gemstones

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Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may be glad to hear that those cumbersome bandage-like splints can be a thing of the past! There is now a very fashionable HeidiK repossialternative, precious metal finger splints made from silver or gold. These offer support while blending in with your outfits as a chic, everyday “accessory”.

More than just a pleasing visual appearance, they also have other advantages over their bandage counterparts. For one, they are much more streamlined and compact, allowing ease of hand function in day-to-day activities. For example, the user can wear gloves over them while doing housework or when out in the cold, and are able to slide into sleeved shirts without difficulty. Because there is an efficient use of space, they are also more comfortable to wear.

Being made of metal instead of cloth and rubber means that there is less maintenance for the splint, the traditional ones need to be wiped down and hand-washed often. Hygienic maintenance for metal splints is not necessary, but like any piece of jewelry, you may want to give it a polish every now and then to keep it looking its best.  You can also get them wet without any worries! No Sienna ringsneed to take them off every time you wash your hands. The rigidness ensures it will keep your wrist and hand movements in the way it is intended.

As an added bonus, similar types of extended finger rings are already a very popular fashion accessory for people without arthritis! This “rock-chic” look has been seen on many celebrities and models.

You can choose to customize them to your personal tastes as well, changing up the finish of the metal, adding different designs, embed with gemstones or diamonds.. The possibilities are endless!

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Read Part 1: Can Diamonds be Chipped?  and Part 2: Tips to Prevent Damaging Diamonds

Accidents happen. It’s hard not to get upset when your diamond gets chipped, but understand that it’s not uncommon. It is part of the risk you take when wearing jewelry; although diamonds sustain less damage in everyday wear and tear than other gemstones, they are not indestructible.

First of all, you need to evaluate the chip(s) in your diamond. How big is it relative to your diamond? Is it instantly noticeable? Is it something you can live with? Keep these questions in mind when you bring your diamond ring to a specialist for an in-depth appraisal. A Graduate Gemologist and/or certified Appraiser will be able to assess the chip(s) effect on the diamond’s structural integrity, value, and can suggest viable options based on their evaluation.

If the chip is small and lies on the girdle edge, you may be able to reset the diamond with metal covering the area of the chip. The purpose of this is two –fold: the metal will act as a barrier to protect the chip from further stress which can lead to more extensive damage, and it will also hide the chip from view. Styles such as Bezel, Half-Bezel, Bypass, or even the addition of new prongs can achieve this effect.

Another option may be to recut the diamond. This option should be considered if your stone is of high monetary or sentimental value, as the process is quite costly. Not all diamonds are good candidates for a recut however. If the stone has chips in multiple places and/or the chip is large, it may not even be considered for a recut. Similarly, a stone would not be recut if its internal inclusions pose a significant damage risk during the process. This is a very specialized area of jewelry repair that needs to be done by a diamond cutter with great care. Talk with your jeweler to see if this would be possible for your stone.

If all else fails, you may consider replacing the diamond. Depending on your insurance policy or jeweler trade-up policy, this can also be a cost-effective option.

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GemsParaiba tourmalines are only mined in one region in the whole world: the state of Paraiba, Brazil that is its namesake. These beautiful stones come with an unusual history, and might not have been discovered at all if it were not for one man. Heitor Dimas Barbosa was a man with a sixth sense – he knew that there was “completely different” below the Paraiba hills (home of the famous mining site today) without having proof anything even existed under them.

Barbosa started the first excavation preparations in 1981, and eight years later his hunch had paid off. The fall of 1989 was when the first handful of the finest tourmaline crystals were brought up from one of the many galleries in the mine. They were unlike any gemstones the world had ever seen; they possessed a green to turquoise color with astonishing vividness and brightness that remains almost unduplicated. Coupled with the scarcity of supply in the small Paraiba region (which is now almost entirely depleted) these gemstones are among the rarest and most expensive in the world.

How is it that while tourmalines come in all colors of the rainbow, none come close to having the same look as Paraibas? The secret is small amounts of copper in the crystal composition, which lends the stones their characteristic neon glow. Tourmalines of this type are denoted as “cuprian” tourmalines.

In the early 2000’s, tourmalines of a similar vivid turquoise blue hue started showing up in copper-rich regions in Nigeria and Mozambique. While some of the best quality ones can look similar to the original stones from Brazil, they generally possess a slightly lighter hue and saturation – many lack that “neon glow”. The African stones also are available in much larger sizes than the Brazilian ones. There is an existing debate about whether these African tourmalines can ethically be marketed as Paraibas; there is a significant price difference between them as supply for true Paraibas are very scarce. For those seeking the lovely color, African tourmalines can be a nice compromise between value and beauty.

Paraibas continue to be well-sought after for collectors and dealers, and prices have risen continuously over the last decade with no indication of slowing down.

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Sapphire HeatSapphires come in every colour except a certain shade of red called a ruby. There are several different methods to enhance and improve the colour and clarity of a sapphire. Commonly practiced treatments are heating a natural sapphire to heighten the look of the stone. Heating a sapphire is done by placing it in a furnace at temperatures between 500 and 1800°C for several hours.  Another way is by heating it in a nitrogen-deficient atmosphere oven for seven days or more. With this process the stones become bluer and lose some of their inclusions like the silk kind. When higher temperatures are used the stone loses all silk inclusions and under magnification the stone is clear. Sapphire and other gemstones being heat treated goes back to Roman times. An untreated natural stone is somewhat rare and will be sold with a certificate from a gemology lab.

Another treatment is diffusion to add impurities to the sapphire and enhance the colour. A type of chemical element called beryllium is diffused into the sapphire with very high heat. Many colours of sapphires are being treated with beryllium. At first orange sapphires were created with this process but now the process has been advanced and many different colours can be produced.

Sapphire Heat

On the other hand a type of sapphire called “Yogo” sometimes does not need to be heat treated because of their natural cornflower blue colour. These sapphires have a deep blue uniform clarity and are generally free of any characteristics or inclusions. Intergem Limited started marketing the Yogos in the 1980’s as the world’s only untreated sapphire guaranteed. By 1982 heat treatment became a major issue at that time 95% of all the worlds sapphires were being heated to bring out their natural colour. The guarantee of Intergems marketing of Yogos set them apart of many in the gem industry. The issue ended up on front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1984 with the headline “Sapphire Marketer Upsets the Gem Industry.”

How to tell if your sapphire has been heat treated? Usually a small UV lamp can help check the gem quickly for any potential alterations. Any stones that have a chalky florescence are most likely heat treated. Taking it to a certified gem dealer with GIA industry standards is a good way to have them test it.

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