Birth Stones  
  September: Sapphire  
  September's birthstone is the sapphire. Sapphires have a centuries-long association with royalty and romance. They're precious gemstones and a variety of the mineral corundum.  
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Interesting facts about the August birthtone - Peridot

Early records indicate that the ancient Egyptians mined a beautiful green gem on an island in the Red Sea called Topazios, now known as St. John’s Island or Zabargad. Legend has it that the island was infested with snakes, making mining unpleasant until an enterprising pharaoh drove them into the sea. From the earliest times, people confused this stone—now known to be peridot—with other gems. It was one of many labeled as “topaz.”


Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might actually have been peridot. People in medieval times continued to confuse peridot with emerald. For centuries, people believed the fabulous 200-ct. gems adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were emeralds. They are, in fact, peridots.


Lily pad inclusions in Peridot

In Peridot you can often see a discoid cleavage resembling a lily pad shape. These formations usually have a tiny crystal near the center, which is sometimes surrounded by a curved fracture that resembles a lily pad.
These inclusions cannot usually be seen by the naked eye and require the aid of a microscope or a jeweler’s loupe.
The inclusion is the result of a stress fracture. The inclusion in the center might be an piece of another mineral (such as chromite, spinel or biotite) or it could be a void. These voids are often referred to as negative crystals, and many of these have stress fractures.
These fractures can occur when the gemstone is heated in the ground or when heat-treated by man. Some fractures radiate in a flat, round, disc-like fashion, other fractures take on different shapes.
Lily pad inclusions are seen in peridot from all mining sources in the world.
This inclusion in never seen in synthetic material, so it is conclusive proof that the stone is in fact natural Peridot. The inclusion is also strictly seen in peridot and not in any other gemstone. Therefore, it can also be used to identify peridot from other green transparent gemstones, as well as glass.








Lead-filled Ruby - Understand the facts.

In the wake of the July 28 Today show segment on lead glass–filled rubies, the New York Gemstone Association daid the industry needs to develop a plan to deal with misunderstanding of the product. 

The GIA and AGL are now referring to these gemstones as 'composite'. Lead glass–filled ruby is unstable and if subjected to ultrasonic cleaning either at home or unwittingly by a jewellery store it may badly discolour or even fall apart.  It is also advisable to keep them away from strong acids.

At Touchstone Gems, we would expect that all retailers, wholesalers, and other gemstone dealers in South Africa clearly disclose at every level leading to the consumer, all treatments and enhancements of their products. 

Consumer confidence is a foundation of our economic health, and if that is shaken by possible misrepresentation from misunderstanding it may affect the entire jewellery industry in South Africa.


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