Interstellar Gemstones

By Isabelle Corvin, CG, Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers

Gemstones are beautiful. Everyone knows that! They are flowers of the mineral world, treasures from deep within the Earth.

Most of the time.

There are some gems that are a special breed of stellar minerals. Interstellar minerals that is!

That’s right, there are some amazing gemstones that come from the stars above, or have been found on other planets. These gems aren’t just rare, durable and beautiful; they are (literally) out of this world!

Opal

Dilamani Black Opal

This incredible pendant by Dilamani Jewelry features Black Opal, which is, thankfully, found right here on Earth!

Opal is comprised of a silica gel substance, usually with a small percentage of water present. The silica forms microscopic spheres that stack upon each other to form opal.

Opal deposits are usually found in cracks and fissures; places where the silica was allowed to seep long ago. Usually, the “gel” is a byproduct of an acidic water-based compound. We know of our opals here on Earth, but what about on Mars?

In 2007, the Mars rover Spirit discovered many deposits of a silica-based rock that looked an awful lot like opals. NASA confirmed it was silica by using false color imaging and the spectrometer, which collects approximately 544 colors (wavelengths) of reflected light to detect minerals on the surface. The minerals are most prominent on outcroppings and in cliff basins in one section of the planet.

These were a surprising and important find on our neighboring red planet because it proves there was, at least at one time, water on the surface.

Perhaps someday they will be able to obtain a sample of this Martian Opal and take a closer look. Will it look like our opals or will it stun us with a different kind of beauty?

For now, they often call it Opaline Silica and eagerly study what they can of this Martian feature as it might hold clues to Mars many ages ago.

Peridot

ColoreSG-Peridot

Though peridot’s remarkable green hue looks out of this world, these sterling silver peridot post earrings by Colore|SG belong to our world.

Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine with the chemical formula (Mg, Fe)2SiO4 – magnesium, iron, silicon, and oxygen. It’s the birthstone of August and is famous for its almost shockingly energetic green color.

On Earth, this gem is found in igneous rocks. Not on Earth, you might see it on a meteorite! The gems have been on pallasite, and around, meteorite impact craters.

The interesting thing to note is that peridot can’t handle super high temperatures, so the outer “shell” of meteorite must have protected it and burned off instead, as it entered the atmosphere.

It is also been observed as interstellar dust. This “dust” is seen in the tails of comets, the disks around young stars, and at the sites of impact craters.

This evidence suggests that the mineral olivine quite possibly was present at the creation of many planets. Perhaps even our own.

Usually, the peridot found on meteorites is small and pale in color, due to the extreme conditions from once it came. GIA laboratories ran a series of tests on the “space” versions of peridot and found key differences in the chemical makeup of the stones, meaning they can always tell if it’s an Earth grown peridot or a visitor from the stars.

The gemstone is often called the stone of sun, maybe that’s a little more literal than we thought.

Quartz and Feldspar

markschneider-quartz

This futuristic pendant features the earthly gemstones bubble quartz, moonstones, and diamonds. Designer Mark Schneider Design won 2nd place for Design Excellence in the 2013 MJSA American Vision Awards.

Quartz and feldspar are two of the most common minerals found on Earth, and makeup not only gemstones such as amethyst, citrine, chalcedony, and moonstone (among others,) but also sand, marble, ceramics, and plastics.

Quartz and feldspar are massive groups of minerals, and since it’s abundant on Earth, we fully expect to see it elsewhere in the universe!

But what might we see if we find these rocks far, far away?

Will we find a bright blue quartz, naturally colored?

A giant moonstone spire that stands taller than a skyscraper?

An entire planet of nothing but crystal?

No one is sure but the possibilities are endless!

The presence of these minerals tells us that other worlds may not be as different as our own, despite appearance. They were all formed in the same universe, after all.

“Diamonds”

Many types of “diamonds,” or something kind of like them, have been found. Some of these minerals are made of carbon but form in a different crystal structure. Since the crystal structure is unique to diamonds and is partially responsible for how tough and durable diamonds are, these stones have a key difference.

Others are small pieces, considered dust. There’s even some that form flat-like sheets, instead of how they form here on Earth.

There’s a bit of a debate if any of these can truly be called “diamonds,” but either way, they are unlike the gems we have here on Earth.

Glass

Multiple forms of glass have been found at impact craters, but the interesting thing about them is that they are often colored. We tend to think of glass as clear, transparent, but the majority of “natural” glass formed by impacts is green! Some of this is called Moldavite.

Discoveries are happening daily about the world beyond our own, and who knows what’s next.

Perhaps someday in the near, or distant, future, we’ll be talking to clients about setting “space” stones into rings, and working on marketing some rare mineral from a million light years away.

With the variety of minerals on Earth alone, the sky’s not even the limit on what we could discover!

Here’s to the rare, durable and beautiful gemstones that make our planet special.

And, apparently, other planets, too.

isabelle

Isabelle Corvin is an AGS Certified Gemologist (CG) who is the Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers. Since she was 14-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a gemologist. Ms. Corvin also writes for Panowicz Jewelers’ blog.

AGS Member Spotlight: ASBA USA, Inc.

ASBA USA, Inc. is a prime supplier of Tahitian cultured pearls and finished diamond, colored stone, and cultured pearl jewelry.

For over 25 years, ASBA USA has been owned and operated by the Israileff family and are long-time members of the American Gem Society. Joshua, Nathan, and Nicolai Israileff carry on their family’s tradition of providing fine quality jewelry.

The following images are just a mere sampling of the artistic, whimsical, and one-of-a-kind designs ASBA USA creates with pearls—their specialty—or a variety of gemstones.

 

If you’d like to see more designs by ASBA USA in person, contact a credentialed AGS jeweler near you.

October’s Birthstones are Bursting with Color

octoberbirthstonesOctober features two incredible birthstones: opal and tourmaline. They each display an exciting and intense array of colors, making them popular choices for jewelry designers and collectors.

Opal

The name “opal” derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).” They range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.

Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces is created that gives opal its radiance.

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s precious opal comes from Australia. The following are other countries that produce precious or fancy varieties: Brazil, Mexico, United States, Hungary, Peru, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ethiopia.

Like fingerprints, each opal is totally unique! To get a really good look at the opals in these designs, click on the images below for a larger view.

Lightning Ridge Collection

opal-lightningridgecollection

Blue-green black opal accented by fine white princess cut diamonds and round brilliant cut diamonds.

 

Lika Behar Collection

opal-lika

Sterling silver and 24k gold “Ocean” necklace, featuring a one-of-a-kind boulder opal framed by diamonds.

 

Parlé

opal-parle

Australian black opal and diamond earrings set in 18k yellow gold.

 

Yael Designs

opal-yael

An 18k rose gold bracelet featuring rose cut fire opals and brilliant cut white round diamonds.

 

Tourmaline

Since tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. It is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; the gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.

One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline and features green, pink, and white colors bands. To resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.

Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

The following designs feature the varying hues of tourmaline. Click on the images to see a larger view.

 

Erica Courtney

tourmaline-erica

“Rain Drop” 18k yellow gold studs featuring
Paraíba tourmaline accented with diamonds.

 

Supreme Jewelry

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This unique ring displays a butterfly fluttering around petals of  sliced tourmaline, framed by diamonds.

 

Omi Privé

tourmaline-omi

A cushion cut pink tourmaline and diamonds are set in platinum and 18k rose gold.

 

Crevoshay

tourmaline-crevoshay

“California Dreaming” is an 18k gold pendant artfully displaying the many colors and varieties of tourmaline.

On behalf of everyone at AGS, we send our best wishes to those celebrating a birthday or anniversary in the month of October!

If you are shopping for opal or tourmaline jewelry, search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you: www.americangemsociety.org/en/find-a-jeweler.

 

Jeweler Spotlight: Denise Chislett, CGA, Underwood Jewelers, Florida

DeniseChislett-sml

Denise Chislett, CGA, Underwood Jewelers

The American Gem Society had a chance to speak with Denise Chislett, CGA, from Underwood Jewelers, which is located in these four Florida locations: San Marco, Ponte Verde Beach, Avondale, and in the Mall of the Avenues.

The CGA title after Denise’s name means she is an American Gem Society (AGS) Certified Gemologist Appraiser: the most highly regarded title among peers in the jewelry industry. In order to earn this title, the associate requires advanced training and experience in determining the value of diamonds and gemstones.

Denise Chislett is also the chair—and one of the founding members—of the AGS Young Titleholders (YTs) Committee. The YTs is a fun and energetic group of individuals who celebrate their hard-earned AGS titles, and they represent the next generation of leaders in the jewelry industry and the American Gem Society.

Denise shares with us her favorite jewelry styles, trends and pet peeves, and the importance of shopping with an AGS-credentialed jeweler.

Describe your jewelry style:
I only wear yellow gold; it looks better on my skin. One of my favorites is a men’s Rolex in yellow gold. It makes me even happier that yellow gold is in style right now. For earrings, I always wear studs—everywhere. To the beach or even to the pool.

Do you have any diamond obsessions?
Oval diamonds: they are my favorite cut diamonds. I love the shape and how it elongates your finger. Oval cuts are coming into trend, too!

Speaking of trends, what other trends should we pay attention to?
There is a trend toward solitaire rings or a single, beautifully cut diamond with a couple of side stones.

Although we only have another month or so left of summer, what is your favorite go-to jewelry for the season?
I tend to wear lighter colored stones like turquoise or lapis. In general, I wear more shades of blue! It doesn’t differentiate that much from other seasons since I live in Florida!

Favorite underappreciated gemstone:
The opal. This year at JCK [the industry’s largest jewelry and gemstone event] it was all about opals. I predict it is going to be a huge trend.

Do you have any jewelry pet peeves?
I don’t like matching jewelry. If I’m wearing Roberto Coin earrings, I probably will wear a necklace by someone else that is in yellow gold.

We are always telling our readers to buy jewelry from a credentialed, American Gem Society jeweler. As one such jeweler, what advice do you have for jewelry buyers looking for a personal jeweler?
When you visit an AGS-certified store, you are going to get a passionate professional who is not only highly educated on jewelry and gemology, but you are going to get someone with a good reputation that you can trust to give you great service and good advice. So many AGS-certified jewelers have been in business for decades, and some for more than a century, and continuously uphold their great reputations as ethical jewelers.

What do you do in your store that makes you different from other jewelers?
There are so many ways that you can differentiate yourself. We show our customers how to evaluate a diamond’s light performance with the American Gem Society’s ASET® (Angular Spectra Evaluation Tool). We also discuss with our customers the scientific difference with AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Reports. Our customers truly appreciate that we can explain the various complexities of diamonds and jewelry with them.

Below are a few shots of Denise’s favorite jewelry:

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Top Left: 18kt yellow and white gold Barocco diamond chandelier earrings by Roberto Coin
Top Right: 18kt yellow gold moonstone ring by Erica Courtney
Bottom Left: 18kt yellow gold Rolex President; 18kt yellow gold bangles by Forevermark; green tourmaline bracelet by Erica Courtney
Bottom Right: 18kt yellow gold bezel set diamond pendant by Underwood Jewelers

Happy Birthday October!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Happy birthday to all the October babies out there! October features two very unique and different birthstones.  Tourmaline and Opal, two of the most gorgeous and diverse birthstones make beautiful and vibrant jewelry.  Let’s explore them individually:

Tourmaline

Tourmaline has become a favorite gemstone among jewelry designers, and gem collectors the world over. Since it is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. Tourmaline also is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone.  These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.  One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline, and features green, pink, and white colors bands; to resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.  Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline from AGS headquarters

Tourmaline rings from Suna Bros.

Tourmaline rings from Suna Bros.

Opal

The name opal derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).”  Opals range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.  Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces are created that give opal its radiance.

Fire Opal from AGS headquarters

Fire Opal from AGS headquarters

Yellow gold and Opal pendant from Spark Creations.

Yellow gold and Opal pendant from Spark Creations.

Close-up shot of a Opal pendant from Sydney Rosen Company

Close-up shot of a Opal pendant from Sydney Rosen Company

On behalf of everyone at AGS, we wish all the October babies out there a very happy birthday!

To find a beautiful opal and tourmaline jewelry in your area from an AGS credentialed jeweler, please check out our Find a Jeweler tool here: https://www.americangemsociety.org/find-a-jeweler

October – celebrating the month of TWO birthstones!

By Amanda L. Colborn

Happy birthday to all the October babies out there! October features two very unique and different birthstones.  Tourmaline and Opal, two of the most gorgeous and diverse birthstones make beautiful and vibrant jewelry.  Let’s explore them individually:

Tourmaline

Tourmaline has become a favorite gemstone among jewelry designers, and gem collectors the world over. Since it is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. Tourmaline also is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone.  These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.  One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline, and features green, pink, and white colors bands; to resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.  Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

Watermelon Tourmaline

Watermelon Tourmaline

Paraiba Tourmaline ring - Underwood's Jewelers

Underwood’s Jewelers posted this beautiful Paraiba Tourmaline ring on their Instagram.

 

Opal

The name opal derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).”  Opals range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.  Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces are created that give opal its radiance.

Rough White Opal

Rough White Opal

Opal rings - Henne Jewelers

Henne Jewelers posted three different colored Opal rings on their Instagram.

Beauty and Color Collide in Opals

By Donna Jolly, RJ
American Gem Society

Every now and then, we see a piece of jewelry that makes us just stop and go, “Oh wow!” It happens a lot to our team at the American Gem Society, but this ring (below)  from Omi Privé sent the decibel levels up a notch and “Oh wow, sounded more like “OH WOW!!!”

Beauty and Color Collide in Opals

This gorgeous 4.50 carat black opal is set in 18K yellow gold and surrounded by a halo of accent stones including diamonds, green tsavorite garnets, and pear-shape sapphires. The opal has an impressive array of color, with intense blues and greens. The gold setting works well with the hues in the opal and makes the colors pop even more. Not surprisingly, Omi Privé designed this piece specifically for this opal.

Omi Privé, who is a member of the American Gem Society, sent us this photo, which shows the ring next to the designer’s artistic rendering of the design. It’s an interesting photo, because it gives us a glimpse into how a designer thinks when he or she sets out to create a new piece of jewelry. It’s a mixture of art and engineering!

The name opal derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).” Opals range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. This stone from Omi Privé  shows off vivid blues and intense green, and it”s also a classic example of just how beautiful opals can be.

Or as we call it, “Oh Wow!”