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Gems and Stones

Gems and StonesALEXANDARITE

One of the most fascinating gemstones throughout history is alexandrite: a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that actually changes color from green in daylight to red in incandescent light.

In 1987, a new find of alexandrite was made in at a locality called Hematita. The Hematita alexandrite shows a striking and attractive color change from raspberry red to bluish green. Although alexandrite remains extremely rare and expensive, the production of a limited amount of new material means a new generation of jewelers and collectors have been exposed to this beautiful gemstone, creating an upsurge in popularity and demand.

When evaluating alexandrite, pay the most attention to the color change: the more dramatic and complete the shift from red to green, without the bleeding through of brown from one color to the next, the more rare and valuable the stone. The other important value factors are the attractiveness of the two colors - the more intense the better - the clarity, and the cutting quality. Because of the rarity of this gemstone, large sizes command very high premiums.


TOPAZ
The Sun-Set Gem Blue topaz is not a naturally occurring gemstone. Clear topaz is irradiated to achieve the popular blue color. Topaz is often heated to intensify the color and this treatment is permanent The magic of topaz goes back thousands of years. The Greeks believed it cooled tempers, restored sanity, cured asthma and relieved insomnia. Topaz is found in , and the United States Topaz is a very hard gemstone but it can be split with a single blow, a trait it shares with diamond. As a result it should be protected from hard knocks The Birthdates of this Gem is December.


TANZANITE
THE SAFARI GEMSTONE
Gems and Stones_2 Named for its locality, Tanzanite (from ) where the only transparent gem variety is found. Thulite is named after Thule, an archaic name for . (strong pleochroism from blue-violet to violet) The gem variety, tanzanite, is a very rare gemstone as there is only one place it has ever been found. Tanzanite was found in this locality in 1967, and it is today about exhausted. The stone is said to have low tolerance to ultrasonics, and should not be subjected to this method of cleaning Tanzanite is a fairly high valued gemstone and falls in a class just below the three big colored stones, emerald, ruby and sapphire (which it resembles). Tanzanite can be heat treated to enhance its color and remove any yellow or brown overtones Tanzanite is the ultimate prize of a gem safari. Its rich purples and blues often have a depth comparable to the finest sapphire. Paler tanzanite has a delicate periwinkle color like the eyes of Elizabeth Taylor. It is supremely rare, coming from only one place in the world, the Merelani Hills of , in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.


SPINALSPINAL
COLLECTORS ITEM
In , where some of the most beautiful colors are mined, spinal was recognized as a separate gem species as early as 1587. In other countries the masquerade lasted for hundreds of years after that. Spinals were most often referred to as "balas rubies" which may have referred to color or to country of origin Spinal is the great imposter of gemstone history: many famous rubies in crown jewels around the world are actually spinal. The most famous is the Black Prince's Ruby, a magnificent 170-carat red spinal that currently adorns the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels after a long history: Henry V even wore it on his battle helmet! The Timur Ruby, a 352-carat red spinal now owned by Queen Elizabeth, has the names of some of the Mughal emperors who previously owned it engraved on its face, an undeniable pedigree!


THIS BIRTHSTONE FOR APRIL
SAPHIRE

THE STONE OF HEAVENS Most fine sapphire on the market today comes from , which produces a wide range of beautiful blues from delicate sky blue colors to rich saturated hues. Kanchanaburi in and Pailin in are renowned for deep blue even colors. Two new mining localities are showing promise: Madagascar, which has produced some exceptionally fine stones in small sizes but has no organized mining yet, and Tanzania, which has long produced sapphire in other colors but is starting to produce blue colors as well from a new deposit in the south Sapphire is perhaps the toughest and most durable gemstone available on the market. With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, sapphire is harder than any other gem but diamond and it has no cleavage plane so it cannot be cut with a single blow like a diamond. In fact, synthetic sapphire is used for scratch-resistant watch crystals, optical scanners, and other instruments because its durability can be trusted. That durability ensures that sapphire jewelry will be treasured for generations September is the month of this Birthstone.


RUBY
Lord of Gems ? King of Precious Stones Ruby is known as the "king of gemstones." One of the most valuable of all natural gemstones, in ancient times, only royalty could afford to own the stone. The most desirable color for a ruby is pure red with a hint of blue. The color in a ruby is often uneven, occurring in stripes and spots. Virtually all rubies are heated to improve color and remove cloudiness. This treatment is permanent. Rubies are mined in , and . Very good quality rubies weighing 3-5 carats can rival diamonds in value and are extremely rare. The ruby is a very durable gem and perfectly suitable for everyday wear.

Ruby the Precious stone is the birthstone of July.


PERIDOT
EXTRATERRESTRIAL GEM
One gemstone is born in fire: peridot, the volcanic gem. Small crystals of peridot are often found in the rocks created by volcanoes and also can be found in meteors that fall to earth! A few samples of extraterrestrial peridot have even been faceted into gems! The Romans called peridot "evening emerald," since its green color did not darken at night but was still visible by lamplight. Peridot later was also often used to decorate medieval churches, probably carried back to Europe by the Crusaders. Large peridots, more than 200 carats in size, adorn the shrine of the three magi at the Cologne Cathedral. Although peridot is treasured in Hawaii as the goddess Pele's tears, almost all of the peridot sold in Hawaii today is from Arizona, although peridot is produced by Hawaii's volcanoes. The island of Oahu even has beaches made out of olivine grains but unfortunately they are much too small to cut into peridot!

The Birthstone For Peridot Is August.


OPAL
The Gemstone with Fireworks
Mysterious opals contain the wonders of the skies - sparking rainbows, fireworks, and lightning - shifting and moving in their depths. Opal has been treasured throughout history around the world. Archaeologist Louis Leakey found six-thousand year old opal artifacts in a cave in !

A beautiful opal called the orphanus was set in the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. It was described "as though pure white snow flashed and sparkled with the color of bright ruddy wine, and was overcome by this radiance." This opal was said to guard the regal honor. The hardness of opal ranges from 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. It should be protected from heat and strong light, which can dry it out, causing cracks. Ultrasonic cleaners, metal polish, acids, and any strong solvents should be avoided. Exposed corners or points on pear or marquise shape opals may chip if hit while they are being worn. Opal is best set in a protected mounting.


GARNETS
THE GEMSTONE'S FOR ALL SEASON'S

Garnets have long been carried by travelers to protect against accidents far from home. In ancient Asia and the American Southwest, garnets were used as bullets because the glowing red color was said to increase the ferocity of a wound. Garnets in legend light up the night and protect their owners from nightmares. Noah used a garnet lantern to navigate the Ark at night. The ancient world is full of praise for the carbuncle, the glowing red coal of a gemstone we now now as garnet. Garnet is the birthstone for January, which means that January babies have a lot of choices! Varieties available, some mineral differences and some color descriptions, include rhodolite, malaya, demantoid, grossular, hessonite, spessartite, hessonite, almandine, mandarin, and combinations between these varieties. The Birthdates for these Gemstones is January.


Emerald
Quicken The Intelligence as well as the Heart Emerald is a beryl, a mineral that is normally colorless. Emerald's rich green color is caused by minute traces of chromium. Chromium is the rare Midas element of gemstones: its presence also gives rubies their fiery redness. Crystals of emerald grew long before human history in metamorphic rocks, which usually restricts the size of emerald crystals, making them even rarer in large sizes.

When choosing an emerald, the most important value factor to consider is color. The more vivid the green, the more valuable the emerald. There are also attractive bright stones with a lighter green color that often make a spectacular piece of jewelry. Darker green emeralds may also make up in rich color what they lose in brightness. The Birthdate for this Charming Rich Gem Stone is May the month of Springtime Romance.


CATS EYE

The Gemstone with the Eye of a Tiger Like the eye of a panther, cat's-eye chrysoberyl seems almost supernatural in origin. The color ranges from a honey-brown to an apple green with rich gold colors generally the most valued. The most important value factor is the strength and sharpness of the eye. Fine cat's-eye chrysoberyl often also shows the "milk and honey" effect. When a bright light source is directed at the side of the stone, one side of the eye will be milky white and the other remains gold. When the stone is rotated, the colors switch. Cat's-eyes are especially popular in men's jewelry. Cat's-eye chrysoberyl has the presence of a familiar, a powerful talisman that can direct fortune. Put it to work for you.


AQUAMARINETHE
GEM OF THE SEA

Aquamarine, the gem of the sea, is named with the Greek word for sea water. The reference is obvious: aqua sparkles like the sea and it color is pale to medium blue, sometimes with a slight hint of green. Aquamarine is the birthstone for March.


Aquamarine is always a pastel blue but the darker the color, the more valued it is. Connoisseurs also prefer a pure blue, with no green in it. If you prefer a greenish tinge, you will find that these stones are less expensive Aquamarine is a durable and lively gemstone that is appropriate for all jewelry uses. Its pale fire is flattering to most skin tones: even if you are not a mermaid, you will want to add it to your treasure chest. This Birthdates for this Gem Stone May.

AMETHYST
The Royal Purple Gem Stone
Amethyst ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple. The pale colors are sometimes called "Rose de France" and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes. Generally, amethyst from South America tends to be available in larger sizes than African amethyst but amethyst from Africa has the reputation for having better, more saturated, color in small sizes.

Very dark amethyst, mostly in small sizes, is also mined in Australia. Amethyst is available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including many fancy shapes. Large fine stones may be sold in free sizes but generally amethyst is cut in standardized dimensions. Amethyst ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple. The pale colors are sometimes called "Rose de France" and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes.