The Vibrant World of Green - Inspired by Nature

by Lapigems Gem Company 2. March 2017 22:19

 

The Pantone Color Institute recently announced its color for 2017 as “Greenery” A vibrant green with yellow undertones. https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2017

 

Greenery symbolizes new beginnings and is said to “evoke the first few days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.”  

In a release, Pantone Color Institute executive director, Leatrice Eisenman said: “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize, and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another, and a larger purpose."

Pantone calls Greenery “Nature’s neutral” a hue more prominently worn during spring and summer, but one they encourage people to wear as a statement color year round.

Already Seen on this Year’s Runways!

Leading fashion houses such as Gucci, Kenzo, Bagelencia, Michael Kors, Versace, Zac Posen, and Cynthia Rowley have already been using various shade of green in their collections.

 

Image source CREDIT INDIGITA

“At New York Fashion Week, the designers were explaining how we live in this modern world where technology will always exist, but there’s this need to turn to design to go to the opposite side, to Nature” Pressman said.

 

Going Green at this Year's Awards Ceremonies

 

Image source GETTY

 

Image Source GETTY

 

Green Gemstones. There are numerous wonderful green gemstones around the world. Being perfectly placed in East Africa, Lapigems Gem Company is right in the middle of one of top areas in the world for colored rare gems, were we can cherry-pick the best of the best. We specialize in “The King of Green” Tsavorite, as well as Tourmaline , Grossular Garnet  and a fabulous new deposit of Ethiopian Emerald

 

Tsavorite - colors vary from a vivid, light to deep, rich emerald green color. It has a particularly amazing brilliance that cannot be compared with other green gemstones. The stone is becoming one of the trendiest garnets. This can be accredited to the fact that it is only found in the exclusively beautiful landscape, rich and varied wildlife found in Tsavo National Park along the Kenya and Tanzania border. 

Tourmaline – a truly fascinating stone. One of the only gemstones that exhibits the broadest spectrum of colors, occurring in various shades of virtually every hue, it can even be bi- or tri-colored. As there are so many different colors, different names have been given to the most popular, for example, Chrome for the intense green. We specialize in very fine, selected Tourmalines from Africa and being based at the source, we have the enviable opportunity to select out the very best rough as it is produced from the mines for our Private Collection. Our master cutters fashion them carefully to release their inner fire.

Ethiopian Emerald – Emerald is probably the most popular and well known variety of Beryl and of course its GREEN!. The most famous source is Colombia but a new Emerald deposit found in the Oromia region of Ethiopia is incredibly exciting. The color and clarity of some of the stones being found in these initial stages is extraordinary. Being based just over the border from Ethiopia we are right at the main source and are able to select out the finest pieces.

Grossular Garnet – A truly rare and stunning gemstone, very few people know about. Apple greens and minty greens. Cool, crisp colors. So beautiful and so unique.

 

Gorgeous Green Jewelry 

Some wonderful designs by our designer Sheelagh Zagoritis inspired by Nature. Click on each to see them in detail.

Green Gemstone Jewelry SEE Grossular Garnet & Diamond Ring SEE Tsavorite & Diamond Ring SEE Emerald & Diamond Ring SEE Tsavorite & Diamond Earrings SEE Tsavorite & Diamond Ring SEE Tsavorite Pendant

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other rare gemstones | Tourmaline | Tsavorite

Canary Yellow Sapphires & Canary Yellow Diamonds - The Wonderful World of Yellow

by Lapigems Gem Company 15. September 2016 01:30
Canary Yellow Sapphires are an excellent, more affordable substitute for that Canary Yellow Diamond you have been coveting but can't afford!

 

Canary Yellow Diamonds have made a big splash in the jewelry world in recent years. There have been numerous celebrity sightings wearing spectacular jewelry featuring Canary Yellow Diamonds.

In 2010, Kate Winslet lit up the red carpet at the Oscars wearing a $2.5 million necklace that was paired with Canary Diamond earrings worth $975,000.

Lucy Liu at the 2014 Emmy Awards wearing spectacular Canary Diamond earrings that weighed over 50 carats and a 13 carat Canary Diamond ring to match. Their total cost was $6 million.

Famous Canary Diamond Engagement Rings include:

“Canary Yellow” is not an official color grading term but it is widely used in the trade to describe the color of a stone. Only intense, pure yellow stones can be “Canary Yellow”.

Love Them, Can’t Afford Them!

Yes, we know. They are stunning, but Kate Winslet’s $3.5 million budget may be slightly over most people’s, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be bedecked in something just as beautiful – Canary Yellow Sapphires! Natural, fine, untreated Yellow Sapphire is just as captivating and way more affordable. Jenny McCarthy, for example, loves her Canary Yellow Sapphire engagement ring.


Got A Special Birthday Or Anniversary Coming Up?

Sapphire is the September Birthstone and the 5th & 45th Wedding Anniversary Stone and though traditionally blue, why not splash out and go for a yellow one instead!

 


Some Other Interesting Links:

• Kenya, East Africa produces some very fine natural Canary Yellow Sapphire

• Celebrating Yellow Sapphire – The September Birthstone

• Celebrity Yellow Engagement Rings

• Birthstones

 

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Yellow Sapphire | Canary Yellow Sapphire

Spinel - The New August Birthstone

by Lapigems Gem Company 27. July 2016 22:54

 

Recently added to the official list of Birthstones by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and Jewelers of America and will now share the month of August with the stunning yellow/green gemstone Peridot. This is the third recent addition to the modern list since it was created in 1912.


“At certain moments in history, when there is a strong call from gem enthusiasts to expand the list of official birthstones, Jewelers of America believes in recognizing the importance of historically significant gemstones and giving gemstone lovers a choice that suits their preferences,”
said JA President and CEO David Bonaparte.

 

A favorite among dealers and collectors due to its wonderful brilliance and sparkle, hardness and wide range of stunning colors. Known mainly for its beautiful rich reds, Spinel can also be found in many other gorgeous pastel shades of purple and pink such as those discovered in Umba in Tanzania in the late 1990’s which are unique. Recently found is a striking hot pink tinged with orange from Burma. Wonderful shades of blue have also been discovered, for example Cobalt Spinel, found in Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Like Garnet and Diamond, Spinel is singly refractive and has the same physical properties in all crystal directions, it has octahedron crystals. Spinel also has a similar structure to Ruby and is found in many of the same locations, leading to great confusion in gemstone history as they have often been confused. Ruby is aluminum oxide, while Spinel is magnesium aluminum oxide formed when impure limestone is altered by heat and pressure. Both red/ pink Spinel and Ruby get their reddish color from impurities of chromium.

The source of both gems is said to be Myanmar, Burma. The Myanmarans have always recognized Spinel as its own species, but beyond, Spinel was referred to as "Balas Ruby" for hundreds of years. It wasn’t until 1783 when Mineralogist Jean Baptiste Louis Rome de Lisle identified it as a different mineral.

In Burma they believe that because Spinel is so perfect, they refer to it as “Nat Thwe” or “polished by the spirits”. In Ancient times, some mines produced exceptionally large crystals, some were treasured by kings and emperors. Some of these “rubies” are now actually Spinels. Famous examples include:

 

 “The Black Prince’s Ruby”

 A 170 carat crimson red cabochon Spinel set into the cross pattee in the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels. The stone is one of the oldest parts of the crown Jewels. It first appeared in historical records of fourteenth-century Spain, and has been owned by a succession of Moorish and Spanish Kings before Edward, Prince of Wales, the “Black Prince”, received the stone in 1367 as payment for a battle victory.

The stone was not actually set into the Imperial State Crown until 1685 for the coronation of King James 2nd. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2nd was coroneted in the Imperial State Crown and she wears it annually at the Opening of Parliament. The crown is currently on display in the Tower of London. 

  

  “The Timur Ruby”

An unfaceted, unpolished 361 carat red Spinel presented as a gift to Queen Victoria by The East India Company in 1851 and set into a necklace by Garrards in 1853 as part of the British Crown Jewels and named after the ruler Timur (or Tamerlane) the great tartar conqueror. Until 1851, it was regarded as the largest known “Ruby” in the world. It is one of the most historically significant jewels that the Queen actually owns and is currently ranked as second in size behind the 398.72 carat Spinel in the Imperial Russian Crown.

 

 

The necklace has never actually been worn by any British Royal. Nevertheless, it is one of their greatest heirlooms. This stone has a very interesting and complicated history, parts of it can actually be derived from the stone itself, for some of the owners inscribed their names and/or additional inscriptions on it. This too, is currently on display in the Tower of London.

 

The Imperial Crown of Russia

or Great Imperial Crown sports a stunning 398.72-carat red Spinel, believed to be the largest red Spinel in the world. It was worn by the Emperors of Russia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1917. It was commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1763 for her coronation and made by the court jeweler Ekart and Jérémie Pauzié using the Spinel from the historic stones of the Russian Diamond Collection. The Spinel was brought to Russia by Nicholas Spafary the Russian envoy to China from 1675 to 1678 and was last used at the coronation of Nicholas II. The crown is currently on display in the Moscow Kremlin Armory State Diamond Fund.

 

Other famous Spinels include

 

Samarian Spinel – at 500 carats, this Spinel in the Iranian Crown Jewels is thought to be the largest “fine” Spinel in the world.

 

Carew Spinel – an unfaceted 133.5 carat stone, inscribed with the names of the Mughal Emperors. Bequeathed to the Victoria & Albert Museum by Lady Carew in 1922.

 

Mogul Names Necklace – An imperial necklace set with 11 polished Spinel beads from the Pamir region weighing a total of 1,131.59 carats. Three of the beads are engraved with the Emperors names.

 

 

The Healing Properties of Spinel

Believed to protect its owner from all harm and soothe sadness, to stimulate strength, promote physical vitality and bring high energy. It is said that Spinel can aid in the speed of recovery from all illness and disease associated with movement. In the mental realm, it is used to help reduce forgetfulness.

Anniversaries

Spinel is a celebratory gem for 22nd Wedding Anniversary.

 

 

SEE OUR BEAUTIFUL SPINELS HERE

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Amethyst "The Essence of Purple"

by Lapigems Gem Company 4. February 2016 23:01

The February birthstone and celebratory gem for the 6th and 17th Wedding Anniversary.

Unfortunately it has become a gem that is often thought of as “old fashioned”, “dull”, “boring” and “common”. But, is actually a beautiful, vivid stone – “the essence of purple” that has captured our hearts for hundreds of years!

Fascinating facts

Amethyst is a variety of Quartz that is found in many locations around the world and forms as terminated crystals of all sizes in geodes, clusters and as long single terminations. Some geodes (hollow, crystal lined bubbles) are big enough for a person to stand in!

The name comes from the Greek méthystos ("intoxicated") a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness.

Its purple coloring is usually caused by impurities of Iron or Manganese compounds. Amethyst is often routinely heated to bring out a deeper purple color.

Amethyst is found in Russia, Brazil, Uruguay, Madagascar, Zambia and parts of the United States.

Amethyst was as expensive as Emerald or Ruby until the 19th Century when large deposits of it were discovered in Brazil. Today it is the most valued of the Quartz family.

The healing and spiritual meanings of Amethyst

Amethyst crystals are exceptional for providing spiritual protection, inner strength and clarity of mind, making them a classic meditation tool.

Amethyst healing properties also include acting as a natural form of stress relief and attracts positive energy while ridding your body of any negative emotions, they are said to help strengthen the immune system and heal any imbalances that lie in the body.

They are said to be beneficial to your environment, working to purify any space of negative vibrations.

Colour Psychology – Purple

Creativity

Wealth

Serenity

Contemplative

A little bit of history about Amethyst

• The Ancient Greeks wore Amethyst and made drinking vessels decorated in them to prevent themselves from being intoxicated.

• In the middles ages it was considered as a symbol of royalty and a “cardinal gem” and was used to decorate English regalia.

• Medieval European soldiers wore Amethyst amulets to protect them in battle.

• The Ancient Egyptians used Amethyst to guard against fearful and guilty thoughts.

• An Amethyst is the ninth stone in the breast plate of the high priest of Israel, and one of the ten stones upon which the names of the tribes of Israel were engraved.

• The ancient saint St. Valentine, the patron of love, wore an Amethyst ring carved with a cupid. Hence, why it is also the birthstone for February.

• Tibetans have always considered Amethyst to be sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it.

Famous Amethysts

An Amethyst known as The Deli ‘Sapphire” is said to be cursed since it was looted from a temple in Kanpur, India, during the bloody Indian Mutiny of 1857. It is now in the collection of the Natural History Museum in London.

The Tiffany Amethyst. A 56 carat square cushion cut Amethyst, now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Morris Amethyst Brooch – made most likely during the Edwardian period featuring a 96 carat heart shaped Amethyst. It was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by Mrs. M. Morris in 1973 and is now on display at the National Museum of Natural History.

 

Garnet: January Birthstone

by Lapigems Gem Company 13. January 2016 21:55

 

IT'S JANUARY! The beginning of a new year and Garnet Month! The birthstone for January is Garnet.

To many people that means the dark red Pyrope garnets our grandparents wore.

Boring right?.....

Actually no. Garnet is one of the most revered of gemstones and is produced by mother earth in a startling array of colors and hues. 

Dazzle the senses - Due to their incredibly rich color spectrum which assault our visual senses, Garnets have made a name for themselves by keeping pace with the evolution of style and the color trends in fashion.

In the jewelry world lately, garnets are a huge inspiration to work with.

Garnets are hard, garnets are bright and being singly refractive gemstones their color hues are strong and very suited to fashion which glories in robust hues. They are also one of the only gem types on the planet today which undergo no gemological treatments whatsoever. They are beautiful as they are.

A Tantalizing array of colors, tremendous brilliance and natural beauty make the garnet stand out in the gemstone kingdom.

Garnets symbolize friendship and trust and are the ideal gift to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of marriage. So, let's take a look at a few .....

Tsavorite Garnet

Tsavorite colors vary from a vivid, light to deep, rich emerald green color. It has a particularly amazing brilliance that cannot be compared with other green gemstones. The stone is becoming one of the trendiest garnets. This can be accredited to the fact that it is only found in the exclusively beautiful landscape, rich and varied wildlife found in Tsavo National Park along the Kenya and Tanzania border. Tsavorite has very few inclusions and is occasionally flawless. What a wonderful gem to have as a birthstone!

Tsavorite is the stone of kindness, strength, wealth, energy and confidence. It is said to help one find their inner beauty, directing one to their destiny. Thus works as a stress reliever. It improves clarity of perception, knowledge about love, and understanding for your partner. Most of all though, they are seriously beautiful!

10% OFF ALL TSAVORITES THIS WEEK

BUY LOOSE TSAVORITES                                BUY TSAVORITE JEWELRY

Rhodolite Garnet

The name Rhodolite Garnet originates from two Greek words “Rose Stone”. This stone boasts a beautiful array of red, orange, pink and a shade of violet, which showcases all the brilliancy and the beauty of the garnet. Umba river valley along the Kenya- Tanzania border is regarded as source of the world’s best Rhodolite.

Rhodolite is a stone of inspiration; it encourages kindness, compassion, love and helps one to fulfill their life’s purpose. It is also a warm, sincere and trusting stone, which acts as a source of inspiration thus illuminating positive energy. 

12% OFF ALL FINE RHODOLITES THIS WEEK

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Malaia Garnet

The term Malaia garnet is borrowed from a Swahili word “Malaya” which means “outcast”. The gemstone varies from a light to dark pinkish orange, reddish orange, yellowish orange colors. Malaia is a beautiful, very rare gem with explosive briliance. This stunning gem is only found in Umba valley region, along the Kenya – Tanzania border, nowhere else in the world and we are at the source!

Malaia garnet is a happy and sharing stone, brings joy, friendship, pleasure and family togetherness. It promotes companionship, affection and intimacy.

15% OFF ALL FINE MALAIA GARNET THIS WEEK

BUY LOOSE MALAIAS                 BUY MALAIA JEWELRY

Color Change Garnet

One of most exceptional and rare gemstones is the Color Change Garnet.  Whilst most color change garnets are actually "color shift" garnets in that they do not display a complete change, fine specimens exhibit a full color change in different lights just as Alexandrite does. This stone is sought out by collectors for its rarity.

Some people call this stone an aura stone, because it exhibits many different colors at some point in the day.

Color change garnets provide the wearer with a protective influence, as well as a calming feel. This stone can come in handy as a dream catcher, to give the owner good dreams.

  15% OFF ALL COLOR CHANGE GARNET THIS WEEK

BUY COLOR CHANGE GARNETS

 

Tourmaline: Red Carpet Jewelry Statements

by Lapigems Gem Company 7. October 2015 23:50

Tourmaline is one of the most versatile of gemstones, available in every color from colorless to black with all the colors of the rainbow in between. Jewelry designers are often inspired by the beauty of the material they use, taking inspiration from the tourmaline gemstone to explore their own design style, transforming it into work of art. The vast ranges of hues exhibited by Tourmalines lend color and sparkle to this endeavor.

With its regal history, perhaps it is inevitable that tourmaline would steal the show over the years, most importantly during red carpet events such as the Oscars. With the extensive use of fine, large Tourmalines of all colors and showy jewels, the stars lit up the Oscars night, year after year. Similarly, the grandeur of the Red Carpet jewelry at the Golden Globe Awards over the years has been showcased by a number of Hollywood’s most stylish leading ladies. Signature jewelry was the classic combination to look out for. Tourmaline featured extensively amongst these:

Gwyneth Paltrow 

American Actress Gwyneth Palrtow turned heads at the Oscars 2015, were she wore Anne Hu Fire Phoenix earrings consisting of two pear-shaped cabochon Rubellites set in white gold amid white-and-yellow diamonds; blue, pink and purple sapphires; spinels and tourmalines. (Source by: The Hollywood Reporter)

Ariel Winter 

Modern Family Actress Ariel Winter wore a stunning Brumani diamond, aquamarine, ruby and pink tourmaline earrings to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez stepped out rocking Astley Clarke pink tourmaline ring at the Radio Disney Music Awards 2013.

Christina Aquilera 

 

 American Singer cum The Voice judge Christiana Aguilera wore Jacquie Aiche pink tourmaline and amethyst knuckle ring at the Live Shows, The Voice 12th May, 2015.

Carrie Underwood

Country music star Carrie Underwood looked stunning wearing Jorge Adeler black tourmaline and diamond earrings at the Milestone Awards at the 2014 Billboards Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Emmy Rossum

 

Shameless star Emmy Rossum wore 18K white gold Jorge Adeler black tourmaline and diamond dangling earrings, which were stylishly set in amazing half moon shapes surrounding the center stone, at the Brian Bowen Smith Wildlife Show held at the De Re Gallery in West Hollywood, October 2014.

Scarlett Johansson

Oscar Awards 2015 presenter Scarlett Johansson wore fabulous mismatched gold, emerald, tourmaline, aquamarine and diamonds earrings with ear cuffs.

Zooey Deschanel

 

New Girl Actress Zooey Deschanel was sported wearing a Chanel tourmaline cocktail ring at the Emmy Awards 2013.

Emily Blunt  

 

English Actress Emily Blunt stepped out at the 2015 Golden Globe wearing Lorraine Schwartz tourmaline, diamond and platinum earrings. She incorporated it with a splendid 10 carat tourmaline bracelet.

You've seen what the Celebrities are wearing.

NOW GET YOUR OWN!

Take advantage of this month's BIRTHSTONE SALE: 15% OFF ALL TOURMALINE.


 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Sapphire – The September Birthstone

by Lapigems Gem Company 9. September 2015 03:04

 

It is September; and we are celebrating Sapphire! According to legend, Sapphire protects loved ones from envy and harm. Clergy would wear Sapphire to symbolize heaven, while the congregation felt the stone attracted blessings from heaven. Sapphire occurs in all the colors of the rainbow. We will however focus on Yellow Sapphire this month.

Yellow Sapphire is mined by local nomadic tribesmen in Garba Tula, North Eastern Kenya. It is a very dry, wild part of the country with some spectacular scenery as seen in the photo of the area below.

The mines in the area are popularly known for having a dark blue inky material. They produce pockets of intense yellow sapphires occasionally. The yellow stones also have a blue color zoning and usually produce very unique bi-color gemstones. Sapphires in this area are some of the finest natural canary yellow and yellow-blue bi-color found in the world.

Kenyan Yellow Sapphire stands out because they are untreated and entirely natural. They are naturally clean stones with a wonderful sharp yellow. Being untreated commands a premium in the Sapphire market.

The amazing thing about Kenyan Yellow Sapphire is that it is not treated. It is only cut!

How to Identify Yellow Sapphire

Before purchasing a Yellow Sapphire, it is important to ensure that the stone is natural and relatively flawless. Below are some of tips one can use to identify fake Yellow Sapphire.

(i) Most fake Yellow Sapphires are usually made from glass. To ensure the Yellow Sapphire is legit, compare it to yellow glass. At a glance, they look very similar, but in comparison with one another, one notices that yellow glass happens to be too big and saturated to be genuine.

(ii) High quality Yellow Sapphires seldom have inclusions that are visible without high magnification, whereas fake sapphires usually contain small bubbles inside.

(iii) Sapphire ranks at 9.0 on the Moh’s hardness scale. Glass, however, ranks between 5.5 and 6.0. This automatically means, glass is much more easily scratchable as compared to Yellow Sapphire, or any Sapphire for that matter. A glass imitation of Yellow Sapphire is also more likely to have scratches on the surface.

(iv) Glass is cut much more easily as compared to Sapphire since it is not as hard. Therefore, yellow glass stones are usually cut very simply and have smooth rounded edges. Yellow Sapphires’ cuts are complex, sharp and crisp.

How to Identify Synthetics

(i) Natural Yellow Sapphires can be cut into almost any style. However, if a stone is larger than a carat, it will most likely be cut into a cushion or oval mixed cut. Jewelers usually cut synthetic sapphires into round or emerald shapes.

(ii) Synthetic stones usually have an “X” cut, also referred to as a “Scissors Cut”, on the facets of a stone.

(iii) Once in a while, facets of a synthetic stone will not come out as crisp and sharp as those of a natural Yellow Sapphire would. This makes it look very similar to grooves seen on a vinyl record, though only visible under 10x loupe magnification.

(iv) A good synthetic stone may have flaws that are visible under 10x-30x magnification. A lower magnification usually shows the curved banding in synthetic sapphires. This gets even more accurate if the person doing the examining places a piece of translucent glass between the light source and the stone. 30x magnification and above shows gas bubbles and masses of un-melted powder.

How to Identify other Tricks

(i) Yellow Sapphire will occasionally have inclusions in the stone which may develop into small holes when a gem cutter slices into one of them. However, untrustworthy jewelers may fill the hole with glass or borax weight with the aim off adding weight, or making the stone appear to have higher quality. To ensure the stone is of good quality, examine it by shining a light on it. If it has patches of unevenness, then chances are that it may have fillings.

(ii) Genuine Yellow Sapphire is pure yellow. Other imitations that are less precious usually have different hues. For instance, Golden Topaz contains strong traces of the color orange, whereas Citrine has a slight tint of green. Yellow Tourmaline on the other hand has brighter, lemon-like tone.

(iii) If doubtful, it is always advisable to buy loose stones or those that have settings that allow you to look at the bottom. Closed settings such as bezel mounting are often used to hide flaws. Claw, tension and channel settings are okay.

READ MORE in our article Yellow Sapphires Mined in Kenya

SEPTEMBER SALE!!

15% OFF ALL LOOSE SAPPHIRE AND ALL SAPPHIRE JEWELRY!

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Handmade Jewelry vs. Casting

by Lapigems Gem Company 12. August 2015 21:10

 

Most jewelry in the world today is mass-produced using a process called casting. Most people don’t know the difference between the ages-old method of hand making fine jewelry and the more ubiquitous mass production of today. This article takes a look at the two processes.

 

Casting

Most jewelry purchased today in mall jewelers and jeweler chain stores is mass produced. Thousands of the same design are created using a process called casting and then standardized size gemstones are dropped into them. Most of this jewelry is made in the Far East; places like Hong Kong, China and Thailand being the centers of jewelry production. Casting involves a design being carved by a CAD machine into a wax model containing multiple versions of the same designs. A special plaster is then cast around the wax model and finally, once the plaster has set, the wax is melted out, leaving a cavity insode the plaster. Molten gold is then poured into this cavity and once cooled, the plaster mold is broken and the individual jewelry pieces are clipped off the “tree”, polished and the standardized gemstones set.

 

The image above gives an illustration of this process. The middle image shows a “casting tree” removed from the plaster mold, with numerous rings cast. These are duly clipped off. The image on the right shows the CAD produced wax models.

This is a very efficient method of producing jewelry for catalogs and volume business models. However, there is not much emotion or empathy connected with the process. It is a method that has been necessitated by the rapid growth of the jewelry industry worldwide as greater affluence has created greater demand. Casting is a relatively quick method of making pieces that are identical. It is economical especially when the same mold is used in production of many pieces. This method of production usually means that individuality and uniqueness are lost. Quality is forfeited for quantity, ease and speed. Use of wax also dulls the design’s precision, and the process introduces air bubbles and contaminants into the metal. Numerous cleanings and filing to remove roughness coupled with this, results in a piece of jewelry that is fragile and has minimal detail.

Hand Made Fine Jewelry

By contrast, most fine jewelry is made individually. It is a process that requires a very high level of craftsmanship. Jewelry that is handmade is usually directly crafted from metal without the use of any mold, wax or additions. A single piece of jewelry would be worked on for weeks at a time by craftsmen with skill and a level of passion that was passed down for many generations throughout history. Generally the process starts with choosing a fine gem for its rarity and quality. Then a design is created around the gemstone.

A piece of jewelry that is handmade is naturally stronger since the metal has been hardened by the process of bending, rolling, shaping and hammering. All aspects of the piece have to be finished to a high standard. The setting that holds a gemstone is usually individually crafted and the claws are harder and less likely to be porous, common in a cast. The video below illustrates the ancient , highly skilled art of handmaking fine jewelry, specifically our own line, designed and made by Sheelagh Zagoritis.

 

 

It is unfortunate then, that the vast majority of jewelry in the world today is produced by casting since it tends not to live to the heirloom stage. Jewelry that is handmade is a product of time, accumulated knowledge, and patience making each piece valuable and irreplaceable.

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EMERALD-THE BIRTHSTONE FOR MAY

by Lapigems Gem Company 6. May 2015 21:27
A look into the May Birthstone - Emerald

Emerald, the May birthstone, are a symbol of rebirth. The stone is believed to give the wearer a heightened sixth sense and extrasensory perception. The term ‘Emerald’ comes from the Greek 'smaragdos' via the Old French 'esmeralde', which basically means 'Green Gemstone'. Emeralds range in color, from bluish-green to yellowish-green. They are also very popular and costly.

In ancient Rome, Emerald green was the represented of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love. It has also been the color of beauty and constant love for centuries. Many cultures and religions still value the color; for instance, in Islam Green is the holy color. In the Catholic Church green is regarded as the most natural and elemental of the liturgical colors. Many Arab League states have the color green in their flags to signify the unity of their faith.

Emeralds clarity is graded using the naked eye, unlike diamonds, whose apparent clarity must be evaluated using a 10x magnification. The stone tends to have numerous inclusions and surface breaking fissures, known as ‘Jardin’ (a French term meaning ‘garden’), thus they are usually treated due to their mossy appearance. However, there are innumerable synthetics and imitations. It is therefore advisable to buy Emerald from a trusted specialist. Reputable gemological institutes have modern techniques to distinguish between natural and synthetic emeralds.

Most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia. However, Emeralds are believed to have been mined in Egypt since 1500 BC. Today, Colombia produces over 50% of the world’s Emerald. Rare 'trapiche' Emeralds found in Colombia, distinguished by a six-pointed radial pattern consisting of ray-like spokes of dark carbon impurities. Zambia is responsible for 20% of Emerald production worldwide. Other countries that produce Emeralds include Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China,Ethiopia, France, Germany,India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, United States, and Zimbabwe.

Fun fact, Emerald is the traditional gift for the 55th wedding anniversary. Its iconic green color is closely linked to spring and rebirth making it a perfect stone for the month of May!

BIRTHSTONE SALE: 12% OFF ALL EMERALDS!!

 

Aquamarine – The Birthstone for March

by Lapigems Gem Company 5. March 2015 22:22

 

As you would expect from a gemstone whose name means sea water, Aquamarine is reminiscent of the cool blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea and is the official March birthstone. It is a member of the Beryl family. Unlike the Emerald, also a beryl crystal, which is usually heavily included or flawed, Aquamarine tends to form more commonly in spectacular crystals that are very clean by comparison. It forms some of the most stunning mineral masterpieces.

African Aquamarines

Recently, deposits of fine Aquamarine have been discovered in Africa. Most of these sources are mined by intrepid artisanal miners. This video tells the story of one such miner in Kenya.

The historical source of aquamarine in Africa was Madagascar. In the 1980’s, Zambia surprised the world with aquamarine that was rated 9.5 on a scale of one to ten. Mozambique followed in the mid – 90’s and was later joined by Nigeria in producing the enviable rough. This established Africa as a leader in quality and quantity of excellent Aquamarine that were comparable to the Brazilian deposits that were famous in the 1950s. More recently, there have been discoveries of various deposits from the African countries of Tanzania and Kenya. The map below shows the main deposits of Aquamarine in Africa.

 Geology

Aquamarine, being a Beryl is closely related to Emerald in the gem kingdom. Most of the East African Aquamarines formed during the Panafrican orogeny 500-600 million years ago. As such, they are some the oldest gemstones on the planet. During that period, there was neither flora nor fauna on earth. During the Panafrican orogeny, several continents and microcontinents amalgamated to create a super continent called Gondwana. The collision of several continents caused the Mozambique belt to form. This famous geological formation is a zone of tectonically and thermally highly stressed metamorphic and magmatic rocks, which once was a huge mountain range reaching from Arabia through East Africa to Antarctica. Most gemstones of East Africa were formed by tectonic and magmatic activity during the formation of the Mozambique belt.

Aquamarine are found in large veins or dykes in this belt, consisting mainly of quartz, feldspar and mica – these are called pegmatites. The pegmatites formed from residual fluids (water and gases). By slowly cooling down rock forming minerals, e.g. quartz, feldspar and mica crystallised in the large magma chambers. What stayed behind formed a residual melt, which became more and more enriched in everything that did not fit in the normal rock forming minerals. This usually is water, gases and rare elements such as lithium, beryllium, boron, caesium, and fluorine. 

 

When the residual melt finally cooled down too, hydrothermal fluids exsolved and their increasing pressure broke the surrounding rock. The freshly formed cracks were then filled with quartz, feldspar, mica, and occasionally the rarer Aquamarine, forming a pegmatite vein.  

Aquamarine Lore

Legend has it that Aquamarine is the treasure of Mermaids possessing the power to preserve sailors at sea. This wonderful stone is also highly regarded in the metaphysical world. It is believed to have a powerfully soothing influence on relationships, particularly on married couples, believed to ensure a long and happy marriage. This is why it is considered such a perfect gift on a special Anniversary. 

BIRTHSTONE SALE: 12% OFF ALL AQUAMARINES!!

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Tsavorite – The World’s Rarest Garnet

by Lapigems Gem Company 13. January 2015 22:54

 This month we focus on Tsavorite; a relatively new gemstone in terms of market exposure, but with an extremely old geological history. The rocks in which  Tsavorite formed were first laid down over 2 billion years ago, thus making it older than Mt.Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

 The beautiful garnets’ home is the East African bush-land along the Kenya-Tanzania border in an area of barren, lion infested, and raw wilderness.  This  region has a history of volcanic activity and due to the volatile geological conditions under which it forms.

 Tsavorite was discovered by British geologist Campbell R. Bridges in 1967 in Tanzania and, about three years later, in Kenya. It was named by Harry Platt  of Tiffany & Co (New York) after the Tsavo game reserve in Kenya.  Indeed to this day, even though Tsavorites are found in other locations including  Tanzania, the very finest Tsavorite with the purest green hues are still only found in the Tsavo District of Kenya.

 Tsavorite is only found in relatively small sizes. Stones over 2.5 carats are considered very rare and valuable. The Smithsonian Gem Collection’s prize  piece is just 7 carats. The largest, cleanest Tsavorite on record is a 325.14-carat top-color beauty found near the Block B Tanzanite mines near Arusha,  Tanzania. It valued at over $2 million.

 Out of the two green varieties of garnets, i.e. Tsavorite and Emerald; Tsavorite is arguably the more important. Tsavorite brings greater competition  especially since it is less included, rarely treated and is more durable.  Emerald on the other hand is routinely oiled and glass filled.

 Tsavorite has earned its place as one of the world’s finest colored gemstones. Its high refractive index and dispersion levels translate into wonderful  brilliance; its durability and purity of its hues have attracted collectors and jewelry lovers alike. The romance of its origins and the fact that it formed even  before dinosaurs trod the earth make it a unique and exciting gemstone.

TSAVORITE BIRTHSTONE SALE FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY 2015 NOW ON

Tanzanite - The Birthstone for December

by Lapigems Gem Company 4. December 2014 20:18

 

Tanzanite has become very popular despite its recent discovery - so much so that it joined the league of turquoise and zircon as the December birthstone in 2002. This was no mean feat since the list had not been changed since 1912. Tanzanite was thus the first gem to be added to the birthstone list in 100 years.

Tanzanite is said to have been stumbled upon in 1967 by a Maasai tribesman who shared the crystal he had discovered with a prospector by the name of Manuel de Souza. No one knew what the stone really was and hence first speculated to be an unusually vivid and richly colored sapphire. However, it was soon discovered that the stone was more intricate and its colors more vibrant than the latter.

The stone was christened Tanzanite after its country of origin, Tanzania, in 1968 by Harry Platt, president of Tiffany and Co. who described it as “the most beautiful stone to be discovered in 2000 years.”

Tanzanite was categorized after the sapphire as the second favorite colored gemstone in the USA in 2001. While people initially bought it as a substitute for the sapphire since it was cheaper, its demand has skyrocketed in recent years as people began to value it more for its own sparkle, beauty, extreme rarity and the magic of its origins. 

Tanzanite is seen as the ultimate birthstone that represents new life. This comes from the affinity of the Maasai community with the color blue which they regard as healing, sacred and representing new life. It is therefore the perfect gift for new beginnings or celebration of a new life. If you were fortunate enough to be born in December you are one of the lucky few with this magnificent gemstone as your birthstone.

Take a look at our collection of Investment Grade Tanzanite 


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Focus on Aquamarine – One of the world’s Favorite Gemstones

by Lapigems Gem Company 3. November 2014 21:05
A look at Aquamarine as one of the world's favorite gemstones, with a video on Aquamarine mining.

The name ‘Aquamarine’ is derived from Latin; Aqua meaning ‘water’ and Mare meaning ‘sea’. The fascinating stone can be found in various blue tones, ranging from sky blue to a deep sea blue. It can also be found in a greenish blue tone. To determine a more valuable aquamarine, the secret is to check for a more intense and purer blue color.

Recently, some of the world's finest Aquamarine was discovered in nearby Mozambique. These stones rival the colors of the famous Santa Maria Aquamarine from Brazil, long recognized as the pinnacle of Aquamarine color. These stunning Aquas from Mozambique have been named Santa Maria Afrique after their Brazilian counterparts.  

Kenya and Tanzania also produce some beautiful Aquamarine; generally not the depth of color of the Brazilian or Mozambiquean stones but a stunning blue nonetheless with attractive hints of green. Some recently cut pieces can be seen here.

Lapigems Gem Company made a short video showing Artisanal Mining in Kenya. 

According to legend, the King of the Sea – Neptune, gave mermaids Aquamarines as gifts, thus bringing love to all who owned it. Another myth maintains that Aquamarine originated in the mermaids’ treasure chest and that is why it is considered the sailors’ good luck charm, guaranteeing them a safe voyage. Indeed, the stunning light blues and blue-greens of Aquamarine are strongly reminiscent of the ocean. These lovely colors tend to arouse a variety of emotions such as harmony, trust, sympathy and friendship. 

The precious stone was for a very long time thought to have a peaceful influence on married couples. Old traditions state that wearing aquamarine promises a happy marriage. It is also said that the precious gem brings joy and wealth to any woman who wears it. So next time you are thinking of a good anniversary gift, think Aquamarine!

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Aquamarine | Aquamarine Mining | General

Tourmaline Birthstone for October

by Lapigems Gem Company 30. September 2014 00:53
Tourmaline, the birthstone for October.

 

This month we are celebrating Tourmaline, the October Birthstone.Egyptian legend maintains that during its formation, Tourmaline passed over a rainbow as it made its journey from the Earth’s center which led to it assuming the seven colors of the rainbow. Indeed, Tourmalines are mined in a vast array of colors; the widest range of colors of any gemstone in the gem kingdom with virtually every color represented; even bi-colors and tri-colors.

“Tourmaline” is a term derived from the Singhalese words 'tura mali' meaning 'a stone with mixed colors'. Being dichotic, tourmaline has the ability to subtly shift its color depending on the light source as it changes from natural to artificial. Its diversity suits all moods, which is possibly why in metaphysics it is regarded as the gem crystal of Love & Friendship.

Tourmaline has many remarkable qualities but one of the most interesting physical attributes of the gem type is that it has the ability to become magnetic under certain conditions, namely under heat or pressure. When heat is applied to Tourmaline it becomes it to be magnetic, a phenomenon known scientifically as Pryoelectric. Similarly, applying pressure to it achieves the same effect (Piezoelectric).

In the gem kingdom, stones which possess a modicum of multicoloring are revered for their beauty and rarity. Tourmaline is one of the most versatile gemstone in this regard and ‘Watermelon Tourmaline’ is much sought after by collectors. These beautiful stones show both red and green colors (this could be a red center and a green surrounding, or a green center with a red surrounding). As a gem, the Watermelon Tourmaline is usually green from one end turning red on the other.

Tourmaline producers include Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, Burma, Sri Lanka and the USA. In Africa, the main producers are Congo, Madagascar, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria, Malawi and most recently Kenya. If you were born in October you are fortunate indeed to have such a stunning and versatile gemstone as your birthstone. Enjoy!


 

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Celebrities and Tanzanite

by Lapigems Gem Company 21. September 2014 21:27
A brief look at celebrities and their Tanzanites

 

Tanzanite has become the darling gemstone of celebrities in recent years.  High profile events in the movie world have seen a kaleidescope of fine Tanzanites being paraded by well known faces along the red carpet. This article takes a look at some of the most famous Tanzanites to grace the silver screen.

Image source: hollywoodlife.com

Beyonce was spotted wearing a blue tanzanite, with speculations that it was inspired by the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy and was a gift from the husband Jay Z. The ring, boasts a 10+ carat cushion cut Tanzanite of the finest color. Lapigems has recently cut a similar caliber stone a  marvelous 12.94 carat cushion cut Tanzanite

Image source: tanzanitefoundation.org

"The Heart of the Ocean" in the acclaimed movie Titanic, is another beautiful stone that is rumored to have been a Tanzanite. The blockbuster movie of 1997 revolved around the gem. The wonderful stone was set into a spectacular necklace. In one of the scenes, the lead character, Rose (Kate Winslet) requested Jack (Leonardo Dicaprio) to paint her whilst wearing only the gem. Certainly a unique way of promoting Tanzanite still unmatched!

In the movie, the Heart of the Ocean was depicted as a blue Diamond. However, in reality, blue diamonds do not possess such a deep blue saturation and the stone was actually a 28 carat heart shaped Tanzanite almost identical to this superb piece we have recently cut.

Image source: tanzanitefoundation.org

In a past Oscar award ceremony, Anne Hathaway looked dashing with Tanzanite and diamond earrings and a custom satin dress by Giorgio Armani.

Image source:tanzanitefoundation.org

Cate Blanchett was spotted wearing a tanzanite and diamond necklace in the 2011 Oscars.

 

Image source: eddielevian.blogspot.com

Wendi McLendon-Covey, star of the ABC series "The Goldbergs"  looked glamorous with a Blueberry Tanzanite Necklace by Le Vian in the 17th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards (CCMAs) where she was nominated for Best Actress.


Image source: tanzanitefoundation.org

Sarah Jessica Parker, the doyenne of New York's social scene was recently spotted wearing a round Tanzanite and diamond pendant paired with a beautiful Tanzanite ring at the 2013 Tiffany and Co Blue Book collection. Tanzanite was actually named by Harry Platt, the president of Tiffany and Co in the late 1960’s. For the first ten years of mining, Tiffany’s had exclusive rights to Tanzanite and Sarah Jessica Parker looks very comfortable adorned in their latest creations.

 

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New Custom Tanzanite Collection at Hemingways

by Lapigems Gem Company 9. July 2013 05:27
New Sheelagh Zagoritis hallmarked jewelry collection at 6 star hotel HEMINGWAYS in Nairobi.

 

Sheelagh Zagoritis and Lapigems have been asked to design a collection of fine Tanzanite jewelry for a newly opened 6-star hotel here in Nairobi, Hemingways www.hemingways-nairobi.com . The hotel is the latest property in the Hemingways Collection which is a very well known luxury brand in the region.

FOYER IN THE NEW HEMINGWAYS 6 STAR HOTEL

The collection was launched last week and is now available directly in the Hemingways Luxury Boutique in the hotel foyer. Discerning visitors to Kenya will now be treated to the very finest Tanzanite and hand made custom-designed Tanzanite jewelry  mine-direct courtesy of the new collection. Lapigems Gem Company’s reputation for quality and specialization in the very finest, rarest 1% of Tanzanite mined and Sheelagh’s renown as a designer were what Hemingways were looking for when they decided to offer their discerning clients the very best in African gems. We were very proud to be asked to be part of this new and exciting venture.   

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Tanzanite Prices - A Brief Analysis

by Lapigems Gem Company 6. March 2013 21:28
A brief analysis of Tanzanite prices through history and forecast for 2013 and beyond.

 

When Tanzanite was first discovered in the late 1960’s it was controlled by Tiffany & Company who gave it its name and were the first true marketers of the gemstone. Prices were high as Tiffany commanded a monopoly and supply out of the fledgling mines was low and sporadic. This continued through to the late 1980’s. Although Tiffany no longer controlled the market, the sporadic and unreliable supply from the mines kept prices high as demand increased with consumers in the US and other markets began to learn about and appreciate this wonderful gem. Tanzania, at that time, was a communist/socialist country under president Julius Nyerere and as such all mineral wealth officially belonged to the state. This led to lack of investment in the mining of the stone and very shaky production.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s as Tanzania adopted a capitalist economy, production stabilized and rose leading to a drop in prices further compounded in 2001 when the stone was implicated as a funding source to Al Qaeda in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Large retailers like Zales announced they were no longer going to sell Tanzanite and others followed suit leading to a catastrophic decline in prices. Fortunately this state of affairs did not last long as a full State Department / CIA report released in early 2002 cleared the industry of any links to Al Qaeda and Tanzanite rose again.

 

 

From 2002 to 2007 prices surged. From lows of $200 per carat for medium to medium/fine goods they rose to the heady heights of $600+ per carat before dropping back by 20-30% in the ravages of the recession in 2008/2009. The recession did not affect the prices of the very finest grades but medium/fine material and lower grades were severely affected. The finest grades were bolstered by ongoing demand from the relatively unaffected highest income brackets in the developed markets coupled with extremely low supply due to their rarity. Lower grades by contrast, lost up to 50% of their price value through 2009.

Through 2010 into 2013 prices have stabilized and returned to their pre recession levels and prices for the very finest stones are edging upwards again. China’s recent foray into the market and growing demand for Tanzanite in that country is another wild card that could affect the price trajectory in coming years. A lot will depend on the recovery of the largest market, the US and the buying power of the middle class consumer there. This will be the propeller for Tanzanite sales in the medium to medium/fine grades. The finest grades will likely see continued price inflation through prevailing low supply due to their rarity and high demand from high income brackets in the US and China markets in line with that of other gems such as ruby and emerald which have seen record prices reached for fine select stones at auction in 2012.

Our view on this is backed up by a recent article in National Jeweler which talks about how the impact of the rise of the Chinese and other emerging markets is affecting colored stone prices, Tanzanite being one of the main stones affected. Our view remains that the more ubiquitous qualities of Tanzanite, the medium and medium/fine grade colors will always be more susceptible to the vagaries of the market but the very finest stones will always hold their value and experience steady price inflation due to their rarity and burgeoning demand.  

 

Further Reading on this Subject

Tanzanite as an investment - how economics favors the gem type. 

Lapigems Gem Company

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Tanzanite Heating - The Facts

by Lapigems Gem Company 17. January 2013 04:07
Tanzanite Heating. Why Tanzanite is heated and how it is heated.

Article by Antony Zagoritis (Graduate Gemologist, GIA)

Tanzanite, the blue variety of the mineral Zoisite, is a trichroic gemstone. In layman’s terms this means that it displays 3 different colors on 3 different axes/directions. In the rough state, when Tanzanite is mined, its appearance is largely of a brownish, treacle color. This is due to the dominance of the reddish/brown axis. The photograph below shows some Tanzanite before heating.

 

The blues and violets that Tanzanite is so well known for do not emerge until the stone is heated. This process is usually done in a gemological oven, at between 400 and 600 degrees centigrade. The heating process removes the brown / burgundy axis, leaving just the blue and violet axes. The heating process serves to render Tanzanite dichroic and permanently changes its original trichroic characteristics.

The photo below shows the same stones after heating.

 

 

The Science behind it

In scientific terms, color in Tanzanite is largely caused by the presence of Vanadium. Trace concentrations of vanadium within Tanzanite's crystals structure causes its unique color. It is believed that the Vanadium originates principally from the derived graphite within the deposit. Tanzanite's color largely relies on the Titanium and Vanadium ratio within its crystal structure. The heating of tanzanite results in a valence exchange reaction (redox reaction) Ti 3+ + V 4+ → Ti 4+ + V 3+ which causes an increase in the violet and blue color and renders the titanium colorless.

All Tanzanite is heated. Some pieces are partially heated in the ground and are mined already with some blue but these are generally heated anyway to remove any residual brown. The process is universal to the gemstone and in no way does it affect the value of the stone. Without heating, Tanzanite would be brown and the beautiful blues that are so loved would not be in existence. In fact, legend of the discovery of the stone back in the 1960’s dictates that the Maasai warriors who found it, did so after a large bushfire swept the area. The fire burnt all the foliage and undergrowth back revealing some Tanzanites on the surface and also heated them making them a sparkling blue and suddenly eyecatching. Without the fire, Tanzanite may never have been discovered as the Maasai may not have noticed them in their brownish shades against the bare, burnt earth.

Is Heating Considered an Enhancement in the Trade?

Unlike with other gemstones like Sapphires or Rubies, where heating at extremely high temperatures is used as a way of altering the actual grade of a gemstone, the heating process in no way enhances a Tanzanite’s color saturation levels it simply removes the red/brown axis leaving the blue/violet. A medium grade Tanzanite will appear lightish brown before heating and a medium pale blue/violet after heating. A top grade piece will be a deeply saturated brown before heating and a deep blue/violet after heating. Hence the process is not an enhancement, as it is with some gemstones such as Corundum..

 

 

Lapigems Gem Company

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Free Infographic on Tanzanite Color

by Lapigems Gem Company 13. January 2013 00:16
FREE Infographic on Tanzanite Color

The following infographic is an easy to use and understand graphic which explains how Tanzanite color affects value.

 

 

Use this Graphic for FREE on your Site!

 

Feel free to use this infographic for free on your site, however the licence we grant you requires that you properly and correctly attribute the work to us by using the following embed code :

 

<div ><a href="http://www.lapigems.com/tanzanite.asp"><img src="http://www.lapigems.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2013%2f1%2ftanzanite-color-info.png" alt="FREE Infographic Tanzanite Color"></a><div style="clear:both;"><!-- --></div><textarea cols="30" rows="6">&amplt;div id=&ampquot;sensible-embed-widget&ampquot; &ampgt;&amplt;script type=&ampquot;text/javascript&ampquot; src=&ampquot;http://apps.sensibleinternet.com/infographic/embed.js&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;/script&ampgt;&amplt;a href=&ampquot;http://www.lapigems.com/tanzanite.asp&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;img src=&ampquot;http://www.lapigems.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2013%2f1%2ftanzanite-color-info.png&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;/a&ampgt;&amplt;div style=&ampquot;clear:both;&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;!-- --&ampgt;&amplt;/div&ampgt;&amplt;div id=&ampquot;sensible-embed-codes&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;textarea cols=&ampquot;30&ampquot; rows=&ampquot;6&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;img src=&ampquot;http://www.lapigems.com/blog/image.axd?picture=2013%2f1%2ftanzanite-color-info.png&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;div&ampgt;Tanzanite &amplt;a href=&ampquot;http://www.lapigems.com/tanzanite.asp&ampquot;&ampgt;Tanzanite&amplt;/a&ampgt; &amplt;a href=&ampquot;&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;/a&ampgt; &amplt;/div&ampgt;&amplt;/textarea&ampgt;&amplt;/div&ampgt;&amplt;div style=&ampquot;clear:both;&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;!-- --&ampgt;&amplt;/div&ampgt;&amplt;div id=&ampquot;sensible-embed-attribution&ampquot;&ampgt;&amplt;a href=&ampquot;http://www.sensibleinternet.com/blogs/tom/infographic-embed-codes-why-they-are-important-and-way-generate-them&ampquot;&ampgt;Embed tool&amplt;/a&ampgt; by &amplt;a href=&ampquot;http://www.sensibleinternet.com&ampquot;&ampgt;Sensible Internet&amplt;/a&ampgt;&amplt;/div&ampgt;&amplt;/div&ampgt;</textarea><div style="clear:both;"><!-- --></div><a href="http://www.sensibleinternet.com/blogs/tom/infographic-embed-codes-why-they-are-important-and-way-generate-them">Embed tool</a> by <a href="http://www.sensibleinternet.com">Sensible Internet</a></div>

 

 

 

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Tanzanite Synthetics and Imitations

by Lapigems Gem Company 22. December 2012 23:16
A discussion of the different synthetics and imitations of Tanzanite

One question we are often asked on our “Ask a Gemologist” forum is how to tell if a Tanzanite is real and if there are fakes out there that buyers should be aware of. This is a very pertinent question, particularly in this age of gemstone treatments. Fortunately, Tanzanite has not been targeted the way stones like Sapphire have for extensive undisclosed treatments. Ways in which Sapphires can be extensively chemically and physically altered to improve their appearance have been around for decades now and more methods are always being developed, particularly in Thailand, where a great deal of the rough is cut. Fortunately Tanzanite is not in the same position. However, there are factors to be aware of.

Synthetics

Firstly, whilst Tanzanite has never been successfully synthesized (a synthetic is a lab created, manmade version of the natural which has the same chemical and physical properties as a natural), a synthetic Forsterite has been produced in the last decade in Russia which produces an imitation which closely resembles Tanzanite, although only the lower/medium grades of Tanzanite. Some unscrupulous sellers have unscrupulously sold it as Tanzanite in the past. As a gemologist, it is easy to identify this imposter using several tests, chiefly the refractometer. Synthetic Forsterite has a refractive index of 1.63- 1.67 which natural Tanzanite is 1.685-1.707.

Similarly, a useful tool called a Hanneman Filter easily separates out the forsterite as it shows up green in the filter as opposed to the orange-pink natural Tanzanite will show. However, as a layman without gemological tools at your disposal, there is a property of the synthetic that makes it identifiable using a simple loupe. Synthetic Forsterite has a very high birefringence. Without getting too technical, this means that the stone can exhibit “double refraction”. As a layman you can spot this by looking closely at the back facets with a loupe. Look through the table and focus on the pavilion facets. They may appear as if they are doubled up. This is a clear sign of a synthetic forsterite as natural Tanzanite does not have a high birefringence and as such will not display this effect.

Coatings

The other factor to be aware of in Tanzanite is the more recent attempt by unscrupulous sellers to coat lower grade Tanzanite with a light coating of cobalt, which tends to improve the look of the color. Whilst this practice is not widely used, it is important to be aware of it. This article in our Article Center looks at this in more detail : http://www.lapigems.com/Articles/Gemstone-Treatments-Coating-Chemical.aspx

Buying Tanzanite should be an exciting exercise, as you are purchasing something beautiful and rare. However, it is important to be informed of the pitfalls out there and to be able to sidestep them as an informed buyer.

 

Lapigems Gem Company

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