After lots of silver hallmark photography, it’s time for some gemstone pictures! Everything from peridot lilypad inclusions, an optical illusion, and a hearts and arrows diamond! Firstly, inside a peridot. Sometimes they contain inclusions which look exactly like a lilypad. It can be hard to see, as peridot have high birefringence, so split light into […]

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Hallmarks are authenticating marks struck on most silver items produced or offered for sale in Ireland. Since 1637 the Assay Office in Dublin Castle has been the only body with the authority to perform this task. The marks serve several functions: * they verify that the item is of the correct quality. In Ireland, sterling […]

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One of the most valuable gemstones, Demantoid is the green variety of Andradite garnet. It’s name comes from Dutch, “demant”, meaning diamond, because it can exhibit fire like a diamond, and can be as green as the finest emeralds. It is believed that the colour comes from the presence of Chromium in the stone. Its […]

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A member of the beryl group (the same as Emerald), Aquamarine’s clear blue colour flatters all skin colours, and works in harmony with most precious metals. It’s name itself gives away its colour: “aqua” meaning “water”, and “marina” meaning “of the sea”. In ancient times it was thought to come from the treasure chests of mermaids, […]

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For as long as people have treasured gemstones, rubies have been associated with power and emotion. They are the same colour as the blood that flows in our veins, and were always believed to hold the power of life. Its colour gave rise to a belief that an inextinguishable flame burned in the stone, and […]

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When you are looking through the microscope at a gemstone, there are some many beautiful things to see. These inclusions and characteristics that you can see tell you a lot about the stone; some tell you where it formed, or if it is natural or man-made. Some tell you about the condition of the piece. […]

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Following on from a previous post about sapphires, this post deals with the different colours of Blue that can be found in them. In ancient times, it was believed that the sun’s rays caused the wonderful deep blue colours that we see, and that the longer the stone was exposed to the sun, the deeper […]

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Malachite is a gorgeous green banded stone, with colours of the bands ranging from light green to a very dark green. It is very easily recognised, and has a distinctive, attractive look. Its name comes from old Greek, meaning “mallow-coloured stone”, after the Mallow plant. It has been called the “mirror of the soul”, and […]

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Diamond crystals have been worn and admired since at least as far back as Roman times. They were worn in rings as status symbols and charms. At the time, however, they were not the sparkly objects we know today, but were left in their natural state; this was because of the belief that they would lose their magical properties […]

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Moonstone is a gemstone in the feldspar family. The Romans believed that it was made from solidified rays from the moon. It has a beautiful shimmery look, called adularescence, from which it got its name. The effect is caused by reflections from alternating layers of two minerals called orthoclase and albite. (In the images, the […]

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