|Posted by email@example.com on September 30, 2011 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
Aren't garnets those wonderful deep-red gemstones you often find in antique jewelry? Well yes, to a certain extent, a deep, warm red indeed being the color most frequently found in garnets. Sadly, however, far too few people are aware that the world of the garnets is far more colorful 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 color spectrum, garnets today can quite happily keep pace with changes of style and the color trends of fashion. And thanks to the new finds,there is a reliable supply. So in fact this gemstone group in particular is onewhich gives new impetus to the world of jewelry 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 color 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-colored nuances. The only color 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 colors 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 sta rgarnets and stones whose color changes depending on whether they are seen indaylight or artificial light.
And what else is there that distinguishes this gemstone group from the others? Well, first of all there isits good hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. With a few minor exceptions itapplies to all the members of the garnet group, and it is the reason for theexcellent wearing qualities of these gemstones. Garnets are relatively insensitive and uncomplicated to work with. The only thing they really don'tlike 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 color 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.
Not only do garnets have many colors; they also have many names: almandine, andradite, demantoid,grossularite, hessonite, pyrope, rhodolite, tsavorite, spessartine, anduvarovite, to quote but a few. But let us restrict ourselves to the mos i mportant 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 color much in demand in the 18th and 19th centuries. Garnets from a find in thenorth-eastern part of the former kingdom of Bohemia - small stones of awonderful hue - were world-famous at that time. In Europe, they were workedinto jewelry a good deal, especially in the Victorian period. That genuine Bohemian garnet jewelry 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 adifferent category. For the 'almandines', named after Alabanda, an ancientcity, have a chemical composition that differs somewhat from that of thepyrope. 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.
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on September 17, 2011 at 11:15 PM||comments (0)|
From the light blue of the sky to the deep blue of the sea, aquamarines shine
over an extraordinarily beautiful range of mainly light blue colors. Aquamarine
is a fascinatingly beautiful gemstone. Women the world over love it for its fine
blue shades which can complement almost any skin or eye color, and creative
gemstone designers are inspired by it as they are by hardly any other gem, which
enables them to create new artistic cuts again and again.
Its light blue arouses feelings of sympathy, trust, harmony and friendship. Good feelings. Feelings which are based on mutuality and which prove their worth in lasting relationships. The blue of aquamarine is a divine, eternal color, because it is the color of the sky. However, aquamarine blue is also the color of water with its life-giving force. And aquamarine really does seem to have captured the lucid blue of the oceans. No wonder, when you consider that according to the saga it originated in the treasure chest of fabulous mermaids, and has, since ancient times, been regarded as the sailors' lucky stone. Its name is derived from the Latin aqua (water) and mare (sea). It is said that its strengths are developed to their best advantage when it is placed in water which is bathed in sunlight. However, it is surely better still to wear aquamarine, since according to the old traditions this promises a happy marriage and is said to bring the woman who wears it joy and wealth into the bargain. An ideal gem, not only for loving and married couples.
A gemstone with many good qualities
Aquamarine is one of our most popular and best-known gemstones, and distinguishes itself by many good qualities. It is almost as popular as the classics: ruby, sapphire and emerald. In fact it is related to the emerald, both belonging to the beryl family. The color of aquamarine, however, is usually more even than that of the emerald. Much more often than its famous green cousin, aquamarine is almost entirely free of inclusions. Aquamarine has good hardness (7_ to 8 on the Mohs scale) and a wonderful shine. That hardness makes it very tough and protects it to a large extent from scratches. Iron is the substance which gives aquamarine its color, a color which ranges from an almost indiscernible pale blue to a strong sea-blue. The more intense the color of an aquamarine, the more value is put on it. Some aquamarines have a light, greenish shimmer; that too is a typical feature. However, it is a pure, clear blue that continues to epitomize the aquamarine, because it brings out so well the immaculate transparency and magnificent shine of this gemstone.
'Santa Maria' sets pulses racing
The bright blue of this noble beryl is making more and more friends. The various color nuances of aquamarine have melodious names: the rare, intense blue aquamarines from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil, which make every gemstone lover's heart beat faster, are called 'Santa Maria'. Similar nuances come from a few gemstone mines in Africa, particularly Mozambique. To help distinguish them from the Brazilian ones, these aquamarines have been given the name 'Santa Maria Africana'. The 'Espirito Santo' color of aquamarines from the Brazilian state of that name is of a blue that is not quite so intense. Yet other qualities are embodied in the stones from Fortaleza and Marambaia. One beautiful aquamarine color was named after the Brazilian beauty queen of 1954, and has the name 'Martha Rocha'.
It can be seen from the names of aquamarine colors just how important Brazil is among the countries where aquamarine is found. Most of the raw crystals for the world market come from the gemstone mines of that large South American country. Every now and then, large aquamarine crystals of immaculate transparency are also found with a magnificent color, a combination which is very unusual in gemstones. And very occasionally, sensationally large aquamarine crystals come to light in Brazil, such as the crystal of 110.5 Kg found in 1910 in Marambaia/Minas Gerais, or for example the 'Dom Pedro', weighing 26 Kg and cut in Idar-Oberstein in 1992 by the gemstone designer Bernd Munsteiner, the largest aquamarine ever to have been cut. However, aquamarines are also found in other countries, for example Nigeria, Zambia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Favorite stone of modern designers
There is hardly any other gemstone in modern jewelry design which is refined in such a variety of ways as aquamarine. Whether it is fashioned as a clear, transparent gem in the classical step cut, or creatively cut in a more modern design, it is always fascinatingly beautiful. Uncut too, or with many inclusions which can be brought into play by the designer in the way in which the stone is cut, it can be refined to produce the most beautiful creations. Designers call it their favorite gemstone. Again and again they take the world by surprise with a new, modern artistic cut, and when they are breaking new ground, aquamarine is a gem that they particularly like to work with. Without doubt, these creative designer cuts have contributed to the great popularity of this gem. The lucid color of aquamarine makes it easy to see inclusions. For this reason, aquamarine should always be of the greatest possible transparency. On the other hand, particularly charming effects can sometimes be achieved in the way the gemstone is cut by bringing the inclusions into play. The light color of aquamarine leaves the gemstone designer free to bring out the brilliance of the gem with fine grooves, notches, curves and edges. In this way, each aquamarine becomes a unique specimen, whose magical attraction no woman can resist.
Source: International Colored Gemstone Association
|Posted by email@example.com on September 17, 2011 at 11:05 PM||comments (0)|
No gemstone is more creatively striped by nature than agate, chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers in a wide variety of colors and textures. Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in host rock. As a result, agate often is found as a round nodule, with concentric bands like the rings of a tree trunk. The bands sometimes look like eyes, sometimes fanciful scallops, or even a landscape with dendrite trees.
Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers. Persian magicians used agate to divert storms. A famous collection of two to four thousand agate bowls which was accumulated by Mithradates, king of Pontus, shows the enthusiasm with which agate was regarded. Agate bowls were also popular in the Byzantine Empire. Collecting agate bowls became common among European royalty during the Renaissance and many museums in Europe, including the Louvre, have spectacular examples.
The mining of agate in the Nahe River valley in Germany which was already documented in 1497 gave rise to the cutting center of Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Originally, the river was used to power the grinding wheels. When the Nahe agate deposit was exhausted in the nineteenth century, Idar cutters started to develop the agate deposits of Brazil, which also sparked exploration and discovery of Brazil's rich deposits of amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, topaz, and other gemstones.
Although the small town of Idar-Oberstein is still known for the finest agate carving in the world, today Idar imports a huge range of other gem materials from around the world for cutting and carving in Germany and Asia. Cameo master carvers and modern lapidary artists flourish along with rough dealers who scour the world for the latest gem discoveries for export. And the entire industry sprung from the taste for agate bowls and ornaments during the Renaissance! Maybe agate is also a powerful talisman for success in international trade!
Source: International Colored Gemstone Association
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on September 16, 2011 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
Amber stone isn't a true gemstone. Rather, amber is fossilized tree resin that can be 30 to 90 million years old. Amber has been highly prized for its warmth and beauty, and has been carved into jewelry and traded among cultures for thousands of years.
Traditional amber stone is a hard, golden-yellow to brownish-yellow translucent resin. In rare forms it can be blue or green. It is considered an organic gem, as it came from ancient tree resin. It is softer than stone and can be easily scratched. Because amber was created by living trees, the stones are often found with interesting inclusions---insects, seeds, feathers and bubbles. Resin forms most often in conifer trees as the result of an injury, and is not to be confused with tree sap. You can tell the difference between real amber and fake by rubbing the amber briskly with a cloth. Real amber will produce static electricity and a light camphor smell. Real amber will also float in salt water, while fake amber will sink. Of course, this only works with unmounted stones.
The Baltic Sea area has been a source of amber since ancient times. Early Stone Age people used amber, which has been found in Neolithic burial sites. Vikings traded amber as far back as 800, and present-day Scandinavia is still a major exporter of the gemstone. Amber is found all over the world: in both North and South America, Sicily, Romania, Lebanon, Myanmar (Burma) and New Zealand
Ancient people all over the world thought that amber had medicinal properties and would grind it up and mix with honey to cure anything from asthma to the black plague. Amber stone pendants were worn for magical protection against evil, and sailors would burn amber to protect their ships from sea monsters. would burn amber near their newborns to help them grow strong. As late as the 1940s, amber bead necklaces were placed on babies to help with the pain of teething.
Amber stones are very soft and should be protected from accidental chipping and scratching. Store amber jewelry in a padded box or in a cloth bag. Amber beads should be strung with knots between them to prevent the stones from rubbing and chipping each other. Never apply hairspray while wearing amber jewelry, as the chemicals in the spray can permanently cloud the stones. Harsh soaps and commercial jewelry can also harm the stone. Clean amber with lukewarm water and a soft cloth. Amber can be polished with olive oil to add shine.
Amber stone has been used for many things beside pretty bead necklaces. Amber has been carved into art, made into teething rings, and even used to remove lint from clothes (because of its static electric ). Amber has been burned as incense and used to make lacquer. Fine violins have been polished with amber varnish. The most opulent use of amber has to be Peter the Great's Amber Room. It was given to the Russian czar in 1716, and was considered a masterpiece of Baroque art. Catherine the Great had the room moved to her summer estate. Unfortunately, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 he raided the Amber Room, had it packed up and shipped to Germany. No one has seen it since. A replica of the Amber Room can be seen at Catherine Palace in Russia
|Posted by email@example.com on September 16, 2011 at 5:45 PM||comments (0)|
Citrine is the yellow to gold to orange color of quartz. Its name comes from the French for lemon, citron, though citron tends to be more golden than lemon yellow. Since quartz is an abundant mineral, the gem-quality specimens typically have very good luster and excellent clarity.
Citrine draws its distinctive color from traces of iron. Many commercial-grade citrines in the market have been produced by heat-treating amethyst, which will turn yellow at relatively low temperatures (around 470 degrees centigrade) and dark-yellow to red-brown at higher temperatures (around 1000 degrees centigrade). Virtually all heat-treated citrines have a reddish tint. Deposits of natural-colored citrine are found principally in Brazil and Madagascar, as well as in Burma, the USA and Namibia.
Citrine's sunny color has made it a gem thought to radiate positive energy. Citrine is known as the "success stone" because it is thought to promote success, prosperity, and abundance, especially in business. The practice of placing a citrine in the cash register of a shop earned it the nickname "merchant's stone."
According to gemstone lore, citrine not only radiates positive energy, but it also dissipates negative energy of all kinds. It also does not absorb any negative energy from its surroundings, and thus never needs to be "cleared" or "recharged." Citrine can be used to clear unwanted energies from the environment. Family issues caused by negative energies can also be resolved and cleared with citrine. Since citrine eliminates negative energies, it helps generate stability in all areas, and is good for general protection.
Emotionally, citrine relieves depression, self-doubt, anger, and irrational mood swings. Citrine is a stone that brings happiness and cheer to one who carries or wears it. Citrine also reduces self-destructive tendencies. Citrine can helps eliminate fears and can help one overcome emotional trauma and grief. Sensuality and sexuality can also be heightened by citrine.
Physically, citrine is beneficial for the digestion, stomach, eliminating nightmares and other sleep disturbances, thyroid, general health, heart, kidney, liver, muscles, strength, endocrine system, circulatory system, tissue regeneration, urinary system, immune system, fibromyalgia. Citrine is also good for removing toxins, and overcoming addictions.
Citrine is believed to be of value in healing the spiritual self as well, as it is a powerful cleanser and regenerator. It carries the virtues of self-healing, inspiration and self-improvement. Carrying the power of the sun, it is excellent for overcoming depression, fears and phobias. It aids those with a depressed self-esteem. One's sense of self becomes more radiant with a citrine and it helps to look forward to the future optimistically, going with the flow, instead of hanging on to the past.
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on September 16, 2011 at 4:20 PM||comments (0)|
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 jeweler from England.
The magic of changing colors
The most sensational feature about this stone, however, is its surprising ability to change its colour. 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.
Russia has remained the primary source ofalexandrite since gems from the mines of the Urals became available on themarket. When the Russian deposits were thought to have been exhausted, interestin the unique color miracle decreased - especially since alexandrites fromother mines hardly ever displayed the coveted color change - . But thesituation changed dramatically in 1987, when alexandrites were discovered in aplace called Hematita in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The Brazilian alexandrite showedboth a distinctive color change and good clarity and color. Thus the somewhatdulled image of the miraculous stone received another boost. The color of theBrazilian stones is admittedly not as strong a green as that of Russian alexandrite,but the color change is clearly discernible. Today Hematita is one of the mostimportant deposits of alexandrite in economic terms. Occasionally alexandritewith chatoyancy is discovered there, an effect which has not yet been observedin Russian alexandrite. Alexandrites are also recovered from sources in SriLanka, but the hue of these stones compares less than favorably with that ofthe Uralian alexandrites. They appear green in daylight and a brownish red inartificial light. The Tunduru area in southern Tanzania has also produced someoutstanding specimens since the mid-1990’s. Alexandrites are also found inIndia, Burma, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. Although this stone is still considereda rarity, specialized gemstone dealers do stock it, especially since improvedtrade relationships between Russia and the rest of the world have ensured abetter supply of Russian alexandrites to the market.
A gemstone for experts and gemstone lovers
With its good hardness of 81/2, alexandrite is anuncomplicated stone to wear. The more distinct the change of color, the morevaluable the stone. A fine alexandrite should show a vivid bluish-green indaylight and a purplish-red in artificial light, without any trace ofundesirable brown or grey. If the origin of the stone is known beyond disputeto be Russia, we are talking about a real rarity of enormous value. Finelyfaceted alexandrites above one carat are thus among the most expensivegemstones in the world, rarer than fine ruby, sapphire or emerald.
Alexandrite is a stone for experts, enthusiastsand connoisseurs, a true understatement stone. Its uniqueness and high valueare not evident at first sight. The mysterious color change will only occur onexposure to different light sources. But if you really get involved inalexandrite, you will be utterly fascinated by this gem. Maybe you will alsofeel some of the mysterious magic and lore ascribed to it. It is considered astone of very good omen. In critical situations it is supposed to strengthenthe wearer’s intuition, and thus help him or her find new ways forward insituations where logic will not provide an answer. Alexandrite is also reputedto aid creativity and inspire imagination.
Source: International Colored Gemstone Association
|Posted by email@example.com on September 16, 2011 at 4:10 PM||comments (0)|