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Sandra I. Smith
Articles and Videos by Sandra I. Smith:
Gold and silver have long been esteemed as the king and queen of metals, for good reason. No other members of the mineral family surpass these two metals in nobility.
Carat, karat, caret, and carrot are all pronounced the same, but each has a different meaning. Carat and karat, of course, have very specific meanings in jewelry. Misusing either word can be an embarrassing, if not an expensive, mistake. Spelling carats or karats as carets or carrots will make you look foolish and unprofessional.
Do you know why that piece of jewelry that goes around your arm is called a bracelet? Or why a hair clasp is called a barrette? And how about brooch – that’s a strange name to call an ornament fastened to your clothing. I make jewelry and normally all I think about is designs and colors. But one day my mind strayed further, piquing my curiosity as to why a bracelet is called a bracelet.
“My birthstone is emerald,” a potential customer recently told me. “But I don’t like green,” she continued, “so I never buy gemstones.” Do we, and our customers, have choices when it comes to selecting a birthstone? What can we do when we don’t like or can’t afford the gemstone assigned to our month of birth? What should we suggest to our customers when they ask for help in selecting the “right” birthstone?.
Although gemstones are hard substances, they aren’t indestructible. Some can be ruined by contact with certain chemicals, while others break easily. Many are susceptible to surface scratching, which can ruin them.
Nature lavished her finest blues upon sapphires, the “Gem of the Heavens.” Although the word “sapphire” itself means blue, the gem is found in nearly all the colors of the rainbow.
Silicon dioxide, better known as quartz, is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth. Mineralogists divide quartz into two classifications: crystalline and cryptocrystalline, based on the size of its crystals. Cryptocrystalline is also called microcrystalline quartz.
Which is the best to buy: natural, enhanced, imitation, artificial or synthetic gems? The answer depends on how you plan to use it. Natural gemstones have not had anything done to them that changes their color.
Currently identified with love, diamonds are the gemstone of choice in engagement, wedding, and anniversary rings. Contrary to popular belief, we have not always given diamonds as love tokens. That custom results from modern marketing techniques, not ancient traditions.
Two gemstones bear the name jade: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite, first known as yu, was treasured by the Chinese for centuries. Its current name, and the word “jade,” both came from the Europeans via the Spanish conquistadores who.
Lapis lazuli, as lovely as its exotic name, has decorated humans and enhanced their art for thousands of years. Normally a rich deep shade of blue or blue-violet, lapis lazuli may at times have a slight greenish cast.
The minerals grouped as jasper belong to the quartz family. Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth. It’s formed primarily from silica and oxygen, but includes trace amounts of dozens of other minerals. Because of these ineralogical impurities.
Moonstone and sunstone, seemingly opposites because of their names, are in reality closely related members of the feldspar family. Formed when hot magma solidifies underground, feldspar makes up about 60% of the Earth’s crust. It’s found worldwide in one form or another. Mineralogists have identified at least 40 varieties of feldspar.
Amber’s warmth and rich glow convinced our earliest ancestors that it was petrified sunlight. Later, others believed it to be the hardened tears of a goddess. Those who were more earthy described amber as fossilized lynx urine.
Many gemstone owners enjoy wearing their treasures. Few things can ruin that enjoyment faster than the discovery of damage such as scratches, chips, or discoloration. Unfortunately, some damage is permanent. The good news is that proper cleaning and care prevents most gemstone damage.
Beryllium is a hard and shiny metallic element. Extremely rare, it’s prized in industry for its high melting point and conductivity. Combined with other elements, it forms beautiful gemstones that are hard and brilliant.
Do you know what diamonds, rubies, and emeralds are? “Jewels” is the answer most people offer. It’s an accurate answer, but it doesn’t tell the fascinating story behind these treasures from nature.
Prized for its sky-blue color, turquoise has been used in amulets and jewelry since antiquity. The oldest known piece of jewelry is a turquoise and gold bracelet found in the tomb of Zer, an Egyptian queen who lived 7,500 years ago.
Quartz, the most abundant mineral, is also one of the most diverse minerals known. It’s found in a rainbow of colors, and ranges from shimmering transparency to impenetrable opacity. Rock crystal, amethyst, and.
Every substance on Earth falls into one of three groups: animal, plant or mineral. Minerals are compounds of elements, like carbon, chromium and silicon. Gemstones are simply minerals that people have deemed attractive and, therefore, valuable.
Like many gems, rubies are known by several names. One of its earliest titles was ratnaraj, which is Sanskrit for “king of gems.” Another early name was carbuncle. At a time when gems were classified by colors only, carbuncle was the name given to all red gems, including rubies. The current word, ruby, is derived from the Latin word for red.
My cats like to participate in most of my activities. Their “assistance” generally involves batting supplies off my desk. When they sit and stare at me, it’s easy to see how one of my favorite gemstones, cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, got its name.
The fragile opal first flashed its fiery colors at mortals millennia ago, igniting a love affair that has survived the fickleness of the human heart. Its faults, like softness and lack of stability, are overlooked by those entranced by its beauty.
Tourmaline is one of the most unusual of all gemstones. Unlike other gems, which we often identify with a single color, tourmaline comes in every hue. Often more than one color occurs in the same crystal. Watermelon tourmaline, which is pale.
Long associated with Spring and birth, gloriously green emeralds have an extensive history of healing and supernatural powers. Green is Nature’s most soothing color, and early physicians instructed their patients to look through pieces of emerald to ease fatigue and treat eye diseases.
Pearls don’t need polishing or faceting to reveal their natural beauty. That’s why pearls were among the first gems worn by humans. The oldest known pearl necklaces graced the necks of women more than 4,000 years ago.