Thursday, December 11, 2008

Can't Make it to Tucson this Year?

This blog will help you get your Tucson fix! Dev and I won't be going this year because we are saving up for the Brazil trip. I stumbled upon this blog:

What a great idea for all of us stuck at home and wishing we were in Tucson :)

Friday, December 05, 2008 : Faceter's Gallery


Just want to remind everyone that we have a Faceter's Gallery. This is a free way for all faceters to market their services or just a way to show off what you do.

This is ONLY open to faceters who do their own cutting.

If you are interested in being included please email me the following:

1. Name and location (city and state is fine) and pretty picture of you (or your cat or grandkids or studio)

2. Do you accept commissions? (You don't have to to be included.)

3. Short (very short ) bio of your life as a faceter.

4. Contact info: email or address or phone Please remember this will be on the internet. Sorry, I am not going to act as a go between

5. Images of stones you have cut, about 200 x 200 dpi, .jpg format. We are limiting the gallery to 3 images of your choice of stones. However, you can post as many as you like if the rough is purchased from us These are not images of items for sale, we aren't putting up prices. They are examples of what your work looks like, you don't have to have the stone still in your possession.

We have thought about having a Jewelry Gallery, too. If you would be interested, let me know.

$108 million in Jewels Stolen from Harry Winstons in Paris


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Carving Tutorial by Hans Meevis

Hans Meevis has an excellent carving tutorial on ganoksin:

He does a great job of going step by step through the process with photos of the tools and stones along the way.

I received most of the tools I need to learn to carve for my birthday this year. This was the inspiration I needed to get going and carve something... even if it is something only a mother could love :)

Marketing Handcrafted Jewelry and Gems

Working on the catalog this week got me thinking about marketing. Marketing is a very important part of having a small business...something artists and craftsmen often don't want to admit. I don't make jewelry or gems (yet :)), but I do have an art background. When it comes to painting, it was probably 60% marketing, 40% actually painting. If you are really lucky you can talk someone else into doing the marketing for you or hire someone...other wise, it's you talking someone in to purchasing your work.

PrettyRock has a bit of a different business model, we are selling the materials artists use as opposed to art itself. But we do spend a good bit of time and energy (and money) marketing with advertisments on the net and in magazines, with the blog and links. We did shows for a long time, but although they were fun and a great way to meet people, they turned out not to be cost affective in terms of marketing.

What have you found to be affective? Participate in shows? Do you have a website? blog? do you advertise on the internet or in magazines?

If you are looking for ideas, ganoskin has great section of articles:
If you find one you really like, please share the link.

This is a marketing audit directed at jewelry makers:

Great way to get you brainstorming.

I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Carrots are devine... You get a dozen for a dime, It's maaaa-gic! - Bugs Bunny

As the saying goes...if it's too good to be true, it probably is:

A "confidence trickster" set up a sophisticated scam to dupe people into buying
fake gemstones made of concrete and glass, Northampton Crown Court heard today.

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 New! Darkside Faceting Lap

We've Joined the Darkside! Faceting laps that is...

Developed by the inventor of the Batt™ Lap, the DARKSIDE™ is a lightweight advanced composite polymer polish lap, made of specially developed material coated onto an aluminum baseplate, then machined both sides for flatness. 8" diameter, 1/2 center hole. This lap has gotten rave reviews from professional and amature gem cutters. Click here to read a thread on our forums for more information on how to use this lap

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Imperial vs Precious Topaz

Where is the dividing line between imperial and precious topaz? Got an opinion? Join in the discussion here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Andesine: the Cliff Notes

(This is our one andesine, it's 1.2 ct, 8 x 6 mm, in case anyone hasn't seen one)

Pala International has published a good article that summarizes the whole andesine issue.

Since there was never really any rough available to the rough dealers, Dev and I have not been personally involved in this issue. I think we bought one cut stone a year or two ago, just to see what all the hoopla was about. Since at the moment, we are a rock shop and not a lab, nor an investor in andesine, we promptly stuck it in a box marked "To be identified later" and forgot about it.

It has been very educational to see how this story has unfolded, how the different gem labs and researchers have evaluated the gems and come to conclusions (or not), and all the actions and reactions of the different sides involved. It has been a very emotional issue for some, and source of investigative detective work for others. We can only hope for those who have collected many stones, that either it turns out that there is real andesine, or that the companies they did business with will do the right thing and offer a refund.

I do think the andesine issue brought to the forefront just how influential the internet has become in gemology. On the positive side, scientists and gemologists are able to share their findings quickly, and information gets to the public more quickly. On the down side, we expect answers and we expect them now. It's hard to remember that good science takes time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Light Sensitive Minerals

There is a great article in the November 2008 Rock & Gem Magazine, "Light-Sensitive Minerals: Why Some Specimens Lose Their Color" by Bob Jones. He discusses the chemical make up that creates the light sensitivity and how to care for and display light sensitive minerals. Some of the minerals he lists are:
Brown Zircon
Celestine (Blue)
Yellow Sapphire
Green Spodumene
Colored Diamonds
Smoky, Rose, Amethyst Quartz
Pink, Yellow, and Blue Fluorite
Red Spinel
Maxixe Emerald
Brown, Sherry, and Blue Topaz
And there are more.

It's very well done article, check it out if you haven't yet!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Specific Gravity Kit - Review from IGS

Dev and I were thrilled to receive the following review about our specific gravity travel kit.

____________________________________________________________________ has released a new Specific Gravity Travel Kit. This is a wonderful kit with a lot going for it.
My first impression was the high quality of the pieces and how well thought out it is. First, there is a very nice scale. It is small, to go with the theme of being light and portable. However, it also comes with a built in breeze cover and measures up to 100 carats. That is as much as any portable scale will handle. PrettyRock advertises that it is good through 50 carats. That shows their modesty and conservative attitude when it comes to advertising.
The kit comes with a small, plastic cube, the lid of which serves as the water vessel for the specific gravity readings. It is also used to store the hanging aparatus and the calibration weight. In addition, it comes with a sturdy little stand, a pair of tweezers and an electronic calculator.
Now, I like sturdy, but I was surprised at how heavy the weighing aparatus is. I had assumed that it had to be light, so as not to use up much of the scale's capacity. To test it, I weighed several large stones and even the calibration weight. Once the scale is zeroed with the weighing accessory on it, it retains its accuracy to the full 100 carats.
I was impressed. I have been using a wimpy wire for SG readings - one that causes me to use my full vocabulary. This set up is much easier to use and takes a lot of the headaches, and vocal exclamations, out of taking specific gravity readings.
Specific gravity readings are still tricky and a lot of care needs to be used. (See Specific Gravity Testing.) I wouldn't recommend using toluene in the plastic vessel. If you are interested in traveling with the kit, a small bottle of distilled water with a drop of liquid soap will both do the job and is safer.
This is a wonderfully easy kit to use, plus it is small enough to fit in your briefcase. Whether you are looking for something portable or something for your lab, I highly recommend this kit.

Sincerely,Donald Clark CSM IMGPresident

International Gem Society

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Visit on Australian Sapphire!

This is a great virtual tour created by Aussie Sapphire. This way you can check out the mine without getting your feet dirty...

Take a Virtual Trip to the Smithsonian's Gem and Mineral Exhibit

Not quite as nice as being able to see it in person, but still very cool! This is a online version of the Smithsonians Natural History Museum's Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, & Minerals. Check it out and bring your kids along

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gem Mining in NC

Dev and I starting our gem addiction by going to the mines in NC. Yes, some of them are seeded..but who cares, it was a lot a fun! The Washington Post had a great article about the mines in NC last weekend:

I am working on a page about the various sites to try..stay tuned for more information.

Friday, November 07, 2008 - New Gemstone & Mineral Wallpapers

Topaz Crystal

Spinel Crystals
Syn Padparadscha Gemstone

Grossular Garnet Specimen New Gemology, Jewelry, and Faceting Forum

Yea! We have our own brand spanking new forum for gemology, faceting, and all things rock related. We have been wanting a better way to chat with our customers, and offer them a place to ask questions or share their love of rocks. The new forum is here:

Come on in and join the fun!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Garnet - Great Balls of Fire

Have you all seen the new book (or is it a periodical..what is it exactly? )in the lithographie series? Its gorgeous, just like it's predecessors! This one is on garnet in all it's glory. We picked up the first part of the series in Tucson a few years ago, and got on their list for the new ones.

If you don't know what I am talking about check out Specific Gravity Travel Kit

We have a new product, the Specific Gravity Travel Kit. It's easy to use and compact! Won't take up too much rock room in your suit case.

Specific Gravity Travel Kit

AGTA Spectrum Awards 2009

were announced last week:

Congratulations to all the winners!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gemstones Still Hitting Record Prices

According to the WallStreet Journal, the value of rare investment grade gemstones has been climbing steadily for the last few years. Even with the down turn of the economy, people are still investing in gemstones because they see them as more stable than other types of investments. The value of stones continues to rise as other investments dwindle. Read the full story here. Italdo Diamond Spray

We now carry a full line of Italdo Diamond Sprays for your faceting pleasure:

Friday, October 24, 2008 Free Gem Id Database

Devin has created this nifty gem id database:

This is the beta version (for non-geeks that means we are still testing it) We would love for you all to try it out, see if you can break it, see what is missing, what's confusing, what you would like that isn't there, and so forth and so on.

If you break it, you do need to tell us [b]exactly[/b] how you broke it, or we won't be able to fix it. (We being Dev.)

Right now it has about 150 types of stones in the database. If you have one you think we should add, let us know.

This will be available free to use by anyone.

Dev has some weird addiction to making databases...can't get enough at work, so comes home and makes them here, too. He thinks it's fun \:D/ Not sure how he will entertain himself now that this one is done...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tourmaline Heart!

This is a stone Dev recently gave me. Its a watermelon tourmaline, but the red center is shaped like a heart! This picture doesn't really do it justice, it's much cuter in person!

Friday, October 03, 2008 Joe's Special Polish, and Joe's Opal Cure

We are happy add two new products to our store: Joe's Special Polish and Joe's Opal Cure. Created by Joe Depietrio of Bead n' More.

Joe's Special Polish is a secret blend of 3 different powders. It should be used on stones no harder than Topaz (8 on Mohs). It gives a beautiful final polish to cabochon, or faceted stones - especially opal.

The Opal Cure is a kit for curing opals that maybe be fragile or crazed. It contains Resin, Hot Stuff glue, and no stick plastic sheet, and directions use. It requires a heating unit, but Joe has included breif directions for creating your own in expensive heating unit using recycled items and items easily found at hardware stores.

Dev and I first used Joe's Special Polish ad Opal Cure in the opal class Joe was teaching at William Holland. We loved the results! He was kind enough to let us share his secret polish with our customers. Thank you, Joe!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Color Vision Test

Don Clark of IGS just posted this neat color vision test in his newsletter (great letter by way, sign up if you haven't already!)

Its a series of color chips to line up.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 1.80 and 1.81 Refractive Index Liquid comparison

We have had some questions lately about the difference between the 1.81 and 1.80 refractive index liquids. I added this page to provide some answers:

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back! What a summer...

I am back from taking my GIA labs in Raleigh. What a blast! I was there for about 3 weeks taking the Diamond, Gem ID, and Colored Stone labs. I learned so much and made some great friends, too. Now, I just have to finish up the Colored Stones course and find my way through the Gem ID class (and the dreaded 20 stone exam!) (You can imagine what my garden looked like after 3 weeks of neglect in August in Charlotte...not pretty, but the bugs were fat and sassy.)

Dev is back in school after the summer working on his MBA. He will have his nose in a book for the next few months. Hopefully he will come up for air from time to time and add some new rocks to the site.

Dev and I have also been busy gearing up for the holiday season and working on some new products to add to the website. A very exciting time for PrettyRock! I can't believe how much we have grown in just a few years.

Great article on glass filled rubies

Great article on glass filled rubies:

Love those inclusion photos!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

PrettyRock Blog: Back from Rock Camp

We are back from our rock trip, and back to the daily to speak :) We went up a day early and went to the Franklin Rock and Gem show. I got a few cab to use in silver class and we ended up with some fantastic opals... not sure if we will be sharing those on the website or not, hard to let them go! This is actually several shows together, the Annual Macon County Gemboree, G & LW Wholesale Gem Show at Watauga Festival Center, another show that I am not even sure has a name, and then there is a little one across the street from the Gemboree. You do need a wholesale license to get into the G& LW show, so bring your papers with you if you go to that one next year.

William Holland was fantastic as always. This was our 3rd time there and it gets better each time we go. We meet so many new rock friends and see familiar faces, it's like home away from home. Dev took faceting and learned some new techniques and tips. I took Silver 1 and had a fantastic teacher, Will Smith. He has some of the most beautiful Tennessee Agate on his website: He also teaches faceting in Nashville for those of you lucky enough to live near there. I started the week sure I would set something on fire with the torch, but by the end of the week, I was using it like an old pro. Which is saying something for someone who doesn't even like to light candles. We made several projects, and I got to use some of the opal I cut in the opal class last time. (See top image)

On the way home, we stopped by the Grassy Creek show in Spruce Pine. It was a hot and steamy day, but we still rummaged our way through an entire bucket of Mexican fire opal looking for facetable pieces. There are two shows at Spruce Pine, the indoor North Carolina Mineral & Gem Festival and the outdoor Grassy Creek Gem and Mineral Show (sponsored by the Volunteer Fire Department, which I think it pretty cool.) We just had time for the outdoor one this year, but both are great shows.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rock Camp!

Dev and I are heading off for a week of Rock Camp at William Holland ( He's taking faceting and I am taking Silver Smithing. Can't wait! Will post an update when we return and share our adventures. We are stopping by the Franklin NC show on the way there and the Grassy Creek show on the way back. We just might be rocked out by the time we get home....naaaa..never happen!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Movies that Rock!

I am compiling a list of books and movies that have rocks, gemstones, jewelery, minerals, anything rock related as part of their plot.

Here's the list so far:

Not saying these are good, just saying they got rocks!

11 Harrowhouse -1974 - A small time diamond merchant jumps at the chance to supervise the purchase and cutting of a large first class diamond. But when the diamond is stolen from him, he is blackmailed into pulling off a major heist at the Diamond Exchange, located at 11 Harrowhouse

After the Sunset -2004 – involves the Napoleon number three diamond - The story of what happens after a master thief achieves his last big score, when the FBI agent who promised he'd capture him is about to do just that

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- 1984 - The Star of Delhi – Some of the greatest cases of the greatest detectives

Asphalt Jungle – 1950 - A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel

Beau Geste – 1939 - Beau, John, and Digby Geste are three inseparable, adventurous brothers who haven been adopted into the wealthy household of Lady Brandon. Begins with the theft of a famous sapphire

Blood Diamond -2006- A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond

Blue Streak –1999- A thief turned ex-con poses as a cop to retrieve a diamond he stole years ago

Breakfast at Tiffany's -1961- A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building.

To Catch a Thief – 1955 -When a reformed jewel thief is suspected of returning to his former occupation, he must ferret out the real thief in order to prove his innocence.

Congo -1999- an expedition to the African Congo ends in disaster, a new team is assembled to find out what went wrong

Cradel 2 the Grave - 2003- A jewel thief's daughter is kidnapped after he steals a collection of prized black diamonds, which aren't at all what they seem.

Diamonds are Forever - 1971 -A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an extortion plot headed by his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld – Diamonds and Sean Connery, too!

A Fish Called Wanda -1988 - In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot

Flawless -2008 - A crime/drama set in 1960 London, where a soon to retire janitor convinces a glass-ceiling constrained American executive to help him steal a handful of diamonds from their employer, the London Diamond Corporation.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes –1953 - Lorelei and Dorothy are just "Two Little Girls from Little Rock", lounge singers on a transatlantic cruise starring Marilyn Monroe-Jane Russell, featured the song "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend”

The Great Muppet Caper - 1981- Kermit, Gonzo and Fozzie are reporters who travel to Britain to interview a rich victim of jewel thieves and help her along with her secretary, Miss Piggy

GRAND SLAM -1968 -A team of experts, Playboy-money man, a safecracker, an expert in electronics and a military/weapons expert plan a jewel heist during Rio's Carnivale.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 2001- has the The Philosopher’s Stone – Sought by Harry Potter in the story that began the series

Herby Goes to Monty Carlo -1977- Herbie, the Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own, is racing in the Monte Carlo Rally. L'etoile de Joie, a big diamond

The Hot Rock -1972 - Dortmunder and his pals plan to steal a huge diamond from a museum. But this turns out to be only the first time they have to steal it.... Robert Redford and diamonds, too!

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom -1984- After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace.

Jurassic Park – 1993-Scientists clone dinosaurs to populate a theme park which suffers a major security breakdown and releases the dinosaurs. Without amber there wouldn’t have been a park

Kelly's Heroes – 1970 -Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas - A group of U.S. soldiers sneaks across enemy lines to get their hands on a secret stash of Nazi treasure enemy linesLittle Man' Marlon -2006 -A wannabe dad (Shawn Wayans) mistakes a vertically challenged criminal on the lam (Marlon Wayans) as his newly adopted son Wayans plays a little gem theif

The Maltese Falcon –1931- Sam Spade, a private detective, gets involved in a murderous hunt for a valuable statuette

Men in Black -1997 -Two men who keep an eye on aliens in New York City must try to save the world after the aliens threaten to blow it up. “The Galaxy" is a gemstone on a cat's collar

The Pink Panther (2006 and 1964) The detective must solve the murder of a famous soccer coach and find out who stole the infamous Pink Panther diamond

Rififi – 1955- Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...being remade for release in 2009

The Rescuers – 1977- Two mice of the Rescue Aid Society search for a little girl kidnapped by unscrupulous treasure hunters -The Devil's Eye diamond

Reservoir Dogs – 1992 - After a simple jewelery heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.

Romancing the Stone -1984 - A romance writer sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure - emerald called "Mi Corazon" (My Heart)

Superman –there a bunch of them - An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest super-hero - Kryptonite

Titanic -1997 - Fictional romantic tale of a rich girl and poor boy who meet on the ill-fated voyage of the 'unsinkable' ship - has the The Heart of the Ocean

Topkapi -1964- Caper film about the theft of a jeweled dagger from an Istanbul museum.

Wizard of Oz – 1939-Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home - has the emerald city and ruby slippers!

* plot descriptions from

If you have anything to add, please share!

Monday, June 30, 2008 Specific Gravity Precision Checker

How accurate is specific gravity? Dev put together a quick reference chart and an SG Scale Precision Checker that allows you to see how accurate (and inaccurate!) the measurement of SG can be depending on the precision of your scale. The precision of the scale and the weight of the stone being weighed are critical to getting an accurate measurement of specific gravity.

Monday, June 16, 2008 International Schools of Gemology Comparison Chart

When I started researching where I wanted to take gemology classes, I had a hard time comparing all the different choices. So, I have put together this chart to help compare schools. Trying to find all the information on each school can require some digging, so this is a work in progress. If you can help fill in any of the blanks, please let me know.

I've finally decided on the distance classes at GIA (Gem-A was a close second!) I like that I can take the program one class at a time, and have been very happy with the class materials. I've finished the diamonds class and am in the middle of the colored stones class. I'll be taking the lab classes in August and can't wait!

If you are looking for great information with a much smaller price tag (as in free or close to it) try the International Gem Society or Dr Barbara Smigel's Online Class. Both are fantasitic resources for rockhounds!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Gemology Myths

All spectroscopes have wavelength scales.
Most gemological spectroscopes do not; the wavelength scale requires a 2nd tube.
You only have to do one test to identify a gemstone.
Most gemologists conduct at least 3 tests if not more.
All gemstones have an absorption spectra.
Most clear stones tend not to have an absorption spectra, or it is so fine as to be unreadable with handheld tools.
All you need is a refractometer to identify gemstones.
A refractometer is very helpful, since the refractive index (RI) is very unique for gemstones. But the caveats include:
Some stones are very close to each other by RI.
Some stones can range broadly as the impurities are different from locality to locality.
Some stones are off the scale, over RI 1.80 for most refractometers.
The refractometer cannot detect synthetics or treatment which you need to know.
Gemologists only use brand name gemological tools.
Some gemologist insist this is the only way to go. If your customers are image conscious, then it might be worth the extra thousand dollars. But if your customers appreciate value, then you can use tools that are just as accurate and save you money which is why is here!
All gemstones are natural.
While many gemstones are natural, synthetics have become more and more prevalent. Multiple tests have been devised to differentiate natural gemstones from synthetics.
Only natural gemstones are valuable.
Some synthetic gems are more valuable than natural gemstones! For example, a synthetic hydrothermal emerald gemstone is worth more than a clear quartz gemstone of the same size and quality.
Only untreated, natural gemstones are valuable.
Many treated natural gems are very valuable, and some synthetics are not cheap. Take Paraiba tourmaline for example, which can be heat treated and still worth $1000's per carat.
Bought it as [[pick a gem]]. It has to be [[pick a gem]]. Variations include:
My jeweler can't miss.
Has to be true, saw it on TV!
From my grandmother, so it must be alexandrite.
Family heirloom, must be ruby.
Look how old it is, doesn't age count for amethyst?

Unfortunately, we all make honest mistakes. And there are some who make a living at it. Most jewelers are honest so don't feel like you have to be paranoid. At the same time, always learn for yourself or get more than one opinion from people you can trust or who don't have a vested interest. The best example is to never, ever sell your gemstone or family heirloom to an appraiser who just told you what it was worth and then offered to buy it! Along the same lines, if you are a year or two into gemology, admit that you still have alot to learn! This will help you save face when you want to dig your heels in during a debate. Back away slowly, do your research, and come back for more when you know more.
All gems are suitable for jewelry
Many gems are much too soft for jewelry. Others are too soft for rings but should be safe enough for earrings unless you plan on banging your head against the wall!
Sapphire is only blue.
Sapphire comes in many colors from pink to purple, to clear, to yellow or padparadscha!
Diamonds are rare.
The truth is that cheap diamonds are rare. Geologically speaking, diamonds are as plentiful as tourmalines which puts them on the fairly common side of gemstones. For investments, choose natural untreated rubies or high quality emeralds.
Generic gemological equipment can not compare to brand name equipment. has used most gemological equipment available in the market. We are very pleased to see that our value-focused high quality instruments are very accurate and offer an excellent alternative to high priced brand-focused products that can cost thousands more to purchase.
All rubies are valuable.
Some rubies look like gravel and that is true for any gem material. But there are some natural rubies that have been extensively treated to fill in cracks and cover inclusions that make them far less valuable than merely heated treated rubies or the much more esteemed all natural rubies. Even all natural rubies must be over one carat then have very good clarity and color to be valuable.
I found it gem digging; I'm rich!
There is no measuring sentimental value. I still have my biggest and ugliest garnet found while gemdigging sitting like a precious trophy in my collection. Most gemdigging finds are worth more as the memories they bring back to us.
Gemological tools come with instructions.
Gemological tools have not normally come with instructions because they were sold to professionals , but they do now! has listened to our customers, and recognizing the strong interest from the public in this fascinating field, we are including brief and concise instructions with our gemological instruments.
Gemological tools are easy to use.
Just like riding a bike (for the very first time.) Most tools take some diligent reading and some generous patience. Refractometers are easiest, then dichroscope, polariscope and much farther down the line is the spectroscope.
Only diamond can scratch glass.
Any gem material harder than glass at Mohs 5.5, can scratch it, quartz, tourmaline, topaz, garnet, sapphire, etc.
Diamonds are unbreakable.
Diamonds are very breakable, due to their cleavage plane. If struck along the cleavage plane and diamond can easily shear off along the plane and leave you with two diamonds!
Opals and pearls make great rings.
Opals and pearls are soft and will abrade over time in a ring which takes heavy wear.
Diamonds are always worth more than other gemstones.
The value of diamonds is currently maintained by a cartel that restricts supply. Because diamonds are as common as tourmalines, they would be worth as much as tourmalines if supply were unrestricted.
WANTED: One gemological tool to identify them all.
I want one too! An appropriate identification requires multiple tests and even more tests are required to distinguish natural gems from synthetics.
Gemstones can be identify from a photograph.
This has been attempted and requested many times! It is woefully inaccurate and lots of fun.
Must use GIA tools to get Graduate Gemology degree from GIA.
No, you can use any gemological tools available to get your degree. We offer a value-focused, high quality alternative to the brand-focused high priced products from GIA.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Polishing your refractometer's hemicylinder

Check out this blog post at tiptopgem for information on polishing your refractometer's hemicylinder.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

William Holland Trip May 2008

Dev and I went to William Holland Lapidary School aka Rock Camp in Georgia last week. We had a blast! It has to be the best deal in a vacation around. They are a nonprofit organization that offers classes in faceting, cabbing, beading, metal work of all kinds, just about anything to do with rocks. We took the opal class and are now addicts. I think we are going to need his and hers Pixies now. We have already signed up to go again this summer to take Silver I. Any other Hollandites here?

(A little plug. Check them out here: $310 for the week includes your room, meals, and the class. There is usually a nominal lab fee depending on the class taken. Opals supply fee was $20, but I imagine something like gold work would be quite a bit higher. )