A few days ago I saw a beautiful new gemstone that I’ve never heard
of, on a national T.V. shopping network. It was a transparent,
“light celery green” gem they called Prasiolite. I talked to a
jeweler who told me it is man made. Is it real or not? What can you
tell me about it?
I love your newsletter. It’s easy to understand and I’ve learned a
lot. Thanks, J.D.
A: J.D, Actually both are right. It is a real stone, but this color
does not exist in nature. PRASIOLITE (Greek for Leek green stones),
also called “GREEN
”, “GREEN QUARTZ”, “VERMARINE”, can be anywhere from a
pale yellow-green to the deeper shades of green. It is produced by
heating violet amethyst and yellow quartz, from the Montezuma mines
in Brazil, to approximately 500 degrees C. Recently, a new source of
this special amethyst has been found in Arizona (USA). From
everything I have read about PRASIOLITE, the color seems to be
unstable, and usually fades in sunlight. Because of this instability
House Of Gems will not be carrying this stone.
Q: I’m having a problem, and I hope you can help. A few of the
ladies I sold necklaces to are complaining that they can’t remove
the tarnish on the silver beads in the necklaces I sold them. The
silver beads are located between pearls and gem beads in these
necklaces. A friend suggested we use an ultrasonic cleaner, but I
read somewhere that it might damage the pearls and gem beads. Do you
have any suggestions?
Thanks for your newsletter. Keep it up. E.G
A: You’re right about the ultrasonic cleaner damaging pearls and
gemstones. I would suggest you try an Ionic Cleaner. These cleaners
work by electrolysis. Ions are attached to dirt and grease, and
surface tension is reduced. This permits dirt, tarnish and oxidation
to be lifted away from jewelry or other metal pieces with gentle
bubbles-without abrasion. No metal is lost. Stones and pearls are
safely cleaned without potentially damaging vibration, friction,
heat or abrasion. Rinsing and drying after immersion naturally
enhances renewed luster.
Have you guessed the common thread in these questions? It is the
“toughness” of the gems. Toughness, here, pertains to the durability
of the gems. Toughness involves: hardness; cleavage; brittleness;
porosity; heat resistance; impact resistance; chemical & acid
resistance; flammability; shock resistance; light resistance; etc.
Even though a gem is very hard, it could have a lower toughness
scale because it can cleave, fade, or be attacked by chemicals. The
following chart will try to give you information on the intrinsic
weakness in the gemstones.
Virtually all gem beads, and glass beads, too, have some kind of
weakness. Knowing these weaknesses helps you to plan their usage in
your jewelry. For example, a bead with a toughness rating, in the
following chart, of “poor” & “fair” tend to be more delicate and
should be used in a more protected environment. Necklaces, earrings,
and pins get little impact, where as, rings and bracelets can get a
lot of impact. Weaker beads can be protected between metal or
stronger beads. This isn’t something to be paranoid about. Diamonds,
emeralds, opals, & tanzanite (all can shatter), plus pearls & amber
(very soft), are among the most popular gems that are used in rings.