Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Words may not break my bones...

... but stones might just break the bank.

I admit I have a stone addiction. I am fascinated by all sorts of gems, from smooth cabs to sparkly faceted and, specially, interesting phenomenal gems, which have rare "special effects". I learn as much as I can about gemology, with help from some very knowledgeable people from GemologyOnline and many dealers who have become friends over time.

Since I am an engineer, I love the physics and mathematics that go into precision cutting. In this technique, the cutter considers all aspects of a stone to cut it to the precise angles and patterns that maximize the effect. Many precision cutters develop their own patterns and some are very creative, like the Liquid Flower cut below.

Liquid Flower cut by Osiris Gems (smoky Quartz and Amethyst)
Concave cut tourmaline by Richard Homer
Fancy cut sphene by Gene Flenigan
Modified Trillion Rose Quartz by Peter Torraca

Gem carvers not only facet or polish a stone, but they also include three dimensional carvings, which change as the light moves. I searched for a long time until I found this Munsteiner amethyst and it is one of my pride and joys.
3.3ct Munsteiner Amethyst
And then there is a whole range of faceted stones - spinels, tourmalines, garnets, zircons, tanzanite, sunset quartz and a lot more. Here is a taste...

Inclusions are also interesting - small bits of "something" that get trapped inside the crystal as it is forming.  They  are very unique, reflecting the creation of that particular stone is forming, and visually impacting.

Fluorite crystal in quartz
Lepidocrite in quartz
"Pink Fire" covallite quartz (it flashes neon pink in sunlight)
Sunstone with copper schiller

These are tenebrescent hackmanites. If they are kept in the dark, they become a pale pink, blue or lavender. As they are exposed to sunlight, however, they slowly darken. This is completely reversible, so after a few hours in the dark, they are pale again.

And that is far from all... there are plenty more of all of these, as well as cabs and phenomenal stones, which will have to wait for a different post.

Yes, I am addicted and I have no plans to be cured any time soon. There are too many beautiful gems still out there!

This month the aspiring metalsmiths are bringing out their stones. For many, collecting stones has become an addiction. Come take a look at their favorites and what makes them so special.

Autumn Bradley -
Clarity @ Scrollwork Designs -
Stacy Low -
Chrissi Lynn Designs -
Sylvia Anderson -
Jessica @ Abella Blue -
Contemporary Jewelry by Beatriz Fortes -
Esmeralda -
Steph Stargell -
Pennee -
Silver Pearl Jewelry and Metalworks -
ArtistiKat -
Claire -


  1. I love some of those concave cuts. Makes me want to take up faceting as well.

  2. Beautiful collection. Love the Munsteiner Amethyst! He is one of my favorite and most admired stone cutters.

  3. Lovely stones Beatriz - those are some amazing cut stones in the first couple of pics. WOW!

  4. Wow, enjoying the reading and learning something new too! tenebrescent hackamanites (sp?) just lovely how they change in the light!

  5. your collection. I've seen some stones here I didn't know existed!

  6. You have a stunning collection! Really enjoyed your post and seeing all of your lovely pieces!

  7. Wow Beatriz - you have an amazing collection! I hadn't seen gemstones carved like that before - very pretty! You'll do them all justice when you incorporate them into your pieces. I look forward to seeing them then!

  8. Wow, definitely makes me want to try to set a faceted stone. You have such a great collection. Those Liquid Flower cut stones are real stunners!

  9. Beatriz, I LOVE your stones. They are so different and wonderful! Those hackmanites are so great. I see a ring with two of three of these :)