Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Tell me about your Colored Stone beginnings

MrsTulip

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 17, 2011
Messages
21
I'm just getting started in this colored stone world when I was looking to change my center stone on my wedding ring. I've always dabbled on the fringes of colored stones with some beading projects at home, but I never really read any details about it until now. How did everyone get their introduction?

Just curious to see how people came to be gem collectors, project advice seekers, or just people who like this forum.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
At 8, I read a book on gemology written by Dutch-Russian scientist. It had great photos and even better stones. I also remember the five stones he mentioned as "precious". They were diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald and "noble spinel". "Noble" stands for red.

We had a great museum of mineralogy especially in the area of the Ural Mountains. There are plenty of mineralogy museums in Russia. And then, of course, all these malachite halls at the Hermitage... one just has to see them! And the Amber Room which was being so painstakingly restored when I was young.

But it all really started with these police auctions, then I wanted to buy a sapphire ring to match my bracelet, then I started reading and came across Russian demantoids, then I bought one, then I started looking for spessartites, found Pala, and once when I was typing the word, google provided me with a link to PS... The rest is history.
Oh, and before PS, I bought a Burmese ruby and an alexandrite.
 

PinkTower

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
1,129
crasru|1306447517|2931174 said:
At 8, I read a book on gemology written by Dutch-Russian scientist. It had great photos and even better stones. I also remember the five stones he mentioned as "precious". They were diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald and "noble spinel". "Noble" stands for red.

We had a great museum of mineralogy especially in the area of the Ural Mountains. There are plenty of mineralogy museums in Russia. And then, of course, all these malachite halls at the Hermitage... one just has to see them! And the Amber Room which was being so painstakingly restored when I was young.

But it all really started with these police auctions, then I wanted to buy a sapphire ring to match my bracelet, then I started reading and came across Russian demantoids, then I bought one, then I started looking for spessartites, found Pala, and once when I was typing the word, google provided me with a link to PS... The rest is history.
Oh, and before PS, I bought a Burmese ruby and an alexandrite.
My story is not as interesting, but it has some similarities. When I was about 8, I figured out how to order a lot of mineral samples and books. When the bills came in, my mother had to write a letter about it and get me out of trouble.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
My father and grandfather were both keen on gemmology and gemstones and books like Webster's Compendium were in the bookcase and I used to get them out and look at the pictures.

I started collecting fossils and minerals from a very young age (actually fossicking rather than buying) and got very hooked. I still collect both of those when I get the chance.

As my pocket money increased so did my acquisition of 'real' gemstones - much encouraged by my father who always bought me coloured stone jewellery for birthday presents.

By chance I ended up working as creative director for a jewellery company in Italy and when they asked if someone wanted to take over the diamond and gemstone buying I said I'd like to have a go. They bought me some books and I learnt a lot from them and from my dealers.

Since then I have continued collecting (mainly garnets) and have been studying to become a gemmologist. I passed my Cert. GA with 93% last year and take the diploma exams for the FGA (Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain) in two weeks time... :-o

Next steps... hmm, either retakes or ... wait and see... :Up_to_something:
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
I used to spend summers and vacations with my grandparents. My mother's father was a carpenter by trade, but was a french canadian outdoorsman thru and thru. He was very literate and completely self taught, spoke 5 languages, played the violin, guitar, and piano and was like Disney World for me when I was a kid, all of his grand kids adored him. One hot summer afternoon he took me fly fishing, in the mountain streams of the White Mountains (New Hampshire).

We caught a few trout, he did the catching, I was 4 years old, and I was playing in the stream bed, and picking up pretty rocks. My mom noticed I was unusually heavy as she picked me up that evening, and was found to have 7 pounds of stream rock in my pockets. Thus began a long career of collecting rocks, then minerals, and finally colored stones. By the time I was 15, I had nearly 8 tons of rocks, and my father threatened me with the severest of punishments - a yard sale/auction. I managed to talk him into helping me build a giant tumbler, and that launched my fascination with cutting stones. Seven years after starting the tumbler, I was a professional bench jeweler and lapidary.
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
23,969
I always liked jewelry growing up but only had costume jewelry. During college I had a friend with some gemstone jewelry she let me borrow so I started buying gemstone rings after that. I had a part time job for awhile so I had extra spending money and started buying some gemstone jewelry. When I finally decided I wanted a sapphire ring we looked around town and left empty handed because all I found was the dark, lifeless stones. We went to a nicer jeweler in a nearby big city and I picked out a lively, royal blue sapphire RHR and haven't stopped trying to expand my gemstone collection all the time. My favorite stones are sapphires, spinels and garnets. I like tanzanite and aqua but they tend to stay in my jewelry box.

I also have a crystal dish full of loose gemstones for decoration in my living. I have just browsing through it sometimes.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,268
It all started when I went to the museum as a kid on a field trip. I think I was around 8 years old. My mom gave me some money to buy something in their gift shop, and I became intrigued with one of those rocks in a box sets. The rest, as they say, is history. I've been collecting ever since. It started out with rocks I found on the ground, but once I started earning my own money, then I got into the fancier stuff. :naughty:

I still remember the uranium ore sample I had in my very first "rock in a box" collection. I was so awed they would put a radioactive element in there (it was probably harmless, but I still thought it was cool).
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
TL|1306467498|2931446 said:
It all started when I went to the museum as a kid on a field trip. I think I was around 8 years old. My mom gave me some money to buy something in their gift shop, and I became intrigued with one of those rocks in a box sets. The rest, as they say, is history. I've been collecting ever since. It started out with rocks I found on the ground, but once I started earning my own money, then I got into the fancier stuff. :naughty:

I still remember the uranium ore sample I had in my very first "rock in a box" collection. I was so awed they would put a radioactive element in there (it was probably harmless, but I still thought it was cool).
TL - I had those - still have them in fact - they were great fun. One of my favourites that you can't get anymore was from the Tolgus Tin Mine in Cornwall - it had a piece of cassiterite, a tiny test-tube full of ground-up tin ore and a tiny ingot of tin stamped with the Tolgus Mine trademark.

Talking of buying things in museum gift shops... I was in the Natural History Museum shop in London 2 weeks ago with my 2 year-old daughter and told her that she could choose a present. I quite expected a book or a piece of plastic crap, but having browsed the kids section she found the tumbled stones and after some deliberation she chose a very nice piece of tiger's eye (rejecting a chunk of iron pyrites and a small specimen of amethyst crystals) with the words 'Ooooh Mummy, stones, bright... pretty' - I guess I will be 'sharing' my collection in future years. :bigsmile:

MontageCreations - my father would sympathise with yours... after 10 or so years of collecting Cornish minerals every year I must have had pounds and pounds of the stuff. My mother worried that the ceiling in the attic might come down under the weight and so they made me go through it, extract the really good pieces and make a rockery out of the rest. No doubt in several thousand years geologists will be wondering why the heck there is a large deposit of Cornish rocks 400 miles away in the middle of Sussex! My mineral collection now resides in one medium sized cardboard box... and a sizeable chunk of my parents garden...

I might possibly be moving to Scotland (will know in the next few weeks) which will open up the possibility of whole new minerals to collect...poor DH, good thing we could afford a bigger house there! :naughty:
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,268
Pandora|1306500642|2931606 said:
TL|1306467498|2931446 said:
It all started when I went to the museum as a kid on a field trip. I think I was around 8 years old. My mom gave me some money to buy something in their gift shop, and I became intrigued with one of those rocks in a box sets. The rest, as they say, is history. I've been collecting ever since. It started out with rocks I found on the ground, but once I started earning my own money, then I got into the fancier stuff. :naughty:

I still remember the uranium ore sample I had in my very first "rock in a box" collection. I was so awed they would put a radioactive element in there (it was probably harmless, but I still thought it was cool).
TL - I had those - still have them in fact - they were great fun. One of my favourites that you can't get anymore was from the Tolgus Tin Mine in Cornwall - it had a piece of cassiterite, a tiny test-tube full of ground-up tin ore and a tiny ingot of tin stamped with the Tolgus Mine trademark.

Talking of buying things in museum gift shops... I was in the Natural History Museum shop in London 2 weeks ago with my 2 year-old daughter and told her that she could choose a present. I quite expected a book or a piece of plastic crap, but having browsed the kids section she found the tumbled stones and after some deliberation she chose a very nice piece of tiger's eye (rejecting a chunk of iron pyrites and a small specimen of amethyst crystals) with the words 'Ooooh Mummy, stones, bright... pretty' - I guess I will be 'sharing' my collection in future years. :bigsmile:

MontageCreations - my father would sympathise with yours... after 10 or so years of collecting Cornish minerals every year I must have had pounds and pounds of the stuff. My mother worried that the ceiling in the attic might come down under the weight and so they made me go through it, extract the really good pieces and make a rockery out of the rest. No doubt in several thousand years geologists will be wondering why the heck there is a large deposit of Cornish rocks 400 miles away in the middle of Sussex! My mineral collection now resides in one medium sized cardboard box... and a sizeable chunk of my parents garden...

I might possibly be moving to Scotland (will know in the next few weeks) which will open up the possibility of whole new minerals to collect...poor DH, good thing we could afford a bigger house there! :naughty:
WOW, your daughter is already two!! :shock: Time flies, and she takes after her mummy it seems. :bigsmile:
 

aviastar

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
1,190
I started dating a gemmologist. I got hooked on both- the boy and the rocks :bigsmile:
 

mastercutgems

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
356
Well there are some very colorful and interesting posts on this one... I doubt I will come close to many of your stories...

The short version :)

About 25 years ago I went to one of North Carolina's famous emerald mines to pay to dig; the owner was nice and I paid my 10 dollars a day to dig as I was a farm boy and was used to hard work and digging; I dug at least 8 hours that day 90 degrees etc. went back the next day and did the same; I found nothing but some smoky quartz. Talked with the owner who wanted to sell me a faceting machine; but I noticed a Lady come in and had the rocks she had found in her bucket; it was translucent blue topaz(native stuff, lol); the owner said "oh we can facet that and it would make a 10x8 oval for 55 dollars and when she asked how long it would take; he said come back in about an hour and a half and it will be finished; his cutter was sitting there working on a stone. She agreed and when she left; he opened a 5 gallon bucket and threw it in there with all it's bothers and sisters and went under the counter and got her a cut stone out and put her name on it??? I knew then something was wrong here....

He left me alone in there with his cutter and the guy said; If you want to learn about gem cutting and the cost of machines; get a Lapidary Journal and a Rock and Gem magazine; then come back and buy his machine if you wish and winked...

Enough said; I did what he said; and it was history from then on; Joined the American Society of Gem Cutters and other Guilds; did the competition cutting in Cabochon and Faceting as a hobby ; studied with GIA and some other schools on gemology; then I started buying pretty rocks from all over the globe; it was really fun back then as there was no email to speak of and it was hard to find someone that could speak my language as I only took Spanish and Latin in school and neither one of those worked where the gemstones were.

I look back when I was 18 and bought my Mom amethyst ear rings from a well known chain; they were microscopic and cost over a hundred dollars; you know how long it takes a bag-boy in a grocery store in 1978 to get an extra hundred dollars... You live and hopefully learn :)

It has always been a love of colorful sparkly things; it is addictive; but it does increase your mind and deplete your wallet.

But it has been a wonderful journey that I hope will never end...

Sorry for the long windedness :)

Most respectfully;

Dana
 

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
5,574
I started with pearls--around the age of 7-8 I watched a documentary about the culturing process on PBS. From pearls, I moved on to colored gems. I do like diamonds, but am not 'intrigued' by them in the way I am about CS's. My favorites are rubies and emeralds. I also had a rock/mineral collection as a kid.
 

MrsTulip

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 17, 2011
Messages
21
Indylady - I must've watched the same pearl documentary on PBS. The culturing process was so interesting that I was researching pearls for a few months after watching the PBS special. My hubby completely surprised me with a strand of akoyas for my birthday when he noticed me constantly reading about them. I'm hoping to eventually find a matching set of earrings to go with the strand one day....

Dana - I can totally understand the sparkle addiction. I've always went for sparkly costume jewelry, and I guess my taste for CS is growing. Such an interesting start - I grew up in Houston, so I can absolutely empathize with 90 degree heat and humidity.

Pandora - Congrats on passing the Cert. GA, and good luck on your diploma exams! It's so fun to hear about how a full-blown love for something can just start with a single memory.

I love how everyone has such a different path and how different people in your lives influence you. I'm a sucker for nostalgia.
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
Pandora - I can see those future archaeologists theorizing, about the ramp and elephants used to move your rock stash :lol: Cornwall has some very interesting mineralogy, would have loved to collect with you, but we are at least 10K km, and 25 years apart in our collecting starts.

Mastercut - I hear you about the NC gem sites, I learned a similar lesson there in the 60's. But not all of them are shady characters, I went to the Cowee Creek Ruby mine and harvested the usual salted ruby and sapphire chips (some were already faceted), but in my 5th bucket of dirt from the tailings pile, I pulled out a 262 ct cabochon grade sapphire, after cutting it paid for my college education. There was a Miami jeweler that offered me $3000 for it at the mine, but I had already started cutting and knew the value was at least 10 times that. I have been lucky in gem finds throughout the years, it balances out though, as I have made some whopping errors in other areas :)

Very entertaining reading this thread, good fortune to all.
 

jstarfireb

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 24, 2007
Messages
6,231
My mom has a ton of jewelry, and she always gave me jewelry as gifts on my birthday and Christmas and for special rewards (good report cards or SAT scores, performing in music or drama, etc.). So I had already amassed quite the collection before I started collecting pieces on my own, and it just felt natural to buy jewelry. What took a lot longer to get used to was buying stones and settings separately, but that was PS's influence on me. Now I'm a sucker for precision cuts and hardly ever buy anything else.
 

innerkitten

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 1, 2003
Messages
5,623
Like everyone else here I've been interested in gems minerals and jewelry since I was little. I used to love digging through my mothers jewelry box as a very young child, and I collected crystals and various minerals from I'd guess around 8 or 9. At around 16 I even took a took a cabbing class. I still have some of them.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
MontageCreations|1306519889|2931793 said:
Pandora - I can see those future archaeologists theorizing, about the ramp and elephants used to move your rock stash :lol: Cornwall has some very interesting mineralogy, would have loved to collect with you, but we are at least 10K km, and 25 years apart in our collecting starts.

Mastercut - I hear you about the NC gem sites, I learned a similar lesson there in the 60's. But not all of them are shady characters, I went to the Cowee Creek Ruby mine and harvested the usual salted ruby and sapphire chips (some were already faceted), but in my 5th bucket of dirt from the tailings pile, I pulled out a 262 ct cabochon grade sapphire, after cutting it paid for my college education. There was a Miami jeweler that offered me $3000 for it at the mine, but I had already started cutting and knew the value was at least 10 times that. I have been lucky in gem finds throughout the years, it balances out though, as I have made some whopping errors in other areas :)

Very entertaining reading this thread, good fortune to all.
LOL, I very much doubt you have a 25 year start on me unless you are in your 60's!

Cornwall is fascinating geologically. I missed being born there by an hour (parents just made it a hospital in Devon - they say that if you look at any hole in the ground you will find a Cornish-man at the bottom of it! If you're ever heading in that direction let me know and I'll give you some fun locations that aren't on too many maps!

I was very badly behaved and along with a couple of friends used to do highly illegal rock-hounding - climbing under barbed-wire fences and going down ropes into old mine workings to get specimens (a 20lb sledge-hammer was part of our kit). I took up rock-climbing and caving for this purpose... also have some incredible galena samples acquired by whacking them out of a cliff while sitting in a very small boat in a not very calm sea. My mother would have gone crazy if she had known some of the trips!

What a find with the sapphire - how big a cab did it cout and what colour? Did you just do the one stone with it?

Mastercut - that is a great story!

I would love to learn about rough eventually - I'm very nervous about it. Do you need to learn to be a cutter to understand it?

Here's an old engine house above a tin mine in Cornwall...

47151_10150262955285363_573075362_14590558_5305575_n.jpg
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
Dragging my 1 year-old child down a newly discovered 200 year-old mine working last summer... she wasn't that thrilled! Her first trip underground was at 11 weeks old visiting some caves in Ireland. :bigsmile:

47965_10150262957095363_573075362_14590633_1357552_n.jpg
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
Ah well, you confirmed my suspicion of 25 years, I am one year short of 60 ;-)

The rough sapphire yielded 6 cab's, 3 were purple and 3 were red (ruby), the rubies were the smallest @ 0.61, 0.65, and 2.1 cts., I made them into a ring and earrings for my mom. THe largest cabs were 16.40, 21.31, and 67.60 ct. I sold them to that Miami Jeweler that had tried to buy the rough from me at the mine. It was the start of a long business relationship with him, and up until his death he lamented to me how he wished he had gotten that bucket of dirt instead of me.

And yes, I took many foolish risks as a youngster, old mines, new mines, dynamite, blasting caps, - o yea the good ole days :-o
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
MontageCreations|1306528082|2931908 said:
Ah well, you confirmed my suspicion of 25 years, I am one year short of 60 ;-)

The rough sapphire yielded 6 cab's, 3 were purple and 3 were red (ruby), the rubies were the smallest @ 0.61, 0.65, and 2.1 cts., I made them into a ring and earrings for my mom. THe largest cabs were 16.40, 21.31, and 67.60 ct. I sold them to that Miami Jeweler that had tried to buy the rough from me at the mine. It was the start of a long business relationship with him, and up until his death he lamented to me how he wished he had gotten that bucket of dirt instead of me.

And yes, I took many foolish risks as a youngster, old mines, new mines, dynamite, blasting caps, - o yea the good ole days :-o
Such a good thing the Internet wasn't around in those days - we tried hard to make the stuff!
 

Barrett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
2,218
When you pull this crystal out of the ground like I did then it's hard not to get addicted.
First time at Jackson Crossroads amethyst mine after seeing Travel Channel's Cash and Treasures episdode on the location. Pulled out a few crystals from the dirt but when I pulled out this fantastic colored point that was as clean as glass it blew me away. The rest is history. Now the person that used to own the mine when I first went and when the episode was filmed is one of my best buds and mentor. He showed me the ropes with finding, propescting, info gathering, selling, buying, and all the insider crap that comes with mining and selling minerals. You wonder how he became hooked...well when he pulls out $40,000 a weekend from a small 1 acre hole in the ground in middle Geogia it's almost like winning the lottery. It would be akin to Mel Fischer finally finding the Atocha. Now the new owner of JXR who only digs/mines for a living has found the largest faceted emerald in North America last year. For years he dug and dug at Adams farm with not a single good find then BAM..on the ground they saw what looked just like an old broken green pop bottle. Just like that..a multi-million dollar gemstone is found and cut. He gets half of the sale price In an instant his fortune changed like he won the lottery. Although a once ina life-time find the odds are so much better than playing the lottery. It's stories like that that keep me coming back for more when it comes to mining and digging for rough and minerals.
Where do you go from minerals but still stay in the same sort of genre...gemstones. What I particularly like is gemgrade minerals. You get the mineral/crystal part of it but also the gemstone/rough aspect of it. The best of both worlds. Also one of the more expensive. You can't beat a fantastic crystal of some gem material that is facetgrade. It's a fantastic crystal of whatever mineral but it's also a great candadite for cutting. It can go both ways. The problem with minerals and collecting minerals is you can only go so far and make so much if you choose to sell. Some like Rob Lavinsky and John Betts do very well with minerals but they have been doing it for years and have been very lucky. Gemstones on the other hand have such a wide group of people that know what they are it only makes sense to sell gems if you want to make a living at it. More people know what a tourmaline is than a stibnite specimen and even more know what a sapphire is than a vanadanite. Sure collecting minerals is fun but trying to make a living at it is much harder. Trust me lots more people but aquamarine than rutile :bigsmile: What that means to me is I can still mess around with minerals but at the same time be part of the upper echelon that I call gemstones and gem rough. The best of both worlds.

I have learned most of what I know from friends that facet, from places like here and GO, from many of the custom cutters and sellers and gemologist like Roger Dery, Peter Torraca, Lisa Elser, Richard Wise, Edward Bristol, Richard Hughes, Jeff Hunt, Vincent Pardieu, Michael E, Jamey Swisher etc.. I have gleaned tons of info from some specific people on here including but not limited to TL, Loving Diamonds, Chrono, Harriet, Pandora, Zeolite etc.

I like the fact that minerals and gemstones/rough are created by Mother Nature and the fact that she can make something so unique and beautiful just grabs my attention. It's the same thing I see when I show someone a large well formed amethyst crystal. They can't believe the natural faces on the crystal are like that straight out of the ground. They think it has been polished or cut like that by man. So smooth and flawless with angles that are mathematically sound and repeatable. In nature, most things are so random with no real rigidity and clean pattern. Sure on the atomic level they are but things like trees, mountains, water, etc. are so random and unpredictable. With crystals and minerals you can see the mathematical precision from the atomic micro level impart itself on the formation of something you can see and hold with angles that are the same, seemingly straight lines, and smooth polished faces. It just baffles my mind to think such random events during the course of gem and mineral formation can come together and produce something that looks like it was made by an intelligent thing. Tjat is one reason why I hate synthetics. Takes away from the whole miracle that is a natural gemstone. Man can create lots of things with his hands using mathematics, formulas, and chemicals but to have something like that be formed/made in the bowels of the earth under random and rare conditions makes minerals/crystals/gemstones a fantastic thing to learn and to like. Perfectly alighned atoms in a set order that forms a geometric object that allows light to pass through and come back out while absorbing some light and not others is a miracle of nature. The atoms are so well locked together they form bonds so tight they are literally unbreakable but at the same time they look so fragile and seem as if the color will just float away. Just the conditions needed to form something that has color, is very pure, can pass light through it, and uses math as it's design plans is amazing. Certain temperature and pressure and checmicals cooling at a certain rate all at the same time is almost like all the planets alighning or all your numbers coming up. Take rubies for instance. Rubies are so common it's not even funny. I used to order kilos for $15-$30 from all over. Lots and lots of rubies..but..facetgrade/clean rubies of a cuttable size are so rare it baffles me to think of what conditions needed to be present to let those atoms cool at just the right rate in just the right environment at just the right time. Then to think of something like a burmese ruby which not only is nice enough for a gemtones but also lacks the iron other rubies have to produce a fluorescence. It's a one in a million thing to find that. You have so many variables to contend with...you have a ruby that lacks iron but at the same time must also have enough chromium in it's lattice to produce red that must also have it's atoms fit together well enough to produce transparency that must also not pick up or form with other junk inside it which must also be large enough to warrant cutting which must also have it's chomium atoms and other elements in perfect amounts and order to produce as pure a color as possible. Once that happens then millions of years to finally come with in reach of man if he can even find it. Needle in a haystack it is like to even find gem rough/crystals. Then from some poor miners hand to another person then to another then to a gem cutter then on some place or boat thousands of miles from where it was found and created to the store or seller then onto someones ears, hands or neck. It's a story in the making for millions and even billions of years. I will take that any day over a Tom Clancy novel or a Stephan King book. It's one of the greatest stories and adventures ever made. Another example would be emeralds. The conditions for them to form is so rare it makes you wonder how it even happened. Two completelty different elements being Beryllium and chromium comign together to form emeralds. Neither are found in the same place readily and to have them come together to mix and heat then cool to form a perfect 6 sided object is almost beyond belief. Just the odds of this happening must be astronomical. Then the fact that the chromium atom is very large and bulky and doesn't like to fit nicely into it's new host makes emerlads even that much more of an oddity. They tend to crack and jostle the other atoms around them making nice clean bonding and structure that much harder. Emeralds that are chromium colored and of gem quality are almost an oxymoron. It's like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. If you ever want to read some interesting stuff read about emeralds and how they form and where they form at. Then you have the fact that most deposits are contact pegmatitic deposits like zambian,tanzanian, panjshir, etc but the colombian emerlds formed as a result of hydrothermal growth with no evidence of magmatic activity. Sure contact metamorphism is rare for emeralds but hydrothermally grown ones with no evidence of metamorphism/magmatic activity is just crazy. It's crazy to realize the almost impossible conditions to be present to have an extremely rare element such as beryllium(in upper crust) to bump into something containing significant amount of chromium while at the same time ebing at the perfect depth and pressure and having the perfect teemperature and composition to form a perfect little green barrel. You could even talk about tanzanite and tsavorite and the even rarer conditions needed to form those. red beryl? benitoite? Sorry I keep repeating myself but i want to emphasize the unbelieveable way gemstones are formed and found. They are just perfect creations that we cut and wear on our bodies. I wish more folks would stop a dn think or realize the extreme conditions, time, and luck it takes for a gemstone to form, be found, be cut, then sold.

Also remember gemstones are part of the bigger picture of minerals and minerals are part of the bigger picture of mining and mining is where we get all of our raw material from. If it doesn't grow on the surface then it must be dug from the ground and most everything we use or need comes from mining..oil, gas, ores, metals, etc. which in turn is used to produce just about everything around us..the silica in our computers to the copper wire in our houses to the lithium in our batteries to the petroleum products in all of our plastics. Gemstones are just another facet(pun intended :mrgreen: ) of the wonderful things that come from the ground.

Gemstones are a thing of intrigue, mystique, beauty, value. Wars have been fought over them. People have died for them. Not many things on this planet that have not a single human necessity to survive have had such a large impact. All they are is shiny, sparkly rocks..aka. a luxary item. They are worn by movie stars, royalty, the elite but also normal men and women.. They ooze elegance, prestige, and worth.

We all remember seeing cartoons, movies, TV shows, and reading books where the treasure chest were full of precious stones like rubies, sapphire, and emeralds. There was always gold and silver but precious gems were always there as well. That feeling is what I get when I go mining or get a new parcel from some far away country in the mail. Almost like opening or trying to find a treasure chest. That giddy feeling and daydreaming I get when holding my own treasure chest with precious gems(by precious I mean any and all gemstones..not the big 4).

When a rock is turned into a gemstone by faceting it adds that sparkle and color play that always attracts the eye and attention of anyone. I mean who doesn't like things that sparkle..LOL.

I very much enjoy places like here and many other forums where I can talk with like-minded people who share the same fascination and enjoyment from minerals/gemstones. Many folks don't understand when they come on here and see someone pointing out an off color, or they see gray, or a bown modifier..or that they don't buy this stone due to undetectable treatments..or that this stone cost way to much...or they return 4 stones before they finally keep one...this I like..this is what you do when you become engrossed and dive into the gemstone world. You sound, to the outsider, what they would call nit-picky. It's not being nit-picky or critical it's being passionate and highly educated about the thing you do..gemstones. You will see the same thing with all other types of hobbies, collectibles, and passions. Cars, guns, coins, artwork..anyone that collects or delves into anything with lots of zeal soon finds they become selective and in-the-know about it. Take TL for instance she said in another thread that she is known as the "well it has modifier" thing. This is what happens when you reach a certain plateau. She may sound like she is being critical but when you have reached the same level in collecting. buying, and learning as she has then you get more technical and selective about what is good and what is great or what is standard and what is exceptional. She consistantly drills into peoples minds the benefit of getting stones tested at a lab. She consistantly drills into people minds what colors are considered elite and which ones just normal. This educates the consumer, buyer, or passer-by what is good and what is right in a business full of fakes, frauds, and marketing gimmicks. Almost the Bill O'Reilly of gemstones I would call her. "Remember the spin stops here..she is looking out for you" :mrgreen:
It's a great service for the consumers out there. We have gemologist who can look out for us with testing of stones but it's not the norm to get stones tested. Think of all those poor souls walking around with lead glass-filled rubies or synthetic stones that cost a hefty amount. No one has steered them in the right direction or informed them of what to look for. Thats were a forum such as this with people such as TL come in. We have other boards to talk about the scientific, chemical, mining, etc. aspects of gemstones but what about the whole other side of the market? The consumer side. The most important aspect of gemstones..without consumers they are just pretty baubles.

Just remember when one of the regulars I posted above comments about a stone being this or that just remember they have been reading, sleeping, and thinking gemstones for a long time and they help let us know what is good and what is great, what is expensive and what is cheap, what is ripe for treatment and what is natural. It comes with experience and passion for something. I now consider many post from those i said above, who are on this forum, as more fact than opinion now. I have always been science oriented and with gemstones you get all kinds of science from chemicals, to geology, to gemology, to color science, to lighting and it's many nuiances like path, refraction, dispersion, waves, angles and many others. As with many of us who are science oriented and like things in proper order gemstones present a challenge with their many hues, refractive indexs, compositions, chromophores, cuts and angles, modifiers. Lots of things going on in a small package and unlike many hobbies/passions this one has a foundation based in science. As an example Fine artwork is for opinions and feelings and ideas and is subject to randomness and emotions. Gemstones have all of those but they also have a foundation in fact and science to make things smooth and easy. Once persons art is another persons chicken scratch where as one persons gemstone is a gemstone no matter how you look at it. Paintings and sculptures and architecture are mans creations and ideas where as gemstones are natures artwork..pure in science and form and created by the ultimate scientist...nature. Anyone can paint a picture of anything in anyway they see fit or sculpt a statue of any 3-d object..the ideas and items are endless. With gemstones we only have one(natural not stupid syn.) way to get them and we must choose from what is already done. Take it or leave with nature..it's can't create more on a whim or when you feel like it. Gemstones are fine art created by nature with Man putting the finishing stokes on the palette. There are tons of artist all over the world but there was only one Van Gogh, one Matisse, and one Picasso. You want a picture from one of them then you either have to pay 100 million or get a print of the painting you like. Thats just like nature and minerals/gemstones...you only have one artist to choose from and she only does one of a kind pieces. Nature doesn't take request, doesn't cut her ear off and mail it to someone :mrgreen: , doesn't use certain colors because they are popular, doesn't abide by the rules of man. If I want a water color painting with some colors that match my decor in it and some landscape scene for my office then I can just request exactly what I need, when i need it, and exactly how I need it. Gemstones you have to choose from what is there. There is no having it your way when you want it and how you want it..you must deal with the parameters that are already set in stone(pun intended) :mrgreen: . This is why many folks, especially on here, return many stones and/or look at hundreds when trying to find the perfect one for them. You must choose from what is there and if it's not there then tough luck. With most everything else like cars or artwork or houses you can pick and choose but also create and alter and request. That is what makes gemstones so interesting and coveted. We only have so much we can change like the cut or shape or adding more colors and some clarity from treatments but pretty much the parameters are already set so size, clarity, and most colors are what we have to work with. It's much more selective and closed and decisive..you have to work with what you got and there is no changing this or that. This is why treaments and synthetics are such a bane in my book. They take something rare and marvelous like perfectly alighned atoms in a set order that forms a geometric object that allows light to pass through


whoops..got off track a little there....like i was saying..it's not hard to become addicted to rocks and gems when you pull them out of the ground for the first time. Once you find that first emerald from the Crabtree emerald mine, or that first amethyst from JXR, that first piece of aquamarine from a pegmatite, or that first piece of corundum from a slucie line in the mountains you become almost obsessed with finding the next one. Here is some of the finds which helped me become a CS junkie
first good find JXR


Then a find of facetgrade aquamarine that i was not even looking for. Sat down on a pile of dirt to wait for the backhoe to get there and sitting right next to me on the surface was a chunk of cuttable aqua. looked for countless hours to find a cuttable piece of natural aquamarine direct from a peg and lo and behold it was sitting so close if it was a snake it would have but me. Funny how I look and look and don't find what I am seeking but at the time I am not looking or even thinking about it their is a piece of Georgia aquamarine right next to me..as if placed by some unseen hand to laugh at me and the irony involved. It was my first crystal/mineral/gem rough I found and then had cut. Dave Gronki cut. I can guarantee these two aquas from this rough as unheated and untreated. What do they always say..unless you dug it from the ground yourself then don't assume it's untreated..LOL


the cut stones..whats sad is when I got these cut i worked out a trade with Dave...being new to the whole gem/rough thing I had some what I thought were good rough pieces that I had picked up here or there at shows or online. Poor guy..i sent him some crap that in my mind was good stuff..I sent quite a few pieces of tourmaline, garnet, amethyst but that was before i had faceted myself or handled any decent rough. Now that I look back I am ashamed of what I sent but at the time, being a newbie I thought these rough pieces I has were excellent...you should see the pink tourmaline I sent..LOL..looked like vericose veins with all the fractures in it...luckily Dave was/is a rockhound buddy and knew I was a newbie so all was good


Jason



P.S. buying colored stones is the way to go. I wish more e-rings and wedding rings were colored stones. I really like the Green Gem foundation that was brought to my attention by lisa Elser and Jeff Hunt. I believe buying colored stones has a more direct impact on the poor and impoverished that dig them. I know many of the cutters on here fly to tanzania and other places and buy from a moderator who has the stones ready. I am sure the moderator got the stones directly from the miners that mined them or at least he is very close to the source and the person who found it. When I would order stones from pakistan my guy would buy directly from the miners who brought the stones into town. These were not companies or overseeres who controlled large tracts of gem land but rather they were the miners themselves or a miner that was directly involved with the finding of the gems. In both of these cases the money that changes hands is very close to the source and trickles down very close to the person that dug it. This right there provides income and jobs for those who ahve no other choice. Why do you think so many miners flood a place when stones are found...they have nothing else to do. So things like Green gem and folks like you purchasing colored stone have a significant impact, in my opinion, to the livelhood of many poor and poverty stricken people. On the other hand when you buy a diamond you are putting money into the pocket of a large mining conglomerate. Syre they hire many locals to help run day to day operations at there plants but the majority of that money goes into the coffers and pockets of the corporation. I read a little snippet about locals mining diamonds in Sierre Leon and how they would find on average one stone every few weeks of working alluvial depsoits for 12 hours a day(not sure the date but it was after RUF). They would then sell that single diamond rough to a Lebonese middle man near the camp for $20 for the stone. He would in turn hop on a plane and take that stone which cost him $20 in Sierre Leon to Antwerp where he sold it for $1500 to middlemen there. So all it took was a plane ticket to make that stone jump up $1480 dollars. That is before cutting and shipping to a diamond seller and then to a jewelry store. I don't remember the final price but it was well above $2500 for that stone which cost $20. This happens with colored stones but the amount of money involved and the cost in the end compared to diamonds is way different. Most diamond mines are closed off areas or mines that are controlled by a select few and worked by a small number. Giant diamond conglomerates and countries like Rio Tinto, Debeers, BHP, russian govt., Namdeb all pocket massive amounts of cash while benefiting a few. Such high prices and a top commodity that only makes them more wealthy and powerful. Sort of like the oil companies of diamonds or the Goldman sachs of finance.

Now there are some colored stones which fall into this sort of category like the emerald mining companies of colombia or the spinel/ruby mines of Tajikistan but for the most part many colored stone deposits are mined by locals who have no other choice. The trickle down effect which results from our buying of rough and gemstones has a great impact on people and standard of living. So keep buying colored stones and shy away from diamonds(except for colored diamonds..exception to the rule and so kenny won't jump my case :errrr: )...I mean who really goes out to buy something that has been marked up 2000% and with held to make sure that price is justified. If Toyota or Honda only released a certain number of cars in 2012 so their would be more or a demand to drive prices up then we all would say F-you I will go buy another car from someplace else. We would be pissed they tried to do that to get more money and we would take our money elsewhere but you can't do that with diamonds...it's buy from us or don't buy at all. We don't care. Any company that holds 70% of the worlds output and uses it to drive up prices is scandalous and shiesty in my book. Diamond Mine-Owners Violate Indigenous People's Rights.
Diamond mines in Australia, Canada, India and many countries in Africa are situated on lands traditionally associated with indigenous peoples. Many of these communities have been displaced, while others remain, often at great cost to their health, livelihoods and traditional cultures. Colored stone mines for the most part are mined by the indegenous people and controlled up to a point by locals. I mean when your company is called a cartel like Debeers is that means bad. What other cartels do we relate that name to? The Juarez cartel, the gulf cartel, the sinhaloa cartel..yes..drug cartels. Coincidence...I think not.
The whole concept of a cartel is exactly what was the reason for the passing into US law the Sherman Act. Cartels are immoral because they overcharge the buying public by artificially propping up prices. They victimize the general buying public. They are also against the freedom of enterprise for they force possible competitors to obey the cartel directives, often under financial or even physical threats; they are victimizing their co-producers or suppliers. Naturally the issues of the quality of products and truth in advertising are all rolled together into the issue of the victimization of the buying public. Products of a given quality are much too expensive for what they could be if the prices were allowed to be set by the market forces. Any advertising claims are relying on the concept that the products are attractive at their offered prices, and attractive for different psychological reasons for the buyers. It the prices are not morally set, the whole advertising exercise is an effort in deceit.

The DeBeers diamonds are extracted from the South African mines and marketed in London, at the address of the Diamond Trading company, a DeBeers subsidiary. There buyers, including retail and wholesale buyers from the New York city diamond district, come to look what DeBeers has to offer them to keep them in business. The DeBeers employee takes the diamond distributor in a small room and present him with a bag of diamonds. The retailer cannot buy diamonds one by one. He has to take the whole bag or leave it. Further the retailer makes an offer for the bag and the negotiation proceeds on this base. Retailers are very afraid of crossing the DeBeers operation because if they refuse the bag, or make too little an offer or behave like poor citizens in the diamond trade DeBeers will either not offer them any new bags of diamonds to purchase or will offer them bags with only poor grade diamonds which are difficult to distribute.

The DeBeers operation is therefore unethical not only towards the end buyers, the public which buys diamonds but also to all distributors and retailers of diamonds in the whole world. Why would anyone buy something from a company that screws it's customers? Diamonds are fantastic gemstones with lots of great qualities but they are very common with more mined than the companies know what to do with, they are much more expensive than their worth..even for a luxary item, and they are not even the hardest substance anymore.

Okay done typing for now..been killing time waiting to go out to eat

abr 4.jpg

facet aqua-I found-hogg (2).jpg

dave gronki cut aqua.jpg
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
WOW AG. That was some post - and what a post!

Agree with every single bit.
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
from amethystguy....

"Okay done typing for now..been killing time waiting to go out to eat"

I sure am glad we didn't catch you when you had time to really answer the question. :lol:
 

Barrett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
2,218
ya know it doesn't happen very often when I have the time nor the patience to type something that long...LOL..I figured since I was on a roll I would include things not really related to the thread topic...a hodgepodge of comments...I tried to have some order to the paragraphs but I ended up going back and adding more info.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    A 1.7ct Upgrade For A 17th Anniversary
    A 1.7ct Upgrade For A 17th Anniversary
    A Classic Solitaire
    A Classic Solitaire
    August Birthstones: Peridot And Sardonyx
    August Birthstones: Peridot And Sardonyx

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top