Pearls of Wisdom for June 2015

By Amanda L Colborn

Happy birthday to all the June babies out there!

You’re all very lucky in that you have three very unique birthstones commemorating this special month! Unfortunately, I am not creative enough to also be able to work “Alexandrite” and “Moonstone” into this blog’s title.

But, let’s jump right into pearls!

PEARLS

Historically, pearls have been used as an adornment for centuries.  They were one of the favorite gems of the Roman Empire. Later, during the Tudor period in England, the 1500’s were known as the Pearl Age.

Pearls are unique as they are the only gems from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty. In the early 1900s, the first successful commercial culturing of round saltwater pearls began. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market though we are seeing a strong revival of natural pearls.

Natural Pearl Necklace from Matoloni Pearls

Natural Pearl Necklace from Matoloni Pearls

Pearl Necklace from Mastoloni Pearls

Pearl Necklace from Mastoloni Pearls

ALEXANDRITE

A relatively modern gem, Alexandrite, was first discovered in Russia in 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II, and is an extremely rare Chrysoberyl, with chameleon-like qualities.

Its color is a lovely green in both daylight and fluorescent light; it changes color to a purplish red in incandescent light.  Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this enchanting gemstone.  (Synthetic gemstones are man-made alternatives to the natural material, possessing the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as the natural gemstone.)

Here we have a video featuring a rare 6 carat Alexandrite ring from AG Gems:

A close-up of an Alexandrite Ring from AG Gems

A close-up of an Alexandrite Ring from AG Gems

MOONSTONE

The third birthstone for June is the Moonstone.  It was given its name by the Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone’s appearance altered with the phases of the moon — a belief that held until well after the sixteenth century.

A phenomenal gemstone, moonstones show a floating play of light (called adularescence) and sometimes show either a multirayed star or a cat’s eye. Considered a sacred stone in India, moonstones often are displayed on a background of yellow (a sacred color) and are believed to encapsulate within the stone a spirit whose purpose is to bring good fortune.

Part of the family of minerals called feldspar, moonstone occurs in many igneous and metamorphic rocks and comes in a variety of colors such as green, blue, peach, and champagne. The most prized moonstones are from Sri Lanka; India, Australia, the United States, Mayanmar, and Madagascar are also sources.

Moonstone

Moonstone

On behalf of everyone at the American Gem Society — we wish you a very happy June, full of joy and jewels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color-Changing Gemstones are Phenomenal!

By Kevin P. McVay

Have you ever thought about adding color-changing gemstones to your jewelry collection? We’re not talking about well-known colored gemstones like rubies, sapphires or emeralds, but gems—such as opal gemstones—that actually change color depending on the lighting. From rings to pendants and everything in-between, color-changing gemstones, known as phenomenal gems, are unique and go well with many types of jewelry designs. Here are some of our favorites:

Alexandrite

This rare gem was discovered in 1834. During the day, it beams green or bluish-green. In incandescent light, it turns to a soft shade of red. The Alexandrite’s optical changes along with its rarity make it a very valuable gemstone.

 Opal

Some say that they can see fire, lightning, rainbows, stars and seas in opals. This gemstone ranges in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red and blue. The beauty and brilliance of opal gemstones is the product of the contrast between its color play and its background.

Zultanite

This gem’s colors range from kiwi to champagne to raspberry depending on the lighting. Like Alexandrite, Zultanite is a very rare gem. Besides changing color, Zultanite also possesses a beautiful cat’s eye effect. This gem is truly spectacular!

There are more phenomenal gemstones out there, but these are three of our favorites. Please let us know if you have any gems you’d like to see featured on our blog by commenting below!

If you’re looking for jewelry featuring color-changing gemstones, visit an AGS jeweler near you.

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