Rock Hound Terms!
Carat - The word CARAT (care-et) is derived from the word Carob (care-ub). A Carob is a bean that is often used as a chocolate substitute. So what does that have to do with gemstones? Well, it turns out that Carob Beans are very uniform in weight and therefore have been used for centuries as a means of determining the weight of other objects, such as Gemstones! Carob Beans each weigh about 1/5th of a GRAM, or 200mg. So, keep in mind that Carats measure weight, not size. Stones such as Rubies & Sapphires weigh more than stones of the same size, such as Amethyst. So if you have a 5 carat Amethyst, it will be much larger in size than a 5 carat Ruby - But which one is worth more? The Ruby, definitely!!!!!!!!
Corundum - is a mineral oxide of Aluminum. It is second only to a diamond in hardness. In addition to its beauty, it is also used as an abrasive in industry and even in the home workshop. The transparent stones that are Red, are known as Rubies. Any other transparent corundum is known as Sapphire. While the most commonly associated color of a sapphire is blue, it can in fact be one of many different colors.
Emory - EMORY (em-or-ee) is an impure form of Corundum that is used as an abrasive. (You file your nails with it every week!)
Enriched - implies that the stones did not come from the area that you are mining in. They could have come from just a few miles away, or from thousands of miles away. But don't be confused, if a stone isn't NATIVE, that doesn't mean that it has no value. All of the stones in the RAINBOW BUCKETS at Sheffield Mine are Enriched, but they are also Semi-Precious and therefore they do have value! The term ENRICHED is interchangable with SALTED. Also bear in mind that if anyone working at a mine assures you that you are going through Native Dirt, they are probably telling the truth, BUT are the stones Native??? as well or were they imported for your mining pleasure - you have the right to know up front whether you are truly finding Native Stones or Stones from somewhere else!
Gram - is a measure of weight that weighs in at 1/28th of an ounce.
Honker - Is our definition of any Ruby or Sapphire that weighs 30 Carats or more. A stone of this size can most likely be easily fashioned into a beautiful piece of jewelry for yourself, a loved one or to sell at your discretion. There were over 220 Honkers found at Sheffield Mine in 2000. Maybe this season, you'll find one!
Matrix - is a material that a gemstone forms inside of, acting much like a mother, in that it protects the gemstone from outside influences. Some gemstones are difficult to separate from their MATRIX, while others are set free with ease. The term Matriarch (may-tree-ark), which means Mother, comes from the word MATRIX.
Native Stones - are Gemstones that come from the area that you are mining. They are not imported, and in fact, if you are lucky enough to find them, you are probably the first human in all of historic time to lay eyes on them and touch them. All of the Rubies & Sapphires that you might find at Sheffield Mine are NATIVE!
Rainbow Buckets - are Enriched Buckets that are filled with Semi-Precious stones from all over the world. The stones that you might find include, but are not limited to: Amethyst, Amazonite, Garnet, Hematite, Moonstone, Calcite, Flourite, Iolite, and more.
Ruby - A Ruby is in the Corundum Family and the only thing that sets it apart from a Sapphire is that it is Red or Purple/Red in color. On the Moh's Scale, it has a hardness of 9. It's Specific Gravity is 4.02 and it's Crystal Structure is Hexagonal - meaning six-sided. Non-jewelry quality Rubies are used as jewel bearings in watches and as components of scientific equipment and in lasers - they are used at the check-out counter of places like Wal-Mart to keep the scanner from needing to be replaced because of scratches! ~ Rubies that you'll find at Sheffield Mine are NOT the traditional TRANSLUCENT RED rubies that one usually thinks of. Our Rubies are OPAQUE Rubies, and therefore the definition of their color is a bit different. They are more of a Purple-Red color. If they were not Opaque Rubies, but Translucenet instead, the color would denote a Sapphire instead of a Ruby, but even though the color is a bit different from what most of you would expect, make no mistake, these ARE Rubies as defined by The Smithsonian, and if they are a good quality, they can be more valuable than diamonds!
Salted - implies that the stones did not come from the area that you are mining in. They could have come from just a few miles away, or from thousands of miles away. But don't be confused, if a stone isn't NATIVE, that doesn't mean that it has no value. All of the stones in the RAINBOW BUCKETS at Sheffield Mine are SALTED, but they are all considered semi-precious and therefore they do have value! The term SALTED is often interchanged with the term ENRICHED.
Squeaker - This is our definition of any Ruby or Sapphire that weighs between 15 and 30 carats. This size stone is much more common than Honkers or Super Honkers and is still large enough to be fashioned into jewelry.
Specimen Stone - is one that is not suitable for turning into a piece of jewelry, however since it is a precious or semi-precious stone or piece of stone in matrix, it is suitable as a conversation piece. SPECIMEN STONES are often quite exquisite in their own right and can give their owner an enormous amount of pleasure by being something interesting and/or beautiful to look upon. Specimen Stones are often large, or at least larger than a piece of jewelry would be and can be quite valuable in their own right.
Star Ruby - A STAR RUBY is made of corundum that has needlelike inclusions of Rutile and other trace minerals. The STAR can only be seen if the stone is cut in a Cabochon (cab o' shawn) shape, which means that it is cut with a convex or rounded manner resembling a half melon. When the stone is polished, a 6 pointed STAR mysteriously shows itself when in the proper light, such as sunshine, halogen light or the new LED lights. Star Rubies and even Star Sapphires, are rare indeed, being found in very few locations in the world, one is Burma or Myanmar, and another is right here at Sheffield Mine!
Super Honker - A SUPER HONKER is is our definition for any Ruby or Sapphire that weighs in at a whopping 100 Carats or more! You can usually get 2 or 3 smaller stones of exquisite beauty fashioned from a Ruby of this size, or go for one large beaut if the shape dictates! Super Honkers are a lot more rare. There were over 20 found in 2000.
These Rubies are NOT Red and the Sapphires here are NOT Blue (Sapphires come in every color of the rainbow - ours are pink to lavender - in fact, all Rubies ARE actually Sapphires, just not the other way around.
Nor are these Rubies or Sapphires Translucent - they are OPAQUE Stones, meaning that the light can not penetrate the surface, so they are NOT good for Faceting, BUT they Still have Value, in fact, they are sometimes worth more than Diamonds of the same size!
If a Ruby or Sapphire does not produce a Star, they can fetch $20 to $50 dollars per finished CUT Carat - or more!
But if the Ruby or Sapphire DOES produce a Star, then the value can be $50 to $125 per CUT Carat or MORE!!! We had customers take their cut Rubies to a Bench Certified Gemologist who informed them that their stones weren't worth much ... only about $400 per Cut Carat - that's MUCH in my book and it was in theirs too!
These Rubies and Sapphires contain Rutile and other trace minerals which cause them to be Opaque, but that is also what causes some of them to produce the much desired STAR Effect.
Don't come to mine with the expectation of going home rich in anything but a great shared Family Time - even if you do find one or mire substantially sized Rubies or Sapphires, think of it as more of a Family Heirloom, which will only appreciate more over the years. If you really want to sell what yo find, realize that not many gemstones of any kind are worth much before they are cut and polished, often as little as 50 cents a carat - hardly getting rich like that - but once a gemstone is cut and the final weight cnan be determined along with the evaluation of color and in this case whether a Star is produced or not, then the value goes up dramatically - but cutting isn't free either and some places really charge a LOT for their services. (Emma's Place, just south of Franklin, but in the same county is QUITE reasonable!!!)
FACTS You Need to Know -