Check out some Springtime treasures!

April 2017 newsletter header

Out now! Our April 2017 newsletter with news about new stock – labradorite and aquamarine freeforms, plus some amazing concave cuts and lovely new rose cuts pears. Also it’s double points for shopping and introducing a friend via our points scheme – plus your friend will get a 10% discount, so there couldn’t be a better month to spread the love! We’ve got 2 newsletters: the international version and the US version, depending on which shop you use.

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Deep dive

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I wrote about these in my newsletter, but I just thought I’d do a bit of an extra post on the large amount of blue topaz I have this month. The rose cut pears and ovals I’ve been offering for a while have been really popular so this month we have expanded the range to include swiss blue and sky blue topaz in a variety of sizes from 6x4mm, 7x5mm to 8x6mm. Sky blue is good value as ever, with prices starting at $2.00 for a 6x4mm pear; swiss blue still experiencing some price rises along with London Blue. Blue topaz is such a good option for adding vibrancy and brilliance without breaking the bank. It takes a superb polish, so high it can feel almost slippery to the touch. The pale sky blue makes a nice aquamarine substitute, and the swiss blue is a lovely serene colour. London blue is in a class of its own; a deep greenish-blue stone that at its best can rival blue tourmaline. It was very reasonably priced and not that well known when I first started out, but quickly became very popular indeed and supply has still not caught up with the sudden up-tick in popularity and it remains pricey. Demand is not abating and suppliers are not treating any more rough, so I think this will remain the case for the forseeable future. To shop sky blue topaz click here; for swiss blue click here and for London blue click here.

Below is the wonderful Nicole Scheetz’s yellow gold ring set with a rose cut London blue topaz pear. I love the perfect simplicity of this; the deep blue of the topaz against the gold metal. You can choose a variety of finishes for the shank.

Luxuring London Blue Topaz Ring, $205
Luxuring London Blue Topaz and yellow gold ring, $205

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Smoking hot…

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Winston Churchill famously said, ‘I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.’ An especially difficult colour for us Brits; I grew up in the 1970s and my overriding memories were of the colour brown; brown food, brown walls, brown clothes, brown bedding. Not forgetting, of course, brownouts, and everyone completely browned off. And yet it’s also the colour of, oh, chocolate, and polished wood, and my daughters’ eyes and my favourite kind of dog (a caramel coloured cocker spaniel). And, of course, smoky quartz. There’s something fascinating about this material. Like a pair of beautiful brown eyes, it can be deep and velvety, or flashing with gold lights, or sometimes the colour of an old sepia photograph. Perfect with white metal; I love the combination of silver and dark brown; it’s combusting with elegance. I now have some new lines; in addition to the 4mm and 6mm rose cuts that I have back in stock, I have added 5mm and 8mm rose cuts. I particularly love the 8mm stones, which have such depth of colour with an almost mysterious lustre. And the best part is that it is such excellent value for money! To shop all smoky quartz, click here. Prices start from $1.00 for a 4mm stone.

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Pretty popular pink tourmaline rose cuts

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I can never get enough of this stuff; when I do have it, it goes fast, and when I run out I have to scrabble for more. So when I do get it, it’s always exciting. This is rose cut pink tourmaline in 3mm, 4mm and 5mm rounds. Plenty of the 3mm and 4mm, less of the 5mm so if that’s your bag, grab it! Good saturation, this is moderately included, although you know the photos make them look so much more included than they appear in life. I love my macro lens but it does rather have the effect of making the stones appear as though you are looking at them through a loupe. Tourmaline is so varied and comes in so many colours that for years, people were confused about their actual identity; indeed the name comes from the word ‘toramalli’, which in Sinahlese means ‘mixed gems’. Myth has it that its dazzling range of colours is because it travelled along a rainbow and gathered all the rainbow’s hues. It’s a nice image! You can find the rose cuts here; prices start from $3.35 for a 3mm stone up to $14 for a 5mm. To shop all tourmaline, click here.

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Rainbow moonstone 4mm rose cut AA

I’m so pleased to have this back in stock: 4mm rose cut rainbow moonstone. Now, previously I’ve stocked AAA grade, but I just can’t get it any more. We just can’t find the rough. Obviously gemstones are a finite resource, and once they’re gone, they’re gone, unless and until, of course, a new source is found. So this is AA quality. It’s still pretty good; not completely clean, as you would expect. You’ll find some veils and small internal fractures, but in appearance it’s fairly clean, and the adularescence (flash) is good. Bear in mind that the photographs are taken with an unforgiving macro lens and blown up many times beyond their actual size, so it’s like looking at the stones through a loupe. These stones are $4.40 each, and you can find them here. To shop all rainbow moonstone click here.

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Turquoise rose cuts

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I like opaque rose cuts very much indeed – the faceting adds interest and liveliness and it’s just a bit unusual. I’ve been meaning to trial turquoise rose cuts for some time; turquoise is so enduringly popular, I always struggle to keep it stock, so I really hope you all like these. I have them in a 2mm, 3mm, 4mm and 5mm rose cut, nice blue material with excellent polish. There’s the odd bit of matrix on the bottom here and there and on some of the larger stones.

Turquoise is one of the world’s most ancient gems, used in Ancient Egypt and 3000 years ago in China. It’s name derived from the French ‘pierre torques’ which means ‘Turkish stone’, and indeed for many years, the most valued turquoise came from the middle east – from Persia, now modern day Iran. Those mines are mined out now, but ‘Persian turquoise’ persists as a trade name to describe a particular strongly blue-hued colour of turquoise, without the veining and matrix that characterises the majority of commercial grade material. I never mind a bit of recessed sandy matrix, if it’s confined to the bottom of the stone; at least I know it’s real!More recently. of course, as most people will know, large deposits in the US were found and it was used as a ceremonial gem and currency by Native Americans. I can’t really do the ‘Southwestern’ style of jewellery, it’s not my thing. I prefer to see reasonably matrix-free material in a sleek, contemporary setting, but that’s just personal preference. Why not have a go and see what you can make with this? I’d love to see what people do with these. To shop turquoise, click here. These stones are stabilised, as is very common with turquoise these days (it makes for a harder and more durable stone with a better polish)

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Rose quartz for a summer of love!

Back in stock I have rose quartz in 5mm and 6mm rose cut rounds. Rose quartz itakes its name from its very delicate colour; I have these in 3mm up to 10mm and the colour range goes from very pale ‘white not quite’ in the 3mm to a warm, soft pink in the 10mm. The 5mm and 6mm material is somewhere in between.

Joopy Gems 10mm rose cut rose quartz cabochon
Joopy Gems 10mm rose cut rose quartz cabochon, $17.50

It owes its glowing translucence to small inclusions that give it its classic cloudy appearance, and indeed, it comes in a variety of qualities from highly included and fractured – which ironically might give a deeper colour due to the more opaque nature of such stones – to almost transparent. Larger stones of good colour can have an almost golden cast in the right light. Now, as you all know, I prefer to stick to nicer quality so these stones are pale pink and range from translucent to nearly transparent. The colour rose quartz was picked by Pantone as one of its colours of the year, and despite their (to my view) slightly twee pairing with the lilac-blue ‘Serenity’, I think it would work beautifully with white stones – white topaz maybe, or rock crystal – grey moostone, or for a more surprising pairing, with a pop of colour for summer, peach moonstone. Said to promote love and healing, clearly, you can’t go wrong! To shop 5mm rose cut rose quartz, click here; for 6mm rose cut click here, or for 10mm rose cut click here. To shop the entire range, click here.

 

Rose quartz looks very different depending on what you set it in; gold brings out its warm tones; silver gives it a cool, elegant bloom. Below and clockwise from left: I love the feminine and delicate beauty of Belinda Saville’s 5mm rose quartz and rose gold ring, contrasting so amazingly with Charlotte Burkhart’s rose quartz and sterling silver ‘Coven Ring’. She has given the silver a gunmetal finish and this lends the 13mm stone a fantastic fierce appearance. Below right, the elegant simplicity of William White’s rose quartz and sterling silver ring. This is a 10mm stone set in satin finished silver, echoing the beautiful haziness in the stone.

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Somewhere over the (extremely tiny) rainbow

Well, it’s a bit of a gamble, this. I’ve had a few requests lately for very tiny stones; 2mm to be precise, for things like baby jewellery and other tiny things. I hummed and haa-ed a bit: will anyone really buy these? – and then I thought, ‘blow it, only one way to find out’. So here we are. I already have 2mm rose cut white diamond in stock, and now I am introducing 2mm rose cut rainbow moonstone. These are really very wee indeed but even so, they have the same beautifully precise cut with the intricate kite-shaped facets. Whew! Plus lovely, clean AAA material with the classic great flash that I always endeavour to deliver. What are you going to do with these? Please buy some and send me pictures!! These are the first of a line of stones in this size, cabochons and rose cuts. I’m going to have amethyst, turquoise, peridot, aquamarine, opal and more!

To shop 2mm rose cut rainbow moonstone, click here. These are $2.85 per stone, and I know what you’re going to say: whew, that’s a bit steep. A great deal of the cost is in the cutting; very small stones are precision work and finding someone who will agree to cut them, and cut them well is no easy matter.

I normally feature someone’s work on these posts, so you can see the stones I’m talking about ‘in action’ as it were. But I couldn’t find anything for these, so…watch this space!

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White topaz 4mm rose cuts

 

I couldn’t think of a fancier title for another popular stone back in stock; crystal clear brilliant white topaz in a 4mm rose cut round. The GIA says that topaz takes such a high polish it’s slightly slippery to the touch, and you can see that clearly in these stones, hard and bright; an excellent, versatile and economical choice for a white stone. This is a useful size; good for grouping or complementing other stones, or for using on its own. These are beautiful, eye clean and perfectly cut with kite-shaped facets that form a rose on top of the stone. You can find them here, at $1.70 per stone.

Below, Cyllene Jewelry’s white topaz and 14k gold earrings illustrate perfectly the simple and elegant beauty of these stones.

Cyllene Jewelry white topaz and 14k gold studs
Cyllene Jewelry white topaz and 14k gold earrings

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Dancing, shimmering colour

I had a sample of rose cut opal in stock recently and it just flew out, in the space of a couple of hours. I don’t think I’ve ever stocked anything that sold out so quickly. So I got more in and once again it is selling phenomenally well. This is Ethiopian opal, which ranges from transparent to almost opaque, with a powerful play-of-colour that appears

Louisa Gallery opal and 14k gold ring
Louisa Gallery opal and 14k gold ring

to hang suspended within the stone. Opal from Ethiopia is a relatively new discovery – the source was only discovered in 1996. I have these in a 3mm, 4mm, 5mm and 6mm rose cut round and I must say, the rose cutting works phenomenally well with this material, highlighting the play-of-colour and making it absolutely pop. This is very eye-catching material, which is going to make stunning jewellery. You can see what I mean right; Louisa Gallery’s opal and 14k gold ring. Stunning, unexpected and rare.

To shop all rose cut opal, click here. Prices start from $2.35 for a 3mm rose cut cabochon.

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