Exotic Gems, Volume 1
How to Identify and Buy Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite, Sunstone, Moonstone & Other Feldspars
Discover Exotic Gems
This is the first in a series of books that will explore the history, lore, evaluation, geographic sources, and identifying properties of lesser-known gems. Exotic Gems Volume 1 has 288 color photos of mounted and loose tanzanite, ammolite, zultanite, rhodochrosite, sunstone, moonstone, labradorite, spectrolite, andesine, amazonite, bytownite, orthoclase and oligoclase. Some of the pictures are close-up shots that show how to make visual judgments about clarity, transparency, color, cut quality and brilliance. A few pictures show how the gems are cut and many others show creative jewelry designs with these stones. Exotic Gems also provides tips on caring for the gems, selecting an appraiser and on detecting imitations and gem treatments. The healing and metaphysical properties of the gems are also addressed. Written for both consumers and professionals, it’s easy to read, well-organized, and packed with fascinating information and photos. If you’re interested in colored gemstones, you’ll find Exotic Gems to be a valuable resource that will help you discover and buy unusual gem varieties you may never have seen before.
Exotic Gems, Volume 1: How to Identify & Buy
Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite
Sunstone, Moonstone & Other Feldspars
by Renée Newman ISBN 978-0929975-42-9
Paperback / 6" x 9" / 154 pages / 288 color photos / International Jewelry Publications / $19.95
Newman knocks it out of the park again!!!! In her latest book Exotic
Gems: How to Identify and Buy Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite,
Zultanite, Sunstone, Moonstone & Other Feldspars (Newman Exotic Gem
Series) Ms. Newman opens the world of the exotic to her loyal
Robyn Hawk, “Reading it All”
". . . informative and illustrated exceptionally well. The present volume contains many many color photographs that cover the spectrum of subjects from mining locality shots to cutting to subtle color variations to the finished jewelry, as appropriate. They include works by well known photographers as well as those from gemstone suppliers, jewelry houses, and the author herself. A quick glance at the acknowledgments shows that a great deal of networking and editorial effort has gone into this book. If you want to buy one of the materials covered by this book, already have spent your money but want an appraisal, or are just plain interested in zultanite, I highly recommend Exotic Gems Volume 1.
Rocks & Minerals
Having written guides to buying rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, and pearls, Renée Newman turns her attention to rarer specimens. Exotic Gems, Volume 1: How to Identify and Buy Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite, Sunstone, Moonstone & other Feldspars prepares readers (and beaders) to encounter these beautiful and potentially valuable gems. The language is accessible, and chapters including "Price factors in a nutshell" will prove indispensable to novice buyers. The breadth of information on each stone, Renée’s guide to choosing an appraiser, 288 vibrant photos and a bibliography also make this book a handy resource for seasoned collectors. We’ll be watching for future installments of the Exotic Gems series.
Bead and Button
. . . This book [Exotic Gems] is heavily weighted with gemstone evaluation as in Newman’s other guides. It is therefore of value to the student of gemmology and layperson alike. There is information about the history lore, geographic sources and care of the gems. . . An easy read, Renée Newman’s new book seems to have something for everyone whether it be informative gemmological facts, the mystic side of gems, an aid to buying or an appreciation of excellent photographs, both of gems and of jewellery. It can be read in its entirety or consulted as a reference for exotic gems.
This nifty little book fills a long-neglected area of consumer gem knowledge – that of the lesser-known, but important jewelry and collector’s gemstones.
After a brief introduction to the subject in chapter one, the next two chapters explore price factors and treatments in detail. Excellent line drawings help to explain the basic terminology of the parts of a gemstone cut, gemstone shapes and gemstone cutting styles. Ms Newman has a gift for bringing clarity to the obscure, and here, her judicious use of photos makes judgment of cut qualities, such as brilliance and windowing, easy for the layman to undertake with a degree of confidence.
Part of the fun of this book is derived from the many phenomenal gems that are included and their outstanding photos, taken or sourced by the author. One particular treat is a four-page spread on "How a Master Cutter Cuts a Zultanite". Zultanite, or color-change diaspore, is a gem of recent interest and I was happy to pick up more information on it.
Rarely seeing many good photos of ammolite and rhodochrosite, I was wowed by the variety of stones and the different jewelry designs. The wealth of photos continued throughout the chapters on sunstone and moonstone, including the newer Tanzanian sunstone that has a spangled or confetti effect.
Of special interest were charts on the placement of feldspars according to their chemical makeup, including an end-member diagram with gems photographically illustrated at the appropriate points on the scale between potassium, sodium and calcium.
The last chapter on choosing an appraiser gives sound advice and includes information on her website where the link to NAJA is listed.
This book would be an excellent book to recommend to clients and a very handy reference for your library.
Blaire Beavers, NAJA Jewelry Appraiser
The rarest gems can be the most beautiful. “Exotic Gems” is a guide to
the many rare gems around the world that have their own attraction. With
tips on identifying these rare gems, where they come from and how did they
form, the mythology behind them, and how to buy them without getting
burned, Renee Newman gives readers a complete and comprehensive guide to
these gems, making “Exotic Gems” a choice and very highly recommended
Would you recognize a beautiful ammolite if you saw one? Seen any zultanites lately? If these gems sound unfamiliar, this book may be for you.
Renée Newman has authored several highly praised guides for buyers of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. With this book she enters the realm of the more unusual gems. Newman starts off with a careful discussion of all the factors affecting price-- 10 different factors are discussed and illustrated. Then comes a brief summary of gem treatments and a quick review of gemstone terminology, all in clear English.
The first stone discussed in detail is tanzanite. You may consider this gem more mainstream today than “exotic,” but have you seen yellow tanzanite? Or pink, or green? This chapter, the longest in the book at 31 pages, mostly updates Newman’s previous writings on tanzanite, including its many treatments, coatings, and imitators. Especially interesting is the dramatic improvement from recutting chipped or poorly cut tanzanites; two examples are well illustrated.
Then follow chapters on zultanite (color change diaspore), ammolite, rhodochrosite (including the desirable transparent variety), and the various feldspars such as sunstone, moonstone, labradorite, and spectrolite. Ammolite, an iridescent gem found within ancient fossilized mollusks (ammonites), is an unusual and surprisingly beautiful gem that deserves wider recognition. Newman gives us a peek into the mines and shows examples of how several exotic stones are cut. Rounding out the book is advice on caring for these gemstones, their “metaphysical properties,” and a chapter on selecting an appraiser.
This is a very practical guide to these unusual gems, yet has more than enough technical detail to satisfy the gemologist. It is clearly written, easy to understand, and illustrated with excellent color photographs and photomicrographs from a wide variety of sources. Both set and unmounted gems are pictured.
The first in a promised series, this book is a wonderful reference as well as a joy to read. It will leave you looking forward to Ms. Newman’s next volume.
Eric Hoffman, Adornment Magazine
spring we looked at Renée Newman’s third edition of her Ruby,
Sapphire & Emerald Guide. The prolific author has followed up a
year later with Volume 1 of a series entitled Exotic Gems, which
focuses on a group of lesser known gemstones.
Author and gemologist Newman credits television shopping networks
with introducing the public to gemstones such as rhodochrosite and
diaspore—material that wasn’t often used in jewelry—as well as
creating a market for information, which she provides.
Newman begins Chapter 1 of the book by explaining that the term
“exotic” can mean unusual, if not always foreign, so that
ammolite from northern Alberta may still be considered exotic to
Canadians, even if it is domestic. Chapters 2 and 3 provide an overview of
the factors that affect price: the Cs (color, clarity, cutting style and
shape, cut quality, carat weight), transparency, treatment, brilliance,
brand, and phenomena. Chapter 4 follows with definitions of gemstone
Then on to the stones themselves, beginning with tanzanite in
Chapter 5. Having issued a book in 1996 on emerald and tanzanite—now out
of print, Newman gives a new life in these pages to what is probably the
most famous of the Volume 1 group. (Emerald was revived by Newman, in
turn, in last spring’s Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald Guide.) History
and geographic sources are explored; also nomenclature (tanzanite is a
variety of zoisite). Treatment is highlighted, since tanzanite is almost
always heated; other treatments also are discussed. Pleochroism and
lighting both are nicely illustrated. (Did we mention that the book
features nearly 300 color photographs?)
Metaphysical lore is covered in the book for nearly every type of
gemstone presented—even tanzanite, which is a relatively recent
discovery. Identifying characteristics are summarized in a convenient
table, accompanied by several photos. Price factors—including two
examples of recutting—and care of tanzanite round out the chapter, and
provide a pattern for those that follow.
Chapter 6, on zultanite (aka gem-quality, color-change diaspore),
while omitting any mention of lore, does feature a four-page pictorial on
cutting the variety by master cutter Stephen Kotlowski. Lots of lore is
included for ammolite in Chapter 7, as one look at the material in matrix
would suggest—the iridescent gem having been formed within the
fossilized mollusk ammonite. Rhodochrosite, while surely being familiar to
our readers, is beautifully illustrated in Chapter 8, with 18 photos
showing this gemstones many manifestations.
Chapters 9 through 12 cover the feldspar group—sunstone,
moonstone, and the rest well-illustrated chapters nicely guide the reader
through territory that sometimes can be a little daunting. The inclusion
of H. A. Hanni's feldspar-triangle chart should be useful in that regard,
with photos of the varieties themselves illustrating the edges.
Newman closes the book with a chapter, 13, reminding us that even
with the information provided in her pages, a qualified appraiser could be
a gem buyer’s best friend, especially in the case of a purchase of any
significance. A three-page bibliography also is included.
You’ll be surprised how much useful information can be poured
into 154 pages—and don’t miss the lovely inside covers.
David Hughes, "Pala's Gem News"
Newman Gem & Jewelry Series and Osteoporosis Book Links