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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rare Gemstones

Rainbow moonstone clasp in Boston and Cambridge
Rainbow Moonstone, 18k Gold Clasp
The clasp pictured here is 18k yellow gold with a rainbow moonstone.  Rainbow moonstones are technically not moonstones although, like moonstones, they are in the feldspar family of gem materials.  Rainbow moonstone is a trade name that came about because instead of the typical milky white or bluish sheen floating over regular moonstones, these had pinks, purples, yellow or oranges as highlights.  They have always been a favorite of mine and my wife owns a number of magnificent pieces that came out of my primary source for this gem material's personal collection. 

However a number of years ago, rainbow moonstone became an endangered species.  The mines they were coming from were basically mined out of all the better and larger material available.  Now mind you, this doesn't mean that there isn't mining still going on, but it tends to be of the tailings (the material first thrown away from a mine that,  after a mine has been spent, is often gone back through to find anything now deemed worthwhile). It also doesn't mean that there aren't other jewelers  who bought large amounts of the material when it was available that have back stock of it they can still release (as I had to explain to one of my customers who after I told her that I could no longer get rainbow moonstone because the mines were mined out showed up with a new piece she had bought elsewhere with rainbow moonstones in it and told me I was wrong).  And it also doesn't mean that there isn't other material (like blue sheen moonstone) that has a similar look but isn't really rainbow moonstone. 

When the material first showed up in the marketplace I was selling it for $20-50/carat on a regular basis.  Now if I can even find the material it's five to ten times that amount in cost to ME!  This particular stone is a great reminder of just how precious some gem materials truly are.  When it reaches a point where there is no new material coming in to the market place, not only do prices rise rapidly but availability becomes a huge issue.  Natural gemstones are NOT a renewable resource.  Once they come out of the ground, they can't be replaced.  The only way to have more material is to continually find new sources.  Unfortunately, like tanzanite, rainbow moonstone simply doesn't have other sources than its original ones. So sometimes, when you see a truly unique and beautiful gemstone, you should simply buy it because you never know whether you'll be able to again.

So where did I get the rainbow moonstone in this piece?  I had the good fortune to be approached by my primary moonstone supplier who had just taken on selling a collector's collection of rainbow moonstones as she needed the money more than the gems.  I bought a number of pieces from her because I knew I wouldn't have another opportunity unless another collector decided to sell out.  The one in the picture has some beautiful oranges floating across its surface. 

I am always interested in any feedback my readers might have.  I know you're reading this because you come in the shop and tell me and because I can see it on my blog tracking, so please write something back. Anything....just to let me know what you think. And sign up as a follower too. 

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