated jewelry.

This leads us to an interesting question about pirates and jewelry. Did these swashbuckling daredevils really wear jewelry and if so, what?
Yes, they did. Pirates wore jewelry because it was an easily portable form of wealth. Along with other gems, pirates wore peridot rings. This was to protect them from danger and evil. Peridot is a very beautiful and widely popular semi precious gemstone. Peridot is one of the few gemstones that comes in only one color, it ranges from yellowish- to brownish-green.
Jewelry-wearing men existed long before pirates. In Johnny Depp's case his style may be down to his Cherokee Indian roots.

Indeed, Native American Indians were using stones as decorative jewelry as far back as 8,800 BC. The San Carlos Apache Indians were known for their use of peridot, while the Navajos favoured turquoise, coral and other semi-precious gemstones. Turquoise is one of the dominant materials of South Western Native American jewelry with some turquoise mines dating back to before the appearance of European settlers into the Americas.

Carnelian Found in Bath, UK
Carnelian Found in Bath, UK

Throughout ancient history men have worn jewelry whilst they built empires and destroyed nations. Egyptians, Greeks, Celts, Romans, Vikings, Angles and Saxons.

The Celts used gemstones for their beauty and metaphysical properties. They believed, as many do today, that the gemstones held certain beneficial powers. Celtic pendants worn by men included gemstones such as amethyst, aquamarine, carnelian, topaz, tourmaline, quartz, jasper and hematite. Men wore rings, necklaces, bracelets, torques and arm bands. The arm bands were meant to accentuate their muscular arms.

Roman centurions would go into battle against Celtic warriors wearing their Roman rings, particularly set with garnet cabochons, purple amethyst and carnelian gems.

In fact, Roman rings worn by centurions and lost whilst bathing in the warm springs at Bath, England, were discovered recently. The Romans had a number of different adhesives that were used to set gemstones into jewelry, some of the most common being resin and bitumen. One characteristic shared by these was the tendency to fail. It seems that even the great Roman generals, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Maximus, occasionally lost their rings down the plughole.

Mark Anthony
Mark Anthony

Mark Antony was very fond of gemstones and often gave them to Cleopatra. On one such famous occasion he tried to purchase a large and beautiful opal from a Roman senator called Marcus Nonius, with which to woo Cleopatra. Mark Antony was either in the dog house and in serious trouble with Cleopatra, or perhaps it was to celebrate a special occasion, because he offered a vast fortune for the opal. However, such was the beauty of the opal that Nonius refused and was given an ultimatum by the furious Mark Antony to either sell the ring or leave Rome. Nonius chose to leave Rome and keep the opal.

Historical evidence and archaeological finds show that carnelian, an orange form of quartz, was one of the most favored gemstones of the Romans. Carnelian was also enormously popular with the Greeks and Egyptians. In fact, orange carnelian, blue lapis lazuli, and green turquoise were the three main gemstones of antiquity and the stones worn by men during the rise of fall of each great empire.

Men wearing jewelry is certainly not a new phenomena. It's as ancient as one can imagine.

Mark Antony, Keith Richards, Johnny Depp and David Beckham are famous for very different reasons, however, they do have some things in common. One is an appreciation of the good gems in life.

Customer Questions

Every month we answer questions of general interest from our customers. Please feel free to send your questions or suggestions to our support team at!

I recently made two orders and paid with a credit card. You combined the shipments into one and said you will refund the second shipping fee of $20.00.
So far I can't see any refund on my credit card statements, please explain!
When you make a payment with a credit card we actually don't settle the amount immediately. The bank will reserve the amount on your credit card and it will be charged once we settle the payment which can be a few hours or days later.
When we charge your credit card (through the bank) we will reduce the charge by refunding the second shipping fee.
If I order gemstones from you I'd like to know the credit card fee, shipping charge and insurance in advance. For example; if I buy a gem for $450.00 and want you to send it with FedEx, what is the total charge from your company on my credit card?
The credit card fees will be deducted at our end. That means the charge on your credit card is exactly the amount you will see in your shopping cart. In your case it would be $470.00 (gem $450.00 plus FedEx $20.00). The $20 FedEx fee includes the insurance already, there are no extra fees or hidden charges!
Some of the US banks do charge a "foreign transaction fee", even so, we charge in US dollars only. This is not a charge from our bank or us!
There are only a few cases of this known, and in most of them the banks refunded this fee after the customers complained. We will gladly provide the proof (original credit card charge) to clarify such issues.

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