Star Catchers

I am who i am, like it or not deal with it. "No buts.Butts are for pooping"~ Joshua


ChrysopraseThe most brightly hued variety of microcrystalline quartz (aka agate, chalcedony and flint) is the wonderful apple to grass green one known since ancient times as chrysoprase, from the ancient Greek words for gold and leek. The golden bit comes from the frequent presence of associated metallic sulphide minerals such as pyrite, while the bright green is due to impurities of nickel.It occurs in quartz veins in nickel bearing serpentine rocks and in altered deposits of nickel ore that have had hot silica bearing hydrothermal fluids passing through them. Chrysoprase is found in many places, amongst others Australia, Germany, Poland, the USA and Brazil. The best quality is mined in Queensland, and resembles some of the finest imperial green jadeite from Burma.It is a popular gem carving material due to its deep even colour and toughness, but is also commonly cut into dome shaped cabochons or beads for jewellery. The colour can fade in long term exposure to sunlight, but can usually be restored by storing it in moist cotton. Ordinary agate has been dyed to imitate it, though a good look in bright light with a handlens should show the dye concentrated in fractures in the gem. This is the case with most dyed stones since the dye doesn’t have geological timescales available to penetrate the rock, and is usually squeezed into fractures by heating, sometimes in a vacuum. Chrysoprase itself is porous, and can be affected by household chemicals (bleach, perfume and acids should be particularly avoided) or absorb colours from the environment (I wouldn’t remove the husks from walnuts wearing my ring for example)LozImage credit: rockandmineralsupermarketaustralia

The DeYoung Red DiamondThe rarest hue in diamond is red, and it is almost unheard of for them to be graded as such by a laboratory without a colour modifier such as pink or brown (see One of the largest in the world is curated in the Smithsonian collection, weighing in at 5.03 carats. To me the hue seems to have a touch of brown modifier, but grading is done under special daylight equivalent lights with the UV component removed to avoid fluorescence affecting the perceived hue (see while I don’t know in what light the photo was taken.The cause of colour is imperfectly understood, but seems to be defects in the atomic structure caused by slippage within the crystal along cleavage planes in response to tectonic pressures deep within the crust rather than impurities like nitrogen which causes yellow colours. The jeweller who bequeathed it to the museum in 1987 bought it from an estate sale in which it had bee wrongly identified as garnet.LozImage credit: Chip Clark

WIP Forest pendant (polymer clay and labradorite) by Krinna

Lightning Ridge Black Opal Pair, by Woods Stoneworks and Photo Factory | Flickr


Amethyst geode sink 

Boulder opalThe beautiful slice depicted in the photo is made of precious opal in ironstone matrix, replacing a small branch of fossilised wood. The fractures in the wood infiltrated by the silica gel are clearly visible in this beautiful piece from Australia measuring 28 x 22 x 5mm.LozImage credit: Planter opal on etsy.

The Helix aquamarineOriginally brought out of Brazil in the 1930’s, and long in the collection of a famous gem cutting family from Idar Oberstein in Germany, it was left uncleaned for nearly 80 years before being recently prepared and sold. The stone hasn’t been heated either, to produce the slightly bland blue almost ubiquitous in commercial aqua today, but left in its original state, with the beautiful green-blue hue that originated the name aquamarine. The inclusions within that give it its name are phantom crystal surfaces, where growth stopped, and then resumed in the slowly crystallising pegmatitic mush in which it was born. The crystal weighs over 7kg, measures 24.5x12.6x9.3 cm and is currently on loan to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. It is considered one of the planet’s great gems.LozImage credit: Joe Budd/Rob Lavinsky/