Gemstone Cuts and The Why.

Who does the cutting? What are the different methods of cutting? Ever thought why it is cut that way?
What is a cabochon?  Why a Marquise?  isn’t that a Royal title such as Baron or Earl? ( Actually it is a royal title that is lower than a Duke but higher than an Earl, if you are into Royalty.)

After delving into the history of gemstone cutting I have found some interesting answers.
A gem cutter is called a “Lapidarist” This trade is usually learned on the job, but there are several colleges that do give courses.  How long it takes to learn, depends on the skill of the student.

The different methods of cutting are tumbling, cabbing, faceting and carving.

Tumbling, the simplest method, is done in a revolving barrel with abrasives. Finer and finer abrasives are used until the stones have the expected high sheen. This is closest to nature as the same thing happens to stones in a stream. Of course, man made tumbling creates a much higher polish.

Rock Tumbler

Rock Tumbler

Cabbing is the cutting of cabochons, the most common form of gem cutting.
Cabochons are cut with a highly polished rounded or convex top, no faceting,and a flat or slightly domed base. This cut is used for softer stones to safeguard them from scratching. It is also the main cut for opals, turquoise,onyx, moonstone and star sapphire. Cabochons are not actually cut but shaped and polished. they are much easier to produce than faceted stones witch have many angles. They can be produced in any shape but oval is the most used.

This cut is used for star saphires and tiger’s eye stones to get the most of the design and brilliance.

The faceted cut can be various shapes, where as the cabochon has special limits.
Facet is the cut but not the shape.  It is actually the shaping of many cuts to show the stone at it’s best color and shine.

All natural stones including the rocks you might find along the edge of the road, have prisms or  points of light that enhance their color. ( You might want to study an old rock just for the fun of it.) Faceting was created to take advantage of that fact.

There are simple faceted cuts such as these step cornered aquamarine gems from the Smithsonian gem gallery or the many faceted cuts shown here in this round brilliant cut.

Step Cut Gemstones

Step Cut Gemstones

Round Brilliant Cut

Round Brilliant Cut

This started in the 13th and 14th centuries. At a time when stone cutting machines   were being invented to actually do the job. Before then, one would have to hire an artist to actually carve out a stone by hand, which could take many, many hours. Today there are very few lapidary carvers. One design that has been carved through the ages is the Cameo, which is usually cut from sea shells or agate.

 

The Marquise Cut
The marquise cut is a thin oblong shape with pointed ends and is named after Jean Antoinette Poisson, the Marquise de Pompadour……….. It is said French King, Louis the IV, asked his jewelers to create a cut to capture his mistress’ smile

Madame Pompadour

Madame Pompadour

… For that interesting story go here..http://www.ajsgem.com/articles/history-marquise-cut.html

A marquise has 57 facets.

 

Marquise Cut

Marquise Cut

The Princess Cut
Then there is the Princess cut which is a square version of the round brilliant. It has 76 facets.
With modern computers Lapidarists are creating more and more advanced designs for faceted gemstones.
For a more complete picture go to http://www.e-jewel.co.il/en/gemstonesshapes.aspx?PageID=259   Very interesting.

Hope Diamond, most expensive princess cut valued at two million dollars!

Hope Diamond, most expensive princess cut valued at two million dollars!

 

Now with all the modern computer technology, the Lapidarist can create original cuts never before  seen.  The Lapidarist artist would start with the anatomy of the gemstone, observing the natural prisms in each piece, just as the stone carver would, then proceed to work his magic.

  Note:     If you would like to learn more about the “Hope” diamond check out my blog post  under diamonds  “Famous Diamonds”  It has a fascinating history.   It even has a curse!

 

 

Until next time,

Enjoy your gemstones.

Erma

 

Looking for a gift or a wonderful piece of jewelry for yourself, this company goes above and beyond for their customers.  A family company dealing in gemstone jewelry, created by their own artisans.   Excellent prices as well.

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We are always adding something new at JeGem.com. Checkout our newest pieces!

For all you jewelry crafts people: Love gemstones? Make jewelry? Click Here.

Resources:  Wikipedia, Gemselect, Gem society, as well as many others  from around the world.

 

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The Atlantis Stone

Recently I was introduced to the “newest” gemstone. A beautiful blue stone I had never seen before. Well it wasn’t new of course, no gemstone is new. The latest gemstone to be found in modern times by modern geologists is “Larimar” the ” Atlantis stone”, also known as the “Dolphin Stone”. It is only found in the Caribbean, natives have been using this stone down through the ages for healing, divination and decoration.

 Larimar stones

Larimar stones

It was first discovered by modern man in 1916, Father Loren of the Barahona Parish in the Dominican Republic requested permission to mine a certain blue rock he had discovered. His request was rejected because “pectolites” were not known in that end of the world.

Larimar is a pectolite which is composed mostly of acid silicate hydrate of calcium and sodium. Pectolite is found in many locations but no others have the distinct blue color of Larimar. That is a result of a copper substitution for calcium in this unique stone.

Next in 1974, Dominican Republic geologist Miquel Mendez rediscovered the stone, naming it after his daughter Larissa. He used the Spanish word for sea “mar”and formed Larimar. The stones he and his partner Norman Rilling found, had been washed into the sea by the Bahoruco River. When they searched up river they soon found the stones source and the Los Chapaderos mine was created.

Larimar

Larimar

The stone did not reach the USA until 1986 and is still fairly rare in gemstone listings.

Healing Qualities

Larimar is said to support and promote emotional strength, releasing stress and cooling tempers. It is also an antidote for hot flashes. Used in meditation it helps one release unhealthy bonds to negative people who do not hold your best interests. When placed throughout your home it creates a pleasant, quiet atmosphere.

In healing it is used for the throat, also to reduce fevers and draw out inflammation. When placed on a painful area it provides soothing relief. It stimulates the heart and higher chakras. A stone of love.

Larimar is called the Atlantis stone due to a declaration by an ancient prophet that Atlantis was once part of the Dominican Republic and what made Atlantis great was a beautiful, blue healing stone. The description of that stone has an uncanny resemblance to Larimar.

After seeing this stone for the first time I can believe it. I have never seen a more beautiful blue.

Polished Larimar

Polished Larimar

An interesting note about “Atlantis”  the lost continent.

Edgar Cayce, (March 18,1877 – January 3,1945)  One of the greatest clairvoyants the world has ever seen, predicted    that a “blue stone” with extraordinary healing attributes would be found on “an island in the Caribbean” where he believed part of Atlantis could be found. In 1974 a volcanic blue pectolite named Larimar was discovered in the Dominican Republic.  Read more about healing crystals and Atlantis here.

Looking for a gift or a wonderful piece of jewelry for yourself, this company goes above and beyond for their customers.  A family company dealing in gemstone jewelry, created by their own artisans.   Excellent prices as well.

Just click the link below:

Rare and exotic Caribbean Larimar at JeGem.com

Resources; “The Pocket Book Of Stones” Robert Simmons
“The Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals” by Cassandra Eason
http://www.bernardine.com/gemstones/larimar.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larimar

 

Be sure to get your latest Fire Mountain catalog below.

FREE Best Sellers Catalog – 448 Pages of the Best-Selling Jewelry-Making Supplies.

 

Until next time,

Have a great day!

Erma.

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The Many Facets of  Garnets

I have always loved garnets. Once thought “if I can’t have a ruby I’ll have a garnet.” At that time I did not know the different qualities and varieties of gemstones. Now I find I can have both. There are many price brackets in all the gems. In other words something for everyone. Also some garnets are just as expensive as the beautiful ruby.

The other thing I did not know was how many colors of garnets there are. Most of us think of the garnet as dark red or purple, but there are green, orange, red, purple, even black. It was once thought there was no blue garnets until someone found color changing garnets from Madagasgar. They change from grey blue to cornflower blue depending on the light and where they are found.. All are beautiful. Each color has a slightly different chemical makeup and are classed as species.

many colors of garnets

many colors of garnets

Garnets have more species than any other gemstone,The six main ones are:

Almandine
Pyrope
Spessartite
Grossular
Andradite
Uvarovite

All six have varying color ranges from light rose red to black. The andraite being the rarest with colors ranging from a lustrous rose to the very rare black malanite.
– See more at: http://www.minerals.net/gemstone/garnet_gemstone.aspx#sthash.iX6GeqHl.dpuf

It is also one of the very few gemstones hardly ever enhanced so you are getting natural purity.

The garnet is very important to geologists due to it’s chemical and magnetic properties. With each garnet they are able to tell the age of the surrounding rocks where the stone was found. This helps to determine how the earth was and is forming under our feet. We tend to forget rocks are living things made up of minerals and various earth elements made from atoms just like we are. They just take many centuries to grow. (There are many arguments about the life of rocks on the internet. I think if they grow, they must be alive.)
——-
An observation from http://www.livescience.com/32234-can-rocks-grow.html
Rocks don’t eat, drink, or take their vitamins, but they do grow.

Observing the process, though, is less interesting than watching paint dry. Rocks called iron-manganese crusts grow on mountains under the sea. The crusts precipitate material slowly from seawater, growing about 1 millimeter every million years.

Your fingernails grow about the same amount every two weeks.
——–

Our world is such a fascinating place, the older I get the more fascinating it becomes. Maybe because I do not have the restrictions of younger adults, with jobs and families still growing, I am able to open my mind to God’s miracle planet, Earth.

Garnet is the official birthstone for January. It is a stone of protection, of energy, of manifestation and of business. Different colors speak to each of these areas. It is also the stone of Aquarius.

Dark, rich red is the most common garnet. It is the stone of the heart.

Deep Red Garnet

Deep Red Garnet

Offering physical, emotional and spiritual support. It eases sadn or guilt   memories and keeps you in touch with your softer side. The red garnet is a path to spirit guides and guardian angels. The lighter red garnet is a perfect gift for returning soldiers who are having a hard time living with the horrors of war. It offers peace for the soul.

A few more  interesting facts about the healing uses of garnets.

It physically heats cold fingers and toes!  It melts frozen feelings and fears! It can ease the acute pain of gall stones! Use it to strengthen your imune system against a host of infections, especially winter illnesses.  One more thing, I find this amazing,  use it to help a pet who is unhappy when its owners go to work. (  I am going to thread some tiny garnet stones into my paranoid wee dog’s collar, since she hates being left alone.  Will let you all know the outcome.)  Reference for this last bit came from a beautiful book called ” the illustrated directory of Healing Crystals”  by Cassandra Eason.

Garnets are found all over the world. One of the world’s largest garnet deposits is in New York State. Apparently the garnet is “The Gem Of The Adirondacks” The Historic Barton Mines opened in 1878 and are still working today. Gore Mountain garnet deposit is recognized as a world famous geology site. Read about it here http://www.lakegeorgeguide.com/regional-area-info/articles/geology-of-the-gore-mountain-garnet-mine/

Barton mines concentrates on industrial garnets. For gemstone quality mining we go to the “Gem State” Idaho. Here is the stone of the heart from Crystal Creek, Idaho, where,thanks to the National Parks service you can go “rock hounding” and collect your own garnets! What a neat way to spend a family day, you never know you might just find a rare one.

Handful of Raw Garnets

Handful of Raw Garnets

 

(For the moment, I find my gems at “Fire Moutain Gems” a family company that is changing the world ” one bead at a time” It is the go to place for pros and hobbyists as well.  ***See my blog about this family business.

I am in love with this garnet pendant, found in their catologue.  To find it on their site just type in garnet pendant in the search  bar for finished jewelry.  And yes,  I am an affiliate as well as a customer.

garnet pendant from Fire Mountain Gems

garnet pendant from Fire Mountain Gems

Go Here to access their site and order your free catologue or just to shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is a repost from  2013,  updating for new readers.

 

I have been looking for a company that sells all the gemstones in bead form as well as in a variety of finished jewelry. One that I would be proud to represent on this blog. Fire Mountain Gems is that.

Their motto “”Uniting the world, one bead at a time” is something they are proud to put into action. They have been in business over forty years, starting in their home in the seventies in California,they sold jewelry making supplies and a little handbook on how to bead. After 13 years in business they moved to Oregon in 1986, where they started a mail order jewelry supply and have kept growing ever since. The handful of employees that started at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads in Cave Junction, Oregon, quickly turned into hundreds of employees and continues to grow still!

Click on the link below for their free catalog and more. Be sure to  read the interesting history of this family business  on their about us page.  A true American dream company.

FREE Best Sellers Catalog – 448 Pages of the Best-Selling Jewelry-Making Supplies.

 

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Moonstone was named for it’s resemblance to the moon due to it’s shimmering effect or sheen. It is a variety of Orthoclase Feldspar. The shimmering is also found on Opal.This effect causes the stone to display a circular ghost-like reflection, with a bluish-whitish colour emanating from the surface when cut into a cabochon. This is caused by structural damage or build up of water in the mineral.

Polished Moonstone

Polished Moonstone

One myth around the name is very interesting. It is said you can observe the whole lunar month within the stone. As the new moon begins, a small white spot appears at the edge of the stone and slowly moves toward the stone’s center growing larger until it is the shape of the full moon in the center of the stone. Wow!

Shimmering Moonstone

Shimmering Moonstone

Sometimes moonstones reflect thin chasms of light similar to “cat’s eye” or or a star image when exposed to light. The stone comes in a variety of colors but most common is whitish blue. They also are known by several names such as Water Opal, Ceylonese Opal, Fish-eye and Wolf’s -eye. Long ago Greeks called the stone “Aphroselene” after the Goddesses Aphrodite (love) and Selene (moon)

The highest quality moonstones come from Sri Lanka. Other countries producing moonstones are Germany, Burma, India , tanzania, Brazil, Us and Mexico.

Sri Lanka Raw Moonstone

Sri Lanka Raw Moonstone

This gemstone has many interesting myths regarding it’s birth. Ancient Romans believed it was formed by moonlight. In the far East they believed the stones were actual moonlight rays that had solidified and and a good spirit lived within the stone. People in ancient India thought along similar lines.

It has been used to ensure aboundant crops. The stone is associated with love and fidelity and if held in the mouth it is supposed to help one make proper decisions.. It could cure insomnia and is the protector of sailors and night travelers. Moonstone was once called the “Traveler’s Stone”
It could also protect the mind from epilepsy, insanity and any problems of the mind.

Some say Moonstone can aid in opening the third eye Chakra and empowering your intuition.  It is the gem of the High priestess, keeping the mysteries of femininity. Staring into a moonstone gemstone with reflected light,can reveal the missing peices of one’s life, in other words parts of your soul that has been forgotten. It can be used for deep meditation and works well with Ruby for added strength. Stimulates love, intuition,awareness, courage and passion. It is also known as the lover’s stone.

In India, the stone has always been sacred, where when displayed it is always set out on Saffron dyed cloth, the traditional color of India. Saffron itself is sacred and as a herbit is very expensive since it is not easy to grow. Saffron’s dyeing power is still used to give the golden yellow colour to cloth used for special purposes like Buddhist robes, the bride’s veil in some countries of Maghreb, such as Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Today most of the world’s saffron is produced in Iran.

Saffron  Crop

Saffron Crop

 

Monk's saffron Robe

Monk’s saffron Robe

 

Love gemstones?  Make jewelry?  Click Here.

 

Sources: Wikipedia.com,
“The pocket Book of Stones” by Robert Simmons,
“Colored Gemstones” by Antoinette Matlins, P.G.
http://www.minerals.net/mineral/silicate/tecto/feldspar/variety/moonston.htm

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Crystal, Crytstal, Crystal

Everywhere I look these days, crystal stares me in the face. maybe once a thing is in your mind, you become more observant of it. Crystal was to be my theme until I came across a beautiful crystal ball. Very small, very expensive,a (scryers) dream.
How and why over many generations did crystal become the medium for psychics and fortunetellers of all ilk? So we delve into the history of “the Crystal ball” not as jewelry, but as the path to the subconscious. ( We will get back to the actual gemstone as well)

 

The first gemstone used as a crystal Ball was beryl.

Pure Beryl is colorless; traces of different impurities are responsible for the color diversity and varieties.

History has deemed the first people to use crystals for divination were the Druids in Britain about 2000 BC. The Druids were a very spiritual people. They were priests, teachers, counsellors to the Kings. They believed beryl had special powers. It was used to read the furure as well as advise of the past. The clearer the stone the better.

(Lately there have been discoveries claiming that crystal balls have been in use even longer, in Eygpt and possibly even by the Mayans.)

In the middle ages in Europe crystal balls were being used by fortune tellers and seers. Eventually beryl would be replaced with rock crystal which is even more translucent. ( I really wonder if the same powers could be asscribed to rock crystal)

Antique crystal ball

A well known Royal councellor to Elizabeth 1, Dr. John Dee, used a crystal ball in his work. He believed the crystal acted as  a communication device between him and Angels. ( There is actually one of his quartz balls in the British Museum)

 

Which brings us more into modern day thinking. Today crystal balls are used as point of concentration that clears the mind and opens the road to the subconscious. A gifted psychic will be able to see visions and possibly tell the future. Most of us will see a mist and sometimes a vision. Then we have to interpret the vision….

It is very interesting to try seeing in the ball, maybe if we could get a real beryl it might actually work.
I have a feeling it is not so much the ball as the actual person doing the reading or whatever, that determines the vision.

(By the way, did you know you can buy a crystal ball at Amazon!?  Is there anything Amazon doesn’t sell?…)

Here is an Amazon choice,  If you are so inclined……

 

 

 

Let’s get back to the true gemstone. Beryl.

Some varieties of beryl are:

Emerald, one of the most valuable gemstones, a beautiful green color.
Aquamarine, light blue gemstone.
Morganite, pink to light purple, was named after J.P. Morgan. Hmm…
Heliodor, yellow to greenish yellow, also some light green and brown.
Goshenite, white to colorless
Golden Beryl, golden yellow to orange yellow
Red Beryl, very rare, also known as Bixbite, deep red

In the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. located in the “Hall of Gems” is one of the largest cut beryl stones in the world. It is a 2,054 carat flawless, golden colored beryl, also known as Heliodor.

Golden Heliodor (Yellow beryl)

While golden beryl is beautiful I found Red beryl more fascinating.

Laboratory analysis shows that manganese and small amounts of iron, chromium, and calcium create the raspberry-red color of red beryl.

Red Beryl or Bixbite is very interesting as it is found in only three places in the world. The Thomas mountain range and the Wah Wah mountain range in Utah, USA, as well as the Black Range in Mexico. The Wah Wah mountians Ruby-Violet claims are the only known place where large, gem quality red beryl can be found. They are private and closed to outsiders.

Ruby Violet Open Mine

This very rare gemstone is estimated to be worth 1000 times more than gold. The claim is that for every 150,000 diamonds found there is only one red beryl crystal found.  A faceted red beryl crystal from the Wah Wah location sells for an average of $2000.

Raw Beryl from Ruy Violet mine

(For the last few years the Ruby Violet Claims have been inactive. The price tag on the property is so enormous that no one has stepped forward to buy the mine. Dwindling supplies, already quite limited, have pushed prices to even higher levels. Rumors about a new prospect being opened elsewhere in the Wah Wahs have been circulating since Tucson 2010, but have yet to be confirmed, and no new material surfaced. ) http://www.treasuremountainmining.com

So we have a gemstone rarer than diamonds, more valuable than gold. Wow!

Here is what it looks like in it’s natural form.

Well I started out with crystal and ended up with red beryl. I think it is time to gaze into my crystal ball and see where we go from here.

Until next time, Have a great day.

Erma

Love Gemstones?  Make Jewelry?  Click Here.

 

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This post is a little different.

I have been looking for a company that sells all the gemstones in bead form as well as in a variety of  finished jewelry. One that I would be proud to represent on this blog.  Fire Mountain Gems is that.

Their motto “”Uniting the world, one bead at a time” is something they are proud to put into action.    They have been in business over forty years, starting in their home in the seventies in California,they sold jewelry making supplies and a little handbook on how to bead.    After 13 years in business they moved to Oregon in 1986, where they started a mail order jewelry supply and have kept growing ever since.   The handful of employees that started at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads in Cave Junction, Oregon, quickly turned into hundreds of employees and continues to grow still!

Go here to read the interesting history of this family business

And below for the free catalog and more.

FREE Best Sellers Catalog – 448 Pages of the Best-Selling Jewelry-Making Supplies.

 

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Banded Malachite

Malachite

Malachite is a beautiful, intense, green mineral that has banded masses taking the color from emerald green to a much lighter green.  The banded stones are highly sought after and come mostly from Africa.

This banded piece comes from the Copper Queen mine in Bisbee Arizona.  The mine is now closed but there are tours available.

The name Malachite comes from the Greek word for mallow, because the  designs on the stone resembled leaves of the mallow plant.

A Raw Image from Bisbee

Photos courtesy of :

R.Weller/Cochise College.

 

Ancient Egypt was using malachite 6000 years ago for jewelry and ornaments.  It was worn to ward off evil.

 

There is an archeology site in Isreal that indicates malachite was mined in the Timna Valley over 3000 years ago. They used it for ornamental stone, pottery and gemstones.

More modern use was for the green pigment in paints up to the 1800’s.

It is found all over the world,and quite often results from the weathering of  copper ores, especially where copper and limestone are present.

There is an interesting piece in the “Linda Hall Library”  in Mexico City.  “The Tazza”  is a large malachite vase,standing in the center of the malachite room.  It was a gift from the Tsar Nicholas 11, of Russia and is the biggest piece of malachite in North America.

Here is one from the Hermatige museum,St Petersburg  Russia.
malachite vase - Picture of State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace, St. Petersburg
This photo of State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace is courtesy of TripAdvisor

In healing , Malachite is about harmonizing your body and should not be attached to any metal as metal can block the healing waves.  A sphere as a pendant on an earth chain such as leather or string works best. Use something natural as malachite is the most connected gemstone to the earth’s vibrations.

Very important stone for repelling negative energies and assisting in mental clarity.Works with the heart chakra and is also helpful for many feminine distresses.  It also repels nightmares.

It has been called the “Mirror of the Soul”

When worn as jewelry it will always reflect your feelings.  If you are having a real bad day, better off to leave it at home.

To increase it’s power use it with copper.

However, according to “Antoinette Matliins ” in the “Colored Gemstones” buying guide, one should never clean your malachite with any product  containing ammonia, as it will remove all the shine of your polished stones.

 

Resources: Malachite by SAh’Rah Kerfoot, also http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/geophys/malachite.html, gemisphere.com, gemdat.org,wikipedia.com,”The Pocket Book of Stones” by Robert Simmons,  “Gemstone Guardians” by Michael Katz  and of course our favorite “Colored Gemstones” by Antoinette Matlins.

 

 

 

Need a website, Click here, International, Inexpensive.

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– See more at: http://gemstonefactorium.com/#sthash.Vff8dgeh.dpuf

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This is the gemstone that is not a stone at all.

Amber is not really a gemstone. It is the fossilized resin from ancient fir trees. This is actually apparent if you heat it a little bit, you will smell pine. Just imagine walking through a pine forest and rubbing the tree bark, your hands get very sticky with wet resin. That is what amber is..

The origin of Amber goes back millions of years. Amber resin is from trees, that went solid then became fossilized… over many, many thousands of years. Around 45 million years ago, pine trees in the Baltic regions, the Scandinavian countries… discharged resins. The resin eventually found it’s way to the oceans where it fossilized. Then much later it was brought to the surface by glaciers and deposited on the land, where it has been found since that time.

Rare Baltic Amber

Rare Baltic Amber

Amber amulets and talismans have been found in stone age excavations, it has been loved for centuries because of it’s color and calming influence.

Amber occurs in a range of different colors. As well as the usual yellow-orange-brown that is associated with the color “amber”, amber itself can range from a whitish color through a pale lemon yellow, to brown and almost black. Other uncommon colors include red amber (sometimes known as “cherry amber”), green amber, and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after.

The oldest amber found is over 125 million years old and was discovered in Lebanon.This type of amber has become known as Jurassic amber.

Quite often insects have been found embedded in amber. In August 2012, two mites preserved in amber were determined to be the oldest animals ever to have been found in the substance; the mites are 230 million years old and were discovered in north-eastern Italy.

Amber jewelry has been worn for centuries and was once only worn by nobility,as it was not affordable for the masses. When being made into modern jewelery, amber is heated to deepen color and add “sun spangles”

It is used in teething rings and has a great calming influence producing a positive effect on the heart, kidneys and nervous system.

Baltic amber, usually the best quality is not used for teething rings but when worn against your skin warming with body heat will reduce pain. that is because it contains succinic acid, a natural analgesic and healing agent.

It is also thought to bring good luck.. You can even wear your amber in the swimming pool.

The problem with amber it is very easy to fake. So be aware of what you are buying. One way to test the authenticity of your amber is to drop it into some water. Real amber floats, plastic does not, although these days I am sure modern imitations will probabaly float. Not too helpful.

Here is also a note from “www.greencrafts.com”

“Natural amber for jewelry is never cut to a regular shape – it is only tumbled and polished on surface. These tumbled pieces are called “chips” and have various irregular shapes. Holes may be drilled in them to create a necklace. Any amber piece with a regular, unnatural, geometric shape is a pressed piece.
Pressed amber commonly exhibits the so called “sun spangles” or “fish scales” – round fissures that are residues of trapped water or air bubbles which have collapsed under pressure at elevated temperature. Natural amber can exhibit also some fissure-like imperfections, but there are much less and they are less “glistening”. ”

*** Sources: Wikipedia, mindat.org, “Colored Gemstones” by Antoinette Matlins, and greencrafts.com

 

 

** Great place to shop for all kinds of Gemstone Beads

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Discovered in Greenland in 1896, Hackmanite is a vibrant pink variety of sodalite,
This unusual stone faded to colorless when brought to light. it returns to it’s original color when left in the dark for an extended period of time, or when exposed to short wave ultraviolet light. This ability is called tenebrescence or reverse photochromism. (This is what happens to eyeglasses that darken or lighten when exposed to different lighting.)

This variety of sodalite was named Hackmanite after Axel Hackman, a Finnish geologist with the University of Helsinki.

What I find fascinating about Hackmanite is that the color change in hackmanite found in Quebec and Greenland changes from pink or violet to white, yet the Hackmanite found in Afghanistan and Myanmar changes from creamy white to pink, red or violet in sunlight! It reverses….why is that??  When heated though, you kill the color change altogether.

 

Blue and pink hackmanite

Natural colors in the dark

Researching Hackmanite I got a little side tracked, wondering what causes the color change in some minerals but not in others. Apparently something called F-Centers are the cause.

An F-Center is a defect in an ionic lattice (a structure of millions of atomic formations of an ionic substance, structured like building blocks into a three dimensional formation.(Wiki answers) This defect occurs when an anion leaves as a neutral species,leaving a cavity and a negative charge behind. (An anion is an atom that has gained electrons. Since they now have more electrons than protons, anions have a negative charge.They are termed so because they get attracted towards the anode or positive electrode (Thanks wikipedia) The negative charge left behind is shared by neighboring positive charges in the lattice.
In Hackmanite it is believed that some of the negatively charged chlorine atoms are missing,allowing free electrons to become trapped in the vacancies. This the basis of the F-Center. In Hackmanite this center asorbs green, yellow and orange light as well as some amounts of blue. There we have the cause of the various shades of Hackmanite and the fading results.

Got carried away with the chemistry lessons, sorry about that. The more you study natural things the more wonderful and fascinating the world becomes.

Hackmanite is the higher vibration of sodalite so all healing and spiritual qualities are considered to be much stronger, especially in the throat and third eye chakra, accelerating intuition and clairvoyant abilities.

Resources: Wipedia, Wiki answers, gemology online, Mindat.org

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