It is important to know as much as possible about the materials you work with.  Knowing what to look for when purchasing a gemstone is a given as its quality affects the price.  Customers who buy gemstone jewelry also expect you to know something about the stones you use.  Yet, many artisans are in the dark about gemstones. Misinformation also abounds.  So getting educated about gemstones is a good thing.

You could consult gemology books.  Or check out various websites to learn more.  One such site is the Internation Gem Society  (IGS) which was founded in 1998 by Don Clark, an International Master Gemologist and master gemcutter.

Their general reference library is well stocked with all sorts of information including a gemstone encyclopedia, jewelry styles and inspirations, the art of lapidary, a quick look at antique jewelry and jewelry history and so on.  Did you know lapidarists use color wheels too?

They also offer appraisal services which are not based on the size of the gemstone.  Members - which include both professionals as well as gemstone enthusiasts - can participate in their forum to discuss their favorite topic and help each other.

Where the site really shines is the section on gemstone values. But this is only open to paying members. Gold memberships includes other premium content as well as a marketplace and discounts for appraisal services.

They also have a certification program where you can take both written and practical exams on gemology.  This certification was specifically developed for those who lack the resources (time and/or money) or the inclination to take the full Graduate Gemology degree and training programs offered by such organizations as the Gemology Institute of America.

Aquamarine (Picture Source)
This site mainly focuses on  gemstone properties in terms of availability and use as lapidary materials. Take aquamarine for example.  Did you know aquamarine comes out of the ground with greenish tints? Heat treament - a very common practice - turns them blue which is the color many people associated with this gemstone. But the IGS says a more educated public now appreciates the greener varieties becaue they know these are unheated aquamarine gemstones.  They also warn about an irradiated version called the Maxixe aquamarine, which has an unstable  very deep blue color.

Note that the IGS does not include the fascinating (to me) history and folklore of the gemstones. So you might like to read my past post about Aquamarine: The Mariner's Gemstone.

I also noticed the IGS did not mention the toxicity of real cinnabar (mercury sulfide) - a small point because the material is rarely available.  The cinnabar beads we buy today for jewelry making are actually wooden pieces with a layer of red resin on top.  The Chinese once used the vividly red cinnabar pigment in their carved lacquerware. Mining for cinnabar was a particularly cruel form of capital punishment long ago.  (See Cinnabar - Why Fake is Better).

The IGS is giving away a $59 Gold Membership which is valid for 1 year. Artisans who work with gemstones or sell them will find it useful.

If you would like to win this membership, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Subscribers need to click on the post title to come to my actual blog. Scroll down and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, May 11, 2015. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results on May 18 . So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips