73-5617 Maiau St #5 96740 Kailua-Kona, HI
Phone: (808) 327-4647

Gems and Minerals — What's the Difference?

Gems are in the eye of the beholder - gemstone inlay titanium rings sitting on the beach in Hawaii

Let’s take a trip back to high school. Just remember sitting in the 10th grade science chair and only listening to half of what the teacher is saying, the other half of the time you are trying to figure out what your plan is going to be when you get out. The teacher up in front of class is talking about the difference between gemstones and minerals. Actually, he is telling you how to tell if a mineral is a gem, not the other way around, because all gems are minerals.

Scientifically, minerals are defined as solid geologically formed substances with unique physical and chemical characteristics. Historically, gems were considered gems if they were hard nonmetallic minerals used in jewelry. Gemstones are basically identified by humans and classified by what we think is beautiful. They are diamonds and garnet and other stones that are appealing to the eye.

Some precious gems are not minerals but organic matter; for example a pearl. A pearl is from an oyster and is one of the only gems to come from a living organism; the others are Jet and Amber which come from trees.

Another classification that determines if a mineral is a gemstone is the rating on the Mohs scale or the scale that determines the hardness of a stone. Minerals that rank higher on this scale are used as gemstones because of their durability. When making a piece of jewelry, you want to use a gemstone or mineral that has long lasting durability. Ruby and Sapphire are amongst the highest scoring gems as well as Garnet and Peridot. Malachite and Sugilite are other gemstones also ranking high on the scale. Opal and Turquoise are some of the most eye appealing minerals that are not as hard as other gemstones but do have the hardness sought after in quality jewelry.

Choosing the materials used in custom jewelry can be a balance between beauty and practicality. Most women would love to have diamonds in everything they wear, which is both beautiful and practical because diamonds go with everything. A recent jump in sales would indicate that Opal is the new diamond for its rarity and variety of color. The newest trend is synthetic opal which is real opal developed in a lab to achieve new color and fewer imperfections.

When choosing minerals for jewelry, you have a multitude of colors to choose from to make the piece unique and original, whether it is a gemstone or mineral that is formed in the ground, created under water, or grown in a lab. They are all available here at Hawaii Titanium Rings!

Written by Shana Stuart

The Curly Colors of Hawaiian Koa Wood

Different grains of Koa Wood - Fire, Tiger, Curly koa wood rings - close up of Koa wood grain

Koa wood is famous in Hawaii for many reasons, one being its decorative array of colors and grain texture. Curly, Fire, and Tiger Koa are the rarest, each displaying unique characteristics resembling their given names. The different colors of Koa wood are influenced by the tree’s age, the type of soil, and level of elevation that the tree grows in. Koa hues range from light golden blonde, to deep auburn red, to dark chocolate brown. The darker grain patterns add horizontal and vertical texture and it is the color and striping that creates the chatoyant three-dimensional appearance found only in Koa wood.

Curly Koa is named for its burl and swirly grain patterns showcased as playful spots and stripes with wavy figuring woven throughout the dark and light base wood. Curly Koa is found in only 1% of Koa trees as the wood grain is generally straight. The highest grades of wood are determined by the amount of curl that decorates the surface which is why Curly Koa’s high value is known worldwide.

Fire Koa’s colors also vary from light to dark, but what sets it apart from the other Koa woods are the darker flame-like streaks that jump in and out of its lighter core. Fire Koa has the appearance of being lit from within as the lighter shades of this wood are luminous and translucent. The fiery colors are different even within the same tree or branch adding excitement to every cut of wood.

Tiger Koa is a favorite of woodworkers and craftsmen; known for its exotic exhibition of tiger-like grain stripes and wide range of wood colors. Diagonal bands of color flow through this wood like the ocean’s current making it the top choice for furniture and guitar makers. Tiger Koa’s colors can be very pale beige or deep auburn red, but Black Tiger is considered the most valuable and hardest to find of all the Koa woods as it is usually from an ancient tree that has sunken upon itself because of its own heavy weight.

The Koa Tree is the only endemic tree to Hawaii and was once abundant throughout Islands being the first tree to grow from the lava, but today it is close to extinction. Federal law now forbids the tree to be cut and reforestation has been in full force so the curly colors of Koa Wood should be available for our children to enjoy.

Written by Shana Stuart

Titanium Ring Commercial-Merrie Monarch 2014


Hawaii Titanium Rings commercial airing during the Merrie Monarch Festival April 24-26 2014 on KFVE. The Home Team has extensive coverage of the event and a fully loaded website with information and videos.



Written by Shana Stuart

Ruby: The July Birthstone

Ruby gemstone and 3 of our Hawaii Titanium Rings inlaid with ruby

If you are looking to buy a ring for that special someone in your life and their birthday is in July, there is no better ring to buy than one with a Ruby, their birthstone. Rubies throughout history have been one of the most highly prized gems.

Rubies are second in hardness only to diamonds and to find a ruby with excellent quality can be quite rare. The color of the ruby is also an important factor in valuing the gem. The most valued coloration is a vivid medium red to a slightly mix of purple and red. If the gem has too much orange as part of its color it may be considered to be a sapphire.

As far as ancient legends go, Rubies are said to provide health, wisdom, and success in love having an internal flame (which gives it its red color) that cannot be extinguished. If it was a time of war, the Ruby was believed to guarantee safety while battling enemies. The ruby is also mentioned within passages in the Bible.

Rubies are great to be given as gifts. Rubies are commonly displayed in jewelry including: rings, earrings, watches, pendants, bracelets, brooches, necklaces and cufflinks. One important detail that you would want to tell the recipient of your gift is that Rubies actually have the power to change in color. It is an incredibly rare occurrence but it can happen.

No matter how you choose to package the birthstone, it will be valued and enjoyed for years to come by the loved one that receives the gift for their July birthday.

Written by Shana Stuart

The Advantages of Titanium

Titanium bars


Did you know that titanium has only been available to the public since 1988? Before its first public appearance, titanium was classified by the military for use in things such as the SR-71 Black Bird fighter jet and Russian submarines. Not unlike the government, we see a lot of value in titanium. Today it is used in the creation of things like golf clubs and airplanes. We think titanium is the absolute best metal to use when making jewelry and here’s why:

Strength and Weight of Titanium

After all, Titanium’s name is derived from the Greek Titans. Known for their large size and great strength, the Titans were the perfect namesake. Titanium has the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metal. This means that even though it is extremely lightweight, you can expect your Titanium ring to last forever. In its natural state, Titanium is as strong as steel, but weighs less than half. In comparison, white gold and silver are easily dented when worn daily. Titanium rings are ideal for those who work outdoors or in active environments, as they will not lose their shape, break, or dent like rings made from gold or silver. 


Titanium looks a lot like white gold or silver. But because of its strength, we are able to utilize titanium in a variety of different ring designs. We can alter the design of your ring to fit your personal style. They are adaptable for either men or women, and can be made formal or decorative. You are able to choose other materials to incorporate into your rings as well. From gold and silver, to deeply colored koa wood or gemstone inlays, you will be able to find a custom design that will appeal to your individual style. 


Some metals are known to turn your finger green or cause allergic reactions. This is because they are mixed with other metals that don’t react well with human skin.  Titanium is sometimes combined with other metals for greater strength and durability but remains 100% hypoallergenic. It’s so safe for humans that it is even used in the creation of surgical implants. 


Compared to gold and silver, titanium is more widely available. Because of this, we can provide it to you at a much lower price. Titanium can be found and used in its natural state without any modification or added metals (unless you want us to!).  

For more information on titanium bands and rings, check out our website. 

Written by Shana Stuart