Tammys Favorite Gem Resources: Buy Two, Get One Free
|Tammy Jones is
the editor of Jewelry Making Daily.
I've been a rock hound since I was a little girl. I kept my primitive rock collection—which consisted mostly of quartz, pyrite, and mica—in a pink foam egg carton, and it was among my most prized possessions.
Now as a grown-up girl, I'm still a rock hound and I know I'm very lucky that one of my earliest passions—rocks that I didn't know at the time were actually gemstones—is a large part of my career. I've studied gemstones for several years now, formally through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and informally under the wing of two gem expert mentors/friends.
Colored Stone Magazine
Another large part of my gemstone education came from Colored Stone magazine. It was a treat to have a specialized publication devoted entirely to something I was so passionate about, as each issue provided in-depth coverage on topics not found anywhere else. Here are three of my favorite recent issues:
Pearls, Pearls, Pearls
Friends call me "pearl girl" for a reason; hardly a day goes by that I'm not wearing pearls. I have more pearls in my gemstone collection than any other gem, and throughout all of my studies, pearls remain my favorite gemstone. I love all of them: quirky baroque pearls, pretty-colored freshwater pearls, fine Japanese Akoya pearls, dark and moody Tahitian pearls, glowing golden South Seas pearls, plus the rare and unique natural pearls such as pretty pink conch pearls and colorful tooth-like abalone pearls.
As you can imagine, I've never seen a pearl I didn't like, and I watch industry publications closely to keep abreast of any pearl news. All of the pearls I just mentioned are covered in the March/April 2009 special pearl issue of Colored Stone magazine, along with yummy-looking chocolate pearls, fascinating faceted pearls, and dozens of pieces of pearl jewelry.
Also in that issue, you can read about jewelry recovered from the Titanic and emeralds from "the other" Colombian mine, La Pita. Adventurous pearl-lovers among you will enjoy the on-location article about how pearlers in the Sea of Cortez are trying to restore Mexico's former status as a black-pearl producer, and treasure hunters can live vicariously through the tale of how a treasure chest full of pearls was recovered from a 400-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Key West, Florida. This issue is a must-have resource for anyone interested in pearls.
Gem Color Treatments
Gemstones are a unique mix of old and new. What seems like a topic that would rarely change—most gems were created hundreds or thousands of years ago, after all—is actually a very organic, evolving science. Discoveries of new gems and new sources for familiar gems keep the industry exciting, and new gemstone treatments are always hitting the market. Though it's impossible to know for sure, it's assumed that something like 90% or more of all gemstones are treated in some way, but that isn't always a bad thing.
Treatments can transform gemstones from unmarketable to quite attractive, but the topic is often surrounded in controversy. The May/June 2009 issue of Colored Stone magazine tackles the treatment issue head-on with a long hard look at gemstone diffusion treatments used to improve or change a gemstone's color. Industry expert, author, and PhD Joel Arem introduces the idea of experimental gemology and provides an in-depth analysis of diffusion and other color treatments, along with a primer on the scientific terms needed to understand them. Anyone in the business of buying or selling gemstones simply has to be aware of gem treatments in order to make informed purchases and abide by disclosure guidelines.
Also in this issue: get an introduction to caymanite, the environmentally friendly practice of using rough gemstones in jewelry designs, and a look at bold metal jewelry.
It's All About Color
Most gem lovers and collectors would agree that the best things about gemstones are their beautiful colors. Some lucky gems boast multiple colors in one stone, such as opal or the lesser-known spectrolite, which is highlighted in the September/October 2009 issue of Colored Stone magazine. Even more spectacular are the phenomenal (literally) color-change gemstones such as alexandrite and some garnets that can, as if by magic, appear different colors in different types of light, or the truly miraculous color-shift gems that display more than one color in only one kind of light, such as andalusite and sphene. You can learn more about all of the "two-toner" color-change and color-shift phenomenal gemstones in this colorful issue.
Unfortunately, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and though Colored Stone ceased publication earlier this year, there is a silver lining. The March/April, May/June, September/October, November/December 2009 and January/February 2010 Colored Stone issues are still available, and if you buy two of them, you'll receive a third one free.