All, Please reconsider setting tanzanites in rings. I have repolished
and repaired a lot of them in the past year. The latest had no crown
facets left after 1-2 years of every day wear. Tanzanite is not a
durable gemstone. The color is like a sapphire and the brilliance is
close to sapphire, but it is not a sapphire and will not withstand
the every day wear and tear. It does not take a direct smashing blow
to damage the stone. Many of these were damaged digging around
inside a purse or reaching for something and hitting the stone. Set
them in earrings or pendants, but do not set them in rings or
bracelets. They will not last.

Gerry Galarneau, Sunny, hot, dry, Arizona. Where 95 feels like a
nice day.

Thank you, Gary, for coming public against tanzanite in rings. I
never could understand the logic behind it, unless it was to make a
market replacing the irrationally expensive stones every couple of
years. (Kinda like computers). Why just not use a Ceylon Sapphire?
Wendy Newman

Hi Gerry:

Talk to Jane Armstrong about this (Hi Jane!). . .I mean, she ought to
be able to tell you, as I will, that you’d have better luck
single-handedly turning back the tide. Customer’s don’t listen,
sales people don’t listen, buyers don’t listen . . .all they hear is
the sound of the cash register. I used to tell people I worked for .
. .PLEASE! don’t sell those blasted triple herringbone chains. They
started listening when they got good and tired of being berated by
customer’s when I started to insist that I could NOT make these
chains look like they did before they wore them to bed or wadded them
up and stuck them in a purse. Here’s a list of things I have tried
to resist, but have had little success discouraging.

  1. triple herringbone chains.

  2. channel set emeralds.

  3. Tanzanite in rings.

  4. Kunzite (keep it in a dark drawer).

  5. Apatite (unsettable, unwearable, when you show it, wear gloves
    and hold it over a pillow, uncuttable by anyone but a madman. . .no
    offense to you madmen out there. . .).

  6. cheaply made invisible set goods.

  7. most other invisible set goods, especially rings.

  8. I’m beginning to worry about all that opal inlay stuff. . .

  9. and I’ve got it in for any of a number of so-called “fine” watch
    lines which I can’t name here.

Bet you’re all convince I’m a prima-donna now. . .just you wait
untill you’ve been doing this for 30 years. Ya get fed up, I tell
ya! FFEDDUPP! rant-rant-rant-bwaahahahaha. . .

David L. Huffman (just having a little fun with ya)

A friend of mine wanted a setting made for a Tanzanite some months
ago. She originally had her heart set on a ring, but I talked her
into a pendant for the reasons you cited. She’s very happy with it.
I also made sure to advise her not to put it into electronic cleaners to clean it. -ArtsUmbrla


Yea David, You can cry all you want to,Your right! You may be onto a
longer list though from this forum. One of my pet peaves is:
listening to customers tell me the history of where each piece of
jewelry they’ve own came from, when they got it, from whom (and that
persons ailments) Thomas

Your post gave me a chuckle, thanks. When you mentioned the opal
inlay it made me think of a job I got in a few years ago. It was an
opal inlay ring (made by the largest mfg. opal inlay) that had a
cracked opal in one of the slots. I should note that I’ve been cutting
for the trade for over 25yrs. now and keep back little bits and pieces
so I can match stuff like this. Anyways I went through everything I
had and couldn’t come even close. It had blue/green fire with a sorta
pinkish base color. I finally got fedup and ground out the cracked
stone, low and behold it was just a blue/green jelly type opal that
was being held in with RED epoxy. Fine jewelry huh? sigh


dave, kudos to you!!! I have been doing this for ten years now, and i
hear you loud and clear. If anyone want further back up testimonial
to this man who obviously knows what he is talking about. You now
have a fan , dave. the one time I set a tanzanite in a bezel , it was
because my mother had to have her tanzanite recut, not once, not
twice, but three times, and I had to do something to protect the
stone. i back bezel set the tanzanite and had to lodge a small piece
of wire under the stone and the wall of the bezel to hold the stone
still. Belive me , no one wants any of the nightmares listed on
dave’s post. the man knows what he is talking about. -julia in PA, the
proud new owner of a crafford laser welder!

Man, do I ever love stories like that! These shopkeepers (an owner
of a jewelry store is NOT necessarily an actual jeweler) just go
Ga-Ga over that stuff, and seem to think us humble craftsmen, whom
they consider overpaid, aren’t capable of such wonders. . .it’s kinda
of nice to be able to unveil these little tricks used by the "pros"
they drool over at the trade shows. I had a customer bring in a hand
engraved platinum piece I did not very long ago. They were showing
it off to me and oohing and ahhing and didn’t even remember that I
made it for them. Thanks for that tidbit.

David L. Huffman

I agree that the use of tanzanites in rings is one that requires a
very thoughtful design and approach. If a client really must have one
set in a ring then the designer has the challenge of trying to design
the setting to best protect the stone, and equally as important in my
view, be as easy as possible for the setter to set the gemstone.

If it is to be set it in a bezel, consider creating the bezel in a
higher karat such as 20kt or 22kt, which will allow the setting to be
accomplished with less force (or persuasion). This consideration can
also be incorporated as a design element in the color scheme of metals
being used.

Absolutely, the client must be completely aware that the nature of
tanzanite does not necessarily make it the best choice for a ring,
depending entirely upon the client’s intended use and wear.

How many people out there are buying an inlaid opal ring, featuring a
tanzanite gemstone and intending to wear it on a daily basis? I
presume it to be quite a few, if one takes a look to the marketing
that illustrates how popular this item has become even down to a very
commercial version and (affordable) price point.

How many of these purchasers would one suppose are being advised as
to the true durability factor of this combination of materials and
making an informed selection? I think an informed client will usually
make a decision based on the practicality of the use, if properly
advised, rather than a purchase solely based on current trend and

thanks to all for your opinions about tanzanite rings, etc. also the
apatite which I did not know was so difficult. Have any of you had
cause to deal with the beads made out of these materials. I am
stringing a lot of them for one of my customers and I wonder if there
is a danger to the beads getting knocked around in jewelry boxes
etc.? Any ideas? Thanks - dina in maryland

Tanzanite will tolerate a certain amount of very mild concussion
without severe damage, but it does abrade easily. Even in polishing
tanzanite jewelry, care must be taken not to expose the stone to the
buff lest the facets junctures get dulled. If you set one down on
your bench, be careful how you pick it up, you can drag it across
residual abrasive dust and scratch it. It is heat sensitive, but I
cannot imagine it encountering problems in normal wear. The problem,
as beads are concerned, is with the holes. Many times, a bead will
have an uneven or too-small hole and the person stringing it will
attempt to ream it out. This will probably result in the destruction
of a tanzanite bead. As for apatite, this stuff is so fragile, it
doesn’t even survive normal handling, let alone reaming out holes. I
have handled faceted apatite with only my bare hands only to watch as
tiny rutile shard like flaws magically appeared before my eyes. I’ve
know sales people who have dropped them the short distance to a
counter while showing them, only to watch them explode into
fragments. I sent a damaged apatite to my best stone cutter. She is
fabulously talented. She sent it back, saying that she could cut it,
but it would sustain damage while removing it from the dop. But ask
our bead experts here on the forum about beads in general.
Certainly, even the hardest stones will require at least a modicum of
care in handling. Consider this: on a string of beads, even hard
ones, every stone is as hard as the other (if they are all the same
material), therefore, capable of damaging the stone next to it.
I’ll look forward to their opinions.

David L. Huffman

As a beginner in this field, I have been reading with great interest
the comments on attributes of certain gems. About the only thing I
know about gems is the ones I like! Could anyone suggest a good book
on gems, one that gives pertinent but would not overwhelm
someone just starting out? I’d like to say that I’ve enjoyed this
forum for the short time I’ve joined in. I’ve learned a lot from just
lurking. Thanks!

Ohhh…its been quite some time since I’ve been on here. In regards
to what you said about Apatite I just wanted to give my two bits. I’m
glad to say I haven’t had the same experience with Apatite as you have
had. I faceted quite a bit 5-7 years ago…and dealt with Apatite
on several occasions and I came to realize Apatite was a lot
like…Kunzite and Diopside. If you get a nice compact piece you
will have no problem faceting beautiful gems. Now this is not to say
that a stone that is flawless is compact or a stone that is included
is not a compact stone. I bought a large lot of Kunzite once. It was
flawless stuff in awesome colors; however, whenever I tried faceting
it, it just wouldn’t stop cleaving. On the other hand I’ve faceted
several beautiful Chrome Diopside gems from Pakistan full of
inclusion with no problems. Afghani Apatite from my experience is
quite compact…while on the other hand I’m sure you would agree that
Madagascar material (at least what is available today) is very
fragile. David…this is the first time I’m emailed orchid in quite
some time so hope you don’t mind if i’m a bit off the topic
considering you were talking about beads and me faceting.

Intimate Gems

Looking for books on minerals…? One of the best books that I have
which is a great gem reference book… the gem reference guide put
out by GIA…The is well listed and thorough. If you are
looking for a good book on jewelry making that has ALL of the info.
Check out the OPPI UTRECHT book…any jeweler will tell you it is the
bible of jewelry making. -julia

“Could anyone suggest a good book on gems…”

Silver, the book “Gemstones of the World” by Walter Schumann, is an
excellent and comprehensive book on all varieties of
Beside it’s wealth of this 272 page hardcover is filled
with pictures of each stone. It is published by Sterling Publishing
Company and Barnes and Noble.com has it for only $19.96. A true
bargain by any standard.

Charles Heick

Hi Farooq; Thanks for your about Apatite and Kunzite. I’m
not a stone cutter, and I wouldn’t have enough knowledge to be a good
stone buyer either. Perhaps the Apatite I’ve seen is the kind you
are talking about that is not compact. Even so, it hasn’t very much
hardness, and for that reason, I would never suggest someone wear it
in a ring, and even in a pendant, I would be careful. It’s funny,
customer’s know to treat opals with care, avoiding shock and
temperature changes, but they always think that because a stone is
faceted, it is stonger. I’m sure that the other members of the
Orchid forum will always be appreciative of your input on stones and
their characteristics.

David L. Huffman

David…Hi back and sorry for the late response but business gets the
better of me these days. Ebay at least does. Faceting isn’t hard…and
can be quite rewarding. As for stone buying…trust me it really is no
thing. You pick it up almost automatically after you cut a few stones.
Is the apatite you are talking about a neon green/blue or an electric
blue? If it is that is what the predominant color here is. The Afghani
breed I’ve seen is a neon purple. I personally advise people to wear
Apatite in pendants because of their weakness…and I agree about
not wearing them in rings. I’ve realized the same you have with
customers…and Opal is a common that is why so many people know about
it…hell if you go to Tucson there are almost as many rough opal
dealers as there are rough faceting grade dealers. I’ve had my bad
experience with opal too…especially that Mexican fire opal. Now I
leave all my Mexican cut opals in water…LOL. I also advise
members to keep opal (Mexican) that is in there jewelry soaked in
water or in cool, shady places when not in use. Something cool while
we are on the subject of immersing gems in water…hmmm Have you ever
heard of Cats Eye Opal? Cool stuff. If you keep it immersed in water
it turns from completely opaque to almost completely transparent for
some of the good stuff. The problem is it dries up out of water sooner
or later. Wooooo…This was kind of long. Hope you don’t mind David.

Intimate Gems

To all,

The tanzanite stuff started a way ago when the jewelry company
“Tyfanny” if I recall it well,started this big promotion as a new
gemstones.Big company,big adverdizing,big commercials and of course
on the end of the line big money because everybody wanted one of the
new gemstones.The name “Tanzanite” is derived from the place where it
is found.It’s as simple as that.Raise hell and everybody will listen
to the one who has a respected name in this branch. That’s the way it
is Wendy .

Regards Pedro