A Bluer Shade of Pale

Aquamarine is a really great choice of stone; it’s pretty gemmy without being insanely expensive, it cuts well and takes a really high polish. In its transparent form, it’s more pricey but I just love the milky variety; in lovely shades of pale blue to sea-green, it is misty, hazy and dreamy. It’s common to find this material full of fractures and veils, but when it comes clean with a lovely translucency it is a beautiful, glowing stone. It is named after seawater itself: aqua = water and marina = of the sea and it is in fact a form of beryl, the same mineral as emerald. Unlike emerald, it grows in large and frequently clean crystals so it’s relatively easy to find it in large sizes and in fact can be exceptionally clean. Top colour is a moderately strong blue to greenish-blue. It’s a great jewellery stone and versatile as it’s also exceptionally hard – so a good option for a ring stone. The gemstone for March, aquamarine is offer protection in battle and make the wearer unconquerable; what more could you want! Clockwise from left below: CJ Bijoux aquamarine and 18k gold ring, AF Thomas aquamarine, blue topaz and 18k white gold ring, Gemory Design aquamarine and sterling silver ring and Gems Berry aquamarine and sterling silver ring

We sell a variety of really gorgeous, translucent aquamarine in cabochons and rose cuts as well as rose cut freeforms. To check them out, click here

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Joopy Gems Tourmaline blue-green cabochon, 15.1mm, 14.070 carats, $485

Blue and green reigns supreme

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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.

Joopy Gems Tourmaline blue-green cabochon, 15.1mm, 14.070 carats, $485
Tourmaline blue-green cabochon, 15.1mm round, 14.070 carats, $485

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.

Large Green Tourmaline Ruby Gold Dragon's Eye Ring $6,885
Large Green Tourmaline, Ruby & Gold Dragon’s Eye Ring, $6,885

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That thing you do…

Joopy Gems white topaz rose cut round cabochon
White topaz 8mm rose cut round cabochons, $10 per stone

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.

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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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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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Good things come in packs of 5

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These labradorite freeforms are so popular that I find myself spending literally hours photographing and listing them. So I thought I would just try and see if I could save myself a little work and you a little money by listing them in sets. 5 randomly selected stones in each set, with a discount applied so that each stone works out as less than if you had bought them separately. These are sold ‘as is’ with no swapping in and out!!! You’ll find the total carat weight and the size range marked on each set, but not individual information. It’s a great way to buy these stones and I promise these come from main stock with no seconds, or rejects and there are no ‘mouldy strawberries’ in the packs to pad them out, promise! To shop all labradorite sets, click here; to browse the labradorite singles, click here. Prices for the sets start from $15.20

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Extreme labradorite

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I’ve got lots of new labradorite in at the moment; these are oval cabochons. I have 6x4mm, 7x5mm and 8x10mm to go with the 8x6mm and 10x12mm I already have in stock. As with all of my labradorite, I stick to the Madagascan material, which means a light, translucent body-colour with a vibrant flash. I have a variety of colours; blue, aqua, green and gold. This is very nice quality material, but that doesn’t mean it is entirely free of fractures; labradorite (and moonstone for that matter) is a stone composed of many layers and so to find completely clean material is quite difficult. The bigger the stone, the more difficult it becomes. It’s getting a little bit ‘grab it whilst you can’ as I am finding it harder and harder to source this, especially in larger sizes. As I wrote in my previous post, the Inuit claim that labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the aurora borealis, which I think is just the most wonderful, magical piece of lore imaginable! You can find all of my oval labradorite by clicking here. Prices start from $1.30 per stone for a 6x4mm labradorite oval.

Below, the beauty of Madagascan labradorite is complemented beautifully by the cool sheen of sterling silver in Kira Ferrer’s labradorite and sterling silver set of 5 stacking rings.

Kira Ferrer labradorite stacking rings.jpg-1
Kira Ferrer set of 5 labradorite and sterling silver stacking rings, $108

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A billowing blue light

5mm RMST AA RCRD-2
Rainbow moonstone, 5mm rose cut round, AA grade. $11 per stone.

Back in stock I have AA grade 5mm rainbow moonstone. This is one of those products I can’t really get to order; I put in an order that goes ‘well this is how many I’d like, but just give me as many as you can.’ Because it’s becoming increasingly scarce, nice quality rainbow moonstone. This is a bit included, hence the AA but appears generally transparent with a wonderful billowing sheen that flashes from the stones. There’s blue, aqua, green and a few of the more gold tones. This material is from Madagascar and is just the antidote to all that cloudy, fractured sheen-barely-there material, of which there is, of course, no shortage whatsover! These stones are $11 each and you can find there here. To browse my entire range of rainbow moonstone you can click here for AA and AAA grade and click here for AB and A grade.

You can see this material perfectly realised below in Nicki Gluckman from NIXIN’s rainbow moonstone and diamond ring set in 14k gold, $225:

NIXIN rainbow moonstone, diamond and 14k gold ring
NIXIN rainbow moonstone, diamond and 14k gold ring, $225

 

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Floating in a turquoise sea

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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.

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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!

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