April 2016 newsletter (and what a great one it is!)

Newsletter banner 2

My April newsletter is out, and I have some really fantastic new stones; rose cut opal, apatite, pink tourmaline, rainbow moonstone ruby and sapphire. All desirable, beautiful and hard-to-find. Plus for those of you who are signed up to my loyalty points scheme, it’s double points all month! And for those of you who are not, why not sign up? You can earn points for introducing a friend, for liking me on Facebook, following on Instagram and Twitter…even for just having a birthday. This month it’s 2 points for every dollar spent; 400 for joining up. And at just 500 points you start to earn money off your future orders.

Click here for my newsletter; click here to open an account and sign up to my points scheme.


Watermelon Candy

Joopy Gems watermelon tourmaline slices and rose cuts

Or parti-coloured tourmaline, to give it its correct title. Not, as my slightly po-faced GIA instructor said, as in, ‘let’s have a party.’ That may have been a joke. It was slightly hard to tell. New in stock, I have more pieces of this most beautiful and fascinating of stones in a breathtaking array of colours. I have new slices and some rose cut (polki) pieces, and each piece has been hand-selected by me for either its pattern – complex or simple, its colour – unusual or gorgeous, its unusual combinations of colours, or it’s saturation – saturated or subtle. The green and orange polki, top left, or the teal green surrounded by black slice towards the top right; the pale pink and blue polkis, of which I have several, and blue is always a popular colour that goes fast.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Clarity of these stones can be rather mixed, but most of these are not bad and many have the kind of clarity characteristics that I think are rather beautiful; for instance you can see mirror-like inclusions on several of the stones, which sparkle as the light catches them with a spectral flash. Tourmaline crystals are very distinctive; broadly triangular in shape with striations down the sides and the colour zoning is due to a change in the concentration or composition of the trace elements that give the stone its colour during its growth. Iron, titanium and manganese induce different colours and yet others might be due to colour centres caused by radiation. To shop watermelon slices, click here;  to shop freeform rose cuts (polki), click here.

So many gorgeous examples of watermelon tourmaline jewellery around, but if I had to pick out one I have long coveted Barbara Heinrich Studio’s watermelon tourmaline slice necklace. This also has hand-fabricated 18k gold shell elements and gold tube spacers. Love those gold shells, echoing the shape of the tourmaline slices, and love the matched-but-not-matched slices.

Barbara Heinrich Studio Watermelon tourmaline slice necklace with five hand-fabricated 18kt gold shell elements and gold tube spacers, 15.5" long with a 2" extension chain.


Floating in a turquoise sea

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just listed I have these gorgeous turquoise rose cut freeforms. There’s something very pleasing about a faceted opaque stone. Maybe because it’s rather unexpected, but I always think that turquoise lends itself so well to this cut. Maybe it’s because it’s not a cheap stone, and you can go to a generous size whilst still maintaining some kind of strangle-hold on the budget strings. And you all must agree with me because it’s one of the stones in this cut that I struggle to keep in stock – whatever I have just goes. So I am assuming the same will be true of this latest lot of new stock. I’ve been a bit brave and gone for some much larger ones than usual. The 12 or so carat one above with the lovely chunk of pyrite on the side – I think that’s gorgeous; I’ve got my eye on that one for my own collection, if someone doesn’t beat me to it. I don’t know how you feel about inclusions; I know not everyone loves them but I rather do, especially the silvery pyrite one often gets on turquoise – I think that’s really special. I also rather love the 2.4 carat one speckled with pyrite and dark matrix – so unusual. But if you’re a purist, then you can’t do better than the 7.6 carat triangle; just clean, clear turquoise, polished to perfection.

This cut lends itself particularly well to rings – big showy affairs that’ll make your fingers think all their Christmasses have come. Below, clockwise from left, I love the fierceness of the Turquoise Rose Cut Cage ring in 14k gold by Lex Luxe. Perfectly illustrating my point about the loveliness of pyrite inclusion is Erin Jane Designs’ Turquoise Ring in Recycled 14k gold. And see how that pyrite picks echoes the metal in the setting? And bottom right is Janish Jewels’ Rose Cut Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Twig Ring. Love the textured metal on the shank.

To shop turquoise rose cut freeforms, click here. Prices start from $17.




Aquamarine polki polka

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with these freeform rose cuts: love, because they are always individually beautiful and more prosaically, they sell very well. Hate, because they always take such a long time to list; each one must be individually weighed, measured, photographed and listed. And they always sell out so quickly (!) And since I normally buy them in the hundreds, it’s a bit of a daunting task. So I have decided to keep a handle on it by updating on a rolling basis – a few types of stone every couple of months or so. And I’ve just done a new lot. First up are these aquamarine beauties; never stocked before, so I have just a few to see how they go. I think they will go well, because this is gorgeous material, ranging from the clear to the misty, lovely clouds and veils but no cracks or fractures. A range of lovely soft colours too; from sea-green to cool blue. Aquamarine takes a good polish, so these are really nicely finished as well and will look absolutely pukka in, well anything you choose to set them in. Warm in gold; cool in silver. These cuts are great; the shallow cut keeps the weight down so you can go large without either breaking the bank or causing someone to dislocate their wrist (or shoulder), or ripping through an ear lobe. Try them in a window setting, or possibly even a bezel. Perfectly illustrated in the picture below; Hammer and Verse rose cut sterling and 18k gold ring. Love the leaf detail on the shank as well.

Hammer and Verse Aquamarine Rose Cut Sterling and 18k Gold Ring-1
Hammer and Verse rose cut sterling and 18k gold ring, $129.50

To shop my aquamarine freeforms, click here. Prices start at $16.50, which is a fab price for this wonderful material. To shop all freeforms, click here. New in I also have turquoise, black rutilated quartz, labradorite, rainbow moonstone and a few lovely pieces of pink opal; watch out for more information about each of these.  I will also be listing new watermelon slices and watermelon rosecut freeforms, coming soon!


C is for calm reconciliation…

C is also for Chrysocolla; my most recent love. I adore it for its marvellous and intricate patterns in all shades of blue and green. Found close to large copper deposits, it is intermingled with a combination of some or all of these: turquoise, malachite, azurite, jasper and quartz, and it is this combination of minerals that gives each stone its fascinating and unique patterns. It’s not expensive either; you can go large on these without breaking the bank. I have just listed, for the first time, 8mm and 10mm cabochons, at $3.50 and $5.50 per stone respectively. I’ll stock larger and different shapes too, if there is a demand. If you want to know what it’s good for, it’s supposed to be a stone of reconciliation and reassurance, and has been known as the ‘wise stone’, as those who wore it were believed to be good at the kind of win-win negotiation we’re all supposed to strive, coming up with clever compromises and solutions. I could do with a bit of that. To shop 8mm chrysocolla cabochons, click here; to shop 10mm, click here.

It’s the kind of stone that looks great with silver, and I often see it in quite chunky settings. But below I’ve found a collection of pieces  whose designers have let their imaginations run riot, from the delicate, branch-like construction of Lucie Veilleux’s sterling silver bracelet (bottom left) to the fantastical blooming of Amy Buettner’s Chrysocolla, sterling silver and 18k gold centerpiece (top left) to the openwork on ZYGO Jewelry’s sterling silver ring, that lightens the entire appearance.

1. Amy Buettner: Ray Mine Gem Silica Chrysocolla Centerpiece, $1200
2. ZYGO Jewelry: Chrysocolla Palladium Plated Sterling Silver Ring, $184.65
3. Jenny Reeves: Cuff with Chrysocolla, $2150
4. Sennah47: Chrysocolla Sterling Silver Ring, $145
5. Lucie Veilleux: Botanical Bangle Flower Buds and Chrysocolla Bangle, $162



Angels’ hair or a wheatsheaf?

Talk about cryptic. But those of you in the know will realise I am talking about golden rutilated quartz. And those of you who know me will also know that I absolutely love this stuff. I’ve had it in freeform (polki) rose cuts for a while, but I’m just now offering it in cabochons, 8mm and 10mm round in the first instance. We’ll see how popular it is, and then I might offer it in other sizes or shapes. So rutilated quartz is also known as sagenitic quartz, or sagenite, (although I confess I’ve never come across it being called that, and I’ve been around the ‘gemstone block’ for quite a few years now, so it must be quite rare). What you have is clear to semi-transparent quartz included with rutile which has crystallised into needles. These appear in an amazing variety of forms; really fine, hence the name ‘angel hair’ to really thick, like lengths of straw. They may be sparse or dense; oriented into patterns – hence ‘wheatsheaf’ or randomly criss-crossed, but all are fascinating. The golden colour catches the light and gleams warm and gold. It looks great with silver or gold, and is the perfect stuff for creating something unique, as every piece is unique. I love the elegant simplicity of the pieces below, from left: Moon and Forge Studio’s rutilated quartz ring set in 14k yellow gold and sterling silver, at $315; Nijiko Designs’ rutilated quartz, 18k gold and sterling silver earrings at $175 and Chiara Batelier’s rutilated quartz pendant set in 18k gold

To shop 8mm rutilated quartz cabochons at $6 per stone, click here; to shop the 10mm cabochons at $8.25, click here


March Newsletter; new additions, great discount!

Banner March 2016

Out now; my March 2016 newsletter with a round-up of new additions, gemstone news and the all-important reader offer – this month a birthstone offer – which I have interpreted very widely, taking in many different birthstone systems and adopting a very loose interpretation, to apply to all aquamarine and agate across my store. That’s cabochons, rose cuts, gemstones, beads and freeforms, all on 15% off for the month of March. Click here to open the newsletter and pick up the discount code, or go to www.joopygems.com to sign up and make sure you never miss out!