Bennett Vault

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Schmoo

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Joined
Jul 24, 2023
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What is with the bizarre sycophancy. Like Steve Bennett is the Messiah.......and he is selling his stones from his private vault in Geneva, that is in "the likes of" (please stop saying that Poppy, it is very annoying) Faberge. For £349.

OK then.
 
From what I have seen so far (chalcedony and turquoise in particular) if that is the sort of thing SB has in his vault then it really does call into question his judgement with regard to 'legacy' gems.
 
With you on the questionable Turquoise. If I was Steve Bennett, with his access to good stones, I probably would not collect Bonita Turquoise that is made of smaller bits of Turquoise compressed together. Pretty colour, but probably not the best investment.
 
Lindsey is comparing the Virgin Rainbow famous Aussie pipe opal against Ethiopian stuff she’s flogging now. She’s say that the Ethiopian opal is showing the same colours as the expensive Aussie one which she keeps reminding us is worth a million dollars. She is SO proud of everyone too.
 
From what I have seen so far (chalcedony and turquoise in particular) if that is the sort of thing SB has in his vault then it really does call into question his judgement with regard to 'legacy' gems.
I don't believe for one minute that this stuff is from Steve's personal vault. It's just another of Gemporias sales gimmicks.
 
Lindsey is comparing the Virgin Rainbow famous Aussie pipe opal against Ethiopian stuff she’s flogging now. She’s say that the Ethiopian opal is showing the same colours as the expensive Aussie one which she keeps reminding us is worth a million dollars. She is SO proud of everyone too.

Can you tell me what she said please? Gemporia were given a warning about this a few weeks ago.

Did she compare a dyed stone to a natural stone?
 
Can you tell me what she said please? Gemporia were given a warning about this a few weeks ago.

Did she compare a dyed stone to a natural stone?
She spoke at length about the famous Aust.Virgin Rainbow pipe opal , found by John Dunstan and kept referring to the value of it. She then said that the jelly opal that she was selling showed the same colours as the pipe opal. Of course it looked nothing like it. I don’t think that the opal was dyed though as it didn’t show any treatment.
 
She spoke at length about the famous Aust.Virgin Rainbow pipe opal , found by John Dunstan and kept referring to the value of it. She then said that the jelly opal that she was selling showed the same colours as the pipe opal. Of course it looked nothing like it. I don’t think that the opal was dyed though as it didn’t show any treatment.
Thanks for that :D
 
Whilst we're on the subject of Ethiopian opals, I absolutely love them. I bought a silver ring in it years ago from Gemporia when Mark Gould was presenting there. How time flies. It was more milky than the ones around today but still had some reasonable colour play.

I was extra careful with it, but alas it quickly went a bit yellow and became somewhat dull. I've since learned that Ethiopian Opals are imo really unsuitable for rings as they tend to be hydrophane.

I've got quite a few Ethiopian Opal pieces now, that were all bought from TJC. I found TJC's EO's far superior in fire/colour play. Breathtaking in fact. And noticeably more reasonably priced.

I only buy bracelets, pendants & necklaces in it now, so that there's no chance of them touching water. Even briefly, by accident, like it would in a ring.

I've read that people's Ethiopian Opals have turned yellow, or even crack, even if they're kept in a box. 😬😵

Someone mentioned that EO's can have resin in them to stabilise them & it's the resin that can turn yellow. Obviously water, soap etc can do it but resin can & likely will discolour over time too.

I've had some of my EO bracelets since around 2018-2019 & they're as good as new. It was when I first saw EO"s that imo were exceptionally beautiful.

Can any of you who are clued up on gemstones, including Ethiopian opals, obviously, advise me on if it's possible to check for resin filled stones?

I don't think mine are as I can see through them & they appear solid. Also some significant colour play shifts appear within individual stones, depending on the direction & type of light on them.

Also, how best to look after them? Mine are in jewellery boxes, a few are in anti tarnish boxes. TJC platinim/Rhodium plate a lot of their silver jewellery generally, so my pieces tend not to tarnish às fast, but understandably a couple have a bit over the years. Is it OK to use a jewellery cleaning dry cloth on them? I won't be able to completely avoid touching the opals with it due to the settings.

Any tips any of you can give me to keep my Ethiopian opals from getting damaged in the future would be greatly appreciated.

Also, just to say, imo my TJC ones, silver jewellery set, not only cost considerably less than Gemporia's, they are more substantial in terms of stone carat weight and where appropriate, stone size. And the colour vibrancy within my TJC ones are exceptional.
 
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Can any of you who are clued up on gemstones, including Ethiopian opals, obviously, advise me on if it's possible to check for resin filled stones?

These should be easy to identify because 'natural' Ethiopian Opals have play of colour - and that play of colour will move around as you move the stone around. The play of colour is caused by microscopic silica spheres within the stone. Light passes through the gaps in those silica spheres to create the multi-colours that you can see within the stone.

Resin filler will remove that play of colour because it will fill the gaps between those spheres - and therefore, light won't be able to pass between them.

If you look at Gemporia's 'Amhara Opals', those are also from Ethiopia - but they're reconstituted. IE, they're fragments of opals all compressed and fused together using resin. Those opals have more of a blueish body colour - and they don't have play of colour. They have a small amount of pinfire - but the pinfire does not move as you move the stone. It is static. I would imagine the blueish body colour is caused by the resin.

So, to cut to the chase, if your play of colour moves around, and the body colour of the stone is off-white to cream, then it is almost certainly natural.

If there is no play of colour, or very little play of colour that remains static when you move the stone, and the body colour of the stone looks 'odd', then its almost certainly filled or reconstituted.

EDIT: Here's an example. If you watch the video on this product page, you will notice that the body colour is slightly blue to greyish-blue - and the flashes of colour stay in the same place on the stone as the ring moves.

https://www.gemporia.com/en-gb/product/amhara-opal-ring-in-gold-plated-sterling-silver-2cts/rscs09/
 
Also, how best to look after them? Mine are in jewellery boxes, a few are in anti tarnish boxes. TJC platinim/Rhodium plate a lot of their silver jewellery generally, so my pieces tend not to tarnish às fast, but understandably a couple have a bit over the years. Is it OK to use a jewellery cleaning dry cloth on them? I won't be able to completely avoid touching the opals with it due to the settings.
I'm more of a gemstone collector rather than a jewellery buyer - so don't quote me on this as fact - but I believe you should avoid 'wet' cleaning products when cleaning the metalwork of opal jewellery so that it doesn't come into contact with the stone. I do believe you can use a 'dry' cleaning cloth though - such as those from the connoisseur's range. Use a cloth that is fairly soft and non-abrasive though because opals are around 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale - so they're not overly durable.

As for protecting the opal itself - Opals contain water and silica (hydrated silica) - so the key is keeping them hydrated - but not OVER hydrated. They need to be kept at room temperature and away from sources of heat or things that can dry them out (such as a room dehumidifier).

I've seen people complaining on Gemporia's Facebook page that they've dropped their opal ring in water - and then placed it on the windowsill or near a radiator to dry out, which has made the stone go cloudy.

That is the WORST thing that anyone can do because sunlight or a heat source will dry them out rapidly and too aggressively. It will dry the silica spheres up, make them lose their play of colour, cause discolouration of the stone and possibly even crack or break the stone.

Getting them TOO hydrated will also cause problems because Opals are VERY porous (hence why they can by dyed so easily as a form of treatment). If they come into contact with dirty water, cleaning chemicals, grease, sweat, etc, those can be absorbed by the stone - and once they're in, they won't come out. They'll lead to discolouration of the stone, and, in the case of chemicals, possibly erode the stone from the inside.

Opals are like a car - if you look after them, they'll be fine - but if they're not looked after, they can be ruined very quickly.
 
I'm more of a gemstone collector rather than a jewellery buyer - so don't quote me on this as fact - but I believe you should avoid 'wet' cleaning products when cleaning the metalwork of opal jewellery so that it doesn't come into contact with the stone. I do believe you can use a 'dry' cleaning cloth though - such as those from the connoisseur's range. Use a cloth that is fairly soft and non-abrasive though because opals are around 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale - so they're not overly durable.

As for protecting the opal itself - Opals contain water and silica (hydrated silica) - so the key is keeping them hydrated - but not OVER hydrated. They need to be kept at room temperature and away from sources of heat or things that can dry them out (such as a room dehumidifier).

I've seen people complaining on Gemporia's Facebook page that they've dropped their opal ring in water - and then placed it on the windowsill or near a radiator to dry out, which has made the stone go cloudy.

That is the WORST thing that anyone can do because sunlight or a heat source will dry them out rapidly and too aggressively. It will dry the silica spheres up, make them lose their play of colour, cause discolouration of the stone and possibly even crack or break the stone.

Getting them TOO hydrated will also cause problems because Opals are VERY porous (hence why they can by dyed so easily as a form of treatment). If they come into contact with dirty water, cleaning chemicals, grease, sweat, etc, those can be absorbed by the stone - and once they're in, they won't come out. They'll lead to discolouration of the stone, and, in the case of chemicals, possibly erode the stone from the inside.

Opals are like a car - if you look after them, they'll be fine - but if they're not looked after, they can be ruined very quickly.
Fantastic, comprehensive advice, thank you, hugely appreciated.

Yes I'd only ever use a proper, lint like, soft
dry cleaning cloth like you mentioned or a Goddard's one.

I did read that strong sunlight & heat can weaken or damage an opal. I think extreme cold can too. The story goes, I think, that the Victorians deemed opals "unlucky", as they'd wear them out in the extreme cold in brooches on their coats & they'd crack. I believe they had Australian opals, which were expensive back then.
 
I did read that strong sunlight & heat can weaken or damage an opal. I think extreme cold can too.
I didn't know that - but it makes sense really given that opals contain water. If heat causes damage because it dries the silica spheres out, then I would imagine that extreme cold would affect the silica spheres by freezing them.

It sounds like Opals are similar to me - they don't like cold, but they don't like too much heat. Opals are full of water, and I'm full of.........
 
Any tips any of you can give me to keep my Ethiopian opals from getting damaged in the future would be greatly appreciated.
.
I have bought a few shocking looking opals in second hand rings when I worked in a jewellery workshop many years ago. The stones looked damaged beyond recognition, completely opaque, no colour ( let alone play), the surface of the stone textured and “greasy” ( presumably from water and cleaning solutions endured). The items were bought just for the gold setting as the gems were beyond any resuscitation sadly.

I have a couple of lovely Ethiopian Opals in pendants. I have read that it helps to store them with a cotton ball you put a couple of drops of water, presumably to stop them from dehydrating in storage.

I did just that and kept it in a sealed plastic bag away from heat/cold, just at the normal room temperature. They are in gold, so there is no antitarnish squares . It has worked a treat, they are just as beautiful as when I got them.
After each wear I just wipe with soft jewellery cloth and return to the bag. Hope that helps 😁
 
I did read that strong sunlight & heat can weaken or damage an opal. I think extreme cold can too. The story goes, I think, that the Victorians deemed opals "unlucky", as they'd wear them out in the extreme cold in brooches on their coats & they'd crack. I believe they had Australian opals, which were expensive back then.
I heard that “opals are unlucky” from many people on many occasions too🤷.

It appears to stem from Sir Walter Scott who wrote a novel called Anne of Geierstein in 1829. The main character dies when a drop of holy water drops on her Opal. Interestingly the Opal turns pale and lacklustre after the water being dropped on it.

I forgive the Victorians for their famously superstitious nature and they didn’t have Internet either. I can’t say this for my ex bf who tried his best to convince me that “Opals are Bad Luck” after I really loved a pair of Opal earrings 😂, bought them myself and they turned out to be THE Best Luck Charm and hence he is an ex ( thank you Opal earrings) 🤣💃👌
 
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I have bought a few shocking looking opals in second hand rings when I worked in a jewellery workshop many years ago. The stones looked damaged beyond recognition, completely opaque, no colour ( let alone play), the surface of the stone textured and “greasy” ( presumably from water and cleaning solutions endured). The items were bought just for the gold setting as the gems were beyond any resuscitation sadly.

I have a couple of lovely Ethiopian Opals in pendants. I have read that it helps to store them with a cotton ball you put a couple of drops of water, presumably to stop them from dehydrating in storage.

I did just that and kept it in a sealed plastic bag away from heat/cold, just at the normal room temperature. They are in gold, so there is no antitarnish squares . It has worked a treat, they are just as beautiful as when I got them.
After each wear I just wipe with soft jewellery cloth and return to the bag. Hope that helps 😁
Fantastic advice thank you 😃👍.

I was completely confused about how I was supposed to stop my Ethiopian Opals from dehydrating, while obviously not getting them wet.

Now I know. I shall be buying cotton wool balls tomorrow. I've got plenty of zip lock type freezer bags, which should like they're ideal.
 

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