Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray

Awe By Accident: Confessions of a Gem-a-holic


“The jeweler allows me to wear the sapphire blue lake on my finger, emerald green leaves around my neck, and take the citrine sunset with me wherever I go.  Jewelry has become my daytime link to nature in an office with no windows. And if I have to work late, there’s nothing like diamond stars and a pearl full moon against an onyx night sky. ~Astrid Alauda, “Office With No Windows,” 2005

Today marks my two year anniversary on WordPress.  WP rocks; and speaking of rocks, around 10 years ago I became interested in gemology, which is a science dealing with natural (and artificial) gems – gemstones.  My interest was sparked after inheriting some jewelry I wanted to learn more about.

My research introduced me to gemology sites and forums with close-knit communities.  I got involved and enthralled.

When we’d acquire new gems and/or jewelry, after tracking and attacking the UPS guy, we couldn’t wait to show off our new brilliant beauties with pictures and descriptions. Gem-a-holic verbiage included emotionally charged terms like HOLY CRAP, and ACK.  I had a blast, and it was a welcomed escape after some intense life events.  There was a cult-like understanding that you dare not boast about your newest sparkle crack without pics. 


I consulted with gemologists (no — gemology has nothing to do with astrology 😉 ).  I gained an appreciation for the artistry, knowledge, skill and dedication in this discipline.  What started out as curiosity bloomed into a new hobby.  I was introduced to some talented bench jewelers, designers, and gemcutters working with certified, non-conflict gems. My hobby evolved in stages; from information seeking, to wishful thinking, and eventually to purchasing, trading, and selling.

Each precious piece sold, meant I could get another hit of dopamine from the anticipation of another gem in waiting.  yahoo

“These gems have life in them:  their colors speak, say what words fail of.”  ~George Eliot

I went on a treasure hunt adventure that not only gave me a skill set in marketing, but also stirred my creative juices as I sought unique ways to showcase natures sumptuous eye candy.  I was mesmerized as I watched craftsmen/women cut, shape, and polish each piece of rough until it breathed brilliance, scintillation and fire.  Certain imperfections made them uniquely captivating.  Each gem was one of a kind, just like our finger prints.

I should mention that this post was inspired by an email from Michelle (MamaMickTerry), after we recently discovered that we shared a mutual  love for photography.   She asked me to share a few favorites I’d taken.  So, instead of sending them to her via email, I’m going to share them here.  Btw, Michelle has a new photography blog.  Check it out. She’s an incredibly talented photographer.

Awe by accident…

These were taken in 2011, on my veranda, during two different seasons.   I needed to make some extra cash, so out came the camera.  Sometimes I set my camera on auto.  The first OoF image (a pendent) is for comparison purposes.

Digital StillCamera

With the next image (same pendant), I’m still on the veranda, in the same position to capture the natural light from behind me.  To my surprise, I captured so much more.

Digital StillCamera

Sometimes I modeled the jewelry (in this case, matching earrings to the pendant) as per request by potential customers.  These were taken a couple of months later, in late Spring.

File - citrine earrings modeled

Next the stone mirrors the sunset. The dark area at the top of the stone’s table is the overhang from my veranda.

File - citrine earrings modeled 2

And one more awe by accident.

Digital StillCamera


Diamonds are my favorite gem in the precious stone category.  They have meaning to me.  Not in a “De Beers – “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” over-priced, hyper-marketed BS sort of way, but symbolically–metaphorically.

My life’s experiences have been the skilled hand that cut away the ore; shaped and polished me, allowing for the light of others to enter in and reflect back.  On this two year anniversary, I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to my fellow bloggers for shining your light and infusing me with your beauty.

“Diamonds are held under tons and tons of pressure, extremely high temperatures of fire and shuffled under shifting of tectonic plates, for a long, long time! Yet when they come out from there and are put on display for their beauty; does anybody stop to evaluate the diamond based upon all the shit it’s been through and say “Remember that disgusting hole it used to be in? I bet it was hell in there!”

No, people don’t remember where a diamond has come from; they just see the beauty of it now. But it wouldn’t have become so beautiful, you know, if not for all of that! So why should we look at other people, or at ourselves and evaluate them/ourselves based upon their/our pasts? Shouldn’t we forget that? And only see the beauty that is in front of our eyes? Whatever it was, it made you beautiful! And that is what matters!”  ― C. JoyBell C.

Do you have a favorite gemstone?


Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

33 thoughts on “Awe By Accident: Confessions of a Gem-a-holic

  1. Congrats, Victoria: On your two years as a blogger, and also for a terrific post that was a joy to read because of the joy in which you wrote it. Whether inspired by the gems or words, both are equally precious.

    Cheers to you 😉


  2. Love your collection. There’s something so earthen in stone. Many years ago i tried to have an engagement ring (first choice) or wedding band (second choice) fashioned out of uranium ore. It got a little complicated when the mine owners started talking about me signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (no, i’m not kidding) so i eventually had to let it slide. Still, it was a good idea, i thought.


  3. *Sniffle, sniffle* BIG SMILE! You, my friend, are awesome! LOVE your photographs and, as Ned mentioned, am thrilled to feel the joy in your words. You are truly a woman with talents in so many areas…like the beautiful finger lakes that the reach inland, around and through valleys. Also very humbled that you would give me such a kind shout out. Thank you so much, dear friend!
    I’m having such a great night and seeing your post was like a welcome breeze of Spring air.
    Love ya!
    xo, Michelle


    • *hands you a tissue*

      Hay Michelle — YAY— I’m glad you are having a great night and hey — I can let my hair down every so often. I prefer it down most of the time. 😀 This post is very delinquent, lol. Using Christy’s term, I unplugged for a while.

      “like the beautiful finger lakes that reach inland, around and through valleys.”

      That is beautiful, like you.

      Love and light right back at cha. ღ


  4. No, me have not given gemstones much of a thought.
    This is a beautiful post


  5. congratulations!!!

    and I loves this:

    “wear the sapphire blue lake on my finger, emerald green leaves around my neck, and take the citrine sunset with me wherever I go.”

    and loved this

    “hit of dopamine from the anticipation of another gem in waiting” ha ha

    and really loved your ending sentences by CJC:
    But it wouldn’t have become so beautiful, you know, if not for all of that!….

    great post – and I do not have a favorite gem, but I am drawn to greens – not deep greens – but lighter or more sap like – I think Peridot or chrysolith????


    and lastly, regarding this –
    “Each gem was one of a kind, just like our finger prints”

    well I have also heard that our ears are like fingerprints – – and that was a pretty revealing photo of your ear – jk….



    • Hey Yvette, thank you for your feedback. I laughed out loud with your comment about my earlobe. You know how it is — the camera adds 10 lbs — even on earlobes. 😛 Also, it wasn’t easy taking a selfie of my earlobe. I took like a gazillion shots. What the neighbors must have thought. 😀

      Faceted peridot is breathtaking. Here’s a fun fact: peridot has also been found in a meteorite that fell in Siberia in 1749.

      Happy weekend.


  6. Oh, I love this post so much! Two of my dearest friends have lived in Arizona and gone to the annual gem show there-they both became utterly enthralled, especially when one of them met a boy who was willing to sit down and pour stone after stone out of velvet bags so she could “meet” them all.

    Congratulations on your anniversary, and thank you for this delectable post!


    • Jennie, this response is late. I’m sure your area got the same high winds that my area got, since our states boarder each other. However, I lost Internet connection for 2 days, hence, why I’m late responding.

      “especially when one of them met a boy who was willing to sit down and pour stone after stone out of velvet bags so she could “meet” them all.”

      That’s what I’m talking about. 😀 Thanks for the congrats and comment. Brightened my day. Hope you have a great weekend.


  7. I do not have a favorite stone, that I’m aware of, but YOUR excitement and energy is contagious! I feel like somehow, somewhere (over the rainbow?) I have a diamond-in-the-rough waiting for me! 🙂 LOL

    And huge congrats on your WP anniversary Lady!


  8. You’ve unearthed a quarry of childhood memories. (Forgive me the pun.) I had quite the rock collection growing up. My childhood summers were spent camping which gave me a multitude of opportunities to discover new prizes. I’m still drawn to the little gem stands at tourist attractions. My kids and I have a small shell/rock/fossil collection. It’s such a communal way to connect with nature.

    I usually prefer the rough state myself. My favorite stones are the ones that seem to have life and light coming from within. I had to Google to remember some of these names: scapolite, zoisite, sapphire, pearl, amethyst, sard, and jade.

    You’ve brought such joy and knowledge into my life since I started blogging, I only hope that I have the privilege of reading your thoughts and words for many years to come. Happy Anniversary!

    P.S. Those woods in the gem photos are stunning!


    • Oh, your choice favorites are so yummy. How cool that you are fond of stones that seem to have life and light coming from within. What a great description. I did a little exploring on 3 of your favs I didn’t know much about.

      Scapolite is one of the lesser-known gemstones and is not widely available. It’s unlikely to be found in local jewelry stores, yet it’s a desirable and attractive gem material for both jewelers and collectors, with good brilliance and a vitreous luster. It was first discovered in 1913 in the Mogok Stone Tract in upper Burma. It comes in an interesting variety of colors, including white, colorless, greenish, gray, yellow, brown, reddish and pink. There is also a lavender scapolite that is produced by heat treatment. The gem is found in calcium-rich metamorphic rocks, particularly marble, gneiss, granulite, greenschist, and skarns. The main sources are Brazil, Tanzania, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

      Zoisite occurs as prismatic, orthorhombic crystals or in massive form, being found in metamorphic and pegmatitic rock. It can be blue to violet, green, brown, pink, yellow, gray, or colorless. he mineral zoisite was first discovered by the mineral dealer Simon Prešern, who discovered it in the Saualpe mountains of Austria in 1805. He brought a sample to the Slovene mineralogist Sigmund Zois (1747-1819), who recognized it as a previously unknown mineral. It was first named Saualpite, after its location, then named Zoisite in honor of Baron Zois.

      Sard, a type of solid-colored chalcedony quartz, has been used since ancient times, going back as far as the Egyptian 2nd Dynasty, over 4000 years ago. The empires of Greece and Rome were familiar with the material and cameo carvings have been dated to the Roman periods. There are Biblical references to the material, including its inclusion in the High Priest’s breastplate. In the days of the Roman Empire, intaglios of Mars, the god of war, were often carved in sard and worn by officers. Sard was widely used in ancient Rome to make signet or seal rings for imprinting a seal on letters or important documents. Hot wax does not stick to this material. It’s found in many places including Brazil, Uruguay, India and Madagascar.

      “You’ve brought such joy and knowledge into my life since I started blogging, I only hope that I have the privilege of reading your thoughts and words for many years to come.

      Ditto, my dear friend, and thank you. You really made my day.


  9. Congratulations on two years of blogging! As always your words captured me. I have this little indulgence where with every new project I start (I am a project manager IT and other) I buy myself a little piece of jewlery. I have a favourite jewler that I go to for this little tradition. They are never big (read expensive) pieves, but always special. My most recent (wonderful) acquisition is a pair of earrings with drops of Labradorite – beautiful!


  10. Beautiful photos, Victoria, I enjoyed this little glimpse into one of your interests, well two actually–gems and photography.

    Huge congrats on two years!
    Love, Christy


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