Monday, January 24, 2011

Columbia emeralds- myth or reality

The world's most beautiful emeralds are said to be Columbian emeralds. Since large stones of good quality may prove to be rather expensive for the layman, emerald beads are a smart option for those who wish to add this verdant gem to their jewelry collection. In this article we will look at the different kinds of emerald beads, their fashioning, sizes and use.
columbian emerald beadsColor
As with most colored gemstones the main factor affecting value is color. Famed emerald mines in Columbia- Chivor, Muzo and Cosquez are known for their distinctly colored yields more than anything else. Emeralds from the Chivor mine have a good blue-green color while those mined at Muzo are famed for their yellowish-green color and warm velvety appearance that is much prized amongst gem-collectors.

But no matter what the shade of color; Columbian emeralds are in a class of their own. Although it may prove somewhat difficult to source Columbian emeralds that fit exactly into the color descriptions given above, many good quality stones exist in varying shades of green. Light, transparent varieties and bright, pleasing leaf green colored emeralds make charming additions to any jewelry collection. Deep forest green and a dewy bottle green too are acceptable colors for emerald beads. Commercial websites selling emeralds cut stones and beads may classify color as light, medium and dark green.

Shapes and sizes
Columbian emerald beads are available in several shapes including roundels (beads that are somewhat spherical but with flattened sides where the drill holes pass through), spheres, faceted round or smooth beads, faceted oval or rectangular beads and irregular shaped tumbled beads. Round beads range in size from 6 to 9 mm and are available in strands that range in different length combinations. Stands may measure in at 14 to 19 inches, 15 to 18 inches and may go up to 24 inches. Sugar-loaf cabochons (square shaped stones with a ‘sugar-loaf’ like domed top), oval cabochons and lozenge shaped emerald beads are also popular amongst jewelry designers and gem enthusiasts.

Emerald carvings are stones that are not usually drilled but carved in various fashions. Geometrical designs, floral patterns and traditional motifs are carved onto the stones surface with great care. Carvings can be as small as 6X3 mm in size and go up to 25X23 mm. They can be obtained in multiples and individual pieces may also be sourced.

colombian emerald beadsCare
Though durable, emeralds have a reputation for being brittle. Cleaning, wearing and storing of emeralds therefore should involve a degree of cautiousness and care. Avoid sudden jolts, sharp taps and extreme changes of temperature to your emerald set jewelry. Always remove rings, earrings and bracelets before using hot appliances, strong detergents and household cleaning liquids. Store your jewelry separately in a proper jewelry box or bureau and segregate each piece with a tissue or cotton wool. Have beaded emeralds restrung at least once every two years and ensure there is a knot between two stones so as to prevent them from rubbing against each other.

Never put emeralds in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Warm water and the mildest detergent you can find along with a soft brush are enough for a regular cleaning. Always dry your jewelry gently after cleaning it.


Ruby: a multifaceted gemstone

Just as rubies from across the globe occur in various shades of red so also they are cut in a dazzling array of shapes and styles. Ruby beads are faceted, smooth, cut as roundels or tubes. There are also ruby carvings and briolettes. In this article we will examine all the different types of fashioning for this versatile gemstone and also impart advice on what quality parameters to look for while purchasing these gems.

Ruby- an introduction
Rubies, as we all know, are extremely durable gemstones that belong to the family corundum. In addition to the faceted stones that are widely used in rings and earrings, ruby beads are also available in the market. Due to its toughness and resilience to scratches and breakage ruby is an ideal material that can be cut, polished, drilled as beads in various ways. There are smooth ruby beads and striated (carved with parallel lines etched along their length) ones, tumbled (smooth but slightly irregular rectangle or lozenge-shaped) or faceted ruby beads. Ruby carvings, drops, briolettes and graduated strands are also some of the different ways a ruby is fashioned. Of course beautiful, warm tones of the color red also make it a material that is extensively used in jewelry of different kinds.

Ruby Strands
Ruby strands are made up of matched and sorted beads of almost the same color and size. Colors may be denoted as dark, medium or light red. Calibrated beads- smooth or faceted may range from a tiny 2 mm to 4.5 mm in diameter. Strands are also measured by their length in inches. Some of the length combinations are 16 to 19 inches, 19 to 21 or 22 inches, so on and so forth. The strands may be single or multiple lines- and consumers can choose as per their requirements. Strands are typically made up of round or roundel shaped beads (roundels are spheres with slightly flattened sides where the drill-holes pass through.) While buying ruby strands you may want to note the uniformity in color of the beads and also in sizes. Check for loose or uneven stringing that may cause the stones to scatter if not handled properly. Strands are used to make multiple-lined necklaces and bracelets; they may also be used simply by themselves or singly to suspend a pendant or a neckpiece.

Ruby Faceted BeadsFaceted Ruby Beads
Faceted ruby beads are those that have been cut, ie; ‘faceted’ to reflect the stone’s natural fire and brilliance. On average faceted beads are round but may also be available in other shapes such as lozenge, cube or tube forms. While purchasing faceted ruby beads it makes sense to examine the line closely with the help of a 10X loupe or magnifying glass. Check for uneven facets, their sharpness and how the facets add to the brilliance and luster of the stone. Faceted beads may be used by themselves as a necklace, or in combination with metal beads to make exclusive pieces of jewelry. 

Carved Ruby BeadsCarved Ruby beads
These are beads carved with simple radiating or parallel lines or may have more complex designed etched on their surface. Carved beads are usually used to flank or accent a larger centerpiece in jewelry or may be added to lariats or wire-wrapped neckpieces by themselves. Carved ruby beads may be bought in different sizes ranging from 6 to 13 mm up to 11 to 17 mm.

ruby carving beadsRuby Carvings
Ruby carvings are flat or three dimensional pieces of ruby that have been carved with geometric or life-form inspired motifs, they are usually not drilled. Birds, butterflies, leaf and flower patterns are some of the carvings that are incised onto the surface of rubies. Look for ruby carving beads that are cleanly engraved and inspect closely for chips that may have occurred during the carving process. Carvings are mostly set in gold or silver and serve as centerpieces in necklaces or bracelets.

Ruby Briolette
A briolette is a teardrop shaped stone cut with triangular or kite-shaped facets. Victorian jewelry displayed abundant use of this type of fashioned gemstone. Nowadays briolettes are used in chandelier earrings and as end-pieces in the fringe of elaborate neckpieces. Ruby briolettes beads may be drilled through or half-way through or remain intact- depending on its intended usage. On occasion briolettes may also be referred to as carved ruby drops in manuals, sale catalogues and websites selling these.

ruby drop beadsRuby Drops
Ruby drops may be smooth, faceted or carved. Like briolettes they are pear-shaped though they may be flattened in some instances. Drops are available in different sizes ranging from 5.50 to 13 mm up to 9.5 to 15.5 mm and all denominations in between these sizes. Their colors may vary from dark, through medium to light red. Unlike briolettes that are drilled through along their length, ruby drops are drilled across the narrowest part of the drop.


Which blue gem is for you?

There are several blue gems available in the market. So how do you decide which one to buy? You may want to choose a gem according to your birth date, budget or you may just fancy a particular gem for its color. In this article we will explore different blue gems like blue sapphire, blue topaz, aquamarine and tanzanite among many others.

Blue gemstones can be divided into roughly three categories- transparent translucent and opaque. Blue sapphire, blue topaz, iolite, spinel, aquamarine, tanzanite and Paraiba tourmaline are a few transparent gems that occur in shades of blue. Other less transparent (translucent) varieties are blue chalcedony, and turquoise and lapis lazuli which are both opaque. Each gem has its own particular properties and is available across different price-points according to size and quality. For the sake of brevity we will discuss only popular stones like blue sapphire, aquamarine, tanzanite and turquoise that are readily available and reasonably priced.

sapphire faceted beadsBlue sapphire Beads: Sapphire is the natal stone for the month of September and is believed to safeguard the wearer from envy and attract divine favors. It is also one of the hardest gem materials after diamond and can be used in articles of daily wear without any worries of chipping or breakage. The ideal color for sapphire is a deep clear blue. Articles like rings set with a single faceted stone or bracelets made with blue sapphire beads can be worn without fear of them getting damaged with constant use. The gem is readily available in the market with gemstone dealers and sapphire beads and drops are available at online stores.

Aquamarine Round BeadsAquamarine Beads:
Belonging to the same gem family as emerald- beryl, aquamarine is a blue-green stone that is often found in large clear crystals. Aquamarine ranges from blue-green to a light sky blue in color. It is gem that is relatively abundant. It is the birthstone for March and a gift of Aquamarine is said to signify safety and security for long standing relationships. It is even believed to revive the love in a tired marriage making it an ideal anniversary gift for many!

Although they are fairly durable aquamarine has a tendency to be brittle and so care must be taken while wearing or cleaning jewelry set with them. Aquamarine beads strung into necklaces or aquamarine drops in earrings are a good idea but it is not so wise to have these beads worn as bracelets as the constant contact with things may damage them. 

Tanzanite Faceted BeadsTanzanite Beads: Tanzanite is a fairly recent discovery in the gem world and is found in just one locality in the world- Tanzania.  Its deep royal blue color tinged with violet makes it highly desirable. TanzaniteOne is a commercial player in the tanzanite market and has introduced its own grading system. The system's color-grading scales divide tanzanite colors into a range of hues, between blue violet and violet blue. 
If you are buying a large stone from a reputed dealer you can ask for a certificate stating its grade. If it is tanzanite beads or smaller stones you are buying from a dealer or online you can have the stones appraised by a gemological institute if you wish. Tanzanite is a rare gemstone and its prices are steadily rising since the past decade- hence it makes sense to think carefully before investing in this stone, particularly if you are on a tight budget.

Turquoise Round BeadsTurquoise Beads: Turquoise is a blue to greenish blue opaque gem largely known for its popularity in ancient Egyptian and Aztec cultures. Although somewhat soft, turquoise takes a good polish and is polished cabochons are set in rings, earrings and pendants. Turquoise beads along with red coral are gemstones used in traditional Tibetan jewelry. Because the gem is porous it should be kept away from household cleaners, harsh detergents and rough use.  Turquoise, coral and other opaque gems are usually sold according to physical size in millimeters rather than weight.


The extraordinary appeal of Burmese Rubies

What makes a Burma ruby so special? What is it that sets the gem apart from rubies mined elsewhere in the world? Its the color- pure and simple and the fact that the region (Burma) has been mined for centuries and in these centuries have changed little in the way of the methods used for mining these stones. This story will lead you into the stone tract of the Mogok and Mong Hsu districts of upper Burma and explain the fascination of the- Burma Ruby.

OriginsNatural Burma Ruby Cabs Pair No Heat - 38.21 carats
The most fabled locality for fine rubies is the Mogok district in Upper Myanmar (Burma). The discovery of these mines is steeped in antiquity, the earliest mention being in Burmese legend that mentions a fever stricken valley, inaccessible to humans. That the mine workings are ancient is proven without doubt by the recovery of implements of the Stone and Bronze Ages here. Several kings, governors and private companies have held mining rights from time to time. In all the years till date not much has changed in the mining methods.

Next to red diamonds, rubies are perhaps the most expensive gems in the world (provided the size is over three carats). The most desirable color for ruby is a deep, traffic-signal red. Contrary to popular belief not all Burmese rubies are of this legendary color. Material of an inferior quality is just as likely to be mined in Burma as anywhere else. In the same way good, gem-quality material may be found from any of the other ruby producing localities- Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In effect what has happened is that the name Burma ruby has been applied to almost any ruby of a good color and quality. It does not necessarily mean that the particular stone is in fact a Burmese ruby.

All about
So, if these so-called Burma rubies are in fact just a sobriquet, what are the parameters for judging a good stone? Awareness! This is the keyword. Gemologists the world over have committed reams and reams of paper pertaining to use of terms like Columbian emerald, Kashmir sapphire and Burma ruby. In truth there is very little chance of anybody being able to say where a particular stone has been mined. Unless the stone is submitted for a thorough gemological evaluation by a reputed laboratory there is no way country of origin can be declared using visual clues alone? So, the best bet is to look for a stone you like. It does not matter whether it is a Burmese or a Cambodian stone. If you like it- go for it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Black diamond beads- black beauty!

Everything related to black diamond beads, their nature, care and purchase. Tips on how to source genuine black diamond beads, large black diamond beads, carved black diamonds and many more.

Black diamond beads are capable of adding allure and charm to almost every piece of jewellery conceivable to man. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, lariats and chokers- all could be interestingly fabricated using black diamond beads. These beads are available in a wide variety of colors apart from black.

2 to 2.50 mm - Black Diamond Faceted Beads - 4 Lines - 60.50 carats


1.70 to 3.40 mm - Black Diamond Faceted Beads - 41.64 carats - 15 inches

 Connoisseurs are also able to pick from numerous shapes such as smooth-finished ovals, drum-shaped cylinders, faceted crystals or cubes. Briolettes- that are faceted drop-shaped beads with a hole drilled at one or both ends are also a hit among jewellery designers and enthusiasts. These can be used to infuse elegance in long dangling earrings or add that finishing touch of color and class to necklaces. Genuine black diamond beads will have a bright lustre owing to the extreme hardness of diamond. Given the nature of diamonds not much precaution is required while handling or cleaning your jewelry. However like everything precious be gentle on the jewelry and use a good quality detergent and brush to clean your jewelry. Always dry your jewelry before storing it.

Wholesale black diamond beads are available in different sizes and in strands of varying lengths form 15 inches upwards. Every size from large black diamond beads down to the smallest chips is available for sale. A strand of matched, graduated genuine diamond beads could be a fitting replacement for the heirloom family pearls- and so much more durable too! In fact diamond being the hardest substance on earth there is very little by way of toughness that pearls can claim as opposed to it. That is not to take away credit from pearls, but wouldn’t it be great not to have any concerns about the annual restringing and care generally required of pearls!?

Black diamond beads are not only for jewellery designers and manufacturers. In fact is it very easy for do-it-yourself types who have a love of making their own jewellery to fabricate beautiful neckpieces out of diamond beads. These could be used in combination with gold, silver or other colored stone beads to make interesting and unique pieces for personal use or gifting. Neck clasps or hooks are available at your local jeweller or you could google for dealers in your area for the required raw material.

So now we come to the most important part of your foray into jewelry making- the sourcing of black diamond beads. The Internet is the answer to all our prayers so it seems. Wholesale black diamond beads are available with retailers and wholesalers on the web. It is now possible to place orders for genuine black diamond beads with these online stores from the comfort of your home. The order can be placed through their website, email or phone. Merchandise is shipped across the length and breadth of several continents at a cost. It is possible to view the gems online at the dealer’s website, or you could see them in real-time using a webcam or Skype. Black diamond beads wholesale at these website at attractive prices and have numerous choices for the discerning customer. Carved and loose black diamonds along with faceted black diamonds are also among the choices these suppliers offer.

For those who are not really the DIY types, these very same dealers offer wire jewellery made using diamond beads. Or you could always order and have your family jeweller string them up in a style that flatters you. One really can’t go wrong with this eternal gem- the diamond. It adds grace and lends charm to its wearer and as we all know it is forever.