Healing Gemstones

Crystal healing is an alternative medicine technique that employs gemstones and crystals. Believers of the technique claim that the crystal or gemstone has healing (metaphysical) properties that when placed on different parts of the body often corresponding to the chakras, or around the body to construct an energy grid, that will heal aliments.

Gemstone medicine has a very long history. Stated in Gemstones, Symbols of Power and Beauty by Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, St. Hildegard von Bingen, born in 1098, “…always used whole gemstones. They were either placed in the mouth for a while or steeped in wine, which was then consumed -naturally without the gemstone!”

Gubelin and Erni also stated that “The Zurich polyhistorian, doctor, natural historian, and theologian Conrad Gesner (1516-1565) was of the opinion that each of the gems mentioned in The Revelations to John (chapter 21, verses 19 and 20) had a special arcanum (secret).”

Despite the popularity of crystal healing, this alternative medicine is not popular with most medical doctors and scientists. There is no evidence that crystal healing can be used to cure diseases because diseases have never been fond to be the result of a “energy flow” in the body. There have not been any scientific studies to show that crystals and gemstones can be differentiated by chemical composition or color to treat a particular ailment. Therefore crystal healing is believed to be pseudoscientific. Alleged successes of crystal healing can be attributed to the placebo effect.

In 1999, researchers French and Williams conducted a study to investigate the power of crystals compared with a placebo. Eighty volunteers were asked to meditate for five minutes while holding either a quartz crystal or a fake crystal they believed to be real. After meditating, many of the participants reported feeling a warm sensation in the hand holding the quartz crystal or the fake crystal while meditating as well as an increased feeling of overall well being. The researchers found that the effects were found by both those holding the quartz crystal and the fake crystal. The study was repeated in 2001 by French, O’Donnell, and Williams in order to add a double-blind component to the study design. Similar results were produced.

Some medical doctors will tolerate crystal healing to a very limited degree. They see it more as a therapy that can induce relaxation which is therapeutic for stress management. However crystal healing can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if it causes people with illnesses to avoid or delay seeking medical treatment.

Authors Note

This subject matter could be easily discussed in much more detail. I wanted to touch the subject without getting into the major depth of the science. I realize that there are people who believe that crystal healing does work. For myself, I look up metaphysical properties out of curiousity and fun. If it gives me another excuse to purchase a gemstone, all the better (Giggle)! In addition to Gubelin and Erni’s Gemstones, Symbols of Power and Beauty, material for this blog was found on Wikipedia and an article written by Elizabeth Palermo for “Live Science” dated January 20, 2015.

 

Identifying A Colored Gemstone

One of the more challenging assignments a gemologist may have is to correctly identify colored gemstones, usually for appraisal purposes. At first thought this may seem like an easy task. As a matter of fact, there are many people who have worked in the fine jewelry industry for years that cannot correctly identify colored gemstones, I have worked with many. Identification first starts with a clean stone under a 10x gemscope. The color(s) throughout the stone and the type of inclusions offer a hint of what the stone may be. Another test using a Refractometer, which tests the gemstones ability to slow down or bend light, also aids in the id. Without getting to technical, the amount of slowing down of light it does is referred to as the Refractive Index (RI). The RI along with what was found, and not found, in the gemscope can lead to an identification. There are several other tests that a gemstone could undergo in determining what it is, but again, to keep this from getting to technical, we will just stay with these two tests as they are the most important.

In order to complete the requirements for a Colored Gemstone Graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America, the final exam is to correctly identify twenty gemstones. A very taunting task I assure you. Let’s have some fun and see if you can pass a three stone test.  From the three color groups below, pick out a Ruby, a Sapphire, and an Emerald.

Which is the Ruby?

1-rubypyrope-garnet

 

 

 

 

Which is the Sapphire?

blue-sapphireblue-spinel kyanite

 

 

 

 

Which is the Emerald?

chrome-diopside1-emeraldtsavorite-garnet

 

 

 

 

Left to Right:                                                                                                Red: Ruby, Pyrope Garnet, Red Diamond                                                  Blue: Sapphire, Blue Spinel, Kyanite                                                       Green: Chrome Diopside, Emerald, Tsavorite Garnet

So how did you do? Pyrope Garnet, Blue Spinel, Kyanite, and Tsavorite Garnets can be found in numerous pieces of fine jewelry, usually only found in specialty/designer fine jewelry stores. A Red Diamond is extremely rare and you will probably only see one in photos. Chrome Diopside is great for the look of an Emerald but at a much lower price, however it is not commonly used.

If you are looking for a particular piece of jewelry, unless you really want a specific stone, you may want to be open minded about what Mother Nature has to offer. After all, not all blue stones are Sapphires and not all Sapphires are blue!

Treatments for Colored Gemstones

In today’s technically advanced world, all of us should be aware of exactly what we are purchasing in the gemstone world. Treatments, synthetics, and imitations can easily look like the real thing! Consumers need to know about treatments because they can easily affect the price of the gemstone and would also determine how a jewelry piece would be repaired or re-sized. I am going to discuss the different treatments so you know about them, but at the same time keep the amount of science down to a minimum (for both of our sanities)!

A treatment in colored gemstones is defined as any human-controlled process beyond cutting and polishing, that improves the appearance, durability, or value of a gem grown by Mother Nature. A treated gemstone is not a synthetic or an imitation. Those are completely ‘grown’ by man in a lab, Mother Nature had nothing to do with it. There are those that say a synthetic could be defined as “real” because it has the same chemical structure as a real gemstone, but it all goes back to the fact that they were developed by man, therefore they are synthetics. So please be aware of this whenever you are shopping for colored gemstones and yes, thanks to new technology, now even diamonds.

Any reputable and ethical dealer should disclose this information to you willingly. However I would go under the assumption that the colored gemstone you are looking at is most likely treated in some form, which may or may not be known. I have heard (but could not verify) that the amount of treated colored gemstones in the marketplace today could be as high as 80% – 95%!  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides the framework of industry ethics. If you are interested in reading the full description by the US FTC, you will find it in Section 23.22 entitled “Disclosure of Treatments to Gemstones”.

There are ten types of gemstone treatments:

1: Bleaching

A treatment that uses chemicals to lighten or remove color. Cultured pearls are commonly bleached to remove dark spots and produce a uniform color.

2: Cavity Filling

Treatment that fills and seals voids to improve appearance and add weight. This treatment is often found in rubies.

3: Colorless Impregnation

Filling of pores or other openings with melted wax, resin, polymer, or plastic to improve appearance, luster and stability. Commonly used in turquoise and jadeite. Dye could be added to the filler. This would be considered two treatments, impregnation and dyeing.

4: Dyeing

A treatment that adds color or affects color by deepening it, making it more-even, or changing it. Like bleaching, dyeing is done mostly to porous gems such as jadeite, coral, and cultured pearls.

5: Fracture (Fissure) Filling

Using a filler to conceal fractures and improve the apparent clarity of a gem. The fillers include plastic, glass, polymer resins, and oils (Canadian balsam, cedarwood, and palm oil). Emeralds almost always have fracture filling as well as rubies. Due to this type of treatment, whenever having a repair done to a piece of jewelry with an emerald or ruby, always insist on the jeweler using no heat. I would even go so far as to have “no heat” written on the repair ticket. Also if a jeweler offers to clean that piece of jewelry, again insist on no heat. Most ultrasonic cleaners that jewelers use are heated.

6: Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is one of the oldest and most common of treatments. Heat treated gems were found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian kings. Heat treatment is exposing a gem to rising temperatures for the purpose of changing it’s appearance, usually color.

7: Irradiation

Exposing a gem to radiation to change or improve the color of the gem, however it is possible for the new color to revert back to the original color. Sapphires and tourmalines are likely candidates for irradiation.

8: Lattice Diffusion

The penetration of certain elements into the atomic lattice of a gemstone during heat treatment, with the objective of changing or accentuating its color.

9: Sugar and Smoke Treatments

Used on opals to bring out the play-of-color (the multiple colors usually found inside opals), sugar treatment is soaking an opal in a hot sugar solution and then sulfuric acid to deepen the color of the opal. Smoke treatment is heating a wrapped opal until smoke or ash penetrates the surface to darken the color of the opal. Of these two processes, sugar treatment is the most common. (FYI, it is a good idea to soak your opals in distilled water every once-in-a-while so they do not lose their moisture which then leads to damage.)

10: Surface Modification

Altering a gem’s appearance by applying backings, coatings, or coloring agents. The three basic methods are backing, coating, and painting. Backings to gems include silver or gold foils, fabric, paper and even colored feathers. Backings have fallen from fashion and are not commonly seen in gemstones, but are often used in costume jewelry. One gemstone that we do commonly see today that has a backing is mystic topaz. Since heat can often melt the backing, mystic topaz should not be exposed to heat. Coatings include wax, varnish, plastic, ink, and metallic compounds. Painting gem materials is another ancient practice from the Renaissance period (1300’s – 1500’s). Painting was obviously done with paint, but also ink, and nail polish.

As I am sure you have noticed, treatments are used to improve the color, clarity, and durability of a gem. Treatments are not a bad thing. Because of treatments, lesser gems can be treated to become beautiful gems and at a more affordable price, making them available to more people. If it were not for treatments, the industry would be limited to the supply of naturally created gemstones beautiful and durable enough to use as gems. In that case, the mighty and the rich would be the only ones to own them.

Gem Lady Treasures proudly uses natural gemstones, but that is not to say that at times we would use a treated gem. For example, in my quest for locating turquoise, I am looking for a turquoise that has been treated for stabilization (but not color) because it is a notoriously unstable gemstone. Of course, we would disclose the treatment.

I hope that you found this article helpful, interesting, and maybe even eye-opening. If you are interested in even more detailed information on treatments, Click Here to access “An Introduction to Gem Treatments” from GIA. Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is a world renown institute known for its research, education, and ethics in the field of gemology.

*Information for this article was provided by “Colored Stone Essentials” by GIA (11/2008).

Gemstones; The Beauty of Earth’s Treasures

When I was thinking about writing a blog on this particular subject, I asked several of my gemological friends what was their favorite gemstone and why. The responses I received were surprising. Only a few people were able to narrow it down to one gemstone.  Douglas Liebman, GG* and owner of an Estate Jewelry business claimed that Cats Eye Alexandrite was his favorite. “The reason being is that it combines the two most interesting phenomenon in gemstones; color change and chatoyancy (cats eye).”   Cornelis Hollander, Fine Jewelry Designer, favors Paraiba Tourmaline due to its “most beautiful neon green colors” he has ever seen.   Dana Hanna, owner of Scottsdale Sparkles admires Pink Tourmaline for its metaphysical properties. “The vibration of this lovely pink crystal brings an influx of love, joy and happiness into your life.” Everyone else had more than one. Shelly Sergent, Curator of Somewhere In The Rainbow, A Modern Gem & Jewelry Collection, stated that “I can’t answer that…impossible!!!” Shelly went on to say that she likes “bright or sultry gems that sing, dance and are sexy”.

Color Change Cat’s Eye Alexandrite
Paraiba Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Pink Tourmaline
Pink Tourmaline

 

 

 

 

There were a couple that could narrow it down to a favorite gemstone to collect and a favorite gemstone for a piece of jewelry. William F. Ashford, ADM FGAA – Qualified Jeweller, Gemmologist, and Diamond Grader in Australia stated his favorite for jewelry was the classic diamond due to its “eternal beauty, durability and rarity”. As an Australian Gemmologist William chose Fine Precious Opal for a collection piece. It “exhibits full spectral colours rarely seen in any other natural gemstone”. Fellow Australian Donna Bollenhagen, Gemmologist and Diamond Grader, loves Tourmaline for jewelry and Rainbow Lattice Sunstone to collect. As far as collecting is concerned, Marc Allen Fleischer, GD, AJP* and Curator/Online Editor of Fleischer Museum prefers to collect specimens. His favorite specimens are the different varieties in the species of Tourmaline. Marc states that “Tourmaline is quite complex in its chemistry and is the last to crystallize in a cavity/pocket. That is how you get those wonderful color zones as the ‘soup’ of liquids and gases mix.” he further says that cutting a tourmaline loses the “termination and the striations that are observed in a natural crystal.”

Opal, Photo Courtesy of Craig Lynch
Opal, Photo Courtesy of Craig Lynch
Australian Rainbow Lattice Sunstone, Photo Courtesy of Donna Bollenhagen
Australian Rainbow Lattice Sunstone, Photo Courtesy of Donna Bollenhagen
Tourmaline Specimen, Photo Courtesy of Marc Allen Fleischer
Tourmaline Specimen, Photo Courtesy of Marc Allen Fleischer

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Lynch, GG* and Certified Insurance Appraiser is the owner of Ouellet & Lynch. He prefers to separate his favorites by color. “Red = Spinel, Green = Tsavorite (Garnet), Blue – Kashmir Sapphire, Orange – Spessartite (Garnet), Pink – Spinel, Pink/Orange – Padparadscha (Sapphire) or Topaz”. Whereas January Gaul, GG* favors gems with lots of color and movement in them such as Agates and Jaspers. I as well have two favorites, the first being Red Beryl. Red Beryl is a very rare gemstone which is principally mined in Utah, but there are also a couple of mines in New Mexico. It’s red color has been referred to as gooseberry red, carmine red, and scarlet red. My other favorite is Bi-color Imperial Topaz.

Padparadscha Sapphire
Padparadscha Sapphire
Agate
Agate
Rough Red Beryl
Rough Red Beryl

 

 

 

 

So what do you see when you study these photographs? I see gemstones with intense color, gemstones with two or more intense colors, and gemstones with phenomenon. All gemstones that Mother Nature creates are beautiful in their own right, but thanks to these gemological enthusiasts and professionals we have been exposed to some very special colored gemstones. Maybe next time when you visit a fine jewelry store, you may spend a little bit more time looking at them!

*GG: Graduate Gemologist degree Gemological Institute of America

*GD: Graduate Diamond degree Gemological Institute of America

*AJP: Accredited Jewelry Professional degree Gemological Institute of America

 

 

 

 

What You Wanted To Know About Gemstones But Were Afraid To Ask: All About Color!

There is so much information available for those who want to learn about diamonds, but not a lot about colored diamonds and colored gemstones. Did you know that a round brilliant cut white (clear) diamond is graded differently than a round brilliant cut colored diamond? When looking at diamonds for the purpose of buying, the Four C’s (Clarity, Cut, Color, and Carat) come into play. The most important ‘C’ depends upon the person looking at the diamond, what they like to see in a diamond. When it comes to a colored diamond, the most important ‘C’ is color, color is everything!

When a cutter is given a rough white diamond, it is carefully looked at to determine what shape it should be cut into, to save as much weight of the material as possible. When a colored diamond is cut, bringing out the color is the ultimate goal, even if it comes to forfeiting some weight to achieve that goal. Cutting colored gemstones is the same as cutting colored diamonds, sacrifices will be made to achieve the best color possible.

When scientists and gemologists look at color, they view it with three things in mind; hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the first impression of an objects basic color. Tone is the degree of lightness or darkness of a color, and Saturation is the intensity or strength of the color. In the fine jewelry industry, color quality and gem value are inseparable. Each gemstone is given a color range that is acceptable. For example the green color range for an emerald and the green color range for a peridot will be completely different due to the chemical makeup of the gemstone. Without going into all the detailed science behind colored gemstones, color in a gemstone is determined by what chemical(s) was introduced to the crystal when it was growing. Nitrogen will cause a diamond to be yellow, but not a sapphire to be yellow, that would be iron.

This is just a highlight on the intense subject of color. I didn’t even get into the complicated subject of color treatments. What matters to you, the consumer, is what YOU are looking for in a colored gemstone ~ buy what you like. Even though I am aware that the highest color value in a tanzanite is a deep purplish-blue, I purchased a pair of pale violet-blue tanzanite’s to accent an aquamarine I have. The more vivid color would have been to harsh next to the sea blue of the aquamarine.

Hopefully this will help you begin to understand why prices on colored gemstones are all over the place. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or you can check out http://www.gia.edu/gem-encyclopedia. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is world-renown for it’s education and research in the field of gemology.

Colored Gemstones
Colored Gemstones

Gemstone Dog Collars Verses Dog Jewelry

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1.
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2.

These adorable little fur babies all have the same doggy necklace on. For fun, like in the magazines, who is wearing it the best?

 

 

3.
3.
4.
4.

 

 

 

 

I will be the first to admit that dogs wearing jewelry are adorable, but I will admit there is a strong practical side of me.

Whenever I see a picture of a dog wearing a piece of dog jewelry they are usually not wearing a collar. I do understand that some pet parents don’t keep collars on their fur babies all the time, but there are a lot who do. I do because if my fur baby Nathan ever got away from me, I want him to have his ID tag on so hopefully with the help of someone, he can find his way home to me. Another reason is that it is really easy to clip a leash onto a collar but not a doggy necklace. They are just not made strong enough to control a dog through the use of a leash. I have also seen warning tags on doggy jewelry to not leave the jewelry on the dog when the dog is alone, choking could be a dangerous issue.

I made doggy necklaces for my Dalmatian Mix Lady Lacy Marie, however hers were always worn with the collar that she had. The reason for this was that I could not locate a fun ‘Princess’ collar in her size. They were all made for XSmall or Small dogs of which she was not.

Gem Lady Treasures created our Unique, Handmade Leather and Natural Gemstone Dog Collars for many of these reasons. Our beautiful collars use real natural gemstones unlike most dog necklaces. The natural gemstones are securely attached to our collars by hand sewing and knotting. Nathan has been wearing his Natural Poppy Jasper collar for nine months now and not one gemstone has even come loose. Double dee rings provide room for attaching a leash and tags without crowding. In addition, there is no danger for choking!

Gem Lady Treasures Gemstone Dog Collars are also made in all sizes, XSmall to XLarge plus have the benefit of being Unisex. Boys as well as girls can wear them! Please click on the link above to see all of our fabulous collars.

 

 

How a Gem Lady Treasures Collar is Made

Probably the biggest misconception about our collars is that we purchase leather dog collars and then add on the gemstones. However convenient that would be, it simply would not give us the tight quality control that we like to have on our product. I order strips of a high quality belt leather in a natural color. Two different widths are used; a five-eights inch for the xsmall & small and a one inch width for the medium, large, & xlarge.

For the collar, I take the leather strips and first cut them to the length I need. I then bevel the edges, both top and bottom. The reason is that it is more comfortable for the dog plus it is a nice finishing edge detail. Holes are then punched into the leather for the buckle to use and for assembling the collar. There is also a wrap around piece of leather that needs to be cut, beveled, and holes punched. This wrap around piece is how the buckle is attached to the collar. At this point if the leather is to be dyed black, that is done all by hand. Even when wearing gloves my hands always have a significant amount of black dye on them afterwards! Some comes off with major scrubbing and polish remover, but it usually takes several days for my hands to be back to normal! After dying and drying for 24 hours, the leather is then buffed by hand and a sealant is put on. This is then allowed to dry for at least 12 hours.

Beveling Edges
Beveling Edges
Punching Holes
Punching Holes
Stamping
Stamping

 

 

 

 

When completely dry, I use a leather stamp to stamp the size of the collar onto the wrap around piece. I also stamp my makers mark “GLT” (Gem Lady Treasures) onto the tongue of the belt. Here again care is needed when using the stamps. I have a Wedium instead of a Medium as proof! Now the assembly begins with hardware that is all nickel plated solid steel. The roller buckle is placed into the middle of the wrap around piece, being careful that the side stamped with the size is to the back side. Once again I learned this the hard way! The end of the collar is placed in-between the wrap and a rivet is hammered into place. The first dee ring is placed in-between the top of the wrap and the collar piece and then another rivet is hammered into place through all three layers. The second dee ring is added and the final rivet is hammered home. At this point, what I refer to as a ‘blank’ is completed. A blank is a collar that is ready to be stoned. I try to keep a number of sizes in blanks in both the natural and black colors on hand. That way when an order comes in, and I don’t all ready have one made, all I have to do is add the customers desired stones. By doing this I can ship out the order as fast as possible so the customer does not have to wait long for their purchase.

Not that the process up to now is not fun, but it is at this point where I can see the final dog collar coming together. When I first added the gemstones to the collars, I did a ton of measuring, converting inches (collar width) to millimeters (bead size) and back. Making sure all of my math was correct I used a quilting ruler to mark where I needed to place my needle punches. The major lesson I learned here was that despite using calibrated stones, no matter how many times I measured, how accurately I measured, and how accurately I converted my numbers, the layout was always off in some manner. I finally learned to use the actual stones themselves when measuring. By laying them out in the pattern I desired, I was able to place my needle punches in accurately. This is such a crucial part because once a punch is made, it is there forever. A needle will not go through the leather without a hole made for it. The needle punch is much smaller than a hole punch, only large enough for a needle and thread to go through the leather. If a mistake is made at this point, it is a costly mistake. After all, you have the investment of the materials and labor into a piece that is no longer useable. I have a few of these ‘very exceptional’ collars – (NOT) hanging in a special location in my workroom. I keep thinking that at some point in the future I will be able to figure out a way to use them!

Needle Punches
Needle Punches
Stoning in Progress
Stoning in Progress

 

 

 

 

We currently have two Collections for our collars. The In The Ruff Collection uses Crazy Lace Agate, Dalmatian Jasper, Labradorite, Sodalite, and Unakite. The Haute Dog Collection uses Amethyst, Apatite, Aquamarine, Carnelian, Moonstone, Rose Quarts, and Ruby Zoisite. Each of the two collections has its own design. In The Ruff has the oval gemstones laying horizontal whereas the Haute Dog Collection has the oval gemstones laying vertical. I decided on this to help separate the two collections and give my customers options. Whichever design I am using, the process is basically the same. For the Haute Dog Collection, I do a backstitch on the back of the collar and add a drop of adhesive to secure the backstitch. Then I pull the needle and thread through the needle hole, place in a knot (much like you would see on a pearl necklace), add a natural gemstone bead, place another knot and then down the next needle hole. I do not tie off after each bead is placed in because then the back of the collar would look messy with starts and stops of the thread and dots of adhesive. For the In The Ruff Collection, after securing the thread on the back, I come up through the needle punch hole, add a natural gemstone bead and then go back down the next hole. I come up again in the next hole and then place a knot. The natural gemstone bead is then added and the process is continued. In this layout, the knots are placed in-between each bead. Another thing that I should mention is that when stitching on the natural gemstone beads, the tension in the thread is very important! The thread needs to be as tight as possible so that the gemstones are on the collar as tightly as possible. This ensures that the gemstones won’t get caught on anything and accidently pulled off. After a quality control check our unique, handmade leather and natural gemstone dog collar is complete.

As you can clearly see, our Gem Lady Treasures Dog Collars are labor intensive and created with lots of love, and yes, blood, sweat, laughes and tears. Depending on which gemstones are used, they all have their own personalities. I sincerely hope that there is one in either of the collections that will suit you and your Fur Baby. If not, let us know so we can find the perfect gemstone just for you!!!

What You Wanted To Know About Gemstones But Were Afraid to Ask!

Gemstones are those beautiful rocks or stones, gems that come from the earth. Yes, some are made in a laboratory by man, but I prefer the ones made by Mother Earth. To understand that they may have taken billions of years to get to the point they are when a miner extracts them from the ground, simply amazes me! Heat, cold, pressure, and all sorts of chemicals all play a role together to create these lovely baubles.

Without going into all of the science behind geology and gemology, we will stick to the simple basics about gemstones. All gemstones have a Species and a Variety. The Gem Species is a broad gem category based on chemical composition and crystal structure. The Gem Variety is a subcategory of the species based on color, transparency, or phenomenon. To translate, think of the Species being a Dog and the Variety would be a specific breed of dog. A different Species would be a Cat. Get it?

The Species Quartz is one of the most important minerals on earth and makes up one of the most popular gemstone groups in the world of colored gemstones. It is an attractive, durable, and inexpensive gemstone that can either be cut or carved into many forms and sizes. Quartz is the second most abundant mineral found in Earth’s continental crust, second only to Feldspar. A fascinating Variety of Quartz is Ametrine. Ametrine is the result when Amethyst and Citrine, both Varieties of Quartz, grow together into one crystal! Some other Varieties of Quartz include Carnelian, Rose Quartz and Smoky Quartz.

Four Peaks Amethyst
Four Peaks Amethyst
Ametrine Rough
Ametrine Rough
Citrine
Citrine

 

 

 

 

Carnelian
Carnelian
Rose Quartz Crystal
Rose Quartz Crystal
Smoky Quartz
Smoky Quartz

 

The Hope Diamond and A Dog Named Mike

Gemstones have been cherished for thousands of years. There are gemstones that have been known since ancient times and there are gemstones that were discovered less than 50 years ago. Gemstones have been found in tombs dating back Before Christ, found in royal collections, found in buried ruins, found in streams, and found deep within the earth. Why do we love them so? There are so many reasons why; historical interest, family heirlooms, birthstones, metaphysical properties, color, worth, or even ‘just because’.

Examples of historical interest would be the Hope Diamond and the Black Prince’s Ruby in England’s Crown Jewels. The Hope Diamond started with Louis XIV in France. Then it was known as the French Blue. Over the centuries it was stolen and cut and stolen again and re-cut. One of the first American’s to own the Hope Diamond was Evalyn Walsh McLean. McLean was a very flamboyant lady who often lent the Hope Diamond “to friends to wear, including her Great Dane, Mike”!* In the English Crown Jewels, the Imperial State Crown has many significant gemstones on it, but the Black Prince’s Ruby is actually not a Ruby at all! In the beginning it was thought to be a Ruby, but after testing it turns out to actually be a Red Spinel. To this day it is still referred to as a Ruby.

Hope DiamondBlack Princes' Ruby (Spinel)

A majority of families have a piece of jewelry that has been handed down over the years. Most likely the ladies engagement ring and/or the wedding band. Some recipients have the piece re-designed to make it more contemporary, like the fashion of the day. Others keep them as is, as more of a keepsake. Many people wear gemstone jewelry because it was given to them as a gift, they bought it for themselves because they liked it, it has their birthstone in it, the stone is their favorite color, or they are suffering from a aliment and believe the metaphysical properties could help relieve that aliment. But why should a dog wear a gemstone collar? Let’s take a look at our families.

Reports are showing that young couples today are waiting to have children and are having fur babies instead. Yes, fur babies. They are named that for a reason. As any dog lover knows, the dog is an essential part of the family, no longer the family pet. Not just to young families, but to all families and the dogs are becoming even more spoiled than they ever have been. Didn’t know that was possible right? Society changes all the time and what do they change? The easiest changes to note are the current fashions that are worn. We are now wearing computers on our wrists, arms, or legs. We were not doing that 50 years ago. Dogs were not wearing gemstone collars 50 years ago, but they also were not referred to as fur babies 50 years ago.

Our fur babies should wear these collars for the very same reasons why we wear gemstones. As a gift for the dogs unconditional love, to be unique and stand out in a crowd, the color looks great on them, or it is their birthstone (or adoption stone). They can even wear it for the metaphysical properties!

When you really think about it, is there really a reason dogs shouldn’t wear a gemstone collar? I think not!

* Gemological Institute of America, Diamond Essentials, Version 11/2008, chapter 3, page 13.

Fun Time Had At The Tucson Gem Show!

When I say the Gem Show I am really not stating it correctly because the “Tucson Gem and Mineral Show” actually consists of 45 gem and/or mineral shows happening all at the same time in Tucson. It is the LARGEST colored gemstone show in the WORLD! When driving around Tucson, you see tents everywhere, with few spaces for parking. What that means is you pick the show(s) you want to go to and find a parking place near by and walk the rest of the time.

My friend and I started at the AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) Show at the Tucson Convention Center. This show is THE show and not open to the public. The benefit of getting into this show was that once you had a badge from them, you could then get into any of the rest of the shows easily. It ended the next day so it had to happen then or wait until next year. This is the show where you find all of the “high” (and I mean HIGH) end stones and jewelry. Row after row of diamonds, rubies, sapphires etc. Frankly if you were looking for a specific stone, say an emerald, and you didn’t have anyone to recommend a vendor, you would be shopping all day long in just that show because there were so many vendors and literally tons of stones to choose from. This picture shows just part of all of the booths that were there.

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I was very excited to actually see and touch Red Beryl! I had only read about and seen pictures of Red Beryl. It is very rare and very expensive. It is mined in Utah and current market pricing is approximately $10,000/Carat! The gentleman I spoke with was surprised that I knew it to be Beryl and not Rubies. He said he was getting tired of explaining to buyers the difference. Of course I read the little sign in the case stating it was Red Beryl! I did take his card, a girl can dream can’t she?!

I did see a ton of turquoise beads, but 99% of them were extremely to small for Gem Lady Treasures collars. I did find a couple of strands of 10mm square Sleeping Beauty Turquoise that was incredible, however at the price he wanted, it was not even close to the price I needed to keep our collars at their current prices. The Sleeping Beauty mine is located in southern Arizona and from what I understand it is currently closed. Depending on who you ask, it is either all mined out or just closed. What makes Sleeping Beauty Turquoise so wonderful is the beautiful blue color and the complete lack of matrix (veining) in the material.

Another booth that I had a lot of fun at was full of ‘necklaces’ made from rough gemstones that were partly polished. The stones were graduated and threaded. They would need to be re-strung with knots in-between the stones (to protect them) and then a clasp added. She had so many different and beautiful colored gemstones. She could tell that I was a gemstone lover at heart and started showing me her really good stuff (read: $$$$$). She pulled out an Aquamarine ‘necklace’ and I fell in love. Aquamarine is my birthstone so I have a great fondness for the stone. This necklace was a beautiful deep blue, a far cry from the washed out blue you so commonly see. It was very difficult but I left the necklace with her – but I did take her card!

On our way out, we stopped by a small exhibit of The Smithsonian Muesums National Gem Collection. A couple of displays that caught my eye were a dish full of Natural South Sea Pearls and my fav, The Logan Sapphire. This 423 ct sapphire from Sri Lanka is one of the largest faceted sapphires in the world. It is surrounded by 16 ctw of diamonds. A true beauty!

In our next blog is the Gem and Jewelry Exchange (GJX) Show!