As the title suggests, a trend has emerged at the latest jewelry shows this year.
Rose-cut diamonds have become quite popular and the cut is being used on other gemstones as well.
The rose-cut began in the 16th century which is why a lot of Georgian and Victorian jewelry can be found with rose-cut diamonds.
As the title suggests, a trend has emerged at the latest jewelry shows this year.
Understanding gold quality.
Gold is measured in karats, 100% pure gold is 24k (karats). Other typical karat values are 18k, 14k and 10k. 14k for example, indicates 14 out of 24 parts are gold. It is mixed with other base metals. Pure gold is very soft and often too malleable for daily wear and tear. Most jewelry is stamped on the inside to show its karat value.
Yellow gold is the most common; however gold can also be found in rose and white colors and less commonly in brown and blue. Rose gold is created by adding copper and silver as its base metals to give it a rose color. White gold is created by using white base metals such as nickel, manganese or palladium.
Jewelry containing gold, factors in the weight of the gold and its quality measured in karats to determine its price.
Understanding gemstone measurements
Gemstones are measured in carats (ct) with a C unlike gold which is measured in karats with a K. 1 carat = 1/5 of a gram or 200mg. Since a carat is a unit of weight, a 1 carat sapphire will be larger than a 1 carat diamond, since diamonds are a lot denser. There is a big difference in price between a 1 carat (1ct) stone and a 1 carat total weight (1ct TW). A grouping of smaller diamonds that add up to 1 carat total weight is not as valuable as a 1 carat diamond.
A gemstones clarity is affected by its inclusions. An inclusion is any material which is trapped inside the gem, during its formation. Generally more expensive stones have less inclusions and therefore having better clarity.
Color plays a role in pricing as well. Darker rubies for example sell for more, whereas sapphires are more valuable the lighter and brighter they are. The finest rubies have a pure vibrant red color and will lose value if they are too pink. Emeralds in general, are more expensive the darker and more saturated their green color is.
There are five main types of pearls used in the jewellery industry and they are as follows.
Freshwater pearls are produced mainly in China today. They are grown in mussels in lakes and ponds, while other pearls are grown in oysters in saltwater. Good quality pearls come in all sizes up to 12mm. Their color can vary from white to purple. The range in colors can be either natural or enhanced.
The main difference between freshwater and saltwater pearls is that the mussels can produce up to forty pearls in just one harvest, whereas saltwater oysters can produce only one. That fact alone explains the abundance of freshwater pearls today.
Akoya pearls are also known as the classic pearl. They are cultivated in Japan and China. The oyster used is a small oyster that reaches a maximum size of 8cm. This explains the maximum pearl size of 10mm. The color is mainly white but golden and blue colors can occur. Presently, the cultivation period is very short, which results in thinner nacre.
White South Sea Pearls
White South Sea Pearls are the most expensive pearls, due to their large size (8 – 20mm), quality, rarity and difficulty to produce. These pearls are mainly produced in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The oyster used in cultivation is the largest mollusk that can produce pearls. It can grow up to 35cm and also deposits a very thick nacreous coating. Most often they are white to silver in color, although at times pink, blue, and green colors are produced.
Golden South Sea Pearls
Mainly produced in the Philippines and Indonesia, the golden color of these pearls is 100% natural. They are grown in a gold-lipped oyster. It is the recessive gene of the white, silver-lipped oyster that produces the Golden South Sea pearls. Through selective breeding of these oysters, they have been able to produce colors ranging from champagne to deep gold.
Sizes range from 8 – 20mm. They tend to be very valuable due not only to their beauty and size, but also because of the complications in the farming of these pearls. Their oysters are very sensitive to the quality of the water, especially the concentration of plankton in the water.
Black Pearls (Tahitian)
Although they are produced in French Polynesia, Fiji and the Cook Islands, Tahiti is the trading center from which they are exported. The oyster responsible for the production of these pearls is the black-lipped oyster. Their sizes range from 8 – 18mm and vary in color from black to aborigine to green to gray.
The most common color is deep red, thus the name Garnet which stems from the Greek word granatum or pomegranate seed. Red might be the most common color but it is by far not the only color. Natural garnets come in virtually every color of the rainbow with the exception of blue. The vibrant green colored garnets, called Tsavorites, are the most expensive garnets. They are mainly found in smaller sizes, but sizes larger than two carats are available in most of the other colors.
Garnets can be cut into any shape. They are a durable stone and can be cleaned with dish soap.
Amethysts are actually purple quartz. Quartz, which is usually colorless, can be found in almost every country on earth, except for the purple colored ones. The prized, purple colored Amethysts were used by kings and queens, perhaps giving way to purple being considered the royal color. The most expensive Amethysts have a very deep purple color. Green Amethysts do exist. However, the green color is obtained through heat treatment and does not occur naturally.
Amethysts are a durable stone which can be cleaned with dish soap.
Aquamarine belongs to the Beryl family of stones. The name Aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aquamarine which means seawater. It is a fitting description of the color of the stone because aquamarines are found in a wide range of blue shades, from greenish-blue to deep blue. Although many countries mine aquamarines, most of them today come from Brazil.
Many aquamarines are greenish or yellowish when mined and are heat-treated to obtain the pastel blue color. Since this treatment is permanent, the color will not fade. As with many pastel colored stones, the color is more intense in larger stones and less intense in smaller ones. They show off their beautiful color best when combined with pearls or blue sapphires.
Aquamarines are a durable stone and can be cleaned with dish soap and a soft toothbrush to remove any dust or dirt.
The word Diamond comes from an ancient Greek word meaning unbreakable. Although diamonds are not truly unbreakable, they are the hardest of all gemstones. Diamonds occur naturally in a range of colors including yellow, orange, green, pink, red, brown and black. The finest of diamonds are totally colorless and therefore graded as having D color. E, F, G, H, I, J and K graded diamonds have increasing color as the alphabet increases.
When purchasing a diamond, you should consider the 3 Cs: Color, Clarity and Cut. These will all determine the price. D color graded diamonds are the best of the color range. Completely flawless (Clarity) is rare and therefore more expensive. Which cut you prefer depends on your personal taste. There are many different cuts of diamonds. Some of them are the traditional round cut with 52 facets, square princess cut, emerald cut and baguette cut. However, there are many other ways in which diamonds are cut today.
Since diamonds are very durable they can be cleaned with dish soap and a soft toothbrush to renew their brilliance.
The word Emerald comes from the Greek word smaragdus, meaning green. Like many other stones, emeralds belong to the beryl family of stones. They are found in almost every country but the most famous emeralds are found in Muzo, Colombia, which produces 50 – 90% of the world’s emeralds.
Their color ranges from yellow-green to blue-green and emeralds tend to have numerous inclusions and fissures. Unlike diamonds, which are rated under a 10X loupe, emeralds are rated by the naked eye. Almost all emeralds are treated with oil after being cut, to enhance their clarity.
Although the emerald stone itself is durable, due to the many inclusions and fissures that they can have, they are very susceptible to breakage and must be handled with care. Eye-clean stones with a vivid green color are the highest priced emeralds.
June’s birthstone is Pearl, but since pearls are not actually stones, the second option is Moonstone.
Moonstones were associated with lunar gods and goddesses by both the Romans and Greeks. Some thought these stones to be frozen moonlight, thus the name Moonstone. The mineral Feldspar is responsible for the cool lunar light of these stones. They are usually cut in an oval or round cabochon shape to maximize the shimmer effect.
Moonstones come in quite a range of colors from colorless to yellow, orange, green, grey, blue, brown and pink. The clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. The best Moonstone is clear, colorless and has a blue sheen to it.
Moonstones are easily scratched and should be cared for gently.
Moonstone is the State Gem of Florida, U.S.A.
Throughout the ages, rubies have been the prized possessions of emperors and kings and have been the source of inspiration for countless legends and myths. Rubies are also known as the King of Gemstones, perhaps because so many kings treasured them.
For centuries, the world’s main source of rubies has been Myanmar (Burma). The term pigeon’s blood is associated with rubies from Myanmar because of their pure red with a hint of blue. Rubies have since been found in many other countries in Asia and most recently under the ice shelf in Greenland.
Rubies are available in a range of red hues, from purplish to bluish to orange-red, with the best rubies being bright red. They are commonly available in sizes up to two carats but larger sizes can be obtained.
Most stones nowadays are treated in some way and rubies are no exception. When heated, the color and imperfections can be improved. Ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral species, while all other colors of corundum are called sapphire.
Peridot is usually found in places of extreme climate and perhaps that is why it is August’s birthstone.
This olive green stone is produced in Hawaii’s volcanoes and is treasured in Hawaii. It can also be found in some meteorites. Although they are found in many countries, the largest quantity of peridot is mined in China. The most valued ones however, come from Pakistan, 15,000 feet above sea level in the Himalaya Mountains and usually command a higher price because of their dark olive-green color.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color. The amount of iron in the crystal structure determines the intensity and tint of the green.
Peridot is sensitive to rapid changes in temperature. It should be cleaned with dish soap, never steam cleaned.
Opal is said to be the symbol of hope, fidelity and purity.
Opals come in many different colors and varieties. The most well known type is the opaque white opal, which has a colorless body. The most valued of opals is the black opal, which has a dark blue body and specks of many colors. The least known of opals however, is the fire opal. Quite different from the other varieties, fire opals are translucent to transparent in a spectacular orange or fire red color. Fire opals are extracted, even sometimes blasted, from volcanic rock.
Today, opals come mainly from Australia, Mexico and the United States. Most opals are cut into rounded or free-form cabochons that show off the play of color. Opals are softer than many other stones and can be chipped or scratched easily. Opals are called the Queen of Gems because they display the colors of all other gems.