Grouse mountain, April, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

While it was hot in the valley, lots of snow still laid on the ground up in the mountains. It was the last day of the skiing season. Why did we decide to go up there? My husband could not think of another place that our guests have not seen yet. So, we got all the winter gear we needed and drove to the Grouse mountain in search of great views. 

We could get up earlier and make it in time for a breakfast with the grizzly bears, but felt sorry for the kids. So we deliberately missed that, but still saw the bears though. The bears are always there. Then we went up to the wind mill. The destination is even higher than the first gondola takes you to. Now it is not a gondola, but just a sit for four people. The views is what everybody goes up there for. However, the view from the mill (you can go up the mill itself) is even more amazing! 

We met a grouse bird too! Now we know that that was a good reason to give its name to the mountain. The bird was vicious! )) It wanted to stay on the pass and attacked everybody who was walking by. We had to run from it. Other naive people in shorts got their legs pecked!

It was an awesome destination! If you are ever in Vancouver and trying to decide where to go and what to see, the Grouse mountain is a great choice all year around if you are a landscape hunter.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

In Arizona, the Apaches had made several raids on one particular settlement. After these raids, the military and some volunteers banded together and followed the tracks of the stolen cattle back to where the Apaches lived. At dawn, they attacked. The Apaches were completely surprised and outnumbered in the attack. About two-thirds of the Apache warriors were killed by the first volley of shots. The rest of the Apache warriors retreated. As they were almost completely surrounded, the only place for them to go was to the edge of a cliff. Rather than die at the hands of a white man, these last warriors chose death by leaping over the cliff's edge. The apache women of those who had died gathered at the base of the cliff, and for a moon they wept for their dead. They mourned, not only because their warriors had all died, but also because the fighting spirit of the Apaches had died with them. Their sadness was so great that the Great Spirit encased the tears of the Apache women into black stones we now call apache tears.

Rough apache tears (obsidian)

Nature's gems

Titanite with Clinochlore

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cubic zirconia (CZ) is the synthesized material is hard, optically flawless and usually colorless, but may be made in a variety of different colors. Its commercial production began in the USSR in 1976. In 1977 cubic zirconia begun to be mass-produced in the jewelry marketplace. By 1980 annual global production had reached 50 million carats (10 tonnes). [source]

Color grading a white diamond is really about the absence of color. Any hint of color lowers the value of the diamond, and the stronger the color, the lower the gem's worth. The color grading scale established by GIA, and recognized around the world, has letter grades to describe the increasing presence of color.

Bead Day

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Moissanite. Without special testing equipment, distinguishing it from a natural diamond is very difficult. Moissanite, in its natural form, is very rare. It has only been discovered in a small variety of places from upper mantle rock to meteorites. Moissanite was introduced to the jewelry market in 1998. It is regarded as a diamond alternative with some optical properties exceeding those of diamond. Its lower price and less exploitative mining practices necessary to obtain it make it a popular alternative to diamonds.

Record-Size Natural Moissanite Crystals Discovered in Israel

Jewellery photography

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Among gems, diamonds are actually the most common. If you doubt this ask yourself; “How many women do you know that do not own at least one diamond?” Now ask the same question about other gems.

The Cullinan III and IV brooch

Jewellery masterpieces

Bell Epoque diamond brooch by Cartier

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Christian pastor has discovered one of the world's largest uncut diamonds in Sierra Leone's Kono district. The diamond, weighing 709 carats, is now locked up in Sierra Leone's central bank in Freetown. It is one of the 20 largest diamonds ever found. Freelance, or artisanal, miners are common in Sierra Leone's diamond-rich areas, reports the BBC's Umaru Fofana.

Artisanal, or freelance, miners are a common sight in Sierra Leone's diamond-rich Kono district

Nature's gems

Gorgeous gemmy ruby red Realgar clapsed by translucent Calcite scalenohedrons, from Jiepaiyu Mine, China

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

An estimated US$13 billion worth of rough diamonds are produced per year, of which approximately US$8.4 billion are from Africa (approximately 65%).

An internally flawless 100 carat diamond described as 'perfect' by experts is expected to sell for a staggering £16 million. The Type IIa diamond, which is in a classic emerald cut and is 'whiter than white', was mined by De Beers in South Africa. Its current owner spent more than a year studying, cutting and polishing the rough diamond to deliver the spectacular stone. [source]

Jewellery masterpieces

Antique C 1810 Georgian Victorian 14k Gold Carved Salmon Coral Floral Necklace

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Monday, June 12, 2017

The largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found at 3106.75 carats (621.35 g). It was cut into 105 diamonds including the Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, 530.2 carats (106.04 g), and the Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa, 317.4 carats (63.48 g), both of which are now part of the British Crown Jewels.

The Great Star of Africa

Monday motivation

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Today, diamonds are located in the diamond-rich density fraction with the help of X-ray fluorescence, after which the final sorting steps are done by hand.

Nature's gems

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Approximately 130,000,000 carats (26,000 kg) of diamonds are mined annually, with a total value of nearly US$9 billions.

Gahcho Kué, co-owned by De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds, is located at Kennady Lake, about 280 km northeast of Yellowknife. (Image courtesy of De Beers Group)

Craft Day

What I've knitted while taking  break from blogging....

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Silver has more malleability than any element except gold. One grain of silver can be made into a sheet one hundred and fifty times thinner than a piece of paper.

Cake decorated with silver sheet

Jewellery photography

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

The visors of astronauts' helmets are coated in a very thin, transparent layer of gold (.000002 inches) that reduces glare and heat from sunlight.

Gold astronaut's helmet 

Jewellery masterpieces

A basket of flowing flowers and leaves with all of the basket, leaves and branches being comprised of diamonds. The petals of each flower are various colored sapphires with a diamond set in the center. On each side of the cascading floral design the bottom section moves so when worn the diamonds and sapphires would reflect even more color and brilliance. It is comprised of 4.12 Ct.T.W. of diamonds and 21.08 Ct.T.W. of colored sapphires. It measures 2 3/4 inches tall by 2 1/4 inches wide. The diamonds are F to G color with excellent clarity.

#jewelleryfacts365 309/365 Ancient Rome jewellery fact

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The senators and equites of Ancient Rome wore golden rings as did the the legionary tribunes. The plebeians wore iron rings unless when they were presented with a golden one for their bravery in war or as a reward for special services.

This is an ancient Roman iron signet ring set with its original sard intaglio, dating to the 1st century A.D. The intaglio is finely cut with a hand, grasping two wheat stalks and a poppy. This is a reference to the goddess of the harvest Demeter and Persephone goddess of the Underworld. The intaglio has chip to the lower edge, it is firmly set in the ring. This has been stabilized and conserved to a museum display standard, thus is not really suited for wear due the age of the ancient iron.

Nature's gems

Rare Rhodochrosite flower From South Africa Credit: Rod-Kylee Douds

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The amulets were equally important protectors of the living as well as dead. Specific amulets were made for the afterlife, as funerary jewelry was popular in ancient Egypt.

Funerary Jewelry, Dynasty 18

Jewellery masterpieces

Antique Cameos: old victorian, shell, coral and hardstone cameos, vintage jewellery

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Monday, June 5, 2017

There is a special vocabulary used to describe the length of pearl necklaces. While most other necklaces are simply referred to by their physical measurement, pearl necklaces are named by how low they hang when worn around the neck. 

A collar, measuring 10 to 13 inches or 25 to 33 cm in length, sits directly against the throat and does not hang down the neck at all; collars are often made up of multiple strands of pearls. 

Pearl chokers, measuring 14 to 16 inches or 35 to 41 cm in length, nestle just at the base of the neck. 

A strand called a princess length, measuring 17 to 19 inches or 43 to 48 cm in length, comes down to or just below the collarbone. 

A matinee length, measuring 20 to 24 inches or 50 to 60 cm in length, falls just above the breasts. 

An opera length, measuring 28 to 35 inches or 70 to 90 cm in length, will be long enough to reach the breastbone or sternum of the wearer; 

and longer still, a pearl rope, measuring more than 45 inches or 115 cm in length, is any length that falls down farther than an opera.

Fresh water pearls, peacock black color, princess length

Monday motivation

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Biologically speaking, under the right set of circumstances, almost any shelled mollusk can produce some kind of pearl, however, most of these molluskan pearls have no luster or iridescence. The great majority of mollusk species produce pearls which are not attractive, and are sometimes not even very durable, such that they usually have no value at all, except perhaps to a scientist or collector, or as a curiosity.

Scallop pearls

Nature's gems


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Saturday, June 3, 2017

South Sea pearls are the largest and rarest of the cultured pearls – making them the most valuable.

White South Sea pearl

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Friday, June 2, 2017

All the gold that has ever been refined throughout history could be placed in a cube measuring 65.5 feet (20 meters) on a side.  

Jewellery masterpieces

Gem cameo of Apollo, cameo by Saulini, English 1880
Birmingham Museum

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Although platinum has been around for centuries, it has only been used to fashion jewelry for less than two centuries. It is both an ancient and a young metal.

Jewellery photography

#ombre #sapphires and #dumotorite #silverearrings are available in my #etsy shop. #etsyfinds #earrings

A post shared by Natalia Khon (@nataliakhon) on

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Men were the first to wear jewelry as a status symbol and as good luck amulets to aid them in battle.

Men's jewellery. Dogtag.

Nature's gems

Prehnite crystal

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

In the Middle Ages, opal was considered a stone that could provide great luck because it was believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented in the color spectrum of the opal.

"Virgin Rainbow"
World's most expensive opal
Photo: Richard Lyons courtesy South Australian Museum

Jewellery masterpieces

Imperial Cameo Gemma Claudia, 49 AD,onyx, in a gold band Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Jade is a sought after stone, especially by the Chinese byers. Since not only good and natural jade is offered for sale, but often fake or poor-quality products or stones which have been coloured or otherwise treated, it is advisable to buy good jade only from reputable dealers and jewellers, whether the purchase is being made for a collection or as an individual piece of jewellery.

How to Tell if Jade Is Fake

Monday motivation

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

For every one colored diamond, there are 10,000 colorless ones that have been discovered.

Rough blue diamond

Nature's gems

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

It is estimated that less than one percent of women will ever wear a diamond of one carat or more.

Craft day

What I knitted while taking a break from blogging...

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Friday, May 26, 2017

The Victorians frequently used marcasites as substitutes for diamonds. Marcasite, also known as pyrite, was used for this purpose as early as the 1700s.

Large Marcasite and Amethyst Silver Runway Brooch

Jewellry masterpieces

Belle Epoque diamond and sapphire brooch

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Still, the curse of the Hope Diamond goes way back to Tavernier. It was long believed that after Tavernier plucked the gem from the Hindu statue, he was torn apart by wild dogs - a karma-inspired event for his sacrilegious theft. However, LiveScience noted that other stories indicate Tavernier died peacefully in Russia years after he sold the gem to King Louis XIV.

Yet there are many other tales of tragedy related to the Hope Diamond. [source]

The Hope Diamond

Jewellery photography

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Until the 14th Century only Kings could wear diamonds, because they stood for strength, courage and invincibility.

1.35ctw Diamond 14th Century Cross Enhancer

Nature's gems

Clear quartz over a pyrite cube on the bottom encrusted with either amethyst or tiny purple fluorite octahedrons then sprinkled with pyrite.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, every ring set with a precious stone was not considered as much a piece of jewelry, but more as an amulet that bestowed magical powers upon its wearer.

Antique Italian Renaissance Sapphire, Pearl and Gold Necklace 19century

An 18kt gold with natural sapphires and natural pearls, centered with a gold cameo plaque on which the beautiful form of a woman is engraved. Her cape is flowing as she walks, as is her lengthly hair. She is courtly and aristocratic. On the reverse the words in Italian "today and always, oggi e sempre". Golden curved shells and flowers surround her boundaries as do sapphire gems and natural pearls. Garlands form double strands around the central medallion. Sapphires are linked in long suspension from these strands. To fasten this around the neck, a mesh neckband, flexible and light. This appears to be a unique jewel made for a person of high position. Was it given to a woman by her lover, as a wedding gift, a promise? It is exceptional. Condition is superlative. Lore: Sapphire, one of the most precious world gems, is considered the gem of gems. It was always connected to royalty. In medieval days, Sapphire was considered the height of hope and faith. Buddhists believe it brings devotion. Today is is the stone of royal wisdom.

Jewellery masterpieces

Orchid ring set with sapphire, amethyst, green garnet and white diamond on 18K yellow gold by Andre Marcha

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Monday, May 22, 2017

The son of the Turkish Sultan Bajazet (1447-1513) was said to have murdered his father pouring a large quantity of powdered diamond in his father's food. In l532, Pope Clement VII’s doctors dosed him with fourteen spoonfuls of pulverized gems, including diamond, which resulted in death for the patient. In the same century, Catherine de Medici was famous for dealing out death by diamond powder, and Benvenuto Cellini, the famous Italian goldsmith, described an attempt on his life by an enemy who ordered diamond powder to be mixed in his salad.

Diamond powder

Monday motivation

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Early Victorian jewelers fancied gems like topaz, amethyst, citrine and garnets. Diamonds were considered to be matronly while young women often preferred turquoise which was popular throughout the era.

Victorian 19th century turquoise and gold snake necklace. Fully articulated snake with hundreds of bezel set cabochon turquoise beads mounted in 18 karat gold. Finely detailed snake head completely encrusted with turquoise beads crowned with larger cabochon turquoise stone. Cabochon ruby eyes crown the head, which is accented with diamonds around the eyes and the mouth. From the original Fred Leighton

Nature's gems

Golden Selenite

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Under the normal pressures and temperatures we experience on the Earth’s surface, diamonds are actually thermodynamically unstable, slowly transforming into graphite. Yes, you read that correctly, diamonds are indeed turning into graphite, but thankfully for all those diamond owners out there it’s a process that is far too slow for humans to notice.

Diamond graphite phase diagram

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