Gemstone trends: cool colours and cuts for 2016


Author:  Rachael Taylor

Source: The Jewellery Editor

Whether it’s a quirky setting, an unusual cut or a colourful stone, these gemstone trends for 2016 stand out from the crowd.

There is no doubt that, when it comes to jewellery trends, the popularity of coloured gemstones has skyrocketed. No longer are the windows along Bond Street or Place Vendôme achromatic pockets of diamonds, but bouquets of colour, and according to Bonhams, the prices achieved for coloured gemstone jewellery have risen 2,200% in the past 10 years.

“Coloured gemstones continue to appeal immensely to our customers looking to invest in fine jewellery, with pieces featuring coloured diamonds and multi-coloured gemstones constantly growing in popularity,” confirms Helen David, fashion director at luxury London jewellery destination, Harrods.

See more fine jewellery available at Harrods

This year, there has been a very clear trend within coloured gemstones – a desire for blue stones. The shimmering black opals set into the Capri jewels of the Acte V collection by Louis Vuitton; the mesmerising Paraiba tourmaline set into a Chopard ring unveiled at Paris Couture Week; the clusters of turquoise and aquamarine worn around the neck of Cate Blanchett at the Oscars, plucked from the Tiffany Blue Book collection.

Hinatuan ring set with labradorite by Biiju.

But what will next year hold? “I think we’ll continue to see the trend for organic shapes, rough cuts and textures,” offers Joanna Boyen, who runs jewellery brand Biiju, which allows shoppers to customise designs online by selecting composable gemstone elements. “I think it’s going to get very interesting, with more of the unusual stones taking centre stage. It’s an exciting time because consumers are much more aware and more accepting of these stones now, and with bespoke and personalised jewellery being so much in demand, having a statement stone which is different and a talking point is very attractive.”

As well as choosing stones that are lesser known, one of the ways to make a statement with gemstones is to opt for an unusual cut over a classic cut. The shape of the gemstone might look the same at first glance, but peer into the stone and you may be able to see unusual facet work underneath it, such asSheldon Bloomfield’s large aquamarine cocktail ring.

Some new jewellery designs for 2016 even have smaller gemstones hidden beneath the main gem. Suzanne Kalan jewellery, which recently launched at Harrods, includes wonderful pieces that layer transparent stones such as topaz and quartz over clusters of round brilliant or baguette diamonds.

The Caged collection by Melanie Georgacopoulos traps pearls inside golden cages.

Another quirky twist in the realm of jewellery trends is overprotective settings. For these designs, gemstones are wrapped inside extra, often diamond-set, fronds of metal, such as Kiki McDonough’s Luna collection, or trapped inside cages such as the pearls in the Caged range of Melanie Georgacopoulos jewellery. And Brazilian jeweller Moritz Glikoffers an interesting line with diamonds or coloured gemstones trapped inside sapphire glass cases.

For London jeweller Gee Woods, coloured gemstones have become very popular with her clients – particularly yellow hues of sapphires, citrines and diamonds – but she says that demand for unusual stones also applies to diamonds. “Recently I’ve noticed clients seem to be looking for something a bit more exciting than a modern brilliant cut,” she says. “I’m being asked to find old mine-cut diamonds, fancy coloured diamonds and interesting cuts.”

Whether your choice of gemstone jewellery in 2016 will be set with white diamonds or one of nature’s cornucopia of coloured gemstones, just make sure that you opt for something that makes you stand out.

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ICA Joins Certification Initiative for Colored Gems Apr 12, 2013 7:38 AM By Jeff Miller


Source: Rapaport

Author: Jeff Miller

RAPAPORT… The International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) joined a United Nations (UN) initiative to assist in developing a mechanism to trace and certify gemstones from their country of origin. The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) in cooperation with the Vienna International Justice Institute and ICA hosted stakeholders in Turin on April 9 and 10 to review case studies and begin to establish governance for tracking and certifying colored gems.

UNICRI contended that the global colored stone industry, which accounts for $10 billion to $12 billion per year, is extremely fragmented with a high degree of opacity. The easy portability of these stones provide a lucrative stream of revenue for organized criminal groups, but with a certification scheme, the UNICRI would establish a tracking system for colored gems which would be tied back to improvements in environmental, social and security measures, according to the groups.

Participants included representatives of jewelry brands as well as government stakeholders from Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Brazil and South Africa detailed case studies related to their colored gemstone industry and precious metals supply chain.

ICA’s president, Wilson Yuen, addressed participants as an industry representative. “In the present context, tracking gemstones from their geographical origin with a realistic approach is an opportunity for the public sector, the gems and jewelry industry and the civil society to address together social, technical and environmental issues as well as illicit and criminal practices threatening our sector. This will undoubtedly enhance the transparency of the distribution chain and benefit all the stakeholders from mine to market and build up consumer confidence,” said Yuen.

Rare gemstones: Red Beryl

Photo by Pala International

Red beryl is a red variety of beryl. It was first described in 1904 for an occurrence, its type locality, at Maynard’s Claim (Pismire Knolls), Thomas Range, Juab County, Utah. The old synonym “bixbite” is deprecated from the CIBJO, because of the risk of confusion with the mineral bixbyite (also named after the mineralogist Maynard Bixby). The dark red color is attributed to Mn3+ ions.
Red beryl is very rare and has only been reported from a handful of locations including: Wah Wah Mountains, Beaver County, Utah; Paramount Canyon and Round Mountain, Sierra County, New Mexico; and Juab County, Utah. The greatest concentration of gem-grade red beryl comes from the Violet Claim in the Wah Wah Mountains of mid-western Utah, discovered in 1958 by Lamar Hodges, of Fillmore, Utah, while he was prospecting for uranium.

During the late Cretaceous (100 – 65 mya) the younger ranges of the Rocky Mountains were created, and deep fractures appeared which reached deep into the crust. In course of volcanic activities (appr. 20 mya), five or more layers of volcanic topaz rhyolite lava flows covered areas in todays Utah. Then hot fluorine and beryllium-rich gases and vapors, rising through shrinkage cracks of the cooled lava, met groundwater resources near the surface. The water evaporated and left behind niches or miarolitic cavities and porous areas in which the remaining steam could react under low pressure and high temperatures (300° – 650° C) with the rising mineral-rich gases so that red beryl crystals could grow.

Red beryl is the rarest member of the beryl family. Unfortunately there is just a small production of gemmy crystals because of their rarity. Most faceted stones are under 1 ct, and most of them are more or less included or appear as opaque “bubble gum” quality. Nevertheless “bubble gum” colored red beryls are offered, sometimes in good quality.
Faceted, clean stones with a “stop-light” color over 1 ct are extremely rare and priced as such, reaching sometimes over $10,000 / ct (in 2007).
The largest, yet recovered red beryl crystal was 1.4 x 3.4 cm (54 ct). The largest faceted stone (not clear) weighs 8.0 ct. Nevertheless the usual size of good, faceted red beryl is only 0.15 ct!
K. Hyslop, CEO of Gemstone Mining Inc.: “There is only one red emerald for every 150,000 diamonds, 12,000 – 15,000 emeralds, and 7,000 – 8,000 rubies. Only one woman in 3 million can own a 0.80 ct or larger red emerald. These goods are really fit for royalty, only one woman in 50 million could own a large red emerald necklace.” (Source: “Red Emerald or Red Beryl” in The Gemstone Forecaster, Vol. 18 No.3)

Red beryl has been known to be confused with pezzottaite, also known as raspberry beryl or “raspberyl”, a gemstone that has been found in Madagascar and now Afghanistan – although cut gems of the two varieties can be distinguished from their difference in refractive index.
While gem beryls are ordinarily found in pegmatites and certain metamorphic stones, red beryl occurs in topaz-bearing rhyolites. It is formed by crystallizing under low pressure and high temperature from a pneumatolitic phase along fractures or within near-surface miarolitic cavities of the rhyolite. Associated minerals include bixbyite, quartz, orthoclase, topaz, spessartine, pseudobrookite and hematite.


Physical Properties of Red Beryl
Mohs Hardness: 7.5 to 8

Specific Gravity: 2.63 to 2.72

Refractive Index: 1.560 to 1.576

Optical Character: Uniaxial/-

Birefringence: 0.005 to 0.009

Colour (General): Red, violet-red
Causes of Colour: Red, Mn3+ in octahedral coordination.

Fluorescence (General): Inert

Crystal System: Hexagonal
Inclusions in Red Beryl: “Fingerprints” made by numerous fluid inclusions

Jammu and Kashmir government floats fresh ‘global tenders’ for Kashmir sapphire


Source: the Indian Express

Not giving up yet on its intention to tap the potential of the world-famous Kashmir sapphire gemstone, the Jammu and Kashmir government has floated a fresh tender to attract the attention of international and national players interested in its extraction.

“A fresh global tender has been floated to tap the potential of high-grade and world-famous sapphire (mined) in Kishtar belt of the state,” Minister for Industries and Commerce Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo told PTI.

The new tenders follow the previous offer inviting Expression of Interest which failed to generate much response as “only one major company had submitted the proposal for extraction of sapphire,” Kichloo said.

“We do not want to give the contract this way”. J&K Minerals Ltd, a state government enterprise, yesterday issued a fresh global tender inviting parties with expertise in mine-planning, exploration and mining of gemstones to undertake exploration and exploitation of sapphire through a joint venture.

Sapphire from Paddar Valley in Kishtwar district is famous the world over for its unique peacock-blue colour.

The minister, also a local MLA from Kishtwar, is keen on the project and hopes that the Paddar sapphire would soon make a return to markets worldwide. “We are going to speed up the process to ensure the exploitation of this sapphire wealth,” Kichloo said.

JKML holds a mine lease over an area of 6.65 square kilometre on GT Sheet 52/C at Paddar, at a height of 4,327 meters. Following the 45-day deadline for answering to the tender, a list of parties will be prepared who will be issued a Request for Proposal to submit their technical and financial bids.

Kichloo said that the companies will be assessed for their financial and technical capabilities as well as past experience given that the state government is keen to have them mining conducted along the most scientific lines.

The sapphire from Paddar is renowned for its unmatched clarity and transparency and is mainly used in jewellery.

The minister said that the two-decade long militancy in the state, extreme geographical conditions and a lack of resources have till date hampered the commercial exploitation of this valuable natural reserve, which was first undertakenm in Paddar in 1885.

“Their colour holds up in all kinds of light, which experts describe as a magical property when compared with other fine sapphires such as Burmese stones which lose their rich colour in the evening light,” said officials at JKML.

The presence of microscopic inclusions in the stone gives it a magical ‘velvety’ effect, creating a soft yet strong colour like peacock blue. The price of pure sapphire can easily cross USD 100,000 for a carat, making it the most expensive in its category.

JKML goes for extraction during two months in the summers and has extracted over 8,000 gm of raw sapphire, known as corundum. Sold in auctions, these have attracted buyers from as far as South East Asia in the past two years.

Rare gemstones: Painite


Discovered in 1951 in Mogok, Burma, painite was once considered the rarest mineral on Earth.

Painite is a very rare borate mineral. It was first found in Mogok, Burma, by British mineralogist and gem dealer Arthur C.D. Pain in 1951. When it was confirmed as a new mineral species, the mineral was named after him.

The chemical makeup of painite contains calcium, zirconium, boron, aluminium and oxygen (CaZrAl9O15(BO3)). The mineral also contains trace amounts of chromium and vanadium. Painite has an orange-red to brownish-red color similar to topaz due to trace amounts of iron. The crystals are naturally hexagonal in shape, and, until late 2004, only two had been cut into faceted gemstones.

For many years, only three small painite crystals were known to exist. Before 2005 there were fewer than 25 known crystals found, though more material has been unearthed recently in Myanmar.

More recently, painite specimens have been discovered at a new location in northern Myanmar. It is believed that further excavations in this area will yield more painite crystals.

Extensive exploration in the Mogok region has identified several new painite occurrences that have been vigorously explored resulting in several thousand new painite specimens. Most of the recent crystals and fragments are dark, opaque, incomplete crystals. A modest number of transparent crystals have been found and have been either saved as crystals or cut into gemstones.

Originally few of the known painite specimens were privately owned. The rest of the stones were distributed between the British Museum of Natural History, Gemological Institute of America, California Institute of Technology and the GRS Gem Research Laboratory in Lucerne, Switzerland.


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Ethiopian Government thinks about limiting rough exports


As Ethiopian gemstone revenues rise, government looks to limit exports of rough

Quietly and under the radar, Ethiopia appears to be developing into a significant force in the gemstone industry. Speaking last month, Ato Tollosa Shagi of the country’s Ministry of Mines reported that over a six-month period the country had earned $288 million from the export of gemstones.

Ato Tollosa was speaking at a seminar held at the Canadian Embassy in Addis Ababa. He told participants that currently some 250 companies have taken licenses to operate mining exploration in the country.

The country is best known for its opal production, which was first included in the Ethiopian federal government’s list of exportable items in 2005. As a result, output increased, both in terms of production and revenue.

In January it was reported that the federal government was considering banning the export of rough opal, in order to persuade exporters to add value locally. It will be the second extractive resource to be banned, after the ministry suspended the export of unprocessed tantalum, a corrosion resistant, rare blue-gray metal.

Ethiopia exported 10,104 kilograms of gemstones during the last two quarters of 2012; 600 kilograms more than in 2011. India consumed close to 80 percent of exports.

More than 2,000 miners, working under the umbrella of 17 associations are engaged in opal mining. There are 200 exporters recognized by the ministry. According to Tekle Yilma, president of the Ethiopian Gemstone Association, almost all gemstones are sold as rough, without any value addition.

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