Category Archives: Jewerly

The Beginner’s Guide to Jade

Xian Jade Multicolor Reclining Buddha, China 

China is well known for using Jade’s ‘healing properties’. Believed to possess qualities that will prevent decay, Jade was often placed in the tombs of ancient Chinese emperors in an attempt to preserve their bodies after death.

While it is generally known for its characteristic soothing green color, the gemstone naturally occurs in a variety of colors and shades including yellow, lavender, white, red, green and even black! The gemstone comes from one of two minerals namely nephrite which is a silicate of magnesium and calcium, or jadeite, which is a silicate of aluminum and sodium.

An important part of Asian art, Jade has slowly and gradually made its way into a multitude of cultures, enjoying the status of royalty and revered to this day. Interested in learning more about this valuable gemstone? Read on to find out as we let you in on everything you need to know about Jade from its physical and chemical properties, to its origins and healing nature.

Physical Properties of Jade

While the fact that Jade comes from two different naturally occurring minerals is interesting enough for most people, its physical, chemical, and healing properties contribute immensely to its popularity. While Jade is naturally available in a number of different colors due to impurities, a soothing green remains the most popular and sought after variation of the gemstone.

Jade in Jewelry
Beautiful Jade in Jewelry

Origins of Jade

Since Jade comes from two major minerals, the gemstone can be extracted from a number of different areas or regions. While Nephrite, the mineral that gives us lighter green shades of Jade, is generally found in areas such as China, the Swiss Alps, Russia, and New Zealand, the Jadeite mineral which is responsible for the darker and more vibrant variations of Jade is found in Western Canada and other areas in North America.

While Jade and the minerals from which it can easily be extracted are generally found in the mountains, there are known reserves lighter variations of the gemstone in countries like Guatemala. Since it is typically found in mountainous regions, a process that is similar to rock quarrying is used for extracting and mining Jade and using it for a variety of purposes.

Chemical Properties of Jade

Since Jade mainly occurs naturally in two major forms, there are two chemical formulas that can be associated with the gemstone. While the Nephrite variation – a calcium and magnesium silicate – is Ca2(Mg,Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2, the Jadeite variation has the chemical formula NaAlSi2O6 which is a sodium and aluminum silicate.

The gemstone has a splintery fracture with no distinct cleavage quality. The gemstone, like most others, has a brittle tenacity, and has a refractive index that’s between 1.600 and 1.688. The specific gravity of the gemstone ranges between 2.90 and 3.38 depending on the variation and where it has been extracted from, making Jade a very diverse mineral in a number of ways.

Importance of Jade in Alternative Healing

Possessing a very light and nourishing energy, Jade has been an important part of alternative healing, and offers a number of different benefits. Owing to the purity of the gemstone which almost feels soothing, Jade can help create a positive vibe and energy by means of purification.

Symbolizing nourishment and gentleness, it is said that this gemstone does not only support heart energy, but also protects it, allowing people to feel a lot lighter, relaxed and elevated in its presence. Unlike the strong and overpowering rush of energy that emerges from a variety of other pyrite stones, the energy emanating from Jade primarily focuses on helping you feel more grounded, balanced, and harmonious. With a message that could best be described as one that promotes and encourages loving and accepting oneself, it is known for its slow and steady healing powers. Owing to its positive and relaxed energy and vibe, Jade has also become an important part of Feng Shui – a Chinese pseudoscience system that is used extensively to help people remain connected to their roots, and find balance in everything that they do.

Jade carvings and polished or treated ornaments made from the gemstone are used in Feng Shui in order to help you make better life choices. It is also believed that different Jade ornaments can help with a variety of areas in your life from love to wealth.

Procedures and Enhancements

In most cases, the Jade gemstone is either treated or enhanced with the help of industrial processes to make it more aligned with the needs and requirements of consumers. While merchants and entities refer to these enhancements in different ways, the procedures that are applied essentially affect the quality, texture, and color of the gemstone.

Here are the categories in which Jade is commercially available:

Type A Jade refers to jadeite that has not been treated in any way. In some cases, the surface of the gemstone may be waxed for enhanced luster or shine.

Type B Jade refers to jadeite that has been treated with chemicals or polymer resins.

Type C Jade refers to gemstones that have been colored or dyed artificially.

Type D Jade is the lowest quality of the gemstone and refers to a composite stone or doublet.

Whether you are a believer in the healing of gemstones or love to wear jewelry, Jade would make a nice addition to your lifestyle.


The Process of Crafting Jewelry Explained

jewerly in gold and diamonds
Photo antpkr – yayimages.com

If you’ve ever visited a jewelry outlet, then the thought of how they create these embellishments and adornments may have crossed your mind at one point or another. The entire process can be quite fascinating when considering how a raw product from Earth’s top layers is transformed into a stunning masterpiece of shiny, sometimes colorful and many times expensive works of art.   

Our aim is to detail the various steps that are involved in the process of creating jewelry from these vast amounts of minerals, especially diamonds. First and foremost, we will inspect the most commonly used method, which is called the lost wax procedure. The reason it is called lost wax is that the object that will be created is sculpted out of wax to the exact specifications that the finished product will look like.  

Primary Steps 

Assorted Jewelry

The art of creating jewelry involves the amalgam of the most innovative techniques and sophisticated research. The procedure is defined as a composite process which includes a meticulous and lengthy step. Each and every phase from start to finish is detailed and the end result is a treasured piece of fine jewelry.

The components of most jewelry are stones, metals, and its accessories. Every article is set apart through an investment of time and craftsmanship. With the notable exception of personalized jewelry, which is generally handcrafted, the vast majority of jewelry manufacturing is executed using cast machines.  

The primary concern is to concoct a design that is unique in terms of aesthetics and appearance. Expert designers first make a sketch, which acts as a blueprint and marks the beginning of the process.

Each article created on paper is merely just a concept at the start. It is essentially a rough draft that is established through a collaboration between the designer and the craftsman. This concept is used by the model maker in order to create the piece that will eventually end up on a woman’s finger or used as a bracelet or maybe even on a mantlepiece.

This brings us to the actual process where the artisan assumes control and oversees every step until the article reaches fruition.

Wax Carving

It begins with a simple block of wax. The metamorphosis begins in earnest with craftsmen heating the wax model until it turns into liquid form. Once this is done, it is molded around the gemstone.

The artisan uses the tools at their disposal which include hand tools such as blades. The wax model may be shaved or carved to create the proper impression and the process continues until the craftsman is content with the form of the wax model.

The next step involves embedding the wax carving in a metal mold that is supposed to be filled with plaster. Once the plaster is added, the blend is left to harden. The mold that contains the hardened plaster is heated in an oven at a considerable temperature.   

This results in the termination of any wax traces. Depending on the artist, the plaster model may then be altered into gold or another mineral during the jewelry casting process.

Gold Casting

Victorian Hair Mourning Jewelry
Victorian Hair Mourning Jewelry
This part of the process is where the wax model is turned into gold. Since time immemorial, jewelry makers have exercised the option of pouring gold into molds shaped in stone and plaster. The process varies depending on the gold components involved in the process as well as the purity of the model.

Each model is made at different temperature cycles and processes that are unique to the metal component alloy as well. Also, the casted gold model is soldered and welded later and then set with a gemstone.  

Welding

The next stage in the crafting process is welding. In this phase, metal is fused to each other through exposure to an extreme temperature that is applied to the specific area in a bid to create a commodity that is both durable and wearable.

Welding is typically done by torch. Once the pieces are assembled together, the craftsman cleans any telltale indications of the welding by using hand-held tools and then bathing the article in acid in order to remove signs of any scale on the metal.

Furthermore, the next step involves soldering if it is required. Stone setting and jewelry polishing to gives the jewelry its glistening touch. An excellent video below describes the jewelry making process in more detail.


Soldering

The vast majority of pieces of jewelry that are crafted are soldered because of their complexity and unique designs. Soldering may be done using a small and thin torch. It enables the artisan to tenderly attach smaller segments of jewelry to create a beautiful work of art.

Moreover, when using a pair of tweezers, surgical precision and accuracy are required. Heating the item to the molten point without melting it or damaging the parts to which it is bonded.

Gemstone Setting   

Setting gemstones on the item represents one of the final stages of the jewelry making process. This is where makers ensure that the jewelry that stays firmly in its position. Stone setters are faced with the challenge of securing diamonds and gemstones in a manner that is least invasive. They have to use the least amount of materials in a bid to fasten the gem in its rightful place but offering maximum durability.

Polishing

The final step is polishing the item before it is complete. After this step, the item is given to the quality control experts. Polishing is done using rotary wheels and soft muslin tools that allow the craftsman to augment is luster.

Once the desired polish is accomplished, textures and other finishes may be applied to enhance the design aspect of the finished article and distinguish it from other pieces.

Carats: A Unit Used to Weigh and Value Gemstones

Luxury Diamond Jewel Gemstone Round Brilliant CutGemstones and other rare earth metals are primarily made of solid particles. For that matter, their amounts are scientifically measured through units of weight. These units, such as kilograms, grams, pounds and metric tons are extensively used and therefore, people have a fair idea about them.

However, when it comes to measuring the weight of a gemstone, all these prevailing units prove to be way bigger. For instance, barring exceptions, you can’t find gemstones in grams, let alone other larger units. Therefore, the gem industry has standardized a different weight unit to quantify gemstones to assess their value. This unit is called ‘carat’.

Since the carat is exclusively used in the gem industry, many people don’t know what this unit entails. In this article, we are going to discuss it in detail so that you are better aware when dealing with gems.

The Connection between Carat and Carob Seed

Like many existing systems with their roots in interesting historical anecdotes, the story of carat coming into existence is also an intriguing one. It is said that some gem traders somewhere in the 16th and 17th century decided to set the value of precious stones in proportion to their exact weight. During that time, businesses were run without any established unit system for any type of measurement.

Carob Seed
Carob Seeds. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ceratonia_seeds.jpg

Traders who used to work in the African marketplace are aware of carob seeds. The interesting bit regarding these seeds is that all of them are identical in their shape, size, and mass. Carob seeds were once part of a staple diet of many African nations because of its rich sugar content.

The uniformity of carob seeds sparked the idea to use them as counterweights for precious and small items i.e. gemstones. There use in a balance scale as a counterweight became quickly popular because of the reliability provided by the consistent shape and weight of carob seeds. Soon after this experiment, it became a norm in the gem industry to weigh gemstones against carob seeds.

After the advent of sensitive weighing machines, it was found that a single carob seed approximately weighs 200 milligrams. Meanwhile, the pronunciation of ‘carob’ had also been distorted with its use as a weighing unit in different parts of the world. After some years of this standardization, people had started calling it ‘carat’. So, when it was formally reorganized as a weight unit at the beginning of the 20th century, it was given the name ‘carat’, the distorted term which had become more popular than the original term.

Carat or Karat

It is really important to discuss the confusion surrounding these two words with the same phonetics. The term ‘karat’ is mostly associated with gold, which is not a gemstone but revered and valued as one.

To put in simple words, karat is an arbitrary unit used to measure the purity of gold. Pure gold is considered 24-karats. Since pure gold is extremely soft and malleable, it is mixed with other minerals (copper, nickel etc) for stabilization. Coins, jewelry and other gold items that we usually see are not made of a pure specimen. Let’s try to understand karat and its distinction from carat through numbers.  

An 18-karat gold item is made of a 75% pure mineral. This means 18 parts of gold is mixed with six parts of other minerals to stabilize the contrived object. In a similar manner, every object made of gold is divided into 24 parts to measure its purity. A 12-karat gold specimen would include 12 parts of pure gold and 12 parts of stabilizing minerals.    

Therefore, karat and carat are not one and the same. Karat is not a weighing unit and neither is it used for any material except gold. But carat is a standardized metric unit of mass and the entire worldwide gem trade uses it to weigh and value precious stones.   

Subdivisions of Carat

Not all gemstone are equal in their exhibition and value. A carat of opal can’t be equal to the same weight of an emerald or ruby. And then there is a gem of all gems i.e. diamond.  People who have brought this king gemstone in the form of jewelry would be well aware of the value of a carat of diamond.

In most of the diamond rings, the stones used are way less than one-carat. For that matter, jewelers have subdivided one carat into 100 pointers. A single pointer is equal to two milligrams. If a diamond cut weighs 0.25 carat, it can be referred to as a ‘twenty-five pointer’ stone.

Diamonds and Carats

Diamond cut history diagram
Diagram of different diamond cuts
As mentioned earlier, carat measurements are very essential when it comes to measuring diamond cuts. The price of a diamond is actually derived by the shape of the cut, color of the specimen, clarity of the stone and its weight in carats.

The Craze of Magic Sizes

In terms of their carat weight, diamonds also come in some ‘magical sizes’. Diamond cuts with the definite carat measurements are usually referred by this term. For instance, one-carat, half-carat, and even three-quarter carat diamonds are called magic sizes and have a price higher than the regular specimens with arbitrary carat or pointer measurements. Diamonds can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions. Their price all depends upon their cuts, color, clarity and their weight in carats. 

The craze among gem lovers with respect to magic sizes can be understood by the fact that a one-carat diamond specimen can be 20 percent more expensive than a 0.99-carat cut. It is important to mention here that both these specimens look exactly the same in ornamental objects and even an expert can’t tell them apart without measuring their weight.