Thursday, 19 April 2018

Tiffany & Co - the Blue Book

Tiffany & Co was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young in New York City in 1837 as a "stationery and fancy goods emporium", the store initially sold a wide variety of stationery items, and operated as "Tiffany, Young and Ellis" in Lower Manhattan.

The name was shortened to Tiffany & Company in 1853 when Charles Tiffany took control and established the firm's emphasis on jewelry.
Tiffany & Co. operates jewelry and specialty retail stores and manufactures products. The Company operates retail stores and boutiques in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe. The Company’s principal product category is jewelry, which represented 90% of worldwide sales.

The Company also sells timepieces, leather goods, sterling silver goods, china, crystal, stationery, fragrances and accessories, which represented 8% of worldwide sales in 2012.

For over 175 years, Tiffany & Co. has produced world-renowned jewelry collections.
Tiffany’s celebrated Blue Book is an annual publication that showcases the latest and most spectacular jewels, and has been arriving in customers’ mail boxes since 1845. It is the first mail order catalogue in the U.S.

Pakistan Ruby - Hunza Valley

The Hunza valley is home to Pakistan's ruby deposits. After Burma, one of the very few regions in the world to produce ‘Blood Red’ ruby is Hunza valley. The Hunza is situated in the extreme northern part of Pakistan. The real 'Shangri-La', it is a stunningly beautiful valley, towered over by five snowcapped mountains. The ruby belt in Hunza Valley stretches over an area of about 100 kilometers.
Ruby is a rare gem because the chromium pigments embedded in the earth’s crust are not plentiful and the chromium had to meet up with the element alumina at the exact moment that crystallization occurred. Without these two elemental factors the gem won't be red. The ruby deposits occur in metamorphosed re-crystallized limestone marble in a narrow belt from Hunza Valley to Ishkoman.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Conch Pearls

Among the rarest and most expensive type of pearl in the world, conch pearls are in demand once again thanks to the resurgence in popularity of natural pearls.

A conch pearl is a calcareous concretion produced by the Queen conch (“conk”) mollusc, which is a large, edible sea snail. Most often pink and oval, the finest examples display a wave-like “flame” structure on their surface and have a creamy, porcelain-like appearance and unique shimmer.
Harvested by teams of fishermen, a single, elusive conch pearl is found in every 10-15,000 shells, although less than 10% of these are gem quality.

This rarity, together with its colour, makes the conch pearl extremely desirable. Intense, saturated pink hues and pronounced flame structure (chatoyancy) are what most influence price.
Conch pearls are a by-product of a declining fishing industry. Caught primarily for its meat, the Queen conch is eaten throughout the Caribbean and the US. Overfishing has forced all but three conch-producing countries to ban fishing to protect decimated populations, which it is predicted will not recover for decades. This means ever fewer conch pearls are coming to market.

There are few recorded instances of the successful cultivation of conch pearls. Natural pearls, formed without human intervention, come with the “rare” tag that make them infinitely more desirable.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

De Beers 1888 Master Diamonds collection

The 1888 Master Diamonds collection showcases combinations of intensity and clarity and reflect a dramatic display of coloured brilliance.

Each design is conceived to compliment the character of the diamond and not to detract from the beauty. They have been given the title of ‘1888 Master Diamonds' in recognition of the founding year of De Beers and the 125 year heritage of the brand.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Neon Apatitie

Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals, usually referring to hydroxylapatite, fluorapatite and chlorapatite.

Apatite is a very soft (five on the Mohs scale) and heat sensitive gemstone. Brazil and Mexico have been the traditional sources of gem quality apatite.
Madagascar is known to produce a neon blue-green material that is highly desired as a much cheaper substitute to Paraiba tourmaline. These electric colored stones have become by far the best known variety of this gem.

While smaller stones in the one to 2 carat range are plentiful, neon apatite gemstones larger than 10 carats are very rare.
Madagascar deposits were heavily mined for a decade and produced a lot of gem material. The deposit is now mined out.

A rare variety is a rich purple from Maine. Blue Brazilian stones are also prized. Light-green apatite carries the trade name 'asparagus stone'.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Valley of Rubies - Mogok Stone Tract, Myanmar

When it comes to ruby and sapphire, there is no place more famous than Myanmar’s Mogok Stone Tract.

The Mogok Stone Tract is in Myanmar’s Mandalay province, about 200 km northeast of Mandalay. Home to the world’s premier ruby mines, it is also one of the richest mineral concentrations on Earth. Aside from ruby, Mogok produces many gems, including sapphire, spinel, peridot, topaz and moonstone. One of Mogok’s gems, painite, is found nowhere else on the planet.

During certain periods in the Earth’s history, tectonic activity produced large-scale deformation of the surface. This stress resulted in fantastic zones of mineral formation, where mundane minerals mutated.

Mogok and other villages nearby have been famous since ancient times for its gemstones, especially ruby and sapphire.

Mogok is a city in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar), located 200 km north of Mandalay.

90% of the world's rubies come from Myanmar. The red stones from there are prized for their purity and hue. The "Valley of Rubies" is noted for its rare pigeon's blood rubies and blue sapphires.

References to rubies and Burma have been found dating to the sixth century, during the Shan Dynasty. The ruby mines in Mogok were taken over from the Shan by the king of Burma in 1597.

In the 1870s, during the reign of King Mindon (1853-1878) the French and the English were building colonial empires in Asia. The British learned of the French interest in Mogok and Upper Burma, and feared that the French would take over the region and control access to China. Backed by a consortium of London-based gem merchants, they planned an invasion of Burma with one of its main objectives being control of Mogok and its ruby mines.
In 1886, the British succeeded in taking over Upper Burma. By 1889, they had formed Burma Ruby Mines Ltd. They introduced water cannons, washing plants, and other mechanized mining methods. The company promoted Burmese rubies in Europe and around the world. Operational problems and falling prices due to the introduction of synthetic ruby caused the company to abandon the mines in 1931.
The military junta was dissolved following a 2010 general election. Burma became an independent nation in 1948. Following a coup in 1962, a military dictatorship took over until 2011.

Burma's ethnic groups have been involved in one of the world's longest-running unresolved civil wars.

Although the military retains influence through the constitution that was ratified in 2008, it has relinquished control of the government.
The geological environment features impressive marble pinnacles (karsts) that are blackened from weathering.

The formations are visible throughout the stone tract. One of the largest of these outcroppings is the one that the temple Kyauk Pyat sits upon.
The karsts result from the weathering of the marble. This weathering process also plays a part in mining at Mogok. Marble is an intricate component of ruby and spinel formation.

The host rock is weathered and transported along with the gems. The gems are then concentrated in gravels.
In March 2012, a draft foreign investment law emerged, the first in twenty five years. Foreigners will no longer require a local partner to start a business in the country, and will be able to legally lease, but not own property.

In 2012, the Asian Development Bank formally began to finance infrastructure and development projects in the country. The United States, Japan and the European Union countries have also begun to reduce economic sanctions to allow foreign direct investment.