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Entries in Gemstones (23)

Why is it so Hard to Find Peridot Jewelry I Like?

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All photos above provided by Market Square Jewelers

Peridot is the birthstone of August, and many of us have come to find that August babies either love it or they hate it. Perhaps the ones that hate peridot haven’t had the same exposure to the gem as myself.

The peridot I know and love is a vibrant yellowish green that pops against yellow gold in such a magnificent and esoteric way. In Ancient Egypt, peridot was known as the Gem of the Sun and rightfully so. A well-cut peridot rivals the beauty of emerald and demantoid garnet, for a fraction of the cost.

In theory, peridot is plentiful and affordable. But while peridot is prized for its lavish and distinct coloring, it can be a struggle finding peridot jewelry that’s worth obsessing over. Unfortunately, so many factors work against peridot becoming an inexpensive jewelry staple like amethyst.

Here are some reasons why it’s so hard to find peridot jewelry I like:

1. Commercial Grade Peridot is Undesirable At Times

As far as amethyst goes, even commercial gems have the ability to be beautiful depending on the cut and hue. In contrast, most commercial peridot on the market looks the same - like small bits of washed out baby food. Too harsh? Based on how many uninformed people hate peridot, maybe not. When the cut is shallow, most of that lovable, vibrant green shade fades to almost clear, and there’s not much left to get excited about.

2. The Lime Green Color Can be Limiting in Design

I can’t recall ever seeing peridot in a white gold design that I liked. Let’s face it, peridot looks best in yellow gold. Most stones have a metal that complements it best, but with peridot, setting the stone in white or rose gold can be absolutely detrimental to the design. If you happen to love peridot in white gold, don’t let me turn you away. But this is why we see less peridot designs on the market than we do more versatile green stones like emerald that happen to look amazing in platinum and rose gold.

3. Large Peridot Stones are Significantly More Expensive

Larger peridot stones tend to maintain their deep coloring better than smaller stones. However, the larger the peridot stone, the more expensive it becomes. I can find affordable amethyst stones that weigh more than 4 carats very easily. Trying to find that same size peridot stone will set me back significantly more money, which is very limiting when jewelry shopping. It’s easy to find smaller peridot stones in places like Arizona and China, but the larger sizes are much more scarce globally, thus impacting the market overall.

4. More Awareness = More Demand

As more people become acquainted with that peridot sweet spot - the stones that are vibrant and well-cut - the demand naturally increases. Supply for quality peridot designs doesn’t fully match this new-found demand, which causes an increase in price and scarcity. This means I’ll have to be hunting for peridot jewelry instead of simply browsing for it. Instead of 10 great options, I may only find 5, and even then, I’ll be competing with other buyers looking for the same item.

With all the reasons why I have so few peridot pieces in my collection, I figured it best to reiterate that it’s not impossible to find worthwhile peridot jewelry. In fact, one of our favorite shops Market Square Jewelers, we feel, has the best selection of peridot jewelry!  The photos above are provided by Market Square Jewelers and all the pieces are available for purchase!  You can check out their website for more peridot jewelry here.

This post was contributed by:

 

 

 

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

Vegas Prep: Interview with Hannah of Diamondoodles

Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip Diamondoodles | Gem Gossip

Today's Vegas Jewelry Week prep interview features Hannah of Diamondoodles, jewelry friend and creative genius.  You may not know that I first met Hannah back when she was attending GIA in Carlsbad--I was there taking my 20 stone exam and she reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in speaking to a small group of students about what I do. We kept in touch to say the least (as I'm covered in sparkly stickers and pins by Diamondoodles) and it has been great to see her Diamondoodles evolve. If you want to see what I mean, check out this ancient feature I did of Hannah when she first started doodling with gems. 

How many times have you attended Vegas jewelry week?

This will be my third year in Vegas for jewelry week. 


Biggest tip for Vegas jewelry week you’d give your rookie self on the eve of your first time going to Vegas?

My trade show advice is: ALWAYS wear comfortable shoes.  People tend to dress more formally at the Vegas jewelry shows, so there can be a temptation to put on stylish heels. I am telling you, it’s never worth it! I spend what feels like 32 hours each day on my feet in Vegas, so I would rather keep my feet happy than worry about sartorial critics.

 

Name five things you ALWAYS bring to Vegas Jewelry Week.

1. Big ol’ tote bag

2. External battery charger

Pro Tip: If you want the charger to actually make your life easier, recharge it every night. Otherwise, it’s just another piece of junk in your bag after day one.

3. Concealer - I don’t sleep a lot.

4Extra Lighting - Trade show lighting is notoriously difficult for photography, so I have taken to bringing my own extra lights to get crispy gemstone photos and make the jewelry pop.

Benjamin Guttery @ThirdCoastGems - I’ve literally never been to jewelry week without him <3

BONUS: During all my travels I carry a snack in my purse to ward off hanger.

 

One big difference from last year to this year?

I will be taking over the @AGTA_Gems social media during the AGTA show at Jewelry week this year. 

Don’t worry folks, I will still be posting goodies from the Couture Show and AGTA on my @Diamondoodles account.

 

Favorite things about Vegas Jewelry Week.

The jewelry industry really embraces the work/play lifestyle.  In Vegas that lifestyle gets exaggerated 10 fold.  I’m exhausted after Jewelry Week, but it’s a blissful exhaustion from all the productivity and fun that I had. 

 

Biggest pet peeve about Vegas Jewelry Week.

I never get to go to the pool!

 

Weirdest thing to happen to you during Vegas Jewelry Week in the past.

Isn’t there a quote about this… “What Hannah does in Vegas, stays in Vegas”

 

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my coverage from last year 

You can follow Hannah --> @Diamondoodles

Book Review: GEM the Definitive Visual Guide

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Earlier this year I finally did something every American needs to do at least once in their lifetime: I visited Washington DC and the Smithsonian. I could have spent the entire day, from open until close, in the National Museum of Natural History--their National Gem & Mineral Collection is one of the best, not to mention some of the most exquisite finished pieces of jewelry, each with such incredible history. When I found out about the newest book release from the Smithsonian, I knew it was going to be comprehensive and chalk-full of colorful examples of all things I love (gems and jewels). And hey, I was right. I've been flipping and stopping, gawking and reading all day. 

First off, the breakdown. The Introduction highlights the basics, because whether you're a student or a novice, a professional or a graduate gemologist, we all need to review the foundation. The best part about the intro is the photos--vibrant depictions of each term and visually appealing on every level. The next section brings Native Elements to life: gold, silver, platinum, copper, bronze and diamonds, mixed in with some special vignettes about important and noteworthy pieces. The largest section, speaking in terms of breadth and depth, is all about Gemstones! From Agate to Zircon and everything in between, each stone is given a description, scientific specs, and gorgeous examples featuring the particular gem in different forms (rough, faceted, carved, set in jewelry, etc). Rocks and Minerals make up the final section of the book, before the very end--a very handy directory, glossary and index. 

Hopefully my photos will give you an idea as well of what this amazing book is all about! I think it is perfect for every gem lover, jewelry enthusiast, or person who loves to learn. This book needs to be in the libraries of every middle school and high school! If I happened upon this when I was in middle school, my future in the gem and jewelry industry may have started even earlier than it did.  My jewelry book library is pretty extensive, but this particular title is unlike anything out there.  I love it!

*Full disclosure, I received my press copy for free. 

To order your own:

Gemstone Education: What You Need to Know About the BIG THREE!

FD Gallery FD Gallery FD Gallery

Variety:

Ruby

Species: Corundum

Refractive Index: 1.762 – 1.770

Pleochroism: orangey red, slightly purplish red

Specific Gravity: 4.00

Mohs Hardness: 9

Element: Earth

Chakra: Root

Commanding the highest per carat price of all colored stones, the finest rubies range from a vibrant red to a slightly purplish red with medium to medium-dark tones. They are a type of corundum (aluminum + oxygen + silicon), which is colorless in its purest form. Add chromium and you get the strong red hue we associate with rubies. Not to be confused with pink sapphires, which share the same species, the vibrant red of rubies separate it in variety. “Burmese” rubies are considered the finest due to their origins in the Mogok region of present day Myanmar where they form in metamorphic rocks like marble. These marble-hosted rubies fluoresce (the emission of visible light when exposed to external radiation), which adds to the intensity of its color and in turn increases its value. They are often called “pigeon’s blood” rubies.

These naturally occurring Burmese rubies stand out since almost all natural rubies today are heat-treated to improve color and/or clarity. There are also synthetic rubies on the market today, which are created using processes such as flame-fusion, flux-growth, the Czochralski/pulling method, and the hydrothermal method. Some rubies pass as such good fakes, it took months of gemology school to be able to tell the difference!

Throughout their known history, Rubies have been recognized as a gemstone of love and passion with the potential of stimulating sexual energy and desire. Additionally, rubies are known to motivate and balance while promoting courage and prosperity. A stone of royalty, it is said that the Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan offered an entire city in return for a large ruby. According to Ancient Burmese legend, inserting a ruby under the skin would ensure safety and invincibility.

Variety:

Sapphire

Species: Corundum

Refractive Index: 1.762 – 1.770

Pleochroism: violetish blue and greenish blue

Specific Gravity: 4.00

Mohs Hardness: 9

Element: Wind, Earth

Chakras: Third Eye, Throat

Like rubies, sapphires are a type of corundum. The ruby derives its color from chromium, while the sapphire achieves its blue to violish-blue color from a combination of iron and titanium. Sapphires originate in either basaltic or non-basaltic environments. Basaltic-hosted areas, such a Cambodia, Thailand, and Australia, produce darker colored sapphires, which tend to be less valuable. The finest sapphires came from a non-basaltic environment in the northwestern region of South Asia called Kashmir. Stones were only mined in Kashmir between 1881 and 1887 due to elevation, climate, and political factors. Their “cornflower blue” color and miniscule inclusions give the stones a velvety sheen, which commands very high prices. Statistically, 95% of blue sapphires are treated to improve color and clarity. The most common methods of treatment are heating and lattice diffusion. Sapphire imitations on the market today are comprised mostly of glass and synthetic spinel. Common processes for creating synthetic sapphires include flame fusion, flux, pulling, floating zone, and hydrothermal treatment. The United States accounts for half of the natural blue sapphire market, and according to GIA, in 2010 the US imported $214 million dollars worth of sapphires!

Known as the “stone of wisdom”, sapphires can be used to stimulate psychic visions and in this vein, evoke knowledge and understanding. They help the wearer seek spiritual and personal truths while calming and focusing the mind. As a talisman, sapphires were believed to protect an individual from poison and plague while instilling the power to resist black magic.

Variety:

Emerald

Species: Beryl

Refractive Index: 1.577 – 1.583

Pleochroism: green and bluish green

Specific Gravity: 2.72

Mohs Hardness: 7.5 – 8

Element: Water

Chakra: Heart

Emeralds are my favorite of the Big 3! According to some sources, Egyptians mined emeralds as early as 3500BC. Egypt remained a key source of emeralds until the sixteenth century when Spanish travelers started mining them in Colombia. With their slightly bluish green hue and vivid saturation, Colombian emeralds are the most coveted of their kind to this day. Other sources of modern day emerald mining/production include Zambia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe. The intense green color found in most emeralds is due to the presence of chromium and vanadium, while the bluish color is caused by a presence of iron. Emeralds are mined in metamorphic rock and their most common habit (a crystal’s external shape) is an elongated six-sided prism. They are often faceted into an “emerald cut” which is a type of step cut with a rectangular or square table and faceted corners. Because emeralds are softer and more fragile than corundum, they are more susceptible to damage during the cutting, polishing, and setting processes. Almost all emeralds have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, most commonly fractures and liquid inclusions. A fracture that is filled with oil or resin can improve the stone’s color and overall appearance. Emerald inclusions are often called “jardin”, which is the French word for garden, due to their mossy appearance.

Emeralds are a stone of courage. They are said to eliminate negativity while safeguarding one’s physical, emotional, and mental balance. They are also known to aid in the healing of heartbreak, bringing vivacity to the emotional and physical heart.

Scientific sources:
Gem Identification Lab Manual. New York: The Gemological Institute of America. 2012.
Colored Stones: Ruby. Carlsbad, California: The Gemological Institute of America. 2012.
Colored Stones: Blue Sapphire. Carlsbad, California: The Gemological Institute of America. 2013.
Colored Stones: Emerald. Carlsbad, California: The Gemological Institute of America. 2012.

 

-- Post written by Graduate Gemologist Amelia Kaminsky

--Photos via FD Gallery

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