Phantastic Phantoms


a publication of the Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal 31 January 2019

Phantastic Phantoms!

Another look at the phun and profits of phantoms from our original report.

In this day of having to get creative to maintain a marketing edge, we need to remember that what we enjoy, our customers usually enjoy also. Sometimes this allows us to get outside of the traditional boundaries of what is proper in a jewelry or gemstone operation and go for what is of interest to your clients rather than what is being represented to you as the “normal” inventory by the traditional industry media. For that reason, today we want to go a bit toward the collectors route of jewelry store inventory and talk about what we have phun in calling those Phantastic Phantoms!

Phantoms are quartz crystals with what appears to be ghostly images of other quartz crystals inside. According to the PHOTOATLAS of Inclusions in Gemstones Vol. 2 (Koivula and Gubelin, Opinio 2005, pp. 628) phantoms can be formed when syngenetic minerals of other types can settle on the growing quartz crystal faces. These create visible planes of accumulation that cause the phantom appearance of a crystal inside another crystal as seen in the image above left. Inside one of these crystals alone we counted over 17 phantoms…inside the same single crystal.

Over the years we have collected numerous specimens of crystal phantoms, but none that rivals what we found at Tucson Gem Shows this past year. We wanted to share these with you in an effort to open up the world of unusual mineral specimens as a possible revenue stream for your company. Here are two examples of these Phantastic Phantoms

At left is one of the specimens from our latest acquisition. As you can see in this 10x microphotograph using our Meiji Techno GEMT2-BFDF microscope, there is a fuzzy appearance on the surface of this phantom. The phantom image itself appears to be either out of focus or to have a fuzzy surface. When we went to the higher powered magnification the truly phantastic feature of this phantom became visible as you can see below. At 45x (below left) and 60x (below right) it is easy to see that the surface of this phantastic phantom is covered in a mass of threads from some unknown mineral that formed on the face during growth of the host quartz crystal. This has created a beautifully soft vision of this phantom that is unlike anything else in the IIJA Student Reference Collection.




At left is the same area under 90x, which comes standard with the Meiji Techno and is higher than other gemological microscopes without additional cost. Here you can see the mass of thread-like formations that cover the face of this phantom before the crystal grew and engulfed the area.






If you look at the specimen on the far right in the group image at the top of this page, you will see a phaceted phantastic phantom gemstone that we obtained from this same dealer at Tucson. At left is the pointed section of this phantom showing a remarkable collection of what we believe are rutile needles covering this crystal face. This creates a spiked surface of this phantom crystal that is quite amazing when viewed in higher magnification below.



And of course, that is not all we found in these specimens as seen at left. Using our Meiji Techno MX series microscope that was customized for our Enwave Raman, we were able to capture this beautiful image of what we believe is an anatase crystal inside this quartz crystal specimen. But that will be a report for another day.The key issue is this: what we all find interesting about gemstone inclusions, many of your customers will also find interesting. Obtaining and showing unique and beautiful formations inside of gemstones can lead to some excellent sales figures if you work that revenue stream. Children LOVE to see these things when they come into your store, and will urge Mom and Dad to take them to see you when they know you have something new. It’s a way to not only generate interest with your customers today, but those youngsters today will eventually grow up and become your next generation of customers for wedding rings, watches and anniversary gifts.

It’s all about business. Its all about generating revenue streams for your business. Never overlook some of the phun stuff out there.

Sometimes its the phun stuff that can help grow your share of the market. Today, we ask you to consider the phun of those Phantastic Phantoms!

Robert James, FGA, GG
President, Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal Inc.
a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization

©2019 Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. We encourage sharing and caring throughout the industry as long as all copyrights are left intact.