Blue apatite crystals in garnet.
Developing a comprehensive colored stone grading system has been the dream of gemologists since the late 1970's, but despite a number of valient attempts, we are no closer to the goal today than we were four decades ago. This article examines the various problems of colored stone grading, explaining why the challenges are at least an order of magnitude greater than the grading of diamonds.
A brief look at the famous emerald and alexandrite from Russia's Ural Mountain mines.
Why should Hugh Hefner be the only one to enjoy twins? This special Hyperion Inclusion Gallery features images from the Lotus Gemology Hyperion Inclusion Database, but are shown as pairs, all the better to compare one form of beauty with another.
A discussion of how inclusion patterns mimic crystallographic symmetry in ruby and sapphire.
For those who wish to explore the literature of inclusions in gemstones further, we have selected the following articles and books that are of particular merit. Most of these are cited in the Lotus Gemology Hyperion Inclusion Database, but are listed below in a more convenient summary format. Many of the links will allow you to download a PDF copy of the original article.
Inside Out: GEM•ology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses
E. Billie Hughes | Richard W. Hughes | Wimon Manorotkul
with a foreword by Paolo Minieri
Chinese translation by Jason C.H. Kao (高嘉兴), with Jinding Yu (俞瑾玎) and Bonnie Chao (晁艳)
From the dawn of time, precious stones have both attracted and fascinated humans in ways that few other items could. For while objects of desire are found throughout the natural world, physical beauty is too often ephemeral. From the allure of a man, woman, flower or butterfly, through the fleeting moments of a sunset, there is little that lasts and practically nothing that can be passed down to our descendants. The exception is precious stones. Not only are they the most durable creations of Mother Nature, but their visual splendor is truly eternal.
This book presents a completely fresh approach to the subject. Dubbing it humanistic gemology, the authors take readers around the world, showing the places they have explored in their search for gems, along with the people and cultures encountered along the way.
Within this volume, remarkable photographs of the human world are interwoven with images of the microscopic realm of the gems themselves. In a lifetime beset by time control, where living is broken into ever smaller bits, as you browse through these pages suddenly you plunge into a domain of frozen time, one that affords vistas of millions or even billions of years. For jewels offer not just superficial beauty, but a window on the primordial forces that birthed both our planet and universe.
Inside Out – Gemology Through Lotus-Colored Glasses represents a fascinating new direction for gemology, linking the external and internal worlds of precious stones for the first time.
Published 2020; Now shipping
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Full Color Throughout | Bilingual text in English & Simplified Chinese
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Sample Interior Spreads
A few comments from reviewers…
I am doubtless readers both inside and outside of the gem trade will enthusiastically welcome Inside Out. Buy it, read it, give it away. I am fully confident you will be satisfied, ingratiated and inspired.
Jeffery Bergman – InColor Magazine
This book fills a gap in the literature on gems by pictorially exploring the relationship between humans and gems on an artistic and emotional level. It is a work of art that lives from the quality of the photographs and gets by with minimal textual commentary on the images.
Michael Hügi – Journal of Gemmology
Inside Out is a truly stunning work reflecting the combnied personalities, skills, knowledge and philosophy of the authors, who have created something exceptional and innovative for the world of gemmology.
Terry Coldham – Australian Gemmologist
Plunge into the fascinating microworld of ruby and sapphire with award-winning photomicrographer E. Billie Hughes.
zircon in sapphire
This article discusses the challenges of identifying inclusions based on observation alone. While certain features can help narrow down the possibilities, other methods such as micro Raman help identify inclusions with a greater degree of certainty.
Lotus Gemology's E. Billie Hughes will captain a special workshop devoted to gemological microscopy and photomicrography.
Lotus Gemology warns that oiled rubies, sapphires and spinels are entering the Bangkok wholesale market in increasing numbers. Most, but not all, of these gems are originating from Burma.
An orangish pink “padparadscha” sapphire was submitted for testing at Lotus Gemology’s Bangkok laboratory. Testing showed a number of conflicting features that suggested the gem was a cleverly treated synthetic pink sapphire designed to imitate natural padparadscha.
The author makes his first pilgrimage to Burma's Mogok Stone Tract.
Solid inclusions have been used by gemologists as a means of determining origin. While there is a great deal of overlap from one source to another, there are also important differences. For example, while apatite has been identified in sapphire from Madagascar, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, apatite has never been identified in sapphire from Kashmir. Thus the purpose of this article is to give a full listing of solid inclusions in gem corundums from around the world, with each occurrence fully referenced. This is provided with the goal of making origin determination of ruby and sapphire more accurate.
A discussion of the literature of ruby and sapphire (corundum), with particular emphasis on the most collectible books covering ruby and sapphire around the world.
A discussion of rutile silk in corundum and its use in detecting artificial heat treatment. Careful examination of these "silk" inclusions can provide vital clues to unmask heated gems.
In 1878, the noted Austrian mineralogist, Gustav Tschermak von Seysenegg [1836–1927], was the first to properly identify silk in corundum, finding it to be composed of the mineral rutile (TiO2). An English translation of his landmark paper is included, along with the original German version.
To the jeweler, spinel is famous for its vivid colors. But for the gemologist, this gem is unlike any other. Its extreme hardness allows a fine polish. Couple this with single refraction, which eliminates the image blurring found in most other gems, and a varied landscape of inclusion subjects, and the result is an unparalleled canvas of delight for the photomicrographic artist.