Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Color Story

Wallace Chan, moonstone, diamond and fancy colored sapphire ring
Sapphire is one of the holy trinity of precious stones. Ruby, sapphire and emerald are the hoard of royalty everywhere. And small wonder. They are rare and beautiful, and difficult to recover.

Say it Like You Know it
The word sapphire conjures up a richly saturated cobalt that draws the eye with a magnetic pull.

All sapphire is corundum. But not all corundum is sapphire. Wait . . . what? True, the mineral corundum has several delightful progeny. It can be discovered completely void of color whatsoever.

white sapphire gemstone

White is Sort of Hot Stuff

And between you and me, I'm sort of loving colorless sapphire, as a classy alternative to white diamonds in important jewelry like wedding rings for example. Reason? Next to diamonds, which are known for their extraordinary bling-bling, sapphires come in a very close second on the dispersion claim. They can shimmer and sparkle like nobody's bidnez. But I digress.

To be correct, sapphire always means the blue stone. Kashmir sapphire is considered the elite of that species. Its silky, velvety cornflower blue tint is rich and saturated; plus there really is no more new Kashmir sapphire being pulled from the high Himalayas these days.

Then There's Color
Sapphire also comes in a wide range of other colors. This rainbow of coloration is due to trace amounts of differing minerals in the corundum mix.

Shades of fancy colored and blue sapphire gemstones

Pretty neat, huh? Those are all various shades of natural sapphire, including the expected cyan variety. Referring to sapphire of any other color than blue, you say fancy colored sapphire. And fancy it is. Any of these vivid tints will amaze and surprise many jewelry lovers that don't actually understand that sapphire can mean a whole lot of hues.

Speak like a Pro
Just remember; the word sapphire is the blue stone. All others are fancy colored sapphire. Indeed.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Another Green Another Thrill

Yael Designs 6.27 ct green tourmaline and diamond Spirit ring 
The Great Jewel
You've heard of tourmaline haven't you? Sure--and one of its claims to fame is the extraordinarily wide array of color choices that a jewelry lover has when selecting this richly hued gemstone. Could it get any better? Yup. Tourmaline crystals are sometimes found to display more than one color on the same specimen.

What Makes it Special
This stone makes an ideal choice for thoughtful collectors. Each tourmaline, irrespective of its hue is to some degree a unique stone. Every color is distinct.

Green tourmaline is sometimes referred to as Verdilite, a nod to the Latin word 'viridis' for green. Emerald lovers are often magnetically drawn to green tourmaline owing to its superb clarity, a trait missing in most emerald, no matter what its price.

On the Hunt
Small green tourmaline crystals can be found throughout the world. Large crystals are another story. The larger the rarer. Major deposits of this magnificent stone are Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. You'll notice that many of those regions are fraught with political turmoil. See how rarity gets another layer of scarceness?

Green tourmaline rough shows a more bluish hue at the top of the crystal. The lower region  reveals a yellowish green .

Yael Designs, creator of the green tourmaline ring shown here is an inspired jeweler who artfully pairs outstanding design with valuable gemstones. The result? I'll let you decide.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Leave 'em Smiling

The gem industry lost an indefatigable colored stone proponent recently. James (Jim) Arthur Fiebig who passed on October 22, 2016 cast a long shadow with his approach to life. While this space is usually allocated to noteworthy gem topics, this time we examine a gem of another species--the human kind. In his last few months, Jim charged me to write 'his story' as he called it. "Not an obituary laden with sad details of what took life or some other sorrowful tome" was his directive. No problem. His story is so inspiring it makes you smile just recalling his all-in attitude about life.

To those who knew him, his infectious curiosity was only eclipsed by his genuine love of people--in a most practical way. Jim looked for opportunities to built up and promote--whether it was with gemstones or those whose livelihood depended on them. A 2nd gen jeweler from Michigan, he cut his gemological teeth on the myriad stones and jewelry types in his parents Sturgis,.MI store. He eventually owned the eponymously named Fiebig Jewelers.

In Tune Everywhere
Above all he spoke the language of music, his first love. It punctuated all areas of his life--and he found opportunities to fold it in everywhere, including during Tucson's annual GemFair,

But the where and why's of colored stones beckoned. So he found himself drawn to the exotic locales where these sparklers originate; Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar, South Africa and Madagascar. He even guided tours for his peers to these rugged outposts.

You've Got to Move it Move it
He became so identified with Madagascar, where he and his wife JoAnn lived for a season, that at his last career move with Joseph's Jewelers in Des Moines IA, they dedicated the lemur exhibit to him at their zoo.

This is How to Live Life
How apropos. Jim's innate upbeat outlook and focus on living in the present extended throughout his last days. Determined to live every day with purpose and joy, he showed us how to embrace it all---what you want to have happen, and what you would not have chosen. His final notes to me were classic Jim---positive, validating and cheering me on.

When I quiet myself during the cacophony of  my day, I imagine him organizing a little jazz quintet in Heaven nowadays.

Perhaps the greatest legacy one can leave is putting a smile on someone's face every time they think of you. Good on ya, Jim.