Gemstone Buying Guide and Exotic Gems

Filed under: interviews(new) — Gary December 5, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

Very informative books for rockhounds. Check out her site!

Where do you get your information?

  • From hands-on experience with the gems in the US and abroad.
  • Directly from dealers and jewelers who specialize in whatever I’m discussing. For example, I’ll interview several opal dealers if I’m writing about opals and I’ll have some of them check the accuracy of my sections on opals.
  • From appraisers and gem laboratories. I also have them check what I write.
  • From gem and jewelry seminars geared to the trade. Even though I graduated from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), I must keep abreast of new developments, sources and treatments.
  • From consumers and hobbyists. Sometimes they know more than “experts.”
  • From gem shows. This is one of the best ways to learn about gem pricing and availability.

Where do you get your photos?

I’ve taken many of the photos myself (those with no photo credits). The others I get from designers, jewelers, photographers and gem dealers. They get free publicity by having their name mentioned and I get free usage of the photos. There is no paid advertising in my books.


Gem and Jewelry Books

My name is Renée Newman. Gary asked me to do a blurb about myself and my gem books.
I became interested in gems while directing tours to Asia, South America and the South Pacific. Most of the time my tour groups stayed in plush hotels, and our “rockhounding” was limited to visiting jewelry factories and pearl farms. One exception was a stay in some huts along the Amazon River, where we were able to collect stones and plant materials, which the natives used for beads and other ornaments. One of the promised highlights was a visit to an Indian village, where we could see them dance, and then purchase the crafts that they made. The Indians were dressed in typical native garb and wore hats with feathers. As our bus was driving off after the visit to the village, one of the passengers motioned for us to look back. There we could see villagers taking off their Indian clothes and replacing them with jeans and western shirts and blouses. We all had a good laugh.
My passengers had lots of questions about the gems they saw, and in order to answer them, I decided to take some gemology courses at the Gemological Institute of America. I liked the classes so well that I decided to complete my gemological training at the GIA.
Afterwards, I got a job at a firm in downtown Los Angeles as a gemologist and jewelry quality control manager. However, it was always in the back of my mind to write books that would help consumers make wise decisions about the jewelry and stones they purchased. My first book was the Diamond Ring Buying Guide. It was well-received and readers asked me to branch out and do books on colored gems. Eventually I became a full-time author.
My books are available at major bookstores, jewelry supply stores and gemmological organizations and schools. The books most geared to rockhounds are the Gemstone Buying Guide and my Exotic Gems Series, which goes into more depth on lesser known stones, such as members of the feldspar family. Volume 1 includes rhodochrosite, sunstone and spectrolite jewelry by Mark Anderson and Jessica Dow from Different Seasons Jewelry

Different Seasons Sunstone Carving by Martha Borzoni

Different Seasons Sunstone Carving by Martha Borzoni

spectrolite pendant by Mark Anderson photo by Jessica Dow

Spectrolite pendant by Mark Anderson photo by Jessica Dow

Amazonite from Different Seasons Jewelry photo by Jessica Dow

Amazonite from Different Seasons Jewelry photo by Jessica Dow

. Amazonite, a green to greenish blue variety of microcline feldspar is also discussed. I didn’t see any of this feldspar when I visited the Amazon, although the name “amazonite” may originate from its resemblance to the color of the Amazon river or the green stones that Amazon natives wore when early German naturalists visited the area. Most Brazilian amazonite is found in the state of Minas Gerais, where crystals more than a meter high have been reported. Pikes Peak, Colorado is the best known source of amazonite in the U.S. Two slabs of Russian amazonite are shown in the fourth photo by Jessica Dow.
A new second volume of Exotic Gems will be available this coming February. It will include alexandrite, cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, dinobone, kyanite, andalusite, sillimanite, common opal, fire opal, tsavorite, demantoid, rhodolite, spessartine, almandine and other garnets. You can learn more about me and my books at

pendant by Mark Anderson photo by Jessica Dow

Pendant by Mark Anderson photo by Jessica Dow

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