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Entries in gems (20)

Why Are Crystals & Healing Crystals So Popular Right Now?

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So much can be said about crystals and their role in the millennial mind. The mainstream’s relatively recent fascination with crystals is far-reaching and undeniably polarizing. There are those that think a crystal’s ability to heal is hogwash. Others go so far as to dedicate their lives to healing crystal’s seemingly magical powers.

Then there are people like me who fall somewhere in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely fascinated by crystals, and my collection is vast enough to need its own cabinet or two. I use crystals while meditating, and I even playfully ponder over the unseen “energies” different crystals emit.

But I’m still skeptical. Do I think holding a piece of rose quartz over your heart is going to heal a cardiac arrhythmia? No. Do I think every crystal sends off a different vibration? Not really. What I do know is that each type of crystal has a different composition and absorbs and refracts light (and radiation) in different ways -- to put it simply.

Regardless of where you stand, the age of buying druzy crystals in mass numbers is upon us. Crystal healing has been around for centuries, but why all of a sudden are these specimens so in-demand? Skepticism aside, here are some reasons why crystals are so popular:

1. Crystals Are Helpful Meditative Aids:

A crystal doesn’t need to be unearthly magical to help with a simple meditation practice. If the crystal just so happens to emit an energy that helps you channel a goal, great. But that isn’t the point. So much of our own energy is channeled through our thoughts.

If we think a particular stone will enhance our intuition, chances are we’ll be seeing things more clearly. Whether it’s the stone’s work or just our mind, having a token to focus our attention on while meditating can help with the process of destressing.

2. Healing Crystals Lend to Personalized Spiritual Practices:

I’m not a New Age expert, but I do know that the culture developed as a means to explore spirituality for those that don’t fit into the confines of standardized religion. In a New Age practice, no one model that fits all. An individual explores varying belief systems and ideologies, then they practice a mixture based on works for them. One potential area of study is crystal healing, which is an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years.

Many millennials that don’t easily fit into another religion are adopting this New Age model to help them through difficult times. Whereas some might find their solace in Catholicism, Hinduism or Islam, New Agers might find that same comfort through astrology or paganism.  

A recent cultural shift to more New Age type thinking among millennials explains in part why crystal sales have been seeing a resurgence. Before you’re quick to agree or disagree, remember that with belief systems, you don’t necessarily see what you’re believing. If crystals bring someone closer to their spirituality and the universe and if crystals somehow make them a better person because of it, all the power to them. So long as someone’s beliefs are ethically okay and don’t infringe upon someone else’s beliefs, no judgements here.

3. Crystals are Absolutely Fascinating to Look At and Study:

Alright, so let’s get down to the reason why most of my jewelry friends and I are obsessed with crystals. They’re gorgeous! Most of the time they’re completely untainted. And they can grow under the most extreme yet specific conditions. They’re colorful, optically fierce, and exceptional little snowflakes.  Okay, I’m going a little overboard, but you get the idea.

Crystals and gemstones that haven’t been dyed or altered in any way are such a profound testament to the beauty of earth and nature. Something as seemingly simple as rain pushing sediment into a mountain crevice can transform into an unworldly treasure millions of years later. Hello, opal! And that’s just one example.

The science behind crystals is vast, complex, and undeniably intriguing. And even when you fully understand the how, you still can’t help but be mystified when you come across an even more radiant and unusual specimen.

Whatever marketing or New Age trend that pushed the mainstream population onto crystals has only promoted what we gemology and geology fanatics have known all along. There’s nothing quite like a perfectly imperfect crystal.

Five Crystal Items You Can Shop:

Crystal Gifts | Gem Gossip

Crystals - Paperback by Jennie Harding

Agate Bookends

Crystal Cluster Amethyst Art

Wellness Gem-Water Bottle by VitaJuwel

Green and Blue Mineral Art Print

 

This post was contributed by:

 

 

 

Ageless Heirlooms Lauren Thomann | I: @agelessheirlooms | W: www.agelessheirlooms.com

A Rainbow of Jewels at Heritage Auctions December 7th Signature Sale

Lot 54058 Heritage Auction Lot 54360 Heritage Auction

Lot 54142 Heritage Auction Lot 55278 Heritage Auction

Lot 54269 Heritage Auction Lot 54743 Heritage Auction

Lot 54095 Heritage Auction Lot 54408 Heritage Auction

Lot 54138 Heritage Auction Lot 54278 Heritage Auction

Lot 54096 Heritage Auction Lot 54640 Heritage Auction

Swinging from deep cherry reds, to vibrant orange, on up through mossy green and the moody blues, where one finally lands at the end of the vibrant rainbow of color, this year's December Sale from Heritage Auction takes you on a color-filled adventure with their offerings. Whether you've been searching for a specific color or certain tone or saturation of hue, the plethora of gemstones give you so many possibilities. If I wanted to search for an orange-colored jewel, I may not realize how many options there are from this December Signature Sale from Heritage--I could go with deep and vibrant coral, or light and citrus Topaz, or even a non-nacreous option of a melo melo pearl hanging from an orange-colored silk cord necklace! And to think, most would automatically assume citrine!  So, open up your eyes to the rainbow of options from the December 7th Signature Sale from Heritage Auctions.

Let's start with red and work our way down to violet!

Lot 54058: Most would think of ruby red, but these tourmalines exhibit the prettiest shades of red and dark pink, sprinkled with diamonds in a domed style.  Set in 18k yellow gold, these earrings are made to flatter and contain an impressive carat weight of pink tourmaline--over 50 carats! Be a lady in red with these! Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 54360: An enticing and enchanting ruby ring, perfect in every way! Designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, featuring one cushion cut ruby weighing approximately 3.80 carats, surrounded by diamonds totaling six carats! The ring is set in platinum and 18k yellow gold, truly special. Estimate: $30,000-40,000

Lot 54142: One word in the notes section for this listing and sure sums up everything about these platinum and coral earrings--stunning! And we all can agree, if only to see these in person and try them on! The coral is precisely cut and the craftsmanship is high, marked with maker's mark Cicada. Estimate: $8,000-10,000

Lot 55278Bold carved coral creates this orange sensation for a jewelry suite--featuring a ring and pair of matching earrings.  Very modern in style, maybe even slightly futuristic, this set includes some sparkle thanks to diamonds, a total of one carat all together. Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 54269As bright as the sun, this gigantic yellow sapphire which weighs 20.56 carats, mounted in a fabulous platinum and diamond setting. The split-shank style of the ring offsets the boldness of the large gem, giving it a more dainty feel. Such a stunner. Estimate: $20,000-30,000

Lot 54743The glowing orangey-yellow of Topaz makes these 18k white gold stud earrings shine. Set amongst round cut and baguette cut diamonds, the earrings have a fun style, and are great for any occasion! Very versatile! Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 54095: The color green of Tsavorite garnet is unlike any other green! It gives me holiday vibes and that is perfect this time of year. These hoops are something else--pave through and through, all set in 18k white gold with a black rhodium finish. Love them! Estimate: $3,500-4,500

Lot 54408This necklace stopped me in my tracks. The beads are carved green beryl, dispersed with black onyx and diamond in 18k white gold. Such a unique, one-of-a-kind piece, destined to be treasured forever. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Lot 54138Navettes are nice, especially when they are set with a gorgeous 3.50 carat sapphire! This ring pulls out all the stops, from its platinum setting, to superbly matched and set diamonds, it has it all. I can picture this making someone very happy Christmas morning! Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 54278Another moody blue for our rainbow of gems is this lot, featuring a central pear-shaped sapphire surrounded by others in oval. The ring is all set in 14k white gold and is such a classy look. You can't go wrong with sapphires, let's be honest! Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 54096: To represent our indigo color in this rainbow-filled blog post, a light-pastel colored sapphire with no heat treatment does the job! This beautiful ring features a 7.43 carat sapphire which comes with a certificate from GIA. The setting has a halo of diamonds and is a sizable 7, in 14k white gold. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Lot 54640: Had to include the royal purple exemplified by amethyst and this pieces is my favorite from the sale.  A round mixed cut amethyst set in a crowned garland platinum and white gold brooch. A relic from the early 1900s past, I love how stylish it can be in today's time. Estimate: $1,800-2,400

 

 

 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Heritage Auctions.

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Six Gemstones You Might Not Know About But Should!

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With the goal in mind to give you a bigger dose of gemstone knowledge, we've teamed up with Amelia, who is also a Graduate Gemologist like myself, to provide some blog posts featuring gems.  We are excited to have her on board and introduce her to all my readers.  A little bit about Amelia:

 

Raised in Los Angeles and Woodstock, Amelia Kaminsky studied Russian literature and collage art at Hampshire College. After working in the fine art and jewelry industries in New York City, she went back to school to become a gemologist.  A recent Nashville transplant, stay tuned for her Egyptian revival inspired jewelry line!


1. BIXBITE

Red Beryl

Mohs Hardness: 7.5 - 8

Refractive Index: 1.566 – 1.572

Specific Gravity: 2.66 – 2.70

Element: Earth

Chakras: Root, Heart

Where you can find it: Utah

Bixbite, also known as red beryl, is the rarest form of beryl and is found only in the Wah Wah Mountains of southwestern Utah. It was discovered by Maynard Bixby in 1897, and is often referred to as “red emerald” (emeralds are also a species of beryl). It’s beautiful and highly saturated raspberry red color comes from manganese and other trace elements within its crystal structure. It aids in all kinds of healing work, especially harmony and cooperation with others because it protects against negativity. Red beryl is an excellent stone for wedding or engagement jewelry because it stimulates passion, and nurtures affectionate, lasting love.

 

2. CARNELIAN

Carnelian Chalcedony

Mohs Hardness: 6.5 – 7

Refractive Index: 1.535 – 1.539

Specific Gravity: 2.60

Element: Fire

Chakras: Root, Sexual/Creative, Solar Plexus

Where you can find it: Brazil, India, and Uruguay

Named after the cornel cherry, carnelian is a light orange to dark reddish orange chalcedony. Chalcedonies are made up of quartz crystals that are too small to see with the unaided eye; this is called a cryptocrystalline aggregate. They are plentiful, semitransparent to opaque stones that are commonly used for carving and engraving, and have been used in jewelry for almost 3,000 years! Carnelian is an extremely warm and energizing stone, revitalizing the mind and body while stimulating creativity. It helps foster inner confidence and courage, and is especially helpful in aiding those who are looking to overcome difficulties or make positive life changes.

 

3. SUNSTONE

Sunstone Oligoclase Feldspar

Mohs Hardness: 6.5 – 7

Refractive Index: 1.539 – 1.547

Specific Gravity: 2.65

Element: Fire

Chakras: Sexual/Creative, Solar Plexus

Where you can find it: Oregon

There are many sunstone varieties, but I find Oregon sunstone to be the most spectacular. It’s a transparent feldspar with glittery copper inclusions called aventurescence, which create a reddish or golden sheen. This type of sunstone belongs to the species Oligoclase and is in the monoclinic crystal system. It’s a stone of light and energy, bringing luck and good fortune, assisting in the manifestation of prosperity and expanded self-awareness. Sunstone bestows strength, helping the wearer feel optimistic and enthusiastic.

 

4. WATERMELON TOURMALINE

Parti-colored Tourmaline

Mohs Hardness: 7 – 7.5

Refractive Index: 1.624 – 1.644

Specific Gravity: 3.06

Element: Water

Chakras: Heart

Where you can find it: Africa, Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka, and United States

Tourmaline comes in just about every color, and while they all share the same basic crystal structure, each have somewhat different chemical and physical properties. They are allochromatic, which means trace amounts of various chemical elements cause its color. Generally, gem quality tourmalines are elbaites (comprised of sodium, lithium, aluminum, and on occasion copper) that form in pegmatites (an igneous rock where concentrated amounts of lithium of sodium are found). One of my personal favorites is watermelon tourmaline, also called parti-colored, which gets its name from its strong pink and green color zoning. Watermelon tourmaline is a stone of harmony, creativity, and love that assists in calming the mind and wild emotions. It works with the heart chakra to cleanse and remove blockages, as well as balance yin and yang energies. Watermelon tourmaline is also an excellent stone for connecting with nature and mother earth.

 

5. TANZANITE

Tanzanite Zoisite

Mohs Hardness: 6.5 - 7

Refractive Index: 1.691 – 1.700

Specific Gravity: 3.35

Element: Wind

Chakras: Heart, Throat, Third Eye, Crown, Soul Star

Where you can find it: Tanzania

In 1967, a Masai tribesman came across transparent blue crystals in the Merelani Hills of Northern Tanzania and showed them to a local fortune hunter thinking they were sapphires. By 1969, they had been identified as a new variety of zoisite, a mineral consisting of silica, calcium and aluminum and shortly thereafter Tiffany & Co. named it “Tanzanite”. Known for its strong trichroism, appearing blue, violet, and purplish red or colorless when observed at different angles, Tanzanite is usually brown if left untreated. In fact, 95% of all tanzanite on the market today was heat treated to improve its color! Tanzanite aligns the heart and mind, creating balance and harmony. Particularly effective when worn as jewelry, it helps the wearer feel more grounded and centered, preventing them from dwelling on emotional stresses.

 

6. CHAROITE

Mohs Hardness: 5 – 6

Refractive Index: 1.550 – 1.559

Specific Gravity: 2.68

Where you can find it: Russia

Element: Wind

Chakras: Root, Solar Plexus, Third Eye, Crown, Soul Star, Earthstar

Named after the Chara River in Siberia, Charoite is a rare silicate mineral discovered in 1940, but unknown to the outside world until 1978. Although a relatively new gemstone, it is often described as having an unnatural beauty; it’s distinct purple body color and swirling fibrous inclusions with sheen have led some to question whether it’s been enhanced or synthesized. Charoite is a stone of transformation, dispelling negative energy while summoning restorative energy. It promotes protection and healing, aiding in powerful dreams.   

 

>> Be sure to follow Amelia on Instagram: @the_egyptian_revival

 

INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER: by Lori Leven of Love Adorned

takeover

Did you miss the epic Instagram Takeover on my Instagram feed this past weekend?! If so, we've got you covered! Here is the recap of all that went down in Tucson, AZ when Lori Leven, owner of Love Adorned in NYC went gem hunting in the desert!

 

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Hello from Tucson Gem Show! These rough stones, already beautiful enough on their own, are perfume holders called Aroma Jewels. They are made by the most wonderful, knowledgable husband and wife team. The met in high school when she came from Brazil as an exchange student and they have been traveling the world gem exploring for the last 40 years! They believe in using the purest form of their materials and often craft jewelry from stones they've mine in 24k gold. They go by the name of Natures Geometry.

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These beautiful Ethiopian opals differ from Australian opals in that Australian opals form in ancient sea beds and "Welo" opals originate from volcanic activity. Volcanic opals are also called hydroplane, meaning that they absorb water and change from opaque or semi-translucent to translucent or transparent, often making the color play disappear. Fortunately GIA tests show that wells will revert back to their original state once dried without any adverse reaction such as cracking. Even so, I wouldn't wear them in the shower! ;)

Under specific wavelengths of light THIS looks like...

THIS!!

The legend of Lou Zeldis lives on through Liz Marx. A dear, long time friend of Lou's who has tirelessly been cataloging Lou's creations all the way back from his days of making jewelry in Peru in the 1970s. I met Lou in Bali in the early 90s and was immediately struck by how prolific of an artist and designer he was. Besides jewelry Lou made incredible textiles, basketry, furniture and art objects. He was a wonderful man and I know I'm not the only one who misses him...

It rained HARD for the first two days of the show. Harder than most Tucsoners had ever seen. By the time the skies cleared and I made it out to the dirt (mud) fields where the larger than life amethyst geodes were, most of them had already been sold and loaded up on pallets to go to their new owners. So while I couldn't stand straight up inside this particular geode, I still am in awe that this came out of the ground looking like a regular old rock until someone burst it open with a big hammer!

Petrified palm wood knife handle with rock crystal reverse intaglio eyes!

It took J Ranganatha Rao three years to develop his technique of turning gemstone bowls. They are so thin that they're translucent and glow in the sunlight. This one is sapphire.

Idar-Oberstein is a small area in SW Germany where modern lapidary artists create some of the most interesting free form cuts in the world. This is an example of a large, most impressive rutilated quartz.

I met Katie Finn of Elizabeth Street Jewelry many years ago when she first started making jewelry. I can't say that I know another jeweler that has the talent, drive and acumen that it takes to be the one woman show that she is. Last year we collaborated on a successful capsule collection of rings and this year's collab should be even better. She found these sweet spinels in Tucson yesterday. Can't wait to use them...

Incredible group of agatized druzy shells estimated to be over 100 million years old. In nature 95% of shells are right coiling. In Hindu and Buddhist tradition, left coiling shells hold great metaphysical powers. 100% of these shells are left coiling! Available soon at Love Adorned.

So I've gotten to thinking...

Over and out Tucson!! See you next year! Thanks Gem Gossip

 

Gem Gossip Meets Jean-Noel of Top Notch Faceting

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When Jean-Noel of Top Notch Faceting says he's in the same town you are--you find a way to meet up, stat! I was finishing up my day at the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry Show when I met up with the gem magician himself. I got to see gem upon gem, each one more and more brilliantly faceted. He schooled me on Phenakite, a gemstone which is not discussed at GIA mainly because it is not your average gemstone. This colorless gem is unique because Jean says, "it has its own fire within." The lighting of the ballroom was not the best, but that didn't stop the Phenakite that was blaring like a firefly. Seeing the rough was interesting as well--colorful pebbles that seem so ordinary, but can become something so extraordinary. It truly takes passion, dedication and talent to accomplish what Top Notch Faceting has done…and I am so glad I got to meet such a cool dude! Can't wait to see how far he will go and more incredible gemstones faceted from Jean-Noel.