Essential Tools for Making Gemstone Jewelry

If you have fallen in love with gemstones and can’t wait any longer to bring them to life in your own jewelry designs, congratulations! You have chosen a craft that can not only be a form of expressing your creativity, it can also bloom into a business and make your passion earn for you.

Since the right tools are essential for embarking on any craft, we here bring you some information on the basic tools you will be needing. Take a look.

  1. Flush Cutter: Wire cutters used in jewelry making are called flush cutters. They have two sides – flat and beveled. The flat side gives the finish and the beveled side cuts the wire in a pointed V shape. The aim of the cutter is to give a sharp, nice, and smooth cut to the wire. To make the cut, hold the wire perpendicular to the cutter. The flat side should be towards the part you want to keep. If the part to be cut off is tiny, put the tip of your forefinger against it on the beveled side so that it does not fly off and end up hurting someone.

 

  1. Chain Nose Pliers: Also called flat nose pliers sometimes, this pair of pliers is a versatile tool for the jewelry designer and can be used for acting like another hand to hold a piece of wire to bending metal or wire. They are slightly curved on the on the outside and flat on the side of the nose. While purchasing them, see that the flat area inside the nose is plain, not textured, otherwise you may get marks on the wire while using it. Try to find one with a spring handle as it will reduce the burden on your hands.
  1. Round Nose Pliers: These pliers come with a round and tapered nose, which can be also likened to a cone-shape. They are primarily used to form and fabricate metal wire – to curl, coil, make loops and circles. Narrow loops are formed with the narrower part of the nose and you can gradually move towards the nose for bigger loops. While purchasing a pair, choose one with narrow tapered nose; wide tapers are difficult to work with and don’t give as fine results as the former. As with chain nose pliers, look for ones with spring handles. Make sure that the handles fit well within your palms.

 

  1. Nylon Jawed Pliers: They are used to shape and sculpt wires. The nylon jaws are used to protect the outer surface of the wire or other materials like beads while making the jewelry. It allows you to straighten wire and reuse, which means you are not wasting a lot of wire that would otherwise be sacrificed for practicing. Additionally, it saves you the extra work of rebuffing or refinishing surfaces. Though these pliers are not one hundred percent essential, if you are more into wire bending and things like that, you will find a pair of these indispensable.
  1. Split Ring Pliers: Split rings are an essential part of jewelry. They are used to attach a pendant or charm to a piece of wire. They are shaped like a spring and are coiled around really close. To make the attachment between two pieces of jewelry, you have to pry open the split ring, insert each end in loops of either part, and then close. Since split rings are quite tiny and strong, split ring pliers are used to open them easily and then press them close again. These pliers save you from injuring your fingers while you struggle to open them with perhaps, chain nose pliers.
  2. Crimping Pliers: These pliers come with grooves inside the nose of the pliers which makes it easy to secure crimp beads without breaking or tampering them. Crimp beads are used to secure a clasp or any end piece for the design.

 

So, these were some of the essential tools required to start your journey with jewelry making. There are a lot of YouTube videos where you can see how exactly they are used and then you can start making your own!

Are you a jewelry-making enthusiast? Tell us what inspired you to be one.

A look at gemstones and their healing properties

Did you know that two gemstones can never be alike because each one has its own unique combination of pattern and color? Gemstones display an unlimited palette of color and radiance. They are mainly classified into two groups: semi-precious and precious. Turquoise, amethyst, and aquamarine are some of the most popular and widely used semi-precious gems while diamond, ruby, and emerald are the most popular precious gemstones. The most admirable feature of gemstones is their non-fading quality which makes them a very favorable jewelry accessory.

Though gemstones are available these days in a variety of colors and cuts, it might be surprising for some that they have been used since ancient times. Archeologists have unearthed several tombs in Egypt in which the dead were preserved with a great deal of jewelry. It has been concluded that ancient Egyptians valued gems for their color and associated them with various virtues. For instance, turquoise was looked up as a gemstone that brought happiness and abundance since it was blue, the color of sea. For the same reason, lapis lazuli was also admired among Egyptians. Beautiful gemstones and minerals were set in pure gold and sterling silver to be worn by the living and to be buried with the dead. Let us take a look at some of the gemstones that found favor among them.

Alexandrite: It is a rare stone which has the special feature of changing colors. It appears green in day light and turns to raspberry red in the dark. It is preferred for making jewelry and because of its supreme hardness of 8.5 Mohs, it is a gem for rough and tough wear . People often use Alexandrite rings as engagement rings and anniversary gifts because of its longevity.
Emerald:  It is a rare variety of mineral beryl that is clear deep green in color because of its chromium content and is valued as a gem. People who wear emerald believe that it heals ear problems, digestive problems, heart diseases, blood pressure and similar medical problems.
Sapphire: Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminum oxide. It is found in different colors like blue, yellow, purple, orange, and green. The most popular form of sapphire is blue sapphire. It is one of the most popular engagement gemstones because it represents a promise of loyalty, purity, and trust.    
Amber: Amber is fossilized tree resin, much appreciated for its subtle glowing color and natural beauty since ages. It has much value than now than the ancient times though. Amber gem stone has its wonderful qualities of healing emotional and physical problems. It relieves stress from the body.
Ruby: In Sanskrit, the word ruby means king of precious stones. Ruby is known for its red color and it has been known as a treasure since millennia. Wearing ruby inspires creativity, wisdom, and love, and brings to a human confidence and spirituality. Ruby also improves blood circulation.
Turquoise: It is a kind of opaque gemstone that is used in making jewelry in beautiful and unique forms. Its color is blue to green and this gemstone presents pleasure, joy, and cleanliness. It makes you more sensitive to creativity.
Carnelian: It is reddish-brown or red in color. It energizes blood, frees from lower back problems, improves concentration and develops creativity.
Chalcopyrite: It is a copper iron sulfide mineral that is crystallized in the tetragonal system. This stones best use is for heightening meditative powers. Wearing the ring also increases perceptive abilities.
Coral: It is red or pink in color and is made from the skeleton of coral species. Wearing coral brings about emotional balance, increase in higher knowledge and wisdom. Coral can be set in silver or gold and used in every type of jewelry including brooches, rings, and earrings.

These gemstones are used in making jewelry nowadays too. Semi-precious gemstones are usually shaped into beads that can be large and small; the smallest of them being termed as seed beads. These beads are available for sale at jewelry shops and wholesalers and are often used by amateur jewelry makers for making their own jewelry. Well, it seems like in no age humans have been able to resist the charm of these beautiful gifts of nature.

A Brief Look at Gemstones

A gemstone is essentially a crystal that, when cut into a desirable shape or form, for instance, a bead, is used in making a range of products. The value of a gemstone largely depends on its physical properties. Although almost all gemstones are found in the form of minerals, a few – amber, for example – are used for purposes of making jewelry.

How does a gemstone reach from the mine to the jewel?
A gemstone is anything but shiny and brilliant when it is first dug out from under layers of earth. It has to go through an arduous process of being shaped before it can adorn your fingers or neck. The process of cutting and polishing of gemstones is carried by systematic abrasion using grits of harder substances. This process is calledgemcuttingor lapidary. Lapidary includes sawing, grinding, sanding, lapping, polishing, drilling and tumbling. An unpolished stone is said to be rough; once it is worked on, and the fragile materials are removed, it is said to be cobbed.

After being shaped to an optimum level, gemstones are categorized into groups, species, and varieties. They are also classified based on their physical properties; some of the factors considered are the particular gemstone’s refractive index, hardness, and dispersion. Another useful way of classifying them is on the basis of their water. The degree of measuring a gemstone based on its water is by its transparency; most transparent gemstones are first water, while the lesser so are second, third and so on. The better a gem scores on these parameters, the costlier it will be.
Although the most conventional way of identifying and grading a particular gemstone is by observing it meticulously, the results often show several inaccuracies. The advent of scientific gem testing labs, owing to modernized developments and advancements, has minimized the occurrence of the same. These labs provide certificates to declare the superiority or inferiority of a gemstone.

Gems and their Mystical Properties
Gemstones are used for making a large variety of products. Most notable of these include stone carvings, engraved gems, ornaments and jewelry. In ancient and medieval times, capes, crowns and rings worn by aristocratic and royal members of dynasties and kingdoms were decorated with gemstones. Although the usage of gemstones has been, and still is, largely for decorative purposes, it also finds its value in the field of astrology. The effects of gemstones on a human body were widely studied and analyzed by astrologers and experts of the field.

When worn by a human body, gemstones affect the body through their colour and the energy vibrations they produce. These vibrations, carefully evaluated and calculated, are different for each gemstone, and are used to harmonize the negative energy imbalance created by the vibrations of the human body. The constant vibrating motion of crystals present in each stone makes its energy frequency. Their energy field is largely governed by their geometrical form and colour, among other factors.
Another branch of study, colour therapy, also relates to the adornment of particular colours, be it in the form of accessories, clothes or footwear. Colours are also used as effective psychic healing techniques. Some colours are considered lucky for particular days of the week.

Ruby, considered as one of the most valuable and effective gemstones, finds its use in a host of psychological and physiological factors, such as lack of will, receiving ill treatment from superiors, low blood pressure and lethargy. Pearl, another gem of much value, offers remedies for emotional issues. Notwithstanding its benefits, it also brings along several physical side effects, chief of which are asthma, bronchitis and other lung related diseases. Emerald is worn to improve academic proficiency and intellect.
The gemstone considered most beneficial is the sapphire. One who wears sapphire is blessed with the best in all realms and walks of life: wisdom, health, and financial superiority. Diseases such as biliousness, chronic liver complaints, gall bladder stones, diarrhoea, gastritis, ulcer, rheumatism, jaundice, insomnia, heart troubles, impotency, gout, arthritis and pain in knee joints can be remedied by wearing the stone. Associated with the planet Jupiter, it enhances vision and gives financial security. It is also used in minimizing negativity and pessimism. It should be noted that one should consult an astrologer before wearing sapphire.

Blue sapphire, however, should be advised with caution and worn with care. Although it yields favourable results, it can also bring about one’s downfall – inviting accidents and terrible misfortunes – if worn incorrectly according to the colour chart.

These were a few insights about gemstones, their procurement, and the effects they can have on human life. However, the world of gemstones is as vast as interesting. There are as many mines of knowledge as there are gems. And the knowledge about these gems is as precious as the gems themselves. So if you feel like digging deeper into the world of gems, we can assure you that there are many treasures to discover!

Prominent factors that decide Gemstone Cutting & Polishing

The best aspect of owning and dealing in gemstones is the fact that they can be cut into delectable shapes and patterns. How a gemstone will look once it is polished is the most important part of cutting and polishing it. The way a gemstone can be cut depends on many factors. Prominent factors that decide the gemstone cutting and polishing are:

  • Size of the rock
  • Weight of the gem in carats
  • Irradiance required from the cut stone
  • Hardness and durability
  • Colour stability
  • Matching pair compatibility

Even the best of gems can look flaccid and lifeless if not shaped in order of their desirability. Gemstone cutting of amethyst, diamond, topaz, cat’s eye and sapphire is done on the outside facet to match with the inside pattern. The bottom facets have to be cut in shallow angles to allow maximum refraction of light through the gem. Maximum glitter and brightness is achieved when light passes through the gem surface without being blocked by a “dead spot” at the centre.

Gemstone as a gift: Tip for the first timers

Shopping for a gemstone? Yes, you would need an eye of a perfectionist to lay your hands on a flawless gemstone. Meanwhile, lapidary artists recommend that you buy a flawed gem, only for one reason. Perfect gems are artificial, while the flawed ones are natural. In the gem market, a natural stone would garner more price than a polished, synthetic rock.

Where to look: Variety you can try

Diamonds and pearls remain the top choices. But if you are looking for a good gem in your first buy, start with Citrine, amethyst and other members of the coloured quartz family. Beryls come very close to quartz family as far as popularity is concerned. Preferably, Rose quartz and purple-Blue amethyst are best options for you to buy at a reasonable price. If you are wish to gift them for anniversary or as a wedding gift, go with a stone that weighs at least 3 carats. 15mm stones are winners on every occasion.

Stones from the Exclusive families

Rarer gemstones are hard to find and hence are costlier than the contemporary stones. Sapphires, rubies and ambers are popular, but if you are looking for something exquisite and invaluable, we recommend you to look beyond the usual shades and varieties in gemstone cutting market.
Here are 3 crystalline gems that are considered rarest of the rare.

  • Alexandrite

This Pleochroic stone has a tendency to change colour as if it was on a camouflage mission. In natural sunlight, it exhibits a rare green blue shade while in dark, it is purple. It belongs to the same family as emeralds.

  • Red Diamond

Red diamond is a natural wonder. A red diamond would not weight more than 1 carat!

  • Painite

Just a decade ago, painite was world’s rarest gem. It is one of the few gems to exhibit a hexagonal crystalline structure. A perfect engagement ring stone for the most auspicious event of your life!

A look at Gemstone Color Trends For 2016

The year 2015 is almost over and the New Year will see new trend in the gemstone colours. Every gemstone has a signature colour shade that symbolises a particular occasion. If you are shopping for a particular gemstone to be gifted on a special occasion, here are top gemstone colour trends that are likely to rule the roost in the year 2016. Experts suggest that the year 2016 is going to be the year for earthly shades and neutral colours. Cool, neutral and pastel shades will continue to rake in highest popularity but the electrifying shades won’t be far behind either.

With each colour trend, you can opt for multiple options. The list contains more than two alternatives for each shade you are shopping from the ornate series of precious and semi-precious gemstones.

Blue and its vibrant variations
Men love blue. If you have something in mind for Father’s Day next year, choose the royal series of blue coloured gemstones. There are many options you can try, but we bring you the top blue complementary gemstones. The sea blue gems are favourite collectibles. The trend will be heavily in favour of:

  • Larimar
  • Blue Opal
  • Moonstone
  • Blue Chalcedony
  • Blue Spinel
  • Blue Pearl
  • Sodalite
  • Benitoite
  • Sapphire
  • Alexandrite
  • Hawk’s Eye
  • Quantum Quattro
  • Blue Aventurine
  • Azurite
  • Blue Agate
  • Blue Smithsonian
  • Jeremejevite

Grassy Green
Green is one of the sunniest colours in the palette. If you are in love with anything that is clear and greenish, gemstone trend in the year 2016 will not disappoint you. The top 10 gems from the green family you should keep an eye on:

  • Peridot
  • Emerald
  • Jadeite
  • Green Opal
  •  Green Spinel
  • Green Zircon
  • Green Sunstone
  • Green Amber
  • Chrome Diopside
  • Unakite

Sunshine Yellow
Yellow gems will rule the season between February and May. Brilliant glint and sheen of yellow gemstones is something you should not miss early next year.
Here are top 10 yellow coloured gemstones that will trend.

  • Yellow Diamond
  • Sphene
  • Yellow Garnet
  • Londonite
  • Danburite
  • Tiger’s Eye
  • Pyrite
  • Amber
  • Yellow Agate
  • Scapolite

Purple gemstones for Wet spells
Have an evening outing? What could be more dramatic than a clear sparkling set of purple gemstones adorning your neckline and ear lobe! Opt for eloquent shades from purple families like Imperial purple, mauve, lilac, violet, lavender and patriarch.
Here are our top choices from the purple gemstone family that you can shop for.

  • Tanzanite
  • Sugilite
  • Iolite
  • Charoite
  • Purple Agate
  • Taaffeite
  • Purple Tourmaline
  • Amethyst
  • Purple Jasper
  • Lepidolite

Browns and champagnes
Blaze through the fashion trends with orange and brown shades. Unlike red and pink, these gemstones are loved for their earthly appeal. Here are top 10 gemstones from the brown coloured family.

  • Moragnite
  • Peach moonstone
  • Quartz
  • Cognac Diamond
  • Labradorite
  • Imperial Topaz
  • Citrine
  • Orange Amber
  • Sardonyx
  • Palm Wood

How Gemstones Are Matched In Pairs?

Why are matched pairs of gemstones so popular and sought after in the fashion industry? The matched pairs are not only hard to blend, but also difficult to cut. A little flaw in either gemstone can send the whole idea to the dumping ground. It requires a lot of precision to produce matched pairs.

How are gemstones paired?
The matched pairs are carefully sorted out from a list of gemstones. The top aspects that lapidartists seek when pairing up gems are as follows.

  • Colour coordination

The two gems should be harmonized eloquently so that there is no dearth of radiance in the pair. Colour coordination is important when it comes to pairing smaller sized gems. It is a challenging task considering the clarity each gemstone radiates when matched together. Poor colour coordination can expose flaws and haziness in the gemstones.

  • Faceting along the same angles

The angle at which the matched pairs are cut should be same. Even a degree of deviation can cause mismatched coordination. Moreover, it can cause disparity in the brilliance expected from the final pair. The matched pairs are always cut from a single piece of rock, sawn into half.
For example, a sapphire weighing 1 carat is faceted with a complementary stone of equal weight. It is always preferred that two smaller stones have a better colour coordination.

  • Specific properties that make it hard to match

Some gemstones are very hard to match. The gems that exude subtle colour variations are very tough candidates in the matched pair portfolio. Tourmaline and Alexandrite are two gemstones that display pleochroism and colour zoning.
Watermelon tourmalines are one of the hardest pairs to match as no two gems are same. When viewed from different angles, they exude distinct colour shades.

  • Good price is always guaranteed

The cost of matched pairs per carat is always higher than the individual rock cuts. Rarity of matched pairs depends on the colour, clarity and cut. Since it is hard to match, there is considerable amount of cutting involved. Since the bigger rock is scrapped to smaller size. To recompense for the material scrapped off, the price per carat of the matched pair is kept higher.
The matched pairs weigh between 1 carat and 2 carat. Larger matching pairs are not preferred for many reasons. The gemstone market deals only in calibrated weight and sizes of matched pairs.

  • Popular matched pairs

The gemstones that are popularly matched and dealt in are listed below.

  • Spinel matched
  • Tanzanite
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline
  • Morganite
  • Garnet
  • Aquamarine
  • Green Beryl matched
  • Yellow Beryl matched
  • Citrine
  • Kunzite
  • Amethyst
  • Peridot
  • Zircon
  • Matched rubies
  • Matched emeralds

Special matched pairs
There are some gemstones included in the list of special matched pairs. They consist of large sized Aquamarine. The dainty pair weighs 1.85 carats while bigger ones weigh 15 carats.
The special sets are:

  • Dichroic Tanzanite
  • Trichoic tanzanite
  • Calibrated Amethyst
  • Red Colour Spinel Pair
  • Cinnamon Zircon at 7 carats
  • Fancy Spinel in Rose
  • Lemonish Yellow Colour Sphene at 3 carats

A look into Top 5 Gemstone Cuts

When it comes to classifying gemstones, cuts and shapes are the best way to do it. There are different shapes that a particular gemstone can feature. Seemingly, the most popular shapes in the commercial in the gem market are round, oval, pear, marquise, baguette, cushion, heart and tear drop. Classifying gemstones on the basis of their shapes is a hard task, as it often requires the lapidarist to polish the rough rocks into particular patterns. Faceting and finishing give definition to the shape.
Here are some popular cuts that the finished gemstones are classified into.

Brilliant Cut gemstones

Brilliant cuts are faceted through a vertical plane along the axis connecting pavilion to the crown. It is a traditional cut that is common in all shapes of the gemstones. It can be cut into wider facets, which is called as Culet. Girdle pavilion facets cuts are also used in the Brilliant-cut gemstones when there is a remarkable gap between the main facet and the girdle. It is common in the triangular shaped gemstones.

Why brilliant?
Gemstones cut in brilliant exude maximum radiance. They have an electrifying appeal and hence the name.

Diamond cuts

Diamond cuts are called so as they are inspired by the facet cutting of a diamond. It is done for many shapes like oval round and even regular fancy patterns. The diamond cut is very similar to the Brilliant cut but has a specific symmetry and proportion that depends on the shape of the gemstone. Gemstones of smaller size bearing diamond cut are called melee stones. They have limited number of facet cuts and have hazy finish.

Trilliant/ Trillion cut

There is a distinct classification of gemstones with brilliant cuts as well. Classifying a gemstone based on whether it is a round or triangular shaped gave rise to a special cut- Trilliant cut. A brilliant cut made on a triangular gemstone is called Trilliant cut. Trilliant cut is also used to define other cuts like:

  • Cabochons
  • Step cut
  • Plain cuts

Tear Drop Cut

It is a hybrid cut featuring the uniqueness of oval and marquise. It retains the sparkling grace of a tear drop. Most tear drop cut gemstones are carved using hand. They weigh lighter than 3 carats and fitted into pendants and earrings. Another romanticized classification of the tear drop cut is the Heart-cut. The tear-drop cut is given a cleft in the middle so that the gemstone looks like a heart. It has a smooth contour and a well-defined cut line. It has a depth percentage between 55 to 75 percent.

Radiant Cut

Radiant cut is made exclusively on the rectangular and square shaped gemstones.  It maximizes the brilliance of the gemstone by directing the cut towards gem’s depth. It is similar to the Emerald Cut, but done only for linear shapes and not curved ones. Marquis and Navettes are the thinner version of this Radiant Cut. Cushion cut made on rectangular and square shaped gemstones are called Sheild Cut.
Hence, a particular shape can be given more than one cut. This helps in elaborately classifying finished gemstones.

A Look at Top 5 Types of Gemstone Forms

There are many forms of gemstones that are available in the market. Not every form is easily identifiable, especially if you are looking for a gift for someone special. For centuries, craftsmen have mastered the art of cutting and shaping gemstones in eloquent ways to suit every taste. Gem collectors look for a particular range of gemstones when it comes to shapes, cuts, colours, and above all, their forms.
Here are top gemstone forms that you must know, just in case you are planning to gift enticing rock to your loved one.

Cabochon

Simplest form of gemstone that you would find in the market is a cabochon. It looks elegant in its round and polished appearance. The top is slightly flattened while the bottom sits on the surface. The top is polished while the bottom is sanded. Cabochon cutting is done using a special tool called cab or a dopping stick.

Cabochon stone:
Opal, turquoise, onyx, moonstone, and star sapphire

Faceted gems

Faceting is exclusively done for transparent and translucent gemstones. The flat facet of the gemstone is cut and shaped across the total surface. It is a highly symmetrical form and exudes uniform radiance when viewed from 2D and 3D angles. Dopping of faceted gemstones is done using epoxy and acrylic glue wax.
Faceting technique has improved over the years. Today, gemstones are bestowed with concave facets, grooves and cabbed facets to derive absolutely virgin cuts and shapes.

Faceted gems:
Spinel, diamond, amethyst, garnet

Beads, ovals and Spheres

Aquamarines and tourmaline gems are cut and shaped into beads and spheres. They are worn as necklace, pendants and bracelets.

Spheres are sawed into complex shapes resembling a cubed or a dice. Dodecahedron is the world’s largest selling polished gems form manufactured using concave cutters and pipes. Perfect spheres are obtained using a combination of grinding, lapping and sanding. The beads, ovals and sphere gemstone forms are drilled through the centre to make room for stringing.

Gemstones available as beads and spheres:

 Inlays

When two different materials are grooved into each other, it is called an inlay form. It is often done for opaqyue rocks and gems. Gemstone inlay are produced by cutting and fitting it into another material. For instance, Jade, Mother of Pearl, lapis lazuli, onyx, turquoise and cat’s eye is often embedded into a hollow recess of a metal or another stone. Inlays make up for a gift for men and women who are looking for birthstone gemstones, especially those born in months that have two gemstones in their name. Amber and pearl are other gemstones that are commercially thriving owing to their availability in complex and convoluted inlay forms.

Mosaics and Intarisas

Intarsia and Mosaics are complex grouping of two or more different chips of gemstones. They are often fitted and glued together to recreate a particular design. Floral patterns, scenes from Renaissance and painting miniatures garner wide-scale attention from buyers looking for an anniversary or a birthday gift. Florentine mosaic of turquoise, topaz and rubies are very popular much like intaglios and cameos.

A look into stunning Akoya Pearls and what makes them famous?

Pearl is one of the prettiest organic gemstones. While India was once the largest producer and consumer of the pearl gemstone, today Japanese, Arabian and Japanese pearl producers rule the segment. Just two decades ago, Japanese Akoya Pearls contributed to 66 percent of the overall market. Since 2000, the Akoya pearl has faced serious contribution from the Chinese pearls that now produce more than 80 percent of the Akoya Pearls every year. Japanese pearl market has scaled down significantly to about 11 percent.

What are Akoya Pearls?
Akoya pearls are produced from Akoya oysters cultivated in sea water. The white and creamy pearls are common but some manufacturers have managed to produce ‘black’ pearls too. Akoya Pearls are cultured pearls derived from the waters off the coast of China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and even Philippines. There are many big names dealing in this particular family of pearls. Akoya pearls are known for their consistent colour shade, hardness and roundness. Unlike the Indian and Arabian pearls, Akoya pearls are available in many shades and sizes which make it easier to market them in international gemstone market.
Akoya pearls are classified into two categories:

  • Imperial Pearls
  • Classical pearls

An akoya gemstone will have:

  • Glossy lustre with extremely high reflection
  • Flawless surface finish
  • Deep nacre coating
  • Perfectly rounded shape
  • White appearance with no cloudy or hazy fragments. Rosy or silver overtones are common as well.

When it comes to compare Akoya pearls, there is a standard grading system. Irrespective to their origin, each Akoya pearl bears the same specifications to match international gemstone standards.
Why Akoya pearls are popular?
Akoya pearls are least susceptible to blemishing and yellowing of the surface. Even the low quality Akoya gemstones from Chinese and Japanese pearl fisheries have a good consistency. The following reasons make Akoya pearls popular among international gemstone collectors.

  • Shorter production time, that helps producers meet the high market demand
  • Minimum post-production polishing and gemstone cutting
  • Lower labour cost owing to better quality production
  • Guaranteed price, due to high quality cleaning, bleaching, treating and matching of pearl gemstone
  • Easy machining ability due to consistent surface quality

Where do Akoya pearls come from?

Akoyal pearl rules the gemstone market on account of the sophisticated culture techniques employed across the South China Sea. It is worth noting that the culture of pearl is now done only in dammed sea water incubator. Pollution and diseased waterways influence the way a pearl exhibits colour and shows physical properties. Diseased pearls lack the lustre and have thinner nacre compared to registered incubators.

In the last decade, Chinese pearls have topped as the most consistent profit drivers in the natural gemstone market. The prices remain stable and the quality is also assured. Most pearls tagged as Akoya are machined to a standard 8 mm diameter to ensure consistency in the matching pairs of gemstones.
The Hanadama Akoya Pearls is one of the most prized gemstones in the natural market. A high-class akoya pearl handama strand can fetch up to $3,500.

An Overview Of The Basic Gemstone Cutting Tools

Gem cutting is a novel blend of art and precision. With technology coming into picture, carving a gemstone beautifully as become fairly easy. Merely using a sophisticated tool to cut gemstone does not ensure exclusivity of design. In fact, the machines that are used today owe their origin to the gem cutting tools of the 14th century. In the last five decades, the designs of the machines have hardly changed. Most of them have witnessed introduction of LASER and automation operations though, but the cutting principles remain more or less same as it was in 1970s.

If you look closely at a gem cutting machine from 1960s and a contemporary cutter today, you will find uncanny resemblance between the two units. The setting up of the machine is still the same. Installation of the parts is almost similar. The only difference you would find is the way stone is placed or fed to the system. It could be on an automated holder or a brocket.

Every gem cutting machine will consist of:

  • Lapping plate, also called as a grinder
  • Angle scale to set the cutting tip at an angle
  • Faceting adjustment knob to control the speed and depth of cutting
  • Polishing pads
  • Setting pin to hold the stone at a place
  • Dop to adjust the gem at a particular angle
  • Single needle tip, made of diamond or silicon carbide compound.

The use of multiple needles is restricted to fully automated gem cutters. The trend of Single-needle inclusion technology got prominence with the introduction of laser guided cutting. The most important factors that a lapidartist seeks in a gem cutting machine are:

  • Sturdy construction so that the unit is stable when precision cuts are made
  • Proper ground clearance to maintain balance of cut
  • Proper illumination at the time of cut
  • Guide channels to collect scraped mineral
  • Easy to clean and maintain

If you are looking for a gem cutting machine, these are the qualities and features you just can’t miss. Here is your checklist:

  • Look for a precision dial indicator and stopper system
  • Enquire if the gem cutting machine supports hard-stop and soft-stop cutting technologies
  • If you are planning to use it for batch production of gemstone, look for a 2-Quart drip tank and a coolant carrier
  • Always invest in a heavy duty deck plate body to support mast-type gemstone cutting machine
  • Magnet motors are recommended as they deliver massive torque at all speeds in forward and reversed directions. Moreover, they are easier to control and remain stable at all speeds.
  • Check out the splash bowl. It is important that your machine comes attached with a urethane bowl to ensure cleanliness at work site.
  • Digital micrometer for depth-of-cut adjustment is preferred for professional cutters
  • Make quick angle changes using digital protractor and DOP adjustment indicator.
  • Collect the entire DOP set consisting of 4mm, 5mm, ¼”, 3/8” & ½” flat, cone, and Vee
  • Enquire if it has 96 Indexed gears
  • Life time guarantee is a must!