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Hello! My name is Barbra Ann King and I’m a Rock Star… also known as a Gemmologist.

Hello! My name is Barbra Ann King and I’m a Rock Star… also known as a Gemmologist.

Gemmology is the science of analyzing natural and synthetic gemstone material, from coloured stones to diamonds to organic material like pearls, amber and opals. A gemmologist is a person that is academically trained and qualified to identify and evaluate gems using specialized scientific equipment such as microscopes, refractometers, dichroscopes, spectrometers and more.

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The History of the Diamond Engagement Ring

The History of the Diamond Engagement Ring

The engagement ring is a tradition dating back to ancient Egyptians who believed circles were symbols of eternity. Wedding rings were worn on the left-hand ring finger because it was believed that a vein runs directly to the heart, the “Vena amoris”. In 1477, the Archduke Maximillian of Austria is believed to have commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring…

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Coloured Beaches of the World

Coloured Beaches of the World

While thinking of the birthstone for the month of March, Aquamarine, it led me to dream of warm tropical water and white sandy beaches… But why “white” sandy beaches? What about purple? Or maybe orange or even red! There are a variety of coloured beaches around the world that are worth visiting. Here are a few worth mentioning and “googling”…

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Amethyst, the Magical Stone

Amethyst, the Magical Stone

In the fifteenth century, the traditional virtue of the Amethyst stone was the cure of drunkenness: it had a sobering effect. The word “amethyst” derives from the Greek “amethystos”, meaning “a remedy against drunkenness”. This stone is known to support sobriety. It was also believed to protect soldiers from harm and help hunters capture wild animals. In our day and…

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Birthstones

Birthstones

It is the beginning of a new year and we will all have a birthday to look forward to. This brings me to talk about birthstones and the lore and history about them. Birthstones, also known as “natal stones”, can be traced back to the Bible. Aaron, the High Priest of the Hebrews, wore a breastplate containing twelve precious gemstones…

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Jewellery Forensics

Jewellery Forensics

I recently attended the GIA Jewellery Forensics seminar. As a gemmologist, it is important to participate in continuous education in order to keep up to speed with new technologies, such as being able to identify a lab-grown diamond versus a natural one. As a jewellery appraiser, I need to understand how a piece of jewellery is made in order to…

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Canada, What a Gem Part II

Canada, What a Gem Part II

As one of the largest mining countries in the world, Canada has more than 60 minerals and metal produced and processed. Our beautiful country is recognized worldwide as having the safest practices in the industry. Mont St-Hilaire, located in the province of Québec, has over 300 different species of minerals but because it is privately owned, digging for these specimens…

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Canada, What A Gem!

Canada, What A Gem!

The land we live on, the country we call Canada, took four (4) billion years to form. All this massive amount of rock formation, climate change, tectonic activity, volcanoes and continent movement contributed to the formation of gold, copper, zinc and iron, as well as a variety of gemstones such as Diamond, Labradorite, Amazonite, Jade, Ammolite and many more. Ammolite…

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Pink Diamond Mine Closing

Pink Diamond Mine Closing

We knew it was coming so it wasn’t a huge surprise when Rio Tinto Mining Corporation announced the closing of the Argyle Diamond Mine for 2020. After almost 40 years, the Western Australia diamond mine will be shut down. Although it isn’t uncommon for a diamond mine to close after exhausting its supply of stones, the closure of this particular…

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Ethical Gold

Ethical Gold

You may have heard people using and/or selling “ethical”  or “eco-friendly” gold. What does that mean exactly? There are a few different types of gold on the market, the main ones being called “eco-friendly”, “ethical”, “recycled/reclaimed” and “dirty”. Here is a quick overview of their impact on the environment. Eco-friendly gold is mined with minimal disruption to the environment and…

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Toothpaste Is For Cleaning Teeth, Not Jewellery

Toothpaste Is For Cleaning Teeth, Not Jewellery

There are many ways people use to clean their jewellery. Some raise my eyebrows! Unfortunately, some are not very effective and can even be very damaging to the jewellery. The best way to clean your jewellery will always be to take it to knowledgeable jewellery store personnel. They will not only clean your jewellery safely, but they should be able…

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