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Blurring of Lines


#1

All, A gemstone has three qualities which make it a gemstone. #1 is
rarity, #2 is color,clarity, and size, # 3 is durability. That is
the accepted definition of a gemstone by anyone who deals in
valuable stones. With the flood of gemstone dealers and jewelry
marketers that has hit the market in the USA since 1980 the word
gemstone has been made an irrelivant term. The word means nothing to
anyone accept one. Appraisers are still forced to make choices and
assign value to stones and jewelry. That is the point where value is
assigned as to the actual stones and metal. Appraisers have for a
long time assigned very little value to the actual cut of a
gemstone. To me that is like saying that the metal work should only
be evaluated by the weight and identity of the metal. That is
changing as more appraisers are adding value to the stone because of
the cut and giving a more realistic evaluation to the the total
piece. Appraisers must constantly walk the line of value of materials
and value of the artistic expression and skill used to make the
piece.

Another line is being blurred by science and unlocking the mystery of
how gemstones form. In the berillium diffusion of sapphire a whole
new era of gemstone knowledge will evolve that will further blur the
lines. Berillium is a mineral not found in natural sapphire, but
just a small amount of berillium diffused into the crystal lattice of
a sapphire drastically changes the color. What do we call a natural
stone that is changed by a man induced substance not found in the
natural stone? Is this a natural synthetic? Because we have added
something like a goldsmith adds elements to gold - Have we created an
alloy of sapphire? I do not know the answer. But, I do know that the
people treating gemstones will not stop and they will unlock the
mysteries of formation, color, and improvement of all stones. They
cannot be stopped. We are at the begining of a very exciting time in
stones. CZ’s will never be gemstones to me as I remain locked and
close minded in my own description of Gemstones and
jewelry have value which lasts for generations when combined with
exceptional cutting and metalsmithing. That’s what makes gemstrones
and fine jewelry.

Gerry Galarneau, in cooling off Arizona where many stones are being
cut in preparation for the Tucson February show. Jaspers, agates,
beryl, tourmaline, rhodochrosite, etc… Feel the love.


#2
What do we call a natural stone that is changed by a man induced
substance not found in the natural stone?  Is this a natural
synthetic? (Gerry) 

Gerry, you make some good points in my opinion, although I do not
agree with most of it. You say that a gemsteone must have three
qualities: rarity, color-clarity-size (let’s call it outlook) and
durability. Well, I read somewhere that nowadays 85 % of all American
women own a diamond. Most of these diamonds are perhaps rather poor,
still you can’t really call this rare, can you? If anything, diamonds
are everywhere. Durability? About how many years do we speak here?
Generations? Opals are a point in case here. Many don’t last
generations, even if set well. Outlook? That’s at least in part
subjective or is it not? What is a synthetic and what is a simulant?
It seems that it depends on intentions, for if I use CZ and I hold
that it is not my intention to simulate diamonds with it, it’s not a
simulant to me, but only a synthetic, while you, when looking at the
same piece, may find that I used the CZ to simulate diamonds and, so,
the CZ are simulants for you. I don’t think - witness the
(interesting btw) discussion which has been going here, to solve this
discussion by logical, rational, communicative or even semiotic (does
this expensive word creeps up here as a simulant these days?) means,
so maybe a gem is just something which a designer deems worthy to
incorporate into his/her jewelry, unless, obviously, the intrinsic
value of it is so low (paper or wood, for example), and then we could
perhaps call it a component? After all, the quality of a good
designer is to combine materials in unexpected and aesthetic ways and
good designs - as art in general - often bring something to the world
that was already there to begin with but not in this particular
constellation. The Greeks, btw, called this activity - of which only
poets were able of (witnessing the old Greek bias towards the world
of the word) to metapherein: to change what was already there to
begin with in such a way that it illuminates the soul. With this in
mind, I think it becomes pretty much irrelevant what a gem exctly is

  • i.e. what others consider to be a gem. The designer-artist will
    decide what it is through his/her creative efforts, leaving
    downtrodden paths behind - indeed, they don’t illuminate the soul nor
    the intellect. I guess that’s why some jewelry is actually just junk,
    however ‘natural’ the flashy stones it incorporates. And for what
    concerns your last point, I really liked your question. My thesis is:
    we do not live in a natural world anymore and there are no natural
    things. Even a diamond is not natural. There are no natural things.
    Best, Will

#3
What do we call a natural stone that is changed by a man induced
substance not found in the natural stone? 

You call it a treated stone of course.

Beth