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Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 12am

Diana Jarrett

The Story Behind the Stone: Plumbing the depths of pearls

Are there not... two points in the adventure of the diver: One - when a beggar, he prepares to plunge? Two - when a prince, he rises with his pearl? I plunge! - Robert Browning

Long ago in another time all pearl jewelry was natural. And by natural we mean, the organic jewel of a lowly bi-valve developed spontaneously inside a mollusk hiding in the dark, murky ocean. Pearl jewelry pre-dating the 20th century in its original state - without tampering - is the genuine deal.

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The Story Behind the Stone: Rings and things

Love stories are often as colorful as the lives of the couples who live them. Why then can’t the engagement rings be more in line with their unique story? While diamonds still account for the lion’s share of all bridal jewelry, there actually is more than one way to tell a love story through rings. Thinking white equals bridal in both rings and gowns? Not so fast. Colorful engagement and wedding bands are fast gaining market share both here and abroad.

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The Story Behind the Stone Sometimes beauty is only skin deep

All naturally colored diamonds are rare. In an ideal scenario, diamonds are formed from a single element, that being pure carbon - rendering them exquisitely colorless. Their tint can come from a variety of trace elements that intrude into the molecular structure of the mineral. But color can also result from mechanisms not fully understood. How are color-change diamonds created exactly - or pink, for that matter? The jury is still out on that mysterious transpiration.

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The Story Behind the Stone: Inside the Appraisers Lab

Everyone loves to daydream over beautiful jewelry store displays, catching a glimpse of baubles they’d otherwise never see - or even dream of owning. However for top notch jewelry appraisers, viewing beautiful jewels is the norm rather than the exception.

Charles Carmona of Los Angeles is one of a handful of distinguished jewelry appraisers who has pretty much seen it all in his nearly 30 year career. Ever wonder what comes across the desk of such an expert? And having seen so many magnificent creations, does he still favor certain gemstones?

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The Story Behind the Stone: Precious little

Shoppers at Tucson GemFair and other trade shows this year gave us a glimpse into where the market may be headed by resourceful merchants aiming to offset sluggish sales. Several exhibitors at these trade shows servicing all ends of the market voiced the same scenario. Sales were good in the bargain box and the super-upper tier. Everything in between was pretty much stagnant.

The busiest booths at Tucson had off beat or undiscovered gemstones. Maybe the prices weren't high, but interest was; because the more exotic stones that have yet to make a household name for themselves stand a pretty good chance of drawing in that customer who can turn a blind eye to the more well-known when it comes to jewelry these days.

One rarity orbiting the gem world in the last few years is a member of a recognizable gem species - the beryl family. That's emerald, aquamarine, heliodor and others. Within that sub-set lies red beryl, just waiting for someone to make a big deal of it.

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Designer Terri Garcia selects an interesting mix of red beryl (bixbite) and opal to create this original contemporary slide.

Red Beryl is officially named Bixbite, yet more often it's referred to simply as red beryl. It is rare in occurrence in nature, and oddly enough also in its source. Those that do know about it understand that the Wah Wah Mountain range in Utah is the site most associated with its deposits, although a couple of other places in the US have produced a bit of it. Its discovery a century ago makes it a relative newcomer in the beryl family. The gem is thought to develop along fractures in the host rock. Still, you are most likely to get small finished stones of under .50 carats, although larger goods occasionally appear on the market.

Brenda Reichel, owner of Carats and Karats Fine Jewelry says, "I've loved the color of red beryl since early 1978 when I first saw that bright cherry red color. It's such a rare and hot electric pinkish red - often like fuchsia pink!" Reichel keeps red beryl in her personal collection including a marquise stone.

The crystal sizes of red beryl are always small in contrast to other beryl, and so jewelry made from this material will contain small carat sized stones. The best use then is for solitaires where the stone tells the story of its rarity, or clustered in a designers' tour de force. Some of it can be very pricey due to its transparency, quality and saturation of red. But not all of it on the market is priced out of reach. These gems present opportunities to entice your clients with rare stones. Thy are American-origin rarities to boot and you can price them attractively for our times.



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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