Clear Vivid Green Natural Emeralds

What makes Clear, Vivid Green Natural Emeralds Fine (and Available)?

I have always been interested and curious when customers drop by and complain they have been shopping all over and have not found any emeralds that are either a fine deep vivid green color and or emeralds which are fairly clear, or both. Because of this, customers believe that fine quality emeralds must be either cloudy or a pale green or an overly dark blackish green color. Read more

Wonderful World of Jade

Jade jewelry can be quite stunning, especially for women who enjoy wearing jewelry not seen in most jewelry stores.

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Fascinating Amber

Amber is a light, organic substance of fossilized resin that once eons ago dripped out of the bark of trees, hardened in the earth beneath and finally transported by rivers and streams to the places where it is found. It is usually yellow or orange and is often transparent. Because it is simple to carve and polish, it has been made into jewelry for thousands years. Read more

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) Loved Jewelry

The 19th century witnessed a significant proliferation of jewelry available to both the common man and the aristocracy. New jewelry designs along with reproductions of ancient techniques of granulation, cloisonne enameling and filigree, use of multiple jewelry metals as well as the availability of diamonds, pearls and colored gemstones reached an all time high, influenced by the industrial revolution along with fabulous archeological discoveries in Greece, Cyprus and Italy. Flowers, branches, leaves, grapes, berries, crescents, swirls, scrollwork, rosettes all could be found in both common and aristocratic pieces. It was Queen Victoria herself and her love of these jewelry forms and gemstones who led by example, and her subjects in England and then many in Europe and America followed suit. Read more

Art Deco is Not Square

A small amount of jewelry from the 1920’s and 1930’s reflects a kaleidoscope of curves, angles and shapes, including negative space, delicate filigree wires and platinum frames surrounding beautiful colored gemstones, pearls and diamonds as well as lustrous precious metals cast and fabricated into jewelry for the entire body. So stunning is this body of jewelry that it has retained a place in the history of 20th century design far beyond its early adherents. Read more

Old Family Gemstones: Genuine or Synthetic?

Most people believe that if a gemstone has been in their family for several generations, perhaps going back to the turn of the 20th century, then it must be genuine. This belief is especially true for colored gemstones; in particular, ruby, star ruby, alexandrite, blue sapphire and blue star sapphire. At least once a week, I receive a call from a client wishing me to appraise, purchase, or identify their old family stone which changes color from violet-pink under lamp light to purplish green under ultra violet light. The client has been told by parents or grandparents that the stone is alexandrite, and that it is rare and expensive. In some families, that stone has been insured for a lot of money over the decades. Please click to continue …

Identifying and Appraising Colored Gemstone Collections

Since 2007, I have examined 62 collections of colored gemstones, each collection owned by a lovely person who called for an appointment to have me either identify or evaluate their gems. In almost every case, these individuals purchased their stones primarily from television jewelry shows, over a period of time. Each had their collection nicely organized, where each stone was placed in its own plastic container, labeled on the base with identification information of various degrees of accuracy. The stones included many of the species and varieties of gems used in the jewelry industry: garnets, tourmalines, chrysoberyls, beryls, quartzes, topazes, CZ’s, strontium titinate, diopside, spodumene, the chalcedonies, andalusite, labradorite and many that were of primarily mineralogical interest only. Please click to continue …

How the Origin of Colored Gemstones Can Affect Cost and Value

Historically, the geographic origin of a gemstone has not influenced its cost, even though some jewelers have used the name of the producing country in their sales presentations. There have, however, been a few exceptions. These are Russian alexandrite (No Russian alexandrite has been mined in decades, and such stones are considered extremely difficult to identify and extraordinarily rare), Burma sapphire, Burma ruby, Burma jade, emerald from the Muzo and Chivor mines in Colombia, and Kashmir sapphire. The problem with the exceptions is that only the top grades of these gemstones from these countries have carried premium prices. Most gemstones from these countries are commonly available, as are most colored gemstones from most countries around the globe. Please click to continue …

How Rare are Natural Colored Gemstones Which Have Not Been Enhanced?

Almost all colored gemstones have been treated to improve their color and/or mask inclusions. As one example, gemstones have been enhanced by heat for centuries (there are Biblical references and ancient historical references alike); heating a colored gemstone is the least invasive and most commonly accepted form of enriching its color and or removing some of its flaws.  Please click to continue …

The Elimination of “Semi Precious” as a Descriptive Term for Colored Gemstones

All of us who love colored gemstones learned the phrase “semi-precious” at one time or another, as describing certain colored gemstones that were less valuable than others, or those which may be worn during the day as opposed to the more precious gems which were reserved for evening wear. Included in this definition are the gemstones quartz, tourmaline, garnet, spinel, zoisite, peridot and topaz, among many others.

At some point in history, gemstones were classified in two divisions: Those worn more formally included diamond, pearl, emerald, ruby, sapphire and opal, while the balance of the world of colored stones were worn during the day. This classification was not scientific; rather it was cultural, almost like a caste system. As a result, many less expensive colored gemstones were inexpensively set in poorer quality metals, with less emphasis on beautiful design. Please click to continue …