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Garnet is mined in the U.S. (Arizona), South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Myanmar (Burma), Scotland, Switzerland, Tanzania.
Garnet is the name which can be applied to six similar mineral species, namely almandine, pyrope, spessartine, grossular, andradite and uvarovite. To further complicate matters, many garnets are actually a combination of these minerals. Rhodolite garnet for instance, is a combination of almandine and pyrope, and is sometimes referred to as pyrope-almandine garnet. The name is derived from the Greek words rhodon and lithos, meaning rose-stone. Raspberry red to a deep pinkish-red. There are also many trade names and other commonly used names which only adds to the confusion, such as Rhodolite, Tsavorite, Hessonite, Malaya, Mozambique, Mandarin, Ant-hill, Leuco, Hydrogrossular, Demantoid,Melanite, Topazolite, Thai. Other names such as “cape ruby” are simply misleading and deceptive. Some garnets also exhibit color change and stars.
Garnet occurs naturally in a large range of colors including: red, orange, brown, green, and yellow. Its variability of color reflects the variations in its composition.
In the trade, gem dealers hardly ever refer to their stock as “pyrope” or “almandite”. Instead, they will often refer to “brown” or Indian garnets. As we have stated, very few, if any, pure “types” of garnet occur, most specimens approximate to a particular type brown and purplish “Indian” garnets will usually be towards the pyrope end of the pyrope almandite axis.Reddish “African” garnets will usually be towards the almandite end of the pyrope-almandite axis. Rhodolite garnets are usually about midway along the pyrope-almandite axis.
Demantoid garnet is a rare and beautiful bright grass green sub-variety of andradite garnet. It appears to have first been discovered around 1892 in the Bobrovka area of Russia. The Bobrovka is a small tributary of the River Tschussowaja in the Sissersk region on the western side of the Ural Mountains.It was at first thought to be emerald, which is found nearby, and has been erroneously called “Uralianemerald”.The name demantoid means diamond-like, because it has a very high adamantine lustre, and a color dispersion higher than diamond. The only disadvantageous property of demantoid is its low hardness figure at about 6.5 Mohs. It is the softest of the garnets, and is more suitable for use in brooches, pendants, or ear-rings, rather than rings, because of this.
The brilliant colour of demantoid garnet is due to partial replacement of the silicate by chromic oxide. A diagnostic characteristic of demantoid is the inclusion of radiating fibers of byssolite (asbestos) fibers in a pattern described as a horse-tail. There is no other green stone which shows this feature.In late Victorian times, and early in the twentieth century, demantoid became a very sought after stone. It commanded high prices because it has never been available in large quantity. In recent decades, it has been unobtainable as newly mined stones, and has only been available from antique jewelry.Recently, small finds have again been made in Russia, and a small quantity of fine quality stones have recently come onto the market. Gemstone lovers wishing to acquire a piece of demantoid garnet should take this opportunity to do so. If the current seams of demantoid run out, there may be another century without new stocks of demantoid becoming available.
Tsavolite, previously called tsavorite, is a bright green variety of grossular garnet, its color being induced by the presence of chromium.
A name used for a variety of garnet with a topaz-yellow or an olive green colour.
Some types of garnet, particularly the reddish “African” garnets, which are usually found in close association with diamonds, showing distinct magnetism.
The Mozambique Garnet, glowing deep red with hints of orange and brown, reminds us of an autumn harvest or Indian summer. Wrapped in its warmth, we feel protected against the storms ahead. It’s no wonder that Garnet was once believed to have healing properties, particularly in diseases related to the blood. The rich hue of Mozambique Garnet enhances designs that blend the exotic flavors of India, Africa and the Orient. These styles reflect today’s culturally diverse society, giving Mozambique Garnet special appeal to consumers who seek a sophisticated urban look. The affordability of Garnet adds to its allure, making this gem readily accessible to the youth market.
Purple passion. From refreshing lilac to ripe plum, the drama and excitement of purple are fully reflected in Amethyst.
Perhaps because of its depth and richness, Amethyst has always been associated with intense emotion. It is fitting, then, that the legend of its origin is a tale of revenge, devotion, and immortal remorse.
The story is told that Dionysus, the Greek God of wine, was insulted one day by a mortal. Enraged, he called forth vicious tigers to exact revenge on the next mortal who would cross his path. This individual was, unfortunately, the maiden Amethyst. On her way to pay tribute to the Goddess Diana, the innocent girl suddenly found herself face-to-face with the tigers of the vengeful God. To save her from the beasts, Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz. So beautiful was the maiden that Dionysus, in sorrow and remorse, wept tears of rich wine over the statue. His tears stained the quartz, thus creating the poetic gem which still bears her name.
Ranging in color from deep purple to pale lavender, Amethyst is projected to have wide appeal throughout 2005 and beyond. Its darkest shades (AA to AAA qualities) attract those drawn to the Couture Cuts color palette. Medium-color Amethyst (A to A+ qualities) is an important part of the Star Facets theme. Lighter tones (B to A qualities) are favored by those who seek the serenity and inner tranquility of Bionic Stones colors.
Imagine a dip in a crystal blue mountain lake – the morning air crisp and expectant, the sky soaring high and cloudless overhead. This is the unique refreshment of Aquamarine.
The name means “ocean water”, and tales of Aquamarine date back to ancient seafaring days. Sailors of old believed that these glittering, watery gems came from the treasure chests of mermaids. Perhaps it’s no wonder that Aquamarine is said to bring luck to all who sail the seas.
One of the most popular of all gemstones, Aquamarine ranges in color from intense, deep blue to lighter shades of sky and water. In its darker shades (AAA grade) and medium tones (A to AA grades), Aquamarine attracts all those seeking the luxury and dramatic style of both the Couture Cuts and Star Facets color themes. Lighter tones (B to A qualities) are favored by those who seek the rest and relaxation of the Bionic Stones palette.
Bloodstone is the alternative birthstone for March, or try sky blue topaz as an alternative pastel blue green.
Bloodstone, green jasper dotted with bright red spots of iron oxide, was treasured in ancient times and long served as the birthstone for March. This attractive chalcedony quartz is also known as Heliotrope because in ancient times polished stones were described as reflecting the sun: perhaps the appearance of the gem reminded the ancients of the red setting sun reflected in the ocean. Medieval Christians often used bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs, leading it to also be dubbed martyr’s stone. The legend of the origin of bloodstone says that it was first formed when some drops of Christ’s blood fell and stained some jasper at the foot of the cross. A beautiful example of carved bloodstone with the seal of the German Emperor Rudolf II can be seen at the Louvre museum in Paris. Even today, finely powdered bloodstone is used as a medicine and aphrodisiac in India.
Perhaps that explains why today it is difficult to find fine specimens of bloodstone on the market. Bloodstone is mined in India, Australia, and the United States.
The fire of passion. The perfection of hope. The brilliance of joy. All these are part of a couple’s love for one another – a love that finds its ideal expression in a diamond. No other stone offers the clarity, brilliance, and breathtaking depth of a diamond. And for centuries, those who wore such stones were believed to share their virtues. Fabulous tales abound of luck and success, fearlessness and invincibility. Legends of seduction, intrigue, and irresistible attraction. Perhaps the old tales were true. Today, diamonds remain the most potent symbol of devotion as you begin your life together. And while a gift of diamonds is traditional on the 10th and 16th anniversaries, there’s never a better way to say that your love has only grown stronger, deeper, and more enduring with the passage of time. Diamonds are also the most classic of all jewels. Their unmatched beauty and elegance make them ideal for marking life’s most important occasions, from the birth of a child to milestones like graduation or a major promotion. But then. . .why wait? The gift of a diamond can transform any occasion – or no occasion at all – into a moment sure to be treasured forever.
The clean, balanced lines of the emerald cut speak of timeless sophistication and grace. Its classic restraint makes it well-suited to many contemporary jewelry designs, inspired either by Art Deco geometrics or the glamour of 50’s and 60’s era Hollywood. Bold yet quietly assured, emerald-cut diamonds are a favorite choice for men as well as women, conveying a message of unmatched style and enduring elegance.
Marquise Cut Diamond
Bold distinctive, marquise diamonds recall the glamour of Hollywood’s golden era, when fashion expressed a woman’s desire to feel feminine. The elegant curved shape, ending in exquisitely sharp points, has long been a popular cut for engagement rings. Contemporary designs feature the marquise cut in stunning pendants and ear-rings. For a sleek twist on traditional style, they may be set horizontally as well. Those who wear marquise diamonds send a clear message of chic style and sporty sophistication.
Oval Cut Diamond
The classic curves and exquisite proportions of oval-cut diamonds make them an enduring favorite. Warm and embracing, the oval shape suggest open-mindedness and generosity of spirit. Yet its purity and restraint make it an excellent choice for traditional designs. Featured as a solitaire or paired with other ovals, as in the popular three-stone designs, oval diamonds offer the wearer a gift to be treasured for generations.
Pear Cut Diamond
The elegant lines of a pear-shaped diamonds have enhanced the charms of many famous style-setters. The popularity of pear diamonds comes as no surprise. The ideal shape for pendants and drop earrings, they nestle seductively against neck and throat. The evocative tear-drop outline of the pear diamond communicates the wearer’s willingness to embrace life and live it to the fullest.
Square Cut Diamond
A modern interpretation of classic cushion and emerald shapes, the square diamond is becoming one of the shapes most desired by jewelry connoisseurs. Square diamonds in the step and princess cuts give jewelry designs a sleek, geometric style that is refreshing and versatile. Channel-set or invisible-set in applications previously reserved for baguette diamonds, today’s square cut diamonds offer a bold new dimensional look that is both distinctive and daring.
Trillion Cut Diamond
Elegantly versatile, the trillion cut was originally introduced for side stones, giving focus to more prominent central gems. Today’s designers have placed the trillion front-and center, creating angular styles that reflect a more modern sensibility. The mystical triangular shape of trillion diamonds allows the wearer to suggest an aura of mystery and intrigue.
Round Cut Diamond
The epitome of style, round-cut diamonds have a timeless appeal to both men and women. Indeed the round brilliant-cut, first introduced in the 19th century, remains the most desired of all diamond shapes – and with good reason. For this cut, with its perfectly balanced facets, showcases the brilliance and fire of a diamond to their fullest potential. Furthermore, the circular outline of the stone suits an almost endless variety of setting. Recognized throughout history as the ideal geometrical form – and consequently revered as a symbol of life, mystery and power – the circle shape perfectly captures the magical spirit of this legendary stone.
Natural-color colored diamonds, traditionally referred to as “fancy colors,â hold a special position in the diamond industry. To recall such historic diamonds as the blue Hope, the Dresden Green, or the pink Agra is to conjure up visions of mystery and intrigue, royalty and revolution. Known to may as the “ultimate gemâ, fancy-color diamonds often command extremely high prices. Today we see increasing numbers of colored diamonds – and a broader variety of colors.
Color is a continuum that can be defined and described in terms of three attributes.
Hue: the attribute of colors that permits them to be classed as, for example, red, yellow, green, blue, or anything in between.
Tone; the relative impression of lightness to darkness of the color (also known as lightness or value in color science).
Saturation; the strength or purity of the color (also known as chroma or intensity in color science.)
The range of all visible colors in known as a color space.
Loyalty. Security. Faith. Trustworthiness. Serenity. All these and more are expressed in the brilliant poetry of the color blue. Revitalizing as an ocean wave, crisp as an autumn sky, blue sends a message of peace and reliability that both men and women find irresistible. With their brilliance and purity, blue diamonds are an ideal expression of these emotional and spiritual qualities. Yet the exotic glow of a rare blue diamond offers an appeal of its own – a mystery that captures the imagination even as its beauty captures the eye.
Light Brown and Black Diamonds
Glistening, smoky beige and mysterious, jet-black diamonds provide contrasting hues that offer new drama and dimension to jewelry designs. The pairing of top light brown diamonds with blue stones creates a look that is as refreshing as a walk on the beach. Set alongside pink or white diamonds, black diamonds create excitement in vintage and contemporary styles. Also beige and black diamonds are ideal choices for those seeking adventure and exotic allure.
The unique brilliance of a diamond, paired with an equally arresting vibrancy of color. These are the hallmarks of the yellow diamond. Designs featuring these glistening, citrus-hued stones are gaining popularity as people increasingly seek the rare and unusual to express their own personal style. The color palette ranges from pail or medium hues to the rare, deep canary yellow prized by connoisseurs.
Lush. Exotic. Untamed. This is no polite, garden-variety green: Emerald pulses with life and vitality. In its depths bears the heart of the rainforest, its shadows alive with promise, expectation. . .even danger.
More valuable than even diamonds, fine-quality Emeralds of significant size are among the world’s most bewitching jewels. Their incomparable dark green color is produced only under extremely rare conditions.
Emeralds are fascinating gemstones. They have the most beautiful, most intense and most radiant green that can possibly be imagined: emerald green. Inclusions are tolerated. In top quality, fine emeralds are even more valuable than diamonds. The name emerald comes from the Greek smaragdos via the Old French esmeralde, and really just means ‘green gemstone’. Innumerable fantastic stories have grown up around this magnificent gem. The Incas and Aztecs of South America, where the best emeralds are still found today, regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone. However, probably the oldest known finds were once made near the Red Sea in Egypt. Having said that, these gemstone mines, already exploited by Egyptian pharaohs between 3000 and 1500 B.C. and later referred to as ‘Cleopatra’s Mines’, had already been exhausted by the time they were rediscovered in the early 19th century.
Written many centuries ago, the Vedas, the holy scriptures of the Indians, say of the precious green gems and their healing properties: Emeralds promise good luck …’; and ‘The emerald enhances the well-being …’. So it was no wonder that the treasure chests of Indian maharajas and maharanis contained wonderful emeralds. One of the world’s largest is the so-called ‘Mogul Emerald’. It dates from 1695, weighs 217.80 carats, and is some 10cm tall. One side of it is inscribed with prayer texts, and engraved on the other there are magnificent floral ornaments.
Emeralds have been held in high esteem since ancient times. For that reason, some of the most famous emeralds are to be seen in museums and collections. The New York Museum of Natural History, for example, has an exhibit in which a cup made of pure emerald which belonged to the Emperor Jehangir is shown next to the ‘Patricia’, one of the largest Colombian emerald crystals, which weighs 632 carats. The collection of the Bank of Bogota includes five valuable emerald crystals with weights of between 220 and 1796 carats, and splendid emeralds also form part of the Iranian National Treasury, adorning, for example, the diadem of the former Empress Farah. The Turkish sultans also loved emeralds. In Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace there are exhibits with items of jewelry, writing-implements and daggers, each lavishly adorned with emeralds and other gems.
The green of the emerald is the color of life and of the springtime, which comes round again and again. But it has also, for centuries, been the color of beauty and of constant love. In ancient Rome, green was the color of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love. And today, this color still occupies a special position in many cultures and religions.
The magnificent green of the emerald is a color which conveys harmony, love of Nature and elemental joie de vivre. The human eye can never see enough of this unique color. Pliny commented that green gladdened the eye without tiring it. Green is perceived as fresh and vivid, never as monotonous. And in view of the fact that this color always changes somewhat between the bright light of day and the artificial light of a lamp, emerald green retains its lively vigor in all its nuances.
The lively luminosity of its color makes the emerald a unique gemstone. However, really good quality is fairly rare, with inclusions often marring the evenness of the color – signs of the turbulent genesis which has characterized this gemstone. Fine inclusions, however, do not by any means diminish the high regard in which it is held. On the contrary: even with inclusions, an emerald in a deep, lively green still has a much higher value than an almost flawless emerald whose color is paler. Affectionately, and rather poetically, the specialists call the numerous crystal inclusions, cracks or fissures which are typical of this gemstone ‘jardin’. They regard the tender little green plants in the emerald garden as features of the identity of a gem which has grown naturally.
So where do they come from and how is it that they exist at all? In order to answer these questions, we need to look far, far back into the time of the emerald’s origin. Emeralds from Zimbabwe are among the oldest gemstones anywhere in the world. They were already growing 2600 million years ago, whilst some specimens from Pakistan, for example, are a mere 9 million years young. Logically enough, a genesis as turbulent as that of the emerald impedes the undisturbed formation of large, flawless crystals. For this reason, it is only seldom that a large emerald with good color and good transparency is found. That is why fine emeralds are so valuable.
Colombia continues to be at the top of the list in terms of the countries in which fine emeralds are found. It has about 150 known deposits, though not all of these are currently being exploited. The best known names are Muzo and Chivor, where emeralds were mined by the Incas in pre-Columbian times.
Fine emeralds are also found in other countries, such as Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Russia. Zambia, Zimbabwe and Brazil in particular have a good reputation for fine emeralds in the international trade.
Pearl is par excellence the feminine gem, symbol of love, happiness, affection, generosity; for the western ancient peoples it represented the pureness and for the Romans evoked love and pleasure.
There are many legends inspired by pearls: for the Eastern peoples they represent wisdom and the ancients explained their origins by means of a delicate and magic interpretation: when the moon, queen of the night sky, spreads its sweet silver light over the earth, pearl-oysters leave the seabed to rise up to the billowing waves and they let them-selves gently swing, thus becoming impregnated in a bond of love of night dew and pure moon rays, and from this union pearls are born!
Many thousands of years ago, long before written history, early man probably discovered the first pearl while searching the seashore for food. Throughout history, the pearl, with its warm inner glow and shimmering iridescence, has been one of the most highly prized and sought after gems.
The ancient Egyptians prized pearls so much they were buried with them. Reportedly, Cleopatra dissolved a single pearl in a glass of wine and drank it, simply to win a wager with Marc Anthony that she could consume the wealth of an entire country in just one meal.
In ancient Rome, pearls were considered the ultimate symbol of wealth and social standing. The Greeks held the pearl in high esteem for both its unrivaled beauty and its associating with love and marriage.
During the Dark Ages, while fair maidens of nobility cherished delicate pearl necklaces, gallant knights often wore pearls onto the battlefield. They believed that the magic possessed by the lustrous gems would protect them from harm.
An Old Arabic Legend romantically explains that the pearls formed when moonlight filled dew drops descended down from the sky into to oceans and were swallowed by oysters.
To the Ancient Persians, pearls symbolized moon and its magical powers. The fragment of oldest known pearl jewelry now displayed at the Museum of Louvre in Paris was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian princess who died in 520 BC.
Classic Yet Fashionable Pearls of all shapes and colors are a highly, versatile accessory for a modern woman’ wardrobe.
The classic, round pearl necklace is perfect for evening wear or suit dressing. Long strands may be doubled with the assistance of jeweled or gold clasps. They may also be twisted alone or with beads of other precious, gems for a striking accent. The most popular colors for round pearls are whites, creams and pinks. Silver, black and gold are gaining new interest.
Freshwater pearls occur in many colors and are often treated to produce more evenly-colored strands. These may be found in lovely peaches, lavenders, pinks and blues as well as white. Rings, pendants, brooches and earrings are created with a wide range of pearl shapes-round, pear, egg, teardrop, half, three-quarter and blister. Baroque pearls, irregularly shaped pearls which don’t fall into any, other category, often make beautiful subjects for rings and pendants because of their unique, flowing form.
Tahitian pearls, cultivated in the warm waters of the South Seas, are among the most exotic wonders of nature. Their opalescent black hue, shimmering with peacock green, gray and purple overtones, makes a sensual, smoldering statement in jewelry designs for both men and women.
This rare gemstone is named after the Russian tsar Alexander II (1818-1881), the very first crystals having been discovered in April 1834 in the emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in the Urals. The discovery was made on the day the future tsar came of age. Although alexandrite is a relatively young gemstone, it certainly has a noble history. Since it shows both red and green, the principal colors of old Imperial Russia, it inevitably became the national stone of tsarist Russia.
Beautiful alexandrite in top quality, however, is very rare indeed and hardly ever used in modern jewelry. In antique Russian jewelry you may come across it with a little luck, since Russian master jewelers loved this stone. Tiffany’s master gemologist George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932) was also fascinated by alexandrite, and the jeweler’s firm produced some beautiful series of rings and platinum ensembles at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Smaller alexandrites were occasionally also used in Victorian jewelry from England.
The magic of changing colors
The most sensational feature about this stone, however, is its surprising ability to change its color. Green or bluish-green in daylight, alexandrite turns a soft shade of red, purplish-red or raspberry red in incandescent light. This unique optical characteristic makes it one of the most valuable gemstones of all, especially in fine qualities.
Alexandrite is very scarce: this is due to its chemical composition. It is basically a chrysoberyl, a mineral consisting of colorless or yellow transparent chrysoberyl, chrysoberyl cat’s eye and color-changing alexandrite (also in cat’s eye varieties). It differs from other chrysoberyls in that it not only contains iron and titanium, but also chromium as a major impurity. And it is this very element which accounts for the spectacular color change. Rarely, vanadium may also play a part. According to CIBJO nomenclature, only chrysoberyls displaying a distinct change of color may be termed alexandrite.
Like many other gemstones, alexandrite emerged millions of years ago in a metamorphic environment. But unlike many others, its formation required specific geological conditions. The chemical elements beryllium (a major constituent in chrysoberyl) and chromium (the coloring agent in alexandrite) have contrasting chemical characteristics and do not as a rule occur together, usually being found in contrasting rock types. Not only has Nature brought these contrasting rock types into contact with each other, but a lack of the chemical element silica (the second most common element in the Earth’s crust) is also required to prevent the growth of emerald. This geological scenario has occurred only rarely in the Earth’s history and, as a result, alexandrite crystals are very scarce indeed.
Moonstone almost seems magical with a ghostly shimmering glow floating in a crystalline material. The Romans thought that moonstone was formed out of moonlight. Moonstone is a variety of feldspar and the shimmer, which is called schiller or adolescent, is caused by the intergrowth of two different types of feldspar, with different refractive indexes.
In Europe, moonstone is considered the birthstone for June, although in the United States it shares that distinction with alexandrite and pearl.
Moonstones come in a variety of colors. The body color can range from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. The clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. The best moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color. Sometimes moonstone will have an eye as well as a sheen. Another related feldspar variety is known as rainbow moonstone. In this variety of labradorite feldspar, the sheen is a variety of rainbow hues.
Fine moonstone is quite rare and becoming rarer. It is mined in Sri Lanka and Southern India. The rainbow variety can also be found in Madagascar.
Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth-domed cabochon shape to maximize the effect. Sometimes they are carved to show a man-in-the-moon face. Moonstone beads also display the sheen very well and are simply stunning against a black dress.
Red is associated with love and vividness, passion and power. Red symbolizes love, it emanates warmth and a strong sense of life. Red is also the color of Ruby, the King of gemstones. In the fascinating realm of gemstones rubies are the generally accepted emperors.
For thousands of years Ruby has been considered on of the most valuable gemstones of our Earth. It has got all it takes for a precious stone: a wonderful color, excellent hardness and an overwhelming brilliance. Besides, it is an extremely rare gemstone, especially in the finer qualities.
For a long time India was considered as the classical country of Rubies. The literature of India contains a rich and varied knowledge collected and handed down for over two thousand years. Even the term “corundum” which we use today is derived from the Sanskrit word “kuruvinda”. In the Sanskrit language Ruby is called “ratnara”, which does in fact translate as “King of Gemstones”. And it was a royal welcome indeed which used to be prepared for this King of Gemstones: Whenever a spectacular Ruby crystal was found, the emperor sent out his notables to meet the precious gemstone and welcome it in appropriate style. Today Rubies decorate the insignia of many Royal Houses.
Only a Bit of Chrome
Ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral, one of the hardest minerals on Earth which also includes Sapphire. Pure corundum is colorless. Slight traces of the color creating elements such as chrome, iron, titanium or vanadium are responsible for the color. These gemstones show an excellent hardness. Ruby, this magnificent red variety of the multi-colored corundum family, consists of aluminum oxide and chrome as well as smallest proportions of other trace elements – depending on the respective occurrence. In really fine colors and good clarity, however, this gemstone is mined only rarely all over the world. Responsible for this scarcity is in fact the color-creating element chrome. Millions of years ago, when the gemstones were being created, chrome was the element awarding Ruby its wonderful color deep inside the core of the Earth.
Some Rubies show a wonderful silky shine, the so-called “silk” of the Ruby. The reason for this phenomenon are finest rutilum needles. And now and then we will come across one of the very scarce Star Rubies. Again the rutilum mineral is involved here: it is embedded asterisk-shaped within the Ruby thus causing the charming light effect which is termed “Asterism” by the experts. If such Rubies are cut as half-dome shaped cabochons, this will result in six-ray stars which seem to magically glide across the surface of the moving stones. Star Rubies are expensive rarities Their value is assessed according to beauty and attractive color, while transparency is secondary. Fine Star Rubies, however, should always display rays which are completely shaped including the rounding, and the stars should be situated right in the centre.
Ruby-red means Passion Red like Ruby. Ruby-red. The most important characteristic about that valuable stone is its color. There is of course a reason for this: the name “Ruby” was derived from the Latin word “rubens” meaning “red”. The red of Rubies is in a class all by itself: warm and fiery. Two magical elements are associated with the symbolism of this color: fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind. And thus Ruby-red is not just any old color, no, it is the epitome of color: hot, passionate and powerful color. Like no other gemstone Ruby is the perfect symbol of powerful feelings. A ring set with a precious Ruby does not really symbolize a calm and moderate sympathy, but rather passionate and unbridled love which two people feel for each other.
A Ruby may show very different shades of red depending on its origin. The range of the different reds is quite considerable. If the gemstone experts talk about Burmese Ruby this indicates the top luxury category. However, it does not necessary follow that the stone has to be of Burmese origin. It is basically an indication of the fact that the color of said Ruby is the typical shade originally shown by stones from the famous occurrences in Burma, nowadays called Myanmar: a satiated red with a slightly bluish hue. Sometimes “dove-blood-red” is also mentioned, but the term “Burma-color” is far more precise. An expert will immediately associate this color with the legendary “Mogok Stone Tract” and the gemstone centre of Mogok in the North of Myanmar. Here we will find the famous Ruby occurrences of the country situated in a mountain valley surrounded by high summits. By hard labor gemstones are brought to daylight in the “valley of Rubies”, stones with a fascinating brilliance second to none. Unfortunately, fine qualities are quite scarce here, too. The color of Burma Ruby is considered to be exceptionally vivid. It is said to display its unique brilliance in any light, natural or artificial.
The journey to the most important Ruby mining of the World leads us further on to the small city of Mong Hsu in the North-East of Myanmar, where we can find the most important Ruby occurrences of the nineties. Originally these were hardly considered adequate to be used for jewelry, as Mong Hsu Ruby crystals show two colors when untreated: a purple to blackish core and a bright red brim. Only when it was discovered that the dark core would disappear after heat treatment and only the deep red would remain, The Mong Hsu gemstone mines are still among the most important Ruby suppliers. They mostly offer heat-treated Rubies in commercial qualities and sizes between 0.5 and 3 carats.
Ruby occurrences exist also in the neighboring country of Viet Nam, near the Chinese border. Rubies of Vietnamese origin generally display a slightly purplish hue. Rubies from Thailand, another classical supplier of Rubies, however, produces rubies which are often dark red tending towards brown. This “Siam color” – an elegantly modulated deep red – is considered almost as beautiful in Rubies as the Burma-color, and is especially cherished in the USA. The Ceylon-Rubies, however, which are quite scarce nowadays, were mainly light red, like ripe raspberries.
Other Ruby occurrences are located in Northern Pakistan in the Hunza-Valley, or in Cashmere, Tadchikistan, Laos, Nepal, and Afghanistan. But Rubies are also produced in India, where in the Federal states of Mysore and Orissa there were discovered occurrences with relatively large Ruby crystals, which are, however, full of inclusions, but nevertheless excellently suited to be cut as Ruby beads or cabochons.
Currently East Africa has become an issue concerning Ruby occurrences. Rubies from Kenya and Tanzania managed ton surprise everybody, including the experts, when they were discovered in the sixties. The reason for this was their remarkably beautiful color, which may vary from light to dark red. But also in the African mines fine and clear Rubies in good color and size are rarely found. Usually the qualities mined are more or less simple average.
Color is Everything
As stated above: color is Ruby’s most important feature, and transparency is secondary only. Therefore, then, inclusions do not effect the quality of a Ruby, unless they decrease the transparency of the stone or are located right in the centre of its table. Quite the contrary applies: inclusions within a ruby are something like the gemstones fingerprints, stating its individuality while at the same time proving its genuineness like a certificate provided by Nature. The cut is essential: only a perfect cut will underline the beauty of this valuable and precious stone appropriately to make it really the “King of Gemstonesâ. But just as true love is rare indeed, so are really perfect Rubies. And if you find one, it is bound to cost a small fortune. Nevertheless: once you found “your” Ruby, do not hesitate: go for it and keep it!
The vivid, slightly golden shimmering green of Peridot is the ideal gemstone color to complement a light summertime outfit. This is no surprise – Peridot, after all, is assigned to the summer month of August.
Peridot is an ancient and yet currently very popular gemstone. It is so old that it can be found even in Egyptian jewelry from the early second millennium BC. The stones used in those days came from an occurrence on a little volcanic island in the Red Sea, about 70 km off the Egyptian coast, off Assuan, which was rediscovered only around 1900 and has been completely exploited since. Peridot, however, is also a very modern stone, for only a few years ago Peridot occurrences were discovered in the Cashmere region, and the stones from there show a unique beauty of color and transparency, so that the image of the stone, which was somewhat dulled over the ages, has received an efficient polishing.
The ancient Romans were already quite fond of the gemstone and coveted the brilliant green sparkle, which does not change either in artificial light. They already named the stone “Evening Emerald”ï¿½. Peridot is found in Europe in many medieval churches decorating several treasures, like, for example, in the Cologne Cathedral. In the era of Baroque the deep green gemstone experienced another short flourishing, before it became forgotten.
Sensational “Cashmere Peridot”
But suddenly, around the middle of the 1990s, Peridot was the great sensation on the Gemstone Trade Fairs all around the world. The reason: In Pakistan there had been found a sensationally rich occurrence of finest Peridot on a rough mountainside, in about 4,000 m height. The extremely hard climatic conditions only allowed mining to go on through the summer months, and yet the unusually large and fine crystals and rocks were brought down into the valley. These stones were of finer quality than anything else ever seen before, and the occurrence proved so rich that the high demand can be met without problems at present.
In order to underline the outstanding quality of such Peridot from Pakistan the stones have been termed “Cashmere-Peridot”, reminding of the fine Cashmere Sapphires. Creative gemstone cutters have in fact succeeded to create fascinating and beautiful unique stones of over 100 karats from some of the larger and fine crystals in a deep and breathtakingly beautiful green.
The shade of green depends on iron
The gemstone is actually known under three names: Peridot, Chrysolith (derived from the Greek word “goldstone”) and Olivin, because Peridot is the gemstone variety of the Olivin mineral. In the gemstone trade it is generally called Peridot, a name derived from the Greek “peridona”ï¿½, meaning something like “giving plenty”.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones which exist only in one color. Finest traces of iron account for the deep green color with a slight golden hue. Chemically Peridot is just an iron-magnesium-silicate, and the intensity of color depends on the amount of iron contained. The color as such can come in any variation from yellow-green and olive to brownish green. Peridot is not especially hard – it only achieves about 6.5 to 7 on the Mohsï¿½ scale – and yet it is easy to care for and quite robust. Very rare treasures indeed, however, are Peridot-Cat’s Eye and Star-Peridot.
The most beautiful stones come from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. Peridot as gemstone does also exist in Myanmar, China, the USA, Africa and Australia. Stones from East Burma, today’s Myanmar, show a vivid green with fine silky inclusions. Peridot from the American state of Arizona, where it is quite popular in Native Indian jewelry, often shows a yellowish to golden brown shade.
Peridot is cut according to its crystal structure, usually in classical table and facetted cuts, round, antique, octagonal or oval shaped. Smaller crystals are cut as calibrated stones, larger ones are shaped by gemstone designers to fancy unique specimen stones. The material which is rich in inclusions is worked as cabochons, because this shape will provide the best effect for the fine silky inclusions.
Gemstone cutters know that this stone is not easy to process. The rough crystals can be devious and are easy to break. The tensions existing inside the crystal are often quite considerable. When the cutter has removed the most disturbing inclusions, however, Peridot is a jewelry stone which is excellently suited to daily wear, without requiring special care.
The sky is just a gigantic blue Sapphire stone into which the earth is embedded – this belief was cherished in ancient times. And, in fact, does there exist a better image to describe the beauty of an immaculate Sapphire of purest blue? This gemstone exists in all the shades of blue skies, from the deep blue of evening skies to the bright and deep blue of a clear and beautiful summer sky which charms all people. The splendid gemstone, however, also comes in many other colors, not only in the transparent grayish misty blue of far horizons, but also displaying the bright fireworks of sunset colors – yellow, pink, orange and purple. So Sapphires are really and truly heavenly stones, although they are being found in the hard soil of our so-called “blue planet”.
Blue is Sapphire’s main color. Blue is also the favorite color of about 50 per cent of the population, men and women alike. This color, which is strongly associated with sapphire, is also linked to emotions such as sympathy and harmony, friendship and loyalty. These emotions belong to features which are permanent and reliable – emotions where overwhelming and fiery passion is not the main element, but rather composure, mutual understanding and unshakeable trust. Sapphire blue has thus become a color related to anything permanent and reliable, and this is one of the reasons why women in many countries settle on Sapphire for their engagement rings. Sapphire symbolizes loyalty and faithfulness, while at the same time expressing love and yearning. The most famous musical example for this melancholic shade of blue can be found in George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. Sapphire’s blue color is also evoked where clear competence and controlled brainwork are the issue. After all, the first computer ever to wrangle a victory from a chess grandmaster and world champion was named “Deep Blue”.
What makes Sapphire a fancy stone?
Its beauty, magnificent colors, its transparency but also its resistance and permanence are characteristics which gemstone lovers and experts assign to this gemstone – however, this does not only apply to blue Sapphire. They are second in hardness to diamonds only, and diamonds represent the hardest mineral on Earth! Because of their good harness, sapphires are easy to care for as gemstones and demand from their wearers only the usual and normal care.
The corundum group consists of pure aluminum oxide, which a long time ago was caused to crystallize into beautiful and splendid gemstones by the pressure and heat in the depths of the ground. Small proportions of other elements, mainly iron and chrome, are responsible for the resulting colors and make the basically white crystals a blue, red, yellow, pink or greenish Sapphire. But this dies not necessarily imply that any corundum is a sapphire. Which stone may be termed a Sapphire – this is a question which for centuries has fuelled heated discussions among experts. Finally agreement was achieved to call ruby-red Sapphires “Rubies”ï¿½, and all other colors “Sapphires”.
Most gemstone lovers will immediately think of a velvety blue when we talk about Sapphires. It is an adaptable color which is attractive on many people. A blue Sapphire is optimally suited to a well-balanced style of life, where reliability is joined with spirit, and where there is an openness for new ideas and influences – just like the woman wearing it. The fact that this beautiful gemstone does also exist in many other colors was for a long time an piece of information known to insiders only. In the gemstone trade any non-blue Sapphire is termed “fancy”ï¿½. And to clear up matters the color denominations are also used, so that when talking about fancy Sapphires, we talk about yellow, purple, pink, green or white Sapphire, etc. Fancy sapphires are the epitome of individualism, the perfect choice for women who love unique colored gemstone jewelry. These Sapphires exist in a charming variety of designs – set in rings, as pendants or earrings, as solitary stones, in elegant line-ups or as sparkling pavee.
But there are even more surprises about Sapphire: for example, there is an orange color variety with a fine pinkish undertone, which has been given the poetic name “ï¿½Padparadsha”ï¿½, meaning “lotus flower”ï¿½. Another rarity are the star Sapphires. These are stone cut in half-dome shape displaying a star-shaped light phenomenon, which seems to dance magically across the stone’s surface when the Sapphire is moved. There exist rumors about gemstone lovers who have forever and truly lost their hearts to these sapphire rarities – but then, permanence and loyalty come along with these stones.
Sapphires, these gemstones of the skies, rest hidden away in only few places of the earth and have to be brought to daylight in laborious procedures. Sapphires are found in India, Burma, Ceylon, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, Brazil and Africa. From the gemstone mines the rough crystals are supplied to the cutters, where skilled hands turn them into sparkling gemstones. A cutter must draw on all his experience and deftness when cutting sapphire, because these gemstones are not only hard, they also display a different coloring and satiation depending on the perspective. The cutter must align the orientation of the stone in such a way as to bring about the best possible display of color. The most highly cherished color for blue sapphires is not the darkest blue as is often claimed, but a deep and satiated blue, which even in dim artificial light remains to appear blue.
For experts and connoisseurs the Cashmere-color with its velvety sheen is considered the most beautiful and valuable shade. The wonderful Cashmere gemstones, which were found in 1880 after an avalanche had come down, and which were intensively mined for eight years, have for all times set the standard for our ideas of the color of a top quality Sapphire. Typical for the Cashmere color is a pure and intensive blue, which is enhanced by a fine, silky gloss. It is reported that this color does not change in artificial light. But Burma-color is also considered especially valuable. It ranges from rich royal blue to deep cornflower blue.
The oldest Sapphire mines are situated in Ceylon, today called Sri Lanka, where gemstones were mined in ancient times. The expert recognizes Ceylon sapphires from the luminosity and brilliance of their light to medium blue color. Most blue Sapphires, however, come from Thailand or Australia.
Their value depends on size, color and transparency. For very fine qualities these criteria are supplemented by information on the origin of the gemstone. The most valuable sapphires are real Cashmere stones. Almost as highly cherished are stones from Burma, followed by Ceylon-Sapphires.
Only rarely some courageous pioneers will succeed in locating a gemstone occurrence of such dimensions as happened in Madagascar some years ago, when in the Southeast of the island there was found a large gemstone occurrence stretching out across several kilometers. Since then, there have not only been enough blue Sapphires on the market, there also appeared some magnificent yellow and pink Sapphires of special beauty and transparency. In the meantime experts also succeeded in finding the first evidence for two larger gemstone occurrences in Tanzania, where good, although not very large Sapphire crystals are found in blue, yellow and orange colors. And recently Brazil has joined the ranks as third country where blue to purple and pink Sapphires have been found.
A gemstone known widely for being mined in Australia…Opals are one of the more interesting gemstones found in the Caribbean. Opals are formed as the result of silicon rich water seeping down through the ground into cavities most often formed by the decay of fallen trees. As the water evaporates, it leaves the silicon to solidify into a hardened mass known as an opal.
As a result of this formation opals will generally be 10 percent to 15 percent water. It is this presence of water that causes an opal to have the wonderful rainbow of colors. The colors are generated as light travels through the water in the stone and is refracted into its spectral colors.
Opals should be well cut and offer very nice change of colors as it is rotated in the light. Milk opal will be the variety that is mostly white and is inexpensive. Opals with red and blue colors will be some of the most prized. And fire opal is a semi-transparent variety that is orange in color.
Type of Opal: Opal comes in many different types. Some depend on the source of Opal, but others are found in more than one location. Common types are solid opal, boulder opal, matrix opal, assembled opal (doublets and triplets) treated or dyed opal, man-made opal, and opal simulants. In addition, type may include the location where the opal is found such as Mexican Opal. The type of opal has a major effect on market value. As a rule solid opals are more highly valued than Matrix opals, with doublets and triplets even farther down the line. Synthetics have become more expensive and often cost more per carat than some solid natural opals. Imitations are usually inexpensive.
TYPES OF OPALS
Black Opal: A solid opal which is opaque when viewed from the top of the stone and which has a play of color against a dark background. GIA defines black opal as translucent to opaque with a play of color against a black, dark gray, blue, green, brown or other dark body color. The top of the line black opal is one that shows a liquid royal blue that flows over the top of a stone with other colors on a dense black background. The price jumps dramatically if it also contains vibrant fire such as red or green. This is the BEST gem black opal.
Semi-Black Opal: A solid opal which is translucent to opaque when viewed from the top and which has a play of color against a dark background.
Crystal Opal: A solid opal which is transparent , showing a play of color and no base color.
Jelly Opal: A solid Opal which is transparent, showing no play of color, but it may show an opalescence without a pattern in the fire. The orange material without a play of color from Mexico is frequently seen in faceted stones, and would be properly termed orange jelly.
Mexican Fire Opal is the most famous type from Mexico’s volcanic deposits around Queretaro. Named for its bright reddish-orange color instead of any play-of-color, fire opal is the only opal that is typically faceted. Usually Mexican opal in other colors are domed and sold as oval or round cabochons for jewelry use. Artifacts show that Mexican opal was used at least as far back as the Aztecs. Less expensive than many other jewels, Mexican fire opal is also one of the few genuine orange gemstones.
Boulder Opal: The best boulder opal may rival black opals in beauty and has rapidly been gaining in popularity. In value it is second only to black opal. Boulder opals are strong, unique and offer a range of patterns. Boulder opal is a natural combination of precious opal and ironstone or other parent rock. Many people collect specimens of boulder opal to place on shelves, and many designers are incorporating boulder opals into their designs for that “one of a kind” look
White or Milky Opal: The most common of all opal available to consumers. It has a light or pale background and often displays red, green and blue pinfire. Prices are generally more affordable for this type of opal, due to its abundance.
Lightning Ridge: When shopping for opals you will hear this mentioned often. This is an area of New South Wales which is world famous for its black opal.
Gilson Opal: A synthetic (man-made) opal originated by Pierre Gilson.
Solid Opal: Solid Opals are one piece of solid Opal which are cut with a smooth rounded surface (Cabochon cut) rather than a faceted surface. Solid Opals are generally more valuable and expensive than doublet and triplet Opals as they contain a higher carat weight of Opal.
Doublet Opals: A two part stone consisting of a precious opal glued to another stone, either opal or some other material. Doublet Opals are Opals which when found are not thick enough to be cut as solid Opals. Good doublet Opals are very colorful and appealing and are a great alternative for people looking for an attractive piece of Opal Jewelry without spending the price demanded by solid Opals.
Triplet Opals: A three part stone with a precious opal center, a clear cap, and a darkened base. As triplet Opals consist of the least carat weight of Opal they are generally priced significantly lower than solid and doublet Opals.
Inlay Opal: Inlaid Opals are solid Opals which have been inserted into a piece of Jewelry so that the Jewelry’s metal surface is level with the surface of the Opal. You will see this with many designer lines.
Boulder Opal: The best boulder opal may rival black opals in beauty and has rapidly been gaining in popularity. In value it is second only to black opal. Boulder opals are strong, unique and offer a range of patterns. Boulder opal is a natural combination of precious opal and ironstone or other parent rock. Many people collect specimens of boulder opal to place on shelves, and many designers are incorporating boulder opals into their designs for that “one of a kind” look.
White or Milky Opal: The most common of all opal available to consumers. It has a light or pale background and often displays red, green and blue pinfire. Prices are generally more affordable for this type of opal, due to its abundance. Lightning Ridge: When shopping for opals you will hear this mentioned often. This is an area of New South Wales which is world famous for its black opal. Gilson Opal: A synthetic (man-made) opal originated by Pierre Gilson. Solid Opal: Solid Opals are one piece of solid Opal which are cut with a smooth rounded surface (Cabochon cut) rather than a faceted surface. Solid Opals are generally more valuable and expensive than doublet and triplet Opals as they contain a higher carat weight of Opal. Doublet Opals: A two part stone consisting of a precious opal glued to another stone, either opal or some other material. Doublet Opals are Opals which when found are not thick enough to be cut as solid Opals. Good doublet Opals are very colorful and appealing and are a great alternative for people looking for an attractive piece of Opal Jewelry without spending the price demanded by solid Opals. Triplet Opals: A three part stone with a precious opal center, a clear cap, and a darkened base. As triplet Opals consist of the least carat weight of Opal they are generally priced significantly lower than solid and doublet Opals. Inlay Opal: Inlaid Opals are solid Opals which have been inserted into a piece of Jewelry so that the Jewelry’s metal surface is level with the surface of the Opal. You will see this with many designer lines.
Tourmalines are precious stones displaying a unique splendor of colors. According to an ancient Egyptian legend this is the result of the fact that on the long way from the Earth’s heart up towards the sun, Tourmaline traveled along a rainbow. And on its way it collected all the colors of the rainbow. This is why nowadays it is called the “Rainbow gemstone”.
However, the name “Tourmaline” has been derived from the Singhalese expression “tura mali”, which translates as “stone of mixed colors.” The very name already refers to the unique spectrum of colors displayed by this gemstone, which is second to none in the realm of precious stones. Tourmalines are red and green, range from blue to yellow. Often they show two or more colors and are cherished for this parti- or multi-coloured appearance. There are Tourmalines which change their color from daylight to artificial light, others display chattoyance. No Tourmaline exactly resembles another one: this gemstone shows many faces and is thus excellently suited to match all moods and tempers. It does not come as a surprise, then, that ever since ancient days it has been attributed with magical powers. Tourmaline is supposed to be an especially powerful influence on love and friendship, lending them permanence and stability.
In order to understand this multitude of colors you will have to polish up your knowledge of gemology: Tourmalines are mixed crystals of complex aluminum-borosilicate varying in their composition. The slightest changes in composition will result in completely different colors. In fact, crystals showing one color only are quite rare; generally one and the same crystal displays several shades and colors. Not only the wide range of colors characterizes this gemstone. Depending on the angle of view the color will be different or at least show different intensity. The deepest color always appears along the main axis, a fact that the gemstone cutter has to keep in mind when cutting the stone. This gemstone is excellently suited for wearing and is uncomplicated to care for. Thus Tourmaline is an interesting gemstone in many aspects indeed.
The different shades of color have been assigned different names in the trade. For example, deep red Tourmaline is named “Rubellite”, provided it shows the same fine ruby-red shade in daylight and in artificial light. Should the color change when the source of light changes, the stone will be called a “Pink Tourmaline”. Blue Tourmalines are called “Indigolith”, “Dravite” is a golden-brown to dark brown Tourmaline, and black Tourmalines are known as “Schorl”. The latter stone is mainly used for engravings and in esotericism, where it is highly cherished because it is reputed to ward off harmful radiation from its wearer.
Very popular is “Verdelith”, the green Tourmaline, however, if its fine emerald-like green is caused by traces of chromium, the stone is named “Chromium-Tourmaline.” But the outstanding highlight among Tourmalines is of course Paraiba Tourmaline, a gemstone showing a vivid deep blue to bluish green, found for the first time in1987 in the mines of the Brazilian state of Paraiba. In good qualities these stones are much coveted treasures. Since yellow Tourmalines from Malawi of brilliant color have been offered on the market, the formerly missing color yellow has been added in excellent quality to the apparently unlimited range of colors shown by the “Rainbow Gemstone.”
These are by no means all the names Tourmaline has achieved: there still have to be mentioned bi-colored and multi-colored Tourmalines Very popular are also slices cut as cross-sections through Tourmalines, as these will render the full splendor of colors embedded in a specific Tourmaline. For example, such slices taken from Tourmalines with red heart and green border are called a “Watermelon-Tourmaline”; slices with a clear heart and a black border are called “Moor’s head -Tourmaline”ï¿½
Tourmalines are mined everywhere in the world. There are important occurrences in Brazil, in Sri Lanka and South and Southwest Africa. Other occurrences are situated in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Tourmalines are also found in the USA, first of all in Maine and Utah. But although there are rich occurrences of Tourmalines all over the world, good qualities and fine colors are only rarely offered on the market. Therefore, then, the price range achieved by Tourmaline almost matches its wide range of colors.
The Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the mighty sun god Ra. This made topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful against harm. The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, who also is the god of the sun. Topaz sometimes has the amber gold of fine cognac or the blush of a peach and all the beautiful warm browns and oranges in between. Some rare and exceptional topaz are pale pink to a sherry red.
Wear topaz only if you wish to be clear-sighted: legend has it that it dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight as well! The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz was also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. Its mystical curative powers waxed and waned with the phases of the moon: it was said to cure insomnia, asthma, and hemorrhages.
Perhaps the most famous topaz is a giant specimen set in the Portuguese Crown, the Braganza, which was first thought to be a diamond. There is also a beautiful topaz set in the Green Vault in Dresden, one of the world’s important gem collections.
Brown, yellow, orange, sherry, red and pink topaz is found in Brazil and Sri Lanka. Pink topaz is found in Pakistan and Russia.
Today we also have blue topaz, which has a pale to medium blue color created by irradiation. Pale topaz which is enhanced to become blue is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and China. In early 1998, a new type of enhanced topaz made its appearance, the surface-enhanced topaz, with colors described as blue to greenish-blue or emerald green.
Topaz is a very hard gemstone but it can be split with a single blow, a trait it shares with diamond. As a result it should be protected from hard knocks.
Topaz is the birthstone for those born in the month of November.
Citrine is one of the most affordable gemstones, thanks to the durability and availability of this golden quartz. Named from the French name for lemon, “citron,” many citrines have a juicy lemon color.
Citrine includes yellow to gold to orange brown shades of transparent quartz. Sunny and affordable, citrine can brighten almost any jewelry style, blending especially well with the yellow gleam of polished gold.
In ancient times, citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts.
Although the darker, orange colors of citrine, sometimes called Madeira citrine after the color of the wine, has generally been the most valued color, in modern times, many people prefer the bright lemony shades which mix better with pastel colors. Citrine is generally more inexpensive than amethyst and is also available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including very large sizes.
Most citrine is mined in Brazil. Supply of citrine is good from the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, particularly from the Serra mine, which is producing 300 kilos a month of hammered goods. The IraÃ¢ mine produces an additional 100 kilos a month of hammered goods.
Sometimes you will hear citrine referred to as topaz quartz, which is incorrect. This name was used in the past in reference to the color, which is sometimes similar to the color of topaz. Since topaz is a separate mineral, this type of name can be confusing and should not be used.However, citrine is considered an alternative to topaz as the birthstone for November.
Since most citrine on the market started its life as amethyst which was heated to turn its color to gold, citrine jewelry, as well as amethyst jewelry, should be kept away from prolonged exposure to strong light or heat. With this precaution, citrine jewelry will last for many generations.
Zircon is one of the most brilliant natural gems that exist. Zircon occurs in a wide range of colors but for many years, the most popular was the colorless variety which looks more like diamond than any other natural stone due to its brilliance and dispersion.
Today the most popular color is blue zircon. Most blue zircon, which is considered an alternate birthstone for December, is a pastel blue, but some exceptional gems have a bright blue color. Zircon is also available in green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange.
The wide variety of colors of zircon, its rarity, and its relatively low cost make it a popular collector’s stone. Collectors enjoy the search for all possible colors and variations.
Hindu poets tell of the Kalpa Tree, the ultimate gift to the gods, which was a glowing tree covered with gemstone fruit with leaves of zircon. Zircon has long had a supporting role to more well-known gemstones, often stepping in as an understudy when they were unavailable.
In the middle ages, zircon was said to aid sleep, bring prosperity, and promote honor and wisdom in its owner. The name p
robably comes from the Persian word zargun which means “gold-colored,” although zircon comes in a wide range of different colors.
Zircon is mined in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Australia, and other countries. Zircon is one of the heaviest gemstones, which means that it will look smaller than other varieties of the same weight. Zircon jewelry should be stored carefully because although zirc
on is relatively hard, it can abrade and facets can chip.
The first thing you notice is the color: deep, vivid blue, with a purplish tinge that dances about the stone as it moves in the light. With its dazzling intensity and complex play of color, Tanzanite boasts a uniquely sensuous appeal.
Tanzanite’s rarity and exotic origin are also part of its fascination. For this modern gemstone was unknown until 1967, when Massai herdsmen in eastern Africa noticed blue crystals sparkling in the sun. Tanzanite’s dramatic discover, coupled with its scintillating bea
uty, caused a worldwide sensation. To date, the world’s only source for the gem remains the hills of northern Tanzania, near Mount Kilimanjaro.
Tanzanite’s dual color – brilliant blue with hints of purple – makes it both warm and cool. Bold yet meltingly beautiful, it is a favorite of both men and women.
Set in the white gold of Couture Cuts designs, Tanzanite offers a cool, haute couture look reminiscent of the 1920’s. Gleaming in yellow gold, it perfectly expresses the Bionic Stones theme of balance with nature. Tanzanite’s glamorous appeal underscores the opulence of the Star Facets palette, while its electrifying vitality and youthful appeal are ideal for contemporary Gem Graffiti designs.
Turquoise is one of the oldest known gem materials. The Egyptians were mining turquoise in 3,200 BC in the Sinai. The blue of turquoise was thought to have powerful metaphysical properties by many ancient cultures. Montezuma’s treasure, now displayed in the British Museum, includes a fantastic carved serpent covered by a mosaic of turquoise. In ancient Mexico, turquoise was reserved for the gods, it would not be worn by mere mortals.
The Apache believed that turquoise helped warriors and hunters to aim accurately. The Zuni believed that it protected them from demons. In Asia it was considered protection against the evil eye. Tibetans carved turquoise into ritual objects as well as wearing it in traditional jewelry. Ancient manuscripts from Persia, India, Afghanistan, and Arabia report that the health of a person wearing turquoise can be assessed by variations in the color of the stone. Turquoise was also thought to promote prosperity.
In Europe even today, turquoise rings are given as forget-me-not gifts. The most important turquoise deposits are in Iran, Tibet, China, Mexico, and the southwestern United States. Turquoise from Iran is often said to be the best because it is sometimes a clear sky blue with no green modifying color and no black veins running through it. Turquoise just as fine is produced in Arizona and New Mexico. In general the bluer the blue, the more highly valued.
While a clear even texture without mottling or veins is preferred by many, other people prefer turquoise with veins, sometimes called spider webs, which set off the color. Turquoise is porous and should be kept away from chemicals. Clean it with warm soapy water only. Turquoise that has been worn in jewelry that touches the skin will often change color over a period of time due to the stone’s reaction to skin oils. This is considered by many collectors to be a sign of badge of honor for an antique gemstone. Perhaps too, since turquoise that has be stabilized with resins tend not change color with age, this is a layman’s test for a gemstone that is not enhanced.