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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The most exciting news!

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How exciting is that! It’s been in the pipeline for a while and it’s finally happening! My October 2016 newsletter is out – check it out for more information on the above story and gemstone news! Plus pick up your code for a free ship this month. Click here for the newsletter – or why not sign up at my website to make sure you never miss out again!

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Super-special rose cut green tourmaline

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I’m really excited about this, mainly because I’ve never stocked it and in fact never see it. This is rose cut green tourmaline and it’s beautiful. Lovely clean material; really almost eye clean and therefore great lustre. The colour is a slightly bluish green but it’s a bit pleochroic, as tourmaline often is. I was just waxing lyrical a couple of days ago about tourmaline and its rainbow range and this is a perfect example. It’s also entirely the sort of thing you should snap up because I don’t think it’s going to hang around and I do think it is going to make for unique pieces. Prices are $3.50 for a 3mm and $8 for a 4mm, which is also fly-off-the-shelf pricing. Really I just want to sit here babbling ‘it’s lovely, it’s lovely’ whilst running it through my fingers. But I will restrain myself….do you get that I like this?! To shop 3mm click here; to shop 4mm click here. To shop all tourmaline cabochons, click here.

And for a bit of inspiration, how about this absolutely stunning ring from Christopher Taylor Timberlake.

Christopher Taylor Timberlake Mokumé Gane 14K Rose Gold, Shakudo, and Sterling Silver Ring with Green Tourmaline
Mokumé Gane 14K Rose Gold, Shakudo, and Sterling Silver Ring with Green Tourmaline, $1675.00

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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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September 2016 newsletter

My September newsletter is now out, and if you hurry, you can grab a 15% labor day discount – valid until midnight on September 5th (EST)! Lots of info about my new 2mm rose cuts and cabochons, turquoise and black diamond rose cuts as well as a round-up of what’s new, strange and interesting in the gem world this month! Click here to read the newsletter, or why not sign up at www.joopygems.com to make sure you never miss out!

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Small but perfectly formed: 2mm rose cuts and cabochons

I’ve been promising these for ages and they are finally here! 2mm rose cuts and cabochons in a variety of stones. They really are so tiny I can’t imagine what you are going to do with them, so pictures please! Also probably best not to work with these if you have a heavy cold… I have all the usual suspects; garnets, turquoise, amethyst, peridot, citrine, white topaz, opal and more. Two things about these stones; firstly, because they are small, you’re not going to get the saturation on the transparents, and some of them are quite light; for example the peridot is light green, the amethyst is light to mid purple, the almandine garnet is pink to orangey-red, the rhodolite is pinkish. The other thing is the price. It’s not easy to get these cut and it is rather expensive; most of the rose cuts are around the $2.85 mark per stone, and the cabochons $1.45 (some – the ruby, emerald and turquoise, for example, are still more). Most of the cost of these is in the cutting, but the up-side is that because of this, they are really unusual and not everyone is going to have them. Why not give them a whirl – I can see rings dusted with gemstones, earrings with tiny scattered points of light…and please do send me pictures of your creations! To shop 2mm rose cuts, click here; to shop 2mm cabochons, click here.

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Peridot; green-gold beauty

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Poor peridot; how are the mighty fallen. It is thought that Cleopatra’s famous emeralds were in fact peridots from the Egyptian island of Zabargad – back when gemstones were classified according to colour, so all green stones were emeralds. Now they are common in birthstone and multicolour jewellery and is really common in weaker, pale shades. It is, of course, also the birthstone for August. Fine peridot can be vivid and stunning, with a slightly oily lustre and I think it always pairs fantastically well with gold, which complements the warm, golden tones that are often present in the stone. This warmth may be partly why the stone has traditionally been associated with light, and in fact set in gold, it was said to ward off ‘terrors of the night’. I’ve most often seen it paired with amethyst but I love it with pink tourmaline; when bright and well-matched the colours seem to sort of egg each other on, competing to be the most eye-catching! Below from left to right are Elizabeth Locke’s peridot and pink tourmaline earrings, Piaget’s completely fabulous peridot and pink tourmaline cocktail ring (have you seen the others in this series?!) and Caroline Nelson’s pink tourmaline and peridot earrings, set in 18k gold with diamond accents.

I’ve spoken about the warmth of peridot with gold, and for this reason, I think it also pairs particularly well with warm yellows and oranges. I love the soft, creamy gold of the south sea pearls below left against the vivid peridots in David Precious Gems’ earrings, and the 18k gold sets them both perfectly. Citrine is also a natural partner; I particularly like the colour zoning on Wilson Brothers’ Citrine and Peridot ring, below right. I’m going to write a piece, or pieces on the joys of inclusions soon, watch this space…

 

More unusually, I’ve seen some fantastic combinations with turquoise. This is a combination that I just wouldn’t really have thought of; I’m not sure why not, perhaps some lingering notion of ‘blue and green should never be seen…’. Or perhaps because the idea of opaque blue and transparent green is just not something that leaps to mind. But I really like it. Below (left to right), if you’re not short of a few bob, are Nicholas Varney’s mismatched aquamarine, peridot, diamond, gaspeite and turquoise duo earrings. I adore mismatched earrings, but beautiful as these are; I don’t think they are going to be the place for me to start! Centre is Michael Boyd’s stunning ring in 18k gold with emerald, peridot, gem silica, sapphires and amethyst. And (right) David Precious Gems have a similar design to the pearl and peridot earrings above with these gorgeous peridot and carved turquoise drops.

Peridot is commonly used in multi-colour jewellery, and I have to say, I’m not really a fan. Although I suppose, if you twisted my arm, I might consider Bulgari’s Colour Treasures “Ispirazioni Italiane” necklace in pink gold with amethyst, acquamarine, mandarin garnet, peridot, pink tourmaline and pavé diamonds (below). No idea what this costs – it’s not on the website – a case, I think, of if you have to ask….

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Bulgari’s Colour Treasures “Ispirazioni Italiane” necklace in pink gold with amethyst, acquamarine, mandarin garnet, peridot, pink tourmaline and pavé diamonds

To shop my collection of peridot rose cuts and cabochons, click here; to shop gemstones, click here. To shop tourmaline cabochons, click here; to shop tourmaline gemstones, click here.