Those of you who know me well know that I love tourmaline. Out of all gemstones, it is simply my runaway favourite, and I value it for its infinite variety; the colour range, the pleochroism, even the fantastic and fascinating inclusions. This is a fantastic 15.1mm round bluish-green tourmaline cabochon – yes it’s all the same stone in the slideshow above but what you are seeing is an example of that pleochroism I was referring to. Tourmaline is strongly pleochroic; that is to say that it absorbs different wavelengths of light depending on the direction of the rays. What that means in reality is that it will show different colours according to different viewing directions. You can see that in the stone above, which shows both green and blue colours, strongly. It’s an absolute beauty.
Now, tourmaline grows in an environment rich in liquids, which are often captured as inclusions during crystal growth. I wish I had a camera on my microscope as when I view this stone, I see a network of tiny thread-like cavities running all over the stone. They are really fascinating and beautiful. In fact, I think that the inclusions make this stone; a fingerprint of its creation. However, as with all of my stones, because I use a macro lens and the stones are magnified beyond their actual size, they always appear far more included in photographs than in reality.
Most blue and green tourmalines derive their colour from traces of iron, and they are sometimes known by the trade names of indicolite for blue and verdelite for green. Less common than pink stones, they are according more expensive and sought-after. This is a strongly saturated stone with open colour, and at 15.1mm round and 14 carats in weight, it is a substantial rock. It’s going to make a fantastic ring or centrepiece for a pendant, something like this one, below. I found it on 1st dibs, and it’s not credited to any known designer, but I love how they have called it a ‘dragon’s eye’, because that’s exactly what it looks like. I also hope it shows just how fantastically beautiful and effective a large, included stone can look. The stone in this piece is a whopping 39.5 carats and both more included and less saturated than my stone but it’s nonetheless an amazing piece.
Be inspired! And do it fast before temptation gets the better of me and I filter the stone into my personal collection! To view this fabulous stone, click here. It’s in my Hong Kong shop, but it ships internationally.
That thing you do when you look at a big pile of a particular stone and wonder why no-one has bought any for a while and when you check it’s because you haven’t had it up for sale. For months! And it’s one of those stones that people generally want in a fairly steady way. Well, just FYI, I do have it; 8mm rose cut round white topaz. $10 per stone, come and get it here. A real work-horse of a stone; white topaz does not have fire, but it has brilliance and lustre – in fact topaz takes such a good polish that can feel slippery to the touch. It’s a great option for a white stone, and good value for money too.
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.
Our March 2017 newsletter is out now with new stock alerts, gemstone news and a great offer for the month of March. You can find the international version here, or the US version here, or why not sign up at either website to ensure you never miss out?!
This one is all about the cabochons… A whole new lot of small to medium sized pink tourmaline cabochons. Lots of teardrops. Some ovals. Some marquise. Lots of bright, vibrant fuschia, and nice affordable prices for a lovely unique piece that won’t break the bank. Prices start from $37 with these stones which I think lend themselves very well to pendants. Mix them up with unexpected partners for an exciting effect; sunshine yellow citrine, or sharp green peridot. Perhaps even turquoise or rainbow moonstone could be fun. My mother’s engagement ring is a rather unexpected and lively tourmaline and amethyst combo. Or just go clean and lean with some white stones; diamonds if you can run to them; white topaz if not!
One thing that you tend to get with tourmaline – especially cabochons – is inclusions; very characteristic mirror like-inclusions, two-phase inclusions, liquid inclusions and growth tubes to mention just a few. Because of this, the predominent value factor with tourmaline is colour, and inclusions are tolerated to the extent that they don’t interfere with this. Besides, I think that many of the inclusions you see in tourmaline are quite simply beautiful, and rather than detract, add to the character of the stone. Clean gemstones are desirable, I know, but a few inclusions roots a stone to the earth, tells you where it has come from and reminds you of its incredible and unlikely journey to the surface of the earth. To shop the new tourmaline cabochons, click here.
Alright, I admit it; when my older daughter went through her pink phase, which lasted for years I could not wait for it to end. But there is something about pink tourmaline which is simply irresistable, and I’ve just listed a whole new bunch of free-size cabochons and mixed cuts. These here are the mixed cuts; small to medium in size and a really gorgeous selection from pale petal pink through bubble-gum and and apricot to deep, vibrant fuchsia. Some of these absolutely glow. Not just pink either; I have a couple of really gorgeous yellows; a warm sunshine and sharp citrus as well as a couple of bluish-greens. I do adore tourmaline; it is my favourite stone, and one of the things I love is the colour range, so many different shades. Legend has it that this is because it travelled along a rainbow and picked up all of the different colours. It’s also supposed to inspire creativity. Whether or not you believe that, I can see any one of these pieces holding their own in a piece of jewellery and let me tell you, these stones appear pretty clean. One of the things I love about tourmaline is the pleochroism, and you can see that face-up in these two pears below: the apricot and the pink alternating as you turn the stones in the light.
Tourmaline is often rather included; growth tubes, liquid inclusions are common and frequently eye-visible. Generally the dominant value-factor is the colour, and with darker stones, this will mask the inclusions. I aim for accuracy and detail in my pictures, which show up every single speck – due to the macro lens and the fact that they are blown up several times past their actual size. This is good because it means that you can see exactly what you are getting but on the other hand be aware that a lot of these tiny inclusions are not easily obvious to the naked eye and do not impact lustre. Above are the pinks, but below, I also have these gorgeous yellows and greens, below. To shop all tourmaline mixed cuts, click here.
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.
Our February 2017 newsletter is out, and we’ve got an ocean of blue topaz this month; new stock items as well as some old faves back in stock! Plus a great offer for the entire month! Click here to read the newsletter, or why not sign up on the joopygems home page to make sure you never miss out?
Just the thing to brighten up a winter’s day; a treasure trove of gems. Have a look at my January 2017 newsletter for gem news and a fantastic reader offer. I have an offer every month listed in the newsletter, so why not sign up at joopygems.com to make sure you never miss out?! Or for US customers, you can read the US version here and sign up for it at www.joopygemsusa.com.