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!

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

New Products From Gem Lady Treasures!

Thanks to so many Gem Lady Treasures admirers who asked us to create additional products, we have been busy at work! I am happy to say that we have added three new products with many selections of each. There are bottle stoppers, keychains, and bookmarks ~ all at great prices!

There are two different bottle stoppers, one at 4 1/4″ tall and the other at 5″ tall. Just what every dog lover, gemstone lover, and wine lover needs! Our bottle stoppers come in a variety of looks. Made from silver-plated zinc with durable silicone gaskets, they will look great crowning any wine or champagne bottle! They do meet USDA food grade standards and should only be hand washed. We have used natural gemstone beads, glass beads, ceramic dog bone beads, and an antique silver-plated paw print charm.

Short Bottle Stoppers
Short Bottle Stoppers
Short Dog Bone Bottle Stopper
Short Dog Bone Bottle Stopper
Long Bottle Stopper
Long Bottle Stopper
Long Gemstone Bottle Stopper
Long Gemstone Bottle Stopper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our new key chains are so much fun! Whether it be the mailbox key, the pool key, or your spare house or car keys, they will easily be spotted with these unique keychains attached to them. By the way, did you know that they would also look great dangling from your favorite handbag strap?

Dog Lovers Keychain
Dog Lovers Keychain
Hearts Keychain
Hearts Keychain
Hearts Keychain
Hearts Keychain
Rose Quartz Keychain
Rose Quartz Keychain
Orange & White Keychain
Orange & White Keychain
Blue & Green Keychain
Blue & Green Keychain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also have added a few great bookmarks. The shepherds hook style bookmark is 3 1/2″ in length and cast from a lead-free zinc alloy. Whether it be a text book, a casual reading book, or a coffee table book, show your personality with these fabulous and unique bookmarks!

Dog Lovers Bookmark
Dog Lovers Bookmark
Hearts Bookmark
Hearts Bookmark
Hearts Bookmark
Hearts Bookmark
Gemstone and Dog Bone Bookmarks
Gemstone and Dog Bone Bookmarks

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