Gemstone Review – Jewelry Article: Colorful Choices in Colored Gemstones; Transparent Varieties II – ruby gemstone
ruby gemstone –
Colorful choices in colored Gemstones
Translucent to opaque varieties
Rhodochrosite is a new comer to the jewelry business. While thought by rock hounds for many years and a favorite of beginning lapidaries, rhodochrosite appeared only occasionally outside of rock and mineral shows frequented by hobbyists. A member of the carbonate mineral group, rhodochrosite is a reliably soft stone occurring in both rare transparent and a more common non-translucent variety. For practical purposes, we will discuss the latter, more readily available form.
A lovely red to almost white color, often with agate like curved lines creating a design in contrasting shades of red or pink, rhodochrosite may occasionally occur in an orangy tone, but this is poor quality material. The finest color is a medium to deep rose, preferably with curved banding. It has long been popular for certain ornamental objects (spheres, boxes, eggs) but only recently for jewelry. Today, necklaces using rhodochrosite beads alternating with other gemstones or gold beads are becoming particularly popular. It is soft, however, and some caution should be used in wearing to avoid unnecessary abuse.
Scapplite is an interesting gem that is beginning to appear in more jewelry as it becomes more available. Rediscover in Brazil after a forty years hiatus and also recently discovered in Kenya, scapolite is a nice, transparent, fairly durable gemstone occurring in a range of colors from colorless to yellow, light red, orange to greenish to bluish gray, violet, and violet blue. The orange, light red, and whitish specimens may also occur as semitransparent stones, which may show a cat's eye effect (chatoyancy) when cut into cabochons.
The most likely to appear in jewelry are the violets and yellows, and possibly orange cat's eye. They might easily be mistaken for yellow beryl or certain quartz minerals like amethyst or citrine.
Consumers and sellers will have to wait and see what trends evolve around this gemstone, as its availability will determine future use and cost.
Serpentine derives its name from its similarity to the green, speckled skin of the serpent. Amulets of serpentine were worn for protection from serpent bites, stains of poisonous reptiles, and poison in general. A king was reputed to have insured that his chalice be made of serpentine, as it was believed that a poisoned drink was put into a serpentine vessel, the vessel would sweat on the outside. The effectiveness of medicine was increased when drunk from a serpentine vessel.
Serpentine is often used as a jade substitute. It is a translucent to semi-translucent stone occurring in light to dark yellowish green to greenish yellow. One variety is used for decorative wall facings and table counter surfaces, but some of the more attractive green varieties so closely resembled jadeite or nephrite jade that they are used in carvings and jewelry, and are often misrepresented as jade. Common serpentine is also sometimes dyed a jade like color. One lovely green variety, williamsite, which is a very pleasing deep green, often with small black flecks inside, is often sold as "Pennsylvania Jade." It is pretty, but it is not jade. Another variety of serpentine, bowenite, is also sold today as "Korean jade" or "new jade." Again, it is pretty but nit jade. Serpentine is softer than jade; less durable, and much more common, which its price should reflect.
It is a lovely gemstone in its own right, and makes a nice alternative to jade. While it has been around for a long time (too often, however, represented as jade), we are just beginning to see this stone used frequently in necklaces and other fine jewelry under its own name.
This gemstone has already been discussed under lapis. Sodalite is a dark blue semitransparent to semi-translucent stone used frequently as a substitute for the rarer, more expensive lapis. While it may have some white veining, it does not have the golden or silver flecks that are characteristics of lapis. If you do not see these shiny flecks, suspect that the stone is probably sodalite.
Spinel is one of the loveliest of the gems but has not yet been given due credit and respect. It is usually compared to sapphire or ruby, rather than being recognized for its own intrinsic beauty and value. There is also a common belief that spinel (and similar zircon) is synthetic rather than natural, when in fact it is one of the nature's most beautiful products. This misconception probably arose because synthetic spinel is seen frequently on the market whereas genuine spinel is not often seen.
Spinel occurs in red orange (flame spinel), light to dark orangy red, light to dark slightly grayish blue, greenish blue, grayish green, and dark to light purple to violet. It also occurs in yellow and in an opaque variety; black. When compared to the blue of sapphire or red of ruby the color is usually considered less intense (although some red spinel can look very much like some ruby on the market), yet its brilliance can be greater. If you appreciate these spinel colors for themselves, they are quite pleasant. The most popular are red (usually a more orange red than ruby red) and blue (sometimes resembling a strong Bromo-Seltzer-bottle blue).
Spinel may be confused with or misrepresented as one of many gemstones; ruby, sapphire, zircon, amethyst, garnet, synthetic ruby and sapphire or synthetic spinel, as well as glass. The synthetic is often used to make composite stones such as doublets. Spinel is a fairly hard, fairly durable gemstone, possessing a nice brilliance, and still a good value.
This gemstone is becoming more and more popular, and may, therefore, become more expensive if current trends continue.
– Spodumene (Kunzite and Hiddenite)
Spodumene is another gem relatively new to widespread jewelry use. The most popular varieties are kunzite and hiddenite.
Kunzite is a very lovely brilliant gemstone occurring in delicate lilac, pinkish, or violet shades. Its color can fade in strong light, and so it has become known as an "evening" gemstone. Also, while basically hard, it is nonetheless brittle and can break easily if it receives a sharp blow from certain directions. It is not recommended for rings for this reason unless set in a protective mounting. But it is a lovely gem, which low cost makes it attractive in large sizes, and an excellent choice for lovely, dramatic jewelry design.
Hiddenite is rarer. Light green or yellow green varieties are available, but the emerald green varieties are scarce. As with kunzite, it is hard but brittle, so care must be exercised in wear.
Spodumene also occurs in many other shades of colors, all pale but very clear and brilliant. Only blue is currently missing but who knows what may yet be discovered in some part of the world? Spodumene is still fairly inexpensive and is an excellent choice for contemporary jewelry design. Be careful, however, as it can be confused with and sold for more expensive topaz, tourmaline, spinel, or beryl. Also, synthetic corundum or spinel can be mistaken for this gem.
Sugilite named for the Japanese petrologist who discovered it, Ken-ichi Sugi, sugilite first appeared on jewelry scene in the late 1970s, sold as Royal Azel and Royal Lavulite. Best known today as sugilite, its lovely, deep rich purple to purple red color is unique. An opaque gem, it is usually cut in cabochon or beads, although it is also popular for inlay work (intarsia) by top artisans. Sugilite belongs to the manganese family and most comes from Africa. The finest color is already becoming scarce, so it is difficult to predict the future for this interesting newcomer.
See Zoisite below.
– Titanite (Sphene)
Titanite is another "new" gem that is beginning to appear and offers some interesting possibilities for jewelry market. While it has been highly regarded for many years, its relative scarcity prevented its wide scale use in jewelry. Today, however, new sources have been discovered and we are beginning to see greater availability.
This is a beautiful, brilliant gemstone, with a diamond like (adamantine) luster and fire that is even greater than in diamond. Unfortunately, it is soft. Its colors range from grass green to golden yellow to brown.
There is need for some caution because of this stone's softness. We suggest that it is especially suitable for pendants, earrings, brooches, and protective ring settings.
True topaz, symbol of love and affection, aid to sweetness of disposition, and birthstone for November, is one of nature's most wonderful and least known families. The true topaz is rarely seen in jewelry stores. Unfortunately, most people only know the quartz (citrine) topaz, or glass, and in the past almost any yellow gemstone was called topaz. A very beautiful and versatile gemstone, topaz is a hard brilliant stone with a fine color range, and it is much rarer and much more expensive than gemstones commonly sold as topaz. It is also heavier than its imitators.
Topaz occurs not only in the transparent yellow, yellow brown, orangy brown, and pinky brown colors Most popularly associated with it, but also in a very light to medium red now found naturally in fair supply, although many are produced through heat treatment. It is also found in a very light to medium deep blue, also often the result of treatment, although it does occur naturally on a fairly wide scale. Other topaz shades include very light green, light greenish yellow, violet, and colorless.
Blue topaz has become very popular in recent years, most of it treated; Unfortunately, there is no way yet to determine which has been treated and which are natural. The blue form closely resembles the finest aquamarine, which is very expensive today, and offers a very attractive, and much more affordable, alternative to it. Some of the fine, deeper blue treated topazes have been found to be radioactive and, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, may be injurious to the wearer. In the United States all blue topaz must be tested for radiation levels; the GIA now provides this service to the jewelry trade. However, be very careful when buying blue topaz outside the United States. If you do, you may be wise to have it tested when you get home.
There are many misleading names to suggest that a stone is topaz when it is not, for example, "Rio topaz," "Madeira topaz," "Spanish topaz," and "Palmeira topaz." They are types of citrine (quartz) and should be represented as such.
The true topaz family offers a variety of color options in lovely, clear, brilliant, and durable gemstones. This family should become more important in the years ahead.
Tourmaline is a gem of modern times, but nonetheless has found its way to the list of birthstones, becoming an "alternate birthstone" for October. Sometimes this honor result from tourmaline's versatility and broad color range. Or despite the fact that red and green tourmaline, in which red and green occur side by side in the same gemstone, is reminiscent of turning of October leaves.
Whatever the case, tourmaline is one of the most versatile of gem families. It is available in every color, in every tone, from deep to pastel and even with two or more colors featuring in the same stone, side by side. There are bicolor tourmaline (half red and the other half green, for example) and tricolor (one-third blue, one-third green, and one-third yet another color). The fascinating "watermelon" tourmaline looks like the inside of a watermelon; red in the center surrounded by green "rind." Tourmaline can also be found in a cat's eye variety.
One of the most exciting gemological discoveries of this century was the discovery of a unique variety of tourmaline in Paraiba, Brazil. These particular beauties, referred to as "Paraiba" or "Hetorita" after the man who discovered them, have colors so intense and come in such a wide range of green, blue, and lilac shades that they are referred to as neon tourmalines. Unfortunately, demand has been unpresented for these particular tourmalines, and supply has dwindled. The result is that many of the finest Paraibas are very expensive and some rival the finest sapphires in price. For anyone who loves these colors, they are worth seeing just for their own sake. If jewelers in your area do not have these gemstones, they can contact the American Gem Trade Association in Dallas, Texas, regarding where to obtain them.
It is indeed surprising that most people know of tourmaline simply as a common "green" gemstone. Nothing could be more misleading. Today, we are finally beginning to see other lovely varieties of this fascinating gem in the jewelry market. In addition to the exciting new "Paraiba," other popular varieties include:
1) Chrome: A particularly rare green hue.
2) Indicolite: Deep indigo blue, usually with a green undertone.
3) Rubellite: Deep pink to red, as in ruby.
Tourmaline is a fairly hard, durable, brilliant, and very wearable gemstone with a wide choice of colors. It is also still available in large sizes. It is a gemstone without question will play a more and more important role in jewelry in the years ahead.
Turquoise birthstone for December, and ranking highest all the opaque stones, turquoise; the "Turkish gemstone," is highly prized through Asia Africa, not only for its particular hue of blue (a beautiful robin's egg or sky blue) but more important for its supposedly prophylactic and therapeutic qualities. The Arabs consider it a lucky stone and have great confidence in its benevolent action. Used in rings, earrings, necklaces, head ornaments, and amulets, it protects the wearer from poison, reptile bites, eye diseases, and the evil eye. It was also believed capable of warning of pending death by changing color. Also, the drinking of water in which turquoise has been dipped or washed was believed to cure bladder ailments. Buddhists revere the turquoise because it is associated with a legend in which a turquoise enabled Buddha to destroy a monster. Even today it is considered a symbol of courage, success, and love. It has also long been associated with American Indian jewelry and art.
Turquoise is an opaque, light to dark blue or blue green stone. The finest color is an intense blue, with poorer qualities leaning toward yellowish green. The famous Persian turquoise, which can be very intense and pleasing blue, is considered a very rare and valuable gem.
All turquoises are susceptible to aging an may turn green or possibly darker with gem. Also, care must be taken when wearing, both to avoid contact with soap, grease, or other materials that might discolor it, and to protect it from abuse, since turquoise scratches easily.
But exercise caution when buying turquoise. This is a frequently simulated gem. Very fine glass imitations are produced that are difficult to distinguish from genuine. Very fine adulterated stones, and reconstructed stones (from turquoise powder bonded in plastic) saturate the marketplace, as does synthetic turquoise. There are techniques to quickly distinguish these imitations or simulations, so, if in doubt, check it out (and get a complete description on the bill of sale; "genuine, natural turquoise").
Zircon is known to the ancients as "hyacinth," this gem had many powers, especially for men. While it was known to assist women in childbirth, for men it kept evil spirits and worms away, cave protection against "fascination" and lighting, strengthened their bodies, fortified their hearts, restored appetite, suppressed fat, produced sleep, and banished grief and sadness form the mind.
Zircons are very brilliant transparent gemstones available in several lovely colors. Unfortunately, many consumers suffer from a strange misconception that zircon is a synthetic or man-made gemstone rather than a lovely natural creation. Perhaps this belief is based on the fact that they are frequently color treated, as in the blue zircons so often seen. Zircons also occur naturally in yellow, brown, orange, and red.
Many might mistake the colorless zircon foe diamond because of its strong brilliance, which coupled with its very low cost, makes colorless zircon an interesting alternative to diamonds as a gemstone to offset or dress up colored gemstones. But care needs to be exercised because zircon is brittle and will chip or abrade easily. For this reason, zircon is recommended for earrings, pendants, brooches, or rings with protective setting.
– Zoisite (Tanzanite)
Zoisite was not considered a gem material until 1967, when a beautiful rich, blue to purple blue, transparent variety was found in Tanzania (hence tanzanite). Tanzanite can possess a rich, sapphire blue color, possibly with some violet red or greenish yellow flashes. A gem green variety has recently been discovered, which is being called "green tanzanite" or "chrome tanzanite." The green can be a very lovely shade, ranging from a slightly yellowish green to gray green to bluish green. Supply is limited, so time will tell whether or not this green variety will be readily available to the public.
But one must be cautious. It is relatively soft, so we do not recommend tanzanite for rings (unless it's set in a very protected setting) or for every day wear in which it would be exposed to knocks and other abuse.
– Jewelry Article: Colorful Choices in Colored Gemstones; Transparent Varieties II
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