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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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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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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Blowing my own trumpet

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Well, it’s a bit of blowing my own trumpet, but it’s in the name of giving you, my brilliant customers, some extra reassurance. Before the summer, I passed my GIA Gem Identification module, the last part of my Coloured Stones qualification. This was a completely practical, hands-on module, which involved the identification of 500 stones. These came in boxes of 20, posted from the GIA. I had to fill out a worksheet, scan and send back to my tutor in the US and pass each worksheet before moving on to the next one. As you might imagine, this took a little while. One year, to be precise, of late nights, early mornings, scrambled brains and inspiration. I learned so much over this time, not just how to separate different stones, but how to tell a synthetic from a natural, and even what kind of synthetic. This has been especially helpful in giving me confidence to offer precious stones; rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Finally I had to sit an exam, with a proctor approved by the GIA; identify 20 stones. You’ve got 6 hours, and by the way, you’ve got to get them all right to pass. Yes, that’s right; this exam has a 100% passing grade. And I did it! I passed! First time! I am still reeling with joy! So I now have my Coloured Stones qualification and I am starting the last few diamonds modules, after which I will be a fully fledged Graduate Gemologist. Loving my studies!

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New in: rhodolite garnet rose cut freeforms

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I love rhodolite garnet, and its beautiful colour range from pinkish red through to purplish raspberry. Even the redder shades lack the rustiness you sometimes find with almandine, and whilst the prices are reasonable, at its best, the colours can rival red tourmaline. Rhodolite, for those interested, is a mixture of pyrope and almandine garnet and it’s the most valuable of all the red garnets. Despite this, it’s not hard to find clean quality stones at a good price. Here, for the first time, I am offering rhodolite garnet as rose cut freeforms, and I’ve got a good representation of the whole colour range. These stones are rose cut on the top and have a shallow, faceted table on the bottom. To shop, click here. This cut is fantastic for one-off creations, such as the ring below by Symmetry Jewelry; a trio of garnets, this contains rhodolite, spessartite and mandarin garnet set in 18k gold bezels on a sterling silver split shank.

Symmetry rhodolite garnet, spessartite garnet and mandarin garnet 18k gold and sterling silver ring
Symmetry Jewelry garnet, gold and silver ring, $1350

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Somewhere over the (extremely tiny) rainbow

Well, it’s a bit of a gamble, this. I’ve had a few requests lately for very tiny stones; 2mm to be precise, for things like baby jewellery and other tiny things. I hummed and haa-ed a bit: will anyone really buy these? – and then I thought, ‘blow it, only one way to find out’. So here we are. I already have 2mm rose cut white diamond in stock, and now I am introducing 2mm rose cut rainbow moonstone. These are really very wee indeed but even so, they have the same beautifully precise cut with the intricate kite-shaped facets. Whew! Plus lovely, clean AAA material with the classic great flash that I always endeavour to deliver. What are you going to do with these? Please buy some and send me pictures!! These are the first of a line of stones in this size, cabochons and rose cuts. I’m going to have amethyst, turquoise, peridot, aquamarine, opal and more!

To shop 2mm rose cut rainbow moonstone, click here. These are $2.85 per stone, and I know what you’re going to say: whew, that’s a bit steep. A great deal of the cost is in the cutting; very small stones are precision work and finding someone who will agree to cut them, and cut them well is no easy matter.

I normally feature someone’s work on these posts, so you can see the stones I’m talking about ‘in action’ as it were. But I couldn’t find anything for these, so…watch this space!

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