In Praise of Inclusions: Needles

Joopy Gems Golden Rutilated Quartz Cabochon Freesize, 55.81 carats, 29.5x23.2x11.3mm
Golden Rutilated Quartz Cabochon Freesize, 55.81 carats, 29.5×23.2×11.3mm, $184

I’ve decided to do a series of posts on inclusions, as it is simply one of the most frequent topics that comes up with customers. Everyone knows the value of a nice, clean gemstone: no-one wants a diamond with a dirty great fracture, or a ruby with a big black crystal under the table. However, the search for a perfectly clean stone is a bit of a fool’s errand. The GIA no longer uses the term ‘internally flawless’ to describe diamonds as there is simply no such thing; with increasingly powerful microscopes, if you magnify anything enough times, you will find something. But above all, I think we need to reconsider attitudes to inclusions. The GIA doesn’t call them inclusions; preferring the term ‘clarity characteristics’, and if you believe that the very words we use are instrumental in influencing how people feel about a thing then we can see that this is a much less judgemental term to use. They describe clarity characteristics in a stone as ‘the eyewitnesses to its birth’. They can provide valuable information as to how and where it grew, indicate events in its history and sometimes on a broader scale, in the the events and internal turmoil of earth’s history. They can help detect whether a stone is natural or synthetic and provide evidence as to whether the stone has been treated or not. They almost always tell a story. And if you’ve ever held a pile of synthetic rubies in your hand you might find yourself thinking, as I have, that stones without inclusions can have all the appeal of a piece of coloured glass.

Inclusions are not always bad, either, and that’s my subject today. Sometimes they have a beneficial effect on a stone’s beauty, and that is certainly the case with needles! Needles are defined as long, thin, solid crystals or hollow tubes; if it’s hollow it might be filled with fluid or gas. A group of fine needles is called ‘silk’. Silk is what gives high quality sapphires their soft, velvety appearance, and can give rise to cat’s eyes and stars, if it is oriented along the stone’s crystal planes. Needles to me are at their best when they are present as visible needles in stones such as quartz and prehnite. These stones are desirable precisely because of their inclusions. In quartz, rutile needles can appear gold, copper, red and black. They can occur sparsely or in clumps; they can be thick and coarse, or they can be fine, the so-called angel-hair variety. You can also get rutilated prehnite; a soft, green bodycolour intersected with striking black needles. When we talk about inclusions it’s easy to see this as always having a negative connotation but it simply isn’t so. Rutilated stones really need only a simple, beautiful setting to show them off to their best, however, I love the setting below, where the design on the body of the ring echoes the spokes of the rutile in the quartz.

Peter Schmid: Rutilated Quartz Ring
Peter Schmid: Rutilated Quartz Ring, $4950
Fernando Jorge Rounded Rutilated Quartz Ring
Fernando Jorge Rounded Rutilated Quartz Ring, $7830
William White Big Rutilated Quartz Cabochon Ring in 18K Yellow Gold
William White Big Rutilated Quartz Cabochon Ring in 18K Yellow Gold, $1100
Sasa Jewelry Rutilated Quartz Ring
Sasa Jewelry Rutilated Quartz Ring, $950

To shop our collection of rutilated stones, please click here. Next time I’ll be talking about the dreaded fractures!

joopygems.com

Almandine Garnet 6x4mm Rose Cut Round Cabochon

Not Your Grandmother’s Jewellery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What could I be talking about except garnet! You know what I mean; dull, rusty red stones set in gold-plated filligree. Nope. It’s just not fair. Garnet is one of the most exciting and varied of gemstones. It’s got a very wide colour-palette and price-wise it varies from the highly reasonable almandine to tsavorite at the top-end. It is also the birthstone for January.

Garnet has particular gemmological properties that make it reasonably straightforward to cut – it is what is known as singly refractive so what this means in real terms is that it is not at all pleochroic and therefore cutters don’t have to worry about what angle they are cutting it to make sure they are getting top colour. Many varieties also have a relatively high refractive index. What does this mean? Well, it is a measure of what happens when light hits a stone – a high index means that much of the light is reflected back to your eye; a low index means that much of the light passes right through. In real terms, stones with higher refractive indices are more sparkly. With the darker stones it’s not so obvious, but the sparkle on some tsavorites is simply amazing. See below and bottom for some examples of seriously stylish garnet jewellery.

Left to right: Ananda Khalsa Garnet Stud Earrings with Two 22k Dots, $440, David J Thomas Tsavorite Garnet and 18k Gold Ring, Coffin & Trout Spessartite Garnet, Rubellite & 18K Gold Pendant

Colour and Varieties

Red is the best-known colour of garnet, and the type that most people think of when they think of garnets is almandine. This commonly comes up very dark, what we call ‘closed’, and especially in larger sizes; however, it can be the most beautiful shade of deep blood-red. I have some almandine pears which just make me think of Sleeping Beauty every time I see them!  In fact, the name ‘garnet’ comes from the Latin word ‘granatum’ which means ‘dark red’. Pyrope garnet is also red; you see it more rarely and it often has a slightly pinker note to it – it lacks the rustiness you can sometimes get with almandine. For a more pronounced pink colour there is rhodolite which ranges from pinkish red to a deep raspberry pink. For orange, there is hessonite, with its gorgeous swirling inclusions, and more expensively, spessartite. Malay garnet runs from yellow-orange to a lovely pinkish orange. Then you get the greens; hydrogrossular garnet with its black inclusions, yellowish-green demantoid with its horsetail inclusions, and vivid green, sparkling, firey grossular garnet, more commonly known as tsavorite. This is one of my favourite stones and I would take it over emerald any day. Garnet is also a really good choice for anyone who is not keen on gem treatments as it is not routinely treated with heat or anything else.

Clockwise from top left: Jane Taylor Malay Garnet and 14k Gold Ring, Vintage Tsavorite Garnet & Diamond Invisible Set Cocktail Ring 14k Gold, Quadram Hexagon Almandine Garnet RingPamela Huizenga Hydrogrossular Garnet & Diamond Earrings, William White Hessonite Garnet and Sterling Silver Ring, Henn of London Spessartite Garnet and 18k Gold Necklace

I’ll be doing posts on individual types of garnet so keep your eye out for those. I have a large variety of garnet stones; click here to browse the collection.

joopygems.com

Chryscolla, Tourmaline, Druzy, Lapis Lazuli and more…!

June 2018 newsletter header 4(1)

My June newsletter is out, and it’s crammed full of new gemstones, including this fantastic chrysocolla – doesn’t it look like the earth from space?! I’ve also got druzy slices, black lily beads (fab!) and mixed lots of rose cut tourmaline (buying in lots gives you a 35% or so discount off the price for single stones), lapis lazuli and sodalite beads. Plus as promised I’ve got price drops on some established lines and I’ll be doing my best to keep prices down this year. Check out my newsletter here: http://bit.ly/2sFgcf5  . Newsletter readers are always the first to learn about new stock and discounts, and some are exclusively for newsletter readers. Why not sign up at https://joopygems.com/ to make sure you never miss out?

joopygems.com

Show yourself some love!

Valentine's day FB post-1

It certainly is, with 20% off your entire order from now until Friday 16th February (midnight EST). I’ve got new rose cut freeforms, new beads and so it’s the perfect time to stock up! Oh, and if you fancy that fabulous heart-shaped pink tourmaline in the picture, you can find it here! All over at joopygems.com, discount code for your 20% as in the pic, LOVEGEMS

joopygems.com

New Year Gems

Twitter Post New Year sale card

We have our January sale on and it’s the early bird catches the worm with up to 25% off your entire order! Remember also that we will be closing our USA office on 12th January, so anyone wanting their order to ship from the USA needs to place their order by 5.30 on that day.

joopygems.com

joopygemsusa.com

Indulge yourself this Easter with our 20% offer

Joopy Gems Easter 2017 20% discount offer

For Easter we are offering a fantastic 20% discount for the next 4 days! Those of you who know us well, know that we don’t do these kind of offers very often, and look, it’s so much better for you than all that chocolate. Although, actually, those eggs in the picture, they are entirely my favourite kind – Cadbury’s mini-eggs, with a hard, sugar shell and a milk chocolate centre. I’m normally a bitter dark chocolate girl, but I can’t resist those mini-eggs! Anyway, I digress! Use code EA1D1 to claim your discount! This offer is valid on all stock items, in our international shop, our US shop and our Etsy shop so why not indulge yourself?!

joopygems.com

Double-diamond points

Joopy Gems points post

For those of you in the know; it’s double diamond points all this month in my online shop. For those of you who are not, how about opening an account? All you have to do is set up a store account (or log in with your existing one) and points will be automatically awarded as you shop. 500 points earns you a $5 discount; 1000 points a $10 one and so on. This month, there’s a 400 point welcome bonus for setting up an account, 2 points for every $1 spent, and if you refer a friend, they will receive a 10% discount and you will get a massive 1000 points when they place their first order! There are points also for liking and sharing my Facebook page, following and sharing my Twitter page and following me on Instagram (I’m called simply and obviously joopygems). So what are you waiting for?! Dive in to my cornucopia of gems!

Joopy Gems points post

joopygems.com

What should you spend on an engagement ring?

Joopy Gems tourmaline mixed cut 2.315 carats
Apricot Pink Tourmaline Oval Mixed Cut 2.315 carats, 9.8×8.4×4.3mm, $125

JCK news report that something like 36% of Americans want to spend less than $1000 on their engagement rings, and that furthermore, older adults are likely to believe this more than those who are younger. Of course there is (as I know from my other life as a

GFTOURSE1 2
Pink Tourmaline Heart, 5.290 carats, $460

psychologist) that there is often a gap between what people say they believe and what people actually do: the average cost of an engagement ring in the US is between $3000 and $5000. But it made me think – is that necessary? When I got engaged, in the car on the way over to buy the ring, I remember saying to my husband-to-be, ‘Oh, let’s not spend too much, I don’t need anything fancy, it’s not what it’s about anyway’…

GFTOURSE39 2
Green Tourmaline Square, 5.415 carats, $565

And then they brought out the trays of bling, and I was ‘Uh…oh… I want that one’!!! And it was more than $1000. More than £1000 come to that. That was before I was in this line of work, and now I’d do it differently. Now I’d work from the stone out – that is, pick a stone that I loved and then have the ring designed around that.

GFTOURSE5 6
Yellow Tourmaline Oval, 5.165 carats, $450

I’ve got a sapphire in my ring and I love it, but I think if I were to have my time again, I’d maybe choose something different. Forget about diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire, with the prices sky-high, and having to keep it small. How about the gorgeous apricot pink oval at the top of the page, with gorgeous pleochroic lighter and darker shades? Or what could be more perfect than a big, plump, pink heart to seal the deal? This one (above left) is is around 12x11mm –

Joopy Gems pink tourmaline pear, 1.46 carats
Pink Tourmaline Pear, 1.460 carats, $85

imagine that sitting proudly on your finger! Or for something more classic, the green square mixed cut (above right) would be beautiful surrounded by some baguette-cut diamonds.  What I love most about tourmaline is its extraordinary colour range, and more unusual is the gorgeous sunshine-yellow oval, left. Again, it’s a good size at around 11mm long. Also lovely is the luminous pink pear, right, also a great size at around 10mm, and an even more fantastic price.

But what about a ring for $1000 and under? Impossible?! Not at all; there is plenty on offer; so many I had trouble picking just a few. Here are some of my favourites; clockwise from top left: rhodolite garnet is a beautiful and under-rated stone, in my opinion. This garnet, palladium and rose gold ring by Nodeform Weddings is beautiful in its simplicity and the rhodolite and rose gold compliment each other perfectly and comes in well under budget at $785. Those who know me know that there is a special place in my heart for textured metal; Stone Fever Jewelry’s Moonscape ring features a green tourmaline on a hand-punched, cratered 14 carat rose gold band and sneaks under the bar at $999. They will can also make matching wedding bands.and this style can also be made in yellow gold. Doron Merav’s Leaves engagement ring of white gold set with diamonds showcases an unashamedly feminine yet contemporary aesthetic, and at only $370 represents fantastic value for money. I don’t think I’ve seen anything so pretty that I’ve like so much in a long time. Last but not least is Nangijala Jewelry’s rough teal, sapphire and rose gold ring; sleek, contemporary and original. This is priced at a very reasonable $825.

 

As for me – the ring we ended up buying, the one I absolutely had to have? I remember saying to the rather austere assistant (with the brutal dark red lipstick) ‘My only concern is that it’s quite like Princess Di’s.’ Without missing a beat she replied, ‘Princess Di’s was much bigger.’ Well, I could have walked out there and then. But then, I absolutely had to have that ring.

All tourmaline stones featured above are from my ‘Limited Edition’ range. For limited edition tourmaline mixed cuts, click here; for cabochons, click here.

joopygems.com