David's Antiques and Jewelry

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From the Blog

Morganite

The Morganite gemstone is a cousin to the beryl family but is considered a semi-precious stone not a precious stone like the other family members such as aquamarine or emeralds. 

It’s scale of hardness is a 7.5-8 which makes it perfect for setting in any jewelry piece. It shows in a range of pinks colors because of the manganese.

It’s a beryllium aluminum silicate, a rare pink variety of beryl and usually ranges in pink colors from pink to rose to peach and salmon. Like most gemstones, the more richly colored the gemstone, the higher it is prized and priced.

Recently this gem has seen an increase in popularity and value.

Morganite can be mined in Brazil and Madagascar, also small deposits have been found in Mozambique, Afghanistan and Russia. Although Morganite is rarer than Aquamarine, larger cuts are readily available on today’s market but has not been promoted to the jewelry buying public as much as Aquamarine and Emeralds.

Pink Morganite was first identified in Madagascar in 1910 known as pink beryl. Shortly thereafter George Kunz, a world acknowledged gemologist and buyer for Tiffany & Co. renamed it in honor of JPMorgan, US Banker and avid gemstone collector.

Even though Morganite is a hard stone, it can easily be scratched  by harder gems such as Sapphire and Diamonds.

All beryl stones are sensitive to pressure and household chemicals such as bleach and sulfuric acid.

To clean these gems, just use soapy water and soft cloth.

  • Ester Edry

Poison Rings

The Poison Ring originated in ancient India and the Far East, then made its way to Europe. The traditional Poison ring had a very small container hidden under a hinged cover.

Poison rings alternately referred to as pill boxes, compartment, locket or vessel rings also have a benign purpose.

Ancient Romans sometimes used the Poison ring to commit suicide when a painful death was unavoidable.

During the Middle Ages, they were often used to hide relics of saints, like bits of their hair, bone or teeth.

During the Renaissance, the aristocracy used them to hold cologne, locks of hair and portraits of a loved one.

A shroud of mystery and rumors surround them, so their reputation is fittingly mash-up of fact and fiction.

 

  • Ester Edry

Lapis Lazulli

Lapis is the birthstone for December and is 5-5.5 on the hardness scale.

Lapis is the Latin word for stone and the Persian lazhward meaning blue. Lapis Lazuli is a deep blue metamorphose rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color.

Lapis lazuli was among the most highly prized tribute paid to Egypt obtained from the oldest mines in the world worked around 4000 BC and still in use today.

As early as the 7th millennia BC, lapis was mined in Sar-I-Sang mines for over 6000 years and other mines in the northeast of Afghanistan.

At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis was exported to Europe where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine of all blue pigments. It was used by some of the most important artist of the Renaissance and Baroque era, and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of the paintings especially the Virgin Mary. Cleopatra used the powdered lapis as eyeshadow for her face.

Lapis is and was not only used in jewelry making but also in making ornaments, amulets, mosaics, small statues and vases.

Today, mines in Afghanistan and Pakistan are still the major source of lapis.

  • Ester Edry

T is for Tourmaline

The name Tourmaline comes from Sinhalese word “Thoramalli” which is a group of stones found in Sri Lanka.

It is a semi-precious stone that is found in many different colored such as blue, pink, green yellow, and watermelon. There are also Chrome and Paraiba tourmaline.
Prices for tourmaline vary tremendously depending on the variety and quality. The most expensive are the Paraiba Tourmaline which may reach tens of thousands of dollars per carat.

It’s a popular stone because of the beautiful rainbow of colors. Scientifically, it is not a single mineral, but a group of minerals related in the physical and chemically properties. On the hardness scale it is a 7-7.5 a very durable stone.

Tourmaline is generally stable to light and isn’t affected by exposure to climate, but extreme heat can damage it. Extremely high heat can alter the color and could cause fracturing.


Discovered in the late 1600-early 1700’s by Dutch trader off the West Coast of Italy.
The stone can also be found in Afghanistan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Mozambique, Russia, Brazil and Italy.

 

Cleaning your tourmaline consists of warm soapy water. Rinsing well and drying.

Do not use ultrasonic or steaming cleaners.

  • Ester Edry