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Diamond (after being cut is called brilliant) is the most well-known and promoted jewelry stone. But no step or emerald cut makes a diamond a brilliant. This stone is surrounded but thousands of myths and legends, though many of them are just a result of clever propaganda. There is hardly a person in the world who had not heard such expressions which became proverbs long time ago: Brilliant is the king of precious stones; Diamonds are a girl’s best friend; Diamonds are forever; Brilliant is a frozen teardrop, etc. These myths are not as harmless as one may think, as they did not appear out of thin air and they do not exist on their own.

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Рубин фантазийной огранки

Stones ranking second on the popularity scale after diamonds belong to the corundum group. Corundum is a word that is not usually familiar with the casual jewelry buyer, so I will explain what are they, what kinds of corunds exist, and what is the difference in quality and price amongst them.

Properly speaking, corundum is nothing but a regular aluminum oxide (Al2O3), which is very common in nature. Moreover, its constituents, aluminum and oxygen, are among five of the most common chemical elements on the planet. The Mohs’ hardness of corundum is 9, and the relative density is 4g/cm3. Rubies could have been the hardest stones if not for diamonds--excluding the scale and judging by absolute rates, diamonds are much harder. Small additions of different metallic oxides give corunds a wide color range.

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SapfirSapphire is the closest relative to the ruby, and just as the ruby, the sapphire is known from centuries past. Ancient Greek oracles used it for their forecasts; it is believed that the stone got its name from the Greek word sappherios meaning “blue stone.” In ancient Russia, it was called the “blue ruby.” For quite a long time, all stones with blue coloring were called sapphires, but only since 1800 has the name of sapphire been attributed to the blue corundum s only.

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PadparadgeI decided to make this chapter a bit different. For starters, let me tell you what information about padparadscha you can readily anywhere. Then, I will tell you what padparadscha really is. Let’s begin.

Orange jasper is a “day stone”–a highly energy-charged universal healer. Among the transparent orange gemstones, there is one unique member of the corundum um family–the padparadscha, or “the flush of dawn.” If it is true that the name comes from Sinhalese lad ma radscha, then it means “the color of a lotus flower.” Orange corundum s are very rare and very beautiful. They are found mainly in Sri Lanka. I recommend padparadscha to those who love orange, but also to those suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments.

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Now it is time to talk about other wonderful gems – the emeralds. It is no coincidence that their attractive color, so rich and deep, even gave its name to one of the various shades of green, emerald green. Quality emeralds are not only very beautiful but also extremely expensive, with some jewelry piece being even more expensive than diamonds. But these green gems should be free from inclusions and cracks, which is, unfortunately, quite rare for an emerald.

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alexandrit_2Alexandrite is one of the most beautiful and perfect gemstones born in the depths of Russian soil. This unique mineral is able to change its color depending on the light. This property is called reversion, and the term itself is used only in Russia. The cause of reversion is small inclusions of chrome. Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl (beryllium and aluminum oxide BeAl2O4).

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Shpinel_01Spinel has lots of varieties but the same chemical composition: magnesium aluminate. The name of this gemstone is due to its octahedral shape and comes from the German spinell , meaning “thorn.” The name also derives from its beautiful shine and play of the crystal, from the Greek spintes, “spark.” Spinel, or magnesium aluminate (MgAl2O4) is a bit harder than emerald–8 on Moh’s scale of hardness–and is absolutely transparent in its pure form.

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Jade (Jadeite)

gadeitImperial jade (imperial) is a unique gemstone. The color of a common jade may vary from red to lilac (violet). There are also orange and pink stones, but imperial is always light green. This gemstone is popular in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. This is the only precious stone that does not occur in crystal form; it is mined from lodes that are situated on the surface or in the maternal rock.

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gemantoidDemantoid, or green garnet (andradite) is a green crystal (Ca3Fe2(SiO4)3), the softest of the garnets, with a Moh’s hardness of 6.5-7. Its coloring varies from almost colorless to yellow-green, but the most valuable is the rich, bright-green color. The best samples of this stone are mined in Russia.

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papaibaIn 1989 at the jewelry fair in Tucson, Arizona, a true sensation happened. A wonderful, previously unseen gemstone was presented to the public: the paraiba. It was amazing; where could one find something like this at the end of the 20th century, when everything seemed to be already discovered, especially in the domain of gemology?

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tanzanitThe name of this stone derives from its country of origin, Tanzania. Tanzanite stands alone among the families of precious stones because it does not belong to any of them. It is a variety of zoisite (cacium and aluminum silicate Ca2Al3[Si2O7] [SiO4]O [OH]), which was discovered in 1805 and is named after the philanthropist S. Zois, who financed the geological expeditions. Usually, zoisite is a non-transparent stone of green, blue, or pink color with a glassy shine. It has never been of much interest for jewelers, though sometimes it was used in different crafts.

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tsavoritTsavorite (also, tsavolite) is one of the jewelry varieties of grossular Ca3Al2[SiO4]3, a mineral of the garnet group. Its main feature is a rich, very bright green color that is due to the presence of vanadium. The main jewelry shades of this stone are green, light-green, and yellow-green.

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Imperial Topaz

topazAmong the topaz stones, there are those of different color hues, even though the base of all topaz stones is the same: fluorinated aluminum silicate A­l2SiO4 (F, ОН), Moh’s hardness 8. Most of them do not cost much, but there is one exception: imperial topaz, an exceptionally rare gem from Brazil. Orange topaz as it is was quite well known for a long time, but its re-appearance as “imperial” was the result of a well-thought public relations campaign. Such topaz stones are really unique, and they cannot be found anywhere else.

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opalThis stone is known to virtually everybody. But though its name coming from Latin opalus or even more ancient Sanskrit upala means “precious stone,” though sadly, this gem is not considered precious as it occurs much too often in nature to earn that distinction.

Opal consists of silicon oxide (5-10 percent) and molecules of water SiO2+H2О; Moh’s hardness is 6.5. A major peculiarity of this stone is that it has no crystalline texture. Instead, opal has a special “superstructure” of its own, consisting of particles of silicon oxide that are aggregated into minuscule spherical arrangements. These arrangements are of different sizes and found in a rather chaotic layout in ordinary opals. As for the noble opals, these arrangements are more ordered, so such stones have a very important feature: color play. This wonderful effect is called opalescence, which makes a stone look like it is crossed by brightly colored clouds.

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Cat’s Eye (Cymophane)

catCat’s eye is not a purely scientific term; it is an optical effect that appears in some stones, particularly in crystals with lots of small inclusions. If all of them are oriented in one direction, then the light reflecting from inner structures starts to play in them. On the surface of the stone, you might see a hexagram, for instance, or a bright opalizing line (stripe). This is what actually called the “cat’s eye effect.” It may reveal itself in many different stones such as emerald, alexandrite, aquamarine, tourmaline, and moonstone, but the only stone where this effect is considered truly valuable is cymophane, a variety of chrysoberyl, just like alexandrite. The color of cymophane varies from honey brown to apple green. But the most valuable are therich golden colors. This stone is translucent, and sometimes, though rarely, semi-transparent. Cat’s eye is considered to be a respectable, distinctly masculine stone; most of all it is used in the man's jewelry. A cat’s eye ring is the sign of your fortune, respectability, and good taste.

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gemchugThis is the only precious stone that is created by a living organism. Pearls have always had the reputation of being a big rarity, and its birth is surrounded by mystery. Pliny, the Roman historian, thought it was born from the morning dew. The Chinese believed the pearls are nothing but the dragons’ spit. In fact, pearl is pure and simple calcium carbonate CaCO3 (chalk), where the bound particles of water are allocated. So there is no secret after all, though it is difficult to believe that this nacreous wonder is ever born without any divine intervention! No wonder, then, that people were so excited when Mikimoto Kokichi of Japan adopted this technique for production of cultured pearls in 1896. Unfortunately, now Mikimoto’s company is no more, and its honorable name is bought as a brand by some bank consortium.

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Rare Jewelry Stones

kamniPrecious stones such as sapphire, ruby, emerald, topaz, amethyst, aquamarine, turquoise, and others are known to virtually everybody. At the same time, not that many people heard of such wonderful gems as demantoid, heliodor, elbaite, spinel, alexandrite, hyacinth, or jadeite.

Also, there are stones that are still practically unknown, though they are very beautiful. In the whole world, only up to a dozen of professionals may know about them, but why is this so? Sometimes a beautiful stone is just too delicate; a piece with such stone can be exhibited in a museum but is unsuitable for wear. Other gems are simply dangerous to your health. But there are some unknown stones that are more than fit for jewelry business. But why are they still in the shadow of their luckier counterparts?

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