Google+ The Daily Jewel: 9/14/08 - 9/21/08


Friday, September 19, 2008

Scholarship Opportunities at GIA

Scholarship Opportunities

for 2009-- Apply by Oct. 15

Oct. 15 is the deadline for prospective GIA students to apply for scholarships for the 2009 school year. No applications will be accepted after the deadline, so don't miss your chance to earn a world-class gemological education in the new year.

Students have four new scholarships to choose from this year, including the Golden Circle Steve Leibman Scholarship. Members of The Golden Circle Club of New York, an organization formed by returning WWII veterans as a social network for local jewelers, created the scholarship to honor the memory of fellow member Steve Leibman. The scholarship may be used toward a Distance Education Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) program.

"As lifelong members of the jewelry industry, [we] would like to ensure that future jewelers are equipped with all the tools that will continue to elevate the professionalism that exists in the industry today and in the future," says Todd Wolleman, former president of The Golden Circle Club. "[This GIA scholarship] commemorates our friend Steve Leibman, who was one of the nicest people to serve our industry. He had a heart of gold."

The R. Harder Gallery Scholarship, also available for the first time in 2009, is for Wisconsin residents interested in earning a G.G. diploma. The scholarship is funded by the Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and administered by the Community Foundation for the Fox River Valley Region, based in Appleton, Wisconsin. It honors Ron Harder, former CEO of Jewelers Mutual Insurance, who retired in 2007 after 34 years with the company.

"My hope is that this scholarship can give someone the opportunity to work in a jewelry store, and at some time own one," says Harder, who has lived in the Fox River Valley area nearly all his life.

Also new for next year is the Absolute Brilliance Scholarship, which covers tuition for any On Campus or Distance Education Diamonds course.

"We want to support those hard working, retail sales people who are on the front line every day, and are the true backbone of the jewelry industry," says Dov Lisker of Absolute Brilliance, a supplier of special-order loose diamonds to national chains and independent retailers.

Lucien "Bud" Fluty, vice president of marketing and education for Absolute Brilliance agrees. "Education is our life blood, and we must continue to help educate those in the field."

Prospective students can also apply for the Butterfly of Peace Scholarship, established by Alan Bronstein through the sales of his book, Forever Brilliant. The recipient may use the funds for any On Campus or Distance Education course or program.

You can view a complete list of scholarships available for 2009, including new opportunities for international applicants, or download an application online. Information is also available through e-mail or by calling (800) 421-7250, ext. 4175.

Mineral Galleries

Amethyst Galleries' Mineral Gallery

The Mineral Gallery is an electronic index into a mineralogical database. It provides multiple cross linked indexes into the set of common minerals, plus it provides a full text search index which aids in mineral identification. The Minerals_By_Class section provides additional descriptions of the mineralogical rationale of the class breakdown, and also leads into further descriptions of many related groups of minerals, such as the Garnet_Group. Also see our descriptions of physical characteristics. We try to be very educational!

Individual mineral pages contain one or more images of representative specimens (usually showing the most notable crystal forms), plus a description of the mineral, common and notable occurrences, and the usual mineral characteristics.

Most of the mineral specimens are for sale (your purchases fund this service). The Specimens link on a mineral page points to these specimens, which are identified by a small image (linked to a larger JPEG image), a description and price of the specimen, and (occasionally) a short movie of the specimen on a turntable.

**A* This symbol marks the Amethyst Galleries' Special Specimens - these are our favorites, because something sets them apart from the others. It may be a special feature, an unusual crystal habit, an absolutely perfect crystal, or it may just be that it is an unusually beautiful specimen! If you see this symbol, check it out!

We are adding additional mineral species to the Mineral Gallery. Our goal is to have useful and interesting descriptions and images of about 600 different minerals (and varieties), and (hopefully) at least a few specimens of each for sale. As of September, 2006, we have descriptions of nearly 600 minerals, over 10,000 pictures of specimens (of 500 different kinds of minerals), and about 400 different kinds of minerals currently for sale. We also have several hundred other "educational" mineral pages, including descriptions of the various mineral classes, recognized groups, and physical characteristics.

At this time, we do not plan on including minerals that require a microscope to be seen (let alone identified), or minerals (in a series) that are indistinguishable from each other except in a well equipped lab, or, for that matter, mineral species which are not available for sale to the general public (such as single specimen species). This philosophy is changing, now that we are becoming advertiser supported. We plan to add information about many more minerals, plus elements and even rocks.

To see the entire list of the mineral species currently in our database, see this version of Minerals by Name. Note that the available Specimens change on a dynamic basis (even daily), as they are sold and replaced. We maintain a number of Sold specimens to provide additional specimen images of the mineral as an educational service.

So now go into your bead stash/or gem collection and check out what they looked like before touched by man!!!!


Can you name the specimens shown?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Introduction to Gemology: Barbara Smigel, PhD, GG.

Hello, I'm Barbara Smigel .....

How do they form? * Why do they shine? * What sets value in a gem? * How can you spot a simulant or synthetic? * What creates a cat'seye or star in a gem? * How can you tell one red gemstone like a ruby, from another like a red garnet, or a piece of red glass? * Which gems are best for jewelry and why? * Where and how are gems mined? * How are they cut and polished? * What is the toughest gemstone? (No, it's not diamond!) * What the heck are these?

If you're interested in learning about gemology from a scientific rather than from a commercial or artistic viewpoint, then you are in the right place (not that either art or commerce are unimportant or will be ignored, they just won't be our main focus.)

This is a series of lessons that I've developed as part of a course that I teach at College of Southern Nevada, where I'm an Emeritus Professor. But you don't need to be a registered student to use these materials! As you go through the lectures and essays, you'll see references to text readings, homework assignments, self quizzes, discussions, and exams which are meant for the registered students only.
The down side is that you won't be able to access the actual course website and the materials posted there, unless you are a registered student. The up side is that you're welcome to freely browse the contents located here, and there are no tests, grades, or time schedules to worry about. I've posted a sample course syllabus for your information, but none of the rules, timelines, or expectations listed therein apply to you, the casual visitor or independent student.

This free Gemology Information is provided by Dr. Smigel's retail website Artistic Colored Stones:

About Dr. Barbara W. Smigel

Stone Collector/Beginning Gemology Student
Many years ago a chance encounter with a little book on gemstones changed my life. At that time, I was a more than 20 year veteran professor of biology, and had always thought of stones primarily as places for bugs to hide under. :-)

As I looked through the book I thought, "Gee, I'd like one of those, and one of those, and one of those..." I soon began collecting gemstones, starting, of course, with the more common ones but rapidly getting into the rare, exotic and expensive! Because I wanted to be sure I was getting what I was paying for, I enrolled in "Gem Indentification" and later all of the gemology courses with GIA (Gemological Institute of America).

The next logical step was to learn to cut stones myself. Not being the type of person who can learn easily from illustrations in books, I sought out a mentor from our local gem and mineral club. He was kind enough to let me sit by his side and watch him facet, and later cut stones on his machine. I was hooked. I ordered my own equipment and, to be honest, made every mistake it is possible for a new cutter to make--at least three times. But, ultimately, I got the hang of it. Before too long I had reached the point of no return -- too many gems piling up. The only way I could continue cutting the high grade gem material that I loved was to sell some of it, so I started this business.
Becoming a Gem Merchant
Initially, sales were by mail order via classified ads, and locally by word of mouth. The ACS website debuted on the internet in August of 1997 with a few dozen stones for sale, all of which I cut myself. As time went on, and the website became more and more popular, I slowly acquired my associations with the select group of affiliated cutters whose work I purchase or consign.

At present, I am just an occasional contributor of stones to the site, generally just a piece or two per year, as time permits. When I do have the great luxury and pleasure of some free time for cutting, I use an Ultra Tec machine and tend to favor geometric and freeform designs and Barion cuts especially in rare gem species and varieties. The stones that I cut are identified with "BWS" after the description, other letters indicate the various affiliated cutters (see below) whose works I admire. and whose contributions enrich my site offerings so much.

Becoming a Gemologist/Gemology Teacher
By 2001 it was impossible for me to continue to cut stones, run a business, teach full time and have a family life. As a result, I "retired" from my college biology teaching job to concentrate more energy on my gem interests. (Semi-retired is more accurate, as I still teach classes as an Emeritus Professor at Community College of Southern Nevada, here in Las Vegas, only now I'm teaching Introductory Gemology for the Geology Department.)
In April, 1998 I obtained the Colored Stone Diploma, and in September, 2003 I received the Graduate Gemologist credential (GG) from GIA. I continue to be an obessive gemstone collector.

Instruction in Gemology
After obtaining the GG, I began preparing a science-based introductory gemology course for the geology department at Community College of Southern Nevada. I began teaching this course in Fall, 2004 in a traditional on-campus format. As of Fall, 2005, an internet verison became available through CCSN which makes the course available to students anywhere in the country (or in the world for that matter) through the college's distance education department.
If you'd like to learn more about the science of gemology, but don't want to take an official course with fees, grades, credits and deadlines, I've created a free version open to anyone, which you can access at this link:

Jewelry Design
Jewelry design has been one of my continuing interests and aspirations. A few years ago, BWS/FS Designs made their debut on the website, and are exclusive to ACS. My designs are primarily sleek, contemporary pendants, and pin/pendants, in gold with rare and unusual stones in interesting combinations. They have been fabricated to perfection by Felipe Sandoval, Master Jeweler and Goldsmith.

This free Gemology Information is provided by Dr. Smigel's retail website Artistic Colored Stones:

On that site you will find the Gem of the Month: Each month this section features either a topic of interest to gem lovers or one special gemstone with background on the material and its value. well as the "Ask Barbara" page: Each month, on this page, I'll answer gemological or other pertinent questions sent to me by email or through the "Ask a Question" link above.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gemology Online is an interactive gemmological resource dedicated to a better understanding of the relationship between man and gemstones! We explore not only themineralogical aspects of gemstones but also their lore and legend. Our main intent is to offer credible information. We will attempt to answer any questions relating to gems and jewelry that you may have.

Gemology Online Is:
  • Book Shop: this is a great selection of books that will assist the layman as well as the gemology student.

  • Gems 101: is an alphabetical listing of gems; their chemical, physical and optical properties, as well as treatments, and the stories and lore of the gem.

  • Gemology Online Forum: CLICK HERE to go directly to the Gemology Online FORUM ask your questions directly to gemology experts from around the world

Barbra Voltaire, F.G.G., G.G.Graduate Gemologist/Geologist
I have worked as a gemologist, fine jewelry designer and appraiser for the last 30 years. The more I learn scientifically about gemstones, the more I realize that the mesmerizing qualities that certain gems possess, can only be described as magic. Gemology, is more than the science of gemstones. It helps us understand the history of mankind. There is a close parallel between the talisman of ancient man and the jewelry of modern times. The concept of invoking and conjuring superhuman forces has been replaced by the belief that money can buy them. Precious stones remain talismans of power!

Graduate Gemologist; Diploma received from the Deutsche Gemmologische Gesselschaft in residence at Idar-Oberstein, Germany

Graduate Gemologist; Diploma received from the Gemological Institute of America in residence at Santa Monica

GIA Alumni and Board Member
National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, Member
Accredited Gemologists of America Accredited Senior Gemologist
The American Society of Jewelry Historians, Member

Info at the tip of your fingers - just take a minute and check out the Malachite page:


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