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Coloured stones: The beauty is included

by Touchstone Gems 30. May 2013 18:36

From Jewellery Net Asia

We all know that inclusions in diamonds can be a bad thing. Nearly invisible specks inside a diamond can have a tremendous effect on value. However, inclusions play a major role in the world of coloured gemstones. Inclusions are a very important part of gemstone identification. They can be indicators of species, origin and treatments. As with diamonds, if inclusions are too numerous they can have a negative effect on beauty and value.
 
In some cases inclusions are desirable in coloured gemstones. Horsetail shaped inclusions inside Dementoid Garnet are not only identifying characteristics, under magnification they are quite beautiful. In fact, Dementoid Garnets with well-formed horsetails are very desirable and often carry a significant premium in the market.   Collectors seek out gemstones that display inclusions that are unique to the species; Lilypads in Peridot, 3-phase inclusions in Colombian Emerald, even insects in Amber. Microscopic inclusions cause the optical effects of asterism (stars) and chatoyancy (cat’s eye).

The real fun comes when inclusions are large and bold enough to become an essential part of a stone’s beauty and interest. The Quartz family is known for interesting inclusions. Rutilated Quartz contains crystals of Titanium Dioxide, sometimes radiating from a dark grey cube of Hematite in a captivating starburst of brilliant metallic gold needles. Tourmalinated Quartz looks like small black or dark green rods frozen in clear ice. Many minerals can form inside Quartz; sometimes as floating crystals other times appearing more like a colourful coral reef captured in stone. They are beautiful to the eye and even more fascinating under a microscope.

One of the hottest collectable inclusion stones are Trapiches. Meaning “wagon-wheel” Trapiches are usually cut as a cabochon or as a flat slab. The typical appearance shows spokes radiating out from a central hub with contrasting colours or a different mineral between the spokes. First found in Colombian Emeralds, we now find Trapiches in Sapphire, Ruby, Quartz and several other species including diamonds.  Trapiches of any species with good colour and distinct, well-defined spokes are in high demand and the prices are rising quickly. Grab them when you see them.

Gemstones with interesting and visible inclusions offer jewellery designers a broad palette of colour, shape and texture. Inclusion stones can be very affordable or very expensive. Commercial grade inclusion quartz can be had for less than a dollar per carat while superb examples of Rutilated Quartz could fetch over $100 per carat, even more if cut by a top artisanal gemcutter. A large Trapeiche Emerald with deep green colour and well defined spokes can run well into the thousands of dollars per carat.

Be included!

 

 

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Demand for Emerald and other coloured gems on the increase

by Touchstone Gems 8. February 2013 19:53

Article taken from The Gem Forecaster

The search is on for a global celebrity to do for emeralds what Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn did for diamonds.

The chief executive officer of Gemfields PLC (GEM), the biggest producer of the green stones, said he wants "to bring in an A- lister to be the face of emeralds," mirroring what the actresses did in past decades that helped then-monopoly producer De Beers sell diamonds as symbols of lasting love. Clear gems still dominate today's $21 billion precious stone industry.

Rarer than diamonds yet cheaper, emeralds are gaining among consumers. At current growth rates they may take more than 20 percent of their competitor's market share within two decades, according to the trade group the International Diamond Manufacturers Association. Gemfields' share price has gained 78 percent this year.

"Sometimes rarity is not an asset," Harebottle said in an interview. "You need the volumes of supply, which is what we're doing."

Harebottle's strategy, from buying African ruby and emerald mines to leveraging iconic names, is supported by Brian Gilbertson, ex-CEO of the world's largest miner, BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) Gilbertson heads an investment fund that licensed the Faberge brand name to London-based Gemfields and bought a controlling stake in 2007. His son, Sean, is on the board.

High-quality emerald prices increased more than 10-fold in the past three years, out pacing a 21 percent gain in diamonds, according to calculations based on Gemfields and WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd. data. Still the red, green and blue stones comprise just 10 percent of global gem sales and lack standardized pricing.

A 0.9 carat round diamond that's internally flawless and of rare white colour would cost about $7,000, according to online retailer Blue Nile. A round emerald with "excellent clarity" of the same size would cost about $3,500, according to Africa Gems, an online retailer of the stones.

Gemfields' market value increased to about 140 million pounds ($225 million) this year as prices increased for its Zambian output. That's where it owns 75 percent of the Kagem emerald mine, the world's largest. It also has 75 percent of the Montepuez ruby field in Mozambique. The biggest investor is the Rox unit of Pallinghurst Resources Ltd., a Guernsey, U.K.-based fund that invests in natural resources whose chairman is Gilbertson. Rox owns 63 percent of Gemfields.

The company lacks the heft of the 20th century De Beers model, in which a single firm mined, marketed and largely controlled wholesale prices. coloured stones are a fragmented industry that's largely supplied by individual miners -- sometimes parents and children -- across about 10 countries.

At the same time it has benefited from singer and clothing purveyor Jessica Simpson, actress Halle Berry and the Duchess of Cambridge receiving engagement rings containing coloured stones.

Global imports of rough emeralds, rubies and sapphires totaled about $2.2 billion in 2011, according to the United Nation's Comtrade data. Rough diamond sales totaled about $18.9 billion, according to BMO Capital Markets research.

"During the past three years, these other gemstone categories have taken away yet another half percent from our market share, of our display space, of our sales in the jewelry retail shops," Moti Ganz, president of the diamond manufacturers group, said in a speech at the World Diamond Congress on Oct. 15.

De Beers dropped so-called generic marketing of the stones when its monopoly was ended after losing a 10-year legal battle with the U.S. over price-fixing in 2004.

Polished diamond prices have declined for five straight quarters as Asian purchases slowed and the euro region debt crisis eroded demand, according to PolishedPrices.com data. Rough, or uncut, prices have fallen for the past two quarters and are heading for the first annual decline since 2008 after rising by more than 20 percent in each of the past three years.

The coloured gem market was about equal in size with the diamond industry in the 1940s. Generic marketing is where participants buy advertising that benefits them all -- such as the "Got Milk" campaign in the U.S. for the dairy industry.

De Beers, the world's biggest producer, created the industry and developed the "Diamonds are Forever" tagline that was voted as the best slogan of the 20th century by Advertising Age. Monroe's recording of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" and Hepburn's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" film helped cement an allure in consumers' minds, spurring a boom in demand and prices that were underpinned by cartel.

Price and Prejudice

by Touchstone Gems 6. November 2012 18:42

From www.gemstone.org

For Jane Austen, matrimony was as much a financial transaction as an emotional one, with everyone trying to get the best possible bargain. Buying a gem is also the beginning of a life-long relationship and the price you pay is part of the deal. Understandably, you don't want to pay too much.

So how can you tell if you are paying the right price?

First of all, don't ask how much you should pay for a one-carat ruby. A one carat ruby can be worth ten dollars or it can be worth $10,000. Quality makes the difference. Fortunately you can see differences in quality if you look at a lot of rubies side-by-side. Better colour costs more, a lot more. Better clarity costs more. Better cut may cost a little more but it is worth it! The bigger the stone, the more it is per carat. Within each variety, prices are based on these four Cs, with colour as the most important factor. There is a more detailed explanation in the judging quality section.

But different varieties have different price ranges. This is where the prejudice comes in. Some varieties are lower in price because they are readily available, some because the colour isn't very popular (brown and yellow stones, for example), some because the material is relatively soft, and some because ...they have all the right stuff but no one knows it. There are plenty of examples of beautiful rare gemstones that cost less than gems that are less rare because they have a funny name, or people get them confused with an inexpensive variety or no one has ever heard of them. But enough about the injustice of the gem market.

We can break the price ranges of the different gem varieties down into five basic categories: traditional gemstones, new classics, connoisseur gems, collector gemstones, and affordable gems. These categories have basic price ranges, but, again lower quality stones or stones with less popular colours may cost less and stones with particularly fine quality or colour may cost more. These price ranges are meant to give you a general idea of the relationship of prices between different kinds of gemstones and not to serve as a price list, since colour and quality can make such a difference.

The traditional gemstones are ruby, emerald and blue sapphire. Because of their lasting appeal and distinguished history, ruby, emerald and sapphire are more valuable than other coloured gemstones. Generally, ruby and emerald are also priced higher than a comparable quality sapphire due to rarity. For a one-carat stone of average to good quality in the varieties in this category, you can expect to pay between $250 and $10,000 per carat. Of course truly fine gems will cost more.

The new classics are gemstones that are the rising stars of gemstone jewellery: tanzanite, tourmaline, aquamarine, imperial topaz, and tsavorite garnet. These gemstones are sometimes available in standardized sizes but you really should look at some fine larger single stones to see why they have so many fans. Gems in this category range between $50 to $1,000 per carat for an average to good quality one carat stone, with a good example of tsavorite easily reaching $3,000 per carat.ica

 

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