A Year in Review

Happy first birthday to The Gemstone Project!

Lets see, the past year has been chock full of wonderful craziness.

August 2014
The first month started out with a lot of posts about various gemstones, including a colorless garnet, and gray spinel. It included an unheated Umba color shifting sapphire in a Harry Winston inspired halo that I helped put together for a friend. I posted a bit about myself and some about my photography. And I topped off the month with my first Gem Blast.

September 2014
September started out with a visit to Lang Antiques in San Francisco that took up three posts. September included three Gem Blasts, including one about considering gemstone recuts. I concluded September with my handy guide “Scale of Gray” for seeking out gray spinels.

October 2014
October gave way to talk about birthstones, including two antique birthstone rings, tourmaline & opal. I touched on gemstone cutting flaws and what to keep an eye out for. I posted a design I used for my first jewelry design contest with David Klass. I included posts about tsavorites, Mahenge spinels, and an evaluation I did for a friend on a red spinel. Two designs were posted, including a breast cancer awareness ring and a red spinel inspired by the Art Deco period. October only had one Gem Blast – sapphires and moonstones.

November 2014
I created a Facebook page in November! I posted my drawing process for my solitaire setting entry for another of David Klass’ contests, this time winning. I also featured willajunejewelry. A Gem Blast about diamonds, some rough ideas for a NYC ring, plus some random thoughts flowed through November.

December 2014
A feature on Jewels by Grace brought December in with bang! Though the rest of the month I stayed a bit quieter due to the holidays, I still had a range of topics to cover. I wrote about design ideas and inspiration for my pad sapphire ring. A Gem Blast on Merelani Mint Garnets, my thoughts on what the New Year would bring, and a post about lapidaries fleshed out the end of the year.

January 2015
I brought in January with my own type of confetti: red spinel melee. A reader had suggested posting about a guide of what to look for in a gem. I announced that I was starting to design my own line of jewelry, posted a Gem Blast on the many gems at my beloved gem store and another Gem Blast celebrating January’s birthstone, several varieties of garnets. Then January closed with my declaration of opening an etsy store.

February 2015
February started with me changing to trade status on Pricescope and picking up a new username, and a post about fantasy cut gemstones. Pantone had announced their color of the year to be Marsala, and I have a few things to say about that. Sticking with the birthstone idea, I posted a Gem Blast about amethysts. I added a simple diamond pendant design, and a post about my most memorable Oscar jewelry.

March 2015
I brought in March with a post about a green beryl/aquamarine, another birthstone post. Some discussion about current jewelry trends took place, as well as a post about red spinel. I finally posted the finished product from winning David Klass’ contest. A more detailed post about my design aesthetic wrapped up March. But that wasn’t all! I also started a TGP Twitter account, and my 3rd ring prototype was completed, and the 4th one put into production.

April 2015
Since diamond is the birthstone for April, and also my birthstone, I decided to dedicate almost the entire month of posts to diamonds. Until recently I wasn’t a diamond lover, so I blogged about diamonds that really captured my imagination, including rose cut diamonds, a yellow diamond trillion, and a pinkish brown diamond. But I didn’t post entirely about diamonds – I added in a post with the end product of my David Klass contest band. My 4th prototype was completed too, and the 5th prototype was put into production! I also got a gem back from AGL as certified unheated. The event that took place that I was most excited about was a sapphire purchased from my shop being used as an engagement ring!

May 2015
Of course I would have to do an emerald Gem Blast for May, since it is the birthstone for the month and that seems to be the trend I picked up on! May was an incredibly busy month for me with JCK at the end, and preceding where to find me on social media, and a post about how I would be posting to instagram and twitter from JCK. I also finally posted a post I had made on sexism and gender issues within jewelry marketing and the jewelry trade. I also included a Gem Blast of the AGL certified violet sapphire. 5th ring prototype was completed!

June 2015
June did not get a birthstone post! Instead, I did a post about my jewelry line updates, a post on blue-green tourmalines, THREE posts on my experiences at JCK, including meeting lots of colored stone celebrities. I also did a post on metal color and how I prefer color flow to contrast, and how I like colors to work together. I also did a post about imitation and inspiration that had been writing itself on my phone for months prior. I finished the month with a Gem Blast on a stunning tanzanite from Precision Gems.

July 2015
July kicked off with a post about sending a sapphire to AGL and getting it tested. I then had a bit of an artistic funk and found myself writing about art of other mediums – Angie Crabtree and some chefs made some brief appearances and helped lift my spirits and inspired me further. I also got to the final stages of a big custom project, and took a fantastic mini vacation down to San Diego at the Vineyard Hacienda, which also helped get the creative juices flowing. I published a “living document” I had been writing about gemstone terms and vocabulary, and hopefully that will still be added to continuously. I finished off July with a couple of Gem Blasts – moving across state lines does not make for a lot of blogging time!

August 2015
August has only just begun again, but already this one holds a special meaning to me – I have never been good at continuing things – I have started so many blogs and stopped writing after a couple months, or lost interest, or whatever, so to reach and celebrate a year of posts, and all of the incredible things and wonderful people I have met – it truly is a remarkable milestone for me. So far into August, I have posted only one blog, but it has been one of the most important and edited (18 times! Two different highly educated editors!) items I have ever written – Gender Inequality and the Jewelry Trade. Oh, and I also moved across the country, a thousand miles to the north counts, right?

Here is to the future and everything it may bring!

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Gem Blast: Blue and Green Tourmaline

I was asked a while back if I had any indicolite in a specific shape and size. The specification of “indicolite” gave me pause, because what is an indicolite anyway?

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Well, it turns out that indicolite just used as a term for the blue varieties of tourmaline, and is also known by the term “indigolite”. I am not a chemist, gemologist or a physicist, as I have reiterated before, so I had never given it any real meaningful thought.

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Tourmaline is mostly classified by color, and color is usually an indication of mineral presence. Indicolite is usually but it’s complicated by the fact that paraiba and cuprian tourmalines are colored by copper, while other darker blue tourmalines are colored by iron.

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So it seems as though classification of a tourmaline is more of a continuum rather than a linear grouping.

tourmaline emerald

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I typically don’t really delve too far into these things because I look at the stone as a piece of art and a medium I have to work with rather than it’s chemical composition. When I do get questions like this, I ask people who are more knowledgeable than I am (a huge thanks to all of you who do their best to explain these things to me!) so I can answer to the best of my ability, or just point them to somewhere else that might have the answers they are looking for.

Now, ask about color, shape and proportion, and then you’ll get a long monologue!

Gem Blast: Violet Sapphire

I’ve recently taken possession of a Violet sapphire that perfectly skirts the line between purple and blue. I just had it certified by American Gemological Laboratories. I had never done that before, and it was a pretty great experience, especially when AGL testing found out that it was completely untreated.

3.90ctw 9.6 x 7.69 x 6.39

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I have a colleague who has been seeking out the perfect violet (or blurple, as she calls it) sapphire for the last several years, and this one ticks almost all of her boxes.

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Through her search, I’ve been deeply involved, and recruited several other searchers.

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In the end, this stone was discovered after she found her ideal stone, so she briefly considered using it for a necklace, but decided that she needed to share the wealth instead.

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In our searching, we discovered that these stones are typically color shifting to some extent. This one transitions from blue to purple, but is violet in most mixed lighting situations.

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The color on my laptop screen is less saturated than on my phone, where it looks more like the stone in real life.

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Once I get it back from AGL, I plan on taking a lot more photos of it. It’s a challenging stone to capture.

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You can see that it has some cut flaws, showing a slight darker bowtie in the above image and a small partial window in the two shots below.

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Showing a slight windowing effect that is more visible in picture than in real life. I wouldn’t dream of touching the cut on this, I wouldn’t want to alter the color in any way.

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This stone has been listed for sale on LoupeTroop.

Gem Blast: Red Spinel Melee

Bringing in the New Year with a bright bang! Here are some red spinel melee! I’ve had plans for these little guys for years, but they WILL be set in 2015. Famous last words. Hah!

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I bought these stones with my husband after a great Vietnamese lunch. We popped over to the local gem store and I spotted these beauties. He keeps asking me why I haven’t set them yet, and I don’t have an answer besides that I haven’t gotten to it yet.

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They are mostly red or red-pink, and really remind me of the color of Maraschino cherries as a group. Some are more pink, and some are more red. Since spinels are so rare, I accept their differences. Once set, I doubt the color differences will be noticeable.

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Taking these photos allows me to see and appreciate the variations in color and cut. Each stone is special in it’s own way.

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There is something so satisfying to me about tossing little stones around like confetti and taking pictures of them. I love capturing their tiny details, even more so than larger stones.