Gem Notes

If you enjoy gemstones, diamonds and jewelry and their related stories, here you will find a disorganized litany of gemstone ramblings and rants, gemological observations, and both useful and time-wasting trivia bought from behind-the-scenes in the gem and jewelry markets of Asia, Africa and more.

Usambara Effect, Or Not ? Phenomena in Chrome Tourmaline

A strange parcel of crystals from deep in the Oromia state, Southern Ethiopia, came to the office last week. The crystals richly green, had a blue-green color and olive’s color another way. We noticed that several crystals looked reddish with a light when viewed in particular directions. The phenomena appears to be an unusual and not-entirely-explicable interplay between pleochroism, flourescence…

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Twinning in Unheated Mozambique Ruby

Red, orange and pink parallel lines show through in the twinning in this unheated natural Mozambique ruby. While a relatively common feature in rubies from Mozambique, they generally have to be placed under the dark-field type lighting of a gemological microscope to be seen so easily. In the rough-gemstone stage, should the twinning be quite prominent, the preforming manufacturer will…

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Calcite Inclusions in Unheated Ruby

Pyramidal shaped calcite crystals in this 2 Carat Unheated Mozambique Ruby peep out. The clear crystal shapes are still intact and are not deformed in any way. This inclusion type is called an syngenetic type of inclusion and is likely to have formed at the same time as the host ruby crystal. An intact crystal such as this is strongly…

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Golden Silk in Unheated Sapphire

This huge size 18 carat unheated sapphire from Tigray in Northern Ethiopia shows a highly unusual type of golden silk. Usually silk in unheated sapphire is whitish in color and is composed of rutile a.k.a. titanium dioxide. This particular item is likely to have higher concentrations of hematite and ilmenite which is generally the most frequent companion minerals seen in…

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Footprints in A Padparadscha

How a tiny dot tells a story A beautiful orange-pink sapphire, that some may choose to call a padparadscha, came across the table the other day in our buying office in the ruby and sapphire market in Chanthaburi, Thailand. The color was that perfect orange-pink with a slight hint of purple that its so reminiscent of the Lotus Flower. The…

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Lady Gaga & The Tiffany Diamond

Stunning the 2019 Oscars, was the outing of this rarely seen and venerable jewel. Stepping out onto the red carpet was Lady Gaga sporting a world-class diamond — the glittering and outstanding Tiffany Yellow Diamond. A true jewel, this diamond’s journey through both time-and-space is remarkable — in over 100 years it has only been worn in public three times,…

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