Posts Tagged ‘gemmology’

Cornflower blue

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The other night in class we watched a documentary about Kashmir sapphires. It was pretty interesting. The mines aren’t producing much right now because it’s a warzone and also because some say that the mines have pretty much been mined out. Most of the stuff on the market now is from the collections of the maharajas, because before Indian independence, they collected taxes and were ridiculously wealthy. Now that they pay taxes, they need the money so they’re selling off their collections.

The only way that you can get there is to walk for a week, across three glaciers, through mountain passes and fording rivers. Looks like an amazing trip though. It’s a place that I would visit just to swim in the the sights and colours and textures. Both the land and the people are fascinating.

Some of the people do a shrine ceremony where they fill the image of the Buddha with herbs and sapphires and all the women wear elaborate headdresses covered with chunks of turquoise, assembled over hundreds of years and passed down from generation to generation. The thought of a multi-generational project like that seems so foreign in the sense that I doubt you’d be able to do something like that in North America or most of Europe. Our communication moves too fast. Our culture changes too quickly to hold onto traditions like that.

I did really well on the quiz so I won a prize. Don’t get too excited. It’s synthetic. But it is shiny and kind of fun, so good enough.


Monday, September 27th, 2010

gemmology homework

My Gemmology course is pretty cool so far. The only problem with it being really sciency is that there’s a lot of memorization, which isn’t really the funnest way to learn but I learned Latin by rote so memorizing formulae and cuts and inclusions and whatever isn’t really a big deal. It’s just not my favourite way to learn.

Apparently after a year of memorization we get to actually apply that information and it becomes useful so I’m looking forward to that.

We’re not supposed to talk too much about the gems we handle in class so as to not attract a lot of attention on the street. It makes for slightly awkward trips home on the Skytrain with classmates.

Well, we haven’t really handled any cool things yet. I have, however, acquired a triplex loupe and thoroughly investigated such things as the woodgrain in the kitchen cupboards, my watch and my thumbnail, which doesn’t look very smooth when magnified 10x.

I have spent much of the day working on assembling these geometric models of different kinds of crystal structures that I now have to memorize. It hasn’t been the most creative of tasks, but I figure I don’t do this sort of arts and crafts stuff enough.

gemmology homework