Semi - Precious Stones
Found all over the world, Amber is a fossilised tree resin.
Resin is present in trees , and protects them as it prohibits insects from burrowing into the bark. When this protective resin is produced in large quantities it seeps out of the bark, and hardens to become copal. Those pieces of copal get buried in the soil and gradually harden over millions of years to become Amber.
Both Copal and Amber are light in weight, this leads to them being carried great distances often far away from their origins.
Most Amber hails from the Baltic regions of Northern Europe.
However Amber can be found all around the world.
Amber often appears on the beaches of Eastern coasts of England where it has been washed ashore by the sea.
About Blue John
Blue John which is also known as Derbyshire Fluorspar, is a semi precious gemstone mineral, a unique form of fluorite with distinctive bands of a purple, blue and yellowish colouring, found only in Blue John and Treak Cliff Caverns, Castleton, Derbyshire. Blue John is a heavily crystallised formation and occasionally surface marks can be seen. This is not detrimental to the stone and in fact enhances its individuality. It has been seen that certain specimens of Blue John show signs of fluorescence on exposure to ultraviolet light, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
The gemstone is the most highly prized ornamental variety of Fluor-Spar (Calcium Fluoride), differing from any other variations of flour-spar due to its unique crystal structure, and banded veins of colour which run through the stone. During the 18th and 19th centuries Blue John was mined for its ornamental value, producing exquisite bowls, eggs and goblets.
Splendid unique specimens of Blue John stone can be found in collections throughout the world. The mines are sadly now largely extinct, however, small veins and nodules of fine quality Blue John stone of sufficient size for jewellery can still be found.
Opal is a naturally-occurring amorphous solid known for its flashes of fire color. An amorphous solid is a material that, unlike crystal, is not organised in a regular lattice pattern. This makes for some unusual interactions with light, and is explicable for opal’s rainbow colours.
However, just because opal is classified as amorphous is not to say that its atoms are arranged without order. Chemists have discovered a clear sphere structure in opal, which has led to them copying it in 1974. Synthetic opal is often named Gilson opal, after Pierre Gilson, the man who invented it (along with a number of other synthetic minerals: coral, emerald, lapis lazuli, etc)
Originally synthesised in Switzerland, Glison opal is now primarily synthesised in Japan (by Kyocera and Inamori, for example). It differs from natural opal in as much as it is much more regular. Synthetic opal is not to be confused with imitation opal, which, unlike pure synthetic opal, is tinctured with minerals not found in actual opal.