Halloween Greetings

October 31, 2006

happy-halloween-2.jpgHappy Halloween to everyone who celebrates this traditional holiday.  Although this holiday is not widely celebrated in Australia, for those who are about to go “trick or treating”, have fun!

Of course, black is the colour of choice for Halloween so we suggest you browse our great range of black spinel jewellery.  Dont worry if you missed out on buying something for this year, Black is always in fashion so get in early for next year.

The prices are no trick – so treat yourself !

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Since Glen Innes is known as Celtic Country, I thought it might be of interest to point out that Halloween actually derives from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.   Many of the modern traditions and symbols for Halloween date back to this “fire festival” of the Celts.

Samhain Eve is one of the main festivals of the Celtic calendar, and is thought to fall on or around the 31st of October representing the beginning of winter and the final harvest.   Celtic mythology holds that on this date, the boundary separating the dead from the living became blurred.  It is still the custom in some areas to place food out for the spirits or to set a place for the dead at the Samhain feast, and to tell tales of the ancestors on that night.

Traditionally, Samhain was time to take stock of the herds and grain supplies, and decide which animals would need to be slaughtered in order for the people and livestock to survive the winter.  Bonfires were an important part of the festival – with the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family would then light its hearth fire from the common flame, symbolically binding the community together.

For those who would like to learn more about Halloween, we recommend the following links of interest:

cat-full-moon.jpgCheers for now from Aussie Sapphire – the most comprehensive source of faceted Black Spinel Gemstones.

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New Sapphire Rough Available

October 25, 2006

Have been pretty busy lately working a new patch of the mine and have been producing some very nice rough.  Have managed to find a little time to list just a small selection of this including a couple of very special pieces that we have had put away for a while now.

We can now safely say we have something to suit everyone with affordable pieces costing less than $100 per piece up to some very large pieces which suit the investor or collector.  The largest piece of sapphire rough we have listed currently is a whopping 47.5 carat blue which is impressive in every way – we dont mind window shoppers so make sure you take a look at this rare beauty.

We have also just received back our latest batch of cutting – some excellent cut sapphires here in a range of sizes, shapes and colours including some very nice parti-coloured sapphire (greens, bicolor and yellow).  We were able to cut about a third of this batch fully natural – ie. untreated in any way so if you are looking for unheated sapphire, we hope to have something suitable for you.

new_rounds.JPGJust a quick photo here to whet your appetite (click to see full size): this is just a batch of mixed size rounds tipped out on our grading table.  About 660 carats here and plenty of sorting into sizes and grading for colour to be done but at a rough glance, we can see some great partis and yellows with the majority of the parcel being our typical Reddestone blues. 

 cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire


Some New Auctions

October 18, 2006

Just a quick note to let you know about our latest auctions.  Regulars will know that from time to time, we run “no reserve” auctions on Ebay as a promotion for our sapphires.  This is a great chance to get some fantastic quality facet rough – the market will decide the price but there is always the chance of getting a real bargain.

Check out our latest batch of auctions now!

Cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire


Gem of the Month: Tourmaline

October 15, 2006

tourmaline-icga.jpgThe theme for October birthstones is colour and lots of it!  We have already covered Opal with its “play of colour” in a previous article.  This time, we look at the alternative birthstone for October: tourmaline – the Rainbow Stone.  (Photo from ICGA article)

Gemmology Matters:  Tourmaline is truly a fascinating gemstone.  Tourmaline is a very complex group of minerals but may be described as a complex aluminium borosilicate where colour is caused by presence or absence of various metal ions (Fe, Mn, Cr, V, Ti and Cu) in the crystal structure.  Hardness is 7 to 7.5 on the Moh Scale making it suitable for most jewellery applications.  Commonly found as prismatic crystals (trigonal-hexagonal), often with vertical striations along the prism faces.

While it can have fantastic colour, strong dichroism and sometimes unstable crystal structure means that tourmaline can be quite challenging for the gem cutter.  Cutting orientation is very important so that the faceted gem displays the best colour possible.  Where the colour is too dark looking through the crystal (referred to as “closed C-axis”), they may be cut in elongated shapes (where the A-B axis shows better colour).   Some types can be unstable during the cutting process – if not handled carefully, the stone can crack badly while being faceted.

A fascinating property of some types of tourmaline has led to it being used for scientific and industrial purposes.  The piezoelectricity effect occurs when an electrical charge is induced by applying pressure to a tourmaline crystal in the direction of the vertical crystal axis – this can be used in pressure measuring equipment and other scientific applications.  A similar effect called pyroelectricity occurs when the crystal is heated yielding a positive charge at one end of the crystal and a negative charge at the other.

Tourmalines are mined everywhere in the world with important commercial deposits located in Brazil and parts of Africa.  Other notable locations include Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the USA.   The price range for gem quality Tourmaline varies almost as much as its colour with some rare and sought after varieties bringing extremely high prices.  The recently discovered Paraiba source in Brazil with its intense neon blue coloured stones produces gems that are particularly sought after.

mixed_tourmalines.jpg325g-tourm-sm.jpgThese photos show a small selection of mixed colour tourmaline from Nigeria.  Dont have much of this material left now so keep your eye on our online shop for the last few bits.

Mythology and Lore:  Tourmaline is known as the “Rainbow Stone” from an ancient Egyptian legend: on the long way from the Earth’s heart up towards the sun, Tourmaline travelled along a rainbow, collecting all the colours of the rainbow on its journey.  The name derives from the Sinhalese (Ceylon) word “tura mali” meaning stone of mixed colours.  

The Empress Dowager Tz’u Hsi, the last Empress of China, was a great collector of pink tourmaline and rubellite.  She imported tons of tourmaline from Southern California in the early twentieth century, creating a gem rush in San Diego during the period.   She loved pink tourmaline so much that she was laid to rest on a pillow carved from this gemstone. 

Tourmaline is the birthstone for the month of October and is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra.  Legend says tourmaline inspires artistic expression, enhances intuition, increase self-confidence and amplify one’s psychic energies.  Tourmaline may be used to neutralize negative energies, dispel fear and grief, and to aid in concentration and communication.

Alternatives in Multicolour:  Tourmaline is unique for its range of colours and gems where more than one colour is displayed.  While tourmaline may be found in many colours which are also represented by other gems, it is the bi- and multi-coloured varieties which are difficult to find elsewhere in the gem world.  Sapphires may show this bi-colour character (called “parti” in Australia) but generally the colours tend toward the blue-green-yellow and do not display the sharp boundaries of significantly different colours seen in some tourmaline.

 Links of Interest: 

Hope you enjoyed this article on Tourmaline – truly worthy of a book but we’ll leave that job to someone else.  We still have some nice pieces of tourmaline rough in stock as well as some nice cut gems in a variety of colours (including nice emerald greens and intense pinks).  Please enquire at any time about these. 

Cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire


New Black Spinel in stock

October 13, 2006

We have just received back the latest batch of black spinel cutting.  A great range of sizes and shapes to choose from.  We will spend the next couple of days cataloguing and listing so please check our website soon for lots of new items.

Mixed cut Black Spinel from Aussie SapphireFor those of you who have not yet discovered this great gem – see our previous “Gem of the Month” on Black Spinel – the premier black gemstone.

cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire.


Back On Deck

October 9, 2006

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we are back at work and madly catching up.  We have a good number of parcels to go out tomorrow and should have replied to most enquiries.  If we somehow missed you in the backlog of emails, please send a reminder and we will attend to your query as soon as possible.

Andrew will be getting back to the mine tomorrow and we should have some nice sapphire for you very soon.  Please keep an eye on the website for new additions to the catalogues – we hope to get some new items on starting Wednesday.

cheers for now from Andrew and Leah (Aussie Sapphire)