Karen Howard on Christmas, turquoise and appraising

Sparling  coloured lights are now twinkling in the night reminding some people of stars in the sky but in my world I see gems twinkling. We have had our first small snowfall of the winter here making a drive in the countryside look like  you are driving through a picture postcard:just the thing for a busy appraiser to take a few minutes and relax. Ok, so I was going to an appointment in another town but it was sill a peaceful, relaxing drive. 

I was thinking about what to talk about in this month’s blog and of course Christmas comes to mind for me. Is this a time of year when you have time off or are you like most people in my industry extremely busy? A lot of people are having items appraised at this time of year for a number of reasons: thinking of selling jewellery to make a bit of money;insurance as the end of the year draws near and people get ready for the new year; presents of jewellery being given and  received. 

 A question that arises from clients is when I ask for old documentation. “Why do I want it?”  An example of why an appraiser will want documentation you may have is 1. you have a document on a diamond that was graded and weighed before being mounted. When doing the documentation on a mounted stone we are approximating the weight with mathamatical calculations-never as accurate as being able to weigh it. 2, an appraiser can educate and discuss with you the reasons for differences in values between old documents and new documents in a more educated manner when we are able to see the old document. It is a matter of being able to help and inform our client with the best advice and knowledge possible

December birthstone of Turquoise-the traditional stone- always seemed to me like a calm in a turbulent month.  coutesy of V & A museum.

The blue green colour is peaceful and calming like the water in the Caribbean. Turquoise is an opaque gem usually cut en cabachon or tumbled   into freeform shapes. A gemmologist will look for a refractive index of 1.6 to 1.65 , usually a 1.62 shadow edge on the refractometer. Turquoise has a waxy lustre and may sometimes have lines of sandstone or of the limonite matrix going through it. Turquoise is found in Afghanistan, China (Tibet), Iran, Sinai, and USA. Sorry no Canadian source found yet. The hardness of turqoise means necklace and earrings are going to be ok; but a ring may show wear being somewhere in the 5.5-6 vicinity on Moh’s hardness scale.  There are treatments done to turquoise so be sure to ask your jeweller whether what you are buying is treated and is it stable and permanent.

I think of all the discussion now about what is correct to say at this time of year to people. It is a real issue in Canada with such a diverse group of people living here. So from my house to your house Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays,  whichever it is,  may you enjoy them in your own unique way. Until the new year–

Karen Howard FCGmA, RMV, CAP(CJA)www.karensappraising.com

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