Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Amethyst is Always a Favorite

Beautiful purple amethyst, the birthstone for February, associated with power and wealth, thus associated with royalty and with the trappings of privilege such as an easy life. It is a gem of luxury said to bring peace, happiness and spiritual wisdom.  Rumor has it that amethyst was a personal favorite of Queen Catherine the Great of Russia.

In popular belief, the amethyst offers protection against drunkenness - for the Greek word 'amethystos' means 'not intoxicated' while the Hebrew word for amethyst is achlemah, meaning "that which gives pleasant dreams".

This beautiful crystal quartz gemstone also poses riddles for the scientists which still haven't been completely solved to this day. The amethyst has its hardness (7), its moderate refraction and its weight in common with the other quartzes, but the crystal structure is different and unconventional. The construction is stratified, as a result of which areas and lamellae of varying colour intensity often come about. This explains why there are relatively few large cut amethysts of an evenly distributed dark colour in spite of its having been found so abundantly in all parts of the world. It is only in the last few years that scientists have been fairly certain of having found the real cause of the colour. It is now attributed to certain iron constituents in connection with natural radioactive radiation.

Some amethysts pale almost to colourlessness in daylight. The reason for this has not yet been discovered, but it is possible to re-colour them by means of radium radiation. The fact that these stones can lose their colour makes it obvious that amethyst jewellery should not be worn while sunbathing, in a solarium or in a discotheque with black light. Sudden changes of temperature can also be harmful to the stone.

Amethyst is a variety of quartz and varies in color from pale lavender to a deep, rich purple. The presence of manganese produces Amethyst, while varying amounts of iron content vary the purple intensity. Amethyst is found all over the globe and in every country, but the deeper colored amethyst are found in Uruguay, Siberia, Africa and Colorado.

Amethyst is a stone of "Spirituality and Contentment". It balances the energies of the intellectual, emotional and physical bodies and bestows stability, strength, invigoration and perfect peace.  It brings one serenity and composure in decision making. Amethyst is also a 'Stone of Meditation'.

Moses described amethyst as a symbol of the Spirit of God in the official robes of the High Priest.

As you can see from the photos, amethyst is used in all kinds of jewelry and is also one of the most economically priced gemstones.  That and the many tints and shades of amethyst please a variety of people.  Visit our Ebay store or visit us in person at our Humble, TX store to choose your favorite!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aquamarines to Heighten Intuition

Aquamarine is one of the official birth stones for March, and like emerald, a gemstone form of beryl. Although aquamarine is transparent, it usually has a hue of one of a variety of colours: blue or blue-green are most common, yellow, pink and white are also known. 
The name aquamarine means "sea water", however this was probably coined relatively recently, perhaps during the Renaissance.  It's said that sailors would sometimes wear aquamarine to protect them at sea and this could be where it gained the name.

In older times aquamarine was often not distinguished from other forms of beryl, which is probably why there are less legends concerning this gem than some others. It's said that the Roman emperor Nero used a cut beryl as a monocle - it's likely that this was in fact formed from aquamarine.

Aquamarine is a hard gemstone, (Mohs scale 7.5 - 8.0) which makes it an excellent choice for jewelry that will be worn frequently. However, be sure to store Aquamarine in a dark place, as they often become paler if left out in the sun.
Sources of Aquamarine include Brazil, India, Russia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This gemstone is further associated with the Christian Apostle Thomas.  Aquamarine and Aqua Aura are both gemstones related to Archangel Raguel. His name means Friend of God and he heals personal and professional relationships. His aura shows as pale blue.
It is said that aquamarine's strengths are developed to their best advantage when it is placed in water which is bathed in sunlight. However, it is better still to wear Aquamarine, since according to the old traditions this promises a happy marriage and is said to bring the woman who wears it joy and wealth into the bargain.
Aquamarine is called a "Stone of Courage". It enhances ones innate abilities to always be prepared. It provides a shielding quality against 'Spiritual Pollutants' while emitting a gentle compassionate energy.  Aquamarine has been said to give good memory and general well-being. There is an ancient story that it would change colour to distinguish between truth and falsehood, friend or foe. It is sometimes therefore connected with heightened intuition, possibly even clairvoyance.

As in this ring, aquamarines are sometimes used in combination with other stones, mainly with diamonds and seems to be most often used in rings. 
At The Gold Exchange we have these exceptional aquamarine rings you see here as well as many other birthstone rings.  Click our Ebay link to the right to see your birthstone jewelry.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gold & Silver Coins

At The Gold Exchange, we have U.S. coins of all kinds, starting from the very common silver, nickel and copper currency that is circulated but old enough and rare enough to be worth more than face value.  This kind of coin is excellent for a beginner collector as they are relatively inexpensive and are raw coins, meaning they are not in any kind of capsule or holder.

Then we have the more rare numismatic coins, they can be older coins like the 1856 dime above and the 1940 half dollar at the top.  Due to condition and quality as well as how many were minted in any particular year, these coins have value beyond the metal value and face value.

If you are serious about collecting numismatic coins and want to have them as an investment, we would recommend buying coins that are slabbed as is the gold coin above.  This means they will be in a plastic holder from one of the reputable grading companies and will have a grade applied to it.  The coin above was slabbed and graded by NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation), the grade is AU58.  AU stands for Almost Uncirculated and the higher the number the more pristine the coin, also the higher the value.
If you do a Google search for Sheldon Scale you will find all the info you need on how coins are graded.

Below are some of the more common coins we see.

This silver dollar is known as a Morgan silver dollar as George T. Morgan was the designer.

This is known as the Peace silver dollar as the word PEACE shows below the eagle on the reverse.

If you are very lucky you may have a $20 gold coin such as this that your grandparents or great grandparents did not turn in to the government to be melted during the depression era.  These double eagles, as they are known, are beautiful and valuable in any condition.

Coins like the one above are commemorative, minted for a special event but having a real currency value.  These are collectible as the number minted is usually very small.

The Gold Exchange also has gold and silver bullion coins such as the 1 oz. fine silver coin above, this one was recovered from the destroyed World Trade Center.  Because of the tragedy, these now have a historical value beyond the worth of the silver itself.

We also acquire and sell gold and silver bullion in coins and bars from other countries like these 1 oz. silver Panda coins from China.  Others you might know of are Krugerands and Suisse Helvetias.  When looking to buy coins or bullion from countries other than the U.S., be sure what the metal content and weight is as well as whether it is an authentic coin or whether it is a copy.  Copies are not worth much, beware of unreputable dealers.

The U.S. Mint also produces special editions of coins in limited quantity and which should increase in value in the years to come.  Some are even platinum.
If you are looking for numismatic coins or bullion coins, please check our Ebay listings or contact us if you don't see what you are looking for.  If you are already a collector or are looking to become a collector and need some guidance, please call us at 281-548-2646 and we would be happy to help you with your collection or investment.  We have clients nationwide and over 30 years experience in dealing with numismatics.