Ruby and all colors of Sapphire are simply different colors of the same mineral: Corundum. Hooray for Corundum—without you we would be missing a lot in the gem world.
Ruby is red corundum colored by chromium, and Pink Sapphire is pink corundum colored by a little less chromium than Ruby. The difference is this: Ruby has a little less than 1% chromium and Pink Sapphire generally has about 1/2 of that.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. What happens in the gems that don’t know enough to fit squarely in one camp or another? Well, some Pink Sapphires get close to red and some Rubies have apparently had a brush with Clorox and come up a little pale to be considered “red.”
Some of the best fun we’ve had was in the late 90’s when we would buy some of the more pale Burmese Rubies that were cut a little chunky on the bottom in what they call a “mixed cut.” The mixed cut would have a heavy rounded bottom in an effort to conserve color. We would buy these, cut the bottom to a “brilliant” bottom pretty much like a diamond is cut, lose a bunch of color and have the prettiest, darkest hot pink sapphires we’ve ever seen.
Sometimes things that are between the lines of common definition are the best!
Back in 1987 when we were all getting excited about the Nova Era alexandrite find in Brazil, there was a new find of tourmaline in Paraíba, Brazil.
Paraíba is in what Brazilians call the Nordeste (Northeast). Looking at a map of South America Paraíba is a small Brazilian state that sticks out about as far East as any part of the continent. The Nordeste is a generally dry area (they grow cotton in the Nordeste [does this remind anyone of Arizona and cotton]). Apparently the Nordeste is in the rain shadow of South America. If you also look at the shape of South America and Africa you can see that Paraíba fits nicely into the area of Africa now known as Nigeria.
Pearl is a great birthstone for June but Alexandrite is the excitement. With the advent of Chinese fresh water pearls, pearls have become almost too available. On the other hand, true, natural Alexandrite is, and will seemingly always be—rare and hard to find.
Currently the most available and yet quite nice material is from India, from the state of Andhra Pradesh. The color change can be quite nice and yet quite affordable by comparison with material from Russia or Brazil.
Be sure any Alexandrite you buy, of significant size or price, has been certified by a properly accredited appraiser or gemologist. For more information on Alexandrite, click here to read our previous blog post.
With emerald being the birthstone for May, it is always fun to get back into thinking of emerald green and the renewal of spring.
The appreciation of emerald goes back centuries. Holy scriptures of East Indian by the Vedas wrote in Sanskrit of emeralds and their promotion of good luck and good health.
While emeralds are appreciated the world around, certain cultures prize them more than others. As spring unfolds here in the Pacific Northwest it is easy to appreciate the color green and the gem world’s best known representative of green: the emerald.
I wanted to write a blog post about a dear lady I was lucky enough to come to know: Evelyn Lauder, the visionary Founder and Chairman of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (established in 1993).
John and I have been proud to donate some of our gemstones in jewelry over the years to help raise money for Breast Cancer Research. That is how I met Evelyn Lauder—daughter-in-law of the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder—in my hometown of New York City. We quickly discovered we had many things in common, including a love of photography, and both of us had written several books—Evelyn’s “An Eye for Beauty” was my favorite.
If you’ve been searching for a place to find facts about gems and jewelry, look no further than the expertise of John and Laura Ramsey. Their many years of experience in the gem and jewelry business enable them to provide honest, reliable, easy-to-understand and interesting facts about gemstones and jewelry.
Their sole mission? Education. If you visit their main Ramseygems.com website, you’ll notice it is not a sales website—because their goal is not to conduct transactions. Their passion is to educate as many individuals and gem collectors as possible about identifying quality gems and jewelry.
Having a December birthdate I’ve always been interested in the birthstone for my month. My first experience with a birthstone came from my dad’s trip to Texas back in the way back day. He stopped in Arizona along the way and bought me a turquoise ring. Wow! That was cool. I don’t remember the year but it was a number of decades ago. I am guessing I was all of 6 years old or so. It was a cool ring in the Southwest Native American style. I began to learn about birthstones.
The tradition I was taught as a young person was that December had two birthstones: zircon and turquoise. Well that tradition has had some issues.