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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Tanzanite Sales Strong Despite Market Turmoil

by Lapigems Gem Company 10. August 2011 00:24
Tanzanite sales remain strong despite recent market turmoil. could this mean it is being regarded as a safe haven asset?

Watching the news and reading the papers has become a depressing experience this past few months as we bear witness to a litany of pressures on the financial system. Gold has hit a record high of $1700 per ounce and the Swiss Franc has been strengthening rapidly as people rush for perceived safe havens. It is perhaps as a result of this that Tanzanite sales have continued to rise through this period – it is increasingly being viewed as a “safe haven” tangible asset.

TanzaniteOne, the largest miner of the beautiful blue gemstone has just published very strong second quarter results showing a marked increase in both production and sales. This is the second quarter in a row showing strong growth. The first quarter of 2011 reported production of 609,737 carats of tanzanite, representing a year on year increase of 8 percent. Sales in contrast, rose 48 percent. In the second quarter, they reported a further 57 percent increase in sales on quarter 1.

This increase may also have something to do with China’s growing love affair with the stone. In the past two years, we have noticed a marked increase in the number of Chinese buyers in the local market. This could prove good news for investors in Tanzanite, holding fine pieces. An ever-growing market in the East will only serve to bolster already high demand in the West, which should continue to have a strong impact on value.

Further Reading on this Topic

Daily News Article "Tanzanite Sales Go Up"

National Jeweler - "Tanzanite Prices on the Rise"

Fine Tanzanite in Lapigems block D Private Collection 


Lapigems Gem Company

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Prince William Proposes in Kenya .... and with a Colored Stone

by Lapigems Gem Company 16. November 2010 23:14

Just as his mother before him had learned that she had become Queen of England whilst she was in Kenya, Prince William proposed to his long term girlfriend Kate Middleton whilst he too was in Kenya.

Whilst staying at the 55,000 acre Lewa Private Estate, William ostensibly flew Kate high up the slopes of Mt Kenya to propose, to a lake at over 12,000 feet, close to the famed ice caps. By choosing Kenya and a Sapphire Prince William has eloquently joined our 2 loves – this beautiful, wild part of the world and the majesty of colored stones.

The engagement ring is actually Princess Diana’s and features a stunning blue sapphire oval surrounded in Diamonds. The same design would be extraordinary using a Tanzanite center stone.  


News Report on the Engagement


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The Recessionary Economics of Gemstones

by Lapigems Gem Company 16. November 2010 05:39
A cursory look at the economics of precious stones, with particular regard to inflationary economic environments

There are not many people who would argue that the present economic situation and outlook for the future seems very confusing. On the one hand, there are proponents of the view that economic recovery is well underway and the good times are just around the corner. On the other, there are an equal number who subscribe to the more pessimistic view that a “double-dip” recession is inevitable and that inflation and hyperinflation are looming on the horizon. Certainly, the speed with which many of the developed world’s central banks are printing money does give pause for thought. We had the much vaunted Quantitative Easing program which dumped billions into banks round the world and now QE2 looks set to launch too. There seems to be a very concerted push to force money through the system by whatever means necessary.

Now, depending on which school of economic theory you come from, the general rule of thumb is that a massive increase in supply, without a corresponding increase in demand, causes value to drop. Hence, in the case of money, the value of money drops when banks print money in this fashion. The textbook case is, of course, Zimbabwe, where the policies of Robert Mugabe caused the most severe case of hyperinflation on record. The Zimbabwe Central Bank printed a One Hundred Trillion Zimbabwe Dollar note by the time it effectively scrapped its currency in April 2009 and allowed foreign currencies to be used instead. This is all fairly logical as "easy money" should lead to inflation. However, in the case of the US economy, the broadest measure of money, M3, is declining at a rate not seen since the Great Depression. There is no money velocity (speed with which money moves through the economy) and deflation appears to be a more looming threat than inflation at present. Indeed, this is reflected in the fact that Consumer Price Indexes are declining, not increasing. This is the basis behind a new round of Quantitative Easing – a further attempt to increase money velocity by pushing money out of the banks and through the economy.

Why is Gold Outperfoming Most Asset Classes?

However, if we are in a deflationary environment, why is gold outperforming most assets? Gold prices are headed for record highs. Traditionally, gold values increase with inflation. The last great run up in gold occurred during the inflationary 1970's, when stagflation in the USA caused massive inflation. Mortgage rates headed for the 20% mark and even gasoline was scarce. This does not seem to have any resemblance to the economic situation today. During that period, there was a direct correlation between precious metals and diamond and colored gemstone prices. As gold increased, so did tangible assets. The answer to this anomaly could be that gold is also regarded as a “safe haven” or crisis hedge. In times of uncertainty and/or national crisis, people fear that their assets may be seized and that the currency may become worthless. They see gold as a solid asset which will always buy food or transportation. Thus, in times of great uncertainty, the demand for gold rises. The stock markets function upon confidence and when confidence disappears, markets collapse. Recent crashes like the one on 6th May 2010 where the Dow crashed over 900 points in a matter of hours create a feeling of instability and people lose confidence in the system. This, coupled with declining real estate markets, has influenced many to invest a small portion of their wealth in something portable, private and rare.

Gemstones as a Tangible Asset Class

Certainly, gold has been a huge beneficiary of the current sentiment, however a certain smaller percentage of people are also buying gemstones as a hedge. Collecting fine gems is a relatively new phenomenon in the USA. However, throughout history, examples abound of instances where gems have saved people in times of political and economic crises. Some notable examples are Nazi Germany, Vietnam, Iran, and Hong Kong and even when Imperialist Russia collapsed, gemstones carried by escaping imperialists enabled them to start a new life in other countries. Political instability, high taxation and currency devaluation, have meant that may people in parts of Asia, South America and even Europe, have long been aware of the significant role that gemstones play in conserving capital. Fine quality diamonds and colored stones have long shown themselves to be excellent long-term hedges against economic uncertainty and currency depreciation. Rare, fine gemstones represent an excellent and highly portable repository of value. Certainly, this concept seems to be bearing itself out in the market - international collectors and investors have pushed colored diamonds and colored gemstones to record highs during this economic climate at each major auction. In view of the state of affairs and uncertainty of our times, it seems wise to research other areas in which to invest capital. Most financial advisors will suggest that a percentage of one’s portfolio be in hard assets, you could do worse than consider colored gemstones.  

Lapigems Gem Company

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