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

White or Colourless Gemstones

White gemstones

Where gemstones are concerned Colour is King but what of the white or colourless gems? Should they be discounted or overlooked simply because they lack colour? Certainly not, since one of ‘the big 4’ top drawer gemstones is the the White (Colourless) Diamond and therefore the perfect example of the stunning beauty of a gemstone of no colour whose exceptional brilliance and fire, along with its outstanding hardness – 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness – more than make up for its lack of colour. In fact, this combination of fire and brilliance is simply missing in coloured gemstones of any variety.

So, if you’re of a mind to add White or Colourless gems to your collection or jewellery wardrobe but are unfamiliar with them no worries because there are several excellent gem types to choose from.

Well-known White or Colourless gemstones

If a Diamond simply isn’t cost-effective or even practical, your next best choice is the White Sapphire whose hardness rating is just slightly lower than that of a diamond at a 9, making it immensely suitable for daily wear in any type of jewellery. The White Sapphire is also the most popular colourless gemstone and while it does not have the same fire and brilliance as the White or Colourless Diamond, it is often the gem of choice as melee, the very small stones used as accents in many jewellery designs. And in terms of price small White Sapphires are very affordable though large, untreated stones with superior clarity can command high prices.

You’re next best choice of an affordable yet stunning white gemstone is the White Zircon whose brilliance makes it a popular substitute for a White Diamond. That brilliance in fact makes the White Zircon the best possible alternative for a diamond. It is, however, considerably softer than either the White Diamond or the White Sapphire – about 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs Scale – but its fire and high refractive index, compared to that of the White Sapphire make it a very desirable stone, if you can find it.

Your third choice, also at a 7 on the Mohs Scale, could be the White Quartz, AKA rock crystal. But this gemstone lacks the fire and dispersion of both the White Diamond and the White Sapphire and therefore is unsuitable as a diamond substitute, though entirely suitable for most jewellery designs including rings because it is durable and extremely affordable due to its abundance.

Your fourth choice could be the extremely abundant White Topaz that it is often irradiated (heated) to produce Blue Topaz. At an 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness it is slightly harder than the White Quartz making it more resistant to scratches though not necessarily more durable. In terms of brilliance, however, the White Topaz is superior to that of the White Quartz making it a better alternative for a White Diamond than the White Quartz.

Lesser known White or Colourless Gemstones

Unless you’re a gem collector or very knowledgable about the Gem World, you most likely will not know the lesser-known White or Colourless gems because they are generally unknown to most average consumers. I’m certain, however, that you are familiar with the Beryl family of Gems that includes the magnificent Emerald and its equally beautiful sister, the Aquamarine. But, did you know that there is also a colourless Beryl, known in the jewellery trade as a Goshenite? LIke the sapphire, the Goshenite has an excellent hardness but it is not an ideal diamond substitute because it lacks the brilliance of the White Sapphire and the White Zircon but nonetheless its excellent transparency makes it suitable for all types of jewellery.

And because it lacks colouring agents and impurities, the Goshenite represents purity and because of that purity, it has been named “The Mother of Gemstones” and the “Stone of Wisdom”. It is is also a natural stone never treated or enhanced and is sometimes confused with White Quartz, White Zircon, White Topaz, and White Sapphire and once, because of its excellent transparency, Goshenite was used in the manufacture of eye glasses.

The second lesser-known white or colourless gemstone, is the Danburite, also 7 to 7.5 hardness with excellent transparency and clarity and a brilliance that can rival that of the finest topaz and because of its brilliance, a well-cut Danburite is often used in place of a White or Colourless Diamond or White Sapphire. Though it is similar in chemical composition and shared characteristics to the White Zircon, White Quartz, White Topaz, White Sapphire, Goshenite (White Beryl), the Danburite has no known closely related gemstone family members and there are no known synthetics or imitations available in the market.

It too is a natural stone requiring no treatment or enhancements of any kind or type and while it comes in other colours – very light pink and light yellow to brown – only the colourless Danburite is faceted as a gemstone.

The third lesser-known rare colourless gemstone is the Petalite whose perfect cleavage mimics the veins and junctions of a leaf making it an extraordinarily beautiful leaf-like gem with a fabulous lustre and exceptional sparkle. It too is a natural stone that needs no enhancements or treatments but having a hardness of 6 to 6.5 it is brittle so extreme care should be taken if it’s set in a ring. It was first discovered in Sweden in the 18th Century and is sometimes called the “Stone of the Angels”.

But being extremely rare, the Petalite, AKA, the Castorite, is most definitely a collector’s stone and a real favourite with collectors all over the world.

There may well be other colourless or white gemstones that I know nothing about or have ever heard of so, if you’re interested to learn more or perhaps add some white or colourless gems to your collection, you really should call Monika at LL Private Jewellers because her knowledge of gemstones is unsurpassed.

For more information about colourless or white gemstones please contact LL Private Jewellers at : 604-684-6343.

Jun 15, 2018 | Comments: 0 | Category: Uncategorized

Ultra Violet Gemstones

Purple violet amethyst, iolite, tanzanite, rubellite, sapphire, spinel


Pantone’s colour choice for 2018 is Ultra Violet, an intense, exhilarating, stimulating, even intoxicating colour similar to the colour of the Amethyst but a deeper or more intense shade of violet. Like purple, violet also has a strong connection to spirituality and the uncanny ability – like ultra violet light – of seeing things you wouldn’t normally be able to see in normal light. Violet is also the colour of groups seeking to make a difference to some societal wrong, like the early 20th century Suffragettes and the current LGBTQ movement.

But where violet or ultraviolet gemstones are concerned there appears not to be one that you can identify by colour only like you would an Emerald or a Ruby. Rather, you have to dig deep into the various families like quartz, garnet, etc where they are known by different names such as Morganite, Kunzite, Rubellite, etc. I’m certain, though, that at LL Private Jewellers will know if there are actual gemstones known simply by the colour Violet because gems are her business and she’s extremely knowledgeable. So, if you’re interested in adding Ultra Violet gemstones to your jewellery collection, you should contact her.

Violet and Ultra Violet Gemstones

On a colour wheel, violet is next to blue with purple between violet and red, meaning that violet is a cooler hue than purple. Ultra Violet, however, is an intense shade of the cool Violet so it would have to be in the middle ground where purple is between the aggressive red and the tranquil blue.

As for Violet gemstones, I know of only two that have violet in their identification or names, namely (1) the Violet Flame Opal that’s not a true violet but rather a purple and white stone from Mexico, known as ‘a stone of tranquility’ (for the blue in its colour) with a spiritual connection, and (2) the rare silicate mineral Violet Charoite whose colours range from a stunning bright lavender to violet to deep purple.

This stone with its violet to purple shades in a single stone has been described as ‘unnaturally beautiful’ and one of the most distinct gemstones available today because of its swirling or feather-like patterning in a single stone. The Violet Flame Opal stone is also the Zodiac birthstone for Scorpio.

Where UV (ultraviolet) light is concerned, however, the Fluorite gemstone immediately comes to mind as a suitable ultra violet gem for Pantone’s colour of the year 2018 because its fluorescent colours include red, white and purple with some stones exhibiting different colours, even intense violet, under long and short wave UV light.

Another gem that has violet in it is Tanzanite and while it has an incredible colour saturation it is still not an ultra violet shade. Also, because the blue part of the tanzanite is so highly valued, the stone is usually cut to maximize the blue rather than the violet colour even though many stones lean towards the violet end of the scale. Therefore, with violet in it or a major part of the stone, while not the intense ultra violet shade, the Tanzanite could suffice as an ultra violet gemstone. Tanzanite is also the official December birthstone.

And another gem that can rival the Tanzanite for its violet colour is the Iolite whose name comes from the Greek ‘ios’ meaning violet. But here again it’s a soft or cool violet rather than an intense or ultra violet shade. Its colours are pale to dark blue or violet with the most desirable colour being an intense violet-blue meaning the Iolite too could stand in for an ultra violet gemstone. And, a bonus, it’s affordable even in large stones because it’s found in many parts of the world including India, Brazil, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Australia’s Northern Territory, and Yellowknife, Canada.

Or, if you prefer the warm side of purple (red) to the cool (blue) side, Tourmaline would be a good choice, specifically the Rubellite whose fantastic warm purple colour makes it a big hit with coloured stone fans.

As well, though, there is also the Sugilite, so named for Ken Sugi, the geologist who first discovered it in 1944 in Japan. At that time, though, it was unsuitable for gems but in 1979 in S. Africa another deposit was discovered that was suitable for gems and in 1980 Sugilite was classified as a rare gem. It’s colours are violet-purple, light purple, bluish-purple, reddish-purple, plum, lilac, magenta, sometimes with a mottled, veined, blotchy, or layered appearance and sometimes in a uniform or single colour.

And lastly though certainly not the least, there is the Amethyst, (quartz) February’s birthstone that is probably the first purple stone that springs to mind. The Amethyst though is not a true purple but rather a violet-purple and therefore, even though it’s not an intense violet shade, qualifies equally well for Pantone’s ultra violet choice of colour for 2018.

For further information regarding any of these gemstones or to personally see them please contact LL Private Jewellers where, I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed. Also, if you’re of a mind to design your own jewellery, know that warm purples or cool or ultra violets are stunning in either white or yellow metals. And, when you wear these colours, don’t be a shrinking violet but rather a violet vision that exudes elegance and positivity for such is the nature of these colours.

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

May 10, 2018 | Comments: 0 | Category: Amethyst, Gemstones, Tanzanite, Ultra Violet Gemstones