April 20, 1998
24 Carat Network
With the number of companies anthologizing their knowledge and research into resourceful Web sites for the jewelry industry, the Internet has become an incredible gemstone and jewelry library one that, unlike a book collection, doesn't take years to accumulate.
The challenge is finding all of the useful sources from the piles of cheap, commercial sites that turn up with a "jewelry" or "gemstone" search. The 24 Carat Network is a good beginning. While actually positioned as a members-only network, offering a trading channel, a discussion board, a chat room and Web site design for a fee, the site also offers thorough reference material to the public.
Among the data stored at the site: a glossary of terms (which is not yet alphabetized, so a little hard to navigate if you're looking for a specific word); a comprehensive list of gemstones with gemological data sheets for each one (an area that's still under construction, so links are only available for gemstones beginning with A through H); the Mohs Hardness Scale, refractive index and a list of specific gravity for gemstones; information about diamond cut, clarity, carat weight and color; and an encyclopedia of enhancement techniques for gemstones. There's also a list of international trade magazines, a free add-a-link page, a gallery for members' photos and "store fronts," a list of members' home pages.
Technically speaking: The site is fairly simple; it uses frames and an image map on the home page to navigate, but the graphics load quickly. The reference information is mostly posted without formatting (i.e., use of bold, headers or font sizes to distinguish definitions from terms), so it's sometimes hard to find a specific piece of information while scrolling through the text.
- by Stacey King