Tanzanite Gemstone Vancouver

Purple Tanzanite Gemstone

Unlike many other gemstones – Moonstone, Pearl, Opal, Lapis Lazuli, and Amethyst that were known in antiquity –Tanzanite is a youngster or even a baby in gem-world terms of age because it’s only 52 years old this year. Also, unlike many other gemstones, we do not know for sure who discovered the Tanzanite because there are two stories: (1) Manuel d’Souza, a Brazilian tailor-turned-prospector who was unable to get his diamond prospecting licence renewed so turned to gemstone prospecting and found an incredibly beautiful blue-violet stone that he first mistook to be a Blue Sapphire.

The second account that has since been disputed as mere legend tells of a Masai herdsman tending his cattle near Mount Kilimanjaro stumbling on a beautiful blue stone that had been unearthed after a massive underground fire.

Maybe this is a legend but there is a grain of truth to it because Tanzanite’s natural colour is brown and heat is required to bring forth that dazzling blue-violet colour. But whatever the truth of its discovery, Tanzanite has been lauded as the most notable and exciting event of the 20th century in the gem world, the ‘one in a million or miracle’ stone dubbed “The Generational Stone” or the gemstone of our generation because the mine output has been estimated to run out of gems in one generation. That statement, however, according to geologists, is incorrect because the reality is that Tanzanite will still be there in the mine but it will be too difficult and too costly and possibly too dangerous for the miners to bring it to the surface.

What exactly is Tanzanite?

Tanzanite is a mineral or rather to be more exact, a variety of the mineral Zoisite whose colours are pink, yellow, green, bicolours of pink & yellow and green & pink in a single stone, and of course the blue/violet colour combination. Tanzanite, however, also has a splash of green making it a trichroic or a tricolor gemstone that naturally displays a different colour in each direction or axis which then, according to experts, eliminates the possibility of it being duplicated in a lab. Here too though I beg to differ because a recent jewellery show on Canada’s Shopping Channel – Gem Illusions – featured synthetic Tanzanite tennis bracelets, earrings and rings along with other synthetic gemstones including Morganite and Ruby. Tanzanite, however, is not your ‘everyday’ gemstone because it is relatively soft at only 6-6.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness – compare a Diamond at 10 on that scale – but despite that softness it is now one of the most popular and most desirable gems on the planet. Additionally, Tanzanite is now recognized as one of December’s birthstones along with Turquoise and Zircon.

Tanzanite’s Geological History

Being such a ‘young’ gemstone, the Tanzanite’s only history is that found in the geological record or history which, according to geologists, began with the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana 500 million years ago. During that upheaval or plate tectonic movement certain features or layers from organic and other sources, e.g. sand and marine life, as well as trace elements, specifically vanadium that is responsible for the stone’s gorgeous blue-violet colour, were buried and metamorphosed at high temperatures and pressure resulting in the crystallization of Tanzanite where it remained until some sort of erosion on the surface of the earth and possibly that underground fire spoken of by that Masai herdsman brought the deposit of Tanzanite to the earth’s surface in an area close to the town of Mireranii in northeast Tanzania.

One Only Source for Tanzanite in the Entire World or a fabulous Marketing Strategy?

We all know the power of advertising and an outstanding marketing strategy, e.g. De Beers’ A Diamond is Forever slogan so, was Tanzanite’s nickname ‘Generational Stone’ the truth, as in only available for our generation, or a good marketing ploy/strategy? I ask this not just because I’m a skeptic who did indeed believe this concept though thought it implausible that the supercontinent breakup would reveal only one source in the entire continent but also because of the recent rumour in gem-world circles that another mine had been located in the region of Mount Kilimanjaro (the Masai herdsman story?). Its exact location, however, has not been revealed by the Tanzanian government that is now considering building a wall around it like they have done with the Mirerani mine that has become the victim of countless acts of violence and theft in the past year and to protect the miners. The Tanzanian government is also in the process of changing their laws to benefit the country’s economy and have greater control over their natural resources and maybe – though this is mere supposition on my part – to keep international prospectors out. But whatever the reason, it appears that Tanzanite will be available for many years to come.

If you don’t know this gemstone and might like to see it for yourself, I suggest you go to LL Private Jewellers for more information and an incredible eye candy experience. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed but rather encouraged to design your own Tanzanite necklace, ring, or brooch.

Please if you would like to have more information about Tanzanite gemstones, please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343

Mar 23, 2020 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Tanzanite

Opal gemstone

Opals gemstones

The Opal is the birthstone for October but if your birthday isn’t in October, would you wear it? Your answer, most likely, depends on your belief in the supernatural, specifically a superstition that claims bad luck for the wearer whose birthday is not in October. But where did this superstition come from? Is there any documented proof that some truly awful misfortune fell upon the wearer whose birthday was not in October, or was it perhaps dreamed up and perpetrated by someone who didn’t want her sister(s) wearing her Opal?

Whatever the situation, the power or belief in the superstition often works. My position, however, is to pooh-pooh the superstition and prove to you that Opals are good luck whether or not you were born in October. But first, some facts about Opals you may not know beginning with history, – a very interesting story – their composition (what they’re made of), endorsements, the ideal environment where they can develop, the origin of the superstition, and the types of Opal.

Opal History

The earliest recorded discovery of an Opal was 6,000 years ago in Kenya so we can say with certainty that Opals are ‘old’ stones known and prized by many ancient civilizations including ancient Greece and ancient Roman. In 75 AD, in fact, that ancient Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder wrote about Opals saying some carry such a play of colour as can be likened or equal to the brightest, richest, deepest colours preferred by and used by painters while others imitate the colours of other gemstones – the fiery red of the Ruby, the green of the emerald and a flaming yellow or orange like that of burning oil or sulphur similar to that of the Citrine. This play of colour is a unique characteristic of the Opal known today as a Prismatic Play of Colour due to the Opal’s unique ability to reflect a rich rainbow or flash different colours – bright yellow, orange, green, blue, red or purple – when moved or when the light source changes.

Opal Composition or what they’re made of and the ideal environment for their development

Opals are made of silica (the very stuff found on beaches worldwide) created by ancient rainwater seeping into cracks in parched earth. The ideal environment for this process to occur is Australia’s desert-like Outback where heavy rains alternate with arid periods when, during that dry season the water evaporates leaving behind tiny particles of silica to harden over time, 5-6 millions of years in fact, into the stones we call Opals. That length of time, moreover, will produce a mere one-centimeter Opal! This ideal outback environment explains why Australia has cornered the market with their fabulous Opals.


Despite their obvious beauty and that unique characteristic of appearing to reflect a rainbow, Opals have never reached the same heights or status as a diamond or other precious gemstones. Some say the reason is no celebrity endorsement. But that’s wrong because Opals were the favourite gemstone of Queen Victoria and loving them so much she gave one to each of her five daughters. Also, in France’s crown jewels there is an Opal and, again according to Pliny the Elder, Mark Antony also loved Opals.

Lucky/Unlucky Opals & Opal Symbolism

As in all good debates, there are two sides, so no surprise that there are those who say the Opal is a lucky stone but proof is in short supply for either side. In fact, I know of only one story about a French baron living in London taking a family-owned, since the twelfth century, Opal to the London Pavilion in 1908 where a soothsayer told him the Opal would bring him good fortune in the form of an inheritance of half a million pounds. Not only did the prediction come true but the ancient Opal also had a feint inscription in old Spanish that translated into “Good Luck”. In the seventh century too, opals were believed (a) to be the luckiest of all gemstones because they showed in one stone all the colours of all the other gemstones and (b) possess a certain magical power that would preserve the life and colour of blond hair. The ancient Greeks also believed Opals possessed supernatural powers that would protect the wearer from illness and, more, bestow upon the wearer the gift of prophecy. And other symbolism invests the Opal with love and passion, loyalty and faithfulness – making it perhaps the ideal stone(s) for an engagement ring – naming it a seductive stone that intensifies and stabilizes emotional states and releases inhibitions.

The unlucky aspect or superstition, according to George F. Kunz (the Kunzite gemstone) and others, is a misinterpretation or careless reading of the novel Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott in 1829. No one knows for certain why this story of the Opal being an unlucky stone was put about but speculation has it that it was circulated for commercial reasons. And now that you know the truth about the origin of the superstition, feel free to wear Opals without fear that some dreadful misfortune will befall you.

Types of Opals

From Australia from where comes about 90% of the world’s Opals: the Boulder Opal, the Black/Dark Opal, the Natural Opal, the Light/White Opal, the Matrix Opal, the Composite Natural Opal (Doublets/Triplets); from Mexico, (and my #1 favourite Opal) the incredibly beautiful Fire Opal believed by ancient Mayan and other cultures as having been created in the waters of paradise and given the name “the stone of the bird of paradise’ for its amazing fiery-orange colour. A comparative newcomer (1994, 2008 and 2013), from Ethiopia, the Welo Opal is now set to challenge Australia’s dominance in the Opal market. This Ethiopian Opal also has that distinctive Play-of-Colour characteristic in a variety of patterns and rates as my second favorite Opal. And from Peru the most amazing greeny-blue Opal that could easily rival the colour of the Turquoise.

For further information or just to see these precious Opals (dubbed precious by the Romans centuries ago) you really should see Monika at LL Private Jewellers where, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed and you will enjoy the most amazing eye-candy experience with these gorgeous Opals.

Nov 28, 2019 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones

Living Coral

Living Coral

Pantone’s Colour for 2019

Every year the Pantone Color Institute (New Jersey, U.S.A.) selects a new colour for that year. This year, 2019, that colour is Living Coral that has absolutely nothing to do with Coral Reefs or the Coral gemstone that comes from those reefs in the world’s tropical and subtropical oceans.

Rather, the emphasis or focus is the colour described by Pantone as a life-affirming coral hue with golden undertones that enriches, energizes, and enlivens with a softer edge, nurturing and embracing us in warmth and buoyancy in our continually changing environment.

In other words, Pantone’s Living Coral is a feel good, effervescent and mesmerizing shade of coral that contrasts sharply with the colour of the real Coral gemstone that’s a stunning blood-red colour that, in fact, explains why the real coral is in such high demand by Chinese consumers because red, in Chinese culture, is synonymous with good luck, good fortune. But that aside, the focus here is the colour of Pantone’s Living Coral, and the need to find gemstones that best exemplify or substitute for that gorgeous colour that I see as a lovely pinkish-orangey-red with no hard edges of red, a colour that envelops the senses with warmth and well-being.

Eye of the Beholder

Are there any gemstones in such a colour that, first and foremost, is a delicious or mouth-watering salmon colour that is mellow yet vibrant, soft rather than garish or harsh evoking feelings of well-being? Well, actually, though I’ve done copious online research, checked every family of gemstones I know of, read many books, trade and otherwise, I have found few gemstones matching this beautiful, enveloping colour. But with colour, I believe, being the same as beauty “in the eye of the beholder”, you might totally disagree with me.

It’s really a matter of perception. But if we focus on pink rather than the orange tint, there are a number of gemstones that could qualify as a stand-in for Living Coral: Kunzite (a soft pink), Morganite (a soft pinkish-peach), Rubellite, Tourmaline that boasts every colour in the spectrum to satisfy every person earth with no two alike; Rose Quartz (though I see it as too pink) Pearl (of every variety, e.g. natural, cultured, Tahitian, freshwater and saltwater); Opals; and that delectable Padparadscha Sapphire though it, I think, is more peachy than pink in colour. There is also the one from Ceylon that is more orangey-pink than

pinkish-orange with some a true salmon colour in a pinkish to orange hue. So, again, it’s all a matter of perception or ‘in the eye of the beholder’ as to what colour you see.

Gemstones that may stand in for or represent Pantone’s Living Coral

Since I see Living Coral as a pinkish-orangey-red colour, my choice of a gemstone that could fit this colour is the Mexican Fire Opal for it too is an orange-red colour though with no pink in it. But sometimes you can’t have everything so this gemstone – Mexico’s national gemstone – could suffice in a pinch. Not only is the colour sensational but so too is its history for it was known by both the Mayas and the Aztec Indians who cherished it as a symbol of deepest love and gave it the name – in translation – “Stone of the Bird of Paradise”.

My first choice, though, is the Spessartite Garnet whose colour is even more sensational than the Mexican Fire Opal for the Spessartite is a fiery red with slight orange tints, which happens to be the most desirable colour and, in my opinion, the ideal stand in for Living Coral. But here too perception is important for you may not see it as I do.

I suggest, therefore, if you are of a mind to envelope yourself in this Living Coral colour, that you consult a gem expert – Monika at LL Private Jewellers is my recommendation – who will undoubtedly provide you with that alternative gemstones I don’t know in that colour or close to it.

Another alternative

This alternative is the real Coral from the seas and one I cannot personally endorse because I believe the coral should not be harvested for jewellery but remain in the ocean where it belongs,as an underwater ecosystem for about one quarter of all ocean species. stay where it belongs in the world’s oceans and not harvested for jewellery. But, if your preference is for the real Coral from coral reefs, if you can even find it, you will need deep pockets because the price for the real Coral gemstone has skyrocketed by 500% in the past 3 years. Example, last year a single strand coral necklace sold for $234,000; today that price would be $306,000 at $1,000 per gram because the demand is greater than the shrinking supply.

Please for more information about Coral please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343

May 29, 2019 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Lining Coral

Tsavorite Gemstone

Tsavorite gemstone

Also known as the King of Green Gemstones, the Tsavorite is a member of the colourful Garnet Family of Gemstones.

It is also one of the most popular and expensive varieties of green garnets – its sister-stone being the green Demantoid Garnet – whose price is determined by carat size; example, stones up to one carat are common, therefore cheaper, whereas pieces over 2 carats, being rare, the price jumps dramatically and those with that deep green emerald-like colour will fetch the highest prices.

In terms of age or comparison with many other gemstones, the Tsavorite is a NEW or YOUNG stone – only 52 years this year since its discovery by Scottish geologist Campbell Bridges first in Tanzania and later in Kenya in 1967 – but in geological terms or gem history it is a very OLD stone whose formation began millions of years ago, even before dinosaurs walked the earth, when the continents were being compressed into what we know today.

That movement, according to geologists, combined with high temperatures and tremendous pressure so damaged the early formation of the Tsavorite that today only fragments, usually no larger than 5 carats, have been discovered. And, to compound the problem of scarcity, the Tsavorite garnet has been found in only one place in the world on the bush-land border of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa.

Tsavorite Colour

Tsavorite colour is green, all shades of green from bright yellowish-green to deep green or bluish-green to various shades of green – grass green, natural green, vivid green, emerald green – with the most desirable colour being a fresh, vivid, brilliant emerald green that can easily rival that of the Emerald, which accounts for Tsavorite often being mistakenly identified as an Emerald. As well as colour, though, there are distinct differences between these 2 beautiful gemstones: (1) the Tsavorite is a natural stone, never treated or heated in any way whereas the Emerald is routinely oiled and sometimes glass filled; (2) Tsavorite is more durable than an Emerald that chips easily;

(3) Tsavorite being rare – 200 times rarer than an Emerald – and scarce – having one only location – is more valuable than an Emerald yet sells for about 1/4 the cost of the Emerald; (4) having a higher refractive index, a Tsavorite has a greater brilliance than an Emerald; (5) a Tsavorite sparkles while the Emerald is dull needing polishing; (6) the Tsavorite is more robust than the Emerald meaning it won’t easily splinter or crack when being set or worn; (7) a Tsavorite is a Garnet; an Emerald is a Beryl, so no connection at all. In terms of hardness – the Mohs Scale – they are both about the same: Emerald 7.5-8; Tsavorite 7-7.5 but the Tsavorite being the more durable of the two is the better choice for a ring, even an engagement ring because of its value and scarcity.

True Story of the Tsavorite’s Discovery

As I said above, the year was 1967 when Campbell Bridges was prospecting in Zimbabwe where he saw a range of hills with geological characteristics he had never before seen. So intent was he in his examination or observation of those hills that he forgot to look down or at the surrounding area. where, on one side, there was a steep ravine.

What happened next was sheer chance or the subject of a good film: a large Cape Buffalo charged out of the bush forcing Bridges to leap into the ravine to save his life. The ravine, fortunately, was too steep for the buffalo to follow so Bridges started walking along the bottom of the ravine, while the buffalo followed him on the top ridge. Continuing his prospecting he eventually arrived at the range of hills with the unique geology that had so preoccupied him he didn’t see the buffalo.

There, he saw a flashing green glint, the likes of which he had never seen before. He removed a sample and thus was the first known discovery of Tsavorite so named for Tsavo National Park in Kenya. This was Bridges’ choice for the beautiful green garnet to honour Kenya for taking him in, being good to him, and allowing him to make his home there. Would you not agree with me that this is the stuff of novels and movies that could easily rival any of the Indiana Jones movies? If yes, and you have a bent for writing and/or a dream of becoming a script writer, the discovery of the Tsavorite Garnet could be your ticket to fame and fortune, and it’s all true.

January’s Birthstone

Garnet is the birthstone for January; the zodiacal stone for Aquarius, and the second wedding anniversary stone. That gorgeous green color of the Tsavorite could also easily make it the zodiacal stone for Cancer or a substitute for the Emerald, May’s birthstone given its colour likeness to the Emerald. Also, where January’s birthstone is concerned, the Tsavorite, also being a garnet, would be another birthstone choice because no one ever said it had to be the red variety of garnet. Or, if you’re creative why not put the two together in a piece uniquely yours?

Myths and beliefs

With Tsavorite being a YOUNG stone, only 52 years old making it, in geological terms, a mere infant, we cannot really expect there to be many myths associated with it. That assumption, however, might well be wrong for there are those who claim the Tsavorite does indeed have certain powers, i.e.providing the wearer with strength, vitality, and a positive rather than negative disposition or attitude. Additionally, there is the belief that the Tsavorite has the power to aid, support, or improve one’s immune system; respiration, metabolism, and detoxification. And, in the HIndu traditional belief systems, the Tsavorite is associated with Anahata, the heart chakra, that relates to love, compassion, decision making, and psychic healing.

That the Tsavorite is a Garnet, we can also include myths and beliefs associated with the Garnet: (1) it is the perfect stone if one wants to succeed in business; (2) it encourages compassion and self-confidence; (3) has the ability to heal the blood and improve circulation, and (4) has long been thought of as ‘a traveler’s stone’ and myth has it that the biblical Noah (Noah’s Ark) used a garnet lantern to help navigate the Ark during the night.

For more information or just the eye candy experience of seeing this beautiful Tsavorite Garnet in person, and having your personal, unique design created by LL Private Jewellers or please call us at 604-684-6343

Apr 30, 2019 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Tsavorite

Topaz gemstones

Topaz Gemstones

If your birthday is in November you know the Topaz is one of your birthstones. The Topaz is sometimes referred to as a precious stone while at other times it is said to be a fairly common, inexpensive gemstone because it comes from or is made of a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluoride, which happens to be one of the most abundant substances in the Earth’s crust, So, that abundance, rather than shortage or in short supply, explains the common aspect but where does the precious title come from?

Answer: colour and the type or variety of Topaz known as the Imperial Topaz is the only Topaz with the “Precious” designation. Its colour is golden-yellow to orange. The exact colour for the Imperial Topaz though is not well defined so there is a wide range of colours – orange to pink, or golden-orange to brown – with the golden-yellow to orange being the most valuable and sold as Imperial Topaz. In the Zodiac calendar, the Topaz is also the gemstone for Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter.

Other Colours of Topaz

Aside from the golden-yellow to orange Imperial Topaz, the colour that most often comes to mind when Topaz is mentioned is blue but blue topaz rarely occurs in nature and if/when it does it is a very pale blue meaning the Blues we see in the marketplace – London Blue, Swiss Blue, and Sky Blue – are the result of enhancement procedures or techniques such as heating or irradiation. And while Pure Topaz, like Pure Corundum, is transparent and colourless Topaz also comes in many other colours including brown, brownish-yellow, yellow, pink, gray, violet, pink, and light green. But if you ever hear of or someone tries to sell you a Smoky Topaz, beware, for there is no such colour of Topaz. Rather, it is quartz and a completely different type of gemstone. Confusion also arises when the Citrin, also one of November’s birthstones, enters the picture because its colour is similar to the yellow topaz. These two, however, are not related because the Citrine is a quartz and the Topaz, as I said above, is a mineral.

Topaz History & Myths

The Topaz, particularly the golden topaz is an ‘old’ stone whose history and lore goes all the way back to the ancient cultures of Rome, Greece, and Egypt with both the ancient Romans and the ancient Egyptians associating the stone with their respective sun gods: the mighty Sun god Ra of Egypt and the Roman god of the sun, Jupiter. They also believed that the stone’s golden colour came directly from the god and therefore it had the power to protect the faithful. The ancient Greeks also believed the stone had supernatural powers that would increase strength, both physical and intellectual, drive away sadness and, in times of emergency or need. improve digestion, relieve arthritic pain, aid weight loss, improve digestion, aid eyesight and weight loss and, when worn as an amulet set in gold, protect the wearer from dark magic and bad charms, even make him/her invisible in times of need, distress, or emergency. As well and maybe even more important, the Topaz was also believed to attract love and wealth again because of its golden colour.

Truly, even if you don’t believe any of these myths or superstitions, the Topaz, whether the common variety or the Precious designation, is a unique stone and with a hardness of 8 on the Mohs Scale and therefore suitable for every type of jewellery and, in fact, Pure Topaz is often used as a diamond substitute. If, however, you’re thinking to add a topaz to your jewellery wardrobe, even if it’s not your birthstone, best you choose a golden topaz set in gold because its believed mystical ability is said to attract gold. And you wouldn’t dispute that, would you, and ruin your chances of attracting gold (or maybe winning a lottery)?

To see any of these beautiful Topaz stones of any or all colours and for further information. please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6364.

Mar 05, 2019 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Topaz

Ruby gemstone

Ruby gemstone

If your birthday is in July, you know the Ruby is your birthstone. You might also know that the Ruby is one of the ‘top drawer’ or precious gemstones – the others in that select group being Diamond, Emerald, and Sapphire – with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs Scale just below that of the Diamond at 10 on that scale. And you probably know that the Ruby is the most desirable and one of the most valuable of all gemstones on earth.

But why or how has it earned such an elevated position in the gem world? The answer in a word is colour because colour is king in the gem world and it is this magnificent colour that is the Ruby’s best feature and explains why the Ruby is also known as “the King of Gemstones”. But who bestowed this title, when, where, and why?

And, being an ‘old’ stone, known by many ancient civilizations, are there any associated legends, myths, or perceived or believed magical properties? To answer these questions, we need to go back in time more than 2,000 years ago to the ‘birthplace’, so to speak, of the first discovery of the Ruby. That country is ancient India whose culture, like all ancient civilizations, is rich with legends, myths, and superstitions.

Ancient Indian Legends & the Ruby

Legend has it that the rulers in that ancient kingdom held the Ruby in such high esteem that they sent out dignitaries to give a new find a ‘right royal welcome’ that then became the insignia of the royal households. That trend or custom still applies today with rubies decorating the insignia – crowns and other regalia – of royal households worldwide. Additionally, the language of that ancient Indian culture was Sanskrit whose word for Ruby is ‘ratnaraj’ that roughly translates into something like ‘king of the gemstones’. And the mineral corundum that created the Ruby is also derived from the Sanskrit word ‘kuruvinda’.

The Mineral corundum

Corundum is one of the hardest minerals on earth and in its pure state it is colorless. Slight traces of certain elements – titanium, iron, chrome, or vanadium – give the pure corundum its many colours that in turn create both Ruby and its ‘sister’ stone Sapphire but only the red variety of corundum can be called Ruby with all other colours classified as Sapphires. This close relationship between the Ruby and Sapphire was not discovered until the beginning of the 19th century, which explains why, prior to that era, many red stones, e.g. red garnets, red spinels, were wrongly classified as Rubies, as proved by the revelation that the ‘Black Ruby’ and the ‘Timur Ruby’ in the British Crown Jewels are not Rubies at all but Spinels.

Symbolism & Myths

The Ruby-red colour associated with the Ruby is not just any red or any old color but rather a warm, fiery incomparable color that is loaded with symbolism, i.e. blood and fire implying life and warmth thus making the Ruby the perfect gemstone for an engagement ring for it symbolizes the unbridled, passionate love the engaged pair feel for each other. In ancient times too, many ancient cultures likened the Ruby’s incomparable color to that of blood and therefore believed the Ruby held the power of life.

Being an ancient gemstone, the Ruby was believed to have certain magical powers so the wearer would be blessed with health, wealth, wisdom, outstanding success in matters of the heart, and the ability to live in peace with his/her enemies. And, when worn as a talisman, the Ruby, symbolizing power and protection, was also believed to have the power of invulnerability to protect the warrior in battle. And for a more modern allusion, consider if you will The Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s ruby slippers, which were her talisman to protect her from evil.

Beliefs & Other Ruby Facts

Whether or not you believe in any of these perceived or mystical qualities, you can be absolutely assured that the Ruby, aptly named as the undisputed ‘ruler of the gem world’ for thousands of years is one of the most sought-after gems on the planet and therefore, as you might expect, requires very deep pockets to purchase one, especially those in large sizes or more than 3 carats, which are rare. One such large Ruby that fetched an astronomical price was a 16 carat stone that sold at Sotheby’s Auction House in 1988 for US$227,300.00 per carat. Imagine what its price tag would be today, 30 years later…

Another example is the 8.24 carat ruby ring belonging to Elizabeth Taylor and made by Van Cleef & Arpels that sold at auction in 2011 for US$4.2M or a staggering $500,000.00 per carat. The most expensive ruby, however, and probably the largest ever found at 32.8 carats and known as the “Hope Ruby” sold in 2014 for US$38M. And, by way of comparison, a high quality Ruby of more than 10 carats will probably cost you more than a similar sized diamond that averages a sales price of $125,000.00 per carat!

And, did you know that the Ruby on the Zodiac calendar is the birthstone for Capricorn? And where anniversaries are concerned the Ruby is the gemstone for the 5th and 40th wedding anniversaries.

Please for more information about rubies contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343.

Jan 23, 2019 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Rubies

Amazonite gemstone

Amazonite Gem Info Large Gemselect

Some weeks ago when jewellery was the featured presentation on The Shopping Channel I took a look out of curiosity to see what was there. The first offering was a pendant with a beautiful bluish-green stone with a faint sheen making me immediately think turquoise but that was wrong because it was in fact a gemstone.

I had never before heard of, never before seen, an Amazonite so named for South America’s Amazon River where it flows through Brazil leading to the assumption that this part of the river was the gem’s birthplace so to speak, where it was originally discovered.

That assumption is certainly plausible given that many gemstones are named after their places of discovery, e,.g. Tanzanite so named for Tanzania where it was discovered but, according to mineralogists, incorrect in this instance because the mineral that created the Amazonite does not naturally occur in Brazil’s Amazon River though does naturally occur in other areas of Brazil, which may explain the belief or story of the gem being found there, in Brazil’s Amazon, many years ago. Or, its name may have been taken from legend or myth such as that of the mythical Amazonian female warriors or from a Brazilian legend that tells of Amazonian women giving green stones to men who visited them.

Amazonite Mineral and Family

The mineral or rather family of minerals responsible for Amazonite is feldspar, specifically a green variety of feldspar that has often been mistaken for Nephrite Jade or Jadeite. And being a family, like quartz, it has many members with different names, e.g. Moonstone and Labradorite that are, in fact, members of the feldspar family and siblings or sister stones of Amazonite. Feldspar minerals, like quartz that places second, are the most common and also the most abundant minerals on earth making up about 60% of the earth’s crust. This abundance, however, is deceiving because only a few varieties make the grade or are classified as being of gemstone quality.

Similar and Related Gemstones

According to gemologists, mistakes in identifying Amazonite are quite common because of colour similarity with jade, serpentine, chalcedony, chrysoprase, and aventurine. Its most popular related gemstones are Moonstone, Rainbow Moonstone, Labradorite, and Sunstone So, if you are of a mind to add an Amazonite to your jewellery collection, you need to consult Monika at LL Private Jewellers to make sure you’re getting the genuine stone and not a closely related one.

Amazonite Colours, Locations, and Believed Properties

Amazonite colours, from iron impurities in the stone, vary from light green and yellowish-green to green to light bluish-green green sometimes with fine white streaks. The colour is sometimes evenly distributed and saturated as in that lovely and highly desirable turquoise colour while at other times the colour distribution is irregular and mottled. Amazonite is also a ‘natural’ stone requiring no treatments of any kind (heating to enhance colour 0.


While the Amazonite is known as the Amazon Stone, we now know that is a misnomer because it does not come from the Amazon River where it flows through Brazil though it has been found in other parts of Brazil and Russia’s ilmen Mountains, with recent discoveries in Colorado, Virginia, Australia, and Madagascar.

Believed Properties

Being an ‘old’ stone known as far back as Pharaonic Egypt, the Amazonite was believed to hold certain magical powers such as protection and healing properties. When displaying that beautiful turquoise colour it is believed to bring harmony to one’s life by removing stress and imbalance, moderate aggressiveness, counter intolerance, and encourage an openness to new ideas and environments.

For further information and to see this very attractive gemstone for yourself please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343.

Dec 06, 2018 | Comments: 0 | Category: Amazonite, Gemstones

Diamonds, Sapphires

Sapphire v. Diamonds

Diamonds and Sapphires

Also known as the King of all Blue gems, the Blue Sapphire is the stone that has long been associated with and a favourite of royalty and people in power, which may explain why Prince Charles, in the early 1980s, gave Lady Diana Spencer a large Blue Sapphire engagement ring that was then given by their son Prince William to his bride Catherine Middleton now known as the Duchess of Cambridge.

This seeming departure from the traditional colourless diamond engagement ring, as you might expect, exponentially increased the Blue Sapphire’s popularity both as the gem of choice and/or an engagement ring. Since then, however, some 35 years later, there has been no other Sapphire engagement ring that I know of perhaps because sapphires, particularly in an engagement ring, have had no other celebrity endorsement.

Or perhaps because they have not been marketed like colourless diamonds were in the 1940 by De Beers’ highly successful and enduring to this very day slogan, “A Diamond is Forever”.

The reason for this is that De Beers is a cartel with deep pockets that controls the diamond market and the price worldwide whereas sapphires and other coloured gemstones come from small, independent mining operations that specialize in particular gems in a free market enterprise where they set their own prices, reduce their costs by eliminating the middlemen from the supply chain, and make the most of the Internet to reach the widest possible market without the high cost of advertising and distribution.

Other Similarities and Differences between Colourless Diamonds and Sapphires

Registering 9 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness the Sapphire is the second hardest substance on earth, second only to the Diamond at 10. Their chemical compositions are also different, for the Diamond is carbon based whereas the Sapphire comes from mineral corundum that is responsible for both the Sapphire and the Ruby. Gem quality of this mineral, however, is extremely rare and while blue is the most traditional and classic colour for Sapphire it comes in many different colours known as the fancies: the Fancy Yellow sapphire; the Fancy Green Sapphire; the Fancy Purple Sapphire, the mouth-watering Fancy Peach Sapphire, the Golden Black Star Sapphire, the Fancy Pink Sapphire, and also the Orange or Padparadscha Sapphire (an unusual salmon or pinkish-orange colour combination). I include this last Padparadscha Sapphire for a particular reason, namely that one such gem as an engagement ring now sits on the hand of Princess Eugenie of York who will marry her long-time boyfriend in October to prove that Sapphires, after a 35-year hiatus, are making a come-back as the gem of choice for an engagement ring.

The Case for a Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring

While a Sapphire might not be your first choice of gem for you or your bride’s engagement ring I’m going to make the case for it by giving you reasons why it should be. But first, and to ‘set the stage’ so to speak, some background information about this incredibly beautiful gemstone that has been known since antiquity by many different cultures for its believed supernatural powers that are both fascinating and inspiring. Example, in ancient times Sapphire was believed by people in power to be the conduit between themselves and Divine favour and therefore a talisman or amulet that would protect them from evil, as well as sharpen their wits and intellect. And not just by people in power, e.g. kings and the nobility, but also every ancient religion believed in the power of the Sapphire: the ancient Greeks, Buddhists; ancient Persians; ancient Hindus, and early Christianity where to this very day a new Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church is given a gold ring set with a Sapphire.

Additionally, a Sapphire is believed to attract financial abundance; bestow wisdom; help eyesight; promote mental clarity; strengthen intuition and integrity; evoke feelings of devotion, and protect the wearer from negative energy. Sapphire is the birthstone for September, the astrological signs of Taurus and Virgo, and the birthstone of the Chinese zodiac sign of Tiger.

And, in an engagement ring, the Sapphire inspires fidelity, faithfulness, loyalty, sincerity, honesty and devotion, and the fulfilment of dreams. The Sapphire is also known as the Lovers Crystal making it the perfect gemstone for an engagement ring whatever your preferred colour: Blue, Pink, Yellow, Green, Purple or Violet, Orange, Black, or even Colourless. I’m confident I have proved my case that a Sapphire, imbued with all of these impressive properties or attributes, is the ideal gem for an engagement because a colourless Diamond has but the slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’.

For further information or to see any or all of these gorgeous Sapphires up close and personal please call Monika at LL Private Jewellers and then anticipate a truly exceptional eye candy experience. Guaranteed, you won’t be disappointed! Rather, you might even be inspired to design and create your own engagement ring with a Sapphire as the centre stone.

Please for more information about diamonds and sapphires contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343.

Oct 29, 2018 | Comments: 0 | Category: Diamonds, Sapphires

Precious, Semi-precious gemstones

Semi Precious Gemstones

Gemstones are classified as Precious or Semi-precious but what do we really know about these terms, who created them, where, when and why? I’ve often wondered about these questions – maybe you have too – but found answers elusive maybe because they were trade secrets. After much searching, however, and talking to the right people I have the answers that may or may not, depending on how cynical or skeptical you are, surprise you.

Firstly, then, these designations were created in the West, specifically ancient Greece to exist solely in the West by people looking to sell particular gemstones – diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies – at a greater profit. In other words, these designations are simply a marketing tool or a commercial-based classification whose aim or purpose was to hoodwink consumers by putting misconceived notions of the truth into their minds.

In so doing, they implied that all other gemstones were of lesser quality and value and therefore should be labelled Semi-precious. These designations exist to the present day but no longer reflect modern values, e.g. a Tsavorite green garnet (semi-precious) is more valuable than a mid-quality (precious) Sapphire. Also, without a universally accepted grading system for gemstones these concepts of precious and semi-precious designations should perhaps be eliminated.

Rare Gemstones

Rare is another word we often hear in connection with some gemstones but what exactly does that mean? Does it mean, for example, that the mine has dried up, its resources depleted or that finds were few and far between with one only location in the entire world ever found? Or is it, like the Precious and Semi-precious designations, simply another clever marketing strategy aimed at maximizing profits? Or could it be that the demand exceeds the supply (the Law of Supply and Demand) that in turn affects – increases – the price of whatever the product, gemstones included and earns those gemstones the label rare? Still another theory or school of thought, though, is that all gemstones are rare because gem quality of the raw material, e.g. quartz, is such a tiny fraction, less than 1% in fact, of the substance.

Consider too the even rarer mineral corundum that is responsible for both the sapphire and the ruby. The sapphire comes in every colour of the rainbow but the blue is the undisputed favourite colour and it is that demand that fuels the price (again the Law of Supply and Demand) whereas sapphire’s other colours, e.g. pink, yellow, pinkish-orange, green, etc. are indeed rare. Large rubies are also rare and in short supply, hence their high price tags whereas smaller rubies, such as those used in cluster rings, do not qualify for the rare designation because they are readily available and therefore less expensive than their larger sisters.

Other Rare Gemstones

Aside from the rare Sapphire colours, are there any other really rare gemstones? Yes. And here they are with perhaps some surprises, e.g. Tourmaline that is often touted as being the one gemstone that could satisfy the preferred colour choice of every man, woman. and child on the planet excepting the Yellow Tourmaline gems that are very rare indeed as are the Fancy Colour-change and Cat’s Eye Tourmalines.

Also rare are Red Diamonds, Yellow Citrine, Yellow Topaz, and the most expensive of all coloured gems, the Red Beryl, formerly known as Bixbite. Tanzanite also qualifies as rare as do the Black Opal, Jadeite, Alexandrite, Taaffeite (pronounced Tar-fite), the Benitoite, which is California’s official state gem but for that very reason it is rarely cut and offered for sale. Surprisingly too, Peridot or rather gem-quality Peridot is on the list of rare or exceptionally rare gems because some Peridot gems have very exotic origins: meteorites.

There may well be many other rare gemstones – you may even have some – that I know nothing about but Monika at LL Private Jewellers would certainly know. So, if you’re interested to know more about these most uncommon gemstones you really should talk to her.

Please for more information about precious gemstones contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343.

Aug 30, 2018 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Tourmaline, Tsavorite

Red gemstones

Red Gemstones

Of all the colours in the spectrum red is the most eye-catching and the one that demands respect (a red fire engine or red traffic light) and, whether clothing (Julia Roberts’ stunning red dress in Pretty Woman) or gemstones be they necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets or rings, draw attention to the wearer.

If red is your favourite colour you probably know every red gemstone there is but if you do not know the different types of red rocks and stones used in jewellery here is a short list beginning with the one that is most associated with the colour red, namely, the Ruby that gets its name from the Latin ‘rubeus’ meaning ‘red’.

Ruby is a sister stone to sapphire because they belong in the same family, i.e. the mineral group conundrum differentiating only in colour. As with most coloured gemstones, the richer and clearer (clarity) the colour the more expensive the Ruby is. It is the birthstone for July.

Second in line is one of the rarest of all the red rocks, the Red Diamond, rare because only they are in extremely short supply, only a few known to exist and those that are known are quite small. The Diamond and the hardest of all gemstones is the birthstone for April.

Third on the list, though it maybe should be in the second spot because of its earlier erroneous identification as a Ruby, is the Red Spinel, once identified as a spinel-ruby. Then, with the advent of modern science the mistake became clear and the Red Spinel was recognized in its own right as an individual gem no relation to the ruby yet, even today, it is often substituted for a Ruby.

Fourth on the list is the Red Beryl (formerly known as Bixbite) which, like the Red Diamond, is also one of the rarest of all red rocks and therefore one of the most expensive of all coloured gemstones. Its rarity may be due to the fact that it is found in only two places on earth: the US states of Utah and New Mexico. It is the birthstone for the zodiac sign Scorpio.

Fifth on the list is the stunningly beautiful Fire Opal from Mexico. Like the Red Diamond and the Red Beryl, the Fire Opal is another extremely rare red gemstone of great value and an expected high price tag, but well worth it because they are so beautiful and eye-catching. Opals are the traditional and modern birthstones for the month of October.

Sixth on the list is the Imperial Topaz and in red the rarest and therefore most valuable and expensive of all varieties of Topaz. Unfortunately, though, these red rocks are hardly ever found. Topaz is one of November’s birthstones.

Seventh in line is the Red Zircon (known as hyacinth). I say not necessarily 6th because they have almost the same hardness as diamonds with a similar brilliance and are often used as substitutes for diamonds at a much lower cost. Zircon is one of the modern birthstones for December.

Eighth in line is the Red Garnet, the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of January.

Also on this list though again of no particular number but because I like it, is the beautiful Red Fluorite, red being the less common of all Fluorite’s colours. Its flaw, however, is its softness which, therefore, makes it unsuitable for most jewellery pieces.

In addition to those above there are several others that are called red gemstones but because of banding or striping, e.g. Red Agate, Sardonyx (another type of Agate), Red Sunstone, and Red Jasper I see them as not true reds and therefore do not belong on the above list, just as Rubellite (a Tourmaline) and Pezzottaite (the Beryl family of gems) are not on the list because their colours are more raspberry or purplish-pink rather than a true red.

Also eliminated from the list is recently discovered Andesine (belonging to the feldspar group of minerals) because of the controversy or suspicion surrounding it that it is not a true red gem but rather an elaborately enhanced labradorite whose colours are blue and green. And lastly but by no means least, Coral which, by its very name, precludes it from the list but which also should stay where it’s at, in the sea rather than harvested for jewellery.

For further information on any of these gemstones, please contact LL Private Jewellers. In fact, you should see them first, before you buy any red gemstone, because of the rampant duplicity in the marketplace where the genuine article has been substituted with a look-alike whether out of ignorance or greed, as in the old saying, “All that glitters is not gold” so a red stone might look like a ruby but be a chunk of red glass.

For more information about any red gemstones, please contact LL Private jewelles at 604-684-6343.

Jul 28, 2018 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Rubies