GemSelect July 2014 Newsletter - New and Interesting Gemstones of 2014
Enstatite Back to Top
Everyone has heard of well-known coloured gemstones such as emerald, sapphire and ruby. These esteemed gems rightly dominate the limelight. However, there are a lot of lesser-known coloured gems that also deserve a little attention. Therefore, we have provided some information about some of our rarer gemstones.
Enstatite is one of these rare gemstones. It is a colourless, yellowish, greyish or brown-green pyroxene mineral composed of magnesium silicate. It is a strongly pleochroic gemstone, meaning that it exhibits more than one colour when viewed along different axes. The name "enstatite" comes from the Greek "enstates", which means "adversary". This is because enstatite has a high melting point and was resistant to being treated with a blow torch.
The largest faceted enstatite gemstone is the "Ophir Enstatite", which is an oval faceted gemstone weighing an amazing 42.2 carats. It belongs to the Ophir Collection, owned by Ophir Collection LLC of Delaware, USA and has been certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The Ophir Collection contains some of the rarest and largest gemstones in the world and has received nine Guinness World Records, including awards for the world's largest faceted sapphire and the world's largest cut tanzanite. By contrast, our largest enstatite gem is a mere 17.74 carats.
Ruby-in-Fuchsite Back to Top
Ruby-in-fuchsite is a rare and interesting combination of fuchsite and ruby in one gemstone. It is somewhat similar in appearance to ruby-in-zoisite, which is also a green and red gemstone. Ruby-in-zoisite tends to have black blotches and swirls due to hornblende inclusions, whereas ruby-in-fuchsite can exhibit interesting shades of yellow, blue and green, but not usually black. Everyone knows ruby as one of the precious four gems and is the red variety of the mineral corundum. However, the ruby in fuchsite tends to be opaque, rather than the fine, transparent ruby that is so well-known throughout the world and commands very high prices. The ruby inclusions in fuchsite vary in colour from pink to red and purple.
The constituents of ruby-in-fuchsite contrast in several ways. First, the green and red colours are at opposite ends of the colour spectrum, which give it an interesting appearance. Also, it is composed of materials with widely varying hardness scores. Ruby has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, whereas fuchsite has a Mohs scale hardness of 2 - 3. Additionally, in Chinese culture, red symbolizes fire whereas green is associated with wood.
Fuchsite is a variety of muscovite that gets its attractive green colour from traces of chromium. It was named after Johann Nepomuk von Fuchs, a German Catholic chemist and mineralogist who lived from 1774 to 1856. He wrote several books and became so respected that he was appointed as conservator of the Munich mineral collections in 1823 and then professor of mineralogy. Two years before his death, Fuchs was knighted by the King of Bavaria. Fuchs is also known for his work on soluble glass and cement. In fact, soluble glass is still sometimes called "Fuchs's soluble glass". Fuchs certainly made his contribution to mineralogy.
Kornerupine Back to Top
Kornerupine is a green to green-brown pleochroic gemstone that received its unusual name in honour of Danish geologist, Andreas Nikolaus Kornerup. The gemstone was discovered in Fiskenaesset (Greenland) in 1884, after the death of Kornerup in 1881.
Large kornerupine crystal specimens that measured as much as 23 cm (9 inches) in length were found in Fiskenaesset, Greenland in 1975. Twenty-one gemstones were made from these large blue-green crystals; comprising 14 faceted gems and 7 cabochons. The largest gems from these crystals weigh 5.88 carats and 1.72 carats and can be seen at Copenhagen Geological Museum. At the time, these were remarkable, however, more recent kornerupine deposits in Africa (Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia), Australia, Canada (Quebec) Myanmar and Sri Lanka have led to larger kornerupine gemstones being more freely available. Our largest kornerupine gem is around 2.5 carats but it is said that the Burmese kornerupine desposits yielded faceted stones of up to 20 carats. An extremely rare Tanzanian vanadium-bearing kornerupine of a beautiful apple-green colour was found in late 2007 in the Usambara Mountains. There are less than one hundred of these incredibly rare gemstones.
Actinolite Cat's Eye Back to Top
Actinolite is a colourless, green, white, grey or brown amphibole silicate. Cat's eye actinolite is a chatoyant variety of actinolite. Gem quality actinolite is quite rare, and cat's eye actinolite is even rarer. Since the colour of cat's eye actinolite is often similar to jade, it has been referred to as "cat's eye jade". However, although actinolite is related to nephrite jade, it should not be considered a type of jade.
Actinolite cat's eye is generally cut en cabochon, in order to display its attractive chatoyancy. Many of these cabochons have uneven bottoms as a necessary result of centering the stone. This is considered normal and does not detract from their price or beauty. Actinolite is a relatively soft material, at 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, and therefore should be worn with care. Cat's eye gemstones are best shown off cabochon rings. This is because rings generally get more direct light, which allows the cat's eye to be seen. Actinolite cat's eye is known to have rather strong chatoyancy, so the cat's eye is quite easily visible.
Lavender Jadeite Back to Top
Jadeite is a pyroxene mineral and is the rarer of the two types of pure jade (the other is nephrite). Many people are aware that jadeite occurs in the vivid emerald green colour of imperial jadeite, but not many know that jadeite also occurs in orange, yellow, black, grey, white and even lavender. Jadeite gemstones can also exhibit a combination of colours. In the Far East, pink, white and lavender jadeite is highly prized. In fact, the Jade Dragon Vase displayed in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USA, is carved from lavender and green jadeite.
Jadeite has a long history that dates back to the Mayans and Aztecs, who believed that jadeite could cure pain in the side of the body. The Chinese have also considered jadeite to be precious for hundreds of years and have a saying that goes, "gold is valuable; jade is priceless". Jadeite is believed by the Chinese to strengthen health and promote longevity.
Jadeite is an extremely versatile gemstone that can be used for almost any jewellery design. It has good hardness (6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale) and an attractive waxy to greasy lustre. It can be used for a wide range of both masculine and feminine jewellery.
Featured Gems - Bloodstone, Cat's Eye Beryl and Rhodolite Garnet Back to Top
This cushion-cut bloodstone is an interesting shape that is not usually seen for this gem. We have noticed that cushion cuts have become increasingly popular lately. This gemstone exhibits vivid "blood-like" iron oxide inclusions, so the reason behind its unusual name can be clearly seen. Bloodstone is composed of chalcedony quartz, which is in turn a microcrystalline quartz variety. Bloodstone has excellent hardness and durability. Its colour makes it ideal for masculine jewellery designs. Those who believe in crystal healing consider bloodstone to have a strong protective energy and to be beneficial to the blood and circulation. Bloodstone is a birthstone for those born under the signs of Aries, Pisces and Scorpio.
Although beryl is well known, cat's eye beryl is quite a rare gemstone. Cat's eye gemstones are technically termed "chatoyant". The effect is caused by parallel inclusions that when properly aligned in a cabochon and viewed from above, result in the appearance of the slit eye of a cat. We had several of these and they seem to be very popular since only one is remaining. Beryl is an important mineral group that best known for its other members; emerald, morganite and aquamarine. Beryl has good hardness (7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale) and indistinct cleavage, which makes it a very durable jewellery gemstone. Cat's eye gemstones are usually best displayed in cabochon rings, since these catch the light more easily, thus showing off the cat's eye effect.
Rhodolite garnet is one of the many garnet varieties. It has a characteristic rose, purplish or raspberry red hue. The name "rhodolite" comes from the Greek word for rose-coloured; "rhodon". The best rhodolite specimens are a vivid raspberry red colour. Rhodolite differs from the other red garnets because it lacks the deep brownish tones that can usually be seen in almandine and pyrope garnet, though by composition, rhodolite is a mixture between pyrope and almandine garnet. Garnet has good hardness (6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale) and indistinct cleavage, which make it durable. Its attractive vitreous lustre combined with excellent clarity makes it perfect for jewellery use.
Gem News Back to Top
AIM-listed company, Gemfields Plc, announced an excellent result following their first auction of rough ruby and corundum from Montepuez in Mozambique. A total revenue of $35.5 million was achieved in the auction, which took place in mid June in Singapore and was attended by a large amount of buyers from Thailand. Other buyers came from the USA, India, Germany, Israel and other nations. The proceeds of the auction will be repatriated to Montepuez Ruby Mining Limitada, 75% of which is owned by Gemfields.
A rare, 122.52 carat vivid blue diamond has been unearthed from Petra Diamonds' Cullinan mine in South Africa, the same mine that produced the famous 3.106 carat Cullinan diamond in 1905, the largest rough diamond ever found. Petra Diamonds will analyse the rare gem and assess its value before putting it on the market.
On June 10th, New York jewelers, Tiffany & Co. opened a new store on the iconic Champs-Elysees in Paris. The opening was marked by the appearance of the famous 128.54 yellow Tiffany Diamond, which is on display for a limited period, after travelling from its usual place at Tiffany & Co.'s Fifth Avenue store in New York.
Gem & Jewellery Events for July 2014 Back to Top
Customer Questions Back to Top
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Happy gem hunting,
- First Published: June-30-2014
- Last Updated: March-08-2016
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