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OCTOBER BIRTHSTONES

Individuals born in October get to choose between two birthstones—tourmaline and opal. Each gem then unveils nearly limitless possibilities, as each one comes in a rainbow of shades and color combinations.

In fact, both of October’s birthstones came to earth through a journey involving rainbows, according to legend.

Between tourmaline (whose color depends on trace elements in its chemical makeup) and opal (which diffracts light to show a play of multiple colors), October’s birthstones offer a full spectrum of gems to suit anyone’s personal tastes.

The name “opal” originates from the Greek word opallios, which meant “to see a change in color.” The Roman scholar Pliny used the word opalus when he wrote about this gem’s kaleidoscopic “play” of colors that could simulate shades of any stone.

Opal’s characteristic “play-of-color” was explained in the 1960s, when scientists discovered that it’s composed of microscopic silica spheres that diffract light to display various colors of the rainbow. These flashy gems are called “precious opals;” those without play-of-color are “common opals.”

Dozens of opal varieties exist, but only a few (like Fire Opal and Boulder Opal) are universally recognized. Opals are often referred to by their background “body color”—black or white.

Opal’s classic country of origin is Australia. Seasonal rains soaked the parched outback, carrying silica deposits underground into cracks between layers of rock. When the water evaporated, these deposits formed opal. Sometimes, silica seeped into spaces around wood, seashells and skeletons, resulting in opalized fossils.

Since opal was discovered in Australia around 1850, the country has produced 95 percent of the world’s supply. Opal is also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho.

The water content of opal can range from three to 21 percent – usually between 6 and 10 in gem-quality material. This, combined with hardness of only 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale, makes opal a delicate gem that can crack or “craze” under extreme temperature, dehydration or direct light.

Wearing opal is well worth the extra care, though. For centuries, people have associated this gem with good luck. Though some recent superstitions claim that opals can be bad luck to anyone not born in October, this birthstone remains a popular choice.

 

Click on link for  more great information about opals and tourmalines; https://www.americangemsociety.org/page/octoberbirthstones

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Examining Pyrite, Iron and Flint: The Fire Makers By Toni Rah

August 6, 2018

One of the oldest and best preserved human mummies ever found is that of Ötzi, a man who lived some 5,300 years ago near the present border of Austria and Italy. His remains, preserved in an alpine glacier high in the Ötztal Alps, were found 1991. That Ötzi lived during the transition between the late Stone Age and the dawning Copper Age is evident from his possessions: a flint knife and a copper axe. Also among his possession were pieces of flint and pyrite, the key materials of early percussion fire making.

Foundation of Fire

Flint's striking edgesFlint, hard and durable, was easily shaped into striking edges that could fragment pyrite or steel to create sparks. (Image courtesy iRocks.com)                                                                                                                     click here to read more about this.

Anthropologists believe humans first created artificial fire between 250,000 and 700,000 years ago using simple drills in which wood-on-wood friction generated ignition heat. Much later, they learned to make fire by striking certain mineral materi­als with hard objects.

The first mineral-sparking material was pyrite, or iron disulfide. The striking materi­al was flint, a form of microcrystalline quartz. Harder than pyrite, flint could be easily shaped into a striking edge. When flint strikes pyrite, part of the pyrite surface shatters and emits a shower of sparks, which can ignite dry tinder.

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Peridot

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Peridot gemstones were once thought to contain rays of sunshine, an observation likely borne from its golden to deep green glow when in sunlight. The Egyptians first found peridot at Zabargad, a Red Sea island and peridot was found in jewelry from the early 2nd millennium BCE. Peridot gemstones were thought to protect wearers from evil spirits. Peridot is a gemstone everyone can enjoy. It is one of the August birthstones, but those born in other months may also take pleasure from its beauty.

Peridot Facts

  • Peridot is the gem-quality green variety of olivine.
  • Egypt was an early source of peridot but is no longer a commercial producer of it. Burma (Myanmar) and, more recently, China, Pakistan and the United States are the world’s most productive sources today. Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Norway and Sri Lanka are sources too, but have not produced significant commercial quantities in recent years.
  • Peridot has a hardness of 6.5-7.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Peridot gemstones can be cut into many shapes and sizes, often as faceted gems and sometimes as cabochons or beads.
  • Peridot can be yellowish green to greenish yellow to brownish-green. Some contain inclusions that cause internal stresses, which produce discoid fractures known as lily pad inclusions.

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Guide to Buying Gemstone Jewelry

How to select quality gemstones and gemstone jewelry

Beauty. Rarity. Durability. Discover the attributes that attract us to colored gemstones for personal adornment and make gemstones valuable and precious. Colored gemstones provide the opportunity for uniquely personal expression. Use Jewelers of America’s guide to buying gemstone jewelry to ensure you select the highest quality gemstone jewelry for your budget.

How Gemstones Are Graded

While gemstones have similar quality factors as diamonds (cut, clarity, color and cut), they are valued differently for gemstones. For example, color is by far the most important C for colored gemstones, whereas cut is usually considered the most important C for diamonds.

Gemstone Color

Most colored gemstones derive their beauty from their color – purples, blues, greens, yellows, oranges, reds. Three factors relate to a gemstone’s color:

Hue: the pure color on the spectrum, describes the dominant color and any additional colors visible in a gem.

Tone: the lightness or darkness of a color. In the GIA color-grading system, tones range from very light to very dark.

Saturation or intensity: is the purity of the hue.

When buying colored gemstone jewelry, select what you consider beautiful. Because of the subtle differences in the tone and hue of the colored gemstone you are considering, look at several to find the one you prefer. Each gem variety has an optimal hue, tone and saturation, your jeweler can show you and explain the how gemstones each exhibit their optimal color.

Gemstone Cut

Gem cutters work to achieve a pleasing and affordable mix of color, weight and a safe shape for mounting. During creation, a gemstone’s size is constrained by nature. For example, while large and beautiful amethysts are readily available, an alexandrite of large size is extremely rare.

Sparkle adds to the beauty of a well-cut colored gemstone. The cut of a colored gemstone describes its shape and how it is fashioned. Some gemstones, such as opal, are suited to a smooth, rounded surface. Others, such as sapphire, are more frequently shaped with a precise series of flat, symmetrical planes, called facets, which make the most pleasing illumination of the gem’s color. Some cutters today may also use convex or concave facets, shaping colored gemstone like small sculptures.

Learn more about Cut in our Diamond section >

Gemstone Clarity

The clarity of colored gemstones contributes to their beauty. Unless a gemstone is opaque and blocks all light, how light moves through the gemstone affects its beauty. Some gemstones have few internal inclusions to interrupt the passage of light, as is the case with most pieces of tanzanite. Others have characteristic inclusions. For example, some emerald has a “jardine” (garden), which makes each gem truly unique.

Learn more about Clarity >

Continue reading Guide to Buying Gemstone Jewelry

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Emerald Gemstone Information

Emerald gemstones have been beloved throughout human history, evoking rebirth, renewal and spring. The word “emerald” comes from the Greek word “smaragdos,” which means green stone. Variations of its rich color suggest soothing, lush green gardens. The Roman Emperor Nero is said to have used slices of emerald placed before his eyes to view gladiator fights.

Emerald is the May birthstone, and it is the gemstone for 20th wedding anniversaries.
Emerald Facts

  • Emerald is a variety of the beryl species and is related to aquamarine and green beryl.
  • The first known emerald mines were in Egypt.
  • Colombia has been a leading source for emerald for centuries. Other sources are Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Russia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • Emerald gemstones have also been found in North America in Hidden, North Carolina, and the Yukon Territories in Canada among other locations.
  • Emerald has a hardness of 7.5-8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Emerald is the only stone with a cut named after it.

Emerald Treatment

  • Fractures often occur in emeralds and some treatments have been developed to diminish the appearance of these fractures, improve the color and increase the transparency of the gem. These treatments include filling fractures with oil, paraffin, resins or polymers. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.

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2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – South Jersey Shore

Reclaim the future for millions! Join our team for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Together, we can advance research to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s, and provide programs and support to improve the lives of millions of affected Americans.

The woman in this picture is Estelle or some of you might know her as Mom. Estelle helped her son with bookkeeping and other various tasks for the business, Gary’s Gem Garden. Gary’s Mother retired from the store only to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly there after. A long and very difficult disease for the whole family. She passed on June 14, 2015.

 We are Walking to End Alzheimer’s for Mom. Please donate to my team today. Together we can end Alzheimer’s! #ENDALZ #Walk2EndAlz

Reclaim the future for millions! Join our team for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Together, we can advance research to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s, and provide programs and support to improve the lives of millions of affected Americans.

The woman in this picture is Estelle or some of you might know her as Mom. Estelle helped her son with bookkeeping and other various tasks for the business, Gary’s Gem Garden. Gary’s Mother retired from the store only to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly there after. A long and very difficult disease for the whole family. She passed on June 14, 2015.

 I am Walking to End Alzheimer’s for Mom. Please donate to my team today. Together we can end Alzheimer’s! #ENDALZ #Walk2EndAlz

2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – South Jersey Shore

Click this link below to Donate to our walk or join our Team

Sunday, October 7, 2018

http://act.alz.org/goto/garysgemgarden

Click this link below to Donate to our walk or join our Team

 

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Cultured Pearls

Bring your pearls and necklaces to Gary’s Gem Garden for the best in necklace repair! We do professional knotting and straight stringing. We do costume jewelry repair as well.

Pearls have been a source of fascination and desire since ancient times. Viewed as magic charms, symbols of purity and love, or sources of wisdom and power, pearls are one of the oldest known gems and have been revered by countless civilizations.

Legend has it that Cleopatra dissolved a large pearl in a glass of wine and drank it to impress Marc Antony with her wealth and power – a ploy that worked all too well. Knights in the Middle Ages wore pearls onto the battlefield to protect themselves from harm. Queen Elizabeth I so loved the white gems that she had them sewn on all her clothing and wore ropes of them around her neck. In addition to their fascinating beauty, pearls occupy a unique spot in the world of precious gemstones. Instead of being found in a core of rock, a pearl is made over time by a living creature, an oyster. Today, cultured pearls combine the beauty of nature with the genius of man to create organic gems available in a wide array of styles and prices.

The cultured pearl begins its life as an irritant to the oyster. To protect itself, the oyster coats an intruding object or grain of sand with nacre, a crystalline substance that builds up over time, resulting in a shimmering, iridescent creation. The culturing process developed by man mimics nature. Farmers implant a fine bead into the oyster where it cannot be expelled. The oyster does the rest and creates its lustrous masterpiece, the cultured pearl.

Types of Cultured Pearls

Akoya This is the most familiar type of cultured pearl sold in necklaces. Akoyas from Japan and China are grown in pearl oysters and are known for their shimmering beauty and warm colors, which range from rose, cream and gold to silvery white and blue/gray.

South Sea Large (10mm and up) cultured pearls grown in tropical and semi-tropical oysters in the South Seas and around the coast of Australia. Their color ranges from silvery white to gold. They are quite costly due to their size and rarity.

Tahitian Black Large (10mm and up) cultured pearls grown in black-lipped oysters in French Polynesia. Colors range from silvery gray and green to deep purple and black. Their large sizes and unique colors command premium prices.

Mabe Large, hemispherical cultured pearls grown against the inside shells of oysters rather than in the oysters’ bodies. Due to their half-round shape, they are most popular in earrings, rings and brooches. Mabe cultured pearls are less expensive than round cultured pearls.

Freshwater Pearls cultivated in mussels, not oysters, in freshwater lakes and rivers primarily in China, Japan and the United States. Shapes can be freeform, rice shaped, off-round or spherical, and colors range from milky white to peach, pink and lavender. Freshwaters can be less expensive than other varieties of cultured pearls.

Keshi Also known as seed pearls, these tiny cultured pearls can be as small as a grain of sand and form accidentally in many cultured pearl oysters.

Baroque These cultured pearls are irregularly shaped, yet often lustrous and appealing. Due to their shapes, baroque cultured pearls are often less costly than round cultured pearls. Continue reading Cultured Pearls

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Karat Gold Jewelry

Gold, one of the world’s most precious metals, dates back to the dawn of mankind. All great civilizations built up treasuries of the lustrous metal, reserving golden objects for their most important rituals.

The most alluring use of the sun-colored metal has always been in jewelry. The Egyptians, largest producers of gold in the ancient world, equated gold with the sun, the giver of life, and reserved its use for pharaohs only. The ancient Etruscans created meticulously hand-wrought objects using fine granules and threads of gold, a technique still practiced today. To this day, Chinese and Indian brides wear jewelry of 24-karat gold on their wedding day to ensure a lifetime of good luck and happiness. A gift of gold jewelry says love and permanence as eloquently today as in all the ages past.

The Characteristics of Gold. Gold combines four basic characteristics that make it a universally treasured possession:

Beauty. Gold’s natural color can be further enhanced by alloying it with small amounts of other metals, yielding a spectrum of exquisite, subtle shades. Metalsmiths are able to create yellow, rose, green and white golds by adjusting the alloys. More copper results in a soft rose color; additional silver creates green gold; and nickel produces white. A popular trend is to combine two or more colors of gold in a single piece of jewelry.

Purity It is estimated that only slightly more than 100,000 tons of gold have been taken from the earth during all of recorded history. And although gold can be found in rivers, seas and land in many parts of the earth, it is not easily extracted. Opening a mine is a time-consuming and costly operation, and several tons of ore are required in order to produce just one ounce of the precious metal.

Durability Look no further than the nearest museum, where gold jewelry, coins and artifacts from ancient civilizations attest to the metal’s enduring beauty and permanence.

Workability Jewelers throughout the ages have preferred gold to all other metals for its beauty and ease of workmanship. Gold can be melted, or shaped, to create any design. It can be alloyed with a number of other metals to increase its strength and produce a variety of colors and can be re-melted and used again to create new designs.

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Colored Gemstones

Colored Gemstones
Beauty. Rarity. Durability. These attributes attract us to colored gemstones for personal adornment and make gemstones valuable and precious. Colored gemstones provide the opportunity for uniquely personal expression.

Beauty.     Most colored gemstones derive their beauty from their color purples, blues, greens, yellows, oranges, reds. In certain colored gemstones color occurs naturally. Satisfying hues are intrinsic in some garnets, for example. In other colored gemstones, the final color occurs with assistance. For nearly as long as people have worn rubies, we have known how to treat a rough ruby with heat to obtain a desirable red color. Not all rubies are heat treated, but the vast majority are.

Gem cutters work to achieve a pleasing and affordable mix of color, weight (measured in carats), and a safe shape for mounting. During creation, a gemstones size is constrained by nature. For example, while large and beautiful amethysts are readily available, an alexandrite of large size is extremely rare.

Sparkle adds to the beauty of a well-cut colored gemstone. The cut of a colored gemstone describes its shape and how it is fashioned. Some gemstones, such as opal, are suited to a smooth, rounded surface. Others, such as sapphire, are more frequently shaped with a precise series of flat, symmetrical planes, called facets, which make the most pleasing illumination of the gems color. Some cutters today may also use convex or concave facets, shaping colored gemstone like small sculptures.

The clarity of colored gemstones contributes to their beauty. Unless a gemstone is opaque and blocks all light, how light moves through the gemstone affects its beauty. Some gemstones have few internal inclusions to interrupt the passage of light, as is the case with most pieces of Tanzanite. Others have characteristic inclusions. For example, some emerald has a jardine (garden), which makes each gem truly unique.

Rarity.   Across time and cultures, people have adorned themselves with rare gem materials. From pearls and corals plucked from the seas, to bright colored pebbles found in the soils settling at the mouths of rivers; from the collection of gemstones mounted in the breastplate of Aaron as accounted in ancient scripture, to the historic gemstones mounted in the crown jewels of European monarchs, we let ourselves be known through the gemstones we choose to wear. These gemstones are precious because they are rare.

Because of their rarity, gemstones in which color is naturally occurring are generally more valuable. Many gemstones are treated or enhanced in some way, such as with heat or safe irradiation, to achieve the beautiful colors or clarity we desire in the sizes we desire. These gems, which are less rare, can also be very valuable. Some jewelers make synthetic colored gemstones available. Synthetic colored gemstones have all the optical, physical and chemical properties of naturally occurring gemstones, but they are created in a laboratory rather than occurring in nature. For some budgets, these synthetic materials are an acceptable choice. Continue reading Colored Gemstones