AZGem Gems

August 2016


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.


August Birthstone Choices


august birthstone choices


August Birthstone Choices are expanding. The American Gem Trade Association and the Jewelers of America trade association have decided to add a gemstone to their list of birthstones for the month of August.

August birthstone choices are expanding by one, but the range of of colors is growing to include many of the shades and colors nature can provide.



august birthstone choices


August birthstone choices now include the natural gemstone SPINEL. Because Spinel is one of my favorite gems, I can talk about it at length. However, I want to include the press release issued to announce this newly sanctioned birthstone,,, after that I will keep my comments brief.



august birthstone choices


AGTA & JA to Add Spinel as an Official Birthstone for August 

New York, NY - The American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), the authoritative source on natural colored gemstones, and Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, have announced that spinel will join the official list of birthstones as an additional gemstone for the month of August. The new birthstone will launch to consumers in July, through a public relations and marketing campaign led by JA, which established the modern birthstone list in 1912. "At certain moments in history, when there is a strong call from gem enthusiasts to expand the list of official birthstones, Jewelers of America believes in recognizing the importance of historically significant gemstones and giving gemstone lovers a choice that suites their preferences," says JA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte. 
"Spinel is a welcome addition to August's peridot birthstone, sure to be embraced by both jewelers and the jewelry consuming public." "Ancient gemstone merchants revered spinel, and it was widely sought after by royalty. It was then known as 'Balas Ruby'," says AGTA CEO Douglas Hucker. "It wasn't until the late 18th century that we developed the technology acumen necessary to distinguish spinel as a separate mineral from ruby. We are very excited to announce it as the newest member of the official birthstone list." Two notable examples of spinel's historical significance include a 170-carat red spinel, known as the famed "Black Prince Ruby," that graces the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels; and a 398-carat red spinel - considered the largest ever found -atop the Imperial Crown of Russia, commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1763. "Spinel is an incredible gemstone that has garnered respect for centuries, and it is enjoying surging popularity because of its stunning range of colors," remarks AGTA President Jeffrey Bilgore. "Birthstones have their roots far back in recorded history, strongly influenced by biblical teaching and related to the 12 stones in the breast plate of Aaron as well as the lunar calendar," explains Hucker. This is the third update to modern birthstone list since it was officially created in 1912 by the American National Retail Jewelers Association, now known as Jewelers of America. It was updated in 1952, adding alexandrite, citrine, tourmaline and zircon as birthstones, and again in 2002, when Tanzanite was made an additional December birthstone. 


august birthstone peridot


Prior to the addition of Spinel, American list of birthstones included peridot and the ancient and traditional stone Sardonyx.

Peridot offers a limited range of colors. Most peridot gems are olive green. The range of colors can vary from yellow-green to brownish-green - depending on the exact chemical makeup of the specific gem.

Peridot is the name given to a gem quality crystal of the mineral Olivine. The chemical makeup is magnesium, iron, silica, and oxygen.



august birthstone sardonyx


If you Google the word sardonyx, you will see this description:

"Sardonyx is a type of microcrystalline quartz, specifically onyx, banded with browns, reds, or yellows instead of black. Onyx and sardonyx are types of agate, which is the gemstone of those with the sign Gemini. Sardonyx is closely related to onyx, sard, and carnelian."

In other words... it is a pretty rock.

Sardonyx has a long history as an adornment. Numerous Sardonyx cameos and other objects from Ancient Egypt have been found. The Bible refers to Sardonyx as one of the stones placed in the breastplate of Aaron, High Priest of the Israelites, and older brother of Moses.

As you can see, the color choices that Sardonyx and Peridot offer are limited


birthstone choices


Now that the authoritative list of birthstones has added Spinel as an August birthstone, the color choices are almost unlimited.

Time will tell if other birthstone lists from around the world will also be expanded to include Spinel. Some of these other lists of birthstones are rooted in historical traditions and folklore, and never change.

The American birthstone list is not centuries old, and truth-be-told, is rooted in marketing, That makes it much easier to offer expanded choices to consumers.


birthstone choices


In previous articles appearing in this space, I have labeled Spinel as a first cousin to Ruby and Sapphire (the mineral name for both is corundum), Ruby is the red version of corundum, and Sapphire is the name given to all other colors of corundum. I refer to them as cousins because they are remarkably similar chemically.

Chemically, the atomic elements magnesium, aluminum, and oxygen are the building blocks of Spinel. When those elements were present, and geologic conditions were just right, Spinel crystals were formed. Because other elements were present (such as chromium, cobalt, and/or iron) atoms of these other elements could be incorporated into the crystal. It is these other elements that give color to a Spinel crystal.


spinel gemstone


Similarly, the two atomic elements aluminum and oxygen are the building blocks of corundum. Leave out the magnesium, invite in some atoms of chromium... and you get Ruby.

Combinations of chromium, cobalt, and iron can produce a wide range of hues is gem Spinel. Combine the color choices with attributes such as outstanding hardness, transparency, affordability, and availability and you have an outstanding gemstone choice.

August birthstone choices now open the door to the world of colored gemstones even wider to those born in August.

August birthstone choices, expanded to now include Spinel means that August babies who already own Spinels can now claim them as birthstones. For the rest of us who own Spinels, it means we can continue to admire and appreciate them for what they have always been - beautiful colored gemstones.


gem news


Photo Information


Top - Purple spinel (Thailand)

Next - Blue spinel (Sri Lanka)

Next - Pink spinel (Tanzania)

Next - Peridot (Pakistan)

Next - Sardonyx (North America)

Next - Lavender spinel (East Africa)

Next - Red spinel (Probably Burma)

Next - Orange spinel (East Africa)

Next: - Gem special offer -  Blue spinel pear 

Next - Industry News - Nancy Reagan ring

Last - Dealer Product Image - Amethyst Ring in Sterling Silver



A Google search for links or images using keywords such as birthstones around the world or nancy reagan's jewelry can return some very interesting information and websites.




Gem Offer


gem special offer spinel pear


Here is this month's special gem deal. 


Gem:     Spinel

Color:     Royal blue

Quality:      VVS - clean stone

Shape:     Pear 

Dimensions:     9.8 x 6.7  mm

Approximate Weight:    2.67 carats

Price:     $160, plus shipping ($5)

Send me an email (with anti-spam) (carolynatazgemdotcom) and tell me that you want this fine gem.

We have other  shapes, sizes, and shades of gems available.

We keep gem prices low by buying quality gemstone rough worldwide, and having the rough material cut by our gem cutters in Asia.


gem newsletters


Gem Industry News




nancy reagan jewelry


Christie's has announced the schedule for the auctions of items from the private collection of former President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan. Proceeds from the sale are designated for The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.

This landmark Collection will be on view at Christie’s New York September 17 to 20, and a live auction is scheduled for September 21 and 22.

An online auction of many other items will run from September 19 through September 28. Registration for the online auction is open now.

Of special interest to many is Nancy Reagan's jewelry. There are 83 lots of her jewelry to be sold in the two auctions.

The sale also encompasses furniture and decorative works in the ‘Hollywood Regency’ style, handbags from Mrs. Reagan’s collection, books with personal dedications, presidential mementos and gifts, and fine art from the Reagan home in Los Angeles. Many of these objects were used by the President and First Lady during their time in the White House and are designated as such with a green label.


gemstone news


Jewelry Dealers


jewelry dealers wholesale


Now is a good time to begin planning and preparations for the gift-giving season. Updating your email list, reviewing your customer profile records, and freshen your talking points (sales pitch).

As you replenished your inventory over the past several months, did you have a theme in mind for the sales season? Is this the year you put emphasis on earrings... or bracelets, or another theme.

Be The quality jewelry dealer at a lower price.



gemstone news



Carolyn Doyle

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