Exotic Gems, Volume 1   

HOw to identify and Buy Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite, Sunstone, Moonstone & other Feldspars              


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        Discover Exotic Gems 

This is the first in a series of books that will explore the history, lore, evaluation, geographic sources, and identifying properties of lesser-known gems. Exotic Gems Volume 1 has 288 color photos of mounted and loose tanzanite, ammolite, zultanite, rhodochrosite, sunstone, moonstone, labradorite, spectrolite, andesine, amazonite, bytownite, orthoclase and oligoclase. Some of the pictures are close-up shots that show how to make visual judgments about clarity, transparency, color, cut quality and brilliance. A few pictures show how the gems are cut and many others show creative jewelry designs with these stones. Exotic Gems also provides tips on caring for the gems, selecting an appraiser 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, and packed with fascinating information and photos. If you’re interested in colored gemstones, you’ll find Exotic Gems to be a valuable resource that will help you discover and buy unusual gem varieties you may never have seen before.

Exotic Gems, Volume 1: How to Identify & Buy

Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite

Sunstone, Moonstone & Other Feldspars

by Renée Newman    ISBN 978-0929975-42-9   

Click to Buy from JTV.com

Click to Buy from Lithographie.org

Click to Buy from DavTools

Click to Buy from Amazon.co.uk


Paperback / 6" x 9"  / 154 pages,  International Jewelry Publications / $19.95 



Renee Newman knocks it out of the park again!!!! In her latest book Exotic Gems: How to Identify and Buy Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite, Sunstone, Moonstone & Other Feldspars (Newman Exotic Gem Series) Ms. Newman opens the world of the exotic to her loyal fans.
     The great thing about any Renee Newman guide is that she writes for everyone - the professional jeweler, gemologist and hobbyist will all be able to glean important information and inspiration from her books.
     In the first volume of her Exotic Gems series Newman looks specifically at Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite and several of the Feldspar family of gems (Moonstone, Labradorite, Spectrolite, Sunstone and more).
     In words that everyone can understand she walks you through the chemical, physical and optical qualities and then she takes you to the mines, shows you what it takes to cut some of these exotics and then finishes up with some of the most gorgeous photos of faceted gems, carved gems and gems in jewelry...and she even talks about the Metaphysical Lore of the gem.
     The popularity of the television shopping networks has opened up a new era in gems in jewelry - there was a day when gem rhodochrosite was considered too soft for jewelry and it was only found in mineral collections - those days are gone and Renee Newman's book give us the information we need to make decisions about using these materials in jewelry and for those looking to purchase them.
     This book is worth buying just for the "eye candy" value - delightful to see such a great range from bridge to fine jewelry - cutters to carvers. Thanks Renee - I am looking forward to volume two!

Robyn Hawk, “Reading it All”  


. . . This book [Pearl Buying Guide] is heavily weighted with gemstone evaluation as in Newman’s other guides. It is therefore of value to the student of gemmology and layperson alike. There is information about the history lore, geographic sources and care of the gems. . . An easy read, Renée Newman’s new book seems to have something for everyone whether it be informative gemmological facts, the mystic side of gems, an aid to buying or an appreciation of excellent photographs, both of gems and of jewellery. It can be read in its entirety or consulted as a reference for exotic gems.

Australian Gemmologist 


This nifty little book fills a long-neglected area of consumer gem knowledge – that of the lesser-known, but important jewelry and collector’s gemstones.

     After a brief introduction to the subject in chapter one, the next two chapters explore price factors and treatments in detail. Excellent line drawings help to explain the basic terminology of the parts of a gemstone cut, gemstone shapes and gemstone cutting styles. Ms Newman has a gift for bringing clarity to the obscure, and here, her judicious use of photos makes judgment of cut qualities, such as brilliance and windowing, easy for the layman to undertake with a degree of confidence.

     Part of the fun of this book is derived from the many phenomenal gems that are included and their outstanding photos, taken or sourced by the author. One particular treat is a four-page spread on "How a Master Cutter Cuts a Zultanite". Zultanite, or color-change diaspore, is a gem of recent interest and I was happy to pick up more information on it.

     Rarely seeing many good photos of ammolite and rhodochrosite, I was wowed by the variety of stones and the different jewelry designs. The wealth of photos continued throughout the chapters on sunstone and moonstone, including the newer Tanzanian sunstone that has a spangled or confetti effect.

     Of special interest were charts on the placement of feldspars according to their chemical makeup, including an end-member diagram with gems photographically illustrated at the appropriate points on the scale between potassium, sodium and calcium.

     The last chapter on choosing an appraiser gives sound advice and includes information on her website where the link to NAJA is listed.

     This book would be an excellent book to recommend to clients and a very handy reference for your library. 

Blaire Beavers, NAJA Jewelry Appraiser

The rarest gems can be the most beautiful. “Exotic Gems” is a guide to the many rare gems around the world that have their own attraction. With tips on identifying these rare gems, where they come from and how did they form, the mythology behind them, and how to buy them without getting burned, Renee Newman gives readers a complete and comprehensive guide to these gems, making “Exotic Gems” a choice and very highly recommended pick.

Midwest Book Review  


Last spring we looked at Renée Newman’s third edition of her Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald Guide. The prolific author has followed up a year later with Volume 1 of a series entitled Exotic Gems, which focuses on a group of lesser known gemstones.

     Author and gemologist Newman credits television shopping networks with introducing the public to gemstones such as rhodochrosite and diaspore—material that wasn’t often used in jewelry—as well as creating a market for information, which she provides.

     Newman begins Chapter 1 of the book by explaining that the term “exotic” can mean unusual, if not always foreign, so that ammolite from northern Alberta may still be considered exotic to Canadians, even if it is domestic. Chapters 2 and 3 provide an overview of the factors that affect price: the Cs (color, clarity, cutting style and shape, cut quality, carat weight), transparency, treatment, brilliance, brand, and phenomena. Chapter 4 follows with definitions of gemstone identification terms.

     Then on to the stones themselves, beginning with tanzanite in Chapter 5. Having issued a book in 1996 on emerald and tanzanite—now out of print, Newman gives a new life in these pages to what is probably the most famous of the Volume 1 group. (Emerald was revived by Newman, in turn, in last spring’s Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald Guide.) History and geographic sources are explored; also nomenclature (tanzanite is a variety of zoisite). Treatment is highlighted, since tanzanite is almost always heated; other treatments also are discussed. Pleochroism and lighting both are nicely illustrated. (Did we mention that the book features nearly 300 color photographs?)

     Metaphysical lore is covered in the book for nearly every type of gemstone presented—even tanzanite, which is a relatively recent discovery. Identifying characteristics are summarized in a convenient table, accompanied by several photos. Price factors—including two examples of recutting—and care of tanzanite round out the chapter, and provide a pattern for those that follow.

     Chapter 6, on zultanite (aka gem-quality, color-change diaspore), while omitting any mention of lore, does feature a four-page pictorial on cutting the variety by master cutter Stephen Kotlowski. Lots of lore is included for ammolite in Chapter 7, as one look at the material in matrix would suggest—the iridescent gem having been formed within the fossilized mollusk ammonite. Rhodochrosite, while surely being familiar to our readers, is beautifully illustrated in Chapter 8, with 18 photos showing this gemstones many manifestations.

     Chapters 9 through 12 cover the feldspar group—sunstone, moonstone, and the rest well-illustrated chapters nicely guide the reader through territory that sometimes can be a little daunting. The inclusion of H. A. Hanni's feldspar-triangle chart should be useful in that regard, with photos of the varieties themselves illustrating the edges.

     Newman closes the book with a chapter, 13, reminding us that even with the information provided in her pages, a qualified appraiser could be a gem buyer’s best friend, especially in the case of a purchase of any significance. A three-page bibliography also is included.

     You’ll be surprised how much useful information can be poured into 154 pages—and don’t miss the lovely inside covers.

David Hughes, "Pala's Gem News"

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