Richland Postpone First Sapphire Sale

Author: Danielle Max

(IDEX Online News) – Gemstone miner Richland Resources has announced that it is postponing its first sale of goods from the Capricorn Sapphire project in Australia until the end of the third quarter. The move comes after consultations with its key Sightholders following lower than-expected production.

 According to the company, production in first weeks of the initial start-up and production commissioning phase of the Capricorn project has been lower than projected due to an electrical problem that prevented consistent levels of processing. The issue has now been fixed.  

Instead of a sale, the company is holding a product display and education session at the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair, which opens today. The session will be used to introduce the first Capricorn Sapphire sapphires to potential Sightholders and trade buyers, and discuss downstream branding.

 “We have taken the decision not to make the event a formal Sight as the quantity of gemstones is not sufficient for the type of marketing profile we wish to build with customers,” said CEO Bernard Olivier.

 “Whilst it is disappointing, start-up issues like this forms part of a rapid mine redevelopment process as we continue our start-up and ramp-up phase. However I believe the best way to solve these issues are to identify and rectify them while in operation.”

Book Review • Imperial Jade of Burma & Mutton-Fat Jade of India • Lotus GemologyBy Richard W. Hughes

 Source: LOTUS Gemology
Samuels, S.K. (2014) Imperial Jade of Burma and Mutton-Fat Jade of India: Mining, Trade, and Use from Antiquity to the Present. SKS Enterprises, Inc., Tucson, AZ, USA, 248 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9725323-4-1

Jade is a subject that most in the Western world find hard to fathom, in no small part because much of the appreciation of this stone exists in non-Roman (re: Chinese) scripts. Thus a discussion of the finer points of jade connoisseurship by someone unable to read Chinese is not unlike a eunuch’s guide to pillow talk. The thought is nice, but…

While Myanmar (Burma) has been the chief source of fine jadeite for more than two centuries, the Middle Kingdom’s history with jade goes back thousands of years and involves far more than jadeite’s glassy shine and neon hues. Here’s a case in point: as of the time of this writing (May 2014), the most expensive piece of jade ever sold at auction was not jadeite from Myanmar, but nephrite from western China. How’s this for another stunner: the color of this “imperial” jade is not green, but white. Perhaps this helps to illuminate just why the Western world considers jade to be “inscrutable.”

The current volume has been penned by S.K. Samuels, a Burmese native who has lived in the USA for many decades. Its stated goal is to:

“…correct misconceptions and present a coherent picture of how jade was discovered, mined, and used in Burma over the centuries.”

In the book’s Preface, the author includes this statement:

“In fact, most of what appears about Burma’s jade mines in Western literature to date is not only inaccurate but also incomplete and incorporates unsubstantiated legends. It was written during the colonial and the post-colonial eras and ignores a body of literature that exists in Burmese and English. Then this misinformation has been repeated by more modern writers.”

As evidence, Samuels cites the account of Mr. Warry, a British consular officer stationed in China who visited Burma in 1888 with the first expedition of British troops to reach the jade mines. Warry not only spoke Chinese, but in his 7000-word essay gave a detailed description of jade in China, including the nephrite deposits in Xinjiang. In touching on the discovery of jade in Burma, he spends just 200 words relating a story told to him of the discovery of jade in Burma by a Chinese trader in the 13th Century (Hertz, 1912).

Samuels dismisses this tale, but as evidence against it offers only vague statements by authors writing decades later, none of who had actually visited the Burmese jade mines. So whom should one believe, a China expert who visited the source and was [presumably] told of its discovery by someone at the site, or others who never visited the source?

This reviewer has read Warry’s essay and finds it entirely believable, reproducing it in his article on the occidental history of jade (Hughes, 1999). Samuels is free to disagree, but he needs to build a better case than what is contained in this book.

It does not help Samuels’ case that his book contains provable inaccuracies:

p. 7: It is stated that the Ruby Mines Ltd. Company was founded in the late 1930s. Actually it was founded in 1934 and closed in 1941.

p. 139: According to Samuels, by 2001, it was impossible for foreigners to visit either Mogok or Phakant (Hpakan; the jade mines). This reviewer visited both in 2004.

p. 63: “The Western press wrote about the gem and jade mines from 1885. History prior to this did not seem to matter or was unreliable; apparently, only history after 1885, written by colonial writers, is valid.”

Even a casual browsing of the early issues of publications like the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (founded in 1784) reveal a strong Western curiosity regarding all things Asian; indeed the goal of that society was to study all aspects of the great continent. The first European visitor to the jade mines was in 1837 (Griffith, 1847), while the first eyewitness Western account of the ruby mines was published in 1833 (d’Amato, 1833).

In this text, Samuels repeatedly makes reference to the mistakes of other writers, but includes little in the way of quotations or citations to support his censure. And yet he makes unsubstantiated statements of his own, such as the following:

P. 51: “In the early years of the tenth century, some Burmese jade was exported privately by traders in small amounts.”

No references whatsoever are given to support this claim. While it was certainly not his intention, such passages leave Samuels open to the charge that, while accusing others of hearsay, he is peddling a stone of similar nature.

A full chapter is devoted to the gem material maw sit sit, but the name Eduard Gübelin does not appear at all. While this reviewer appreciates that maw sit sit had been mined for centuries and was mentioned by H.L. Chhibber in 1934, it was Gübelin’s publications that put maw sit sit on the world gemological map. Not to mention them is a significant omission in a book that claims to be an attempt to set the jade record straight.

But this is not to say that the book is entirely negative. There is much within its pages that will both thrill and enlighten. I was particularly impressed by the author’s wonderful accounts of Chinese nephrite brought to India for working by the subcontinents’ expert lapidaries during the Mughal period.

This volume has been privately published, but could have benefited greatly from a professional editor and comprehensive fact checking, as the following examples show:

The index omits important places like Mogok, even though it is mentioned in several places in the text.

While the book contains 163 photos, maps and diagrams, many are of poor quality and/or reproduced too small to be effective. In certain cases, outside illustrations do not appear to be properly credited.

Citations appear in footnotes at the bottom of the relevant pages, but with little consistency in style, some missing pertinent information like the date and even name of publication.

Scholars (and this reviewer in particular) would welcome a comprehensive English-language volume on the history of Burmese jade, particularly one written by someone fluent in Burmese who could provide insights that only a native speaker might glean. Unfortunately the current book falls short. The thought is nice, but…

As a fellow author, I appreciate the amount of work that goes into producing a book of this type, and as someone who has self-published, I also understand the pitfalls. It is my sincere hope that the author will consider preparing a second, corrected edition. If done properly, it has the potential to become a valuable addition to the world gemological literature.

d’Amato, P.G. (1833) A short description of the mines of precious stones in the district of Kyatpyin, in the Kingdom of Ava. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. 2, pp. 75–76.

Griffith, W. (1847) Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bootan, Affghanistan, and the Neighbouring Countries. Calcutta, Bishop’s College Press, 529 pp.

Hertz, W.A. (1912) Burma Gazetteer: Myitkyina District. Rangoon, Superintendent, Govt. Printing and Staty., Volume A, reprinted 1960, 193 pp., map.

Hughes, R.W. (1999) Burma’s jade mines: An annotated Occidental history. Journal of the Geo-Literary Society, Vol. 14, No. 1, January, pp. 15–35.

First posted online in Gems & Gemology on 19 May, 2015. 
Buy the book from LOTUS

Buying and Crying, the Longest Diamond Recession

Source: Edahn Golan

Author: Edahn Golan

Sometimes, when talking with Sightholders, they have a strong, even passionate opinion about their Sight supplies, prices and the state of the market. This happens at times of instability. At other times, their views are quite moderate, yielding to the market and everything that is happening in it at the moment. However, during a turbulent period, it is very rare when Sightholders remain subdued or accepting of the situation, as it is now.
Currently, it is difficult to assess the size of De Beers’ Sights. The consensus among brokers is that De Beers offered about $600 million worth of rough diamonds, and another $50 million were requested as ex-plan. There was no clear trend to the prices, although many changes were made – both up and down.
Read more at: Edahn Golan website


Source : Stuller 

Read Elizabeth’s latest installment about June’s birthstone

Pearls for June and Far Beyond
To limit pearls to June birthdays would be a lot like limiting water to streams and ponds. Pearl beauty, appeal, and style — whether freshwater or saltwater — finds its way into almost every woman’s wardrobe. And thanks to cultured pearls, developed in the early 20th century, most women can afford them.
Pearl Personalities
Like most other gemstones, pearls don’t fit neatly into one particular category. Their subtle, luxurious beauty boasts multiple personalities to suit the many customers who choose them.
Pearls are feminine, fun and flirty, a personality typified by trending pearl fashion jewelry. Think of Sarah Jessica Parker’s style in “Sex in the City.”

Pearls are classic simplicity — the strand and studs worn by any woman who appreciates an understated look. Think of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Pearls are sophisticated — a long, lush strand of fine large pearls looped around the neck or a multi-strand necklace perhaps clustered or twisted, with or without a diamond or gemstone adornment. Think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

And last but not least, pearl is extravagant and spectacular — one-of-a-kind designer styles accented and interwoven with diamonds and gemstones. Think of Rhianna draped in strands of pearls or Elizabeth Taylor wearing La Peregrina.

A Moment in Time
Imagine that moment millennia ago when mankind first encountered a small wondrously luminescent object. Was it round, oval, teardrop or baroque? It had no name, only its shape, color, and dazzling luster. Was it a stone? It didn’t look like one. It appeared almost alive. Yes, it was beautiful and unusual; surely it had some greater purpose.
We can surmise that since that moment, pearls have fascinated us. One pearl carbon dated to 5500 BCE — more than 7500 years ago! — was buried with its owner. In all likelihood, older ones exist and sooner or later someone will find them.
Each Pearl Tells A Tale
The story of pearl formation sounds much like a fairytale in which the heroine is perceived as a threat and shut away from the world with no obvious possibility of redemption. Here’s how this tale unfolds.
Each pearl begins when an irritant somehow enters an oyster or other bi-valve mollusk. On perceiving the threat, the mollusk reacts to protect its soft inner tissue. It encapsulates the irritant with successive translucent layers of nacre, smoothing its surface so oyster and irritant can coexist. As far as the oyster knows, the irritant will be there permanently.
Then miraculously, perhaps with the help of a Fairy Godmother, someone opens the mollusk to find a treasure of great beauty. The once disdained “irritant” emerges as a pearl and enters a world of love and appreciation to live happily ever after. The end.
I don’t think so.
We can’t just leave this story for pearls. Let’s apply it to our lives too. After all, don’t our biggest challenges/”irritants” develop our greatest strengths and bring inner beauty to light?
Pearls in History
With so many pearls available today, it’s hard for us to understand the rarity of natural pearls, particularly those of any size. They are so rare that for millennia they were the most coveted gems. To have one was to possess beauty of incomparable value. Only royalty and other wealthy individuals had any hope of ever owning pearls.
The Hope Pearl is the most famous natural saltwater pearl weighing 1,800 grains — 450 carats — or 4-ounces. It once belonged to the owner of the Hope Diamond. Currently it is in the British Museum of Natural History.

La Peregrina is a perfectly pear-shaped pearl weighing 223.8 grains (55.95 carats). Its famous owners included Prince Phillip II of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte — who stole it from Spain, British Marquis of Abercorn, and finally in 1969, Elizabeth Taylor, gifted to her by Richard Burton.

The Mary Tudor Pearl, now known as the Pearl of Kuwait, is often confused with La Peregrina. They are both pear shaped. The Mary Tudor Pearl weighs 258.12 grains or 64.5 carats. It was owned by Isabella of Portugal; her daughter Joanna of Austria; Joanna’s cousin, Phillip II of Spain; and Mary Tudor of England.

Alive With Beauty
Living organisms — bi-valve mollusks — create pearls. As such, they have a presence, a vitality that attracts the eye with mesmerizing beauty. Their luster emanates from within, giving them a spiritual allure.
Some historians have proposed that pearls were first used and sought after for their spiritual powers and only secondarily for their value. Perhaps they were, but frankly, I find that hard to believe. When something combines rarity with beauty, it’s valuable no matter what the use.
Pearl Power
Both ancient India and China gave rise to astounding pearl myths of their origins and powers. Vedic texts relate that pearls were born of earth’s water and heaven’s powers, each fertilized by a lightning strike. Pearls were considered “daughters of the Moon,” reflecting her luster.
In today’s youth-oriented culture, we would all do well to buy pearls and lots of them. In 17th and 18th century BCE, the Babylonians believed that pearls had life-giving qualities including the ability to restore youth.
To Look Their Best
What do pearls have to do to stay beautiful? They need to be worn often. If stored in a hot, airless environment, they can dry and crack. Pearls need oil from the skin to enhance their luster and color and after each wearing they should be wiped with a damp cloth to remove hairspray or other damaging chemicals.



The ancient Romans theorized that moonstone, with its unearthly shimmer, was formed from frozen moonlight. This appealing gem variety does shine with a cool lunar light but it is the mineral feldspar, quite terrestrial in origin. The shimmer, which is called schiller or adularescence, is caused by the intergrowth of two different types of feldspar, with different refractive indexes.
Moonstones come in a variety of colors. The body color can range from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. The clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. The best moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color.
Sometimes moonstone will have an eye as well as sheen. Another related feldspar variety is known as rainbow moonstone. In this variety of labradorite feldspar, the sheen is a variety of rainbow hues, from pink to yellow, to peach, purple, and blue. Sometimes one gem will show all these colors.
Fine moonstone is quite rare and becoming rarer. It is mined in Sri Lanka and Southern India. The rainbow variety can be found in India and Madagascar.
Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth-domed oval cabochon shape to maximize the effect. Sometimes they are carved to show a man-in-the-moon face.
Moonstone has a hardness of 6 to 6.5. It should not be stored in contact with your other gemstones to prevent scratching. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.