18. November 2015 · Comments Off on An Introduction to Gemstones- Part 3- Durability · Categories: Gemstones, Gemstones 101 · Tags: ,

Besides being rare and beautiful, gemstones also need to be durable. There are many beautiful things in this world but most are not durable. Examples are a flower, a butterfly, or a elaborately decorated wedding cake (or for me, a plate of fresh chocalate chip cookies). A gem should last and hold its beauty for the lifetime of the wearer and beyond.

One of the factors used to measure gemstone durability is the Mohs scale of hardness. Hardness measures resistance to scratches. Since a diamond can scratch every other mineral, it is rated the highest on the scale with a value of 10 on the hardness scale. The next hardest gem is corundum, which are sapphires and rubies. These gems are rated a 9. You might think that the difference in hardness between a diamond and a sapphire is very close because one is rated a 10 and one is rated a 9. But, a diamond is actually about 140 times harder than a sapphire. As a general rule of thumb, gemstones with a hardness of 7 or greater, including ruby, topaz, aquamarine, tourmaline, among others, are good choices for a ring or bracelet. For softer gems, like pearl or apatite, it’s better to enjoy them in earring, pendant, or necklace form.

3.62 ctw Ceylon Cushion Cut Sapphire & Diamond Ring in 14k white gold

Sapphires excel in durability with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness

Hardness is not the only factor that contributes to a gemstone’s durability; another factor is toughness. Toughness means resistance to chips, nicks, cracks or breaks. Toughness and hardness are actually very different. Toughness is rated from exceptional to poor. One of the toughest gems is jade and one of the least tough gems is amber. So if you were to drop a piece of jade on the ground, it would likely not break, but with the amber, it would be another story. It could easily break into many pieces. There are some other considerations when evaluating the durability of a gem.

This blog is dedicated to discussing everything gemstone. We plan to cover every aspect of gemstone mining, gemstone treatments, gemstone jewelry, and use of gemstones in gemstone engagement rings– a wonderful alternative to diamond engagement rings.

18. November 2015 · Comments Off on An Introduction to Gemstones – Part 2- Rarity · Categories: Gemstones, Gemstones 101 · Tags: ,

One of the rarest gemstones, but certainly not one of the most valuable

Gemstone rarity can affect the gemstone’s value and desirability greatly. One interesting fact is that the rarest gemstones are not necessarily the most expensive. Very rare gemstones create an interesting delima for the gemstone jewelry industry. If a gemstone is too rare, most people are not aware of it and it would take a significant amount of marketing dollars to educate the public about the gem (thereby creating a demand for it). It is not practical for the gemstone industry to spend this money when only an extremely limited quantity of it is available for sale. Benitoite, a beautiful purple blue gem found only in one place on earth, California, is an example of such a gem.

Some of the rarest, but well known gemstones include ruby, sapphire and emerald. They are not so rare that supply cannot keep up with demand. The rarity of these gemstones adds to the mystery and desirability. Gems must also be available in sufficient quantities to stay in the public consciousness year after year. You might be surprised to learn that many gemstones are much rarer than diamonds, but the demand for diamonds is much greater thereby comanding a higher price.

Please see our next blog for a discussion on durability. We are just getting started on our educational series covering everything that goes into creating beautiful gemstone jewelry from gemstone creation, mining, treatment and jewelry manufacturing.

18. November 2015 · Comments Off on An Introduction to Gemstones- Part 1- Beauty · Categories: Gemstones, Gemstones 101 · Tags: ,

Did you know that all gemstones have three things in common? Beauty, Rarity and Durability. That’s because in order for a mineral or organic compound to be classified as a gemstone, it must have these three characteristics. These three factors are what make a gem desirable. But just because something is used in jewelry that doesn’t make it a gem. Of about the 3000 minerals discovered, only about 100 of them qualify as gems.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but one accepted definition of beauty is that it’s a combination of qualities that delight the senses and appeal to the mind. Not everyone will react the same way but the item would still have visual appeal. What really makes a gem beautiful?

Diamond: Made of the same carbon but with a different crystaline structure!

It’s actually the specific internal arrangement of atoms, or its crystal structure. An easy way to understand this is to compare Diamonds and Graphite. Both are made of essentially

Graphite: Made of pure carbon

purely carbon atoms. Yet one is transparent and the hardest known gem, the diamond. And it can be cut into one of the most beautiful and brilliant things on Earth. The other, Graphite, is nearly the opposite. It’s opaque, soft and black. As a consumer, you probably would never even think about the crystal structure but it’s still pretty interesting. What the eye sees and interprets as beauty is the gemstone color, symmetry (shape and proportions) and surface appearance (luster and polish).

Please see our next blog for a discussion on rarity. We are just getting started on our educational series covering everything that goes int

o creating beautiful gemstone jewelry from gemstone creation, mining, treatment and jewelry manufacturing.