GEM STONES

EMERALD

Lush green emeralds have been valued since prehistoric times as the most precious of gemstones. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) reflected on the healing powers of emeralds in her famous Physika, “ The emerald grows in the early morning at sunrise, when the green power of the earth and its plants have especially strong and vital energy, since the air is still cold and the sun is already warm …And so the emerald is effective against all weaknesses and sicknesses of mankind, because the sun procures it and because its whole substance comes from the green energy of the air.”

VALUES

The most important influence on an Emerald’s value is its colour. The highest priced emeralds are those with intense, vivid colour saturation in hues of green to bluish green. Emerald value is also based in tone – lightness and darkness. Even if it has high saturation, an emerald’s value is lowered if it is too dark. Emeralds of equal weight but different colour saturations, do not cost the same. Emeralds are pleophoric, meaning they display different colours in different directions. The colors can be so similar that you usually need special equipment to tell one colour from another. A fine emerald is rare, and often demands a higher price then a diamond with equal clarity.

DURABILITY, TREATMENT AND CARE

Emeralds should be handled with care. When choosing settings for your emeralds, consider how you will be wearing or using your gems since emeralds are less tough than some other stones (about 7-8 on the Mohs hardness scale). It is common trade knowledge that most natural emeralds are treated. Most emeralds are treated with oil, opticon or other polymer resin to improve their apparent clarity. Warm, soapy water is safe for cleaning.

RUBY

Health, wealth, wisdom, and love – a fine ruby glows as intensely as a burning ember possessing all the magical power of perpetual fire. Our deepest desires can be found in the facets and reflections of these life inspiring stones. The protective and healing powers of the king of gemstones has been recorded throughout history – from early man grinding ruby into a liquid paste for the skin, to early medical findings in India where rubies were thought to cure digestive disorders. Warriors in Burma were known to insert rubies under their skin so that they would not be wounded in battle.

VALUES

Colour is the most important factor affecting the ruby’s value. Ruby hues range from orangy red to purplish red. The most valuable ruby colours are red to slightly purplish red with medium to medium-dark tone and vivid saturation so long as the darkness of the stone has a positive effect on the brilliance. Orangy or more purplish rubies are less valuable. Large rubies are more rare and valuable than comparable diamonds.

DURABILITY, TREATMENT AND CARE

Rubies can scratch almost anything, and no natural gemstone other than diamond can scratch them. In fact, non-gem-quality corundum is often used to cut and polish other coloured stones. Most natural rubies are heat treated to improve their colour. Warm,

SAPPHIRE

Sapphire, the celestial gemstone, has been treasured for thousands of years. In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens believed that blue sapphires possessed the power to make peace between enemies and attract heavenly blessings. Ancient healers used the blue sapphire to lead them to prophecy and command the spirits. Commoners used sapphire in antidotes for poison and poisonous bites, to clear the mind and the skin, and cure fevers and colds. Sapphires were also used to fight the plague. Sapphire has long symbolized truth, sincerity, and faithfulness.

VALUES

The most important influence on a blue sapphire’s value is its colour, which can appear in a variety of hues, tones, and degrees of saturation. The saturation should be as strong as possible without darkening the tone too much. The most valuable blue sapphire colours are velvety, violetish blue to blue with medium to mediumdark tone and strong to vivid saturation. Sapphires can be found in colours ranging from firey reddish-orange sunset, to the delicate violet of twilight.

DURABILITY, TREATMENT AND CARE

Sapphires can scratch almost anything, and no natural gemstone other than diamond can scratch them. In fact, non-gem-quality corundum, is often used to cut and polish other coloured stones. Treatment of sapphires is not only common practice but is thought of as an art form in itself. Sapphire is commonly heat treated to improve colour and sometimes clarity. Warm, soapy water is safe for cleaning.

Coloured Stones

COLOURED STONE GRADING NOMENCLATURE

Colour is described by three components; hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the dominant colour and any additional colours visible in a stone. Examples are orangey red or bluish green. Tone is the lightness or darkness of the colour from colourless to black. Saturation is the strength of the colour from grayish or brownish to vivid. Clarity for coloured stones will be graded by the same nomenclature as diamonds (FL, VVS, VS, ETC.). However, some coloured stones naturally grow with more inclusions. Therefore, the system is amended depending on the type of gemstone being graded. A TYPE I gemstone grows flawless or nearly so and would be graded strictly like a diamond. A TYPE II gemstone grows somewhat included and inclusions are more common. Grading is more lenient. A TYPE III gemstone is almost always included and grading is most lenient. (Emerald is Type III). Cut for coloured stones will examine the proportions and finish looking at factors such as outline balance, depth, bulge, windowing, extinction, polish, and symmetry. When the above factors are analyzed, the final grading will be assessed according to the standards as set forth in The Guide. Grading used will be Commercial (Lower, Middle, or Upper); Good, Fine, or Extra Fine.