Blue Zircon - Real and RARE

To this day, people are still surprised to discover that Zircon is in fact a real gemstone, not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia, a synthetic stone that has been used to imitate diamond.

In actuality, Zircon is a natural gemstone found a variety of colors, from soft rose hues, to golden yellows, reddish-browns, clear as well as greens and blues.

Zircon is noteworthy because of it’s very high dispersion. It is right up there next to diamond as far as dispersion is considered, meaning its crystal formation creates a high amount of sparkle. Zircon is also a fairly durable stone but it is brittle. So, as opposed to wearing down and becoming smooth, it is more likely to chip due to impact.

Blue Zircon necklace, designed by and found exclusively at The Gem Vault.

Blue Zircon necklace, designed by and found exclusively at The Gem Vault.

The Zircon gems we carry in store are primarily mined in Cambodia, but are also found in Burma. Many of the colored varieties have been enhanced by heat treatment.

Again, while Zircon is frequently mistaken for a synthetic stone, it is in fact a natural gem dating back to antiquity. It is also the true, original birthstone for the month of December.

Because Zircon is relatively rare, many common jewelers default to using the more widely available Blue Topaz. Topaz is much more readily available, and its Blue tones are also created by treatment, primarily radiation.

At The Gem Vault, we think there is no finer gift for a December baby than a real Blue Zircon gemstone or piece of jewelry!

Tanzanite: A Rare And Beautiful Gemstone

Discovered in 1967 in northeast Tanzania, and christened "Tanzanite" by Tiffany & Co in 1968, Tanzanite is a remarkably beautiful gem whose mineralogical name is "Zoisite", specifically Blue Zoisite. 

Design by Sharon Curtis-Gal of The Gem Vault

Design by Sharon Curtis-Gal of The Gem Vault

Tanzanite, was named as such because the only deposit that produces most of these Blue Zoisite gemstones is found in northern Tanzania.  It wasn't until the 60's that enough of it was discovered in order to make it a commercially popular gem. And it took decades more for it to gain even more widespread popularity. 

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As mining went from small-scale digging to major commercial operations, Tanzanite became more readily available, but it has always remained a rare gem. In fact, Tanzanite may only be accessible for a limited time: our current lifetime. 

Design by Jason Baskin of The Gem Vault

Design by Jason Baskin of The Gem Vault

It can be easy to forget how limited some gems are. But now the famous Paraiba Tourmaline deposits are mined out; The Russian Demantoid Garnet deposits are mined out. Very little or no material remains available from these gemstone deposits.  And Tanzanite is close behind. 

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At The Gem Vault we do our best to always have a few fine specimens of each colored gemstone in-store or accessible through our network of international stone dealers. Tanzanite won't be around forever, and is one more unique gem we recommend collecting now before it's too late! 

Learn All About Garnets 'Inside the Vault'!

For decades we've specialized in rare colored gemstones and minerals, in addition to the award-winning custom jewelry work we offer.  If there's a color gem specimen in the world, we know all about it!  

Image from GIA.edu

Image from GIA.edu

Starting January 2018 we'll be hosting in-store Gemstone presentations called 'Inside the Vault', and this month we're talking all about GARNET.  

Join us on Thursday January 18th from 7-8pm in our showroom!

Garnet is the January birthstone, but many people do not realize that garments come in almost every color of the rainbow.  Typically the deep red birthstone you see offered by most jewelers and retailers is the most widely available variety of garnets, known as almandine.

Rare Mali Garnet from The Gem Vault

Rare Mali Garnet from The Gem Vault

The garnet family is comprised of many closely related mineral species that vary in color, refraction (sparkle) and chemical composition.  At The Gem Vault we always carry or can bring in the more unusual varieties of Garnet, including: 

  • Tsavorite - A fine rich green
  • Spessartite - Sparkling orange or red-orange
  • Mali - Yellow-green champagne-like hues, with intense sparkle
  • Rhodolite - Pinkish-purple or rose-colored
  • And many other members of the garnet family!  

Join us Inside The Vault Thursday January 18th at 7pm, and save 25% on all garnet jewelry throughout the month.

Click here to bookmark this event on Facebook!

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Every year in early winter the largest gem and mineral show in the world comes to Tucson, AZ bringing industry experts together from across the globe.

And, every year our own Jason Baskin makes his trip out to the show, and he brings your requests with him, giving you access to the BEST fine gems and minerals from around the world!

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Jason has been going to the Tucson show annually for decades. The show is a massive playground of fine cut gems, beads, mineral specimens, fossils and much more. 

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Jason knows his way around the entire show and touches base with some of the world’s finest gem and mineral dealers and industry friends.  So, if there’s something you’ve been looking for, let us know and Jason will find it for you. 

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The show begins on January 27th, so please send us any requests via our contact form by Sunday, January 21st so we can be sure to have you on our list! 

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Happy gem hunting!