We at TLC Sweden have gathered information about different precious and semi-precious stones.
The traditional classification in the West, Which goes back to the Ancient Greeks, begins with a Distinction Between precious and semi-precious stones; Distinction Similar Are Made In Other Cultures. In modern usage the precious stones are diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald,
with All other gemstones -being semi-precious.
A selection of gemstone pebbles made by tumbling rough rock with abrasive grit, in a rotating drum. The biggest pebble here is 40 mm long (1.6 inches).
A gem or gemstone (also called a precious or semi-precious stones, or jewel) is a piece of attractive mineral, which-When cut and polished ice-Used to make jewelry or Other adornments.However Certain rocks, (SUCH AS lapis lazuli) and organic materials (Such as amber or jet) are note minerals, But are Still Used for jewelry, and are There fore thwart Considered to Be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, But sometime soft minerals are Used in jewelry Because Of Their luster or Other Physical Properties That Have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic That lend value to a gemstone. Apart from jewelry, from the Earliest Antiquity Until the 19th century Engraved gems and hard-as least carvings Such cups were major luxury nature of the format, the carvings of Carl Fabergé Were The Last Significant works in this tradition.
Characteristics and classification
Spanish gold and emerald pendant at the Victoria and Albert Museum.The traditional classification in the West, Which goes back to the Ancient Greeks, begins with a Distinction Between precious and semi-precious stones; Distinction Similar Are Made In Other Cultures. In modern usage the precious stones are diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, with All other gemstones semi-being precious.This Distinction is unscientific and Reflects the rarity of the respective stones in ancient times, as well as Their quality: all are translucent with Fine color in Their purest forms, EXCEPT the colorless diamond, and very hard, with hardness of 80-10 on the Mohs scale. Other stones are Classified by Their color, translucency and hardness. The traditional Distinction Doe note necessarily Reflect Modern Values, for example, While the yarn are Relatively inexpensive, a green yarn called Tsavorite, can ask the father more Valuable Than a mid-quality emerald.Another unscientific term for semi-precious gemstones Used in Art History and Archaeology is hard least. Use of the terms precious and semi-precious in a commercial context is, arguably, into That Misleading IT deceptively Implior Certain stones are intrinsically more Valuable Than others, Which Is Not The Case.
In modern times gemstones are Identified by gemologist, WHO Describe chamois and Their Characteristics Using Technical terminology to specify the field of gemology. The first characteristic a gemologist Uses to identify a gemstone is ITS Chemical Composition. For example, diamonds are made of carbon (C) and rubi of aluminum oxide (Al2O3). Next, Many gems are crystals Which are Classified by Their crystal systems Such as cubic or trigonal or mono clinic. Another Term Used ice habitats, the form the gem is usually found in. For example diamonds, Which Have A cubic crystal system, are found thwart as Octahedron.
are Gemstones Classified Into Different groups, species, and Varieties. For example, ruby red Is The Variety Of The species corundum, While Other Any color of corundum is sapphire Considered. Emerald (green), aquamarine (blue), red beryl (red), goshenite (colorless), heliodor (yellow), and Morganite (pink) are all Varieties Of The mineral species beryl.
Gems are characterized in terms of refractive index, dispersion, detailed gravity, hardness, cleavage, fracture, and luster. They 'may exhibit pleochroism or double refraction. They May Have luminescence and a Distinctive absorption spectrum.
Material or flaws within minutes a Stone 'may be presented as Inclusions.
Gemstones May Also ask Classified in terms of their "water". This is a recognized grading of the gem's luster and / or Transparency and / or "Brilliance." Very transparent gems are Considered the "first water", While "second" or "third water" Those gems are of a lesser Transparency.
Value of gemstones
Jewelry made with amber.There are no universally accepted grading system for gemstone Any Other Than White (colorless) diamond. Diamonds are graded Using a System Developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in the early 1950s. Historically all gemstones were graded Using the naked eye. The GIA system included a major innovation, the introduction of 10x magnification as the standard for grading CLARITY. Other gemstones are still graded Using the naked eye (Assuming 20/20 vision).
A mnemonic device, the "Four C's" (color, cut, clarity and carat), Has Been Introduced to Help the Consumer understandable the factors Used to grade a diamond. With modification These categories Can Be useful in understanding the grading of all gemstones. The four criteria the carry Different weight depending upon whether They Are Applied to colored gemstones or colorless diamond to. In diamonds, cut is the primary determinant of value Followed by CLARITY and color. Diamonds are Meant to sparkle, to break downlight Into ITS constituent rainbow colors (dispersion) chop it up Into little bright pieces (scintillation) and deliver it to the eye (Brilliance). In ITS rough crystalline form, a diamond Will Do none of these things, it Requires neat fashioning and this is called "cut". In That lotion color gemstones, colored diamonds Including, it is the purity and beauty of color That That Is the primary determinant of quality.
Physical Characteristics That Make a colored least Valuable are color, clarity to a lesser extents (emeralds Will Always Have a number of Inclusions), cut, unusual optical phenomena within minutes the least Such as color zoning, and Asteria (star effects). The Greeks for example greatly valued asteria into gemstones, Which were regarded as a Powerful love charm, and Helen of Troy was known to Have worn star-corundum.
Historically gemstones were fading Classified precious stones and semi-precious stones. Because Such a definition Can change overtime and Vary with culture, it always hock Been a Difficult Matter to Determine What constitutes precious stones.
Aside from the diamond, the ruby, sapphire, emerald, pearl (Strictly speaking notes on a gemstone) and opal Have Also Been Considered to Be Precious. Up to the discoveries of bulk amethyst in Brazil in the 19th century, amethyst was Considered a precious least as well, going back to ancient Greece. Even in The Last Century Certain Such stones as aquamarine, peridot and cat's eye lotion Been popular and hence regarded Been as precious.
Nowadays Such a Distinction is no longer made by the trade. Many gemstones are Used in even the most expensive jewelry, depending on the fire name of the designer, fashion trends, market supply, Treatments, etc. Nevertheless, diamonds, rubia, Sapphire and Emeralds Still Have A Reputation That Exceed Those of Other gemstones.
Rare or unusual gemstones, gene rally Meant to include gemstones Those Which occur infrequently so the gem quality That They Are scarcely known to EXCEPT Connoisseurs, include andalusite, axinite, cassiterite, clinohumite and red beryl.
Gem Prices Can fluctuates Heavily (Such as Those of tanzanite Over the Years) s Can Be quite stable (Such as Those of Diamonds). In general per carat Price Of Larger stones are Higher Than Those of Small stones, But popularity of Certain sizes of Stone Can AFFECT price. Typically Prices Can Range from 1USD/carat for a normal amethyst to 20.000 to 50.000 USD for a collector's Three carat pigeon-blood Almost "perfect" ruby.
Enamelled gold, amethyst and pearl pendant, about 1880, Pasquale Novissimo (1844-1914), V & A Museum number M.36-1928.In The Last Two Decades There Has Been a proliferation of certification for gemstones. There are a number of Laboratories Which grade and Provide reports on diamonds. As There Is no universally accepted grading system for colored gemstones, only one laboratory, AGL (see below) grades gemstones for Quality Using a proprietary system Developed by the lab.
International Gemological Institute (IGI), independent laboratory for grading and evaluation of diamonds, colored stones and jewelery.
Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the main provider of Education Services and diamond grading reports
Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD Antwerp), The Diamond High Council, Belgium is one of Europe's oldest laboratories. It's main stakeholder is the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.
American Gemological Society (AGS) is widely recognized as note nor as old as the GIA.
American Gem Trade Laboratory Which is part of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), a trade organization of jewelers and dealers of colored stones.
American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) Which was solar village "Collector's Universe," a NASDAQ Listed Company Which specializes in certification of collectables Such as coins and stamps. It is now owned by Christopher P. Smith, the who was Awarded the Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology in 2009
European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) Founded in 1974 by Guy marl in Belgium.
Gemmological Association of All Japan (GAAJ-ZENHOKYO), Zenhokyo, Japan, active in gemological research
Gemmological Institute of Thailand (GIT) is Closely related to Chulalongkorn University
Gemmology Institute of Southern Africa, Africa's premium gem laboratory.
Asian Institute of Gemmological Sciences (AIG), the oldest gemological institute in South East Asia, Involved in gemological education and gem testing
Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF), Founded by Prof. Henry Hanni, focusing on colored gemstones and the identification of naturalism Pearls
Gübelin Gem Lab, the traditional Swiss lab Founded by the famous Dr. Eduard Gübelin. Their reports are widely Considered as the ultimate Judgement on high-end pearls, colored gemstones and diamonds
Each laboratory hock ITS own methodology to Evaluator gemstones. Consequently a Stone Can Be Called "pink" by one lab While another lab Call It "Padparadscha". One lab Can conclude a least ice untreated, While another lab concludes That it is heat-treated.  To minimis Such difference, Seven Of The Most Respected labs, e-AGTA GTL (New York), CISGEM (Milan), GAAJ- ZENHOKYO (Tokyo), GIA (Carlsbad), GIT (Bangkok), Gübelin (Lucerne) and SSEF (Basel), Have Established the Laboratory Manual Harmonisation Committee (LMHC), Aiming at the Standardization of Wording on Certain reports and analytical methods and interpretation of results. Country of Origin hock Sometimes Been Difficult to find agreement on due to the constant discovery of new locations. More Overland determining a "country of origin 'is much more DIFFICULT determining Than Other Aspects of a paper clip (Such as cut, clarity, etc.).
Gem dealers are Aware Of The Differences Between Laboratories and gem Will make use of the discrepancies to Obtain The Best Possible certificate.
Cutting and polishing
A Rural Thai gem cutter.A Few gemstones are Used as gems in the crystal or Other Form In Which They Are Found. Most however, are cut and polished for usage as jewelry. The picture to the left is of a rural, commercial cutting operation in Thailand. This small factory cuts thousand of Carats of sapphire annually. The Two main classification are stones cut as smooth, dome shaped stones called Cabochon, and Which stones are cut with a face anything machine by polishing small flat windows called FACETS at regular inter-rolling at exact angles.
Stones Which are opaque Such as opal, turquoise, variscite, etc. are commonly cut as Cabochon. These gems are Designed to show the least the color or surface properties as in opal and Star Sapphire. Grinding wheels and polishing agents are Used to grind, shape and polish the smooth dome shape Of The Stones.
Gems Which are transparent are faceted Normally, a method Which shows the optical properties of the interior least to ITS's best Advantage by maximizing Reflected Light Which is perceived by the viewer as sparkle. There are Many commonly Used shapes for faceted stones. The FACETS must be cut at the proper angles, Which varies depending on the optical properties of the paper clip. If the angles are too steep or too shallow, the Light Will passthrough AND NOT ask Reflected back Towards the viewer. The Face Machine is something Used to hold the least onto a flat lap for cutting and polishing the flat facets. Rarely, sometime Cutters use special curved Laps to cut and polish curved facets.
Gemstone Color Color is the most obvious and attractive feature of gemstones. The Color of Any materials is due to The Nature of Light Itself. Daylight, thwart called White Light, Is Actually a mixture Of Different Colors of Light. When a light passthrough materials, Some Of The Light 'may be absorbed, While the residual passthrough. The Party That Is Not absorbed reach the eye as white light minus the absorbed colors. A ruby red Appear Because it absorbed all The Other Colors of White Light (blue, yellow, green, etc.) EXCEPT red.
The Same materials Can Exhibit Different Colors. For example ruby and sapphire Have The Same Chemical Composition (both are corundum) But Exhibit Different Colors. Even The Same gemstone Can occur in Many Different Colors: Sapphire Shows Different shades of blue and pink and "fancy Sapphire's" Exhibit A Whole Range Of Other colors from yellow to orange-pink, the Latter called "Padparadscha sapphire".
This Difference in color is based on the atomic structure of the least. Although the Different stones formally Have The Same Chemical Composition, They are Not Exactly The Same. Every Now and Then an atom is replaced by a Completely Different atomic (and This could be as Few as One in a Million atom). These so called impurities are sufficient to Absorb Certain colors and leave The Other Colors Unaffected.
For example, beryl, Which is colorless in pure mineral form ITS, Becomes emerald with chromium impurities. If you add manganese Instead of chromium, beryl Becomes pink Morganite. With iron, it Becomes aquamarine.
Somebody Gemstone Treatments make use of the Fact That These impurities Can be "manipulated", thus Changin The Color of the paper clip.
Treatments Applied to
gemstones Gemstones are thwart-treated to Enhance The Color Of The CLARITY or least. Depending on the type and extents of treatment, They Can AFFECT the value of the least. Some Treatments are Used widely Because the resultant clip is something stable, While others are note accepted most commonly Because the gem color is unstable and May revert to the original tone.
A treble clef with gemstones.Heat Can Improve Gemstone Color or Clarity. The heating process Has Been well known to gem miners and Cutters for centuries, and the least Many types heating is a common practice. Most Citrine ice made by heating amethyst, and partial heating with a strong gradient results in Ametrine - a least Partly Partly amethyst and Citrine. Much aquamarine is heated to remove yellow tones and change the green color Into the more desirable blue or Enhance Existing ITS blue color to a purer blue.
Nearly all tanzanite is heated at low temperatures to remove brown cle in tones and give a more desirable blue / purple color. A considerable portion of all sapphire and ruby ice-treated with a Variety of Heat treatment to Improve Both Color and Clarity.
When jewelry containing diamonds ice heated (for Repair) The Diamond Should be protected with boracic acid; Other wise The Diamond (Which is pure carbon) Could Be Burned on the surface or even Burned Completely up. When jewelry containing Sapphire rubi ice or heated, it notes Should be coated with boracic acid or Any Other substance, as this Can etch the surface, They Do Not Have to Be "protected" like a diamond.
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Virtually all blue topaz, Both the Light and The Dark Blue shades Such as "London" blue, Has Been irradiated to change the color from white to blue. Most greened quartz (Oro Verde) is also "irradiated to Achieve the yellow-green color.
Waxing / oiling Emeralds
containing natural fissures are filled Sometimes with wax or oil to disguise Them. This wax or oil ice "also colored to make the emerald Appear of Better color as well as Clarity. Turquoise is also "commonly-treated in a Similar Manner.
Fracture Filling Has Been in use with Different gemstones Such as diamonds, emeralds and Sapphire. In 2006 "ice cream filled rubia" Received publicity. Rubi over 10 carat (2 g) with large fractures were filled with lead glass, thus Dramatically Improving the appearance (of Larger rubi in Particular). Such Treatments are Fairly easy to detect.
Synthetic and artificial gemstones
Some gemstones are manufactured to mimic Other gemstones. For example, cubic zirconia is a synthetic diamond composed SIMULATOR of zirconium oxide. Moissanite is another example. The copy imitate the look and color of the real least But neither possess nor chemical Their Physical Characteristics. Moissanite Actually Has a higher refractive index Than Diamonds and When Presented beside an equivalently sized and cut diamond Will Have more "fire", Than the diamond.
However, lab created gemstones are notes imitate. For example, diamonds, ruby, Sapphire and Emeralds Have Been manufactured in labs to possess identicals Chemical and Physical Characteristics To The Naturally occurring Variety. Synthetic (lab created) corundums, ruby and sapphire Including, are very common-AND THEY cost only a fraction of the natural stones. Smaller synthetic diamonds Have Been manufactured in large quantities as industrial Abrasives.
Whether a gemstone is a natural or least a lab-created (synthetic) Stones, The Characteristics of EACH are the Sami. Lab-created stones Tend to Have a more vivid color to Them, as impurities are not present in a lab, so There fore do note AFFECT CLARITY or the color of the least.
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The terms synthetic, natural, artificial, imitation, and are well-Stood by the gemologist. However, gemologist lotion Law had to continually explain These terms, as applied 'in gemology, Both to Those Within and outside of the industry, as the synthetic Particular hock Different definitional When Applied to Different Fields.
precisely Because It Is Certain new clip overlap Treatments More Than One clip category thats the term hybrid Has Been Suggested. These materials are consiste of an original natural materials That Has Been Added to significantly - To The extents thats the term naturalism No longer Applier. Hybrid chamois consiste of natural materials along with artificial materials - Either growth or synthetic polymers or glasses.
Hybrid Is Defined as Those gem materials Somewhere There Is no easy means of separating the natural from the artificial components. This Is Key, into That with a doublet or a triplet, the natural materials Can Be Isolated, Identified - and theoretically retrieved from the Whole. Hybrid Will note asking confused with assembled, But Will it encompasses reconstructed materials as well as B was granted.
Hybrid Will Note Apply to traditional oiling of emerald and (comparatively minor) fracture healing as seen in Many Mong Hsu rubi; These Treatments are insignificant in Comparison and additives Would account for less than 5% of the total mass in most Cases, But There Remains the possibility That sometime Heavily-treated stones These categories in May qualify as hybrid.
Major industry educators, dealers, and Trade Organizations Have Seen The Need for this new upper-level category. In Some Ways It Is a Dramatic Addition To The gemological terms, But is merely a natural evolution due to modern treatment methods.
Sapphire / Sapphire
Color Blue, yellow, green, white, colorless, pink, orange, brown, and purple
SG 3.9 - 4.1
RI 1.76 - 1.77
Luster vitreous to adamantine
Mineral Composition class
In the gem trade, sapphire refere to the blue Variety of corundum. However, excluding red ruby, it scientifically encompasses all Other Varieties of gem corundum. (In essence, ruby is really a red sapphire, ruby and sapphire Since identicals are the properties EXCEPT any color.)
Sapphire is the most precious of blue gemstones. It is a most desirable gem due to ITS color, hardness, remain isolated, and losses. The Most Valuable color of sapphire is blue corn flower, known as Kashmir sapphire or Corn Flower Blue Sapphire.
See some example of Fine Quality Corn Flower Blue Sapphire from our partners AfricaGems.com.
Until The Last Century, all Sapphire (excluding blue) were called The Same Name As A popular gemstone of That color with the prefix "oriental" added to it. For example, green sapphire was known as "oriental emerald". The practice of applying the name of a Different gemstone to identify the sapphire was Misleading, so These names were Virtually abolished. What was once called "oriental emerald "is now called" green sapphire. "The Sami Holds true for All Other Varieties color of sapphire. However, the word" sapphire "in plain ITS context refere only to blue sapphire, unless a prefix color is Specified. Sapphire with a color Other Than Blue ice thwart called a "fancy" in the gem trade.
Inclusions of tiny, Slender, parallel Rutile needles Cause polished sapphire gems to exhibit asterism. Sapphire gems Displaying asterism are known as "Star Sapphire", and f are transparent Especially prized. Star Sapphire are usually in six ray stars, But Twelve ray Stars Are Also known. Very rarely, sapphire also "cat's eye Exhibits effect.
Color zoning, Which forms from growth layers That build-up During the formation of the least; is presented in Certain Sapphire. However, Uniformity of Color is an important factor in a sapphire's value.
Colorless and Pale Blue Sapphire from Certain localities' may be heat-treated-to Give Them an intense blue color. Heat-Treatment May Also Improve the CLARITY of sometime Sapphire by removing tiny inner Inclusions. Sapphire is pleochroic, Displaying a lighter and more intense color When viewed at Different Angles. Some pleochroic sapphire blue ice When viewed at one angle, and purple at a Different angle.
A Variety Of loader sapphire, known as Color Changin sapphire, Exhibits Different Colors in Different Light. In natural light, Color Changin sapphire blue ice, But in artificial light, it is violet. This Is The Effect Sami phenomenon seen in alexandrite.
Sapphire was first synthesized in 1902nd The process of Creating synthetic sapphire is known as the Verneuil process. Only expert Can distinguish Between Natural and synthetic sapphire.
Sapphire is a tough and durable gem, But It Is Still Subject to chipping and fracture f wrist roughly.
Sapphire is one of the most popular jewelry stones. The blue ice Variety Most often Used in jewelry, But the yellow, pink, and orange stones are also "popular. A rare orange-pink Variety, known as padparadschah, is even more valued Than blue sapphire.
Stones Displaying asterism are polished as Cabochon, AND, IF clearing, are extremely Valuable. Blue sapphire ice Sometimes Carved Into cameos or small shapes. Synthetic sapphire ice thwart Used as a substitute for the natural materials.
Sapphire is the birth of least September.
Kashmir Sapphire - Sapphire with a DISTINCT Velvety-blue color
Corn Flower Sapphire - Synonym of Kashmir sapphire (Above)
Corn Flower Blue Sapphire - Synonym of Kashmir sapphire (Above)
Star Sapphire - Sapphire Displaying asterism
Padparadschah - Orange Variety of pink sapphire
Color Changing Sapphire - Sapphire exhibiting a Different Color in natural and artificial light
Bi-colored Sapphire - Sapphire with More Than One Color Cat's Eye
Sapphire - Sapphire exhibiting cat's eye effect
Fancy Sapphire - Any sapphire with a Color Other Than Blue
Verneuil Sapphire - Synthetic, laboratory-Grown Sapphire
Nowadays, sapphire ice Classified village ITS color in the gem trade (ie green color sapphire ice "Green Sapphire"). Colorless sapphire is usually called White Sapphire ".
The "oriental" prefixes are Not used anymore, But They Are Still occasionally seen. Below is a list of all the "Oriental" Sapphire:
Oriental Topaz - Straw yellow, gem quality sapphire Oriental
Emerald - Light to dark green, gem quality sapphire
Oriental Amethyst - Violet to pink, gem quality sapphire Oriental Peridot
- Yellow-green, gem quality sapphire
Oriental White Sapphire - Colorless, gem quality sapphire
Some Other (rarely used) Variety names:
Australian Sapphire - Dark Blue to Nearly black sapphire
Bengal Amethyst - Purple sapphire
Blue Alexandrite - Synonym of Color Changin sapphire
Burma Sapphire - Synthetic, laboratory-Grown blue sapphire
Burmese Sapphire - Synonym of Burma sapphire (Above)
Ceylon Sapphire - Light Blue sapphire
Indian Topaz - Yellow to yellow-brown sapphire
King Topaz - Yellow to yellow-brown sapphire
Rose Kunzite - Synthetic pink sapphire
Star Topaz - Yellow star sapphire
Ultralite - Blue sapphire
Brazilian Sapphire - blue tourmaline or blue topaz
Gold Sapphire - lapis lazuli with pyrite shiny sprinkles
Hope Sapphire - Synthetic Blue spinel
Lux Sapphire - Iolite
Lynx Sapphire - Iolite
Quartz Sapphire - massive blue quartz or chalcedony
Sapphire Spinel - Blue spinel
Water Sapphire - Iolite
Uralian Sapphire - blue tourmaline
Iolite, indicolite tourmaline, and blue zircon May resemble blue sapphire, But are soft. The Other Color Varieties of sapphire are commonly confused with Many gemstones, But Their great hardness distinguishes Them.
Pearls / Beads
Color White, cream, yellow, pink, peach, black, brown, gray, green, light purple, light blue
Hardness 5.2 - 4.5
SG 2.6 - 8.2
RI 1:52 - 1.69
Organic Composition CaCO3 + Conchiolin (organic) + H2O
Pearls come in Many Different colors, depending on the variety. The most popular are The Pearls Akoya Pearls, Which Either originate from Japan or China. Akoya pearls Naturally occur in white, and are Sometimes-treated to look black, or a very dark blue. Consistently round shape and "mirror like" luster Akoya pearls distinguish. The "mirror like" losses refere to how They Reflect your image back to you. Akoya pearls are bead nucleated, Which accounts for Their round shape and sharp losses. In today's pearl market, small sized Akoya pearls are typically farmed in China, Whereas Larger sized Akoya pearls are farmed in Japan. Most people associate Akoya Pearls with Japan. Akoya pearls are the most popular saltwater pearls.
include Exotic Pearls White South Sea and Golden South Sea. White South Sea Pearls are usually from the west coast of Australia. Golden South Sea pearls originate from the Philippines and Indonesia. Exotic Pearls are known for Their large size and Their Scarcity. These pearls range from 8-20mm, Whereas most Other Pearls Do Not Grow Larger Than 14mm. The Other popular kind of saltwater pearls are Tahitian pearls, commonly known as "Black Pearl." These pearls come from Tahiti and French Polynesia. They range in color from green to blue, red, gold and black. Introduced to the market in mid-1900, These pearls continue Growing in popularity and prestige.
The most abundant ice Variety pearl Freshwater pearls. This Is Because Freshwater pearls come from mussels, and mussel producers EACH up to 50 pearls. (All other Pearl Varieties come from saltwater oysters, Which produced one-to-Three pearls per oyster). Originally Freshwater pearls were regarded as-being of lower value due to HAVING an off round or "potato" like shape. However, with Advances in Technology Pearl, Freshwater Pearls lotion GAINED a more prominent position amongst high quality pearl families. In general, no Freshwater Pearl Will Be Perfectly round. This Is Because They Are nucleated with small pieces of tissue, as opposed to beads round. Freshwater Cultured Pearls are still, however, Which Is One Of The main misconception about pearls. Almost all Cultured Pearls are. Unless They Are explicitly called "natural pearls," Buyers Should Assumar thats the Cultured pearls are. Freshwater pearls are most DISTINCT Naturally Because They occur in a Variety of colors: white, peach, pink, purple, and even Sometimes a Periwinkle Blue. Like Akoya pearls, Freshwater Pearls are commonly dyed black, Which Creator Effect Similar to Oil on Pavement, ie a rainbow of color coats a dark background. Freshwater pearls are usually farmed in China.
Natural pearls are commonly note as Used in jewelry and are much Different from Cultured pearl jewelry. Natural pearls are Almost Always Used in Single-pearl jewelry pieces. The most common natural pearls are Penn, Abalone, Conch, and Oyster. All Natural pearls are very expensive due to Their Occurrence loader.
Pearls are typically Most Valuable When They Are rounder. Other Significant factors include losses value, color, surface quality, size, and nacre thickness. If the pearls are Strung on a beach, They Need to Be expertly matched so thats the pearls look Consistent. This takes the trained eye of a professional pearl and also "Can AFFECT the value of a strand of pearls. Although pearls are typically round, They Can Also ask Dropped shaped, baroque, semi-round, or freeform. Many of the more Freely shaped pearls are Used for pendants or ring That accentuate the unique shape ..
There is no standard ice grading system for pearls. This makes purchasing pearls Somewhat of a challenge for a novice. Most companies follow the AAA system, or a variation of. The most important thing Customers Should be Aware Of Is The description behind whatever grade Their pearl is given. Be Sure to Read the fine print. The Percentage of blemishing is a good indicator of the quality. Highest Quality Pearls Should be 95-99% Blemish Free. There Is No Such Thing As A "perfect" pearl and Should note buyers expect to find one.
Although pearls are characterized by body color, They Also Have an "over tone." Overland Tone Is The Word Used to Describe the Glint of a pearl in Various lighting. Over tones are most apparent in saltwater pearls. Although Freshwater Pearls lotion than about tone, it is note-as prominent or as exact Those found in saltwater pearls. White Akoya pearls Will Have over tones in rose, cream and silver. Tahitian Pearls Can Have an over tone of Almost everytime color. Golden South Sea Pearl Will Have Gold body color with silver, green or pink over tones. White South Sea pearls, Akoya pearls like, lotion over tones in silver, pink and ivory. Choosing an over tone Will Depend On The skin color of the recipient. Generally a Combination of Rose and silver is the most sought after over ringtone for White Pearl.
There are some rally hundreds of Varieties of Pearl. Due to the abundant discoveries, it is oftentimes hard to consolidator These International Findings of Pearl Into a Decisive species list. Perhaps the most comprehensive research on pearl Varieties Can Be Found in Germantown expert Elisabeth Strack's book, Pearls. One of the best online resource for Pearl Information www.pearl ice-guide.com. This forum hock Information On Every Aspect of Pearl, Pearl Including history and pearl farming.
Pearl Is Used as a gemstone and Has Been use as a gemstone Since Antiquity. All colors are Used as gemstones and Many are artificially dyed.
Pearl Is The least birthstones of June.
Cultured Pearl - Pearl Grown with the Influence of human intervention.
Natural Pearl - Calcium carbonate secretion That form within minutes mollusk Without Any human intervention.
Saltwater Pearl Pearl Produced by a mollusk in a saline environment.
Freshwater Pearl - Pearl That Grew into a non-saline environment in a freshwater mussel.
Akoya Pearl - Bead-nucleated Cultured Pearls Produced from Akoya oysters (Pinctada Fucata Martensii / Chemnitzii), primarily in Japan, China, Vietnam, South Korea and Australia.
Tahitian Pearl - Pearls Produced In The Black-lipped Oyster (Pinctada margaritifera), in and around Tahiti & the French Polynesian islands.
South Sea Pearl - Pearl Produced by the mollusk Pinctada Maxima. They Are Currently in Cultured Areas throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, primarily in Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar.
Keshia Pearl - Pearls formed an oyster When an Rejects implanted nucleus before the culturing process is complete. Keshia pearls are 100% nacre and There fore note technically true pearls.
Mabe Pearl - Hemispherical shaped pearl Grown Attached to the inside of the oyster's shell, Rather Than ITS tissue within minutes.
Melo Pearl - "Pearl" formed note from an oyster or mollusk But from a marine snail called Melo Melo. Found in Southeast Asia.
Abalone Pearl - Pearls found in the mollusk Haliotis. These pearls are an iridescent blue thwart color and commonly-shaped horns.
scallop Pearl - "Pearls" Produced by Any member of the Pectinidae (scallop) family. Native to the coastal Central and North America
Some Other lesser-used names Variety:
Oriental Pearl - Same as Salt Water Pearl (Above)
Cortez Pearl - Pearls Dark Grown In The Pinctada Maxima and Pteria Sterna mollusk in Mexico off-the-Gulf of California.
Topaz / Topaz
Color Orange, yellow, brown, light blue to deep sky-blue, pink, colorless, white, light purple, Greenish-blue, green
SG 3.4 - 3.6
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Topaz is a gemstone of all colors, and ITS Most Valuable color is a golden orange-yellow, called "imperial topaz". Topaz is commonly Thought Of As A sky-blue gem, But it was Note Until this century That blue topaz became wide-spread on the gem market. Natural blue topaz with a deep hue is very uncommon in nature: colorless to light hued stones are heat-treated to-Achieve the blue color. Likewise, topaz rarely occurs in Naturally pink; Virtually all pink topaz is heat-treated from yellow or brownish material.
Some topaz from Russian localities are Notorious for fading upon prolonged exposuremode to light. Stones from These localities are undesirable as chamois. One Should Always Inquire about the origination of the topaz before buying it to make SURE it Will note fades.
Care and caution must be exercised with topaz gems, ITS perfect cleavage MAY CAUSE it to form a chip or internal flaws f hit too hard. Topaz cutting also "Requires special practice for this reason.
Topaz Of All Different Colors are Used in jewelry. The orange, pink, and blue colors Most often are cut for gems, and colorless topaz ice Sometimes the cut with the brilliant cut, resembling diamond. Topaz ice Sometimes found as Enormous flawless crystals, and sometime Gigantic gems and faceted spheres Have Been Formed from Them, making unique and exquisite gem pieces. Topaz is rarely cut Cabochon intonation.
On the gem market, topaz is usually Classified by color. Below is a list of the color-designated names for gem topaz:
Pink Topaz Blue Topaz
Brown Topaz Green Topaz
Other names' may be-designated to Certain types of topaz:
Precious Topaz - Used to distinguish topaz from Cheaper fakes, SUCH AS Citrine
Imperial Topaz - Lustrous orange-yellow to orange-brown topaz
Variety Of Silver Topaz - colorless topaz
Sherry Topaz - orange-brown topaz
London Blue Topaz - deep blue topaz (The Deepest Blues form of topaz)
Swiss Blue Topaz - deep blue topaz (note as deep blue as London blue topaz)
Paraiba Topaz - sea-green topaz
Brazilian Aquamarine - False name given to aquamarine
Nerchinsk Aquamarine - False name given to aquamarine
Brazilian Ruby - False name given to pink topaz
Brazilian Sapphire - False name given to blue topaz (as well as blue tourmaline)
Hyacinth is an orange-yellow to yellow-brown Variety of topaz. Although the name is usually hyacinth Used to Describe a gem of zircon Variety of color That, It Is Also Used for topaz occasionally (in old manuscripts).
Pyncite ice occasionally Used to Describe a pale yellow topaz.
Citrine, a yellow to brown Variety of quartz, topaz Closely resembles Of That color. Unfortunately, unscrupulous dealers lotion adapted false name for Citrine so the unaware buyer thinks he is buying The More Valuable topaz. Any "Topaz" Labeled with a prefix name (excluding Those in the variety section of this page & the Other names discussed Below) ice-heat-treated Citrine. Some of the false names are The Used:
Gold Topaz Golden Topaz
Bahia Topaz Citrine Topaz
Several false topaz Other names are:
Brazilian Topaz - yellow to yellow-brown sapphire
Indian Topaz - yellow to yellow-brown sapphire
King Topaz - yellow to yellow-brown sapphire
Oriental Topaz - yellow to yellow-brown sapphire
Smoky Topaz - unscrupulous name for the cut smoky quartz
Star Topaz - yellow star sapphire
Similar Gemstone Since
topaz occurs in a great range of colors, it 'may resemble Many Other gemstones:
Orange-brown and imperial topaz - Citrine, zircon, chrysoberyl, golden beryl, orange-brown sapphire
Pink Topaz - Morganite, Tourmaline, Kunzite, rose quartz, spinel
Yellow topaz - chrysoberyl, heliodor, zircon, yellow sapphire
Blue topaz - aquamarine, zircon, spinel, euclase
Silver topaz - diamond, zircon, rock crystal, goshenite, danburite
Green topaz - green beryl, tourmaline, peridot, Hiddenite , green yarn.
Amber: the Jurassic gem
Dinosaurs Have Been more popular Than Ever Since Their Starring Role in the movie Jurassic Park. A more surprising result of the film's popularity Has Been a worldwide surge in demand for amber jewelery. Although amber's use in adornment is as old as Probably mankind Itself, in Recent Times hock it begged a limited market. Of course, that was before millions of people saw dinosaur DNA extracted from a mosquito in amber Trapped In The Movie.
Millions of people learned from the Film That amber, Which is fossilized pine tree resin, is ancient and Valuable, like an antique from history.
Demand ice-especially strong for amber with insects inside it. "Amber is like a time capsule made and Placed into the earth by nature herself," said David Federmann, author of The Consumer Guide to Colored Gemstones. "It helped hock paleontologist Reconstruct Life on Earth into ITS primal phases. More than 1.000 Extinct species of insects Have Been Identified in amber."
The Two main sources of amber on the market today are the Baltic States & the Dominican Republic. Amber from the older forms of ice, and thus preferred On The Market, But That obtained from the Latter is more likely be to lotion Insect Inclusions. Can Amber Prices range from $ 20 to $ 40,000 or more.
Fortunately for new amber enthusiasts, amber from the Baltic states is more widely available on the market Than it was in previous years thanks to the Liberian alisa tion of the Economies of Eastern Europe & the Soviet Union forms. The largest mine in the Baltic region is in Russia, west of Kaliningrad. Baltic amber is found in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, and occasionally washed up on the shores of the Baltic Sea as far away as Denmark, Norway, and England. Other amber sources include Myanmar (formerly Burma), Lebanon, Sicily, Mexico, Romania, Germany, and Canada.
The desire for amber is nothing new. Amber artefacts dating back to the Stone Age lotion Been Found What is now in Germany and Denmark.
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Made by the sun
"Stone Age man imbued amber with supernatural properties and Used it to wear and to worship," says Mr. Federmann. "Amber Took On Great Value and Significance to, Among others, the Assyrian, Egyptian, Etruscans, Phoenicians and Greeks. It never Completely went out of vogue Since the Stone Age. Between 1895 and 1900, one million kilograms gram of Baltic amber were Produced for jewelry. "
There are Many myths surrounding the origination of amber. Ovid That wrote When Phaethon, a son of Helios, the sun, convinced his father to Allow HIM to drive the chariot of the Sun through the Heavens for a day, he erred too close to the earth, scorching it. To save the earth, Zeus struck Phaethon with a thunderbolt and he died, plunging out of the sky. His mother and sister Turned Into Trees In Their grief But still mourned heaven. Their tears, dried by the sun, are amber.
The Greeks called amber electron, sun-shaped, Perhaps Because of this story, or Perhaps Because it Becomes electrically Charged When rubbed with a cloth and Can attract small particles. Homer mentions amber jewelery - Earrings and a necklace of amber beads - as a princely gift in The Odyssey.
Another ancient writer, Nicias, said That amber was the juice or essence of the setting sun congealed in the sea and cast up on the shore.
The late Roman Armies to conquer and control amber-producing Areas. The Emperor Nero was a great Connoisseur of amber. During his time, according to Pliny the Roman history, The Price of an amber figurines, no matter how small, Exceeded The Price of a Healthy slave.
The Ancient Germans Burned amber as incense, so it They called Bernstein, or burn least. Clear amber color was less Considered the best materials for Rosary beads in the Middle Ages on account of ITS Silky smooth feel. Certain orders of knights controlled the trade, and unauthorised Possession of raw amber was illegal in most of Europe by the Year 1400th
What Secrets Might amber hold?
So Could a mosquito Trapped in amber really contain 'dinosaur DNA? Most amber just isn t old enough, HAVING HAD sometime 25 to 50 million birth days at the most. The dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago at the End of the Cretaceous Period. The Jurassic period was 144 million years ago. But in 1994, Dr. Raul Cano of California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, a molecular biologist, Reported in the British journal Nature, That he and his colleagues extracted DNA from HAD a Weevil That was Trapped in amber 120 to 135 million years ago, When Dinosaurs did indeed roam the earth.
The amber, Which was from the Lower Cretaceous period, was mined in the mountains of Lebanon south of Beirut by Aftim Acra, WHO Has a collection of amber pieces containing 700 insects, Including termites, Moth, Caterpillar, spiders, pseudo-scorpions, and midge, Which do, after all, sigh Their host's blood.
Emerald / Smaragd
Emerald crystal from Muzo, Colombia
Color Emerald-green to dark green
Hardness 7 ½ - 8
SG 2.6 - 8.2
RI 1:57 to 1:58
Mineral Composition class Beryl
Emerald, the green Variety Of The mineral beryl, is the most famous and favored green gemstone. Its beautiful green color, with Combined remain isolated and rarity, Make It One Of The Most Valuable gemstones. Beryl Also Contains Other, lesser-known gem Varieties, Such as aquamarine and heliodor. Pure beryl is white, emerald green's color is caused by chromium impurities (and occasionally by vanadium impurities). Deep Green Is The Most Desired color in emeralds. The paler the color of the emerald, the ITS lesser value. Pale emeralds are called emeralds note, but "green beryl". They Are Sometimes heat-treated-, In Which They Become aquamarine.
See some example of Gem Quality Loose Emerald Gemstones from our AfricaGems.com partners.
Emeralds are Notorious for Their flaws. Flawless stones are very uncommon, and are noted for Their Great value. Some people prefer an emerald Actually with very minute flaws over a flawless emerald, as this sample Authenticity Of The least. Many emerald Flaws Can Be hidden by Treating the emeralds with oil. Newer, more Effective fracture-Filling techniques are also "practiced. Irradiation of Some emerald gems ice Somewhat Effective in removing Certain flaws.
Many fakes and emerald doublet are known. Two pale colored stones' may be glued Together with a deep green paste, a creator least resembling emerald. Faceted green glass "also resembles emerald, and it 'may be coated with a hard mesh ITS Substance to low hardness. Synthetic emeralds are also "the soldier to unwary buyers Without Them Knowing the least synthetic ice. Experts Can distinguish all These fakes, and it is-especially important to only purchase emeralds from Reliable dealers. Experts Can Determine f "also was an emerald-treated with oil to mask internal flaws. Generally, unless otherwise specified, it assumed That Can Be an emerald Has Been-treated with oil.
A rare, prized form of Emerald, found only in the Muzo mining district of Colombia, is a very unusual shape of this gem. This emerald, known as "Trapiche emerald" is characterized by star-shaped rays emanate from That ITS centers in a hexagonal pattern. These Rays Appear much like asterism, But, unlike asterism, They Are note caused by light reflection from tiny parallel Inclusions, But by black carbon impurities That Happen to form the pattern The Same.
Emerald May Develop internal cracks Banged Hard f s f Subject to extreme temperature change. Emeralds That Were-treated to mask internal flaws Should never be cleaned with an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, nor Should They be washed with soap. These practices will remove the oil and expose the hidden internal flaws.
Transparent emeralds are faceted in gem cuts for jewelry, and translucent materials ice cut and polished and intonation Cabochon beads. Trapiche emeralds are also "Cut Into Cabochon, making exquisite jewelry pieces. A very small number of Emerald and display asterism chatoyancy; These too are fading Cabochon cut.
Emerald is very sensitive to knocks, & the famous emerald cut was Developed specifically for this clip is reduced to the amount of pressure During cutting.
Emerald Is The Birth least of May.
Colombian Emerald - Emerald from Colombia. This emerald is usually of exceptional quality.
Brazilian Emerald - Emerald from Brazil. The Brazilian emeralds are Generally a lighter color Than the Colombian emeralds. (The term Brazilian Emerald May Also Refer to green Tourmaline from Brazil.)
Zambian Emerald - Emerald from Zambia Quality
Trapiche Emerald - Emerald black with impurities in the form of a six-rayed star
Star Emerald - Usually refere to trapiche emerald ( Above), But May Also correctly Refer To The loader Occurrence of an emerald Displaying asterism
Cat's Eye Emerald - Emerald exhibiting cat's eye effect. Cat's eye emerald is very rare, and only exists on paler emeralds.
Emeralds Have Been Produced synthetically Since 1848th However, only recently synthetic emeralds Have Been available of the market. The synthetic emeralds Currently Produced are so similar 'to true, natural emeralds That They Are Virtually normal MEANS indistinguishable village. Here are some names for synthetic emerald to watch out for:
Lennix Emerald Emerald Emerald
Glass dyed green is also "a major emerald simulant. The Color of emerald green and cream 'may be identicals, But Other physical and optical properties Can Easily The Two differentiator. Some fraudulent names given to green ice cream Used as jewelry:
Mount St. Helens Emerald Emerald
false emerald Other names include:
African Emerald - green Fluorite
Bohemian Emerald - green Fluorite
Cape Emerald - Emerald prehnite
Congo - dioptase
Emeraldine - chalcedony dyed green
Emeraldite - green tourmaline
Evening Emerald - Emerald Indian
peridot - quartz or chalcedony dyed green
Lithia Emerald - Hiddenite
Mascot Emerald - emerald doublet
Night Emerald - peridot
Oriental Emerald - green sapphire
South African Emerald - green Fluorite
Tecla Emerald - emerald doublet
Traansvaal Emerald - green Fluorite
Uralian Emerald - demantoid yarn
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Green Gemstone sapphire May resemble emerald, But ITS high hardness distinguishes it. Garnet and zircon rarely Achieve a deep green like emerald, and Diopside and dioptase are considerably soft Than emerald. Green tourmaline Can only be distinguished by ITS Difference the optical properties.
Which colour would you spontaneously associate with love and vivacity, passion and power? It's obvious, isn't it? Red. Red is the colour of love. It radiates warmth and a strong sense of vitality. And red is also the colour of the ruby, the king of the gemstones. In the fascinating world of gemstones, the ruby is the undisputed ruler.
For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent colour, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. In addition to that, it is an extremely rare gemstone, especially in its finer qualities.
For a long time India was regarded as the ruby's classical country of origin. In the major works of Indian literature, a rich store of knowledge about gemstones has been handed down over a period of more than two thousand years. The term 'corundum', which we use today, is derived from the Sanskrit word 'kuruvinda'. The Sanskrit word for ruby is 'ratnaraj', which means something like 'king of the gemstones'. And it was a royal welcome indeed which used to be prepared for it. Whenever a particularly beautiful ruby crystal was found, the ruler sent high dignitaries out to meet the precious gemstone and welcome it in appropriate style. Today, rubies still decorate the insignia of many royal households. But are they really all genuine rubies? Read on to find out more!
Only a little bit of chrome ...
Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, of which the sapphire is also a variety. Pure corundum is colourless. Slight traces of elements such as chrome, iron, titanium or vanadium are responsible for the colour. These gemstones have excellent hardness. On the Mohs scale their score of 9 is second only to that of the diamond. Only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, all other colours being classified as sapphires. The close relationship between the ruby and the sapphire has only been known since the beginning of the 19th century. Up to that time, red garnets or spinels were also thought to be rubies. (That, indeed, is why the 'Black Ruby' and the 'Timur Ruby', two of the British Crown Jewels, were so named, when they are not actually rubies at all, but spinels.)
Ruby, this magnificent red variety from the multi-coloured corundum family, consists of aluminium oxide and chrome as well as very fine traces of other elements - depending on which deposit it was from. In really fine colours and good clarity, however, this gemstone occurs only very rarely in the world's mines. Somewhat paradoxically, it is actually the colouring element chrome which is responsible for this scarcity. True enough, millions of years ago, when the gemstones were being created deep inside the core of the Earth, chrome was the element which gave the ruby its wonderful colour. But at the same time it was also responsible for causing a multitude of fissures and cracks inside the crystals. Thus only very few ruby crystals were given the good conditions in which they could grow undisturbed to considerable sizes and crystallise to form perfect gemstones. For this reason, rubies of more than 3 carats in size are very rare. So it is no wonder that rubies with hardly any inclusions are so valuable that in good colours and larger sizes they achieve top prices at auctions, surpassing even those paid for diamonds in the same category.
Some rubies display a wonderful silky shine, the so-called 'silk' of the ruby. This phenomenon is caused by very fine needles of rutile. And now and then one of the rare star rubies is found. Here too, the mineral rutile is involved: having formed a star-shaped deposit within the ruby, it causes a captivating light effect known by the experts as asterism. If rubies of this kind are cut as half-dome shaped cabochons, the result is a six-spoked star which seems to glide magically across the surface of the stone when the latter is moved. Star rubies are precious rarities. Their value depends on the beauty and attractiveness of the colour and, though only to a lesser extent, on their transparency. Fine star rubies, however, should always display rays which are fully formed all the way to the imaginary horizontal line which runs through the middle of the stone, and the star itself should be situated right in the centre.
Ruby-red means passion
Red for ruby. Ruby-red. The most important thing about this precious stone is its colour. It was not for no reason that the name 'ruby' was derived from the Latin word 'rubens', meaning 'red'. The red of the ruby is incomparable: warm and fiery. Two magical elements are associated with the symbolism of this colour: fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind. So ruby-red is not just any old colour, no, it is absolutely undiluted, hot, passionate, powerful colour. Like no other gemstone, the ruby is the perfect way to express powerful feelings. Instead of symbolising a calm, controlled affection, a ring set with a precious ruby bears witness to that passionate, unbridled love that people can feel for each other.
Birthplaces of fine rubies
Which is the most beautiful ruby-red? Good question. The red of a ruby may involve very different nuances depending on its origin. The range of those nuances is quite wide, and could perhaps be compared to hotel categories, from luxury accommodation down to a plain inn or hostel. For example, if the gemstone experts refer to a 'Burmese ruby', they are talking about the top luxury category. However, it does not necessarily follow that the stone is of Burmese origin. It is basically an indication of the fact that the colour of the ruby in question is that typically shown by stones from the famous deposits in Burma (now Myanmar): a rich, full red with a slightly bluish hue. The colour is sometimes referred to as 'pigeon-blood-red', but the term 'Burmese colour' is a more fitting description. A connoisseur will immediately associate this colour with the legendary 'Mogok Stone Tract' and the gemstone centre of Mogok in the North of Myanmar. Here, the country's famous ruby deposits lie in a mountain valley surrounded by high peaks. Painstakingly, gemstones of an irresistible luminosity are brought to light in the 'valley of the rubies'. Unfortunately, really fine qualities are quite rare even here. The colour of a Burmese ruby is regarded as exceptionally vivid. It is said to display its unique brilliance in any light, be it natural or artificial.
The journey to the world's most important ruby deposits takes us further on to the small town of Mong Hsu in the North-East of Myanmar, where the most important ruby deposits of the nineties lie. Originally, it was believed that these rubies would hardly prove suitable for use in jewellery, since untreated Mong Hsu ruby crystals actually display two colours: a purple to black core and a bright red periphery. Only when it had been discovered that the dark core could be turned into deep red by means of heat treatment did rubies from Mong Hsu begin to find their way on to the jewellery market. Today, the Mong Hsu gemstone mines are still among the most important ruby suppliers. In the main, they offer heat-treated rubies in commercial qualities and sizes between 0.5 and 3 carats.
Ruby deposits also exist in neighbouring Vietnam, near the Chinese border. Rubies of Vietnamese origin generally display a slightly purplish hue. Rubies from Thailand, another classical supplier, however, often have a darker red which tends towards brown. This 'Siamese colour' - an elegantly muted deep red - is considered second in beauty only to the Burmese colour, and is especially popular in the USA. Ceylon rubies, which have now become very rare, are mainly light red, like ripe raspberries.
Other ruby deposits are located in Northern Pakistan in the Hunza Valley, Kashmir, Tadzhikistan, Laos, Nepal, and Afghanistan. But rubies are also produced in India, where deposits with relatively large crystals were discovered in the federal states of Mysore and Orissa. These crystals have many inclusions, but they are, nevertheless, eminently suited to being cut as beads or cabochons.
Lately, people have begun to talk about East Africa as a source of rubies. Straight after their discovery in the 1960s, rubies from Kenya and Tanzania surprised the experts by their beautiful, strong colour, which may vary from light to dark red. But in the African mines too, fine and clear rubies of good colour, purity and size are very rare. Usually the qualities mined are of a merely average quality.
Colour above (almost) everything
As we have said, colour is a ruby's most important feature. Its transparency is only of secondary importance. So inclusions do not impair the quality of a ruby unless they decrease the transparency of the stone or are located right in the centre of its table. On the contrary: inclusions within a ruby could be said to be its 'fingerprint', a statement of its individuality and, at the same time, proof of its genuineness and natural origin. The cut is essential: only a perfect cut will underline the beauty of this valuable and precious stone in a way befitting the 'king of the gemstones'. However, a really perfect ruby is as rare as perfect love. If you do come across it, it will cost a small fortune. But when you have found 'your' ruby, don't hesitate: hang on to it!
Color Light to dark purple
SG 2.63 - 2.65
RI 1.54 - 1.55
Mineral class Quartz
Amethyst is one of the most popular gems, and has been considered since antiquity as a valuable gemstone. Its name derives from the Greek "amethystos", which meant "not drunken", as Amethyst in antiquity was thought to ward off drunkenness. In ancient times, Amethyst was highly regarded among the precious gemstones like Ruby and Emerald, but findings of vast Amethyst reserves in the last 200 years have made Amethyst fairly inexpensive and obtainable. Amethyst colors range from light to dark purple, and the transparent deep purple colors are the most highly regarded.
Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral Quartz, and is its most famous and valuable gem variety. Quartz also contains other gemstones such as Citrine, Rose Quartz, and Smoky Quartz. Amethyst is often heat-treated to deepen the color, or to transform it into Citrine. Some varieties may also change to a light green color, which is also used as a gemstone and given the trade name Prasiolite, or "Green Amethyst".
Amethyst, although always purple, comes from many different mining sources of which many produce a unique color or style. For example, Uruguay Amethyst has a distinct color and style, as does Amethyst from Arizona. Amethyst from the ancient sources in Russia, colloquially known as "Siberian Amethyst" is deeply colored Amethyst from deposits that have long since been exhausted and therefore command a higher price. Some dealers may sell deeply colored Amethyst from other locations as "Siberian Amethyst" to command a higher price. African Amethyst is generally more deeply colored than South American Amethyst, and the name "African Amethyst" may also be used to describe a deeper color stone even if it didn't originate in Africa.
The color distribution of Amethyst is sometimes uneven, and this is often taken to account when cutting a stone. Some Amethyst from certain locations will slightly fade in color upon prolonged exposure to light, and one should always question a dealer about this before purchasing an Amethyst gem. Care should also be taken with Amethyst as it is known to form curve shaped fractures if banged too hard.
Amethyst can come in huge flawless crystals, and gems of all sizes have been cut. Although Amethyst sources are abundant, synthetic gems are also produced using the hydrothermal method. A natural mixture of purple Amethyst and golden Citrine has been coined with name "Ametrine". (See the Ametrine gemstone page for more details.)
Amethyst is faceted into many cuts, and is used in all forms of jewelry. Many large gems of Amethyst weighing several hundred carats have been cut. Tumbled beads of Amethyst mixed with white Quartz are also used as necklaces and bracelets.
Amethyst is the birthstone of February.
Brazilian Amethyst - Amethyst from Brazil, but may also refer to any South American Amethyst.
Bolivian Amethyst - Amethyst from the South American country of Bolivia.
Siberian Amethyst - Originally describing deeply colored Amethyst from Siberia in Russia. Now incorrectly used to describe any deeply colored Amethyst.
African Amethyst - Amethyst from the continent of Africa, often signifying deeply colored Amethyst.
Green Amethyst - Light green Quartz colored by artificially heat-treating certain types of Amethyst. Also known as "Prasiolite".
Brazil is the largest producer of Amethyst. Commercial deposits also exist in Uruguay (in Artigas), Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Namibia, Zambia, Madagascar, Russia (Siberia) and the United States (Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia).
The color of Amethyst is rather unique, and few gems are confused with it, especially in deeper shades. Purple Sapphire and Purple Spinel may be the same color of Amethyst, but these are both very rare and command extremely high prices. Iolite may also be similar but has a bluer hue. Fluorite can have the same color, but due to its softness is only used as a collectors gem.
Color Light yellow, golden yellow, orange, orange-brown, reddish brown
SG 2.63 - 2.65
RI 1.54 - 1.55
Mineral class Quartz
Citrine is the yellow to orange variety of Quartz. Natural Citrine is not common; most Citrine on the gem market is produced by heat-treating Amethyst and Smoky Quartz. It takes a relatively low temperature to change the color light to golden yellow, and heating to higher temperatures will give the stone a darker yellow to brownish-red color. The name Citrine is derived from the citron fruit, a yellow fruit similar to the lemon. (In fact citron means lemon in several languages.)
Lightly colored yellow Citrine is usually naturally formed, and may also be called "Lemon Quartz" in the gem trade. Almost all of the heat-treated Citrine takes on a deep orange or slightly reddish tint. In general, the deeper colored stones are the most valuable, including those with a reddish tint.
Citrine is a very affordable gemstone, and all its color ranges are not expensive. It is most often confused with orange-yellow Topaz, which is very similar in color and body. Topaz is the more valuable gemstone, and dealers often sell Citrine labeled as Topaz. Several false trade names for Citrine are "Madeira Topaz", "Gold Topaz", and "Bahia Topaz". However, some fine Citrine gemstones have a pure yellow color that is rarely duplicated by golden Topaz.
Citrine can be found in large crystals, and flawless gems of all sizes have been cut. Synthetic Citrine can be produced using the hydrothermal method. A natural mixture of purple Amethyst and golden Citrine has been coined with name "Ametrine". (See the Ametrine gemstone page for more details.)
Citrine is cut into all different types of gems, especially rectangular cuts. It is a very popular pendant stone as flawless stones of many carats are not uncommon. Lesser quality Citrine combined with white Quartz is also tumbled and used as beads for necklaces and bracelets.
Madeira Citrine - Brownish-red to orange-red Citrine.
Palmeria Citrine - Citrine with bright orange color.
Golden Citrine - Citrine with a golden yellow color.
Yellow Citrine - Citrine with a lemon yellow color, and may also be called "Lemon Citrine" or "Lemon Quartz".
Brazil is the largest producer of Citrine. Other sources are Argentina, Madagascar, Zaire, Namibia, Spain, and Russia.
Citrine is very hard to tell apart from yellow and orange Topaz. Citrine may also be confused with yellow Sapphire, which is usually a purer yellow and is much harder, and can also be confused with the yellow Beryl known as Heliodor. Some Grossular Garnets may also have a similar color to orange-red Citrine.
All of Nature’s splendour seems to be reflected in the manifold opulence of fine Opals: fire and lightnings, all the colours of the rainbow and the soft shine of far seas. Australia is the classical country of origin. Almost ninety-five per cent of all fine opals come from the dry and remote outback deserts.
Numerous legends and tales surround this colourful gemstone, which can be traced back in its origins to a time long before our memory, to the ancient dream time of the Australian aborigines. It is reported in their legends that the creator came down to Earth on a rainbow, in order to bring the message of peace to all the humans. And at the very spot, where his foot touched the ground, the stones became alive and started sparkling in all the colours of the rainbow. That was the birth of the Opals.
The group of fine Opals includes quite a number of wonderful gemstones, which share one characteristic: they shine and sparkle in a continually changing play of colours full of fantasy, which experts describe as “opalising”. Depending on the kind, place of occurrence, and colour of the main body, we differentiate Dark or Black Opal, White or Light Opal, Milk or Crystal Opal, Boulder Opal, Opal Matrix, Yowah Nuts from Queensland – the so-called “picture stones“, and also Mexican and Fire Opal. Opal variations are practically unlimited. They all show in their own special way that unique play of colours – except for Fire Opal, which due to its transparency, however, is nevertheless also considered a Fine Opal specimen. If Opals are lacking the typical play of colours, they are simply named “Common Opal”.
Upala, opallios or Opalus – fascination created by tiny spheres
The name Opal was probably derived from Sanskrit “upala“, meaning ”valuable stone“. This was probably the root for the Greek term “opallios”, which translates as “colour change”. In the days of Roman antiquity there existed a so-called “opalus”, or a “stone from several elements”. So the ancient Romans may already have had an inkling why the Opals show such a striking play of colours. But we will come to this later …
Pliny, the famous Roman author, called Opal a gemstone which combines the best possible characteristics of the most beautiful of gemstones: the fine sparkle of Almandine, the shining purple of Amethyst, the golden yellow of Topaz, and the deep blue of Sapphire, ”so that all colours shine and sparkle together in a beautiful combination“.
Up to the first half of the 19th century, Opals were relatively rare. But then their career boomed suddenly and made them one of the most popular gemstones, and the start of this development brought them to the gemstone cutters of the gemstone centre of Idar-Oberstein. In the era of Art Deco the Opals experienced their flourishing, with contemporary gemstone artists preferring them to all other stones because of their subdued charm, which in turn was excellently suited to be combined with enamel, another very popular material of those days.
Opal’s colour play emanates a very special attraction and fascination. But what causes this phenomenon? This question was impossible to answer for a very long time. Only when in the 1960s a team of Australian scientists analysed Opals with an electron microscope, it was discovered that small spheres from silica gel caused interference and refraction manifestations, which are responsible for the fantastic play of colours. The spheres, which are arranged in more or less compact structures, succeed in dissecting the light on its passage through the gemstone and turning it into all the colours of the rainbow, always new and always different.
Australia, classical Opal country
Australia is the classical Opal country and today is the worldwide most important supplier of Fine Opals. Almost 95 per cent of all Opals come from Australian mines. The remaining five per cent are mined in Mexico, and in Brazil’s north, also in the US states of Idaho and Nevada, but recently the stones have also been found in Ethiopia and in the West African country of Mali.
The history of Australian Opal began actually millions of years ago, when parts of Australia were covered by a vast inland sea, and stone sediment was deposited along its shoreline. When the water masses flooded back, they flushed water containing silica into the resulting cavities and niches in the sedimentary rocks, and also the remains of plants and animals were deposited there. Slowly the silica stone transformed into Opal, for basically Opals are simply a combination of silica and water. Or, to be more precise: Opals are a gel from silica, with varying percentages of water.
In 1849 the first Opal blocks were accidentally found on an Australian cattle station called Tarravilla . the first Opal prospectors started in 1890 at White Cliff mining the Opal rocks. And even today the eyes of Opal lovers light up when somebody mentions places like White Cliffs, Lightning Ridge, Andamooka or Coober Peddy: for these are the legendary sites of the Australian Opal fields. The most famous one is probably Lightning Ridge, the place where mainly the coveted Black Opal is found. Andamooka, where Crystal Opal and Light Opal are brought to the light of day, cam boast to be the place where the probably largest Opal was found, with a weight of 6 ,843 kilograms, the “Andamooka Desert Flame”. Coober Peddy, by the way, is a word from Aborigine language meaning „white man in a hole“. This clearly describes how Opal was in fact mined: many Opal prospectors made their home in deep holes or caves in the ground, to protect themselves from the burning heat of daytime and from the icy winds of night time. Usually they worked only with tolls such as pick and shovel. Buckets full of soil, hopefully containing Opal rocks, were pulled up out of the depths of 5 to 40 m deep shafts by hand, for this is the depth of the Opal containing crevices and cavities, which are also mined nowadays.
Being an Opal prospector is still not an easy job, although today of course there are some technical means available, such as trucks or conveyor belts. And still the hope to make the find of a lifetime which will let you live happily ever after attracts many men and women to come to the hot and dusty Australian outback.
About cabochons, doublets and triplets
In order to best bring out the play of colour in a Fine Opal, the stones are cut and polished to round or oval cabochons, or any other softly domed shape , depending on the raw material. Only the best qualities of Fire Opal, however, are suited to faceting. The Opal cutter will first of all carefully remove any impurities using a diamond cutting wheel, before working out the rough basic shape. The comes the fine cutting, the finishing with sandpaper and then the final polishing with a wet leather wheel.
Opal is often found as flat lenses, or thin layers, bigger pieces are rather rare. If you leave a thin but supporting layer of the harder mother rock, you will receive a pre-stage of the Opal-doublets which are frequently used today for mass produced jewellery. These are gemstone combinations consisting of a surface from millimetre-thin Opal plates, which have been mounted on Onyx, Obsidian, artificial black glass, or Potch-Opal. Triplets have been developed from this design, here the Opal layer receives an additional cover from Rock Crystal, Plastic, Hard Glass or Lead Glass for protection.
Opal love to be worn on the skin
Due to the differing percentage of water, Opals may easily become brittle. They always contain water – usually between 2 and 6 per cent, but sometimes even more. Thus if stored too dry or exposed to heat over a longer period of time, Opals will show fissures and the play of colour will become paler. Therefore, Opal jewellery should be worn as often as possible, for then the gemstone will receive the needed humidity from the air and from the skin of its wearer.
Opals are not very hard: they only achieve 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs’ scale. Therefore they appreciate a protective setting. In earlier days Opal’s sensitive surface was often oiled, but today also sealing them with colourless artificial resin has become quite popular.
From Harlequin to Peacock: Opal experts lingo
When Opal experts talk about “harlequin”, “church windows” or “needle fire”, do not be surprised. They are probably discussing Opals. The play of colour in this stone is described with many imaginative terms for various structures and phenomena, like, for example, “flame opal”, “lightning and peacock opal”, or the above named “harlequin” and “church window”.
Opal’s value is not only determined by the body colour, transparency and factors based on place of occurrence. (Body colour refers to the basic colour of the gemstone, which can be black, dark or light and coloured). It is also important if the stone is transparent, translucent or opaque. And the opalizing effect may also influence the transparency.
Black Opal or Opal with a dark grey body shows the most brilliant play of colours imaginable. Crystal opal, which comes immediately after Black Opal in the hit list, should be more transparent with a deep play of colours. White or milky Opals show more diffuse colours and are the least expensive Opals. The occurrence-specific characteristics include, for instance, denominations such as “Black Opal from Lightning Ridge” (we are talking absolute top luxury here) or “Mexican Fire Opal”.
The most important criterion for determining the price of an Opal, however, is the play of colour, the colours as such and their pattern. If the colour red appears when looking through the stone, all the other colours will appear also. For evaluating Opals the thickness of the Opal layer is considered, the beauty of the patterning, the cut, weight and finish. Finally the total impression will be decisive, and of course offer and demand will determine ho much you will have to pay for “your” Opal. If you are interested in a really valuable specimen, get an Opal expert to advise you, because it takes a real expert to know about the many criteria which determine the price.
Opals and emotions
For ages people have been believing in the healing power of Opal. It is reported to be able to solve depressions and to help its wearer find the true and real love. Opals are supposed to further enhance the positive characteristics for people born under the zodiac sign of Cancer. Black Opal is recommended to those born under Scorpio, and Boulder Opal is the lucky stone for Aries.
The fantastic colour play of Opal reflects changing emotions and moods of people. Fire and water, the sparkling images of Boulder Opal, the vivid light flashes of Black Opal or the soft shine of Milk Opal – striking contrasts characterise the colourful world of this fascinating gemstone. Maybe this is the reason why it depends on our daily mood which Opal we prefer. Opals are like human emotions: you always experience them different and anew.
Aren't garnets those wonderful deep-red gemstones you often find in antique jewellery? Well yes, to a certain extent, a deep, warm red indeed being the colour most frequently found in garnets. Sadly, however, far too few people are aware that the world of the garnets is far more colourful than that. Spectacular finds, especially in Africa, have enhanced the traditional image of the garnet with a surprising number of hues - even if red does continue to be its principal colour. Thanks to their rich colour spectrum, garnets today can quite happily keep pace with changes of style and the colour trends of fashion. And thanks to the new finds, there is a reliable supply of them too. So in fact this gemstone group in particular is one which gives new impetus to the world of jewellery today.
By the term 'garnet', the specialist understands a group of more than ten different gemstones of similar chemical composition. It is true to say that red is the colour most often encountered, but the garnet also exists in various shades of green, a tender to intense yellow, a fiery orange and some fine earth-coloured nuances. The only colour it cannot offer is blue. Garnets are much sought-after and much worked gemstones - the more so because today it is not only the classical gemstone colours red and green which are so highly esteemed, but also the fine hues in between. Furthermore, the world of the garnets is also rich in rarities such as star garnets and stones whose colour changes depending on whether they are seen in daylight or artificial light.
And what else is there that distinguishes this gemstone group from the others? Well, first of all there is its good hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. With a few minor exceptions it applies to all the members of the garnet group, and it is the reason for the excellent wearing qualities of these gemstones. Garnets are relatively insensitive and uncomplicated to work with. The only thing they really don't like is being knocked about or subjected to improper heat treatment. A further plus is their high refractive index, the cause of the garnet's great brilliance. The shape of the raw crystals is also interesting. Garnet means something like 'the grainy one', coming from the Latin 'granum', for grain. This makes reference not only to the typical roundish shape of the crystals, but also to the colour of the red garnet, which often puts one in mind of the seeds of a ripe pomegranate. In the Middle Ages, the red garnet was also called the 'carbuncle stone'. And even today, fantasy names like Arizona ruby, Arizona spinel, Montana ruby or New Mexico ruby are still rife in the trade.
The warm red of the garnet illuminated Noah's Ark
Garnets have been known to Man for thousands of years. Noah, it is said, used a garnet lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night. Garnets are also found in jewellery from early Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. Many an early explorer and traveller liked to carry a garnet with him, for the garnet was popular as a talisman and protective stone, as it was believed to light up the night and protect its bearer from evil and disaster. Today, science has taught us that the garnet's proverbial luminosity comes from its high refractive index.
Not only do garnets have many colours; they also have many names: almandine, andradite, demantoid, grossularite, hessonite, pyrope, rhodolite, tsavorite, spessartine, and uvarovite, to quote but a few. But let us restrict ourselves to the most important and begin with the red garnets. First, there is the fiery red pyrope. Its spirited red, often with a slight brownish nuance, was a gemstone colour much in demand in the 18th and 19th centuries. Garnets from a find in the north-eastern part of the former kingdom of Bohemia - small stones of a wonderful hue - were world-famous at that time. In Europe, they were worked into jewellery a good deal, especially in the Victorian period. That genuine Bohemian garnet jewellery was traditionally set with a large number of small stones, which were close to one another like the seeds of a pomegranate, with their red sparkle. And today too, garnets are still found in former Czechoslovakia and set close together according to the old tradition, the attractiveness of classical garnet jewellery thus consisting mainly in the beauty of the gemstones.
The larger central stones of the typical 'rosettes' are also mostly of garnet, though they belong to a different category. For the 'almandines', named after Alabanda, an ancient city, have a chemical composition that differs somewhat from that of the pyrope. And why, one might ask, are they used as central stones? That's quite simple: because Nature has created the pyrope almost exclusively in small sizes, whilst allowing the almandine to grow in rather larger crystals.
A further garnet variety, also red, is the rhodolite. a mixed crystal of almandine and pyrope. This popular garnet is of a magnificent velvety red with a fine violet or raspberry-red undertone. Originally found in the USA, it now comes mainly from the gemstone mines in East Africa, India and Sri Lanka.
The colourful world of the garnets
The specialist world was amazed a few years ago by the fantastic find of a type of garnet which had been very scarce until then. At the Kunene River, on the border between Namibia and Angola, a deposit of radiant orange to red 'spessartites' was discovered. The spessartite was originally named after the site of a find made in Germany. Spessartites had led a quiet, shadowy existence as stones for gemstone lovers and collectors until that momentous discovery in Namibia. There were hardly any used in jewellery because they were so very rare. But this new find changed the gemstone world. Since then, its wealth has increased by the addition of this unusually fine, intensely radiant orange-red gemstone. Under the trade name 'mandarine-garnet', this wonderfully orange noble garnet became world-famous in no time at all. Unfortunately, the mine in the quiet hills of Namibia was only able to be exploited for a few years. The search for gemstones in the remote bush country began to involve too much effort and became too expensive. So fears grew that this highly precious gemstone, which had shot into the firmament of the gemmological world like a rocket, might only become available in rare individual cases from the stocks of a few cutting-centres. That is, until another deposit of the orange treasures was discovered, this time in Nigeria. Their colour and brilliance are so similar to those of the mandarin garnets from Namibia that only an experienced specialist can discern the subtle differences.
Now for the green garnets. Green garnets?! Is there really such a thing? Indeed there is! In fact, several green varieties are known. First there is 'grossularite', created by Nature in many fine tones of yellow, green and brown and esteemed for its many fine interim hues and earth colours. Here too, there was a spectacular find: in the final year of the 20th century, extensive grossularite deposits were discovered in Mali. These Mali garnets captivate us with their great brilliance. Even the brown, which is otherwise not terribly popular, seems vivid and natural, and goes particularly well with ethnologically inspired trends.
Probably the best known green garnet is the tsavorite or tsavolite, which also belongs to the grossularite group. Tiffany's in New York gave this name to the previous emerald-green stone which was discovered in 1967 by a British geologist, Campbell R. Bridges, in the north-east of Tanzania - after the place where the discovery was made, near the Tsavo National Park with its wealth of game. The green of the tsavorite runs from vivid and light to deep and velvety and, like all garnets, it has particularly good brilliance.
The star of green garnets is the rare demantoid, a gemstone for connoisseurs and gemstone lovers. Its brilliance is positively tremendous, even greater than that of the diamond. Russia's star jeweller Carl Fabergé loved the brilliant green garnet from the Urals more than anything else, and used it in his creations. Meanwhile, the demantoid is no longer quite as scarce in the gemstone trade, thanks to some new finds in Namibia. Demantoids from Namibia are of good colour and brilliance, but they lack one tiny feature: the so-called 'horse-tail inclusions'. These fine, bushy inclusions are the unmistakable, typical feature by which a Russian demantoid is recognised.
Gemstones for every fashion trend
Anyone who loves what is pure and natural and the warm, sun-bathed colours of late summer will be fired with enthusiasm by the colour spectrum of the garnet. Today, garnets mostly come from African countries, but also from India, Russia and Central and South America. The skilled hands of cutters the world over work them into many classical shapes, but also increasingly into modern, imaginative designer cuts. Garnets remain convincing with their natural, unadulterated beauty, the variety of their colours and their tremendous brilliance. Anyone acquiring garnet jewellery can be assured that the joy he or she derives from this beautiful gemstone gift from Nature will be long-lasting and undimmed.
The myth of jade
Jade – a gemstone of unique symbolic energy, and unique in the myths that surround it. With its beauty and wide-ranging expressiveness, jade has held a special attraction for mankind for thousands of years.
This gem, with its discreet yet rather greasy lustre, which comes in many fine nuances of green, but also in shades of white, grey, black, yellow, and orange and in delicate violet tones, has been known to Man for some 7000 years. In prehistoric times, however, it was esteemed rather more for its toughness, which made it an ideal material for weapons and tools. Yet as early as 3000 B.C. jade was known in China as 'yu', the 'royal gem'. In the long history of the art and culture of the enormous Chinese empire, jade has always had a very special significance, roughly comparable with that of gold and diamonds in the West. Jade was used not only for the finest objects and cult figures, but also in grave furnishings for high-ranking members of the imperial family. Today, too, this gem is regarded as a symbol of the good, the beautiful and the precious. It embodies the Confucian virtues of wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty and courage, yet it also symbolises the female-erotic. A visit to the jade market, be it in Hong Kong or Rangoon, or at one of the Hong Kong jade auctions organised by Christie's, can give some idea of the significance this gem has for the people of Asia.
However, as long ago as the pre-Columbian period, the Mayas, Aztecs and Olmecs of Central America also honoured and esteemed jade more highly than gold. New Zealand's Maoris began carving weapons and cult instruments from native jade in early times, a tradition which has continued to the present day. In ancient Egypt, jade was admired as the stone of love, inner peace, harmony and balance. In other regions and cultures too, jade was regarded as a lucky or protective stone; yet it had nowhere near the significance that it had in Asia, which was presumably due to the fact that people knew relatively little about this fascinating gem. Fortunately however, in recent times, people's understanding of this gem, which fascinates not only the connoisseurs by its perfect interplay of hardness and toughness with an enchanting range of colours and fine lustre, has improved; and their esteem for it has been on the increase all over the world.
What is jade?
'Jade', or yu, as it is called in China, is strictly speaking a generic term for two different gems, nephrite and jadeite. The name is derived from the Spanish 'piedra de ijada', loin-stone, jade having been recognised by the Amerindians as a remedy for kidney ailments. Because of its beneficial effect on the kidneys, the stone was also known as 'lapis nephriticus'. That, indeed, is where the term 'nephrite' came from.
Jadeite and nephrite are both regarded in China as 'zhen yu', 'genuine jade'. It was not until the beginning of the 19th century that mineralogists and gemmologists started to differentiate between them, since they bear a considerable resemblance to each other in terms of their appearance, their hardness and the properties they exhibit when being processed. Both are tough, since they consist of dense, close-grained, matted aggregates, but they differ from one another in their chemical composition and colours. Nephrite ranges mainly from mid to dark green or grey-green, but it can also be white, yellowish or reddish. Rarer, and somewhat tougher, jadeite displays hues which include green, but also white or pink, and reds, blacks, browns and violets. In both minerals, the way the colour is distributed varies a great deal. Only in the very finest jade is the colour evenly distributed. Both nephrite and jadeite often have veins, blemishes and streaks running through them, though these may not always be regarded as flaws. On the contrary, some of these patterns are considered particularly valuable.
Jade: from raw material to finished product
Jadeite is rarer than nephrite and is therefore regarded as more precious. Nephrite deposits have been found in China, New Zealand, Russia, Guatemala and the Swiss Alps. Dark green jade, so-called Canada jade, is also found in Western Canada. Jadeite is found in China, Russia and Guatemala, but the best stones come from Burma, now known as Myanmar. There, at the annual 'Gems, Jade and Pearls Emporium', blocks of jade in all sizes are auctioned. When purchasing the raw materials, the dealers need to be fairly lucky, since the nodules, blocks and fragments are sold either whole or after having been cut into slices, and there is only a very small window, the result of some initial grinding. So the buyer cannot see exactly what is hidden on the inside: valuable green jade, or an almost worthless, speckled or streaky material. It is not until the cutting process begins that the real quality is revealed.
In the jade-cutting centres of Canton, Beijing and Hong Kong, the raw material is processed with carborundum and diamond powder. Since jade is, as a rule, not transparent, but has a fine lustre, the cabochon is the form best suited to it. Thin slivers, which can be worn as pendants, and jade bracelets are popular too. Round, cylindrical and flat shapes can be combined to make attractive necklaces. Traditionally, jade is processed into slender figures, filigree images or thin-walled vessels. This is sometimes erroneously referred to as jade carving. Unwanted material is in fact removed during the cutting process, and the stone is subsequently polished. Here once again we see the subtle difference between nephrite and jadeite: whilst polished nephrite has a surface with a resinous lustre, the glassy lustre of jadeite after polishing seems to shine almost like that of a mirror.
What distinguishes good jade?
For collectors as well as jewellery lovers, jade is a fascinating gemstone. In Asia, above all, it is collected as an antique. Besides the quality of the gem and its processing, religion and faith also play an important role. In the West, many people prefer to collect jade in the form of snuff-boxes, cigarette holders, small bowls or rings. Since each collector has his or her own taste and his or her own likings with regard to colour, style and shape, it is no easy matter giving definite advice on the purchase of jade objects.
However, jade is, at the same time, a wonderful gem, not only in its traditional guise, but also in more modern designs. Especially in recent years, creative jewellery and gemstone producers have come up with some wonderful, up-to-date jewellery design, thus sprucing up the image of jade, which had had rather a traditional character for quite some time.
In general, the value of jade is determined according to its colour and the intensity of that colour, the vivacity and texture, and its clarity and transparency. Likings for particular colours vary very considerably from region to region and culture to culture. In green jade alone, the connoisseurs differentiate between seven main qualities, from the intense, even green of imperial jade, via apple green and spinach green, all the way to the lighter and to more heavily speckled shades of green. These special nuances often overlap and can hardly be recognised by the untrained eye. In the USA and Europe, emerald green, spinach green and apple green are regarded as particularly valuable. In the Far East, on the other hand, pure white or a fine yellow with a delicate pink undertone is highly esteemed. In the world of jewellery, the fine violet nuances of lavender jade are very popular. It is however the rare, emerald green of imperial jade, which shines through at the edges, a colour of incredible depth, which fetches the highest prices. Unfortunately, since not only good and natural jade is offered for sale, but often fake or poor-quality products or stones which have been coloured or otherwise treated, it is advisable to buy good jade only from reputable dealers and jewellers, whether the purchase is being made for a collection or as an individual piece of jewellery.
Symbolic energy and beauty, the traditional and the modern are combined in jade in a particularly harmonious way. And in gemstone therapy it is said that jade 'stimulates creativity and mental agility on the one hand, while also having a balancing and harmonising effect.' So this beautiful gemstone brings us joy, vivacity and happiness all at the same time – and what, in our times, could we possibly need more?
The turquoise is ancient, yet again and again it finds itself back in fashion. Its shining sky blue is one of the most popular trend colours in the world of jewellery and fashion.
In many cultures of the Old and New Worlds, this gemstone has been esteemed for thousands of years as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune or a talisman. It really does have the right to be called a 'gemstone of the peoples'. The oldest evidence for this claim was found in Egypt, where grave furnishings with turquoise inlay were discovered, dating from approximately 3000 B.C.. In the ancient Persian kingdom, the sky-blue gemstones were earlier worn round the neck or wrist as protection against unnatural death. If they changed colour, the wearer was thought to have reason to fear the approach of doom. Meanwhile, it has been discovered that the turquoise certainly can change colour, but that this is not necessarily a sign of impending danger. The change can be caused by the light, or by a chemical reaction brought about by cosmetics, dust or the acidity of the skin.
Turquoise affords protection and joie de vivre
In earlier times, turquoises were even responsible for the material wellbeing of the wearer. The Persian scholar Al-Qazwini, for example, wrote: 'The hand that wears a turquoise and seals with it will never see poverty.' Turquoises were often worn on the turban, and often surrounded with pearls, in order to protect their wearer against the 'evil eye'. As talismans, they adorned daggers, sabres and the bridles of horses. It was not until the time of the crusades that they came to Europe. Indeed it is from that period that the name 'turquoise' originates, meaning 'Turkish'.
In South, Central and North America too, the turquoise has always occupied a very special position among gemstones. The Aztecs in Mexico, for example, used to decorate their ceremonial masks with this stone which was holy according to their beliefs. The Indians of North America, who still produce a good deal of traditional silver jewellery with turquoises today, believe that the sky-blue gemstone opens up a direct connection between the sky and the sea.
At all times and over the world, turquoises have been worn as natural protection against the powers of darkness. If in earlier times they preserved horse and rider from unexpected falls, they are regarded today as the protective stone of pilots, air crews and other occupational groups who are exposed to an especially high degree of risk.
In modern gemstone therapy, those suffering from depression are recommended to wear a turquoise or a chain with turquoise beads. The turquoise' cheerful colour is said to endow reticent personalities with more confidence. It is also often given as a gift, a stone of friendship, for the turquoise is said to be responsible for faithfulness and constancy in relationships.
The blue comes from copper, the green from iron
Turquoise is a copper aluminium phosphate with a hardness of 6, i.e. considerably softer than quartz. In Nature, it occurs in the whole range of hues from sky blue to grey-green, and it is mostly found in places where there is a high concentration of copper in the soil. However, turquoise is only really turquoise in the very best quality; mostly, the colour is paler, or bluish-green or greenish. The blue colour is created by copper, the green by bivalent iron and a certain amount of chrome. Often, the material has veins or blotches running through it, which are brown, light grey or black depending on where it was found. These lively, more or less regular patterns are known as 'turquoise matrix'. The crystals are microscopically small and can hardly ever be recognised with the naked eye. As a rule, turquoise occurs as a fillung in veins or crevices, or in the form of nuggets. The most well known deposits are in the USA, Mexico, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and China. The most beautiful turquoises, in a splendid light blue, come from deposits in the north of Iran.
Turquoise is rarely faceted. Usually, it is cut into cabochons or beads, or into some more imaginative shape.
Wax makes turquoise more resistant
Being relatively soft, turquoises are sensitive. As the colour may pale when the stone has been worn for a long time, even high-quality stones today are treated with wax and subsequently hardened. This treatment makes the sensitive gemstone more resistant. In the trade, there are a large number of reasonably priced turquoises sealed with synthetic resin. They have a fresh colour and good durability. However, many of them are dipped in a colouring medium before being subjected to durability treatment - a process that must, according to the rules of the ICA, be drawn to the attention of the prospective purchaser. And there is also such a thing as a 'reconstructed turquoise', which is made from pulverised turquoise.
Because of their sensitivity, turquoises are almost always subjected to treatment of one kind or another, though this may take any of a number of different forms. For this reason, turquoises which have a good natural colour and are simply hardened with colourless wax or synthetic resin have a much higher value than stones whose colour has been 'improved'. So it is more advisable to purchase valuable turquoise jewellery at a jeweller's.
Heaven on Earth
The best quality turquoises are of a pure, radiant sky blue, a colour which is highly esteemed with or without its fine, regular matrix. The more strongly the colour tends toward green and the more blotchy and more irregular the matrix, the lower the estimate of the stone's quality.
Turquoise should be protected from cosmetics, heat and bright light. It is not a gemstone to take with you when you go sunbathing. It is best to give it a clean from time to time with a soft cloth.
The colour of the turquoise makes us feel happy and cheerful, for in it the light blue of the sky and the stimulating green of the sea are combined. Indeed it is such an inimitable colour that we have coined a term specifically for it in our languages: turquoise. Anyone choosing a turquoise is sure to enjoy a piece of Heaven ... on Earth.
Onyx: black magic
In jewellery design as in fashion, colours look crisper against a background of black, and black and white always looks right. In fine jewellery, the black backdrop is often supplied by onyx, a black chalcedony quartz with a fine texture. Some onyx also displays white bands or ribbons against a black background. If the layers are even, this type of onyx can be carved into cameos.
Onyx was very popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The name comes from the Greek word 'onyx', which means nail or claw. The story is that one day the frisky Cupid cut the divine fingernails of Venus with an arrowhead while she was sleeping. He left the clippings scattered on the sand and the fates turned them into stone so that no part of the heavenly body would ever perish. True, black isn't normally the colour one associates with fingernails. (Did Venus wear Vamp, perhaps?) But in Greek times, almost all the colours of chalcedony from fingernail white to dark brown and black were called onyx. Later, the Romans narrowed the term to refer to black and dark brown colours only.
Onyx which is reddish brown and white is known as sardonyx. Sardonyx was highly valued in Rome, especially for seals, because it was said never to stick to the wax. The Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio was known for wearing it a good deal.
Black onyx shines especially well when used as a backdrop for colour play. Its fine texture also makes it ideal for carving, making it a favoured material for today's lapidaries. In the pin by designer Susan Helmich above, a carved piece of onyx with threads of white provides a stunning backdrop for a flash of colour. Onyx was often used as the perfect foil for carved rock crystal or the 'drop dead red' of rubies in art deco designs. It is also popular in marcasite jewellery. So if you would like to add a little black magic to your jewellery design, why not consider onyx?
Corals are a decorative material with a very special fascination - the perfect embodiment of Man's longing for summer, sun and far-off oceans.
As to the origin of the name, the etymologists are not, however, of one opinion. Some say that it comes from the Greek 'korallion', which denotes the hard, calcareous skeleton of the coral animals, or from 'kura-halos', for 'mermaid', as the fine branches of the coral sometimes look like small figures. Others think it more likely that the word is derived from the Hebrew 'goral', (a small stone used in the drawing of lots), for coral branches used to be used in oracles in Palestine, Asia Minor and around the Mediterranean.
Corals live at depths of between three and 300 metres in the waters around Japan, Taiwan and in the Malaysian Archipelago, in the Red Sea, in the Bay of Biscay and around the Canary Islands, as well as in north-east Australia and the Midway Islands. In the Mediterranean, there are coral banks in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the coast of Sardinia, off Tunisia and Algeria, former Yugoslavia and Turkey.
When we hear the word coral we first think of the coral reefs in the Southern Ocean or off Australia, of the reefs, banks and atolls which are among the most beautiful miracles of Nature. However, it is not these protected coral species of which we are talking here. In jewellery, it is corals such as 'corallium rubrum' and 'corallium japonicum' that are used.
Like the pearls, these are also organic jewellery materials. It certainly is an interesting fact that both of these are products of the water, chemically closely related with each other. Both consist of more than 90 per cent calcium carbonate. And it really is a miraculous thing that Nature has created both the scarlet coral and the pearl from the same, unprepossessing raw material.
What are corals?
Corals are the product of tiny living beings which settled in enormous colonies in the depths of warm seas long before our time. The polyps, surrounded by a fleshy skin, excrete a carbonic substance from which the corals grow like trees and branches. These can attain a height of sixteen inches (40 cm), though the actual branches seldom exceed one and a half inches (4 cm). At the forks, they are somewhat thicker. It is from these parts that the precious raw material for jewellery items, large coral beads or carvings is obtained.
Traditionally, the fragile little coral trees were brought up from the depths with trawl nets. However, since first-class corals have now become rather rare, divers are now deployed, in a less destructive process which involves their going down and harvesting the sensitive coral branches. After that, the branches are cleaned, sorted and processed by means of saws, knives, files or drills. Coral is not usually ground or cut on a wheel.
Unprocessed, coral is matt. It is not until it has been polished that it takes on that beautiful shine. It is often porous, full of holes or cracked, and in these cases it is of lesser quality. Coral of that kind is sometimes filled with coloured wax to improve its appearance. High-quality coral is of an even colour and free of cracks, blotches, striations and holes. Since genuine untreated coral is rare, it does fetch good prices. For that reason, anyone being offered what appears to be high-quality coral cheaply would do well to view the matter with a certain degree of scepsis. The best thing to do is to purchase one's high-quality coral jewellery from a reputable merchant.
The colourful, sensitive world of corals
Corals do not necessarily have to be red, even if red is thought of as their typical colour. Corals grow in Nature in a wide range of colours from red to white and from blue and brown to black. The most popular are the red hues such as pale pink or salmon, all the way out to a deep dark red. Black corals and gold corals are very much in fashion, whilst the blue ones are extremely rare. The white of the angel skin coral, suffused with pink, is regarded as particularly precious. Other well known colours are the rich red Japanese Moro coral, the pale pink 'Boke' and the red 'Sardegna'.
On the one hand corals are not particularly sensitive, but with a hardness of only 3.5 they are much softer than any other gemstone material. Their beauty can easily be impaired by the wrong treatment, for example cosmetics, hot water or bright light. Coral jewellery should be kept in a safe place and from time to time cleaned with a soft, damp towel. If the surface of the coral does get scratched, the jeweller can have it repolished.
Attractive lightweights: root and foam corals
Root or foam corals are lighter and more reasonably priced than precious coral. Root corals are actually a coral species all their own - i.e. not roots, but a special kind of coral growth. They are sometimes confused with the foam coral. The latter are those parts of the Japanese Momo coral which remain fixed in the sand or mud and form the transition from the foot of the coral to the main part of the growth. It has been in the trade for a long time. It is heavier than the root coral and somewhat more expensive. Both kinds find their way into the trade in large quantities from China and Japan. On account of their size and their relatively low weight, they are popular wherever colour and volume are in demand at low prices.
Coral on bare skin – irresistible!
Coral has been used for decorative purposes and esteemed as a protective stone since time immemorial. Even today, red corals are still worn as a talisman to protect the wearer against evil spirits in many cultures. Modern gemstone therapists too highly esteem its positive effects. Coral, it is said, relieves tension and fear and promotes positive forms of social life.
The ancient faith in the protective and invigorating force of coral is perpetuated in the custom of putting a necklace of red corals round the neck of a small child. Young girls too are often given a fine coral necklace as their first piece of jewellery. Yet coral is more than that: in some wonderful way coral reflects the complexion of its wearer, developing a positively irresistible effect on her bare skin. Coral is one of the most attractive decorative materials imaginable. Again and again, it inspires international designers to fantastic creations.
The moonstone is characterised by an enchanting play of light. Indeed it owes its name to that mysterious shimmer which always looks different when the stone is moved and is known in the trade as 'adularescence'. In earlier times, people believed they could recognise in it the crescent and waning phases of the moon.
Moonstones from Sri Lanka, the classical country of origin of the moonstone, shimmer in pale blue on an almost transparent background. Specimens from India feature a nebulous interplay of light and shadow on a background of beige-brown, green, orange or brown. These discreet colours, in connection with the fine shimmer, make the moonstone an ideal gemstone for jewellery with a sensual, feminine aura. This gemstone was very popular once before, about a hundred years ago at the time of Art Nouveau. It adorns a noticeably large number of the jewellery creations of the French master goldsmith René Lalique and his contemporaries, mainly to be found in museums and collections today.
This gemstone is surrounded by a good deal of mystique and magic. In many cultures, for example in India, it is regarded as a holy, magical gemstone. In India, moonstones are also regarded as 'dream stones' which bring the wearer beautiful visions at night. In Arabic countries, women often wear moonstones sewn out of sight into their garments, for in their cultures the moonstone is a symbol of fertility.
The moonstone symbolises our being in its entirety. With its soft shimmer, it strengthens our emotional and subconscious aspects. The associations connected with that make it a "lovers' stone", evoking tender feelings and safeguarding the true joys of love. It is also said that wearing a moonstone strengthens our intuition and our capacity to understand.
What are moonstones and where do they come from?
This enchanting gemstone belongs to the large mineral group of the feldspars, of which almost two thirds of all the rocks on Earth consist. The moonstone is actually the feldspar variety known as 'adularia', a potassium aluminosilicate of gemstone quality, which is also found in the European Alps near the Adula Group – hence the name 'adularia'. Another synonym for moonstone is 'selenite', from the Greek 'selene' ('moon').
In their uncut state moonstones are rather unprepossessing and afford little idea of what it is that actually constitutes their charm: that mysterious shimmer of light. For that shimmer is not really shown to advantage until the art of the cutter has been brought to bear. Classical moonstones are always cut as cabochons, the most important thing being the correct height of the stone. The cutter must also align the axes of the crystal precisely into the zenith of the stone, for that is the only way in which he will bring about the desired light effect.
Traditionally, the classical moonstones, almost transparent and with their bluish shimmer, come from Sri Lanka. However, they are also found in the USA, Brazil, Australia, Myanmar and Madagascar. Since bluish moonstones of good quality have been becoming more and more of a rarity in recent years, prices have risen sharply.
For a few years, there have also been some green, brown and orange specimens on the market, as well as some with a smoky colour and some the colour of champagne, and some black and some reddish ones, mainly originating from India. Some have a cat's eye effect or a four-spoked star as well as the typical undulating shimmer of light. These stones are not only cut as cabochons, but also as artistic cameos or engraved with the faces of children, the moon or grotesques. But they too have the shimmer of light typical of the moonstone, as do the beads which are cut from suitable raw material for gemstone necklaces.
Where does this strange shimmer of light come from?
The shimmer of light of the moonstone is something very special in the fascinating world of gemstones. Specialists refer to the phenomenon as 'adularisation'. The cause of it is the lamellar inner construction of the gemstone. Incident light rays are refracted and scattered in the stone. In this way, a unique light effect comes about, and it is this which makes the moonstone so distinctive and so desirable.
However, this beautiful gemstone does have one weak point, and that is its relatively low hardness of only 6 on the Mohs scale. For that reason, moonstones should be handled with care, for they are sensitive. Having said that, minor flaws such as may occur when the stone has been worn for some time are quite easy to remedy. A jeweller can have a moonstone which has grown matt repolished, after which it will shimmer again just as it did on the very first day.
Three-dimensional colour and seductive aura
When purchasing moonstone jewellery you will come across the most astonishing price differences. The more intense in colour, the larger and the more transparent, the more highly valued the moonstone. Really fine blue specimens display an incredible 'three-dimensional' depth of colour which the observer does not really come to recognise until the stone is moved about in a playful way. Specimens of that kind are highly esteemed on account of their rarity and their prices are correspondingly high. The colourful Indian moonstones, on the other hand, are not only very much in fashion. They are also, as a rule, somewhat more reasonably priced than classical blue moonstones. This means that today, anyone can select the moonstone to suit his or her taste and pocket.
Moonstones are treasures of Nature with a sensual and seductive aura. Not only do they like to be looked at and admired a lot; they also thrive on being worn and moved about a good deal, for only then can the soft shimmer of light which makes this gemstone so desirable really come into its own.
Flame Aura or Rainbow Aura Quartz have been enhanced with a combination of titanium and niobium. Titanium molecules are bonded to the quartz by the natural electrostatic charge of the crystal in a process known as magnetron ionization. The brilliant color of Flame Aura is the result of optical interference effects produced by layers of titanium. Since only electricity is used to deposit the titanium layers and create these colors, very little heat is involved and the integrity of the crystal is maintained.
Aqua aura is a natural crystal that has been coated with gold fumes. It is created in a vacuum chamber from quartz crystals and gold vapor by a process known as vapour deposition. The quartz is heated to 871 °C (1600 °F) in a vacuum, and then gold vapor is added to the chamber. The gold atoms fuse to the crystal's surface, which gives the crystal an iridescent metallic sheen. The process was awarded the United States Patent No. 6997014 on 14 February 2006.
When viewed under a gemological microscope in diffused direct transmitted light, Aqua Aura displays the following properties:
A coppery surface iridescence in tangential illumination
Diffused dark outlines of some facet junctions
A patchy blue colour distribution on some facets
White facet junctions, irregular white abrasions and surface pits, where the treatment either did not "take" or had been abraded away.
Additional elements can be used to treat quartz, such as indium, titanium, and copper. The coloring of this treatment is only on the surface, so all faceted and polished material you find has been treated after it has been made originally.
A diamond (from the ancient Greek ἀδÜμας – adámas, meaning "unbreakable," "proper," or "unalterable") is one of the best-known and most sought-after gemstones. Diamonds have been known to mankind, and used as decorative items since ancient times; some of the earliest references can be traced to India.
The hardness of diamond and its high dispersion of light – giving the diamond its characteristic "fire" – make it useful for industrial applications and desirable as jewelry. Diamonds are such a highly traded commodity that multiple organizations have been created for grading and certifying them based on the four Cs, which are carat, cut, color, and clarity. Other characteristics, such as presence or lack of fluorescence, also affect the desirability and thus the value of a diamond used for jewelry.
Text & Pic.