Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Most Trending Guess Watches of 2013

Gold Watch
There are different brands when it comes to watches. Some are famous around the world and at the same time, there are some, which are famous in the local areas or local markets. If you are among those who prefer to own a branded watch, then you should know about Guess watches. Guess is famous for its apparels, accessories and timepieces. They are among the few brands known as trendsetters and they have been successfully setting new trends in the world of fashion year after year for decades now.

As is the norm for them, Guess had a fabulous collection of trendy time pieces in the year 2013 too, starting from watches for women, men, formal models to party wear to trendy and unconventional to designer wear. You name it and they had it added to their collection of trendy models in the year 2013.

Rolex WatchTheir fall 2013 collection was an eye-catcher and it featured their iconic Tri-tone collection along with an assortment of rose-gold style time pieces for both women and men. There was also an introduction of Guess’s luxurious Swiss-produced brand, which is a sister brand of Guess, known as GC and which was also a part of their success story for the year 2013. They had the finest collection of European designs.

Yes, these are collector’s items and come at a higher range when it comes to the cost. Nevertheless, Guess is famous for creating watches that can be affordable as well as trendy and those that go up to be classic and collector’s items. People of all ranges are covered by Guess when they present their collection of trendy timepieces every year. And this year was no exception in this regard. There were models for people from all sections of society and everyone would be able to own a Guess that could suit their budget and style.

So if you have not yet gone and checked the latest collections present in the Guess lineup for the year 2013, you are sure to be missing something very important from your watch collection. The latest trends and styles are sure to bring dazzle, flair and beauty in your life.

Trending Guess Watches of 2013Where can you get to see these latest styles and designs and the most trending Guess timepieces? You have many options. You can go online and visit one of these Guess websites and search for models that are trendy as well as suit your budget or you can visit one of the stores of Guess and check out the latest trendy watches available for the year 2013. Apart from that, you have another option. You have the option of getting an Uretilalt cheap watch (did you know in Danish the term is Uretilalt billige ur) from the Guess lineup. Yes, you are right; you will get Guess watches that are trendy and stylish yet cheap. So what are you waiting for? Go to the store and get the watch of your choice and be a part of the trend makers instead of being a part of those who are trend followers.

Where do you shop for Guess timepieces? Let us know through the comments. 

Saturday, 17 August 2013


Silicate of lithium and aluminium. This is a lithium-rich member of the monoclinic pyroxene group, similar to jadeite. Its name basically means "'ashen," because this mineral is often grayish white or ash gray. In the past, it was also called triphane, a word of Greek derivation meaning "three aspects," due to its clear trichoism.

Crystal system



Spodumene frequently occurs as very long. large unevenly terminated, flat-sided crystals, often with longitudinal striations. Some are among the largest in the mineral world: crystals a few meters in length, weighing over a ton, have been found. The main color is a faintly green, nontransparent whitish gray; whence the name. Violet pink, bright green, yellow green or yellow specimens are much less common and transparent crystals of these are used as gems. Transparent crystals have vitreous luster and marked pleochroism. The semiopaque crystals look almost pearly.

Physical properties

Spodumene has a hardness of 6-7. The density is between 3.17 and 3.23 g/cm3. The refractive indices vary from nα 1.654, n 1.669 to nα 1.664, fly 1.679, with quite obvious birefringence. It has very easy prismatic cleavage.

Genesis Spodumene is a typical mineral of pegmahtes particularly those rich in lithium. Occurrence Pegmatites containing spodumene found in Great Britain, Sweden, some parts of the United States (South Dakota, Connecticut, New Mexico, Massa-chusetts), Brazil, and Madagascar.


This is the violet pink, transparent variety of spodumene named after the American mineralogist G.F. Kunz a noted gem expert active at the turn of the century.


SpodumeneThe characteristic color is a violet pink which can be quite intense. It has marked pleochroism seen as a clear difference in depth of color in different crystallographic directions, rather than a color change as such. The crystals used as gems generally have few inclusions and good transparency. Plane surfaces, looking both specular and transparent at the same time, can sometimes be seen on the inside and are the warning signs of deny age. In fact, its easy cleavage makes this gem quite brittle sensitive to knocks, and therefore unsuitable as a ring stone. It is usually given a (sometimes quite elongated) oval mixed cut, a pear-shaped or triangular mixed cut, or evena step cut. Although it is often found as large crystals, the smaller section of the crystal is used for cutting, the strongest, most valued color being perpendicular to this surface Gems several carats in weight are not uncommon and some of 200-300 carats have even been cut as museum pieces.

Distinctive features

Some pink stones look very muds alike: e.g. kunzite; pink topaz, and morganite. Kunzite, however, has the strongest pleochroism, best seen, of course, in larger, richer-colored stones. It has much clearer birefringence than the other two minerals, a factor easily established in larger stones, with the aid of a lens, by the presence of a double image of the back facet edges Kunzite is also somewhat less hard than, the others. This can be established by touch, the less acute facet edges feeling almost oily or soapy if rubbed between forefinger and thumb. Pink tourmaline can sometimes also look like kunzite. In this case, there is no appreciable difference in birefringence and the pleochroism can be vaguely. The physical properties are also quite close, but are nonetheless sufficiently different to establish the distinction.


Kunzite is found in the United States (in various parts of California, source of the largest crystals, Maine and Connecticut). Brazil, and Madagascar.

Value Not very high; as secondary gems go, it is mores, less on a par with good quality red garnets. Gems several carats in weight are common; small stones, especially pale ones, are of very limited value. Simulants and synthetics It is mainly imitated by pale pink corundum. It is not synthesized, at least not courier. cially.


This is the green variety of spodumene, which has only been known for about a century and is named after AE Hidden, a mine-owner in the United States, where the mineral was first discovered. Some people nowadays maintain that the name hiddenite refers only to the emerald green or rich green variety of spodumene, whereas others apply this name to all gem-quality green spodumene, including pale and yellowish-green specimens; this seems the most Practical definition.


The best, and very rare, specimens are a bright, almost emerald green, with quite strong green to blue-green pleochroism; but hiddenite may be a rather dull, pale green or even green with a yellowish tinge. The step cut is the most common. Strongly colored stones are usually small to medium-sized; paler specimens are often a bit bigger, but never as large as kunzite.

Distinctive features

It is hard to generalize about a gem of such rarity and diverse appearance. Depending on the specimen, hiddenite may resemble both pale and strong-colored emeralds, bright green and yellowish tourmalines, chrysoberyl, and diopside. The physical characteristics al. ways have to be measured in order to identify it.


Cut Kunzite The finest gems used to come from North Carolina. The less attractive, paler types, perhaps with a yellowish tinge, come from California, Brazil, and Madagascar.


Its attractive color, rarity, and the difficulty of finding reasonable-sized stones make intensely colored hiddenite one of the most valuable secondary gems. Paler-colored specimens, which are easier to find in a good size, are of quite low value, similar to that of kunzite. Simulants and synthetics Being little known and of re-cent history, hiddenite is not imitated. Nor is it produced synthetically, at any rate not on a commercial scale. Yet large stones, in which the medium-light green color is due to some form of treatment (probably irradiation) of very pale or colorless stones, or even very pale kunzite, do appear on the market from time to time.

Writer – Curzio Cipriani & Alessandro Borelli

Monday, 12 August 2013

Beads of Southeast Asia And the South Pacific

Hats are worn everywhere in Sarawak. One of the most elaborate is this sa'ong of the Kenyan Dayak group. It is embellished with appliqué designs in cloth and beadwork, and used by a woman as a sun-shade on ceremonial occasions. Southeast Asia is a mosaic of large and small land masses scattered over an enormous area of the South Pacific. Throughout history most of the region has been accessible to seaborne traders. Beads have been an important element in the region's trade for thousands of years.
Mainland Southeast Asia is a tropical subcontinent with rugged, forested highlands intersected by rivers. The fractured landscape has fostered cultural diversity: highland forest tribes, cut off by mountain ranges, have lived in isolation for centuries: people of the plains and river valleys, on the other hand, have maintained contact with the coast and participated in regional trade systems. Some of the lowland groups evolved into sophisticated states whose cultures were influenced either by China or by India (depending upon their proximity). This interchange was reflected in the name "Indochina," which now refers to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam but prior to World War II referred to the entire region.
An array of Southeast Asian islands, including Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, lie at the crossroads of sea routes linking India, China, western Asia, and Europe. Throughout this vast area, merchant seamen forged cultural links, carrying artistic styles from island to island and to the mainland. Their routes were determined by ocean currents and two monsoons (southwest from June through September, northeast from late October through late March). In this way, the peoples of Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines were significantly influenced by the cultures of India, China, and the Southeast Asian mainland.
Glass and brass bead bracelet from the northern Philippines.
Southeast Asian beads are as varied and fascinating as any in the world. As necklaces, beaded textiles, or even as individual objects, they were immensely important to all the region's peoples. Archaeological evidence indicates that beads were traded into Southeast Asia long before the arrival of Europeans. The "Indian red: or mutisalah, beads, made in south India, were sold in Sumatra by at least the first century B.C. (Bead Chart 901). Early sites also contain beads of agate, carnelian, crystal, and amethyst, stones found in substantial deposits in India and Sri Lanka. The beads themselves are made in a range of shapes and by various manufacturing techniques that closely resemble Indian styles. Early glass beads made in Southeast Asia were probably manufactured from glass scrap imported from the Middle East or the Mediterranean. "Roman-style" glass beads, particularly eye beads, may have been imported after the fall of the Roman Empire but before the twelfth century, and certainly before Europeans arrived in Southeast Asia.
Jewelry had a number of functions in the lives of premodern Southeast Asian island people, serving as personal adornment, protective amulets, and political badges of rank, as well as dowries, ceremonial exchange goods, and sacred altar objects for summoning spirits from the supernatural world. In Indonesia, Malaysia, Sarawak, and the northern Philippines, many layers of social and religious iconography were incorporated into jewelry, which was kept as ancestral treasure and family heirlooms symbolic of their owner's place in the world. 

Through various designs and colors, jewelry publicly displayed important ideas in the local systems of politics, kinship, and myth. The significant role individual beads (as contrasted with assemblages) had in certain Southeast Asian cultures is striking. On the islands, beads have been used singly in an array of cultural practices, ranging from celebrations of marriage to sanctifying new houses to insuring favorable harvests. Beaded textiles were also accorded high value, although generally not by the same groups.
Dowry necklaces of shell, agate, and glass beads from the lsneg tribe, northern Luzon, Philippines. Strands of antique beads possess their own genealogies and are heirlooms. Beads were important symbols in village life. They were used to strengthen political alliances and to protect warriors from natural and supernatural threats. Today, island tribal people continue to possess a detailed knowledge of each bead they own. A rare, ancient bead has a reputation similar to that of a precious stone or a fine antique in other parts of the work The history of each bead, its name and age, is understood. In Sarawak, older women can easily identify sixty or more different types of scarce, ancient beads."
Various Southeast Asian island cultures valued one bead over another. The Kalinga c the Philippines treasured agates, while some groups in Borneo and Taiwan preferred ancient polychrome glass beads. Mutisalah beads were admired everywhere. In the tropical climate, of much of Southeast Asia, organic materials, such as seeds or wood, quickly rot; durable, stone and glass beads were considered sources of strength and longevity. Among the Maloh tribes in central Kalimantan in Borneo, there were important myths about hazardous journey embarked on by brave heroes in search of particularly valuable beads. 

These same people tied beads to the wrists of couples at marriage, and when a new communal dwelling was built they placed beads in the holes dug for the structure's main posts. The Kelabit of Borne( called the mutisalah bead bau'u si' ada ("head of the ghost"), affixing two of them to the end of a sharpened stake that was placed in the ground near a rice field to insure a bountiful harvest."'
Sipattal, a chest ornament worn by the Isneg, mountain tribesmen in Luzon. The mother-of-pearl pendants and the shell and glass beads are strung with pineapple fiberThailand, on the Southeast Asian mainland, lay far from the Chinese and Indian set routes and thus remained culturally self-contained. Nonetheless, an enormous variety o beads continues to be excavated from the region's burial sites, indicating the importance o beads to the ancient Thai cultures. Archaeologists have found bronze beads dated between 1500 and 500 B.C., made during the Bronze Age. Stone beads, including carnelian, agate, gar net, and amethyst, were fashionable from very early times until at least the eleventh century A.D. Of particular interest are long, tubular stone beads referred to as "magic beads," which have a long history throughout the area (dating back to about 3400 B.C.) and eventually were copied in glass." While some of the beads were probably imported from India (with which Thailand was then closely associated), others were locally made. Although the extensive looting of archaeological sites has destroyed much information, evidence strongly indicates local stone bead manufacturing existed from a very early date. Etched agate and carnelian bead: with patterns far more common in Thailand than India suggest that Thailand may have beer another production center for these beads. Clay cylinders with deeply incised designs, rather: similar to western Asian seals, were found at the site of Ball Chiang and may have been worn as beads.
Glass beads from Ban Chiang, associated with pottery and iron tools, date to c. 300 B.0 Predominantly of opaque orange red (although one burial also contained a few translucent blue and yellow samples), the beads are probably of Indian manufacture. However, there speculation that Thai or Indian craftsmen living in Thailand may have produced some of these beads. Glass bead making, under Indian influence, definitely appears to have been under way in parts of Thailand by at least the tenth century A.D., especially along its western coast."
A Dayak beadwork baby carrier (ba), which holds the infant during the first months of life. Shells, beads, and the teeth of bears, crocodiles, and pigs animals with protective spirits are often suspended from the wooden carrier to make a rattling sound, which frightens away evil spirits. An even number of teeth, in this case four, indicates the infant is male. The design of the headed decoration sewn onto a carrier identifies the owner's social class: the baby carrier of a paran (leader and aristocrat) may be covered by an entire human figure in beadwork, while that of a paran iof (someone of slightly lower rank) will only have a partial figure in a stylized or abstract pattern.
Gold and silver beads from central Thailand date to the first centuries A.D., the period o Indian influence in Southeast Asia. Necklaces of beautifully crafted gold beads in various: shapes, including melon and cornerless cube, are associated with Thailand's Mon or Dvaravati period (A.D. 500-1000) as well as the classical age of Khmer art (A.D. 900-1200) in Cambodia, when Indian influence stretched across the sea.97 Carnelian beads from Vietnam dating to about 800 B.C.  Resemble those found in the Philippines. In both instances this ma) reflect early trade, probably through middlemen, with India.
Throughout the mainland and islands of Southeast Asia, there is a great similarity in beads from the most ancient times to the early twentieth century These beads in turn have counterparts in south India, Africa, the Middle East, Japan, eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean. Despite this objective evidence of a complex relationship between divers( manufacturing locations and widely scattered Southeast Asian cultures, there is little precise dating and documentation of manufacturing locations for many Southeast Asian beads reflecting the dearth of controlled archaeological field research in this area and in some of the source areas as well. Although some important bead research has been started in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia, Southeast Asia offers significant potential for future investigations.
The Philippines
A money belt of red and black coral and shell beads and dolphin and human teeth, used as a bride-price in Malaita, Solomon Islands.
The earliest beads found in the Philippines came from a small cave at Lipuun Point, on the east coast of Palawan and date to the second millennium B.C. Made of locally available shell, stone, and jade, these beads were found with some of the earliest known pottery in Southeast Asia .
Between 1000 B.C. and A.D. 500, Philippine culture was virtually free of influences from outside Southeast Asia, although there was limited contact with other societies via trade. Gold, shell, and clay beads were made on the islands; carnelian, agate, black-and-white banded onyx and glass beads were imported from eastern India and jade from China. Burial sites from this period yield numerous monochrome glass beads, including small seed beads and mutisalah, all known to have been manufactured at Arikamedu and other south Indian centers. Large quantities of Indian-made stone and glass beads are found in the Philippines, but there is little evidence that they came through direct Indian-Filipino trade. The beads probably changed hands several times before reaching the Philippines. There was, however, direct Filipino contact with China and Thailand.
A succession of traders brought beads into the Philippines, including the Arabs, who dominated commerce in the Pacific from the eleventh to the seventeenth century They were joined in the tenth century by the Chinese, who, though they had been trading in the region for centuries, greatly increased their activities during the thirteenth century. In exchange for Philippine pearls, the Chinese traded gold, silver, jade, textiles, and porcelain, as well as glass beads. Twelfth- and thirteenth-century archaeological sites have produced a wealth of stone beads, as well as polychrome, melon, chevron, and small, monochrome glass beads introduced by Arab and Chinese traders.
Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers reported that beads were a common form of exchange in the Philippines. Wealthy Filipinos wore lavish gold jewelry, including necklaces of gold and glass beads. The earliest gold beads from the Philippines, dating to 500 B.C., have been excavated at Guri Cave on the island of Palawan. Sites dating from A.D. 1000 have yielded skillfully crafted gold beads, including some with granulation. Surprisingly, historical Philippine goldwork differs from that of other Southeast Asian islands, in contrast to the similarities between other artifacts.

South Pacific

A crown of porpoise teeth and glass beads from the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. Since twenty teeth are currently worth about one U.S. dollar and the glass trade beads are a valuable cut-glass variety the crown represents considerable wealth in local terms.
The small, self-contained island societies of the South Pacific used outrigger canoes in sophisticated inter-island trading networks. Beads were an important component of these systems. Ceremonial gift exchanges cemented relationships between island populations. For example, the Kula ring, created by the Trobriand Islanders on the eastern edge of New Guinea, combined ethnically diverse and geographically distant peoples into an effective exchange sys-tem. Spondylus shell armbands circulated from man to man and from island to island in a counterclockwise direction, while necklaces of shell beads circulated in the opposite direction. Incentive to participate in the system was heightened by the possibility of temporarily possessing one of the more famous Kula necklaces or armbands. The Kula ring functioned as a network for trading food and raw materials, and the amount and sophistication of gifts demonstrated the donor's wealth and greatness, while placing the recipient in his debt.
The shell beads from Malaita Island in the Solomon chain, southeast of New Guinea, were among the most famous and beautiful in the South Pacific. To gain respect and influence in his community, a man accumulated wealth in the form of shell beads, which were especially valuable because so much work went into grinding and drilling them. A man gave many strings of shell beads as a bride-price to his intended's family. 

By lending shell beads to relatives who wanted to marry, a man placed them in his debt, assuring similar assistance when needed. A bead lender thus became a leader in his community" Although strings of shells occur in other parts of the Pacific, weaving the disks into patterns is typically Malaitan. Made from shell, teeth, and fiber, this jewelry was worn during feasts, weddings, and other special events to display wealth and social position. Glass beads, introduced through late eighteenth-century explorers, were never as coveted as those of locally made shell


A shell disk armband (aba gwaro) from Malaita, Solomon Islands. This example of the finest shell disk jewelry from Malaita was usually worn by men at feasts and weddings. The pattern is composed of strips of disks set at alternating 45-degree angles. The beadwork demonstrates symmetry balance, and a sense of restraint, as well as workmanship of extreme precision. Strings of shell beads are found throughout the Pacific, but red, white, and black disks woven into patterns are typically Malaitan. The same weaving technique was used for bracelets, anklets, belts, and necklaces.
Indonesia, the largest island complex in the world, stretches from the Malaysian peninsula to New Guinea. It includes Sumatra, Borneo, Java, and Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), as well as western New Guinea (West Irian) and thirteen thousand smaller islands. This extensive island chain has been exposed to the almost continuous influences of China, India, and Islam since prehistoric times, yet strong indigenous cultures also developed. Not surprisingly, Indonesia is a complex mixture of peoples, who have produced a rich and varied art.
Stone and glass beads were introduced to Indonesia by Indian and Chinese traders. In fact, Indonesian stone beads are identical to those manufactured at Arikamedu in India several centuries before the Christian Era, demonstrating the regions shared both finished beads as well as local craftsmen's interpretations of Indian styles. The earliest glass beads found in Indonesia are monochrome (predominantly yellow, blue, or green hues) and were made by drawn or wound techniques. 

Opaque red mutisalah beads existed in every region of main-land and island Southeast Asia, suggesting mutisalah beads were from a common manufacturing tradition but were a broadly shared cultural phenomenon." Pre-sixteenth-century European polychrome glass beads are extremely rare. Those that have been identified are generally eye, chevron, and zone beads. Ancient polychrome beads are highly prized by the Dayak of Borneo, the mountain tribes of the Philippines, and the Paiwan of Taiwan. In early twentieth-century Borneo, a slave could still be bought for a single polychrome bead.
A woven bead-work skirt from the Maloh tribe in Kalimantan. The beads have been woven into solid panels, although the Ma/oh may not have actually practiced the weaving of cloth. The ceremonial costume of the Maloh consists of a highly decorated short skirt, jacket, and headcloth. Maloh beaded skirts and jackets are decorated with motifs only they can identify. The geometric shapes represent familiar, objects from the Maloh natural world translated into designs that were derived from Islamic motifs.
The first glass seed beads were brought to Southeast Asia during the first century A.D. by Indian traders." These were used for both woven beadwork and embroidery especially in Indonesia. By the sixteenth century, European traders became the main source of seed beads. Textiles decorated with seed beads and used for ritual purposes were an important part of Indonesian culture for centuries. 

Indonesians believed in maintaining harmony between man and the cosmic order by performing sacred rites during most important undertakings, including negotiations for a bride, planning an attack, building a house, or planting crops. These rituals required elaborate music, food, costumes, and gifts, including beaded textiles which protected their owners against evil by pleasing the good spirits. Indonesians had a strong sense of the transformational powers of costume and therefore paid close attention to ritual dress. Beadwork, made of durable glass, was meant to give the wearer strength, especially when it covered the entire body.
Writer - Lois Sherr Dubin
Visit Also:

Round Beads 

Wooden Jewelry

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Rhodochrosite Gemstone

Rhodochrosite GemstoneManganese carbonate. Rhodochrosite is a mineral of the calcite series, its name being derived from the Greek rhodon, meaning "pink."

Crystal system



It occurs as semitransparent, rhombohedral crystals with poor luster, or as concretionary masses, sometimes with irregular, contorted veining. Normally a definite pink it can be faded pink or slightly orange. Chemical alteration turns it blackish or dull brownish.

Physical properties

Rhodochrosite jewelleryIt has a low hardness of about 4. The density is usually 3.4-3.7 g/cm3. The refractive in-dices are no 1.60, no 1.82. It has perfect rhombohedral cleavage. Genesis Rhodochrosite is found in hydrothermal veins, but also in sedimentary deposits of chemical origin. Occurrence It is quite a common mineral, especially In the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Namibia, Spain, Romania, and the Soviet Union.


Despite its rather low hardness, this mineral is used as an ornamental material because of its pleasing color.


The massive material is characterized by a bright pink color, generally in distinct bands (as with agate and malachite), which may be curved or finely contorted. with narrow pale pink or whitish veining. Small slabs are used for mosaics, boxes, pots, and figurines, but the mineral is somewhat brittle. Ills also made into necklace beads or other types of jewelry and recently, quite large, almost transparent crystals have yielded attractive, curved gems.

Distinctive features

Rhodochrosite beads
It has a color similar to that of rhodonite, but is distinguished from the latter by its concretionary structure and by the fact that it is visibly attacked by hydrochloric acid. It is also much less hard. Occurrence The ornamental material mainly comes from Argentina, the United States (Colorado and Montana), Namibia, and the Soviet Union.


Somewhat low. Necklaces of transparent pieces are worth more, although the gem's relative lack of hardness can make it lose its polish easily.

Simulants and synthetics

It is neither imitated nor produced synthetically.


Ornamental materials produced by biological processes, whether animal or vegetable, come under the heading of "organic" gems. There are four main organic materials normally regarded as distinct from precious stones, chiefly because of their low hardness, which is a fundamental property of gem-stones. They deserve, nonetheless, to be considered along-side the more prestigious "precious stones," on account of their very pleasing appearance, which makes them invaluable for the preparation of items of personal adornment such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, cameos, and to an even greater extent, decorative objects such as vases and figurines.

Rhodochrosite necklaceThe materials in question are pearl, coral, ivory, and amber, which are all of biological origin, but differ widely in their appearance and chemical composition. The only truly organic substance among them is amber, which is noncrystalline, fossilized resin from conifers. The other three materials consist mainly of inorganic compounds: oxyapatite, or calcium phosphate for ivory and calcium carbonate for the others. This appears in the form of aragonite for pearls and calcite for coral. But none of these chemical compounds is in the pure state, the exact chemical composition varying between specimens, ac-cording to their place of origin color, Hrid age.

This variability in chemical composition produces strong variations in physical properties as well, as may be seen from the following table. The table does not give refractive indices for nontransparent materials, such as pearls, coral, and ivory, but the values of their respective principal mineralogical components, aragonite, calcite, and oxyapatite, respectively.

Note that ivory has much lower density and hardness than its mineralogical components in lire pure stale. This is because it has a relatively low proportion of the chief constituent oxyapetite.

Writer – Curzio Cipriani & Alessandro Borelli

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Serpentine Group of Gemstone

Green Serpentine
Hydrated silicate of magnesium. Serpentine can contain three polymorphs: lizardite, chrysotile and antigorite. Al least two of the three are usually present. Gemologists recognize serpentine as a species. Mineralogists recognize it as a group name, geologists as the 'rock type serpentinite. It is so named because of its resemblance to the reticulations of snakeskin.

Crystal system

Orthorhombic for lizardite; monoclinic for antigoritn and chrysolite.


Minorala of the serpentine group occur In mIcrocrystalline veins (more rarely, MRS808) of transketunt, waxy appearance, of n greenish gray to grayish white, or green color, in dark green or blackish colored rocks, I.e. ncirpontinites.

Physical properties

The densities within the group vary from 2.3-2.6. The hardness also varies from 2-3, but serpentinite itself can be as hard as 5. As is often the case with microcrystalline materials, only one refractive index can normally be established; it is usually about 1.55-1.56.


It is a product of regional metamorphism, in a strongly aqueous environment, of magnesium-rich minerals olivine, but MAO pyroxenes and amphiboles.


It Is a very nommen mineral.


The massive varieties of serpentinite are particularly appreciated by gemologists when they have a definite, pleasing color, and are then called simply serpentine or maybe "serpentine jade." The term jade is a misnomer, but it is understandable because, as in the case of jadeite jade and nephrite jade, it relates to the uses made of these materials as a result of certain properties they possess, rather than to their mineralogical status.


SerpentineIt is translucent, waxy, usually greenish white to soft pale green. Sometimes, groups or rows of small, striking, whitish cloud shapes are visible on the in-side. The yellow-green to definite green varieties are less common. Multicolored pieces are also found, with light green to green, yellow-green, or brown patches. Serpentine is mainly used for the carved figurines or decorated vases up to eight to twelve inches high, typical of Chinese art. Being fairly tenacious (although less so than jade), it is suitable for the fashioning of the classic vases with hanging chains carved from a single piece of stone. Very elaborate compositions are often found as well, such as leafy branches, groups of birds, and flowering shrubs. Skillful use of different patches of color increases the value of such pieces. But serpentine is used still more often for the large-scale production of low quality items, because ii is less costly than true jade and easier to work, being less hard. Typical of this type of work are small elephants or oriental divinities. The less common, green, yellow-green or yellow varieties are also rounded, polished and made into beads for necklaces and bracelets.

Distinctive features

Serpentine lionWhen the color is greenish white, with a waxy translucence and the characteristic white cloud formations just below the surface, it is easily recognizable at first sight. It differs from jadeite jade in having a lower density and hardness. It is mainly distinguished from nephrite jade, which is normally a bit less translucent and less waxy, by its density, while the difference in hardness is less clear (the serpentine used for ornamental purposes has a hardness range of 4.5 to 5. Occurrence Most serpentine used for ornamental purposes comes from England, New Zealand, Korea, China, and the United States.


Its value is slightly lower than that elnephrite lade. ia therefore quite high for finely cralmil obmeta, pouululy fashioned from multicolored pieces, tail diglinelly low tor mem-I-produced Items. Simulants and synthetics Oriental-style figurines have been produced from a light green, translucent, waxy-looking plastic. These are highly deceptive at first sight, looking very much like serpentine. Their density is much lower. but it is not always easy to detect without proper measurement. Serpentine has not been produced synthetically.

Writer – Curzio Cipriani & Alessandro Borelli

Lazurite (Lapis lazuli)

Lapis lazuli Silicate of sodium and aluminium, containing sulphur. It is a feldspathoid of the sodalite group.

Crystal system



It occurs as aggregates of crystals, which are sometimes microscopic, sometimes about a millimeter, or even several millimeters in size. The aggregates are, however, thick, their color tending toward dull violet, due to the presence of sometimes numerous minerals of the Same group such as sodalite, nosean, and hauyne. Calcite is also frequently encountered in the form of bright patches or light, even whitish veinings. It is frequently found assn. ciatral with pyrite.

Physical properties

It two; a hardness; of 5-5.5 the density is about 2,3-2.4b g /cm', but muy by higher In the aggregates used as an ornamental materiel, due to an abundance of foreign minerals. The refractive index at about 1.50


It Is a contact metamorphosed, met somatically altered limestone.


It is mainly found in Afghanistan and Chile. Other sources are the Soviet Union (Siberia), Burma, Angola, Canada (Labrador), and the United States (California). Ills also found in Italy in limestone blocks ejected by Vesuvius.

Lapis lazuli

Lapis lazuli penThe name of the gem is derived, through the medieval Latin lapis lazuli's, from the Arabic word lazward, from which the word azure comes; but according to the description of Pliny the Elder, the ancient Romans called it sapphirus. The name sapplirrus was, of course, subsequently applied to the blue variety of corundum. Scientifically speaking lapis lazuli is a "rock," because it consists of an association of minerals: !azurite and variable quantities of calcite, pyrite, and other feldspathoids of the sodalite group, such as hanyne and nosean.


It has a uniform, massive or sometimes granular appearance, with fairly distinct crystals. It is semi-opaque or opaque, with a surface that can take a good polish like jades, for example. It is a strong but lively blue, sometimes with a hint of violet. It often contains grayish or off-white patches or veins, consisting of distinct, interwoven crystals which are minutely fringed at the edge of the patches, interpenetrated by and interwoven with the minute crystals of blue. The presence of white patches reduces the gem's value. The most highly prized varieties are those which are uniformly colored, preferably without a violet tinge. It often contains minute, scattered crystals of pyrite, which do not detract from its value. It is made into spherical or curved beads and even faceted, polyhedral ones, in which the flat facets can take a very good polish. It is also fashioned into carved gems, boxes, mosaics, small ornaments, vases, and figurines, the largest of which may be tens of centimeters in size. At one time, it was much used for sealstones. The Egyptians used it for their cylindrical seals.

Distinctive features

Lapis lazuli Art
The particular, very attractive color and speckling with minute crystals of pyrite give lapis lazuli an unmistakable appearance. As for the physical properties, the density of gem-quality material is very variable due to the presence of pyrite and other foreign minerals, but in any case, it is much higher than that of the mineral lazurite. It is normally between 2.7 and 2.9 g/cm3, but can be as much as 3.0 g/cm3. On contact with a minute drop of hydrochloric acid, lapis lazuli immediately gives off an odor of hydrogen sulphide (like the smell of rotten eggs).


The best quality lapis lazuli comes from Afghanistan, whore it has hone mined airier; remote Belieudy. The ancient Egyptians probably obtained their sup-plies from there. It is also found in Chile, bidlinually with numerous light patches and voins. Much arnallei tier, some from the Soviet Union (Siberia), Burma, Pakistan, Angola the United States, and Canada.


It is one of the most valuable somiepaque ornamental materials, worth about the same as good quality turquoise and the better jades (excluding imperial jade). When it contains light veins of other minerals, the value diminishes, but not excessively, as the effect Is still very pleasing.

Simulants and synthetics

Lapis lazuli NecklaceIt was and is much imitated, by glass, minute specks of metal 10 simulate pyrite, by stained chalcedony, and by a deep him motored aogregato of minute grains of synihritis spine (plus the usual metal fragments to simulate pyrite). A product has recently appeared on the market which is extremely homogeneous, very deep blue with a violet tinge and scattered with minute fragments of pyrite. This is called synthetic lapis lazuli, although it does not correspond exactly with the natural stone in chemical composition. Furthermore, as the pyrite consists of ground fragments, it never displays the characteristic crystal form. The white patches in low quality lapis lazuli are sometimes colored blue and this practice is not always easy to detect Natural stones are sometimes impregnated with paraffin to improve surface polish and heighten the color. This is the same procedure often used with poor quality turquoise, but the effects are not so far-reaching, perhaps because lapis lazuli is much less porous.

Writer - Curzio Cipriani & Alessandro Borelli

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Introduction to 1980s Jewelry

Lacroix Charm Bracelet, mid-1980s

Stylistically, the '80s were a difficult time, because retrospective after retrospective diluted any pure design movement. All the same, costume jewelry was never more popular than during this, the "me" decade. Accessories were the thing, and every clothing designer and maison de couture had lines of costume jewelry with which clients could make a mass-produced outfit their own in style and look. The '80s saw the popularization of vintage and antique costume jewelry but many women snapped up the offerings of contemporary designers.

Names to look out for include couturiers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Dior, and Lacroix, and especially dedicated jewelry designers such as Butler & Wilson, Larry Vrba, Iradj Moini, Ciro, and Fior. 
Yves Saint Laurent Charm Necklace, mid-1980s

The overriding theme was "flash": it had to be visible and showy and, by extension, it got you noticed. The two main ways of making sure jewelry was noticed were the generous use of rhinestones, and in this style the kings were Butler & Wilson (see pp.148-49), and the age-old device of the copious use of gold, which was the method most other designers used to great success. 

In many ways, the passion for fake gold is a fitting summary of the 1980s and the ethos of conspicuous consumerism. It no longer mattered that it was not real; what mattered was that it looked expensive, and its cheap price added to the throw-away mentality of the day. The designer pieces were far from cheap, however, and they were either limited edition or invitation-only purchases. On the back of the designer names, vast amounts of copies were produced, which commonly hit the streets days after the originals went on sale. It was a fast-moving and cut-throat business a sign of the times.

 Lacroix Charm Bracelet, mid-1980s 

Lacroix Charm BraceletLacroix, like so many other couturiers, commissioned jewelry to accompany his creations. The addition of costume jewelry to the overall look was an absolute must and Lacroix was both trendy and mainstream. Here we see a classic combination of gold and pearl, albeit faux. Pieces such as these will not reach collectable status for some time yet, but they are still worth buying. 

Yves Saint Laurent Charm Necklace, mid-1980s 

Here lies proof that the art of the French jewelers was alive and kicking in the '80s and that quality pieces were being made. This necklace is signed "Yves Saint Laurent" and also carries a limited-edition number on the flat panel by the chain (029/300). The piece is evocative of the Empire style with its restrained scroll work and fluting.

 • The names to stick to when collecting 1980s jewelry are the large fashion houses such as Chanel and Dior, etc.

• There appear to be two extremes of costume jewelry made in the 1980s: it is either of quite fantastic quality and wonderful design or it is junk.

Yves Saint Laurent Charm Pendant• As in all jewelry of all ages, it is not simply the name that counts but the quality of design and execution. Even with a great designer's name on it, a poor piece of jewelry remains just that. 

The Birth of the Collector 

The beginning of the 1980s saw the first serious vintage costume jewelry dealers appear. Before this time there were collectors of Art Deco and Art Nouveau jewelry who also resold, but until this time costume jewelry from the Art Deco years onward had been ignored. The opulence of the 1980s saw all this change, as designers ravenous for inspiration turned this way and that to satisfy demand. These designers' customers realized what was going on and a new breed of costume jewelry buyer was born: the collector. It is the collector whom we have to thank for the burgeoning interest in the subject. 

Many collectors have conducted important research, searching archives for their latest unsigned treasure, while dealers have simply resold the piece, knowing that it was a great piece of design but not taking the time to check on its provenance.

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