Lawson Gems

  • Opals- Linking the Red Centre to the Red Planet?

    The red centre of Australia produces 95% of the world's opals and until recently scientists struggled to explain the origns of the precious stone. However, it is now believed that opals may provide astrobiologists with insights into the mysterious geology of Mars, the red planet.


    Glittering in vibrant colours, opals are a beautiful gemstone and will add a unique, yet elegant touch to your jewellery collection. Lawson Gems has a stunning collection of ethically sourced opals embedded into lovely jewellery pieces as well as unset opals.


    Lawson Gems' White Opal Pendant is a beautiful Australian opal that sparkles an array of silky natural colours, creating an elegant and distinctive piece.


    Lawson Gems also has a stunning collection of unique Unset Opals.


    Lawson Gems' Opal Gold Ring is a truly beautiful piece, a stunning soft cabochon (solid) opal set into 9ct yellow gold ring.

    Opals are predominantly found within 50 meters of the red earth surface of the Great Artisian Basin in Central Australia, yet the reasons why they are found here has been a long mystery. Professor Patrice Rey, a University of Sydney associate explains, "We did not know its origin, why it forms at such shallow depths or why it can be found in central Australia and almost nowhere else on earth." Rey believes the precious stone was created as a result of the drying out of the Eromanga Sea, which at its peak covered about 60 percent of Australia; from Coober Pedy in South Australia to Lightning Ridge in northen New South Wales.


    This drying out process, which began approximately 100 million years ago, is bizarre weathering for Earth and has been described as an “extraordinary episode of acidic weathering.” However, this weathering is not unusual on Mars, suggesting connections between the planet and the Great Artisian Basin. Furthermore, these connections would also suggest the basin shares additional characteristics with the Mars, inclduing types of rocks, a similar history of flooding then drying out, mineralogy and color.


    NASA discovered non-precious opal deposits on Mars in 2008. "If you look at Mars and the red centre, they share similar characteristics," Professor Rey said. "They went through the same weathering process, so potentially precious opals might exist there." These opal deposits indicate that Mars could have been wet for a billion years longer that initially thought. Thus, these findings could signifcantly impact the possibility of life on Mars if these findings are confirmed by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Dr Scott Mundie of John Hopkins University explains, "Water may have existed as recently as two billion years ago. It extends the time range for liquid water on Mars, and the places where it might have supported life."


    Sending rovers and orbiters to Mars seems like a reasonable approach to answering the long anticipated myteries of the red planet. However, Rey explains that the answers could be here on Earth, "It costs billions of dollars to send rovers and orbiters to Mars. Therefore, looking right here on Earth for ancient and modern analogs to Mars' environment is key to carrying on research in greater detail and explore the role biology has in weathering processes."

  • Earring Elegance at the Met Gala

    The prestigious Met Gala may have been last week but we are still talking about who wore what.  (And what JayZ said to Solange in that lift!)
    With most of the press focusing on the gowns and dresses sometimes the gorgeous jewels and gems can be forgotten. Which is surprising as some of these celebrities were wearing jewellery up to a million dollars in value!
    Elegant earrings were the accessories of the night, complementing the bare necklines and sweeping updos.
    Queen Bey led the way in her statement veil and oversized Lorraine Schwartz chandelier earrings. Kim Kardashian followed suit, also wearing Lorraine Schwartz. Whether you are looking for shiny sparklers or overstated elegance we have a number of statement earrings at Lawson Gems such as our Conceptual Doublet Oval Persian Earrings in Gold Vermeil or Amethyst and Mystic Druzy Earrings


    Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images






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    Adding a pop of colour through different gemstones can really brighten up a look. Gisele Bundchen smartly added a dash of colour with these elegant emerald drops. Stand out from the crowd in our Pink Sapphire & Topaz Drop Sterling Silver Earrings or add some glamour with rubies å la Blake Lively in our Ruby, Topaz & Citrine Drop Sterling Silver Earrings



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    If there is a lot going on elsewhere in your outfit a simple sparkling stud earring might be all you need to finish your outfit off. Rihanna and Taylor Swift both polished off their outfits with studs.




    Our Geocut stud earrings are sure to catch attention. Using the natural shape of the stone, simple facets are placed during cutting process to create a strong geometric form analogous to the original crystal. We currently have three stones to choose from; amethyst, green garnet and citrene.


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    The next big celebrity event will be the MTV Video Awards in August…we already can’t wait to see what the new ‘it’ accessory will be!

  • Hong Kong Host’s Two Dazzling Jewellery Shows


    Saturday the 9th of March marked the end of the spring’s largest jewellery show, the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show.


    The Hong Kong International Jewellery Show held from March 5 to 9 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre exhibited finished jewellery products to prospective buyers and showcased beautiful pieces from around the world. Whilst, the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem and Pearl Show held March 3 to 7 at the AsiaWorld – Expo presented a specialised trade platform for diamonds, loose gemstones and pearls.


    The growing popularity of jewellery shows in Hong Kong led to the introduction of a new scheme for the event, “two shows, two venues.” The presenters of the event, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), believe that this scheme will provide a platform towards further expansion for the growing number of exhibitors and buyers wanting to participate in the event.


    The show featured exhibitions such as the Hall of Extraordinary, the Hall of Fame the brand new T-Gold International Hall and the Hall of Fine Diamond. The seemingly endless halls jewellery and gems weren’t all the show had to offer! The two shows also hosted a range of different seminars and events. The “TREND FORECAST for Season 2015+: Consumer Attitudes, Focus on Jewellery and Diamond Products” presented by TRENDVISION Jewellery and Forecasting Creative Director, Paola De Luca, was the true highlight of the week. All in all the two shows allowed attendees interesting insight into the world of jewellery and provided a better understanding of market trends to exhibitors and buyers.

  • Specific Gravity

    which-blue-stone Which is sapphire and which is tourmaline?

    Specific gravity (SG) is often used by gemmologists to discern between similar appearing gems. Specific gravity/ relative density can be defined as the weight of a body compared with the weight of an equal volume of pure water at 4oC, where density is defined as a measure of mass of a substance per unit volume. A substance weighing five times as much as an equal volume of water will have a SG of 5. Density directly relates to chemical composition and atomic/molecular structure and packing.

    The two most common methods of determining SG are hydrostatic weighing and heavy liquids. It should be noted here that even these methods are generally only used by professional gemmologists as they are not particularly portable, cheap or can use hazardous components, the theory however is always good to know.

    Specific gravity can be determined using the hydrostatic method, where a gemstone is first weigh in air and then totally immersed in liquid. SG is then found using the following equation:

    SG  =       W1         X  SG of liquid used
               W1 – W2
    Where: W1= weight in air
               W2  = weight in liquid
              SG of liquid used =  SG of pure water at 4oC (SG of 1)


    For example:
    Weight in air = 1.456g
    Weight in water =1.095g
    SG  =       W1         X  SG of liquid used
               W1 – W2
     SG  =        1.456g         X  1 (water)
               1.456g – 1.095g
            =   1.456g 
        SG = 4.033


    The heavy liquid method involves immersing the stone in liquids of different know SG and observing if the stone sinks, floats or sits in between the surface and the bottom f the container. If the stone has a higher SG  it will sink, if it has the same SG as the liquid it will hang somewhere in the middle and if it has a lower SG than the liquid it will float to the surface.

    The heavy liquid method uses the following liquids:

    • Bromoform and monobromonaphthalene; toluol- quartz (SG 2.65)
    • Pure Bromoform (SG 2.88)
    • Pure Methylene iodide (SG 3.32)
    • Dilute clerici solution spinel (SG 3.60)
    • Dilute clerici solution corundum (SG 4.00)


    Gemstones with the same or similar SG’s to the heavy liquids above are:

    • Bromoform and monobromonaphthalene: quartz
    • Pure Bromoform: beryl, tourmaline.
    • Pure Methylene iodide: peridot, jadeite.
    • Dilute clerici solution spinel: diamond, topaz, spinel.
    • Dilute clerici solution corundum: ruby, sapphire.


    There are certain disadvantages and safety precautions which should be taken into account when using heavy liquids:

    • Bromoform and methylene iodide need to be kept out of direct light to prevent discolouration.
    • All should be regarded as poisonous.
    • All should be regarded as corrosive.
    • All must be cleaned off any surface immediately.
    • Contamination of the liquids with each other can cause major errors.


    As mentioned above these techniques are not usually carried out by anyone other than gemmologists, but an extreme example of the theory behind measuring density would be comparing three possible diamonds of the exact same size and shape. Take a glass imitation of SG 2 (range of glass is 2.0-4.2), a diamond of SG 3.52 and a cubic zirconia of SG 6 (range of zirconia is 5.5-6.0) and if the stones are large enough you may be able to heft the stones and physically feel the difference in weight between the exact same sized stones. If you can weigh the stones you can also get closer to separating them, a typical 1ct round brilliant cut diamond is about 6.4mm in diameter, so if you have a stone this size and it weighs closer to 2ct then you might have a cubic zirconia.

    For comprehensive lists of SG just have a troll through Google and you should find what you need to get you on your way.

  • The Strength of Gemstones


    As previously mentioned a key aspect of a gemstone is that it has sufficient durability. There are three aspects that make up how we assess durability; these are hardness, toughness and stability. It is important for jewellers and gemmologists to know about durability as this can affect how a gem is used, for instance you might not want to put turquoise into an open setting to be worn as a ring as this could easily lead to damage. You must also know the difference between each of the factors as even though emerald is quite hard it is not very tough, so similar care as taken with something like turquoise can also apply to emerald. It is also important in the formation of gem placer deposits, the more durable a gemstone the more likely it is to survive being rolled down a river without breaking up completely (good examples of this are diamonds and jade).
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  • Crystal Theory Part 2

    In the last article we looked at symmetry and as an extra note we should mention that integral symmetry of a crystal is not always obvious from its outward appearance even if the crystal is fairly well formed, it may appear squashed or have uneven side lengths. You will see this in the last diagram from part 1 and yet as also shown in this diagram you can see that the angles between the faces is constant. Thus it is usually more efficient to look at the angles between crystal faces than the faces themselves (at least in the beginning).

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  • Crystal Theory Part 1

    A crystal structure is a regular, repeating, three dimensional arrangement of bonded atoms. Though the generic term crystal is used to describe a single, solid crystal with defined crystal faces, much gem material is still crystalline even if its outward appearance is rough and irregular. This is because the internal structure within the material is still crystalline.

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  • The Building Blocks of Gemstones: Extra Notes


    Ionic Bonding- bonding resulting from electrostatic attraction of negatively and positively charged anions and cations.
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  • The Building Blocks of Gemstones

    The world as a whole can be said to be a collection of atoms, the smallest divisible part of an element. Solid matter consists of bonded atoms and when these atoms are in an orderly, repeating structure they are described as crystalline. This property is extremely important in the world of gemmology as you will come to learn.
    In our last article we learned that “A mineral is defined as “a solid inorganic substance of natural occurrence” and they have a defined chemical composition and structure.” This also means that a mineral is crystalline. Most gems have a crystalline nature and are made up of minerals or aggregates of mineral, diamond being an example of a single mineral (and a single element) and Lapis Lazuli is an aggregate.

    dia-lapis Diamond Crystal and Lapis Lazuli

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  • Where do Gemstones Come From? Extra Notes

    rose-quartz-mineRose Quartz Mine, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.


    Attached- Attached crystals are those which grow ‘attached’ to another rock an hence can only have one termination etc. Eg. Diopside, pyrite, quartz.

    In-situ- In the place of formation, e.g. emerald and tourmaline are often found in-situ.

    Disseminated- Disseminated crystals grow dispersed within other rocks and are commonly anhedral due to growth restriction. Eg. diamond, garnet, ruby.

    Gem gravel- Gem occurrences in gravels, clays, and other loose deposits derived by weathering of earlier rocks. Eg. sapphire, spinel, zircon.
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