News from East Asia: Tashmarine

"Tashmarine" sounds much more appealing than "yellowish-green diopside." Discovered last year and brought to the United States by Eric Braunwart of Columbia Gem House/Trigem Designs, Vancouver, Wash., tashmarine is a natural, unenhanced, slightly grayish-green to slightly yellowish-green diopside. It's on Braunwart's list of branded gems, which includes Grape Garnet and Spice Pearls. The name tashmarine has several origins, says Braunwart. "Tash-" means "stone" in a number of Farsi-based central Asian languages, and tashmarine is also named after the city of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Tashkent has always been important to international trade, a stop on the old Silk Road that linked the Far East with Europe. The road traversed the continent from China to the Mediterranean Sea, bringing silk, iron, porcelain, and gems to Europe. A major portion of the Silk Road went through
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