Gem Information Index - Select the best Gem at AwesomeGems.com - Blue Sapphire Ceylon Sapphire Burma Ruby Ceylon Rubies Colombian Emerald African Emerald Russian Alexandrite Brazilian Alexandrite Star Sapphire Star Ruby Paraiba Tourmaline Tanzanite Imperial Topaz Indicolite Santa Maria Aquamarine Padparadscha Collector Gems

Gem Facts and Information

Fine Untreated Blue Ceylon Sapphires and other Fancy Saffire

Burma Rubies Untreated natural Mogok Ruby and Fine Ceylon Ruby

Colombian Emeralds African Emeralds and Brazilian Emeralds

Fine natural Ceylon Star Rubies and Burma Star Ruby

Sapphires

Rubies

Emeralds

& More


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Gem Information Index
You will never find a synthetic gem in our Gemstone selections,
We feature only Genuine, Natural, Precious Gemstones
 Price per carat usually reflects the evenness of the color, the clarity, and the brightness of the stone


Click on the underlined item of your choice to view selections available
COLOR GRADES
TREATMENTS
CLARITY GRADES
GEM CUTS
GEM APPRAISALS
GEM HARDNESS
BIRTHSTONES

GEMSTONE PRICE GUIDE

ANNIVERSARY GEMS
 
 
 
DIAMOND
 SAPPHIRE - BLUE

AMETHYST

ALEXANDRITE
SAPPHIRE - GOLDEN
CITRINE
AQUAMARINE
SAPPHIRE - ORANGE
GARNET
ANDESINE
SAPPHIRE - PADPARADSCHA
IOLITE
CHRYSOBERYL
SAPPHIRE - PINK
KUNZITE
EMERALD
SAPPHIRE - PURPLE
MORGANITE
 RUBY
SAPPHIRE - STAR
 PERIDOT

STAR RUBY

SAPPHIRE - WHITE

SPINEL

TANZANITE

SAPPHIRE - YELLOW

TOPAZ

TOURMALINE

SAPPHIRE - COLOR CHANGE

ZIRCON

  OPAL  

 

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Gemology Report Laboratories - Gem Labs - AwesomeGems.com
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Gemological Reports and Gem Appraisals
We can supply Appraisals and/or Gemological Laboratory Certificates on any gem we sell, if requested.
Many of our Gems already have a Gem Identification Reports listed online.
We use fully accredited Gemological Laboratories able to perform most of our Gemstone Identification and Diamond Grading of Gems and Jewelry.
Our Gem listings are based on the GIA "Color Stone Grading System".
If you are looking for a reputable Gem & Jewelry Appraiser, we recommend:
GUILD LABS
You should expect at least $100 fee for a written Gem Appraisal.

The following links are to more reputable Gem Laboratories :
AGL | AGTA | GIA | GRS | GUILD | GUBELIN | SSEF
Gemological reports can cost $100 to $1,000, depending on the gem and how much detail you want on the report.

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Color Grading at AwesomeGems.com
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  • GIA COLOR GRADES
  • The GIA type Color Scale:
    The 3 charts below are based on the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) "Color Stone Grading System", where the Color with it's various Hues, the Tone, and the Saturation of color in a particular gem is listed.
    You will normally see this system identified by a letter or set of letters, followed by two numbers. The letters are abbreviations of the Color and Hues visible... the first number is the Tone or lightness/darkness of a particular gemstone... and the second number in sequence is the Saturation of color in the gem.  So, as an example, when you see a Ruby given the color "R", this would indicate the color is "Red" meaning the primary color is Red and there appears to be no noticeable secondary color... if the tone/saturation numbers were listed as "6/5"... this would indicate the gem has "Medium-dark" tone and "Strong" saturation of color... making this particular gem fall in the "good" category.

    GIA Type COLOR SCALE

    Abbreviation
    HUE
    Abbreviation
    HUE
    P
    Purple
    styG
    strongly yellowish-Green
    rP
    reddish-Purple
    yG
    yellowish-Green
    RP/PR
    Red-Purple or Purple-Red
    slyG
    slightly yellowish-Green
    stpR
    strongly purplish-Red
    G
    Green
    slpR
    slightly purplish-Red
    vslbG
    very slightly bluish-Green
    R
    Red
    vstbG
    very strongly bluish-Green
    oR
    orangy Red
    GB/BG
    Green-Blue or Blue-Green
    RO/OR
    Red-Orange or Orange-Red
    vstgB
    very strongly greenish-Blue
    rO
    reddish-Orange
    gB
    greenish-Blue
    O
    Orange
    vslgB
    very slightly greenish-Blue
    yO
    yellowish-Orange
    B
    Blue
    oY
    orangy-Yellow
    vB
    violetish Blue
    Y
    Yellow
    bV
    bluish Violet
    gY
    greenish-Yellow
    V
    Violet
    YG/GY
    Yellow-Green or Green-Yellow
    bP
    bluish Purple
    The Tone and Saturation Scale:
    Is based on a determination of the lightness or darkness of a particular gemstone.
    Tone should be considered along with the Color to properly understand the depth of color in the gem.  Even though it may have good primary color, if it's too light in tone, it will not be rich enough... or... if the color is too dark, it will sacrifice brilliancy and transparency.
    Saturation should be considered along with the Color and Tone to properly understand the amount and evenness of the color that is saturated throughout the gem.

    GIA Type TONE SCALE

    0
    1
    2
    3
    4
    Colorless or White
    Extremely Light
    Very Light
    Light
    Medium-Light
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    Medium
    Medium-Dark
    Dark
    Very Dark
    Extremely Dark
    GIA Type SATURATION SCALE
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    Brownish or Grayish
    slightly Brownish or slightly Grayish
    very slightly Brownish or very slightly Grayish
    Moderately Strong
    Strong
    Vivid

    Understanding the GIA type Colored Stone Grading System :
    Here's how a gemologist evaluates a gemstone's hue, tone, and saturation, using the GIA type colored stone grading system :

    The stone is first identified as to gem type.  After being thoroughly cleaned, the stone is held by its girdle over a neutrally colored background, and the gemologist looks at it face-up from a comfortable distance – usually about 18 in. (45 cm) – in strong, diffused, daylight-equivalent lighting, with the light source somewhere around 10 in. (25 cm) above the stone. The stone is then rocked back and forth up to a total of 30 degrees as the tone, hue, and saturation judgments are made.

    The following examples will help you understand the process involved in how a gem’s color is determined.  Let's first look at the illustration to the right.  This example tone chart starts with #2 very light, and goes to #8 very dark, as the tone examples. The gem’s tone is determined first, and in this example it is determined that the tone is #5 medium.

    Next, the gemologist estimates the overall hue.  Look at the illustration to the left to see which hue compares best to the examples on the hue wheel. The sample stone is green, with a touch of blue, so the gem is very slightly bluish green. The hue shows up as bright flashes of brilliance when you look at the stone in the face-up position. In a stone with a window that occupies over 50 percent of the face-up area, the gemologist also grades the window as the dominant color and then the brilliance as the additional color.

    Lastly, the gemologist estimates the saturation level.  Look at the illustration to the right.  Saturation is how much color the gem has. If it does not appear to be grayish or brownish at all, it has strong to vivid saturation.  Saturation is also where any additional colors such as those due to color change, pleochroism, color zoning, and windowing less than 50% are noted.  Saturation has a moderate to strong effect on appearance. Additional colors, like a window as noted above, are graded only if they are moderate to strong.

    The sample stone is thereby graded very slightly bluish green (vslbG), medium tone (5), vivid saturation (6).

    AGL/GIA CLARITY COMPARISON CHART

      AGL   GIA TYPE I   GIA TYPE II   GIA TYPE III   ABBREVIATED DEFINITION
      F1   VVS       MINUTE TO NOT DETECTABLE
      LI1-LI2   VS   VVS     MINOR
      MI1   SI1   VS   VVS   NOTICEABLE TO OBVIOUS
      MI2   SI2   SI1   VS   NOTICEABLE TO OBVIOUS
      HI1     SI2   SI1   OBVIOUS TO PROMINENT
            SI2   OBVIOUS TO PROMINENT
      HI2   I1   I1     PROMINENT (MODERATE AFFECT 
       ON APPEARANCE OR DURABILITY)
      EI1   I2   I2   I1   PROMINENT (CONSIDERABLE AFFECT
       ON APPEARANCE OR DURABILITY)
        PROMINENT (SERVER AFFECT ON 
       APPEARANCE & DURABILITY)
      EI2   I3   I3   I2   PROMINENT (SEVERE AFFECT ON 
       TRANSPARENCY OR DURABILITY) 
      I3   PROMINENT (SEVERE AFFECT ON 
       BEAUTY, TRANSPARENCY & 
       DURABILITY)
      EI3   DECLASSE   STONES NOT TRANSPARENT 
       BECAUSE OF INCLUSIONS 

    The COLORLESS GEM Color Scale:
    .
    The chart below is based on the Diamond Color Grading System.
    COLOR GRADING of Diamonds arbitrarily begins with "D".       "A", "B", and "C" are assumed to not exist.

    COLORLESS GEM GRADING SCALES

    COLOR GIA* CIBJO*
    COLORLESS D EXCEPTIONAL WHITE+
    E EXCEPTIONAL WHITE
    F RARE WHITE+
    NEAR COLORLESS G RARE WHITE
    H WHITE
    I VERY SLIGHTLY TINTED WHITE
    J SLIGHTLY TINTED WHITE
    FAINT YELLOW
    to
    FAINT BROWN
    K TINTED WHITE
    L
    M  TINTED COLOR 1
    VERY LIGHT YELLOW
    to
    VERY LIGHT BROWN
    N TINTED COLOR 2
    O
    P
    Q
    R
    LIGHT YELLOW
    to
    LIGHT BROWN
    S TINTED COLOR 3
    T
    U
    V
    W
    X
    Y
    Z
    CHAMPAGNE 
    CONAC
    GREENISH
    BROWNISH
    C+
    FANCY COLOR
    YELLOWISH
    PINKISH
    BLUISH
    LIGHT FANCY
    YELLOW 
    GREEN
    BLUE
    PURPLE
    PINK
    RED
    FANCY
    FANCY INTENSE
    VIVID
    * GIA = Gemological Institute of America. 
    * CIBJO = Confederation Internationale de la Bijouterie, Joaillsrie, Ortevrerie, des diamants, perles et pierres precieuses.

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    Clarity Grading at AwesomeGems.com
  • GIA CLARITY GRADES
  • The GIA type Clarity Scale:
    The GIA Color Gem System is divided into Three Gem Types...  "Type I", "Type II", and "Type III"
    All natural gems have inclusions... In plain terms clarity is simply how much "stuff " is inside the gem crystal. The less the "stuff " the more they cost.  This again because of rarity by lack of imperfection.
    Below is a more descriptive explanation of these Clarity Grades for the 3 Gem Types:
    .
    Type I - CLARITY SCALE
    Exceptional
    Very Good
    Good
    Fair
    Poor
    VVS
    VS
    SI
    I1... I2
    I3
    Very Very Slightly Included
    Very Slightly Included
    Slightly Included
    Included
    Excessively Included
    Type I Gemstones : Type I stones are usually eye-clean with no inclusions visible to the unaided eye. The stones in this type are usually of such high clarity that even minor inclusions can detract from their desirability.

    The list includes Aquamarine, Beryl (green, pink & yellow), Citrine, Chrysoberyl (except Alexandrite), Kunzite, Morganite, Spodumene, Tanzanite, Topaz (colorless & blue), Tourmaline (green), Zircon (blue & colorless), and Zoisite

    • VVS, Type I - describes Gems that are as close to flawless as is found in the particular type I gemstone, a gemologist under favorable lighting conditions cannot see any inclusions at ten power magnification, and/or, have no internal characteristics observable under magnification, but which have minor surface blemishes that do not penetrate the stone, and/or, have very small inclusions which are difficult for a gemologist to see at 10x magnification.
    • VS, Type I - describes Gems that are near flawless for the particular type I gemstone, a gemologist under favorable lighting conditions will see  very small inclusions which can be difficult to observe with 10x magnification.  These small inclusions are barely visible to the unaided eye, except on emerald cut and larger Gems.
    • SI, Type I - describes Gems that are very slightly included but the inclusions are not easily visible to the unaided eye and not a negative for the particular type I gemstone, a gemologist under favorable lighting conditions will see small inclusions that are usually obvious when viewed with 10x magnification.  Inclusions are difficult to see with the unaided eye, except on larger stones or occasionally with Emerald Cut Gems.
    • I1 to I2, Type I - describes Gems with medium to large inclusions (Piques) which are usually obvious to a gemologist with the unaided eye.  An I1 may have an inclusion located to the side while an I2 will have it centrally located or numerous inclusions. Small inclusions that are usually obvious when viewed with 10x magnification.
    • I3, Type I - describes Gems with very obvious inclusions that are very visible to the unaided or naked eye without any magnification.  This grade of excessively Included gem normally has durability problems and should be avoided.

     

    Type II - CLARITY SCALE
    Exceptional
    Very Very Good
    Very Good
    Good
    Poor
    VVS
    VS
    SI
    I1... I2
    I3
    Very Very Slightly Included
    Very Slightly Included
    Slightly Included
    Included
    Excessively Included
    Type II Gemstones : Type II stones typically show some eye-visible inclusions that do not detract from the gem’s overall beauty. Many stones with inclusions visible to the unaided eye are faceted for use in jewelry.

    The list includes Alexandrite, Amethyst, Andalusite, Apatite, Citrine, Diopside, Feldspar, Garnet (all colors), Iolite, Opal (Fire), Peridot,  Quartz (all colors), Ruby, Sapphire (all colors), Spinel (all colors), Topaz (all colors except blue), Tourmaline (all colors except green & watermelon), and Zircon (all colors except colorless & blue)

    • VVS, Type II - describes Gems that are as close to flawless as is found in the particular type II gemstone, a gemologist under favorable lighting conditions can see small inclusions (small feathers, light silk, etc.) which are usually obvious when viewed with 10x magnification, but you will probably not readily see these inclusions to the unaided eye, except on larger stones.
    • VS, Type II - describes Gems that are near flawless for the particular type II gemstone, a gemologist under favorable lighting conditions can see small inclusions (small feathers, light silk, etc.) which are usually obvious when viewed with 10x magnification, but you will probably not readily see these inclusions to the unaided eye, except on larger stones and in certain color gems with characteristics that typically have visible inclusions like Ruby, Padparadscha Sapphire, Yellow/Golden Sapphire, Blue Sapphire, Rubellite Tourmaline, and a few others.
    • SI, Type II - describes Gems that are very slightly included but the inclusions are not easily visible to the unaided eye and not a negative for the particular type II gemstone, a gemologist under favorable lighting conditions can see medium to moderate inclusions that are usually visible to the unaided eye without magnification.  Inclusions are generally located to the side or in the pavilion area where they may not be obvious when mounted in jewelry until you take a closer look.
    • I1 to I2, Type II - describes Gems that have inclusions centrally located or numerous inclusions that are visible to the unaided or naked eye without magnification.  Most Ruby will be in the I1 to I2 category.  
    • I3, Type II - describes Gems that have very obvious inclusions that are very visible to the unaided or naked eye without any magnification.  This grade of excessively Included gem normally has durability problems and should be avoided. It is doubtful you'll ever see this poor a grade on our website.
       
       
    Type III - CLARITY SCALE
    Exceptional+
    Exceptional
    Very Very Good
    Very Good
    Poor
    VVS
    VS
    SI
    I1... I2
    I3
    Very Very Slightly Included
    Very Slightly Included
    Slightly Included
    Included
    Excessively Included
    Type III Gemstones : Type III stones are almost always included and show eye-visible inclusions, but even specimens with obvious or prominent inclusions are often faceted for use in jewelry.

    The list includes Emerald, Beryl (red), and Tourmaline (watermelon)

    • VVS, Type III - describes Gems that are as close to flawless as is found in the particular type III gemstone, a gemologist under favorable lighting conditions can see small inclusions (small feathers, light silk, light gardin, etc.) which are usually obvious when viewed with 10x magnification, but you will probably not readily see these inclusions to the unaided eye, except on larger stones.
    • VS, Type III - describes Gems that are very clean for the particular type III gemstone, a gemologist can see small sized inclusions (small fissures, light gardin, etc.) that is usually visible with the unaided eye without magnification.  Larger Emeralds can have medium sized inclusions and still be graded VS Type III.
    • SI, Type III - describes Gems that are lightly included but the inclusions are not a negative for the particular type III gemstone, a gemologist can see moderate and/or numerous small inclusions (fissures, gardin, carbon, etc.) that are visible to the unaided or naked eye without magnification.
    • I1 to I2, Type III - describes Gems that have inclusions centrally located or numerous inclusions that are visible to the unaided or naked eye without magnification.  Most Good quality Emerald will be in the I2 to I3 category.
    • I3, Type III - describes Gems that have very obvious inclusions that are very visible to the unaided or naked eye without any magnification.  This grade of excessively Included gem normally has durability problems and should be avoided.  It is doubtful you'll ever see this poor a grade on our website.

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    Gemstone Treatment Types - AwesomeGems.com
  • TREATMENTS
  • AwesomeGems.com strongly supports and meets the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requirements to disclose gem treatments and/or offer accurate descriptions, and we have been disclosing gem treatments and offering accurate gem descriptions for as long as we have been in business.  Not only do we disclose gem treatments on the same page as the listed gem, but it's listed directly under the gem "and" it has an additional link to a full explanation of the particular treatment method (if any).  AwesomeGems.com also offers accurate descriptions of each gem or jewelry piece listed.  You will find that our "Enhancement Codes and Treatment Terms" explain the majority of treatment methods used in the Gem Trade.  Many of the gems we offer are "Natural" and "untreated", but the majority of the gems on the market are routinely enhanced or treated in some way, so we have always been concerned in disclosing any treatments that we know may exist as well as the affect it may have on the gem you are considering.
    We disclose the particular treatment that may apply to a particular gem, both in our online description as well as at the point of sale.
     

    TREATMENT Codes & Method Table
    code A: 
    Indicates that this gemstone has no known enhancement, or, this type of gem is very rarely enhanced.
    code E: 
    Indicates that this gemstone is typically, or routinely, enhanced by one or more of the methods below.
    code N: 
    Indicates that this gemstone has no known enhancement. When gems are listed with a link to an independent gem identification report from an accredited graduate gemologist this assures you that the gem has been tested to be able to state with a measure of certainty that the gem has no known enhancement. The seller will provide a report known as 'statement of sale and evaluation for insurance', if it is requested at time of sale, stating that the gem has been carefully examined and does not appear to have any known enhancement. If alternate independent gem identification reports are requested prior to a sale, the seller may provide this, but at an additional cost to the buyer.
       

    CE: 

    Indicates a diamond has been been clarity enhanced to effect desired alteration of clarity. This process optically eliminates "feathers" (inclusions), which are naturally occurring imperfections found in most diamonds.  This type of enhancement is considered permanent under normal wearing conditions, except the flame of a jewelers torch and/or boiling acids and bases may compromise the integrity of a CE diamond's enhancement.  In the event the integrity of the enhancement is compromised, a CE manufacturer can restore the enhancement should this occur.  The only special care requirement is to inform a jeweler the stone is a CE diamond before allowing work performed on that particular jewelry piece.  Natural diamonds command a higher premium, depending on the diamond.
    Coated: 
    Indicates a Coating has been used as a surface treatment such as waxing, lacquering, enameling, inking, foiling, or sputtering of films to improve appearance, provide color or add special effects. This treatment is not considered to be permanent since the coating can be easily scratched off, so as a result it may create special care requirements, which we feel seriously reduces the value and therefore should affect your buying decision. 
    Diffusion: 
    Indicates the gemstone has undergone Diffusion (or Bulk Diffusion) which is the use of one or more chemicals in conjunction with high temperatures to produce a subsurface layer of color and on occasion asterism producing inclusions. This treatment is considered to be permanent, but if the gem is heavily scratched, chipped, polished, re-cut, etc., the original color could then become visible.  Sapphire and Ruby treated in this manner do not typically start with gem quality stones, and this treatment method is inexpensive, therefore this seriously affect your buying decision. They cannot be equally compared to natural gems of gem quality.  On the other hand, Topaz treated in this manner does typically start with gem quality stones, therefore this treatment method is merely employed to add a more desirable permanent color, which can actually increase the value over Irradiation treated gems.
    Dye: 
    Indicates Dyeing has occurred.  Dyeing is the introduction of coloring matter into a gemstone to give it new color, intensify present color or improve color uniformity.  This treatment is normally not permanent and/or it may create special care requirements, which we feel seriously reduces the value and therefore should affect your buying decision. 
    Epoxy: 
    Indicates a hardener was used to seal the surface of porous gem material with a colored or colorless Epoxy-like material.  This is typically performed to improve appearance and/or durability of the gem as well as prevent inclusions from fracturing.  This treatment method is permanent and normally does not create special care requirements, however, in recent years demand for natural top quality gemstones has caused these gems to command a higher premium, depending on the gem. 
    Heat: 
    Indicates the stone has been heated to effect desired alteration of color, clarity, and/or phenomena.  Most of the Aquamarine, Citrine, Kunzite, Morganite, Tanzanite, Ruby, Blue Sapphire, Golden Sapphire, Orange Sapphire in the market is routinely heated. This enhancement method is permanent and normally does not create special care requirements. Heat enhancement has been an accepted trade practice for generations and normally it does not adversely affect the value of the gem, however, in recent years demand for unheated top quality Ruby and Sapphire has caused these gems to command a higher premium, depending on the gem. 
    Irradiation: 
    Indicates the gemstone has undergone some form of gamma or electron Irradiation (in some cases, in conjunction with heat). Gamma or electron Irradiation typically either induces color centers to alter a gemstone's color or changes the valence state of  impurities to improve the clarity. Gems routinely treated with this method are: Aquamarine (to produce dark blue Maxxie beryl), Colorless Beryl (to turn it green or yellow), Morganite (to deepen the pink color), Opal (to induce an orange-yellow body color), Diamond (to produce various colors), Quartz (to produce Smoky Quartz, Citrine, Amethyst, Amethyst-Citrine or Ametrine, and green-"gold" stones), Topaz (to blue and yellow), Pink Tourmaline (to produce Hot Pink and Red or Rubellite), and pale pink Kunzite (to lavender). Some of these irradiation-induced colors (e.g., Kunzite, Maxi Blue Topaz, and Yellow Beryl) may fade over time. This treatment method is considered to be permanent and normally does not create special care requirements. 
    HPHT: 
    Indicates the diamond has been been heated while under pressure to effect desired alteration of color and/or clarity. HPHT diamonds, are natural diamonds that end up almost pure and flawless. The process basically speeds up the earths process of forming a diamond by squeezing a diamond to pressures of around 60,000 atmospheres. This "high pressure high temperature" treatment is most usually performed on off white diamonds that have some inclusions, and after the enhancement process the stone will be a more desired color with near flawless clarity. This treatment method is permanent and does not create special care requirements, however, natural diamonds command a somewhat higher premium, depending on the diamond.

    Laser:  

    Indicates the stone has been laser drilled and chemicals were used to reach and alter the inclusions in the gem.  This treatment is rarely performed on color gems, but is most often performed on diamonds that have obvious inclusions, after the treatment the stone will appear to have less obvious inclusions. This treatment method is permanent and normally does not create special care requirements, however, natural diamonds command a higher premium, depending on the diamond. 

    Glass:  

    Indicates the stone has been heated to moderate temperatures (reportedly 900–1,400°C) to remove potential impurities from the fractures and improve color, then the stone is mixed with powders that are composed primarily of lead and silica but may also contain sodium, calcium, potassium, and metal oxides such as copper or bismuth. This mixture is then heated again, reportedly to approximately 900°C, fusing the powders into a glass that penetrates the fractures in the stone. Jewelers pickling solution can etch the lead-glass filler, otherwise this treatment method is permanent and normally does not create special care requirements.

    Oil: 
    Indicates the surface-breaking cavities were filled by immersing the gemstone in a colorless oil, wax, natural resin, or man-made resin material that penetrates into the fissured or porous gemstone.  Traditionally, such fillers have been oils of various types, cedar-wood oil being a common one, and today, resins like Opticon are also used.  This type of enhancement process is one of the oldest in the business, with reports on it dating back over 600 years.  Some oils can come out of the stone if heated too much, but lightly enhanced ones and those filled with resins rarely change.  This enhancement processes is an accepted trade practice that does not normally affect the performance, and durability of the gemstone, and it does not create special care requirements, however, in recent years demand for natural un-oiled top quality gemstones has caused these gems to command a higher premium, depending on the gem.

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    Gem Hardness - AwesomeGems.com
    .
  • Gem Hardness
  • The following table shows MOH's Hardness in relation to Simple and Cutting Hardness.
    MOH's hardness is a relative scale.  It shows which mineral scratches another mineral.
    (cutting hardness in water according to A. Rosiwal).
    MOH's 
    Hardness
    Mineral used for comparison Simple Hardness Cutting Hardness
    (A. Rosiwal)
    10
    Diamond  
    140,000.00
    9
    Ruby, Sapphire, Alexandrite, Chrysoberyl  
    1,000.00
    8
    Aquamarine, Emerald, Morganite, Spinel, Topaz  
    175.00
    7
    Amethyst, Citrine, Garnet, Iolite, Kunzite, Peridot, Tanzanite, Tourmaline, Zircon Scratches window glass
    120.00
    6
    Diopside, Lapis lazuli, Orthoclase, Turquoise Can be scratched with a steel file
    37.00
    5
    Apatite, Obsidian, Sphene, Glass Can be scratched with a knife
    6.50
    4
    Coral, Fluorite, Pearl Can easily be scratched with a knife
    5.00
    3
    Calcite, Ivory Can be scratched with a copper coin
    4.50
    2
    Amber, Gypsum Can be scratched with a fingernail
    1.25
    1
    Talc Can be scratched with a fingernail
    0.03

    COLOR

    CLARITY

    CUTS

    ANNIVERSARY CHART

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    Birthstones - AwesomeGems.com

    Birthstones

    Month

    Color

    Modern Traditional Alternate
    January Brick Red Garnet Garnet Rose Quartz
    February Purple Amethyst Amethyst Black Onyx
    Moonstone
    March Seafoam Blue Aquamarine Bloodstone Rock Crystal
    April Colorless Diamond Diamond White Sapphire
    White Topaz
    May Green Emerald Emerald Green Tourmaline
    Tsavorite Garnet
    June White Pearl
    Moonstone
    Alexandrite Opal
    July Red Ruby  Ruby  Rubellite Tourmaline
    August Yellowish-Green Peridot Jade Star Sapphire
    September Royal Blue Blue Sapphire Blue Sapphire Iolite
    Lapis Lazuli
    October Pink Opal
    Pink Tourmaline
    Jasper Pink Sapphire
    Morganite -Pink Emerald
    November Golden Yellow Yellow Topaz
    Yellow Citrine
    Yellow Citrine Yellow Sapphire
    Tiger's Eye
    December Sky Blue Blue Topaz
    Tanzanite
    Blue Zircon
    Turquoise
    Blue Spinel
    Lapis Lazuli
    Birthstones listed in the "Modern" column are the Official Birthstones adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers,  Jewelers of America.  These Birthstones were Officially adopted in 1912.  Tanzanite, a violet-blue gem from East Africa, is so hot it is the first gem added to the birthstone list since 1912

    Stones listed in the "Traditional" column contains older birthstones and is sometimes combined with the modern birthstone list.  These stones reflect societal birthstone traditions, heralding back to the 15th century. (Many jewelers have differing lists of Traditional Birthstones.)

    Stones listed in the "Alternate" column were Gem Dealers and Jewelery Manufacturers using alternative birthstones for each month.


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    Anniversary Gemstones - AwesomeGems.com
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  • Anniversary Gemstones
  • Year Gemstone Year Gemstone
    1st Gold Jewelry  13th Yellow Citrine
    2nd Garnet 14th Opal
    3rd Pearls 15th Ruby
    4th Blue Topaz 16th Peridot
    5th Blue Sapphire 17th Watches
    6th Amethyst 18th Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl
    7th Onyx 19th Aquamarine
    8th Green Tourmaline 20th Emerald
    9th Lapis Lazuli 21st Iolite
    10th Diamond Jewelry 22nd Spinel
    11th Turquoise 23rd Imperial Topaz
    12th Jade 24th Tanzanite




    25th Silver Jubilee 50th Golden Jubilee
    30th Pearl Jubilee 55th Alexandrite
    35th Emerald 60th Diamond Jubilee
    40th Ruby 70th Sapphire Jubilee
    45th Sapphire 80th Ruby Jubilee
    This list of suggested gemstones gifts has been endorsed by the American Gem Trade Association, the  American Gem Society, Jewelers of America, the Jewelry Industry Council, the Gemological Institute of America, and the Cultured Pearl Association of America.

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    ANNIVERSARY CHART

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    Important Facts about Gemstones - AwesomeGems.com
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    ALEXANDRITE

    Alexandrite changes color from green in daylight or fluorescent lightto red in incandescent or candlelight.

    THE TRADITIONAL BIRTHSTONE for JUNE

    The 55th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8-1/2

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.746-1.755 (+.004,-.006)

    Specific Gravity : 3.73 (+/- .02)

    Alexandrite changes color from green in daylight to red in incandescent light. The first time you see it, it is hard to believe your eyes!  Alexandrite was first discovered in Czarist Russia, in the Ural mountains, on April 3 1834, when several crystals were found in Tokovanya deposits.  The name “Alexandrite” was coined by mineralogist Dr. Nordenskjöld (Finnish by birth but he worked for the Russian Czar). Since the old Russian imperial colors were red and green it was named after Czar Alexandr II on the occasion of his coming of age in 1842.  Genuine Alexandrite is one of the world's rarest and most coveted Gemstones, it's so rare that most people have never even seen a genuine Top Quality Alexandrite. 
    Alexandrite is in the Chrysoberyl mineral family and is one of the most fascinating gemstones throughout history. Alexandrite is the variety of Chrysoberyl that displays a change-of-color from green to red. A distinct color change is the primary qualification for a Chrysoberyl to be considered alexandrite. Although alexandrite is strongly trichroic, its color change has nothing to do with pleochroism. Instead, like all other color-change gems, it results in a near-equal transmission of the blue-green and red portions of the spectrum, coupled with strong absorption in the yellow. Thus its color is dependant on the spectral strength of the light source. Incandescent light is strongly tilted to the red end, thus causing alexandrite to appear reddish. Daylight, is more equally balanced. Since our eyes are most sensitive to green light, the balance is tipped to the green side. The strength of the color change is related to the difference in the areas of transmission, relative to the absorption in the yellow. The greater the difference, the stronger the color change.
     The color is actually caused by Chromium.
    A color change occurs in very few gemstones. For alexandrite, the quality of the color change is paramount. While the holy grail is a gem whose color changes like a traffic light from green to red, such a stone has yet to be found. In fine examples, the change is typically one from a slightly bluish green to a purplish red. The quality of color change is often referred to by dealers in a percentage basis, with 100% change being the ideal. Stones that display a change of 30% or less are of marginal interest and are arguably not even alexandrite. Significant brown or gray components in either of the twin colors will lower value dramatically. The natural color change in Alexandrite ranges from various shades of Green (blue-greens, kelly-greens, olive-greens, teal-greens, etc.) when the gem is under "fluorescent" lighting, or in natural outdoor light "in the shade" (not direct sunlight)... then the color changes to various shades of Red (burgundy-reds, purplish-reds, reddish-purples, violetish-purples, amethyst, etc.) when exposed to light in a room with only incandescent light, tungsten light, or candlelight (a flashlight will bring out the color change too).  To get the maximum color change effect the gem is best viewed in a dark room with no outdoor light at all, then turn on a fluorescent light to see the green shade, then turn on a standard incandescent light bulb with the fluorescent light off to see the reddish shade.  You can cycle the lights back and forth to see the distinct color change.  Alexandrite will normally darken when taken out into direct sunlight, since it is subjected all the colors in the spectrum,  also if subjected to several types of lighting sources at the same time the colors may twinkle with both the red and the green color bouncing around different facets in the stone.  When the primary color has a bit of brownish in with the green, this is due to the bleeding of the two colors.  Typically this is referred to as the percentage of color change.  The higher the color change percentage, the more expensive the gem. 
    When the color change from fluorescent light to tungsten light is not an obvious color change from one of the various shades of green to one of the shades of red, the gem is usually called "alexandrite like" or a "color change Chrysoberyl" since it does not quite have the distinct greenish to reddish color change to be called "Alexandrite".
    In terms of clarity, alexandrite is comparable to ruby, with clean faceted stones in sizes of one carat being rare and sizes over a carat and especially above 2–3 carats are extremely rare. Negative crystals and parallel rutile silk are common inclusions. Clarity, however, is a minor issue, as long as the inclusions do not affect the stone's durability. The color change is what represents the majority of the gem's value. Color, brilliance, and cut (in that order) are the 3 things that primarily affect the gem's final price. The more vivid the colors of a color change, the more valuable the gemstone. Ideally, you want a dramatic color change with a medium to medium-dark tone and intense color.
    In the market, Alexandrite is found in a variety of shapes and cutting styles. Ovals are cushions are the most common, but rounds are also seen occasionally, as are a few other shapes.
    Alexandrite can be found in jewels of the period as it was well loved by the Russian master jewelers. Master gemologist George Kunz of Tiffany was a fan of alexandrite and the company produced many rings featuring fine alexandrite in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including some set in platinum from the twenties. Some Victorian jewelry from England features sets of small Alexandrite stones. The original locality for alexandrite is Russia. Russian Alexandrite is extremely rare, the original source in Russia's Ural Mountains has long since dried up after producing for only a few decades. A few Russian miners are still working those trailings there in the Urals, and they are finding a few fine gems, but only in very limited quantities. We secure rare Russian gems from the Cheremsha and Malyshevskaya mines in the Ekaterinburg area of the Ural mountains as soon as they are found and made available to us. Some are small stones, less than a carat, but they all have a dramatic color change. Color change gemstones of Russian origin like this is particularly rare and highly valued by collectors. In 1987, an important new deposit was discovered at the Hematita mine in Nova Era, Brazil. Until this find, Brazil was only known for it's inexpensive gems. The old Hematita mine is still in production, but the new owners are finding it necessary to dig deeper into the mountain. We have access to the finest Alexandrite from these mines. At the present time there are only limited amounts of these goods on the market, and no one knows how much more the mine can produce, but the material presently is of very high quality. This Brazilian Alexandrite shows a striking similarity to the fine Russian gems, having an attractive color change from bluish-green to raspberry like purplish-red. These Brazilian mines have also virtually dried up after producing for only a few years, so they too are also in very limited quantities. These also remain extremely rare and expensive. Since we have have  direct  access to many of the original stones taken out of the mines we can offer them to you, a few of which are larger stones over a carat. We have also secured some of the finest Alexandrite from Sri Lanka. Many of these fine gems are from the Rakwana area, and they are absolutely stunning, changing from a vibrant bluish-green to a very nice reddish-Purple. We also usually have a few fine specimens from the Ratnapura region. These fine gems have a very good color change also, but it's usually a little more of an olive green changing to a purple stone. Not quite as dramatic as the Russian, Brazilian, and Rakwana material, but very nice indeed. The lower price per carat makes this choice a little more obtainable. The availability this fine material on our website means a new generation has the opportunity to own this beautiful and rare gemstone. Alexandrite stones have also been found in Zimbabwe, Burma, Tanzania, Madagascar, and India. 
    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 each color is the better - then look for the clarity, and then the cutting quality. 

    Alexandrite is one of the world‘s most expensive gems, with prices similar to those fetched by fine ruby or emerald. But like all gem materials, low-quality (i.e., non-gem quality) pieces may be available for a few dollars per carat. Such stones are generally not clean enough to facet. Because of the rarity of this gemstone, large sizes command very high premiums. Facet-quality alexandrite rough is extremely rare. Thus even the very small stones less than 0.5 ct. (melee) can sell for thousands of dollars per carat. Any fine faceted alexandrite around one and a half carats or especially above two carats should be considered quite large. Stones of quality above five carats are extremely rare. 
    W
    e do not sell Synthetics. To assure you that you are getting a genuine Alexandrite from us, we normally provide you with a Gem Identification Report from a reputable Independent Gem Laboratory. The cost of this Gem Report is included in the price of the gem.  Some of the smaller Alexandrite gems may not have a Gem Report listed, in that case we will normally provide a "Statement of Sale and Evaluation for Insurance", and this report would include the specific details on that particular gem as our guarantee of authenticity.
    Alexandrite is an excellent investment stone since it is definitely considered a "Very Rare" gem. 

    TREATMENTS - Typically Alexandrite is not treated since it would adversely affect the natural color change phenomena.
    CARE - Alexandrite is also excellent in jewelry since it is quite hard, however, as with all Chrysoberyl, it should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Alexandrite in jewelry.

    NOTEWhile true synthetic alexandrite does exist, the vast majority are actually a synthetic color-change sapphire, colored by vanadium, not synthetic alexandrite. Since synthetic color-change sapphires have been made from about 1909 onwards, it is entirely possible to have a piece that could be classified as an antique. Indeed, many a traveler has returned from a third-world trip with what they think is natural alexandrite, only to later discover (or have their heirs discover) that what they have is a cheap synthetic sapphire worth but a few dollars per carat. If you own a gem that you suspect is an alexandrite, and you are wondering how to tell the difference between synthetic and genuine alexandrite, we recommend you send the stone to a reputable Gem Laboratory and ask for a Gem Identification Report. Please don't call and ask me, I can't tell you anything over the phone except that you need to send the stone to a reputable Gem Lab, typically a local Jeweler can't do this.

    The following links are to reputable Gem Laboratories and Appraisers :
    AGL | AGTA | GIA | GRS | GUILD | GUBELIN | SSEF

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    Alexandrite Cat's Eye

    Cat's Eye Alexandrite is Green in sunlight or fluorescent lightto purplish-Red in candlelight or tungsten light with a strong Grayish/Bluish White eye


    THE BIRTHSTONE for JUNE

    The 55th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8-1/2

    Toughness : Excellent to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.746-1.755 (+.004,-.006)

    Specific Gravity : 3.73 (+/- .02)

    Alexandrite is very rare, and a Cat's Eye Alexandrite is even more so.  Cat's Eye Alexandrite is cut as a Cabochon. The stone is usually translucent with a color change of Green or greenish in sunlight or fluorescent light to Purple or purplish in candlelight or tungsten light. This fine gemstone is usually semi-transparent to semi-translucent and has a strong grayish/bluish White eye (chatoyancy) which reaches from girdle to girdle.  The Cat's Eye is actually caused by fine parallel silk strands in the crystal, and the color is caused by Chromium. This is a Very Very Rare Gem with a great investment potential!

    TREATMENTS - Typically Cat's Eye Alexandrite is not treated since it would adversely affect the natural color change phenomena as well as the chatoyancy.
    CARE - Cat's Eye Alexandrite is also excellent in jewelry since it is quite hard, however, as with all Chrysoberyl, it would be best if it were not cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. 
    We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Cat's Eye Alexandrite in jewelry.


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    AMETHYST

    Amethyst

    THE BIRTHSTONE for FEBRUARY

    The 6th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.544-1.553

    Specific Gravity : 2.66 (+.03,-.02)

    Amethyst is the most highly valued member of the Quartz mineral family, and it has Purple hues that vary from very pale to dark.  The medium-dark to dark tones are considered the most desirable and of course are quite a bit more expensive than the lighter tones.  The finest gems usually come from the Elahara mines in Sri Lanka, and the Pau d'Arco mines in Brazil. These fine gemstones are deep dark and rich in color, with all the fire in sparkle you would want to see.  Most Amethysts on the market are relatively free of inclusions. Amethyst is heat sensitive, excessive heat could turn the stone colorless, or it may produce a Citrine or green color, whereas an abrupt temperature change may fracture the stone. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids, ammonium fluoride, and alkalies. Sources for this gemstone are Brazil, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Madagascar, Zambia, U.S., Canada, and India.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Amethyst is not treated. Amethyst that has been heat treated can produce Colorless Quartz, Yellow Citrine, and Madeira Citrine.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Amethyst jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, but risky to use a steamer.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Rose De France Amethyst

    Rose de France Amethyst

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.544-1.553

    Specific Gravity : 2.66 (+.03,-.02)

    Rose de France Amethyst is also known as Rose Quartz and is available in transparent to translucent light to medium Pinkish-lavender. Titanium oxide is the impurity which creates the Pinkish hue. Much of the faceting material comes from Brazil.  Rose de France Amethyst is heat sensitive, excessive heat could turn the stone colorless, or it may produce a Citrine or green color, whereas an abrupt temperature change may fracture the stone. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids, ammonium fluoride, and alkalies. Sources for this gemstone are Brazil, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Madagascar, Zambia, U.S., Canada, and India.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Rose de France Amethyst is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Amethyst jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, but risky to use a steamer.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    AMETRINE

    AmetrineAmetrine

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.544-1.553

    Specific Gravity : 2.66 (+.03,-.02)

    Also called Amethyst/Citrine.  Ametrine is a bi-color variety of Quartz, part Violet/Purple Amethyst and part Yellow Citrine or Colorless Quartz with distinct color separation. Ametrine is a natural Gemstone found only in southeastern Bolivia near the border with Brazil. The color distribution in Ametrine can be very distinct with a straight demarcation between the two colors. Ametrine is heat sensitive, excessive heat could turn the stone colorless, or it may produce a bi-color Citrine or bi-color green color, whereas an abrupt temperature change may fracture the stone. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids, ammonium fluoride, and alkalies.
    Typically the Gem is cut in Rectangular shapes in order to display the colors best. Round and Oval cuts tend to mix the colors through internal reflections and are used most effectively in jewelry and carvings.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Ametrine is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Ametrine jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, but risky to use a steamer.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    ANDALUSITE

    Andalusite

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2

    Toughness : Fair to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.634-1.643 (+/-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 3.12-3.18

    Also called Poor Man's Alexandrite, but this is a misnomer for a gem that has such strong pleochroism. Andalusite has a faint color change and can look vaguely similar to Alexandrite, it usually varies from light yellowish brown to green-brown, light brownish pink, red-brown to dark-red, grayish green, olive, even violet brown-green, or rarely definite green and has strong pleochroism that makes it hard to identify the main color.  Andalusite is a transparent gem that's almost iridescent with an unexceptional vitreous luster.  Andalusite is a natural Gemstone found in Andalusia Spain (thus the name), Sri Lanka, Brazil, Quebec Canada, Russia and Maine/Massachusetts USA.  Andalusite is normally cut as a faceted mixed oval cut to enhance the luster and strong pleochroism (color change phenomena).  The most valuable stones have greenish to reddish pleochroism.  Andalusite is not plentiful on the market and is mainly in demand with collectors.  Large cuts are rare.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Andalusite is not treated since it would adversely affect the natural color change phenomena.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Andalusite jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, but risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    ANDESINE

    Andesine

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6-1/2

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.551-1.560

    Specific Gravity : 2.67

    Andesine is in the Plagioclase Feldspar mineral group, close to Labradorite. The AGTA, and other well known laboratories, allowed the name Andesine to be given to stones that have less than 50% of Calcium (Albite Na (AISi3O8) and Anorhite (AI2Si3O8)).  Copper gives the Red color to Andesine, and the clarity is exceptional. Moonstone and Sunstone are also in the feldspar group, but only fine Red Feldspar can be called Andesine. Andesine is from Oregon USA, also known as "Oregon Sunstone", but to be truly classified Andesine it must have the correct composition as well as it must be Red in color. Anything else would be classified Labradorite, which is found in several colors. The largest known Red Sunstone is 300+ carats.
    There is also a color changing variety of Labradorite that shifts from shades of green to shades of a reddish color, these gems also demand a premium due to their beauty and rarity.

    There has been in recent years a lot of Andesine on the market, said to be from the Congo, China, and other mysteriously secret mine locations. Yet I find it strange that the owners of Oregon mines say that every time a large parcel of rough is sent to China for cutting, they only get back around 17% of their weight back as finished goods... also owners of mines in Mexico say the Chinese have been buying huge quantities of their low grade Labradorite, and strangely enough, within a few months they all observe a considerable amount of Congo, Tibet, Mongolia, and Chinese Andesine hitting the market...  hmm, let's think about this, could there be a link? Andesine has been one of the hottest gems sold on various Gem TV Shows. These stones are being sold as natural 100% untreated Andesine, Labrasine, or Andorite. Some of these TV show hosts have even been telling a story that no one knows where the actual mine is. The truth appears to be that the Andesine these TV shows have been selling appears to be extremely heavily diffusion treated, not natural at all. Here is a good article on the subject that you may enjoy. In addition to this article, I received this email from an Oregon miner, Chris Rose, that I am happy to share with you... "Just to let you guys know, practically all of the andesine on the market and that being sold on JTV, QVC and all the other gem and jewelery channels is artificially dyed through a non disclosed process where manufacturers are introducing copper through diffusion in a furnace and flux in Thailand and China. We have absolute proof of this and there has just been a class action consumer lawsuit filed against JTV. Several major laboratories have conducted the tests and are now able to detect this treatment as well as tell it apart from true Oregon sunstone through a rather simple optical test. I very seriously doubt you have oregon material. Test its optical sign, if its biaxial (-) you have the fake stuff. If it is biaxial (+), you may have Oregon material. Currently, the lawsuit is being expanded to include all dealers of this fake material fondly being dubbed scamdesine. More lawsuits are being planned by us Oregon sunstone miners who have been damaged by this scam which is likely the largest fraud perpetrated on and by the gem industry in decades. Even the AP news distributor has picked up the story and the FTC is investigating. I have personally offered a $20,000 reward to anyone that can document a red andesine mine anywhere in the world outside of Oregon. I have had no takers including Gemfrance. The little scam is rapidly falling apart. If you care and want more info on this, feel free to contact me."
    After receiving this email, I am happy to say that we do not buy, sell, or promote in any way this artificial Andesine, so you can rest assured that if and when we do offer Andesine, we will only feature Top Quality Andesine from the Oregon mines that is not heated or enhanced in any way.  Personally, I love the top quality natural Oregon Sunstone Andesine, it is truly a beautiful gem, and at this time this real fine Red Andesine is priced between $1,000 to $2,500 per carat, depending on how red the color, as well as the other factors like the cut and carat size of course.

    TREATMENTS - Andesine from the Oregon mines right here in the USA is a natural gem, not heated or enhanced in any way.  As you can see from the above information, almost all of the other Andesine on the market is artificially dyed red through diffusion treatment.
    CARE - Andesine (and all gems in the Feldspar family) should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner, since this cleaning method can cause irreparable damage to the stone.  We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Andesine, if used in jewelry. Since Andesine is of the softer variety of gems, like emerald, we recommend it be handled as though it is was as soft as opal. Also, if mounted on a Ring, since rings are susceptible to knocks and abrasion, we recommend mounting in a bezel or protected with heavy prongs as much as possible. 


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    APATITE

    Apatite

    MOH's scale of hardness : 5

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.634-1.638 (+.012,-.006)

    Specific Gravity : 3.18 (+/-.05)

    Apatite ranges in color from colorless to pink, yellow, green, blue, and violet.  It has a vitreous luster and is sensitive to acids. Apatite is very heat sensitive, excessive heat could cause loss or change in color, also chemicals that could attack this gem are sulfuric and hydrochloric acids. Apatite is easily confused with Beryl, Topaz and Tourmaline.  Sources for this gemstone are Brazil, Burma, Sri Lanka, Czechoslovakia, India, Malagasy Republic, Mexico, and the U.S.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Apatite is not treated.
    CARE - Apatite should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your Apatite jewelry.


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    AQUAMARINE

    AquamarineAquamarine Aquamarine (Santa Maria)

    THE BIRTHSTONE for MARCH

    The 19th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.577-1.583 (+/-.017)

    Specific Gravity : 2.72 (+.18,-.05)

    Aquamarine ranges in color from light to deep greenish-Blue through blue-Green. The richer the color, the more costly the gem is per carat.  Aquamarine achieves its Blue to greenish Blue color from Iron in the ferrous state.  Its name is from two Latin words meaning "water" and "sea".  Aquamarine amulets were thought to render sailors fearless and protect them from adversities at sea, especially if the stone was engraved with a Poseidon on a chariot. The stone was symbol of happiness and eternal youth, and according to Christian symbolism, it signified moderation and control of the passions to it's owners.
    Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl (BARE-ul) mineral family, along with Emerald, Golden Beryl, Goshenite, Bixbite and Morganite.  Brazil is the principal source for Aquamarine. More than 80% of the the Brazilian Aquamarine comes from an area around Teofilo Otoni in the western part of Minas Gerais.  Aquamarine is also found in China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Malagasy Republic, Nigeria, Zambia, U.S. in Maine as well as Idaho and California, and the former Soviet Union in the Ural Mountains, as well as Transbaikalia and Siberia.  Aquamarine is generally not heat sensitive, but chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids.
    Aquamarine gemstones with intense colors are becoming very scarce, and their price has increased substantially.
    Top colors according to the GIA color grading system have 2-4 tones, with 1-4 saturation.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Aquamarines are greenish when mined and cut, the sky blue shades are produced by heat treating the greenish-yellow, greenish, and even brownish beryl gems, so you should assume that all of the intense colors of Aquamarine may have been heat treated.  The heat treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.
    CARE - Aquamarine should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your Aquamarine..


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     BERYL 

    EmeraldAquamarine (Santa Maria)Red BerylColorless BerylGolden BerylGreen BerylMorganite

       

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.577-1.583 (+/-.017)

    Specific Gravity : 2.72 (+.18,-.05)

    The Beryl mineral family includes Emerald, Aquamarine, Red Beryl (Bixbite), Colorless Beryl (Goshenite), Golden Beryl (Heliodor), Green Beryl, and Morganite.  The photos above are in the same order. The Beryl mineral family is a popular one because of the beautiful varieties of colors and the durability of the stones.  Beryl is an excellent choice for jewelry. With the exception of Emerald and Red Beryl, all other Beryls are typically clean stones, virtually free of eye visible inclusions.  Beryl colors include Colorless, Blue, Green, Yellow, Pink, Peach and Red. Beryl is generally not heat sensitive, but chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids.

    TREATMENTS - See the individual class of Beryl for the typical treatment process that may apply.
    CARE - Beryl should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your Beryl jewelry.


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    Red (Bixbite) Beryl

    Red Beryl

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.577-1.583 (+/-.017)

    Specific Gravity : 2.72 (+.18,-.05)

    Bixbite is the Red Beryl, extremely rare, probably 100 times more rare than Alexandrite.  Typically a strong Ruby Red or slightly violetish Red color, with numerous inclusions and internal flaws.  It's pleochroism is comparable to Burma Ruby.  Red Beryl is generally not heat sensitive, but chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. This gem is typically heavily included, opaque, and the faceted Gem is very very expensive.  You could expect to pay $20,000 to $25,000 for a one (1) carat Red Beryl.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Red Beryl is not treated since it would adversely affect the value.
    CARE - Red Beryl should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Red Beryl.


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    Colorless (Goshenite) Beryl

    Colorless Beryl

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.577-1.583 (+/-.017)

    Specific Gravity : 2.72 (+.18,-.05)

    Goshenite Beryl is the Colorless Beryl, named after a find in Goshen Massachusetts, which may have a very slight tint of Blue or Silver. This transparent, faceted Gem is an inexpensive choice for jewelry.  Colorless Beryl is generally not heat sensitive, but chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Goshenite is found in Brazil and the U.S.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Colorless Beryl is not treated.
    CARE - Colorless Beryl should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Colorless Beryl.


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    Golden (Heliodor) Beryl

    Golden Beryl

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.577-1.583 (+/-.017)

    Specific Gravity : 2.72 (+.18,-.05)

    Golden Beryl, or Heliodor, varies between greenish yellow to orangy or yellowish brown. This transparent, faceted Gem is an inexpensive choice for jewelry.  Golden Beryl is generally not generally heat sensitive, but the orange could fade or change to pink if subjected to 1000C or higher. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Golden Beryl is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Nambia.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Golden Beryl is not treated.
    CARE - Golden Beryl should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Golden Beryl.


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    Green Beryl

    Green Beryl

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.577-1.583 (+/-.017)

    Specific Gravity : 2.72 (+.18,-.05)

    Green Beryl is a green variety whose color is too light, desaturated, or yellowish to be called an Emerald.  Green Beryl is generally not generally heat sensitive, but the green could fade or change to a bluish color if subjected to 1000C or higher. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Green Beryl can be found in Brazil, Colombia, and Nambia.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Green Beryl is not treated.
    CARE - Heliodor should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean
    Green Beryl.


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    CHRYSOBERYL

    Chrysoberyl

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8-1/2

    Toughness : Excellent to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.746-1.755 (+.004,-.006)

    Specific Gravity : 3.73 (+/-.02)

    Chrysoberyl has a natural color that ranges from Pale Yellow to Pale Greenish Yellow or Green, or Pale Brownish Yellow.  It's color range is like the Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye but a bit more green or brown.  The pale yellow color closely resembles Light Yellow Sapphire, but it is not as brilliant.  Normally this gemstone is found in Mixed Oval cuts and  Round cuts to bring out the excellent luster of the stone, and sometimes it can even be found in Trilliant, Marquis, and Pear cuts.  Our main source is Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), known for producing some of the finest Gemstones in the world.  Other sources for this gemstone are Madagascar and Brazil.  The value of Chrysoberyl is about the same as Tourmaline and Spinel.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Chrysoberyl is not treated.
    CARE - Chrysoberyl should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush are the best way to clean Chrysoberyl jewelry.


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    CHRYSOBERYL CAT'S EYE

    Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye

    The 18th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8-1/2

    Toughness : Excellent to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.746-1.755 (+.004,-.006)

    Specific Gravity : 3.73 (+/-.02)

    Many Gems have Cat's Eyes, but Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye is the best known. A Cat's Eye stone is a Cabochon which has fine tubes or needles which run across the stone (chatoyancy). When properly cut, the light reflects as a floating silky eye. The sharp eye in the Cabochon resembles the iris of a Cat's Eye, hence the term Cat's Eye.
    Chrysoberyl Cat's Eyes are normally pale Yellow, honey Yellow and Brown/Yellow, sometimes with a touch of Green. The very best and hardest to locate is a honey Brown. The rarest Cat's Eye is one where a light shown through the side of the stone creates a shadow in the stone. Two shades of color separating the Cat's Eye are then evident. This is called a milk and honey effect due to the lighter and darker shades of color. The strength of the Eye, clarity, color and size of the Cabochon determine the price per carat.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye is not treated since it would adversely affect the natural  chatoyancy.  Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye is often times found to be radioactive, so it must pass the RDX test and have -0- radiation to be imported into the US.
    CARE - Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye (non-radioactive) is excellent in jewelry since it is quite hard, however, as with all Chrysoberyl, it should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush are the best way to clean Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye jewelry.

     

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    CITRINE

    Citrine

    THE BIRTHSTONE for NOVEMBER

    The 13th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7

     Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.554-1.553

    Specific Gravity : 2.66 (+.03,-.02)

    Citrine, a member of the Quartz mineral family, is a Quartz whose color is probably caused by Iron traces.
    Citrine's name is derived from the French Citrine for lemon.  Color ranges from pale yellow, to medium yellow, to medium-dark orange-yellow, to root beer color.  Most Citrine on the market is actually a brownish variety of an  Amethyst that has been heat treated to produce the bright yellow colors and darker stones with reddish tints.  The pale yellow color stones are typically natural untreated stones.  As the color ranges into medium-dark orange-yellow to Root Beer it is called Madeira Citrine.  Citrine is heat sensitive, excessive heat could turn the stone colorless, an abrupt temperature change may fracture the stone.  Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids, ammonium fluoride, and alkalies. Sources for this gemstone are Brazil, Bolivia, and Madagascar.

    TREATMENTS - Almost all Citrine on the market is routinely heat treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Citrine jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, but risky to use a steamer.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your Citrine Jewelry.


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    EMERALD

    Emerald

    THE BIRTHSTONE for MAY

    The 20th and 35th ANNIVERSARY STONE
    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8 
    Toughness : Poor to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.577-1.583 (+/-.017)

    Specific Gravity : 2.72 (+.18,-.05)

    Emerald, the first stones were mined in the deserts of Egypt near the Red Sea in what were known as Cleopatra's Mines.  Egyptian Emerald mined today are small and dark stones.  Sources for this gemstone are Colombia, Africa, and Brazil.
    Emerald is a member of the Beryl mineral family, along with Aquamarine, Golden Beryl, Goshenite, Bixbite and Morganite. The name for Emerald is taken from the Greek smaragdos, meaning Green stone.
     Chromium, vanadium, and iron are the trace elements that give emerald it’s color.  The presence or absence of each and their relative amounts determines the hue, tone, and saturation of an emerald.  Generally, the higher the chromium or vanadium content, the more intense the green color. As iron content decreases, so does emerald’s degree of blue.  When iron content is relatively high, emerald is a bluer green. When iron content is relatively low, emerald is a purer green.  Emeralds can be very strong bluish green to green hues, although some emeralds may be very slightly yellowish green.  The most desirable emerald colors are bluish-Green to Green, with strong to vivid saturation and medium to dark tone.  If the hue is too yellowish or too bluish, the stone is not emerald, but a different variety of beryl.  As with other colored stones, a well-trained eye is normally required to recognize the sometimes-subtle variations that make significant differences in emerald value.  Inclusions are generally accepted in Emeralds since all but the rare few have visible inclusions of Mica, Pyrite or Calcite or the "garden" type inclusions.  The most prized emeralds are highly transparent, with evenness of color, and with no eye-visible color zoning.  Inclusions can be important in separating natural from synthetic emeralds as well as for identifying the country of origin. Emerald is heat sensitive, excessive heat could cause fracturing or complete breakage. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids, solvents may drive out the oil.

    TREATMENTS - Virtually all Emerald on the market has some sort of surface-reaching fractures and openings. The visibility of the inclusions is reduced by filling them. Traditionally, oils (such as cedarwood oil) are used but in time they tend to dry out thus making the inclusion more readily visible again and the gem would require another oil bath.  Today, natural resin or wax type materials are preferred over the traditional oils, since the resin or wax is a natural substance with more of an almost permanent treatment life.  Emerald enhancement processes date back over 600 years, and oil, natural resin, or wax type treatments are accepted trade practices that do not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so you can expect all Emeralds will have some type of enhancement.  There's no need to worry when you see these enhancements disclosed.
    CARE - Emeralds must be treated with care to prevent chipping.  Emerald jewelry should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Emerald jewelry.
    We only feature and offer Natural Emeralds.
    The vibrant Green incomparable beauty is reason enough for owning this Gem.


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    GARNET

    Pyrope GarnetRhodolite GarnetMandarin GarnetTsavorite GarnetDemantoid GarnetHessonite GarnetSpessartite Garnet

    THE BIRTHSTONE for JANUARY

    The 2nd ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : see type

    Specific Gravity : see type

    The Latin root word for Garnet is Granatum, meaning pomegranate, thought to resemble the fruit's seeds.
    There are several varieties in the Garnet family.  Pyrope (bright red to dark brick-red), Rhodolite (pinkish-red), Almandine (deep violet-red), Spessartite (orange-pink to orange-red with brownish yellow), Spessartine (midway between almondine and spessartite), Hessonite (honey-yellow to yellow-brown), Grossularite (light yellowish-green to strong bluish-green), and Anaradite (honey-yellow=trapazolite, green=demantoid, blackish-red to black=melanite). Garnets are available in all colors except pure Blue.  In recent years there have been new finds and Gem Merchants may use pet names like Orange garnet and Mandarin garnet to describe them, but these are really in the Spessartite variety, just as Tsavorite is in the Grossular variety.  Scroll down to get more specific info on the different varieties of Garnet. All Garnet is heat sensitive, excessive heat could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids.

    TREATMENTS - Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and usually extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Color Change Garnet

    Color Change Garnet changes color from green in daylight or fluorescent lightColor Change Garnet changes color to reddish purple in candle light or incandescen light

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.760 (+.020,-.018)

    Specific Gravity : 3.78-3.85

    Color Change Garnet is very scarce, with very few stones in the worldwide market. These Garnets are a rare mixture of Pyrope and Spessartite, but also have Chromium and Vanadium, which gives it the color change. They have a wide variability in color behavior. The lesser quality stones can vary in shades of drab brownish colors, whereas the top gem quality stones can be vivid purples and vivid blue-greens in daylight or fluorescent lighting to purplish-Reds and Blood Reds in candle light or incandescent lighting, in the top quality stones, blue hues are very rare. Top Gem Color Change Garnet can be easily confused with top quality Alexandrite, the color shift can be that dramatic. Typically Color Change Garnet stones are faceted and range in sizes between 1 to 10 carats. Some of the identifying characteristics are rutile, pyrite, and apatite crystals visible in the stone. Color Change Garnet is heat sensitive, excessive heat could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Color Change Garnets are found in Sri Lanka, Africa, and Brazil. Expect the extraordinary stones to continue to increase in value, since they a very highly valued Collectors Gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Color Change Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Pyrope Garnet

    Pyrope Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.714-1.742

    Specific Gravity : 3.78 (+.09,-.16)

    Pyrope (PYE-rope) Garnets are the most common on the market.  They are typically Red with a brownish tint, or Brick Red in color.  Pyrope is sometimes called Cape Ruby, but this is a misnomer,  and sometimes confused with Almondine and Spinel.  Pyrope Garnets are seldom over 2 carats, can be found in faceted as well as cabochon cut stones, they are tough wearing stones, so an excellent choice for jewelry. Pyrope Garnet is heat sensitive, the stone fuses easily before a jewelers torch, and abrupt temperature changes could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids.

    TREATMENTS - Garnet is not treated.
    CARE- It is usually safe to clean Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Rhodolite Garnet

    Rhodolite Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.760 (+.010 -.020)

    Specific Gravity : 3.84 (+/-.010)

    Rhodolite (ROE-doe-lite) is the name used to describe the lovely pinkish, purplish or lavender Red Garnets which are a mixture of Pyrope and Almandite. This name was first used in the late 1800's to describe the new rhododendron shade of Garnets discovered in North Carolina. Rhodolite is usually a Red stone, ranging from light to dark purplish Red through reddish Purple. Raspberry Rhodolite (trade name) is a rich purplish Red with bright Lavender highlights. Prices are based on the color, size and clarity of the stone. Rhodolite Garnets are not as dark as the common Pyrope Garnets. Rhodolite is heat sensitive, the stone fuses easily before a jewelers torch, and abrupt temperature changes could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Rhodolite garnets are normally African in origin and are bright, transparent Gems. 

    TREATMENTS - Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Demantoid Garnet

    Demantoid Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6-1/2 to 7  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.888 (+.007, -.033)

    Specific Gravity : 3.84 (+/-.03)

    Green Demantoid Garnet, in the Andradite (ANN-druh-dite) mineral species belonging to the Garnet group, is one of the rarest Garnets.  Discovered in Russia in 1868, the supply was consumed in jewelry by 1896.  Production now is limited to a few stones a year. Utilized in Art Nouveau jewelry during the turn of the century.  Demantoid is important to Gem aficionados for four reasons: its great rarity, its color, its high dispersion and its distinctive inclusion.  Dispersion, or the breaking of White light into spectral colors, is measured at 0.044 for Diamond and 0.057 for Demantoid.  Demantoid's name means "diamond" in German, an indication of its beautiful luster.  Demantoid deposits of lesser material exist in San Bonito County, California, the Piedmont area of Italy, Iran, Nambia, Korea, the Congo and the Stanley Butts area of Arizona, but because the original locality for demantoid was in Russia’s Ural Mountains, the Russian material remains the standard by which the gem is judged.  While the color of demantoid never equals that of the finest emerald, an emerald-green is the ideal.  The color should be as intense as possible, without being overly dark.  Many stones are in the yellowish-Green range with lesser qualities being brownish Green of grayish Green.  The color of demantoid is believed to be due to chromium.  It should be noted that the fire in a demantoid is best seen in the lighter, less saturated gems. Thus color preference is a matter of individual taste.  Some people will choose an intense body color and less fire, while others prefer a lighter body color and more fire.  Demantoid garnet generally looks best under daylight.  Incandescent light makes it appear slightly more yellowish-green.  Because of its high dispersion, demantoid looks great in the same type of lighting as diamond, i.e., multi-point (as opposed to diffuse) lighting.  Demantoid is relatively clean, thus when buying one you should look for an eye-clean or near-eye-clean stone.  Demantoids exhibit a unique Byssolite inclusion called a "horse tail."  This inclusion is formed by Asbestos, needle-like fibers which radiate from a central crystal, usually Chrysolite, in a curving style similar to a horse's tail.  Gem cutters often fashion a Demantoid to better show the inclusion since this is a definite characteristic of a Demantoid.  Generally you will only find  round brilliant, oval, or cushion cuts.  Typically crystals are small and not plentiful, generally under 1 Carat.  Demantoid is rare in faceted stones above 2 carats.  Fine demantoids above 5 carats can be considered world-class pieces.  Some demantoid garnet is heat-treated to improve the color, and the resulting stones are stable under normal wearing conditions.  Demantoid is among the most expensive of all garnets, but like all gem materials, low-quality (i.e., non-gem quality) pieces may be available for a few dollars per carat.  Prices for demantoid vary greatly according to size and quality, but gem quality stones with no enhancement may reach as much as $10,000 per carat. Demantoid is heat sensitive, an abrupt temperature changes could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Demantoid Garnet is a valued Collectors Gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean
    Demantoid Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your Demantoid.


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    Grossularite Garnet

    Hessonite GarnetHessonite GarnetGrossular GarnetTsavorite Garnet

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for MAY

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.740 (+.020 -.010)

    Specific Gravity : 3.61 (+.12, -.04)

    The Grossularite (GRAHSS-you-lar-ite) Garnet mineral species belonging to the Garnet group incorporates many colors: light to dark Yellow to reddish Orange (Hessonite), light to dark Green (Tsavorite), Colorless (rare); and occasionally translucent to opaque Pink.  Of course there are many variations and shades of these colors.  Pure Grossularite is Colorless.  Grossularite Garnets can have a particular inclusion which is an identifying characteristic. A treacle or swirly appearance created by tiny included crystals, generally Diopside crystals, is common to Grossularite Garnets. Grossularite Garnet is heat sensitive, abrupt temperature changes could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Sources for Grossularite Garnet are Sri Lanka, Canada, U.S., Mexico, Africa, Australia and Brazil. Grossular Garnet is a valued Collectors Gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Grossularite Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Hessonite Garnet

    Hessonite Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.740 (+.020 -.010)

    Specific Gravity : 3.61 (+.12, -.04)

    Hessonite is part of the Grossularite Garnet species.  Hessonite Garnets are available in light to dark Yellow to reddish Orange. The Red/Orange Hessonite is often referred to as "Cinnamon" stone because it matches the color of oil of cinnamon produced in Ceylon.  Our source for Hessonite Garnet is Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), known for producing the finest variety of Garnet.  Other sources are Canada, Mexico, U.S., Brazil and Africa.  Hessonite Garnet is a valued Collectors Gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - Hessonite Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Grossularite Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Tsavorite Garnet

    Tsavorite Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.740 (+.020 -.010)

    Specific Gravity : 3.61 (+.12, -.04)

    Tsavorite is the intense Green Grossular Garnet named after the Tsavo National Park in Kenya.  Tsavorite was first discovered in 1967 and was named by Henry B. Platt, vice-president of Tiffany & Co., after the site of that find. Tsavorite is often compared to other Green Gemstones, and it is easily a match for the better known Emerald. Actually Tsavorite is superior to the Emerald in many ways, and it is a rarer stone. Tsavorite is a tougher, more durable stone with a higher luster, resulting in a higher polish.  It also has a higher refractive index, 1.74 for Tsavorite compared to 1.57 for Emerald, so Tsavorite is the brighter stone for setting with Diamonds since the Tsavorite will display more sparkle and fire. Shades vary from pure Green to yellowish Green. Like Emerald, most Tsavorite can have some visible inclusions.  Most Tsavorite production is under 1 Carat.  A 2 Carat Tsavorite is considered large! Tsavorite a is a valued Collectors Gemstone due to its rarity and its beauty.

    TREATMENTS - Tsavorite Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Grossularite Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Mali Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    One of the latest discoveries in the Garnet family. From Mali, Africa, these attractive Garnets are a rare mixture of Andradite and Grossular and only came into the market in late 1994.  Mali Garnets are much rarer than Tsavorite Garnets.  All are a bright, uniform light yellowish Green. These are extraordinary stones that are expected to increase in value.

    TREATMENTS - Mali Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Mali Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Spessartite Garnet

    Spessartite Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.810 (+.004, -.020)

    Specific Gravity : 4.15 (+.05, -.03)

    Spessartite (SPESS-ar-tite) Garnets are not commonly found on the market, they can be found in yellowish-Orange to reddish-Orange. Most people do not realize garnets come in colors besides Red. The vivid Orange color, sometimes with a Orange-Red to Orange-Pink color, is the most desired.  This Gem is especially Rare in clean faceted stones larger than 3 carats, and Gems over 10 carats are extremely Rare. The labor involved is arduous because the crystals are buried in pockets in pegmatites, once molten lava, and the miner slowly moves from pocket to pocket to retrieve the crystals.  Spessartite has good transparency, considerable luster, and normally found in Mixed or Oval cuts.  This Gem received its name from the area in Spessart, Germany, where it was originally found in the 1800's.  Since all Garnets are tough wearing stones, Spessartite is an excellent choice for jewelry.  Spessartite Garnet is heat sensitive, abrupt temperature changes could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Spessartite a is a valued Collectors Gemstone due to its rarity and its beauty.

    TREATMENTS - Spessartite Garnet is not treated.
    CARE- It is usually safe to clean
    Spessartite Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Mandarin (Orange) Garnet

    Mandarin Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6 to 6-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.810 (+.004, -.020)

    Specific Gravity : 4.15 (+.05, -.03)

    This "Sunkist" Orange Garnet is part of the Spessartite Garnet species, but it a little softer than the other Garnets with a hardness of 6 to 6-1/2. The Mandarin Garnet is a newcomer to the Gem Market.  Discovered in 1992 in Namibia near the north border with Angola, Mandarin Garnet is mined in wasteland conditions. Temperatures have been known to reach 140°F in a desert area populated by Angolan soldiers who have fled their homeland. Mandarin is uniform, and has vivid color of pure Orange that sets it apart from other Orange stones. Mandarin Garnet is heat sensitive, excessive heat could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Mandarin Garnets take a good polish, so this is a beautiful Gem for mounting.  Potential for this Gem is good because jewelry demand will grow due to its vivid color and brightness.

    TREATMENTS - Mandarin Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean
    Mandarin Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    Malaia (Malaya) Garnet

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair  to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.760 (+.020,-.018)

    Specific Gravity : 3.78-3.85

    Malaia (muh-LYE-uh) Garnet (also called Malaya Garnet) are a rare mixture of Pyrope and Spessartite Garnet family.  These Garnets were discovered in the Umba Valley in Tanzania, Africa. This Garnet has an unusual history. In the late 1970's, East African miners included this Orange and reddish Orange stone in parcels of Rhodolite Garnet being offered to Japanese dealers. The "off" colors, summarily rejected for their obviously different color, were contemptuously called Malaya by the miners. This Swahili word means outcast or prostitute. German and American dealers saw the beauty of this "outcast" Gem and began marketing Malaya Garnet in 1979. They generally range in color from a slightly pinkish-orange or reddish-orange or yellowish-orange, and tones from light to dark. These extraordinary stones are expected to increase in value. Top color Malaya Garnets are pure orange or reddish-orange, sometimes with a touch of peach. These vibrant stones are beautiful especially when mounted in Jewelry. Malaia Garnet is heat sensitive, excessive heat could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids. Malaia Garnets are very limited on the market.

    TREATMENTS - Malaia Garnet is not treated.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean
    Malaia Garnet jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and extremely risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean your gemstone jewelry.


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    IOLITE

    Iolite

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for SEPTEMBER

    The 21st ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.542-1.551 (+.045,-.011)

    Specific Gravity : 2.61 (+/-.05)

    Iolite is also called Dichroite, referring to it's strong pleochroism, and Cordierite by minerologists, but the term Water Sapphire is a misnomer. Iolite varies from violetish Blue through slightly voiletish Blue, and it always has a strong pleochroism. Iolite is heat sensitive, the stone fuses easily before a jewelers torch, abrupt temperature changes could cause fracturing. Chemicals that could attack this gem are acids. This Gems are usually just a few carats in size, so to find anything over 3 carats in a rare find indeed. Iolite is cut to maximize the color and pleochroism. Iolite is often confused with Sapphire and Tanzanite. These vitreous, transparent, faceted stones are found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, Tanzania, Burma, Finland, Madagascar, Nambia, and Norway. The most common cut to be found is Oval or Rectangular step cut.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Iolite is not treated.
    CARE - It is risky to clean Iolite jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and  risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean this gemstone jewelry.


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    KUNZITE

    Kunzite

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6-1/2 to 7  

    Toughness : Poor

    Refractive Index : 1.660-1.676 (+/-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 3.18 (+/-.03)

    Kunzite is in the best known member of the Spodumene (SPOD-you-mene) mineral  species. The actual trade name Kunzite was named after George F. Kunz, the noted Gemologist for Tiffany & Company, in 1902.  This Pink to bluish Purple gem is frequently encountered in very large sizes and in deep cut Gems as a way of maximizing the color. Smaller stones, those under 10 Carats, will usually have lighter color than larger ones. Kunzite is heat sensitive, abrupt temperature changes could cause fracturing. Kunzite can also fade when exposed to strong light for extended periods, so caution should be exercised regarding a lot of exposure to sunlight. Chemicals that could attack this gem are concentrated hydrofluoric acids. These vitreous, transparent, faceted stones are found in Brazil, Afghanistan, Madagascar, and the US.

    TREATMENTS - The very nature of Kunzite requires it's color to be enhanced and stabilized by Irradiation followed by Heat treatment.
    CARE - It is very risky to clean Kunzite jewelry in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and very risky to use a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean this gemstone jewelry.


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    MORGANITE

    Morganite

    THE PINK EMERALD

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for OCTOBER

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8  

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.577-1.583 (+/-.017)

    Specific Gravity : 2.72 (+.18,-.05)

    Morganite is in the Beryl (BARE-ul) mineral species. The public was just beginning to gain awareness of this soft pink stone named after J.P. Morgan (Morganite) but is now gaining recognition by a new name "Pink Emerald". This reddish Orange through slightly purplish Red gem is truly rare, especially in the larger sizes with good color. In reality, green emerald is not rare, diamond is anything but rare, since everyone in the world has one, regardless of their income level, but Morganite is very rare.  Gem dealers in the know have one tucked away because they've always thought it would be an important gemstone.  Pink Emerald is finally receiving the appreciation and price level it deserves.  Pink Emerald prices are now at around $450 per carat for some of the smaller stones (<3 carats) in lighter colors, and range to upwards of $10,000 per carat for large stones with rich color.  Some dealers see Morganite as easily being $10,000 to $30,000 per carat in the very near future.  Morganite, or Pink Emeralds are following the lead taken in 1990 when  red beryl, or bixbite, was being sold and marketed as Red Emerald.  Red Emerald and Pink Emerald are both beryllium aluminum silicates colored by manganese and chromium, among other things.  These precious gems are extremely desirable and beautiful.  As with most gems, the larger the Pink Emerald the more it's cost per carat, and the more saturated the color, the higher the price of the gemstone. A clean and well cut Pink Emerald (Morganite) with moderate to moderately strong pastel pink color is definitely a winner, a gem you'd be proud to own, but to maintain it properly, make sure you clean it often, following the instructions below. Morganite is not generally heat sensitive, but the pink color could fade if subjected to 1000C or higher. Chemicals that could attack this gem are hydrofluoric acids.  Morganite is one of my personal favorites. This is a valued Collectors Gemstone that will continue to gain popularity and increase in value.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Morganite is not treated or enhanced.
    CARE - Jewelry featuring Pink Emerald (Morganite) should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Morganite.


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    PERIDOT

    Peridot

    THE BIRTHSTONE for AUGUST

    The 16th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6-1/2 to 7  

    Toughness : Fair to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.654-1.690 (+/-.020)

    Specific Gravity : 3.34 (+.14,-.07)

    Peridot (PEAR-ih-doe) belongs to the forsterite-fayalite mineral series, which is part of the olivine group. The name is derived from the Greek word peridona, meaning to provide plentifully. Peridot ranges in color from yellowish Green to greenish Yellow.  Because of the way Peridot splits and bends the rays of light passing through it, it has a velvety, "sleepy" appearance and a shining rich glow. The amount of Iron determines the color saturation.
    Some of the best Top Gem quality Peridot comes from Pyaung Gaung in Burma’s Mogok region.  Burmese Peridot is usually a rich olive Green and previously was readily available in large gem quality stones.  Sources for these fine stones are quite limited now, and premium prices of $400-$500 per carat can be demanded for fine large gems of top color. 
    In the 1990s, in Pakistan’s Suppatt region a new deposit was discovered, and is almost as good as that from Burma. Pakistan Peridot is normally a very nice rich olive Green, and can still be found in larger gem quality stones. Pakistan Peridot prices are higher than Arizona Peridot and a little lower than Burma Peridot.  Premium prices can still be demanded for fine, top gem quality Pakistan Peridot. 
    The U.S. has become a major source for Peridot since the world's largest known deposit is on the San Carlos Apache reservation 80 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona, but this material rarely cuts gems above 10 carats. The rough is dug by Native Americans who sell to nearby dealers. The faceted Arizona Peridot is normally bright, yellowish Green with minimal inclusions.  Arizona Peridot is usually modestly priced, typically between $50-$100 per carat.
    Peridot is also mined in China, Brazil, Australia and Norway, among other places. The historic deposit of Zabargad Island has not been mined for Peridot in many decades.
    Top Quality Large Peridot is an excellent choice to add to your Collection of Gemstones.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Peridot is not treated or  enhanced.
    CARE - It is very risky to clean Peridot in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and should never be cleaned with a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Peridot, and cleaning the gem often is recommended.  Peridot is heat sensitive, uneven or rapid heat may cause fracturing or complete breakage. Chemicals that could attack this gem are sulfuric acid and hydrofluoric acids. Acid perspiration of some people may attack Peridot over a long period of time.  Jewelers pickling solutions will etch the surface.


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     PHENAKITE

    Phenakite

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7-1/2 to 8  

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.66

    Specific Gravity : 2.96

    Pehenakite (Phenacite) is a rare beryllium mineral found in the Emerald and Alexandrite mining areas on the Takovaya stream, near Ekaterinburg in the Urals of Russia. It was named in 1833 by Nordenskiold from the Greek for "deceiver" or "liar" because it is so similar in appearance to a diamondThe crystals are sometimes perfectly colorless and transparent, but more often they are greyish or yellowish and only translucent; occasionally they are pale rose-red. In general appearance the mineral is not unlike quartz, for which indeed it has been mistaken. For gem purposes the stone is cut in the brilliant form. The indices of refraction are higher than those of quartz, beryl or topaz; a faceted phenacite is consequently rather brilliant and may sometimes be mistaken for diamond.
    Pehenakite is an excellent choice to add to your Collection of Gemstones.

    TREATMENTS - Pehenakite is not treated or enhanced.


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     OPAL

    Precious Opal

    MOH's scale of hardness : 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 

    Toughness : Fair to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.43 - 1.47

    Specific Gravity : 1.98 - 2.25

    OPAL derives from the Sanskrit Upala and the Latin opalus, meaning "precious stone". The oldest Opal mine was at Czerwenitza, now in Czechoslovakia (formerly Hungary). Archival evidence indicates that the mine was worked in the 14th century, but there are indications that it was in operation much earlier, perhaps the source of opal for Rome. Production of semi translucent milky white stones with play of color continued until 1932. Mexican Fire Opal was known to the Aztecs and was introduced in Europe by the Spanish conquistadors early in the 16th century. The characteristic feature of gem Opal  is play of colors, pure colors can be seen in rapid succession when the gem is moved around.
    By some standards, Opal is not a mineral because it does not have an extended crystal structure, it is made up of submicroscopic silica spheres bonded together with more silica and water. The lower the initial amount of water, the better are it's properties. Loss of water or change in temperature causes strain that is relieved by cracking, known as crazing.
    If the minute spheres in Opal are uniform in size and packed into a regular array, they can scatter light in various colors (by diffraction) determined by the size of the spheres and the opal's orientation. Gem or precious Opal contains many of these organized zones that display diffraction colors, whereas common opal may be colored but does not show a play of colors.
    Black Opal was first found in Australia in 1887. Queen Victoria helped popularize Black Opal and White Opal by giving opal jewelry to all of her children. Black and White Opals are currently the most popular gems.
    Australia produces 85 percent of the world's Opal. Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, is the primary source of Black Opal. Andamooka, Coober Pedy, and White Cliffs are also very important sources for Black and White Opal, and the Andamooka material is extremely dry when it is mined, so it is unlikely you will ever see it craze.
    The play of colors is the most important to the value of an Opal. Fine Opals exhibit bright intense colors. Black Opals are more valued than White. Opal that is too thin to be used in jewelry is made into doublets. This is typically accomplished by taking the thin piece of gem-quality opal, and cementing it to a piece of common opal. If the doublet is covered with a piece of colorless quartz, it becomes a triplet, which is a little more durable than a doublet.
    Precious Opal is called Black Opal when the background color is mid-gray, smoke gray, blue, or black, otherwise it is called White Opal. 
    The best quality gems fetch very high prices, exceeded only by precious gems like diamond, ruby, alexandrite, emerald, sapphire, etc. 
    TREATMENTS - Opal is not treated or enhanced, but it is made into a doublet or triplet as explained above. Glass and Plastic have been used to imitate Opal, but it is very poor looking material. No natural mineral resembles Opal, with the possible exception of Labradorite Feldspar. Synthetic Opal was commercially produced France in 1972, but it's cost is almost the same as natural opal, so why would anyone even remotely consider purchasing the synthetic material.
    CARE - It is very risky to clean Opal in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and should never be cleaned with a steamer. We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Opal Jewelry.  Opal is heat sensitive, uneven or rapid heat may cause crazing.


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    RUBY

    Ruby

    THE BIRTHSTONE for JULY

    The 15th and 40th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    The 80th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9 

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009, -.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+/-.05)

    Ruby is one of the symbols of love.
    Ruby is of the mineral species Corundum (ko-RUN-dum). The red color Corundum is Ruby, all other colors are Sapphire. Some gem dealers debate the borderline between Ruby and Pink Sapphire. Historically, the word
    Ruby referred to shades of red, which technically included pink. But the names ruby and pink sapphire reflect a bit of a difference in value. That’s why, given a choice, a gem dealer would prefer to be able to call a corundum gem Ruby rather than Pink Sapphire. Pink Sapphire is really just Light Red Ruby. The International Colored Gemstone Association passed a resolution that the light shades of the red hue be included in the category Ruby since it was too difficult to legislate where red ended and pink began.  In practice, however, pink shades are now known either as Pinkish Ruby or Pink Sapphire.  Either way, these gems are among the most beautiful of the Corundum family. 

    Ruby hues range from strongly purplish-red to orangy-red.  The finest ruby has a slightly purplish-red to pure vibrant red hue.  As the hue becomes more purplish or orangy, the ruby moves down the quality scale into good and commercial ranges. The highest-quality rubies have  vivid saturation.  Medium tone to medium-dark tones are preferred as long as the tone is not so dark that it has a negative effect on brilliance.  At the other extreme, if the tone is too light, the stone is considered pink sapphire, even if saturation levels are high. The most valuable ruby colors are red (R) to slightly purplish red (slpR) with medium (5) to medium-dark (6) tones and strong (5) to vivid (6) saturation.  Typically these are called Cherry Red to Pigeon Blood Red colors.  Chrome imparts the Redness to Ruby.  Here are charts showing the GIA master hue/tone/saturation to determine if corundum is ruby, or if it’s pink, purple, or orange sapphire.  Gem Laboratories that use the GIA scale, grade on the principle that red must be the dominant hue before a stone can be called a ruby, and since identification of the dominant hue is subject to personal perception, in some areas of the world pink sapphires are considered rubies.  Ruby is an excellent choice for jewelry and has a high refraction which produces a bright stone.  Ruby's relative density is high, so a one Carat Ruby will be smaller in millimeter dimensions than a one Carat Diamond.
    We typically offer only the finest Burma and Ceylon Rubies.  The Mogok region in Burma, or Myanmar, is the source historically for the finest Rubies.  Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Mong Hsu Burma Rubies are what we would consider the regions producing the next to the finest grade Ruby, whereas Rubies from Thailand, Africa and Vietnam are typically in the commercial grade of Ruby.  Facet grade Ruby stones are usually cut in the Cushion or Oval shapes.  Native cutters take liberties with the cutting of the pavilions or back side of Rubies to produce larger stones by lifting out dark inclusions, sometimes leaving small cavities (or divets), allowing the culet or bottom point to be a little bit off-center, or by having deeper or shallower than ideal pavilions. Generally these minor points are not noticeable when the stones are mounted, and generally they do not affect the price. Precision cuts required for designer jewelry are cut by strict standards, and consequently the cutting adds to the overall cost of the item. Ruby is not usually heat sensitive, but a jeweler's torch could alter  the color, it may be prudent to ask a Jeweler to remove the stone before applying his torch. There are not very many chemicals that could attack this gem, but if boiled in a diamond cleaning kit the stone can lose it's polish, also Jewelers pickling solutions containing boron will etch the surface.
    Ruby was the first mineral to be produced by commercial Gem synthesis, dating back to the 1880's.  It is not uncommon that some have purchased an antique or inherited a family heirloom, and when sending it for an insurance appraisal they learn their "Gem" is not a natural stone, but a synthetic, so just because it's old doesn't mean it's the real thing. We have only genuine natural Ruby, so you will not find synthetic Ruby, among our Gemstones.
    Rubies are an excellent choice for investment that are today still more valuable and rare than even the top quality colorless diamonds.  Natural "unheated" top quality Ruby never decreased in true value and remains a highly valued Collectors Gemstone.
    COLOR - The most important factor in the value of a RUBY.  The top qualities are as red as you can imagine: a saturated pure spectral hue without any overtones of brown or blue.  After color, the other factors which influence the value of a ruby are clarity, cut, and size.  There are many variables in colored gem pricing because it's not a controlled market like the diamond market is.  One dealer may sell an Ruby of the same quality at one price and another dealer may sell that same Ruby for another price.  There is no price guide as in diamond purchasing.  Whatever a dealer can get for that rarer colored gem is what it's worth and if he wants to hold out for a certain amount of money he just  has to hope he's making the right move.  So you need to be educated enough to know what you're doing!  Since we cut out these middleman dealers, you can expect to get a great quality stone for considerably less.

    TREATMENTS - Over 99% of all Ruby on the market is heat treated, to stabilize and/or enhance the color and/or clarity. The typical heat treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.  The typical heat enhancement procedure performed on Ruby from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) normally refers to the lower temperature wood 'blow' heat method, whereas and the typical heat enhancement procedure performed on Mogok, Myanmar, MongHsu, Thai, Vietnamese, and African Ruby usually refers to the high temperature furnace fired method.  Both heating methods are accepted trade practices, and have been for many generations. The heat treatment process is permanent and does not adversely affect the performance, and durability of the gem, but in recent years demand for natural non-heated non-treated top quality Ruby has caused these gems to command a somewhat higher premium, depending on the gem. We take pride in finding and featuring many of these non-heated natural Rubies.
    CAVEAT EMPTOR - A new type heat enhancement was introduced recently, called 'bulk diffusion', which means the gem is subjected to the high temperature furnace fired method above 1900o C, and also under high pressure, then titanium oxide or another coloring agent is added to the mix to alter and/or change the color of the gemstone. AGTA and GIA gem labs, after examination of this 'bulk diffused' heat treatment process reveals that the color does not go all the way through the gem, but is only in the outer layer, so if the stone is ever scratched or recut the outside color layer would be removed and the original color would then be visible under the outer layer of the gem. These 'bulk diffusion' factories are usually at locations in Thailand, and since Asian gem suppliers (and there are many online now) are not subject to the same disclosure laws as we are here in the US, these enhancement processes are rarely disclosed to the buyer, so buyers please beware. For example, you may see a premium Burma Ruby advertised on one of those websites for what appears to be pennies on the dollar. You can rest assured this is most likely a diffused stone altered by one of the Asian factories. Some of these gem suppliers even go to great lengths to try to convince the public that there is no difference in the value of their diffused gems, and the value of a natural non-treated gem, but any experienced jeweler will verify that a statement like that is totally untrue.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Ruby in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we still recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Ruby jewelry.


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    STAR RUBY

    Star Ruby

    THE BIRTHSTONE for JULY

    The 15th and 40th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    The 80th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9 

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009, -.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    Ruby sometimes displays a three-ray, six-point star. These star rubies are cut in a smooth domed cabochon cut to display the effect. The star is best visible when illuminated with a single light source: it moves across the stone as the light moves. This effect, called asterism, is caused by light reflecting off tiny needle like rutile (called "silk") arranged in three sets of parallel needles that intersect one another at 60o angles.
    The value of star rubies and star sapphires are influenced by two things: 1) The intensity and attractiveness of the body color, and 2) The strength and sharpness of the star. All six legs should be straight and equally prominent. Star rubies rarely have the combination of a fine translucent or transparent color and a sharp prominent star, but when offered, these gems are valuable and expensive. Star Ruby is somewhat heat sensitive, a jeweler's torch could alter  the color or star, it may be prudent to ask a Jeweler to remove the stone before applying his torch. There are not very many chemicals that could attack this gem, but if boiled in a diamond cleaning kit the stone can lose it's polish, also Jewelers pickling solutions containing boron will etch the surface. Our source for fine Star Sapphire is Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), known for producing a fine variety of Sapphire.  We occasionally come across a Burma Star, and these are even more of a rarity thus commanding an extremely high premium.  Other sources for Star Rubies are Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Kampuchea, and India. Fine Burma and Ceylon Top Gem Quality Star Rubies are very highly valued Collectors Gemstones.

    TREATMENTS - Genuine Star Ruby is not typically treated with 'heat' or any other treatment to enhance the color or alter the clarity. If a Star Ruby were to be heated the person doing the heating seriously risks dissolving the rutile needles that cause the asterism to form a star, thus rendering it a plain Cabochon Ruby worth far less than it is as a natural non-heated non-treated Top Quality Star Ruby.
    CARE - It is risky to clean Star Ruby in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and risky to use a steamer. We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Star Ruby.
    NOTE - Most commonly you will see that synthetics jump out as way too perfect looking, ie: a perfect star, a super clean stone, and great color.  If you own one and aren't sure if it's genuine... Here's a few quick ways you might be able to tell the difference... First thing to look at is the bottom, if there is an "L" stamped in the stone, it's a Lindy Star and synthetic... if it does not have an "L" it passes that test, so now  look for imperfections within the stone, and/or unevenness on the bottom, and/or stripes or lines of color that shows through the top. Almost all natural Star Rubies have one or more of these natural imperfections. Then look at the star itself, using a flashlight... most natural stars do not have a "perfect" star... the natural will most likely have 1 or more of the 6 legs not exactly the same length, or maybe not all 6 are perfectly straight.  Now move the flashlight around in a circle, the genuine star will travel around and follow the light source.  If the star stays stationary it is definitely synthetic. It would be helpful if you can look at the bottom of the gem, synthetics are always flat on the bottom, and usually have a very low dome, whereas the natural star typically will have an uneven bottom that may even have chunks of stone that appear to be missing, or dark spots on the lower portion of the gem.  If it passes these tests, I recommend you take it to a jeweler that has a thermal conductivity gem tester (this tester has a needle gauge, not just the diamond tester that just makes a beep) and ask him to test the stone with this instrument, the dial should jump to the mark just before a diamond to tell you it's corundum. If it passes this test you may have a genuine Star Ruby, but don't get super excited yet, these are just simple things you can do to rule out the majority of synthetics, the only way to be sure is to send the stone to a certified reputable Gemologist and ask for a Gem Identification Report.
    The following links are to reputable Gem Laboratories and Appraisers (in Alphabetical order).  
    Prices for gem reports may range from $100 to $1,000, depending on how much detail you want on the report.
    AGL | AGTA | GIA | GRS | GUILD | GUBELIN | SSEF

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    SAPPHIRE

    Blue SapphireKashmir SapphirePink SapphireWhite SapphireYellow SapphireGolden SapphireOrange Sapphire

    THE BIRTHSTONE for SEPTEMBER (Blue)

    ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for APRIL (White)

    ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for OCTOBER (Pink)

    ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for NOVEMBER (Yellow)

    The 5th and 45th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    The 70th ANNIVERSARY JUBILEE STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    Sapphire and Ruby comprise more than half of all Gemstones sold worldwide.  Sapphire's popularity is not based on color alone.  Its hardness of 9 places it next to Diamond (10), making it an excellent choice for jewelry worn daily.  It is frequently featured in engagement rings.  Most people relate Sapphire to the color Blue.  Sapphire is a form of Corundum (ko-RUN-dum), readily available in an array of other colors: Pink, Golden, Green, peachy Orange, Purple and Colorless.  These alternate colors are called 'Fancy Sapphire', or simply variations of the standard hues.  Color change Sapphires are those which have two colors which are distinct when the light source is changed from fluorescent to incandescent.  Generally, the more clear and vivid the color, the more valuable the fancy sapphire.  If the color is in the pastel range, the clarity should be good: because in lighter tones any inclusions are more noticeable. The trade usually recognizes gemstones with fewer visible inclusions to be more valuable than gems with visible inclusions.  In a lighter colored gemstone, the cut is also more important: it should reflect light back evenly across the face of the stone, making it lively and brilliant.  With darker more intense colors, the cut isn't as critical because the color creates its own impact. Sapphire is not usually heat sensitive, but a jeweler's torch could alter the color, it may be prudent to ask a Jeweler to remove the stone before applying his torch. There are not very many chemicals that could attack this gem, but if boiled in a diamond cleaning kit the stone can lose it's polish, also Jewelers pickling solutions containing borax will etch the surface.
    Ceylon (Sri Lanka) positively produces the finest all-round Sapphires in the world today.  The very name commands a premium, and Ceylon Gems have constantly increased in price.  We have always been on top of the Gem market in Ceylon and stay up with current prices and new discoveries.  It is a very difficult market due to political unrest. It IS dangerous to go there, and it's more dangerous to go outside the capital city into the countryside where the stones are hand dug from the pits.  We constantly buy fine Ceylon Sapphires when the price is "right."  To be "right" we have the connections to know who needs quick and ready cash.  Every stone is negotiated differently, thereby affecting the price per carat.  We work hard to bring these highly valued Gemstones to you at very very affordable prices.  Sapphire of lesser quality comes out of Australia, Thailand, Colombia, Kampuchea (Cambodia), Kenya and Tanzania (Africa), and Montana (USA), and we do not usually offer these stones.

    TREATMENTS - Almost all (99%) Sapphire on the market is routinely treated with 'heat' to enhance and stabilize the color.  The typical heat treatment process is a permanent process and it does not normally adversely affect the performance, and durability of the gem, but in recent years demand for natural non-heated non-treated top quality Sapphire has caused these gems to command a somewhat higher premium, depending on the gem.  When we disclose a gem as enhanced with 'heat', we are typically referring to the heat enhancement procedure performed in Sri Lanka right near the mines, using the lower temperature wood heat method.  This 'blow' heat method typically is used on very very good quality Ceylon gems, only to slightly enhance the color and/or to stabilize the color from fading in sunlight.  There's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.  Almost all Ceylon Padparadscha Sapphire and virtually all Ceylon Orange Sapphire on the market was subjected to 'blow' heat.  This 'blow' heating method has been an accepted trade practice for many many generations.  There are other types of heat enhancement procedures, however, one of which is a high temperature furnace fired method.  This 'furnace' process is typically performed on Sapphire of a much lesser quality.  The goal is to seriously enhance or alter the color and/or clarity of the stone.  Most of these gemstones are highly heated, almost to the melting point of the gem, so it is  'cooked' over and over until the gem dealers feel it is a more desirable color and will fetch a better price in the market.  We normally do not offer gemstones that have been highly heated. 
    CAVEAT EMPTOR - A new type heat enhancement was introduced recently, called 'bulk diffusion', which means the gem is subjected to the high temperature furnace fired method above 1900o C, and also under high pressure, then a coloring agent is added to the mix to alter and/or change the color of the gemstone. AGTA and GIA gem labs, after examination of this 'bulk diffused' heat treatment process reveals that the color does not go all the way through the gem, but is only in the outer layer, so if the stone is ever scratched or recut the outside color layer would be removed and the original color would then be visible under the outer layer of the gem. These 'bulk diffusion' factories are usually at locations in Thailand, and since Asian gem suppliers (and there are many online now) are not subject to the same disclosure laws as we are here in the US, these enhancement processes are rarely disclosed to the buyer, so buyers please beware. For example, you may see a premium Ceylon Sapphire advertised on one of those websites for what appears to be pennies on the dollar. You can rest assured this is most likely a diffused stone altered by one of the Asian factories. Some of these gem suppliers even go to great lengths to try to convince the public that there is no difference in the value of their diffused gems, and the value of a natural non-treated gem, but any experienced jeweler will verify that a statement like that is totally untrue. We specialize in obtaining top quality Ceylon Sapphires that are natural "non-treated" gems, not heated or chemically treated in any way (the exception is Padparadscha, Golden, Orange, and some of the darker shades of Blue Sapphire, which as stated in treatments above are typically 'blow' heat enhanced to stabilize the color.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Sapphire jewelry.


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    Kashmir Sapphire - Ceylon Blue Sapphire

    Kashmir SapphireKashmir SapphireKashmir SapphireKashmir Sapphire

    THE BIRTHSTONE for SEPTEMBER (Blue)

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    Although everyone has heard of the fabled Burmese Kashmir Sapphire, few have ever seen one.  We constantly see appraisals that refer to Kashmir Sapphire (or Cashmere Sapphire), but it is usually referring to a Top Gem Ceylon Sapphire from Sri Lanka. The term Kashmir is widely regarded to mean the finest quality Blue Sapphire with a velvety, slightly violetish blue, highly saturated in medium to medium dark tone, with sleepy transparency. Once in a great while we are able to acquire one from Burma, but since the mine has been depleted and these highly prized stones are old stones that are simply brought back onto the market, they don't last long. Authentic Kashmir Sapphires and the Kashmir color Sapphires carry a particularly high cost per carat and are very highly valued Collectors Gemstones.
    There are an
    array of color grades, and prices, and sometimes it's difficult to know what quality of color to expect in stones at various prices.
    The Blue Sapphire color next on the popularity scale is Cornflower Blue.  The Cornflower Blue or Medium Blue color shades vary but all usually allow more light into the stone for a brighter appearance, so these stones are usually cut in the Cushion or Oval shape to make it as brilliant as possible.  Price per carat reflects the size, evenness of the color, the clarity and the brightness of the stone.
    We prefer to use the GIA Colored Stone Grading System, this is an exceptionally good method for noting the quality of color stones. In commercial grade Blue Sapphire you can expect to see the hue range from violet (V) to a very strongly greenish blue (vstgB), and tones will range between 2 and through 8, but less of a saturation range. Saturation in the commercial grade is usually from 1 to 3. Gem Quality Blue Sapphire usually narrow in the range of hues. The hues usually range from violet (V) to a very slightly greenish blue (vslgB), and their ranges of tone can be somewhere between 3 and 7, but optimum choice is between 4 to 6. Saturation in the Gem Quality grade can be from 3 through 5, but again the optimum is 4 to 5.  In Top Gem Quality Blue Sapphire the hues can range from a bluish-violet, or violetish-blue, or pure blue (bV, vB, or B). Tone should be between 5 and 7, and saturation should be 5 or 6. The examples in the diagram are bV 5/5 to 7/5, vB 5/5 to 7/5, and B 5/5 to 7/5, and B 6/6.

    TREATMENTS - (see above).
    CAVEAT EMPTOR - (see above).
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Sapphire jewelry.


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    Color Change Sapphire

    Color Change Sapphire

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    A color change Gemstone is one that changes from one color to another due to a change in the light source. The color change can be a subtle change in hue, to a dramatic blue to purple color change.  The color change comes about in a Gemstone due to the atomic structure of the stone. The ultraviolet rays in sunlight or fluorescent light excite the atoms in a color change Gem, but artificial (incandescent) light does not.  Sapphire is one of the few Gemstones that can have a color change. The more dramatic the color change, the rarer and more expensive the stone.  Color Change Sapphire is very difficult to find, especially in larger sizes.  No matter what size the stone, these Sapphires are considered to be rare. The largest Color Change Sapphire I have seen was a little over 25 carats, but this was many years ago, during the past five years the largest I have found was just under 8 carats. Color Change Sapphire is a phenomenon gemstone, similar to Alexandrite, and is sometimes even found as Color Change Star Sapphire, which is even more of a phenomenon gemstone that a faceted gem. Our source for fine Color Changing Sapphire is Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), known for producing the finest variety of Sapphire available.  Fine Color Change Sapphires are highly valued Collectors Gemstones.

    TREATMENTS - Color Change Sapphire is not typically treated with 'heat' or any other treatment to enhance the color or alter the clarity. If a Color Change Sapphire were to be heated it would alter the color changing properties within the gem, thus rendering it worth far less than it is as a natural non-heated non-treated top quality Color Changing Sapphire.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Sapphire jewelry.


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     Green Sapphire

    Green Sapphire

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    These Sapphires are generally a strong, bright green color, sometimes from green to bluish green or yellowish green pleochroism. They are not the same tone of Green as the Chrome Tourmaline, Tsavorite Garnet, or Emerald, but can at first glance look very similar.  The mixed Oval and Cushion cut are the most common, but you can sometimes find square or rectangular step cuts.  Green Sapphires are not very popular for mounting in jewelry but make nice additions to any Collection.

    TREATMENTS - (see above).
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Sapphire jewelry.


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    Pink Sapphire

    Pink SapphirePink SapphirePink SapphirePink Sapphire

    ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for OCTOBER (Pink)

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    Pink Sapphires are one of the HOTTEST of the fancy color Sapphires. The 4 photos above reflect the variance in color, from Light Pink similar to the Fancy Pink Diamond color, to very Hot Pinks similar to the Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond color. Light Pinks are very very hard to find, customarily the medium pinks are the most commonly found. Light pinks have become extremely popular, since they are so close to the color of a Fancy Pink Diamond, and a few Hollywood celebrities have been seen wearing them. The Top Quality Hot Pinks are getting very rare, and as a result they have seen the largest increase in value over the past 5 years of any of the Sapphires.  Pink Sapphire carries a premium price nearing and oftentimes surpassing the price for fine Ceylon (kashmir and royal) Blue Sapphire.  Pink Sapphire is a treasured Gemstones in any Collection.  Price per carat reflects the size, evenness of the color, the clarity and the brightness of the stone.

    TREATMENTS - (see above).
    CAVEAT EMPTOR - (see above).
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Sapphire jewelry.

     

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    Padparadscha Sapphire

    Padparadscha SapphirePadparadscha SapphirePadparadscha SapphirePadparadscha Sapphire

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    Padparadscha is the Sinhalese word meaning "lotus blossom".  Padparadscha is Corundum in the pastel shades of delicate Orange-Yellow-Pink.  Padparadscha can run from a more predominant Pink with nice Yellow-Orange mixed in, to the intense pastel tones of predominantly Hot Pink with Yellow-Orange mixed in, this means the Pink would be the more predominant color in the stone but the others are present and visible.  At the other end of the color spectrum Padparadscha can run from a more predominant pastel Orange with nice Pink-Yellow mixed in, to the darker tones of Orange with Pink-Yellow mixed in.  One color can be more predominant than the others, but never without the others. The 4 photos above reflect the variance in color. The AGTA Lab recently took a variety of stones that dealers suggested met the criteria of Padparadscha and scientifically defined the color range using an imaging spectrophotometer.  Unfortunately, the results of that attempt almost entirely excluded the stones produced from Tanzania’s Umba Valley.  Most dealers and gemologists feel that the Umba stones do not qualify because of their overly dark tones and strong brown (’garnet like’) component.  The spectacular “aurora” red-orange stones from Vietnam and Madagascar, even though there are no brown components in those  stones, are also excluded by the AGTA definition because of their oranges of high saturation and/or dark tones, this is mainly because Sri Lanka has traditionally never produced such colors.  In other words, when it comes to getting a gem report on Padparadscha, if it isn't from Sri Lanka and in a pastel shade, it probably isn't a true Padparadscha.  Most Padparadscha tends to have slight inclusions, especially in the rich intense tones, so if you see one that is a well cut and eye clean (or better) stone, with rich pastel blended color having all three colors evenly balanced and saturated throughout the stone, you are looking at one of the most expensive and sought after top quality Padparadscha gems available from the mines in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).  We only carry the finest natural Ceylon Padparadscha Sapphire which carries a premium price nearing and oftentimes surpasses the price for fine Ceylon (kashmir and royal) Blue Sapphire.  Padparadscha Sapphire is rarer than fine Ruby with a great investment potential!

    TREATMENTS - (see above).
    CAVEAT EMPTOR - (see above).
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Sapphire jewelry.


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    White Sapphire

    White SapphireWhite SapphireWhite Sapphire

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for APRIL (White)

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    White or "Colorless" Sapphires have a great deal of brilliance, are attractive, durable and well priced. Gem quality Colorless Sapphires are not common. In fact they are very difficult to obtain, so prices should continue to move upward in the market.  Some Colorless Sapphires have a very light tint of Blue, Yellow, or Pink but are still considered colorless.
    Colorless (white) Sapphire has been used as a substitute for Diamond for years.  We often suggest Colorless (white) Sapphire as the accent stones in jewelry pieces, and the larger gems make excellent main stones in pendants and rings, but we do not recommend it if you expect it to be as brilliant as a diamond.  White Sapphire is a natural precious gem, and as such, stands on it's own merit as a beautiful precious gemstone.  In recent years Gem Quality White Sapphire has become more and more of a very rare commodity.  Brilliant and Clean Colorless (white) Sapphires are gaining great popularity as a highly valued Collectors Gemstone.
    FAQ - What is the difference between White Sapphire and Diamond?
    First let me start by saying natural White Sapphire is a beautiful gem on it's own, but there is only one gem that looks like a Diamond, and that is a Diamond. There are several clear colorless gems that resemble a Diamond, but close examination by a trained gemologist will easily distinguish the difference. Diamond has a very high refractive index (2.417-2.419) and strong dispersion (0.044) to give it great brilliance and fire.  The refractive index for Colorless (white) Sapphire is a bit lower (1.766-1.774) and it has less dispersion (0.018) which means it cannot perform exactly like a Diamond.  A gem quality Colorless (white) Sapphire that is well cut is a very brilliant gemstone, but for the reasons I mentioned above it does not have the same fire as a Diamond.  By fire, I mean when you look at a Diamond, you see the colors of the rainbow in the faceting in natural daylight, you can even reflect the sunlight hitting a diamond and the colors of the rainbow will appear on the surfaces around you.  Whereas, with the White Sapphire, you see white light reflected in the faceting. The gem closest to a Diamond in brilliance and fire is the Colorless Zircon, this gem has a very high refractive index (1.777-1.987) and strong dispersion (0.039).  Gem quality White Zircon is a little less in price than a gem quality White Sapphire.  There is a drawback with Zircon, however, that is it's hardness.  Diamond is very hard (10) and can cut or scratch most all other gems and glass. Sapphire is next on the hardness scale (9) and can scratch most other gems, except Diamond.  Zircon has about the same hardness as Tanzanite (7) and can only scratch a few other gems, but it cannot scratch Sapphire or Diamond. 
    Zircon can be easily damaged if prong set on a Ring since it is sensitive to knocks and abrasions.  Men particularly are very hard on their jewelry and a Zircon can be easily damaged if precautions are not observed.  When building a Ring with a Zircon we recommend a full bezel and the stone recessed in the bezel, this way the gem is not subject to the typical knocks and abrasions one would normally encounter.  This brings us back to the White Sapphire.  Looking at the fact it is a very brilliant and beautiful natural gem, as well as very hard and durable for jewelry, and it is colorless, makes the White Sapphire a very suitable choice if the budget does not allow for a Diamond and yet you still want a beautiful natural gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - (see above).
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Sapphire jewelry.


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    Yellow Sapphire

    Yellow SapphireYellow SapphireYellow Sapphire

    ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for NOVEMBER (Yellow)

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    Yellow Sapphires are bright gemstones that range in color from a "Light Buttery Yellow" (light fancy yellow), a "Medium Buttery Yellow" or "Light Canary Yellow" (fancy yellow), a "Rich Buttery Yellow" or "Canary Yellow" (fancy intense yellow), to a "Rich Canary Yellow" (vivid yellow). The 3 photos above reflect the variance in color, from Light Yellow similar to the Fancy Yellow Diamond color, to very Rich Canary Yellow similar to the Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond color.  Yellow Sapphire has become extremely popular, since they so closely resemble the color of a Yellow Diamond. These faceted Gems are exceptional in jewelry, since their hardness is second only to Diamond.  We carry only Top Gem quality Natural Yellow Sapphires, many of which are not treated. In recent years all Gem Quality Yellow Sapphire has become more and more of a very rare commodity, doubling in value in the past five years.  These Top Gem Quality Yellow Sapphires are gaining great popularity as a highly valued Collectors Gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - (see above).
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and generally safe to use a steamer, but we strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the most trustworthy way to clean Sapphire jewelry.

     

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    STAR SAPPHIRE

    Blue Star Sapphire

    ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for AUGUST

    MOH's scale of hardness : 9  

    Toughness : Excellent

    Refractive Index : 1.762-1.770 (+.009,-.005)

    Specific Gravity : 4.00 (+.10,-.05)

    Sapphire sometimes displays a three-ray, six-point star.  These star sapphires are cut in a smooth domed cabochon cut to display the effect.  The star is best visible when illuminated with a single light source: it moves across the stone as the light moves. This effect, called asterism, is caused by light reflecting off tiny needle like rutile (called "silk") arranged in three sets of parallel needles that intersect one another at 60o angles. Star Sapphire is usually found in Blue colors, but there are also various shades of brown and green that are called Black Star Sapphire. Orange and Yellow Star Sapphires are almost unknown, and very rare.  Color Changing Star Sapphires are even more of a rarity.
    The value of star sapphires are influenced by at least these two things: 1) the intensity and attractiveness of the body color, and  2) the strength and sharpness of the star.  Of course all six legs should be fairly straight and equally prominent. Star sapphires rarely have the combination of a fine translucent or transparent color and a sharp prominent star, but when offered, these gems are highly valued and the most expensive. There are not very many chemicals that could attack this gem, but if boiled in a diamond cleaning kit the stone can lose it's polish, also Jewelers pickling solutions containing boron will etch the surface.
    Our source for fine Star Sapphire is Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), known for producing a fine variety of Sapphire.  We occasionally come across a Burma Star, and these are even more of a rarity thus commanding an extremely high premium.  Other sources for Star Sapphires are Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Kampuchea, and India.  Fine Burma and Ceylon Star Sapphires are highly valued Collectors Gemstones.

    TREATMENTS - Genuine Star Sapphire is not typically treated with 'heat' or any other treatment to enhance the color or alter the clarity. If a Star Sapphire were to be heated the person doing the heating seriously risks dissolving the rutile needles that cause the asterism to form a star, thus rendering it a plain Cabochon Sapphire worth far less than it is as a natural non-heated non-treated Top Quality Star Sapphire.
    CARE - It is risky to clean Star Sapphire in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and risky to use a steamer. We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Star Sapphire jewelry.
    NOTE - Most commonly you will see that synthetics jump out as way too perfect looking, ie: a perfect star, a super clean stone, and great color.  If you own one and aren't sure if it's genuine... Here's a few quick ways you might be able to tell the difference... First thing to look at is the bottom, if there is an "L" stamped in the stone, it's a Lindy Star and synthetic... if it does not have an "L" it passes that test, so now  look for imperfections within the stone, and/or unevenness on the bottom, and/or stripes or lines of color that shows through the top. Almost all natural Star Sapphires have one or more of these natural imperfections. Then look at the star itself, using a flashlight... most natural stars do not have a "perfect" star... the natural will most likely have 1 or more of the 6 legs not exactly the same length, or maybe not all 6 are perfectly straight.  Now move the flashlight around in a circle, the genuine star will travel around and follow the light source.  If the star stays stationary it is definitely synthetic. It would be helpful if you can look at the bottom of the gem, synthetics are always flat on the bottom, and usually have a very low dome, whereas the natural star typically will have an uneven bottom that may even have chunks of stone that appear to be missing, or dark spots on the lower portion of the gem.  If it passes these tests, I recommend you take it to a jeweler that has a thermal conductivity gem tester (this tester has a needle gauge, not just the diamond tester that just makes a beep) and ask him to test the stone with this instrument, the dial should jump to the mark just before a diamond to tell you it's corundum. If it passes this test you may have a genuine Star, but don't get super excited yet, these are just simple things you can do to rule out the majority of synthetics, the only way to be sure is to send the stone to a certified reputable Gemologist and ask for a Gem Identification Report.
    The following links are to reputable Gem Laboratories and Appraisers (in Alphabetical order).  
    Prices for gem reports may range from $100 to $1,000, depending on how much detail you want on the report.
    AGL | AGTA | GIA | GRS | GUILD | GUBELIN | SSEF

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    SPINEL

    SpinelBlue SpinelRed Spinel

    ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for DECEMBER (Blue)

    The 22nd ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8  

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.718 (+.017,-.008)

    Specific Gravity : 3.60 (+.10,-.03)

    Spinel (spin-NEL) is a genuine Gemstones with a long history. The availability of Red, Pink, Blue, Purple and Orange Spinel and all of their accompanying shades has created confusion between natural Spinel and other Gems for those unfamiliar with this natural stone.
    Spinel is a mineral group composed of Magnesium Aluminates. The addition of Chromium produces Pink or Red Spinel. Iron or Titanium additions produce Lavender or Blue Spinel. Spinel takes a brilliant polish, so it is an excellent choice for jewelry. Generally Spinel crystals are quite clear and clean of flaws. Spinel received its name from either the Greek spina meaning "little thorn" or from the Greek spinther meaning "spark" in allusion to its color. Spinel is not quite as hard as Corundum (Sapphire & Ruby), but harder than Beryl (Emerald), so it is a fine candidate for Jewelry. Spinel is heat sensitive, excessive heat could fade the color in light stones. Many of the crown jewels thought to be fine Ruby are in reality Red Spinel. Our sources for Spinel is Mogok, Burma and Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), known also for producing the finest variety of Sapphire, Garnet, Tourmaline, Taaffeite, and Ruby. Other sources are Thailand, Afghanistan and Russia.  Burma Red Spinel is the most sought after, and getting very scarce in stones over 2 carats in size, but essentially all colors of Spinel are rare and highly valued Collectors Gemstones.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Spinel is not treated or enhanced.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Spinel in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and usually safe to use a steamer, and always safe to use Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush to clean your Spinel Jewelry.


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    Blue Spinel

    Blue Spinel

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8  

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.718 (+.017,-.008)

    Specific Gravity : 3.60 (+.10,-.03)

    Top Quality Blue Spinel can rival the color of Blue Sapphire, or they are a vibrant cobalt Blue. Other shades include grayish Blue or slightly greenish Blue. Our stones are transparent, faceted Gems with no eye visible inclusions.  All are nicely cut, ready for your jewelry or collection.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Spinel is not treated or enhanced.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Spinel in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and usually safe to use a steamer, and always safe to use Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush to clean your Spinel Jewelry.


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    Red Spinel

    Red Spinel

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8  

    Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.718 (+.017,-.008)

    Specific Gravity : 3.60 (+.10,-.03)

    Red Spinel has been confused with Ruby throughout history. Modern gemologists have identified Red Spinel in the Crown Jewels of England, Russia and Iran. If you have ever been to London and seen the British Crown Jewels, you would have noticed a giant red gemstone set in the center of the Imperial State Crown. Black Princes RubyThis stone, quite possibly the most famous gem in the entire world, is the Black Princes Ruby. It is as large as a chicken egg, weighing approximately 170 carats, and measuring five centimeters in length, the Black Princes Ruby is a spectacular red, and it seems to glow with an internal fire of its own. It is so remarkable that it has become one of the worlds most cherished jewels. Guess what, the Black Princes Ruby really isn't a ruby at all.. Its actually a Red Spinel. This Black Princes Ruby is by far the worlds most famous Red Spinel, it is definitely not the only one ever possessed or coveted by kings, queens, and emperors. The Timur Ruby, also in the Crown Jewels of England, is even larger, weighing 361 carats, or more than 70 grams. It is inscribed with the names of six of its former owners. The Kremlin Museum in Moscow has another giant Red Spinel that probably belonged to the Tsar; this one weighs 414 carats.  The most dazzling collection of fine red Spinel is found in the Crown Jewels of Iran. The largest one is around 500 carats, and the biggest on record. There are a handful of others weighing over 100 carats, a few with the name of Jahangir, a Mogul emperor over 350 years ago. Once you have seen a fine Red Spinel, you will easily understand why ancient royalty esteemed it as much as Ruby, and sometimes even more. Top quality Red Spinel and Rubies have superb pure red colors, and they have a fluorescence, or a glow, in natural light. Not only do the two gems have the same color and fluorescence, but they are often found together in the same mines, and the physical properties of the Ruby are very similar to Spinel. Today Red Spinel is not as abundant as Ruby, in fact it is quite difficult to find. The old mines in Afghanistan that produced so many of the giant stones in the past are worked out, and the gem gravels of Sri Lanka and Africa, which give up many beautiful pastel colored Spinel, only rarely contain gems with the pure intense red color of the Black Princes Ruby. Now only the famous mines of Mogok, Burma, hold substantial quantities of fine Red Spinel.  No one really knows how many gems remain there undiscovered, but perhaps there is still one that will rival even the Black Princes Ruby and remind us all of the days when kings and emperors held sway over vast domains and counted their wealth by the natural beauty that they owned.  Fine Red Spinel is  less costly per carat  than Fine Ruby, but as with Ruby, the larger and redder the Spinel, the higher the cost per carat. Our stones are priced according to the size and the depth of color. They are transparent and eye clean.

    TREATMENTS - Typically Spinel is not treated or enhanced.
    CARE - It is usually safe to clean Spinel in an UltraSonic Cleaner, and usually safe to use a steamer, and always safe to use Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush to clean your Spinel Jewelry.

     

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    TANZANITE

    Tanzanite

    A NEW BIRTHSTONE for DECEMBER

    The 24th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6 to 7  

    Toughness : Fair to Poor

    Refractive Index : 1.691-1.700 (+/-.020)

    Specific Gravity : 3.35 (+.10,-.25)

    Tanzanite is known for the exquisite combination of purple and blue hues, one of the loveliest of gems that was discovered in modern times. Tanzanite, discovered in Tanzania in 1967 and introduced to the world in 1968, is mined as a greenish yellowish brownish crystalline material that resembles Andalusite.  Tanzanite is basically the Blue variety of "Zoisite", and mined in Tanzania just below the base of majestic Mount Kilamanjaro.  Zoisite was originally used in lamp shades and other ornamental art carved items.  Tiffany's acquired rights to the trade name "Tanzanite".  Tanzanite is sensitive to sudden temperature changes that may cause cracking, the fracture is uneven and brittle, and a jeweler's torch could fuse the gem, so it may be prudent to ask a Jeweler to remove the stone before applying his torch. Tanzanite is easily attacked by hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid. Tanzanite has been adopted as a December birthstone by the American Gem Trade Association and shares its last-month-of-the-year membership with turquoise and zircon. It's affordability and distinctive beauty have earned this gem a status that rivals Kashmir Blue Sapphire.  Tanzanite can be cut to emphasize its blue or violet color component, so it can resemble the finest royal-blue sapphire or hint at amethyst purple. This color versatility has endeared this member of the Zoisite family to leading jewelry designers in America, Europe and Japan.  Tanzanite has became a staple gem, and now that supplies show no sign of letting up, it was deemed as worthy of membership on the birthstone list as aquamarine and sapphire, the birthstones for March and September.  Even though all the major industry associations agreed that the public would respond positively to a dynamic new birthstone choice for December, amending the birthstone list is like amending the Constitution. There must be compelling reason and wide support. The last time the birthstone list was revised was 1912, when jewelry industry leaders met to give gems discovered since the formulation of the traditional list a shot at birthstone status. Alexandrite made the 1912 list, and now that Tanzanite has been given birthstone status it shows the degree to which this gem is revered by the trade and public alike. Top Gem Tanzanite is very beautiful and looks great in jewelry.  If you are considering Tanzanite, we stock the finest gems available in AAA and AAA+ Top Gem colors of rich deep Intense blue/blue-violet.

    TREATMENTS - Virtually every Tanzanite is heated to permanently change its color from it's orange-brown state to the spectacular violet-blue color for which this precious gemstone variety is known. Moderate heat (750o-950o F) is applied to get the color you see today ranging from light blue/blue-violet (very inexpensive) to AAA+ Top Gem colors of rich deep Intense blue/blue-violet. The typical heat treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.
    CARE - Tanzanite should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner, since this cleaning method can cause irreparable damage to the stone.  We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tanzanite jewelry. Since Tanzanite is of the softer variety of gems, like emerald, we recommend it be handled as though it is was as soft as opal. Also, if mounted on a Ring, since rings are susceptible to knocks and abrasion, we recommend mounting in a bezel or protected with heavy prongs as much as possible. 

     

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    TOPAZ

    White TopazSwiss Blue TopazLondon Blue TopazImperial TopazPink Topaz

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for APRIL (White)
    THE MODERN BIRTHSTONE for NOVEMBER (Yellow)

    THE MODERN BIRTHSTONE for DECEMBER (Blue)

    The 4th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8  

    Toughness : Poor

    Refractive Index : 1.619-1.627 (+/-.010)

    Specific Gravity : 3.53 (+/-.04)

    Natural Precious Topaz is available in several different colors: Colorless (White), Yellowish-Orange with some Peach in it (Imperial) as well as Light Blue, Yellow, Orange, and Pink.  Topaz is mainly mined in Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Africa, and China. 
    Fine Imperial Topaz in the fine cognac colors with a peach blush is both very rare as well as expensive, and the pale pink to sherry red tones are even more so.   
    Blue Topaz starts as an off color, sometimes near colorless to bluish-gray to silvery-gray to brown to brownish green in color, and it is irradiated with gamma or electron Irradiation, in conjunction with heat to produce bold colors like the blue-green color "London Blue", the light blue color "Sky Blue", the medium blue color "Swiss Blue", and the more intense blue color "Maxi Blue".  These colors become permanent treatments to give the gem a very bright, durable, and attractive color, appropriate for any kind of jewelry.  There are several other types of treatments being used on some of the Topaz on the market to produce a variety of other colors, but most of those treatments are only on the surface of the gem and/or not permanent treatments, therefore we will not offer them. Topaz is sensitive to rapid heating or cooling, these changes may cause internal breaks, it may be prudent to ask a Jeweler to remove the stone before applying his torch. Strong heat may alter or destroy the color.  Topaz is not easily attacked by chemicals.  Topaz is a very hard gemstone but it can be split with a single sharp blow, a trait it shares with a diamond. As a result it should be protected from hard knocks when mounting in jewelry.  Topaz of any color is the modern birthstone for November, since Yellow is the dominant color used in November birthstone jewelry.  Blue Topaz is the modern birthstone for December, since Blue is the dominant color used in December birthstone jewelry.

    TREATMENTS - Virtually every "Swiss Blue",  "Maxi Blue", and "London Blue" Topaz is irradiated then heated. The typical treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.
    CARE - Jewelry featuring Topaz should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Topaz jewelry.


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    Blue Topaz

    Swiss Blue TopazLondon Blue Topaz

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8  

    Toughness : Poor

    Refractive Index : 1.619-1.627 (+/-.010)

    Specific Gravity : 3.53 (+/-.04)

    Blue is the most popular color used in jewelry.  Some Blue Topaz is produced in nature, however, the natural shade is generally too pale to excite any interest. The colors like London Blue, Sky Blue, Swiss Blue, and Maxi Blue are irradiated with gamma or electron Irradiation to a shade of brown, then heated to the various shades of Blue. The value increases with the intensity of color, provided it is attractive. At first sight Blue Topaz may have a resemblance to Aquamarine, but, Aquamarine always displays a strong pleochroism from blue to greenish blue, whereas Blue Topaz is a more definite blue or blue with a grayish tone.

    TREATMENTS - Virtually every "Swiss Blue",  "Maxi Blue", and "London Blue" Topaz is irradiated then heated. The typical treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.
    CARE - Jewelry featuring Topaz should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Topaz jewelry.


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    Natural Yellow Topaz 

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8  

    Toughness : Poor

    Refractive Index : 1.619-1.627 (+/-.010)

    Specific Gravity : 3.53 (+/-.04)

    Natural Yellow Topaz, also known as Golden Topaz, is a precious Topaz, meaning it is natural non-treated Topaz particularly in the Yellow and Orange colors, but also in the Brownish Yellow to Orange Yellow colors. The Brownish Yellow to Orange Yellow colors are the least expensive stones of the Yellow hues. It is easy to confuse Yellow Topaz with the more common and less expensive Citrine and Smokey Quartzes that are often misrepresented as "Topaz".

    TREATMENTS - Natural Yellow Topaz is not treated. 
    CARE - Jewelry featuring Topaz should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Topaz jewelry.


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    Natural Imperial Topaz

    Imperial Topaz

    The 23rd ANNIVERSARY STONE

     

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8  

    Toughness : Poor

    Refractive Index : 1.619-1.627 (+/-.010)

    Specific Gravity : 3.53 (+/-.04)

    The most expensive precious Topaz, and most desired of the Yellow tones, ranging in shades of peachy Orange to medium intense Orange to a fine medium reddish Orange, with sherry Red, deep Pink, and reddish Orange hues.
    Imperial Topaz is found in only a few locations in the world, the small Island Country of Sri Lanka, and Ouro Preto in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Gem experts still expect the Imperial Topaz sources to be completely exhausted within a few years. This is a very highly treasured Collectable Gemstone that will increase in value as supply is reduced.

    TREATMENTS - Natural Imperial Topaz is not treated. 
    CARE - Jewelry featuring Topaz should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Topaz jewelry.


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    Natural Pink Topaz

    Pink Topaz

    MOH's scale of hardness : 8  

    Toughness : Poor

    Refractive Index : 1.619-1.627 (+/-.010)

    Specific Gravity : 3.53 (+/-.04)

    Natural Pink Topaz is a precious Topaz, meaning it is natural non-treated Topaz, usually in a light to medium pink color.  It is rare to find stones without the typical zoning of color. The most common cut is oval or pear shape.  Pink Topaz is strongly transparent and lustrous, and can be mistaken for Kunzite, Morganite, and Pink Tourmaline.  When it is a fairly intense color, it can be one of the most valuable of the second level of gemstones like aquamarine, etc.  Pink Topaz comes mainly from Sri Lanka and Brazil.

    TREATMENTS - Natural Pink Topaz is typically not treated, but sometimes peach colored topaz can be pinked by gentle heating, which is a permanent process. 
    CARE - Jewelry featuring Topaz should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Topaz jewelry.

     

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    Smoky Topaz 

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7

     Toughness : Good

    Refractive Index : 1.554-1.553

    Specific Gravity : 2.66 (+.03,-.02)

    These inexpensive stones are actually a Citrine, and should be properly called "Smoky Quartz".  Unfortunately "Smoky Topaz" is not in the more precious Topaz family at all, just a very inexpensive variety of Quartz,   It its sold by many unscrupulous persons and unknowing jewelers as "Smoky Topaz" in an attempt to create more sales in the November birthstone month.


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    TOURMALINE

    Chrome TourmalineGreen TourmalineIndicolite TourmalineParaiba TourmalinePink TourmalineRubellite Tourmaline

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for MAY (Green)

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for JULY (Red)

    THE MODERN BIRTHSTONE for OCTOBER (Pink)

    The 8th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.642-1.644 (+.011, -.009)

    Specific Gravity : 3.06 (+.20, -.06)

    Tourmaline (TOUR-ma-leen) is a large family of Gemstones with more than 100 hues available.  Its name comes from the Sinhalese turmali, meaning mixed Gemstones due to the tendency to confuse Tourmalines with other Gems.
    Tourmaline from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) was first introduced to the Europeans in the late 1600's or early 1700's by Dutch traders. Our source for Tourmaline is Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Africa, and Brazil, all known for producing the finest variety of Tourmaline.
    Tourmaline crystals are often cracked and flawed, especially in the Red, Pink and Bi-colors. Clean stones of 10 Carats or more in these colors command a premium price. The Green and Blue colors are generally very clean. Tourmaline is sensitive to strong heat, as this may alter the color, and sudden temperature changes may cause fracturing, it may be prudent to ask a Jeweler to remove the stone before applying his torch. Tourmaline is not usually attacked by chemicals.

    TREATMENTS - The vivid colors like Deep Pink to Red in Tourmaline is Heat or Cobalt Irradiation treated to enhance and stabilize the color. The typical treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.
    CARE - Tourmaline is a very good choice for jewelry but it should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. Jewelry featuring Tourmaline is risky if cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tourmaline jewelry.


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    Chrome Tourmaline

    Chrome Tourmaline

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for MAY (Green)

    The 8th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.642-1.644 (+.011, -.009)

    Specific Gravity : 3.06 (+.20, -.06)

    Chrome Tourmaline is a rare variety of fine intense Green Tourmaline that is found only in the Eastern African countries of Kenya, Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania. The finest Chromes rival the top color of Emerald and Tsavorite Garnet and offers a more durable stone for jewelry.  Chrome Tourmaline's vivid Green color is determined by the presence of Chromium or Vanadium oxides.  Chrome Tourmaline was first mined in Tanzania in the 1960's.  One of the largest crystal chambers was uncovered by accident in Namibia when an explosives expert shot off excess dynamite.  Gem quality Chromes are extremely difficult to locate.  Stones over 3 Carats are considered very rare in this Gem.  All of our stones are well faceted and eye clean.  A very rare Gem with a great investment potential!

    TREATMENTS - Chrome Tourmaline is not treated.
    CARE -
    Chrome Tourmaline is a very good choice for jewelry but it should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. It is risky to clean Chrome Tourmaline in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tourmaline jewelry.


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    Green Tourmaline

    Green Tourmaline

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for MAY (Green)

    The 8th ANNIVERSARY STONE

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.642-1.644 (+.011, -.009)

    Specific Gravity : 3.06 (+.20, -.06)

    Green Tourmaline is the most recognized of the Tourmaline colors.  Green Tourmalines are typically eye clean stones. Most are cut in the rectangular shapes. Shades range from a pastel yellowish Green to a vibrant Green to dark Green.

    TREATMENTS - Green Tourmaline is not usually treated.
    CARE - Green
    Tourmaline is a very good choice for jewelry but it should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. It is risky to clean Green Tourmaline in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tourmaline jewelry.


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    Indicolite Tourmaline

    Indicolite Tourmaline

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.642-1.644 (+.011, -.009)

    Specific Gravity : 3.06 (+.20, -.06)

    Indicolite, also called Indigolite, is the proper name for Blue Tourmaline.  One of the finest  Indicolite colors are in the Violetish to Greenish Blue color range. Recently another Indicolite find in the Mulungu mine, and Alto dos Quintos mine, in Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil, have produced limited quantities of various shades of turquoise blue-green material, similar to the color of Paraiba (below), but not as vivid a color due to a lower copper content. These  turquoise blue-green colors demand a higher premium than some of the Blue Indicolite, but should not as high as Paraiba, which only comes from the Paraiba mine. Our source for fine Indicolite Tourmaline is Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Brazil, and Africa, all known for producing the finest varieties of Tourmaline. Other sources for Indicolite are Madagascar, California and Maine.
    Indicolite is typically a clean Gemstone, seldom with eye visible inclusions and range in shades of medium light to medium dark Blue. Indicolite Tourmaline is a highly valued Collectors Gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - Green Tourmaline is not usually treated.
    CARE - Green
    Tourmaline is a very good choice for jewelry but it should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. It is risky to clean Green Tourmaline in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tourmaline jewelry.


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    Paraiba  Tourmaline

    Paraiba Tourmaline

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.642-1.644 (+.011, -.009)

    Specific Gravity : 3.06 (+.20, -.06)

    Paraiba Tourmaline (cuprian elbaite) is another of the world's most unusual Gemstones. At first it was called "Electric" then "NEON."  This new gemstone was discovered in Brazil in 1989.  It's brilliant blue and green are more vivid than any ever seen before. The term "NEON" accurately describes the tone of color.  It is so vivid it will shock you with its beauty. You can see this stone from across the room!  These vivid turquoises, electric blues, rich twilight blues, and neon greens haven't been seen with any consistency in any other gemstone variety.  Paraíba-type tourmalines belong to the elbaite species, but contain manganese (Mn) and copper (Cu) with a Cu content of up to 2.30 wt% CuO, as well as bismuth (Bi).  From the beginning, the trade labeled these cuprian elbaite tourmalines as "Paraíba" (Fritsch et al., 1990). The name quickly caught on and is now mentioned as a valid trade name in the CIBJO Rules. Copper was quickly labeled as the principle cause of the rich color. Meanwhile, more locations of copper-containing tourmalines were discovered. The first discovery was in Brazil's Rio Grande Do Norte state, just north of Paraíba state. This cuprian elbaite find was described as "paraíba tourmaline."  In 2001, another copper-bearing tourmaline locality was discovered in Nigeria (Smith et al., 2001). The Nigerian gemstones are generally not as vivid as those from Brazil. Chemically, the Nigerian material can also be easily distinguished by its lead content, in addition to copper and manganese. But according to the CIBJO rules, it fits the "Paraíba" definition, and they have been sold under that name. In 2005, cuprian elbaite (Paraíba) from Mozambique entered the market (Abduriyim & Kitawaki, 2005). Some of this material is much closer in color to the original Brazilian Paraíba tourmaline, and often not distinguishable by the naked eye. The chemical composition is much more complex with varying amounts and large ranges of Mn, Cu, lead (Pb), and Bi. A large number of these tourmalines do not contain any Pb, and may easily overlap with properties of the Brazilian copper-bearing tourmalines. At the international Gemstone Industry Laboratory Conference (GILC) in Tucson in February 2006, the Conference suggested that the term "Paraíba Tourmaline" be adapted as a variety name, rather than a geographic origin. If origin was requested, laboratories could then prepare an origin report (where possible). Looking at the chemical data, the differences are sometimes so small and properties overlapping that it may not be possible to give an origin at all for the occasional stone. Looking at the colors, the best samples from Nigeria or Mozambique had colors that were as vivid as the ones from Brazil. These challenges have kept the laboratories of the international Laboratory Manual Harmonization Committee (LMHC) busy for several months before a consensus was finally reached in April. As a result, gemstone identification reports will now call all copper containing (cuprian) elbaite (tourmaline) "Paraíba Tourmaline," regardless of it's origin, and this is consistent with current trade practice. Production is very sporadic in all locations, and does not keep up with the strong market demand.  These mine shafts are hand-excavated tunnels up to 60 meters deep and the Paraíba Tourmaline is found only in very thin veins.  So even with the new find, this means the supply will always be limited and Paraiba always be very rare and expensive.  Retail prices can exceed $10,000 to $15,000 per carat, but this is for super fine 2 carat specimens, and over $20,000 per carat for the super fine 3 to 4 carat specimens, but even that is very little when you realize how rare these gemstones are. Diamonds are quite common in comparison.  The prices for Paraibas are not the standard by which other Tourmalines can be measured.  The price per carat reflects the size, clarity, color and the intensity of the particular shade.  Neon Paraiba Tourmaline is an attractive, highly desirable Gemstone which should be purchased when you can.  The most desired colors have been the shades of clear bright greenish Blue or bluish Green; pure Green; or the medium intense Blue.  Intense Purple colors are extremely rare, and sough after by collectors worldwide. Naturally variations of tones create exciting "Neons." Stones are usually transparent with minimal inclusions. This super rare Gemstone is a definite winner! 

    TREATMENTS - Fine Gem Quality Paraiba Tourmaline is never treated. However, there are heated gems on the market selling for a fraction of the cost of fine quality natural Paraiba. It would be prudent to purchase only gems that have been certified by a qualified independent gemologist and identified as natural non-enhanced Paraiba. The heated gems on the market start out as poor color stones that are  heated to enhance the color, and the neon effect is lost during the heating process, so they are never as good as the natural gems. These lower quality heated gems are always lower priced, and will never be accepted as true collector specimens.
    CARE - Paraiba
    Tourmaline is a very good choice for jewelry but it should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. It is risky to clean Paraiba Tourmaline in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tourmaline jewelry.

    LMHC -  is a group of seven laboratories that work together on harmonization of report language. The LMHC was founded in 2002, after an annual meeting in Tucson, where the industry and laboratory representatives meet and discuss current issues. One such issue was that the various laboratories had different ways of expressing treatments, and often different standards about quantification as well. Members of the LMHC laboratories currently involved are: the AGTA Gemological Testing Center for USA, CISGEM for Italy, GAAJ (Gemmological Association of All Japan) for Japan, GGL (Gübelin Gem Lab) for Switzerland, GIA for USA, Switzerland and Thailand, GIT (Gemmological Institute of Thailand) for Thailand, and SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute for Switzerland.
     

     


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    Pink Tourmaline

    Pink Tourmaline

    THE MODERN BIRTHSTONE for OCTOBER (Pink)

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.642-1.644 (+.011, -.009)

    Specific Gravity : 3.06 (+.20, -.06)

    Pink Tourmaline has become a favorite for mounting because it is available in so many shades, ranging from pure light Pink to intense "HOT" Pink to orangy-Pink and Fuchsia Pink.  Gemologists think that natural irradiation produces the Pink, Red and Violet colors in Tourmaline.  To enhance the color to get the very HOT Pinks, you can expect it to be Cobalt treated.  The darker reddish colors tend to have more natural inclusions than the other Tourmaline colors because they are formed near the center of the crystal pocket and receive more stress and pressure during formation.
    We carry the best gem quality Tourmaline available on the market.  Prices per carat vary with the size, color and clarity of the stone. Natural Pink Tourmaline is a highly valued Collectors Gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - The vivid deep Pink colors in Tourmaline are achieved by Cobalt Irradiation treatment. This produces deep Pink from very light Pink stones. The typical treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.
    CARE - Tourmaline is a very good choice for jewelry but it should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. Jewelry featuring Tourmaline is risky if cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tourmaline jewelry.


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    Rubellite (Red) Tourmaline

    Rubellite Tourmaline

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for JULY (Red)

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.642-1.644 (+.011, -.009)

    Specific Gravity : 3.06 (+.20, -.06)

    This gem is called Rubellite because the deepest shades appear to be Ruby-like RED.  Like all Tourmaline, it has strong pleochroism.  Eye clean Rubellite is one of the most expensive in Tourmaline since most Rubellite has visible inclusions. Clean Rubellite is very rare, so if you see a super clean stone it's probably a Pink Tourmaline or a Rubellite Garnet.  Rubellite's intense RED color makes it a beautiful Gem for mounting.  Colors range in Rubellite from Fuchsia to maroon Red to Red. The price of Rubellite goes up dramatically as the size increases or the Red deepens in intensity.  There have been no new stocks of clean Rubellite Tourmaline on the market for several years.  Expect it to continue to move upward in price.

    TREATMENTS - The deep Red colors in Tourmaline are achieved by Cobalt Irradiation treated to enhance and stabilize the color. The typical treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.
    CARE - Tourmaline is a very good choice for jewelry but it should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. Jewelry featuring Tourmaline is risky if cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tourmaline jewelry.


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    Watermelon Tourmaline

    Watermelon Tourmaline

    MOH's scale of hardness : 7 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Fair

    Refractive Index : 1.642-1.644 (+.011, -.009)

    Specific Gravity : 3.06 (+.20, -.06)

    Sometimes the mineral deposit in the Tourmaline crystal will form a color band along its length or width which will then be appropriately called Bi-color, Tri-color or Watermelon if the colors are Green and Red with a White separation. The vast majority of the stones are obscure or heavily included. Clean Gems are much more expensive. Definitely one-of-a-kind Gems.  Watermelon Tourmaline is a highly valued Collectors Gemstone.

    TREATMENTS - Watermelon Tourmaline is not treated.
    CARE - Tourmaline is a very good choice for jewelry but it should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones. Jewelry featuring Tourmaline is risky if cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Tourmaline jewelry.


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    ZIRCON

    White ZirconOrange ZirconGreen Zircon
    Yellow Zircon Red Zircon Blue Zircon

    THE ALTERNATE BIRTHSTONE for DECEMBER (Blue)

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6-1/2 to 7-1/2  

    Toughness : Poor to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.925-1.810

    Specific Gravity : 3.90 to 4.73

    Zircon (ZUR-con) is a natural Gemstone available in an array of colors.
    Zircon's name comes from the Arabic zargoon, meaning vermilion.  Natural Zircons are one of the few Gemstones with dispersion or fire.  Zircon approaches Diamond in fire, so the Colorless Zircon has been a successful natural substitute for Diamond.
    Our source for Zircon is Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), known for producing some of the finest variety of Zircon, Sapphire, Garnet, Tourmaline, Taaffeite, and Ruby.  Other sources are Kampuchea, Myanmar, Thailand and Australia. Zircon
    is sensitive to heat, so it may be prudent to ask a Jeweler to remove the stone before applying his torch. Zircon is easily attacked by acids.
    Colorless, Blue, Green, Golden, Red, Rose and Fancy colors provide an ample choice of colors, the rarest of which is colorless followed by blue and red Zircon in priority of rareness.
    Zircons are beautiful, natural Gemstones which are currently under priced in the Gem markets.

    TREATMENTS - Almost all Blue Zircon on the market is heat treated, whereas the other colors are not. The typical treatment process is a permanent process that does not adversely affect the performance and durability of the gemstone, so there's no need to worry when you see this enhancement disclosed.
    CARE -
    Zircon is a very good choice for jewelry, but avoid rough wear since these stones tend to abrade. Zircon should be stored in a separate compartment or in a jewelry bag to prevent scratching by harder Gemstones.  It is risky to clean Zircon in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.  We strongly recommend Ionic Cleaners and/or warm, soapy water and a soft brush as the best way to clean Zircon.


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    Color Change Diaspore 'Zultanite' Hits the Market

    Diaspore Zultanite

    MOH's scale of hardness : 6-1/2 to 7  

    Toughness : Poor to Good

    Refractive Index : 1.701-1.745

    Specific Gravity :  3.20-3.50 (mean 3.40)

    Zultanite is a member of the mineral family Diaspore, a hydrated aluminum oxide plus manganese. It is commonly found in pale pastel yellowish-greens and changing to pinkish-brown colors. Zultanite® is typically eye-clean with some inclusions under magnification.
    G
    em quality crystals were first discovered in the early 1980s, but never mined commercially until a few US military guys stationed near Anatolia, Turkey, saw the opportunity to capitalize on the Gem. When they came home, they formed a company called 'Zultanite Gems LLC'.  Bringing this stone to market was a difficult venture, but they found business partners in the trade and spent the time and  money to legally acquire the mining rights to these Diaspore gemstones.  The government of Turkey owns all the land but they acquired the proper licenses and permits. Usually  Diaspore is an unfacetable low end stone, for marketing purposes, they choose the name Zultanite to honor the 36 sultans who founded the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia in the late 13th century. According to Murat Akgun, Partner, Zultanite Gems LLC, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, Diaspore has had a reputation of being inexpensive, and what's out in the market now are stones uncovered by independent miners that are looking to turn a fast dollar.  The stones are usually of poor quality, very included, and cut in China or Thailand in ways that do not capture the color change.  Zultanite Gems LLC is hoping that this poor quality material will disappear from the market within the next few years to allow their 'new' color change gems to take over.  The Zultanite mine is around 20,000 acres, approximately 7 miles from the nearest village and at an elevation of 4000 feet.  Locals still come poach gems at night, but the company is trying to get a handle on all this.  They say the mine is now producing regularly and supplies are steady.  So, when you are told it is 'Rare', how rare can a steady stream of gems coming out of a mine be?  As for pricing, Zultanite Gems LLC has entered into an exclusive arrangement with Gems TV, which means we now have another DeBeers monopoly on our hands, so to buy this Diaspore by it's trade name Zultanite® you will have to buy it from them, and at their price.  Fortunately, they don't have the ability to command the price premium of Alexandrite, rather it seems to be priced to compete with color change Garnet, color change Spinel, and Andalusite, which is known in the trade as poor man's Alexandrite.
    I seriously doubt this stone will ever become the new Paraiba, but it will be interesting to watch.  Gemstone Collectors usually prefer red, blue, and green gemstones, as well as the dramatic color change stones like Alexandrite.  And this is one fact that always plays out... there are two ugly colors in gemstones... brown and gray... and here we have a color change stone that is predominately brown in one part of its color change, so we'll see.
    Because of these facts, I was not really interested in stocking this stone before they went into their exclusive arrangement, and can honestly say I am still not interested in featuring it today either.


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    Gemstone Cuts - AwesomeGems.com
    .
  • Gem Cuts
  • Types of Cuts for Gemstones
    There is no general rule which can be applied to the various cuts. However, three groups or types of cut can be named: Faceted cut, plain cut, and mixed cut.
    The faceted cut is practically applied only to transparent stones. The number of small even facets gives the gem higher luster and often a better play of color. Most facet cuts are built on two basic types, the brilliant cut and the trap or emerald cut. The plain cut can be leveled en cabochon (domed). This is suitable for agates and other opaque stones. In mixed cuts, the upper part is level and the lower part is faceted, or vice versa.
    .
    Brilliant-Full cut or Round-Brilliant cut  This cut has been specially developed for the diamond. The word "brilliant" alone refers to a diamond, whereas, in the case of other gems, the mineral name should be given.. i.e... Round brilliant-cut sapphire. This cut has at least 32 facets, plus the table on the upper part, and 24 facets on the lower part. When there are less, it is called a "Round" cut".
    Eight cut  This cut is also usually for the diamond, normally diamonds that are too small for a full cut. This cut has 8 facets on the upper and lower parts as well as the table on the upper.
    Rose Cut and Half Dutch Rose  Are facet cuts without a table or pavilion that vary in the number and positioning of facets.  These are old cuts not normally used today since they do not produce much brilliance.

     

    Step Cut  A simple type of facet cut, specially used for colored stones, but also occasionally for diamonds.  Several facets are cut parallel to the edges, the facets becoming steeper towards the girdle. The lower part usually has more facets than the upper part. A step cut can be used in combination with other cuts i.e. Oval-Step cut or Square-Step cut, etc.
    Scissor Cut  A type of step cut.  The facets are divided into four sub-facets by the "scissors", some have truncated corners while others are cut with square corners.
    Ceylon cut, Old Mine cut, Antique cut, or Cushion Cut  is most often referred to as the "Cushion
    cut" and it can vary in shape from ovalish/squarish to ovalish/rectangularish.  It is a primary cut used on
    ruby and sapphire that is cut in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). This very popular cut has numerous facets in both
    upper and lower parts and is normally a very brilliant cut.  This cut allows the cutter to obtain maximum
    weight so it is not always symmetrical.  Now we are seeing other gems, even semi-precious gems, being cut with the face symmetry similar to the Cushion cut, and called a Cushion cut, however the faceting is not the same as that of Ceylon and Burma cut gemstones.
    Emerald Cut  A step cut with an octagon shape, especially used for emerald, but also popular for longer-shaped diamonds and other colored stones.  Most have truncated corners while others can have square corners.

     
     

    Antique cuts are very similar to the Ceylon cut and Cushion cut in the face shape, being ovalish and squarish, and the second being more ovalish and rectangularish.  The Antique cut is also a primary cut used on ruby and sapphire that is cut in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). This very popular cut varies in the type of facets used in both upper and lower parts like the Ceylon cut, Old Mine cut, Antique cut, or Cushion Cut.  The pavilion is normally a mixed cut to create as brilliant a stone as possible, except the cut is normally a shallower cut than the typical Cushion cut.  This cut allows the cutter to obtain maximum weight with a big face, and like the Cushion it is not always symmetrical.
    Oval cut is a very popular cut has numerous facets in both upper and lower parts and is normally a very brilliant cut.  It's face shape is always oval.  Some are cut elongated oval but this cut is always symmetrical. To allow the cutter to obtain maximum weight, the pavilion can be a step or mixed type facet to create as brilliant a stone as possible from the particular crystal, so it can vary from deep to a shallower cut yet still be called Oval since the face is still Oval and symmetrical.
    Bead cut  This is a Spherical cut that is totally faceted...

     

     

    Other Cuts
    Various other types of cuts show an abundance of forms available. Not all gems are cut to these forms as a general rule so these cuts are only provided as a guide to understanding them.
    Square cut,  Baguette cut (long rectangle), Octagon cut, French cut (base and table square, triangular facets)...

     
     

    Pear cut,  Navette or Marquise cut (pointed elliptical), Pendeloque or Drop cut (pear-shaped), Briolette cut (pear-shaped with crossed faceted bands)...

     
     

    Table Cut  The simplest type of step cut which is very flat with a large table.   It is often used for seals or rings for men i.e.. onyx with a class logo, etc.
    Cabochon cuts  The main representative of the plain cut.  The upper part is domed and the lower part level, or slightly domed.  The name Cabochon means "French-nail" because of its rounded shape
    Mixed cuts  The upper part can be cabochon domed and the lower part faceted, or the reverse...

     
     

    Barrel cut or Olive cut (small barrel-shaped), Trapezoid cut, Heart-shaped cut, Escutcheon-shaped cut, and many many other Fantasy cuts not pictured like Freeform, Trillion, Triangle, Princess, Radiant, Star, Modified Scissors, Spherical, Hexagon, Coats of Arms, and many others.



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    AwesomeGems.com

    ALERT
    US Postal Service Irradiation Process May Affect Some Gemstones

    Contributed by Kelly Van Vleck
    via Breccia, December 2001

           Since the recent transfer of anthrax via the mail system, the US Postal Service is seeking ways to protect postal employees and the public from this threat.

    Irradiation
           One company with which the postal service has contracted, SureBeam (a subsidiary of Titan Corp.), uses irradiation to kill the microorganisms that often contaminate food. However, this type of ionizing radiation is often used intentionally to change the color of some gem materials - and could produce an undesirable result as well.

    Tests run on gems
           Titan uses 5.6 megarads. For the initial tests, the GIA had tests run on gems known to be affected by irradiation in a significant way. Three sets of the samples were boxed up in the way that GIA normally ships gems.
           Because gems are often shipped through the mail more than once, one package was scanned once, one package was scanned twice, and the third package was scanned four times to see if the cumulative effect of multiple scans caused any significant difference.
           After retrieving the packages, they were scanned with a Victoreen model 290 radiation survey meter on the unopened packages as well as the individual stones. No residual radiation was found.
           The changes in appearance are noted in the chart below. The changes from the one scan to the four scans were similar, though the degree of change was different for some stones. Note that some color changes would not be permanent, some will fade with exposure to light back to their original color. Others can be changed back with heat. Still others will never revert to their original color. Also, not all members of the same species or even the same variety will react similarly.

    GEM

    BEFORE

    AFTER

    Diamond near colorless near colorless - no change
    Diamond gray gray - no change
    Kunzite pink green
    Morganite brownish or orangy pink yellow
    Cultured Pearl, saltwater white gray
    Cultured Pearl, freshwater white gray
    Quartz colorless brown
    Quartz yellow yellowish orange
    Sapphire light blue yellowish orange
    Topaz colorless brown
    Tourmaline near colorless light pink
    Tourmaline light pink darker pink
    Tourmaline bi-colored green and pink green - no change pink - darker
    Zircon colorless pinkish brown
    Zircon yellow yellowish brown
    Zircon green (greenish) yellowish brown

    Implications
            Currently the postal service is scanning only a small portion of the Mail, and only Letters and Flat Envelopes. Probably nothing will be done to Packages that are sent Registered Mail [the preferred method for the jewelry industry]. FedEx, US Customs Service, Brinks, Malca Amit, and UPS confirmed that they are not currently using irradiation procedures.
            Therefore we strongly recommend you do not ship gems and gemstone jewelry via regular Parcel Post or Priority Mail methods, but rather, take the more cautious approach in sending Registered Mail.


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