Jewellery is probably the most personal and most intimate of all products. It can tell more than anything else about the wearer – their emotions, attitude, status, and personality. Maiko Nagayama jewellery is much less connected to the traditional values of ornament, but it maintains the quality of material in certain level which would endure for 1000 years and more with proper care.
Each piece of jewellery is made by hand. Some of the pieces are limited edition or completely one of a kind piece due to the rareness of the material. Below is the list of several gem stones which Maiko thinks fascinating.
JET – Intensely Black Gem Stone
Jet is the ornamental form of lignite coal that formed when wooden logs washed out to sea and sank into mud on the sea floor. The logs became impregnated with oil formed by algae and plankton as they decayed in the mud. The oil-soaked wood became less brittle, resulting in jet rather than a more fragile form of coal.
Archaeologists have found evidence of the ornamental use of jet in prehistoric times. Evidence also shows Romans using jet before and after invading Britain – the principal source of jet – in 55 BC.
Today, England is the major jet source. The English town of Whitby in Yorkshire is especially closely associated with the carving and finishing of jet.
Jet emits a strong odour when rubbed, and it burns like coal.
Artisans who carve jet always work by hand, so no 2 pieces are exactly alike.
According to believers of the healing power of stones, jet absorbs negative energy, and helps recovery from depression, sadness, grief and loss.
OPAL – Play of Colour
Opal is the product of seasonal rains that drenched dry ground in regions such as Australia’s semi-desert “outback”. The showers soaked deep into ancient underground rock, carrying dissolved silica downward. (Silica is a compound of silicon and oxygen)
Even though its formation process includes evaporation, opal still contains a significant amount of water, usually about 3 to 10 percent. Water content is even higher as much as 20 percent in some opals types. Australia is the major opal source.
Maiko is fascinated by opal’s unique display of flashing rainbow hues, known as play – of – colour.
Play – of – colour is produced by the interaction of light with opal’s internal structure of stacked silica spheres.
Black opal commands the highest prices of all opal types because of its unique qualities.
Alexandrite – Colour Change
Alexandrite is the rare gemstone which has colour-change phenomenon.
Its finest dual colours are a vivid grass green in daylight and fluorescent light, and an intense raspberry red in incandescent light... "Emerald by day, Ruby by night"
Garnet, Some Sapphires, and fluorite can display colour change.
The original alexandrites found in Russia’s Ural Mountains in 1830. Today, Sri Lanka and Brazil are major source of alexandrite. Other alexandrite sources include India, Myanmmar’s Mogok Stone Tract, and In Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania’s Lake Manyara.
Moonstone / Rainbow Moonstone / Sunstone
Moonstone has delicate beauty and long heritage and it is perhaps the most familiar in the gem-quality member of the feldspar group.
The phenomenon, soft glow that appears to billow across a gemstone called adularescence is caused by the scattering of light by stacked, alternating mineral layers. Adularescence received its name from “adularia”, an old name for moonstone.
Sri Lanka is a major source of top-quality moonstone.
The name known as rainbow moonstones which has a multicoloured adularescence combined with a light bodycolour, despite the fact that there are actually labradorites found in Madagascar.
While cool moonstone’s phenomenal varieties show a distinct and lively glitter called aventurescence which is a sparkly, metallic luster caused by flat, reflective inclusions.
Sunstone from the US state of Oregon isn’t treated. Oregon sunstone is transparent feldspar with copper inclusions. It comes in a colorless form, as well as in a wide variety of colours.
Star Rubies and Sapphires
The star effect on some rubies and sapphires are caused by reflections from tiny needle – like inclusions that are oriented in several specific directions.
Stars are usually made up of 2, 3 or 6 intersecting bands, resulting in 4,6 or 12 rays. The most common stars have 6 rays and 12 rayed stars are quite rare.
Sri Lanka is the major corundum (Ruby and sapphire) source. Myanmar and Thailand have also been a source of corundum. Thailand is one of the major sources of black sapphires.
Rock crystal is the natural colourless and transparent quartz.
It was first discovered by rock climbers in Greece. At first sight, they believed it to be ice that never melted.
The important rock crystal sources today are Brazil, Madagascar, Switzerland, and the United States.
Chalcedony is known as cryptocrystalline quartz, from Greek word for “hidden”, because it is made up of tiny quartz crystals that are invisible to the unaided eye.
Chalcedony quartzes are abundant, semitransparent to opaque gems that include patterned and banded agates, intense blue-green chrysocolla – in – chalcedony, and yellowish green, jade-like chrysoprase.
Crysocolla – in – chalcedony is one of the most valuable chalcedony varieties. The sources include the US, Mexico and Israel.
Carnelian and Sard are warm-hued chalcedonies. Carnelian’s current sources are Brazil, India and Uruguay.
Iris agate shows iridescent colours phenomenon when light is transmitted through thin slices.
Kyanite – Dark Blue Gem Stone
Kyanite is an attractive blue gem stone. The gem’s name comes from the Greek word Kyanos, which means “dark blue”. Kyanite has the same chemistry as andalusite.
Kyanite’s another name is disthene, which means double strength. It has different hardness in different directions.
Kyanite sources include Brazil, India, Kenya, Myanmmar, Pakistan, Switzerland, the US and Russia.
Fluorite – Collector’s Stone
Fluorite is a beautiful transparent – to translucent stone that can be in a wide variety of colour. Fluorite crystals are sometimes mounted in pendants and sold as “new age” jewellery.
Bluejohn is the massive crystalline variety of fluorite. It has been used for thousands of years for vases and other decorative objects.
England, Switzerland and the US are major sources of fluorite.
Moldavite – Natural Glass
Moldavite is an amorphous natural glass with exotic origin.
It is a type of tektite. Some scientists believe that tektites formed when meteorites struck the earth, altered surface rock extreme heat and pressure, and splashed it near and far in molten form.