Tourmaline gemstone

Tourmaline gemstone

Tourmaline gemstone

Tourmaline is a complicated gemstone – at least I think so – because it is not a single stone, a single mineral, or a family like the garnet but rather a group of minerals, 27-32 of them, with similar physical properties and crystal structures though differing greatly in their chemical compositions.

It is therefore this group of minerals with their tremendously varied chemical compositions along with trace elements of other minerals that cause the tourmaline to occur in more colours, more colour combinations, and colour variations than any other gemstone or mineral group. It has been said, in fact, that the tourmaline in its seemingly endless colour variations, hues, and shades – of which no two are alike – could satisfy every whim or provide every person on earth with a gemstone in his/her favourite or preferred colour.

Tourmaline History

Tourmalines were first discovered in the late 1600s or early 1700s by Dutch traders operating along the west coast of Italy but now are found in many parts of the world including California and Maine. The name tourmaline is from the Sri Lankan language meaning all coloured crystals and because ancient gemologists and dealers couldn’t differentiate one stone from the other all were classified as tourmalines, hence the error of identification of Pink and Red Tourmaline even though the Pink Tourmaline is pinker than a ruby.

Tourmalines are formed by hydrothermal activity, a process that carries hot water and vapours along with the necessary elements to form crystals in pockets, cavities, fractures, fissures, or any open space in igneous and/or metaphoric rock where crystal growth can occur. This hydrothermal activity is also responsible for the formation of emerald, fluorite, amethyst, and rock crystals.

Tourmaline Colours

The most well-known colours of the semi-precious tourmaline are red, pink, blue, green, and multicoloured with the lesser known colours of white, black, yellow, orange, brown, grey, colourless, purple, the multi-coloured watermelon tourmaline with its red centre surrounded by a green outer layer, and the rare and therefore the most expensive and valuable (and also my personal favourite) the exquisite neon-blue Paraiba Tourmaline, named as such for the region in Brazil where it was first discovered in 1990.

Mere words, however, cannot describe the beauty of this stone so I strongly suggest you contact Monika at LL Private Jewellers to see this stunningly beautiful Tourmaline for yourself. Nowadays too, the name Paraiba is added to all neon or electric blue tourmalines from any location worldwide.

But that’s not the complete list of colours because there is also the deep green Chrome Tourmaline that gets its colour from chromium impurities, the bright Yellow Canary Tourmaline, the light to dark blue Indicolite Tourmaline, the bi-colour Tourmaline, the exceptionally beautiful dark pink to red Rubellite, and the cat’s eye (chatoyancy) Tourmaline. So, if a Tourmaline gemstone is in your future, you can be absolutely certain no one else will have a stone that is identical to yours whatever your preferred colour or colour combination.

Similar Gemstones

As you might expect, with the many colours of Tourmaline, confusion often arises in the area of identification so, a word to the wise to deal only with a jeweller you trust. Of course, there’s absolutely no confusion where the Paraiba Tourmaline is concerned because it is unique and therefore totally unlike any other gemstone. But mistakes can and do arise particularly with the Green Tourmaline that is sometimes mistaken or confused with Peridot, Tsavorite, Chrome Diopside (AKA the Russian Emerald), and Emerald; the Red Tourmaline sometimes misidentified as a Spinel, a Garnet, or a Ruby; the Pink Tourmaline is often confused with the Pink Topaz, Pink Sapphire, Morganite, Kunzite, and also Spinel; and the Blue Tourmaline is sometimes mistaken for a Blue Topaz, Aquamarine, Zircon, and Sapphire.

Other Unseen Qualities or Assets of Tourmaline

The rare semi-precious Tourmaline truly is a special gem because it evokes genuine feelings of happiness and well-being, compassion and tolerance, flexibility and lightness of being with certain colours enhancing some specific aspect of your life. Example: the Green Tourmaline is for good health; the Blue Tourmaline will bring serenity to your life; the Pink Tourmaline represents unconditional love and friendship, encourages good feelings towards others, disperses emotional pain, and calms negative thoughts and emotions that are so detrimental to relationships; the Yellow or Canary Tourmaline is for self-esteem, and the Watermelon Tourmaline will bring the best of positive emotions into your life.

And, in ancient times the Black Tourmaline was a favourite with magicians and alchemists who believed it had special powers that would protect them against demons when they practised their craft.

And for those of you whose birthday is in October, Tourmaline is your alternate birthstone, along with Opal. It has a hardness of 7-7.5 on the Mohs Scale making it ideal for all types of jewellery.

If you have any questions about Tourmaline or want to see these exquisite stones for yourself, you really should contact Monika at LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.


Oct 28, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Tourmaline

Cat’s Eye



I have often come across the term ‘cat’s eye‘ – you may have too – in relation to certain gemstones. Maybe you have one or more of them in your jewellery wardrobe so know exactly what they look like and how they display their special optical phenomena but if you do not know them I’ll do my best to describe them.

First, then you have to think of the slit eye of a cat or the technical French term chatoyancy – ‘oeil de chat’ – that translates as ‘eye of the cat”. In a gemstone, this slit eye feature is caused by light reflecting off the stone’s microscopic natural needles, channels or fibres binding them together into a thin streak.

The cut is all important here because a faceted gem will not display the cat’s eye. Rather, for the full effect of the cat’s eye feature the stone must be cut en cabochon with the base parallel to those inclusions and polished so that the cat’s eye appears to glide over the rounded surface when the stone is rotated. The most famous and valuable cat’s eye gemstone is the chrysoberyl cat’s eye and, in fact, it is the only gem that can be described that way or carries that privileged distinction because all other cat’s eye stones require additional variety designation, e.g. cat’s eye apatite, cat’s eye tourmaline, cat’s eye quartz, cat’s eye jade, etc. etc.

The cat’s eye phenomenon, therefore, can only occur when those inclusions in the stone are present whereas in any other gemstone those obvious inclusions could be seen as flaws that would then diminish the gem’s value. But these inclusions – needles, fibres, tubes or channels – are what make a cat’s eye gemstone such a fun gem that seems to be looking back at us with its beautiful, fascinating eyes. And, like many other gemstones, particularly those that are colour-change, the lighting – whether natural or artificial – is essential for it is the light that changes the colour and in the cat’s eye gem it is the light that brings those needles, etc into the straight line that glides over the stone’s polished surface to resemble the optical illusion of the cat’s eye.

The Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye Gemstone

Chrysoberyl is an ancient mineral that registers 8.5 on the Mohs Scale and perhaps, like jade thousands of years ago, was used by those prehistoric cultures to make weapons and tools of all descriptions or types. It belongs to the same family as the rare and extremely beautiful Alexandrite that exhibits different colours in natural and artificial lights thereby making the cat’s eye Alexandrite or the Alexandrite cat’s eye a most desirable gemstone even for the most discerning tastes. I would even go so far as to say, the Alexandrite cat’s eye is the perfect gemstone for the woman who has everything.


Colour is as important in the cat’s eye gem as any other inclusion-free gemstone and the brighter the colour the more expensive the gem of whatever variety but the best and foremost colour for a cat’s eye gemstone of any type is yellow, thus making the golden chrysoberyl the most famous species. This is not really surprising when you consider the colour of a real cat’s eye or a tiger’s eye; hence the really interesting and inexpensive golden or golden-brown Quartz cat’s eye tiger eye. So, if your favourite colour is yellow, a cat’s eye gemstone might just be just exactly what you’re looking for to spruce up your jewellery wardrobe or impress your friends when the stone looks up at them as they look at it. Yellow, of course, is not the only colour because the cat’s eye occurs in many different gems and therefore, depending on the colour of the host stone, it also occurs in pinks, greens, reds, and blues: colours to suit every taste or preference.

Gems that display the Cat’s Eye Phenomenon

You might be surprised, as I was, to learn that there are more than 30 gems that show the optical illusion of cat’s eye. They include Apatite, Tourmaline, Beryl, Zoisite, Zircon, Peridot, Diopside, Chrome Diopside, Kunzite, Nephrite (Jade), Quartz, and of course Alexandrite, the most expensive of which on today’s market being the Alexandrite cat’s eye with the Quartz tiger eye cat’s eye being the least expensive thus giving you a big range to choose from if a cat’s eye gemstone is in your future. To fully appreciate them, though, you need to see them in person because words cannot adequately describe the amazing optical illusion of a cat’s eye looking back at you while you gaze at it. Therefore, I strongly suggest you visit LL Private Jewellers to see them for yourself and enjoy this phenomenal experience.

For more information about cat’s eye gemstones please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.

Sep 23, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones

Zircon Gemstone

Zircon gemstone

Zircon gemstone

Though a beautiful completely natural stone with its own merits the zircon is perhaps the most misunderstood and least well known gemstone today mainly because it is often confused with the artificial diamond stimulant cubic zirconia (CZ).

The two of course are completely different because the CZ is a lab-created gemstone with a very different chemical composition to that of the distinctly natural zircon whose fire and brilliance can rival those of a fine diamond and sometimes even outshine mediocre diamonds thus making the zircon a less-expensive stand-in for the diamond.

No surprise then that the completely natural colourless zircon, prior to the introduction of diamond stimulants like CZ, was once one of the most popular diamond substitutes. The only connection to each other is that they both contain the element zirconium in their chemical structure, hence the name cubic zirconia.

The zircon also differs from the diamond in hardness because it registers 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness whereas the diamond is a 10 on that same scale. Also, the diamond is carbon-based whereas zircon is a mineral and the oldest known mineral on earth, older even, say the scientists, than the moon whose formation is said to be 4 billion years ago with samples from Australia dating back 4.4 billion years. An impressive and interesting history for sure because in addition to all that the zircon led to the emergence of the discipline of ‘zirconology’.

Other Differences between the Diamond and the Zircon

The zircon is far heavier than the diamond, so if you were to buy 1 carat of each the zircon would weigh more than the diamond yet look smaller than the diamond or other gemstone varieties of the same weight. Also, the zircon is brittle and thus chips and cracks more easily than the extremely hard diamond. A really important difference, however, is that the zircon is radioactive but not enough so as to make it unsafe or pose any health hazards and to minimize or remove any risks, the stones must be heated to stabilize them for use as gems. Heating, of course, also occurs to enhance the stones colours and increase transparency.

Zircon Myths & Colours

Many ancient cultures for many thousands of years knew zircon and being highly superstitious they believed the zircon to be imbued with magical powers. in the Middle Ages, for example, where it was treasured, the zircon was believed to be the stone of prosperity that would bring untold wealth to its owner; be a sleeping aid; bring wisdom and honour to the wearer/owner, and be of help for blisters, varicose veins, and testicle problems.

In its purest form, the zircon is completely colourless – just like a quality diamond – but the inclusion of impurities causes a wide range of interesting colours, just like the diamond comes in a variety of colours. These colours of zircon include yellow, golden-yellow, orange, yellow, golden-brown, brown, rose, rose-orange, red, green, blue, violet, purple, green, and other in-between colour variations. The most popular colour is blue, specifically a bright to medium-dark pure blue and in this colour the most valuable but the most expensive of all, due to its rarity, is the Green Zircon. The less popular colours, perhaps because they are less often seen in jewellery, are pink, purple, and yellow. And another rarity in some stones is the cat’s eye chatoyancy.

Similar Gemstones

As in the case of many other gemstones and because the zircon occurs in so many colours mistakes – genuine or otherwise – are often made in the identification process. Example, the pastel-blue zircon resembles and can be mistake for the Aquamarine, Blue Topaz, Blue Tourmaline, and Blue Spinel; the Golden-Brown Zircon resembles the Citrine, Topaz, and Sapphire; the Pink Zircon is similar to the Morganite, Pink Topaz, Kunzite, Rose Quartz, and Pink Spinel; and the Yellow Zircon can be similar to the Yellow Diamond, Topaz, Beryl, and Yellow Sapphire.

So, a word to the wise if a zircon of any colour is in your future to only buy from someone you can trust implicitly – Joe or Monika at LL Private Jewellers – so you know you’re getting a genuine Zircon, the completely natural diamond alternative that you can also outfox your friends with. The zircon, by the way, is also the traditional birthstone for December.

For more information about zircon, please contact LL Private Jewellers at-604-683-3918.

Aug 28, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones

Turquoise Gemstone

Turquoise - gemstone

Turquoise – gemstone

Turquoise is an ‘old’ gemstone with a history that dates back thousands of years, and known by many ancient cultures from many different areas of the world including the Americas, China, Tibet, and Pharaonic Egypt where it was used to decorate the funeral mask and tomb of the boy King Tutankhamen.

It was revered by all those ancient cultures not just for its beauty but also its believed special powers such as healing (Tibet) and regeneration (Egypt). It is the traditional birthstone for December but its combined cool colours of blue, like the colour of the sky, and green like the ocean make it the perfect summer gemstone because it compliments all the pastel shades we associate with summer clothing. It is also the only gemstone that has a colour named after it.

The root of that name ‘turquoise’ comes from the French ‘turqueise’ meaning ‘Turkish stone’ and because it was originally transported to Europe from a Turkish nation, the name and colour stuck and continues as the gemstone we recognize as turquoise.

Colours of Turquoise

Turquoise colours are blue and green combined into one colour creating a distinctive sky-blue (also called robin’s egg blue or Persian blue), blue-green, or apple-green colour. Though all are beautiful, the most popular colour is the radiant sky-blue turquoise or the Persian Turquoise, and being the rarest, the most expensive and most desirable.

The stones that have veins, to my mind, are much less appealing or attractive because those veins – black, dark grey or brown whether dense or sparse – detract from that gorgeous blue-green colour. Nonetheless, those veined stones are popular and are often used in Navajo jewellery. Turquoise is also often referred to as a cousin of lapis lazuli and sometimes mistaken for the greener variscite or confused with chrysocolla.

Safe to say then that the turquoise is widely affected in the marketplace either by imitations, whether from mislabelling a lesser stone as a turquoise, or severe treatment to make it appear what it is not, a genuine turquoise. So, a word of caution: only buy from a reputable source or someone you can trust implicitly, e.g. Joe or Monika at LL Private Jewellers because they will recognize the genuine article by its chemical properties, hardness, density, and transparency.

As for jewellery, the turquoise is mostly cut en cabochon for all types of jewellery and compliments all metal colours. It is also 5-6 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.

Other Myths both Past and Present associated with Turquoise

Like many other gemstones known by ancient cultures, the turquoise also has a long history of use as an amulet or talisman that would protect the wearer from harm, bring good luck, longevity, and reflect the wearer’s health. In the matter of health the colour was believed to change with it becoming deeper and more vivid if worn by a healthy person whereas on a person of ill health the colour faded.

Today, the turquoise is still believed to hold certain magical powers: facilitating leadership and clear communication; beneficial for travel and careers; alleviating migraines; benefitting the throat, lungs, neck, eyes, ears, and brain; and bringing forth feelings of balance, peace, and harmony. In feng shui the turquoise represents or carries a pure and uplifting water energy; is believed to attract wealth and money; and improve the wearer’s health and well-being.

And for those of you who are interested in the Zodiac calendar, turquoise is the stone for Sagittarius.

Please for more information about turquoise contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.

Jul 28, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones

Ruby Gemstone



AKA “King of the Gemstones”, the ruby is the birthstone for July. But what makes the ruby so special to have earned such an illustrious title as the undisputed ruler of the gem world? Well, there are many reasons, the most important being its colour: that magnificent red that is synonymous with love and passion, vitality and warmth.

It also boasts outstanding brilliance and an excellent hardness (9 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness and second only to the diamond), and for thousands of years has been considered the most valuable of all the gemstones on earth. It is also one of the ‘big 4’ precious gemstones but unlike the others in that designation – emerald, sapphire, and diamond – the ruby in finer specimens is considered extremely rare, as rare in fact as perfect love.

History, Name Root or Origin, and Symbolism

Though found in many parts of the world nowadays, the classic country of origin was always thought or considered to be India due mainly to that country’s literature and paintings celebrating the beautiful red ruby, particularly in royal households or as insignia of those households. Since then, deposits have been found in Vietnam, Thailand, Northern Pakistan, Kashmir, Laos, Nepal, Afghanistan, Tadzhikistan, East Africa, Kenya, Burma (Myanmar) and Tanzania. The most important of these finds, however, is Myanmar, again because of colour, which is then held up as a yardstick to measure all other rubies from other areas, which explains why experts will often describe a stone as a Burmese Ruby even though it is not from Burma (Myanmar).

The Burmese Ruby is therefore classified as a luxury gem when compared to a gem of lesser quality from any other area. Example: compare a 5-star hotel with luxurious accommodation to a mediocre or plain hotel, inn, or hostel and you have the perfect definition of a Burmese Ruby.

The word ruby comes from the Latin word ‘rubens’ meaning ‘red’, an incomparable red, meaning warm and fiery, an undiluted colour full of passion and power. The symbolism, also relating to the colour, refers to the concept of blood and fire that then implies warmth and life for mankind. In other words, ruby-red is not just any red but a red that conjures up powerful feelings of love and passion, like the love and passion people can feel for each other.

That Fabulous Colour

Clearly, the most important feature of the ruby is its magnificent blood-red colour, with or without inclusions, but a ruby is not always a genuine ruby because some red gems have improperly been labelled ruby when in fact they are spinels. Example, the Timur Ruby and the Black Prince Ruby in the British Crown Jewels are not rubies at all but spinels. That fabulous colour in both the ruby and the spinel comes from the element chrome but it was that chrome that caused fissures and cracks in the growing crystals while they were being created deep inside the earth’s core millions of years ago that now are the inclusions in the gemstone.

But these inclusions are not a pediment to the stone’s beauty, quality, or value. Rather, they might be seen or perceived as the stone’s fingerprint of individuality and proof that it is the genuine article. A ruby that is free of inclusions is extremely rare and will therefore cost you a staggering amount often surpassing the price of a diamond in the same category, of the same carat size.

A Word of caution

If you’re thinking of buying a ruby, you need to talk to someone you can trust -at LL Private Jewellers – because, like all other gemstones, there are many fakes out there and you might end up with a chunk of red glass or a spinel when you’ve paid a very handsome sum for a genuine ruby.

Please for more information about rubies contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.

Jun 29, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Rubies

Jade Gemstone

The first image that comes to mind when I think of jade is an unforgettable intricate ancient Chinese sculpture once featured on an episode of Antiques Roadshow whose appraisal value was in the hundreds of thousands (the exact figure escapes me) but that price pales in comparison to the exquisite green jade necklace that was sold at Christie’s Auction in 1997 for a staggering US$9.3M.

Jade Gemstone

Jade Gemstone

But there’s so much more to jade than just its ticket price for it was known thousands of years ago by prehistoric peoples the world over who used it to make weapons of all descriptions, tools, ornaments, jewellery, and religious artifacts. This was possible because jade is a very hard and durable mineral that resists fracturing when subjected to stress, making it equally a very desirable material for gemstones of every design and shape.

And another interesting feature is that it was considered the purest of all minerals and therefore imbued with certain magical or mystical powers that would inspire the wearer’s highest spiritual aspirations yet remain sensual and self-indulgent enough to satisfy his/her materialistic cravings.


Other Interesting Facts about Jade 

Everyone, including the appraiser on that Antiques Roadshow episode, refers to this beautiful ornamental green rock as jade but the fact is jade is made of not just one mineral but two: Jadeite and Nephrite with jadeite being the prized rock of choice for those prehistoric peoples all over the known world at that time – China, and Central America among the Aztecs and Mayans – who used it for their carvings, jewellery, ornaments, and even medicine; hence the name jade given the stone by the early Spanish explorers after witnessing the natives pressing the stone to their bodies in the belief that it would cure or relieve their various aches and pains.

The discovery, by a French scientist, Alexis Damour, of the existence of the two minerals did not occur until 1863 but was known by Chinese master craftsmen in the 1700s who, working daily with the green stone, recognized that the jade from Burma (Jadeite) was different than that mined in China and thus was born the jade that became known as the exclusive Imperial Jade available only to the Emperors.

The fact that these two minerals are so similar in their physical properties – hardness, colour, lustre, specific gravity, and toughness – explains why the existence of two escaped notice until the 19th century. In fact, the only or perhaps the main difference is in their chemistry property for Jadeite is a pyroxene silicate whereas Nephrite is an amphibole silicate.

This difference, however, can only be discerned by a jade specialist. Hence a word of caution to buy jade only from a reputable source or someone you trust because of the many fakes that abound in the marketplace.


Jade Colours and Ancient Symbolic Motifs

While the most highly prized and of course most expensive colour is the best ‘Imperial Green’, similar to that of a fine emerald, jade also exists in many other colours: various shades of green; yellow, white, reddish-orange; grey; black, brown, lavender, and streaked or mottled colours. Sculptors and carvers love these streaked and mottled colours that give the stone an interesting visual texture for them too create stunning and truly imaginative effects.

The ancient symbolic motifs still used in modern jade carvings include: Bat (for happiness); Butterfly (long life); Dragon (for power, prosperity, and goodness); Peach (symbolizing immortality), and Bi – a flat circular disk with a hole in the centre – (for heaven) and a symbol of great spiritual significance. Jade is also, in Chinese culture, associated with purity of spirit and clarity of mind and symbolizes success, prosperity, and good fortune.

For more information about jade please contact LL private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.

May 28, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Gemstones, Jade

Green Gemstones

Green Gemstones

Green Gemstones

When I think of the word ‘greenery’ the first image that comes to mind is the green stuff florists put in their bouquets, green stuff of every description, leaves, ferns or any type of foliage for decoration.

GREENERY, however, is Pantone’s color for 2017 therefore opening the door, so to speak, for you to adorn yourself in all those lovely green gems in your jewellery wardrobe knowing you’re very fashionable, even a fashionista this year.


If green isn’t your favorite color so have avoided buying green gems, let me enlighten you as to what you’re missing because there are at least 15 gorgeous green gems, starting with the ‘top drawer’ emerald followed closely by the Russian Chrome Diopside (2 of my personal favourite gemstones), tourmaline, peridot, tsavorite, alexandrite, jade, garnet, diamond, apatite, chrysoprase, chrysoberyl, garnet, fluorite, and another favourite of mine, the absolutely stunning paraiba tourmaline.

You should also contact Monika and/or Joe at LL Private Jewellers to see these beautiful gems in person to see what you’ve been missing. All of these gems, also, fit the category ‘greenery’ because they are all varying shades of green, from the palest (the fluorite and apatite) to the deepest green (the Chrome Diopside). So, if you want to sparkle in GREENERY this year, you really need to investigate green gems.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that all green gems are the genuine articles that were created by some cataclysmic event in nature, such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption because not all are the real thing. I refer here to the gorgeous green Helenite, similar in colour to the Chrome Diopside, which was featured months ago on the Liquidation Channel. I loved the colour but had to check it out for myself and while its origin is an interesting story, the Helenite gemstone is a fake.


The Helenite’s story begins in 1980 with the eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s in Washington State (US) when an enterprising scientist, chemist or perhaps alchemist took some of the superheated volcanic rock dust into his lab where he, or maybe she, created the Helenite gemstone. Its clear, vivid green has earned it the label, ‘America’s Emerald’ because it rivals the emerald’s colour but however beautiful and considerably less costly than the ‘top drawer’ emerald, it is still a fake, a lab-created gemstone just like the cubic zirconia.

This is really a cautionary tale encouraging you to deal only with reputable, trustworthy gemologists like Monika or Joe at LL Private Jewellers because anyone – I’ve even heard it said that certified gemologists have been fooled by really good cubic zirconia – can buy ‘a pig in a poke’ thinking they’re buying the genuine green gem of whatever family when in reality it’s a lab-created gemstone such as the beautiful Helenite.

Considering the list above of genuine green gems in a variety of prices, from really expensive (emerald) to the more affordable but equally beautiful (tsavorite, apatite, or fluorite) why settle for a fake gemstone?

For more information about the green gemstones please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.

Apr 23, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Uncategorized

Aquamarine gemstone

aquamarine-octagon-gemstone-250x250The birthstone for March, the Aquamarine is a gem of incredible beauty that is loved by women the world over because it compliments every skin tone and every eye colour. It is also a favourite with gem designers and cutters for it inspires them to create new artistic cuts again and again. Its colour is blue like the lucid blue of the ocean or the blue of the summer sky and is therefore said to be a divine, eternal colour that evokes feelings of harmony, trust, and sympathy.

The name, Aquamarine, comes from the Latin ‘Aqua’ meaning water and ‘mare’ or marine meaning sea. Its colour is identical to that of the Light Blue Topaz and therein lies the potential for fraud perpetrated by unscrupulous dealers who, whether accidentally or on purpose, may sell you a blue topaz, which is generally cheaper, as an Aquamarine.

Hence the need to deal only with designers you trust because not only is the colour of these two gemstones – Aquamarine and Light Blue Topaz – identical but their physical properties are also similar.

Aquamarine’s family

The Aquamarine belongs to the Beryl family and is therefore related to the Emerald, also of the Beryl family. The Aquamarine, though, unlike its more famous cousin, the emerald, is almost entirely free of inclusions with a more even colour than that of the emerald. It also has a good hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs Scale making it tough as though protecting it to a large extent from scratches and nicks and, unlike the emerald, a fabulous shine making it almost as popular as the emerald or any of the other classic and precious gems: ruby, sapphire, and diamond (the ‘big four’ of the gem world: emerald, sapphire, ruby, and diamond).

Aquamarine’s colour

The Aquamarine’s colour range is all shades of light blue, from the palest or almost indiscernible blue colour to the darkest or deepest sea blue, like that of the Blue Zircon. Its colour comes from iron and the more intense the colour the more valuable the stone, for it is that clear blue that epitomizes the Aquamarine’s transparency and spectacular shine.

Aquamarine History, Myths & Truth

The Aquamarine is an ancient gem that, according to legend, was a lucky stone for sailors. This is not at all surprising considering the myth of its origin, namely, that it came from the treasure chests of mermaids. Also in the myth category was the belief that the Aquamarine’s strengths – those of arousing good feelings promoting mutual trust and harmony in relationships – would be further developed if the gem were placed in water that was bathed in sunlight.

But surely better to just wear it since, again according to legend, the Aquamarine is believed to bring joy and wealth to the woman who wears it. In other words, the Aquamarine is the ideal gem both for single and married women because it also promises a happy marriage.

A truth though is that the Aquamarine is a natural and abundant stone that has been found in many countries of the world including Brazil, Nigeria, Zambia, Mozambique, Pakistan and Afghanistan thus no need for synthetic or lab-created Aquamarines so you are at least safe there buying what you think or are told is the real thing when it’s actually a fake. But, to be safe, rather than sorry, in the knowledge that you’re buying a genuine Aquamarine and not a light Blue Topaz, only deal with a trustworthy designer such as Joe at LL Private Jewellers.

Please for more information about the aquamarine contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.

Mar 23, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Aquamarine, Gemstones

Ametrine Gemstone

Ametrine gemstoneDo you know the Ametrine gemstone? Could you identify it if you saw it in a collection of gemstones where there was no caption as to names of those stones? If your answer is no to either of these questions, prepare yourself for an eye-candy experience because the Ametrine really is a spectacular bi-coloured stone, like the Alexandrite (red and green in a single stone or the Tanzanite (blue and purple in a single stone).

The Ametrine’s colours are none of those colours but rather, in a 50/50 split, they are purple and yellow and, unlike many gemstones that are named for or to honor an individual (the exquisite Morganite) or the place of discovery (the Tanzanite from Tanzania) the Ametrine is named for the two gemstones its colours represent: Amethyst (purple) and Citrine (yellow), hence the name Ametrine (Ame (Amethyst) and ciTrine (Citrine). Isn’t that clever?

The Ametrine is also, as you might expect, a favorite among cutters and sculptors because it challenges their artistry and artistic skills as they play with light and color to create unique and mesmerizing pieces and even sometimes landscapes in a single stone. Really, you have to see it to appreciate this play with light that seems to pass through the stone’s two colours blending them into shades of peach, orange, and magenta. And, if you love the purple-yellow combination as much as I do, you’ll fall for the Ametrine with no need to compromise regarding which to choose because the Ametrine delivers giving you two varieties of quartz for the price of one. Surprisingly, too, the Ametrine is very affordable even though it comes from only one place in the world, Bolivia.


Ametrine History

While it may be new to you and many others, the Ametrine, according to legend, is an old stone known by the Ayoreo Indian tribe in eastern Bolivia, where the Anahi mine is located, for more than 500 years but not introduced to Europeans until the 17th century when it was used as a dowry when a Spanish conquistador married an Ayoreo princess. After that there seems to have been little interest in these zonal coloured, purple and yellow, natural quartz crystals until 1925 when the American Mineralogist magazine published an article about them.

Then, in the 1960s reports began circulating about this beautiful purple and yellow mixed stone but because it was still relatively unknown, except perhaps by experts in the jewellery trade and because no country of origin was given, many thought it was a synthetic or lab-produced stone. And many may well have been synthetics because, in 1994 a Russian lab created ametrines using heat and a coloration method that they then exported to other countries using the name Ametrine that only gemologists or experienced mineralogists could immediately recognize as fakes. Therefore, a word of caution if you’re interested in acquiring an Ametrine: buy only from a reputable source or someone you trust.


Birthstone Lore

I’m pretty certain that the Ametrine isn’t a designated birthstone for any month, whether ancient or modern but in terms of the Zodiac gems for each month the Amethyst has been named as the gemstone for Sagittarius and since the Citrine is one of the gemstones for November I see the Ametrine as the perfect alternative birthstone for the month of November. Wouldn’t you agree particularly if, like me, you like, even love both colours in a single stone?

Now, if I have piqued your interest sufficiently to see the gorgeous Ametrine for yourself – no words or pictures can do them justice – and if you don’t want to buy ‘a pig in a poke’ (a fake) I suggest you make an appointment and go see Joe at LL Private Jewellers for his advice and expertise about the Ametrine because he will know the real Ametrine from the fake. Also, he’s the someone you can trust implicitly.

Please for more information about Ametrine contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.

Feb 23, 2017 | Comments: 0 | Category: Ametrine, Gemstones




Do you know the Peridot gemstone? Those whose birthday is in August most certainly do because Peridot is your birthstone. For those of you who don’t know this beautiful gem you’re in for a lovely surprise, especially if you like or even love green, because it is the colour of new leaves and it is therefore the ideal gem to compliment light summer clothing.

But its beautiful green colour with just a hint of gold could also make it the perfect birthstone for November or December when green is in short supply in nature to add a splash of colour to dark winter clothing or just to give a much needed lift or to brighten up the dark, dreary days of late fall and winter.

But how green is the Peridot? Well, that’s a matter of debate with no clear consensus because it has been described as lime green, olive green, or emerald green. Describing it as olive green is totally understandable because its source is the mineral olivine and, in fact, in much earlier times it was simply known as the olivine gemstone. Describing it as an emerald colour is also not surprising because it has often been mistaken for an emerald.

The differences between the Peridot and the emerald though are the intensity of colour: the Peridot being a softer intensity and softer also in terms of hardness at a 6.5-7 on the Mohs Scale. But whatever the colour or shade of green, it is a beautiful gemstone that compliments every other gemstone so if you’re of a mind to design your own jewellery know that it pairs well with ruby, alexandrite, opal, onyx, white topaz, red and green garnets, citrine, tourmaline, and my favourites tanzanite, blue topaz, and aquamarine.



The Peridot is an ancient stone, known as far back as Egypt’s pharaonic times and therefore no surprise that it is Egypt’s national gemstone. It was first discovered in 1500 BC on the Topazo Island (now known as St. John’s Island) in the Red Sea where it was believed to have magical and mystical powers. In ancient Rome too Pliny the Elder in 50 AD wrote that for the strongest magic the Peridot must always be worn on the right arm and regarding its colour he compared the Peridot to hot coals saying in daylight hours it is dull whereas at night it glows like a hot coal.

Equally interesting as to its origin is the fact that in 1749 it was found in a meteorite that landed on a desolate, uninhabited area in Siberia while on earth it was born of fire from volcanic eruptions.


Unlike many other gemstones – e.g. garnet, topaz, tourmaline, tanzanite that come in different colours – the Peridot is one colour only, green or various shades of green. Its colour range though is light yellowish-green, lime green to a darker olive green, to a brownish-green and the most desirable a brilliant green without a hint of yellow or brown, which has earned the Peridot the name the ‘Evening Emerald’ because it seems to glow in artificial light.


With such an impressive pedigree dating all the way back to ancient Egypt it’s hardly surprising that the Peridot is said or believed to possess certain mystical powers such as increasing the wearer/owner’s self-esteem, aiding him/her to let go of guilt, as a talisman to protect him/her against psychic attack and, being a stone of warm energy, bring light and beauty into his/her life. As well, it is particularly important in financial matters because it is believed to promote growth in prosperity and increase the flow of money to the wearer/owner. Hence its label: the Prosperity and Happiness gemstone.

Therefore, even if it is not your birthstone, you might consider it as a worthwhile addition to your jewellery wardrobe so I suggest you make tracks to LL Private Jewellers where you can see this brilliant green gem for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Please for more information don’t hesitate to contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3919.

Dec 23, 2016 | Comments: 0 | Category: Uncategorized