All, We are rapidly approaching that point in time when the
distinction between real and artificial becomes a moot point.
There are simulants for many but most people still are
more interested in posessing a rare natural stone than an
artificially created one.
As for Amber, it has always been a stretch for me to include it
amongst the gemstone family. One of the primary criteria for
gemstones has always been that of durability. Amber is very
definitely not durable if you consider how it might be used in
jewelry. It is soft, has a very low melting point and is very
brittle. The facts that it is ancient, colorful and somewhat rare
don’t make it durable.
Durability is a good quality for a gemstone to have, but it isn’t a
definitive one. While it may be soft, there are other soft materials
that are often used in similar ways, and which also are considered to
be Pearls, coral, jet, and the other organic gems are
important arrows in the jeweler’s quiver, and used properly can make
long-lasting jewelry. The melting point of amber (in a vacuum) is 375
Celsius (707 F); most jewelry isn’t subjected to temperatures this
high, and many stones would be damaged if it was (amber is much
easier to burn than to melt). There are quite a few stones that
aren’t particularly hard: eg. turquoise, malachite, opal, and lapis
lazuli, that also would be a shame to toss out because of this
durability dictum. Conversely, there are a number of stones that
while fairly hard, are subject to damage because of their cleavage
planes; even diamonds can be chipped in use.
The ancient concept of gemstones being valuable and rare is
under attack and I doubt very much that it will survive. ALL
gemstones are now synthesized and many substances are threatening
to supplant natural
Dichroic glass is every bit as phenomenal as the finest black opal.
Synthesized opal is difficult to differentiate.How long will it take
for synthetic diamonds to enter the marketplace ? ( I suspect that
the only reason that they haven’t yet threatened the natural is that
de Beers has bought off the synthesizers)
Synthetic diamonds are more convincing than the synthetic opals I’ve
seen. Are you setting a lot of this dichroic glass in your jewelry?
Would you like to buy some nice amber-colored plastic?]
The diamond imitants are omnipresent. Moissanite is being
pushed heavily by those who stand to make big bucks selling it.
Oddly enough, these same people are also selling the natural as if
to cover their bets.( It seems to me that selling the merchandise
that destroys the mystique is self defeating. If you cheapen the
product you kill the goose that laid the golden egg........)I had a
customer in my store yesterday who raved about "pink ice" When I
told her that it was merely colored cubic zirconia she was
crestfallen....she actually believed that it was rare, natural and
You sound like a heckuva salesman…]
We live in an age of change. The pace of modern life is one of
escalation. The jewelry business is not invulnerable. We are
witnessing the supplanting of the substitution of so
called noble metals with Titanium and the lowering of quality and
value so as to make jewelry disposable.
Titanium is a good metal for jewelry; it is strong, won’t tarnish,
and it’s hypoallergenic. If the ancients had had it to work with,
there would be a great tradition of titanium jewelry. If quality and
value are on the wane, it may have something to do with the economics
of the jewelry business. If we’re working for QVC instead of Czar
Nicholas, there’s a different dynamic that comes into play, don’t you
My comments are not those of an old man ranting...they are
simply statements of apparent fact and they portend the future. How
we perceive our roles in that future may determine our survival. I
don't advocate any particular survival mechanism, but I certainly
suggest that we all ought to be aware of the changes that are
evident. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.
So you’re trading in all your precious gems for dichroic glass and
synthetics? New lamps for old, anyone?