Sunday, May 17, 2015

Light, Dispersion & Color

Ethiopian Opal--- the new kid on the rainbow block
Ethiopian Opal ring by Ornella Ianuzzi

Been Around a While
Opals of all kinds have graced the earth for millennia. That's because these rainbow hued treasures were the result of ancient earth forming activity and  a bi-product of sedimentary or volcanic occurrences. Traditionally, most opal has been discovered in Australia, where the geological climate lends itself to its creation. Ancient sea creatures like spooky-magnificent plesiosaurs whose fossilized bones found in that region have also yielded opalized bone from time to time.

Mexico was the other arid region whose climate was ideal for the production of opal, including the non-play of color variety Fire Opal.

New Discovery--Old Material
But a couple of years ago. gem shows around the world began offering volcanic Ethiopian opal, and collectors have taken a shine to the colorful gems.
Ethiopian opal rough from Gemmology News

Opal is ofen found in host material looking something like this example above.The uptick in sales of the Ethiopian variety was tempered by caution due to their fragility. But in actuality, all opal, irrespective of origin should be handled with care. 

Watery Stones?
Did you know opal crystals contain a significant amount of hydration? This 'watery' composition can be up to 21% in some cases. The range starts at 3% and goes up. So opals of any kind should be stored carefully and not be exposed to excessively dry environments.

Ethiopian nodule from Opalinda

Ethiopian opals in particular are often found as nodules (see above); the result of volcanic activity. No wonder local tribal groups in Ethiopia caught a colorful glimpse of them on the ground and carved them into tools, as early as 4,000 years ago. Beautiful and functional! We like that.

Friday, May 1, 2015

It's All About the Pink

Girly Diamonds Are Pink & Powerful

Perfect Pairing
The ever opulent Ms Sophia Vergara knows what is enough and not a bit more. She looked lovely in every sense at a recent event. Her very detailed dress found its perfect foil in a diamond domed ring by Harry Kotlar. Vergara was attending the LA premiere of Hot Pursuit at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood. When you've got a pink diamond on, well, that's certainly enough now isn't it?

What's That in the Middle?
The hero of this ring is a stunner of an oval pink diamond. The accent diamonds surrounding the yummy pinkie are marquise shaped diamonds that form a modern floral motif. That's the way I like my flowers. Let's go in for a closer look.

Natural Beauties
Fancy pink diamonds are a natural occurrence, and as such, they come in as many shades of pink as you can shake a ring at. This feminine pink tint must have inspired the designer to create a floral design around the central stone, as that has a lady-like vibe as well.

Pretty & Pretty Rare
Here's an interesting bit to consider. Nearly all of the fancy natural pinkies come from the Argyle Mines in NSW Australia. Why is that? The jury ponders. But in general, all diamonds and gemstones are at the mercy of geology; and some terrain is more conducive to certain stones than others. 

Pink diamonds are popular today, but that does not mean they are plentiful. After all, nature calls the shots when it comes to producing these girly stones.

Image Courtesy D'Orazio & Associates: Beverly Hills

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

No Two Alike--- the Originality of Natural Gemstones

Like People Gems Are Each Unique

Colored gemstones are a natural occurrence created in secret hundreds of miles below the surface of the earth in often mysterious circumstances. What we do know for sure is that they are a lovely confluence of chemical properties and countless factors that happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Something Added Makes All the Difference
As such, they are never exactly the same as their same species grown elsewhere. Geology plays a huge roll in the coloration of the stone. Added to that, minute particles of other elements can intrude upon a stone in formation and alter its color.

Tiffany--Artisan in Jewels
Such is the case with the superb Art Nouveau circa 1914-27 necklace by Tiffany. The hero of this fabulous piece is a stellar asymmetrical pear shaped sapphire drop. 

Chemistry in Action
Take a close look at the central gemstone in Tiffany's pendant. Nature produced 2 separate tints on the same sapphire. Certain elements present during its formation colored this gemstone a sumptuous plum hue in addition it its blue tint. It's not the only stone to produce 2 or more distinct colors on the same stone. But this magnificent and pricey sapphire is still a bit of a rarity.