GemSelect Newsletter: Fabulous Gemstone Flaws and Inclusions
Inclusions are material within gemstones. They can be interesting and give texture and color to a gemstone. For example rutile inclusions often appear like internal landscapes and can bring golden, green, black, or red colors to otherwise ordinary, white or colorless quartz. Tourmaline often forms with inclusions that can give gems dreamy qualities and interesting textures. Dendrite inclusions are highly sought after when they form unique patterns within chalcedony. These include gems like dendritic agate and moss opal.
Examples of other gemstones that often contain highly-prized inclusions include turquoise (black matrix inclusions which resemble spider webs), lapis lazuli (golden flecks of pyrite are treasured) and bloodstone (blood-like inclusions of iron oxide).
Inclusions that are aligned in certain ways also bring about wonderful optical phenomena, such as star asterism and cat's eye chatoyancy. The cat's eye effect is caused by perfectly aligned parallel inclusions that reflect the light, much like that of light shining on a reel of silk fibers.
While most faceted stones are preferred exceptionally clean with excellent clarity and transparency, some gems actually gain value due to inclusions. For example, star sapphires have intersecting rutile inclusions which result in focused light being reflected in the form of a 6-rayed stars. There are only a handful of gemstone types that are known to form with such amazing 'flaws'; some other examples include rare star garnet, star diopside, and star sunstone.
Not only can sunstone exhibit an amazing asterism effect, it also displays an attractive and stunning spangled effect that is a result of small inclusions of copper, hematite, pyrite, or sometimes goethite. As the light hits the sunstone, the beautiful shimmering inclusions are illuminated. It also inclusions within moonstone that cause the prized adularescent effect that appears as an undulating internal light.
Rutile is the cause of asterism in star sapphires, but in addition, some of the world's finest blue sapphires exhibit small needle-like rutile inclusions that are prized for their silky, velvety texture. The presence of rutile in sapphire can be an indicator in detecting whether or not a specific specimen is an unheated sapphire. In addition, it can also be used to help determine the origin of materials. For example, when sapphire is heated, rutile inclusions are melted away, so the presence of these fabulous flaws is a very good thing since it means it's likely untreated.
Kashmir sapphire with fine rutile inclusions demand some of the highest prices because the silky inclusions enhance its velvety texture and color, as well as help indicate its origin. Highly-prized Russian demantoid garnet is famed for its inclusions which resemble that of a horsetail. These special 'included' garnets demand much higher prices than demantoid garnet with excellent color and clarity from other origins.
Some unusual inclusions that are very highly valued are those found in amber, an organic gemstone that is made up of fossilized pine tree resin. The sticky resin has been known to trap plant matter, insects and even mammals as it cools and then hardens before fossilization. Amber gemstones containing preserved ants, spiders, mosquitoes and even lizards have been found. Such rare amber stones are treasured by both gemstone collectors and fossil fans. Recently, a 100 million year-old spider-like creature with a long tail was found preserved in a piece of amber from Myanmar. The creature had never been seen before.
Flawless is not favored. In fact, many synthetic stones are "too perfect" which reveals their fake nature. Inclusions can be an indicator of authenticity and origin rather than simply disregarded as "imperfections", so let's not insist on flawless colored gemstones, but instead, let's celebrate the rich tapestry of inclusions that make each and every gemstone unique!.
Over the last decade, tourmaline tornadoed its way through the gem and jewelry industry, earning a spot as one of the most highly sought-after gemstones in the world. It's one of the few types of colored stones that's almost always available in retail jewelry stores, other than sapphire, ruby, and emerald of course. Of all the tourmaline colors, it is sizzling pink tourmaline that has really seen a huge surge in demand. Prices for fine pink tourmaline are almost doubling each and every year!
Apart from its superior hardness (8.5 on the Mohs scale), Chrysoberyl is remarkably brilliant owed to its high refractive index, which is greater than that of both Tsavorite and Mali garnet! It takes an excellent polish and exhibits a beautiful vitreous luster. Honestly, we don't know why chrysoberyl has never made it onto the list of top-selling gems because it's an exceptional stone that offers excellent value.
When we mentioned chrysoberyl and its remarkable brilliance, we probably should have mentioned that blue zircon has an even higher refractive index. For those unfamiliar with technical terms, it basically means that it's remarkably sparkling, sometimes blinding! Similar to catching the glare from someone's timepiece or shiny gold jewelry, any jewelry featuring blue zircon will surely catch eyes with its amazing sparkles, flashes, and stunning color.
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Your friends at GemSelect
- First Published: March-06-2018
- Last Updated: August-02-2018
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