Lapis Lazuli: The Wonder Stone

Lapis lazuli, prized for its intense blue color, is a semi-precious gemstone which gets its name from the place where it was first mined. Its name is derived from the Latin word "lapis" meaning stone and the Persian word "lazhuward" meaning blue.

Although predominantly found in the mines of Afghanistan where it has been mined for over 6,000 years, it is also found as far as the Andes Mountains near Chile and near the Baikal Lake in Russia. This gem is also mined in small amounts in countries like India, Pakistan, Italy, Canada and the United States of America.

Afghanistan is said to be the biggest producer of Lapis in the world. The country has six
operational Lapis mines, the largest of them being located in Badakhshan province. From these mines, bulk of it is exported to India, which is the largest importer of raw semi-precious stones and the exporter of higher quality gems.

Lapis is mostly composed of the mineral known as lazurite. This mineral is blue in color and gives Lapis its intense color. Its other major mineral components are calcite and sodalite. Lapis is found in the marble crystalline form in nature, formed by a process called contact metamorphism of limestone. It is sensitive to heat, acid, and alkali. The gemstones containing higher concentration of these two minerals are of higher grade and more expensive as compared to the rest of the Lapis grades i.e. a higher grade Lapis contains very low concentration or residual amounts of calcite and sodalite. A lapis crystal made mostly of laruzite has never been documented. Most samples found and reviewed by geologists mainly contain Hauyne.

Nowadays, Lapis Lazuli can also be made artificially by the Gilson process (invented in 1970). The artificial Lapis should most accurately be called an imitation of the Lapis as it differs from the natural Lapis in some of it physical and chemical properties.

This gemstone has been highly regarded for its color since the time of Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations.  The European traders discovered Lapis some 2000 years ago and began exporting it in large amounts into Europe by the end of the Middle ages. In Europe, the Lapis was ground into a fine blue powder and sold as an expensive and intense blue pigment called ultramarine dye (or simply ultramarine). It was made available to only the most noteworthy painters and artists of the Renaissance and the Baroque.

One of the finest examples of Renaissance paintings that used the ultramarine is the “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” which was painted by Johannes Vermeer in 1665. The ultramarine was used by painters to depict the clothing of central figures in their paintings and was typically used to depict clothing of Virgin Mary during that period.

Many ancient artifacts made of Lapis Lazuli have been found from various eras. Pendants made of Lapis dating back to 2900 B.C. have been found among the remnants of the great
Mesopotamian civilization. The Egyptians made scarabs out of Lapis rock. It was also used as a pigment to depict the eyes on the tomb mask of Tutenkhamun. Majestic statues made of Lapis rock have been discovered in India from the Mughal era. Several famous Lapis artifacts have also been discovered in China from the period of Qing dynasty.

Lapis is easy to polish and gives-off a radiant blue shine. It is used to make jewelry, mosaics, frescos, carvings, statues, ornaments and boxes. As a gemstone, Lapis Lazuli is used traditionally in jewelry as pendants and as beads. It is considered a semi-precious gemstone and is widely worn by both men and women embedded in their necklaces, earrings, and rings.  Artifacts made from Lapis Lazuli are highly valued for their "true blue" color (also known as ultramarine).

This gemstone has become a part of Asian and Western cultures (and myths and rituals).
According to Indian Astrology, this stone is known for its spiritual healing powers. It is known to increase strength, immunity and virility. It is the planetary stone of Capricorn and is associated with the Zodiac sign Libra. In the Feng Shui, Lapis is associated with the water element and is associated with wisdom, wealth and abundance.

If you like the color blue, you can order Lapis jewelry – it is beautiful and mystical to look at, so much so that even the great poet W.B. Yeats wrote a whole poem to it. If you like, you can even get Lapis beads and make your own jewelry. It’s cheaper than most other gems, but its beauty is as astonishing as any other. 

The Different Hues of Topaz

Topaz is a beautiful as well as popular gemstone. It comes with a decent hardness, desirable colors, and a relatively better abundance and availability than its precious counterparts like ruby or amethyst which makes it comparatively cheaper and easier to buy.

Naturally occurring topaz is found in hues from bright yellow to a deep golden brown. The orange-yellow tones are also called the Imperial Topaz. Their special property is that they can fade if exposed to the sun for a considerable period of time.  A small amount of topaz is also found in red, pink, and blue shades. These are very expensive due to their rarity.

The blue topaz is often created from faint blue or colorless crystals, which are abundantly found, by a process called irradiation. The crystals thus processed are heated to form an icy, pastel blue color. The darker hue of blue known as London blue is created by exposing the crystals to neutrons. The color blue suits well in both white and yellow metals and is therefore a favorite of jewelry designers.

Etymology

The name topaz is believed to have derived from Latin Topazus or French Topace. The Greek words Τοpáziοs or Τοpáziοn may also have been instrumental in the christening of the stone. Alternatively, it may also be related to the Sanskrit word Tapas meaning heat or fire.

Occurrence

Topaz are crystals of Aluminum fluoro-hydroxyl-silicate (Al2SiO4(F,OH)2), also known as the felsic composition. The different colors are due to the impurities present. Topaz crystals are found in most commonly in igneous rocks, as pegmatites, and in the cavities of granite and rhyolite. They are also found in metamorphic rocks like quartzite or schist, although very rarely.

Minas Gearis, a state in Brazil, is the most important source of topaz in the world. Other sources are in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria, China, Japan, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Ireland and Tasmania. The rare pink topaz is found in parts of Russia and Northern Pakistan.

Topaz in History

The Roman author and natural philosopher, in his book Natural History, mentioned that Topazos was the name of a mythical island in the Red Sea which the first place where the stone topaz was mined.

Topaz also finds mention in the Bible. In Exodus 28:17, the King James version, it says in the Hoshen, “And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle(garnet): this shall be the first row."

Topaz in Astrology

Yellow topaz is the birthstone of November borns while the blue one is for those born in December.

In Vedic astrology, yellow topaz is considered to be the gemstone of Jupiter. It is especially recommended for those who write spiritual books and for those who want the happiness of children. Women looking for the perfect match are also said to be helped by this stone.

It is also said to cure medical problems like cough, skin infections, and jaundice.

Value and Uses

Topaz is used to make necklaces, pendants, earrings, rings, and other jewels. It is also found as beads which can be strung together to make something like a choker or a bracelet. Colorless topaz is often used as a substitute for diamond, while the blue one is often mistaken for aquamarine.

As for its industrial uses, it is used as an abrasive in products like knife sharpeners, scouring pads, and grinding and sanding equipment. Hard gemstones are often used in such applications.

However, although topaz ranks an 8 on the Moh’s scale, it is pretty vulnerable to breakage due to its perfect basal cleavage. It means that it can break easily if hit at a particular angle. For this reason, topaz needs to be protected from any force striking it, or a drop on a hard surface or even an extreme temperature and pressure. Therefore, it is advised to avoid steam and ultrasonic cleaners for topaz jewelry. A soft brush and warm soapy water is the best bet when it comes to cleaning topaz.

So, this was all about this fabulous stone called topaz. Do you know something about it that we haven’t mentioned here? We’d love to know. The comments section is all yours.

Know all about garnets

Garnets are semi-precious gemstones that are found in several colors including red, pink, yellow, blue, black, purple, colorless, orange, and brown. Of these, blue garnet is the rarest. It was discovered much more recently compared to other colors – in Bekily, Madagascar in the late 1990s. It was successively discovered in the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Tanzania, and Kenya.

The blue garnet has a special property. The blue-green color changes to purple as it is taken from daylight to incandescent light. This color changing property is also found in garnets of other colors. What are green, brown, beige, blue, and gray in the daylight turn to a shade of red, pink, or purple. This phenomenon often leads people to mistake garnet for Alexandrite, a rare gem.

Garnets are a group of silicate minerals that include a range of impurities, which result in a whole umbrella of shapes, sizes, and colors. Although all garnets have the same crystal forms and physical properties, they have different chemical formulas depending on the trace elements or other rocks they have.

There are so many varieties that the sheer number can be bewildering. It helps to sort them out on the basis of color. Let’s take a look at the different colors of garnet and their value.

Pyrope and Almandine: They are found in colors ranging from purple to orangy red. Almandine is an exceptionally hard variety of garnet which is used in making abrasives.

Spessartine: They are found in myriad shades of orange.

Andradite: They are found in shades of yellow and yellowish green.

Grossular:  The largest varieties of colors are found in grossular species – from colorless to yellowish and reddish orange, from orangy red to a brilliant green. Grossular has two varieties – greenish tsavorite and reddish hessonite.

Demantoid: It is a vibrant green garnet that is highly prized for its rarity.

Rhodolite: It is a purplish-red variety of garnet.

 

Clarity, Cut, and Carat

Typically, clarity of garnets depends on their color. For example, red garnets like almandine and pyrope do not have inclusions visible to the eye. On the other hand, orange garnets such as spessartine have visible inclusions. The grossular variety is generally translucent.

Expensive garnets are cut into shapes suitable for jewelry making such that minimum wastage takes place. Red garnets are usually cut into beads and cabochons of high clarity and transparency. Demantoid is cut in a way that maximizes the display of its “fire” or its signature internal turbulent design.

Garnets are available in a wide variety of sizes and weights. Demantoid and tsavorite are usually found in small sizes, so large-sized ones are considerably expensive. However, others such as almandine are commonly found in large sizes and therefore, there is no special value for large stones.

History and Folklore

From the excavations at Egyptian tombs and pyramids, it has been found that ancient Egyptian pharaohs were fond of garnets. Red ones adorned their necks as they were mummified for their afterlife.

Ancient Romans used to stamp important documents with signet rings with carved garnets. The Roman scholar, Pliny, wrote in his book “Natural History” that red garnets were among the most traded gems. In the Middle Ages, garnets were favored by the clergy and nobility.

Around the 1500s, there was a discovery of huge deposits of garnets in the Bohemian kingdom in Central Europe. It led to the establishment of a regional jewelry industry that reached its zenith in the late 19th century.

Role in Astrology

Garnets are associated with bringing balance in life and eliminating the impact of negative energies. It is said to improve confidence, strength, contemplation, composure, and generosity in the wearer. It is especially helpful in fostering strong friendships. It is recommended for frequent travelers for keeping them away from accidents.

Businessmen are recommended to keep a few loose garnets in their cash box to boost their income. It is also useful in attracting good deals.

The stone is also considered to have healing properties. For example, it soothes a troubled mind, bringing calm to a person suffering from depression and mental stress. It is helpful in improving the blood circulation and levels of hemoglobin.

Garnets are special stones that add a special beauty to any jewelry. Their deep red color is especially beautiful when used in wedding jewelry such as engagement rings. To really experience the attractive charm of a garnet, you need to see one for yourself.

Rubies – Origins and History

Rubies are brilliant gemstones occurring in various shades of red. The word “ruby” comes from the Latin word ruber, meaning red. They are a variation of the mineral corundum (Al203), which is also the basic mineral in sapphires.

One can say that rubies are red sapphires because what makes rubies different from blue sapphires is the presence of chromium. Sapphires of all other colors are not known by any other name, unlike ruby, but recognized as yellow sapphire, purple sapphire, green sapphire etc.

Rubies have a great historical and cultural connection. It is also mentioned in the Bible at least four times, in association with noble virtues like beauty and wisdom. Early cultures have regarded ruby as the stone of life – as its color matches that of the blood running in veins. The Roman scholar Pliny of the first century AD described rubies in his “Natural History” as extremely hard and dense stones. No wonder, since rubies rank somewhere around 9 on Moh’s scale, second only to diamonds. Throughout centuries, ruby has been known not only for its extreme hardness, but for the ethereal mystique that surrounds it.

In Sanskrit, world’s oldest language, ruby is called “ratnaraj” or the king of gems. It is also known as ántrax in Greek, padmaraga, also in Sanskrit, carbunculus in Latin, and red corundum.

Hindus in the ancient times believed that someone who offered a fine ruby to Lord Krishna, the god of prosperity, was reborn as an emperor. Some people in India still believe that possession of rubies protects them from enemies.

Ancient Greeks called them ántrax, meaning hot coals. They believed that if they were to leaves rubies out in the sun, it would get the color of burning coal and achieve the splendor and power of the sun.

In the medieval Western culture, rubies were regarded as a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and a mark of royalty. Siegfriedwon the Nibelungs, the famous hero in Germanic legend, is said to have his sword adorned with rubies in the handle. It can be said that ruby signified life, victory, power, and longevity. It was in the medieval times that ruby came to be known as “rubeus” meaning red, from which its present name derived. Many Europeans are still very fond of rubies and wear them to enhance their wealth, health, wisdom, and success.

The Crown of Saint Wenceslas became the official crown of Bohemian kings after Charles IV, who had it made in 1347, declared it to be so. The legendary crown has a central ruby of magnificent size and weight, apart from a number of emeralds, sapphires, spinels and pearls. Legend has it that if a usurper tries it on his head, he is doomed to die within a year. Nazi deputy protector Reinhard Heydrich, who during the Second World War, secretly tried the crown at the time of inspecting St. Vitus’ Cathedral, was killed with a grenade within less than a year.

Legends like these abound rubies. No wonder then that they are one of the most famed and most desired gemstones of all times.

Rubies have been found all over the world in countries including India, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Thailand, Australia, Pakistan, Namibia, Japan, Scotland, and Brazil. The most recent ruby deposit has been found in Namya, located in the northern state of Myanmar. Actually, the first finest rubies were found in Myanmar and it was from then that Burmese rubies were started to be known as the best ones around. However, it’s very rare for a flawless ruby to come around. And if there is one, it commands a price beyond a diamond.

An interesting aspect of ruby is that its red aura makes it appear bigger than it actually is. One of the rare stones, rubies are classified as precious stones. Their average size, which is around 3 karats, is much smaller than any other stone. Apart from jewelry, they are also used as styluses in turntables, micro-bearings in expensive watches, and as a crucial component of laser.

In astrology, rubies are associated with sun and are said to increase courage, valor, confidence, and authority. Professionals in leadership roles are said to benefit from the subtle powers of ruby.

Tell us what you think about the king of gems – ruby.

 

The Magical Blue Gemstone called Sapphire

Scientifically, blue sapphires are nothing but the mineral conundrum with traces of cobalt; however, these beautiful precious gemstones have found themselves many admirers throughout history – from kings and queens to priests and popes – and have been the part of many a folklore in different parts of the world.

Sapphires are also found in yellow, green, purple or orange colors which occur due to traces of titanium, magnesium, purple, or copper respectively. Chromium traces yield pink or red sapphires, where the later is known as ruby and rarely ever called red sapphire.

There is also an orangy pink color of sapphires that is found mostly in the river beds of Sri Lanka. It is known as “padparadscha” meaning lotus flower in the Sri Lankan language Sinhalese. Sapphires can also be colorless and sometimes, though rarely, they also occur in grey or black. The general view about sapphires is that they are the blue gemstones. Most jewelry buyers are surprised when they come to know about the various colors sapphires are found in.

Sapphire is a very hard gemstone – rating 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness – with only moissanite (9.25) and diamond (10) ranking ahead of it. The hardness makes it a very strong and durable stone. The most common use of sapphires is jewelry making. However, due to its sturdiness, it is also used in scientific instruments, wristwatch crystals, and special circuits for GaN-based LEDs.

The Name “Sapphire”

The word “sapphire” comes from two languages – Greek and Latin. The Latin “saphirus” and the Greek “sapheiros” – both of which mean blue – have come to make the name sapphire, the blue gemstone. Many believe that the name means “dear to the planet Saturn” due to the stone’s association with Saturn in astrology.

Occurrence

Sapphire is mined at several places throughout the world – India, Pakistan, Myanmar, China, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Thailand, Australia, and Sri Lanka. The best blue sapphires come from Sri Lanka. Sapphires sourced from there are intense blue, clear, and transparent, which makes valuable and precious jewelry when cut and shaped into brilliant, shining beads of beauty.

Sapphire in Astrology

Sapphire is considered as a stone of strong influence. If it is your birthstone, wearing it will bring you peace, tranquility, happiness, and spiritual enlightenment. It is also said to help in getting rid of fevers, delusions, seizures, and defective vision.

The stone is said to help those in the professions of public leadership like politicians or magistrates, surgeons, doctors, metallurgists, scientists, defense personnel, and archaeologists.

It is beneficial for all those whose lucky number is 8, which is the number formed by adding digits in the date of birth of a person. Persons born on the 8th, 17th, and 26th day of any month are eligible to wear sapphires.

Myths and History Surrounding Sapphires

Prince Charles of Wales gave a sapphire engagement ring to Lady Diana Spencer, arguably the most famous royal personality of the 20th century, in 1981. The ring, which had a blue 12-carat oval sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds set in white gold,  became synonymous with the princess and was a sensation since she broke tradition by not choosing something custom made but what could be easily bought by anyone from the jewelry collection of Garrard, the makers of the ring. The same ring would eventually find its way to the hands of Catherine Middleton, the future Duchess of Cambridge, and the wife of Prince William, the eldest son of Princess Diana.

The rulers of ancient Greece and Rome believed that sapphires protected the wearer from harm and envy. In the Middle Ages, the clergymen wore sapphires as they held the view that the sky reflects the blue color of sapphires and therefore represents heaven, while common folks thought that the stone attracted heavenly blessings. The belief that the sky was blue because of the reflection from sapphires was also held by rulers of ancient Persia. Ancient lore also says that the Ten Commandments were actually written on tablets of sapphire.

 

Sapphires are indeed one of the most fascinating, mesmerizing, and attractive gems mother nature has given us. The luster, brilliance, and the deep blue color of a sapphire make the wearer stand out of the crowd eve

Ruby Gemstone Beads

Introduction to Ruby
Ruby, also known as the “Royal gemstone,” is one of the most popular gemstones in the world. Next only to diamonds in terms of importance, popularity, and majesty, ruby is also known as the king of all gemstones. It has a characteristic red color which creates an ambience abundant with “power” and “passion”.
Ruby is a member of the corundum gemstone family. All the gemstones that have a chemical composition of Aluminum and Oxygen atoms spatially bonded in the ratio of Al2O3 which constitutes the Corundum family. The gemstones belonging to this family are available in varieties of colors. Gemstones with a prevalent red color are classified as ruby whereas all the other color variants are classified as sapphires.

Characteristics of Ruby
Ruby, like any other gemstone, is characterized and classified on the basis of cut, durability, transparency, brilliance, hardness, color, rarity etc. Characteristics such as transparence, brilliance and value are imbibed by the inclusions within the gemstone. A different array of inclusions occupying the spatial molecular structure results in varied characteristics of ruby.

Cut
Ruby is considered to be a very disproportionate gemstone as far as gem cutting is considered. This is primarily due to the dearth of the rough material and its shape. Ruby is cut using antique cushion, oval, cabochons, beads, and mixed-cut methodologies. Where beads and cabochons methodologies are used for opaque stones, mixed-cut, oval, and antique cushion are used for transparent ones
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Durability
The durability of a gemstone is determined by its hardness, inclusions, fractures, and heat treatments. Rubies belong to the category of durable and stable gemstones. The hardness and toughness of ruby is usually excellent on the Moh’s scale. However, presence of large fractures can drastically reduce the durability. So, we can say that a ruby stone with fewer fractures and impurities would require no additional care or precautions and would exhibit a considerably longer and more lustrous life.
However, contact with strong and pungent chemicals should always be avoided as far as rubies are concerned.  Potent chemical compounds are known to have adverse effects on gemstones.

How to clean Ruby gemstone beads?
Since it is not a good idea to expose gemstones to strong chemical compounds, the perfect cleaning method for ruby would be to use a soft brush dipped in warm soap water.
One should make sure not to use very strong soaps for cleaning purposes.

Treatment of Ruby
Treatment of ruby is yet another important factor towards the characteristics imbibed by the gemstone. It is a very common and widely used phenomenon. All the rubies that come to the market have been treated. The degree of treatment, however, can vary widely and has a huge impact on the price of the stone.
The most common treatment that a ruby gemstone goes through is the heat treatment. The immaculate deep red color that a ruby gemstone echoes is a result of the heat treatment that it has undergone. This deep red distinct color of ruby is commonly known as Pigeon’s blood. Other prevalent treatments include surface diffusion, irradiation treatment, waxing, dying, oil impregnation and fracture filling. All these treatments are individually and specifically targeted towards improving the color, improving the clarity, reducing imperfections, reducing the fracture visibility and enhancing the surface luster.

Where is Ruby found?
Ruby, like most of the other gemstones, is found under the earth’s crust and is mined for retrieval. They are mined worldwide. Places like Sri Lanka, China, Australia, Madagascar, United States, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Pakistan are known to have rich and abundant reserves of ruby. Mining is yet another price controlling factor for rubies. The complexities of the technology and the ease of mining are the major factors that affect the market pricing for rubies.
The mining costs and the scarcity of the gemstones have led to the invention of synthetic rubies which are cost effective, readily available (man-made) and are available in varieties.

Are synthetic Rubies better than natural Rubies?
Synthetic rubies have been made in laboratories for quite some time now. However, they have become readily available in the market only recently. The advantages of the synthetic stones are that they are available in abundance and come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. It is easier to procure a large sized synthetic ruby as compared to a natural one. Synthetic rubies are much cheaper as well. Hence the invention has definitely made ruby gemstone available for the common people and in wide varieties. However, there is no rarity quotient attached to the synthetic variant, which deprives gemstones of its most basic and fundamental attribute and not to mention, the charm that comes along with it.
Several laboratory methodologies have been designed to imbibe inclusions within the gemstones so as to replicate the real versions but rarity, purity, charm and antiquity of natural ruby is still unparalleled.

No synthetic ruby would ever be able to gauge to the excellence of a natural, deep, pure livid-red ruby.

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!