1) The clarity of ruby and sapphire gem stones

2) Sapphire color choices

3) World suppliers of sapphires and rubies

4) The world’s most famous sapphires

5) Sapphire and ruby lore

6) What is PMC/precious metal clay?

7) What is Keum Boo?

8) What is a patina on silver?

9) Hypoallergenic jewelry

10) Bail size

To learn more about the topic of your choice simply click on it, or read all the valuable information about my jewelry by scrolling down on the page.

Gemstone Clarity Info:  

clean: gems are clean and free from inclusions

eye clean: gems are clean to the naked eye

crystal transparent: gems are transparent and might have minor inclusions

VSI = very slight inclusions: gems have some small minor inclusions

SI = slight inclusions: gems have minor inclusions visible to the naked eye

Included/PK = pique: gems have some larger inclusions diminishing the brilliance of the gem

All of my stones are natural gems, unless specifically stated. My sapphires are of exceptional clarity, and are either clean or eye clean. Rubies have small inclusions/ VSI. The clarity of rubies tends to be less than that of sapphires or most other gemstones. In today’s market place for gems rubies are usually included.

Sapphires and Rubies Info:

Sapphires are America’s #1 selling colored gem. Of the “Big Four”, the precious stones diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald, sapphires offer the greatest choice of colors and origins.

The word sapphire stated without a prefix implies blue sapphires only. Sapphires of all other colors are collectively termed “fancy sapphires”. These gems come in all spectrums of color, except red. Rubies are red, and are otherwise identical in every attribute to sapphires .Fancy sapphires are extremely beautiful, yet affordable. Some of the most popular color choices of fancy sapphires include pink, lavender, green and yellow.

Australia and Africa are currently the world’s largest suppliers of sapphires. Other major sources for sapphires and rubies are Thailand, Tanzania, Cambodia, Burma, China, Vietnam, and Madagascar. Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, holds the earliest record for mining sapphires. It is also the home of the world’s most famous sapphires, such as the beautiful sapphire mounted into the engagement ring Prince Charles gave to Lady Diana. Another famous sapphire originating from Ceylon is the “Star of India”, the largest star sapphire in the world. It is estimated to be about 2 billion years old, and was donated to the American Museum of History in New York City by the financier J.P. Morgan.


The word sapphire comes from the Latin word sapphirus, and the word ruby from the latin word rubeus.

With hardness just below that of diamonds, sapphires and rubies are some of the toughest gems available, and breakage rarely occurs.

The price for high quality sapphires can be higher than for diamonds. The highest price ever attained for a sapphire was $48.871 per Carat paid for the roughly 62 Carat Rockefeller sapphire in 2001. Above all other gemstones rubies command the highest per Carat prices. Large sapphires and rubies are many times rarer than smaller sapphires and rubies, meaning their price increases disproportionately with size.

Faceted sapphires and rubies are found in a variety of shapes and cuts, the most popular being the round or diamond cut. A slight premium is applied to this cut, as it is the most expensive to produce due to the higher material loss at cutting.

The ancient Hindus considered the ruby the Rajnapura or the “King of Gems”. Sapphires have long been considered to be the guardians of innocence. They are said to symbolize truth, sincerity, and faithfulness, and are thought to bring peace and joy to their owners. They are also the gems of wisdom. In India it was believed that sapphires immersed in water produced a potent anti venom to cure the bite of snakes and scorpions. When worn as a talisman pendant sapphires were thought to protect the wearer against evil spirits.


Sapphires and rubies seen on the market today have been subjected to high temperatures to improve their clarity and to intensify their colors in an age old practice dating top approximately 2000 years. During the process of manufacturing of my jewelry pieces my gems are exposed to high heat of approximately 1600 degrees fahrenheit.

What is PMC?

Precious Metal Clay consists of microscopic particles of silver or gold suspended in an organic binder to create a material with a consistency similar to clay. It is pliable and can be worked and formed with fingers and tools to create a vast variety of shapes and surfaces that would be impossible to attain or extremely labor intense to produce with metal fabrication techniques.

When fired at high temperatures the organic binder and water burns away leaving the metal particles to fuse forming a solid pure silver or gold metal that can be sanded, soldered or polished with conventional metal smithing techniques. PMC was developed by Mitsubishi Materials Special Products Division in Japan. The principal ingredient in PMC is gold or silver reduced to tiny flakes smaller than 20 microns in size. These particles are so fine that it would take as many as 25 to form the size equal to one grain of salt.

The metals left over after burning away the binder and water are designated as fine silver (FS) or .999 silver, and 24 karat gold.

About Keum Boo 

Keum Boo literally means “attached gold”. It is a process involving heat that bonds 24 K gold to fine silver. The origin of this technique is Asia where it is believed even today that pure gold improves health and promotes well-being.

What is a patina?  

The result of a patina is the coloring of metal, such as in my saucer
bead. The coloring of the metals is achieved by applying a chemical
compound through various methods of application, for example by
immersing the metal into a chemical compound, or by directly brushing
it onto the jewelry piece. There are many different patinas to work on
metals. In my work, I most often use a substance called “Liver of
sulphur”, as well as my own “secret” custom patina recipes.
The results of the patina process vary greatly, and a certain outcome
cannot be guaranteed. Variables such as the temperature of the
solution, the temperature of the jewelry piece, and even the daily
weather affect the coloring results.

My jewelry is hypoallergenic and virtually tarnish free

More and more people are affected by environmental or object specific
allergies. The symptoms are difficulty in breathing, skin rashes, itchy
eyes etc.

In regards to jewelry people often react to copper with itchy skin
rashes. Unfortunately, copper is contained in sterling silver and all
karats of gold, except fine or pure gold, meaning 24k gold. Sterling
silver is 92.5 % silver and 7.5% copper. Therefore, people often
complain about silver allergies. They are actually referring to
sterling silver, and the therein contained offender “copper” causing
the allergic response.

My jewelry is made of fine silver, meaning 99.99% silver. Fine silver
is not only a precious metal, it is pure, and causes no allergic
response. Theoretically one could ingest fine silver, and in some
cultures fine silver in trace amounts is indeed considered a healthy
alternative medicine for a variety of ailments. However, by no means do
I recommend ingestion or use of fine silver as anything other than
intended: beautiful jewelry.
The gold I use in my Keum Boo process is fine gold/ 24 k, and it is
also hypoallergenic.

My Ear posts and Nuts are also hypoallergenic:
Unfortunately, there are no fine silver ear posts and nuts available.
However, the post and nut of an earring are the most intense contact
points with the skin of the wearer. Not only does the metal touch the
persons skin, the ear posts go through a person’s skin, and the copper
contained within sterling silver can cause quite an infection.

To solve the allergy problem I use surgical steel posts and nuts on my
earrings, unless you specifically request sterling silver posts and
nuts. No allergy has been reported to surgical steel, and you can enjoy
your earrings without worrying about unfavorable skin reactions.
There are other benefits to using surgical steel posts and nuts. The
surgical steel is much harder at a place where hardness is desired. And
the coloring of the surgical steel complements the patina designs
absolutely beautifully.

If you want to have 24 k gold posts and nuts on your earrings, contact
me via e-mail to inquire about availability. It is a custom order, and
it will increase the delivery time, as well as the price of your
jewelry substantially.
I will not use lesser karats of gold, as they contain an even higher
copper percentage than sterling silver.

The tarnishing of silver jewelry is directly related to the amount of
copper contained in the alloy. The higher the copper content, the
higher the likelihood of tarnish, and the greater the speed of
tarnishing. My jewelry contains no copper, and therefore is virtually care free.

My bails

My bails are also made of pure silver. The size of the inside diameter
of the bails is usually 4-5mm or 0.157-0.197 inches. This size opening
easily accommodates all standard necklace clasps, yet also complements
the jewelry designs.

Claudia S. Atkins Handmade Precious Metals & Gems
(610) 853-4123

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