Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Dioptase

Dioptase image found on

Dioptase is such a gorgeous gemstone! Discovered in 1797 by René Just Haüy, it was named from the Greek words dia meaning "through" and optos meaning "to see."  alluding to the visibility of its internal cleavage planes. Dioptase is a hardness 5 with a vitreous luster and may be transparent or translucent.  In colour, it may be emerald green, blue-green, or turquoise. Dioptase may be found in: Angola, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo(Zaire), France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Romania, South Africa, and the states of Arizona, California, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Website Grand Opening!!!

Well, at long last I have a website!!  This has been on my 'to do' list for a couple of years now and the time was right for me to start working on getting it up.  I've been working on the site most of this last month and it is now finally ready to launch!  Not all of my work has been posted in the store, so if there is a piece in my gallery here that you are interested in, but you don't see it listed, just drop me a note or e-mail via the website. Hope you enjoy my new website and check back often as I will be continuing to list new items!

Handmaden Designs LLC website:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Scheelite

(Scheelite image found on

Scheelite was in 1821 and is named after Swedish chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele who proved the existence of tungstic oxide in 1781. Scheelite is a calcium tungstate and has a hardness of 4.5-5.  It may be tan, golden-yellow, colourless, white, greenish, dark brown, reddish yellow, pale yellow, and otehr various shades of these colours.  In transmitted light, Scheelite will appear colourless.  Scheelite may even form with colour-zoning. It has an adamantine to vitreous luster, and may be transparent or opaque. Scheelite may be found in contact-metamorphic tactites, high temperature hydrothermal veins and greisens, granitic pegmatites, or alluvial deposits.  It has a dipyramidal, tetragonal crystal structure. Scheelite is may be found all over the world in: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma(Myanmar), Cambodia, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo(Zaire), Ecuador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Namibia, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippians, Portugal, Poland, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, the U.K, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Zambabwe and all across Canada and the U.S. you could also say that Scheelite is 'out of this world' as it can also be found on the moon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Zincite

(Zincite image found on

Zincite is a beautiful, and generally, fiery gem. It may be yellow, dark yellow, red, dark red, white, or orange and has a hardness of 4-5.  Zincite was discovered in 1845 and is named after its high zinc content. It may be transparent, translucent, or opaque and has a sub-adamantine or sub-metallic luster.  Stones of a good quality, colour, and size can get to some rather high prices, and you need to be careful when looking to buy it as synthetic Zincite is rather widespread.  Zincite may be found in: Russia; Sweden; Belgium; Germany; France; Italy; Tunisia; Iran; India; China; Australia; Zambia; Austria; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Greece; Norway; Poland; Slovakia; UK; Democratic Republic of Congo/Zaire; and the states of: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Utah, California, Tennessee, Nevada, Illinois,Virginia, and Arizona, and even more interestingly Zincite may be found on............................... the moon!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Neptunite

(Neptunite image found on

As one might suspect from its name, Neptunite was named after the Roman god of the sea "Neptune."  The reason for its name is because it was found Aegirine which was named after the Scandinavian god of the sea "Aegir." Neptunite was first discovered in 1893, and may be black or deep red.  It tends  to be opaque or translucent and has a hardness of 5-6 and has a vitreous luster.  Neptunite may be found in: Russia; Tajikistan; Greenland; Australia; Brazil; Mongolia; Ireland; the Canadian provinces of: Labrador, Newfoundland, and Quebec; and the states of: Montana, California, New Mexico, and North Carolina.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Gemstone of the Week: Charoite

(Charoite image found on

Charoite is an absolutely gorgeous and fairly rare stone being found in only one location in the isolated Eastern-Siberian region of Russia.  It is a hardness 5-6, and is a translucent gemstone.  However, this gem has some unusual characteristics, it tends to have slight to moderate chatoyancy.  This chatoyancy is due to clusters of asbestos fibers so it must be cut wet and a mask should be worn when cutting it.  Charoite may be violet, deep lilac, or light brown, but is most known for the violet and lilac colours.  It forms in fibrous massives and has a silky or vitreous luster.  Despite its rarity Charoite is a pretty modestly priced.