Yavorskyy & Other Stones
Posted on September 20 2018
Tastes differ. Facts remain. There's a lot of charm in a honey-colored Citrine, the sparkle is irresistible in Zircon, the purity is remarkable in Topaz. That is how Gemstones appeal to you, how they make you fall for colored rocks. The truth is that some stones require enhancement to look beautiful, and the difference between natural and treated gems is significant. Other stones are too soft or fragile to be used in jewelry. Other stones are just too commonplace.
Many of us have started their gem affair with simpler, smaller, cheaper little things, and we still have affection for them. But as we grow more knowledgeable, more demanding in Gemstones, our taste refines too. Once we get to see Gem Gems, the ones we couldn't dream to see before, our horizons widen to the new level of appreciation. That is how you start to be selective and adherent to strict principles. That is why Vlad Yavorskyy and his IVY Team deal majorly with natural, untreated, rare, precision-cut gemstones perfectly suitable for daily wear in jewelry or for your investment collection.
For last two decades the word Yavorskyy has stood for the combination of perfect cutting and vibrant colors in the finest gem material. It does not mean however that we limit our activity to the top-notch collectors only. We are happy to welcome the newcomers and educate them in our way. We invite all beginners and amateurs to re-discover the world of colored gemstones and learn our gem language.
We often see customers looking for a certain gemstone based on the mass-market tendency. If these customers are ready to think out of the box, we are happy to offer an alternative, to advance onto the level-up gems. For example, if you dream of a Gem Amethyst, you cannot easily get one as fabulous as an Art Deco brooch by Cartier, especially untreated and well-priced. In this case, why not go for a Purple Garnet Umbalite - a perfectly natural stone of same intense color and even better fire and durability. The London Blue Topaz can be replaced by intense blue Aquamarine of Santa Maria color, and it is a truly noble stone with great heritage. Red Beryl is such a rare beauty and it is expensive too, but the color of Red Spinel is not any less desirable. Cambodian Blue Zircon boasts of that striking teal hue and magic sparkle, but if you prefer a more durable gem to set in a ring - consider our Indigo Tourmalines from Namibia: they are just as mesmerizing in color, one step harder in durability and do not even require heating. Instead of a Pink Morganite, try a tender Malaia Garnet or a Pink Spinel for a higher standard. Citrine can be easily swapped for Yellow Danburite or Scapolite, at least to surprise your client with a less-known more curious name. The list of alterations can be continued...
4.4 blllion years. That’s a dizzying number – almost the age of our planet. It is, in fact, the age of one of the oldest known gems: zircon.
So zircon has been around forever and has played its part in several civilizations – its rich history reflected in its various names: Arabic: zarqun (cinnabar), Persian: zargun (golden) or Roman, taken from the Greek: the old name of Hyacinthe. Legends and literary references to Zircon abound – was Zircon really the name of the angel appointed to guard Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Archaeological sites have revealed its age-old use as a natural resource and Revelations (21:19) lists it as one of the gemstones set into the foundations of “the thrice blessed city“: Jerusalem. During the Middle Ages, it was said that zircon brought prosperity, honor and wisdom to its owner.
Doubly refractive, when light penetrates a zircon, the beam divides into two leaving the stone at a wide angle, clearly visible in the doubling of the back facets – it also has high dispersion and an adamantine luster making for a stone that shimmers intensely both within and without. It comes in a range of rich, natural colors including white, yellow and brown to golden, and, rarely, purple, red and greenish blue.
4.4 billion years... that should certainly entitle it to the name “mother of all gems”.
A prized variety of the spodumene mineral, kunzite is named after George Kunz who identified it as a separate variety after its discovery in Pala California in 1902. Kunzite’s pink body color is often nuanced by lilac and violet, almost magically revealing the highly pleochroic tricolor nature of the gem. Jewelers love the large transparent stones (although unenhanced stones in pretty colors are rare), while collectors hunt for crystal clusters resembling stalactites. Sources are mainly Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as Brazil, Madagascar, Burma, Australia and the USA.
Sadly, kunzite can lose its color in direct sunlight so it is considered an “evening stone”. The memory of George Kunz will never fade though. A legendary collector and a man who brought fame and popularity to many new found gems, he well deserved to be immortalized in the name of this intriguing and beautiful gem.
Let us imagine one of our ancestors in the Stone Age, foraging for firewood or food. Suddenly he catches sight of something gleaming in the dirt, reflecting the light, mystified by what we now know to be a gemstone. This beautiful, transparent, golden colored gem might have been topaz, one of the first gemstones ever found and used for adornment by our ancestors. Some believe the name comes from ancient Sanskrit or ancient Greek, and we now know that the term was probably used for many golden colored stones.
Topaz has always been a popular gemstone and a symbol of wealth. It is also one of the most treated gemstones on the market so gem lovers truly appreciate the variety of beautiful untreated colors that can be found in nature: golden yellows, rare light blues, very rare pinks, and exquisite sherry-peach-golden brown mixtures.
Topaz is a fairly common gemstone, mined in localities on every continent, but the best color quality for collectors comes from Brazil, the Imperial Topaz. The name was originally an homage to an emperor, and it aptly refers to its unique color only found in this location. Imperial topaz is a golden peach sherry color due to traces of iron and chromium, with an ever-present lovely pink undertone or color zoning. Untreated, it is a pure gift of nature.
Topaz is sometimes found in huge flawless crystals, and is a perfect stone for use in jewelry due to its durability and hardness. However it also displays perfect cleavage, which is the property of a mineral to break along certain planes in its structure, and is pleochroic, which means it displays varied color intensities when viewed from different angles. For these reasons the lapidary must take special care faceting this gem if the best possible results are to be obtained.
How easily the rose gold topaz reminds us of a delicious cocktail sipped on some remote beach, far away from the bustling crowds, surrounded only by nature. Truly a precious object to hold close and keep dear to one’s heart.
Quartz, Amethyst & Citrine
Quartz, the most ubiquitous of the earth’s gem minerals, is anything but rare. That fact would typically be a deal breaker for hardcore gem lovers, but the mineral makes up for its lack of rarity with a kaleidoscopic array of colors, an abundance of varieties, and a tendency to be found in sizes that dwarf most gemstones by a factor of a million.
Consider, for example, the Bahia crystal, which currently hangs in the lobby of the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California. The 426-lb. rutilated quartz crystal sculpture weighs nearly one million carats and took more than seven years to carve. No other gem mineral lends itself to such awesome creations.
Elsewhere in the quartz family, jewelry lovers will find a wildly varied and beguiling mix of gems, including February’s birthstone, purple-to-lavender amethyst, the finest specimens of which are found in Uruguay; yellow to yellow-brown citrine, named after the French word citrin, or lemon; and colorless and chemically pure rock crystal, a favorite of Art Deco jewelers.
For all its abundance, quartz is unique in the world of gems, thanks to its availability, affordability and startling diversity. Rare company, indeed.
An ancient gemstone, with the radiance of the sun; beloved by the Pharaohs, in second place on Aaron’s breastplate, judged magical by the Romans, carried home by the crusaders to adorn medieval churches and mined on an island that seemed to float in and out of existence over the centuries – this is the mystery that is peridot. It is also, quite literally, a gemstone that comes from the stars – found in meteorites that have fallen to Earth; although this material has almost never been usable in jewelry. The ancient Egyptians thought it had talismanic powers and the Romans called it the “evening emerald”, because its color remains unchanged even in artificial light.
Peridot belongs to the mineral family of olivine, or forsterite. It is found in basalts or molten rock like lavas. It is one of those rare gems that occur in just one color, green. Produced for centuries exclusively on the mysterious, barren island of Zabargad, off the coast of Egypt, the gem-rich country of Burma, China, the USA, Africa and Australia are now also suppliers. Peridot has gone in and out of fashion throughout the ages. An Edwardian favorite, it sank again into years of relative obscurity until a find was made in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1990’s. This produced abundant supplies of fine stones of a luscious, apple green color delicious enough to bite into and shot it back into the limelight to become a darling of the modern market.
Peridot is found in crystals of varying sizes, but because of strong tensions within the crystal due to inclusions, it is often cut into smaller sizes to avoid unnecessary cracks that would spoil its inherent beauty. Peridot is often transparent and eye-clean and, where inclusions can be seen within the gemstone, they can have an otherworldly effect. Minute crystals surrounded by circular stress cracks form exquisite “lily-pad” shapes within the stone, and gorgeous needle inclusions resemble shooting stars. All are accentuated by the high birefringence of the stone, which doubles the effect.
Peridot might not always be the most brilliant of gems, but its rich apple green color is unique, erupting like a solar flare, illuminating one’s life and warming the soul. Indeed, it may come as no surprise that the ancient Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun”.
At the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, tanzanite was discovered in the late 1960’s in the country of the same name; the only source known to date. It is the blue-violet variety of zoisite, characterized in its natural state by its trichroism – showing three visible colors, blue, lilac-purple and red, when viewed from different angles. It has been called the most beautiful gemstone to have been discovered in the last 2000 years. Only the color is nearly impossible to achieve without heating, and with treatment it loses value. Its unique deposit is mined in an area only four kilometers wide and two kilometers long and at under 7 on the Mohs scale, it is both rare and fragile so it requires particular care and attention – but is that not true of everything precious?
A legend says that after a huge bushfire, the Masaï, on returning to their ravaged lands, spotted blue flashes coming from the earth, as tanzanite appeared for the first time, rising, like the phoenix, from the ashes.
Emerald has mesmerized gem lovers for millennia. Tsavorite has had us all hypnotized for half a century. And over the last few years, gemstone connoisseurs have gasped in wonder at the highly pleochroic green kornerupine found in Tanzania.
Unlike most kornerupine that comes in pale and not very appealing colors, the vibrant green hue of the stone from Tanzania is due to chromium and vanadium, and has no equivalent in the gem market. Is anything else needed to take your breath away? Well, this wonder gem has boron hidden inside it... in the same proportion as the “Hope diamond”.
Scapolite is both rare and generally not well known; a natural collector’s stone. The name comes from the Greek skapos (meaning stick or shaft), due to the straight, prismatic nature of the crystals. The major sources are Tanzania and the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia, with some material also mined in Brazil, Madagascar and other gem lands. Its tender, pure colors are ample compensation for the stone’s relative lack of hardness and luster with canary yellow and lavender being the most highly prized.
What are the chances you will come across a danburite in a jewelry shop? Very low. Most people will never even have heard of it. It is collectors and museums who have. Boron-rich mineral danburite can be found in each continent of the planet, yet the gem-quality, clean crystals in a pretty yellow palette are very rare. The name comes from Danbury state in the USA, where it is mined. Other localities include Burma,where gem quality danburite was first discovered, Tanzania, Japan, South America, Central Asia, Europe and Russia. The top quality large crystals of over 100 carats are mined in Madagascar.
Far away in the deep blue ocean, the ancient explorer’s nautical savior was the beautiful blue gem, iolite. Diminutive slivers of the gem were used by navigators as beam condensers to locate the sun on cloudy days, giving iolite its pet name the “Viking’s Stone”.
The mineral was named Cordierite after the early 19th century geologist Pierre Cordier, and over the years, the gem variety acquired its trade name iolite derived from the Greek “ios” signifying “violet”. It is its color – or rather its amalgam of colors providing a diagnostic dichroism – that makes iolite unique. It forms a metamorphic bridge silhouetting the violet hues to a golden yellow with terrestrial global deposits.
Today, the Laramie Mountains in Wyoming are home to the world’s biggest iolite crystal weighing over 24,000 carats.
Fluorite is loved by gem and mineral collectors alike for its rainbow of colors, its crystal formation and impressive geography. Its intense vivid purples, greens, yellows, blues, pinks and reds can be found in deposits worldwide. Gem quality cubic twin crystals occur in England. Octahedrons formed under higher temperatures in Mont Blanc and the Swiss Alps are pink due to minute traces of yttrium.
In Pakistan, at a height of 4,600m, pink and green samples are found. In Kazakhstan, one giant cavity contained giant purple gem crystals hundreds of kilos each. Sadly, fluorite is both soft and fragile but cosset it. It will repay you with a unique touch of magic.