Friday, April 28, 2006


Amatrice is a discovered mineral qualified more or less for inclusion in the gem family. Exploited as a gem mineral by its discoverers and miners it is eagerly sought for by collectors. Amatrice was discovered in the Stanbury range at the western edge of the Rocky Mountains, in Tooele County, Utah. It is heralded as a combination of variscite and wardite, in conjunction with crypto-crystalline, quartz, chalecedony, sodium oxide, and traces of iron and potassium. This mineral is green somewhat resembling turquoise matrix, but its chromatic variation is its most remarkable characteristic, no two stones being alike. Its hardness is between six and seven. Amatrice is offered in cut form. The foster-parents of amatrice originated its name from the fact that it is distinctly an American matrix.


If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on you hand a turquoise blue-
Success will bless whatever you do.


Who first comes to this world below
With dull November's fog and snow,
Should wear topaz of amber hue,
Emblem of friends and lovers true.


October's child is born for woe,
And life's vicissitudes must know;
But lay an opal on her breast,
And hope will lull the woes to rest.


A maiden born when autumn's leaves
Are rustling in September's breeze,
Chyrsolite on her brow should bind,
This will cure affections of the mind.


Wear a sadonyx, or for thee
No conjugal felicity
The August-born, without this stone.
'Tis said must live unloved and lone,


The glowing ruby should adorn
Those who in July are born;
Thus they shall be exempt and free
From all love's doubt and jealousy.


Who comes with summer to this earth,
And owes to June her day of birth,
With ring of agate on her hand,
Can health, with wealth, and peace command.


Who first beholds the light of day
In springs sweet flowery moth of May,
And wears an emerald all her life,
Shall be a loved and happy wife.


Those who in April date their years,
Sapphire should wear, lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow. This stone
Emblem of faithfulness is known


Who in this world of our their eyes
In March first open, shall be wise,
In days of peril firm and brave.
And wear the bloodstone to their grave.


The February born shall find,
sincerity and peace of mind-
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they the amethyst will wear.


By those in January born
No gem save garnet should be worn;
It will insure you constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.


The streak of mineral is the color of its powder.

This powder varies in color, and may be white, gray, red, etc. It is obtained by scratching the mineral with a sharp file, or by rubbing the mineral on the back of an unglazed porcelain plate, when the color of the powder will appear on the plate.

It is remarkable that the streak of the diamond is gray to grayish-black, while that of the ruby is colorless or white.


Talc- very soft; easily broken or scratched with the finger-nail.

Rock-salt- scratched with difficulty with finger-nail; readily cut with a knife

Calcite- low degree of hardness; not to be scratched with a knife.

Fluor spar- fairly hard; is slightly scratched by a knife, but easily attacked with a file.

Apatite- medium hardness; does not scratch glass, or only faintly; does not give out sparks against steel; easily attacked with a file.

Felspar- easily scratches glass; is attacked by a file, and gives some sparks against steel

Quart- quite hard; is only slightly attacked by file; gives sparks readily against steel.

Topaz- very hard; is not attacked by a file.

Sapphire-hardest of all mineral but the diamond; attacks all other minerals.

Diamond- attacks all mineral; is not attacked by any.

To find the hardness of a stone, begin to test with the softest mineral, so that when the number is reached which will scratch the stone, there has been no injury to the specimen under examination. Half numbers are determined by the ease or difficulty with which a stone is scratched. For example, a stone which will resist No. 7 (quartz) and which is only faintly attacked by No. 8(Topaz)may be safely put down as 7.5, while a stone which resisted No. 7 and yielded easily to No. 8 is to be classed as 7 in hardness.

These test are readily applied to crystal or unpolished gems. With the polished stones greater care must be observed, and while a file test is often satisfactory, there is always the danger of striking the cleavage and breaking off a small piece of the stone.


It has been a mooted question as to the proper dividing line between stones that deserve the title "precious," and a so-called semi-precious or lower category. To draw such a line is hardly possible, neither as neat hardness, rareness, nor value would be a positive test- some of the hard stones, like zircon and almandines being less valuable that the softer opal, while the diamond, one of the most plentiful of precious stones, is at the same time, one of the most valuable.

Neither can price be taken as a complete test, because fashion makes a turquoise, an opal, or an emerald much more valuable at one time than another. All precious mineral used for ornamental purposes, from the diamond to quartz, or chalcedony, may properly be termed precious stones.


The change of fashion have much to do with determining the market value of precious stones. Amethyst, topaz, cat' eye, aquarmarine, and alexandrite , and even emeralds and opals have been eagerly sought for at times and then again neglected for other gems, causing a sensible difference in the value of these stones.

There are degrees of precious stones, from the valuable diamond and corundum to the humbler quart, amethyst, and topaz.


The mineral to which the term "precious stone" is applied, must be adapted for jewelry or ornamental purposes and must possess beauty, hardness, and rarity.

The beauty of precious stone or gem consists of its color or colorless, brilliancy or softness of luster, and transparency. To take a high and lasting polish, a mineral must be hard,- and many stones that would otherwise be highly valued are low in estimates of worth because they do not possess of sufficient hardness to make them endure the wear and friction to which a precious stone is subjected when used in the form of jewelry.


Coral, although not a precious stone, has been largely used in jewelry, and as some of this beautiful substance is very valuable, a few words come amiss.

Red or precious coral is the work of a family of zoophytes which live mostly in cavities of rock in the sea.

These polyps build their homes at a depth of to seven hundred feet under the surface of the sea, and although the single group of coral are sometimes several feet long, the usual size is about twelve inches high, and about one inch at the thicket part of any single branch.

Coral is usually red, and rarely white or black, while the pale rose-pink is the most esteemed color.

Coral is mostly found a Calle, off the coast of Africa, but also on the coasts of Tunis, Algiers, Corsica, Barbary, Marorca and Minorca.

Coral fishing-vessels leave Italy the beginning of March and return from the African coast in October; at one time as many as four hundred vessels engaged in this industry.


Amber is a fossil, and is not to be classed amongst mineral, but this material has always been used as an ornament, and a few notes will not be out of place here.

This vegetable fossil, which has been known to the world for ages, the Greeks called electron.

It is very light, having a specific gravity of 1.065 to 1.08, and is 2 to 2.5 in hardness. The principal color is yellow, in various shades, sometimes running into white or reddish-brown and black.

Amber is transparent to translucent, possess single refraction a resinous luster to a high degree, becomes electric by rubbing, and burns readily before the blow-pipe.

Amber when heated becomes soft and pliable.

Amber is composed of : carbon 79, Hydrogen 10.5, and oxygen 10.5.

Amber is imitated by gum copal, and even the insect enclosures which occur in real amber are copied.

These imitations can be detected by placing the specimen in water or alcohol. This is also a good test for pieces of real amber that have been melted or glued together. Amber is thrown up by the sea, in rivers near the sea, or on the sea-shore, and has been found in nearly all parts of the world.

The Russian, Baltic, and Sicilian coast have yielded the larger portion of the production, but supplies comes also from Galizia, the Urals, Poland, China, and the Unites States.

For ornamental purposes the faceted amber beads are largely used, but the late years these have been closely imitated in glass.


The making of jet or mourning jewelry was once a very large industry in France and England, and even now Whitby jet is well in known in commerce.

Jet is a species of bituminous coal, which can be cut with a knife. The hardness is 1 2.5; specific gravity, 1.35; its luster is not very high, and color pitch-black.

It is found in England, France, Hesse, Spain, Italy, and Prussia.


Malachite although sometimes used for jewelry,is now more largely employed for mosaic work and ornamental vases, and is sufficiently costly and rare to be classed amongst the precious stones.

Malachite is 3.5 to 4 in hardness; has specific gravity of 3.6 to 4; is translucent to opaque; the luster is vitreous to adamantine. It is attacked by acids, and melts before the blow-pie. It is composed of Carbonic acid 20, Protoxide of copper 71.8, and water 8.

Malachite occurs in emerald or verigris green color, sometimes in alternating strips of different shades of green, and occasionally in leek to blackish-green.


Lapis lazuli, the sapphire of the ancients, is a mineral, translucent to opaque, ranging in color from colorless to an azure-blue, violet-blue, green, and red

The principal color, however, is a rich azure blue, sometimes shading into green, and having a vitreous to greasy luster.

Its hardness is 5 to 5.5, specific gravity 2.38 to 2.42; it is decomposed by muratic acid, and fuses before the blow-pipe to a white glass. It is rarely found clean, but has usually a number of vein and spots of a metallic nature. It is composed of: Silica 45, Alumina 31.76, Soda 9.09, Lime 3.52, Sulphuric acid 5.89 and traces of iron, soda, and potash.

This mineral is found in Siberia, Transylvania, Persia, China, Thibit, Tartary, South America, India, and Brazil.
Lapis lazuli is sometimes employed for jewelry, and was for sometimes centuries ground up and used to make the mineral paint known as genuine ultramarine. This paint is now produced chemically, and the more costly mineral compound is rarely used.

The imitation of lapis lazuli for jewelry purposes is also very easy, a metallic filing can be readily introduced in the azure blue glass, and thus an imitation of the genuine stone produced, which is perfect excepting in hardness.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Obsidian, or volcanic glass, does not occupy a high position as a gem or as an ornamental stone, but it antiquity and occasional use among the agates and semi-precious stones will justify its mention.

This mineral is a melted lava, and consists of silex, alumina, and a little possa, soda, and oxide of iron. Obsidian is 6 oto 7 in hardness, has a specific gravity of 2.25 to 2.8, is sometimes transparent but mostly translucent to opaque, and is vitreous to metallic in luster. It is brittle and not easily attacked by acids. It melts before the blow-pipe and takes a high polish.

Obsidian comes from volcanoes, and is found in Iceland, Teneriffe, Lepare islands, Peru, Mexico, Sicily, and on all volcanoes. The color is velvety-black to gray, brown, greenish-black, yellow, blue, bottle-green, and white, seldom red, and often with black or yellow spots or veining.

Iceland agate lava, volcanic lava, and royal agate are obsidian.


Hmatite was once largely used to engrave upon, many of the ancient intaglios being on this mineral. It is now cut to simulates black pearls, and is also used in the cheaper jewelry, both engraved and cut cabochon.

Hematite has the hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 and specifics gravity, 4.2 to 5.3; it is opaque, and shows a red streak when scratched. It is composed of : Iron 70 and Oxygen 30.

The color of hematite are dark-steel gray to iron-black, and sometimes brownish to blood-red. The luster is highly metallic, with slight iridescence.

The island of Elba, France, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Bohemia, England, Brazil, Chili, Canada, Spain, and the United States are place where hematite is found. The German called this mineral "blood stone," and it is also known as specular iron ore and iron glance.


False lapis is jasper or agate artificially colored blue to imitate the true lapis. Lapis lazuli s softer than false lapis, being on 5 to 5.5 in hardness.

Sapphire or siderite is a sapphire or sky-blue chalcedony occurring in Saltz-burg.

Nicolo is a variety of onyx with a black or brown base and a band or layer of bluish-white on top. The upper layer is not flat, but convex, and is always thicker than the lower one.


Jasper is am impure opaque quartz, usually containing more iron that agate, and lacking the quality of tranlucency. Jasper occurs in red, brown, ochre-yellow, dark green, brownish-green, grayish-black, and grayish-blue; sometimes containing bands or spots or quartz formations, and often found with regular zones or bands or various colors.

Egyptian jasper or Egyptian pebbles are names given to varieties that are usually brown with inner bands of lighter hue, approaching cream in color, and sometimes having dark bands with sports or marking.

Egyptian jasper is found near Grand Cairo, and other varieties are found in the Urals, Saxony, Denonshire, Nova Scotia, Canada, and the United States.

The specific gravity of jasper varies from 2.31 to 2.67; it scratches glass, but yields to rock-crystal.


Carnelian is a clear red translucent chalcedony, and is usually of a gray or grayish-red color. Several week of exposure to the sun's ray and subsequent heating in earthen pots enhances and deepens the color.

The brownish-red or dark-brown carnelian is called sardoine or sard; the blood-red to pink varieties, with an upper layer of white onyx, are called carnelian onyx, and the stones with a brown or sard base and a white top are sard-onyx.

Carnelians are sometimes of a yellowish-brown or yellow color, but red to brown are the principal colors.

The secret of coloring agates was discovered in the early part of the century, and about the same time agates became scarce in Oberstein, whole large finds were made in Brazil and Uruguay, especially of agates with red layers. This variety comes chiefly from Brazil.

Besides, Uruguay and Brazil, carnelian is found in Arabia and India. The most beautiful specimens of intaglios are engraved on sardoine, and some of the finest cameos extant of sard and carnelian onyx.


Chalcedony is cloudy or translucent, white, yellowish-gray,black-brown, light to dark-blue, milky-white, and black.

This quartz is sometimes nearly transparent, waxy in luster, and in some varieties has a light gray and transparent base with dark cloudy spots. This last variety is called "cloudy chalcedony". Another kind, with gray and white stripes alternating, is known as chalcedonyx.

Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Huttenburg, Loben, Saxony, Hungary, Nubia, Novia Scotia, Oberstein, Ceylon, India, Siberia, Carinthia, the Hebrides, the United States and Canada are places where chalcedony is found.


Plasma isa dark grass-green quartz, feebly translucent, and is sometimes covered with white or yellow spots. Plasma is somewhat lighter in weight than the heliotrope and does not take as fine a polish.

This stone is found in India, China, and in the Black Forest, Germany.


A translucent, spotted leek-green, green quartz, which loses its polish on exposure to the air, is known as prase.

This stone is found principally in the iron mines of Brietenbaum, Saxony, and also in Brittany, the Tyrol, Scotland, Salzburg, Finland, and the United States.

Prase is sometimes known commercially as "mother of emerald" and a greenish crystalline quartz is also often called prase.


The chrysoprase is an apple-green chalcedony, sometimes olive- or whitish green. It is translucent, scratches glass, and has the specific gravity of 2.56.

The color is due to the presence of oxide of nickel. The stone is found principally in Silesia, but also in Siberia, and the United States.

Large pieces of chrysoprase are rare, and even the best specimens lose their color in course of time.


Heliotrope or blood-stone, as this variety is commonly called, is a dark-green quartz, translucent to opaque, and covered with small red spots or blood colored blotches, from which the stone derives the name of blood-stone.

This stone has long been used for seal and signet purposes, and many fine intaglios and cameos carved in blood-stone are in existence.

Bucharia, Tartary, Siberia, East India, China, the island of Rum in the Hebrides, the United States, and Canada are some of the places where the heliotrope is found.


Crocidolite or tiger-eye is a light-brown, brownish-yellow to dark-green, and greenish-blue quartz, which has the same chatoyant qualities as the cat's eye. When cut cabochon, the croidolite is called tiger-eye.

This beautiful mineral was very rare years ago, and good specimens were sold by the carat.

Great quantities, however, are in South Africa, and although the finest pieces are still used for cameos and taglios, many objects, such as paper-weights, umbrella handles, match-safe etc., are being cut from this stone.

Crocidolite is often artificially colored to very closely imitate some the finest shades of the oriental cat's eye.


The Hungarian occidental or quartz cat's eye is found on the coast of Malabar, Ceylon, Hartz Mountain, and Bavaria.

This stone is translucent to opaque gray, green, brown, red, and the shadings of these colors, but usually a greenish-gray, with a mass of fine white lines in the center, which gives to a the stone a chatoyant appearance.

The cat's eye is usually cut cabochon or carbuncle-shaped, and the lines are kept in the center of the stone, and play like the eye of a cat when the stone is moved.

The quartz cat's eye is easily distinguished from the oriental of chrysoberyl cat's eye, as it is softer and much lighter.


Avanturine is a opaque, yellow, brown, or red quarts, spangled with minute scales of mica or some other mineral, and found principally near Madrid, in Spain. It is also found in France, Scotland, Bavaria, the Urals, and Styria.

A beautiful imitation of avanturine called goldstone, is manufactured of glass into which metal filings are introduced. This goldstone is superior to avanturine in every point except that of hardness. Avanturine and its imitation, but largely the latter, are used for the cheaper kinds of jewelry, and were very popular in the United States years ago.


Rose quartz occurs in a massive form usually very imperfect and cracked, and varying in color supposed is to be due to titanic acid, and often becomes paler on exposure.

This tone is nearly opaque and semi-transparent on the edges, has a greasy luster, and specific gravity of 2.65 to 2.75. Rabenstein near Zwiesel in Bavaria, the United States, Brazil, France, Ceylon, Finland, and Siberia are place where rose quarts has been found.


Smoky yellow to smoky brown, often gray and black, are the tints of the cairngorm. This species of transparent quarts takes its name form Cairngorm in Invernesshire, in Scotland, a locality where some of the best specimen have been found. Pike's Peak, Arkansas, and certain districts in North Carolina have also produced some very fine smoky topaz.

The cairngorm is used for seal, beads and some of the cheaper jewels, and is largely sold at watering-places in Switzerland, and in the Western United States.

The stone is very popular in Scotland. Hair or needle stones is the name given to these varieties of crystallized quartz when they contain foreign substances, such as rutile, manganese, chlorites, ect., in hair or needle formation.

These stones are cut to represent the needle enclosures in a upright-position, and are called sagenit or Venus hair stones or love arrows.

iridescence or rainbow quartz is the variety or rock-crystal containing cracks and fissures which reflect all the colors of the rain bow. Quartz can also be artificial colored by rapidly cooling a heated specimen and dipping the piece into a coloring preparation; the minute cracks in the quartz absorbs the color matter, and the result is red, blue, or green-tinted stone.

The massive varieties of quartz embrace the rose quartz, avanturine, cat's eye, corcidolite, heliotrope, chrysoprase, prase, plasma, chalcedony, agates, onyx, carnelian, jasper, hornstone, and flint.


Yellow quartz, known as false topaz, Bohemian, occidental, Indian, or Spanish topaz, resembles the real topaz in color, but is softer, lighter, different in crystallization and cleavage, and in electrical properties.

In color, this tone varies from the lightest yellow to orange-red and brown.

Most of the yellow Quartz comes from Brazil, and much of it is change to yellow by burning amethyst and smoky quartz.


Colorless quartz or pure rocky-crystal is found in any parts f the world, notably in Switzlerland, Dauphiny, Piedmont, the Carra quarries in Italy, Canada; in Herkimer County, New York, and on the shores Lake George, in the same place; at Hot Spring, Arkansas; and along the beach of Long Branch, Cape May, and many other places.

Rocky-crystal, commercially known as Bohemeian diamond, occidental diamond, Lake George diamond, rhinestone, pebble, etc. is colorless and transparent. This stone is laregly used for optical purposes, and is also sometimes cut into brilliants to imitae the diamond.

While rocky-crystal is considerably harder than strass or paste, it lacks, owever, the brilliancy of the fine-composition imitation diamond.


The quartz group is the largest and most diversified among precious stones. Quartz occurs massive, in concretions, and in confused crystalline masses.

On account of the abundance of the massive kinds, such as jasper, agates, onyx, etc; some writers place the quartz group under the head of semi-precious stones, and lately the United States customs authorities have gone further in that direction, and have ruled that " because of the abundance and comparative cheapness of agates, onyxes, etc., they were longer precious stones." This position, however, the custom-house speedily abandoned, and, for the dutiable purposes at least, the quartz family, in all its ramification, is recognized as belonging to the precious stones.

Harder than the tourmaline, turquoise, or opal, as hard as the chyrsolite, and nearly as hard as the garnet or emerald, there is no reason why the crystallized varieties, such as amethyst, cairngorm, false topaz, chrysoprase, and even the cat's eye and finer onyxes, should not be classed among the precious stones.

Some more plentiful and less beautiful varieties of quartz are valuable, and they take the same position in the quartz family that the huge imperfect-crystals do in the beryl group. Whenever the specimen is sufficiently beautiful to be cut and polished for setting in jewelry, it should be included under the precious stones.

Quartz crystallizes in the rhombohedra system and many varieties are found massive and compact. The cleavage is indistinct but can sometimes be found by plunging a heated crystal in cold water. The hardness of quartz is 7; specific gravity 2.5 to 2.8, the purest kinds being 2.65; the luster is vitreous to resin's, and fracture conchoidal.

Quartz is tough, brittle, and feels cold; it becomes positively electric by rubbing, shows phosphorescent in the dark, and gives sparks if struck with another piece of quartz or with steel.

Quartz is transparent to translucent, semi-translucent to opaque, doubly refractive, and does not melt before the ordinary blow-pipe, but may be melted with the oxyhydrogen blow-pipe. It is also melts with soda to a clear glass, and is soluble in fluohydric acid.

Quartz is composed of: Oxygen 53 and Silicon 47.

Some of the impure varieties contains oxide of iron, carbonate of lime, clay, and other minerals.


Diopside is cut and sometimes sold in Turin and in Chamouny as gem stone, but no great quantity of this mineral is used for ornamental purposes.

The hardness of diopside is 5 to 6; specific gravity, 2.9 to 3.5; luster, vitreous to greasy. It is transparent to translucent, brittle, cannot be dissolved by acids and melts before the blow-pipe. It is composed of: Silica 54, Lime 24, Magnesia 18, and Ferrous oxide 4.

This mineral is grayish-white to pearl-gray, and greenish-white to greenish-gray. The best green transparent specimens are from the Mussa Alp and Zillerthal, but is also found in the Urals and the United States.


Handsome specimens of hypersthene or Labrador hornblende are used for ornamental purposes.

This mineral is found in crystalline masses, has the hardness of 6, specific gravity 3.3 to 3.4 luster pearly to metallic. It is translucent to opaque brittle, and fuses before the blow-pipe. It consists of: Silica 54.2 Magnesia 42.1, and Protoxide of iron 21.7.

Hypersthene occurs in dark-brown, green, grayish-black, and jet-black colors, and is found in the isle of Skye, the Hartz Mountains, Saxony, Labrador, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Bohemia, Thurginia, and the United States.


This mineral occurs in many colors often approaching the finer gems in appearance, and the bearing the commercial names of the false ruby, false emerald, false topaz, etc., according to its color.

Fluor spar is brittle, 4 in hardness, has the specific gravity of 3.10 to 3.2, single refraction, is transparent to translucent has vitreous luster, phosphoresce when heated, is attacked by acids, and melts before the blow-pipe. It is composed of: Fluorine 48.7 and Calcium 51.3.

White, yellow, green, rose and crimson-red, violet-blue, and brown, wine-yellow, greenish-blue, and gray are the colors of this many tinted mineral.

Fluor spar is found in England, Norway, Baden, Nova Scotia, Thuringia, the Alps, Saxony, and the United States.

Lare pieces of this mineral are made into beautiful vases and ornaments.


Axinite is a brittle mineral which has occasionally furnished some pretty gem stones.

The hardness of this stone is 6.5 to 7; specific gravity, 3. To 3.3; luster, vitreous. It is transparent to translucent, is not attacked by acids, and melts readily before blow-pipe. It is composed of:Silica 43, Lime 20, Alumina 16, Ferric oxide 10, Bornontrioxide 5, Manganese dioxide 3, Magnesia 2, and Potash 1.

Axinite occurs in clove-brown, plum-blue, and pearl-gray, and exhibits trichroism. The best specimens comes form St. Christophe in Dauphiny, but it is also found at Santa Maria, and Switzerland, Sweden, England, Chili, Saxony, the Hartz Mountains, and the United States.

Axinite is usually cut, like the opal, cabochom, but is rarely is used as a gem stone.


Epidote usually occurs in a peculiar yellowish-green, called pistachio green, a color that is seldom found in other minerals. Besides this color, olive, brownish-green, greenish-black, and black, red, yellow-gray, and grayish-white occur. The hardness of epidote is 6 to 7; specific gravity 3.32 to 3.50; luster, vitreous to pearly; refraction, double. The stone is transparent to opaque, is attacked by acids, and is slightly affected by the blow-pipe. It is composed of:Silica 38, Alumina 22, Ferric oxide 15, Lime 23, and Water is 2.

Epidote is found in Norway, Saxony, Siberia, Brazil, on the St. Gothard, in Switzerland, in the Tyrol, and in the Hartz.


This mineral rarely used as gem stone is 7.5 to 8 in hardness; specific gravity, 2.96 to 3; luster vitreous; transparent to semi-translucent, doubly refractive, it does not melt before the blow-pipe, and contains: Silica 54.2 and Glucina 45.8.

Phenacite occurs colorless, and also bright wine-yellow inclining to red, and brown. This stone is found in Russia, Mexico, and Alsace.

The colorless or transparent variety approaches the diamond in brilliancy, especially under artificial light.


Sphene or titanite is also a brittle mineral, 5 to 5.5 in hardness; specific gravity, 3.4 to 3.56; transparent, doubly refractive; luster, adamanite to resinous; colors brown, gray, yellow, green, black, and colorless; and composition:Silica 31, titanium oxide 41, Lime 27, and Ferrous oxide 1.

When transparent in colorless, greenish,or yellow colors, this mineral presents an appearance like the fire opal.

Sphene is found in Switzerland, the Urals, Tyrol, Finland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Canada, and the United States.


Euclase is very brittle, and therefore is rarely used as an ornamental stone.

This mineral has hardness of 7.5; specific gravity, 3.1; luster, vitreous to pearly; it is trans parent to semi-transparent, doubly refractive, is not acted upon by acids, fuses under the blow-pipe to a white enamel, and is composed: Silica 41.2, Alumina 25.2, Glucina 17.4 and water 6.2.

Euclase occurs in Brazil, the neighborhood of Villa Rica, and also in the Urals, in the colorless, pale green, blue, pale yellow, and white colors.


Iodcrase or vesuvianite was first found amongst the ancient ejections of Vessuvius, and it is still found at Vesuvius in hair-brown to olive-green colors.

Vesuvianite is 6.5 in hardness, 3.35 to 3.45 in specific gravity, transparent to opaque, luster vitreous to greasy. It posses strong double refraction, is attacked by acids, and melts readily under the blow-pipe. Vesuvianite consists of : Silica 37.75, Alumina 17.23, Sesquioxide of iron 4.43, Magnesia 3.79, and Lime 37.35.

The colors, this mineral shades from brown to black, yellow, pale-blue, and green, and it is found at Vesuvianus, Alps, Piedmont, Mt. Somma, Etna, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Hungary, Urals, and the United States.

Transparent or strongly translucent specimens, in handsome green or brown varieties, are used for jewelry, principally, however, in Turin and Naples.

Chrysolite and green garnet are sometimes substituted for vesvianite. The first has a greater specific gravity and is more vivid in color, and the latter is also heavier and harder.


Dichroite is sometimes known under the mineralogical names of corierite and iolite, and commercially as sphir d'eau or water sapphire. This stone is remarkable for pleichrris, sometimes showing three different colors in as many directions, and when properly cut has often the star formation of the corundum starstones.

Water sapphire, as the blue specimen are called, is 7 to 7.5 in hardness, specific gravity to , transparent to translucent, and frequently full of flaws. It is partially decomposed by acids,melts with difficulty before the blow-pipe, it vitreous to greasy in luster, and is composed of: Silica 49., Alumina 32., Ferrous oxide 7., and Magnesia 9.

Be sides sapphire d,eau, which is blue, dichroite occur color, bluish-white, yellowish-white, yellowish-gray to yellowish-brown, indigo to blackish-blue, and violet. This mineral is found in Ceylon, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Tuscany, Greenland, Bravaria. The sapphire is harder and much heaver than dichroite.


Spodumene is sometimes cut and polished as a gem, but is peculiar cleavage makes it a bad stone for the lapidary to cut and the jeweler to mount.

Its hardness is 6.5 to , specific gravity 3.13 to 3.19, and luster, vitreous to pearly.

Grayish-green, greenish-white, and sometimes yellow or faint red are the colors. Its composition is Silica 64.2, Alumina 29.4, and Lithia is 6.4.

Acid do not attack spodumene, and under the blow pipe it fuses to white glass.

This mineral is found in Sweden, the Tyrol, Ireland, Scotland, and United States.


The hiddenite is variety of spodumene that has only been found in one locality, namely, Alexander County, North Carolina. This mineral was discovered by W. E. Hidden, and has been named after him.

The hiddenite is perfectly transparent and varies from a pale yellow-to a deep emerald-green, being very brilliant, and approaching the emerald in color. As this stone is rarely found large enough for cutting into gems, it is highly prized, and good specimen command a large price.

The hardness of the hiddenite is 6.5 to 7, and specific gravity 3.13 to 3.19; before the blow-pipe it melts to a clear glass, and it s attacked by salts of phosphorous. It is composed of Silica 64.35, Alumina 26.58, Lithia 7.05 and with traces of iron and soda.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


This stone is the transparent variety of disthene, and is sometimes commercially known as sappare. Cyanite is colorless to bluish-white, sky-blue, berlin blue, yellowish and reddish white, gray, and green.

The hardness is 5-to 7, specific gravity 3,45 to 3.70, luster vitreous and pearly; it is infusible before the blow pipe, but fuses with borax; is not attacked by acids.

Cyanite is found in Switzerland, the Tyrol, Styria, Carintha, Bohemia, Norway, Finland, South America, Scotland, Ireland, Siberia, the East Indies, and the Unites States. Clean specimens are not plentiful, and fine blue pieces have frequently been sold for sapphires. The cyanite can be distinguished from the sapphire by its inferior hardness and lighter weight.


Labrador stone or labradorite is sometimes known as opaline felspar,and was first discovered on the island of St Paul on the cost of Labrador.

Labradorite is translucent to opaque, gray-green or brown in color, and has beautiful chattoyant reflections of brilliant blue, sea-green, and sometimes red and yellow, changing from one color to another. Labradorite is 6 in hardness, has specific gravity of 2.62 to 2.76; a vitreous to pearly luster, is brittle, fuses with difficulty before the blow-pipe, and is decompose by the muriatic acid.

Large masses of this are found on the coast of Labrador. It is also found in Finland, Russia, and the United States. Because of the dark chatoyant appearance the name of oeil de boef or ox-eye is sometimes applied to labradorte. Handsome specimens, cut cabochon, form pretty ring stones, and many effective engraved cameos have been produced by using the bright portion for the relief work and gray dead part for the base.


The Amazon stone is green variety of felspar, which first found on the banks of the Amazon River, but now comes from Siberia and the United States. This stone consists of potash, alumina,and silex-is green in color but rarely clean, being discolored in places and usually covered with small spots.

The Amazon stone is harder than glass but is scratched by rock crystal. Its specific gravity is 2.5 to 2.6; acids do not affect, and melts with difficulty before the blow-pipe.


Sunstone or avanturine felspar is a variety of oligoclase; grayish-white to reddish-gray in color, usually the latter; containing minutes crystals of hematite, gothite, or mica, which are embedded and scattered through the stone, and give forth goledn-yellow, reddish, or prismatic refection. The hardness is 6 to 7, specific gravity 2.56 to 2.72, and lustre pearly or waxy to vitreous.

Sunstones are found near Stockholm, in Finland, the Urals, Ceylon, the Alps, Iceland, the United States, and other places.


Apatite, which is seldom used as a gem stone, sometimes resembles the beryl and emerald, but is much softer and rarely has the color and brightness combined of the former agents.

This mineral, composed principally of subsequiphosphate of, is 4.5 to 5. In hardness, has specific gravity of 2.79 to 3.25, is transparent to opaque, vitreous in luster, infusible before the blow-pipe and dissolves slowly in nitric acid. In colors, apatite varies from colorless, sea green, bluish-green. Violet-blue-, gray , yellow, red, and brown.

Apatite is found in Saxony, the Hartz, Mts., Bohemia, Norway, Bavaria, England, St. Gothard in Switzerland, and in the United States.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Visual and pappable examination of gems and gem minerals is mot desireable, if one would have a thorough understanding of gemology, for all the best books can teach must necessarily be, to a considerable extent, abstract. Fortunatley for those who abide or sojourn near enogh to take advantage of them, there are several public museum in America which possess collections of minerals, including gem minerals, and in New york City the great education institution, the The American Museum of Natural History, has, in addtion, a fine collection of cut gems, principally the gift of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, which is a delight to the eye of every visitor who see it. While one cannot handle the mineral in such collections, and thus prove the statements made in other publications, that gems are cold and that some feel greasy or have other qualities determined by the tactlie sense, they are free for all to study optically, and so plain and practical is their scientific and common-sense arrangement, that the appreciative student must feel in his heart a great snse of thankfulness, not only to the generous men of wealth, who by gifts and endowment have created this magnificent institution, but also to the curators who have by their arrangements in exhibiting and labeling, with auxillaries of "rubric" and guides and othe publication, made the study of these representative specimens of minerals so easy that it might almost be said the "he who runs may read." The students of gems in New York owe to the generosity of Mr. Moragan the two large Tiffany exhibits of precious stones which were prepared by Tiffany & Co., under the direction of Dr. George Frederic Kunz, and exhibited, with distinction and credit, at the Universal Expositions of 1889 and 1900 at Paris. These two collections are now incorporatied in the general exhibit, and as a recognition of his public services in behalf of art and science, MR. Morgan was made by the French Republic Officer de Legion d'Honnneur. Mr. Morgan also presented to the museum the superb mineralological collection of Mr. Clarence S. Bement, of Philadelphia, which has for years stood foremost among American cabinets, and view with the great collection of the world. In this connection it is interesting and appropiate to record the generous gift of Mrs. Matilda W. Bruce Fund; this is an endowment, . of the sum of ten thousands dollars, of the Department of Mineralogy of the American Museum of Natural Hstory, which yielded in annual income of $660, which was applied to the purhases of specimens. The development of minerals is the slowest growth in the scheme of creation, but it is a satisfaction to know and improves rapidly, as well known to those who have solicitously kept pace with year by year.


Sentiment occupies a high place in the values of gems, and it has been, to a considerable extent, created by the historical or traditional association of different gems with royal personages and people otherwise famous; the favor of the great has some times had an important effect up on the market value of precious stones, and in some cases good or ill fortune has passed with gems from one possessor to another, until to the inaminate jewel has attached the credit or discredit of causing remarkable human experiences, and the stone has acquired the attribute of lucky or unlucky. the diamond fills the leading role in this historical and legendary drama of the gems, and a full account of all pertaining to it that is worthy of notice, that is extent in print, might suffice for a volume of considerable interest.

Charlemagne fastened in mantle with a clasp set with diamonds; these historic stones illustrate the crude efforts of the lapidaries of their time, the natural planes of the otahedron being only partly polished.

Louis Duke of Anjou possessed a regal array of jewels; in an inventory of his gems exhibited 1360-1368 was a description of eight diamonds which showed some skill on the part of their cutters.

When the Duke of Burgundy, in 1407, gave a maginificent banquet to the King of France and his Court, the noble guests received as souvenirs of the entertainment eleven diamonds, cut with as much skill as the of that was cappable of, and set in gold.

Pope Sixtus IV. was the recipient of the second diamond sent to be cut in 1475, by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, to Louis de Berquem of Bruges-regarded by his contemporaries as the father of diamond cutting.
The first of the trio of famous stones is said to have been the historic "Beau Sancy"; the third diaomond was presented to Louis XI. of France.

" The Twelve Mazarins" were the twelve thickest diamonds of the French crown jewels, ordered by the Cardinal Mazarin to be recut by the Parisian cutters.

Pope Julius II., in 1500, owned a diamond on which was engraved the figure of a friar by one Ambrosius Caradossa; this is one of the few noted examples of diamond sculpture.

The first French woman to lead fashion as a wearer of diamond for personal ornaments is said to have been Agnes Sorrel, famous in the time of Charles VII. Subsequently, under Francis I., extravagance in this particular in French society reached its climax, and the Luxus or Sumptuary Laws, in the reignof Charles IX. and Henry IV., were drafted to repress this form of extravagance.

The late Earl Dudly owned one of the several large and world-famous diamonds emanating from the diamond mines of South Africa; this stone was first famous as "The Star of South Africa"; it was then the size of a small walnut, when in the rough, and weighed 831/2 carats; cutting reduced it to 461/2 carats.

The melodrama of gem history is contributed to by the record of Mohammed Ghori, the real founder of the Mohammedan dominion in India, whose death discovered in this treasury prescious weighing four hundred pounds including a great number of diamonds of vast but inestimable value; this hoard of mineral wealth, this enterprising disciple of Mahomet, it is said, acquired exclusively by plunder.

The Famous "Eugenie" diamond purchased by the Emperor of the French, Napoleon III., was found by a poor peasant at Warjra Karur in India; the finder tendered the stone to he village blacksmith as compensation for repairing a plough; the smith threw it away, but upon reconsidering its possibilites recovered it and sold for 6000 rupees to a merchant named Arthoon of Madras, who sold it to the French emperor for a great sum.

Senor S. I. Habid, wealthy Spanaird of the rue, Lafitte, Paris, proprietor of a collection of rare gems, is according to information published in European and American newspapers during the spring of 1908, the possessor of the famous blue "Hope" diamond. For some time this celebrated stone was owned in America the possessors being the firm of jewellers in New York, Messrs. Jospeh Frankel's Sons. The American owners admitted the sale of the stone in Paris, but declined to devulge the facts as to the price or the identity of the purchaser, stating that the information, if made public, must come from the purchaser. The Sultan of Turkey was for a time the reputed buyer. Mr. Edwin W. Streeter, who, partly by virtue of his authorship of The Great Diamonds of the World, is entitled to the distinction of the expert on this phase of precious stones, in his book Precious Stones and Gems, in a chapter entitled "Colored Diamonds," traces a complete history of the "Hope" blue diamond. This author is inclined to identify this stone as part of a blue diamond, bought in 1642 by Tavernier, the famous traveler and gem buyer, supposed to have found in the old Indian mines, probably those of Gani-color. It weighed the rough 1121/4 carats; and in 1168 it was sold to Louis XIV. The present name of this diamond is dervied from that of Mr. Henry Thomas Hope, a London banker, who bought it in 1830 for the rquivalent in currency of the United States of about $85,000.

Among the notable colored diamonds is the 'Dresden green diamond," a fine flawless stone of a bright apple-green color. it is in the famous "Green Vaults" of Dresden, has belonged to the Saxon crown since 1753. Augustus the Strong paid $60,000 for it. Forty carats is tis weight.

Another famous forty-carats stone is the "Polar Star," a pure and brilliant diamond, the property of the princess Yassopouff; it was purchased, prior to its present ownership, by the Emperor Paul of Russia for a large sum.

The Shah of Persia, whose reign has been lately troubled by revolting radicals in domain, may find consolidation in the possession of a vast treasure of jewels are rare. Those include two magnificent rose-cut stones, the "Daryai-nur," or "Sea of Light," which weighs 186 carats, and "Taj-e-mah," or "Crown of the Moon," weighing 146 carats.

The women sovereigns of Austria, beginning with the Empress Maria Theresa, have had the proud privilege of displaying among the crown jewels of the royal house of Austria the famous "Florentine" diamond, also known as the "Austrian Yellow" and the "Tuscan" diamond. This illustrious citron-yellow stone weighs 1391/2 carats and is cut into a nine-rayed star of the rose form. The "Florentine"was formelry owned by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.


In purity, liquid beauty, and charm of romantic and poetical association the pearl -aristocrat of gems-leads even its peers of the highest rank, the diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. The sea-gem has throughout all recorded time formed the fitting necklace of feminine royalty and famous beauty; the state decorations of dusky oriental potentates and their principal treasure have been pearls. From the ocean's bed and the turgid streams of the midland North America, from almost anywhere that is the habitat of the oyster or the humble mussel come these pale, lustrous treasures that may prove to be almost priceless. The, existence and recognition of the beauty of the pearl as personal ornament and treasure is undoubtedly prehistoric or every continent. The discoverers and conquistadores form old Spain found quantities of them in the western Indies, on the Spanish Main, Florida, Mexico, and Peru; the mound-builder of North America possessed them; in the far East they were cherished centuries before the then Western world of Europe knew them; there is said to be a word meaning a pearl in a Chinese dictionary four thousand years old, and who knows how old is their presence in India.

Pearls were in the jewels caskets of Egypt's Ptolemaic; and the first jewel mentioned in the most ancient decipherable and translatable wrtitings extant is the pearl, and its identity is questioned, because the gem of the sea is solitary among jewels and is not to be confounded with the hard mineral gems, which even to-day, will all the advance in scientific knowledge, are constantly becoming mixed in the minds of men. From written records the modern ken of pearls extends back about twenty-three hundred years, and we hear of them in writings of Pliny, the indefatigable investigator and disseminated of what he believed to be facts about almost everything in nature, who four hundred years later gathered together the knowledge of his day about pearls and included it in his voluminous literary grist.

In the technical literature of the United States National Museum, the pearl is cold and remorselessly comprehended under the generic term "carbonate of lime" along with the beautiful but less valued coral, which is also a product of the sea; and marble, which concerns architects and sculptors, more than gem fanciers; and calcite and aragonite, which are varieties of satin spar and far down in the stone scale of hardness. It seems almost like desecration to reduce the lustrous pearl of peerless beauty and royal and romantic associations ot the concrete mineralogical base of carbonate of lime; but thus are the insistent requirements of the mineralogists conserved. Therefore, pearls are concreting of carbonate of lime found in the shells of certain species of molluses. An irritation being the introduction into the shell of some minute foreign substance, sometimes a grain of sand.

The luste of pearls is nacreous, which means resembling mother-of-pearl, a luster due to the minute undulations of the edges of alternate layers of carbonate of lime and membrane. The luster of some pearls exists only on the surface; the outer surface of others may be dull and the inner lustrous. The specific gravity of the pearl is 2.5. to 2.7; hardness, 2.5 to3.5. The shape varies and the range of size and weight is great. The smallest pearls in commerce is less than the head of a pin; the larges pearl know is in the Beresford Hope collection in the Museum At South Kensington, London. Its length is two inches and circumference four and a half inches. It weighs three ounces.

Although the whiteness of the pearl is constantly used for comparison, pearls range in color from an opaque white through pink, yellow, salmon, fawn, purple, red, green, brown, blue, black, and in fact every color and several shades of; some pearls are also iridescence. The color and luster are generally that of the interior shell surface against which the pearl was formed.

The beauty and value of the pearl, inbrief, depends upon color, texture, or "skin" transparency or "water," luster, and form; pearls most desired are round or pear-shaped, without blemish, and having the highest degree of luster. The Queen of existing pearls is La Pellergrina now in the museum of Zosima, Moscow, Russia. La Pellegrina, is perfectly round and of an unrivalled luster. It weighs 112 grains.

While individual pearls or strands of them may be worth a prince ransom, their beauty and value are immutable; pearls may deteriorate with age or be sullied by the action of gases, vapors, or acids, and the known methods for their restoration to their original appearance and value are not always successful. Fine pearls should be carefully wiped with a clean soft cloth after they have been worn or exposed, and kept wrapped in a similar fabric in a tightly closed casket.

Pearls are found in nearly all bivalves with nacreous shell,l but the principal supply is derived from a comparatively few families, led by the Aviculidae, Unionidae, and Mytilidae. The first group includes the pearls oyster of the Indian and Pacific oceans, from which has come the bulk of the world's [earls; the second inludes the unio, or fresh water mussel of North America; and the third is a family of conchiferous molluses, mostly marine, the typical gems being Mytilius edulis, or true mussel, which has a wedged-shaped cell and moors itself to piles and stones by a strong coarse bysus of flaxy or silky-looking fibers. The distribution of these molluses is world-wide.

In all age, pearls have been the social insigna of rank among the highly cilvilized," write W.R. Cattelle in his standard book The Pearl. First lavishly used by the princes of the East for the adornment of their royal persons, as the course of empire trended westward the pearl followed the flag of the conquerors, and thus, in time, as Rome's power and affluence grew into world-control, her treasure of pearls grew vast proportions and become identified with the social eminence and arrogance of the Caesars and patrician Rome. To-day the market for the best in pearls of recent findings, as for all new products of precious stones, or for famous jewels, whose owners' changing fortunes bring them to the parting, is within the new regime of Croesus represented by the multimillionaire of the Unites States. The world's best buyers of jewels are not always as willing to have their princely expenditures known as is generally believed, and the names of the some of America's heaviest purchasers of gems have not been revealed by the dealers. It is authoritatively stated that the finest single strand of large pearls in existence was recently acquired by a Western millionaire of the United States. The strand is composed of thity-seven pearls ranging from eighteen to fifty-two and three quarter grain each, the latter being the largest central pearl. The pearl combined weigh 9793/4 grain, and the strand is said to have cost its possessor $400,000.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


There seems to be a considerably difference of opinion among writers on the subject of gems as those stones which should be classed as precious and those which should be classed as semi-precious . The more scientific writers, from their inclination to treat the matter from the view-point of the mineralogist, appear to be little influence in their classifications by the inexorable law of demand and supply, or the fickleness of fashion and popular favor.

The fact that there is no standard classification of precious stones is curiously illustrated by the great variation exhibited by leading authorities on the subject. Mr. Edwin W. Streeter, the famous English author of books on precious gemstone, after discussing the various factors, of value in several precious stones.

It is difficult to arrange the various precious stones in the order of there relative value, that order being subject to occasional variation according to the caprice of fashion or the rarity of the stones. Nevertheless it is believed that the following scheme, in which all precious stones are grouped in five classes, fairly indicates the relative rank which they take at the present day.

The Pearls stands pre-eminent. It is true that this substance, being the product of a mollusc or shell -fish, is not strictly a mineral. It is, however so intimately related in many ways with family of true precious stones that it properly claims a place in any classification such as that under discussion.

In the second class,and therefore at the head of the group of Precious stones proper, stands beyond all doubt Ruby.

Then comes the Diamond. Many readers may be surprised to find diamond taking so subordinate a rank; but the time has gone by when this stone could claim a supreme position in the market.

In the fourth class comes first the emerald, then the sapphire, next the Oriental Cat's-Eye, and afterwards the precious Opal.

In the fifth class may be placed such stones as Alexandrite, the Jacinth, the Oriental Onyx, the Peridot, Topaz, and the Zircon. Some of these, especially the Alexandrite, are so beautiful they deserve a more extended use in the arts of jewelry than they enjoy at present.

After these come another class, which may be called the of Semi-precious stones. Many of these either lack transparency, or possess it in only very limited degree; while those which are pellucid are too common to command more than a rival value. Such stones are frequently used for inlaid work, or similar ornamental purposes rather than for personal decoration.

The true precious stone: Distinguishing characters are, great hardness, fine color, perfect transparency combined with strong luster (fire), susceptibility of a fine polish, and rarity of occurrences in specimens suitable for cutting.

Gems of the first rank hardness betwee 8 and 10. Consisting of pure carbon, or pure alumina predominating. Fine specimens of very rare occurrence and of the highest value.

Gems of the second rank hardness between 7 nad 8(except for opal). Specific gravity usually over 3. Silica a prominent constituent. In specimens of large size and of fairly frequent occurrence. Value generally less than stones of Group A, but perfect specimens are highly prized than poorer specimen s of Group A.

Gems of the third rank are intermediate in character, between the true gems and the semi-precious stones. Hardness between 6 and 7. Specific gravity usually greater than 2.5. With the exception of turquoise, silica, is a prominent constituent of all these stones. Value usually not very great; only fine specimen of a few members of the have any considerable any value. Specimen worth cutting of comparatively rare occurrence, other fairly frequent.

Gems of the fourth rank hardness,4-7. Specific gravity 2-3(with the exception of amber). Color and luster are frequently prominent features. Not as a rule perfectly transparent: often translucent at the edges only. Wide distribution. Value, as a rule, small.

Gems of the fifth rank hardness and specific gravity very variable. Color almost always dull. Never transparent. Low degree of luster. Value very insignificant, and usually dependent upon the work bestowed upon them. These stones, as well as many of the preceding group, are not faceted, but worked by the ordinary lapidary in the stone cutting works.

Of the authorities named as classifying gems, Bauer and Kluge are manifestly moved by their scientific instincts, while Streeter was actuated by popular demand, but responded to temporary condition and possibly, although may be unconsciously, to personal interest.

The final test of the rank of gems is their cost in the market, for that tribunal is affected by every factor and influence in the in the case.

Streeter exalts above all gems the pearl, the molluse product which Bauer relegates with the comparatively common coral to a n appendix. Streeter, who is recognized as a high British authority, accords the ruby second place and the places the diamond third. As Streeter was, when he wrote his Precious Stones and Gems, expensively and hazadously exploiting the famous ruby mines of Burma, he naturally regarded the ruby as of prime importance.

Kluge's classification is primarily based on the degree of hardness, clearly from the viewpoint of the strictly scientific mineralogists. Dr. Bauer also yields to the mineralogical influence, for, while he justly leads with the diamond, following it with the ruby and then the sapphire, he continued by naming a of gems seldom handled, concluding with "Adamantine spar," a name which some jewlers have never heard, nor have they seen the mineral it specifies. This extreme course is pursued by Dr Buer because these several stones are alike with the ruby and the sapphire in being the mineral corundum. Dr. Bauer then named spinel, and it varieties chrysoberyl and cymphane, before reaching the noble emerald.

Exceptions may be taken to the order in which semi-precious stones are named by the author by those whose individual experiences intrade have differed; but it is believed that the five precious stones, and the order in they are named, represent the understanding of American gem dealers and well-informed purchasers, and that the classification of the semi-precious stones fairly represents their general popularity.

Here it may be said, in connection with the influence the value of gems has in their classification, that the price of any kind of precious stone, or individual specimen, while depending chiefly upon beauty, durability, and similar characteristics, is governed also by extrinsic considerations such as the laws of supply and demand and many other things, including fashions, fads, and fancies. A common question propounded to stone merchant is What is the price, of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, or other gems? As though each kind of stone had a common price in the market, like October wheat or steel billets. Each gem stands strictly upon its own merit, and in pronouncing a valuation on it the expert dealer takes into consideration every one of the several factors that are apparent to his keen and reflective examination. Considering the very slight differences involved, or that appear slight to the inexperienced, it is remarkable how nearly several different experts will agree upon the market value of a stone upon which each of them render an opinion.


The diamond is generally regarded as the premier gem of the world. Solitary in its chemical composition among precious stones, it is pure carbon, a primary fact that is not as commonly known as it should be and is supposed to be. It seems indeed, incongruous that such common substances as graphite and lamp-black should be the same, save that they are uncrystallized, as this prince of gem; yet not with standing its humble connection, the diamond in its adamantine luster, high fraction, reflection, and dispersion of light, and hardness, is alone among the minerals. Despite its hardness, the diamond is not indestructible; diamond will cut diamond; it can be burned in the air, being carbon, and will leave behind carbon dioxide gas and, as ashes, an impurity called carbonado. The facets of a cut diamond can be worn away to some extent by the constant rubbing of fabrics, as is often manifest by the contact with wearing apparel. The diamond is also brittle so that it may be easily fractured, especially at the girdle, by striking it a blow against some hard substance, and in a steel mortar with a steel pestle it may be reduced to powder. By what process in Nature's workshop carbon was crystallized into the diamond unknown, but scientific investigators agree that the process was slow and a prime factor was titanic pressure.

There are three forms of diamond; crystallized, used as gems; crystalline-imperfect crystallization,-harder than crystal, termed bort; and carbonado, steel gray or black, shapeless, and without cleavage.

The diamond's surpassing property of dispersing light or dividing it into colored rays, is due that fascinating flash of prismatic hues termed its fire. The stone's wondrous brilliancy is due in part to the total reflection of light from its internal faces when the incident ray strikes it at an angle of a little more than twenty-four degrees. Colorless diamonds are richest in the flashing or prismatic hues, while in some colored specimens it is scarcely apparent; at the same time by-waters, yellow-tinged stones are sometimes more brilliant in artificial light than are the colorless diamonds.

Diamonds have a wide range of color; most numerous are the whites, yellows, and browns in a great variety of shades; then comes the greens; red stones of strong tints are very rare, as are also blue, which have been found almost exclusively in India; other tints of occasional occurrence are garnet hyacinth, rose, peach-blossom, lilac, cinnamon, and brown; black, milky, and opalescent diamonds are among the rarities. Diamonds without tint or flaw are rare indeed and even most of the world's famous diamond have imperfections.

The origin of the diamond's name is the Greek word adamas, meaning unconquerable; from the same root spring our word adamant and adamantine.

The origin of diamonds, according to classical mythology, was its formation by Jupiter, who transformed into stone a man, Diamond of Crete, for refusing to forget Jupiter after he had commanded all men to do so.

The diamond is found in alluvial deposits of gravel, sand, or clay, associated with quartz, gold, platinum, zircon, rutile, hematite, ilmenite, chrysoberyl, topaz, corundum, garnet, and other minerals appearing in granatic formation; also quartzose conglomerates, in periotite veins, in gneiss, and in eruptive pergamatite.

The ancient source of the world's supply of diamond was exclusively India; later Borneo produced some but up to about 1700 India was the sole source, and from the anciently famous diamond district and of Goconda, between Bombay and Madras, in the southern portion, came the Kohinoor, the blue Hope Diamond, and other world-famous gems.

IN 1728 diamonds were discovered in Brazil. They were found by gold miners in river sands, but the finder did not identify pans when washing the sand for gold dust and scales. It is related that a monk who had seen diamonds mined in India recognized the characteristics of the Brazilian stones. No sooner had the new of the valuable discovery reached the Portuguese than the kings of Portugal seized for the crown the lands known or though likely to be diamondiferous. Near Diamantina, in Minas Geraes, the diamonds are obtained from both river and prairie washings.

The worlds diamond markets to-day are almost entirely supplied by the digging in South Africa, where the discovery of diamonds are so recent as 1867. Children are accredited with the finding of the diamond in South Africa. A Boer farmer, Daniel Jacob, had a farm near the present town of Barkely West on the Vaal River. On the river's strand were many glittering and colored pebbles, the playthings the Jacob children could get; these pebbles included carnelian, agates, and varieties of quartz. Semi-precious stones of some value if cut and marketed in far-off Europe.


From the earliest ages jewels have powerfully attracted mankind, and the treatment of precious stones and the precious metals in which they are set, often serves as important evidence, not only concerning the art of early times and people, but also concerning their manners and customs of kings, the causes of devastating wars, of the overthrow of dynasties, of gecides, of notorious thefts, and of unnumbered crimes of violence. The known history of some existent famous gems covers more years than the story so some modern nations. Around the flashing Kohinoor and its compares cluster world-famous legends, not less fascinating to the general reader who loves the strange and romantic, than to the antiquary or the historian or the scientist. These tales of fact or fiction are fascinating in part, because they associate with the gems fair women whose name have become synonymous with whatever is beautiful and beguiling in the sex. In the mind of the lowest savage, as in the thought of man in his highest degree of civilization, personal adornment has always occupied a prominent place, and for such adornment gems are most prized. The symbolism and sentiment of the precious and semi-precious stones, and precious metals, permeate literature. Jewels have their place in the description of heaven in the sacred writing of almost every person that has attained to a written language.

So wide and interesting is the subject of precious stones and precious metals, their artistic treament apartment and combined, their importance in society, commerce, and the arts, their part in the wealth of individuals and nations, that it is in a high degree remarked that comparatively speaking, so few books have been written about them.

Geology and mineralogy are the names of the sciences that concern themselves with minerals- among them gems- in the rough; metallurgy is the name of the science that has do with metals; "gemology" is a word sometimes used to describe the branch of art or of the craft that deals with gems which have passed through the hands of the diamond cutter or the lapidary. The general reader resents the disposition of scientific writers to indulge in technical terminology, though the steady development of popular interest in pure science has some measure reconciled the reading masses to a sparing and judicious use of the technical terms of specialists.

Scientific hobbies are nowadays common; some take to mineralogy, some to botany, some to entomology. So far as popularity is concerned, the scientific study of gems is, as compared with the studies above named, at a disadvantage. The novice adventuring into the study of nature is apt to be attracted by life and action, and his attention won by the forms that are most beautiful, as birds, butterflies, or wildflower. Sometimes the adaptability of specimens to photograph weighs heavily in the scale of choice, or perhaps, the ease with which they can be preserved with their natural brilliancy of coloring as in the case of moths, beetles, or the leaves of forest trees.

The high intrinsic value of diamonds and other precious stones and of precious metals and of all but the least valuable of semi-precious stones, in the rough or in ore, prohibits, for the most of us, the possession of representatives groups of specimens, and men are not apt to interest themselves deeply in subjects that difficult of access for the student and observer. This, no doubt, is why the sciences and the arts and crafts immediately concerned with precious stones and their settings can hardly be called popular.


Precious stones in the rough are seldom things of beauty. The most valuable gem stones might be dismissed with contemptuous glance by an inexperienced finder, as no doubt has often been the case. Ancient gems that have been benefited only to the extent of the crude handiwork of the artisans of their period, reveal but little of the imprisoned chromatic beauty and flaming splendor that would make them magnificent under the scientific and artistic treatment of a modern diamond-cutter or a lapidary. Thus the work of the highly skilled artisan, who cut diamond is a tool with which the cutter applies the rough stone to the grinding wheel, and the toil of lapidary, who cuts, forms, and polishes semi-precious stones, are of the greatest importance in making possible the beauty and value of gems. Here it may be said that the craft of the diamond and the trade of the lapidary are absolutely separate and distinct in the methods that each employs in cutting and polishing gem minerals. The diamond cutter cuts diamonds only. The lapidary cuts and polishes all other precious and semi-precious stones. Both diamonds cutter and lapidary prepare the way for the craft of the jeweler, to whose judgment and art in design and manufacture the cut gem owes its environment, which will go far to increase or market its beauty. The jewelries' art is as important to the gem as the scenic artist's and stage manager is to the actor's dramatic art; and without intelligent co-operation, the jeweler might destract from the appearance of a gem that the capable diamond cutter or lapidary has done so much to enhance.
Thus the cutting of gem stones is necessary for the full development of the inherent properties upon which their beauty is dependent. A gem, as extracted from the earth, may be opaque, irregular in form, and contain superficial flaws and imperfection; but when relieved of its incrustration and reduced to a size that would permit of the elimination of its imperfect portions, it becomes transparent and its imprisoned fires are released in brilliant flashes.

Occasionally a gem does appear which, without artifice, may plainly show its qualification for high rank in the courts of gem; but, in the main, the development of its beauty to a high degree necessities cutting and polishing. The highly specialized work of the diamond cutter or lapidary involves compliance with geometrical principles and rules; adaptation to the place occupied by the gem stone under treatment; a knowledge of the clearly defined science of crystallography, especially with regard to the planes of cleavage; careful consideration of the stone's degree of hardness, brittleness, and a thorough acquaintance with the established forms of cutting and the results achieved through them with different kinds of gem mineral and their chromatic varieties.

The art of gem-cutting has progressed gradually from the crudest beginning. Man's first attempts to artificially improve the appearance of gem stones extended only to polishing the natural surfaces; later, the worker essayed to round the rough corners, and the course of the evolution of this art, efforts were made to reduce the stone to a symmetrical shape.

The centers of art and industry of diamond cutting are at Amsterdan in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium, but vey highest form of the art was initiated in and is practiced in these United States; here; without sensless waste and extravagance, the intrinsic value of precious stones, as determined by their weights is sacrificed to artistic effect, beauty, and brilliancy. This high degree of gem treatment is in strong contrast with the more economical practice in Europe, and is the antithesis of the custom in Oriental countries, where weight is conserved at the expense of brilliancy and beauty.
The styles of cut may be grouped as follows: 1, those bounded by the plane surfaces only; 2, those bounded by curved and plane surfces only; 3, thoses bounded by both curved and plane surfaces. The styles of the first goup are best applicable to transparrents stones, as the diamond, erald, and ruby; they are brilliant cut, double brillian or Lisbon cut, half brilliant or single cut, trap or split brilliant cut, Portugese cut, star cut, rose cut, ro briolette, step rilliant or mixed cut, table cut, and twentietcentury cut; this is acombination of facet that was eexperimented with but not very successfully abou the year 1903. Stlyes of the second and thrid groups are best adapted to transluscent and opaque stones, such as the opal, urquoise, moonstone, and cat's eye. Both the first and second styles are applied to garnets, which are cut either with facets or convex, and when thus cut they are termed carbunicles. The styles of the second group are bounded by curved surfaces; they are the single cabochon cut, double cabochon cut. The third division of styles are those bounded by the mixed cabochon.

The brilliant cut could be represented by two trunicated pyramids, placed base to base; the upper pyramids, placed base to ase; the manner to give a large plane surface; the lower one, the pavilion, ends almost in a point. The line of junction of the bases of the two pyramids is called the girdle. While there are many modification of thisstyle, as the size, mutual proportions, and number of facets, the facets in the perfect brillliant number fifty-eight. The top facet is called the table, and is formed by removing one third of the thickness o the fundamental octahedron; the bottom facet is called the cutlet, or collet, and is formed by removing one eighteenth part of a the stone's thickness. The triangular facests touching the table or summit of the crown are called star facets; those touching the girdle are divided into two groups, skill facets and skew facets. The corner facets touching the table and the girdle, wwhen on the crown, and the culet and girdle, when on the pavillion are, respectively, bezel or bizel facets, and pavillion facets

A summary of facets and their distributin is as follows: 1 table, 16 skill facet, 16 skew facet. 8 starfacets. 8 quoins, 4 beze facets, 4 pavillion facets, and one culet. Sometimes the cut is modified by adding extra facet around the culet, making sxity-six in all.
The brilliant cut is especially applicable to the diamond; when perfect it should be proportioned as follows: f From the table to the girdle, one third, and from the girdle to the culet two thirds of the the total. The diameter of the table should be four ninths of the breadth of the stone. The poprotions when apllied to toher stones than the diamond are modified to suit the individual optical constant of the gem.

The double brilliant, or Lisbon cut, is form with two rows of lozenge-shaped facets, and three rows of triangular-shaped facet, seventy-four in all.

The half brilliant, single or old english cut is th simplest form of the brilliant and now generally employed for small stones; when the top os cut so as to form and eight-pointed star it is called the English single cut.

The trap brilliant, or split brilliant, differe from the in having the foundation squares didivided horizontally into two trangular facet, forty-two in all.

The Portuguese cut has two rows of rhomboidal and three rows of trangular facet above and below the girdle.

In the star cut the table is hexagonal in shape, and is one fourth of the diameter of the stone; from the table spring six equlateral triangles, whose apexes touch the girdle, and these triangle, by the progongation of their points, froms a star.

The crown of the rose cut consists of triangular or star facets, whose apex meet at the star facet form the base lines for a row of skill facets whose apexes touch the girlde, leaving spaces which cut into two facets. The base may be either flat or the bottom may be cult like the crown, making a double rose or briolette cut. The shape of a rose-cut stone may be circular, oval, or indeded, any other to which the rough stone may be adapted.

In the trap or step cut, the facets extend longitudinally around the stone from the table to the girdle, and from the the girdle to the culet. There are usually but two or three tiers of step facets from the table to the girdle, while the number of steps from the girdle to the culet depends upon the thickness and color of the stone. This style of cut is bes adapted to colores stones.

The form of the step brilliant, or mix cut, from the culet to girdle is the sme as that of the trap cut, while from the girdle to the table the stone is brilliant cut, or the opposite.

The table cut consists of greatly developed tables and culet meeting the girdle with becelled edges. Ocassionally the eight edge facets are replaced by a boder of sixteen or more facet.

The twentieth-century cut contains more facet than the brilliant and is differently shaped and arranged. Orginally this style was designed with eighty-eight facets and proportions similar to the American brilliant, but with a greater height from the the girdle to the center of the table, caused by the facets prelacing the table being carried to a low pyramidal point in the center. Subsequently the style was modified, the stone being cut thinner and with but eight facets, the central top facet being almost flat. This cut is helpful in some cases, especially to shallow stones, but it probably exceeds the limit of efficiency in the effort to increase the surface reflection and dispersion of light rays, and experience has not demonstrated its success.

The cabochon cuts represent different degrees of convexity above the girdle, and beneath a concave, plane or slightly convex surface. The double cabochon is customarily cut with a smller curvature on the base than on the crown. The single cabochon is a characteristic cut for deep-colored transparent stones. The mixed cabochon has either the edge or side,or both faceted. The degree of convexity in the various cabochon cuts is made to depend upon the nature of the stone to which the cut is to be applied. The cabochon cuts are specifically within the province of the lapidary.

The process of cutting gems is simple,but the results are due to the skill and especially to the judgment of the cutter. That part of the surface of a rough stone at wich it us desired to place a facet is rubbed witha harder stone or with some effective substance. The harder stone or substance abrades small fragments and powder from the softer, and gradually the surface of the subject mineral is transformed into a plane face, or facet. In like manner other facets are added or a rounded surface is produced by similar means. In grinding, the harder stone or abrasive material is reduced to a fine powder and mixed with olive oi into a paste, or with water, and placed near the edge of a circular disk, or "lap" which is about twelve inches in diameter and an inche in thickness. The lap, usually of metal, revolves horizontally with great velocity, and precious stone to be ground is pressed against the disk where the disk is loaded with abrasiveness paste; the pressure causes the powder to become embedded in the soft metal of the disk. This acts as a file, equal in hardness to the grinding powder. The duration of the operation depends upon the hardness of the precious stone and of the abrasive material. The skill required of te operator involves the most careful watchfulness against exceeding the size prescribed in the plan for the stone; also against overheating the stone which causes the development of small cracks in the interior of the stone called "icy flakes" An essential prerequisite for grinding precious stones is a means by which they can be held steadily and true in a desired position. For this the diamond-polisher uses a time-honored tool called a "dop." This holder of the rough diamond is a small hemisspherical cup of iron attached by the convex side to a stout copper rod. The cup is filled iwth an easily fusible alloy of tin and lead, which is fused and allowed to cool; just before this compostion solidifies the stone to be cut is set in the position desired in the cooling alloy, with about half its bulk projecting in an immovable position. The semi-precious stones, when cut by the lapidary, are set in the end of a wooden holder, or "stick," with some kind of resinous cement.

Diamond cutters formerly cut the diamonds in a small wooden box especially designed for this use; all of the operator's strength was needed to rub two diamonds together, a process called " bruting," so that the attrition under this presure would cut the stone into the shape desired. About the year 1888 the first machine was invented to shape diamonds, and the cutter, who formerly had to cut the stone twice, or several times, accomplishes the ssame result in one operation. All diamond cutting in America is now done by machine, while in Europe the smller sizes are still cut by the hand in the old tedious and laborious method. The tools for polishing remained umimproved from the inception of the modern diamond-cutting industry untill the year 1896, when the machine dop or holder was invented. This modern mchhine do, although still an imperfect device, holds the stone without the application of the mixture of lead and tin, but it can only be used for stones of a fair size. The majority of the cutters and polishers of diamonds in the United States now use these mechanical dops, as the market and industry in America demands stones of considerable size almost entirely; it is impossible to use dops for the stones of small size exclusively cut in Europe. The inventor of the machine dop also invented the machine for sawing diamonds. Through the use of this devices pieces of the stones which were formerly polished away and ground to worthless balck dust re now saved.


Onyx and sardonyx are varieties of agate with layers in even planes of uniform thickness, thus adapting them to the uniform thickness, thus adapting them to the purpose of cameo engravers. The cameo has base of one color and the figure of another. The art of cameo engraving attained a point nearest perfection with the ancient Romans, evidence being supplied by the numerous relics, that are the admiration of modern artists. The word onyx means a fingernail, and was suggested, it is supposed, by a fancied resemblance to the luster and appearing of a finger-nail. Of course-if Greek myth be true- this most beautiful instance of strategically in all mineral nature owes its origin to the freak of playful Cupid, and is the visible and palpable evidence we have of the mundane visits of the Goddess of Beauty.

Sardoynx is variety of onyx in which one layer has the brown color or sard. Chalcedonyx derive their names from the colors of the intervening layers. "Mexican onyx" it should be noted, it calcite, not quartz and is very much softer than the real onyx. Mexican onyx has similar banded structure to real onyx, and is well adapted to architectural or interior decoration, for which it is extensively used, but it is outside the realm of precious stones.


Moss Agate is variety of chalcedonic quartz that has some vogue in the jewelry of to-day, and is one of the most interesting features of gem mineralogy. Enclosed in this stone are what seems to be long hairs and fiber, usually irregularly interwoven, and having the effect of various species of moss. These branches forms, so imitative of one of the most beautiful of plants, are manganese or iron oxide, and not imprisoned vegetation, or prehistoric insects which really were imprisoned in amber, and have been preserved through ages to furnish food for speculation for latter-day naturalist.

The name agate is derived from the river agates, in Sicily, now called the Drillo, in the Val de Noto. Theophratus states that is where ancient agates were found.

The finest moss agates known today comes from India, and those specimen called "mocha stone" originally came, it is believed, from the vicinity of Mocha, and Arabian seaport at the entrance of the Red Sea famous for its aromatic coffee.


Although the ornamental uses of amber are to great extent outside the realm of personal adornment, its conversion into beads, for necklaces especially, is of such ancient origin, and ornaments have always been so favored, that his fossil vegetable resin is like the pearl and coral, included in the realm of gems which are, with the exception, and the diamond, which is carbon, purely mineral. Like the pearl and coral, amber is identified in the popular conception with the sea, from whence a small proportion of the amber acquired by man has been derived.

Amber is found on the Baltic, Adriatic, and Sicilian coasts,; in France, China, India, and in North America.

The most highly prized amber comes from Sicily. The Sicilian amber reveals a varied color display including blood-red and chrysolite-green, which are often fluorescent, glowing internally with a light of different color from the exterior. The advantage of amber, despite its softness, include its remarkable durability.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Kunzite is a comparatively new transparent gem discovered in America about 1903; it is lilac-colored spodumenes, which upon the suggestion of the mineralogist Charles Baskerville, was named kunzite, in honor of Dr. George Frederic Kunz, because of his services to the scientific world in the gem branch mineralogy. The honor accorded Dr. Kunz by mineralogists in accepting the name is enhanced because of the beauty of this new gem mineral . The first crystal of this unaltered lilac-colored spodumene were discovered a mile and a half north east from Pala, San Diego County, California. The vicinity of this discovery was already of great interest to students of gem minerals because but fifty feet away from the spot is a famous deposit of tourmaline from which specimen crystals remarkable for the unusually large size and great beauty have bee taken, while half a mile away is celebrated rubellite and lepidolite locality.



Rose colored Spinel

White spinel







Gem and Jewelry

Pearl and Oyster

My Precious Stones



My name is Jasper


Perfect Ruby


Moonstones have a soft attractiveness that is in contrast with the flashing angles of the majority of precious stones. They are usually cut en cabochon or sometimes turned in the form of balls, and, as the stone is reputed to be potent improving its possessor with good fortune, these chatoyant spheres are in favor as lucky charms. The superstitious regarding gems in medieval times included one that was quite general, that a moonstone held in the mouth would stimulate and refresh the memory. If the moonstone really possesses such efficacy, it should be a modern specific for witnesses in courts of justice, such as corporation officers whose books have been burned, or otherwise illegally disposed of, and bankrupts who cannot remember what disposition was made of their assets. Among the beliefs held of this stone, was one that would cure epilepsy, a faith still retained by the French peasants of the Baque province. Another belief was that during the waxing of the one it was an efficacious love charm; while during the moon's waning it would enable its wearer to foretell future events. If there is any basis in fact for this belief, it should be the favorite gem of tipsters of the race tracks and stock market.


Jade is a verdant mineral known to man for ages, and used for personal ornaments, weapons, implements, art objects, and applied to interior decoration. The word emerald, so frequently appearing in ancient writing, is believed to have sometimes meant jade- an opaque to translucent mineral-and unlike the emerald in anything, excepting a slight resemblance in color. The word "jade" is now a generic term applied to various mineral substance as chlormelanite, or jadeite, nephrite, saussurite, pseudo-nephrite' these minerals are characterized by toughness, compactness, of texture, and a color range from cream white to dark green and nearly black. Although appearing in the trade in precious stones and jewelry, in the art object of every land, and although extensively imitated-sometimes in a fashion, however, that could deceive no-"jade" is nowhere prized and appreciated so much as in the Chinese Empire; and wherever on the globe adventurous Chinese roam or locate it is always found as one of their most cherished possessions.


Turquoise is a popular gem mineral today, as it was anciently with the Persians and the Aztec, whose name for it was chalchihitl. Turquoise is a French word, meaning a Turkish stone, also the feminine of Turkish. Turquoise is an amphous stone occurring in kidney-shaped nodules and incrustations; its color is various shades of azure or robin's egg blue. Of Persian origin, it is supposed to be the stone anciently referred to, in Pliny's natural history, as callais, callania, and callaica. In his catalogue of gems in the United States National Museum, Wirt Tassin applies to turquoise the names callanite and turkis; Catelle says it is known to scientists as "calliate"; Oliver Cummings Farrington in his Gems and Gems Mineral describes callainte as a distinct mineral.


Yellow is the color generally associated with the topaz is sometimes colorless, or name present almost any color, and beautiful specimens of other colors are often supposed to be some other mineral, so thoroughly identified is this stone with the color yellow. The sometime popularity of topaz has of late years declined, and a probable reason is the common substitution of other stones for it. Topaz takes its name from Topazios, meaning "seek"; because the earliest known locality from whence it came was an island in the Red Sea which was often surrounded by fog, and therefore difficult for the local mariners to find.


The precious opal is one of the most individual of gems; of all the opaque minerals, it reveals the most beautiful play of colors, in folklore it is the birth-stone of October and the symbol of hope, and yet, for years, the fame of this fire-flashing stone was blackened by a cloud of superstition which condemned it as unlucky; a superstition the origin of which is obscure. For a time, however, it largely regained its lost popularity, having found its most illustrious patron in Her Majesty, there late Queen Victoria. Another remarkable fact about the opal is that it is not found in the Orient-the very land of gems.


Coral has bee used for personal ornamentation, and as an article of commerce, from the earliest period recorded in writing. Popular in the form of polished fragments, pierced and strung like beads, and less extensively in beads, spherical or oval-the most desired, high grad of those light rose-pink coral is becoming scarce, and those who gather it from the ocean's floor are present time coral is increasing in favor and the demand for it is steadily growing.

Coral like sea gem, the pearl,- is essential carbonate of lime. Its structure is erected by a family of zoophytes, gelatinous marine, animals called polyps. The coral is secreted by a peculiar layer of the skin; it is the calcareous skeleton of the lowly organized animal, and gradually develops like the bones of vertebrates, and is not built up as bees build a honeycomb as is popularly believed.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


The name chrysobery is derived from two Greek word signifying golden-bery. This name is wll suited to the golden-yellow variety, but the chrysoberyl also includes many other colors' such as green, greenish-yellow, brownish-yellow, white, and dark-brown to black.

Three varieties of the chrysoberyls are known as cat's eye,cympphanes, and alexandrites.

The chrysobery crystallizes in the trimetric or rhombic; the cleavage is imperfect; fracture conchoidal ; hardnes8.5 being the third hardest stone; specific gravity, 3.65 to 3.8; and lustre vitreous to greasy.


The second and less valuable divison of the beryl family comprises the following colors:

Clear light sky blue, called by lapidaries aquarmarine; a very light greenish-blue, known as Siberian aquamarine; and a greenish-yellow variety, called aquamarine chrysolite.

These three kinds are are usually very brialliant, and especially so artificial light, in which respect the bery is superior to many of the more valuable gem stones. Beryl of very large size have been found in New Hampsire, one of which has been estimated to weigh over two tons. While the large specimens are worthless for gem stones, some very handsome aquarmines and golden-yellow beryls have been found during the past few years in New Hampshire and Conneticut. These stones, when cut, compare favorably with the best of their kind.


In 1578, Joseph, D'acosta returned to Spain with two cases of emeralds, each case weighing one hundred pounds.

Green tourmaline somes passes for the emerald,but it is some what softer and considerably heavier.

Olivines or chrysolites, it of a fine green color, sometimes resemble the emerald, but they are much heavier than the emerlad and have a fatty lustre, Green spinels are heavier and harder than emeralds.


Some of the finest comes from the mines of Muza, near Bogota, and the best stones are called Peruvian emeralds. During the conquest of Peru by the Spaniards, many very fine emeralds were destroyed by the invadersl, who tested them by grinding and pounding, and concluded that the emeralds were worthless, because they were not as hard as the daimond or sapphires.