Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminium and fluorine with the chemical formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2. It crystallizes in the orthorhombic group and its crystals are mostly prismatic terminated by pyramidal and other faces, the basal pinacoid often being present. It has an easy and perfect basal cleavage, meaning that gemstones or other fine specimens have to be handled with care to avoid developing cleavage flaws. The fracture is conchoidal to uneven. Topaz has a hardness of 8, a specific gravity of 3.4–3.6, and a vitreous luster. Pure topaz is transparent but is usually tinted by impurities; typical topaz is wine or straw-yellow. They may also be white, gray, green, blue, pink or reddish-yellow and transparent or translucent.
Rubies are mined in Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, and Cambodia, but they have also been found in the U.S. states of Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Mogok Valley in Upper Myanmar has produced some of the finest rubies, but in recent years very few good rubies have been found there. The unique color in Myanmar (Burmese) rubies is described as “pigeon’s blood”. They are known in the trade as “Mogok” rubies. In central Myanmar the area of Mong Hsu also produces rubies. The latest ruby deposit to be found in Myanmar is situated in Nam Ya. In 2002 rubies were found in the Waseges River area of Kenya. Sometimes spinels are found along with rubies in the same rocks and are mistaken for rubies. However, fine red spinels may approach the average ruby in value.
Ruby is a light pink to blood red gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The common red color is caused mainly by the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. It is considered one of the four precious stones, together with the sapphire, the emerald and the diamond. Improvements used include color alteration, improving transparency by dissolving rutile inclusions, healing of fractures (cracks) or even completely filling them. Prices of rubies are primarily determined by color (the brightest and best “red” called Pigeon Blood Red, command a huge premium over other rubies of similar quality). After color follows clarity: similar to diamonds, a clear stone will command a premium, but a ruby without any needle-like rutile inclusions will indicate the stone has been treated one way or another. Cut and carat (size) also determine the price.
Paraiba tourmaline is an incredible rare gemstone that is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is unique. The vivid almost unearthly colors of Paraiba tourmalines range from emerald through neon greens, turquoise to neon-blues, sapphire blue, sky blue, blue-violet, indigo, and purple. Some of these extraordinary hues are not found naturally in any other stone on earth. The Paraiba Tourmaline gets these unprecedented vivid colors through the presence of manganese and copper within the stone which is unique among tourmalines.
These cupriferous tourmalines from the Mina da Batalha in the Federal Brazilian State of Paraiba are small, rare and precious. Their spirited turquoise to green colours are such as are not found in any other gemstone in the world. The exclusiveness of this legendary find makes these rare gemstones real treasures.
Paraiba – the word has a particular fascination for the connoisseur, for it is the name of a gemstone with blue to green tones of extraordinary vividness. It was not discovered until very recently, that is to say in the 1980s. The world has one man and his unshakable belief to thank for the discovery of this unique gemstone: Heitor Dimas Barbosa. Tirelessly, he and his assistants spent years digging in the pegmatite galleries of some modest hills in the Federal Brazilian State of Paraiba.
Tourmaline’s are gems with an incomparable variety of colours. The reason, according to an old Egyptian legend, is that the tourmaline, on its long journey up from the centre of the Earth, passed over a rainbow. In doing so, it assumed all the colours of the rainbow. And that is why it is still referred to as the ‘gemstone of the rainbow’ today.
The name tourmaline comes from the Singhalese words ‘tura mali’. In translation, this means something like ‘stone with mixed colours’, referring to the colour spectrum of this gemstone, which outdoes that of all other precious stones. There are tourmalines from red to green and from blue to yellow. They often have two or more colours. There are tourmalines which change their colour when the light changes from daylight to artificial light, and some show the light effect of a cat’s eye. No two tourmalines are exactly alike. This gemstone has an endless number of faces, and for that reason it suits all moods. No wonder that magical powers have been attributed to it since ancient times. In particular, it is the gemstone of love and of friendship, and is said to render them firm and long-lasting.
Aquamarine is a relatively common gemstone, and is affordable in lighter colors. Deeper colors can command high prices. Some enormous transparent crystal masses of Aquamarine have been found, and exquisite gems weighing thousands of carats have been cut from them.
The light blue to blue-green color of Aquamarine may fade upon prolonged exposure to light, so it is especially important to purchase this gem from a reliable dealer. Aquamarine is a hard and durable gem, but it may develop internal cracks if banged hard.
Light blue Topaz is easily mistaken for Aquamarine. The colors of these two gems can be identical, and their physical properties are very similar. Topaz is generally less expensive, and some fraudulent dealers may sell their Topaz as Aquamarine.
Unlike Emerald, Aquamarine gems are often completely flawless. Aquamarines with visible flaws are rarely seen. The costs of producing synthetic Aquamarine are very high when compared to the relative abundance of this gem, so synthetic Aquamarine is generally not produced for the gemstone market.