Connect with us

Headlines

‘Ridiculously Rare’ Gemstone Discovered on Arctic Island

‘There are few stones that match its intense blue color.’

mm

Published

on

When Philippe Belley came to the University of British Columbia to study how gemstones form, he didn’t think he would need to learn how to protect himself from polar bears.

But when some of those precious stones are buried in the Canadian Arctic on Baffin Island, where the world’s largest land predator also roams, sometimes you roll the dice in the name of science.

4 Dead After Jewelry-Store Robbery Leads to Police Chase and Shootout (Video)
Headlines

4 Dead After Jewelry-Store Robbery Leads to Police Chase and Shootout (Video)

Truck Slams Jewelry Store in $200,000 Burglary — Watch the Video
Headlines

Truck Slams Jewelry Store in $200,000 Burglary — Watch the Video

Video: How to Achieve a $100,000 Day in Your Jewelry Store
Headlines

Video: How to Achieve a $100,000 Day in Your Jewelry Store

“We spotted four polar bears but luckily there were no close encounters,” said Belley, a recent PhD graduate of the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences. “But we did learn a lot about how some unique gems are formed, which will change the way people look for them.”

Belley and UBC mineralogist Lee Groat have published the first scientific study of cobalt-blue spinel in Canada, according to a press release from the university. It’s a mineral that is largely unknown to the general public but produces gems that are coveted by collectors and connoisseurs worldwide.

In an interview with CBC.ca, Belley described cobalt-blue spinel as “a ridiculously rare gemstone.”

Spinel comes in a variety of colors ranging from red and pink to violet and blue and the fine gemstones are prized for their intense natural color and high transparency, both measures of gem quality.

Advertisement

“There’s considerable interest in cobalt-blue spinel for gems and jewelry,” said Belley. “There are few stones that match its intense blue color.”

Even small stones with good transparency and fine cobalt-blue color can sell for about 10 times the price of a comparable sapphire, the university notes. But supply is an issue and even production from the most significant sorce, Vietnam, is limited and sporadic.

“Exploration for colored gemstones is generally difficult due to challenging terrain or thick vegetation in major gem-producing areas like the Himalayas and Vietnam. Most gemstones are found by accident,” said Belley. “But there’s excellent rock exposure on Baffin Island, which facilitates exploration and the use of more advanced techniques like imaging using drones or satellites.”

The researchers analyzed fourteen occurrences of spinel on Baffin Island, including two occurrences of cobalt-blue spinel, to better understand how it forms.

“It’s a simple recipe but you need to combine the right proportions of chemical ingredients,” said Belley.

On Baffin Island, spinel formed 1.8 billion years ago from sedimentary deposits of dolomitic marls and dolomite-bearing limestones. These sedimentary rocks metamorphosed at temperatures of about 800 C under immense pressure.

Advertisement

Belley and Groat found that the magic ingredient that produces the distinct blue color – cobalt – was only present in high-enough concentrations to produce gem quality stones in small, localized areas.

“We found that cobalt was added at some point during sediment deposition or up to early metamorphism,” said Groat. “Previous work on other deposits suggested that cobalt was transported during high temperature metamorphism, so our results change the way in which people would explore for cobalt-blue spinel deposits.”

According to Belley, Baffin Island spinel contains up to 500 parts-per-million of cobalt, which gives it a vivid blue color that is comparable to the best sources worldwide.

While accessing the area for scientific study was extremely challenging and involved long boat rides through thick fog in the Hudson Strait, stormy conditions, scouting for polar bears and a lengthy permit process to protect the ecologically sensitive environment, the geology of Baffin Island has been a veritable gem field of scientific discovery for the researchers.

The team has also analyzed Beluga sapphires which were used in the Queen’s sapphire jubilee brooch and an occurrence of lapis lazuli.

“Baffin Island is geologically similar to the Himalayas, where some of the world’s finest gems have been found,” said Belley. “Canada hasn’t been widely recognized as a source for fine, colored gemstones but our research suggests that we have all the right ingredients.”

Advertisement

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Having a Moving Sale? Let Wilkerson Do the Heavy Lifting

For Jim Woodard, owner of Woodard’s Diamonds & Design in Tullahoma, Tenn., when it was time for a moving sale, there was only one company to help with the event: Wilkerson. “They brought in the right team for us,” he says, remarking about the sale’s extraordinary results, including a nearly 500% monthly sales increase compared to the previous year. “I wanted to have the best in the industry. And that’s the main reason why I contacted Wilkerson.”

Promoted Headlines

Headlines

Sales Remain Strong, But Jewelers Moderate Expectations a Bit for 2019 Holiday Season

45% of jewelers in our survey say the season is in line with their projections.

mm

Published

on

JEWELERS TEMPERED THEIR expectations for the 2019 holiday season as we entered the second week of December with about one in four store owners telling an INSTORE Mini Survey they had fallen behind target. That compared to just 14 percent who were similarly downbeat following a robust Black Friday opening.

Overall, sales were still strong though. Seven percent of jewelers said they were having a “terrific” season so far, 24 percent said it was better than expected and 45 percent said it was in line with their projections.

“Traffic is up but I was expecting higher traffic as this is our fourth Christmas and have really increased sales over the last year,” said Christopher Sarich, the owner of Noah Gabriel & Co. Jewelers in Wexford, PA.

Tickets continued to be strong with more than a third of jewelers saying their average sale was over $600, while a similar portion of store owners said their store traffic was up over last year (see charts below).

Diamond sales of all kinds — bridal, studs, design, fashion and lab-grown — continued to do well with almost half of the jewelers in our survey citing diamond jewelry as their best-selling item. Custom was also doing well.

“Custom! Everything from scratch to customized assembly,” said Jennifer Farnes, owner of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO.

Given the overall health of the economy and consumers’ appetite for jewelry, this could also be a good season to move aged inventory, suggested Jill Hornik, owner of Jae’s Jewelers in Coral Gables, FL.

“This is the perfect time for an inventory reduction sale to get rid of old stock. We put over 200 items over 5 years old into our case normally designated for a silver designer, and have made 31 times the revenue we normally would within that same case space.”

The second 2019 Holiday Season Mini survey was taken on Monday by 112 independent jewelers who are part of our Brain Squad readers group. We will send out more surveys over the course of the holiday season. Look out for the results each Tuesday.

Continue Reading

Headlines

Iconic Rolex Could Sell for $18M at Auction

Jack Nicklaus wore it for 50+ years.

mm

Published

on

Nicklaus Rolex

A Rolex watch worn by golfer Jack Nicklaus for more than 50 years is going up for auction, according to Yahoo Sports.

And experts say it could bring a price higher than the $17.8 million paid for actor Paul Newman’s Rolex in 2017.

The watch, which is being sold via Phillips Auction House in Manhattan, is described as an 18-karat gold Rolex 1803 Day-Date.

According to Phillips, the watch “has graced the wrist of Mr. Nicklaus nearly every day since he received it as a gift from Rolex in 1967 and was present when he won 12 of his record 18 professional major championship titles.”

This Rolex is “fitted with a stunning and extremely rare champagne‐ colored “pie‐pan”‐style dial, with tapered and faceted baton hour-markers reminiscent of golf tees.”

Sale proceeds will directly benefit the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

“This is the very first watch I ever owned, and the only watch I wore for every professional tournament I’ve won throughout my career,” Nicklaus said.

“It has accompanied me at U.S. Opens, Masters Tournaments, PGA Championships, Open Championships and countless other events for over five decades, and has served me well at every step along the way. Parting ways with this watch is certainly bittersweet. While I will certainly miss the opportunity of wearing the watch and having it serve as a constant reminder of some of my life’s most memorable moments I know that parting with it will help countless children and families impacted through the work of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.”

Read more at Yahoo Sports

Continue Reading

Headlines

Emma Stone Shows Off Unusual (and Affordable) Engagement Ring — Take a Look

The piece comes from New York-based Catbird.

mm

Published

on

Emma Stone engagement ring

Emma Stone is wearing the Winter Pearl Ring, a piece from Catbird that retails for $4,780.

Actress Emma Stone recently showed off her new engagement ring on Instagram.

It’s a piece called the Kataoka Winter Ring from Catbird, and it sells for $4,780 at retail, the New York Post’s Page Six reports.

Stone is engaged to David McCary, segment director for “Saturday Night Live.”

According to Catbird’s website, the ring comes “straight from the Tokyo workshop of master jeweler Yoshinobu Kataoka” and includes “a lustrous pearl … surrounded by Kataoka’s signature snowflake motif.”

It’s described as an 18 karat gold ring with 0.37 carats of diamonds and an 8 millimeter untreated Akoya pearl.

According to Page Six, New York-based Catbird is a favorite among big names such as Meghan Markle and Taylor Swift, as well as Stone.

Forbes rated Stone as the world’s highest paid actress in 2017, when she earned $26 million.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

💕

A post shared by @ davemccary on

Continue Reading

Most Popular