Rock n Gem Magazine Issue 44
Published Summer 2009
Coloured Gemstone Report
Tucson Show Report
Stoneset Jewellery Making
Under new management
news, directories, listings
Welcome to the latest edition, it was a welcome surprise to be asked by Keith & Carole if we’d like to take over the running of the magazine, and a pleasure to
accept(we did feel a little under pressure else the magazine was going to cease entirely! -ED). I’m sure you’ll all join us in thanking Helen for all the hard work she and Tony put into the magazine over the years making it what it is today.
It’s a particular poignant time of the year to begin something new. Already we have a host of new thoughts and ideas for the magazine which we hope will grow from it’s solid foundation, the primarily focus being to help share the knowledge
and appreciation of all things Rock n Gem n Bead with a greater audience.
As always we’d welcome future related editorials, articles and stories on your particular field of expertise, knowledge or passion including books, book reviews, finds, techniques, innovations and humorous tales!
As we ‘put pen to paper’ we overlook the garden, the sun is beating down (for a lucky few mins) we are always surprised how the colours of nature are captured in everything – living, mineral & fossil. The goldfinch that flashes it’s yellow
feathers as it perches among vivid green leaves to the blackbird that hops over the agate, flint & rose quartz pebbles around the pond.
This issue also includes editorials on our trip to Tuscon, crystal healing properties from Rhondie, Baker Agates & Herkimer diamonds from Barry, the latest fossil & gem news and more!
We hope you enjoy, please mention the magazine when contacting any of the contributors or advertisers!
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet said the Bard but would diamonds shine as bright if known as crystallised carbon or ruby as red corundum.
Many of the gemstones we use and cherish today have been known since ancient times and some of the names that we still know them by have come down from the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, from the New World and the Orient. Many of these names have been incorporated in the legends and properties ascribed to the stones. Here are some that I know — if you know of others please share them with us.
Janet Mitchell 2008 Rough rock, cut stones Et jewellery sold by Janet Et Eric Mitchell in aid of the Children's Society. (Reg. charity 221124)
Alexandrite - This gem with its clear colour change from green in sunlight to red-violet in artificial light was first found in Russia and a magnificent specimen was presented to Tsar Alexander I for whom it was named.
Amethyst - The name comes from the primitive Greek 'A and Methustes' meaning not drunken and it was thought that the stone protected the wearer from drunkenness. I don't somehow think it will work against breathalysers.
Apache Tears - This spherical form of obsidian is found in the Arizonian deserts and legend has it that a group of Apache warriors finding themselves outnumbered by 'palefaces' threw themselves from a cliff rather than surrender. The tears of their grieving relatives were turned to stone and can still be found today. This obsidian can be faceted and produces an unusual gem not unlike smoky quartz.
Apatite - Known to the Greeks and found in a broad range of colours, this gem's name come from 'Apaptos' meaning deception because it could be used to mimic other gemstones. An interesting fact is that teeth contain a lot of apatite.
Aquamarine - A member of the beryl group this blue-green stone is named from the Latin "aqua marina' meaning sea water referring obviously to its colour.
Aventurine - The name may derive from the Italian 'a ventura ' - chance, since it resembled an unusual Venetian glass accidentally produced in the eighteenth century. Bright flakes usually, mica or hematite. included in quartz or clear feldspar (usually green or red-brown) cause a glitter effect.
In this issue we continue the magical properties of gems starting with 0 & P
Obsidian is a volcanic lustre rock formed during volcanic activity. It is usually a black or brown glass like rock that sometimes portrays other colours such as blue, purple and green as well as gold and silver sheen. Obsidian is a very protective and grounding stone, and has been used by shamans and crystal healers for this as well as for removing negativity and protection against psychic attacks. It has been shaped into parabolic mirrors and disks for scrying for vision quests and helping to tune into the spirit world. The different colours can work on the different chakras according to colour and the rainbow obsidian on all the chakras and is known as the stone of
pleasure as it helps to induce happiness and joy. Snowflake obsidian has the property of bringing things to the surface. The things brought to the surface could be positive or negative, love, anger, secrets, but with snowflake obsidian, these things are brought to the surface more gently than they might be otherwise. Snowflake obsidian can provide balance during times of change and is sometimes known as yin yang stone. It aids in seeing patterns in life and recreating them in a more beneficial way. It is a stone of serenity and purity, and can shield against negativity. It is associated with the root chakra and is beneficial for the veins, skeleton, and smooth skin. Snowflake obsidian gives protection from physical and emotional harm.
Chakra: Primarily 1st Root Muladhara will work on chakra of the same colour as the obsidian.
Chemical composition: S102
Hardness: 5 to 5.5
Onyx is a member of the Quartz family Chalcedony or microcrystalline quartz. It is usually black, gray or brown with white bands. The bands are typically straight, which separates it from banded agate, because the lines in banded agate are usually curved. Sardonyx is a type of Onyx with bands of Sard alternating with the stone's white or black layers. Onyx assists with challenges in life, especially those caused by a drain of energy. It prevents the draining away of personal energy and can be used for protection from such. It also helps with grounding and controlling or eliminating excess or unwanted energies. It has been used for wound healing, childbirth and to increase stamina and self-control. Black onyx and red onyx are associated with the base (root, first) chakra. White onyx is associated with linking the base and crown chakras to have balanced energy throughout the chakra system.
Chakra: Primarily 1st Root, Muladhara, All Chakras.
Si02 Hardness: 6.5 to 7.0
Opal crystallizes in the form of masses and often forms in fossils. There are many types and colour of opal so this is a general explanation as different types of opal work is specific ways. Opal is a stone of inspiration which enhances imagination and creativity. It helps one release inhibitions and enhances memory. Opal is also a very spiritual stone, and can help one be "invisible" in situations where you don't care to be noticed. Opal brings happy dreams. It also eases the process of change and helps to elevate the emotions. Physically, opal is said to be helpful for the lungs and chest area of the body.
Chemical Composition: SiO2E1.5(H20) Hardness: 5.5 to 6.0
Pearl is a product of the pearl oyster, from the sea and freshwater varieties. The colour ranges from white, black, grey and pink. Pearls attune the wearer to the ebb and flow of life. They are calming and centring. They give purity and promote faith, charity, and integrity, truth and loyalty. They especially enhance personal integrity. They help one connect with the Goddess, the ultimate feminine energy. Pearls have been used to treat disorders of the digestive tract and muscular systems, as well as to aid fertility and to ease childbirth.
Chakra: works directly on the third eye Ajna and heart Anahata chakras.
Chemical composition: CAC03 (aragonite) - about 82-86%; conchiolin- about 10-14%; water-2%. Hardness: 2.5 to 4.5
Peridot crystallizes mainly in the form of masses and prismatic crystals. The colour range is varying shades of green but other colours can be found such as yellows and reds. Peridot is associated with the heart chakra, and can be used to balance and stimulate that chakra. It is a stone of compassion. It has a friendly energy and is excellent for healing. It assists in rebirth and renewal of all kinds. Peridot also brings abundance and prosperity. It enhances the healing and harmony of relationships of all kinds, but particularly marriage. Peridot can lessen stress in relationships, anger and jealousy, slow aging, and heal ulcers and other digestive problems. It also assists in finding what is lost, and strengthens ESP abilities. It has been said to make a shield of protection around the body of anyone wearing peridot.
Chemical composition: (MgFe)2SiO4 Hardness: 6.5 to 7.0
Petalite crystallizes mainly in mass form. Its colour varies from white, pink and colourless. Petalite is sometimes called the "Stone of the Angels': It is excellent for spiritual healing. It also encourages and promotes connections to angels, spirit guides and totems. It is said to lift one to higher awareness and allow access to higher realms. It has been used to protect Shamans during ceremonies, such as medicine wheels. It is extremely useful for astral travel and meditation because it will ground and protect you during
these activities. It will also dissipate and remove negative energy and black magic spells. Petalite is also a stone of peace that can bring gentle calm in most situations. It is also great at enhancing and increasing intuition and psychic abilities, increasing one's ability to feel subtle energies. Petalite balances the male female energies within, while aligning and balancing the mind body and spirit.
Chakra: Crown Sahasrara when clear or white, Heart Anahata when pink.
Chemical composition: LiAlSi4010. Hardness: 6 to 6.5
Petrified wood is ancient wood which has been replaced and hardened by another mineral. Its colours vary depending on which mineral has replaced or psudomorphed the original organic structure. Petrified wood is a stone that is good for grounding and stabilizing one's emotions. It is particularly useful in calming survival-based fears. It helps one be practical and is a stone of business success. Petrified wood is a good stone for general protection. It has been used physically for healing the bones, backaches, skin and hair. Petrified wood is also used for past life regressions because of its inherent link with the past, because of this it can also be used in meditation to tune into the ways of the ancient civilizations to recall knowledge that can help us in the modern era.
Chakra: Root Muladhara. Chemical composition: SiO2 Petrified wood is fossilized wood with the mineral composition of jasper, chalcedony, and, less frequently, opal; it consists of silicon dioxide only. The wood has not actually become stone as is usually understood by the layman. The organic wood is not changed into stone, but only the shape and structural elements of the wood are preserved. The expert speaks of a pseudomorphosis of chalcedony (or jasper or opal) after wood.
Hardness: 6.5 to 7
Phenacite crystallizes in the form of granular aggregates and rhombohedral crystals. The colour ranges from yellow, pink, brown and colourless. Phenacite has an energy that is quite expansive, and is said to bring heavenly love to the physical realm. It greatly stimulates the Third Eye, and allows for "knowing" via deep meditation. Phenacite is an energy magnifier, when used in conjunction with other stones for healing; it gathers their energies and increases the total healing energy so that it is more than the sum of all the stone's energies. The presence of Phenacite gathers the energies of the other stones and facilitates the effectiveness of the healing. Phenacite from Brazil is said to produce a pathway for travel within different dimensions, this travel is of a highly spiritual level. Phenacite is used extensively within the metaphysical healing community and is much sort after, but is rare and expensive for good quality pieces.
Chakra: Crown Sahasrara.
Chemical composition: Be2SiO4. Hardness: 7.5 to 8.0
Pietersite crystallizes in the form of masses, the structure a result of inclusions in jasper where the inclusions are pseudomorphs after asbestos. The colour is blue/ black and orange/ red with chatoyancy like the tiger eye. It was discovered by Sid Pieters in Namibia. Pietersite helps one see beyond the immediate to the beauty in all things. It enhances courage, tenacity, and the ability to maintain or create what is yours. Spiritually and psychically, it helps in working with angels, experiencing visions, and precognition, in particular relating to feminine or goddess energy, as well as astral and dimensional travel. Emotionally, pietersite helps to relax, and release deep emotions in a calmer way. Physically, it is said to balance body fluids, improve nutrition absorption, help with gastrointestinal functions, help the endocrine glands, balances female hormones, alleviates PMS and menopause symptoms. Pietersite is also excellent for improving memory.
Chakra: Root Muladhara.
Chemical composition: Na
(Fel", Mg)3 Fe3+Si8022(OH)2
Prehnite crystallizes in the form of compact granular masses, tabular and prismatic crystals. The colour range includes pale green, dark green yellow and white and sometimes can be found with inclusions of epidote. Prehnite is a very protective stone and can protect on all levels. It strengthens the life force generally increasing and stimulating the wearer's energy, while at the same time bringing powerful calming energies. Thus prehnite is said to ease worries and restlessness of all kinds. It aids spirit communication through meditation or visualization, out-of-body travel, and is a powerful dream stone. Prehnite is also known as a stone of prophesy which stimulates inner-knowing. Physically, it is helpful in the healing of gout, anaemia, and kidney problems.
Anahata when pink.
Chemical composition: Ca2Al2Si3010(OH). Hardness: 6 to 6.5
Pyrite crystallizes in the form of masses, stalactites, grains, striated cubes, globes and twelve-faced pentagonal dodecahedral crystals. It also occurs as a replacement mineral, hence occurs in many configurations. Its colour is golden yellow. Pyrite is a stone of intellect and protection. It enhances intelligence, mental stability, logic, analysis, creativity, memory, and psychic development. It can help you tap your own latent mental talents and abilities. Pyrite is a powerful protection stone, and is very grounding. Pyrite is also known as Fool's Gold and Healer's Gold.
Chakra: Root Muladhara.
Chemical composition: Fed-S2. Hardness: 6.5
Our bi-annual Far East buying trips have had to become two week events rather than the one week trips they always used to be. Current market conditions are making most in the trade a little wary.
With the falling pound against the dollar, gemstones and diamonds which are all bought in dollars are generally getting more expensive.
That said, we’re finding sales holding up very well, in fact it seems to be the better-end stones that our customers are finding to be the strong sellers.
Autumn’s Far East visit took in both Hong Kong and Thailand, focusing solely on coloured stones.
The mood amongst dealers was generally subdued with a reduction in the number of buyers and a reduction in the spend of those that did. Taking only what they know they need and little in the way of speculative purchases.
The visit soon revealed an increased number of dealers promoting untreated stones, particularly sapphire and ruby, undoubtedly a result of buyer resistance to the high volume of diffusion treated corundum on the market and the high volume of
lead-glass filled ruby that was evident at almost every turn. Laughably, this material was available ‘certificated’ as “enhanced ruby” with prices ranging from about £9ct to £15pc with sizes up to about 20ct!
There was as usual an abundance of Tanzanite on display but few large pieces in the AAAA grade. We did manage to find a few stunning cushions, emerald cuts and a fantastic AAAA 8ct+ chequerboard short pear shape.
Attention had to be given to avoiding tanzanite with cobalt coatings which have started to appear on the market in recent months. Clues to this treatment include small stones with unusually strong colour for their mass, stones exhibiting paler colour along facet
edges and junctions and stones with an iridescent, almost oily appearance in incident light.
Plenty of large, good quality fresh water pearls are on the market, being a nice round shape with a very high quality nacre.
There were nice examples of Brazilian lavender tourmaline and rubellite. High quality Tsavorite was thin on the ground with much of the material on offer really just too dark and looking more like dark green tourmaline.
The quite dramatic drop in the value of the Pound against the Dollar is having a marked effect on prices but other factors are also influencing the supply and price of diamonds worldwide.
Ninety percent of the diamonds sold worldwide are cut in the Indian city of Sur at in Gujarat State. An unfavourable rupee/dollar exchange rate is compounding problems for Indian cutters pushing up their costs. Also a reduction in availability of the rough, an expected reduction in buyers have all
combined to persuade some major manufacturers in the post Diwali period to remain closed for up to 6 weeks, holding onto stocks in the hope more profitable economic conditions will return.
Also, African producers such as Botswana, Congo and Tanzania, which account for 45% of diamond production, in a move to end India’s domination over the diamond trade and to kick start a domestic cutting industry are set to impose export duties of 5 to 7% on rough.
The immensely popular 1ct Diamond Packs which we had sold out of, have now been replenished with TLB material in sizes 1mm to 2.75. Exact or “hot” sizes eg 1.5/2/2.5/ 3mm etc are attracting premium prices
as demand is very high with most going to the watch trade for bezels, dials and bracelets.
We’ve been fortunate to find an old Indian cutter who will cut old cuts for us... makes sense I suppose. He’s so old we reckon he never re-trained for cutting the modem brilliant when it was, introduced in the 1940’s and Victorian or “Mitchel” cuts as they are known in India are what he’s always done.
R M Weare