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An Auspicious 88ct. D-Flawless Diamond to be Sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong Auction

An Auspicious 88ct. D-Flawless Diamond to be Sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong Auction


April 2, 2019 marks the date of Sotheby's latest auction event, wherein the world's top jewelry audiences will arrive to bid for a D-flawless 88.2ct oval-brilliant diamond. Most estimates for the sale of this rare gemstone range from between 11.2 to 12.7 million dollars. A very small number of large oval cut diamonds have been released at auction houses during the recent years, but a previous 118 ct oval did sell for about 30.6 million dollars in 2013.



The current stone, weight at just a bit over the lucky number 88, is sure to please many collectors at the event's location in Hong Kong. The number represents a 'double infinity' for many cultural societies, and it's very rare to see such a large diamond in this exact carat weight. The rise of asia as a primary force in the jewelry-buying sector shows how its influence also affects the decision of high-end diamond cutters to tailor stones precisely for this growing market.

Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, labeled the stone as a rare “treasure” in a statement made dates before the event. Sotheby's has always been a driving force in the auction world, most especially for jewelry and the arts. They've been able to publicise and sell some of the world's largest faceted diamonds, in all manners of shapes and color hues. Last year (2018), the sales totalled from their jewelry auctions is said to be somewhere slightly over 400 million dollars.
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The Many Colors of Tourmaline

The Many Colors of Tourmaline


When you think of tourmaline, what color comes to mind first? Is it the raspberry red hues of rubellite? The neon electric blues of specimens from Paraiba? or is it the multi-colored elongated crystals of liddicoatite?

Tourmaline isn't a single gemstone species, it's actually a group. Specifically, it's a boron-silicate group that has a lot of different species and many different varieties, which can all possess a large diversity of colors, inclusions and appealing factors.



Tourmaline though, is the term people are most familiar with. Not many who buy tourmaline jewelry refer to a species specifically by name- examples of which would be elbaite, or dravite. These names are not really used in mainstream jewelry very much.

Certain trade-locality names like Paraiba, named after the vibrant green-to-blue specimens from Brazil's Paraiba area, have become popularly used as well. Paraiba tourmaline is now one of the most expensive kinds of tourmaline.



Other names like indicolite (normal blue) and verdelite (normal green) are also sometimes used for both jewelry and loose-stone trading at gem fairs and shops, but the group name 'tourmaline' is by far the most popularly used name for this gemstone.

Tourmaline is probably the (if not one of the) largest group of gem-worthy minerals out there, with colors ranging from black (schorl) to colorless (achroite), and nearly every color of the rainbow.

It can compete with the upper tiers of colored stones in terms of value, and can also provide slightly more affordable alternatives to traditional gems like ruby or emerald. Tourmaline is one of the fastest growing gems today, in terms of recognition amongst new jewelry collectors and enthusiasts.

Here at Gemcamp, we do see many colored gemstones being brought in for testing, tourmaline being one of the fairly common ones. One of its most defining gemological traits is a very consistent level of birefringence or double refraction, which can be spotted even in faceted gems.
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Sphene, The Jewelry Collector's Spectral Fire Gemstone

Sphene, The Jewelry Collector's Spectral Fire Gemstone


In the world of colored gemstones, there are certain species and varieties that people consider to be collector's gems. This may have different meanings for some (possibly referring to high-end auctioned gems in some cases), but for many enthusiasts- a collector's gem is a species that has its own unique optical beauty, despite not always being used in main stream jewelry stores.



Today we'll look at one of these uncommon, yet beautiful collector's gems that you may or may not have seen in the Philippine jewelry circles. It's frequently seen by our gemological team during visits to international gemstone fairs in Hong Kong or Switzerland, but locally only very few brands seem to carry it in their jewelry designs.

Sphene, which is sometimes also called Titanite, is a stone with a dispersion rate greater than that of diamonds. What is dispersion you might ask? Well, dispersion rate actually governs the amount and intensity of the spectral color flashes you see when rocking and tilting your gemstone. Those sharp, crisp sparks of red, blue and green that a lot of people usually associate with diamond- this in layman's terms is called 'fire', but we refer to it as the dispersion of light.



This gem can be found in many colors, but its most popular hues are yellowish green and orangey brown. It's quite easy to recognise due to its strong fire display. Couple that with another interesting property; a very high birefringence. This specific trait splits incoming light rays into two, visibly observable by looking into the stone and seeing its inclusions or back-facets double. Sphene is considered a doubly refractive stone, and while many other stones also show visible doubling of interior characteristics, sphene's birefringence value of ‎0.100-0.192, makes its doubling one of the strongest in the realm of gemstones.

When buying sphene, always look for a good balance between fire, bodycolor and clarity. Sphene tends to have a lot of inclusions, which may seem larger or more plentiful than they actually are due to the effects of its strong birefringence. This stone, while not as popular as ruby or emerald, has its own indescribable appeal. You'd have to see it in person to really appreciate the elegant combination of traits that it possesses. Here at the laboratory, we have seen a few high-end jewellers and gem enthusiasts bring in specimens of faceted (fully cut) sphene for checking.
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Lab Grown Diamonds, Update on the Jewelry Market's Main Hot Topic

Lab Grown Diamonds, Update on the Jewelry Market's Main Hot Topic


Today, there's a lot of circulating news regarding the widespread growth of man-made or lab-grown diamonds on the international markets. Several publications have actually wrote or commented about the news relayed by De Beers, which mentions how the prices of lab-grown diamonds have fallen at least 60% since it began selling its own line of synthetic diamonds. Among those publications are Professional Jeweller (UK), Reuters, and even the South China Morning Post (Asia). Note that we do not affiliate with these magazines or websites, the links above are just for your reference to their articles.



Laboratory grown diamonds, for those who do not know- can bypass or fool those handheld jewelry testers / diamond testers you usually see in most jewelry retail shops. We're pointing to those small 'beep' gadgets that base their assessment on thermal and electrical conductivity of course- which are useful tests for moissanite and cubic zirconia (assuming the instrument is properly calibrated and consistent). Lab-grown diamonds are also made up of carbon, and grow in the cubic crystal system, just like their natural counterparts. Advanced spectrometric testing is needed to separate lab-grown diamonds from natural diamonds, as sometimes even gemological microscopes are no longer enough on their own.

One main marketing point that lab-grown diamond sellers use to appeal to millennials especially, is the notion that they are both ethical and eco-friendly, compared to the notorious blood diamonds that people may be familiar with. While you may or may not agree with this side of their story, each seller obviously markets his or her own product to the best they can write.

The movie 'Blood Diamond' starring Leonardo DiCaprio, showed us some terrible scenes that people have come to believe as 'standard' in natural diamond mining. Today though, the Kimberly Process and many other systems of ethical protection already protect the vast majority of the natural diamond trade. Jewellers and jewelry buyers alike do not want gemstones to help terrorists, and so the global industry as a whole has already undergone changes to safeguard the diamond industry against 'blood diamonds'.



Lab-grown diamonds are much easier to create, compared to finding and mining natural diamonds from remote areas of the globe. Some people would say this is more eco-friendly, due to the fact that no digging of earth is actually involved. Note that while the demand for lab-grown diamonds as 'cheaper' more eco-friendly diamonds continues to grow, so does the number of suppliers in the trade. More and more people are creating factories to "make" diamonds, and this can have a drastic effect on the balance between consumer pricing and general supply. The articles linked above, might help you get updated on the situation which continues to evolve every day.
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Three of The Most Popular Cuts for Colored Gemstones

Three of The Most Popular Cuts for Colored Gemstones


We all know that diamonds are most often polished and cut into round brilliant formats. The standard 57 to 58 facet design pioneered by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919 took hold of the diamond industry and influenced how we want our diamonds to be cut today. This is common knowledge already, but what about the cutting preferences for the rest of the colored gemstone varieties?



Well today let's take a look at a handful of faceting styles and shapes that have captured the market's attention for best displaying the appeal and beauty of a gemstone. First off, probably the most utilized cut for rubies and sapphires (non-melee) would be the oval mixed-cut. The mixed faceting style simply refers to a gem that has both the brilliant-cut faceting style (triangular & kite shaped facets) and the step-cut faceting style (four sided facets). One might be on the crown, the other may be on the pavilion, or the reverse can also be true. This particular cutting style allows gem cutters to save weight from the original crystal, by cutting with a bit more bulge, especially if cutting the pavilion as a step-cut. Unlike diamond, the focus for colored gemstones is more about the intensity of color, and adding more material intensifies the selective absorption process that expresses a stone's color to our eyes. (Image credits to Sotheby's Auction House)

While rubies and sapphires are very often cut as mixed cuts, another very popular cutting orientation would be what the industry calls the 'Emerald Cut', which as you might have guessed, is very popularly used with emeralds. This is mainly because of how emerald crystals grow. Compared to the common tabular shapes of rough ruby, emerald crystals tend to grow as hexagonal prisms, or at least in elongated formats. The Emerald cut is a rectangular step-cut style that makes use of bevelled edges, and it's been the number one choice for emerald gemstones for a long time now. Even diamonds have adopted the appeal of this cut, because it accentuates their transparency and clarity, while presenting a very bold elegance and feel.



While the two styles above are probably the most popular choices for colored stone cuts today, another forerunner would be the cushion cut. Now the cushion cut is a little less defined than the previous two we mentioned. There are square cushions and rectangular cushions, as well as other shapes and varieties. The main difference between the cushion cut and other cuts, lies in the fact that cushion cuts have curving edges on all sides when seen face-up. It sort of resembles a pillow, or a cushion in shape outline- hence the name. This cutting preference allows a good amount of weight to be saved, and just like the standard oval mixed-cut, this appeals well for gem-cutters due to the fact that color can be better shown with more material.

Colored diamonds are also often cut into cushion shapes. The 'oval' or 'stadard' cushion cut pink diamond, pictured below, is a prime example of this. Color will always be one of the defining factors in gemstone valuation- whether it be the presence of it or the absence of it.



Each gemstone can be cut in a huge variety of choices. Emeralds can also be cut as mixed-cuts, and star rubies & sapphires can be polished into cabochon cuts. There are so many choices for gemstone appearances in today's trade, that the main factor to consider is your own personal preference. Brilliant faceting styles create sharper, more crisp brilliance patterns, while step-cut faceting styles can save more weight, and deepen color. Proportions and angles are also equally important so as not to create areas of windowing or extinction, where light can leak out of the stone rather than bounce back to the viewer's eye.
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