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!