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Baltic Amber & Druzy


#1

Good morning, This may be a silly question, but where is all this
Baltic Amber coming from that is on the market lately. I thought
that Amber was fairly scarce, and yet you see it everywhere. The
same thing for Druzy Materials, what materials do they come from and
how are they cut. They seem to be really popular and yet I have not
seen much of this material in my 27 years of collecting. Thanks in
advance for your help. Gerry


#2

Hi Gerry,

Drusy material comes from all over the world. An abundant amount of
quartz drusy that you see comes from Brazil, however quartz drusy
comes from many other places also. There is a soft periwinkle blue
chalcedony drusy that comes from Turkey. The hot pink drusy which
is called Cobaltoan Calcite comes from Africa, the grass green color
drusy is uvarovite and comes from Russia. The Irridescent Pyrite or
Rainbow Pyrite comes from Russia .(I have been told by one of my
cutters that Rainbow Pyrite is very toxic to cut and a special mask
should be worn) The Rainbow hematitie comes from Brazil however it
is no longer being mined as far as I know. The Rainbow Hematite
drusy must be backed for jewelry or it will break.as it is thin.
Chrysacolla drusy has been found in South America and in the USA. I
just carry Chrysacolla from South America. I believe that the
Chrysacolla from Arizona must be stabilized or it will fall
apart.however the color is gorgeous. The Chrysacolla is a minor ore
of copper. Hemmimorphite drusy comes from China (the hemmimorphite
that I carry). There are other drusies not as popular or abundant
also available, such as azurite/malachite.

The drusies that have become very popular within the past two months
are the coated quartz drusies that I carry from Greg Genovese. They
are coated with 24kt gold, 18kt rose and 20kt white gold, and the
copper coated. Of course the titanium rainbow coated is always
popular.

I carry an enormous amount of drusy. There are around 500 pictures
of many different types up on my website of cut and also rough
material. When clicking on the drusy category, the cover page
explains where many of the more popular different types come from
and their colors . I do not cut gemstones so I do not have advice
on that.

Diane Sadel
http://www.sweetgemstones.com


#3

Gerry,

I can’t vouch for the Amber but druze is all around us. I am in
South Florida and have access to a rather large quantity of older
Tampa Bay petrified coral. This stuff is just covered with beautiful
druze, its fun to cut out and with some exceptions, the backs polish
beautifully. The only problem is it takes real imagination to build
settings for it. I have been toying with the idea of getting into
PMC as that should be pretty easy. Otherwise, I find druze in
Youngite, and many geodes from various sources. Many layer agate that
displays plume qualities also has areas of druze. Also, many minerals
are covered with layers of quartz druze and there are layers of fine
amethyst crystals that make fine druze. Cutting it out is a different
matter. Druze is often found in rounded vugs or undulating veins not
to mention concave features found in geodes. It must be carefully
and slowly cut out as much of it is quite fragile depending on how ar
down the roots of the crystals go. If you are fortunate, you can
find some where the roots are shallow and on a hard agate base.
These are easy to grind down, smooth and polish the back. They make
beautiful pendants and broaches. Sometimes the backs need Opticon
to strenthen them.

Next time you go to a rock shop, just look around in the agate bins
for layered agate or jasper that is not very solid. You may find
many small vugs just full of fine crystals. Thats the stuff you
want!. I’ve been collecting it for about 3 years now and have
upwards of a hundred pieces finished or waiting to be finished. Good
luck in your search. I’ll send you a picture of two of some of my
pieces. Cheers, Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SO FL where
simple elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut


#4

Since I live in Latvia I feel myself responsible to answer the amber
part of this question.

  1. Most of the Baltic amber reaching the international market comes
    from the Russian enclave, the Kaliningrad region (former Koenigsberg
    in Prussia) between Lithuania and Poland. Small quantities of the
    original mass have been washed out in prehistoric times and appear as
    sediments near the Baltic sea in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and even
    Danmark, but these are mostly for amateur diggers. The vein from the
    Kaliningrad region continues on the continental shelf and is washed
    out, especially during strong winter storms and a seizable amount
    drifts northward to Lithuanian/Latvian shore. It is collected by
    professionals and a small percentage may remain in the beach sand for
    people to find and enjoy.

  2. The industrial quantities come from the Yantarnoye (Palmiken
    before WWII), where they are washed out from the “blue earth” layer,
    some 40 mil years old sediment in a way not much different from any
    industrial ore production.

  3. In Soviet period all production was strictly controlled and the
    pilferage was “amateurish”. At the end of 80s the diversion was more
    noticeable, since people were allowed to own hard currency and
    everybody was interested to sell something for hard cash. Legends
    persist about the Kaliningrad fishermen exporting barrels of
    "herring" to Poland, filled with amber. Before the breakdown of the
    USSR the “export” to Poland’s black market was so spectacular, that
    prices dropped and amber became available in unusually large pieces.

  4. I am not very well informed about the present market, but any
    attempts by Russia to control the supply and prices might be futile,
    given the amount in Polish hands and already stocked in the USA.

  5. It is presumed that the Soviets treated Baltic amber as strategic
    material due to exceptional properties of amber laquers and did not
    export raw material, thus keeping the prices high. This point
    requires some research to be sure.

HTH.
Eddie “The Chemist” from Latvia


#5
Druzy Materials, what materials do they come from and how are they
cut.

The druzy materials I’m familiar with aRe:

quartz (brown, orange, white, and gray), from Brazil
cobalticalcite (pink), from Zaire/Rep. of Congo
uvarovite (green), from Russia
psilomelane with quartz (black), from Mexico.

I cut each variety in basically the same way:

  1. I cut away the underlying matrix stone to whatever thickness I
    wish (or which the stone will allow)

  2. I saw the resulting piece into shapes, if possible

  3. I then smooth and polish the sides at a slight angle, and leave
    the top, crystal surface intact

  4. Clean with ultrasonic (a steam cleaner would be great, but I
    don’t have one).

The quartz and psilomelane with quartz are both quite hard and
durable, but the others are fairly soft.

Bill


#6

Your article intrigued me. I have a beautiful piece of amber that
began my love and wear it everyday and have for the last 28 years.
Recently I was informed by a friend that the fish scales or spore
like images in my amber were formed by dropping the amber in hot
water. This horrified me since my feeling was that the amber was
natural and the natural include whatever for around when it was
formed. This is Baltic and my mother bought it many years ago. Any
input would help. My friend is a gemologist, but just like Drs.
can be mistaken. Thank you Pat Dennie


#7

Thank you for your wonderful I have a piece of amber
that is Baltic that I have worn for 28 years. Recently a friend told
me that this piece was probably dropped in hot water to produce the
scale like or spores that are inside my amber. Is this possible
even 28 - 30 yrs ago? This friend is a gemologist but like some
Drs., can make mistakes. My thoughts were that this was natural and
whatever the amber was in contact with was natural which produced
these original pieces. Thank you for you detailed and most
informative piece. My husband enjoyed reading this also. Pat and
Dennie