The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter
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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.
Semi Precious Gem Stone
Semi precious gem stone... what exactly is it? How
precious is precious, and at what point does it become only semi precious?
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines precious as:
1 : of great value or high price
2 : highly esteemed or cherished
Many jewelers (and even a few gem stone dealers) tend to
define a semi precious gem stone by that first definition.
In their world only a diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald
are precious. All other gems are "only semi precious."
Some other jewelers will expand their view of the precious gems category
to include tanzanite and tsavorite. Again, this is based on price.
I much prefer the second of Webster's definitions. By this
definition all gems are precious.
A gem stone is generally (and loosely) defined within the
A stone that is rare, beautiful, and durable.
Most gem dealers never use the terms semi precious gem
stone or precious gem stone.
Diamond dealers usually specialize in the diamond field, and
only occasionally buy or sell a colored gem.
Colored gem stone dealers deal primarily in the other
gems, collectively known as, you guessed it... colored gem stones.
So we tend to think and operate in terms of diamonds
and colored gem stones, rather than precious and semi precious gems.
Some gem dealers specialize within the broad colored stone
field. A specific dealer may trade only in sapphire, ruby, and emerald. Others
may specialize in tanzanite, or amethyst, or pearls, or another gem.
And just to throw in another wrinkle... not all colored
stones are stones. Pearls, amber, and a few other colored gem stones are
When you think of gem stones by Webster's second
definition, that is as highly esteemed or cherished items, all gem
stones are precious.
Below is a press release from the
International Colored Gemstone Association...
Corundum Discoveries Reported in Madagascar
New York, July 27, 2005
ICA Ambassador to Madagascar, Tom Cushman,
reports that Madagascar is once again the site of new corundum discoveries. Word
has been out on a discovery of a new source for a very rich color pink sapphire
since last December and now Cushman reports that a new ruby discovery was found
in the Andilamena mining district.
Andilamena has produced ruby since 2000 and is most recently famous for the
“ruby star” material so often being lead glass filled. For the first two
years the Andilamena rubies were mined from the riverbed and adjacent banks. In
late 2003/early 2004 shaft mining reached the level of the primary deposit of
the “ruby star”. The March find was the primary deposit of another type of
ruby being found in Andilamena. This ruby is usually small, dark red,
well-formed, hexagonal platelets. “This deposit contains much more gem quality
material than the “ruby star” and should be appearing in quantity in the
marketplace right about now”, stated Cushman.
Another new corundum find about 100 km south of Mahajunga was recently reported,
however, its quality and quantity were not appraised at the time of this report.
ICA member Vincent Pardieu, director of the Asian Institute of Gemological
Sciences Laboratory in Bangkok, and member of the ICA Communications Committee,
is currently in the field in Madagascar visiting the new finds and studying the
gem material found. He has plans to publish his findings when he returns from
his tour of Madagascar and other mining areas in Africa.
Cushman reports that Ilakaka/Sakaraha is still producing in quantity but the
industry has matured a great deal since the big rush a few years ago. Reports
from the Service des Mines state large quantities of both pink and blue sapphire
are being exported from the Ilakaka region.
Speaking about the mining situation in Madagascar Cushman said, “There seems
to be no end in sight for new corundum deposits and production”.
Tom is a longtime gem
dealer who has been living and working in Madagascar for several years.
We see and visit with
Tom at the Tucson Shows each year. We've also bought gem rough from him. We have
in stock several nice morganite gems from this rough.
Tom was planning to
retire as a gem trader after last February's show and lead the development of a
gem cutting industry in Madagascar.
Tom is one of the goodguys.
We wish him well, and hope to see him in Tucson in 2006.
This is maybe the slowest time of the year for jewelry
sales. Birthdays and anniversaries are about all that's driving
But, you should be busy. Now is the time to build
inventory. The holiday season will be here by the time you take a little
vacation and get your inventory built up again.
After all, most guys buying for "her" prefer to
choose a piece of finished goods from your inventory, rather than have you
make up a custom piece for them.
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