Does a big stone always mean "beautiful"? (5 of 5)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Finally, the size of your gem is also very important when you are evaluating it. Big crystals are rare, therefore, expensive. No woman will stay indifferent when imagines a big diamond in her wedding ring. Also, normally very pale stones (such as aquamarine) get more pronounced and deep colour when they are bigger. This is why the price per carat is higher for the bigger gems.

However, there are exceptions from this "size rule". If a precious stone has a very dark color, then the bigger it is, the darker the color is. For example, a dark-green tourmaline or a dark-blue sapphire will appear almost black. Therefore, the price per carat for such stones is not going to be great.

It is very important that the colured stones have a cut, that is the best for their size, so the colour is shown the best.

I hope, that this article helped you to look at your favourite gem from a new point of view. Use this knowledge (if it is new for you) to wisely choose a piece of jewellery with a stone for your dear people and friends.

Maria Roudakova
A jeweller from Switzerland


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bauhaus is an art movement that was popular 1919 to 1933 in Germany. The idea was to bring together arts and mass produced goods that needed to be functional, affordable and good looking. As a result, Bauhaus style was applied mostly to interior design, furniture, industrial design and architecture.

There was a parallel movement Vkhutemas in Russia. It was a larger school, though less known outside of the Soviet Union. The ideas of Bauhaus were so influential, that we can see the results of that study till now days: buildings, furniture and appliances often have Bauhaus design that is very geometrical, simple and modern looking.

Very few pieces of jewellery made in Bauhaus design can be found. Of course, as jewellery design students we needed to get enough inspiration from industrial designs to come up with a piece of wearable art!

We watched a video and went to a library. We went through books that had visual art pictures and architecture… As always during such projects I was very excited to see other students’ works. Though learning together and constantly communicating we managed to come up with so different jewellery designs, I was always amazed!

Once, a friend of mine looked at this picture of my project and said that she liked that “key”. It was too late… it was a couple years after my graduation… Too bad, I did not make that piece into a key. That would be the exact reflection of what a Bauhaus piece of jewellery should be… something functional, yet good looking! There would be even better feedback from my teacher too… :)

How much does fashion and rareness of a stone influence its price? (4 of 5)

Friday, June 11, 2010

So, what else can make your stone attractive? Often we are intrigued by something that is not that beautiful or useful, but because it is rare. Especially if we speak of rare gems.

Synthetic emerald or ruby has the same chemical and physical characteristics as those of a natural stone. Its color and clarity is much better than those of the most of the natural stones. However, any perfect synthetic stone is much cheaper than any imperfect ingenious gem, because we can get as many of the synthetics in a lab as we like.

The thought that the mother nature needed centuries to create your natural stone (and an accident brought it to you) influences the wish to have it and therefore the price goes up.

Is your stone one of a kind? If not, maybe you have any dear memories that you recall every time you look at it? Is it given to you by a dear person? All that is very individual, but it influences the real price. This is why a piece of jewellery pre-owned by a famous person (or made by a famous jeweller) costs more, than a visually equal piece of jewellery that does not have a history behind it.

What else influences the price of a gem? Fashion. Though this is a temporary variable in the price. Whatever has been in fashion yesterday is going to be forgotten tomorrow. Only few gems are practically not touched by the fashion dictate. You can guess, that they are diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

Some time ago pearls were rare enough to be beyond fashion. Now the pearls are cultivated and became an "ordinary" gem.

Here is another sample of how fashion influences the price. Opaque black crystals of carbonado were used for rock drills, saws and other industrial purposes, until... somebody has made them fashionable. So, now it is being put into the most expensive pieces of jewellery together with the timeless gems.

One one small note. You probably have your own style. Do you choose your gems so they go with your style and not just for the stones that are in fashion? Remember, that your jewellery should go with your style and the places you wear them to. The proper use of your jewellery adds to its attraction and therefore to the price.

Maria Roudakova
A jeweller from Switzerland

Why it is important to know about the hardness of your stone (3 of 5)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Another important characteristic of a precious gem stone is durability. How hard and how tough is your stone? Often people think that these words are the same characteristic of durability of a stone. It is wrong.

For example, diamond is the hardest stone on the Earth. Though, it can cleave. Opposite, jade can be easily scratched, but you cannot split it.

By the way, all the minerals can be ranged in an order by their hardness. The Austrian mineralogist Friedrich Mohs has created the scale of hardness. He selected 10 common and easily obtained minerals, with quite distinctive hardness, as the comparison minerals. The harder a mineral is, the higher number it has in the scale. A harder mineral can scratch a softer mineral.

1- Talc (can be crushed with a finger nail)
2- Gypsum (can be scratched with a finger nail)
3- Calcite (can be scratched with a copper coin)
4- Fluorite (can be easily scratched with a knife)
5- Apatite (can be scratched with a knife)
6- Orthoclase feldspar (can be scratched with a file)
7- Quartz (can scratch glass)
8- Topaz
9- Corundum
10- Diamond

This is only an order of hardness, but the scale does not show how much one mineral is harder than another. Nevertheless, it is very useful to know about the hardness of your stone.

It is considered that only the gem stones with the hardness 7 or higher can be called precious, because they are durable. You might think that this is not the rule anymore in our century of plastic and other jewellery made of disposable materials, but the hardness keeps influencing the prices of the gems. Therefore, the amethyst (with its hardness 7, as it is quartz) is going always be more expensive than the violet fluorite that looks practically the same (except its hardness is 4).

Consider the hardness when you are trying to keep your gem stone jewellery in a perfect condition. Put the jewellery pieces with the gems of different hardness into the separate boxes or the harder gems will scratch the softer stones.

Maria Roudakova
A jeweller from Switzerland
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