Friday, August 24, 2012

Herkimer Diamonds are the Featured Stone

Herkimer diamonds are rare double-terminated quartz crystals found in Herkimer, New York. They were discovered in the late 18th century by workman cutting into dolostone outcroppings in the Mohawk River Valley. More were discovered in Herkimer County and because of the clarity and beauty of the stones, they were named Herkimer Diamonds. They have 18 natural facets (6 sides) and two terminations (points).
The bedrock the crystals are formed in began forming billions of years ago in a shallow part of the Cambrian Sea that lapped against the southern part of what is now the Adirondack Mountains. The clarity of this quartz variety from other clear quartzes is a different ratio of carbon to silicon. Geologists think that Herkimer Diamonds formed very slowly in small cavities called vugs. They can also be found in larger cavities called pockets. They can be found clear, smokey or cloudy and can contain a variety of impurities. These impurities can include clusters, scepters, fluid inclusions, phantom and bridge crystals. A fluid inclusion contains a water pocket, plus methane or oil and sometimes even a rare crystal within the crystal. A phantom crystal contains an image of itself within.
Other places produce double-terminated clear crystals and sometimes they are sold as Herkimer Diamonds, but the only stones that can be truly called Herkimer Diamonds are the ones from Herkimer, New York. As with any other gemstone purchase, ask the seller any questions you may have about your purchase. They should be able to knowledgeably answer or be able to quickly find the answer.
It is believed that Herkimer Diamonds are very powerful stones. They are said to promote smooth energy flow, enhance creativity, dream recall, imagination and psychic abilities. They are considered to be energizing and enlivening. It is also believed that they help connect the astral plane with the Earth plane.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Agatized Fossil Coral

Agatized fossil coral is a very ancient coral that has gradually turned into agate. This occurred when the silica in the salty ocean water hardened and replaced the limy coral. The coral skeletons appear as tiny flowers on the stone. their appearance may vary greatly in a single stone depending on weathering, oxidation and the original mineral content. The oldest fossil corals are from the Ordovican period, over 450 million years ago. Corals are marine animals with a sac like body, mouth tentacles and skeleton. It is the skeleton that is seen in the fossil. Some people theroize that agatized fossil coral was the inspiration for millefiori (thousand flowers) glasswork.

Fossil coral typically comes in gray, black, brown, yellow, white, and on rare occasions, red colors. the most detailed specimans of fossil coral come from Indonesia. Entire coral heads are often preserved and appear just as they did 20 million years ago. In 2008, Indonesian fossil coral, processed in China to a red color, began appearing in the market place. The process is similar to the one used to make agate a red carnelian color. Fossil coral can also be dyed red, but the color fades over time. Florida and Georgia, in the United States are also a good source of fossil coral. In fact, in 1979, Florida designated it as the state stone. Since it has become agatized, on the Moh scale, fossil coral has a hardness of 7 which makes it suitable for all kinds of jewelry.

Agatized fossil coral has been worn by people for centuries. It is believed that is can bring luck into a home when used as an ornament, to help with trauma and emotional issues, and is used in ancient healing traditions for women's health problems. Fossil coral was used by sailors as a talisman to ward off bad weather and it was also believed that it could ward off the evil eye.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hemimorphite is the Featured Gemstone

Hemimorphite is a lovely blue gem named for the half formed way (hemi) its crystals form. The "faces" that grow on one end differ in the angle and position of the "faces" on the other end. It can grow in two forms. One form is a glassy bladed crystal, while the other form resembles a bunch of grapes, known as botryoidal. It is a zinc silicate stone.

Hemimorphite is a fairly soft stone. On the Moh scale it is a 4.5 to 5. Colors can range from white to a bluish green, with blue being the most common. Temperature change can cause this stone to become pyroelectric and it will give you a small shock when picking it up.

Hemimorphite is found in many locations. Areas along the Belgian-German border, Poland, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Elkhorn, Montana, Leadville, Colorado, and the Organ Mountains in New Mexico. It is also found in several areas of Mexico,England and Zambia. It is mined from the upper parts of zinc and lead ores.

It is believed that hemimorphite can boost self esteem, bring luck and help to increase a perceptive mind. It is associated with the heart chakra and with healing ulcers, blood diseases and cellular disorders. It is also thought that hemimorphite fosters enthusiasm, optimism and high energy.

Some hemimorphite I have.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Onyx is the Gemstone of the Week

Onyx is a form of chalcedony quartz mined in Brazil, India, California and Uruguay. Black onyx is the most common form of the stone on the market today. Onyx is most often a solid color, although there is white banded onyx called sardonyx. Onyx comes in many colors, but the most popular is black onyx. The use of onyx as carvings and jewelry goes back to the second dynasty of Egypt and it is mentioned in the Bible, and was known and used in ancient Rome and Greece. It has been commonly used in cameos. It is also used to create marble tile used in houses today. The quartz in the onyx gives the marble tiles a bit of extra durability.
The large majority of black onyx on the market today has been heat treated or dyed to enhance the color. On the Moh scale, Onyx is a 7. The name comes from the Greek work "onyx" which means claw or fingernail.

According to legend, onyx came into being one day when Venus was asleep, Cupid cut her fingernails and left the clippings laying on the ground. Since no part of a heavenly body can die, the gods turned the clippings into stone which became known as onyx.
It is believed that onyx can help change habits, aid with insomnia, and eliminate negative thinking. It is also believed to eliminate stress and apathy. It is also said that onyx increases happiness and intuition. It is said that onyx can help with objective thinking and spiritual inspiration.
Green Onyx


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Amber is the Gemstone of the Week

Even though Amber is considered to be a gemstone, it is really fossilized tree resin that has been appreciated for it's natural beauty and color for thousands of years. Amber deposits have been found that range in age from 360 and one million years old. As resin oozed from now extinct conifer trees and pine trees, bits of plant life, insects and other small objects became trapped in it. As time passed, the resin became encased in dirt and debris and eventually fossilized. In order to be called Amber, the resin must be several millions years old. Recently hardened resins are called copals. Amber is perhaps one of the oldest gemstones used for human adornment. It has been found in European grave sites dating back to 8000 B.C..
Heating Amber will cause it to soften and eventually burn. if heated over 200 C, it decomposes, leaving behind a black residue known as "amber colophony" or "amber pitch", which, when dissolved in turpentine or linseed oil forms "amber varnish" or "amber lac".
Amber is found in many different colors. Besides the usual yellow-orange-brown that is commonly associated with the name Amber, it is also found in red, also called cherry amber, green amber and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after. The most highly prized Amber is transparent. Opaque Amber contains many tiny bubbles and is referred to as honey amber. Although all Dominican Amber is florescent, the rarest Dominican Amber is blue amber. It turns blue in natural sunlight or any other whole or partial ultraviolet light source. Only about 100kg a year are found which is the main reason it is so valued. Amber is a soft gemstone, on the Moh scale it is a 2 1/2-3 and care must be taken when wearing it to avoid scratching or chipping it. Quite a bit of the Amber found in jewelry today is reconstituted which makes a stronger stone. It is made by combining small bits of Amber with linseed oil, and compressing it. One way to tell if a stone is reconstituted is to look at the bubbles in it. Reconstituted stones have elongated bubbles, while natural stones have spherical bubbles. Sometimes the reconstituted Amber is called ambroid.

Gem quality Amber is most often from the Baltic Sea area. About 90% of the world's Amber supply comes from here. Baltic Sea Amber has a high market value. Amber is also found in the Dominican Republic, Russia, Myanmar (Burma), Germany, Romania, Sicily, and Malaysia.

Amber is said to bring wisdom, purification, energy and balance. It is believed to enhance calmness, patience, strength and healing. It is also believed that Amber draws negative energy out of the body and purifies the heart and spirit.

Blue Amber

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Larimar is the Gemstone this Week

As far as gemstones go, Larimar is a relative newcomer to the scene and still not widely used. It was first discovered in 1916 by Father Miguel Domingo Fuertes Loren, but when he filed for a mining claim, it was rejected. Legend has it that it was then forgotten. In 1974, a Peace Corps volunteer, Norman Rilling and a Dominican Republic native, Miguel Menendez, found some Larimar on the beach. The locals had long believed that Larimar came from the sea and gave it the name Blue Stone. The stones found on the beach were alluvial sediment which had been washed into the sea by the Bahoruco River. The tumbling action of the water polished the stones so the beautiful blue showed and made the easily distinguishable from the river rocks. An upstream search revealed the source and soon, the Los Chupaderos mine was formed. The name comes from a combination of Larissa, "Lar", which is the name of Menendez's daughter and "mar" which is Spanish for sea.
Larimar is a variety of pectolite, an acid silicate hydrate of calcium and sodium. Pectolite is found around the world, but none have the distinct volcanic blue that Larimar has. Pectolite is usually a soft, delicate mineral composed of dense, radiating fibers, but sometimes the fibers are tough and interlock to form a much stronger stone. The blue color is the result of cobalt substitution for calcium and coppper. It is rarely a solid blue, but has white interconnecting lines and sometimes rough circles. Larimar is only found in the Dominican Republic. The more intense the blue and the contrasts in the stone, the more valuable it is. Larimar is photosensitive and the blue will fade if exposed to strong sunlight for a long period of time.
Larimar is not treated or enhanced, but sometimes white gemstones are dyed to look like Larimar.

On the Moh scale, it has a hardness of between 5-7, with the darker blue stones being closer to 7.

It is believed that Larimar can help view events from different perspectives, and can heal the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual body. It is also said to be helpful for those with stress and anxiety. Larimar is said to represent peace and clarity, healing and love.
These are photos of some earrings I made for myself using some Larimar 10mm beads and some facted Aquamarine. The stones were a gift from a wonderful friend who was clearing out someof her stash. Thanks, Margaret, of Bohowirewrapped .

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Garnet is the Gemstone of the Week

Garnet is the birthstone for January and the gemstone of the week. Garnet comes in many hues, except for blue, and most varieties are named for their color. The deep maroon color is the color associated with January and is called Almandine garnet. Garnets are one of the largest families of gemstones and the coloring depends on the minerals in the stone. It is a popular gemstone and is suitable for all types of jewelry since it has a hardness of 7.5 on the Moh scale.

The word "garnet" comes from the Latin word "granatum" which refers to the pomegranate and the color red. The use of Garnet as beads and in inlay work goes back as far as 3100 B.C. and 2300 B.C. in Egypt. Garnets have been found entombed with Egyptian pharaohs as a prized possession for the after life. Red Garnets have been prized by nobility across the ages. With the discovery of the famous Garnet mines in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia in 1500 A.D., Bohemia became a center for jewelry manufacturing and gem cutting. This increased the demand for the gem in Europe and increased the price. The popularity of this gemstone started to fade in the 1800's.

Enhancements are usually heat treatments or irradiation. Some garnets are dyed. When you are shopping for garnets, remember, all treatments must be disclosed.