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Rare Gemstones: How to Identify, Evaluate and Care for Unusual Gems Paperback – February 25, 2012

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Rare Gemstones: How to Identify, Evaluate and Care for Unusual Gems + Exotic Gems, Volume 2: How to Identify and Buy Alexandrite, Andalusite, Chrysoberyl Cat's-eye, Kyanite, Common Opal, Fire Opal, Dinosaur Gembone, Tsavorite, Rhodolite & Other Garnets + Exotic Gems: How to Identify and Buy Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite, Sunstone, Moonstone & Other Feldspars (Newman Exotic Gem Series)
Price for all three: $49.11

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: International Jewelry Publications (February 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929975464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929975467
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Rare Gemstones is a fascinating insight into the latest and more unusual gemstones that are now finding their way into designer jewellery. The book covers rare gems that are mounted in jewellery, as well as some that are used only very occasionally, based on the opinions and usage of a range of jewellers. From their suggestions, over 60 of the lesser-used gem materials have been selected, documented and presented in a highly visual way. Some of the stones covered have limited use due to hardness or durability factors, but these limitations are all addressed in the various sections. Where this book differs from others is in the extensive use of photographs of rough, cut and fashioned gemstones, as well as gem-set jewellery, showing that not only can these rare gemstones be used in various settings, but also that they are available today. Rough crystals and matrix are also illustrated in differing setting, including, for example, wrapped cobaltocalcite pendants and earrings, amongst others.

The variety of stones covered ranges from those familiar to most readers to the rare and unusual. Apatite, calcite, moldavite and obsidian are listed alongside the less well-known stones such as gaspéite, psilomelane and jeremejevite--stones normally reserved for small notes in more expensive texts, often without the photographs that this book makes good use of. Although not as widely known, these gemstones are given the same consideration and respect that the more 'usual' gemstones in expensive jewellery are afforded, providing valuable insight into what can be done when jewellers think outside of the box.

The information supplied on each stone is comprehensive. The author gives pronunciations of the names of stones, along with all the usual gemmological information such as chemical formula, refractive index, specific gravity and crystal system. Localities are mentioned where considered important or noteworthy, along with historical context, showing that these 'rare gems' have been known through history, even if not utilized. Treatments are also covered, either in the initial constants area for each stone, or in the main body of text, along with the care and attention necessary to avoid damage to these more unusual gemstones. In total, the information given in this book is very well presented, easily readable and accurate, ensuring and excellent point of reference in an area all too often overlooked.

Whether a newcomer to the world of gemmology or an experienced collector, this volume has something for everyone, and is highly recommended. --Gems & Jewellery

I wish all of the books that appraisers need to keep on our reference shelves were just like this one. Rare Gemstones, How to Identify Evaluate and Care for Unusual Gems is a treasure. Like all of Renee Newman's books, it is impeccably organized, beautiful and complete.

This book is intended to be the companion to Renee's book Gemstone Buying Guide. Whereas that book includes the gemstones more frequently seen in fine jewelry, Rare Gemstones reviews, well, more rare gemstones. For appraisers familiar with the GIA "B Chart," you will immediately recognize many of these stones. Although they may be rare, they may not seem exceptional to NAJA appraisers. But I assure you, there are some curios in here. For example, as I flip through the pages, I can say with certainty that I've never seen Rainbow calcite, Star enstatite, or Cadmium hemimorphite.

The book has two major subsections, Rare Gems Used in Jewelry, and Rare Gems Sometimes used in Jewelry. The second group is too soft or otherwise inappropriate for jewelry. Nevertheless, they are still beautiful enough to be called a gemstone, and desirable enough to be a collector's stone.

The front and back covers of Rare Gems are carpeted with high quality, high gloss, full color photographs of gemstones, laid out by color, dark to light. The first thing I did was look at every single photograph and see which gemstone it was. The layout and all aspects of this book were of the highest quality.

Each gemstone is concisely but thoroughly explained. The book contains the pronunciation, chemical composition, RI, Hardness, SG, crystal system, optic character, toughness, treatments, and more, in chart form, for each stone. Then there are one to seven paragraphs written about each stone. That information includes history, quality factors, typical uses and even retail prices. Best of all, there are many photographs, including uncut specimens, the faceted gemstone, possible colors that it is found in, high and low quality examples, and the gem set in jewelry. Seeing the photographs is almost like holding the stone. When I explore a stone in the book, I believe I really get to know it.

Additional sections in Rare Gemstones include; How to Care for Rare and Unusual Gems, and Where to Find an Appraiser. The appendix includes the expected items, for example; main sources of information for the identification data, and identification terms explained. It also has some unexpected information including; lists the traditional birthstones established in 1912, gemstones in the order of their descending Mohs hardness, gemstones in the order of their descending refractive index, and gemstones in the order of their descending density.

Probably the most beneficial aspect of Rare Gems for the appraiser is having all of this information put together in one affordable, easy to understand book, especially considering the newness of the information. For instance there is Zultanite, not just a diaspore anymore. It's a gem quality, color-change, rare and desirable stone being heavily marketed. The thorough and au courant nature of this book makes it my only reference for this gemstone.

I recommend that all appraisers buy this book. Become familiar with it. When you need it, the information will be on your bookshelf ready to help you figure out that rare stone, or explain it to your client. Everyone wins. --Kim Piracci The Jewelry Appraiser

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. R. Stern on January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had purchased and read Newman's Exotic Gems volumes one and two. But as a gemstone fancier, easily transfixed by the Crown Jewels to modern designer pieces, I realized that there were some gems missing.
In Rare Gemstones, Newman finishes her study of gemstones. In this volume she includes the rarer, more contemporary gemstones gaining popularity. The full color illustrations range from raw crystals, to cut faceted stones, and to finished jewelry using these gems.
This is not only a guide for amateur gemologists but for jewelry fans. Just the photographs alone make it difficult to put down as you covet the beautiful gems. Each gem has a chapter headed by scientific facts followed by additional information on mines, qualities, uses, quickly followed by the illustrations. The book is easy to use with a table of contents and an index, as well as appendices. Further information on other books available from the publisher on the topic are also given if you want to expand your library.
I have purchased a variety of gem guides and this series by Renee Newman is my favorite.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cruisechic on April 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent detailed source of gemstone information. Easy reading very informative great pictures. Chapter on caring for different gemstone along with density index and MOHs hardness scale. I have learned so much from Renee Nemans books
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aj on May 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love the chapter on how to care for your rare gems. This book covers a lot of more unusual stones.
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