The Gemologist is IN.

The gemologist is IN.

Well, I survived my weekend of gemstone ID at the Gem, Jewelry & Mineral Show. Actually, I more than survived… I had a great time! I saw a variety of stones, and there were only one or two that I couldn’t firmly identify, both due to the stone’s setting not allowing me to get a good refractive index reading. (Definitely, loose stones are easier to work with.)

Among the many things I saw:

  • A gentleman with an amazing collection of raw diamonds, in every crystal form — octahedron, cubic, and even some macles (a flat triangular diamond; a twinned crystal. Extremely difficult to cut, as the planes of weakness change direction halfway through, due to the twinning.)
  • A trillion-cut synthetic alexandrite, BEAUTIFULLY cut.
  • A rock crystal quartz gem with one of the brightest, nicest bull’s-eye interference figures I’ve ever seen. The bull’s-eye only occurs in quartz; it positively identifies the species. (It was supposed to be a topaz. I bought it off the owner, for my own collection.)
  • A strand of “jade” beads, that were actually quench-crackled, dyed quartz. (Oops. Well, this wasn’t the AGTA show, was it…)
  • A lot of blue topaz. Got pretty quick with the topaz ID…
  • A really amazing cluster of phenakite crystals (which I managed to get onto the refractometer without breaking anything.)

It was a blast to talk to people about their stones and jewelry, and make new acquaintances — stone dealers, and even a fellow gemologist! I’ll definitely do it again next year.

Spring jewelry creations

Just a quickie post to show off my two newest pieces: a synthetic opal ring, and a coated drusy quartz pendant.

Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Synthetic opal ring (in progress) by Danielle Signor, March 2014
Quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Back of quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Graduate Gemologist

It’s official! As of 4:45 pm (ish) today, I have passed my 20-stone exam, and I can rightfully call myself a Graduate Gemologist. (It is very surreal, typing that.)

It’s hard to know what to say. Earlier in the afternoon, as I was driving, I imagined how it would feel to have passed my exam. How happy I would be! When I got the call, I was astonished that I had actually PASSED — on the first try. (I still can hardly believe it.) I was cheering aloud, and then bursting into tears, over and over. I called people, texted people, told Facebook and Twitter… and went through a surge of emotions every single time I gave the news. It’s been a long three years. Hard to believe it’s at an end!

Now I have to figure out what to do next, which is a bit sobering. But it doesn’t have to be today. I’m going to savor this victory a bit longer, before I come back down to earth. GIA won’t give out exact figures, but very few people pass the 20-stone on the first try. (Please excuse me while I explode with glee.)

I’m a Graduate Gemologist!!!

The 20-stone exam

Today, I took my 20-stone final exam for Gem Identification. If I pass, I’ll officially be a Graduate Gemologist! (If not, see you again in two weeks… same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.)

I’ve been increasingly anxious about the exam, ever since the materials shipped on Thursday. There’s no way to “study” as such, although I did write up an index of stones I’ve seen, and mark my lab manual appropriately. When I got up this morning, I wasn’t sure how to feel, but I took myself and all my equipment down to the local community college. (My proctor is the geology professor there, my long-time friend Dr. Bill Hirt.)

I took the test in two three-hour blocks (10 stones each), with a lunch break in between. Overall, I think I did pretty well. I was able to get through each set of stones with plenty of time to review my worksheet. (At first, it took me six to eight hours to grade a box of twenty stones. I completed my exam in slightly over four hours, which feels pretty good.)

I hope to get my results on Wednesday or Thursday. Will post again when I know!