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!

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Super 7 is Super Beautiful

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A few years ago I started seeing Super 7 at gemstone fairs. I hadn’t seen it before and I first saw it on the stand of a really fantastic Brazilian gemstone supplier who always has the most sublime quality tourmaline and rutile. Gorgeous clear crystal with bronze coloured needles shot through with smears of bright purple. I had to ask what it was. Super 7, they said. Another gemstone that sounds like car wax (like chrome diopside in my view!). But there’s a really good reason for the name: Super 7 is made up of 7 different minerals. It’s a quartz base with goethite, cacoxenite, rutile, lepidocrocite, amethyst, clear quartz and smoky quartz included. Now this can make for a rather murky stone, however, the whole point of it, the ‘super’ part, the reason it is also called ‘sacred 7’, and referred to as ‘the healing stone’ is that this combination of 7 minerals are supposed to have powerful healing properties. For jewellery, it’s better that the inclusions are a bit more sparing and in fact, it can still be called Super 7 even if it does not include all 7 of the minerals. An awful lot of people have not heard of it, and I do think with such an unprepossessing name it may well stay that way. Names matter, and Super 7 just doesn’t resonate with most people. However, do take a look at it. At its best it’s really special. Below are a couple of really nice examples, both sterling silver and Super 7: left is by Doorways to Power and right by Divinity Jeweler

To view our collection of Super 7 cabochons, click here

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Angels’ hair or a wheatsheaf?

Talk about cryptic. But those of you in the know will realise I am talking about golden rutilated quartz. And those of you who know me will also know that I absolutely love this stuff. I’ve had it in freeform (polki) rose cuts for a while, but I’m just now offering it in cabochons, 8mm and 10mm round in the first instance. We’ll see how popular it is, and then I might offer it in other sizes or shapes. So rutilated quartz is also known as sagenitic quartz, or sagenite, (although I confess I’ve never come across it being called that, and I’ve been around the ‘gemstone block’ for quite a few years now, so it must be quite rare). What you have is clear to semi-transparent quartz included with rutile which has crystallised into needles. These appear in an amazing variety of forms; really fine, hence the name ‘angel hair’ to really thick, like lengths of straw. They may be sparse or dense; oriented into patterns – hence ‘wheatsheaf’ or randomly criss-crossed, but all are fascinating. The golden colour catches the light and gleams warm and gold. It looks great with silver or gold, and is the perfect stuff for creating something unique, as every piece is unique. I love the elegant simplicity of the pieces below, from left: Moon and Forge Studio’s rutilated quartz ring set in 14k yellow gold and sterling silver, at $315; Nijiko Designs’ rutilated quartz, 18k gold and sterling silver earrings at $175 and Chiara Batelier’s rutilated quartz pendant set in 18k gold

To shop 8mm rutilated quartz cabochons at $6 per stone, click here; to shop the 10mm cabochons at $8.25, click here

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Venus hair

Joopy Gems gold rutile quartz rose cutJoopy Gems golden rutile quartz rose cut freeformJoopy Gems golden rutilated quartz freeformJoopy Gems gold rutilated quartz rose cutJoopy Gems golden rutilated quartz rose cut freeformJoopy Gems golden rutile quartz rose cut

I love these. Golden rutilated quartz rose cut cabochons. I mean, I really, really love them. I love looking at them, I loved photographing them (and I don’t always love that part) and I love imagining what you’re going to do with them. A customer asked a while back for rutilated quartz or white topaz freeforms, and I thought about photographing 100+ white topaz stones and I confess my heart rather sank into my boots. Not that I don’t like white topaz, far from it, I just couldn’t get all that excited about photographing it. But the gold rutilated quartz; well that’s another matter. It’s all different and it’s all fascinating. I’ve got stones that have thick gold needles that look like straw, stones with fine strands, like angel-hair, some aligned, some in thick masses, some beautifully and artfully arranged into intersecting patterns. It’s fabulous stuff; known also as Cupid’s darts, Venus Hair stone and Fleches d’Amour. Can be hard to get it to look nice, as the quartz host and the gold rutile crystal inclusion have different hardnesses, so you can easily get pits on the surface, but most of these stones have an excellent polish. I think these stones make fabulous one-off contemporary pieces; the kind that get you noticed and get people talking. As with all of my rose cut freeforms, these are rose cut on the domed side and tabled on the reverse so can be set either way up in a bezel, window or prong setting. Why not have a flick through and see if anything grabs you? I have a feeling that these will not hang around for long. Shop now.

http://www.joopygems.com/categories/freeform-rose-cuts-polki-and-cabochons/rutilated-quartz-freeforms-golden.html