Aquamarine, Tourmaline, Emerald

My June newsletter is out and I have a whole bunch of beautiful new stones. The ever-popular Santa Maria aquamarine I now have in an array of sizes and half sizes from 3mm to 8mm, rose cut green tourmaline and emerald, plus there’s free standard shipping for the whole month of June. My newsletter is always the first place to find new stock announcements, offers and sales and sometimes these are newsletter exclusives. You can read this months by clicking here and you can sign up at my website.

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Not a Love Letter to Emerald

When I first started out in jewellery, I used to make lamp-worked beads and I sold my jewellery in various shops and galleries. One of the shops always said to me, ‘no green please. People don’t buy green jewellery.’ Well, times have changed and green is definitely having a renaissance. Of course, if you talk about green stones, the first one that comes to mind has to be emerald. I have to say that I am not a massive fan of the big E; why not? Well, it’s a combination of its price and properties. Emerald is generally a very included kind of stone. Most emeralds have inclusions; gas bubbles, liquid inclusions, minerals and fractures. And oh my goodness; the fractures. It’s not known whether emerald is a generally fractured stone, or whether it’s the extreme processes required to get it out of the ground. Either way, what this means is that emerald tends to be fracture filled. Something like 96% of all emerald on the market is fracture-filled. This means that clean emerald is very rare and very expensive, and that cheaper emerald is generally highly included, almost certainly fracture filled and the lustre just isn’t great. Emerald is also a rather brittle stone, and of course, as we all know, fractures will tend to make a stone more brittle; if you have a fracture filled stone, then it will appear much less fractured than it actually is, and therefore – dangerously – appear more stable than it actually is. It’s not a great choice for a ring stone. In recent years, emerald finds in Afghanistan have turned up high quality, intense green and relatively clean stones, but obviously there are issues involved with mining in that part of the world.

From GIA article Emerald Adventures in Afghanistan

If you had to give me a choice, my top pick for a green stone would be tsavorite garnet. It comes in a stunning intense green, it has fantastic dispersion (it’s very sparkly!) it’s durable, free from inclusions and is not generally treated. It isn’t cheap, but small stones are reasonably priced and they have a beauty and brilliance that you just don’t get with emerald. Below is Anderson Beattie’s Opal & Tsavorite Garnet Ring; the opal really brings out the chrome green shade of the tsavorite.

Chrome diopside is another intense green option. It really isn’t well known and that’s a shame as colour-wise it packs a punch. It retains its intensity of colour even in small sizes – conversely this means that the colour can get very closed in large sizes, and really you don’t tend to see this stone above around 8mm.

Tourmaline: ah my favourite stone of all time. Green tourmaline runs the spectrum from aqua blue through to yellow ‘beer bottle’ green, with all shades of green-blue, blue-green, intense chrome green and light green along the way. Additionally, because tourmaline is so pleochroic, you will often get several shades of green in the same stone – the ring below from Disa Allsop is a really clear example of this where you can see the bright green and gold green colours dancing across the stone. I also love the way that Lola Brooks uses this spectrum of greens in her jewellery. Mimi Favre’s triple claw setting ring also demonstrates the colour range of tourmaline and Monika Krol’s asymmetrical green tourmaline pendant highlights the beauty of this stone set in gold.

Peridot runs apple green through to yellow-green. It’s reasonably priced and so it’s possible to have it in much larger sizes. For me its at its best en cabochon in a nice strong setting. It’s not hard to find clean stones but larger stones can be prone to black inclusions. However, if you can find them, peridot can have very characteristic ‘lily pad’ inclusions, which I think are rather beautiful. Below is Barbara Tipple’s Lioness Peridot Torque, whose powerful linesperfectly showcases the beauty of this stone.

And this ring from Tayma Fine Jewellery – a large, highly included peridot which looks knockout in this strong and simple setting.

I have a variety of green stones for sale in my shop; to browse, click here

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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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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.

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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!

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Red, Blue, Green

Joopy Gems blue sapphire 3mm rose cutOtherwise known as the Big 3. The stuff of magic. Ruby, sapphire and emerald. This tends to be material that I have for a while then scrabble around trying to replace because it’s hard to find in nice quality at the right price. But it’s always really popular – and I am really excited to have just listed these – 3mm rose cut ruby, emerald and sapphire. The ruby is a deep pinkish-red and is $24 per stone; and good news, it’s from Mozambique, so can be sold to US customers (unlike Burmese material). The sapphire a deep, cornflower blue, and $13 per stone. Both of these have some inclusions, which I viewed under my microscope; fingerprints tiny included crystalJoopy Gems ruby 3mm rose cuts and some evidence of heat treatment, as is very common with corundum, both ruby and sapphire. The sapphire also has some angular colour zoning, not very obvious. Now I know that clarity is the holy grail for many people but for me, I am always glad to see a bit of the included crystals and fingerprints, as well as the angular colour zoning, because it helps me to see that what we have here is natural, as opposed to synthetic material. Most exciting of all, because I’ve never carried it before, is the rose cut emerald. It’s a nice shade of quite light blueish-green, quite strongly bluish. As you tend to expect with emerald, it’s quite Joopy Gems emerald 3mm rose cutincluded with parallel needles, crystals and liquid inclusions. I’m also seeing some evidence of fracture filling and indeed, I would be very surprised if it were not as some 95% of emerald is fracture filled, either with oil or resin. However, the stones are small and the clarity appears pretty good to the naked eye, with nice lustre. The emerald is $8.75 per stone.Now, I don’t have many of any of these except the emerald, but I will be getting more. To shop the 3mm rose cuts, for sapphire, click here, for ruby, click here and for emerald, click here.

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Chrome diopside; car wax or gemstone?

Joopy Gems Chrome diopside, 4mm rose cut roundJoopy Gems Chrome Diopside 3mm rose cut round

One of my gemstone books informs me that efforts are being made to come up with a more enticing name for this vibrant and dramatic green stone, but that was written a few years ago and it is still known, somewhat off-puttingingly as chrome diopside. But never mind the fact that it sounds like a brand of car wax! This is a fantastic stone; highly saturated, highly refractive, so that stones appear brilliant, and with a vitreous lustre. The saturation of the stone can mean that larger sizes appear dark and closed, but the good side of this is that it is one of the few stones that retains great saturation in small sizes. At the moment, it is also not enhanced or treated in any way, so it’s a great option for those of you who like their stones natural. I have some new in stock; rose cut 3mm and 4mm chrome diopside, in addition to the 3mm and 4mm cabochons that I generally stock. The 3mm rose cuts are $5.75 per stone and the 4mm rose cuts are $15.50. This pricing reflects the fact that chrome diopside is far more common in small crystal sizes so therefore as you go up in size, the price increases exponentially. The material I have is clean, with great saturation.

You can shop the whole of my chrome diopside range here

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Elemental emerald and sapphire

August is always a good time for re-stocking and general housekeeping and I will be adding significant amounts of new items as well as replenishing old favourites over the next few weeks. To start with, I have some nice sapphire cabochons in 5mm and new emerald 3mm cabs. Sapphire is a nice, open blue and fairly clean with some colour zoning, most likely heated. The emerald is a light blueish- green and included. It is also fracture filled. I also have some truly beautiful tanzanite 3mm cabochons. Pale blue, but beautifully clean. The sapphire cabochons are $29 each; the emerald $6.50 and the tanzanite $5.75 per stone.

Joopy Gems sapphire cab 5mm roundJoopy Gems Emerald cabochon 3mm roundJoopy Gems Tanzanite cabochon 3mm round

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Spring Colours: Emerald

This is Pantone’s colour of 2013; a pleasing shade of blue-green, soft but with enough vibrancy to pack a punch. I remember when green was considered an awkward colour, difficult to wear. Times have changed and even if green still makes you nervous, jewellery is a good way of adding an accent of colour; dipping your toes in without getting completely soaked! The colour has also seen a rise in popularity in jewellery in recent years with the growing awareness of stones like chrysophase, which can make an excellent opaque emerald substitute. Emerald itself can be difficult; whilst it is indisputably beautiful, it’s expensive and I’ve seen the price of even lower grade opaque material soar over the past few years. Cheaper transparent material may be brittle and included, and rather lacking in lustre and so a more cost effective option might be the green and green-blue tourmalines. For vibrant green, chrome diopside is a good option.

3mm EME cab round 1SLTW103 34mm cabochon round11Tourmaline blue green cabochons 4mm round

In this colour range I have a selection of emerald cabochons, tourmaline and chrome diopside, plus a number of watermelon tourmaline slices in hard-to-find shades of blues and greens, available at www.joopygems.com Whilst emerald is often paired with diamond, greens also partner well with warm golds such as citrine and purples; all shades of amethyst from pale lavender to deep grape.

I’ve got a Pinterest board with a huge selection of jewellery in this colour range. To pick out just a few (which is hard!), to the right is a ring from Wexford Jewelers; the Emerald and Diamond Wedding set, in 14k yellow gold. To the left and below is the ‘Skyscraper IV, Destroyed. A tourmaline rough ring’. This is a fantastic natural bi-colour tourmaline crystal set in silver and 14k gold with diamond accents. I love this; you can see the natural crystal formation on this along with the growth marks. Wexford Jewelers are based in Michigan in the USA; a team of three sisters who, in their own words, ‘create a bouquet of exquisite pieces using recycled silver & gold, exquisite rough and polished gemstones, re-purposed diamonds, and rare minerals’. Unlike most other small-scale jewellers, they use the method of lost wax casting extensively in their work, carving their designs from wax first before having them cast in metal, lending a fluid and dynamic quality to their work. You can visit their shop here.

Charmian Harris is a British based designer, who cites early Greek and Roman jewellery as well as Egyptian jewellery as among her influences. She cuts and shapes her own stones and handpicks each one from collectors, dealers and sometimes direct from mine owners. I would imagine that this is extremely liberating for a designer, not to be bound by existing shapes and cuts. Certainly, Charmian’s work displays a striking fluidity and individuality; solid rock appears to flow in fantastically imagined forms. To the right is her Sea Creature pendant made of 18 carat gold, chrysophase, white sapphire and diamond. I love the shape and the sinuous lines of this piece; wonderfully tactile. To the right is her 18 carat gold ring with chrysophase; a form that appears organic and living with its curving lines and textured metal. You can find Charmian’s website and shop here.

Here’s something a little bit different: to the left is Adzia’s Fingerprint Wedding band. A unisex band with a fingerprint and a gemstone, Chicago-based Adzia makes these to order, so that you can wear your beloved’s fingerprint wherever you go! To the left is an example in 14 carat white gold set with a natural emerald, but you can choose your metal, your gemstone and your finish. A very unique way of sealing your relationship, and not only do I like the idea, I also love the look of this – I adore textured metal! Adzia has a whole range of fingerprint rings, with and without gemstones; prints on the inside, prints on the outside, you name it! You can find this ring, and more examples of Adzia’s work here

For a spot of sheer glamour, why not have a look at Hong Kong based designer-maker Steve Cheen’s work? Steve’s work is complex and highly detailed, despite handmaking each piece. To the right is his Jaguar Engagement Ring, made from 14K white gold with emeralds and diamonds. To me this is reminiscent of the 1930s with its curving lines, pave setting and intricately imagined jaguar head, the kind of elegant piece that might have adorned the finger of Wallis Simpson. To the left is his 3.2 carat green tourmaline ring set in 14 carat gold with diamonds. Again, the channel set diamonds lend traditional glamour, and the green tourmaline is spectacular. Steve will design to your specifications, and treats each piece as an individual artwork. For other examples of his work, you can find his shop here.

You can find more examples on my Pinterest board , below a selection, from left to right: necklace made of paper discs from German-based Dorisse at Paper Statement, Dior Fine Jewellery’s fantastical le Bal des Roses bal d’autrefois ring in white gold with diamonds, emeralds, chrysoprase, green tourmalines, tsavorite garnets and paraiba tourmalines, British based Louise O’Neill’s 18 carat gold necklace with green and pink tourmalines, and Jewelry by Johan’s Meteorite ring inlaid with platinum and set with a trillion cut emerald.