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UNDERSTANDING SPINEL: THE ALTERNATIVE AUGUST BIRTHSTONE

... by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba

The varied hues of spinel have been admired for hundreds of years, but this gemstone only recently found its place on the list of ‘alternative birthstones’. Here, Lily Faber FGA DGA EG explores the alternative birthstone for the month of August and some of its synthetic counterparts.

Spinel is a relative newcomer to the ‘official’ list of birthstones and was added as an alternative to peridot for the month of August by the Jewelers of America and the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). It is sometimes known as the great imitator of gemstones because it can look like so many different stones with its wide variety of colours, most notably ruby.

For millennia, red spinels were commonly mistaken for rubies. As gemmology became more established as a science in the 18th century it became possible to differentiate between rubies and spinels, and other similar-looking gemstones. Red spinels are considered important stones in British regalia and other royal collections. You may see them referenced as ‘balas rubies’ in some historical record.

Historically, spinel (and other red gemstones) were thought to protect their wearer from harm and enhance vitality – largely because the red colour was associated with blood or ‘life force’. Other beliefs linked spinel with banishing sadness, replenishing energy and helping their wearer to overcome challenges.

While red is perhaps the most popular and commercially successful colour of spinel, it can also come in a large array of colours, such as blue, green, grey, purple, orange and pink. One of the more intriguing colours on the market is a very bright pinkish-red spinel that appears like a glowing bright, neon red.

It is known as ‘jedi spinel’ because it glows like a lightsabre in the Star Wars films. It was discovered in Myanmar in the early 2000s. Read full article

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A study of the challenges of gemstones artisanal and smallscale mining in Nigeria

...Prof. Adesoji Adesugba

With over 44 different types of minerals, the mining sector is of great importance to the economic development of Nigeria. Despite the fact that the industry has the most significant propensity to contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), create jobs, and become a formidable economic development driver, not much has happened in its development since the country’s independence in 1960. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the difficulties of gemstone artisanal and small-scale mining, as well as, provide ways to mitigate the challenges. In using the phenomenological approach, twelve participants participated in an interview process, to obtain their opinion on issues surrounding gemstone processes in Nigeria. NVivo analysis software was used in analyzing transcribed data; dominant themes emerged based on participant’s responses. Findings of the study can be utilized by policy makers and investors to ensure development in the sector. .

Developing countries portray mining operations as a source of employment, which is interrelated to subsistence livelihood in rural communities. Mining is a process of extracting valuable minerals that occur naturally from underneath the earth and has been in existence since prehistoric times. Furthermore, mining has a long history of existing as a household economic activity (Kessey and Benedict, 2013). Mining in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner is vital to the development of an evolving nation such as Nigeria. Read full research paper

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GEMOLOGY TODAY MAGAZINE

...a production of World Gem Foundation

The thireenth issue of Gemmology Today is now available. Packed full of interesting and diverse articles, it is accessible online and is free of charge. Designed for jewellers, gemmologists and students who are looking for something a little different!

Access Gemmology Today December 2019 Issue

You can access the magazine online by clicking here

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