Exotic Gems, Volume 2   

How to Identify & Buy Alexandrite, Andalusite, Chrysoberyl Cat’s-eye, Kyanite, Common Opal, Fire Opal, Dinosaur Gembone, Tsavorite, Rhodolite & Other Garnets          


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Exotic Gems, Volume 2 is a full-color guide to identifying and evaluating alexandrite, andalusite, chrysoberyl, cat’s-eye, kyanite, sillimanite, common opal, fire opal, dinosaur gembone, tsavorite, rhodolite, spessartine, demantoid, malaya, grossular.and other garnets. This is the second in a series of books that explores the history, lore, properties, qualities and geographic sources of lesser-known gems. Exotic Gems shows you with close-up photos how to make visual judgments about clarity, transparency, color, cut quality and brilliance. It also provides tips on gem care and on detecting imitations and gem treatments. The healing and metaphysical properties of the gems are also addressed. Written for both consumers and professionals, it’s easy to read, well-organized, packed with professional color photos and full of fascinating information. by Renée Newman 

ISBN 978-0929975-45-0   

Click to Buy at Lithographie.org

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Paperback / 6" x 9"  / 154 pages / 408 color photos /

International Jewelry Publications / $19.95 



   This is the second in a series of books, boasting an amazing 408 color photographs depicting not only gems mounted in jewellery but also loose gems, gems in the rough and gem beads! There are also diagrams and tables to aid in identification and evaluation. Six entire chapters are devoted to garnets, two chapters on common opal and even a chapter on dinosaur gembone! Also included are alexandrite, andalusite, chrysoberyl cat’s-eye and kyanite. Although most of these have been covered in other books, Newman explores them in more depth. Common opal, as opposed to opal with a play of colour, is examined, Newman having identified a lack of information on this topic. Those familiar with Newman’s previous books will recognise the in depth, yet understandable style, catering to professionals and lay people alike.

   Beginning with chrysoberyl, gemmologists will be familiar with the technical data provided, which is based on that found in such respected sources as those of Robert Webster and John Koivula. We learn how to evaluate the gem and are guided about pricing.

   Interestingly, the chatoyant effect in chrysoberyl can be caused by parallel striations from an original crystal face, as well as from fibres within it. The quality of the ‘eye’ is discussed along with excellent photographs depicting the ‘winking’ effect. Newman offers a warning – the perfect cat’s-eye is rare.

   The detailed chapter on alexandrite includes excellent information on detecting synthetics and imitations. Alexandrite even has its own classification system to describe the quality of the colour change. If alexandrite is your passion, be prepared to pay.

   Everything you wanted to know about dinosaur gembone is included in chapter five. Who would have known that dinosaur poop could be a gem? It is scientifically named ‘coprolite’ and its inclusions are important like those of amber. Be sure to look out for the dinosaur ‘chocolates.’

   Treatment methods and care are discussed at length. The metaphysical properties of gembone may also be an answer to aging.

   The sillimanite group including andalusite, kyanite and sillimanite are covered in chapters six to eight.

   Chapter nine on common opal is a real eye opener, Newman deftly capturing the beauty found in an assortment of colours including Peruvian pink, Andean blue, green, yellow and even lime through excellent and abundant photographs. Interesting issues about classification and the term ‘fire’ are discussed in the chapter on fire opal. Opal treatments are anzalysed in depth.

   The remainder of the book is devoted to the complex group of garnets about which gemmologists and mineralogists disagree when defining species and varieties. Gemmologists will find the technical information in this section most valuable. In the fascinating pages of photographs, we are shown how a master cutter cuts a garnet. The ‘horsetail’ inclusions in demantoid garnet s unlike inclusions in most other garnets are desirable. We are also directed to publications offering more detailed information.

   Imparting a wealth of information on gemstone evaluation, as usual, with tips on detecting imitations, synthetics and gem treatments, Newman always entertains with interesting anecdotes of history, geographic sources and metaphysical lore of gems. Be ready to be informed and entertained. Didn’t know what the ‘alexandrite effect’ was or what comprises the interesting crew digging up Arizona garnets? You will now.

The Australian Gemmologist, reviewed by Carol Resnick 


   Renee Newman never disappoints us, does she? She has written another outstanding book about gemstones that we can learn from, teach from, and recommend to our clients.

   [Exotic Gems, Volume 2] is no ordinary gemstone book. This book is about unusual, uncommon gems. Renee refers to them as “Exotic.” At the very beginning of the book, she even gives several definitions of the meaning of the word “exotic.” None of these definitions are conclusive. But she does demonstrate that the word has many connotations.

   I have the feeling that there have been many discussions about the use of the word “Exotic” as a title for a series of books on these uncommon gemstones. The word may be suitable for a discussion on alexandrite, which is included in this book. But Renee also discusses coprolite, which is the name given to fossilized animal droppings. The photos of coprolite seem neither pretty nor exotic. But “Exotic Gems” is far more marketable than “Unusual Gems.” So we all need to give her a pass on this one.

   In addition to alexandrite and coprolite, Renee also writes in detail about cat’s eye chrysoberyl, agatized dinosaur bone, andalusite, chiastolite, kyanite, sillimanite, common opal, fire opal, and the many stones in the garnet group.

   For each stone, she gives their geographic locations, identifying characteristics, and each stone’s value factors. Sometimes the stone’s treatments, imitations and care are included. With demantoid garnet, Renee briefly discusses the use of the stone in jewelry over time. All of the text is easy to understand and organized. She includes graphs, maps, lists, and beautiful photographs that make the book exciting and beautiful.

   One of the best parts of the book is a photographic story showing how a master cutter cuts a garnet. The story takes us from examination of the rough, to the final polish of the table facet. Interestingly, this set of photos and narrative was provided to Renee by Clay Zava, a Spectrum award winning gemstone cutter several times over, and a speaker to us at our last conference.

   The most uncommon thing in the book is the inclusion of the stones’ metaphysical effects. One sentence is completely factual and the next is a discussion of unblocking creativity. Renee presents this information with the same forthright, simple language as when she is presenting the stone’s price per carat. It leaves me wondering if the book is trying a little too hard to be all things to all people. Nevertheless, I read these sections with interest and found myself wanting to buy each stone because of the properties it would give me. Obviously, this is good information for associates that sell jewelry.

   I believe that Renee wrote this book for a wide range of people in our jewelry trade, as well as the part of the public that likes to educate itself before making gemstone purchases. But I do think that this book will serve appraisers well. For example, this book includes a section on uvarovite, where it comes from, and its value factors. Where else will you find that? This series of books is going to be just the right addition to my library and probably yours as well. I highly recommend it.

The Jewelry Appraiser, reviewed by Kim Piracci  


These Exotic Gems book are fast becoming my favorite series from the large library of reference and consumer books by Gemologist, Renee Newman. Jewelry Designers are using more and more of these unusual, rare and exotic gems to set their work apart...and Jewelers are hesitant to stock them because their customer doesn't know what they are or are reticent to believe it is a natural gem. 

    Solution! Exotic Gems Volumes One and Two! Jewelers should not only buy a copy for the shop so their employees are informed, but should stock these in a little reference area for customers to buy!  We are dealing with a customer today that is not only researching prices - but also information on the internet - why not support those efforts and offer them a small reference library to purchase? 

    The best thing about this series is the focus - Newman manages to include enough information and photographs from the likes of John Koivula (of the Gemological Institute of America) interspersed with fun facts, metaphysical properties, history and ancient lore and so many photos that everyone from Gemologists to Jewelry Lovers will relate, understand and treasure these books. 

    One really outstanding feature of these books is the Master Cuts pictorial.  In Volume One Newman looked at Zultanite and in Volume Two it is a gemmy Almandine Garnet, from a piece of rough gem/mineral to the final faceted gem, in the hands of Master Gem Cutter, Clay Zava.  I think that professionals and consumers alike will gain a new respect for the amount of man hours and knowledge that goes into the cutting of one faceted gem!

    My favorite thing about these books is that Newman is not afraid to cover many of the opaque gems that have so long been overlooked as well as sourcing the latest, newest, and the sometimes controversial, gems in the field. Thanks for another winner Renee!

A Fly on the Wall Views & Reviews, reviewed by Robyn Hawk


The subtitle of this book says is all: . . .Not familiar with some of these stones? Your jewelry designs might be missing out. Like its predecessor, Exotic Gems, Volume 1, this handy guide helps you find, evaluate, buy and care for these stones with plenty of photos of finished jewelry. 

Bead & Button, Reviewed by StacyWerkheiser


Table of Contents


1. Exotic Gems

2. Chrysoberyl 

Geographic Sources of Chrysoberyl

Metaphysical Properties of Chrysoberyl

Identifying Characteristics of Chrysoberyl

Evaluation of Single-Color Chrysoberyl & Pricing Ranges

Caring for Chrysoberyl


3. Cat's-eye Chrysoberyl

Geographic Sources of Cat’s-eye Chrysoberyl

Metaphysical Properties of Cat’s-eye

Other Stones that Resemble Cat’s-eye Chrysoberyl

Evaluation of Cat’s-eye Chrysoberyl & Pricing Ranges


4. Alexandrite

Geographic Sources of Alexandrite

Identification of Alexandrite

Metaphysical Properties of Alexandrite

Evaluation of Alexandrite and Pricing Ranges


5. Agatized Dinosaur Bone & Poop

Basic Identification Data of Material in Dinobone Cells

Coprolite (Fossilized Animal Excrement)

Where are Gembone & Coprolite Found?

Evaluation of Gembone & Pricing Ranges

Evaluation of Coprolite and Pricing Ranges

Dinosaur Gembone Imitations and Assembled Stones

Caring for Dinosaur Gembone and Coprolite

Metaphysical Properties of Dinosaur Bone


6. Andalusite

Geographic Sources of Andalusite

Identifying Characteristics of Andalusite

Metaphysical Properties of Andalusite & Chiastolite

Evaluation of Andalusite & Pricing Ranges

Caring for Andalusite


7. Kyanite

Geographic Sources of Kyanite

Metaphysical Properties of Kyanite

Identifying Characteristics of Kyanite

Evaluation of Kyanite and Pricing Ranges

Caring for Kyanite


8. Sillimanite

Geographic Sources of Sillimanite

Identifying Characteristics of Sillimanite

Evaluation of Sillimanite & Pricing Ranges

Caring for Sillimanite


9. Common Opal

Classification of Opal

Types of Common Opal


Green opal

Pink opal

Blue opal

Yellow opal


Dendritic opal (moss opal)

Wood opal (opalized wood)

Cat’s-eye opal

Banded opal (includes onyx opal and agate opal)

Landscape opal, picture opal

Fluorite opal, opalized fluorite, Tiffany stone, bertrandite

Metaphysical Properties of Opal

Evaluation and Pricing of Common Opal


10. Fire Opal

Why “Fire Opal” is a Confusing Term

Geographic Sources of Fire Opal

Opal Treatments and Assembled Stones

Identifying Traits of Natural, Synthetic & Imitation Opal

Metaphysical Properties of Fire Opal

Pricing & Evaluation of Fire Opal

Caring for Opal


11. Garnet Group

Garnet Chemistry

Naming Gem Garnets

Identifying Garnets

How a Master Cutter Cuts a Garnet

A Word from A Master Cutter about Garnet


Caring for Garnets


12. Demantoid and other Andradites

Pricing and Evaluation of Demantoid



Rainbow Garnet

Metaphysical Properties of Andradites


13. Red Garnets


Rhodolite and Grape Garnet


Pricing and Evaluation of Red Garnets

Metaphysical Properties of Red Garnets


14. Spessartine


Mandarin Garnet


15. Malaya and Color Change Garnets


Color-Change Garnet


16 Tsavorite and Other Grossulars


Mint Garnet

Hessonite or Grossular

Green Grossular or Hydrogrossular

Pink Hydrogrossular and Grossular

Leuco Garnet

Mali Garnet

Metaphysical Properties of Grossular

Appendix: Where to Find an Appraiser



Buy Exotic Gems, Volume 2 now

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