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Diana Jarrett

The Story Behind the Stone: The legacy of Emeralds

Some gems came into popularity with the advent of global travel via the Grand Tours of the mid nineteenth century. And the ferocious interest in past cultures such as ancient Egypt made popular by Dr. Howard Carter's persistent archeological efforts which uncovered King Tutankhamen's booty opened up new avenues for exotic gems.
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Roman era 250 - 400 AD gold bracelet with emerald, sapphire and glass cabochon. Courtesy J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, CA.

Emerald claims a pedigree nearly as old as recorded history however. Nearly two millennia prior to when the renowned ruler Cleopatra walked the earth; emerald mines in the Middle East gave up these green stones which adorned royal jewelry and artifacts. Ruins unearthed in early cultures of Central and South America also produced these nearly transparent verdant stones which were featured in regal wear of their day.

For modern jewelry lovers, the trinity of colored stones has remained at the top of colored gem sales; these are ruby, sapphire and emerald. Of course some of the interest in this lies with the fact that emeralds are universally understood as being valuable. Also green is appealing to the eye - in every culture. It is subliminally associated with rebirth - new life and the spring season.

Classic old diamond graders, using a northern exposure to assist their accuracy in grading diamonds, will not grade past noon - as they determined that the eye is not so "fresh" then and will not be as sensitive to detecting the ultra-subtle differences in color grades. It is also known that these old timers would keep an emerald in their pocket to occasionally view it, thus resting the eye from the tensions accumulated in diamond grading.

The modern collector finds emerald to be soothing to look at all the time. But they may not know much about their composition or what makes them unique. A member of the colorful beryl family, emeralds' composition is aluminum beryllium silicate. Experts separate the true emerald from green beryl - which in some instances may be difficult to determine. However, vanadium contributes the green coloring for gems categorized simply as green beryl.

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Important couture emerald ring set in 18k yellow gold and platinum from Philip Zahm Designs features a 4.63 ct Zambian Emerald and 1.28 cts total weight diamond accents including half moon diamonds on each side. Courtesy Philip Zahm; Photography: Mark R. Davis.

Emeralds stand out for certain inclusions that are normally associated with the beryl variety. That sounds like an unattractive trait of course, but the Jardin (garden in French) is such an expected characteristic of emerald, jewelers would be suspect if it did not occur in the stone they are inspecting. These naturally occurring branch-like internal inclusions signify that the stone in question grew naturally in the earth. Of course there will always be the rare emerald nearly void of such inclusions, and its value will reflect such rarity.

Columbia is considered to be the top site producing the world's finest emerald; however Brazil is a large producer of beautiful quality crystals as well. For those born in May, their birthstone is emerald, and it couldn't fit the season better - nature is also turning green all around.


Graduate Gemologist and Registered Master Valuer Diana Jarrett is also a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). She's a frequent lecturer at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett serves as Colored Stone Editor for Rapaport Diamond Report; with other works regularly appearing in trade and consumer publications. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit her website: www.dianajarrett.com.


The Story Behind the Stone: What one man decides

The power of one - an over used phrase perhaps, but one which demands we quash all devotion to obstacles about why something can't be accomplished all by ourselves.

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Young Kashmiri girl sits begging outside a
temple in Srinagar. Courtesy Ed
Cleveland.

 

 

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Tribal men along the Kashmir trading
route sporting traditional red dyed beards
take a break for afternoon tea. Courtesy Ed
Cleveland.

 

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Volunteer doctors make regular medical
missions to remote villagers in
mountainous Kashmir, India. Courtesy Ed
Cleveland.

Atop the Himalayan Mountains, away from public scrutiny, one man, a Kashmir Sapphire trader, goes quietly about his business far from any outside notice. Almost ten years into his unusual life choice, American Ed Cleveland, owner of Kashmir Blue, (www.kashmirblue.com) settles in to life high in these remote and forbidding hills as though he were born for the experience. When asked why he chose of all places the troubled Jammu and Kashmir state in which to live, he responded that when he got there - it seemed like a natural fit for him. There is something to be said for that feeling of being in the right place at the right time. For anyone fortunate enough to experience such a sensation - it makes one feel as if they are at the center of the universe.

Cleveland has made deep inroads into the local life of the lands' tribal cultures living often less than harmoniously in this ancient locale. Serendipity brought him to the area a decade back after he completed his military service. Interested in off the beaten track destinations, Cleveland investigated this Indo-Pakistani region as a cultural vacation of sorts. But the populace, their exotic lifestyle and rich culture, and the breathtaking beauty of nature all around captured his heart. The harsh realties of struggling to live in this foreboding corner of the earth fraught with political strife, desperate poverty, and a grueling terrain also took Cleveland's attention. And so he decided to stay and do something about it.

Learning the sapphire trade provided him the means to stay - having a heart for the tribal communities gave him a cause. First off he built a small school near Lake Dal and became its initial teacher. Today though, his gaze is firmly fixed toward the many practical needs of all the inhabitants there. One of his projects, Agape Kashmir provides a safe haven for orphaned or abandoned children in which to flourish. He also organizes several regularly scheduled medical missions to remote villages along the sapphire trading route. Long harsh winters can drop 25 feet or more of snow around the region. The isolated inhabitants are offered medical aid and other practical support through Cleveland's efforts. All this resulted from one man simply looking around, seeing a need and then responding by putting one foot in front of another.

Cleveland gets around. He navigates a complicated route across the nation calling on cutters and dealers when he comes back to the US each year. And he can be spied at trade shows, particularly the annual Tucson GemFair. Dealers, designers and couture jewelers have learned to trust him. Bumping into Cleveland at an ultra-high end booth at Tucson, the proprietor declared, "If you want to know anything about Kashmir sapphires, Eddie's the man." I suspect he's also expert on some other treasures as well.

 


Graduate Gemologist and Registered Master Valuer Diana Jarrett is also a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). She's a frequent lecturer at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett serves as Colored Stone Editor for Rapaport Diamond Report; with other works regularly appearing in trade and consumer publications. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit her website: www.dianajarrett.com.

The Story Behind the Stone: Inside the designer’s mind

Every jewelry designer started somewhere - but they don't always have the same starting point. They come from myriad life experiences, and disciplines. Their source of inspiration can be very personal - while some began their journey early in life, others built upon a portfolio career whose roots had nothing at all to do with jewelry.

The Story Behind the Stone: Sweet Sky - Blue Stone

Jarrett-Norton-MayGone are the days of finding the ancient turquoise stone solely mounted in a ubiquitous piece of Navajo jewelry - but you knew that. However, many modern jewelry lovers got their first glimpse of the tremendously popular turquoise from southwest Native American decorative objects. That turquoise does have its charm. But other regions around the world yield a completely different blue stone, also called turquoise. (image 1: Turquoise pendant with 18kt yellow gold chain. Courtesy of Nancy Norton.)

The Story Behind the Stone: Tucson treasures

A slow show - yes, a sign of the times, to be sure. Tucson's many gem and mineral shows bore the evidence of a jittery state of affairs, not just here in the US, but worldwide. This is after all a global bazaar. Rare often unpronounceable gems were still there. Top end eye popping couture jewels still shimmered in their cases. Dinosaur eggs and T-Rex skulls still made their way to the outlying shows circumnavigating the big daddies at the Convention Center (AGTA GemFair) and the white tents (GJX) set up across the road.

Scary economy notwithstanding, it seemed to bear little weight on the creative genius of the designers who did attend. And attendees sailed relentlessly up and down the aisles on task to find something new - and they did just that if they went to the booths I visited.

American Pearl Company's Lagniappe cultured pearls were a big hit - as they should be. These hefty free form pearls are the freshwater equivalent of authentic saltwater keshi pearls, which are collected rabidly for their rich heavy nacre through and through.

Jade lovers thrilled at Heyden Stone, Inc. purple jade. The story of its discovery is as exotic as the idea of natural (no enhancements whatsoever) purple jade itself. This material hails from the deserts of Turkey. How'd they stumble on that? It's a natural beauty.

Arunashi turned heads with their daring collection of ultra modern jewels. Round brilliant cut stones are set pavilion side out on globe-like pendant earrings set in dramatic blackened rhodium over 18kt gold. Truly arresting.
Designer Sarah Graham took metalsmithing to new heights by showing her 18kt gold and blackened steel collection in the Designers Pavilion at the AGTA GemFair. Young and edgy, of course, but Graham shows off her expertise as a metalsmith in the details of her line. Serious jewelry lovers take note.

Philip Zahm's collection at the Centurion Jewelry expo showed us a thing or two about beautifully tailored jewelry designs pumped up with bolder proportions paired with intensely colored gemstones. A perfect fit for cognoscenti who take their fun seriously.

Lucoral of Taiwan brought calibrated cameos in volume this year for the manufacturer or designer who wants to jump on this hot trend and fold carved shells into their collection. Beija Flor Gems of Hawaii had some cherry specimens of transparent rhodochrocite.

There were much more wonderful finds at the shows of course. If you went, you saw the goods. If you didn't, this should get your creative wheels turning.

Graduate Gemologist and Registered Master Valuer Diana Jarrett is also a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA). She's a frequent lecturer at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett serves as Colored Stone Editor for Rapaport Diamond Report; with other works regularly appearing in trade and consumer publications. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit her website: www.dianajarrett.com.

 


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Diamonds and Tsavorite garnets are reverse set in blackened Rhodium over 18kt gold. Image courtesy of Arunashi.

Jarrett-Ringus-AprilFrom designer Helen Ringus for Eurocraft Jewelry, a whimsical band playing on Lagniappe cultured pearl clouds. Image courtesy of American Pearl Company.

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Trio of playful yet elegant "Margarita" rings featuring spinel, spessartite garnet and blue-green tourmaline set in 18kt white gold. Ruby, fancy sapphire, garnet and tanzanite complete the gallery's design while adding additional vivid color to the overall look. Image courtesy of Mark R. Davis.

 



The Story Behind the Stone: Bould’ Over

Countless gemstoneshave varieties or sub-sets which can subtly or dramatically differentiate each stones' appearance from one another; yet their basic chemical makeup remains the same.


Take opal for instance. This amorphous mineral species lists thirty-six varieties in the venerated "Gem Reference Guide," produced by Gemological Institute of America (GIA), used for reference in their colored gemstone program. Thirty-six, that's an impressive line-up for any gemstone.

The Story Behind the Stone: Customer -v- Collector

What's wrong with consuming? Nothing, if it brings genuine pleasure to the individual and that person buys within their means. When it comes to jewelry, collecting would be the better way to go - always.


Collecting involves several aspects, some of which are acquired skills. For the individual who wants to evolve into a bona fide collector, here are some bullet points to consider.

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