December 2017 Newsletter: Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season



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3.01 ct Burma Ruby and Diamond Ring
3.01 ct Burma Ruby & Diamond Ring

If you're looking for a meaningful gift for someone special in your life, a fine gemstone is a unique gift of lasting value. This month we share our ideas on the best values in fine gemstones.

Undoubtedly many of the gifts bought this year will be the latest smartphones and smart TV's. We're as fond of our electronic gadgets as anyone, but we also have a closet full of obsolete technology, some only a few years old. Fine gemstones are a very different kind of gift -- formed by lucky accidents of nature millions of years ago, they are often treasured by families for generations.

In the colored gemstone world, there are certain gems which have a good record of increasing in value over time. At the top of the list is Burma ruby. These rubies have always been rare, but now production from the Burmese mines has declined and new rubies over 1 carat are non-existent. It's fair to say that Burmese ruby is now approaching the status of Kashmir sapphire, one of the rarest and most valuable of all colored gemstones.

Top quality jadeite is another Burmese gem that has seen rapidly rising prices, due to strong demand from China.

In general, sapphires are not as scarce as rubies, but sapphires with top color in larger sizes are still very rare. Fine blue sapphire tends to hold its value best, though rare pink, yellow and padparadscha specimens are also valuable. Blue sapphires in larger sizes are especially sought after by collectors, as are blue star sapphires over 10 carats.

Spinel has long been a favorite of gem dealers, who regard it as highly as sapphire and ruby. When some very unusual neon pink-red spinel was discovered in Mahenge, Tanzania in 2007, spinel became one of the hottest gems in the market. Mahenge spinel has already become a rare collector's stone.

There are several other gems that can be classed as investment grade stones:  alexandrite, imperial topaz, the rare garnets (demantoid, tsavorite and spessartite) and paraiba and rubellite tourmaline. For gem collectors, any rare and beautiful gem will be appreciated -- exotic gems such as sphene, gem silica, jeremejevite and grandidierite make interesting gifts. In 10 or 20 years when most holiday gifts of 2017 are long forgotten, a fine gemstone will still be a treasured possession.



Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature some exceptional gems that would a make a uniqe gift for that special person in your life. Click on a photo to see the details for the item.

3.27 ct Tsavorite Garnet from Kenya

We have just acquired this stunning large Tsavorite Garnet from Kenya! This rare Tsavorite has amazing brilliance with a vivid green hue with just a touch of a blue secondary. This is beautiful crystal, expertly cut with no window, and a very good faceup size for its carat weight. This fine gemstone will set up beautifully in your jewelry design and will be an important addition to any collection. Guaranteed natural and untreated.
8.50 ct Yellow Sapphire from Ceylon
8.50 ct Yellow Sapphire from Ceylon  [SOLD]

A splendid large Yellow Ceylon Sapphire in a pure lemon yellow. This impressive gem is clean and expertly fashioned in an elegant cushion. A fine gem sapphire with excellent brilliance, this rare stone will sparkle in any jewelry design. Certified by Gemological Institute of America (GIA).


13.66 ct Morganite Matched Pair from Brazil

An outstanding matched pair of Morganites from Brazil in an impressive size! Superb color saturation and brilliance, very clean and expertly fashioned in elegant pear shapes. A wonderful set for any collector of fine gems. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video

5.92 ct Jadeite Jade from Burma

5.92 ct Jadeite Jade from Burma  [SOLD]

This is top grade type-A Jadeite Jade from Burma, completely natural and untreated. It has lovely translucence and luscious vivid green color with excellent even saturation. This gem has an impeccable finish to it, smooth and highly lustrous. Truly a stunning collection-quality gemstone. This fine stone comes complete with a certificate from GemResearch Swisslab (GRS). The GRS lab report result is: Natural Jadeite - Jade, no indications of any treatment. This jadeite is called A-Jade on the Asian market.


News from AJS and the Gems World

163 ct Emerald Cut Diamond sells for $33.7 million at Christie's

The largest D-color flawless diamond ever offered at auction sold for $33.7 million at Christie's Geneva auction on November 14th. The 163.41 ct emerald-cut diamond was owned by the Geneva-based luxury jeweler, de Grisogono, and was sold to an anonymous bidder.

Though the de Grisogono diamond set a new auction record for the highest price paid for a D-color diamond, the price per carat of $206,266 was not a record. In May 2017 Christie's sold a 101 carat pear-shaped D-color diamond for $254,400 per carat.


Risky Recutting Leads to Auction Record for Pink Diamond

14.93 ct Pink Promise Diamond

When gemologist and diamonteer Stephen Silver bought a 16.21 ct fancy intense pink diamond in 2013, he noticed that the gem's cut made some areas of the stone appear to be washed out. He saw an opportunity to recut the stone to achieve a higher color grade. Over a period of three years, Silver worked with a master gem-cutter to plot a new cut for the rare pink diamond, cutting it down facet by facet to save the most carat weight while coaxing the gem to yield the highest possible color. The process gambled millions of dollars in lost carat weight if the recut stone failed to raise its color grade as hoped. Finally, a new GIA certificate affirmed that "The Pink Promise" diamond, with its new weight of 14.93 carats, had achieved a Fancy Vivid pink color grading and a significantly higher value.

The diamond sold at Christie's Hong Kong sale last month for $31.86 million, a new per-carat record for a pink diamond over 10 carats.



Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

How quickly can I receive a gemstone with courier delivery? I have a bad habit of leaving my shopping to the last minute! JT, Canada

We ship by UPS Express, with delivery to most places in the world in 2 to 4 days. Shipments can be tracked online at while in transit, so you'll know exactly when your order will be delivered. This month you can take advantage of our free express shipping promotion on any order over $300.

This might be a strange question, but is the glass in my smartphone screen as hard as a gemstone? Which one is easier to scratch? NG, USA

Most of the latest smartphone screens use some version of Corning's Gorilla Glass which has a Mohs hardness in the range of 6 to 6.5. Most popular gemstones are harder, including sapphire and ruby (9), topaz and spinel (8), aquamarine and morganite (7.5 to 8), garnet and tourmaline (7 to 7.5) and quartz (7). There has been research into using sapphire for smartphone screens, like the sapphire crystals in high-end watches. But hardness is not the only required characteristic for a phone screen -- it also needs to be thin, light and flexible. It turns out that, so far, toughened glass like Gorilla Glass meets the requirements much better than sapphire or any other gem material.



All the best in gems,

Arnold, Rung & Ron