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Chrysoprase was known to be a favorite of Alexander the Great. Perhaps, because of it’s delightful green apple color and rumors promoting love, compassion, joy and self-confidence—traits, I’m sure, desired by all conquerors.

Chrysoprase is composed of crystals so fine, they are not able to been seen by the naked eye, unlike amethyst, citrine and other quartz gemstones. Chrysoprase is the most valuable of the Chalcedony family of gemstones and was often mistaken to be emeralds by ancient jewelers. Today we see Chrysoprase commonly used in fine jewelry. I used it in the Crane earring above, creating a delightful splash of color and movement.

This beautiful stone is on the list of birthstones both for May and June and those of us who aspire to conquer the world.

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One, Two, or Three!

One, Two, or Three!

Lucky Gemini, you have a choice of 3 gemstones­—Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone. June is one of the only two months that has three birthstones. Choose between a creamy-colored pearl or opalescent moonstone to the rare color-changing Alexandrite, a gem that mimics your changing personality.

First up, Pearls, shown above are a pair of earrings I created using South Sea Pearls. Pearls are the only gemstones made by living creatures. These lovely organic gems don’t require polishing to reveal their natural luster. The rarest, of course, are natural pearls made in the wild and are extremely rare. The majority of pearls grown and seen on the market today are the more affordable cultured pearl. The cultured pearl is grown on pearl farms using a delicate surgical procedure of implanting a bead into the mollusk before returning it to the water where it is continually cared for. It is interesting to note, 10,000 pearls may be sorted before a 16” strand of single beautifully matched pearls is assembled.

June’s second birthstone choice, Moonstone. The Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone’s shimmery appearance shifted with the phases of the moon, named this gem. Moonstone is composed of microscopic layers of feldspar that scatter light causing a billowy effect of adularescence. Thinner layers produce a bluish sheen and thicker layers look white. Moonstone comes in a range of colors spanning yellow, gray, green, blue, peach and pink—sometimes displaying a star or cat’s eye.

Taking up Third and no less the least favorite is the ever-changing Alexandrite. Alexandrite is a relatively modern gem discovered in Russia around 1834 in an emerald mine in the Ural Mountains. This beautiful rare gemstone was discovered on the same day the future Russian Czar, Alexander II came of age. In his honor, the gemstone was named Alexandrite. This green to red stone is known as the official Imperial Russian Gemstone. It is often described as “Emerald by day, Ruby by night,” this gem is a rare, changing color from bluish green in daylight to purplish red under incandescent light.

So Gemini, the choice is yours, One, Two or Three. As a Gemini myself, I suggest you change your gem of choice each year.

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Gold…What’s ahead in 2018?

Gold…What’s ahead in 2018?

Now that the crystal ball has dropped and the New Year has arrived, I was curious about the predictions for gold in 2018. We are living in such a chaotic time, that predicting the future, let alone the gold market, almost seems impossible. I ran across an article that caught my attention and I thought I’d pass along what the World Gold Council believe is ahead for 2018 the gold market.

Chief Market Strategist John Reade for the World Gold Council had the following to say:

"The Financial Market Drivers in 2018

 According to Reade, “monetary policy – and policymakers – will continue to be significant drivers of gold demand”. He explains that the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) is expected to “hike rates further next year and start to allow its balance sheet to contract”.

Over the next 12 months, Reade predicts a possible slowdown in the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monetary policy action. Additionally, the Bank of Japan may dial back its quantitative easing, and China could continue its efforts to rebalance economic growth and possibly de-leverage some sectors of the economy.

There are two other factors as potentially important for gold: first, the ongoing strength – or otherwise – of already expensive US equities. Second, the trajectory of the US dollar.

Physical Market Drivers in 2018

Reade explains that income growth is probably the most significant market driver for gold. This rests on the fact that, over the long run, it has been the most important driver of gold demand. Reade says that the WGC is optimistic for its outlook. Additionally, “China, the world’s largest gold market, has avoided the hard landing that many were predicting 18 months ago and is expected to grow at a fair clip in 2018, with the consensus forecast at around 6.4%”.

India is expected to be one of the fastest-growing countries in the world in 2018, expanding at an even faster rate than it did between 2012-2014.

Germany’s economy is expected to maintain its momentum and unemployment is anticipated to continue falling. Finally, the US jewelry market, the third-largest in the world, could benefit from continuing economic growth and high consumer confidence."

So there you have it, gold certainly looks strong and a sound investment for the coming year.

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