评估宝石的价值 (第一部分)

评估宝石的价值

作者:陆荟颖,宝石博物馆创办人

天然的宝石和矿石 (当然也包括珠宝!)是美丽,迷人又稀少的。我们知道它们有一定的价值,也都是人人想拥有的。

那么我们应该如何去评估一颗美丽宝石的价值?

首先,评估宝石的价值需要很多的经验。经验可以来自买卖,或从书本和历史性的交易,比如在拍卖会中得来。

在这三部分评估宝石价值的系列,我们不会展示到底怎样来评估宝石价值的细节。但我们要让你见识到在你开始评估宝石的价值之前, 所需要了解和考虑的因素。

宝石的价值是从何而来?宝石有价值的因素又是什么?

宝石的价值是来自以下因素:

  • 美丽
  • 稀有性
  • 耐久性
  • 需求
  • 传统
  • 便携性

美丽

首先,美丽是我们从肉眼所能看见宝石的第一个优点。而4Cs一向来都是帮助了解宝石之美的重要标准。它们是:克拉重量,净度,色泽。可是,4Cs比较适用在评估透明,刻面的宝石。其它宝石物质像翡翠和软玉各有其独特的分级系统。因此,宝石之美也可以描述为宝石的‘品质’。

Assessing value of gems
一套用于颜色比较的蓝宝石。在评估宝石价值时, 颜色是一个重要因素。

稀有性

稀有是指罕见或不寻常。钻石稀有是因为采矿的产量很低。每开采5克拉钻石, 需要加工约300吨的矿石。同样的, 对于红宝石和蓝宝石, 在许多采矿国家, 采矿技术仍然非常手工, 尽管有些是半自动的。例如, 克什米尔蓝宝石是在非常恶劣的条件下开采的。因此, 解释它的稀有性。

由于其惊人的光学效果,使那类的宝石罕稀少。为了达到完美的猫眼效应 (猫眼) 或星光 (星形), 它取决于粗糙的原料以及宝石雕琢的技术。当最好的这两个元素凑在一起,那雕琢出来的宝石就变得很稀有。

assessing value of afghanistan emeralds
阿富汗祖母绿原石。

这些祖母绿的颜色略浅,不如哥伦比亚祖母绿宝石的颜色。但是,漂亮的绿色祖母绿是很难得到的。它的价值就在于“很难得到”的因素。

耐久性

宝石是因为其耐久性而存有价值。它不会轻易损坏,因此可以在长时间内保持它的品质。所以,有些宝石和珠宝首饰可以一代接另一代地继续保存相传下去。传家宝有它们一定的内藏价值,但却是很难衡量的。在评估宝石的价值时,我们也会看它如何有效地保持其耐久性,也就是说,它如何保持其最高品质。

耐久性涉及几个因素:硬度,韧性和稳定性 (当接触到光,热和化学)。我们将在接下来的博客文章中讨论这些内容。

同时,我们不希望看到宝石上有缺口和刮痕!

assessing value by duarbility
这颗紫水晶的表面有抛光痕迹。这是因为它的硬度指数仅为6。

评估宝石的价值将继续

我们已经讨论了宝石有价值的三个原因。其实,除了在某些细节方面有些变动,这些因素也适用于钻石和矿石上。

在本主题的第二部分,我们将继续讨论为什么宝石有它们的价值。

Celebrating our 2nd Anniversary

“No valleys, no mountaintops.” – B.C. Forbes

On 1 June 2017, we celebrated The Gem Museum’s 2nd Anniversary. We are grateful to everyone who has been supporting us in various ways since we opened in 2015.

For the purpose of our 2nd anniversary, we have invited the press and media from various publishers in Singapore and around the region to grace a special event on 10 unique diamonds.

10 unique diamonds showcased on our anniversary
Setup for the 10 unique diamonds

Before the 10 unique diamonds were presented, we brought our guests through a journey from “Mine to Market”. Special thanks to Mr. Tay Thye Sun for contributing many of the gems and rock samples to educate about geology and gem formation, the first section of the museum. Here, we have a “Rock Garden”, featuring some of our collections from different countries such as Australia, China, Indonesia and Madagascar.

Geology & Gem Formation
Geology & Gem Formation

Of the 10 unique diamonds, the most special diamond is a 1.5ct heart-shaped Chameleon Diamond. We also want to give a special shoutout to our friends from Hong Kong, who are avid diamond collectors, Mr. Si and family. Without which we would not have such great fun showing a beautiful piece of diamond to our guests.

Chameleon Diamond
Heart-shaped chameleon diamond

At the end of the event, there was good interaction with questions and answers. Some of the questions include “How does one become a gemmologist?”, “Which is the most valuable gemstone or diamonds we have seen?” etc. It was a great time of sharing knowledge and experiences.

exhibit demonstration
Mr. Tay Kunming speaking with the guests

Once again, we sincerely thank everyone who had helped us and supported us in one way or another throughout the last two years.

The next exciting event coming up would be the “Moons & Stars” exhibition that we will be setting up during the Singapore’s Night Festival along the Bras Basah and Bugis (BBB) district. Do look out for updates in the next few months!

Crystals, Minerals & Rocks

A brief understanding of Crystals, Minerals & Rocks

quartz
Quartz crystal, Madagascar

What are crystals?

Crystals are solid material in which the atoms are arranged in regular geometrical patterns. The crystal shape is the external expression of the mineral’s regular internal atomic structure. Temperature, pressure, chemical conditions and the amount of space available are some of the things that affect their growth. Many crystallise from watery solutions, some from molten rock as during volcanic eruptions when lava cools rapidly.

Each mineral will always form in a range of crystal shapes. Although there are literally thousands of minerals, their crystal shape can be grouped on the basis of their symmetry into seven systems of three dimensional patterns, namely: octagonal, tetragonal, trigonal, hexagonal, orthorhombic, monoclinic and triclinic. (source: gemrock.net)

 

copper mineral
Close up of copper mineral

What are minerals?

Minerals are made of elements. Elements are simple substances that cannot be broken down into any other substance. The name of an element is written down as a combination of letters called a symbol, e.g: sodium is Na; chlorine is Cl. Salt, a combination of sodium and chlorine is thus written as a formula symbol NaCl. Many minerals are made up of large numbers of elements, so their formulas are complex. The most common minerals are those based on silicon and oxygen, Si04.

People value and search for minerals for many different reasons. Most are useful as they are the raw materials of the metals we manufacture into goods. The lead in a pencil is the mineral graphite mixed with clay. Precious metals are used in commerce and other minerals are valued as gems.

Minerals are either found in shapeless lumps which we call ‘massive’ or they can form into the special shapes we recognise as crystals. Most minerals form within the spaces between other minerals and grow into rough shapeless masses. However, if they are able to form freely in a hole or cavity in the surrounding rock the mineral takes the form of a crystal and these crystal lined cavities are called geodes, vugs or pockets. (source: gemrock.net)

 

mushroom tourmaline
Mushroom Tourmaline, Myanmar

What are rocks?

Rocks are combinations of one or more minerals that we find in nature. They can be big or small. There are three types of rocks: igneous (where you find quartz), metamorphic (where you find jadeite), sedimentary (where you find sandstones). Only a few minerals are rock forming and most rock is made from a combination of the commonest of these such as feldspars, quartz, mica, olivine, calcite, pyroxene and amphiboles. Most other minerals, of which there are over 3,000 different types, are rarely present in quantities large enough to be considered rock forming. (source: gemrock.net)

 

If you would like to know more about crystals, minerals and rocks, come and visit The Gem Museum where you will find a whole array of these samples. We look forward to welcoming you!

Singapore – A great place to learn and practice jewellery design

By Tay Kunming

With a myriad of courses available out there in the marketplace, selecting a course that’s both financially rewarding and beneficial to the local arts and culture scene can be a challenge. Why not learn jewellery design?

As a jewellery designer and craftsman, I’ve noticed that there’s one type of people who are willing to spend on gemstones: the ultra-wealthy foreigners, including the Chinese and Burmese, whose population exceeds one billion and 55 million, respectively. And with more than one million Chinese with assets worth over $1.5 million, the number of rich Chinese is increasing rapidly, according to China Business Review’s report ‘Understanding Chinese Consumers’.

Furthermore, Singapore’s positioning as a world-class tourist hub helps to boost tourist spending, hence learning and practicing jewellery design is ideal.

This year, I was invited to be part of the judging panel for The Singapore Jewellery Design Awards. Looking at the certificate of appreciation that was awarded to me by the design council, I am reminded that as a craftsman, I have to do my part to create more opportunities for the next generation, so they’ll have the right exposure. And as I was speaking to a group of 17 students from Raffles Design Institute the museum partnered to launch an up and coming project titled ‘Gems for Generation’ on 10 November, I am certain that I ought to do more to create a conducive environment for learning and sharing for our next generation.

But for now, here are a handful of practical tips I have to guide jewellery designers and aspiring jewellery designers.

  1. Build good relationships with your craftsmen. Without skilled workmanship, your impressive design is nothing; it’d would be very difficult to create a good design – unless you are able to design and craft gems.
  1. Cultivate your presentation skills. As a jewellery designer, you will need good presentation skills and great ideas so you can sell them to your clients. Unlike a classroom setting where you are required to stand in front of your class to present your concept, you are likely to be sitting next to a prospective buyer, surrounded by gemstones and, possibly, coffee, explaining your design while selecting stones to place on his/her hand. Again, without these skills, your gemstones will be left sitting on your shelves collecting dust.
  1. Open your mind to greater opportunities. In my personal opinion, Singapore is a relatively small market, so don’t be discouraged if your designs are not appreciated by your own people. Instead, open yourself to global opportunities. For instance, selling your designs to the Burmese. With a burgeoning 55 million population, it isn’t hard to find a window of opportunity. Start by researching on a market that you think (and know) will appreciate your works and find all means and ways to penetrate.

sjda_certificate-of-appreciationHere’s something I’d like to share and to encourage all readers (above)!

Exhibition: Galaxy of Glowing Gems

An Exhibition of a Galaxy of Glowing Gems

As part of the 2016 Singapore Night Festival showcase, The Gem Museum and Far East Gems and Jewellery put together a special exhibition of gemstones and minerals that come to live in the dark!

Here’s what we did: We turned off all the lights in the museum, turning the entire space into a wonderland of glowing gemstones.

So nice, they are glowing gems!

amber under UV light exhibitionAn Amber fluoresces blue under long wave UV light.

petroleum-quartz-under-uv-light

Petroleum in Quartz from Pakistan. The petroleum flouresces yellow!

spinel-in-marble-under-uv-light-3

A beautiful pieces of spinel in marble matrix. The spinel fluoresces red under long wave UV light.

For visitors to the museum, it was a sight to behold. And I was delighted to see more than a hundred people attended the event – many are at the museum for their first time! On display were over 200 gemstones and mineral samples from Far East Gem Institute’s collection that showcases the natural fluorescent and properties of the gems, crystals and minerals. Additionally, we have put together a special presentation explaining how and why certain types of gemstones and minerals react under specific lighting conditions that dramatically transform the way they look.

Some interesting facts about glowing gemstones

  • Only about 15% of minerals have a fluorescence that is visible to people and some specimens of those minerals will not fluoresce.
  • Fluorescence usually occurs when specific impurities known as “activators” are present within the mineral.
  • These activators are typically cations of metals such as: tungsten, molybdenum, lead, boron, titanium, manganese, uranium and chromium.
  • Rare earth elements such as europium, terbium, dysprosium, and yttrium are also known to contribute to the fluorescence phenomenon.
  • Fluorescence can also be caused by crystal structural defects or organic impurities.

  • In addition to “activator” impurities, some impurities have a dampening effect on fluorescence.
  • If iron or copper are present as impurities, they can reduce or eliminate fluorescence.
  • Furthermore, if the activator mineral is present in large amounts, that can reduce the fluorescence effect.

  • Most minerals fluoresce a single colour. Other minerals have multiple colours of fluorescence.
  • Calcite has been known to fluoresce red, blue, white, pink, green and orange.

Pic: Calcite fluorescing in different colours.

  • Some minerals are known to exhibit multiple colours of fluorescence in a single specimen.
  • These can be banded minerals that exhibit several stages of growth from parent solutions with changing compositions.

Pic: Banded rock materials that fluoresces different colours under UV.

An important aspect…

  • In the early 1900s, many diamond merchants would seek out stones with a strong blue fluorescence.
  • They believed that these stones would appear more colourless (less yellow) when viewed in light with a high ultraviolet content.
  • This eventually resulted in controlled lighting conditions for colour grading diamonds.

Getting ready for next year!

This year, we had a successful exhibition on a Galaxy of Glowing Gemstones. Coming up next year, Singapore 10th Night Festival 2017, we are going to exhibit the theme of Galaxy of Moons and Stars! Do keep a lookout!

Pic: Star Sapphire

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