Category Archives: Gemstones

The Aquamarine Birthstone


Those born in the month of March are lucky to have the aquamarine gemstone as their birthstone. The stunning stone comes in a variety of shades of blue with the gorgeous colours captivating the world since its discovery.



The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin words for water and sea.



Aquamarine is well known for its distinctive blue-green colour. Shades range from deep teal to a pale, crystal blue. The depth of the colour is actually influenced by the amount of iron found in each gem’s structure.

Many aquamarine stones are heat treated to bring their colour closer to a vibrant blue. The colour change is permanent but the heat does not otherwise alter the stone. Heated stones must be labelled as such and often sell for a lower price. Natural deep blue aquamarine stones are rare, expensive and in high demand.

Back in the 19th century, the more green varieties of this stone proved to be the most popular, but since then, the more blue the stone is, the more valuable it is.



Aquamarine is known to possess excellent transparency and clarity. The stone harnesses the soothing spirit of the ocean and the healing powers of the water. It is known for helping to connect people with water. The stone is also a symbol of courage, friendship, faithfulness as well as youth, hope, knowledge and health.

Historically, sailors used aquamarine stones for good luck. The stone has also been associated with calming and soothing qualities similar to the waves of the sea. It was believed by the Egyptians, Romans as well as Greeks that the stone helped invoke the good spirits of the water.



The most common cut of aquamarine gems is an emerald cut followed by oval and pear shaped cuts. The stone can be made into innovative shapes and so the gemstone is highly flexible when jewellery making.


Aquamarine is made up of the mineral beryl, composed of beryllium aluminium silicate. The other member of the beryl family is emerald.



Aquamarine registers between a 7 and 8 on a Mohs scale. This is the unit of measurement that is used to test the hardness of different kinds of gemstones. Aquamarine is relatively hard and will withstand daily wear.





Found in many countries including Brazil, Zambia, Nigeria and Madagascar. The stones mined in Brazil are the ones commonly used in jewellery. Aquamine is usually found in cavities, granite pegmatite and alluvial deposits of gravel.

Aquamarine is found in a wide range of sizes. Smaller pieces are available for setting into jewellery. The largest Aquamarine gemstone ever found was found in Brazil in 1910. The stone weighted 243 pounds and was cut into smaller stones to make an incredible 200,000 carats!





The nature of the aquamarine gemstone makes it ideal for faceting. Aquamarine has also been cut as a cabochon, with the stone particularly suited to a pairing with darker coloured stones.

Aquamarine can be used to make beautiful rings, pendants and earrings. The gemstone particularly looks stunning with sterling silver or when set in gold, rose gold and white gold.



Caring for aquamarine jewellery is quite simple. The jewellery should be stored in a dark place, as extended exposure to the sun can cause the stone to pale in colour. Regular cleaning of the stone with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush will help to keep the sparkle.

Heat exposure is not recommended but the colour of the stone will not be affected by light exposure. Cleaning the stone in an ultrasonic cleaner is fine if you stone has no fractures. Stones with fractures should be hand cleaned only.


Your Guide to Cabochons

In the gemstone world, a cabochon is a stone cut with a highly polished rounded or convex top with no faceting and with a flat or slightly domed base.

The shape of a cabochon may vary. Ovals, rounds, and teardrops are the most popular shapes though irregular shapes are also popular for a free form design.

The cut can vary in size from quite small, for use in earrings and rings, to very large, in the form of a centerpiece on a necklace or brooch. A rock which has been cut into a cabochon may be described as en cabochon, or it may just be called a cabochon. The term comes from the French caboche, meaning small dome.

Some stones are almost always cut “en cabochon.” These include opal, turquoise, onyx, moonstone and star gemstones.

The cabochon shape is not designed for giving off flashes of light the way faceted stone will. They are created for the pure enjoyment of colour which is why diamonds and other translucent stones are not cut to this form.

The cabochon design has been with us probably since the beginning of lapidary though we do know its commercial development probably began in the 1400s in Germany. The town of Idar-Oberstein was particularly famous for its gem cutters.

5 Tips on Setting Cabochon Stones:
1. Prepare your steel burnishing tools before you set your stones. Gently round off the edges with a medium sand paper 600 grit then follow up with a fine grit of 1200. Lastly, sand the face of the pusher with a 1200 grit sand paper to allow the pusher to grip a little to the bezel without slipping.

2. For stones that need a more gentle approach when setting such as coral, pearl, amber and shell, a variety of pushing tools can be made from copper rod, toothbrushes, wooden dowel or even chop sticks. Simply cut to a comfortable length then file and sand the end to a blunt shape.

3. When choosing a stone there are a few things worth considering. Knowing the hardness of the stone on the Moh’s scale is helpful in choosing the right tools and materials for the job. Your regular steel tools are fine for most agates but for softer more delicate stones use a wooden or plastic tool which are less likely to scratch the stone if you slip.

Checking your stone with an eye loupe for inclusions, fractures or irregularities will help you know where to place less pressure when setting, and for the placement of the stone in the bezel to hide or attract less attention to the imperfections.

4. Choose the most appropriate bezel wire and plate for your place. Smaller stones will require a thinner, shorter bezel wire than heavier larger cabs. Earrings for instance only need a thinner gauge base plate. We supply a wide selection of bezel wire and plate for this purpose.

5. All cleaning up and polishing should be done before setting the stone. This will eliminate any damage being done to the stone. A variety of techniques and finishing touches can be achieved with goats hair or cotton and felt mops. Remember when pushing over the bezel, work evenly from top to bottom of the bezel and push from opposite sides across and from top to bottom of the setting.

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We offer a large range of cabochons in varying sizes, styles and colours. Currently we have rose quartz, amethyst, dyed agate, white and dyed howlite, carnelian, red jasper, hematite, snowflake obsidian and dyed calcite. Come in-store to view our range.

To view and shop our setting tools visit:

Have any questions or need assistance? You’re welcome to visit us in-store or call us on (08) 9330 8311 and one of our knowledgeable staff will be pleased to assist you in any way.

Colour Inspiration 2018

We are well into the new year, and by now you have probably noticed some of the top trending colours for 2018. These colours are popping up everywhere, from walls, to furniture, and of course, the latest fashion pieces. Crisp whites, burnt rose and divine greens are just some of the stunning colours influencing this year’s trends.

Global fashion icons and local designers including Natalie Rolt, Wildhorses, and Morrison, are also embracing this year’s hottest colours.

To give you a bit of colour inspiration, we have chosen some of the selected gemstones that match this years top ten colour trends.


#1 Lavender

#2 Purple

#3 Rapture Rose

#4 Sky Blue

#5 Light Green

#6 Military Green

#7 Milk White/Pastels

#8 Tomato Red

#9 Lemon Yellow

#10 Chocolate Brown

Feeling inspired to get colour ready?! Come in store to view and shop our full range of stones.

Feature Gemstone: Amazonite

Amazonite is a relatively rare gemstone, believed by those who see gemstones as having special properties, as being able to soothe the emotions and nerves, enhance creativity, build self-confidence, enhance the ability to express oneself and make married life happier.

With all that in mind, perhaps amazonite should feature in everyone’s lives.

Amazonite is named after the Amazon River from where it was thought to originate. This, however, is incorrect as the gemstone is not found in that part of Brazil.

The most important deposits are found in Colorado, USA (since 1876) but also in India, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Russia, Zimbabwe and in some regions of Brazil.

Items created from amazonite have been found in ancient Egypt, indicating that it has been highly regarded for jewellery and decorative objects for thousands of years.

Amazonite is a gemstone variety of green microcline, a feldspar mineral, sometimes mistaken for jade. It has a hardness of 6.5 on the MOH scale.

It is light green to blue in colour and shows a sheen effect called aventurescene (sparkle) caused by its flaky structure.

In jewellery making, amazonite is usually cut en cabochon with a rounded and convex polished surface and is most often used in beads and polished into cabochons and carvings. Amazonite is a soft stone and so particular care should be taken when wearing, on when storing with other minerals as it can easily crack or chip.

Amazonite is available in a range of sizes in-store at Western Frontier Traders.