Gem Materials and Descriptions

AQUAMARINE

Nigeria and Mozambique

Aquamarine is the water gem. Aquamarine is the blue variety of the mineral Beryl. Also in the Beryl family are Emerald or green Beryl, Morganite – pink and orange Beryl, and Heliodor or golden – yellow Beryl. Most aquamarine in today’s market have been heat treated to remove green overtones. All of our aquamarine is offered in it’s natural color and has not been heat treated. The result are beautiful gems in a variety of blue and blue green tones. Aquamarine is the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of March.

Baringo Sapphire

Lake Baringo, Kenya

This very rare, natural, not heat treated, pink sapphire is from the Lake Baringo region, the Great Rift Valley, in Kenya. Mining is mostly surface collection carried out by local villagers searching after big rains. Most of the material that is found is very small in size, suitable only for cutting small calibrated stones. Larger stones over one carat are extremely rare. In many parts of the world this material would be considered ruby, and a very few of the stones are red enough to be classifies thusly, but generally the material cuts out in varying shades of pink, from bubble gum to intense fuchsia.

Chrome Tourmaline

Tanzania

Very rare, intense deep blue green, the color of the finest emerald, this bright, clean, and durable gem material is 100% natural, and will have you seeing green. This gem tourmaline, defined by it’s intense green color and presence of chromium and vanadium, is a very limited resource and is found only in very limited deposits in the Merilani mining district of Tanzania. Much of the mining and trade of chrome tourmaline rough is carried out by local Massai villagers who also mine tsavorite garnet (green garnets), that are also found in the area. The finest color Chrome Tourmaline, bright but deep intense bluish green with little or no yellow, has always been very hard to obtain with only a very small percentage of stones that are found of that quality. Currently there has been very little fine chrome tourmaline rough available in the market and we are working from a limited supply of old stock materials. This is definitely a collectors stone and a great affordable, and more durable, alternative to emerald.

Malaya Garnet

Tanzania

This very rare fancy garnet comes in a variety of brilliant colors, bright golden and yellow, orange, pink, peach, rose, cinnamon, and even color change stones. Gemologically Malaya Garnet appears to be a combination of spessartite garnet and rhodolite garnet and was mistaken for spessartite garnet when it was first discovered in the 1960’s by a Massai tribesman in Tanzania. While there is a tendency, in today’s market, to try and call any red orange garnet “Malaya Garnet”, true Malaya Garnets have a very specific refractive index and very unique medium peachy orange and bright fancy colors and tones. This material is very rare and there has been very little production in recent years with a steady rise in the price of rough and fine material near impossible to find. Garnet is the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of January.

Oregon Sunstone

Dust Devil Mine, Lake County, Oregon

Oregon Sunstone, the Oregon state gemstone, is a rare gem quality feldspar that has been colored by, and contains elements of copper. Found in the south eastern corner of Oregon, in what is known as the Oregon Outback, sunstone is one of the few gem materials that we actually have the opportunity to access the mine sites directly and prospect for our own material. Thanks to the generosity and graciousness of our friends at the Dust Devil Mine, we have had many adventures in the high desert landscape of the Hart Mountain antelope refuge searching for and sometimes finding very gemmy pieces of Oregon Sunstone rough. The presence of copper in Oregon sunstone is what gives the material it’s unique and vibrant colors, including all different shades of red and orange, green, and even red and green bi-color stones. Another unique property of Oregon Sunstone is when tiny flakes of copper are suspended within and line up with the crystal matrix structure of the feldspar crystals. This produces a bright flash or sheen of copper within the stone when oriented to the light called schiller or schiller effect.

Peridot

Tanzania

This very rare fancy garnet comes in a variety of brilliant colors, bright golden and yellow, orange, pink, peach, rose, cinnamon, and even color change stones. Gemologically Malaya Garnet appears to be a combination of spessartite garnet and rhodolite garnet and was mistaken for spessartite garnet when it was first discovered in the 1960’s by a Massai tribesman in Tanzania. While there is a tendency, in today’s market, to try and call any red orange garnet “Malaya Garnet”, true Malaya Garnets have a very specific refractive index and very unique medium peachy orange and bright fancy colors and tones. This material is very rare and there has been very little production in recent years with a steady rise in the price of rough and fine material near impossible to find. Garnet is the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of January.

Raspberry Rhodolite Garnet

Kagala, Tanzania

Raspberry Rhodolite Garnet is the queen of the garnet family and one of the best values in colored stones. With the rich color of a ripe raspberry, red with purple and pink overtones, Raspberry Rhodolite Garnets, from Kagala and Tanga mining districts in Tanzania, is the finest Rhodolite Garnet in the world. Garnet is the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of January.

Rubellite Tourmaline

Nigeria

With the intense bright pinkish red color to rival fine ruby, this rare gem from Nigeria represents some of the finest Rubellite Tourmaline ever found on earth. The color and brilliance of this material is truly stunning and it holds this color true in both daylight and indoor lighting conditions. Currently we have not seen any new production of this material and we are working from old stock collected several years back. This gem would be an excellent, affordable alternative to fine ruby (which costs can be prohibitive), the July birthstone.

Natural Sapphire

Sri Lanka

Known for producing sapphires of bright pure colors, from blue to pink to yellow, Sri Lanka has long been recognized as the source for some of the finest sapphires in the World. While most of the sapphires seen in today’s markets have been color and clarity enhanced by high temperature heat treatments, the rarest and most valuable sapphires are those that are found in nature already with the desirable color and clarity to produce a fine finished gem. We go to great lengths to insure that all of our Sri Lanka sapphires are natural and have not been enhanced or treated in any way. Each of our sapphires has been examined for indications of heat treatment by an independent gemological laboratory and is accompanied by a corresponding lab report showing that the stones are natural and have not been treated. Sapphire is a very durable gem suitable for everyday wear in rings and makes an excellent more personal alternative to diamonds for bridal jewelry. Sapphire is also the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of September.

Songea Sapphire

Songea, Tanzania

Natural untreated Sapphire from the Songea mines in Tanzania has some of the most unique colors and combinations of color that I’ve ever seen in any gem material. Many of these stones literally are colors within colors, sometimes producing bi-color stones sometimes showing a mix of colors that change as the stone is viewed from different angles, and shift or completely change color depending on the lighting conditions. From fine yellows, to blue, to teal, green, pink, and purple with colors that shift with every transition of light, these completely natural sapphires are some of the most unique and special colored gems to be found anywhere in the world today. The durability of sapphire makes it an excellent gem for everyday wear in rings and many couples today are choosing sapphire as more personal and affordable alternative to diamond for engagement ring center stones. Sapphire is also the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of September.

Salmon Tourmaline

Nigeria

In brilliant fashionable colors from bright pink to peachy orange to coppery orange tones, our Salmon Tourmaline is brought to you direct from the mines in Nigeria and presented in it’s natural, unique tones. Chose from shades of color to fit your personality or to match your wardrobe. Salmon Tourmaline is a beautiful, collectable gem, and represents an excellent value at this time, with good production and stocks of fine material from the mines in Nigeria.

Songea Sapphire

Songea, Tanzania

Natural untreated Sapphire from the Songea mines in Tanzania has some of the most unique colors and combinations of color that I’ve ever seen in any gem material. Many of these stones literally are colors within colors, sometimes producing bi-color stones sometimes showing a mix of colors that change as the stone is viewed from different angles, and shift or completely change color depending on the lighting conditions. From fine yellows, to blue, to teal, green, pink, and purple with colors that shift with every transition of light, these completely natural sapphires are some of the most unique and special colored gems to be found anywhere in the world today. The durability of sapphire makes it an excellent gem for everyday wear in rings and many couples today are choosing sapphire as more personal and affordable alternative to diamond for engagement ring center stones. Sapphire is also the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of September.

Natural Sapphire

Sri Lanka

Known for producing sapphires of bright pure colors, from blue to pink to yellow, Sri Lanka has long been recognized as the source for some of the finest sapphires in the World. While most of the sapphires seen in today’s markets have been color and clarity enhanced by high temperature heat treatments, the rarest and most valuable sapphires are those that are found in nature already with the desirable color and clarity to produce a fine finished gem. We go to great lengths to insure that all of our Sri Lanka sapphires are natural and have not been enhanced or treated in any way. Each of our sapphires has been examined for indications of heat treatment by an independent gemological laboratory and is accompanied by a corresponding lab report showing that the stones are natural and have not been treated. Sapphire is a very durable gem suitable for everyday wear in rings and makes an excellent more personal alternative to diamonds for bridal jewelry. Sapphire is also the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of September.

Spessartite Garnet

Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania

Spessartite Garnet is one of the rarest and most beautiful of the garnet family and is defined by it’s bright orange color, and high refractive index. Spessartite garnet comes in varying shades of orange; from red orange, to pure orange, to bright florescent yellow orange. The brighter shades of orange have also been called “Mandarin Garnet”, a trade name adopted in recent years in reference to the color of the gem not it’s origin. There have been various discoveries of gem quality spessartite garnet deposits over the years. Notably in Africa – Madagascar (this was the source of the first bright yellow orange spessartite garnets to be called “Mandarin Garnet”), Nigeria (the source for some of the finest, largest, and cleanest bright orange “Mandarin Garnet”), Mozambique (known for producing a wider range of orange colors from red orange, to burnt orange, to bright pure orange), and most recently in Tanzania (known for producing bright, almost florescent yellow “Fanta Orange” colors). These are generally discovered as alluvial deposits, (material that has been weathered out from the host rock, collected and deposited in ancient river beds), that are generally very limited in size and often mined out very quickly once they are discovered. There has been virtually no new rough spessartite garnet on the market in recent years from either the Nigerian or Mozambique sources and it now appears that the Tanzanian deposits have also been depleted. We do however still have an excellent, but dwindling, stock of Spessartite Garnet on hand, from the bright Mandarin orange Nigerian stones to the intense red orange Mozambique material. We are also just starting to work from a parcel of the new “Fanta” orange spessartite from Tanzania, select material acquired during the peak production period two years ago. This is truly a gem worth owning and enjoying, and due to it’s beauty, rarity, and popularity, is a material that is sure to increase in value over the years.

Spinel

Tunduru & Morogoro, Tanzania

A completely natural, rare and durable gem, (spinel is 8 in hardness, just under sapphire on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness), that comes in a wide range of dynamic colors from cool blues and purples to vibrant pinks and reds. This new parcel of spinel, (acquired last year) is from the Morogoro mining region in Tanzania and runs the full gamut of colors and shades. Production of spinel rough is always very limited, and due to the rising popularity of this gem, top color material like this is always hard to obtain. Spinel is a very durable gem, suitable for everyday wear in rings, and makes a wonderful and very personal alternative to diamond for engagement ring center stones.

Umba Sapphire

Umba River Valley, Tanzania

The Umba River Valley in Tanzania is know for producing some of the finest and most distinctive sapphires ever recovered on the African continent. Umba Sapphires are found in every color and shade and are especially prized for they’re bright pure colors and distinctive color change qualities. Mine production and recovery of fine Umba Sapphire is very sparse and it can take literally years to collect a parcel of good rough material. Our current stock of Umba Sapphires represents years of work, and is one of the most extensive collections of this gem type to be found anywhere in the World today, with a wide range of colors and shades to fit any personality or taste. Sapphire is a very durable gem, suitable for everyday wear in rings, and makes an excellent more personal alternative to diamonds for bridal jewelry. Sapphire is also the traditional birthstone for people born in the month of September.

Zircon

Tanzania

With a very high refractive index and strong double refraction Zircon is one of the brightest, most brilliant gems. These fancy color Zircons are from new deposits discovered in Tanzania. They are heated gently, to affect the color. The results are brilliant vibrant stones in shade of yellow, orange, pink, and red. Zircon is considered one of the traditional birthstones for people born in the month of December.

Color Change Garnet

Kenya

Discovered only in February of 2009, in the Kamtonga district in Kenya, this is some of the most amazing gem material of any type that I have ever seen in my thirty years of cutting colored gems. This is an incredibly rare and beautiful garnet that almost defies description. The gems display a dramatic and complete change of color when viewed in daylight and then in incandescent light. Going from grayish purplish blue to rich purple with intense magenta red flash, these garnets show a color change phenomenon that rivals fine Alexandrite (one of the rarest and most valuable gems in the world).

Fire Agate

Slaughter Mountain, Arizona

With a play of colors to rival fine opal, from bright red and orange to intense greens, blues and purple, and with the hardness and durability of agate; Fire Agate is one of the most unique, rare and sought after gem chalcedonies in the world. Slaughter Mt. on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona has long been recognized for producing the finest Fire Agates in the world especially prized for their bright intense colors. Mining and trade in Slaughter Mt. Fire Agate is carried out by members of the San Carlos Tribe, our friends; Mike, Ray, and Charles Vargas.

Gem Silica Chrysacolla

American Southwest

The rarest and most valuable of the chalcedony (kal-sed’-nee) group is the translucent, turquoise blue variety known as Gem Silica or Gem Chrysacolla. Technically this is a gem chalcedony, translucent crypto-crystalline quartz that is colored by traces of Chrysacolla, a copper mineral. This material is very rare and has largely been unavailable with virtually no new rough coming from traditional sources, copper mines in the American southwest, for over twenty years. Several years ago a new deposit of some exceptional Gem Silica was discovered by a local family man mining for bentonite clay in India, near the Indian – Cashmere border. I was fortunate that Mr. Arvind was able to locate me through the internet and we were able to negotiate the purchase of approximately one kilogram of the rough. The material is exceptionally translucent, very hard and durable like agate, and ranges in color from light blue to intense deep turquoise greenish blue.

Contact Jewels From The Woods

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