Learning Center

Gem Business

Learn about the business side of the gem world in our GemBiz section. Our articles cover mining, new discoveries, gem values, and gem cutting.

44 ARTICLES 1 PRODUCTS
Article
Cutting Down Repair Costs

Much of my business comes from re-cutting colored gems that have been chipped, scratched and broken (not always by the goldsmith). Replacing broken in lay material is another favorite. I know there will always be a need for cutting and polishing…

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Knowing the Difference Between Carat and Karat

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…

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Ways to Choose a Birthstone

“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…

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Confidential Disclosure Form

This form may be used if you have an idea for a product and wish to approach a manufacturer. It is a very good protection against a company stealing your idea.
I met a sled designer at a party in Montreal once, we discussed this subject, he had…

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Tanzanian Burma Ruby

High quality ruby is being mined in the province of Rukwa , in the southern highlands of Tanzania , according to local sources. Miners in the region are calling the material “Burma” or “pigeon blood” ruby, a reference to the most desirable colors…

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New Gem Identification Techniques

This is an exciting era for gemologists. High-tech analytical techniques now make it possible to identify trace elements, treatments, and origins of colored stones that could only be guessed at decades ago. For example, when the gem world…

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Selling Natural, Unenhanced Gem Material

The marketing slogan ‘All Natural’ has been used for years to advertise products from cereal to shampoo. Now some gem dealers are using it to market their natural, unenhanced gem material – and to distance themselves from negative publicity…

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Chalcedony – A Gem for the Ages

The gemstone industry tends, for marketing reasons, to limit the definition of chalcedony somewhat more than mieralolgists. Among gemstone and jewelry sellers, the term chalcedony is usually used to refer specifically to semitransparent…

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Gem Cutting Machinery

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…

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Detecting Golden Pearl Color Enhancement

When the first warnings about color enhancement of golden South Sea pearls came out five years ago, fear struck the South Sea pearl industry. Some of the new enhancement methods for golden pearls were nearly undetectable, leaving dealers…

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Benefits of Concave Faceting

How does concave faceting create so much more brilliance than regular flat faceting? Imagine a typical flat, square mirror, Now push the top and bottom closer together so that the reflective side curves toward you. Than take the left and right…

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Moissanite Gemstone – Marketing Dynamite

It’s called moissanite and it’s described as a proprietary, nearcolorless, lab created gemstone. It’s visually almost identical to diamond, and has, due to the unusual marketing approach taken by its producers and their success with it,…

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Spessartite Garnet

The decade of the ’90s put spessartite garnet on the map. Once a rare collector’s gem, the brilliant orange garnet burst on the scene in 1991, when a deposit was discovered in the rugged mountains of northwestern Namibia, and again in 1999, with…

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Gemstone Cut Value

Imagine, if you will, two colored stones. Both exhibit good color. Both are relatively inclusion free. Both tip the scale at about the same weight. But one was cut better, and it’s simply more beautiful. Should you pay a premium price for it?…

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Oregon Sunstone

Shot through with copper, sunstone from this locality has mesmerized miners and designers alike. It has inspired vacation rockhounds to put down stakes in Oregon’s mining country, and has spawned a hearty fraternity of diggers determined…

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Gemstone Supply Rough Times

Historically speaking, gemstone mining has always been hit or miss. When miners make a big strike, gemstones flood the market, prices fall, and smart dealers stock up, because inevitably the pocket will get mined out and prices will creep…

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Gem Production Update

Morgan Beard, the editor-in-chief of Colored Stone magazine examines the current world mining production of Ruby ‘ Sapphire, Emerald, Tanzanite, Tourmaline, Garnet, Topaz and Opal.

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The Truth About Gem Smuggling

Gem smuggling, The term evokes pictures of swashbuckling pirates and trench-coated international spies. The reality is far more gritty and physically dangerous on an individual level. Real smugglers, known as “mules,” often carry stones…

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Burma Drug and Gem Smuggling

Author Richard W. Hughes discusses Gem and drug smuggling in Burma, along with the CIA and British involvement in the Burmese drug trade. The Author follows the smugglers routes and politics involved from the 17th century opium trade until…

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Sapphire Retail Sales Back with a Twist

If we needed more proof that our society is obsessed with celebrity style, we have only to look at the spectacular success of pink gemstones in retail stores this year. Last year was the year of pink in clothing and accessories, from Hollywood…

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Gemstone Name Reference List

To simplify your pursuit of gemstone knowledge, the varieties discussed in this book will be described in the mineral species. The reason for doing it this way is that each variety of a particular mineral shares common physical and optical…

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The Joy of Gems

Gemstones have been treasured by humankind since the beginnings of civilization. Every ancient civilization found practical and decorative purposes for gem materials. The durability of gemstones lent itself to practical uses: ancient…

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Gemstone Cutting Creates Freedom for Design

Difficult times are often good times for the unusual. The higher the hurdle that must be overcome to make clients decide to buy, the more important are originality and exclusiveness. Proven, well-loved, timeless… This year the trend is…

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South African Jewelers: The Big Picture

For the residents of South Africa poorest neighborhoods, jewelry makes for a fresh start. Until 10 years ago, global economic sanctions against South Africa generally forced South African companies to keep their manufacturing in-house…

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Tanzanite Mines Interrupted

While a worldwide shortage in gem rough sends prices spiralling upward, gem deposits in Africa are lying unworked, or underworked, due to lack of development funds. A prime example of the problem is northern Tanzania — including the well-known…

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World Mining Report 2005 – Asia

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

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World Mining Report 2005 – Africa

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

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World Mining Report 2005 – Central and South America

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

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Colored Stone Retail Survey 2005

A decade ago, emerald, ruby, and sapphire routinely topped Colored Stones annual best seller list, as befitted the colored stones known in the trade as the “Big Three.” They were “precious” stones, while their equally colorful but lesser-known…

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World Mining Report 2005 – North America

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
World Mining Report 2005

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

Article
Blue Spinel Turning Heads

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…

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What is Red Labradorite?

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…

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World Mining Report 2005 – The Middle East

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

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World Mining Report 2005 – Eastern Europe

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

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World Mining Report 2005 – Australia

Colored gemstone mining is a hard thing to pin down. The vast majority of mining is still done by independent, small-scale miners, working in remote locations and selling to buyers who pay cash and may or may not declare their gems on export.…

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Beryllium-Diffused Blue Sapphire

Beryllium diffusion typically brightens the color of ruby or sapphire, making a stone more yellow, orange, or red, depending on the original color. Because the color change can go all the way through the stone, the treatment is more difficult…

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The Furor Over Feldspar

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…

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The Effects of Global Warming on Pearl Oysters

Warming waters, changes in weather patterns, and increases in storm activity may all affect the future success of pearl farms, both freshwater and ocean-based. Precisely what impact they will have is a little harder to determine: Relatively…

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Chris Smith – Amazing Adventures with Tanzanite

A year ago, there wasnt much new to be said about tanzanite, the oven-blued zoisite found only in its namesake country of Tanzania. Known to be benignly heated from brown to blue since its discovery in the mid-1960s, tanzanite was one of the gem…

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SpeckFINDER HD Takes Magnification to High-Tech Levels

When a maid steals a $250,000 gold and diamond necklace from a famous rappers hotel room, only to find that those diamonds are actually CZs, it puts the hotel manager in a state of panic. Sure, he feels good about recovering the stolen necklace.…

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Color-Change Garnet from Kenya

Kenya s new color-change garnet performs miracles in different lighting environments. In fluorescent light, it looks the bluest any garnet has ever looked; in incandescent light, youd swear it was a very fine alexandrite.

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Lead Glass-Filled Rubies

GIA recently released a video that provides an overview of lead glass-filled rubies and explains why it has begun to call them a “manufactured product” on reports. The video, which was created to educate the trade and public, also covers how…