Becky Pearce Designs

Handmade ContemporaryJewellery in Silver & Gold


Why are opals said to be unlucky?

Birthstones, Useful informationBecky Pearce

I love the symbolism behind the different gemstones. I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a history nerd and find the fokelore and history behind the different gems absolutely fascinating.

One idea that people have told me over the years that you shouldn’t wear opal if it’s not your birthstone, as it’s unlucky. But since ancient times opals have been considered a lucky stone; seen as second only to emerald as the stone of the kings. So how did their reputation change so dramatically?

opal gold.jpg

It came about in 1829 because of a novel written by Sir Walter Scott. In this book, “Anne of Geiersteen”. In this story, a character called Lady Hermione wore a golden clasp with an opal in her hair. This opal had a fire in it which appeared to change to reflect her mood. On the day of her daughter’s christening some holy water accidentally splashed onto the opal which “shot out a brilliant spark like a falling star” and became instantly as colourless as a common pebble. A few hours later all that remained of Lady Hermione was a handful of ashes.

my ring.jpg

Gemstone cutters of the time were apparently quite pleased to promote the idea that opals were unlucky as they can be tricky to cut, and easily damaged in preparation.

So the fortune of this lucky stone was reversed because of a character in one novel 200 years ago.

Thankfully opals are well and truly having a revival, which is lucky for me as I love using them in my jewellery. I probably wouldn’t open an umbrella in doors, or purposefully walk under a ladder if I could help it, but I’m very very happy to wear all the opals!

Common cuts of gemstone.

Useful information, BirthstonesBecky Pearce

There is often confusion about the different shapes and cuts of gemstones.  

It's so easy for me to throw around terms like "cabochon" thinking everyone knows exactly what I mean. And of course not everyone does. Why would they?

So here's a little reference sheet with a few of the common types of stone I use in my designs:


A cabochon stone is cut with a flat back and a domed top. 

labradorite cabochon ring


The back of the gem sits flat against the setting and the dome rises above it giving it a curved top profile. 

This cut is traditionally used for opaque stones, but of course can be used on the transparent gems too. 

Rose and checkerboard cut:

These beauties are my favourite. Take the cabochon stone I described above; with the flat back and curved top. And then add little facet cuts to the dome. These little flat facets allow the light to bounce off the stone at lots of different angles, meaning the stone is sparkly and the light can get into the stone to bring out the colour. 

The peridot in the picture above has been faceted in a rose cut pattern. And the checkerboard has a slightly different design of cuts. 

Faceted stones:

Yes, I know, I know the rose cut stones I just talked about are theoretically faceted stones, but these ones are a whole new category. These are the kind of stones you think about when you think of a diamond. They are pointed at the back, with a flatter top and are faceted in various ways around this to allow the light to bounce around and show off the stone and it’s colouring to it’s best.

A round faceted stone - side profile

A round faceted stone - side profile

These stones are set in prong, or basket settings, or quite often in tube settings. (More of which in a later blog post!)

cz 5mm facet.jpg

Here’s one of my cubic zirconia stones (which look fabulously diamond-like) in a tube setting. This kind of setting is perfect for my birthstone stacking sets, so it’s the one I do most of at the moment.

Well that’s my run through of the basic stone cuts. Within each of these categories, the stones can be all sorts of different shapes too. Trillion, round, square, oval, pear…. and on and on. I’ll be doing a blog post about all of the many, many shapes I can offer shortly!

But I hope that was helpful and if you have any jewellery questions, just let me know.


Birthstones, Useful informationBecky PearceComment

So, if you've spent anytime looking around my site, facebook or insta you will have guessed by now that birthstones are a pretty big deal for me. 

It's honestly not that I think birthstones have a special talismanic property to them. I know some people do, but for me it's not about that.  It's that extra layer of meaning (and thoughtfulness) that the birthstones lend to a piece of jewellery that makes it super special. 

My love of birthstones came about as I wanted to design something that could hold a special meaning for the wearer. Some personal, and beautiful way of signifying the special people in your life. And they presto my birthstone stacking rings were born. You can choose the shape and size of the stones to pick and mix your perfect set - they can be all round, or a mix of different shapes. So many combinations that it's rare for me to make two sets the same - which makes me very happy!

 That love of birthstones then spread to all sorts of designs in my collection. Bangles, necklaces, earrings. I just can't get enough of them. 

The stones I use for each month are below:

birthstone list

These aren't hard rules.  There are options. If you don't like your stone there are always alternatives. 

April - sorry I don't currently offer white diamonds, so I go for the alternatives of white topaz, or cz instead. 

June - the traditional birthstone is pearl, which isn't hardwearing enough in my view to be used in everyday jewellery, so I use the alternative stone, which is moonstone. It's more hardwearing and is absolutely beautiful!

October - there are two stones for October, opal or tourmaline. I use opal the most - but the choice is yours!

November - the traditional stone is yellow topaz, but this is very hard to come by these days so I use the alternative which is citrine. Some people prefer to use a different topaz instead - there are lots of blue topaz to choose from. 

December - there are a few stones that represent December. The key one is Turquoise, but the clear stones are tanzanite, london blue topaz, or swiss blue topaz. 

If you're having trouble imagining how your stones will look together, please get in touch and I will hopefully have the stones you're interested in here, and can send you a picture or video. Have a peek in my gallery page as well, as the stones you require may be featured there!

All you need to know about my birthstone stacking rings

Birthstones, Useful informationBecky Pearce1 Comment

One of the most popular set of items in my collection are the birthstone stacking rings. 

The concept is really simple, but the details and choices can get a little confusing so I thought I would pop all of the information in one place (here) to help you make sense of it all. 

customer pic

On my website there are two pages that will be most useful to you: the first is the gallery page which contains photos of various ring stacks I have sent out recently.  The second is the birthstone stacking rings product page


The basic idea behind the stacking rings is to choose a set of rings to represent special people, or times (e.g. anniversaries) in your life. 

You can choose the birthstones of your children, your family, yourself and your partner. The choices are endless. As well as the birthstones I have simple spacer rings, and gold and silver heart rings which stack beautifully with the stones. 


Once you have decided what your rings will represent it's time to choose your stones. 

The list of stone options that represent each month are:

January - Garnet
February - Amethyst
March - Aquamarine
March - Sky blue topaz (alt )
April  - Cubic zirconia (aka cz) (Alt to diamond) 
April - White topaz (Alt to diamond) 
May - Emerald (I offer real and synthetic emeralds)
June - Moonstone (Alt to pearl which I don't think is hard wearing enough for a ring) 
July - Ruby (I offer real and synthetic rubies)
August - Peridot
September - Sapphire (I offer real and synthetic sapphires)
October - Opal ( I have white ones with flashes of colour, real and synthetic, and darker opals)
October - Pink tourmaline (Alt) 
November - Citrine
December - Turquoise
December - Blue zircon
December - Tanzanite
December - Swiss blue or london blue topaz 


On my birthstone stacking rings product page you will see that I have a variety of stone cuts; e.g. rose-cut, trillion cabochon etc. I will write a blog post shortly detailing what each of these stone cuts are, but in the meantime you can see each product page for pictures and details. 

Please be aware I do not have all of the possible birthstones in each different cut. Some stones just aren't cut in a particular way, or I haven't found a good supply of them (yet). 

Sky blue topaz 6mm trillion with a 5mm moonstone round cabochon, and 5mm rose-cut white topaz. 

Sky blue topaz 6mm trillion with a 5mm moonstone round cabochon, and 5mm rose-cut white topaz. 

It's at this point that it is worth having a browse through the ring sets I've made before in the gallery to see what shapes you think look good together.

I think about two thirds of the stacking ring sets I make are three ring stacks and these look great with a longer shaped stone (e.g. an oval or an octagon, or a larger trillion as in the case above) with two small stones stacked to one side. 

Getting the stones to stack together perfectly takes a bit of work. If you would like the rings to sit as in the set above, with very little gap between the rings you will need to choose 5mm stones or less to sit above each other.  Even when we're using a 5mm stone I will set the stones off centre  on the band slightly so they accommodate each other in the stack. 

This is why it really helps (but isn't vital) to order all of your stacking rings together at the same time, so I can enable as good a fit between the stones as possible. 


Gold heart with a 5mm moonstone and a 4mm turquoise square. 

Gold heart with a 5mm moonstone and a 4mm turquoise square. 

One other thing to be aware of is that the square stones do look a little larger so I offer 4mm and 5mm options for those rather than 5mm and 6mm. 

If you have any questions on whether certain stones would work together please get in touch. I'm always happy to help. 


On the stacking rings I offer both a hammered finish and a smooth finish. In the gold heart stack above the middle ring holding the gold heart has the hammered finish whilst the others have been left smooth. A mix of the finishes gives a really nice contrast, and adds texture to the ring set. 

I personally prefer the hammered look for myself as the finish hides the bangs and scratches I somehow manage to make on all my own rings, and also bounces the light  making the ring more shiny. 


Take a peek at this blog post I wrote for more information on how to measure your ring size