The Résilient in Photographs

I’m doing a photo heavy and commentary light post because I have too much on my to do list, but I still wanted to share the beauty of this ring with you, and I haven’t been able to put a blog out about it yet.

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The center stone is a Amora Moissanite cut into the OEC pattern, and all of the other stones are diamonds. The Amora Moissanite has been discontinued, which, after seeing it in person, is a real shame. They have replaced it with the Forever One Moissanite, and the OEC cutting is also nowhere to be found.

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Sometimes, through great times of turmoil, comes great beauty.

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Elle signature

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Gemstone Vocabulary and Anatomy

I decided to put together a glossary of sorts of gemstone terms, or terms that I use relatively often and might not be familiar to those who aren’t well versed in gemstone and jewelry terminology. Something I wish I had when I was first learning!

This is an endlessly growing and changing document, and will need continuous updates to keep it useful. Please let me know if any suggestions for terms, or comments you might have!

Adularescence – milky glow that moves as the stone moves, originates from within a gemstone and is caused by inclusions, occurs in the presence of stronger light conditions.

bezel set – a way of setting a stone with solid metal completely surrounding the stone, pushed down over the stone’s girdle

brilliance – amount of light reflected back out of a gemstone, a direct result of a stone’s refractive index

brilliant cut – a facet design radiating from the culet of the stone, on a perpendicular plane from the girdle of the stone

cleavage – tendency for a mineral to break along distinct planes dependant on how the mineral grows

colorless – a stone that is not known for being without color, having zero saturation. Examples: sapphires, spinels, garnet, tourmaline, topaz

crown – the facets from the girdle up to the table, the height from the girdle to the table

culet – the pointed tip of a stone formed by pavilion facets. Antique diamonds may have “small” “medium” or “large”. Modern cut diamonds typically do not have a culet, the pavilion facets meet at a point.

dispersion – the ability for a gem to divide the light into spectral colors

facets – a flat plane cut onto a gemstone

fat belly – when a pavilion is cut to preserve weight, instead of forming a cone, it is more bulbous and round on the bottom

fire – see dispersion

fluorescence – reaction of trace minerals causing the stone to glow a specific color when exposed to UV light, typically blue, yellow and red

girdle – the circumference around the stone where the crown and the pavilion facets meet, it can range from very thin to very thick, and can be faceted or rough.

keel – an edge formed by pavilion facets. typically found in elongated cut stones

kozibe effect – culet reflected around the stone

luster – light reflected from a gem’s surface

meet – the edge in which is made when two facets line up in faceting

monochrome – varying tones of one color, white-gray-black

MRB – modern round brilliant

OEC – Old European Cut

OMC – Old Mine/Miner’s Cut

pavilion – the bottom part of the stone, typically cone shaped

pleochromism – the characteristic of having different colors visible from different angles

RI – refractive index

Rose cut – stone cut into a dome type shape with a flat bottom/no pavilion, and the crown is a hexagon shape with triangular facets, meeting in a low angled point on top, typically cut in a round shape, but may also be cushion, pear, oval or marquise.

saturation – how pure and intense a color appears. Low saturated tends to be gray, highly saturated is vividly colored.

silk – the appearance of a stone looking slightly cloudy, which bounces the  typically caused by inclusions referred to as silk,

spread – the size of a stone when looking top down, measured by the diameter of the girdle. Typically used to compare one stone to another.

step cut – a facet design on a parallel plane from the girdle of the stone, typically angular in shape. Emerald, baguette, carre, asscher are common types.

tilt window – when a stone is viewed at an angle that is not straight down into the stone, and you can see through the pavilion

table – the flat top facet of the stone

window – when a stone is cut at the wrong angles for it’s type, the see through portion in the middle is called a window

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Window illustration

Simple Diamond Necklace Design

For now, this seems as though this idea will just remain a concept rather than an actual item, seeing as how the diamond it was designed for was recently sold off.

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I don’t typically like to post completed sketches, but this one is so simple, I don’t think its anything groundbreaking, more classic and basic. There are some details I plan to add to this later, but I will go ahead and post this version.

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And just for fun, pictures of the diamond intended for this necklace.

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I figure when the time comes, I can replace the diamond, or come up with something completely different. My actual jewelry collection keeps shrinking, believe it or not!

Exciting News!

I am adding an extra post this week to announce that I have opened up an etsy store! Now, I’m still working towards getting my own site with my own designs, but in the meantime, I really wanted to get some of the loose gemstones that have been collected over the years out of my possession and into someone else’s.

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I don’t plan on replenishing the supply of gemstones because I can’t set or keep everything and I need to make space for new stuff! So if I don’t already have it in my possession, odds are good that I won’t be getting it, but I can always point you in a direction that might be fruitful.

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There are also some items of jewelry and settings on the etsy store as well, mostly because I don’t have room in my jewelry box for them anymore. Hah!

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This post is to announce the grand opening of my etsy shop!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheGemstoneProject

Because I wanted to thank my readers for checking it out, if you see something you like, I’m offering a 10% off coupon code (no quotes) on any purchase over $100 for the month of February: “GRANDOPENING”

My inventory consists of mostly precision cut stones, with a heavy emphasis on oranges, reds, purples and blues, plus a healthy dose of green, and some random earthy shades as well. There is always the risk that I’ll randomly get inspired by a gem in the shop, and it may be pulled to make into a piece of jewelry, so if you see something you like, please grab it while you can!

So please, check out the store, and if you’re looking for something in particular, I might have it, and it just hasn’t been listed yet. So please feel free to reach out and ask if I have an item and you don’t see it in the shop. Should you end up picking up something, I’m always available to help design a setting!

Teal Tourmaline

I always struggle with the point to call something “teal” and I don’t know where that specific point is in the spectrum of blue-green that something is delineated from turquoise to teal. Turquoise, to me, has always been more blue than green, while teal has always been more green than blue. Don’t get me started on aqua and cerulean! Again, I have no idea where this transition occurs, but I feel like it changes depending on the person doing the judging. Regardless, I wanted to take a minute and write a bit about a blue-green tourmaline I have.

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I wish the resolution of the picture previews was better.

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Barry Bridgestock
Namibian – Usakos
Tourmaline
2.32 carats
8.5mm
round brilliant
Flawless at 10x
Medium blue green

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This particular stone is interesting and has a shift between a blue-green and a minty green in certain lights. Of course, depending on the lighting, it can look much darker, or quite a bit lighter. I think it is particularly beautiful in natural daylight conditions.

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Recently there has been a spike in blue-green tourmaline prices. From what I have heard, it’s partially becoming less plentiful, but also, all of the turmoil overseas has reduced mining both in the Middle East and in Africa. So rough prices for tourmaline in general are going up, and the blue-green prices had been going up already.

Unfortunately gem prices are going up across the board – for pretty much all varieties of stones.

I have another stone that is similar to this one in color that is in my private collection that I have been struggling to come up with particular design elements for. It is a little bit deeper in tone than this one, but the hue is very similar. I keep considering keeping this one over the other one because of the size difference, but the other is a more interesting shape and I think it fits more with the design I have come up with for it. That setting will not be possible for quite a while (I have to come to some decisions about it first!) but it’s a bit whimsical and out of the ordinary. I don’t want to talk about it too much because it’s so far into the future, but I will drop a few hints: yellow gold, Art Deco, New York City.

Feature: Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry Inside

The Lang interior consists of about 3 larger cases of diamond rings. When we finally got inside, they were full of customers, so we waited our turn while chatting with the salesperson assigned to us. She told us that they will be moving just down the street to a new larger location, but that they don’t know when construction will be finished. She also told us that lately they haven’t been able to keep any blue zircons in the cases. We hypothesized that it may be due to the popularity of Paraiba tourmaline and teal colors in general being very popular right now. I wonder if buyers are educating themselves more and discovering that zircon is not the same thing as cubic zirconia.

Anyway, we tried on some diamonds, and my friend particularly fell in love with this cushion. I think her boyfriend might be getting a link or two in his email…

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We were on the side with the larger diamonds, but nothing quite like the honkers in the store windows.

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This was only part of one case.

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Beautiful profile view of a ring. The dark stones are actually bright blue sapphires. My white balance got screwed up when I was snapping the picture, but the other pictures were blurry.

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A beautifully patterned OEC ring.

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A massive ball of step cuts. even though I love step cuts, this one didn’t really do anything for me. I think the proportions of the sidestones bothered me. I like to have more of an extreme taper. I think the trapezoids compete with the center stone.

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A large marquise cut stone, the profile was gorgeous, and looked a bit like a boat.

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Both my friend and the salesperson really liked this ring on me, but I always see an eyeball when I see rings like this.  I can’t help it!

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I don’t particularly like fishtail prongs, but between the beautiful center stone and the french cut sides, this ring really wanted to come home with me.

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I have to say though, I was disappointed to hear that they will not sell any stones loose. Nor do they sell settings separately. Also, the prices are astronomical, compared to other retailers of fine antique jewelry.

That about sums it up for the visit to Lang. I’m so glad I got to go! I saw so many beautiful jewels, and had a fantastic time with a very good friend! I wish we had been able to spend more time looking around and trying things on, but their little store was completely packed and neither of us was going to be buying that day. It was really fun to see what different size diamonds look like, and to judge the cut quality on so many different stones at once. I would highly recommend it if you’re going to be visiting San Francisco and want to get a good antique jewelry fix!

Feature: Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry Outside

So, we took a trip to San Francisco, and I specially put aside a Saturday afternoon for going to Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry with a very good friend of mine who is looking for an engagement ring for her friend, and keeping an eye out for her own boyfriend. When we got there, we had to wait outside, because the interior was full and everyone was helping customers. Now, usually I wouldn’t appreciate waiting outside, but the outside display of Lang might be better than the inside.

I probably won’t say much, as the pictures kind of speak for themselves.

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Blue sapphires.

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Emeralds and diamonds.

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Diamonds and gems

 

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Rubies, diamonds and emeralds.

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I was fascinated by the light pink sapphire three stone. The ruby cabochon ring right above it was enchanting as well; it glowed like it had a light inside.

 

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Diamonds and a few rubies. I particularly liked the large emerald ring in front, but it kind of reminded me of Angelina Jolie’s engagement ring to Brad Pitt, and I’m not a big fan of her ring, but the more exaggerated taper on this one was far more appealing.

 

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Multi-colored sapphires.

 

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Rubies, diamonds, huge rose cut diamond ring.

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Closer shot of the ruby cabochon, star sapphire and pale pink sapphire.

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Rubies and diamonds.

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We finally made it inside, but we wanted to wait for the diamond case, so I decided to entertain myself by taking pictures of some of the cases.

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Smaller gemstone jewelry.

 

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Rubies and pink sapphires.

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Amazing brooches.

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To be continued….