August 27, 2017
Amber is fascinating, it is both a fossil and a gem. Amber is a fossilised tree resin that is a time capsule of the past, often containing flora and fauna from ancient times. To be true Amber the fossilised resin has to be more than 20 million years old, fossil resins that are younger are called copal, copal is brittle and will crack and craze over time, although pretty it is too soft to be set in jewellery. Over the past ten years The Rare and Beautiful have been fortunate enough to have put together an amazing collection of Burmese Amber containing both insect and plant material.It's not easy to source top quality Burmese Amber, we have built friendships with miners and cutters during our past 12 visits to this magical country and they supply us with the best material available. This amazing Amber is from Katchin state in the north of the country commonly called Burmite it is Cretaceous in age, 100million years old, from the time of the dinosaurs, it is the hardest of all Ambers making it especially suitable for jewellery. Burmite comes in a variety of colours from almost clear through yellow, orange, red, brown and an opaque variety called wood Amber. This special Gem has been prized by Chinese craftsmen for around 2000 years.A huge variety of rare inclusions are found in Burmese Amber, including all sorts of insects, shells , lizards, feathers from ancient birds and dinosaurs, flowers , ferns ,leaves and other plant material. Evolutionary history is being re written due to these remarkable finds in Amber. On our recent trip to Burma we were lucky enough to buy several large packages of Amber and when we return from Asia we will be loading some wonderful material for sale on our web site as well as offering it for sale at our Salamanca market stall and at the gem and antique fairs we attend .To compliment our range of Burmese Amber we have also have Amber from Sumatra and Borneo for sale. This Amber is Miocene in age 20-30 million years and much of it is a wonderful red colour. Although not as hard as Burmite it is still easily hard enough to be worn in jewellery. We acquired some exceptionally large pieces, some over a kilo in weight. After many years of cutting gemstones, making jewellery and doing gemmological studies I've found Burmese amber to be one of the most fascinating materials I've come across. The Rare and Beautiful will continue to collect this amazing Burmese Amber on our regular trips to Burma. If your interested in something special, a lizard, a dinosaur feather or a shell in Amber drop us a line and we can find it for you.Sent from my iPad
May 11, 2016
Also known as "Atlantisite" this beautiful rare combination of Serpentine (green) and Stitchtite (purple) minerals are only found on Tasmania's wild West Coast. First discovered in 1910 by railway workers making the Argents Tunnel near Zeehan. This rare mineral was named after Robert Sticht the manager of the Mt Lyell Mine at nearby Queenstown. Stichtite is formed by the alteration of chromite in serpentine, this unique material is mined at Mount Dundas just south of Zeehan. This rock is used by crystal healers to improve kundalini energy flow, to aid spiritual connections and to protect against negativity.
The Rare and Beautiful loves this remarkable rock as the colours and frequency of the stichtite are ever changing. We design and hand-make sterling silver jewellery and string beaded pieces using this mineral. All this can be seen on our website or come visit us at our Salamanca Stall (site 180) at the local Saturday market in Hobart Tasmania, Australia where we also sell carved stichtite and serpentine animals, spheres and solid natural pieces.
October 26, 2014
Opal is an amazing gem and is highly underrated ,not only is opal all the colours of the rainbow it also appears differently when viewed under different light sources. 30 years ago my life changed, one day at a garage sale I picked up a bottle of rough opal. Are these stones real? I asked the lady running the sale. She replied that they were real and that her grandfather had found them at a place called lightning ridge. I didn't know it when I bought that jar that I had In fact just caught a disease called opal fever that I've never been able to get rid of. For almost a year I hand cut stones from that jar of opal, I had always liked gems and crystals , but that jar of opal started my career as a jeweller ,cutter and gemmologist.I've cut and made jewellery from many types of stones and opals are the most fun as they are all unique. Every stone I cut is different, white stones,clear ,black, grey and brown stones, some with a subtle pastel glow, others with an almost unnatural electric fire. The colour is also arranged in different patterns ,from tiny pin fire flecks through to big angular sections of colour.Opals occurrence is also fascinating , many opals were once alive , opal quite often replaces fossils. From sea shells and dinosaur bones to trees , opal fossils are some of the most beautiful fossils formed by mother nature.Opals reputation has been tarnished over the years, we hear things like; opals are bad luck, that they can't get wet and that they crack. The only thing unlucky about opals is if you don't own any! A mid 1800's novel and a smear campaign by Diamond marketers Debeers spread the word that opals were unlucky , Debeers hated competition and in most cases the incredible beauty of the black opals being marketed at the time made their diamonds look very plain so instead of promoting their own product they put down other stones. Water doesn't affect opals unless they are composite stones like doublets and triplets where layers are cemented together with glue. These composite stones do need to be kept away from oils and water. At the Rare and Beautiful we avoid composite stones and only sell solid Australian opals. Some opals will crack or craze after they have been cut, this opal has usually been formed under a volcanic environment, Most opals from America and Ethiopia will unfortunately crack after they are cut, ruining many beautiful gems and wasting the money of those who purchase them.We love opal because it is beautiful and because of the surprise when cutting it ,you just never know what a gem will look like once it's freed from its rough form. We have all types of solid opal at The Rare and Beautiful , from inexpensive to family heirlooms . We like to keep our prices down to, so that other jewellers can make a decent profit from our stones but most of all so that people can posses one of these beautiful gems to treasure and be amazed by just like we have for the past 30 years.
May 26, 2014
The Rare and Beautiful has had a site at Salamanca Market for the last 8 years .Salamanca is Tasmania's No 1 tourist attraction. Our stall has a great range of objects of desire : from retro antiques, hand made jewellery, gems, minerals, and meteorites to tribal jewellery , antique textiles, whale bone carvings and objects of natural history. We have something for everyone with a discerning eye, or for the lover of the unusual. If your in Hobart why not come down and see us. We're at stall number 180 which is around half way down the market on the water side.
March 25, 2014
Check out the April edition of Vogue Australia. A selection of our tribal jewellery collection was chosen for an amazing article on supermodel and actor Abbey Lee. Our pieces feature on the cover and in a 14 page spread .