WigJig Jewelry Tools Presents our Jewelry Making Newsletter -- AKA Boomer Sez:
Our Spokesdog: If an insurance company can have a gecko, we have decided that we can have a spokesdog. Boomer, shown at right, is our spokesdog.
Shows: Thank you to all the people who stopped by the Best Bead Show in Tucson last week to say hello. We really appreciate the opportunity to talk to our customers. Unfortunately, because of the show, we are slower than we intended in getting this newsletter out. Boomer apologizes for the delay.
Birthstone: The birthstone for February is the amethyst. Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz (Silicon Dioxide) and as such has a hardness of 7. Amethyst as an element in jewelry was known since antiquity and was very popular among the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. The name amethyst comes from a Greek word meaning "not drunken". This name was devised because the ancient Greeks believed that drinking from an amethyst cup could prevent intoxication. (Boomer sez don't try this at home. It doesn't work.) While amethyst was traditionally included among the "cardinal", or most valuable gemstones (including diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald), amethyst has recently declined in value due to the discovery of extensive deposits of the gemstone.
There is some diversity of opinion on the chemical source of the purple color in amethyst. Interesting enough, upon exposure to heat, amethyst becomes yellow. In fact, citrine, a yellow variety of quartz, is sometimes called "burnt amethyst".
We have placed our 6mm Amethyst CZs on sale for the next two weeks. Select the picture, above-left, to view these CZs in our Internet store. It is important to note that CZs are actually harder and may be stronger than real amethyst. With a hardness of 7, real amethyst is vulnerable to being scratched by most sand. CZs with a hardness of 8.5 are actually invulnerable to scratching by sand and by most other materials and CZs won't change colors when heated to temperatures under 2750 degrees C. (This won't happen in the family oven.)
Hardness of Gemstones: We have added a new web page to our WigJig Encyclopedia of Jewelry Making. It is a page on the hardness of materials that you can view here.