Category Archives: Gems
I’ve just not been able to write, but I’ve also been meaning to mention this pearl for ages, so I’ll use it to bid June adieu. (And in its current form, also to welcome in the month of rubies.)
In 2011 Christie’s auctioned off Elizabeth Taylor’s famous collection of jewelry. One piece was a natural saltwater pearl, diamond, ruby, and cultured pearl necklace designed by Cartier. So it belonged to a glamorous actress and is part of the story of a famous tempestuous romance. It’s an over the top gem encrusted necklace. Why care?
It’s as encrusted with history as it is with diamonds!
Since today is National Fossil DayTM, I wanted to do a bit of a show-and-tell. I love working with fossils in my jewelry, and a number of them have ended up on here, so I thought I’d do a brief overview of the ones I use most often
Fossils are fascinating. Just think for a minute about the intricacy of ancient life that they preserve. They’re like little time capsules.
A piece of lapis with a wire work bail I made to echo its pyrite sparkles.
Lapis is sometimes considered a secondary birthstone to sapphire. That’s probably due to its brilliant blue color, and the fact that through the middle ages the word sapphire was used pretty loosely!
Lapis is a vibrant blue stone consisting of lazurite and usually pyrite and sodalite as well as a host of other minerals. It’s the pyrite that gives lapis its midnight sparkle of stars.
The green gemstone peridot is the most popular birthstone for August, but it has another, less gemmy birthstone, sardonyx. It seems fitting that one of August’s stones is all sparkle and leaf green, while the other is duller and browner and edging into fall.
Sardonyx is a type of onyx that can be found in shades of browns and reds as mixed with black or white. It’s more common than black onyx (which is naturally bands of black and white-not solid), but since black onyx is a higher demand stone, sardonyx is often dyed black. The sard prefix probably comes from a Persian root for yellowish red. Its colors form very even and straight bands.
I don’t generally read romances, but I stumbled on the Two Nerdy Girls blog back when I was researching French costume for a 17th century doll and I love it! They really dig into historical fashions and accessories-the fun fripperies that show us how little people change, but that history books tend to skip.
For the most part I really enjoyed this book. It’s a fun read with some excellent lines.*
I appreciate her efforts to clearly explain things as vastly different as the geological and biological processes that create gemstones and pearls, and different concepts of value to the psychology of want and envy and their roles both in marketing and the shaping of the political world.
Since I mentioned inclusions a few times last weekend and showed off a lot of rutilated quartz I thought I’d explain it a little bit here.
In mineralogy* inclusions are materials trapped in minerals, normally during its formation. They’re often other minerals, but sometimes they are liquids or gases. Technically the insects and plants found in amber are inclusions too.
A somewhat belated note on the June birthstone you’re least likely to casually come across.
It’s an unusual and pretty rare stone called Alexandrite. Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl, a more common form of chrysoberyl is cat’s eye.
Chrysoberyl are oxide minerals and despite the name, bear no relation to beryl gemstones like aquamarine and emerald.
What’s amazing is that alexandrite changes color depending on the type of lighting it is viewed in. This happens when chromium atoms replace some of the aluminum atoms in the chrysoberyl structure.