|May 2013 Newsletter: Gems for Gents
The colored gemstone market for men has slowly been gaining more and more popularity over the past few years. Gone are the days when most men didn't care about fashion; nowadays, everyone wants to be unique. Men are beginning to become bolder with fashion and one way to stand out from the crowd is by accessorizing with precious stones.
Not all jewelry has to be feminine. There are many colored gemstones that even the manliest of men can sport. The most popular types of gem worn by males today are classic neutral-colored stones such as black onyx or agate (chalcedony), grey moonstone and nacre (mother of pearl). However, men are stepping out of their safe-zones and they're becoming much more adventurous with fashion. In today's top designer lines, colored stones like garnet, lapis lazuli, spinel and jadeite are in high demand.
Many popular jewelry designers are integrating masculine gemstones with radical, nontraditional and alternative metals. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to find gents' jewelry featuring bold colored stones and unconventional base materials such as ceramic, steel, titanium, silver or leather. When colored stones are set into these "masculine" settings, the finished jewelry designs are without a doubt, tougher than tough.
GarnetThe name "garnet" is derived from the Middle English word "gernet", which means "dark red". However, red is just one of the many vibrant color variations of garnet. Not only is garnet available in a numerous array of colors, it also has many varieties including rhodolite, tsavorite, spessartite, grossularite, demantoid and almandine. There are other varieties as well, including "hybrid" mixes and color change garnets. However, no matter which type of garnet you decide upon, rest assured that it's one of the finest and toughest of all precious colored gemstones. Due to its toughness, garnet is commonly used as a silicone substitute for industrial abrasives and when mixed with high-pressure and water, garnet can be used for sand-blasting and steel cutting. Being as tough as nails, garnet definitely deserves to be on the gentlemen's list of top gems.
Garnet has an excellent level of hardness, ranging from 7 - 7.05 on the Mohs scale of hardness. It also has a very high refractive index, which results in excellent brilliance (a quality greatly admired in gems). Did you know that barbarians and Romans alike had a liking for garnet gems? Still to this day, garnet remains a popular stone.
Lapis LazuliLapis lazuli is often abbreviated to simply, lapis. The word "lapis" originated from the Latin word meaning "stone", and "lazuli" from the Persian word meaning "sky"; together the results are an amazingly sky-blue gemstone with star-like inclusions that shimmer and sparkle like the starry night.
To say that lapis is an extremely attractive gemstone does not do this stone the justice that it deserves. It has always been a favorite amongst blue colored stones and to this day, it is second only to turquoise in popularity.
The best lapis specimens possess a deep blue color with minimal marbling of calcite deposits. Calcite deposits can give the false illusion that the lapis stone is actually less blue than it really is. The golden sparkles within lapis are deposits of another mineral known as pyrite, referred to as "fool's gold". As long as the pyrite deposits are not exceptionally large, they can make the lapis much more desirable.
Lapis lazuli is an excellent, versatile gemstone and because it's technically a "rock" and not a mineral, lapis lazuli remains a preferred gemstone for guys.
JadeiteJadeite is one of two minerals referred to as true "jade" in the gem trade. The other mineral is nephrite, which is much more common. Nephrite is not nearly as valuable or precious as jadeite. Jadeite can be found in many different hues, with emerald-green being the most desirable of all. Jadeite gemstones are mined from areas all over the world, but the best deposits are known to originate from Upper Myanmar (Burma).
Quartz and serpentine can often be mistaken for jade, but through laboratory testing, jadeite is easily distinguished. Jadeite may not be one of the hardest minerals based on the Mohs scale, but it does have one of the toughest known compositions. Jadeite is literally stronger than steel, and so for this reason, men can proudly wear jadeite without feeling the slightest bit insecure.
Other Gems for GentsThese are just a few of the gem trends we've seen this year for men. There are many other popular choices available - such as black spinel, black tourmaline, black opal and of course, you can never go wrong with unique types (especially for pendants) like jasper, labradorite, Australian boulder opal and chrysocolla.
Browse through our fancy shapes for some great inspirational ideas and if you're ever in doubt, send us an email and we'd be pleased to help forward our personal suggestions.
Rare and Unusual GemsEach month we feature rare and unusual gems from our inventory. This month we proudly feature:
1: Multicolored Pietersite Cabochon Gem from Namibia.
Pietersite is the trade name given to a variety of tiger's eye called riebeckite. It is mainly a composite of both hawk's eye and tiger's eye. Pietersite patterns are rather chaotic swirls and streaks in every direction, but through the chaos is serenity and beauty. The colors can range from the typically blue-grey base colors to different red, gold and brown shades as well.
2: Flaming Hot Mexican Fire Opal.
This remarkable 8.78 carat Mexican fire opal is absolutely stunning. A unique trillion style cut really makes this gem stand out. Opals of this size and quality are not an easy find! Opal is famed for its play of color, but fire opal from Mexico is known for its strong body color rather than its play of color.
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Happy gem hunting,
- First Published: May-01-2013
- Last Updated: November-07-2014
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