All posts filed under: Gemmologie – AFG

A day in Paris at the Ecole des Arts Joailliers

Who hasn’t ever dreamed of learning a bit more about jewellery and spending a day in the premises of the prestigious Place Vendôme? This “school of jewellery arts” is dedicated to the history of jewels and the world of gemstones. The Paris based Ecole des Arts Joailliers Van Cleef & Arpels makes our dreams come true, nevertheless confronting its students with the difficulties of jewellery artcraft. Created initially by Nicolas Bos, who wanted to highlight jewellery know-how and perhaps also encourage vocations, the school is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. It also organises visits of the Museum of Decorative Arts, a longtime partner, to illustrate the different courses. The school offers 20 different courses following three main axes: the history of jewellery, know-how and the world of gemstones. I was lucky to experience a day at the Ecole des Arts Joailliers, Van Cleef and Arpels. A great activity whether alone or as a couple, as a gift to your beloved one or to share with your bestie. Perfect idea for a fun and educational …

We fell for the jewels designed by colourist Isabelle Langlois…

Her grand father was a stone cutter, supplier of the entire Place Vendome, and her father, known as one of the greatest experts of coloured gems, is the founder of the French Association of Gemmology. It’s easy to believe that jewellery was almost a destiny for colourist Isabelle Langlois. Passionate from an early age, the talented designer had to work hard to gain recognition in this male-dominated world, until she eventually created her own jewellery line and became successful. Portrait of the bright woman we met in the boutique she decorated herself, located in Paris, 12 rue de la Paix. Isabelle Langlois, born amongst precious stones… Isabelle Langlois, you are the heiress of a family of stone cutters from the French Jura region, the passion for coloured gems is a family tradition: was your journey thus made easier? It wasn’t! After graduating from business school, I had set my sights on working for my aunt, Catherine Vassort, who was then head of Vassort high jewellery workshops. My aunt was a wonderful incarnation of the “Parisienne” : …

Tanzanite, the December birthstone…

Tanzanite is a fascinating blue stone discovered fairly recently. A variety of zoisite with a very peculiar blue-violet colour, its discovery dates from January 1967 by a miner named Ndugu Jumanne Ngoma. A fabulous story: on his way to visit his family, his attention is caught by very transparent and shiny crystals looking like rough tourmaline. A few hours later, the man has picked up from the ground several kilos of the stone, fascinated by the magnificent colour. He tries to sell it but at that time no one is interested. Eventually, the discovery is attributed to Manuel De Souza, who is the first to commercialise the stone one year later. The gem’s value was recognised by the Maison Tiffany & Co in 1968, naming it tanzanite as a tribute to its country of origin. Close to the colour of the amethyst, the gem  also has a bluish colour deep as sapphire. It may also appear pink, due to its natural and intense pleochroism which makes the stone fascinating. Moreover because it is found in …

Garnet, the January birthstone

For thousands of years, garnet has been used for jewellery under the name “red gem” or “carbuncle”. Courageous explorers would travel with garnets because of the popular belief that the stone would illuminate at night and protect them from all kinds of demons. Roman brooches dating from the Merovingian period decorated with garnets are exhibited at the Musée des Antiquités Nationales in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. German philosopher Albert Le Grand (1193-1280) named the stone in reference to the colour of the pomegranate fruit. At that time, they are simply polished to preserve the rough stone. In the 18th and 19th century, garnet jewellery became fashionable, mostly the pyrope garnets, named also Bohemian garnets. The garnet is a family of gems comprising many varieties and different colours ranging from bright green (tsavorite garnet) to reddish brown, yellow, orange and even purple. Only blue is not represented. Particularly interesting is the rhodolite garnet which is a variation of the pyrope garnet in a very attractive purplish-red shade. Rhodolite garnet tends to have a lighter shade than all other red …

Citrine, the November birthstone

November is coming to an end but let me tell you about this month’s beautiful birthstone: the citrine! The citrine is part of the large family of quartz, with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, it crystallizes in the rhombohedral system. The main deposits are in Brazil, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. “Citrus” in Latin means lemon, the name comes indeed from its peculiar yellow colour which is due to the presence of iron. Most of the citrines on the marketplace are actually heated amethysts. Around 470 degrees to obtain a light yellow, and the higher the temperature, the darker the stone transforms, turning into brown tones. Its colour ranges from the most classic golden yellow to tangerine yellow and sometimes to Madeira yellow – an orangey colour like that of the eponym wine. In the Middle Ages, citrine symbolised prosperity, glory and joy, it was considered to be  the stone of the merchants. At that time, following popular belief, each stone was used during its corresponding month, when its strength was at its …

10 tips to buy gemstones abroad

Patrick Voillot is a gemstone specialist and has traveled the world for 20 years in search of the most beautiful gems. He graduated in gemmology, he is a doctor in pharmacy and a curator of the mineralogy collection of the Paris V Faculty of Pharmacy. Based on his experience, he gives us 10 tips for buying precious stones. He gave this advice during the conferences held at Mes Créateurs Joailliers trade fair last November. 1. Find out about availability If you are going to a foreign country and you want to buy gems, the first reflex to have is to enquire beforehand about the different varieties of gems you might find in the country. For example, in Burma it will be rubies but also topazes, tourmalines or aquamarines. If you are offered stones that are not commonly found in this country, it might be a fraud… A good way to check this information is to check out Patrick Voillot‘s website which details for each country the stones that you could find. Or check out a gemstone guide …

« Bejewelled Treasures »: The Al-Thani collection

The much-awaited exhibition “Bejewelled treasures”, the Al Thani collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London cannot fail to impress. The impression, on the contrary, will be to have eyes filled with stars and the palpable emotion of having seen something quite exceptional. A private collection exploring the great themes, from tradition to modernity, in Indian jewellery. The exhibition features over a hundred objects and jewellery pieces from the private collection of Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani. The jewels are organized into six different universes: treasure, court, kunden & enamel, transition period, modernity, contemporary masters. For each, one spectacular piece of jewellery serves as an introduction to the universe. The exhibition welcomes you with a turban ornament dating from 1935. A fabulous piece sparkling like a thousand flames due to the presence of 17 diamonds of unprecedented purity, totaling 152.64ct. This ornament also illustrates the influence of Europe on India by the simple detail of the mount which is made of platinum and not gold as traditionally used in India. In the first part …