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Gemstones Information

Our Gemstones Information section covers a variety of gems, from amber to zoisite, and offers data on their properties, sources, and jewelry use.

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Birthstones: Which one are you and what does it mean?

Birth stones are stones associated with each person’s month of birth. Each month has a different stone associated with it, with certain essential qualities and characteristics. In theory, we have twelve birthstones, although there…

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Titanium – Properties – Design – Processing

Titanium was not recognized as a metal and chemical element in its own right until the end of the 19th century. Comprising 0.6% of the earth’s crust, it is a form of oxidic ore that is much more common than copper, zinc, nickel, silver or gold.

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Enchanted Mankind by Gemstones

Colored gemstones have enchanted mankind since the dawn of time. The variety of colors, their mysterious sparkle and their extreme scarcity are the factors that make them so desirable. Paraiba tourmaline The Idar-Oberstein based gemstone…

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Smalt (Ground Glass)

Smalt is a word used to describe ground glass when it is either mixed with oil and applied to canvas, or strewn on top of a tacky paint surface. Glass artisans and enamelers have known about this material for centuries, and others no doubt learned…

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Handling Colored Stones at the Bench Part 4

I’m hoping this series of articles will save some of you time, money, and embarrassment by discussing some of the common bench procedures that can easily lead to damage of colored stones – and how to avoid it. Some of it will be familiar,…

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Handling Colored Stones at the Bench Part 2

I’m hoping this series of articles will save some of you time, money, and embarrassment by discussing some of the common bench procedures that can easily lead to damage of colored stones – and how to avoid it. Some of it will be familiar, some…

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Gemstone Setting Tip: Shape

“You should know what kind of shape you’re in,” joked Arthur Anton Skuratowicz during an MJSA At the Bench Live demonstration he gave last month at the AGTA GemFair in Tucson. While sharing gemstone setting tips for fancy shaped and raw…

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2014 Hottest Colored Stone Hues

Editor’s Note: For more than 20 years, Pantone, the global authority on color, has surveyed the designers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York to identify the season’s most important color trends. The twice-yearly report…

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Handling Colored Stones at the Bench Part 1

Ever since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by rocks and gems. I started cutting cabs more than 40 years ago, and have been faceting colored stones for about 30 years. I do precision cutting of colored gems these days, and that often includes…

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Bezel Setting Cabochon Stones

One of the most basic designs in stone setting is Bezel Setting. It is rudimentary in its concept, and it is very pleasing to the eye in its simplicity. This concept blends with the smooth vertical shape of the stone. There are no sharp corners,…

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Gemstone Guide

This page contains a gemstone guide to common abrasives used near gemstones; their usage, hardness rate and effects compiled by Tom Weishaa CMBJ. Abrasive Silicon Carbide Usage – A common abrasive found in most mizzy wheels, cut-off…

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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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Death of the Thai Ruby

This article discusses the decline of Thailand’s ruby mining industry. The author warns that Thailand faces future problems is the country’s leaders do not pay greater attention to environmental protection.

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Definitions of Physical Properties of Gemstones

A perfect crystal is bounded by plane faces which meet at angles specific for each kind of material (angle analysis can identify minerals). A crystal may be cleaved in directions related to the external form or to a possible crystal form for…

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Burma’s Jade Mines – An Annotated Occidental History

The history of Burma’s jade mines in the West is a brief one. While hundreds of different reports, articles and even books exist on the famous ruby deposits of Mogok, only a handful of westerners have ever made the journey to northern Burma’s…

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Basic Optical Principles for Gemology

The optical characteristics and properties of gemstones often provide the fastest and best methods of identification. A certain amount of theory is necessary as optical principles determine cutting methods, gemstone attributes and the…

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Amber – Frozen Moments in Time

Amber begins as resin exuded from trees millions of years ago. All known deposits of amber come from various tree species which are now extinct. Baltic amber was produced by a tree called Pinites succinifer, a tree sharing many characteristics…

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Gemstone Fluorescence

Fluorescence is the emission of visible light from a substance under the stimulation of radiation of a shorter wavelength. It may be stimulated by (visible) light but most useful are blue light, short wave ultra-violet (UV) light, long wave…

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Morro Redondo Tourmaline

This is a report on the largest occurrence of Tourmaline in the history of Brazil gem mining; the Morro Redound Tourmaline of the State of Minas Gerias Brazil. The material was first discovered in 1992 near the village of Morro Redondo, in the…

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Nesosilicate – Topaz Gemstone

Previous articles discussed the polymorph gemstones andalusite, sillimanite, and kyanite of the Al2SiO5 group of the nesosilicates. Topaz and staurolite are the two remaining minerals of this group used as gems. In the nesosilicate structure…

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Uncommon Sorosilicate Gemstones

The sorosilicate class of minerals is composed of more than seventy minerals. Most are rare, and only a few are used as gemstones or are cut for collectors. The exception, the lovely tanzanite of the zoisite group that forms in the orthorhombic…

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A Journey to Burma’s Jade Mines

It is morning in Hweka, deep in northern Burma’s Kachin State. Outside the window, the roar of the river below awakens us from our slumber, nudging us groggily into yet another day. Already it has been four long days since leaving Mandalay;…

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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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Diamond Grading System

One of the important reasons for the dominance of diamond in the gem market is the existence of a comprehensive and internationally-accepted system of quality analysis. This allows us common folk to buy with confidence, for with a diamond…

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Mohs Scale of Common Gems

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.

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Chalcedony Gemstones

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…

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Diamond, The Brilliant Ice

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…

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Jadeite and Nephrite Gemstones

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.

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Lapis Lazuli Gemstones

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.

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Jasper Gemstones

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…

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The Ubiquitous Mineral Feldspar

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…

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Tanzanite – Zoisite

Tanzanite! Baron Sigismund Zois von Edelstein of Slovenia could never have imagined that a variety of the mineral he discovered in 1805 in the Sau-Alp Mountains would cause tremendous excitement in the jewelry industry more than a century…

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Benitoite Gems

One of the most beautiful blue gemstones is native to our own country. In 1906, a prospector found what he thought were sapphire crystals in the Diablo Mountain range of San Benito County, California. A year later, mineralogist, G. D. Louderback,…

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Kyanite Gemstone Properties

Andalusite, kyanite, and sillimanite all contain identical amounts of aluminum, silicon, and oxygen, combined with other trace elements. I find it intriguing to note the differences in how the chemical formulas for these three minerals…

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Cyclosilicate: Dioptase

Dioptase incorporates the native metal, copper in the Si6O18 ring structure with water to form the only gem material that so closely approaches the finest color of emerald. The small and well-defined deep green rhombohedral crystals develop…

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The Story of Red Spinel

The gem’s first known owner was Abu Said, a Moorish prince of Granada in Spain in the mid-1300s. Abu Said lost the gem, as well as his crown and his life, to Don Pedro the Cruel of Seville. In 1366 Don Pedro’s own brother attacked him in turn, but Don…

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Setting Gemstone on Precious Metal Clay

PMC is not a traditional material, and so a few pioneers went about tentatively setting cubic zirconia’s, and lab grown corundum into the clay. For almost a decade it has been believed that natural stones would be destroyed in the sintering…

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Gemstone Care Tips

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…

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From Beryllium to Beryl

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.

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Minerals and Gemstones Formation

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.

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GemBits – Turquoise for Jewelry

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.

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GemBits – Quartz Diversity

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.

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Ruby, King of Gems

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…

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How Gemstones Get Their Colors

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.…

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Opal – Water Filled with Fire

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…

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Tourmaline Colors – A Gift from Nature

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.…

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The Lore of Emeralds

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…

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Book Review – Gem Care

This slim paperback book is a real addition to the book collections of the working jeweler, the jewelry shop owner, the gemologist and interestingly also to your customer, the general public. Wow! It is a compilation of straightforward information…

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The Hard Facts of Sapphires and Rubies

Ask any jeweler to list the gemstones with which they prefer to work, and sapphires and rubies would undoubtedly rank near the top. With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, these popular varieties of corundum have long been considered nearly impossible…

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Diamond Setting Applications

What is one of the causes of a “rippling or jagged” effect around an inside cutting edge in a Gypsy or Flush setting? How can this be avoided? When an edge of a cutting tool (of any shape) glances over or hits a facet it will ride above that face. In…

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Let’s Talk Gemstones – Zircon Group

Lets Talk Gemstones – Zircon is the single member of the zircon group of the nesosilicates that is suitable for use as a gemstone. In the nesosilicates, independent SiO4 tetrahedra are connected only by ionic bonds. Because the tetrahedra…

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Gem Creation and Enhancement

Historically gem possession has been reserved for wealthy, royalty, or high religious leaders. It has always been human nature to want what others possess, so imitation gems have been common for some 4,500 years, in the form of glass, plastic,…

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Cyclosilicate: Aquamarine

The region of pegmatite dikes in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil has been the primary source of gem beryl and several other species of colored gemstones for many years. Rivers have cut places through the dikes and alluvial deposits, called…

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Let’s talk Gemstones – Staurolite

Staurolite! Why would one of the most ordinary, patently unattractive minerals, used as a religious talisman and a good luck charm for centuries, be, in its transparent faceted form, a much sought after collector’s gem? Rarity! Seldom do…

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Cyclosilicate: Axinite

On an excursion in the Alps in 1797, mineralogist, R. J. Hauy discovered some highly vitreous, piezio-electric wedged-shaped crystals that resembled schorl, the dark variety of tourmaline. The incorrect designation, ‘vitreous schorl’,…

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Understanding the Different Beryl Varieties

The varieties of beryl found worldwide include one of the most prized and one of the lesser valued of gemstones. The now exhausted mines south of Koseir in Egypt provided Cleopatra with precious emeralds, including, reportedly, one engraved…

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Morganite – Pink Beryl

Richly colored morganite gems are among the more valuable of the secondary gemstones. The value of morganite has increased with the expanding knowledge of the gem-buying public. The more informed consumers become about gemstones, the more…

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Let’s Talk Gemstones – Opal Part 1

Opal is a fascinating gemstone with an ancient history. Pliny the Elder gives an eloquent description of opal, comparing its many colors to that of the finest of ruby, emerald, sapphire, topaz, and amethyst. Romans prized opal so highly that…

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Goshenite – Transparent, Colorless Beryl

Goshenite is the transparent, colorless, alkali-bearing pure beryl that was discovered in Goshen, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. The Lily Pond mine in a pegmatite near a small lake was the source of crystals accompanied by other pale…

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Yellow-Green and Green Beryl

Yellow-green beryl has achieved ‘desired gem’ status with consumers just within the last few years. Museums were eager to acquire spectacular specimens, while connoisseurs sought it for their collections. However, fashion trendsetters…

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Finding the Origin of Sapphires

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…

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The Secret Life of Rocks

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…

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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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Introduction to Silicates

Silicates comprise about a quarter of the known minerals and almost 40% of the common ones. The basic unit of structure of all silicate crystals is the tetrahedron. There are four oxygen atoms, one located at each apex of a regular tetrahedron.…

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Uncommon Sorosilicate Gemstones – Epidote group

With the exception of orthorhombic zoisite (tanzanite and thulite), discussed in the first article on the sorosilicate class of minerals, the members of the epidote group form in the monoclinic crystal system. Allanite, clinozoisite (the…

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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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Let’s Talk Gemstones – Opal Part 2

Australia’s most famous opal mines lie on the periphery of this Great Artesian Basin. Mintabie, Coober Pedy, Andamooka, White Cliffs, and Lightning Ridge form an arc along its southern edge. Yowah, Quilpie, and Opalton project on a line north/northwest…

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Gemstone Exploration Techniques

The most widely-used gemstone exploration techniques today are ground-penetrating radar, known as GPR; trace-element analysis, which involves seeking signature elements as clues to where gems may lie; and use of a device called a ‘terra…

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The Opal Variety Cacholong

Even in the wide and varied world of gemstones, cacholong is pretty obscure. The stone has certainly generated its share of confusion. Also known as kascholong, the stone is actually a variety of opal, but this hasn’t stopped it from being listed…

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Let’s Talk Gemstones – Peridot

Peridot, often called olivine and chrysolite, is a gem variety occurring in the solid solution series between fosterite (Mg2SiO4) and fayalite (Fe2SiO4). The members of this most common solid solution series of the olivine group are the…

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A Second Look at Tiger’s Eye

For the past 125 years, textbooks and museum displays have relied on the beauty of tiger’s eye to add interest to an often dry description of pseudomorphism, a term that simply means the replacement of one mineral by another while preserving…

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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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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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Working with Topaz

The primary issue with topaz that must be remembered at the bench is its one perfect cleavage direction. Hammering or putting pressure on a topaz runs the risk of cleaving the stone into pieces. Routine stone tightening on a prong set topaz can…

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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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Pearl Treatments Explained

Since the beginning of time, man has sought to improve upon nature. Pearls are no exception. The majority of today’s cultured pearls have undergone some form of processing or treatment after their removal from the mollusk. The only way to confidently…

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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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Nesosilicate – Garnet Group

Garnet is a common mineral distributed worldwide. It occurs as crystals, in massive and granular forms, and as tumbled pebbles. It can form under a wide variety of geological conditions, but high temperatures are essential for its development.…

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A Look at Pearl Quality

When buying cultured pearls, consumers must consider several quality characteristics that are very different from the four C’s of diamonds or gemstones. Nacre quality is very important. The nacre is the layers of protective coating – a pearly…

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Vietnam’s Quy Chau Ruby Mine

Vietnam produces rubies as good as anything from Burma. But the machinations and intrigue surrounding the gem business in that country have left this potential largely unexploited.

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Afghanistan’s Ruby and Spinel Mines

Afghanistan’s ruby/spinel mines are one of the great mysteries of gemology. Historically, rubies and red spinels have been produced from four areas: Burma, Sri Lanka, the Thai/Cambodian border (ruby only; no red spinel) and Afghanistan.…

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Introduction to Burmese Sapphires

Although it is rubies for which Burma (Myanmar) is famous, some of the world’s finest blue sapphires are also mined in the Mogok area. Today the world gem trade recognizes the quality of Burmese sapphires, but this was not always the case. Edwin…

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Gemstone Coloration and Dyeing – Introduction

The prime requisite for coloration of gemstone is that it be porous . That is to say there must be spaces or vacancies into which the coloring chemical, in solution, can penetrate deeply in order to impart the desired color. These spaces are usually…

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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 Coloration and Dyeing – Cobalt Series

The use of cobalt compounds to impart blue hues to glass, glazes and enamels has been known for centuries. “Cobalt blue” glass is familiar to just about everyone. It seemed logical that cobalt compounds could be useful to impart color to gemstone…

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Gemstone Coloration and Dyeing – Copper Series

Various and attractive shades of blue can be induced in gemstone by the use of copper compounds. This is perfectly logical, considering that several of our blue gemstone or mineral species owe their color to the presence of copper compounds.…

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Gemstone Chemical Coloration Techniques

The most important detail in the preparation of gemstone for chemical coloration is that it be clean. Oil and grease, especially, must be entirely removed. I have found it practical to keep a bucket of detergent solution (ordinarily laundry…

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Gemstone Coloration and Dyeing – Iron Process

There are several reactions well known to chemists, involving iron compounds and prussiate compounds (ferrocyanides and ferricyanides) that yield characteristic blue precipitates. All are applicable to chemical coloration of gemstone,…

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Corundum: Rubies and Sapphires

Rubies and sapphires are the same mineral: corundum, with different trace minerals creating a wide variety of color. Rubies and sapphires have been treasured for thousands of years. They were named long before anyone realized they were the…

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Chrysoberyl – Alexandrite and Cat’s-Eye

Ironically, chrysoberyl varieties include two of the world’s most exotic and expensive gems, alexandrite and cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, while yellow or yellowish-green faceted chrysoberyl is a nondescript variety in the low to moderate…

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The Different Beryl Varieties

Aquamarine was the talisman of the sailor for centuries, its colors resemble those of the sea and it has a delicate watery appearance that perfectly suits its name. It is the blue-green to green-blue variety of beryl. It ranges from an icy pale…

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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 Treatment of Gemstones

The treatment and enhancement of gemstones has existed for centuries. Some enhancements improve on nature slightly, are undetectable, and they are permanent; this provides the gem market with a larger supply of beautiful gemstones. Other…

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The 4 C’s of Gemstone Valuation

The valuation of a gemstone is derived from the “FOUR C’s”: carat, color, clarity, and cut. Understanding all four of these is vital background to the buyer. If you are buying an expensive stone with a price in four figures or more, buy it loose…

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The Formation of Gem Materials

The most valuable gems come from crystallized minerals that have formed under heat and pressure deep inside the earth. The perfect order of the crystal structure is what makes gemstones transparent yet durable. Crystallization of minerals…

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Optical and Physical Properties of Gemstones

The beauty, color, and brilliance of each different gemstone variety is a result of its unique set of physical and optical properties. Gemologists study these properties to identify gemstones and to read where they are from and how they were…

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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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The Beauty that is Iolite

You may never have heard of iolite. It isn’t a household word, but it is an attractive indigo colored gemstone. It has been called a “water sapphire”. Iolite is highly trichroic; in one direction it is totally colorless, this aspect was the origin…

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Andalusite Stones: Nature and Rarity

Andalusite is an unusual stone. It shows flashes of several different earth tones in the same stone. Because of its combination of colors, it has been called “poor man’s alexandrite,” but it does not look like alexandrite at all. Andalusite…

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Gem Dealer’s Secret – Table of Contents

This book is written as a guideline for the potential buyer of gemstones that are mined from the earth or formed by some natural organic process. As a knowledgeable buyer you will be a confident one. Natural gemstones offer the consumer many…

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Birthstones and Anniversary Stones

At the time of Moses twelve gemstones comprised the Jewish High-Priest’s Breastplate of Aaron; each stone represented one of the twelve tribes of Israel. In ancient India, gems were associated with planets and astrological signs. From these…

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Gems of Interest – Other Gem Materials

here are many minerals accepted as gem materials. Some gem materials are organic in origin rather than mineral, such as amber and coral. Here are some additional gems of interest you may encounter on your gem quest.

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Gemstone Glossary List

This page contains the list of Gemstone Glossary from the book Gem Dealers’ Secrets – Handbook for the Gem Buyer, written by Sondra Francis. See Also: Gem Dealers’ Secrets – Handbook for the Gem Buyer –…

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Tanzanite Gem Properties

If you are looking at a tanzanite it is critical to view it under different lighting conditions. In daylight tanzanite will display the most blue, incandescent light will bring out the violet color. Generally those stones that are brilliant…

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Zircon Gem Properties

Zircons were called “jacinth” or “hyacinth” in older writings. Zircons are exceptionally brilliant gemstones; the high zircon has the highest refractive index of any natural transparent gemstone. High zircons are usually blue or colorless.…

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Tourmaline: Rubellite and Indicolite

The most common tourmaline colors are greens and pinks. Yellow and violet tourmalines are relatively rare. Tourmaline that falls into the distinctive red colors is called rubellite. Blue colors are called indicolite. Chrome tourmaline…

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Quartz: Crystalline and Chalcedonies

Quartz is generally divided into two groups: the transparent crystalline varieties and the translucent to opaque chalcedonies that are microcrystalline forms of quartz. There are many different varieties in these two types but they have…

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The Kinds of Opals

Every opal is unique in appearance. Opals contain fireworks of every possible color dancing inside them. The flashes of color that make opal such an interesting stone are referred to as play of color. Opals will vary in body color, which is the…

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Jade – Jadeite and Nephrite

Jade is a confusing term since it is used to refer to two different gem materials. The two jades, jadeite and nephrite, can be somewhat similar in appearance, so the confusion persists. Jadeite was first imported into China in 1784 from Burma.…

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The Different Garnet Varieties

Garnets are a group of related minerals which have slight variations in chemistry but a common cubic crystal structure. Many garnets fall in between some varieties and defy assignment to a specific group. When in doubt just call it a garnet.…

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Turquoise Gem Properties

Turquoise has a long history as a gemstone. It was one of the favorites of the ancient Egyptians. Its name was derived from the word “Turkish”, which referred to the ancient source of turquoise in present day Iran. Turquoise will vary in color…

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Topaz Gemstone Kinds and Colors

Topaz is a gem that is very often eye clean, so stones with good clarity are available. The red color can be a strawberry hue: these are quite hard to find and will command the highest price. Deep pinks can be exceptionally beautiful. Pink topaz…

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Spinel Gemstone Properties

The most famous ruby in the world is actually a spinel! It is the “Prince Edward Ruby” which is the center of attention on British Crown of State: this crudely shaped cabochon weighs about 167 carats. It is a magnificent red color. Spinels and…

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The Olivine Peridot

Cleopatra was reported to have a fine collection of emerald jewelry, but rumor has it that it was really peridot. We hope she won’t be too disappointed. Peridot was mined on an island in the Red Sea called Zebirget or St. John’s Island, thousands…

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Lapis Lazuli Gemstone Properties

Lapis lazuli differs from other gem materials because it is a “rock” composed of several minerals rather than being a single mineral as the other gemstones are. The components of lapis lazuli include sodalite minerals, calcite, and pyrite.…

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Feldspars: Moonstones and Labradorite

The feldspars are a group of related minerals which, as a group are the most abundant minerals in the earth’s crust. However, only a tiny percentage of the feldspars fall in the “gem quality” range. The members of the feldspar group have similar…

Article
Gemstone Coloration and Dyeing – The Blacks

There are only two ways that I know of to induce black into gemstone. One of these involves carbon while the other is silver. Theoretically, there should be several other methods possible. I have tested these out however, and they have proved…

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Gemstone Coloration and Dyeing – Pinks and Reds

There are only a few inorganic processes, in my experience at least, that will impart pinks or reds to gemstone. These involve primarily four metals – cobalt, iron, mercury and silver. We already know cobalt can induce blue, purple, amethyst,…

Article
Cabochon Stone Full Bezel Setting

One of the most basic designs in stone setting is “Bezel Setting”. It is so rudimentary in its concept. It is very pleasing to the eye also in its simplicity. This concept blends with the smooth vertical shape of the stone. There are no sharp corners,…

Article
The Use of Pearls in Cosmetics

Ginseng, green tea, and herb and oil extracts are just a few of the main ingredients in millions of cosmetics on the market today. And now pearls have entered the picture in a bigger way, hoping to take the cosmetics industry by storm. But the use…

Article
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…

Article
Tanzanite Gemstones

Due to tanzanite fragile nature, the stone is very easy to abrade, scratch, or chip during the setting process. When hammering or tightening a tanzanite, use great care and develop a habit of regularly checking for proper fit and metal contact…

Article
Power and Magic of Gemstones

When the Babylonians observed the passage of the heavenly bodies across the firmament many thousands of years ago and believed that they had discovered the secrets of their effects on the fate of human beings, this also marked the dawning age…

Article
Gemstone Coloration and Dyeing – Browns and Yellows

At first consideration, it might seem poor organization to include browns and yellows in the same chapter. However, I do this because in some instances the same process imparts brown hues to some gemstone varieties and yellow to others. Admittedly,…

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Gemstone Coloration and Dyeing – The Greens

It seems that everyone likes the greens in chemically colored gemstone. Probably this is because greens are almost universally pleasing to the eye. No doubt this accounts for the great popularity of naturally green gemstone such as jade,…

Article
Gemstone Coloration and Dyeing – Table of Contents

This book is the culmination of some twenty-five years of personally supported research on the use of inorganic chemicals to induce color and inclusions in gemstone. Prior attempts to use dyes for gemstone colorations had proved very disappointing.…

Article
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.…

Article
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.…

Article
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.…

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…

Article
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…

Article
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.…

Article
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.…

Article
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.…

Article
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…

Article
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…

Article
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…

Article
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…

Article
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…

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