What is an optical phenomenon? Plainly put, this term embodies the result of the way light interacts with the crystalline structure, inclusions, and/or internal structure of a gemstone. It is, in essence, the reflection, diffraction, absorption, and/or diffusion of that light. Without even knowing, we encounter these phenomena on a daily basis, whether in opal, moonstone, alexandrite, or cat’s eye chrysoberyl—that said, one should be careful not to confuse optical property, such as dispersion in a diamond, with optical phenomena.
Field gemmology and travelling to mines directly is a great learning opportunity: you can see the sites and the people you want to work with, observe the conditions, build relationships and contacts, and meet amazing individuals with infinite stories they can share with you over a good drink.
Much to the delight of those in attendance, this year’s Tucson gem shows were as exciting and joyful as ever. As with every February, industry members came together in the desert to marvel at the colourful gemstones and oddities lining the streets.
The pearl is among the oldest known gems of our world. Historically, they were considered divine gifts, rich with love and royalty. Kings and crowns harboured natural pearls as a sign of power, purity, and wealth—almost as though the gems would bring prosperity and long life to those who possessed them.