Gemology & Gemstone Science By Eli Mirzoeff

Gemology is a discipline in the combined fields of mineralogy and geology specific to natural and artificial gems and gemstones used in the making of jewelry. Over thousands of years of study, gemologists have developed the science of gemstone identification and manipulation. With a strong interest in the optical characteristics of gems, gemologists focus on crystal structure, specific gravity, refractive index, and pleochromism in polarized light, among other qualities. Since no two naturally occurring gems are identical, a gemologist’s primary objective is to properly identify a gemstone in raw form using refractometers, spectroscopes, and microscopes. These tools allow them to determine the impurities and imperfections of the gem, and to identify the gem’s critical angle, which will later determine how the gemstone is cut into jewelry. Since 1931, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), based in Carlsbad, California, has been the industry leader in gemology technologies, gemstone identification and standardization, and education for the licensing of gemstone professionals.

Eli Mirzoeff is a third-generation jeweler, gemstone expert, and owner of East Continental Gems in New York City, an exclusive provider of fine jewelry to specialty jewelry stores, luxury fashion boutiques, and department stores worldwide. Eli Mirzoeff offers clients generations of expertise in the craft of gemstone work and jewelry making.


The Formation of Emeralds By Eli Mirzoeff

Emeralds are greenish-blue gems derived from the mineral beryl. Some of the world’s most valuable gems, they have been known and written about for over 6,000 years. The most famous emerald mines are located in South America, but deposits have been found in other areas of the world.

Emerald crystal from Muzo, Colombia via

Emerald crystal from Muzo, Colombia via

Beryl is a very common mineral found in many parts of the world. In addition to beryl, emeralds contain chromium and vanadium. The amounts of these two minerals determine the emerald’s color. When magma deposits containing the right elements cool, emeralds may form. Most often, emeralds are found in mines where hot water or steam is present.

About the Author:
Eli Mirzoeff is a senior gem expert with over 50 years of experience as a jeweler, including experience working with emeralds. Based in New York City, Eli Mirzoeff’s company, East Continental Gems, Inc., was founded in 1972.

Famous Diamonds, By Eli Mirzoeff

For centuries, diamonds have been one of the most desirable gemstones in the world. The following is some information about two of the most famous diamonds in history:

1. The Cullinan Diamond, or the Star of Africa, is the largest diamond in the world. Discovered in 1905 in South Africa, the diamond weighs in at 3,106 metric carats and is more than 10 centimeters long. Nine principal stones were cut from the Cullinan Diamond, which are part of the Crown Jewels.

2. The Hope Diamond has a long and interesting history. The diamond was discovered in the Kollur Mine in Golconda, India, and one of its first owners was Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who sold it to King Louis XIV of France in 1668. The diamond stayed with French royalty until it was stolen in 1792 during the French revolution. For the next 150 years, the diamond would pass through many owners and be recut and reset many times. In 1958, it was donated to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., and has remained there ever since.

About Eli Mirzoeff:
Eli Mirzoeff is the founder of East Continental Gems, Inc. Since its beginning in 1972, the family-run business has provided service to fine jewelry stores and major stores worldwide.


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