Tag Archive | Turkey

Travels in Turkey

We’ve told you a bit about our travels in Morocco so now we thought we’d share some of the wonders we found on a trip to Turkey earlier this year.  I am a regular traveller to Turkey and generally play it very safe, gold is BIG in Turkey, items are purchased by the weight with very little regard to the detail or design involved.  Jewellery in Turkey is often bought as an investment, but to say simply that is to deny some of the stunning design and work that goes into some of the designs that can be found.  Here are some of my favourites:

 

DSC08331

 

You can see the type of displays they generally have in the jewellery quarter – lots of gold and no prices!  The centrepiece of the above picture is this absolutely stunning leaf with butterfly and flower detail.  My photographs really don’t do it justice, definitely my favourite item this year.

 leaf

Traditional designs seem to have come to the fore recently, but I was surprised at the modern designs I found too this year, in particular the display below seemed to feature the best of both worlds:

 DSC08332

The above three pieces are all so different, the centerpiece was a stunning large gem with a traditional look and modern twist, to it’s right is this fabulous fish skeleton design, really unusual!

DSC08333

To the left is this much more traditional design, but again it definitely has the look of the modern in it:

traditional

Whilst yellow gold has been the staple of Turkish design there is a definite move over the last couple of years towards white gold.

 DSC08334

I adore this simple but really effective design – what you can’t see well from the picture is the stunning effect from all the diamonds making up the flowers…yes it was diamond…it was way out of my budget…
 DSC08335

I think this was the first time I saw any real rose gold either too, the three tactile bangles below would look fab all stacked up together!

DSC08336

I am really fond of the use of traditional shapes and tessellating patterns which can be found in Turkish (and other!) jewellery, the bangles below were a fabulous example of this:

DSC08338 

DSC08339 

I also found this unusual ring – I am not convinced it would be the most comfortable thing to wear but what a great look!

DSC08340

Last but not least was my absolute favourite, featuring both earrings and pendant I very nearly invested a months wages in this necklace, I love the simple look but with traditional detailing, very classic.

  

DSC08374 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Turkish Delight…Csarite

This is a gemstone you may not have heard of, whilst it’s use is increasing in popular jewellery and it has made many appearances on the red carpet, this is an incredibly rare gem and still unknown in many areas.

Csarite has some amazing features, in particular the ability to display different colours under different lights.  Under natural light this gem displays light green colours, but under candlelight it displays colours in the pink range, and a whole lot in between.  If colour change alone wasn’t enough, Csarite also displays chatoyancy or a “cat’s eye” effect which means it shoes a band of light in the middle of the gemstone – it’s caused by the reflection of light in parallel inclusions and this is the only colour change gemstone currently known to have this effect!

 

 

These amazing features are even more surprising when you know that there are currently no known treatments used in Csarite.  It’s actually a form of Turkish Diaspore, but don’t get confused between Csarite and Diaspore – they are very different.  Csarite is gem quality and Disapore is not.  Csarite is mined by hand, only in Mugla in Turkey and is difficult to cut in order to achieve the best emphasis on the colour change feature.  If you think you’re getting cheap Csarite, beware!

 

 

 

It has a hardness of around 7 on the Mohs scale and once set into metal the colours are intensified.  Whilst this is a pretty tough gem of course you need to be wary of mixing it with other harder gems such as sapphires or diamonds as they might scratch it.  Gentle cleaning is best with this gem, no chemicals or ultrasonic treatments, just a little gentle soap, water and a soft cloth.

In the UK the only stockist of Csarite is Gemporia aka Gems TV.  Whenever you’re thinking of buying this precious gem it’s definitely worth checking that you are buying from a reputable stockist to ensure that it’s the genuine article you are buying.

Turquoise, the friendship gem

The sun is out and we’ve been breaking out our summer jewellery, one of the most fabulous summer jewels is turquoise which might seem a strange choice, but it’s an excellent summer stone as the bright colour gives a great fresh look to nearly every outfit and faux turquoise jewellery is frequently found on the high street during the summer season (ok we admit it’s also a great choice in winter too – amazing contrast against black and in fairness it is December’s birthstone, so let’s agree that it’s an all round jewel).

20140501_123806

Turquoise is an opaque gem which has been valued by people for thousands of years due to its colouring.  It can be traced back as far as the Ancient Egyptians and Aztecs and is thought to have been introduced to Europe through Turkey, and it’s believed that this is how it was given its name.  Given it’s age there’s no surprise that myths and beliefs surround this gem, in ancient times it was thought that it could have some prophylactic uses (!) and that it changed colour to reflect the health of the wearer.  Whilst it’s true that Turquoise does turn green with dehydration and chemical reactions or treatments can change the colour even more,  as far as we know this doesn’t actually link to the wearer’s health…  Turquoise has also at times been believed to protect the wearer, and  has been used as both a talisman and holy stone.

Double Headed Serpent Turquoise Mosaic, the British Museum Collection

Double Headed Serpent Turquoise Mosaic, the British Museum Collection

What is clear is wherever you go in the world you are likely to spot a fair amount of Turquoise in their museum pieces, turquoise was often inlaid into both jewellery as well as building decoration, bridles, swords to name but a few.  Turquoise was even found in Tutankhamun’s tomb in his burial mask amongst other items, and famously examples can be found in the British Museum such as Aztec death masks.

Turquoise Mask, the Turquoise Mosaics collection, the British Museum

Turquoise Mask, the Turquoise Mosaics collection, the British Museum

Much admired, but often under appreciated in modern society, Turquoise has been much copied throughout the ages.  It’s fairly surprising that it has stuck around so long, particularly preserved ancient pieces, as it’s not one of the more durable gems.  Even the best turquoise is fracturable and on the Mohs scale it’s just under 6 at it’s hardest, similar to glass.  It’s also a porous gem and can be affected by reactions with other chemicals.

Turquoise is generally known as a fairly low value gem in today’s society, due to the prevalence of fakes or synthetics, and variety of available treatments means that it can be hard to tell what is real and what is not.  This uncertainty affects the price, as does the large influx to the market that synthetics bring.  However, this has not always been the case and it used to be held in high esteem by the Apaches of North America.  It was thought of as a particularly useful gem giving authority, protection and if given (rather than bought) can bring good luck (particularly on a Saturday…) and preserve friendship.

Examples of our own Turquoise are below, despite it’s structure and nature it can be faceted, it also takes a great polish and there are some simply stunning examples of cabochon cut Turquoise.  One of our favourite Turquoise pieces at the moment is this gorgeous Astley Clarke friendship bracelet.

DSCN0353

 

DSCN0350

 

DSCN0373

Turquoise has distinguishing inclusions caused by other minerals and metals being within the gem, but rarely it can be found without these, which is known as sleeping beauty turquoise.

Treatments

There are lots of treatments which can be applied to turquoise, and it is often treated to enhance its durability as in its natural state it is not particularly hard and suffers from being highly porous.  Other treatments are used to change the colour of the gem and there are some great examples particularly of purple turquoise.  Be warned if you are bothered about your turquoise being treated, whilst a gemmologist may be able to test to ascertain they type and occurrence of treatment, such tests are likely to damage your stone.

Some of the more basic treatments are waxing and oiling turquoise which enhances the colour and lustre of the gem, whilst these add to the appearance of the stone it can result in some discolouration over time if the stones are exposed to too much heat or sun.

Some turquoise is “stabilised” by having resin or plastic inserted into the stone under high pressure, this treatment is more stable than wax or oil so has better long-term results and can lead to otherwise unusable turquoise being brought up to gem quality.

Other treatments are more radical, such as reconstitution or “block” turquoise which is formed by bonding small fragments of turquoise with resin, or gluing thin turquoise onto another material to reinforce it which is known as “backing”.

Care

Whilst it’s important to take care of all your gems, the nature of turquoise, even when treated, means that chemicals such as oils, perfume or sun cream could lead to discolouration or damage of your stone.  The gem can dehydrate so try to keep away from strong sunlight for prolonged periods and store in a breathable material.  Due to it’s softer nature it’s also preferable to keep your turquoise away from items that could scratch it so a special section of your jewellery box or a pouch is a good idea to try and protect it.  Also bear in mind that it can’t be cleaned with the majority of jewellery cleaners, so when you take it off try giving it a gentle rub with a lint free cloth to keep it looking at its best.