GO 340 Gemstones & Gemology

Emporia State University
Emporia, Kansas USA

www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/go340/review02.htm

Student Reflections

The following reviews were written by you, the students, as a part of homework assignments. They are reproduced here so you can benefit from the wisdom of each other! In addition to reviews of articles and webpages, an indexing project is underway for some gemstone journals used in the campus version of this course and will be online in the future. Reviews from 2000 can be accessed also.

Russ, B. (2000-2002). Emerald and Gemstones. World Wide Web URL: http://www.emeraldandgemstones.com, retrieved 2/2002
Arnstein, W. (2002). Walter Arnstein, Inc. Fine Colored Stones. World Wide Web URL: http://www.walterarnstein.com. Retrieved 2/2002
Digem Digital Emerald (2001-2002). http://www.digem.com/cgi-bin/DigemStore.storefront/3c67cfe10078bb832718409849020694. Retrieved 2/2002
Smigel, Barbara. Artistic Colored Stones. World Wide Web URL: http://www.acstones.com/info/aboutACS.html. Retrieved 2/25/2002
The Gem Forecaster, VOL. 19, #4, Winter, 2001, Gem Thieves
The Gem Forecaster, Vol. 19(1), Spring 2001, Kansas City Robbery Conviction
The Gem Forecaster, Vol. 15(2), Part One Burmese Ruby and Sapphire Situation
The Gemstone Forecaster, Vol.13(4), Part One Sapphires: The Prince of Gems
The Gemstone Forecaster, VOL. 19(4), Winter, 2001 Collecting Fancy Colored Sapphires
The Gemstone Forecaster, Vol. 16(2), Summer, 1998, Part 1 Burma Star Ruby and Star Sapphire
The Gemstone Forecaster, Vol. 19(4), Winter, 2001 Collector’s Corner, Victoria’s Secret Bra

Russ, B. (2000-2002). Emerald and Gemstones. World Wide Web URL: http://www.emeraldandgemstones.com, retrieved 2/2002.

Two women who met at a university in 1973 created a company, Emerald and Gemstones. One women was an American, from New Jersey, and the other was from Brazil. A son of one co-owner, who is also the president of the company, placed their business in the web in 2000. I looked up the gemstone, tourmaline, because I didn’t know anything about it. These gemstones are sent to the buyers and they can be taken to local jewelers to be set. Tourmaline has a wide color range and some crystals are tri-colored. Until the 18th century, this gemtone was commonly mistaken for emerald. The unique “neon” tourmaline, an intense green and blue stone, is found in Paraiba, Brazil. Tourmaline is the traditional birthstone for the month of October and the 8th anniversary stone. The hardness is 7 to 7.5 and the refraction index is 1.62 to 1.68.

One tourmaline in the catalog was an emerald cut with a deep pink color, which was mined in Brazil. The price per carat was $19.99. The carat weight was 4.42 for this stone, making the total cost $87.99. Another tourmaline was called watermelon tourmaline. It was a very unusual color combination of amber, yellow and scarlet. The cost for this emerald cut stone was $230.00. Another watermelon tourmaline was lime and lemon in color, with an oval cut and sold for the same price. My favorite tourmaline stone was the rose tourmaline in a trilliant cut. The carat weight was 9.64 carats with the cost of $74.99. Although my first choice of gemstones has been amethyst, tourmaline is running a close second after viewing this site.

Arnstein, W. (2002). Walter Arnstein, Inc. Fine Colored Stones. World Wide Web URL: http://www.walterarnstein.com. Retrieved 2/2002.

This website offered faceted and cabochon, crystal and star sapphires in the following colors; blue, yellow and pink. The yellows and blues were all about the same color but the pinks showed color variation. The star sapphire was only shown in blue. No images of the cabochon cut saphhires were available due to the high holiday demand. Although the images were beautiful, I was not impressed with this website. There was not much variety in the cut style. The table was labeled to display the weight and price per caratcarat size, but only the carat size was shown. Most of the gems were very large, with one being 27.46 carats!

Digem Digital Emerald (2001-2002). http://www.digem.com/cgi-bin/DigemStore.storefront/3c67cfe10078bb832718409849020694. Retrieved 2/2002.

This website is devoted to Emeralds from Columbia. It deals with cut emeralds, emerald crystals and emeralds still in the matrix. There are many photos showing different cuts and actual crystals, all available for purchase. At the bottom of the home page, there is a button to click called "about emeralds." Here you can get all the information you need about emeralds from mining to inclusions as well as buying tips. This web site also has links to Columbian corundums and gives information about them.

Smigel, Barbara. Artistic Colored Stones. World Wide Web URL: http://www.acstones.com/info/aboutACS.html. Retrieved 2/25/2002.

This is a commercial web site that features cut and finished gemstones by different lapidary artists. There is also some good information about the color and kind of stone, with the pictures as well. The are many other pages to look such as:
http://www.acstones.com/new/whatsnew.html
http://www.acstones.com/new/whatsnewfac.html
http://www.acstones.com/productcart/pc/viewCat_h.asp?idCategory=11
http://www.acstones.com/Birthstone.html


The Gem Forecaster Reviews

The Gem Forecaster, VOL. 19, #4, Winter, 2001
Gem Thieves
A man was indicted and charged with impersonating a fireman and stealing watches from the World Trade Center Cartier and Tourneau jewelry stores. He faces charges of burglary, fraud, larceny, possession of stolen property and criminal impersonation. It is alleged that he stole between six and twenty watches and $2,500.00 cash. The wholesale value of the goods was 1.3 million and he is being held on a $25,000 bail.

Jewelers Circular Keystone. Over $100 million dollars of art may have been destroyed in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. This is speculated by the art insurance specialists at AXA Art, and the figure is expected to increase, after the losses from neighboring buildings is added. Cantor Fitzgerald, a brokerage house, contained 300 Rodin sculptures, and public artworks of the towers included a painted wood relief by Louise Nevelson, a painting from Roy Lichtenstein's Entablature series and a Joan Miro tapestry.

This is the biggest single disaster ever to affect the art industry. The attacks came at the time in the week when the new art season was due to start, and numerous gallery openings were scheduled. In the U.S. terrorist attacks are usually covered by insurance, though acts of "land war" are not. Some insurance companies are said to be looking at whether the attacks could be classified as acts of war, so their liability would be limited.

The Gem Forecaster, Vol. 19(1), Spring 2001
Kansas City Robbery Conviction
This article comes from the Spring 2001 edition of the Gemstone Forecaster. Four men were convicted for their part in plotting and robbing the Tivol store during a daytime robbery in Kansas City, October 30, 1997. A Kansas City business man, Angelo Porrello, his son, Joseph Porrello, and two other men, Michael Hatcher and Nathaniel Kenny, were convicted of this crime which at the time was the largest jewelry robbery in Kansas City history. They netted over $2.5 million in diamonds and merchandise. While in jail in Leavenworth, the accused mastermind made over 5,000 phone calls to friends and family. These were recorded and used against him in court. This just goes to show you how smart these thieves really are.

The Gem Forecaster, Vol. 15(2), Part One
Burmese Ruby and Sapphire Situation
-Two main sources of Burma Ruby are from Mogok and Mong Hsu with the rubies from Mogok being of better quality. Few dealers are actually travelling to Mogok. Most stones are smuggled into Bangkok and sold there. Bangkok is the world's distribution center for rubies/sapphires. Mae Sot is the primary location to find the Burma gems that have been smuggled and the primary location for business.

The Gemstone Forecaster, Vol.13(4), Part One
Sapphires: The Prince of Gems
Sapphire as we know it comes from saphirus in Latin, safir in Arabic, sappheiros in Greek, and sauriatna in Sanskrit. Sapphire comes in a variety of colors: pink, yellow, orange, green, gray, white, peach, teal, lavender and color changing varieties. The major atoms in sapphire are aluminum and iron. One or two titanium ions give sapphires their characteristic blue color. Burma sapphires are the world standard. These sapphires have almost perfect color, extreme rarity, and an inconsistent supply. For this particular kind, prices range from $5000-$10,000 for a carat and larger stones can range from $50,000-$60,000. The major sources for fancy sapphires are Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Australia, East Africa, and even Montana. This type of sapphire includes these colors: orangy-pink-salmon, pink, orange, golden, purple, yellow, color change, green, and white. The rarest of the fancy sapphires is called a padparadscha, which means 'lotus flower' in Sinhalese. These also range from $5000-$10,000 per carat. The second most valuable is a sapphire named an electric sapphire. This sapphire is pink without a hint of violet or purple. They sell for $500-$1500 per carat. Yellow and golden sapphires are collector items for those on a budget. Africa mines a sapphire that changes color, grayish blue in daylight and cranberry red in incandescent light. The green sapphires are relatively abundant and sell for around $50 a carat. The higher the percentage of blue in a sapphire of course the more expensive it becomes. Color purity and saturation are the keys to value. Approx. 90-95% of sapphire is heated, which involves putting rough or finished gems in the crucible. Some yellow, golden, and orange sapphires are irradiated. To tell if your sapphire has been irradiated simply let it lie in the sun for a few days, if it fades it has been irradiated. Sri Lankan sapphires sell for $2000-$4000 per carat, Burmas can range from $3000-$6000 per carat, and Kashmirs can range from $5000-$10,000 per carat.

The Gemstone Forecaster, VOL. 19(4), Winter, 2001
Collecting Fancy Colored Sapphires
This article tells about the different types of sapphires and their worth. It shows the different colors and what kind of value they have depending on certain aspects. These aspects include whether or not the stone and been heat treated, size, the specific hue of the color, and whether or not the stone changes color in different kinds of light.

The Gemstone Forecaster, Vol. 16(2), Summer, 1998, Part 1
Burma Star Ruby and Star Sapphire
This is a good article on the stars that are found inside rubies and sapphires. It explains how the stars are formed, that is from silk that is trapped inside the ruby or sapphire. It also gives reference on how the star shines and where they can be found. This article also tells how the stone should be cut so that the overall effect of the star can be valuable. It also gives information on identifying and distinguishing real stars from synthetic ones as well as a few facts about the gems themselves.

The Gemstone Forecaster, Vol. 19(4), Winter, 2001
Collector’s Corner, Victoria’s Secret Bra
The 2001 Victoria’s Secret Bra costs about 12.5 million dollars. It sports a 90 carat emerald-cut diamond between the cups, that is valued at 10.6 million. The bra also has 1,200 Sri Lankan pink sapphires and 2,300 diamonds. This year’s bra is 2.5 million less than last years bra, and you can purchase the matching panties for a mere $750,000. No one has never actually purchased one of these specials, but they receive tens of thousands of calls about the product each year. In order to take one of these outfits home, you’ll need a certified check and you’ll receive delivery by armored truck. I wonder if they donate the unsold items to Goodwill after season...

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This page originates from the Earth Science department for the use and benefit of students enrolled at Emporia State University. For more information contact the course instructor, S. W. Aber, e-mail: saber@emporia.edu Thanks for visiting! Webpage created: 2002; last update: January 7, 2007.

Copyright 1999-2007 Susan Ward Aber. All rights reserved.