The SA Gem and Mineral Club

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					                   The SA Gem and Mineral Club
                                              Associated Member of F.O.S.A.G.A.M.S.

                      10 Kruger Gardens, Admiralty Way, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 6001

                           Chairman: Norman Brittle (041) 484 4782 Secretary: Noël Pearse (041) 583 3792

                                  Newsletter May 2007
Monthly Meeting
    The next meeting of the Gem Club will be held on at the Maritime Club, 17
Annersley Terrace, (corner Cuyler Street), Central, on Thursday, 31 May at 7:30pm.

      Sherine Narshai will bring Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamps (pink), which she gets
from the Himalayas. Apparently the Himalayan rock salt crystals were formed at the
foothills of the Himalayas thousands of years ago. They were formed from the
deposits of an ancient sea under the enormous pressure of the world’s largest
mountains.      This pressure produces the superior crystalline patterns and
exceptionally beautiful translucent qualities not found in salt crystals from other parts
of the world.
      The crystals are mined by hand, avoiding the use of explosives, and are
carefully shaped to retain their pristine qualities. The Himalayan salt lamps cast a
warm magical glow, while cleansing the ambient air and producing the soothing
effects of colour on the mind and body.

May Competition Stones
     Members are reminded to bring their polished two or three oval shaped
stones to this meeting.

July Competition Stones
     Members are asked to polish a matching pair of stones of any material, such
as could be used for earrings or cufflinks of a rectangular shape.

Eline Capell’s Challenge
     She would like members to decorate a disc with tumbled polished gemstones
or beads. She will supply members with discs at the May meeting.

Last Meeting
     Leslie Burger, of the shop “Beads and Things” (329 Cape Road) brought
a variety of semi-precious stone beads and necklaces for us to see. Also a
c=variety of settings. Members should go to his shop and see what a variety
of beads and things he has there. Members also brought along a variety of
rock crystals and Tiger Eye for us to see.
  Lapidary     Facetting         Tumble Stones           Identification        Collection        Mineralogy
Snippets from older USA Lapidary Magazine
             When you get nothing for nothing, you just haven’t been billed for it yet.
             A good listener is not popular everywhere, but after a while he knows
             A person becomes wise by observing what happens when he isn’t.

Birthstone for May: Emerald
History and Folklore
        Nero is supposed to have worn an Emerald monocle to help his feeble eyesight, and according
to the legends the Holy Grail was also made from this rare gemstone. The main supplier in the
Mediterranean region was Upper Egypt, where the “Mines of Cleopatra” were known as early as the
beginnings of the second millennium before Christ. But the Romans also mines the stone in the Alpine
emerald mines of Habachtal / Austria, which is an occurrence of emeralds still frequented by collectors

        For jewellery purposes, an octagonal cut is preferred, which best compliments the character of
the gemstone with its not-too-high refraction of light. Its good hardness, slightly above that of quartz
(7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale) protects Emeralds to a large extent from scratches. Since most crystals
show a network of fine fissures they will not stand hard blows and shock. Some even disintegrate when
they are brought out of the depths of the earth and come into contact with the air. Its brittleness
however, is another problem which opens up possibilities for superstitious beliefs and, for example,
makes ultrasonic impractical.

         Undeniably the best emeralds come from Columbia. On a sailing ship sailing back to Europe in
1587 there are said to have been two chests holding about 50 kg of stones each. The Chivor mine, the
Spanish Somondoco, has been active since 1580, and Muzo, which was the largest mine for coloured
gemstones in the world at the beginning of this century with 450 workers, was opened around 1610.
        Muzo no longer delivers. Today about 150 occurrences are known in Columbia, but not all are
being exploited. What has been left is the difficult mining in rough country with deep gorges and
        With the exception of a small occurrence in Austria, Russia, beautifully coloured stones from
various regions of Africa, India, or Australia are always connected with mica-slate, and the mica scales
and tremolite needles cause far more striking inclusions. But, if the nevertheless good, a clever jeweller
will call such an emerald a “jardin”, that is to say poetically, “a petrified garden of strange plants.”

      Emerald is supposed to be very beneficial to one’s eyesight. Therefore many curative powers
were ascribed to the emerald. Emerald was supposed to foreshow the future: however this was never
determined how this was accomplished. Two methods were projected; one whereby the emerald
endowed the wearer with psychic powers. Emerald was also believed to be the revealer of truth.
Magicians believed that, if they had an emerald or there was one in close proximity, their tricks would
not work.

  Lapidary        Facetting       Tumble Stones         Identification     Collection       Mineralogy