Gemstone & Jewelry Blog by Dragon Dreams Jewelry, LLC

May 12, 2013

A variety of quartz

“Beads of quartz have been found in caves in Israel that were occupied between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago.”[1]  Clearly quartz has been valued over time as a stone of worth for adornment.

There are many varieties of stone in the quartz family.  Many are commonly known as quartz: rose quartz, smoky quartz, blue quartz, milky quartz, tourmalinated quartz, rutilated quartz, strawberry quartz, amethyst, and even citrine.  However, there are still others less commonly known to be quartz.

  • Aventurine – usually a milky medium to dark green colored stone but it may be a metallic orange-brown color
  • Dumortierite quartz – a rare violet-blue to denim-blue colored stone
  • Prasiolite – a pale green stone that may be anywhere from transparent to translucent; most prasiolite is created by heating amethyst or citrine
  • Tiger’s eye/hawk’s eye – tiger’s eye has brownish yellow – golden brown/green colors while hawk’s eye has darker blue/black colors; both have the “cat’s eye” effect (chatoyancy) because of the way quartz filled in for the asbestos in the rock fibers as the stone formed

 

[1] The Jeweler’s Directory of Gemstones by Judith Crowe, p.67

Lemon citrine in Sterling Silver

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March 30, 2013

Angel stone?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — dragondreamsjewelry @ 6:05 pm

At a recent show, we were asked about which stone is considered the “angel stone”.   Apparently, there are multiple stones which are considered to be helpful for communicating with, contacting, or working with angels.  Below are some of the stones I found, along with a very brief description of the angelic attribution for each.

  • Amethyst: said to have soothing energy that helps connect with angels.
  • Angelite: the white markings on these blue stones are reminiscent of angel wings; attributes of this stone include bringing awareness to the angelic realms and aiding communication with angels.
  • Blue lace agate: considered to be helpful for communicating with angels.
  • Celestite: supposed to provide access to the angelic realms.
  • Golden danburitie: believed to help one embody angelic wisdom.
  • Petalite: sometimes called the “stone of the angels” because it is believed to encourage one to demonstrate angelic behavior.
  • Seraphinite: characterized by feathery marks which may resemble angel wings; said to be helpful facilitating celestial contact.

Angel aura quartz, which is created by finely powdered platinum, silver, and other minerals are bonded to quartz, is also considered to be an angelic stone because the rainbow colors created by the coating seem like angel wings to some.

I also found another site that has a listing of a larger number of stones considered to be “angel stones”: http://crystal-cure.com/article-angels01.html

With all of the opinions out there, perhaps the best way to find an “angel stone” is to select the one that feels right to you.  ◕ ‿ ◕

March 27, 2013

Hildegard von Bingen on Stones

Filed under: Historical Perspectives — Tags: , — dragondreamsjewelry @ 7:59 pm

The following excerpt is from Hildegard von Bingen’s Physica: The Complete English Translation by Priscilla Throop.  Hildegard von Bingen, who was canonized as a saint in 2012, lived from 1098-1179 CE.  The segment below provides an overview of her beliefs about powers ascribed to gemstones.  I hope you enjoy this historical perspective as much as I did.

Every stone contains fire and moisture.  The devil abhors, detests, and disdains precious stones.  This is because he remembers that their beauty was manifest on him before he fell from the glory God had given him, and because some precious stones are engendered from fire, in which he receives his punishment.  By the will of God, the devil was vanquished by the fire into which he fell, just as he is vanquished by the fire of the Holy Spirit when humans are snatched from his jaws by the first breath of the Holy Spirit.

Precious stones and gems arise in the Orient, in areas where the sun’s heat is very great.  From the hot sun, mountains there have heat as powerful as fire.  The rivers in those areas always boil from the sun’s great heat.  Whence at times an inundation of those rivers bursts forth and ascends those scorching mountains.  The mountains, burning with the sun’s heat, are touched by those rivers.  Froth, similar to that produced by hot iron or a hot stone when water is poured over it, exudes from the places where the water touches the fire.  This froth adheres to that place and, in three or four days, hardens into stone.

Once the inundation has ceases and the waters have returned to the river bed, the pieces of froth dry up.  They dry from the sun’s heat and take their colors and powers in accordance with the time of day and the temperature.  Drying and hardening, they become precious stones and fall onto the sand, just like flaking fish scales.  When they flood again the rivers life up many of the stones, carrying them to other countries where they are later discovered by human beings.  The mountains, where so many and such large stones have sprung up in this way, shine like the light of day.

And so, precious stones are born from fire and water; whence they have fire and moisture in them.  they contain many powers and are effective for many needs.  many things can be done with them—but only good, honest actions, which are beneficial to human beings; not activities of seduction, fornication, adultery, enmity, homicide and the like, which tend toward vice and which are injurious to people.  The nature of these previous stones seeks honest and useful effects and rejects people’s depraved and evil uses, in the same way virtues cast off vices and vices are unable to engage with virtues.

Some stones do not originate from these mountains and are not of the same nature, but arise from other, useless things.  Through them, with God’s permission, it is possible for good and bad things to happen.

God had decorated the first angel as if with precious stones.  Lucifer, upon seeing them shine in the mirror of the Divinity, took knowledge from them and recognized that God wished to do many wondrous things.  his mind was exalted with pride, since the beauty of the stones which covered him shone in God.  he though that he could do deeds both equal to and greater than God’s.  And so his splendor was extinguished.  But, just as God restored Adam to a better part, He sent neither the beauty nor the powers of those precious stones to perdition, but willed that they would be held in honor and blessing on earth and used for medicine.

March 3, 2013

A few tidbits about rhinestones and Swarovski crystals

Filed under: Jewelry Care, Stone Buying Tips — Tags: , , , , , — dragondreamsjewelry @ 9:41 pm

Out shopping for prom dresses with my daughter today, I noticed there was a lot of rhinestone and Swarovski crystal jewelry for sale.  Faceted like gemstones, these faux gems sparkled from necklaces, tiaras, and other settings to tempt passers by.  It made me curious about the composition of these prolific pretties.

Swarovski crystal is a brand name of Swarovski AG, a company based in Austria.  Daniel Swarovski, one of the original founders, patented a machine to precision cut crystal stones in 1892[1].  “The characteristics of Swarovski crystals are unparalleled in both style and substance. Not only are their cuts distinct, but the assorted colors and shapes cover a broad spectrum. The brilliant sparkle of each crystal is actually resulted from a glass composition containing 32 percent lead.”[2]  The faceted glass Swarovski crystals are even sold in fine jewelry stores alongside diamonds, sapphires, and other gemstones.  These glass gems have a Mohs hardness of 6-7, which is harder than typical glass but still somewhat susceptible to chipping and scratches.

Rhinestones, used to simulate diamonds, can be made of paste, glass, or acrylic.  “Rhinestones were so named because they were first made along the Rhine River of a composition known as strass, which was a vitreous or glasslike paste invented by and named after Joseph Strasser, a German jeweler. The- original rhinestones consisted of a. silicate of potassium and lead, combined with borax, alumina and white arsenic.”[3]

Cleaning rhinestone or Swarovski crystals is best done with a soft, dry cloth (like a chamois cloth).  As some of the crystals may have a coating, you will want to rub gently so the coating is not damaged during the cleaning process.

[1]  http://www.crystalfanaticsclub.com/about_swarovski.php

[2] http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-swarovski-crystal.htm

[3] http://www.4information.com/trivia/what-are-rhinestones/

February 17, 2013

Gemstones from outer space

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — dragondreamsjewelry @ 8:22 pm

With the recent excitement over asteroids and the meteor impact in Russia, it reminded me that some of the gemstones and minerals we enjoy on Earth have their origins in outer space.

While tektite forms from Earth material, it is believed that tektites are formed only as a result of extraterrestrial impacts.  Tektite resembles volcanic glass but has a significantly lower water content.  These bumpy rocks often appear in a drop shape although some people have faceted tektite like a gemstone.  Moldavite is a name given to a greenish form of tektite.

According to an article from the National Science Foundation, natural black diamonds formed in outer space.  “The presence of hydrogen in the carbonado diamonds indicates an origin in a hydrogen-rich interstellar space.”[1]  This also seems to provide an explanation as to why black diamonds are not found in mines and why it is so unusual to find good quality natural black diamonds over 1 carat in size (think fragments of objects hitting the Earth).   Note that many black diamonds in jewelry stores will have fine print to indicate that the stones were irradiated or radiation treated (for color) – those stones are most likely not the same chemical composition as natural black diamonds.

Peridot, also called olivine, has not only been found in meteorites but it has also been found on Mars[2].  This green gemstone is also formed deep inside the Earth and can be expelled during volcanic eruptions.   I will never look at peridot the same!


[1] http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=108270  “Diamonds from Outer Space: Geologists Discover Origin of Earth’s Mysterious Black Diamonds”

[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3210951.stm “Gemstones found on Mars”

 

An example of peridot jewelry from our site at www.dragondreamsjewelry.com.

Peridot set in Sterling Silver

February 3, 2013

New treatments for corundum might be bad for your health

Filed under: Stone Buying Tips — Tags: , , , , , , , — dragondreamsjewelry @ 11:26 pm

In previous posts, we’ve discussed both sapphires and rubies, which are varieties of corundum.  This popular, colorful, and durable gemstone is highly prized.

Corundum is now being diffusion treated with titanium and chromium, where the stone is irradiated to get the colorant to absorb into the outer layer of the stone.  Another treatment, beryllium diffusion, has been common for years.  Stones treated with any of these methods may lose part or all of their color if the stone is damaged or repolished.

It is possible that there are health hazards from these stone treatments.  For example, chromium is toxic and may damage DNA cells. [1]    “There is disturbing evidence that suggests the beryllium treatment poses a health hazard to the workers who process and cut the gemstones and to the merchants who handle them.” [2]

Surprisingly, irradiated gemstones are generally considered safe because of the mandated cooling off period and monitoring requirements.  “NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] requires that the initial distribution of these stones be by a distributor licensed by the NRC. This distributor would conduct radiological surveys of each batch of gemstones to ensure that any residual radioactivity falls below regulatory limits.”  [3]

Sellers in the United States are required by law to disclose all treatments to stones they sell.

 

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium#Precautions

[2] The Jeweler’s Directory of Gemstones by Judith Crowe, p.50

[3] http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/irradiated-gemstones.html

January 27, 2013

Federal Trade Commission and Jewelry, Gemstones, Precious Metals

Filed under: Stone Buying Tips — Tags: , , , , , , , — dragondreamsjewelry @ 10:07 pm

This topic may sound dry and dull but it is relevant to anyone shopping for jewelry, gemstones or precious metals.  We have seen recent  listings (on a variety of auction sites) which misrepresent metals and gemstones.  For example:

  • One troy ounce German silver: this can be misleading as German silver contains zero Silver – see details in our blog post about various representations of silver: https://dragondreamsjewelry.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/know-your-silver/
  • 925 silver: then the listing states “no Sterling Silver content” in fine print
  • Peridot quartz: this was describing green colored stones but what exactly, one would have to guess since peridot and quartz are distinct gemstones

What’s a consumer to do?  First, educate yourself.  Do some research about the item you are buying – or seek assistance from someone who does.  Know the characteristics of the gemstone or metal as well as market prices.  If an item is selling for well below market price, that may be a warning sign.   Second, work with a reputable seller you can trust.  Positive feedback on an auction site or other website is no guarantee that a seller is trustworthy – far too many people purchase items from unscrupulous individuals without verifying their purchase.  If you cannot trust the seller, be sure you can get a full refund should the item not be as claimed.  Third, verify items you purchase.  Inspect the item or possibly have an expert evaluate it.

If you find a disreputable seller, know that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is out there to help consumers.  It is required by FTC rules that sellers disclose any and all treatments to gemstones, that is, the seller is responsible for informing the consumer.  The FTC also outlines rules for clearly identifying metals and metal content so that the consumer is able to understand exactly what is being purchased.  Details of the rules are on the FTC site here:  http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/jewel-gd.shtm

Some sellers make mistakes and will correct the mistake once it has been brought to their attention.  However, sellers who repeatedly and intentionally misrepresent their products should be reported to the FTC.

January 20, 2013

Featured stone: ruby

The Latin ruber, meaning red, is the likely origin of the name ruby.

Prior to the 1800s, there was not a distinction made between red spinel, red garnet, and ruby[1].  As a result, some of the most famous rubies of the world are not actually rubies.  For example, the Black Prince’s Ruby is actually red spinel.   There are also a number of misnomers for ruby[1]:

  • almandine ruby (red garnet)
  • Australian ruby (red garnet)
  • balas ruby (red spinel)
  • Bohemian ruby (red garnet)
  • cape ruby (red garnet)

Chatham ruby, Ramaura ruby, Linde star ruby are all names describing synthetic, flux grown ruby.

Ruby is a variety of corundum which has a purplish-bluish red to yellow-red color (sapphire is used to describe corundum of any other color).  Ruby has a Mohs hardness of 9, making it quite durable and strong.

Clean your ruby jewelry with water mixed with a small amount of mild liquid hand soap with a soft cloth, rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.  You may want to use a toothbrush to clean under the stone.  While rubies are not particularly light sensitive, all colored stones can fade with prolonged intense exposure to sunlight, so be sure to store your ruby jewelry out of direct light.  As ruby jewelry can last many years, periodically check the prongs and/or settings to be sure the metal is still holding the stone securely in place.

Rubies can have fractures filled with oil, wax, paraffin, glass, or epoxy resin as fillers, reducing the visibility of flaws and cracks within the stone.  When this has been done, the ruby is considered to be composite, reducing the value of the stone although the it will look better to the naked eye as the fractures will be nonreflective[1].   Rubies, like sapphires, can also be heat treated to improve the color.  Most of the rubies we have seen recently in chain jewelry stores have been lab created rather than natural stones.  Sellers are responsible for disclosing all treatments and whether the stone is natural or lab created.

Some of the metaphysical properties associated with ruby include:

  • shields against negative intentions
  • guards against psychic or physical attack
  • helps to be warm, caring toward others
  • reinvigorates and restores energy
  • encourages love, passion, joy, spontaneity, laughter, and courage
  • balances the heart
  • improves motivation

Chakras: root, heart

[1] The Jeweler’s Directory of Gemstones by Judith Crowe, p.50

We have gorgeous ruby jewelry items on our site at www.dragondreamsjewelry.com.

Ruby and Sterling Silver earrings

January 13, 2013

Featured stone: sapphire

Sapphire is believed to derive its name from the Greek σάπφειρος; sappheiros, meaning ‘blue stone’.  However, there are a variety of possible word origins from Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, and other languages.

A 12th century writing by Abbess Hildegard von Bingen includes this use for a sapphire: “Who is dull and would like to be clever, should, in a sober state, frequently lick with the tongue on a sapphire, because the gemstone’s warmth and power, combined with the saliva’s moisture, will expel the harmful juices that affect the intellect. Thus the man will attain a good intellect.”

Sapphire is a variety of corundum which comes in a variety of colors, including pink, yellow, green, purple, blue, colorless (virtually any color except ruby, another variety of corundum which has a purplish-bluish red to yellow-red color.)  Sapphire has a Mohs hardness of 9, making it quite durable and strong.

Clean your sapphire jewelry with water mixed with a small amount of mild liquid hand soap with a soft cloth, rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.  You may want to use a toothbrush to clean under the stone.  While sapphires are not particularly light sensitive, all colored stones can fade with prolonged intense exposure to sunlight, so be sure to store your sapphire jewelry out of direct light.  As sapphire jewelry can last many years, periodically check the prongs and/or settings to be sure the metal is still holding the stone securely in place.

Because these beautiful stones are durable and colorful, there are many synthetics and imitations on the market.  Heat treatment of sapphire has been a common practice since the 1960s [1].  Most of the sapphires we have seen recently in chain jewelry stores have been lab created rather than natural stones.  As always, be sure to ask your seller.

Some of the metaphysical properties associated with sapphire include:

  • bring clarity and clear perception
  • assist communication, including with the spirit realms
  • release mental tension
  • enhance creative expression and intuition
  • promote fairness and loyalty
  • protection during astral travel

Chakras (by color):
White, purple – Crown chakra
Blue – Third Eye and throat chakra
Padparadscha, Yellow – Solar plexus chakra
Green – Heart chakra

[1] The Jeweler’s Directory of Gemstones by Judith Crowe, p.48

We have many lovely sapphire jewelry items on our site at www.dragondreamsjewelry.com.

Sapphire in Sterling Silver

December 2, 2012

Brrr…gemstones in the cold

Filed under: Jewelry Care — Tags: , , , , , — dragondreamsjewelry @ 7:00 pm

Here in the United States, the deep cold of winter is settling in.  Just as you may not like the dramatic temperature change from warm indoor air to frigid outdoor air, many of your gemstones won’t like it either.

Sudden changes in temperature can cause some gemstones to crack or shatter, so not only should you take care to bundle yourself up, you should also take care to especially bundle up the following gemstones when you go outside:

  • emerald
  • garnet
  • kunzite
  • opal
  • peridot
  • quartz
  • tanzanite
  • topaz
  • tourmaline
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