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About Gemstones

Amber Amber

This is not strictly a gemstone but a fossilized form of resin derived from various coniferous trees. It is found in many colors and may be both translucent and opaque. The rarest specimens are those enclosing insects of extinct species and leaves trapped in the sticky exudations of the tree.

Amber deposits have been found that range between 360 and one million years old and belong between the Carboniferous and Pleistocene geological periods. As sticky resin oozed from ancient pine trees, small insects, plant material, feathers and other small objects in the path of the flow became entrapped. Over time, the resin was encased in dirt and debris and through a process of heat and pressure it fossilized to become amber.

Amber increases in value with the rarity and perfection of the entrapped object. Complete insect specimens are rare though and command top price.

Copal is also a tree resin but it hasn't fully fossilized to amber. It is usually only thousands of years old, instead of millions of years. There is strong debate about some deposits of African amber as to whether it is copal or true amber.

Amber can range in color from dark brown to a light almost clear lemon yellow. Most amber that has been used in jewelry is from the region of the Baltic Sea or the Dominican Republic. The gemstone Amber is one of the birthstones listed for the Sun Sign for Taurus.

Amethyst Amethyst

The birthstone for February, Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and the most valued member of the quartz family. It must be purple to be amethyst, but it can display a range of shades including deep purple, light lilac, lavender and mauve. Top quality amethyst is a deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes. Its purple color made it a stone of royalty for many thousands of years.

Throughout history amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming addiction. It has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and other pain. Some sources suggest it is used to stabilize mental disorders.

It is worn to make the wearer gentle and amiable. Amethyst powers include: dreams, healing, peace, love, spiritual upliftment, courage, psychism, protection against thieves, and happiness.

Charoite Charoite

Charoite is known for its primal power. It is a mineral, an unusual of rare occurrence, in the monoclinic crystal system. An opaque gemstone that has a wild and swirling pattern of interlocking crystals. Its colors range from bright lavender, violet and lilac to that of dark purple, with white, gray and black veining.

It is believed that it is an all-round healer and works through, mainly, the immune system. Putting charoite under the pillow is said to release the fears that surface in dreams. The yoga guru claims this stone fosters a synthesis between the heart and the crown chakra. It helps to walk on spiritual path with awareness and manifests soul's wisdom and light in daily life.

Charoite occur only in the Chara River area of Siberia. It is said that it might have been named after the Russian word Chary, which means "charms" or "magic." Charoite was first discovered in the year 1947 by Russian and the West came to know by 1978. The safest cleanser for Charoite is warm soapy water and is used for making exquisite jewelry items.

Chrysoprase Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase is the most valuable stone in the chalcedony group. The microscopic fine quartz fibers in it have a radial structure. Its green color is the result of staining by nickel oxide compounds of the stone.

The name chrysoprase has been derived from a Greek word "chrysos prason," which mean gold leek. It is said to be a "Victory Stone." In the 18th century, as said, thieves used to become invisible by keeping the stone in their mouth.

Chrysoprase gemstone is of very fine translucent green color and texture. It is sometimes mistaken for green Imperial jadeite. With many similarities with jadeite, chrysoprase is sometimes marketed as "Australian Imperial Jade."

The hardness of the stone is 6 1/2 to 7 and is known for its specific metaphysical characteristics. It sooths headache and loneliness, promotes emotional balance and grants inner strength and peace. It also leads a person to greater confidence and gives relief to gout, eye problems and mental illness.

The stone occurs in serpentine rocks and in weathered materials of nickel ore deposits as nodules or fillings of clefts. Australia (New South Wales region), Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Russia (the Urals region), Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, and California has a good deposit of Chrysoprase.

Coral Coral

Coral is not a mineral but a hard calcareous substance consisting of the continuous skeleton secreted by many types of marine coelenterate polyps for their support and habitation. It is found growing plant-like on the sea-bottom. With pollution on the rise everywhere it is becoming increasingly rare, to the extent that even the most prized, the Mediterranean coral, is threatened with extinction. The best corals are generally considered to be those of a deep rose red color, though some jewelers would tend to disagree. Understandably so, when it is almost impossible to find more than one or two necklaces of this shade in a hundred! As regards white and pink varieties, choose without hesitation the color known as "angel's skin".

Druzy Titanium Titanium Druzy

Druzy Titanium or Druzy plated with Titanium is a regular Druzy. The colors of Druzy Titanium are very hot and intensely bright. It shifts from a bright hot purple to that of a neon deep blue with some shade of red. The colors of Druzy Titanium differ with the change in the viewing angles.

Druzy Titanium is used artistically in jewelry making. The favorites are necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and pendants. It has an outstanding luster and is believed to have originated in the US. The usual available color of Druzy Titanium is of golden shade.

Gaspeite Gaspeite

Gaspeite is a relatively rare mineral, found only in a few localities. Its light green, almost apple green color is quite unique and some varieties are almost neon green. It may contain brownish patches which may give it a distinctive character.

Gaspeite is found around nickel sulfide deposits and is named for the locality of Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec, Canada where it was originally found. Sources are Canada and Western Australia. Hardness is 4.5 - 5 on the Mohs scale.

As a fairly recent discovery in 1966, this mineral has no known folk lore although it is mentioned that the Aborigine's used gaspeite to bring about good fortune. As a healing stone, it is thought to reduce stress and help with heart, gallbladder and lung problems. Metaphysically, it is thought to bring spirituality into everyday life.

Jasper Jasper

Jasper is an opaque, impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in color. Blue is rare. This mineral breaks with a smooth surface, and is used for ornamentation or as a gemstone. It can be highly polished and is used for vases, seals, and at one time for snuff boxes. When the colors are in stripes or bands, it is called striped or banded jasper. Jaspilite is a banded iron formation rock that often has distinctive bands of jasper.

It often contains organic material and mineral oxides which give it interesting patterns, bands and colors. Many of these patterns resemble landscapes with mountains and valleys, thus the name "picture" is part of the name of many well know jaspers. Found worldwide, a wide variety of named jaspers is found in the western areas of the Unites States; California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Washington.

Lapis Lazulli Lapis Lazulli

The "sapphire" of classical times, it has always been a popular stone on account of its fine blue color. It is really a rock consisting of varying quantities of a blue mineral hauyne and calcite. Small specks and strings of the yellow iron pyrites are common.

The stone is becoming increasingly rare and its price rises steadily. It now costs more than gold and is the only opaque stone, apart from turquoise, sold by the carat (provided the quality is good). My personal advice is to choose a Saxe blue stone, of a bright compact texture, with no visible specks of white or green. To the contrary, golden threads in no way diminish the value of the stone and in fact are the means by which it may be identified. Lapis lazuli may be confused with sodalite, which has no golden threads, or blue aventurine, which has a schiller.

The stone is either cut as beads for necklaces or en cabochon for exclusive jewelry. It is especially attractive when set with diamonds or pearls.

The finest quality comes from Afghanistan, the lightest colored from Chile, and other varieties from Russia and China. Widely popular in ancient times, the stone was sometimes used for decorating temples, but when the Romans realized that supplies were running low, they simply took to painting Carrara marble to resemble lapis lazuli.

Lap Opal

This type gemstones is created in controlled laboratory conditions. They have the same chemical composition and physical properties to that of the natural gemstones. Various methods are used to create synthetic gemstones. Some of these processes can be very expensive. Sometimes a Lab Created gemstone can even cost more than the natural stone. For the most part these processes provide us with excellent looking gems. At a more affordable price. Lab Opal is also a great alternative to Australian Opal in ring settings, because it is a much tougher stone and can with stand normal wear and tear than Australian Opal can. What is opal? Well, technically, opal is SIO2 and a minute trace of h20, bound together in a latticework that resembles marbles in a fish tank—all settled in nice, orderly little rows. Because the silica is generally spherical, each tiny particle adjoins its neighbors, but never flat surface to flat surface. Light passes amongst these particles, speeding up and slowing down as the size of the spheres and spaces between them changes with the angle of view. Thus, longer light waves produce RED color hues and the shorter waves produce the BLUE color hues. Remind you of the prism you saw in grade school? In fact in simple terms, opal may be thought of in this same way. These little silicon balls all lined up in their little rows. Touching side to side, have a kind of triangle shape between them. Which throws out light much the same as that prism did.

Larimar Larimar

Larimar (Blue pectolite) known widely as Atlantis Stone is an extremely rare gemstone. It has been found only in one location: a mountainous, relatively inaccessible area in the province of Barahona in the Dominican Republic. The first mention of the stone was a request to mine Larimar in 1916; however, it was not until 1974 that the stone really made a grand entrance.

The word Larimar was created by Miguel Mendez, who combined his daughter's name Larissa with the Spanish word for sea, Mar.

Larimar, also known as Atlantis Stone was formed when hot gases pushed crystallized minerals up through volcanic tubes. In order to mine and excavate the stone, miners must identify these tubes and dig deep into old volcanoes. Atlantis Stone is used most often to make jewelry but has also been used to make beads, decorative objects and even handles on cabinets.

Larimar is considered a healing stone, and said to be finely tuned to the human body particularly to the throat area. It is said that it increases speech and communication skills and supports the body's natural healing process. Persons believing in this have been known to wear Larimar jewelry or to put pieces of Larimar in their pockets or under their pillows. Today, there are thousands of people practicing alternative and holistic healing methods, who use Larimar to assist and reinforce in the healing process. Atlantis Stone’s vibrant blue embodies the beautiful blue colors of the sea and sky found in the Caribbean.

Malachite Malachite

This hydrous carbonate of copper occurring in nature as an opaque stone varies in color from very light to very dark green. It has characteristic banding and is fragile and easily scratched.

Like ivory, this mineral has been over exploited by African crafts- men for a limitless production of tasteless, poor quality objects such as book-ends and paper weights. In ancient times it was widely used for jewelry and other ornaments because it was easy to work with and susceptible of a high polish.

It is found in the vicinity of copper mines and comes mainly from Africa and Russia, and to a lesser extent Australia and South America.

Opal Opal

Opal, an amorphous form of hydrous silica, was once held to be unlucky, but maybe this was only because the stone is rather fragile and tends to chip and scratch easily. As it contains a high percentage of water, opal may deteriorate in heat and cold. Nonetheless, it is a very beautiful stone and, without wishing to contradict myself, it is even used as a lucky charm in certain countries.

There are numerous varieties of opal, each attractive in its own way. The harlequin opal, as the name suggests, gives a rich play of prismatic colors flashing from minute fissures, even when cut en cabochon. It is translucent and spangled with many shades of red, blue and yellow specks.

Common opal is a dull white or milky blue color and produces the same effects but to a lesser extent due to its opacity.

Fire opal is hyacinth-red to honey-yellow and shows intense orange and red fire-like reflections. It is the only variety that can be faceted, as some specimens are totally transparent.

Water opal is similar to fire opal, but is colorless.

Wood opal is due to the replacement of fossil wood by hydrous silica with perfect retention of the woody structure. It is cut with its matrix remaining for added strength.

Precious opal, if held to the light, shows a marvelous display of brilliant colors. It is the most prized of all.

Opal should be thickly cut due to its fragility, for the finer the cut, the more the stone will deteriorate in time. It is a good idea to wash opal in pure water every now and then so as to remove all traces of perspiration or cosmetics. In other words, opal is a good investment for the meticulous, less so for the negligent!

Even though extensive new deposits have recently been discovered in Australia, from which enough opal to virtually inundate the market could be mined, the price of this gem continues to rise.

Most opal comes from Australia, except for the fire opal which is found in Mexico.

Spiny Oyster Shell Spiny Oyster Shell

Spiny Oyster, Spondylus Princeps Broderip is found in the Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico. It appears in lower Baja California Sur Mexico. It was discovered in 1976 and began to be exported for jewelry making use in the Southwest by Indian Crafts people. The shell comes in a variety of colors but mainly in red, orange, and purple; sometimes yellow and white. Spondylus Calcifer commonly called Giant Pacific Rock Oyster is a purple that is found in water from 0-60 ft. After 60ft of water the white Spondylus appears and goes down to 90ft of water. After 90ft of water the reds and the oranges appear.

The name Spondylus is a Latin word that means spines on its back. Broderip was the name of the Scientist who traveled with Cortez when Baja California was discovered and explored. The name Princep was given to this shell because when Cortez presented his marine discovers to the king of Spain who financed his expedition, the kings daughter fell in love with the shell. Therefore, the shell was named the after the Princess.

Sugalite Sugalite

Sugalite is named after a Japanese mineralogist, Dr. Ken-Ichi Sugi, who discovered it in the year 1944 on the Iwagi Islet in Japan. The stone comes in pale to dark purple color and contains black, reddish brown and yellowy patches. Sometimes it also referred to Luvulite and Royal Lazelle. It belongs to the hexagonal crystal system.

Sugalite is becoming very popular in the jewelry trade. It does not form well shaped crystals but is generally massive. Mostly it is used for ornamental and semi-precious stone purposes. The polish stones are usually opaque and have an almost waxy luster.

It is said that sugalite helps in strengthening the connection between mind and body and helps in dealing with negative energies. It stimulates the crown chakra and helps to open all the chakras for the movement of Kundalini energy. It is the perfect stone for meditation.

Sugalite is found in Iwagi Island, Shikoku, Japan, Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada and in South Africa. It is also found in the regions of Australia and Italy. Its specific gravity is 2.74 and hardness 6 - 7 on Mohs scale.

Tiger's Eye Tiger's Eye

Tiger's Eye, much like the eyes of a female cat, glitters with a small ray of light on the surface. This property of stone is known as chatoyancy. It is a brown quartz silicon dioxide having lustrous yellow and brown parallel fibers. The presence of iron oxides gives the stone the color of yellow-gold.

Tiger's Eye is very popular in jewelry making. It has the grounding energy of the earth, but embellished with glowing warmth. This stone is perfect for people in need of more confidence to accomplish their goals. It helps people to recognize self resources and use it for the attainment of their dreams apart from making them judge situations and determine the best possible way to approach it. Roman soldiers wore it, engraved with symbols, to protect them during battle.

Tiger's Eye is the anniversary stone for the ninth year of marriage and astrological sign for Capricorn. It is found in the regions of South Africa, but the best stones are acquired from West Griqualand.

Tourmaline Tourmaline

Unlike amethyst and topaz, tourmaline has escaped inordinate exploitation on the Brazilian market, probably because it is rarer and consequently more expensive. It is a mineral group of varying composition occurring in different colors, especially green, blue and grey. Pink specimens are known as rubellite.

Tourmaline has a deep brilliance and rich coloring. Transparent specimens being quite common, the stone is either cut en cabochon or faceted. Specimens with inclusions are used for beads.

Green tourmaline should not be confused with emerald, or red tourmaline with ruby. It has a wide distribution and is especially diffuse in Brazil and Madagascar.

Variscite Variscite

Variscite is a relatively rare phosphate mineral that is sometimes confused with chrysocolla or the greener forms of turquoise. Colors are light bluish green, medium and dark greens. It has a waxy luster and takes a fine polish.

Variscite is found in the United States (Utah, Nevada), Australia (Queensland), Germany and Brazil. It is also known as Utahlite, Barrandite, Bolivarite and Lucinite. A search on the web shows a wide range in hardness for this stone spanning 3.5 to 5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.

Variscite helps with remembrance of past lives. Balances central nervous system and eases depression, fear, worry, anxiety and impatience. It is a good meditation stone. Also helps with virtue, self-reliance, moral courage and success.