(NaturalNews) Having a twinkle in your eye no longer just implies that you might be in love. Early adopters of a new surgical procedure currently sweeping youth culture quite literally have sparkling metal in their eyes, according to MyFoxNY.com
, and this is due to the deliberate injection of tiny platinum jewelry pieces into their scleras, or the outer white layer of their eyeballs.
Think tattoos, except that objects are literally being injected into the eyes rather than ink into the skin. The procedure has taken place hundreds of times in Europe and Los Angeles but is only just now hitting the New York scene. And one young woman says it will completely change the way she interacts with her friends and family.
"It's going to be a conversation maker," says Lucy Luckayanko, who recently had multiple platinum hearts surgically implanted onto her eyeballs. "I will be able to tell people. It will be unique. It will be sort of my unique factor."
How does it work? An ophthalmologist first injects lidocaine into the eyeball in order to numb it and proceeds to make a small incision where the jewelry is to be placed. The incision, which divides a small pocket between the sclera and the conjunctiva, or the clear part of the eye, allows just enough room for the piece of jewelry to sit.
"To me, this is just another way to advance the science of ophthalmology," says Dr. Emil Chynn, medical director of Park Avenue Laser Vision, which is the first in New York City to offer the procedure. "It's a very thin piece of platinum that's designed for insertion on the top of the eye. It's not in the eye, so there's no risk of blindness or anything at all."
Eye jewelry costs $3,000 a pop, not approved by FDA
The $3,000 procedure is obviously not for the faint of heart, nor has it ever been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a recent statement decrying the procedure and warning patients to take note about its potential dangers.
"[There is not] sufficient evidence to support the safety or therapeutic value of this procedure," stated the group to MyFoxNY.com
. It goes on to warn consumers to "avoid placing in the eye
any foreign body or material that is not approved by the FDA."
But people like Luckayanko are hardly phased by these warnings. More concerned about showing off to their friends and family their alleged uniqueness, she and others are more than willing to throw down stacks of cash to be among the first to have the metal objects placed in their eyes, even though the long-term safety of the procedure has never been verified.
"My concern would be that it might cause foreign body granuloma or scar tissue," says Wayne Bizer, D.O., a comprehensive ophthalmologist from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who disapproves of the procedure for its safety risks. "The implant could also allow bacteria to get beneath the conjunctiva causing a serious vision-threatening infection or possibly erode the sclera, the white part of the eye."
As far as Luckayanko is concerned, the popularity factor is worth these potential risks.
"Fifty percent of my friends are like, 'What is it? Why do you need it? Oh my... are you crazy? You're going to put something in your eye?'" stated Luckayanko to reporters. "But 50 percent of my friends are like, 'Oh my... it's super cool!'"
by Jonathan Benson, Article credit by naturalnews.com
(NaturalNews) Gold has historically been a safe haven when financial times are tough, and these days are no different. Some people prefer buying gold coins or for investment, storing it in a safe or burying it for safety's sake. There's another way to own gold and use it for easy commerce - in jewelry. Not only is gold jewelry easy to buy and sell, it's also fun to wear. The uninitiated may get intimidated trying to buy and sell gold jewelry in ways other than at a jewelry store - where buyers pay top dollar. For the adventurous, trading gold jewelry is an excellent method of holding hard assets, protecting your investments and accessing easy cash.
Know the Spot Price
Before starting to buy or sell gold jewelry, learn the spot price. Gold markets around the world set the gold spot price daily, which is easy to find on websites like Kitco.com. The spot price is the cost of one troy ounce of pure, 24K gold.
Calculate the Value
Whether buying or selling gold jewelry, you need to ascertain the value in grams, which is calculated by its weight and the spot price. Use a gram scale to weigh the jewelry. Remove stones first. Check the karat stamped on the item or with an acid test. Gold jewelry purity is designated by the karat, or percentage of pure gold contained in each item. The amounts are calculated in percentages, with 24k gold being 100 percent or .1000. Use this chart for the most common karat percentages:
10 karat = .4167
14 karat = .5833
18 karat = .750
Divide the daily spot price by 31 to find the gram price of pure 24K gold. Then multiply the gram price of pure gold by the percentage in the guide above depending on the karat to find the price per gram, called the scrap price. For example, if gold is selling at $1650 per troy ounce and the jewelry item is 14K and weighs 5 grams, here's what that formula looks like:
$1650 divided by 31 = $53.22 X .5833 = $31.04 per gram of 14K gold X 5 grams = $155.22 total scrap value.
Buying and Selling Gold
Buying scrap gold is fun and makes a great hobby. Look for gold jewelry at flea markets, yard sales and auctions. For those who are more experienced, buying online at places like eBay are often excellent venues for a good deal. Always take a small gram scale on buying trips and a jeweler's loupe to check the item close up. Check the daily the price of scrap gold before going shopping.
People wanting to sell their scrap gold jewelry for fast cash can do so at places like pawn shops, eBay, auction houses and to jewelers who buy scrap gold. Knowing the scrap value gives you the advantage of being able to negotiate when selling their jewelry. Most buyers won't pay full value for the gold, so expect to get about half or less of the actual value. It's best to avoid selling gold by mail because of unscrupulous buyers who take advantage of people who are not sure what they're doing.
by JB Bardot, Article credit by naturalnews.com
(NaturalNews) The University College London (UCL) Petrie Museum in London is home to ancient Egyptian iron beads that were once thought to be hammered out of traditional iron ore. Researchers from UCL have dispelled this notion, revealing that the earliest jewelry artifacts were actually made from materials from outer space.
UCL Archaeologist and Professor Thilo Rehren is uncovering fascinating new evidence on the ancient Egyptian beads. He says, "The shape of the beads was obtained by smithing and rolling, most likely involving multiple cycles of hammering, and not by the traditional stone-working techniques such as carving or drilling which were used for the other beads found in the same tomb."
Finding out where the beads came from
"Even 100 years ago, [the beads] attracted attention as being something strange," Rehren said.
Rehren and a team of researchers are proving that the beads are actually cosmic jewelry, hammered from pieces of meteorites. Their evidence suggests that the ore used to make the beads originates from an era existing two millenniums before communities learned how to smelt and tamper traditional iron ore into iron.
The beads from the UCL Petrie Museum were discovered in 1911 near the village of el-Gerzeh in Lower Egypt. Dug up in a cemetery that dates back to approximately 3200 B.C., the beads were found to be corroded to their core. Using x-rays, the researchers have determined the continuity of the beads. They've concluded that the beads do not come from magnetite, which typically resembles meteoric iron, but actually come from meteoric iron from outer space origins. Scanning the beads further with neutron beams and gamma-rays, the researchers determined that the unique textures of nickel, phosphorous, cobalt, and germanium were indeed reminiscent of meteoric iron. The neutron beams and gamma-rays also helped them bypass more invasive testing that could have damaged the rare objects.
"The really exciting outcome of this research is that we were for the first time able to demonstrate conclusively that there are typical trace elements such as cobalt and germanium present in these beads, at levels that only occur in meteoritic iron," Professor Rehren said.
How the beads were made
Rehren continues, "We are also excited to be able to see the internal structure of the beads, revealing how they were rolled and hammered into form. This is very different technology from the usual stone bead drilling, and shows quite an advanced understanding of how the metal smiths worked this rather difficult material."
Their study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science
, further explains how the rock from outer space was meticulously hammered into thin sheets and then rolled into tubes that were woven around wooden sticks to create 0.8-inch-long, tube-shaped beads.
The nine beads from the museum are thought to be at least 5000 years old. They make up a necklace that was very valuable for its time and included gold and other precious gems.
Their results suggest that during the fourth millennium BC, meteoritic iron work had already been mastered.
This meteoritic iron-nickel alloy is a much harder and more brittle rock that predated copper and traditional iron ore work. This meteoritic iron work was the first basic training ground for blacksmiths, helping to pave the way for future learning of copper work and traditional iron work.
by Lance Johnson, Article Credit by naturalnews.com
(NaturalNews) Archeological digs dating back many thousands of years prove the fact that jewelry has always been a desired part of human existence, from the rich and powerful to the average worker on the street. Man or woman, old or young, people like to adorn themselves with beautiful accessories. Unfortunately however, these days, most jewelry comes from a very sad and scary unconscious place. Many pieces of jewelry begin with precious metals and gems that are a part of warfare and bloodshed, and others are cultivated from fragile ecosystems, thus damaging the environment. Wouldn't you like to know where your jewelry is coming from and to take comfort in knowing that there has been no violence, bloodshed or environmental destruction from the beautiful piece that hangs around you neck?
For many people, living "environmentally conscious" has become a part of life. For those that are making an effort to be aware of sustainable resources, fashionable jewelry that is repurposed and "green" is a growing trend. Eco-friendly jewelry is made from materials which are from both recycled and renewable resources. Materials can come from old jewelry, from nature, such as recycled coconut and seashells, or recycled materials from any piece of junk that you can think of. Imagination is the only limitation regarding materials and design.
By purchasing and wearing eco-friendly jewelry, you are not only wearing beautiful art but also serving a purpose. Eco-friendly jewelry is an expression of your own eco-consciousness. It is the desire to conserve, the desire to be connected to the protection of the earth and the desire to make a difference. Jewelry made from things that are already in existence decreases the need to further damage the planet. So when you are getting ready to purchase a piece of jewelry, think about where it comes from and how it was made. Remember, the energy that is put into that piece is what you are wearing on your skin.
There are many eco-friendly jewelry
designers to choose from nowadays that are inspired by nature and use materials that would most likely have ended up in a landfill had they not been repurposed into jewelry. Alkemie Jewelry
, headed by husband and wife design team Ashley Lowengrub and Dara Gerson, is a perfect example. Their entire jewelry line is a unique reflection of Mother Nature and made and sourced from 100% reclaimed metals.
by Alexandra Du Toit, Article credit by naturalnews.com
(NaturalNews) There's an old axiom that goes something like this: Whenever you're in trouble and you're faced with an immediate, direct threat to your life or property, don't worry; the police are always five minutes away.
The point is, of course, that if you have to wait for the police to arrive, it's already too late for you. That's why it is always better to arm yourself with the ability to fend off a threat on your own if necessary.
That's the first thing that comes to mind when reading about "smart jewelry", the latest fad in victimhood being marketed to a generation of Americans who, for the most part, cannot grasp the concept that evil people can and will do unspeakable things unless they are threatened or thwarted with a superior level of counter-force.
reports that self-defense is important, but it should never conflict with a girl's fashion sense:
Pepper sprays and self-defense know-how are useful tools in protecting against violent attacks. But in the view of startup Roar, women shouldn't be made to change their lifestyles in order to feel safe.
Therefore, the company has developed a "discreet device" that can be worn as jewelry but is capable of alerting "loved ones to their whereabouts when trouble arises". This means that the jewelry doesn't even notify police first
, which will only prolong their response. What if the "loved one" isn't available for some reason?
A noise transmitter?
The jewelry device, known as Athena, is described as "smart jewelry" and is intended to be worn around your neck, attached to your wrist or carried inside a handbag. There is a small circular magnetic clip that is equipped with Bluetooth and an activation button; when pressed, the device sends a signal of distress to pre-selected emergency contacts via the wearer/user's phone notifying them of their location.
"To help avoid false alarms, Athena's button is recessed and must be held down for three seconds to activate the signal," Gizmo Magazine
reported. "While this will importantly allow the user's contacts to take action it is invariably going to be some time before help arrives. So Athena is also fitted with an alarm mode, which produces an 85-decibel noise intended to immediately spook an attacker and prevent things going from bad to worse."
When was the last time you paid attention to a car alarm going off?
Aware that this particular approach is not for everyone in every scenario, Roar is building into Athena a silent mode, allowing for the distress signal to be sent without triggering the alarm. This is actually not a bad concept when you consider that an unarmed mother might be hiding in a closet with her children from an armed intruder.
In addition, the company says it is currently developing a capability that makes an automated 911 call to notify emergency services once the button is pressed; now we're getting somewhere.
A better solution
Athena is the latest in a string of devices that are designed to send discreet calls for assistance when someone is facing an immediate threat of violence.
"Athena joins a number of other devices intended to offer discreet calls for help when facing a violent attack," Gizmo Magazine
reported. "Last year we saw a successful crowdfunding campaign for a hair clip that senses impact to the head and notifies emergency contacts. Revolar, a small personal safety
device that sends a distress signal when squeezed, also met its funding goal earlier this year."
It's hard to criticize the companies developing products like these; after all, they are developing them for a generation that is far-removed from an American culture that taught much more self-reliance. Nevertheless, devices like this one often provide a false sense of security that will fail miserably to perform as advertised in real-time scenarios. By then, of course, it will be too late.
If you live in an area where you're "allowed" to exercise your right to self-defense and
you've been properly trained (and are always be observant of your surroundings), a better solution, in my view, is a firearm. There's no ambiguity and you won't have to rely on police officers who are always just five minutes away.
The article was written by J. D. Heyes, credit by naturalnews.com
Author: Kerry Bogert
It’s no secret I love coiling wire! I’m the gal that’s on screen teaching the technique in Wire Coiling Secrets, and I don’t think I ever made a project for Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine that didn’t include wire coils. Imagine that scene in Buddy the Elf where Buddy says, “I just like to smile, smiling is my favorite.” Now, imagine me with just as big of a grin saying, “I just like to coil, coiling is my favorite!”
It’s not hard to see why, when you look at the amazing things coiling wire can add to your jewelry designs. It can be used to add structure, strength, and texture, without a torch or special tools. Check it out:
Structure with Coils
Chain Shank Ring from Step by Step Wire Jewelry, August/September 2016
The Chain Shank Ring is a great example of adding structure to a piece of jewelry. The center element of this ring has height that would be difficult to achieve without coiling wire.
Strength with Coils
Twin Twirls Bracelet from Step by Step Wire Jewelry June/July 2014
The Twin Twirls Bracelet is enhanced beautifully with a wire coil accent added to the core wire of the design. Not only does this accent a design element, it also adds extra strength to the core wire that will help it hold its shape.
Texture with Coils
Painted Desert from Step by Step Wire Jewelry December 2012/ January 2013
The Painted Desert Bangle uses coiled wire in a really unique way that adds a lot of texture to the finished piece. Along with texture, embellishing the coiled wire with seed beads brings a pop of color to the piece as well.
For even more projects that are enhanced by coiling wire, grab yourself a copy of our 10 Wire Jewelry Projects with Coils & Spirals eBook. It’s packed with coiled wire (and spirals!) that will make you just as crazy for coiling wire as I am.
– Kerry Bogert
Author: Tammy Jones
Remember coming home from school with a homemade Mother’s Day gift for Mom? So proud and excited you couldn’t sit still, knowing Mom was going to love what you made her, with your name scrawled on it in your precious brand-new handwriting and an “I love you” with a backwards E. Making gifts for Mom is still fun and rewarding–the techniques have just gotten a little more sophisticated (like the Stamped Chandelier Earrings above, from New Stamped Metal Jewelry by Lisa Niven Kelly and Taryn McCabe).
Speaking of a backwards E, metal stamping jewelry for Mom (your Mom or a friend who is a Mom–plus Grandma, and a special aunt) is the perfect grown-up equivalent of those sweet little notes and drawings that were hung on the fridge. I think metal stamping is the easiest, most affordable way to make personalize jewelry with designs or sayings that are meaningful to your relationship. Plus, metal stamping is a great way for kids to make jewelry for Mom, with just a little help from Dad or another adult.
Here are five reasons to make metal stamped jewelry sure to melt Mom’s heart and remind her how much she’s loved on Mother’s Day and every day.
1. Customized: Make Personal Stamped Jewelry for Mom
Is there anything Mom loves more than her children? (Or grandma, her grandchildren?) Metal stamped jewelry couldn’t be more perfect for personalized Mother’s Day gifts. To create a special reminder of her beautiful family, stamp her children’s (or grandchildren’s) names on metal strips or bracelet blanks (learn how in the Grandma Bracelet tutorial).
If your grandmother is anything like my grandmothers, she has dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren–so perhaps a bunch of charms with their initials on a bracelet would be more fitting. You can also add a gemstone or crystal bead of each child’s birthstone with their name or initial to make a colorful treasure.
Give Mom a Custom, One-of-a-Kind Gift
Your Mom is one of a kind, isn’t she? I know mine sure is! Metal stamping is a great way to create a gift for her that no one else will have–and it will be even more special because it was made by you.
When I moved a few states away from home several years ago, I missed my Mama like crazy. We’re very close, and I missed sharing parts of each day with her. We love many of the same things–pretty silver teaspoons among them. So I found her a pretty, unique little silver spoon and stamped “I love you” on it, so she could see it every morning when she made her coffee.
As you can see above, even though I tried to be oh-so-careful, I accidentally stamped the E backwards–which broke my heart! But as Moms do, Mama loved it even more.
Perfect Cluster Necklace from New Stamped Metal Jewelry by Lisa Niven Kelly and Taryn McCabe
2. Encouraging: Make Uplifting Stamped Jewelry
Moms work so, so hard, and their work never ends. Remind her how thankful you are for all she does and has done for you while uplifting her at the same time with loving words of encouragement. You loved to “help” her when you were a little thing–here’s your chance to help her with all of the challenges she faces every day! And not that her children are ever far from her heart, but adding their birthstones keeps them even closer and helps remind her of what are surely some of the most wonderful days of her life.
Poem Cuff from New Stamped Metal Jewelry by Lisa Niven Kelly and Taryn McCabe
There are many other ways to create customized stamped metal jewelry that’s special between you and your Mom. Memorialize big dates, such as her children’s birthdates, the date she kicked cancer’s butt, ran a marathon (include her time!), finished her degree, etc. on the back of a stamped bracelet. Stamp Bible verses, favorite quotes, or personal sayings that you and your Mom share by stamping them on a cuff, like the one above. If your Mom volunteers at an animal shelter, make a fun design with dog, cat, and bird stamps. Is she a cyclist? Tree lover? Gardener? Doctor or nurse? There are seemingly endless symbols and design stamps that you can stamp on charms or pendants to help you show you recognize all of Mom’s special qualities.
3. Affordable: Make Meaningful Jewelry with Simple Tools and Supplies
Metal stamped jewelry is one of the most affordable jewelry-making techniques to get started in. Blanks in a variety of metals and shapes are affordable and available from local craft stores and online stores (the ones above are from Beaducation.com, who also has a huge variety of design stamps). The hammers and alphabet stamp sets are available at hardware stores and craft stores, too. My first alphabet stamp set came from a hardware store and it served me just fine! Now I love using special fonts from ImpressArt as well, and craft stores have a variety of metal stamp sets in all sizes and budgets.
Bookmarks by Kathy Grzedzinski, from 10 Fun Projects Stamping Metal and Wire
4. Versatile: Make Bookmarks, Key Chains, or Other Non-Jewelry Gifts
Maybe your Mom isn’t a huge fan of jewelry, or maybe the little ones prefer to make something else. All of the initials, names, and messaging that would make a special jewelry gift for Mom could be applied to non-jewelry gifts as well, such as bookmarks, key chains, silverware, wind chimes, and more. Many metal stamping blanks can be used as key chains, tassels or charms for purses or phones, pet tags, garden markers, and more. The same dangly charms on Kathy Grzedzinski’s metal stamped jewelry for books, above (from 10 Fun Projects Stamping Metal and Wire), could also be hung from other accessories. In addition to Mom’s name or a word or phrase special to her, personalize them with her favorite colored crystals or birthstone beads, pearls, and metal charms like hearts, birds, or others that represent things she loves.
Warrior Princess Earrings by Joanne Ortiz, in 10 Easy Metal Jewelry Projects
5. Kid Friendly: Children Can Make Metal Stamped Jewelry and Gifts for Mom
With help from Dad or another adult to prevent mashed thumbs, children can make stamped metal jewelry and gifts for Mom! Choose designs that don’t need to be perfectly aligned or in a specific pattern, like the randomly stamped Warrior Princess Earrings, above, from 10 Easy Metal Jewelry Projects. Kids can repeat the design stamps they choose all over a metal stamping blank for a metal version of a drawing. Little ones who are too small to use a hammer (even with assistance) can help by picking out blank shapes, deciding which words to stamp that make them think of Mom, picking and placing design stamps for an adult to hammer for them, and selecting colorful gemstones or crystal beads to add to the jewelry.
Riveted Flower Rings by Kate Richbourg, from 10 Exclusive Designs with Wire and Metal
Whether you’re making stamped metal jewelry for Mom or with Mom, we’ve got you covered! Learn to make metal stamped jewelry rings (or take a shortcut with purchased ring bands) like Kate Richbourg’s cheerful Riveted Flower Rings, above, from 10 Exclusive Designs with Wire and Metal. If you’re a big stamping fan like we are, check out Lisa Niven Kelly and Taryn McCabe’s much-anticipated new book, New Stamped Metal Jewelry for fresh metal stamped jewelry ideas and tutorials, perfect for all levels. You’ll also find stylish metal stamped jewelry projects in great-value project compilation eBooks like the ones below, in the Interweave Store.
May 13, 2017
Business Saturday: An interview on the bridal jewelry business with Angela Olsgard Tiernan, owner of Angie Star Jewelry
In 2002, Angela Olsgard Tiernan established Angie Star Jewelry, a Boulder, Colorado, boutique specializing in custom-designed jewelry. This includes bridal jewelry and special occasion pieces. The company creates a variety of wedding jewelry, from earrings, bracelets, and necklaces to bands and custom rings, using conflict-free gemstones and reclaimed metals. Here, Angie shares insider information on creating wedding jewelry.
Q: How do you market your presence in the bridal jewelry business?
A: A lot of our business in bridal jewelry is by word of mouth and recommendations from friends. We do advertise a bit, and we use social media to show examples of our work and latest pieces.
Q: Do you offer premade designs for brides to choose from, or is the process purely commissioned?
A: We definitely have premade designs in our cases—it’s a great way for brides to see what may suit them. Many of our brides or grooms have heirloom diamonds that they’d like us to repurpose as well; it’s so fun to see something gain a new life.
Q: Explain the impact wedding jewelry has had on your overall business.
A: It has been great for us not only financially, but it also makes our hearts sing to see people in love. We are all about creating jewelry with love and care. When it is for people in love, it makes it that much more special.
Q: How do you keep up with bridal trends?
A: We talk to our brides and look at bridal magazines, online publications, and Pinterest.
Q: Describe wedding jewelry appointments.
A: Generally, the bride and groom will attend together. It’s such a special time spent choosing rings that they will wear during a lifetime together.
Q: What is your best advice about working with brides?
A: Listen to them, and understand that this is a big time in their lives. It is full of magic and details all at the same time!¬
Photos courtesy of Angie Star Jewelry.
There have been inconsistencies and vagueness about how diamond dimensions are defined. This clarifies the terms and differences and suggests better alternatives. Due to QWERTYism* none of this will change.
The GIA Diamond Course (1974 for me), described the table and stars of a round brilliant as forming squares; this is also mentioned (but not endorsed) in the caption to Fig. 2.1 in ‘The Australian Gemmologist,' Vol.25, No.3, p.87.
Some reports describe a ‘star ratio,' which is defined, for instance, in GIA ‘Gems & Gemology,' Fall 2004, p.209, Fig.2B as ‘Star Facet Length,' using the ratio B/A shown here. Most cited values differ from those listed here.
The term ‘star ratio’ uses radial dimensions A and B while the depth of pavilion break facets is measured as a ratio of vertical dimensions Q and P shown here. Why not measure the height of the crown break facets in the same way, using ratio D/C? I like 2/3 for pattern appearance on ‘colored stones.'
A and B lose meaning if the gem is not a round brilliant, such as the oval shown in the lower half here; however. But the ratio D/C is just as valid for oval, pear, and cushion shapes.
GIA again defines pavilion break facets with radial dimensions E and F. The result is different from the ratio of vertical dimensions P and Q, which is used by other researchers. Some sample values are shown here for round brilliants (AGS lists more). Q/P may vary in cuts such as an oval with a pavilion ridge.
* Explanation why first line of typewriter is so: “It’s that way because it always was that way.”
by Bruce L Harding, February 7, 2014
The photos and article credit by pricescope.com
The Probable Reason
Garry Holloway1 was the first to suggest a meaningful explanation for this: he suggested that, because there is a small difference between pavilion main & half facet slopes (less than 2º in a typical round brilliant), this may cause one to be dark when the other is bright – producing contrast in the gem’s image. Studies of human optical response2 say that this is attractive to viewers; it may be why the people Tolkowsky polled chose the proportions they did.
Fig.1 shows this effect in the ‘arrows’ of a Tolkowsky diamond with 80%-deep ’halves.' With white light from everywhere above the gem and viewer, the dark areas result from the head obstructing light from sources that would be reflected by the mains to the viewer’s eye, but not by the ‘halves.' As the stone, light source, or viewer moves, this contrast reverses, producing dynamic ‘scintillation,' which is also attractive to the viewer2.
Fig.1 Simulation of Tolkowsky proportions with 80%-deep halves, using Vasiliev/s software3 at 15º angle of light obstruction by viewer’s head
Obstruction of Reflection by Halves
Fig.2 shows the diamond chart of ‘Faceting Limits’ reversed to match MSU and GIA plots (pavilion vertical) and limited to show only the region of primary interest.
Additionally, it has added the head-obstruction zones for reflection by 75% halves on a Tolkowsky diamond. As pointed-out by Yuri Shelementiev of MSU, in today’s cuts the halves dominate and become a greater factor in reflecting light than the mains.
Note that the Tolkowsky cut is not at the ‘edge’ of reflection by the halves when viewed square to the face; the gem must be tipped or the head or light source moved to see this obstruction.
Fig.3 shows how this compares with the ‘best’ findings of MSU and GIA = remarkable correlation of three different approaches.
Fig.2: ‘Faceting Limits’ chart reoriented and half limits added
Fig.3: color lines = ‘brightest’ per GIA & MSU
by Bruce L Harding, circa 2004, 2008 Aug 11
1. Diamond dealer, Melbourne, Australia
2. “Seeing the Light," Falk et al, Chapter 7.1-4, John Wiley & Sons, 1986
3. “Facet Design," Anton Vasiliev, circa 2002
Over the past few years there has been a marked increase in the purchase of old cut style diamonds. We more and more often deal with questions from consumers who are considering both newly minted old style cuts and authentic old cut diamonds. Of course, the diamond material is hundreds of thousands of years old anyway, but there are those who wish to go “new” or “old” and those who just want the old look. A further layer of unknowns crop up when a client wants to differentiate from an unrestored old cut from an old looking stone that may have been more recently repaired or lightly modified for one of several reasons. Then, there are those people looking for all the best look of an old cut in a newly minted old looking diamond, which has the high light return features available utilizing more recent diamond cutting knowledge and techniques that did not exist a 100 years ago.
How can a consumer master all the knowledge needed to select a modern cut diamond and then add the additional knowledge they know they require aiding them in selecting the best old cut diamond? Since fewer old cut diamonds are in the market there are less to choose from and to compare. Because some may be brought into the market second hand and others are newly cut, the prices asked can be difficult to compare. Toss in the fact that many of these old cuts have lab reports from questionably reliable labs, which further degrade comparison, and you have a highly complex issue when it comes to making an informed decision. Believe me, I can’t tell which ones I’d choose sight unseen, and although some consumers are truly well informed and diligent, I promise you that they can’t know the unknowable better than a person who has spent the past 45 years working on making such decisions.
Here is a link to my Cut Grade Chart for Old European Cut Diamonds. I think it highlights the best features at the upper ranges of 1 and 2, and it gives consumers a good handle on the weaker features as we get into the 3 to 4 range. Again, this is not the way to “choose” your ultimate diamond, but a way to assist you to “screen out” or to “inform” you of issues related to a particular diamond.
Chips and Recutting
A consumer recently asked me about a chip under a prong. The stone was an older cut. The photos do not show the chip clearly, but it looked smallish. Most can be fixed with a low cost and very little weight loss, but the symmetry grade may take a hit even if the clarity grade goes up a bit. Leaving a chip might create a weak place for further damage to occur. Fixing the chip and improving the symmetry to a decent level will lose more weight, and cost more to fix. It will not really change the value no matter what you do, but you surely can spend money on the repairs. The real trade off is that the diamond may be less likely to have further damage after it is recut properly. You still have choices as to cutting it and leaving it looking like an old cut, or in some cases, one could justify cutting it to a modern cut style. Few consumers want a modern cut when they are shopping for an older looking stone, but diamond dealers may well recut the right diamond to a modern look. This divergence in desires leads to more scarcity of some old cuts in the market.
Vintage-Style Cuts vs. Authentic Old-Cut Diamonds
The newly minted old cuts being offered as branded cuts by several vendors do have the right old look. Maybe they are a bit too perfect for some of you, but that is what the goal was when they were designed. They are idealized antique cut stones. The authentic old cuts offered by other vendors have no brand or consistency of cut, but they may have price benefits attached since they are generally second hand purchases and not made from new rough. Conditions, such as abrasions and chips further confuse consumers with authentic old cuts. Newly cut diamonds tend to have the polish and symmetry details completely in good order.
No doubt, compare and learn. Take the time and go to the expense of seeing a diamond in person whenever possible. Consult with an expert if you feel you have lost your way and need some help, too. There is no denying that old cuts have a rather distinctive look and their own place in the retail market. The individuality of old cuts adds levels of questions, knowledge and information required to get to the right diamond.
What can an experienced appraiser do for you?
The appraiser may be able to date the period in which an Old Mine cushion or Old European round was cut, can examine it thoroughly for damage and durability, and possibly determine if a stone is newly cut, old, or mostly old and just a bit re-polished. And most importantly, an appraiser can value the stone. Some appraisers are experienced with re-cutting and repair of diamonds and will be able to give you guidance in regard to any repairs that might be of importance.
What can you do for yourself?
A consumer can shop, learn, ask questions and compare similar diamonds. You have to learn how to use more than your wallet to understand this complex subject. There are wonderful examples of newly fashioned old mine cut cushions being sold by some vendors, which have all the visual attributes one may find enchanting and especially beautiful. The trick for a consumer who is dedicated to finding the best combination of “the deal” and the “most beautiful diamond” at their price range, is to have the patience to weed out the many third and fourth level stones which have visual and/or condition and durability issues.
Old-Cut and Vintage-Style Diamond Visual Comparison
For those of you who like to see a side-by-side visual comparison, I have copied a few photos from online vendors who are also participants on Pricescope or have substantial inventories listed.
The two diamonds with black backgrounds appear to me to represent the appearance of what I’d call “average cut." These two images were borrowed from educational pages on Blue Nile and not likely representative of what they may have to sell. These can be compared to three samples photos borrowed for our education from Jewels by Erica Grace, which are authentically old antique cut diamonds and three more borrowed from GoodOldGold.com. One image is of the newly cut, August Vintage Old Mine Cushion, and the other two images are of two finely crafted Old European cut diamonds.
The consumer should note the life and individuality of Old Mine and Old European cut stones. They perform differently than modern cut round diamonds. Some may find this most attractive while the majority will simply prefer the look of modern cut stones. Everyone is entitled to pick what they ultimately prefer.
In the second group of images (Old Mine Cuts), please note the appearance of total symmetry in the image of the newly-styled Old Mine cut from GOG with the deep blue background. These recently cut stones with their old cut configuration stand out in their own way. They have many old cut attributes and are a hybrid which conforms to the cut symmetry and polish of today’s modern stones. The have their own look. You be the judge and jury.
Old European Cuts
The Old Euro stones (four diamonds shown above) can be compared to the black background stone, which I’d call “average” cut, borrowed for your education from the Blue Nile tutorial on old cuts. Two stones from GOG (bottom right & upper left) and the one in the upper right borrowed from JBEG are all great OEC examples and excellent in cut. The JBEG diamond shows a few tiny girdle chips at about 1 o’clock. This light degree of wear is completely normal and not unusual for such older cut stones.
Old Mine Cuts - Antique Style Cushion Cut
In the cluster of 4 diamonds (above), there are two Old Mine cuts in the photos from JBEG (top right, bottom left) showing the typical irregularity of outline and symmetry, which is characteristic of an Old Mine cushion. You either love that feature or you don’t. The bottom right image is from Blue Nile and shows a generic and typical old mine cushion that displays the irregularities of these highly unique old stones. We realize not everyone will love the look, that’s a certainty. However, virtually no two are alike. You can find similar pairs for earrings, but they will not likely ever be identical. That and their overall appearance are what sets them apart. Again, you like them this way, or you might want greater symmetry, or the modern look of a standard modern cut diamond. We don’t want to make that decision for you, but information is key to making your best decision.
In the upper left hand corner is a typical newly cut, old mine stye cut produced by Good Old Gold in their AVC Brand. Note the perfection of symmetry and faceting. It imitates an old mine cut with the perfection that our newer cutting technology allows. It stands out as something neither old nor exactly new. It is a different choice for that individual who wants this unique mix of appearance
The article was by David S. Atlas, GG(GIA) Sr Mbr(NAJA) ASG(AGA)
Thank you to Good Old Gold, Jewels by Erica Grace, and Blue Nile for use of the educational images.
Spring brings to mind all things clean and new. While clearing out the clutter and polishing up the wood work this season, don’t forget to revitalize the sparkle to your jewelry collection too. Your smallest treasures are often the ones most overlooked. Now’s the perfect time to dust off the jewelry box and give the precious items inside the attention they deserve.
Proper cleaning know-how could prolong the life of your jewelry. Besides having your jewelry professionally cleaned by your trusted jeweler at least once a year, here are some simple ways to care for your gemstones right at home.
1. When not wearing your jewelry, place each item in a separate, soft compartment or container. If cluttered together, jewelry can become scratched, even diamonds.
2. Clean your jewelry frequently to avoid the build-up of dirt, which can be damaging.
3. When in doubt, use warm water and a soft toothbrush.
4. Diamonds can be cleaned with ammonia-based cleaners and rubbing alcohol, using a soft toothbrush. Then dry with a soft, clean cloth. (Note: lengthy exposure to ammonia may be harmful to white gold, so keep your stone’s mounting in mind.)
5. Strands of pearls should be cleaned using a slightly damp cloth to wipe the dirt off. If the string gets wet, it can weaken and be more prone to breakage.
6. Avoid heavy blows to your gemstones. Even diamonds, which are among the hardest of all materials, can chip if struck at the right angle.
Aside from at-home care, it’s wise to have your jewelry inspected by your jeweler annually for loose settings and faulty clasps. A prong that is loose, worn or catches on fabric may cause the stone to fall out of the setting. At inspection, it’s also a good idea to have your jewelry re-evaluated based on current market values to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage in the unfortunate event of loss, theft or damage.
Step into spring with the comfort of knowing that by taking the proper proactive measures, you’ll be adding years to the life of your jewelry.
Article written by Jessica VandenHouten
How to know what you are doing
Recently I have been seeing a LOT of commercials on the TV about turning your old gold jewelry into a mound of money.
“Send us your address and we will send you a shipping envelope and soon after we will send you money.”
It seems that every few weeks I see a full page ad, or even a two page spread advertising to come to Hotel and turn your unwanted treasures into cash, HIGHEST PRICES PAID
Have you ever wondered if it would be worth it?
It might be, but you will not typically get your best yield from either of the above buyers. Let’s take a look at what is happening.
When we are talking about gold jewelry, it is important to know that we are not talking about pure gold. Pure gold is expressed as 24 karat or 24kt, meaning that all parts of the gold are gold. Pure gold, while being a rich and wonderful color is very soft and is rarely used to create jewelry.
Most gold is alloyed with other metals such as silver, nickel and copper to make it harder and also to influence the color of the gold that we see. The amount of alloy used is expressed as parts of 24, so that 18kt means that 18 of 24 parts is gold, or 75% of the material is gold, whereas 14kt means that 14 of 24 parts are gold, or 58.33% of the material is gold.
The lowest amount of gold that can be in an item and still be called gold is 10kt gold in this country. Some countries will go as low as 8kt. 10kt gold is the minimum standard set in the USA because that is the lowest grade where gold becomes the major component with silver typically making up just less than 40% and in yellow gold copper makes up the balance.
It is important to recognize for this discussion, that no matter what the karat of the gold, when a jeweler buys it, he is paying not only for the gold, but for the alloys that are in the gold and the cost of the labor to create and test the gold alloy at the stated karat.
For example: Here is the chart for the metals at the close today.
As you can see, gold closed with a bid of $804.90 per ounce, i.e., what I could sell pure gold for if I had a sufficient quantity to sell a contract worth of it, and an ask of $806.30, which is what I would have to pay to buy a contract worth of it. You can also see that it went down $25 from yesterday’s close and had a high of $810.60 and a low of 790.50.
Now, I went to a supplier to see what it would cost me to buy a pennyweight worth of 14kt casting grain. A pennyweight is 1/20th of an ounce. So, a pennyweight of pure gold should cost approximately $40.31 (806.30/20 = $40.31) and a pennyweight of 14kt would cost only $23.51 (40.31 x .58333) if I did not have to pay for the other metals and the labor to mix them. A pennyweight of 14kt white or yellow casting grain costs $28.87. Some of the more exotic mixes such as red or green were at $29.12 per pennyweight (abbreviated as DWT) and palladium white was the highest at $30.47/DWT.
Tomorrow it will change, depending on the price of gold. If I was buying gold chain or a cast ring, it would be an even greater difference between the cost of the gold and the cost of the finished product.
Of course, this is the jeweler’s cost, you will have to pay even more to buy the jewelry, as the jeweler will have to actually make the product with that casting grain and will also have to set the gems that are used and must make a profit if he/she is to be here the next time you wish to purchase jewelry.
We could do the same kind of information about Platinum and Silver, but I think it is not too necessary for what we are trying to do. I can hear you already…
"Wink, I want to know about selling."
Well, okay, but I want you to know what goes into the cost of gold when you buy, now we can talk about what you get back when you sell.
When you want to sell, you will want to know what your metal is worth. You can see the price of gold in many places, I like to use Kitco.com. It is normally about 15 minutes behind real life time, but is usually close enough to have a good idea.
Now you need to know the process.
When you go to a gold buyer, he is going to look at your gold, see how it is stamped, and then he will probably test it to make sure that it is at least somewhere in the vicinity of what it is supposed to be.
It is a sad fact that in this country (and others) there are people who will often lie about what they have, both on the vending side, and on the public side, so a gold buyer needs to be careful that they are not buying gold plate, or metal that simply looks like gold and is not. If you take in a nice heavy chain, do not be too surprised if the buyer wants to gouge it with a big file and put some acid on it to watch the reaction. If it bubbles and turns green, you will not get an offer, and your chain will look horrible.
My friend in the refining business tells me that on the coasts, gold marked 14kt tends to run in the 54.5% - 55.5% pure instead of the 58.33% that it is supposed to be, and that in the heartland it does in fact tend to be closer to the 58.33% that it is supposed to be.
At this point there are a couple of ways things can go. With most hotel buyers they are offering cash on the spot for what they think your gold is, and they will start out with a low offer, often in the 35 – 40% of melt value.
If you have a large quantity of gold, and are a good negotiator you can get it higher, although since the hotel buyers have spent a fortune on advertising and renting a hotel room, you can count on them not giving as good an offer as you can probably get from a local buyer who has an established business in your area.
The same goes for the TV buyers, their offers are often notoriously low. One was tested by an associate of mine and found to be in the 15% of melt range, others have been tested and found to be paying as high as 50% of melt.
So, for your ounce of pure gold, which you could sell for $804.90 if you had enough of it to sell a contract of, you might be offered as low as $120 .73 to as much as $402.45 depending on who you are dealing with and how good a negotiator you are.
While this seems unfair, and at the lower levels of offers it probably is, there are mitigating factors to consider.
The buyer will have to send the material to a refiner, incurring incredible costs for postage and insurance. The hotel buyers have spent a LOT of money on advertising and on security and on personnel to work the show, as well as on travel to get them there.
They will eat the cost on any non gold that snuck through the testing, and some fabricators are getting very good at making things look like gold these days. Then there will be the costs associated with the smelting process. If they have stones in the gold that are worth saving they must either pay someone to remove them by hand, or if they are diamonds or some of the more durable gemstones, they may remove them chemically by turning the gold into a solution and catching the gems at the bottom of the vat. This has a lower cost than removing the gems by hand, but is still expensive, and the fee is charged per kilo.
Then there are the smelting fees, the fire assay fees to see what is actually in the melt versus what you thought was in the melt, and then the buyer gets paid from 92 – 98% of the melt value from what is actually obtained, depending on how large the buyer’s shipment was and how good a relationship the buyer has with the refiner. Most buyers with the quantities that they are shipping are going to be getting 98% return.
Oh, and did I mention that when prices raise or fall dramatically that they may make more or less money, or even loose money? The good ones will therefore hedge their bets in the market to protect against these fluctuations after they have bought, but this also adds expenses to their business.
Still, they make a nice profit, and you get less than what you could if you went another route.
What is the other way to go?
If you have a sufficient quantity of old gold, say you just received an inheritance full of old and worn out pieces, or you have been an avid buyer for many years and now you would like to “scrap out” some of the pieces that you will never wear, you can find someone to work with you on a different basis. What you will receive will vary from where you live, and some areas are more competitive than others.
Here is what I recommend if you have a larger batch.
First, talk to the various buyers who have established buying businesses in your area. Tell them approximately what you have, and ask them what they will pay on a percentage of the actual melt received.
Then, when you have chosen the buyer who you feel most comfortable with, you will go to him and spend some time, while he sorts and weighs your treasure. He will then tell you what you might have in terms of weight and also which items need to have the gems salvaged and which are not worth the expense of removing. (This often happens with poor quality melee or low quality gems that are worth less than one or two dollars each, the labor to remove them is more than the value of the "gems".)
These items are then sent to the refiner for melting and a fire assay to determine the estimated yield of the shipment. You then have the choice to lock in the value or wait until the actual refining is finished and even then you may leave your gold with the refiner until you are ready to settle the transaction if you feel any downturn in price is a short term aberration. Once you lock in the price it is sold and the refiner will send to your buyer the agreed upon amount and he will return to you the percentage that you have agreed upon.
Whether you get that percentage before or after all of the expenses will depend on several factors. If you have a large lot you will be getting a higher percentage than if you have only a few ounces. If your lot is large enough the buyer may agree to pay the expenses out of his share of the lot. Also if you have negotiated a very high percentage, then you can expect to pay all of the shipping and insurance charges and other refining expenses that were mentioned above.
I did some checking around my area and found that local buyers will pay as low as 40 – 45% for small lots, and as high as 55-65%, proving that it definitely pays to check around before walking into someone’s office. The gentleman that I found to be paying 65% when you walk in the door for your expected return, who paid with a check on the spot, would go as high as 80% for a lot consisting of more than two pounds.
I have heard that in some competitive areas prices as high as 90% are paid, but I would be very careful in this case, wanting to be absolutely sure that the buyer was either writing a check on the spot, or strong enough to still be there on settlement day if selling at actual value of the refined metal. At those margins there is absolutely no room for error and many of those merchants have tended to come and go fairly rapidly when they find out the hard way that there are expenses to running a business.
Platinum and Silver
The procedures for Platinum and Silver are very similar to gold, but the percentages paid are very different. Depending on the volume of the metal sent the buyer may receive only 80 – 90% of the melt value for platinum, and 85 – 87% for silver. The assay fees for Platinum are substantially higher than for gold or silver. Plus it is a much more difficult and expensive metal to work with, which is a big part of why the buyers are paid less for it.
You will need to do the same sort of homework with buyers for platinum and silver that you did for gold, usually you will find that the strongest buyer in your area for gold will also be the stronger buyer for platinum or silver, but not always. It is your metal, you must do your homework.
Armed with a little knowledge of how the market actually works, you are now in a much better position to negotiate a better price for your scrap metals. You have now learned that the television buyers and the hotel buyers usually pay considerably less than you can get with a local buyer.
Also, hopefully, you will have learned that it takes negotiation and asking questions to get the highest pricing for your gold, and why you get back so little compared to what you paid.
I have seen so many people who sell their gold and platinum for too little because they did not know these things. It is my hope that this will not be the case with my friends here on Pricescope.
The article was written by Wink Jones
photo credit by pricescope.com
One of the many presentations, education sessions and panel discussions that were held preceding and during the 2011 JCK show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas was a panel presentation organized by the World Diamond Council, called "Diamond Dialogue: The Challenges of a Robust Kimberly Process." Discussions covered a wide range of issues and included an update of the state of the Kimberley Process, and in particular about the negotiations to resolve the issue of exports of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe's Marange region.
A string of diamond and jewellery industries industry leaders as well as representatives of civil society and government emphasized "the importance of maintaining a sturdy Kimberley Process, and stressed that the system remains relevant to the diamond industry despite the challenges that it faces."
However, when the Australian gemologist Gary Holloway asked some questions, none of the panel's participants had any meaningful answers.
"Why are there no Chinese representatives on this panel, or Indians?' Holloway asked. "The Chinese are the elephant in the room, but why is no one mentioning them? The Chinese are reportedly flying helicopter loads of diamonds out of ZIM on a regular basis, how does that work with China as a KP signatory?" he continued.
The answer from the US State Department representative was something like “If you have any evidence of Chinese illegally exporting diamonds please give it to us."
To be fair, there were some Indians were in the room. Dilip Mehta, President and CEO of Rosy Blue, who resides in Belgium and is a WDC member, was in the audience, but did not intervene in the discussion. Vasant Mehta, immediate past president of India's Gem and Jewelry Export and Promotion Council (GJEPC) and vice president of International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) was not present, but has missed few of the numerous WDC meetings and events in the past. His successor, GJEPC President Rajiv Jain, has yet to make his mark.
WDC members Lawrence Ma, Chairman of the Diamond Federation of Hong Kong, and Frank Lin, President of Shanghai Diamond Exchange, both familiar faces at WDC and other industry meetings, were not in the room either, but with his question Holloway was clearly not alluding to Chinese diamond industry representatives but to the absence of Chinese governmental representatives to meetings such as these and to KP meetings.
Of course, Holloway's remarks and questions regarding the Chinese were right on target. The Chinese are mostly keeping mum on the KP and on Zimbabwe but at the same time are not sitting on their hands as they are, more or less, under the legal cover of much needed contracts, ransacking the country for its mineral resources. They do this by employing tens of thousands of Chinese workers, again legally "imported" under the terms of the contracts signed by the ZIM government with Chinese firms. Beneficiation? It is doubtful that the word exists in Chinese.
Obviously, Holloway only put the finger on a sore spot, one that is no secret but at the same time highly disturbing. A few months ago, the outgoing German ambassador to Zimbabwe Albrecht Conze told a news conference that Chinese firms were trucking minerals out of the country, without offering any value addition of extracted minerals in Zimbabwe itself. He said that if his country would be given a chance it would be "looking at improving the value gaining process here which means with our mining technology we have -- we don’t have big mining companies in Germany anymore -- but we have all the machinery and the equipment…what we can offer is to have more added value being produced in the country…." And about diamonds he said that "one of the drama in the realm of diamonds is that big trucks of earth are being taken out of the country and what is important is to really make sure that the added value is produced in country which gives you more revenue…" A thorough Google search will turn up numerous articles that identify the relationship and contracts between ZIM and Chinese firms as highly problematic and as absolutely detrimental to the future of sustainable development in Zimbabwe.
So what does all this mean, in particular after the KP meeting crashed (again) in Kinshasha? It means that in order to level the playing field in the diamond business, Zimbabwe must be allowed to export its rough diamonds. If not, China, which already owns diamond mines in ZIM, will most probably turn its back on the KP, take it all and bugger the consequences.
The Indians are fearful of this scenario. Last April, Vasant Mehta gave an uncharacteristically fiery speech at one of the working sessions of the 2011 Presidents Meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. Lamenting the KP's members' lack of resolve, he suggested that he could not gauge how long eager Indian buyers could be kept at bay….
Do the KP members take these scenarios in account when presenting the pros and cons in their deliberations? One may sincerely hope so. If not, they may unwittingly be contributing to developments that will lead Zimbabwe from one disaster to another.
The article was written by Ephraim Ramhari
Article and Photos credit by pricescope.com
Afghanistan is a country blessed like few others in its mineral wealth. By some estimates the untapped gemstone deposits in this country are estimated to be $300 billion USD. However, the geological surveying of the country has been less than 10% of the area! Precious minerals, oil and gas have been estimated to be in the 1 trillion to 3 trillion ranges. It’s no wonder why Afghanistan is quickly moving to try to mine and develop so many of these resources.
The fact that so many of the deposits are not mined will help Afghanistan to pull itself out of poverty. The revenue from the Ministry of Mines is estimated to be 1/3 of all Afghanistan government revenue by 2016.
I have been on the ground in Kabul since July of 2011 teaching faceting, gemology, assisting with jewelry design and production. I have seen thousands of stones and loved almost every minute of it. I am a kid in a giant gemstone store! Most of the questions I have received from people concentrate on what kind of gems are in Afghanistan, so this article will discuss what stones are commonly found in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has almost every type of gemstone in the country. Diamonds have not been discovered yet, however if they are to be discovered it will be in Badakshan or Panjshir due to the geology of those areas. This information comes from the Ministry of Mines engineers who have surveyed the country looking for mineral deposits!
One of the first gems that come to mind when anyone thinks of Afghanistan is Lapis Lazuli. The country has the best deposits in the world for this rock that is blue or purple in color with pyrite and calcite inclusions. There are 7-9 grades of lapis lazuli in Afghanistan depending on what gemstone dealer you ask. The top grade has no pyrite or calcite inclusions and has a beautiful rich blue color that is even throughout the gemstone. The bottom grades have very little blue color and have an abundance of pyrite or calcite inclusions running throughout the gem. Specimens can be extremely large, with the largest specimen I have seen so far being 80 kilograms. Low grade Lapis is often carved and then dyed as in the examples of animal carvings below
Medium and high quality lapis is often faceted or cut into cabochons. The picture below is from one of my student’s workshops where he specializes in lapis.
Afghanistan is also known for its emeralds. Panjsher is the most famous emerald deposit in Afghanistan and is well known for the quality of emeralds it produces. The emeralds I have seen have great color. The stones are often heavily fractured due to the mining process in the area. Most artisanal miners in the area use heavy explosives or old Russian ordinance to blast areas of emerald bearing rock. As you might guess, explosions and soft stones do not mix well! This is the number one problem with mining in Afghanistan and the ministry is trying to address these problems quickly. Crystal sizes can be quite large; with the largest crystal I have seen being 80 carats, which is pictured below. The stone was large but had some major inclusions.
A high quality emerald crystal which was a part of a $60,000 emerald parcel.
Ruby from Jegdalek has some of the best color I have seen in ruby. It may not be the quality of Burma but I would put it ahead of African ruby as well. The stones often have black inclusions and other inclusions that reduce their clarity considerably. Many lead glass filled gems and synthetic rubies are in the bazaars in Kabul as well. Not even the gemstone dealers themselves know about these treatments so my training has also focused on showing them how to identify treatments. One gentleman I know wanted to sell me “an awesome” 35 carat ruby for $250,000. I quickly showed him how it was lead glass filled and asked how much he paid for the gem. He did not believe me and an argument quickly ensued. This was the only time my security has escorted someone out of the training center due to security concerns! A picture of the stone is below.
An example of ruby crystals from Jegdalek
Tourmaline is the one gemstone I wish I saw more of in Afghanistan. When I do see the stones they are often heavily fractured due to the mining process that uses explosives. I have seen some decent specimens but they are few and far between! Stones up to 100 carats are not uncommon. Tourmaline typically comes from Nuristan and Kunar provinces but can be found in many areas in the country. The most sought after colors by merchants and customers here are: mint green, blue, dark pink and bi-color.
A large tourmaline crystal with rough lapis in the background
Aquamarine from Afghanistan is often very pale in color. However, the crystals are large and the clarity can be quite good. Sizes of rough gemstones can be 150 carats or more. Dark blue stones command a premium in the local market and often will approach the retail price in the United States. Examples of aquamarine crystals are below.
Kunzite and hiddenite are also two very common gemstones in Afghanistan. However the colors are often pale and the crystals heavily included. While dark colored examples exist they are not common in the area.
Clinohumite is a gemstone from the area that is quickly growing in popularity in the marketplace here. The locals call it “yellow spinel” for some reason. One particular crystal I saw was 500 grams. The dealer who showed it to me took every precaution against allowing anyone else to see it. I was ushered into his office, the drapes closed, the doors locked, and then we had to huddle in the back behind his couches close to his safe before he would take it out of the safe. I was amazed to see it, when he put the flashlight under the stone its colored glowed! The specimen is pictured below.
Sphene is a stone growing in popularity in Afghanistan. The stone is hard to find in the rough gemstone form because it is quickly cut and sold. When rough is found, the stones are often heavily included or fractured due once again to the way they are mined. Since I returned to Kabul in November sphene has been very hard to find. The mining season is over and most supply has dried up.
Spinel is mined in northern Afghanistan by the Tajikistan border. In all reality though, most spinel in Afghanistan comes from Tajikistan itself. The crystals in this area grow large with crystals up to 50 grams being reported and seen by myself. The prices for spinel are also exceedingly high for good quality rough that has good clarity and color.
Peridot from Pakistan is sold in Afghanistan. The stones have deeper color than peridot from other regions and usually have good clarity. The stones can come in large sizes, the largest I have seen was just under 50 carats.
Peridot with sphene in the background
Afghanistan has many other types of gemstones that were not described in detail by this article. I could write a 100 page article on all of them. Other notable gemstones in the country are: rutilated quartz, citrine, amethyst, morganite, garnet (hessonite,pyrope, and rhodalite), topaz(white, imperial, and coated), ametrine, agates, onyx, carnelian, blue opals, zircon, and fluorite. Let’s not forget Afghanite as well. Most dealers here do not know of the stone. New stones are being discovered all the time, and I think its only a matter of time until the country finds its first large diamond deposit. Part two of this series will cover traditional and new jewelry designs that are being made in Afghanistan.
by Jim Rentfrow
I get questions about this often and thought I would present something of an answer. Simulants are a different thing, and most of them ARE pretty cheap, but colorless and near-colorless lab-grown diamonds are pretty close to the prices of their natural counterparts. This often comes as a surprise, because people have seen or read things to the contrary, and because the whole synthetic gemstone business has precedents. Synthetic sapphire and ruby have been on the market for over a century and in most cases are very inexpensive. Synthetic emeralds are lovely, reasonably priced, and have been around for decades. Synthetic versions of spinel, amethyst, chrysoberyl and many other gemstones are plentiful and inexpensive. When lab wizards figure out how to make a stone in the lab, it is usually extremely high quality, as large as you want, and a fraction of the cost of the natural equivalent. Why are diamonds so different?
The problem has several components but I'll address two of them here.
Cutting Synthetic Diamonds
The first has to do with cutting. Converting a diamond from a piece of rough into a finished gem that you can wear is hard. It’s much more difficult than with other gems. Gemstones are cut by using smaller, harder stones as an abrasive. That works with everything else but diamonds, since they’re the hardest abrasive available. Diamonds must be cut with other diamonds. It doesn’t seem like that would work at all but there’s a slight difference in hardness depending on direction in the crystal, so cutters are able to exploit this difference by a very tricky dance and by paying careful attention to the grain while they work. It’s labor intensive hand work and the same for synthetics as it is for natural. It takes very specialized equipment and some very specialized talents. Robots, lasers, et al. have become tools for the cutters, but diamonds are still cut one at a time by highly skilled artisans.
Depending on your stone, as much of the cost can be attributed directly to the cutting processes as goes to the costs to mine or grow the diamond. Another huge chunk has to do with the distribution channels, meaning the jewelers, shippers, tax collectors, grading labs, advertisers, appraisers, and others who are involved in the distribution chain. All of these costs are the same for both, so even with a drastic change in the cost of mining or growing, these costs would remain. A huge drop in prices would also need a drastic change in the way diamonds are cut.
Rough blue synthetic diamonds • photo courtesy of Eric Franklin
Growing Synthetic Diamonds
The second is the way diamonds are grown. Synthetic sapphires start out HUGE. We’re talking the size of a potato or even a soccer ball. (see below) Corundum, the base mineral that makes up both sapphire and ruby, can be grown the same way a stalactite grows in a cave. A factory can make a thousand of them at once if they want. The cutting house, which can be largely an automated affair, is slicing it down to whatever size the customer wants. Waste is irrelevant. The cost of a kilo size piece of rough is 1000 times the cost of a gram and if they lose 90% to the cutting process, that’s fine. They’ll make more.
Synthetic diamonds start out small and grow rather slowly with time. The machines making stones for the gem business can grow just a couple of carats a week. The difficulty of this growing increases exponentially with the size. That is to say, making very small stones, say the size of a piece of dust, is relatively easy. Yet making a gem quality 10 carater is effectively impossible with existing technology. Waste is a huge deal, just like with mined diamonds. Synthetics dominate the industrial market because it’s easy to make little ones. It is near certain that the stones in your $10 nail file came from a lab, not a mine. But stones bound for the gem business are very different. They need to be big and they need to be relatively pure, both of which pose huge technical problems. Will they have a technological breakthrough that makes it easier? Maybe. It’s happened to other industries but predicting the future is notoriously difficult. There have been smart people with significant budgets working hard at this for the last 70 years or so, and forecasters have been predicting a breakthrough that whole time. So far, it’s still pretty tough.
Synthetic corundum (rough and polished) and a large silicon boule, which resembles Czochralski pulled synthetic corundum • photo by Neil Beaty
Yeah, but what if….?
What if synthetic diamonds really do become available cheaply and by the bucketload like they’ve been predicting for the last 100 years or so? Stranger things have happened. What will that do to the value of natural diamonds? Will there be a catastrophic collapse in the diamond market? It’s an interesting question, and although it seems edgy, this is actually a well-trodden path. Synthetic rubies, cultured pearls, synthetic spinel, and synthetic alexandrite are examples where the products from the labs are superb and are available for a fraction of the cost of their natural counterparts. Technological advances tend to make better and better things available cheaper and cheaper. And the engineers in the labs routinely do miracles. A lot of what was impossible 50 years ago is passé today, and prices do occasionally plummet because of it. It’s happened before with other industries, but it HASN’T happened with gems. People who want an awesome 3-carat natural Kashmir sapphire simply don’t consider the lab stones to be an acceptable alternative no matter how pretty they are. Similarly, the people who are buying a $30 synthetic sapphire because it would look great with a particular outfit are usually not seriously considering a $30,000 mined stone as an alternative, even if it’s a bargain at that price. In that regard, not all that much has changed.
People now want paperwork to "prove" the origin of their stone. This wasn’t necessary a few decades ago, but that’s about it. Some shoppers continue to be happy, or at least willing to pay whatever it takes to get the real thing, and others are happy with the lab products. Both are right. The gem market is really two parallel markets that complement rather than compete with each other.
There are other examples. Large natural pearls are extremely cool, extremely rare, and extremely expensive. So much so that people who think of pearls are almost always thinking of the cultured product. Even so, there IS a market for natural pearls, and there are customers who want them who are willing to pay the prices. If anything, the prices have gone UP in the face of plentiful alternatives. Lab-grown emeralds are a fantastic product that have offered competition for the lower end goods by offering a better looking alternative for the same money, but top tier natural emeralds are more expensive now than ever before. It’s actually already happened in fancy-colored diamonds. Natural fancy-colored diamonds in red, blue and pink are bringing in record prices at auction even though there’s a booming market for synthetics in these colors at a fraction of the prices. In fact nearly all synthetic diamonds for the gem industry are in fancy colors. Neither market is driving the other.
Is this "what if" scenario really likely? Is it plausible? Is it even possible? Does it require alien intervention, some similar game changer, or just some smart people coming up with a few new ideas? Nearly everything is possible, and the scientists working on it are smart folks who have a big paycheck hanging on the outcome, so I hate to use the word impossible but I think it falls into the category of highly unlikely. It takes both a revolutionary breakthrough in growing technology and a revolutionary breakthrough in cutting. They’ve been working for 70 years on the growing and over 400 years on the cutting. It hasn’t happened yet, and they don’t seem to be even close. Next year or even sometime in the next 50 years may be the time, but I wouldn’t bet on even that. Maybe the aliens can help them out.
Synthetics vs. Natural Diamonds?
So, are advances in synthetics a problem for diamond shoppers? I think not. People buy diamonds for emotional reasons and because they are one of nature’s miracles. People buy synthetics, because they like the idea of an incredible product made by some brilliant people, and they like the history of knowing it came from a lab. They see it as a feature, not a problem. These are complementary markets, not competitive ones. With proper disclosure, both sides can be happy with their purchase for generations to come. Failure to provide disclosure is a problem with the dealer, not the product. If the dealer is lying, it’s a problem whether they are lying about the origin, the grading, the treatments, or even whether or not it’s a diamond at all.
by Neil Beaty
Professional Appraisals in Denver
You bought a well-known branded jewelry item, and now you’re looking to resell it. How does the item fare in the secondary market? Does the brand’s consumer image translate to extra dollars for you? The brand’s equity value comes into play here.
Understand Brand Equity
Brand equity is partially built on the brand’s promise, the somewhat unspoken statement of “Best in Class." Combining years of delivering their wares with a consistent high level and staying true to their mission statement, whether written or implied, brands build equity. In turn this equity helps command generally higher prices, which feed the aspirational desires of the consumer.
If you’re thinking of making a purchase in the jewelry arena, the brands that rank high with consumers are Tiffany, Cartier, Harry Winston, and the like. As you read the names of these famous retailers, their brand equity pops up without prompting. In the back of your mind you probably have a vision of a robin's egg blue box or the red box of Cartier…Brand Equity!
Beyond the quality of the product, what these luxury retailers provide is the marketing message to support their image. Here is where packaging is their silent salesman. If you’ve been allured by the history, the quality and design of the product, the luxurious environment, and the pride of ownership, then you’ve been branded. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. The point I’m making is that you paid a premium for the goods as well as all that comes along with it. The better quality along with the packaging carries forward with the brand equity.
What happens when you want to sell your branded jewelry piece?
If you continue to enjoy wearing the piece of jewelry you purchased, you always have the bragging rights that come along with the pride of ownership. However, should you for whatever reason desire to resell your special purchase, the brand makes no promise to buy it back. While the brand itself only sells “new," there’s a world of buyers and sellers of pre-owned branded jewelry. This is where your brand’s equity repays you. Consider that as a buyer in the secondary market, you were intrigued with the notion of purchasing a previously enjoyed diamond engagement ring from “Tiffany & Co." You as a buyer would want as many of the bells and whistles that the original purchaser received, minus the price and the storefront. The better the condition of the piece, with normal wear, is certainly the commanding issue of the secondary market’s price. However, you might be surprised that the added value of the original packaging (inside box, outside box, paperwork with folder, appraisal from the brand, original receipt) will bump the price upwards. That’s not to say that the market isn’t strong if the piece doesn’t have the box, etc. It’s just nice to know that if you’ve kept all the marketing material together, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
David Yurman ring • photo by WP Diamonds
Which companies can give you the best price for your jewelry piece?
Now it’s time to find those ads that say, “Sell Tiffany Jewelry" or “Sell Your Cartier Jewelry” and test the equity theory. Global companies like WP Diamonds are aggressive bidders on branded diamond and other jewelry. The approach is about the value of the piece on the secondary market as opposed to viewing the item intrinsically against non-branded similar items. Also, global businesses may be able to pay more (box or no box), as they may reach a broader market. Brands like Tiffany, Cartier, David Yurman, Harry Winston, and Van Cleef & Arpels, for example, repay the brand equity promise.
8 tips to help you sell your branded piece
Caring for your branded jewelry items will help you now and in the future. Jewelry and watches are meant to wear and enjoy, but like other luxury items, they need to be maintained. First, place the marketing material in a bag, and store it like your favorite cashmere sweater away from the elements. Next, be mindful that when you bang your hand on the table and hear metal you are doing damage to your ring. You get the point. Maintain and care for your jewelry and watches, and the effort will pay you back.
1. Do go online and explore your reselling options in addition to visiting brick and mortar stores.
2. Do save your original box, paperwork, certificates of authenticity, appraisal, and bags and store them to protect them from damage.
3. Do take clear photos of the item(s) from the top and sides. Also photograph the marketing material mentioned above.
4. Do research what the item currently sells for. (unless discontinued)
5. Do not panic if all you have is the item itself. Good buyers will still step up with an offer.
6. Original condition is key. If it’s used that’s OK. If it’s been abused or poorly repaired, it’s a problem.
7. Do seek an offer from someone who specializes in what you’re selling.
8. A global business will often pay a premium, because they have a bigger market.
- Survey several of the top designer brands to get an overview of look and feel and to see the range of variations possible.
- Go deeper into the general style you are interested, such as halo designs, and see the different treatments that the different designers feature.
- Determine the basic design elements that you would incorporate into your project.
- If you find a designer style that is close to what you have in mind, inquire with the designer (through an authorized distributor) if the design can be customized or custom made. If so, get a quote.
- Get a quote from a custom jeweler using what you have learned in your research to communicate the design elements you would like in your piece. Use images of the designs you have come across for specificity. * note: an ethical jeweler will never copy a designer style, but can incorporate certain design elements while creating something different and without violating copyrights.
- Understand the process and timeline of the custom jeweler, and the policies and benefits offered. Clarify the quality of materials that will be used, and see samples of his workmanship.
- Check reviews and reputation of the jeweler or designer brand including Better Business Bureau report.
When a jewelry shopper is interested in something unique - something really different from the mainstream - custom design is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Build it from scratch and build it just the way you want it. That is a great option for many, and sometimes the only option if the design is very unusual.
However, there are other options to explore, and since there is always an element of uncertainty involved in building something from scratch in terms of exactly how the finished piece will look, exploring the other options early in the process is a very smart strategy and time well spent.
First Get an Overview
With regard to engagement ring designs there are dozens of brands with hundreds, even thousands of designs in each of their catalogues. Each designer tends to have a signature style using unique design elements to create their own look and feel. Spending a little time getting an overview of multiple jewelry designers will help you get a sense of the range of options and design elements available, and to determine those that you like and don’t like.
Focus on a Specific Style
With that perspective, you can now go deeper into the catalogues for the specific type of ring you have in mind. For example, if it is a halo style that you are interested in, look at each designers halo collections. See how each approach the different variations on the general theme. This will give you a more detailed view of where you can go with a halo, and what aspects are most appealing to you.
This sort of research will benefit you in many ways. If it leads you back to custom, you will have a very good idea of the design elements that you want incorporated in your piece, and it will provide you examples with which to communicate very specifically with the jeweler building your custom ring.
The Designer Brand Approach
In the process you may discover that your dream ring is already out there! If this is the case, the path to putting together your special project becomes much easier and more predictable. You will have the opportunity to see the actual finished piece either in high quality images or in person in the store, or both. You will also have all the benefits the designer brand offers which can add significant value to the purchase.
Another very important thing to remember when looking at designer brands is that they often offer customization or even pure custom design themselves. If you like a piece very much but would like to see it tweaked in a certain way, that is quite often possible. If you love the look and feel of a designer but want something unusual done in the style, they may be able to accommodate you with a full custom ring. Many of the designers keep CAD files for every custom or customized piece they have done for this purpose. For instance they may have easily available, but not in their catalogue, versions of their designs with different size center or side stones, different shapes, and other variations that other customers have ordered in the past. You may be closer than you think to the specific combination of elements that you want by inquiring with the designer. And if the designer builds it, it will be done according to their specific standards of quality control, ensuring you that the piece will be both durable and wearable. And it will come with the brand name and all benefits associated with the brand.
You will be paying a premium for either a designer item or a custom project with a custom jeweler. If you are able to get what you are looking for with a designer, the benefits can be well worth it. The comfort of having a very specific idea of how the piece will look along with a clear understanding of the quality of the workmanship and materials can give you the confidence that is sometimes lacking in going with a custom build with a custom jeweler.
The Custom Jeweler Approach
There are some very fine jewelers who do terrific work and will also work closely with you to understand exactly what you envision and guide you through the project. And they are capable of executing your plan in a high quality manner. It is often very gratifying to work in close step-by-step collaboration with a custom jeweler. It can add enjoyment to the journey and add another layer to the sense of specialness of the finished project.
It is important to research any custom jeweler or designer brand you are considering using and to see their work and their customer reviews. It is often easier to gain that type of understanding from a national brand with a history and a significant track record.
While there is something to be said for making a special piece “all your own”, of the tens of thousands of designer styles that are in the collective designer catalogues, chances are something very similar to what you have in mind has been done before. It may require putting certain design elements together in new ways, but going the designer brand route can sometimes accomplish the goals more directly and with less uncertainty about the outcome.
After doing your research, whichever direction you decides to go, it will be a fun and exciting experience. And you will have a special, very personal treasure to show for your efforts.
The article was written by Bryan Boyne
Article and Photos credit by pricescope.co
Emerald gemstones signify the month of May. Like spring, emeralds represent rebirth, good fortune, youth, and renewal.
Emerald is rooted from smaragdus, defining green in Greek.
The first emerald was unearthed in Egypt in 300 B.C. Cleopatra infamously adored the stone. In ancient Egyptian texts, Cleopatra found the "Cleopatra Emerald" weighing at an unimaginable 97 karats. She split the gemstone in half, giving it to Marc Antony. After Marc Antony fought the Romans and died, architects tried to find his missing half. They never located it.
Mysterious incidents began to occur while the owner of the Cleopatra Emerald tried to transport Cleopatra's half. To this day, it is said to be cursed and the only way to remove the curse is to reunite the halves.
The Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the Atlantean are 12 tablets filled with texts about mysticism. Thoth's Emerald Tablets are described as a rich emerald-green. The properties of the tablets make them imperishable, defying the laws of ionization due to the fixed cellular and atomic structure.
The emerald gemstone structure comprises vanadium, chromium, and iron in the beryl mineral. A spectrum of hues occurs in the presence of its chemical properties. For example, a stone consisting of a stronger chromium and vanadium reaction creates a darker green. The third element, iron, may give off a bluish tinted emerald.
The discrepancy of the emerald has changed, however. In the 1960s, vanadium emeralds were declared actual emeralds by the jewelry industry. Internationally, the distinction is different due to grade differences. This introduced the "Colombian emerald".
The crystal system is hexagonal in nature. Radiant and square cuts tend to emphasize and suit the stone. The enchanting "emerald cut" provides a hypnotic rectangular or square step, creating endless geometric illusions.
High-quality emeralds are hard to find, thus color treatments continue to enhance the gemstone. Classic in its enduring and bewitching symbolism, the illustrious emerald transforms seers and wearers alike.
The article was written by SWCreations Jewelry
Photos credit by swcreations.net
It's shocking to think that the Cullinan diamond, a major piece of geological and British history, almost remained buried. Estimated to be worth billions of dollars in total, the original uncut stone was over 3,106 carats and weighed 1.369 pounds. That's a lot of sparkle!
Known as the Star of Africa, this amazing stone almost went undiscovered. In January of 1905, Captain Frederick Wells, the Premier Mine superintendent, was making his regular rounds when he saw what he thought was a glass shard. The piece was sticking out of the mine wall, and Wells thought one of the workers had stuck it there as a joke. Using only his pocket knife, he pried the piece out of the wall and was stunned when he realized it was actually an enormous diamond almost 4 inches long, over 2 inches wide and nearly 3 inches high - twice the size of any known diamond in its day.
The Cullinan (named after the mine's owner, Thomas Cullinan) has since been cut into 9 large stones and a number of smaller stones - the GIA states there are 105 in total; 96 are in private collections - and many are considered priceless.
Most famous of all the cut stones from this massive piece is Cullinan I, also called the Great Star of Africa, which is valued at over $400 million. This incredible pear-shaped gem is over 530 carats and multitasks with two distinct purposes - it sits prestigiously at the head of the British Sceptre, but its platinum setting has small loops so it can be removed from the sceptre to be worn as a pendant by a head of state.
Cullinan II, called the Second Star of Africa and the second largest polished stone, is in excess of 317 carats in size. This cushion-cut gem has the distinction of being set in the front circlet of the British Imperial State Crown.
Cullinans III and IV, the Lesser Stars of Africa and affectionately called "Granny's Chips" by Queen Elizabeth II, are a mere 94.4 carats and 63.6 carats respectively. The pear-cut Cullinan III originally sparkled from Queen Mary's coronation crown; it now proudly shares space in a brooch with Cullinan IV, a cushion-cut square diamond. This stunning brooch has been worn several times by Queen Elizabeth II.
And here's a funny factoid: back in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the 6.8 carat Cullinan VIII brooch but she never wears it. Why? Because, she said, "it gets in the soup."
All nine of the largest Cullinan diamonds belong to the British monarchy; when not in use, they are sometimes on display in the Tower of London or the Buckingham Palace exhibition.
The article was written bySWCreations Jewelry
Photos credit by swcreations.net
Anklets are an often unexpected way to call attention to your pretty feet during warmer months. Both sexy and playful, wearing an anklet is a unique way of expressing your style and showing off your fun personality. Here are 4 great ways to wear your anklets this season.
With Bare Feet on the Beach
Give your feet a little flash when you're digging your toes into the warm sand this summer. Glass beads reflect the sun's rays and bring a little bit of sparkle anywhere you are sitting.
Match your toenail polish to your beaded anklet for a really cute beach look.
Loose Over Flip Flops
Your go-to shoes for warm weather don't have to look lazy. Pair them with a pretty beaded anklet, and you'll look like you dressed for the occasion. When you're wearing your anklet with flip-flops, let it drape over your ankle in a casual way.
At Work With a Skirt
Do you have a cute, but business appropriate, skirt you like to wear to the office when it's hot outside? Complete the outfit with a beautiful anklet worn with your sandals or flats. It will enhance the summery feeling of your skirt in a way that is sophisticated enough for work.
To Complement Cropped Pants
Do you trade in your long pants for cropped versions in spring and summer? Cropped pants are a popular alternative to shorts and can be worn anywhere from a shopping mall to an upscale restaurant.
An anklet is a beautiful detail to bring some style to cropped pants. It's that hint of shine and color that draws the eye and makes you stand out in a crowd.
The article was written by SWCreations Jewelry
Photos credit by swcreations.net
Amethyst is February's birthstone. Having properties of cleansing, protection, and intuition, this gemstone is from the quartz family and ranges in hues of lilac to deep violet and red. The purple color of Amethyst is due to its iron and aluminum impurities. Coming from only a handful of countries around the world (US, Canada, India, Russia, Brazil, Australia, and South Korea, etc.), Amethyst has interesting mythology surrounding the gem. Read further for a more in-depth perspective on the mythology behind this shimmering stone.
In ancient Greece its wearers were said to be protected from intoxication and granted a balanced mindset. A myth involved the Greek god Dionysus and the goddess Diana. Amethystos was a young maiden, virgin that crossed paths with Dionysus - god of wine, agriculture, and patron god of the Greek stage. Dionysus was intoxicated and tried to seduce the young girl. Amethystos withstood his wrath after deciding to remain chaste; she cried out to the goddess Diana - goddess of the hunt, the moon, the wilderness, and childbirth and adolescence. Diana turned the maiden into a shimmering white stone - quartz. Dionysus, humbled by the girl's persistence to stay a virgin, poured wine over the gemstone turning it the color of deep velvet purple and red.
Another version of the story is that in a way to get vengeance with mortals after having been insulted by one, Dionysus set a trap with tigers and caught Amethystos who happened to be the first innocent person to walk by. She was in worship of Diana at this moment and the goddess quickly turned her into quartz stone which would protect her from the tigers, but leave her a statue. Dionysus felt so bad about what happened to the beautiful girl that he wept and wept tears of wine all over the gemstone and this is the reason for its vibrant and beautiful color. Eventually the ancient Greeks began wearing the stone to ward off drunkenness, and interestingly the word Amethyst translates literally to not drunk.
Being that mythology spans the globe and leaves virtually none of the worlds regions untouched, the mythology only begins here. The stone also kept wearers safe in battle by allowing them a quick wit and a clear head, which was also handy during business transactions. Used in goblets it warded of belligerence and the darker tones of being drunk, not only preventing it altogether. Amethyst was also used in crowns of royalty and was once considered as precious as ruby, emerald, and sapphire. Amethyst is no doubt a breathtakingly beautiful stone, especially in raw form and in the rare Siberian Amethyst; demonstrating the most rich, vibrant, and lush color in comparison to many other gemstones. The myths surrounding Amethyst are artifacts lending credibility to the healing properties of gemstones.
The article was written bySWCreations Jewelry
Photos credit by swcreations.net
|Greek Statue of Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons
Strong female figures have existed throughout recorded history. Like modern women from every walk of life, who enjoy fashion, gems and jewelry, the Amazonian women adorned themselves with some interesting and beautiful decorations.
Some of the earliest strong females were referred to as Amazons. They were depicted in ancient Greek art and mentioned by ancient Greek historians, Herodotus and Strabo. It was thought that these ladies only existed in legend. However, archeological evidence has revealed that such females did exist and that they formed part of a group of people known as Scythians. Herodotus states that the Amazons settled with the Scythians and became the Sauromanians (Sarmatians). However, it is difficult to separate the fact from fiction when it comes to ancient Greek portrayals of Amazons, since the ancient Greek Amazons became the stuff of heroism and legend.
|Scythian Gold Dragon Torc
The Scythians encompassed several groups of people who lived in areas from Romania and Bulgaria to Siberia. It is thought that they migrated from Persia to Central Eurasia in around 1000 BCE. The Scythian and Greek cultures were in contact near the Black Sea, so this is how Greek art and writings came to show such warrior women. In fact, it is thought that the Scythians commissioned Greek goldsmiths to produce fine gold objects.
The Amazonians were described by Strabo to be man-hating lesbian matriarchs who "seared" the right breasts of their infants to improve their archery, visited nearby regions once a year to procreate and sent baby boys away to be fostered. However, this could be fictitious. While the Scythians did kill men in warfare, there is no evidence to suggest that they were lesbians, hated men or mutilated their feminine features. Archeological excavations contradict the idea of a man-free society and have uncovered men buried with children. However, the Scythian women did wear trousers and smoke hemp.
|Scythian Beaded Necklace with Amber & Turquoise
Siberian burial mounds, known as kurhans or kurgans, have revealed the remains of Scythian warrior women who were buried with their weapons and finery. Siberia has approximately 30 such mounds, but most were plundered by looters. The most important burial mound is thought to have been the resting place of nobles. Their decorations included 5700 gold pieces and a large number of beads mostly depicting animals, which were most probably sewn onto clothes. There were 431 Baltic amber beads, carnelian beads and 1657 turquoise beads, which were most likely worn as a necklace. Also found were bronze, bone and iron arrowheads, stone bowls, gold earrings and a silver choker. This kurhan in the Republic of Tuva was remarkably intact, unlike other kurhans. The treasures unearthed from this mass grave suggest that the Scythians had a more sophisticated culture than was previously assumed.
Similar to the Scythian remains were the burial mounds of the Pazyryk people, who had an interesting addition to jewelry. Pazyryk people had some of the earliest body art in existence. This was discovered when a body was unearthed from the permafrost of the Ukok Plateau in the Siberian Altai Mountains in 1993. The ice preserved the grave so well that tattoos could be seen covering her shoulders and arms. This "Siberian Ice Princess" was not thought to have been a warrior or a princess, but could have been a holy woman. Her jewelry was made from wood coated with gold, which suggests that she was respected, but not royalty. She was buried with six horses, a meal of meat, a mirror believed to be of Chinese origin and some cannabis.
The most striking thing about the Ice Princess's tattoos is that they are very similar to modern-day body art. The tattoos are thought to have been marks of identification. They show fantastic animals, such as a deer with the beak of a bird and a winged wild cat. Following an MRI scan of the Siberian Ice Princess, it was reported that the 25 year-old-woman suffered from a bone infection and could have died of breast cancer around 2,500 years ago. It is believed that she used the cannabis for pain relief.
In addition to tattoos, the Ukok lady was wearing a silk shirt and a tall wig with a bronze pin decorated with a golden foil-covered wooden image of a deer atop a sphere. She also had what appeared to be a face brush, vivianite powder and an early eyeliner pencil made of vivianite surrounded by iron rings. Vivianite is a deep blue-green mineral that was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1817 after being discovered in Cornwall, England, by John Henry Vivian. It seems to have been used long before its discovery in the UK. Vivianite is beautiful, but due to its lack of hardness, it is mainly only a collector's gemstone.
|Oval Amazonite Cabochon
Another gemstone associated with the women known as Amazons is the green feldspar called amazonite. This is also known as the Amazon Stone because it was thought to have been found in the Amazon Basin. A group of warrior women called Amazonians were described by Spanish explorers searching for gold in South America in the mid 1500s. These women lived on a tributary of the Amazon River. They were said to be ferocious fighters, so they were named after the Greek legendary female warrior, and then the famous Brazilian river became known as the Amazon. According to legend, the Amazonian women gave green stones to men who came to visit them.
It seems that wherever there are women, there are Amazonians, from thousands of years ago to the modern day. Some of these strong females were legends and others were warriors or respected members of society. All of them enjoyed the beauty of jewels.
The article and photos credit by gemselect.com/
One of the greatest ancient civilizations was the Achaemenid Persian Empire, which was founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC, and encompassed Iran, Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor, Central Asia, Caucasus, Thrace and some parts of India. The capital of the Empire and Cyrus the Great's final resting place was Pasargadae (near modern day Shiraz, Iran), which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ancient accounts of the tomb written by the associates of Alexander the Great describe a golden sarcophagus, necklaces and gold gemstone earrings. It is in Pasargadae, in the garden of a royal palace where artifacts known as the Pasargadae Treasure were found in a ceramic container called an amphora. The Pasargadae Treasure includes gold and silver objects, jewelry and gemstones. A gold and silver beaded necklace was among the jewelry items. There was also a pair of exquisite gold bracelets with ibex head finials, along with a notable pair of intricate gold mesh earrings with lapis lazuli pendants. The lion is a popular motif of the Pasargadae Treasure. Curious drinking or pouring vessels called rhytons were among artifacts of the Achaemenid Empire. These are conical containers with animal-shaped bases which were fashioned from silver, gold and even carved lapis lazuli.
Another ancient capital city and center for the government of the Achaemenid Empire was Persepolis, also near Shiraz in Fars Province of Iran and an additional UNESCO World Heritage Site. This complex was built under Darius the Great; the third ruler of the Achaemenid Empire. The palaces of Persepolis and stone reliefs give historians important clues about Achaemenid society and show how some of the artifacts found were used. It is clear that this ancient civilization took inspiration from other cultures and art, such as that of ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, it is thought that a great deal of the treasure from this and other sites of the Achaemenid Empire was looted by Alexander the Great's troops. Surviving items include a lapis lazuli and paste plaque displaying an eagle.
|Oxus Treasure Armlet with Griffin Head Terminals
The Oxus Treasure is said to be the most significant collection of artifacts from the Achaemenid Empire. The collection is comprised of objects found in the area of the Oxus River, which lies between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, around 1877. Two of the most wonderful items from this find are two gold armlets with winged griffin head terminals. The design of the items indicates that they would have originally had colorful inlay, but the inlay has been lost to the ravages of time. Another bracelet has ram's head terminals and the remnants of turquoise inlay. There is also a bracelet with bull's head terminals and an additional pair of bracelets is embellished with dragons. Several rings, including a lion ring were thought to have originally been inlaid with gems. A signet ring has an intaglio of a crowned figure holding a bird and a flower. All of these are made from solid gold and some of them show similarities with Scythian artifacts.
One of the intriguing things about the Oxus treasure is its story; it was stolen from three traveling merchants who had bought it rather than transport large amounts of cash across the river. The merchants' servant managed to slip away and inform a British officer, Captain Burton, of the theft. The Captain traveled to the area where he found the thieves fighting over the treasure, having cut up some of the items to divide the gold. He recovered a large portion of the items and returned them to the merchants. Captain Burton noticed one of the gold armlets and offered to buy it from the merchants, who agreed. The other pieces were sold in Pakistan and then purchased by collectors who bequeathed or gifted them to the British Museum. Thus, many of the Oxus Treasure items were reunited in the British Museum, where they remain today. However, due to the theft, it is unclear as to the original condition of some of the items and the contents of the original hoard from which the treasure was taken. It is thought that some items were melted down for bullion or lost. Among the pieces of the Oxus Treasure are gold plaques, gold and silver figurines, and a miniature gold horse-drawn chariot.
|Gold Earring with Carnelian, Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli Inlay
An exciting find was also made in Susa, which is located in Khuzestan Province of Iran. Susa was occupied by the Achaemenids for a time, but it is not completely clear whether the artifacts came from this time or another period. The find consisted of a mostly intact tomb, complete with a bronze sarcophagus, in which rested the remains of a human and other objects of interest. The skeleton was wearing a great deal of jewelry. Gold earrings found at this site were elaborately inlaid with lapis lazuli and turquoise in a petal-like formation.
As can be seen from the geographical extent of the Achaemenid Empire, it was one of the greatest ancient civilizations, the scale of which was enormous. The Achaemenid Empire peaked during the rule of Darius the Great, who occupied important cities such as Pasargadae, Persepolis and Babylon. Sadly, Darius III was murdered by the Satrap of Bactria, and the extensive society that he had ruled over was conquered by another ancient leader; Alexander III of Macedon, whose victory over Asia Minor led to his becoming King of Persia at the age of 25. The vast kingdom of ancient Greece led by Alexander the Great stretched across three continents. After his death, a lack of unity was a weakness that led to the rise of the Romans.
The article and photos credit by gemselect.com
|Abalone Pearl Pendant
The abalone is a type of marine gastropod (sea snail) of the genus Haliotis (from the Greek for "sea ear") with an ear-shaped shell that has a row of holes on the outermost edge. Due to their Latin name and shape, they are also known as "ear shells". Like other marine gastropods, the abalone produces pearls. Natural abalone pearls are extremely rare. The color of these rare pearls reflects the color of the shell interior. Like the shell interior of abalone, the pearls are various colors, such as cream, blue, green, red and purple. This is partly due to the color of the material that the abalone feed on. Iridescent abalone pearls with blue, violet and green hues are most desired. Spherical abalone pearls and other symmetrical shapes are incredibly rare, and most natural abalone pearls are horn-shaped.
There are around one hundred species of abalone. The interior of some, including Haliotis rufescens, (red abalone) and particularly Haliotis iris (also called "paua, blackfoot paua or rainbow abalone), have a colorful iridescence. The inner shell coating is made of nacre and is often used for making mother-of-pearl ornaments. In fact, abalone mother-of-pearl has been used for thousands of years, evidence of which has been found in archeological sites. The Maori of New Zealand have used abalone mother-of-pearl in their traditional art for centuries, and polished abalone shells and abalone mother-of-pearl ornaments are available as souvenirs in New Zealand.
Haliotis rufescens, (the red abalone) that is native to the Pacific Coast, is the largest species of abalone in the world and can grow up to a foot long. Abalones from this region of the world have known to yield large pearls. According to the Guinness World Records, the largest abalone pearl in the world is a 718.50-carat iridescent baroque, horn-shaped abalone pearl. It measures 14 by 8 cm. The pearl was found by American, Dat Vi Truong, in Mendocino, California, in 2010. Wesley Rankin's "Big Pink" 469.13-carat baroque abalone pearl, also from California, held the previous record. Pacific abalone pearls have been treasured and traded for thousands of years by Native American tribes.
|Iridescent Abalone Shell
Culturing abalone pearls is difficult because abalones are very sensitive creatures. They do not respond well to being handled, are sensitive to temperature and bleed to death if their flesh is pierced. Greater success has been realized with the culturing of blister pearls, rather than whole spherical pearls. Therefore, cultured abalone pearls tend not to be full spheres, but half-spheres (sold as "mabé pearls" or "half-pearls"). Some of these are assembled with a mother-of-pearl backing and then buffed to enhance the luster. Assembled abalone pearls must be treated with care when used in jewelry, to avoid the separation of the layers. Blister abalone pearls (pearls that are attached to the inside of the shell) have been cultured in Paua, New Zealand, California, USA, and Japan.
Haliotis gigantea (giant abalone, awabi or Siebold's abalone) come from the waters that surround Japan and Korea. The meat of abalone is a delicacy in Japan and many other parts of the world, especially China and Hong Kong, and is believed to have medicinal properties and aphrodisiac effects. Japan has exported dried abalone to China since the Qing Dynasty. In Japan and China, abalone is believed to be good for the eyes. It has been highly prized for centuries. The samurai of Japan believed that abalone was revitalizing.
|Silver and Abalone Shell Necklace Pendant
The "ama" (women of the sea) are Japanese ladies who traditionally free-dive in cold water to depths up to 25 meters and hold their breath for up to 2 minutes at a time to collect sea creatures. The practice dates back at least 1,000 years, but both the abalone and the ama divers are now in decline. There are very few of these incredible women in existence today and, not surprisingly, some of them are elderly. Their healthy lifestyle has enabled them to live for many years. However, these senior citizens are not frail, and many continue to collect abalone, seaweed and other marine treasures for up to 2 hours per day. Though the ama mainly harvest edible items, some have been lucky enough to also find pearls, which, along with Mikimoto Kokichi's use of ama divers has resulted in the romantic name "pearl divers".
The abalone is treasured by the ama and many other people all over the globe in its entirety. It provides luxurious sustenance, nutrients, a colorful shell and the ultimate treasure; rare and beautiful, lustrous pearls.
The article and photos credit by gemselect.com
|BDSM Silver and Onyx Triskele Pendant
BDSM jewelry existed before the popular E.L. James trilogy and Universal movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, brought BDSM to the forefront and inspired a whole range of jewelry related to the novel. These pieces are often aimed at fans of the books and movie rather than people who live a BDSM lifestyle. Some examples of Fifty Shades of Grey jewelry are cuff and key necklaces, riding crop earrings and handcuff bangles.
The BDSM scene has existed for over a hundred years, before the term was even used. BDSM refers to B&D: bondage and discipline; D&S: dominance and submission; and S&M: sadism and masochism. BDSM fashion emerged in popular culture during the punk era when Vivienne Westwood had a London boutique called "Sex", where she and Malcolm McLaren sold fetish wear in the 1970s. Popular materials for BDSM fashion-wear are rubber, leather and black, white or gold metal. Members of the BDSM community have worn jewelry to signify their involvement or for functional use for years.
A generally recognized BDSM emblem is based on a triskele or triskelion motif, which has three interlocked spirals within a circle (see, image above). Triskeles have been used by various cultures for thousands of years. The BDSM triskele can be identified by its metallic outline color, black inner color and holes rather than dots. This motif helps fellow BDSM enthusiasts to identify each other easily. The three parts of the triskele are related to the three parts of BDSM; B&D, D&S and S&M, and the threefold principle, "safe, sane and consensual". The BDSM triskele can be worn as a pendant on a necklace, earrings or other jewelry. It may be made from steel with enamel or precious metal with gemstone inlay. Plain round pendants or rings are also traded as BDSM jewelry.
|Silver Ring of O
Another popular BDSM jewelry item is the "Story of O" slave ring. "Story of O" is a French erotic novel which was published in 1954 under the pen name "Pauline Réage". It was written in response to the idea that a woman was incapable of writing erotica, and was not intended for publication. "Story of O" tells a tale of female submission and male dominance, with the main female character being known simply as "O". The identity of the author was revealed some 40 years after its publication to be Dominique Aury. There were several film adaptations made. The Ring of O commonly worn is a style from one of these movies (see, image above). The Ring of O originally described in the novel featured a triskele motif. Necklaces and collars of a similar style are also popular.
When it comes to neck jewelry, chokers, chains, collars and bondage-style necklaces are popular BDSM items. These may be symbolic and subtle for everyday wear, in which case they may be decorative and beautiful. Alternatively, BDSM neck jewelry can be large, obvious and functional. Such a collar may be attached to a leash for role-playing. Such neck jewelry may be made from gold or silver and decorated with colored gemstones, or it could be fashioned out of more affordable titanium, steel or leather and embellished with a ring, chain or padlock.
An obvious choice for BDSM wrist jewelry is cuffs. As with neckwear, these may be ornamental or functional. Cuff-style bangles are a fashionable interpretation of BDSM bracelets. Unlike normal cuff bracelets, which have a gap at the back, BDSM cuffs tend to be closed by a ring or a padlock. Padlocks of BDSM jewelry are often heart-shaped. Cuffs may be worn in pairs that are joined by a chain for functional use. Similar items may be designed to be worn on the ankles as well as wrists.
This is by no means a definitive list of BDSM jewelry, there are many more forms ranging from fashion jewelry with a hint of BDSM to luxury items that are also functional, such as companion sets of jewelry and genital jewelry.
The article and photos credit by gemselect.com
It took 37 years to assemble the collection of 35 perfectly matched large golden South Sea pearls for this newly unveiled necklace by Jewelmer Joaillerie, the world’s premiere source for golden pearls. The golden South Sea pearl is among the rarest pearl species because a single pearl requires pristine marine environments, numerous steps, and a minimum of five years to grow in the gold-lipped Pinctada maxima, the world’s largest species of mother-of-pearl oysters. And still, there is no guarantee a top-quality, flawless, large pearl will emerge after five years of development.
“It requires 377 steps and five years to see if a single pearl, normally in the size of 10 to 13 mm, would emerge from its mother oyster,” explains Jacques Christophe Branellec, Jewelmer’s executive vice president and deputy CEO. His family’s extensive pearl farm is located in the pristine waters of Palawan. This strand, he says, consists of 35 gem-quality round, golden South Sea pearls in sizes from 16 to 18 mm. “On the rarest occasions, a pearl emerges in the exceptional size of 16 to 18 mm, with a flawless surface and a perfect round form.” That is why his team had to search for 37 years to find this many matching pearls of similar size, color, luster, and flawless finish to create this single strand.
“Palawan is one of the most sensitive marine environments in the world,” says Branellec. “It’s the center of biodiversity.” While the company’s Palawan farm continues to produce top-quality golden South Sea pearls, many of which are used in its own Jewelmer jewelry collection, it doesn’t expect to build another strand of this quality anytime soon. “There is no guarantee that we will be able to produce a second strand of a similar caliber, what with the ongoing issues of global warming and climate change. The production of a pearl is heavily reliant on nature. This is why the Palawan strand is highly symbolic: It is an indication of a pure environment and an achievement of man working in harmony with nature.”
The article was written by Jill Newman
Photos credit by robbreport.com/
We are very pleased with the business relationship we have experienced with this company.
Their attention to detail and willingness to listen to our needs has been extremely important to our company.