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Archive for May, 2006

Miscellaneous

Posted May 31, 2006 By AussieSapphire

Things have been very busy lately so havent had much time to update the blog. The GAA tour mentioned in the last post went very well – a full bus load of gemmologists visited the Kings Plains mine where Jack Wilson (Austgem) and Andrew (Aussie Sapphire) were able to take them through the mining process and discuss some of the issues facing the Australia sapphire industry at present. Once again, we were struck by the fact that a number of people in the industry are not aware that Australia can (and does) produce good quality sapphire at competitive prices.

We are currently working a particularly good patch of ground which has been very pleasing. We have been loading quite a few new items on the Ebay Store but they dont seem to be lasting very well with keen buyers snapping them up quickly. We are not complaining about this but it seems that everytime we think we have gained some breathing space by listing new stock, lots of the new items are grabbed. We suggest that you keep a close eye on the Store so you dont miss any good opportunities.

The word around the traps is that good quality rough, particularly from Africa, is becoming very dificult to source. We will be listing more of our existing stock soon and are working on securing a new parcel of tourmaline. We will let you know as this happens.

We do have some sapphire rough auctions running so keep an eye on those.

Some of our customers may know that we have been working on a new website – this will bring the online shop function back direct to our website. We started out with an online shop but were not really happy with how it was working – we have been looking for a suitable alternative for a while now and it is very close to launch. For those interested in things technical, we will be running an online shop based on the Zencart ecommerce solution – this will provide all the features and functions you expect from a modern online shop and we are very excited about this new development. Stay tuned for more on this as we are getting very close to going “live”.

Please note that we will not be abandoning the Ebay Store because we have gained lots of really great new customers this way – however, the new online shop will have some features that I think all of our buyers will appreciate.

While we have been working on the website, we have taken the opportunity to rewrite and reorganise some of the information pages on the website including duplicating some of the more important blog posts so that they are available to readers in a more permanent and accessible manner. When the new site is launched, we will be very interested in any feedback that you might like to provide (good or bad) as our aim is to provide a useful and interesting resource for our customers. If you can help us do that job better, we will be very appreciative.

cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire

GAA Conference 2006

Posted May 18, 2006 By AussieSapphire

The National Conference of the Gemmological Association of Australia for 2006 will be held at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel 30 Pitt Street, Circular Quay on 19 – 21 May 2006. See the GAA website for more information on the 2006 Conference.

The conference will offer many items of interest to members with the keynote speaker being John I Koivula (co-author of Photoatlas – Inclusions in Gemstones).

The post-conference tour will be held from 22/5/06 to 28/5/06 and tour the important gemfields of NSW – the tour will feature the Barrington Tops, Inverell-Glen Innes and Lightning Ridge. A fantastic opportunity to see some really interesting parts of Australia.

While in the Glen Innes/Inverell area, the tour group will visit the mine of our good friend and colleague Jack Wilson at nearby Kings Plains. I hope that this tour will help visitors to realise that NSW produces very fine quality blue sapphire – something often overlooked by many in the trade.

Cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire

PS – the website rewrite is going extremely well and we hope to open it up for a sneak preview very soon. The site will be launched officially soon afterwards. Stay tuned for more news on this.

Miners safe at last.

Posted May 9, 2006 By AussieSapphire

Anyone watching the news today will have realised that the two miners trapped underground in a Tasmanian goldmine for almost 2 weeks have finally been rescued.

An incredible event with all of Australia celebrating the safe rescue of the 2 miners while acknowledging the tragic death of their workmate in the rockfall.

While Australia has extremely safe mines, underground mining is still a dangerous occupation – something that should never be forgotten. We send our condolences to the family of Larry Knight and rejoice in the news that Todd Russell and Brant Webb are finally safe.

For international readers who may not have heard much about this story – see more information here – National Nine News.

Aussie Sapphire

Lonewood Museum – Part 1

Posted May 8, 2006 By AussieSapphire

Apart from our interest in gems, we have had a long-standing interest in antique machinery. Over the last couple of decades, Andrew has put together an impressive collection of antique tractors and stationary engines. These are currently housed in the Lonewood Museum (aka the Shearing Shed lean-to) although the collection constantly threatens to spill over and encroach into neighbouring shed space.

We thought some of our blog visitors may be interested to see just an overview of some of the collection in these few photographs. Will talk about a few of our favourite pieces in a future article.

Here are some of our old tractors including a Twin City 21-32, Allis Chalmers C35 and a Case. All these tractors are in working order. Unfortunately the Dodge ute (1923 model) will need some work before we can drive it.

This view shows another old Case and a Howard DH-22 – one of the few genuine Australian designed and built tractors.

 The last photo shows a selection of our stationary engines – used for many jobs throughout the last century. Many of these are in working order although they are still in their “working clothes”.

That’s all for now from us at Aussie Sapphire.

Could write pages about our museum but better get back to work on the website re-write. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article some time soon.

Computer work

Posted May 8, 2006 By AussieSapphire

Have been absolutely flat out all weekend on the computer trying to do a few things at once. For keen buyers looking for a bargain, we have a number of auctions running at the moment.

These comprise some nice pieces of sapphire as well as a selection from our other categories – some nice rough in tourmaline, spessartite and aquamarine as well as a good sapphire cabochon and unique black spinel silver bracelet. Something there for everyone and the prices still at bargain levels so take a good look.

If this watermelon tourmaline doesnt attract some buyers I will be very surprised as this is an excellent example of the type with well defined colour zones – a great piece of rough with good size (9.3 carats).

The other job keeping us up late at night is a major re-write of our website. This will bring the online shop function back to our own website with much greater convenience and functionality for our customers. We wont be leaving Ebay but are keen to bring some of our items "back home".

The website is coming along very well and we hope to get it up and running very soon. If you have any comments or suggestions as to what you would like to see on the new website, let us know and we will see if we can use them. We value your feedback so help us make the website meet your needs as a gemstone buyer.

Cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire