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Favourite Gemstones

A brief look at some of StrawberryWoods favourite stones

Tanzanite.

 (From the family zoisite) It is so well complimented by platinum settings and diamond accents that bring out it’s stunning array of ultramarine  blues and violets  with flashes of pinks and reds.

 It is a very rare stone, found in only one location on earth. Discovered in the 60’s it is expected to be mined out in the next 10-15 years.  The truth of this time limit is a subject for debate but it is still  a very rare commodity.

 The uniqueness of Tanzanite lies in it’s beautiful colouring and, from a monetary point of view, rarity. The conditions that created tanzanite some 550 to 600 million years ago were so unusual; it is nothing short of a geological miracle.

 Tanzanite is mined in the East African country of Tanzania, (again hence it’s name) in the Merelani foothills at the bottom of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Although there are myths and legends surrounding it’s discovery, it was a chap called Campbell Bridges working for Tiffany who bought Tanzanite to America for verification by experts. It was also this same Mr. Bridges who discovered Tsavorite, another of my favourites, of which there is more later.

 Both Tanzanite and Kunzite are pleochroic stones: when you tip and tilt them in the light you see the different colours inherent in the stone, such as the blues with flashes of pinks and reds in Tanzanite.

 Kunzite

Kunzite (from the family spodumene) is a wonderfully feminine stone It exhibits glorious pinks, from delicate lilacs and lavenders to hotter pinks with flashes of raspberry. There is also a pale lemon version.

 Kunzite is mined in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Madagascar and Brazil.

 Kunzite, along with Diamonds, share phospherence, which causes stones to,” glow”, in the dark after exposure to daylight's ultraviolet rays.

  Both kunzite and tanzanite are very very new to the market in Jewellery terms. Kunzite first came to the market in America, through Tiffany’s Mr. Kunz (hence it’s name) at the turn of the last centaury and Tanzanite has only been mined since the 1960’s. Again this stone was championed by Tiffany’s, and where the great fashion jewellers lead, others follow.

 Today, these exceptionally beautiful stones are still new and fresh and are generating greater world wide interest and well deserved popularity. 25 years ago everyone knew the fab four, (we don’t mean The Beatles) but Rubies, Diamonds Emeralds and Sapphires. However, if you said, “Kunzite” to someone then, they would probably reply, “bless you!”

 Thankfully, people now accept that what was once labeled a semi-precious stone is just not so.  You compare an inferior one carat diamond with poor cut and colour with a smaller but perfect Paraiba Tourmaline or Tanzanite. On price alone it will not be the diamond that is precious, let alone beauty and the 4 c’s.

 Colour is now playing a very important role in contemporary Jewellery. Sapphires are no longer just blue, but are now acceptable in all colours of the rainbow. Topaz goes from the imperial bronzes to sky blue and the darker intense hues of London Blue.

 The newer stones to the market offer every colour and are as rare (in some cases very much MORE rare) than the fab 4. They are often equal to or excelling in beauty and there is a great synergy in linking these up using accent stones in Diamond.

 In sourcing  stones,StrawberryWood inevitably has to go through dealers, but, the nearer you can get to the mine, the more middle men you can cut out. However, some of these “middlemen” have done a very important job, they may have sifted through many hundreds, if not thousands of stones, to bring the best product to the market, and you have to pay for that expertise. StrawberryWood has a network of people from Thailand to America to London and all ports in-between.

 StrawberryWood looks for beautiful stones and unusual stones, and  have a set of criteria regarding the 4 c’s and other influences that they will not detract from.

Paraiba Tourmaline.

Pariaba Tourmaline.is a beautiful stone awith it’s varying peacock colours of sky blues, teals and lawn greens.  It is a gorgeous, “glow-y” stone, and even in reduced lighting it still coruscates.

  This is a very difficult stone to mine and is prone to inclusions, so  the larger carat weights combined with clarity make this stone a very rare thing, especially a stone from Paraiba in Brazil where deposits are now becoming exhausted. Paraiba now defines the colour and not the specific mining area.

 Santa Maria Aquamarine

Although Aquamarine is not a lesser known stone, the Santa Maria Aquamarines, and Espirito Santo from Brazil and the Mozambique Santa Maria Africana stones are an astonishingly deep blue and very rare. A collectors must.

 Russian Diopside.

A fabulous green stone to rival the best of emeralds. Because this stone is mined in Siberia, one of the coldest places on earth, continuity of supply is difficult. This coupled with the fact that large weights are hard to find make it a rare stone. I’m not too sure that this stone is well known in the general market, however it should be.

 Tsavorite Garnet.

Another stone offered by Tiffany, discovered by Mr. Bridges in 1967. Tsavorite from Kenya possesses intense green comparable to the very best of emeralds and has a truly remarkable brilliance. Deserves to be well recognized. StrawberryWood have designs in mind and are currently searching for suitable stones.

 Morganite

A really lovely delicate baby pink colour through to soft apricots, Morganite is a member of the beryl family and related to aquamarine and emerald.

We have this subtle stone of some 40 carats and eye clean clarity, holding it’s rightful place in StrawberryWood’s Shameless collection.

 Rubellite tourmaline.

Some people think Rubellite is a poor man’s ruby. Far from it. Ruby and sapphire are from the corundum family, whilst Rubellite is a tourmaline. And a very rare tourmaline it is.

  Although prone to inclusions caused by manganese, it is the manganese which gives it it’s beautiful rich velvety reds, through to purple reds. Therefore a clean dark rubellite in large carat weight is a rarity indeed.

 A superb stone and it is gathering renown amongst serious collectors

 Platinum is StrawberryWood’s preferred metal of choice. It is a hard, white, bright metal, holding the stones in confidently. It does not “taint “ stones with colour as yellow gold can,  and it does not need rhodium plating to eliminate the yellow tints exhibited by white gold. It stands alone as a beautiful metal, but leaves the stones to shine in their own glory.

 However, much of the above also applies to the ever more popular metal, palladium.

 Part of the platinum family it exhibits all of the glories of platinum but is much lighter, and considerably more affordable.

 There is a whole other article on Palladium in our FAQ’s

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