No gemstone is more beautifully striped by nature than agate, chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers in a wide variety of colors and textures. Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in a host rock. As a result, agate is often found as a round nodule, with concentric bands like the rings of a tree trunk. The bands sometimes look like eyes, fanciful scallops, or even a landscape with trees. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are generally associated with volcanic rock and can also be found in certain metamorphic rocks. When cut transversely, agate exhibits a succession of parallel lines that give a banded appearance to the section. Such stones are known as banded agate, riband agate and striped agate.
June: Moonstone or Alexandrite
October: Opal or Tourmaline
November: Topaz or Citrine
December: Turquoise or Blue Topaz or Tanzanite
Pearls are organic gems, created when an oyster covers a foreign object with beautiful layers of nacre. Today most pearls are cultured by man. Shell beads are placed inside an oyster and the oyster is returned to the water. When the pearls are later harvested, the oyster has covered the bead with layers of nacre.
Most cultured pearls are produced in Japan. In the warmer waters of the South Pacific, larger oysters produce South Sea cultured pearls and Tahitian black cultured pearls, which are larger in size. Freshwater pearls are cultured in mussels, mostly in China. The quality of pearls is judged by their soft iridescence caused by the refraction of light by the layers of nacre, and luster, the reflectivity and shine of the surface. Factors which affect value are the regularity of the shape, size, and color.
Spessartite belongs to the large and varied mineral group of garnet. The fiery sunny-orange stone is popular for its hardness, 7.5 on the Mohs scale. Its brilliance is due to its high refractive index. Until recently, spessartite garnet was rarely seen in jewelry. Gems with the highest spessartite content are a light orange. Those with almandine content are reddish to red brown in hue. Like most garnets spessartite garnet is not artificially enhanced in any way.
Also known as Titanite, sphene is a brilliant yellowish-green, green or brown gemstone of high luster, unique color shades and, with a brilliant cut, an intensive fire that can approximate diamond. While in demand for a long time, sphene has been a rare gem on the market. New deposits have now increased market quantities. Sphene is named from the Greek word for "wedge", because of its typical wedge shaped crystal formation. The mineralogical name "Titanite" derives from its titanium contents. With a hardness rating of 5-5.5 on the Mohs scale, sphene is a relatively soft gemstone that needs care and qualifies best for pendants, earrings or brooches. Sphene color can be changed to red or orange through heating, but most sphene is untreated. Crystals of sphene are fairly small and typically don't exceed the two carat range.
Spinel was recognized as a separate gem species as early as 1587. Now treasured for its own sake, spinel is a favorite of gem dealers and collectors on account of its brilliance, hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale and wide range of spectacular colors. In addition to beautiful rich reds, spinel can be found in a range of pastel shades of pink and purple and in beautiful blue tones called cobalt spinel, but these are very, very rare. The main factor preventing the spinel from achieving greater recognition is its rarity; fine spinels are rarer than the rubies they used to imitate. Spinel is a durable gemstone, perfect for all jewellery uses and most often faceted in oval, round, or cushion shapes.
Tanzanite, a blue variety of the gemstone zoisite, is named after the East African state of Tanzania, the only place in the world where it has been found. Upon its discovery in 1967, it was enthusiastically celebrated by the specialists as the "gemstone of the 20th century." Its deep blue with the slightly purple tinge is one of the most extravagant gemstone colors.Tanzanite consists of calcium aluminium silicate and has a value of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. For that reason, it should always be worn carefully and never placed in an ultrasonic bath for cleaning or brought into contact with acids.
Tourmalines are gems with an incomparable variety of colors. This gemstone has excellent wearing qualities and is easy to look after, for all tourmalines have a good hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. Tourmalines are found almost all over the world with major deposits in Brazil, Sri Lanka and South and South-West Africa. Tourmalines are also found in the USA, mainly in California and Maine. Although there are plenty of gemstone deposits which contain tourmalines, good qualities and fine colors are not often discovered among them. For this reason, the price spectrum of the tourmaline is almost as broad as that of its color. Its high availability and its glorious, incomparable color spectrum make it one of the most popular gemstones.
Turquoise is an ancient stone that has once again found itself back in fashion. In many cultures it has been esteemed for thousands of years as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune or a talisman. Turquoise, a copper aluminum phosphate with a hardness of 6 on the Mohrs scale, occurs in a range of hues from sky blue to grey-green. The blue color is created by copper, the green by bivalent iron and a certain amount of chrome. Often, turquoise has veins or blotches running through it, which are brown, light grey or black depending on the location where it was found. These lively patterns are known as "turquoise matrix". The most well-known deposits are in the USA, Mexico, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and China. Because of their sensitivity, turquoises are almost always subjected to a preparatory treatment of one kind or another. For this reason, turquoises which have a good natural color and are simply hardened with colorless wax or synthetic resin have a much higher value than stones whose color has been "improved" artificially. So it is more advisable to purchase valuable turquoise jewelery from a jeweler.
Precious metals are rare metals that have been used in making jewelry for several thousand years. Because of their luster, malleability and resistance to
oxidation, they have been prized by all civilizations. Once used as currency, they are now used mainly for investment and adornment. At George Kelly we primarily work with 14K and 18K gold, platinum and silver for our designs, but have now moved heavily into working with palladium as well. We often combine some metals together for the look and in consideration of the melting temperatures that are important in the fabrication process.
Fabrication is the way jewelry was made long before the process of metal casting was developed. It is a demanding method that employs a few simple tools, like saws, files, pliers and hammers, to shape the component pieces, which are then soldered together with a torch. Jewelry fabrication is the only way to create original, one-of-a-kind pieces. Casting jewelry, by comparison, gives the jeweler the ability to replicate the same piece as many times as desired.