What Makes A Gemstone Valuable?

There’s no denying that gemstones are an incredibly beautiful part of nature. Over the past few millenia, humankind has figured out how to best showcase gemstones and harness their beauty, making them incredibly desirable. Chances are, most jewelry-lovers have a favorite gemstone or two, but there are some gems that are more highly coveted than others worldwide. That got us thinking: what makes a gemstone valuable?

The most stunning star sapphires are found in Australia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Photo courtesy of jewelryexpert.com

The most stunning star sapphires, like the lavendar one pictured above, are found in Australia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Photo courtesy of jewelryexpert.com

There are several factors that contribute to a gemstone’s value — some that fall under common sense, and others we had not been aware of until we started doing some research. One element is where in the ground a gemstone can be found. The three layers of rock in which gemstones can be found are igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock. You can find out more about which gems are found in which types of rocks here, but in general, a gemstone’s value can increase depending on how rare the stone is overall combined with how difficult it is to mine. If particularly lovely gemstones are located deep underground, such as rubies or sapphires, chances are they will be considered more valuable than lovely gemstones that can be mined closer to the surface, such as amethyst or citrine.

However, this isn’t always true; a large, incredibly clear, brilliant purple amethyst is worth much more than a tiny chunk of flaw-filled ruby. It may be easier to access the amethyst, but its clarity & color are far superior to the ruby that takes much more work to dig out. If the ruby cannot be cut and polished in a way that will increase its value, then all of the work it took to access the ruby will be for nothing.

A beautiful example of a clear, colorful, natural ametrine stone. Photo courtesy of gemselect.com

A beautiful example of a clear, colorful, natural ametrine stone. Photo courtesy of gemselect.com

Another factor than can add to a gemstone’s desirability is its rarity. For example, the gemstone ametrine is a combination of amethyst and citrine gemstones. Ametrine only occurs when the perfect amount of heat and pressure are applied to the stones, and their mineral make-up is then altered, creating a stunning blend of purple and gold. This reaction can be recreated in a lab with no problem, but finding a clear, colorful specimen of amertine “in the wild,” so to speak, is much more difficult, making a clear piece of ametrine much more valuable than its equally-flawless amethyst & citrine cousins.

As with many other items in this world (such as items on eBay listed as “limited edition”), some of the most desirable gemstones earn their value due to the fact that, “no matter how rapidly demand for the stones may develop, the rate at which gemstones are produced is comparatively limited or fixed.” (WikiAnswers) Gemstone mines are also vulnerable to drastic weather changes, as well as ever-changing local politics, so a stone that may be easy to access now may be completely unavailable in a decade. Although the gemstone may not be considered “rare” today, its status could change very soon.

No other turquoise in the world has the same vibrancy as  Sleeping Beauty. Photo courtesy of garlandsjewelry.com

No other turquoise in the world has the same vibrancy as Sleeping Beauty. Photo courtesy of garlandsjewelry.com

A prime example of this type of gem is Sleeping Beauty turquoise. The stone gets its name from the mountain where it is mined, which “resembles a sleeping woman laying on her back with arms crossed.” (SleepingBeautyTurquoiseInfo)

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is a particularly vibrant, pure blue color with very little veining or webbing. It is also one of the more stable forms of turquoise around, which means very little needs to be done to the stone to make it stable enough for shaping and polishing. It can only be found at the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona, and once all of the turquoise has been mined from that location, that’s it. So if you are a lover of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, buy some now  — while you still can!

In closing, we wanted to highlight some of the most impressive gemstones in the world. Enjoy!

The Hope Diamond, worth an estimated $250 million. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute.

The Hope Diamond, worth an estimated $250 million. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute.

 

The Dresden Green Diamond is 41carats and is the largest naturally-green-colored diamond in the world. Image by © Michael Freeman/CORBIS

The Dresden Green Diamond (seen here with over 400 small and medium white diamonds) is 41 carats and is the largest naturally-green-colored diamond in the world. Image by © Michael Freeman/CORBIS

The Imperial State Crown from The Crown Jewels Collection. The full collection has an estimated worth of over 2.5 billion euros, or 3.4 billion U.S. dollars.

The Imperial State Crown from The Crown Jewels Collection. The full collection has an estimated worth of over 2.5 billion euros, or 3.4 billion U.S. dollars. Photo courtesy of The Royal Collection Trust.

 

 

So Many Colors, So Little Time!

We were delighted to see so many of our finished jewelry pieces find good homes this holiday season, but after the rush of Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s was over, we realized we were VERY low on necklaces & earrings! We needed to start replenishing our finished jewelry selection ASAP, so we turned to design-seeds.com once again for color palette inspiration, as well as Pinterest for its limitless number of jewelry design ideas. When you put them both together, the possibilities for jewelry creations are endless! The bottom four palettes from design-seeds.com were ones that we thought were not only really pretty, but had clever photos as their inspirations! We didn’t get the chance to make jewelry based on those color selections, but take a look at the fun pieces we DID create:

This sweetly vibrant color palette...

This sweetly vibrant color palette…

...was a great jumping-off point for this necklace, to which we added a punch of lime green and used 2014's "Radiant Orchid" rather than the deeper purple. Photo by Lydia Chapman for Blue Door Beads.

…was a great jumping-off point for this necklace, to which we added a punch of lime green and used 2014’s “Radiant Orchid” rather than the deeper purple. (Photo by BDB)

This glitzy and glamorous photo...

This glitzy and glamorous photo…

...inspired the colors for this earthy, wire-wrapped necklace. Photo by Lydia Chapman for Blue Door Beads.

…inspired the color combination in this earthy, wire-wrapped necklace, with a slight change in the shade of blue. (Photo by BDB)

This beachy color palette...

This oceanic color palette…

...resulted in this funky combination of strung beads and leather wrapped with waxed linen.

…resulted in this funky combination of strung beads and leather wrapped with waxed linen. (Photo by BDB)

This color inspiration....

This color inspiration….

...plus this design from ssdjewelry on Etsy...

…plus this design from ssdjewelry on Etsy…

....resulted in these fun leather & chain earrings!

….resulted in these fun leather & chain earrings! (Photo by BDB)

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Banned Bracelets: The Dark Side of Trendy Jewelry

We understand why schools ban certain items: certain books are taboo due to controversial content that some parents may find objectionable (although we feel it’s a bit silly to ban certain books…*cough cough* Harry Potter *cough cough*), and weapons are forbidden for their obvious threat to student/staff safety. But did you know that some schools have banned several different types of bracelets over the years? We’re not kidding! Whatever your feelings may be regarding these bracelet bans, there’s one thing we can all agree on: when we hear of jewelry being banned from school premises, our first thought is, “Really, guys? Really?”

Slap Bracelets photo courtesy of doyouremember.com

Slap Bracelets photo courtesy of doyouremember.com

Slap Bracelets
Toward the end of 1990, an American brand of slap bracelets called Slap Wraps had become super popular kids’ toys. Unfortunately, “cheap, imported versions” soon faced “bans and investigations nationwide following parents’ complaints” that the flimsy bracelets were “slicing into children’s fingers and arms.” (www.philly.com) Unlike Slap Wraps, which were “made of pliable stainless steel covered with a double-knit polyester fabric designed to hold strong even after repeated flicks against an arm,” the shoddy imitation bracelets were “made so poorly that the metal inside them [could] easily cut through” the fabric casings and, subsequently, slice up the wearers’ skin. After getting a bad wrap (pun intended) for many years, slap bracelets have been making a comeback, both as trouser clips worn on the lower legs of cyclists to prevent trousers from being tangled in the chain, and as baton replacements during long distance relay races. (www.wikipedia.org)

Photo courtesy of Quentin Roux for naplesnews.com.

Photo courtesy of Quentin Roux for naplesnews.com.

Silly Bandz
A few years ago, in 2010, Silly Bandz were THE hot wearable, trade-able trend of the year. Silly Bandz were colorful rubber bands that, when worn on the wrist, just looked like squiggly plastic bracelets. However, once removed, the bands would spring back to their original forms, which ranged from dinosaurs, to sea creatures, to rock & roll instruments, letters, numbers, and more. Parents, kids, and teachers all agreed (at first) that the inexpensive, funny little bands were great learning tools as well as fun accessories — what kid doesn’t love wearing their favorite color/animal/shape? However, teachers’ patience with Silly Bandz soon wore thin. As one teacher said, “Students fiddle with them during class and arrange swaps — trading, say, a bracelet with a mermaid for one with a dragon — when they should be concentrating on schoolwork…Sometimes a trade goes bad — kids get buyer’s remorse too — and hard feelings, maybe even scuffles, ensue.” (www.time.com) Silly Bandz were soon banned in most schools. However, one Gardendale, Alabama principal decided to extend an olive branch in the form of monthly Silly Bandz days; school staff didn’t have to tolerate the Silly Bandz hysteria on a daily basis, and kids still had the opportunity to enjoy, wear, and trade their treasured bracelets.

Photo courtesy of Blake Facey for huffingtonpost.com

Photo courtesy of Blake Facey for huffingtonpost.com

Rainbow Loom Bracelets
If you haven’t heard of this current trend, be sure to read this recent Yahoo article. Not only are Rainbow Loom bracelets as colorful as Silly Bandz (as well as a great unisex accessory), but kids actually have to create the bracelets from scratch using teeny, tiny rubber bands and a special loom. As Adrienne Burke wrote on Yahoo.com, “In an age when many parents wonder if too much time spent in front of screens is impairing kids’ ability to focus, the popularity of a manual toy that requires concentration and creativity has captured widespread attention.” The bracelets have definitely caught the attention of teachers at two public schools in New York, who complained that kids “were weaving bracelets when teachers’ backs were turned,” making the bracelets and the looms real nuisances, earning them places on the schools’ banned items list. Parents feel this is a shame, since the kids are “using so many skills they actually should be using in school.” (www.huffingtonpost.com)

What do you think about schools banning bracelets like the ones mentioned above? Do you feel school officials have handled these situations appropriately? Would you do anything differently? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Color Pop Culture: The Bolder, The Better

Autumn is one of our favorite seasons. Not only is it the season for mulled cider, pumpkin pie, and colorful leaves, but it’s also the season for dressing in layers, which means more opportunities to play with colors, textures, and accessories!

It can be really easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your daily wardrobe; we admit that we at Blue Door Beads have a tendency to gravitate toward variations on denim blue (we love our jeans!), gray, and black. But this season, we are forcing ourselves to branch out into the wonderful world of color!

Even if we’re not quite brave enough to wear the boldly-colored outfits pictured below, we found the color combinations to be really inspiring, as well as the perfect jumping-off-points for creating vibrant jewelry! We found some awesome jewelry pieces that we felt either complemented the outfits, or just took the color combo and ran with it. Enjoy!

We love Taylor Swift's beautifully bold color combo choice, but we feel like she could use some statement jewelry to complete her outfit. Photo courtesy of sewweekly.com

Navy & Mustard Yellow: We love Taylor Swift’s beautifully bold color combo choice, but we feel like she could use some funky statement jewelry to complete her outfit. Photo courtesy of sewweekly.com

If you are like Taylor and would like to keep your accessories understated, this cool geometric earrings add just the right amount of funkiness to a plain outfit. Photo courtesy of catherinenicole.com

We thought these earrings would be add just the right amount of funkiness to Taylor’s plain outfit. Photo courtesy of catherinenicole.com

It's hard to go wrong with sparkly flowers! Photo courtesy of ModCloth.

It’s hard to go wrong with sparkly flowers! Photo courtesy of ModCloth.

Sally McGraw has quite the knack for creating fun color combos! Photo courtesy of her Pinterest board My Style - Bold Color Pairings.

Red & Purple: Sally McGraw has quite the knack for creating fun color combos! Photo courtesy of her Pinterest board My Style – Bold Color Pairings.

Sometimes a fun, chunky bracelet is all you need to complement an already-bold outfit. Photo courtesy of accessoryheaven.com.au

Sometimes a fun, chunky bracelet is all you need to complement an already-bold outfit, like the one pictured above. Photo courtesy of accessoryheaven.com.au

Even in a more toned-down shade, teal can still make quite a statement, especially combined with a very subtle gray. Photo courtesy of Banana Republic.

Teal & Gray: Even in a more toned-down shade, teal can still make quite a statement, especially combined with a very subtle gray. Photo courtesy of Banana Republic.

You could always take the safe route and pair a simple sterling necklace with the previous teal-and-gray outfit, but why not go crazy with color? This lemon yellow necklace would be a stunning contrast! Photo courtesy of Laetitia Jewelry on Etsy.

You could always take the safe route and pair a simple sterling necklace with the previous teal-and-gray outfit, but why not go crazy with color? This lemon yellow necklace would be a stunning contrast! Photo courtesy of Laetitia Jewelry on Etsy.

Vibrant colors look great on all skin tones, and this particular dress would look fab dressed up or down, with either a demure cardigan or a denim jacket. Dress from Urban Outfitters (no longer in stock)

Vibrant colors look great on all skin tones, and this particular dress would look fab dressed up or down, with either a demure cardigan or a denim jacket. Dress from Urban Outfitters (no longer in stock)

The splash of orange in this turquoise necklace is a perfect match to the cute dress pictured above. You can't get much bolder than orange and turquoise! Photo courtesy of WildflowersAndGrace on Etsy.

The splash of orange in this turquoise necklace is a perfect match to the cute dress pictured above. You can’t get much bolder than orange and turquoise! Photo courtesy of WildflowersAndGrace on Etsy.

A blank canvas, like this plain heather gray dress, is the perfect candidate for some amazingly bold accessories! Photo courtesy of loungelover.com

A blank canvas, like this plain heather gray dress, is the perfect candidate for some amazingly bold accessories! Photo courtesy of loungelover.com

Nothing dresses up a neutral (gray or khaki, for example) like neon green! Photo courtesy of treasurebox.co.uk

Nothing dresses up a neutral (gray or khaki, for example) like neon green! Photo courtesy of treasurebox.co.uk

This super-mod necklace will definitely add some pizazz to any solid-color clothing! Photo courtesy of PalestPink on Etsy.com

This super-mod necklace will definitely add some pizazz to any solid-color clothing! Photo courtesy of PalestPink on Etsy.com