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Monday, July 28, 2014

Tanzanite - Azotic Coating and D - Block Origin

The D Block term was used because the best tanzanite supposedly came from that dig.
Actually, wherever they hit the seam, they got great material. I can remember when the smallest piece I could get was over 10 cts., with trays of 20 ct. + material, huge rounds looking like acorns with the deep pavilions they cut them in. The costs then would still easily give you your keystone profit now, despite a 20% drop in value from its highest price.
Azotic coating will give you greater color saturation at the edges than the center, opposite what an untreated gem does.
Under a microscope, put the gem in the cut off bottom of a dixie cup with water just up to the girdle. The difference from eye-balling it will be stunning.
The "blue-green tanzanite, untreated" piece I tested was colorless, table down in the water. I turned it over and the color showed only on the facets above the girdle and the table was still colorless.
If you see any tubules of color filling inclusions, it has been lattice diffused. This process can take colorless rough and subject it to enough heat and pressure that introducing gaseous metals causes the rough to take on color. Crap material to gem material in the lab. A flood of no reserve bids, consistent color saturation and larger gems on e-bay from vendors who are power sellers you never heard of before is a dead give away. That's the deal with all this blue-green tanzanite; cheap because a lab used azotic coating to get color where there was none.
1 ct., emerald cut, VS and $9.99 to open and there's so much, mine was the only bid.
Please. Chinese vendors have pages of something the knowledgeable know was hard to come by and never cheap, but it sells and degrades the industry with every false sale of "untreated" gems.
Some of the faux material was even touted as "D block" origin. Insult to injury. 

It sounds like the standard immersion cell examination will reveal that classic color saturation near the facet junctions. I have not seen any lattice diffused goods yet (other than in the GIA NYC LAB), but I know they are out there in quantity. Hope the immersion exam will show that as well...

some coated stones will show a weird iridescence across the PAVILION when you rock/roll it under a light source -- especially some of the coated beryl/topaz/quartz materials, but also when examining stones such as fancy-color DIAMOND. Some it shows up better in diffused light, but some find it easier to see when viewed under more focused light, moving the light around the surface of the stone.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vermicomposting - a better way to compost

The practice of using worms while composting to help break down material into a richer soil

Earthworms can eat their own weight in organic matter ever day

What it is all about:

While organic waste can be composted year round you will find many home owners do now want to take a trip outside in the middle of winter. Also there are plenty of home owners who do now want a large bin full of decaying matter on their property in the first place.
I had a wicked batch rotting in a 5 gallon bucket that I would leave outside...unfortunately I had to move before I could try it out but I will be trying again for the spring time.
Worms have been the recyclers of dirt since soil was soil. Their populations can double each month which is good because they have to do all the tunneling and digesting.
Using an earth worm bin could be your choice for keeping organic rich soil inside without all the stench and icky bugs.
The Process:
Be warned...dealing with rotting material is quite disgusting and not for the weak of heart. These worms will eat and digest and eat and digest food scraps until the material looks like dirt and is full of worms. Once the material passes through the worm it becomes saturated with nutrients and is referred to as 'casting'. These 'castings' or worm manure is the nutrient rich 'vermicompost' that plants love. Use this worm soil as a mulch or a mix with regular soil.
Is it worth it?
Depends....if you are already into composting and would like to speed up the process then vermicomposting would be extremely valuable to you. Worms digest plant material much faster than traditional composting.
Traditional composting can take weeks or even months if the conditions are poor.
Another advantage of vermicomposting is the time release capabilities of the castings. The worm castings have a mucous coating which takes time to break down.
Casting contain:
5X more nitrogen
7X more phosphorus
11X more potassium
than plant soil
(The three main ingredients that help plants grow)