AZGem Gems
April, 2009

gem stone and jewelry newslettergem stone and jewelry newsletter

The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the website who subscribe.


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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.


Lapis Lazuli Makes Great Jewelry


Lapis lazuli makes great jewelry


Lapis lazuli makes great jewelry for all occasions. It can be appropriate for work, play, and evenings out. 

Lapis lazuli looks great set in white or yellow gold, silver, and even copper. It also looks great alone. Strands of beads and drilled pieces fashioned into chandelier earrings and pendants are also fashionable and popular.

Most people have been somewhat familiar with this gem since they were children... but what do you know about it? You probably know that it's a gemstone, it's exotic, it's a pretty blue color, and it's opaque.Lapis lazuli ring

Most people do not know that it is one of the earliest gems mined commercially. Records of mining and trading of this gem date back more than 6500 years. It seems to have been used as ornamentation before history was being recorded.

Archeological digs show that it was used in various ways by the Babylonian,  Assyrians, and other ancient cultures. It was later used in ancient Egypt as amulets, scarabs, bowls, cups, and wall tiles. It was also ground up and used as a coloring agent. 

Lapis-Lazuli was used by Cleopatra as eye shadow.

Afghanistan has always been the world's premier producer, primarily from Badakhshan province in the north-east corner of the country. This is rugged Hindu-Kush territory, bordering Tajikistan, China, and Pakistan.

 Lapis lazuli map

It was an important location on the fabled silk road as a source of gems. The writings of Marco Polo attest to the importance of this location.

Lapis lazuli is a rock (formed from more than one mineral). The primary mineral in the mix is lazurite. It usually also contains calcite and sodalite. It occurs in crystalline marble due to "contact metamorphism."

The most desired color is intense blue, possibly flecked with pyrite (fool's gold). Absence, or minimization, of white calcite veins is also desirable.

I recently purchased a couple of kilos of this gem. It was mined in Badakhshan province by ethnic Tajiks who live there. I had the material cut into cabochons (cabs) and beads before it was shipped to me. The shipment consists of hundreds of premium quality cabs..

Lapis lazuli makes great jewelry

The pieces offer a good mix of sizes and shapes for jewelry. Most are domed cabs, while some are faceted cabs. The photo above was taken as I inspected the shipment. The quarter is included to provide size perspective.

A few large cabs (40 x 30 mm), donut shapes, balls, and an egg shaped piece were also included for additional variety..

All is now for sale. These gems will make fine custom jewelry. Because I went directly to the source, my price to you is a fraction of what wholesale dealers in Tucson were asking me.

Before I begin offering these pieces to custom jewelry makers, rock and gem shops, book stores and the like, I am offering you first chance. Minimum order is $25 for 25 carats of jewelry size mixed cabs.

A Google search using the search box below and the keyword phrase lapis jewelry (or similar keywords) will show you a number of links and ads that prove my price cannot be duplicated..




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Gem Industry News...


Cullinan blue diamond to be auctioned

Petra Diamonds Limited Important Cullinan blue diamond to be auctioned by Sotheby's 

Petra Diamonds is pleased to announce that the centrepiece of the upcoming Sotheby's sale of Magnificent Jewels will be an important and rare fancy vivid blue, internally flawless, cushion-shaped diamond weighing 7.03 carats.  The diamond was cut from the 26.58 carat rough stone discovered in 2008 at Petra Diamonds' historic Cullinan diamond mine in South Africa.  The pre-sale estimate is US$5.8-8.5 million and the buyer will have the honour of naming the diamond. 

At a weight of 7.03 carats, the diamond ranks among the most important blue diamonds ever to be offered for sale by Sotheby's.  The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has graded the stone as fancy vivid blue in colour and internally flawless in clarity, the highest possible grading for a blue diamond.  Blue diamonds, which are among the rarest of all gems, owe their colour to the presence of the chemical element boron during the stone's formation.  The Cullinan cullinan blue diamond mine is the world's most consistently reliable source of blue diamonds and this stone is a perfect example of Cullinan diamonds at their best.  

A marketing programme to exhibit the diamond in Hong Kong, Paris, New York and London has been arranged by Sotheby's ahead of the sale to be held at the Beau-Rivage Hotel in Geneva on Tuesday, 12 May 2009. 

Commenting on the fancy vivid blue diamond, Johan Dippenaar, CEO of Petra Diamonds, commented:  "This fancy vivid blue, flawless diamond is a very rare and unique gem.  Its quality is enhanced by its Cullinan origins, a mine that has produced some of the world's most famous diamonds.  Given its distinguished heritage, it is fitting that Sotheby's should further establish its legacy by marketing the gem as the cornerstone of its exclusive ‘Magnificent Jewels' collection in Geneva." 

David Bennett, Chairman, Europe & the Middle East, Sotheby's International Jewellery Department, said:  "Blue diamonds are among the rarest of all nature's treasures and it is very exciting to have such a fine example as the centrepiece of our forthcoming Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale.  This stone certainly ranks among the most important blue diamonds that I have had the privilege of offering for sale in my career at Sotheby's and what makes it particularly special for us, is that we've been able to follow its production from the initial rough state through the various stages of its cutting and polishing."  



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Jewelry Dealers


From a supply perspective, now is the time to replenish your depleted inventory. If you have some money to invest in inventory - there are deals to be had. And you should have some cash. After all, that depleted inventory was sales.

From a sales perspective, gift giving occasions have not disappeared. Birthdays, anniversaries, and many other reasons to give nice jewelry at a great price just keep on coming. Your customers (and their friends) need what you offer!

A market where people perceive they should spend less fits right into your marketing strategy... 

Be The Quality Jewelry Discounter.



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Jewelry Dealers Program

Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?sapphire ring

Do you enjoy talking with friends and co-workers?

Could you use an extra income source?

Take a look at our great Jewelry Dealers Program.



Carolyn Doyle

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