The three birthstones for December are all varying shades of blue: blue topaz, tanzanite and turquoise. Each of these gems has their own unique properties and historical characteristics, and all are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to precious gems, despite having undeniable beauty.

Here’s a bit of information about each of these three December birthstones.

Tanzanite

Tanzanite is the blue variety of a mineral called zoisite that is only found in Tanzania (hence the name of the stone). Tanzanite was discovered relatively recently, in 1967, and has since rapidly risen in terms of worldwide popularity.

Most tanzanite you’ll find on the market today has been heat treated to minimize the brown colors that occur naturally in the stone. As a result, the blue shades in the stone get enhanced, and are capable of rivaling even sapphire.

Even with the greater awareness of tanzanite and the greater demand for the stone, it’s still only found in a very small area in Tanzania, close to Mount Kilimanjaro. The price and availability of the stone are therefore tied directly to the mines that produce it in an area of just a few square miles.

In terms of hardness, tanzanite in Sterling Heights, MI comes in between a 6.5 and a 7 on the Mohs scale, not nearly as hard as sapphire and making it a bit vulnerable to scratching. Therefore, it’s better for use in earrings and pendants than it is in rings.

Blue topaz

Blue topaz, also known as blue zircon, is a blue variety of a gem that commonly occurs in a brownish red color, which can make it popular for people looking for a stone with earth tones. The blue color results from heat treatment, which helps to stabilize the radioactivity that can occur in the stone.

The stone is found in a variety of locations, including Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Cambodia, Canada and the United States. The largest producer is Australia, where the stone dates back 4.4 billion years. About 37 percent of the world’s supply of the gem comes from Australia.

Fun fact: in the Middle Ages, people believed blue topaz in Sterling Heights, MI was capable of warding off evil, inducing sleep and promoting financial success and prosperity among its owners.

Turquoise

Most people are familiar with the beautiful light blue-green of turquoise in Sterling Heights, MI. It has been a staple of jewelry collections since ancient times, often referred to as the “Turkish stone,” and the color often referred to as “Persian blue.” Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula was an important historical source of turquoise, but today the United States is the world’s largest supplier, with turquoise being found and produced in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The stone’s prevalence in the Southwest made it a Native American staple.

Turquoise can be sensitive to direct sunlight and to solvents found in makeups and perfumes. It also only registers up to a 6 on the Mohs scale, which means it’s not ideal for use in rings.

For more information about these December birthstones, contact Howard’s Fine Jewelry or visit our jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI today!


Diamonds come in a wide variety of colors, from blues to pinks and yellows. In a white diamond, though, the presence of certain color tints will lower its value. You want less color in a white diamond so it can reflect more true color, which makes it more valuable.

The diamond industry uses the GIA color scale, which is a scale from D (colorless) through Z (light color). All of the diamonds that fall within this scale are considered white diamonds, even if they do have a little bit of color in them. True colored diamonds have their own color scale used to grade them.

The differences between some of these grades can be extremely difficult for the untrained eye to spot, and usually only a gemologist is able to make an accurate grade by performing side-by-side comparisons. D, E and F diamonds, for example, all appear extremely similar to each other if you are not sure exactly what to look for, and especially if you do not have them next to each other for comparison. Those diamonds should only be set in white gold or platinum, because they are so clear—otherwise, yellow gold would reflect its color and eliminate the colorless effect you get out of the perfectly white diamond.

What to look for when buying diamonds

So, if you’re out at a jewelry store, what should you be looking for in terms of diamond clarity in Sterling Heights, MI?

Typically, you’ll find the best value in the G to J range. If you’re getting a larger diamond (over one carat) you should opt for the G to H range, as color is easier to detect in these diamonds, but I to J is perfectly fine for diamonds under one carat.

What gives these diamonds the best value? Since it’s nearly impossible for the naked eye to discern the difference at the top of the color scale for white diamonds, you’re not losing much of anything with regard to aesthetic value in purchasing a diamond a little farther down the scale, but you’re also saving yourself quite a bit of money in the process. If you really want to make a visual difference you should invest in a higher cut rather than a higher color, as the cut is going to play more of a role in the diamond’s brilliance.

Diamonds that have more facets reflect more light, which means they’re going to hide color better than other shapes. Therefore, round, princess and other modified brilliant cuts are going to give you a little more leeway in terms of color.

Finally, if you are concerned about carat weight and have a smaller budget to work with, consider getting a yellow gold setting and a round diamond that falls in the K to L color range. A lower color with a higher cut grade will have more visual appeal than a diamond in a higher color range but lower cut grade.

For more information about buying diamonds and what to look for with regard to color and diamond clarity in Sterling Heights, MI, contact Howard’s Fine Jewelry or pay a visit to our store today!


It’s November, which means this is the month to bring out your citrine and topaz! People who are born during the month of November are able to choose between either of these gemstones to add a touch of color and brightness to what is otherwise a gray, chilly month in many areas. These stones are beloved for their warmth and calming energy.

It’s fitting that the two are both November birthstones—they are often mistaken for each other, despite being completely unrelated minerals. They look very similar in many circumstances, though topaz has a much wider spectrum of colors than citrine does.

Here’s a brief overview of citrine and topaz in Sterling Heights, MI, courtesy of the team at Howard’s Fine Jewelry.

Topaz

There was a long period of time where all yellow gems were classified as topaz, and all topaz was thought to be yellow. However, we have since learned that topaz comes in a wide variety of colors, and many of the stones that were first classified as topaz are not at all related to it.

The name “topaz” comes from “Topazios,” which was the ancient Greek name for St. John’s Island, located in the Red Sea. The island was famous for the yellow stones that were mined there, although ironically the stones that were pulled from the mines on the island were probably not actually true topaz.

Pure topaz is actually colorless, but its impurities tint it to take on any color you can think of. Precious topaz is generally considered to have a color range from brownish orange to yellow, and it can often be mistaken for citrine quartz or smoky quartz, even though these minerals are completely unrelated to each other. Imperial topaz is perhaps the most prized color—it features a bold orange with pink undertones. Blue topaz is becoming more common in the market, but does not frequently occur naturally—usually the blue topaz you’ll find in stores has been put through irradiation treatments.

Topaz measures an eight on the Mohs scale, which makes it hard and durable.

Citrine

Citrine also comes in a wide range of colors, from pale yellow to brownish orange. This variant of quartz takes its name from the citron (or lemon) fruit, thanks to its lemony shades of yellow.

Its pale yellow color is very similar to topaz, so the confusion between the two is understandable. This yellow color exists because of traces of iron found in the crystals. This does not occur frequently in nature—most of the citrine you’ll find on the market was made with heat treatments of other types of quartz. The vast majority of citrine on the market comes from Brazil, and the different regions of the world tend to produce different hues.

Citrine comes in at a seven on the Mohs scale, making it relatively durable and capable of withstanding everyday wear and tear.

For more information about citrine and topaz in Sterling Heights, MI, contact Howard’s Fine Jewelry or visit our jewelry store today!


Can you even remember what life was like before the internet existed? There’s no doubt that the World Wide Web has brought a lot of convenience to our lives, and opened up new doors for people. You can now order groceries online, book appointments online, keep up with friends and family—and read blogs like this one!

But while the internet is great for some purposes, there are other areas in life where it still is best to do things the “old-fashioned” way, and shopping for jewelry is one of them. Here are five reasons why we think it’s a good idea to buy jewelry from a brick and mortar jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI instead of online:

  • Get the full picture: There are some things in life that simply cannot be replicated in a photo—and jewelry is one of them! No matter how high-quality the camera, the sparkle of a diamond or exact shade of a ruby needs to be experienced in person. The only way to be fully certain you picked the right product is to buy it in person, at your local jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI.
  • Know your jeweler: When you buy jewelry online, you are purchasing it from a nameless, faceless person. But when you buy from a favorite brick and mortar shop, you have the opportunity to get to know your jeweler. As she gets to know you and your tastes, she can recommend new pieces just for you, and maybe even set something aside when she knows you will like it.
  • Avoid scams and fakes: Imagine finally receiving your jewelry in the mail, only to realize it isn’t what it was supposed to be! No matter how savvy you make think you are, there is always a chance that the jewelry piece you are buying could be a scam or a fake. Even otherwise reputable ecommerce sites sometimes allow sketchy third-party vendors to sneak in through the cracks.
  • Create memories: When you tell your grandkids the story of buying your engagement ring, do you want the memory to just be clicking the button and waiting for it to arrive in the mail? Actually going to the jewelry shop and picking out a piece of jewelry creates a real memory that you can look back on fondly. There is something to be said for sentimentality!
  • Surprise yourself: Chances are you know what kind of jewelry you like—but shouldn’t you be open to trying new things? If you search for a specific gemstone or style online, you bypass all the other options, meaning you never get to discover new pieces that you just might fall in love with. Half the fun of going to a jewelry store is browsing, after all.

Looking to buy some jewelry for yourself or a loved one? If so, we hope you will visit Howard’s Fine Jewelry, your local jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you find the piece that is just right.


If you or a loved one has an October birthday, then you probably already know that this month has two special birthstones: pink tourmaline and opal. While opal is much more well known than pink tourmaline, both of these stones have special properties and fascinating histories, making them the perfect gift for anyone with an October birthday—or anyone who appreciates beautiful jewelry!

From your go-to jewelry store, here are some interesting facts about October’s two birthstones, opal and pink tourmaline in Sterling Heights, MI.

Pink tourmaline

  • Name and origin: The name “tourmaline” comes from an ancient form of Sinhalese, the language spoken today in Sri Lanka. It should come as no surprise, then, that tourmaline can be found in its natural form in Sri Lanka, as well as the Middle East, Russia and parts of Africa. It can also be found in some coastal parts of the United States—California and Maine, specifically.
  • Color variety: While most gems only come in one or two basic shades, tourmaline can be found in a wide range of colors. This makes it a great birthstone, as you can choose a tourmaline piece that as a gift fits the recipient’s unique personality.
  • Ruby similarities: We mentioned that tourmaline comes in a wide range of colors. One of those colors—one of the most common for tourmaline, in fact—is a deep pink or red that resembles a ruby. In fact, there have been instances in history when famous designers and royalty have tried to pass off rubellite tourmaline as real rubies.
  • Ancient and modern uses: In ancient times, tourmaline was thought to bring insight and goodness to its wearers, and to warn users of impending danger. Today, African and Native American peoples still see this gem as a source of physical and emotional healing.

Opal

  • Formed by rain: How exactly opal forms still remains something of a scientific mystery. However, many believe that opal is formed by rainwater dripping in the crevices of a rock, creating a unique, beautifully colorful design.
  • Out of this world: Do you have a space enthusiast in your life? If so, opal jewelry might be for them, because this stone has been spotted on the planet Mars! It is one of only a few gems that have been found outside of this planet.
  • Ancient meaning: “Opal” is derived from the ancient Greek word “Opallios,” which means “ to see a change of color.” The Greeks thought opal came from the god Zeus’ tears of joy after winning a battle. Ancient Romans, meanwhile, considered opal to be a sign of good fortune.
  • Down Under: Ninety-five percent of the world’s opals today come from Australia. In fact, native Australian Aboriginals refer to opal as “God’s footprint.”

With two beautiful and fascinating birthstones to choose from, finding a jewelry gift for your loved one with an October birthday should be a piece of cake! If you are looking for quality opal and pink tourmaline jewelry in Sterling Heights, MI, please come by Howard’s Fine Jewelry, your locally owned jewelry store.


We’re very thrilled to be celebrating our 70th anniversary this year at Howard’s Fine Jewelry. It is hard to believe we’re entering our eighth decade in business as the go-to jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI, and we couldn’t be prouder of the legacy of high-quality jewelry pieces we’ve sold over the many years we’ve been working in the area.

We are so grateful to the many wonderful customers who continue to support us by coming in and purchasing our pieces and recommending our jewelry to their friends and family—we would not be celebrating this amazing milestone without your patronage and loyalty, and we do not take that for granted!

A brief history

We’ve been a mainstay in the Sterling Heights community since 1948. Our initial location was over on 7 Mile and Van Dyke, and we eventually moved to the corner of 8 Mile and Van Dyke to a slightly larger location.

It was at our second location that we truly began to take off as something more than just a tiny business. We became a powerhouse local business that sold far more than just jewelry. We sold many general goods at discount prices—the only store in the area offering the kind of discounts we provided at the time.

In 1989 we moved to our current location, 15 Mile and Van Dyke, and once again returned to focusing strictly on jewelry. We have maintained that focus ever since.

I personally took over the business in 2008, the year we celebrated our 60th anniversary. At the time, the economy was dreadful—the markets had just crashed, and we were heading into the worst economic downturn in decades. Many businesses, small and large, shuttered and failed, both here in Sterling Heights and on a national level.

Business was difficult during those times for us here at Howard’s Fine Jewelry, but we weathered the storm, and we sit here feeling more fortunate than ever at our 70th anniversary to be able to serve the people of the Sterling Heights are and beyond. Now, we’re once again a healthy company doing great business and providing unbeatable prices on outstanding jewelry items. We still provide the same high level of customer service that customers expected out of us generations ago, thanks to the dedication of our friendly and highly knowledgeable staff.

There are some things about our business that have changed. Our location has moved twice, the appearance of our current location has changed numerous times, and we have put more effort into our website and online branding to keep up with the constantly evolving world of business and technology.

But our commitment to outstanding products and customer service will never change. For as long as we’re in business, we strive to be the go-to source in the area for all your jewelry needs.

Come on down today to our jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI and help us celebrate this big milestone for our business. We look forward to welcoming you to Howard’s Fine Jewelry!


While diamonds have long been the stone of choice for engagement rings, we have recently seen a reemergence of colored gemstones as an extremely popular alternative. There are many reasons why gemstones have made such a comeback, including their own unique beauty in addition to many of the ethical dilemmas surrounding the diamond mining business.

Sapphires are the birthstone for the month of September, so we thought it would be fitting to discuss a rising trend of sapphire engagement rings. Perhaps the most famous example of a sapphire ring in the world belongs to Kate Middleton, who helped bring sapphire back to the forefront. But here are just a few of the other reasons why sapphire in Sterling Heights, MI mkes a great stone for an engagement ring:

  • They’re unique: No two sapphires are alike, even sapphires of the same color. This means every single sapphire ring is one of a kind and has its own character. You’re getting a completely customized piece every time you purchase a sapphire ring—the jewelers can cut the gemstones in just about any shape and at very reasonable prices, while also using cutting techniques that maximize the luster and brilliance of these gemstones.
  • They’re ethical: Sapphires are usually mined in small community-operated or family-owned mines, meaning the benefits of their sales are more easily tracked than diamonds. The worldwide Kimberly Process established some rules that would halt the trafficking of conflict diamonds (frequently referred to as “blood diamonds”), but it is incredibly difficult to guarantee none of these diamonds will enter legitimate markets. Plus, the larger scale at which these stones are mined and the turbulent (at best) political conditions in the areas that host most of the world’s largest mines make it difficult to track their source. Therefore, if you’re looking for an ethical choice in your jewelry, sapphires are the way to go.
  • They’re durable: Sapphires come in at a nine out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, meaning it is extremely scratch resistant and durable. Other gemstones, such as emeralds, do not have the same indestructible characteristics. Considering an engagement ring is something a bride will likely wear every day for the rest of her life, having a stone that is not only beautiful but durable as well is something you should prioritize in your purchase.
  • They’re becoming more valuable: Sapphire sales are skyrocketing in value as they gain popularity around the world. This is especially true of untreated sapphires, because consumers are learning more about the benefits and value of natural, untreated sapphire stones. As sapphires become more common in engagement rings and jewelry, the gem will only continue to become more valuable, meaning now is a perfect time to make the purchase.

These are just a few of the reasons why sapphire in Sterling Heights, MI is becoming more popular for engagement rings. If you’re interested in learning more about using precious gems aside from diamonds in engagement rings, contact Howard’s Fine Jewelry today.


What do engagement rings in Sterling Heights, MI symbolize? Traditionally, giving someone an engagement ring is a symbol of the love, caring and devotion you and your romantic partner share. It’s also a promise that marriage is coming soon. However, the shape and design of the engagement ring carry a variety of symbols that may be acknowledged by a couple. Ultimately, you want to do your best to select the perfect ring to represent your special relationship.

Know that it’s okay to go out on your own and choose a ring to give to your future spouse. Likewise, it’s perfectly fine to shop around for the perfect engagement ring together. Either way, there are some things you should look for when shopping for the perfect engagement ring. Check out our tips below:

  • The shape of the stone: While the four Cs of rings—cut, color, carat and clarity—are important, the first thing you need to know is what shape you and/or your partner favors. In fact, the shape is the factor that matters most. When we say “shape,” we are talking about the geometry of the stone, not the cut. The cut of the stone refers to the angles of the facet in the ring’s stone.
  • The setting: The most important thing after the shape is the setting. The setting is the metal framework that holds the stone securely in place, so it comes as no surprise that a quality setting is the thing that can set the tone for an engagement ring. For instance, a classic round stone gets a fresh pop of life in a bezel ring setting, while the look of an oval stone is transformed to appear more traditional when in a four-prong setting. The key to the perfect engagement ring? Selecting the right combination of shape and setting.
  • The type of metal: Luckily for you, you have a selection of metals to choose from for your engagement ring band. A popular choice is platinum. This metal is durable, and because it’s a pure metal, it’s a great choice for someone with sensitive skin who can only wear hypoallergenic materials. Gold is another wonderful and beautiful option, available in white, yellow and rose. Know what color of gold looks best on your partner by asking them or inspecting the jewelry they wear often.
  • Your partner’s style: If you and your partner won’t be shopping for an engagement ring together—if you want it to be a surprise—then you’ll need to do some spying. Seek help from their siblings or best friend, just as long as they can keep it a secret. Alternatively, snatch a look at their favorite pieces of jewelry to find out if they like platinum, yellow or white gold, round or oval cut stones. Also, pay attention to whether they prefer vintage or more modern style jewelry.

Choosing the perfect engagement ring is not that difficult when you know what to look for ahead of time. For a selection of beautiful engagement rings in Sterling Heights, MI, pay a visit to Howard’s Fine Jewelry!


You’ve probably seen diamonds, rubies and jade stones on rings and other types of pieces of jewelry, but what about peridot? Peridot is a gem that is yellowish-green in color and a transparent type of olivine. And even though it’s a birthstone, it is not worn as much as some other birthstones. In fact, many people with August birthdays don’t even know what peridot is until they perform an internet search for their birthstone!

Let’s get to know this pretty little gemstone a bit better. Below are some interesting facts about August’s birthstone. You’ll find peridot pieces available for 50 percent off at our jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI this month!

  • Peridot or chrysolite: Chrysolite is another name for peridot. This stone’s two names are used interchangeably when referring to gemstones in jewelry. Interestingly enough, during Ancient Greek times, “chrysos” meant “gold,” and “lithos” meant “stone.”
  • It is found in varying shades: As far as gemstones go, peridot is one of very few stones that exist in only a single color. In this case, all peridot gems are green, but they’re found in different shades, ranging from pale green to bright lime green to olive green. The most sought after peridot gems are the ones that are sparkling lime-green, free of any yellow or brown hues. All shades of peridot green look beautiful paired with platinum or silver metals, which creates magnificent pieces of jewelry.
  • It’s mined worldwide: Peridot gemstones were made famous in Egypt, but it is not mined there exclusively. In fact, many peridot mines can be found in the United States (Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii and Nevada), as well as in other countries, including China, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
  • Cleopatra wore peridots: Egypt was the primary source of peridot gems during ancient times. As such, it makes since that the Egyptians would cast a spotlight on peridot. The stones were often made into talismans to ward off evil, but are most famously known for being the gemstone worn by Queen Cleopatra. Like many other people, you may have thought she wore emeralds, but they were in fact peridots. This belief was ingrained into minds because travelers at the time did not know of peridot, regularly mistaking the stone for darker green emerald gemstones.
  • On display at the Smithsonian: Did you know that the Smithsonian Museum houses the world’s largest known peridot gemstones? One famous peridot is a 46.16 karat gemstone mined and fully extracted in Pakistan. Another large peridot that’s a part of the Smithsonian’s collection weighs 34.65 karats. It is a necklace with a modified triangular step gemstone that was found in Arizona on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation.

Peridots are commonly used for rings, pendants and earrings, and they can be cut into shapes ranging from oval to teardrop. In honor of August’s birthstone, Howard’s Fine Jewelry is having a sale on peridot jewelry. Ask us about how to get 50 percent off a lovely peridot piece! You are also welcome to visit our jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI anytime for a close-up look at our selection of fine jewelry.


Summer has officially arrived, which also means that wedding season is in full swing. The beautiful weather makes the summer months the ideal time for a destination or outdoor wedding. While you are ironing out the last details of your big day, organizing your registry and putting the finishing touches on your honeymoon plans, it’s important to think a little bit about the kinds of wedding bands you want. Even though many of your guests might not get a good look at your wedding rings, you’ll be looking at them for years to come, so it’s important that you choose a style that you really love. While purchasing wedding rings can seem overwhelming, you can make the right selection by following some simple tips:

  • Start with a budget: Before you can start shopping at a jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI, always work with your partner to set a budget—and stick to it. Weddings are already an expensive event, and you don’t want to put any extra burden on yourself by falling in love with a wedding band that’s way outside of your budget. When you go ring shopping, make sure to tell your jeweler about your budget and ask them to avoid showing you anything that is out of your comfortable price range.
  • Think about your lifestyle: If you or your partner has a particularly hands-on job or you spend a lot of time on projects or physically involved hobbies, you might not want to buy a ring that has gemstones or other settings, since they are more likely to come out under stress or incur damage.
  • Don’t get hung up on matching sets: If you and your partner have very different preferences when it comes to wedding bands, you don’t have to get a matching set. If you like platinum and your partner likes gold, why not get one of each? You can still get your rings in similar styles or add personalized engraving, but you don’t have to try to come to a consensus on a specific material.
  • Figure out a general style: Before you go to a jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI, it’s helpful to have some direction. While you don’t need to have a very specific style in mind, it’s a good idea to at least know what you don’t want in your wedding band. Ruling out certain styles and features can help ease your shopping experience significantly.

Whether you know exactly what style you want for your wedding bands or you don’t have the faintest idea of what you’re looking for, you can end your search for the perfect rings at Howard’s Fine Jewelry. Our jewelry store in Sterling Heights, MI carries an extensive selection of fine jewelry, including wedding rings that are designed to fit a variety of preferences, styles and budgets. For 70 years, our team has delivered outstanding customer service and a quality selection of products that stand the test of time. Stop by today for a consultation, and let us help you find the perfect pieces of jewelry for you.