Tag: Gemstones

A Quartz, of Course

One thing my mom and I like to do when we get together is show off our newest jewelry acquisitions. My mom has quite the impressive ring collection, and I like to go through her jewelry box and try everything on during my visits. I’ve inherited quite a few stunning pieces of jewelry this way! On my last visit, she showed me a new ring she had recently picked up and thought I would love. She said it was a pink amethyst. Now, amethyst is my birthstone and I have a couple pieces already (and I love to drool over and try on the stunning amethyst jewelry we have here at the shop) – but I’d never seen or heard of pink amethyst before.

By definition, amethyst is a variety of quartz, found in shades of light lilac to deep purple. When the average person thinks of amethyst, it’s usually a color like the pendant below that comes to mind. So, wouldn’t “pink” amethyst be rose quartz? I decided to do some research on this “pink amethyst” to find out if it was a jeweler’s marketing trick, or if it was in fact true amethyst.

Amethyst and CZ Pendant in Sterling Silver

The first thing I discovered along my quest for gemstone knowledge was that there is an actual difference between “pink” quartz and “rose” quartz. Pink quartz, evidently, is more valuable than rose quartz. Pink quartz is the name given to quartz of this shade when found in crystal form, while rose quartz is never found in crystal form and is much less transparent than pink quartz. Also, pink quartz and rose quartz are found in different environments and have different care recommendations. For example, pink quartz is sensitive to light, while rose quartz is not. I knew after a few quick minutes of research that my mom’s ring was more than likely not rose quartz, as it is vary rarely found in facet grade material. In fact, rose quartz is usually sold in bead form.

An example of rose quartz in the rough.
An example of rose quartz in the rough.

The second thing I learned was that there is also a stone commonly called “green amethyst.” Green amethyst is, in fact, a misnomer for prasiolite. Prasiolite is a greenish color variety of quartz. Certain deposits of amethyst can be heat treated to achieve this color, and on rare occasions amethyst can become heated naturally within the earth’s surface, creating natural prasiolite deposits. However, most prasiolite is created by manipulating amethyst.

Prasiolite, sometimes called :green amethyst" next to true amethyst.
Prasiolite, sometimes called “green amethyst” next to true purple amethyst.

I began to wonder if pink amethyst, like green amethyst, was also a misnomer. While researching this possibility, I learned of a popular amethyst variety called “Rose de France.” Rose de France is the name given to the palest of amethyst, often a pastel lavender in color. It is mined in certain regions in Brazil and may contain lower iron deposits than deeper amethyst stones. Rose de France can sometimes appear pink. I wondered if this was the answer I was looking for!

While I was able to find many online jewelry retailers selling “pink amethyst,” my search for actual information on the stone was turning up dry. So, I decided to go to the expert – our own Master Jeweler Jim Stradley. He confirmed my suspicion that my mom’s stone was not rose quartz, backing up the research I did with his own knowledge. “Pink amethyst” is marketing terminology, but not necessarily a misnomer. Turns out, the Rose de France stones that appear more on the pink side are often sold as “pink amethyst.” I read some reviews on retail sites selling pink amethyst jewelry and learned that many of the customers that purchased online were disappointed to receive their jewelry and see that the stone was more lavender and less of a true pink. Turns out a few lucky customers (my mom would fall into this category) received jewelry that was definitely pink, though it seems that those are pretty rare. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m writing this to point fingers or call these jewelers dishonest (or even to discourage you from buying a pink amethyst, if that’s what your heart desires.)

Rose de France Amethyst
Rose de France Amethyst in the rough. If you compare it to the rough rose quartz in this post, it’s easy to spot the differences. These stones are more translucent and pastel in nature.  (Photo From http://www.gemstonesandrough.com/)

This, to me, serves as a reminder to know what you’re looking for and not to be swept away by catchy marketing phrases. You should always try to find a jeweler you can trust, and be assured that if you’re buying jewelry online that you can return or exchange it if it doesn’t live up to your expectations. At Pearls International, we offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and One-Year Warranty on all of our items so that you can always shop with confidence. And, if it’s a pink stone you want, you should probably look for pink diamonds, pink tourmaline, or pink sapphire, which (while they may be a little more pricey than pink amethyst) are going to be more true to color.

Pink Tourmaline and CZ Pendant in Sterling Silver

Pictured above: a Pearls International Pink Tourmaline Pendant.

 

Sources:
Pink Gemstones in Jewelry
Gemology.com
The Quartz Page
The Bead Traders

A Gem From an Unlikely Source

Peanut Butter Diamonds
Photo from Steve Jurvetson and Certified Su Via Flickr

We’ve all heard of chocolate diamonds, but what about peanut butter diamonds?! Unlike chocolate diamonds, which are named for their color, peanut butter diamonds are actually created from sticky, delicious peanut butter.

Scientist Dan Frost of the University of Bayreuth, Germany, was conducting some experiments to try and learn more about the inner workings of our Earth’s mantle, which happens to be where diamonds are formed. In doing this, he recreated the high temperature and pressure seen well over 800 miles below Earth’s surface. Previous research exists supporting that many carbon-containing materials (which gives us a very broad spectrum of possibilities) can be used to synthetically create diamonds.

In Frost’s experiment, he placed a small amount of peanut butter in between two diamonds within a chamber, then used heat and pressure conditions similar to those found within the earth’s mantle. These conditions began to arrange the carbon atoms in the peanut butter into a more dense configuration. The scientist then bombarded his experiment with sound waves to imitate seismic waves. The whole process took a considerable amount of time and only yielded a stone smaller than .25 carats, but provided a lot of great scientific knowledge.

Rather than using this method to create jewelry quality diamonds, Frost plans to use this knowledge to learn more about the conditions under which the Earth was formed. Using similar methods, specialized diamonds can also be formed for use in lasers and other precision instruments. Adding different elements to the carbon source used to create synthetic diamonds could create stones that are even more suitable for use in industrial applications such as semiconductors. Cool!

sources:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/60004/scientist-turns-peanut-butter-diamonds

http://www.iflscience.com/environment/scientist-creates-diamonds-peanut-butter

Gemstone Spotlight: The Pearl! June’s Treasure

“Who comes with summer to this earth
And owes to June her hour of birth
A pearl should wear against her skin
Who’s innocence many a heart shall win.”

– Gregorian Birthstone Poem

Pearls in an oyster.
Pearls of various colors in an oyster shell.

Could you guess which month is our favorite? The birthstone for June is the pearl! Other accepted stones are alexandrite and moonstone, but when you can claim pearls as your gem why would you want another option?! We at Pearls International are always excited for a chance to talk about pearls. June girls are lucky to have such a unique gem to call their own. Pearls are so special because they are the only gem that is produced by a living organism. They are perfect from the moment they leave the shell, requiring no polishing, faceting, or other enhancements, and you will never find two pearls that are perfectly identical. If you are a fan of our site, you’ll know they come in a huge variety of colors, shapes, and sizes! Pearls are found all over the world, with most freshwater pearls coming from China and Japan. Many saltwater pearls are also found in Japan, and are commonly farmed in the Tahitian islands and Australia as well.

The history and mythology of the pearl is another part of what makes them so unique, special, and interesting. Almost all pearls today are cultured, which means an irritant has been placed into a mollusk by a human and the pearl has formed around that irritant. This process was developed around the 1920s. Before cultured pearls, the only pearl jewelry was made from pearls found in an oyster by chance. Only about one in 10,000 oysters will produce a gem quality pearl by itself, so as you can imagine, a strand of natural pearls would have been very, very expensive back then. In fact, did you know a strand of pearls once paid for an entire house? It sounds too crazy to be true, but it is. Pearls really are legendary. Legends around their origins formed from a variety of cultures around the world. The Chinese believed the gem to have formed inside the brains of dragons, while other cultures thought they were formed when oysters swallowed drops of moonlight. The Greeks thought they were drops of water flung from Aphrodite’s body when she was born from the sea.

Illustration of a Chinese dragon with pearlq
The Chinese once believed that pearls were formed inside the brains of dragons and sometimes dropped into the sea when the dragons fought.

Pearls are a symbol of innocence, purity, and love. Giving a bride pearls on her wedding day has been said to prevent tears. Looking for the perfect pearl gift for your June girl? Pearls International has the best pearl rings, necklaces, bracelets, and more! Also consider pearls as a gift for a 30th wedding anniversary.

Black freshwater pearl and crystal hoop earrings
These gorgeous black pearl and crystal hope earrings are sure to make an impression.

18" graduated freshwater pearl necklace in white
Want a more traditional gift? We offer lots of classic white strands.