Solo A Diamond in the Rough

Innah's first day at work.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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A Diamond in the Rough

Postby Innah on July 30th, 2020, 3:12 pm

12th Summer, 520 a.v.

The morning was already becoming unbearably warm and it was barely a bell past Syna’s appearance. Innah was making her way across the Zintia peak, keeping to the shadows cast by buildings whenever she could. It was her first day at her new job, and she wasn’t about to arrive already dishevelled because she had overheated on the walk over. The young woman had taken extra care getting ready this morning, carefully braiding her long dark hair, and making sure there were no wrinkles in her new dress. She had chosen it specially for this occasion, the airy cotton a deep emerald green she thought perfectly suitable for working in a jewelcrafters. It was cinched at her waist with a brown leather belt and she had donned leather sandals instead of her usual boots to help with the unrelenting heat the city had been experiencing.

Her destination was The Shining Diamond, a store that was only easy to find if you had been there before. Innah had not, but she had been given directions. Her father, thanks to a connection he had in the Shinya, had managed to get her work at the store. Guancho Li, the owner and crafter of almost everything the Diamond sold, had welcomed the opportunity to teach someone of the younger generation his trade. Having never met him before, Innah wondered what he was like the entire walk over and was so distracted that she almost walked right past the shop.

Sitting inconspicuously between nearly identical buildings, The Shining Diamond cold have been any other house or business. Only a small sign depicting a crystal gave away its location and Innah caught sight of it from the corner of her eye just as she was about to step by. Catching herself, she paused outside the door for a moment and then pushed it open. It caught a suspended bell which tinkled merrily and she ducked inside, blinking in the sudden dimness. The first thing she saw was glittering, and as her vision adjusted she understood it was coming from the finely crafted jewellery displayed in cabinets about the room. The second thing was the lit fire, which was a surprising thing especially on such a hot Summer day, but she quickly realised that it was the reason the spread of jewels twinkled so beautifully.

Innah stepped further inside, and her eyes then fell on the man seated in a plush, but worn, chair by the closest display. As if he had been waiting for her to notice him, he rose as soon as she met his gaze. Guancho Li contrasted rather starkly against the decadence of the jewels around him. Quite elderly with a cloud of white hair, his face appeared stern but his eyes held a warmth as he smiled a welcome at Innah.
“You are my new apprentice.”
It was not a question. Somehow, despite having not met her and without having to introduce herself, he knew exactly who she was. She inclined her head in a greeting. ”Yes Sir.”

Guancho inspected her carefully, his gaze sharp, then he nodded once and smiled. “Good. Aludra is not here today, so I will give you a tour and then we will see what you know. Follow me.” And with that he moved past her, toward one of the doors near the back of the room. Innah had no idea who Aludra was, but she refrained from asking for now. She appreciated the man’s no-nonsense approach and with a slight smile she stepped after him.
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A Diamond in the Rough

Postby Innah on July 30th, 2020, 6:31 pm


As Guancho led Innah towards the pair of doors she noticed that they were very different from each other. The first, the one the man was heading for, was beautifully polished and befitting a store such as this one. The second was far less grand, almost seeming to blend into the rest of the room as if it should not be noticed. Guancho unlocked the polished door with a key from his pocket and gestured for Innah to step inside. She did so, taking in the sparse area with a sweeping gaze. A beautiful old desk was the largest piece of furniture in the room, appointed with one armchair and two wooden chairs. There was little else in the room, and Innah turned to face Guancho with a quizzical expression.

“This is the Appointment Room.” He shut the door behind himself and started to make his way over to a second door in the back. “Our wealthier customers are seen in here. They like to purchase wares that we do not display out in the front.” Innah nodded her understanding and watched as he swung the second door open. “Through here is the workshop.”

They entered together though Innah stopped in the doorway to take in the whole room. It reminded her of a blacksmiths workshop, primarily thanks to the forge taking up a substantial amount of space off to one side of the room. There were benches and wheels and tools of all sorts all neatly arranged and ready to be used. Guancho noticed her gaze lingering on the forge. “A jewelcrafter does not just work with pretty gemstones. We must be metalworkers and artists too.” Innah flicked her gaze over to him, hazel eyes alight with excitement. ”Where do I get to start?”

After a few moments of bustling, Guancho had Innah seated in front of a row of cut gemstones varying in size and colour. “Can you tell me what any of these are?”
Innah considered each stone for a moment before starting her attempts at identification. There were some she knew, the beautiful ones prized in jewellery that many people aspired to one day own. Others she had never seen before. Innah pointed to a tiny clear stone near the middle of the selection. ”This one is a diamond.” Guancho confirmed her answer and she selected a deep red gem. ”Ruby.” Again she was correct and she went on to identify a carnelian, a jade and a sapphire.

Innah next picked up a pretty green stone and turned it over in her hand. It was clear and glittered beautifully as it caught the light. She hesitated a moment before speaking. ”An emerald?” Her voice lifted at the end, turning her words into a question rather than a statement. While the stone was green, it was not quite as bright as she thought an emerald was usually supposed to be. When she looked over at Guancho he was smiling. “That is actually a peridot.” She glanced back down at the gem in her palm. “Peridot is easy to confuse with an emerald sometimes, when just looking at it. Though I could tell you were not sure about your answer. Why?”

”Well when I move it in the light it looks a little…yellowish.” Guancho nodded. “Yes, good. Peridot is more of an olive green, rather than the brilliant green you associate with an emerald. Of course, you can get peridot stones that are almost the same in appearance, but more often it will be tinted with yellow or a little brown.” As she looked closer at the stone, the difference became a little clearer to Innah.

There was one stone left on the bench, and it was one she had never seen before. It was very pretty, a milky white colour shot through a with web-like green pattern. “That is moss agate.” Guancho explained to her. “Called such because the green inclusions resemble moss.” Innah liked the stone a lot and she ran her tumb over the delicate pattern. ”Is it worth a lot of money?” The jeweller chuckled. “Not at all, it is in fact the cheapest stone you have in front of you.” Innah was surprised. “In fact, let’s have a quick lesson on how these stones are valued. Not too much detail at once, but we can go over the basics today.”

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A Diamond in the Rough

Postby Innah on July 31st, 2020, 12:30 pm

Guancho pulled up a stool next to Innah and picked up the ruby. “Gemstones are valued based on something jewellers call the 4 C’s. They are carat, colour, clarity and cut. Colour seems fairly self-explanatory, no?” Innah nodded and a smile twitched at the corner of the old man’s mouth. “It is in fact not as straightforward as you may think.” He held the ruby out to her, and Innah let him place it on her upraised palm.

“Colour is determined through three factors, the first being hue. Hue will be the most obvious one to you - what hue is this ruby?” Though an easy and simple question, Innah knew he was not patronising her. Clearly there was more to the ruby than the fact that it was just a red coloured stone. ”It’s red.” A nod from Guancho. “Correct, but look a little closer.”
Curious, Innah bought her palm closer to her eyes, tipping it ever so slightly so that the gem would catch the light a little more. The ruby was most definitely red, but if she looked carefully enough she could see that it was not pure red - there was a hint of orange in the stone. She stated as much. ”I can see some orange.”

“Well done. This ruby therefore, does not have a pure hue. Rather than being simply a red ruby, it is an orange-red ruby and that lowers its value. Now the second part of determining colour is saturation. As you can see, this ruby is very vivid in colour, therefore it is highly saturated. The more saturated a gems colour is, the more valuable the gem is. As the saturation decreases, the shade of the colour changes from what you would typically want from the gem. As a rubies saturation decreases it becomes more brown.”

”So… even though it is a bit orange, will the fact that it is vivid bring its value back up?”
The jeweller nodded, pleased that his new apprentice was quick at putting information together. “Correct. And saturation goes hand in hand with the third factor, which is tone. Tone describes how light or dark the colour is. Each gemstone has an ideal tone at which it looks its best. Rubies, for example, should not be too dark or too light. If a gem has a very low tone it will appear closer to colourless. This stone is a touch darker than ideal, but only just. Putting all of these things together we have a decent ruby that will look perfectly fine in a piece of jewellery. Now, can you summarise colour for me by stating what makes a good gemstone?”

Innah took a moment to run through all the information in her head before speaking. ”A stone with a pure hue that does not have hints of any other colour, a high saturation and the ideal tone for the type of gem are the best and most valuable.” She looked at the ruby again, the small gem glittering in the workshop’s light and then placed it carefully back in the line of stones.
“Well done. Of course, there are some who like a stone that has a secondary or muted colour and to that person it may hold more value, but in monetary terms, you have it correct. Now the exception to these rules of colour is diamond, but we can talk about diamonds later.”
Last edited by Innah on July 31st, 2020, 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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A Diamond in the Rough

Postby Innah on July 31st, 2020, 4:04 pm

“The next piece of the valuation puzzle is clarity. To put it simply, clarity is a measure of the marks on a gemstone. On the surface they are called blemishes, and on the inside of a gem they are called inclusions. Now, it is not a bad thing if a gemstone has inclusions, in fact it is expected in a number of coloured stones. Emeralds are a good example of a stone that is incredibly rare to find without inclusions, and you will often use examples with visible inclusions in jewellery.”

Guancho paused to make sure Innah was following. “On the other end of that you have diamonds. When it comes to a diamond you want it to have as few inclusions as possible, and the clarity scale that we use is primarily for grading them. A perfect diamond, which is a very rare thing, is called Flawless or Internally Flawless. They will have no marks at all that you can see through this.” Guancho placed a tiny magnifying glass down in front of her. “This is called a loupe and will help you to note any flaw that a gem may have. It will take a bit of learning on your part to be able to find and identify the different types of inclusions, but you will get there.”

Innah had never realised before just how much went into simply valuing a gemstone. ”So, even if a stone has… inclusions, you can still use it to make jewellery?” Guancho nodded. “You can. You do want to be mindful of inclusions like fractures as they are a weak spot and could break if made into certain jewellery types. But most inclusions can be worked with and even hidden by the way it is cut. Which leads nicely into another C.” He looked at Innah expectantly. ”Cut?” She suggested, receiving a smile in return.

“Cutting a stone is the act of carving it into a particular shape. You want a stone to reflect light evenly which is what will give the gem its brilliance. The cut stones here…” Guancho indicated the row of gems in front of them. “…are faceted gemstones. I’ve cut them in particular ways that I think show the stones beauty the best. Do you recognise any of these cuts?”

Hazel eyes flicked over the stones before her, considering each one carefully. Innah pointed at the ruby which was a square shape. ”That’s radiant.” Next the peridot, round at one end and pointed at the other. ”A pear, I think.” She identified the diamond as brilliant and then glanced over at Guancho. ”I’m not sure what the others are called.”
The jeweller showed her a marquise cut, both ends tapered to a point and then a cushion cut. “There are many more cuts than these ones, but these are timeless cuts and some of the most popular.” He then motioned to the moss agate she had admired earlier. “This one is a cabochon and as you can see it is a smooth, domed surface without facets. A cabochon cut is the best for stones like this agate that are opaque.”

“Now, even though I used the word shape and cut interchangeably earlier, they do mean different things when looking at a finished gemstone. You can have the same type of cut on different shapes of stones. For example the diamond here you correctly identified as having a brilliant cut, and it is a circular shape. But you can also have a brilliant cut on an oval shape.” Innah nodded her understanding. “And now we come to the final C.”
”Carat.” Innah supplied, the only of the C’s she knew nothing about.
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A Diamond in the Rough

Postby Innah on August 1st, 2020, 6:08 pm

“Carat,” Guancho began, “is the measure of a gemstones weight.” Innah’s eyebrow lifted ever so slightly in realisation. “A carat is equivalent to one-fifth of a gram, meaning that a one-gram gem would be five carats. It is very important for us to measure the weight of a stone accurately, as the carat weight is a very important factor in determining the cost of the final product.” The jeweller once again moved the ruby in front of her and then placed the diamond next to it. “Which do you think has a higher carat weight?”

The stones, side by side, were actually nearly identical in size and Innah frowned at them. She had no idea what the answer was but she ventured the most obvious guess. ”They are the same?” Guancho smiled. “You are wrong.” Innah’s brow furrowed and her mentor chuckled at her expression. “It was a trick question; the ruby has a higher carat weight. Size does not equal weight when gemstones are concerned. In this case rubies are the denser stone so a ruby of the same carat as a diamond will be much smaller. This ruby is 1.7 carats, the diamond is 1.2.”

Numbers were not Innah’s strong point, but after running the explanation back in her mind again she nodded. ”I understand.” “Now to complicate it a little further, remember when we were speaking of inclusions? A ruby of a high carat weight may well be worth less than one of a lower carat weight. Any guesses why? For hint, remember what I said about emeralds - rubies are similar.”

Innah cast her mind back through the information. ”Emeralds, or rubies too I suppose, are more likely to have inclusions, so a smaller stone is more likely to be closer to flawless?” Her words lilted up into a question, as she was not entirely certain of her guess. However Guancho gave her a smile and she felt a surge of delight that she had understood the lessons so far. “Yes, exactly right. The smaller a gem such as a ruby, the higher its clarity is likely to be.”

“Now, we’ve covered the 4 C’s in brief, but I want to go back and speak about diamonds. We have mainly discussed in terms of coloured gems, but diamonds work slightly differently. Carat is of course the same as weight is a fixed number and cutting also follows the same rules, but colour is very different and inclusions are much more important.”

“With a diamond you want as little colour as possible. Most diamonds will have a touch of colour in it, be it yellow or brown or something else, and they are graded on how much of that colour you can see. The perfect diamond is classed as ‘colourless’, and then it increases to ‘near colourless’ and so on. Since a colourless diamond is so rare, you will most often be working with near colourless diamonds or just above and you will learn to cut them to hide that colour as much as possible.”

Innah examined the diamond in front of her carefully. ”This one looks pretty colourless to me.” Guancho smiled. “You are not viewing it in the idea conditions to see, but it does have a hint of yellow. Of course, the cut hides it extremely well.” He opened his mouth to continue, but Innah got in first with a question. ”I thought that you could get yellow diamonds that were very expensive?”
“Ah yes, those are special diamonds and very hard to come by. You can get a diamond in any colour, but of course they will not follow this colour scale. A true yellow diamond is much rarer and more beautiful that a normal diamond with some yellow colouring.”

“Now, clarity still works in the same way for diamonds as it does in coloured gems, but inclusions are far less accepted and have a much greater bearing on the value of a stone. Since inclusions have an effect on how light moves through the gemstone, diamonds being clear and colourless look their best when the light is as unobstructed as possible. As with the colour, the cutting of a diamond can help greatly when you are working with inclusions. Now, do you have all of that?”

She nodded just as the shop bell tinkled, and Guancho rose from his seat. “Do you have a notebook?” Another nod from Innah. “Take down some notes on this lesson, help get them stuck in your mind. And be careful of the tools.” The jeweller quickly gathered away the gemstones and left to attend to whoever was out the front.

Innah pulled her notebook and ink from her bag and set it upon the counter. Her mind was reeling with information and she was thankful that Guancho had given her the time to get it all organised onto paper. Jewelcrafting was much more complicated than she had thought it would be, but that fact just made her all the more excited for it. Her hand flew across the page leaving neat letters in its wake. She was going to enjoy working here a lot.

Jewelcrafting, The 4 C’s

Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight are the four properties that make up the value of a gemstone…


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