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.

The 2017 Pantone Color of the Year is…

By Isabelle Corvin, CG, Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers

Greenery!

It has been some time since a green hue has been chosen as the color of the year, and this version—a bright shade with just a hint of yellow—is a refreshing color indeed!

pantone-greeneryPantone says it was chosen as a symbolic color of new beginnings and renewal, a calming hue to soothe and relax, and a call to reconnect with the world around us. Indeed, Greenery reminds us of nature, and few things calm like plants and animals.

The color will be coming to the forefront of all things fashionable this year; clothes, interior décor and of course, jewelry.

Gems that embody this color are reviving peridot, versatile tourmaline, vibrant tsavorite garnet and of course, comforting emerald. In fact, emeralds have been a symbol of renewal and growth for ages, as well as wealth and status.

Alternately, peridot is considered the gem of the sun, while garnets and tourmalines have many meanings and supposed health benefits.

Certainly, all gems that match this sublime “Greenery” represent nature at its finest.

The color green, at its scientific core, is a color between blue and yellow, a mixture of those two opposing colors, if you will. The word, “green”, is thought to be derived from Middle English or possibly Germanic roots, most likely meaning, “grass” or “roots.”

In many cultures and languages, green and blue often have similar names associated with the color, making it a great transition from last year’s Pantone color of the year, Serenity (a soft blue).

Science has proven that green is restful on the eyes, balancing to emotions and also helps combat fatigue.

Green is surprisingly hard to “copy” from nature’s mix to create pigments and dyes, including food coloring. Older methods included finely powdered malachite, another gemstone, to create stains.

Historically, green has an interesting history; in more arid locations, the color was one of hope for things to come and rebirth. The Egyptians used the color often, even going so far as to characterize some of their deities with green skin.

The Greeks weren’t overly fond of the color and rarely used it in artistic purists. The Romans, however, linked the color to their goddess, Venus, who was the goddess of love and nature, thus making the color more romantic.

During the Renaissance, where clothing colors denoted social status and occupation, green tones were worn primarily by merchants and bankers. It was a featured clothing color in many famous paintings of the era, including Mona Lisa, who wears a shade of darker, muted green.

The Masonic orders use green to symbolize immortality of all that is divine and true. Since the natural aspect of the color is unchanging, it is considered an immutable color.

In terms of jewelry, green was a popular color in both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras. In the former, it was used for accents of sweeping, nature-inspired designs that dominated the movement.

In the latter it was often used as a striking aside to other colors, using the bolder, darker hues of the color rather than the light and airy versions.

Greenery may seem like an odd choice…until the plants bloom once more. As spring hits, sooner rather than later, green becomes the prominent color we see. It is a surprisingly balanced color, managing to be both soft and bold. It is a romantic color, when you think about it, and invokes emotions when seen.

We all need a connection to nature in some form, and Greenery gives us that connection with our most obvious sense, sight.

And when it is seen, it is felt.

To see green colors is to feel them, and to wear a gemstone that holds such a deep tie to the world around us grounds us, makes us feel.

Wearing green jewelry is sure to help you feel at peace throughout your day. Who doesn’t need to feel relaxed during hectic and overfull days?

Embrace a green gemstone, make it your own and begin to enjoy 2017’s color, Greenery!

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.

Art Deco: Striking, Bold & Dramatic

By Isabelle Corvin, Certified Gemologist (CG)
Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers

Jewelry trends change over time, influenced by the factors that make up life. Designs wax and wane in popularity, often cycling through many times as resurgences.

There is a strong emphasis in modern jewelry designs of this period reminiscent of the Art Deco movement. Angles, striking and sharp. Colors, bold and dramatic. Shapes, odd and thought-provoking.

Art Deco is steeped in international history, and to learn more about the modern trends, we’ll have to step back in time…

It was the Roaring Twenties.

A time of economic prosperity and technological advancement, a time of jazz and a celebration of life.

The shadow of war has passed, and the world is recovering, and growing.

The place is Paris, the most romantic city in the world.

This is the era that Art Deco was born from.

Armadani

Pink sapphire diamond pave mosaic ring by Armadani, featuring French cut pink sapphires and round brilliant diamonds.

In 1925, the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts took place in Paris, France, and marked the start of the Art Deco movement. The movement would continue up until the start of the Second World War, but would have a resurgence in popularity in the 1960s and again in the 1980s, thanks to a book published on the subject in 1968, and then to the rise of graphic design in the late 80s.

Where most design movements rose out of political or religious intentions or stresses, Art Deco was simply artistic.

The movement inspired clothing, architecture, art and of course, jewelry.

Unlike its predecessor, Art Nouveau, with its more whimsical, light designs, Art Deco was all about lines, interesting shapes and a modern flair.

Mastoloni

These timeless pearl and diamond Fan Earrings by Mastoloni, are part of the Deco Collection.

The inspiration for Art Deco came from advancing technologies and living life to the fullest. The world was speeding up, and this contributed to the modern feel of the movement. During this period, many famous archaeological finds took place, including excavation of King Tut’s tomb. Ancient influences, especially from Aztec and Egyptian cultures, can be seen in many Art Deco pieces, and the contrast between the geometrical shapes and ancient motifs creates a fanciful and unusual style.

Platinum was “discovered” during this period as well, and was used in many Art Deco pieces along with the finest of gems including blue sapphires, bright emeralds, and stunning rubies. Diamonds were also widely seen, set as both facial points and accents. Many opaque stones were popular as well; Carnelian, lapis, turquoise and black onyx.

Gemstones were cut into interesting shapes such as trapezoids and octagons, elongated rectangles and squares, sometimes with rounded corners. The cutting of these stones was often done wasting quite a bit of rough, but that just showed the lavish nature of the era.

Glass and new plastics were also very popular substances to use in jewelry and art, as well as non-precious metals like titanium and aluminum.

The jewelry was large and was made to draw attention. Straight lines, cubes, and chevrons, along with structured curves, all mixed together to create a jumbled, yet beautiful, style.

Necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings, brooches, and earrings were all made in the style of Art Deco, with an emphasis on being bold.

Art Deco is an expression of functionality, elegance and a passion for life.

UniqueSettingsNY

Unique Settings of New York presents their custom Art Deco-inspired designs. The ring above is 14K white gold with a 1.00 CT center stone, and 0.30 tcw in side diamonds.

Just like in the past, the current atmosphere in the USA is one of hopeful growth; the economy is recovering slowly from a recent recession. The tinges of the last war are fading from memory. The world is advancing at a fast pace, with emerging technologies and ideas.

The similarities of past and present are surprising, lending a hand to the new geometric shapes emerging from top designers.

A revival of Art Deco is in the air, with the classic looks from the past mingling with a new take on the movement. There’s never been a better time to add a striking and unique piece of wearable art to your collection!

joshuaj

The drama of the Art Deco period comes to life in this beautiful bracelet by Joshua J. Fine Jewelry. It features an Old European cut center diamond, with a splash of green emeralds for accent.