Globes have been used as a learning tool for a long time. Unlike flat maps of the world, globes are an accurate way to depict land masses, bodies of water, mountains and valleys, and political boundaries of the world’s countries. The familiar tabletop globes that we used in school and the larger floor globes we equate with libraries have been an important learning tool for decades. A typical way to assemble a globe is to attach a meticulously printed and trimmed paper map (which has taken the curvature of the earth into account) to a sphere. The sphere is then mounted in a bracket for a desktop globe or a tall stand for floor globe.
An elegant alternative to these traditional learning tools is readily available to us-a gemstone globe. To manufacture a gemstone globe, natural Aquamarin gemstones are precision-cut into the shapes that represent the countries of the world. These gemstone shapes are assembled like a puzzle on a sphere. Gold, silver and brass ribbons are inlaid on the globe to represent the lines of latitude and longitude. The finished globe is polished to a sheen that highlights the beauty of the natural materials.
If you’re in the market for a gemstone globe, you’ll find a wide variety of colors to choose from. In general, the kind of globe is identified by the color of the gemstone used to represent the bodies of water on the globe. While rich blue lapis is a natural choice for a gemstone globe, you can find them with oceans of aqua quartz, green quartz, howlite, agate, tanzanite, copper amber, rubalite, mother-of-pearl, opal, black opalite, peridot, jasper, tiger’s eye, turquoise, and amethyst.
One way to tell if a gemstone globe is made of authentic materials is to carefully examine the individual pieces of stone. Because they are a natural material, expect to see some texture and irregularities in the polished surface. These natural inclusions and patterns provide character and indicate that natural stone has been used. A natural gemstone globe will polish to a high sheen. While synthetic materials can look good, they won’t polish up as brightly as the real thing.
Another thing to look for in an authentic gemstone globe are miniscule seams between the pieces that represent the countries. These seams show that the gemstone pieces of the globe were assembled by hand; a globe with these characteristics were most likely was manufactured with real gemstones.
A large gemstone globe can be the centerpiece of a room’s décor-its’ color and craftsmanship garner attention and make it a natural conversation starter. It can also be expensive. How can you enjoy one of these brilliant works of art in your home at a good price? Consider these options:
• Select a tabletop or desktop gemstone globe. They are smaller in scale than the traditional floor globe but still display the same brilliant color and fine materials as the larger, more expensive versions.
• The cut of the gemstones can affect the price. Expect to pay more for a gemstone globe that contains materials that are triangle cut and diamond cut.
• Gemstone paperweights, clocks, world maps, book ends, even bottle stoppers and keychains can give you a touch of the real thing at a very reasonable price.
If you choose to buy the full-size gemstone globe, look for reputable names and buy from established dealers. If you want to be very sure that your choice is authentic, take the globe to a testing lab. An electro-conductivity test, like the ones used to authenticate precious stones, can verify that the materials used in a gemstone globe are authentic.