Spotlight on October’s Birthstones: Opal and Tourmaline

People with October birthdays have the gift of choice when it comes to their birthstone. This month is traditionally associated with two birthstones: opal and tourmaline. Unlike some other gemstones, both of these minerals present a range of colors and features that make can make one stone quite different from another.

Spotlight on October Birthstones Opal Tourlamine | Auction King

Opal is a gemstone-quality variety of silica that is prized for its play-of-color, the flashes of colors you see when you turn an opal back and forth under white light. This phenomenon is caused by the refraction of light between the different layers of silica spheres that make up the stone. Given that opal can have a base color from white to black and play-of-color in literally any color of the rainbow, it is no exaggeration to say that no opal is exactly like the next. These stones are associated with good luck in many cultures, and have been prized since ancient Roman times.

Opal is a relatively soft stone, with a hardness of only 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, so you’ll want to treat this gem with care and avoid exposing it to high temperatures, abrasion, or chemicals. The value of an individual opal, while it can be affected by considerations like size and clarity, is really based on a subjective judgment of the colors and patterns in that particular stone, and how well its cut displays them. Stones with less common play-of-color hues, such as reds, or bolder patterns featuring bright strokes of color are valued more highly than those with common colors and less vivid displays.

Tourmaline is the name given to a variety of boron silicate minerals that can be found in a rainbow of colors, depending on the amount and type of trace minerals found in the crystal structure. While it can occur in all colors, you’re most likely to find gems in pink, red, blue, green, or multicolored—yes, a single tourmaline can display multiple colors, depending on the conditions of its formation! With a Mohs hardness of 7 to 7.5, tourmaline is a relatively durable stone that is suitable for use in all types of jewelry.

Before the advent of modern gemological analysis, tourmaline was often mistaken for other gemstones, based on color. The different varieties of tourmaline may be referred to by names based on their color, such as rubellite for red or indicolite for blue. The color of a tourmaline is the most important factor in judging the quality of a tourmaline—unusual or highly saturated colors will command a higher price than more common or lighter types. For example, rare paraiba tourmalines, first discovered in Brazil in the 1980s, display a vivid blue-green, and are highly sought after.

No matter what kind of opal or tourmaline you’re looking for, AuctionKing.com routinely offers a variety of rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings—even loose stones. We continually add new items to our collection to ensure that our clients have a stunning selection to choose from. Sign up for a free online account and start browsing today.

What’s the Difference Between Cels and Sericels?

For fans of animation, collecting artwork from their favorite feature-length or short animated films is a way of bringing their passion for the medium into their homes. Knowing the history of how animation was produced can help you understand the difference between the two primary kinds of animation artwork you’re likely to find on the market—cels and sericels—and why their relative value can vary considerably.

Whats the difference between cels and sericels | Auction King

Prior to the advent of digital technology, animated movies were hand-drawn. The term cel is short for “celluloid,” and refers to the transparent sheets that characters were drawn on to create each frame of a movie. The outline of the character or characters in that frame would be hand-drawn on the front and then the colors painted on the back, and the entire cel shot against a static painted background for the scene. Each frame had to be painstakingly drawn and shot, one at a time. A single animated feature usually required around 100,000 cels.

This type of cel, which was used in the actual production of a movie, is known as a production cel. Studios often sold them off as collectibles after animated films were completed. However, the advent of digital technology eliminated the use of production cels—Disney has not used them since 1990, and other animation studios phased them out over the course of the following fifteen years. The worth of these one-of-a-kind items can vary considerably based on the rarity of the image, the popularity of the film or character it depicts, and the condition of the cel, but it’s not unusual to pay thousands of dollars for one piece.

Major studios recognized that demand for cels—a physical memento of favorite films or animated characters—did not diminish because the process that produced them had been left behind. Cels are still produced in limited editions for collectors. While these cels, created with the needs of aficionados in mind, tend to be more affordable than production cels, they can be quite pricey in their own right, depending on the size of the production run, the degree to which they are hand-drawn and -painted, and if they are signed.

Sericels are the most affordable option for collectors who enjoy the look of cels but do not have an unlimited budget. These images are mechanically produced with silk-screened color, which brings the cost for a collector down significantly. Some sericels are produced solely in limited editions, which can increase their price depending on how restricted the run is. Sericels may also be sold without the background that typically accompanies a limited edition cel.

The key to enjoying a collection of animation art is to know what you’re purchasing before you buy, and to prioritize your personal enjoyment of your collection. For savvy collectors, the lvie online auction at AuctionKing.com offers an opportunity to find animation art at a fraction of the prices you’ll see at commercial galleries. Sign up for a free account and check it out today.