Well worth a fresh inspection under the loupe is some fine blue spinel currently on the market. An ancient group of related minerals, spinel likely owes its name to the Old Latin sintill -- from which the word scintillation was derived. And a good descriptive name it is. If you havent considered blue spinel for a fine jewelry piece, remember that its density assures a high polish when faceted. Rating an 8 on the Mohs scale, this gem doesnt need to be coddled in protective mountings, either.... (2006) Complete Story
Orange and red stones of every kind stood out at this years sensory-overloaded Tucson gem and mineral shows, but one major puzzle for gem lovers was an orange-red feldspar with an identity crisis.
At one exhibit, the dealer called the stone andesine from the Congo. His finest specimens were comparable in price to the best-quality tanzanite. Other companies also sold the stone as andesine, "Congo sunstone," "red labradorite," or occasionally the more factual "red feldspar." And just to make things a little more confusing, the same material is also found in green.
The prices were literally all over the map. A Tucson vendor confessed that he and his colleagues snoop out their competitors prices. Within three days, they adjusted their pricing to be more competitive with each other.
What is red labradorite? Is it the same as andesine? Where does sunstone fit in?...
(2006) Complete Story