Until fairly recently, gem cutting was one of the few areas of the world economy to remain uncontaminated by the computer revolution. All of that changed with the proliferation of personal computers in the 1980's and 90's Since that time, new computer based technologies have trickled to all segments of the trade from huge, commercial gem cutting operations to thousands of semi-professional faceters and hobbyists at work around the globe. Nowadays, gem cutters from Boston to Bangkok work hand in hand with computers, software, sophisticated instrumentation, and robotic automation to maximize efficiency and reduce waste.... (2003) Complete Story
All-natural Oregon sunstone and similar-looking treated andesine once sold as natural are locked in apples-and-oranges competition that is both unfair and unnecessary....Until recently, brick- and salmon-red sunstone -- both clear and with schiller --were rarities. True, renewed mining of this feldspar in Oregon -- generally conceded to be the source of the world’s best sunstone -- brought more fine colors on the market than had been seen in years. But fine stones cost at least $100 per carat, usually far more.
Then, in early 2007, look-alikes costing $40 per carat suddenly hit the market in impressive numbers. None of its sellers called it sunstone. Instead, most called it andesine, which is a first cousin of labradorite (the scientific name for sunstone) in the plagioclase series of feldspars. [Plagioclase consists of six species, identified according to the ratio of calcium to sodium -- their two predominant chemical components.] This next-of-kin gemological status invited many consumers to think of andesine as an affordable alternative to pricier Oregon sunstone, especially because sellers swore it was all-natural. (2008) Complete Story
Since the late 16th century, one country, Colombia, has produced most of the worlds finest emeralds. Today, two mines -- Muzo and La Pita -- account for 90% of the countrys emerald exports. While everyone has heard of Muzo, few know about La Pita. Heres a detailed report on this major unknown mine.... (2008) Complete Story
If each sapphire deposit has its own unique chemical mix, in theory it should only be a matter of careful analysis to figure out where a stone came from. But there remains an element of art to determining country of origin, partially because of the limitations of the science itself, and partially because no one has yet compiled complete data on each gem locality..... (2002) Complete Story
Think they just lie around? Oh, no! Rocks are constantly meeting, mingling, and occasionally making gemstones....
Every so often you hear about a miner who literally trips over a rock, or takes a good. hard look at the ground in just the right place, and suddenly discovers a gemstone deposit. For the serious prospector, though, finding a deposit requires a good grounding in how the Earth is put together - the different types of rock you encounter and the conditions under which they formed. all of which determine whether or not gems could have grown there.... (3) Complete Story