Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rose quartz is the Gemstone of the Week

This blog post is dedicated to Julie Ann and Jacinda Twigg. The world has lost two beautiful people. Julie Ann sold on ArtFire as well as Etsy. She was a joy to all, especially the Mentors and Mavens on ArtFire. People remind me of certain gemstones, and Julie Ann always reminded me of Rose Quartz. In the world of gemstones, Rose Quartz is believed to bring love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and tolerance. I saw all of those in Julie Ann at one time or another in her posts. Her loving presence is missed by many on ArtFire. R.I.P. with your angel, little koala.

The beautiful Rose Quartz variety of quartz is one of the most desirable varieties of quartz on the market today. It ranges in color from a pale, pastel pink to a rose red. The color comes from iron , titanium and manganese impurities in the rock.

Most Rose Quartz on the market today has been dyed to maintain a uniform color, but you can find some that is natural. It is all photosensitive and will fade in the sunlight. On the Moh scale, it has a hardness of 7. Rose Quartz generally has a cloudy look to it, and is not transparent, so clarity is not a high consideration when buying this gemstone.

The oldest known use of Rose Quartz goes back to Mesopotamia in 7000 B.C. when it was used as beads. Historically, it was valued as a stone of love and beauty.

Rose Quartz is found in Madagascar, Brazil, India, Germany, Scotland, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Namibia, and several states in the U.S. including Maine.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Gemstone of the Week is Quartz

Quartz is the most abundant gemstone found on Earth, it makes up about 12% of the Earth's crust, and is the gemstone of the week this week. There are many colors and types of Quartz used in jewelry. The color and variety coming from different mineral inclusions. Quartz is a component of almost all kinds of rocks. It is in the silica family. There are a lot of gemstones in the Quartz family.  I'll cover three types of quartz in this posting.  

Clear Quartz or Rock Crystal is clear and colorless and is one of the most common varieties. It has often been used in hardstone carvings. On the Moh scale, it is a 7. Roman ladies used to carry quartz crystal balls to cool their hands in warm weather. Roman soldiers used it to capture sunlight to cauterize wounds. Since the middle ages, quartz crystal balls have been used for telling the future. Quartz is believed to be a universal healing stone, able to clarify what needs healing and balancing and to aid in doing this. It is also believed to enhance the properties of other gemstones.

Rutilated Quartz is considered to be one of the most unusual types of quartz. Rutilated Quartz has a Moh hardness of 6-6.5. It is easily recognized by the gold “rutiles”, which are a titanium dioxide, that run through it. They sparkle and look like liquid gold in the vein of the clear Quartz stone. No two stones are alike. One may only have a few inclusions, while another is almost opaque with inclusions. Where most stones are less valuable when there are visible inclusions in it, this particular type of Quartz is more valuable the more inclusions there are in it. Also called Venus hairstone, this stone has been used in jewelry for centuries. It is believed that Rutilated Quartz has the power to aid sleep, help depression, slow aging and enhance creativity. It is also believed to enhance self reliance and diminish fear.

Tourmalinated Quartz also has rutiles, but they are due to the inclusions of tourmaline in the stone. The inclusions are a dark green or black. The quartz can be clear to dark gray in color. It is believed that Tourmalinated Quartz can balance and unite concious with subconcious, spirit with matter and heaven with earth.

There are stones on the market that are called quartz, but are really glass. Some of the names they are sold under are cherry quartz, pineapple quartz, blueberry quartz ,moonstone quartz or opalite, cloud quartz, blue quartz, watermelon quartz and pepper quartz. These imitations have a lower resistance to scratches and may occasionally have air bubbles in them. As always, when buying gemstones, buying from a reputable seller helps cut down on the chances of getting imitations.


Clear Quartz

Rutilated Quartz

Tourmalinated Quartz

Friday, August 5, 2011

Peridot is the Gemstone of the Week

This lovely transparent green stone is one of the few gemstones that are found only in one color. It is a magnesium iron silicate with the amount of iron determining the deepness of the green. The iron content can vary the color from yellow green, to olive green to a brownish green. The most valued color is a dark olive green. Peridot is the gemstone quality stone of the olivine family of rocks which are often found in lavas, but aren't gem quality.

The name, Peridot, is probably derived from the Arabic word “faridat”, for gemstone. On the Moh scale, it has a hardness of 6.5-7.
Peridots have been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Historically, the volcanic island of Zabargad (St. John), east of Egypt in the Red Sea was the most important source of this gem and was mined for 3500 years. There are still small deposits where the stones are gathered today. The beaches near the deposits are green with tiny crystals. Peridot is also mined in North Carolina, on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and New Mexico in the United States. Other areas where it is found are Pakistan, which produces fine quality stones, Egypt, Myanmar (Burma),Australia and Brazil.

Peridot is rarely enhanced with any treatment. There is enough production from the mines around the world to meet the demand easily. Peridots are often confused with green sapphires, diopside, chrysoberyl and synthetic spinel and sometimes, Emeralds. It is believed that Cleopatra's Emerald collection was about one quarter, if not more, Peridots.

 It is believed the Peridot increases strength and vitality, helps dreams become a reality and attracts love. The ancients believed that Peridot was a gift from Mother Nature to celebrate the annual creation of a new world. Leaders who wore this stone were thought to be fair, wise and gentle.

The first photograph is of some rough Peridot. The second is a Peridot that is in the Smithsonian and is 310 carats.