I know, I know it is the end of May already so why am I doing my blog now? I have been kept busy since coming back from the Scottish Gemmological Conference with meeting new people, hearing the amazing stories of their jewellery and being privileged to appraise it.
As you may know from my blogs, I believe in attending lectures and conferences as my field of work is ever changing. It is not static. This was brought home once again in Scotland where the topics discussed were as diversified as the “Synthesis of Emeralds” to “Brazilian Gems in Portuguese Jewellery of the 18th Century” and so many more topics. All topics, as an appraiser, it is is important for me to know.
Conferences are also a time of socializing and forming friendships. The friendships are priceless and precious to me personally, but business wise these colleagues are a tremendous resource especially for this appraiser, who works on her own. We pick each others brains, offer suggestion, and help when needed.
At this time of year I think of green leaves, green grass but also the green of the Emerald. It is a member of the beryl family (BeAl)SiO which also has Aquamarine as part of its family. Emerald may appear as a stunning blue green colour right down to a yellow green colour and has some properties you should be aware of when buying. Emerald may be heavily included but it also may have been treated. When we talk about treatment it may be oiling (which has been an accepted practice for many many many years), but it may also be resin filled, which if stable is accepted, but is suppose to be noted and mentioned to the consumer at time of sale. This treatment is used to enhance colour and reduce the look of inclusion with the hope of stabilizing the emerald as well. There are a lot of gemmological information I could give you here but that can be found in lots of places so I will end talking about emeralds with the suggestion you enjoy it but be aware it is a brittle stone and may shatter if hit .
As we start the summer -a time of sun, sea and surf we come into June -a month with 3 birthstones. Aren’t June babies lucky. It is fitting that the birthstones are the pearl (traditional birthstone) and from the sea, the moonstone which reminds me of the whitish bluish colour of the surf. The newer birthstone is Alexandrite -a very rare colour change stone of the Chrysoberyl family. The stone is like the sun bright and vibrant and changes from green under daylight to red under filament light.
Let us talk a bit about these wonderful gems. Pearl comes in many colours, shapes and sizes-from the keshi pearl to the South Sea and Tahitian Peal, from the freshwater growth to the saltwater growth, from the Natural (very rare) to the Cultured to the inexpensive synthetics. Pearls are available no matter your taste or preference or budget.
Moonstone is one of the Feldspar minerals which is a group that consist of many varieties. Moonstone is a whitish to creamy colour of gem that exhibits a bluish sheen giving it a softer appearance and is usually found in a cabachon cut as opposed to a facetted cut. This is a fairly soft stone ( 6-6.5 on Mohs scale )and therefore must be protected against wear as it will be damaged easily. But still it is a beautiful stone with an almost ethereal appearance.
The last stone is alexandrite which as said before is quite rare and often we will see synthetic corrundum imitating alexandrite. However. it can be found in the Ural mountains of Russia. Alexandrite differs from other chrysoberyls in that it not only contains iron and titanium, but also chromium as a major impurity. And it is this very element which accounts for the spectacular colour change. Rarely, vanadium may also play a part. Only chrysoberyls displaying a distinct change of colour should be termed alexandrite.
I hope you enjoy the tidbits I give you about gems. If you are wanting to know more after I wet your gem appetite, look to your local gemmological associations or gem and mineral clubs for classes that will help you explore further into my gem world, and discover for yourself why it fascinates me so.
If you go to the Canadian Gemmological Website you will find classes of general interest listed which serves you well in the Toronto area. I also love to talk about gems and would be glad to talk to your group.
Remember it is my privilege as well as my job, to help you document your jewellery for future generations by keeping it safe with appraisals. They are so much more than valuation amounts
.Have a wonderful month.