Friday, April 30, 2010

Taurus and Gemstones

I picked up an interesting book at the library the other day, Metaphysical Book of Gems and Crystals. According to the book, each zodiacal sign has multiple stones that influence and accentuate the person born to that sign. Since April 21 began the sign of Taurus, here are the stones that represent them: agate, chalcedony, chrysocolla, citrine, emerald, lapis lazuli, malachite, and blue sapphire. Each of these stones has properties that enhance or mitigate the nature of a Taurus person.

So, citrine will help a Taurus in eliminating anxiety and fear and improve concentration. The malachite helps increase creative potential. Lapis luzuli symbolizing a taurus’ ideals that emerge through patience and perseverance.

Happy Birthday to all Taurus'!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

History of Lapidary

So I was having a conversation about gemstones and up came the topic of the history of cut gemstones. So, of course, I wanted to take a look at the history of lapidary, the cutting of gemstones.

Interestingly, I found that it took until 1914 for someone to develop the “ideal brilliant cut” diamond. A Polish engineer, named Marcel Tokowsky, developed the proportions and angles for this cut to enhance the optics and features of the diamond and make it sparkle and scintillate with an unmistakable quality. I found it surprising that it took many thousands of years for someone to come up with the “ideal” cut.

He was not the first to really experiment and struggle with new designs of cutting diamonds to show off their brilliance. In 1475, a Belgian named Louis de Berquen developed the Sancy cut to really enhance the reflective and refractive properties of diamonds. This type of cut created a whole new outlook on the possibilities of diamonds and led to further developments like Mr. Tokowsky’s ideal brilliant cut.

Before these craftsmen and their fellows most diamonds were supplements to jewelry in combination with colored stones. The diamonds were point cut, a design that is rhombus shaped and leaves the crystal with eight natural facets – four on the crown and four on the pavilion. Point cuts did not exactly show off the scintillating properties of the diamond crystals, so the diamond took a backstage to the colored precious stones such as rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

All that glitters may be gold

So I am on a big metal kick it seems...

I recently read that you can put all the gold ever found in a cube less than 19-meters in length on each side. So it got me reading more about gold.

In a good gold mine they need to move and refine 10 tons of dust for each ounce of gold - imagine how hard it was during the gold rush on the West coast of the US so many years ago.

Gold does not rust, corrode, or oxidize so when they pull out artifacts that have been burried for centuries they still have their luster.

Uses of gold outside of personal adornment include - Gold transfers electricity with less resistance than any other metal on Earth so is used more an more in electronic devices. There are thin layers of gold used on sunglasses for astronaut suits and for pilots because it is best at cutting down the intensity of the sun's rays.

While I still perfer platinum or silver - gold is certaintly an interesting metal.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Copper - not just for good pots

I have worked primarily in sterling silver the last several years. But at a recent bead buying excursion, I got drawn into the shiny copper table and picked up a bunch of interesting stuff. I am facinated by the color of copper. I am further facinated by the fact that this lucious orangy color turns this unique green color when oxidized - rather than black or dingy like most other metals. As usual, this led me to do some research into the history of the use of copper in jewelry making. Here are some interesting facts I discovered.

The use of copper dates back at least 10,000 years to origins in the Middle East. From that point several independant sites show the technique of copper smelting being used. It was used in jewelry but to a much lesser degree than gold. Copper is used today in a lot of utilitarian applications - pipes onn higher end homes, roofing, the bottoms of high-end cookware, and many other uses. If you use sterling silver to make flatware it must contain a certain percentage of copper. One interesting fact is that U.S nickels are 75% copper and only 25% nickel.

I just love the color - it is like no other. So next month check in my store to see what interesting necklaces and bracelets I have made with my new found metal.