Gemstone and Jewelry Care

Proper Care for Your Jewelry

Jewelry is beautiful but easily harmed. Do your best to protect any jewelry from harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, scratches, sharp blows and sunlight.
  • Always take of jewelry before swimming. Chlorine can cause damage to various gemstones and gold. Gemstones may become loose in their settings (and possibly fall out).
  • Take off your jewelry before doing high impact sports as you may scratch the metal or chip the gemstones.
  • When doing household tasks such as gardening and cleaning, be certain to remove rings.
  • Put your jewelry on after washing and applying any makeup/hair spray.
  • Store jewelry separately so it doesn't scratch other jewelry.
  • Keep your jewelry in moderate temperatures. Do not store your jewelry on a window sill, heater vent or on a car dashboard.
  • As sunlight will fade many gem stones, store jewelry away from sunlight.
  • Keep bead necklaces (such as pearls, onyx and lapis) flat as silk will stretch.

Jewelry Hardness: Avoid Scratching Your Jewelry

The Mohs scale is the jewelry industries way of specifying a gems hardness. The higher the Mohs scale number, the harder the gem stone is. The highest Mohs scale rating is 10 (very hard but brittle - such as diamonds). Anything with a Mohs scale rating of less than 7 is easily scratched (examples are: amber, coral, lapis, malachite, pearl, opal and turquoise). Gold, silver, and platinum are only Mohs 2-1/2 to 4. Always carefully store any fine jewelry to avoid scratching.

Verify Jewelry Ring Mounts

Check that gems mounted in rings are not loose. The prongs of a ring can and do wear down over time. If the prongs wear down too much or break, you can loose the gemstone. Prongs are easily "retipped" by most jewelers to secure the gemstone. Visit your local jewelry store for help.

Keep Gemstones away from the Sun

Many gemstones are damaged in sunlight (there may be more): Amethyst, Ametrine, Apatite, Aquamarine, Aventurine, Beryl, Celestite, Chrysoprase, Citrine, Fluorite, Kunzite, Rose Quartz, and Smokey Quartz.

Avoid Stretching Bead Necklaces

If you own bead necklaces such as a wonderful strand of pearls, store them flat as silk will stretch over time. Stretched bead necklaces can easily break and if the necklace isn't knotted, beads will go everywhere. When knotted necklaces stretch, it can detract from their beauty. Many jewelers will restring necklaces or reset gemstones (for a fee).

Polishing Jewelry

Sterling silver jewelry will shine more by buffing or rubbing it with a Sunshine Cloth or a soft cotton cloth. To have your sterling silver jewelry be less likely to tarnish, store your silver jewelry in plastic bags with an interlocking seal. (Do NOT store your pearl jewelry in plastic bags!)

Zircon

Zircon's brilliance, beauty and luminescence can not be rivaled by most gems. It was once considered as the diamond's alternative. The mineral actually belongs to the group nesosilicates. Zircon probably got its name from the Arabic word "zarqun", which means "vermilion"; or from the Persian word "zargun", which means "golden colored".
Zircon Gemstone Information
Colors
The mineral is available in a wide range of colors. Zircon is colorless when it is pure, but it can also be blue, green, brown, yellow, orange, red, and all other colors in between. The most popular of zircons is that of the color yellow, also called hyacinth after the flower hyacinthus. Zircons are in general transparent to translucent in appearance. Some zircons are known to have that .cat.s eye effect., although quite rare.
Age
Zircon is among the most ancient minerals on Earth. A small fragment of Zircon was found in West Australia: It is roughly 4.4 billion years old. Even an older example is a discovered meteorite in Chile, which when examined, had fragments of the mineral for as old as 4.6 billion years old. Diamonds are fairly young compared to Zircons; they are only 3.3 billion years old.
Where Zircon is Found
The gemstone is quite remarkable, if only for its ubiquitous presence in the Earth's crust. It occurs in many geological processes; such as in igneous rocks, in metamorphic rocks, and in sedimentary rocks. Although fairly common, large zircon crystals are quite rare. Because of its uranium and thorium content, zircons self decay and self destruct after a specific amount of time. Zircons also played a significant role in the evolution of radiometric dating. Because of its uranium and thorium content, they can help pinpoint the exact date using many modern analytical techniques. Moreover, since the gemstones are able to withstand erosion, transport and metamorphism, they hold a rich and diverse documentation of geological processes. Now, Zircon is mined from various places around the world: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Tanzania, Brazil, and other countries.
Care
Zircon is brittle and sensitive to pressure; therefore it has the tendency to fray along its edges. On the other hand, the gemstone is incredibly durable. The mineral remains intact even under immense temperatures while other minerals begin to melt and reform during continental shifts and fierce asteroid impacts. Zircons should thus be stored and kept carefully because even though zircons are hard, their facets tend to graze and chip. Take care of your zircons carefully, clean them with mild soap, and use a toothbrush to brush on areas where dust is prone to collect.
Lore
Zircon is December's gemstone and the representation of the planet Pluto. During ancient times, zircons are believe to aid sleep, bring good fortune and promote honor to its wearers. A lose of color and luster of the gemstone warns the wearer that danger is near. It was used by shamans and healers for it was believed to have medicinal properties. Zircon is worn on the problem area of the body to aid in healing.
Natural Zircon
Nowadays, natural zircons are overlooked because of the discovery of cubic zirconia in 1937, a man made diamond imitation. Cubic Zirconias are laboratory grown, a compound of Zirconium, yttrium and oxygen. Though Cubic Zirconias are more common and more affordable, but they lack the luster and beauty of the natural zircons.

Turquoise

December's birthstone, Turquoise, is one of the most beautiful gemstones ever known to man. As the name suggests, the color is "turquoise", though the color of the gemstone varies from blue green to sky blue. The gemstone is a traditional present to commemorate 5 to 11 years of marriage.
Turquoise Information
Quality
The best turquoises are found in Iran. These best quality gemstones have that pure and radiant sky blue color, with or without its fine matrix. The more strongly the gemstone leans on the color green and the more irregular the matrix, the lower the stone's quality.
Imitations
Be careful of turquoise imitations, they are quite plenty. The most common imitation of the stone is dyed magnesite and howlite. They are white in their natural states, with black veins like that of turquoises. Other less common and less convincing imitations include dyed jasper and marble. These imitations can be easily detected by gemologists through non-destructive tests, although destructive tests may deem necessary in some cases. Practice caution when buying gemstones, and always buy from legitimate and renowned gem stores.
History
The stone is ancient, its discovery dates back as early as 6,000 B.C., discovered by the Ancient Egyptians. The name of the birthstone was derived from a French term for Turkish (or Pierr Turquois), during the 16th century. However, this was a misnomer, for Turquoise does not come from Turkey, although it was traded in Turkish bazaars, where the Venetian merchants introduced to Europe. Moreover, the color has been used at length in the walls and floor tiles in Turkish homes and shrines for at least the 14th century. Another surmise is that the gemstone.s name refers to the color of the Mediterranean Sea, which is on the south Turkish coast.
Ancient Lore
For centuries, the gemstone has been esteemed as a holy stone, a good luck charm, and a talisman. Turquoise has been popular since its discovery, as proven by the excavation of Ancient Egyptian tombs around 3,000 B.C. Discovered grave furnishings, artifacts and jewelry were furnished with the gemstone. The Ancient Persians, on the other hand, believed that the gemstone should be worn around the neck or at the wrist at all times, to protect them against an unnatural death. They believed that if the gemstone changes color, looming danger is near and about to happen. The gemstone is usually worn on the turban, enclosed by pearls. They are encrusted in daggers, sabers and bridles as a talisman, to defend the wearer against the "evil eye".
The gemstone also had a special place among American Indians. The Aztecs of Mexico adorned their ceremonial masks with the stone. The Apache Indians believed that the gemstone gives warriors the ability to aim their targets better, while the Zuni tribes believed that the gemstone serves as a shield against demons.
Since time immemorial, the gemstone was the traveler's aid. It was believed that the stone guard the riders and their horses from falls. Today, the gemstone is still considered as a good luck charm for travelers, aviators and flight professionals to help ward off accidents.
Care
How do you take care of your turquoises? Always keep your stone away from bright light, heat, and make up. Do not take it with you on the beach, or anywhere with prolonged high temperatures! Clean it with a clean, soft cloth from time to time.

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is one of October's birthstones and comes in many colors - but primarily in pink and green. It is beautiful in rings, necklaces, and pendants
Tourmaline and Tourmaline Mines
by Margaret Burgon Klemp

My interest in the gemstone tourmaline is personal. I happen to live about 35 miles away from one of the most celebrated tourmaline mines in the world. It is located in the San Luis Rey River Valley in northern San Diego County in California. There are actually two mines there: The Tourmaline Queen mine with lodes given the names Tourmaline Queen and Tourmaline Queen No. 3. There are other smaller lodes in the Pala region, but the Queen mines are the largest and the most well known. The gem, tourmaline, is found in my own back yard.
The mine was discovered in 1903, and it became one of the worlds. major excavation areas for tourmaline. Then the local gem market ran into significant difficulties, and the mine became inactive until 1960 when it was purchased by Pala Properties International. Then mining operations were revived. Since the discovery of tourmaline in this region more of the high grade tourmaline has been produced there than at any other site in the whole Northern Hemisphere. Only operations in Brazil have yielded more fine tourmaline.
The tourmaline saga began when a gem collector took a beautiful piece of the gem to Tiffany and Company in 1876. His name was George F. Kunz, and he became one of the worlds' best known collectors of gems. He was hired by Tiffany as a consultant when he was only 20 years old. Because of his efforts the tourmaline family of gems was born. Tourmalines were his favorite gems although he collected myriads of other stones.
In his own narrative from Reminiscences of a Gem Collector Kunz describes his first connections with Tiffany. He explains this way:
"Breakfast at Tiffany's In those early days, no so-called fancy stones were on sale in any jewelry store in the country; one could scarcely find them in a lapidary's shop. Yet, reviewing those that I had gathered, it seemed to me that many ladies, even those who could afford the gesture of diamond tiara and pearl choker, would be happy to array themselves in the endless gorgeous colors of these unexploited gems. As I looked over a collection of them, with the sunlight imprisoned in the sea-green depths of the tourmaline, lapping at the facets of the watery-blue aquamarine, flooding the blood-red cup of the garnet, glancing from the ice-blue edges of the beryl, melting in the misty nebula of the moonstone, entangled in the fringes of the moss agate, brilliantly concentrated in the metallic zircon, forming a milky star in the heart of the illusive star sapphire -- how, I thought, could a woman ever resist their subtle appeal?
So one day, buckled in youth, I wrapped a tourmaline in a bit of gem paper, swung on a horse car, and all the way to my destination rehearsed my arguments. Arrived there, I was finally received by [Charles Tiffany] the managing head of what was even then the largest jewelry establishment in the world, and showed him my drop of green light. I explained -- a very little; the gem itself was its own best argument. Tiffany bought it . the great dealers in precious stones bought their first tourmaline from me. The check which crinkled in my pocket as I walked home in the late afternoon, forgetting there were cars, stargazing, tripping over curbs, meant very little in comparison with the fact that I had interested a foremost jeweler of that time in my revolutionary theory and made the acquaintance of a man who was later to become my close friend."
Chemically tourmaline is an extremely complicated group of stones. They are silicate minerals which contain silicon and oxygen and then it is mixed with aluminum and boron. It is also may contain sodium, calcium, iron, magnesium, lithium and a host of other elements that may be found in its structure. The most common variety of tourmaline is schorl and may account for 95% or more of all tourmaline in nature. Schorl is black tourmaline. Tourmalines consist of ten mineral species and only three of them are considered to be gems. They are part of a crystal system that produces long prisms of a columnar shape. They range from slender to thick densities, and appear in triangular cross-sections. Tourmaline has a three-sided prism which is unique in the world of gems. There is a large range of colors among the tourmaline family of stones. According to ancient Egyptian lore the tourmaline made a long journey from the center of the earth and on its way it passed over a rainbow and absorbed and the colors. Collectors still refer to it as the "gemstone of the rainbow". The colors range from red to green and blue to yellow, and very often sport multiple hues. Some colors change when exposed to artificial light. Tourmaline also has unusual electrical qualitities. It collects fine dust when it is subjected to artificial light sources. Each tourmaline has a different appearance, and consequently there is one that suits each individual buyer. For this reason the ancients claimed that it had magical powers. They said it promoted long-lasting love and friendship.
References:
Kunz, G. F. 1905. Gems, jeweler's materials, and ornamental stones of California. California State Mining Bureau bulletin 37: pages 127-129.
Reminiscences of a Gem Collector By George F. Kunz -- As told to Marie Beynon Ray (Reprinted from the Saturday Evening Post, November 26, 1927 -- as found on Palagems.com
Tourmaline Mine Info in San Diego on Mindat.org
Gemstones: Symbols of Beauty and Power, Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona
Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore, by Bruce G. Knuth, Jewelers Press, Thornton, Colorado
About Tourmaline on Gemstone.org
About Tourmaline on Wikipedia
.

Topaz

Topaz is a beautiful light blue or yellow stone. Yellow Topaz is November's birthstone while blue topaz is December's birthstone. It is much less expensive than aquamarine. It looks beautiful in rings, bracelets, necklaces, and pendants.
Topaz -- Pablo Neruda's Fascination
by Margaret Burgon Klemp

Topaz is one of the gems most used by poets and writers. Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet was fascinated by a lot of things. His curiosity and his enthusiasm for various collections are reflected at his modest home at Isla Negra, Chile which is situated just off the highway to Valparaiso, the seaside resort in the Andes. Besides his interest in antiques he had a love affair with topaz. He described it this way:
"Whenever you touch topaz, it touches you: it awakes
a gentle fire, like wine awakes in grapes. Still unborn,
clear wine seeks channels amidst the stone, demands
words, bestows its secret nourishment, shares out the kiss
of human skin: the touch of stone and man in serene peace
kindles garlands of fleeting flowers, which then return
to prime sources: flesh and stone: contrary elements."
Pablo Neruda, El topacio
Topaz is full of mystery, in fact there is a famous movie mystery thriller named after it. The Topaz is well-known as a large quality gem. The worlds. largest topaz crystal was found in Brazil at the Minas Gerais, the world.s most well-known producer of topaz. It was purchased in 1938 by Allan Caplan, a New York dealer in minerals and precious gems. Upon his first inspection of the stone he thought there might be something wrong with it, and this particular stone along with two others were sent the American Museum for further study. What the experts found was the largest topaz known to that date. It is still housed at the museum. During the Middle Ages people believed that the use of topaz strengthened the mind and prevented sudden death. Some physicians of those times prescribed it as a remedy for weak vision. It was also used as a method of preventing mental disorders or curing these disorders altogether.
The topaz has superb qualities of color, clarity and hardness. Its. hardness allows it to be easily polished because it contains an innate smoothness. The smoothness and slipperiness of topaz is one of the ways it is identified along with the brilliancy of color. It comes in all different shades of yellow, blue, brown and rose reds. Most deep blue hues are produced artificially by heat and irridation. Citrine is sometimes mistaken for topaz. The more intense colors of topaz is what usually sets it apart from the lighter citrine colors. However, there is a test known as the "methylene iodide test" that can make a final determination. A stone is place in the solution, and a citrine gem will float while the topaz will sink to the bottom. While hardness is a definite prime attribute, topaz has a real disadvantage with its. basal cleavage. This makes the stone very sensitive to sharp blows so artisans and miners have to handle it very carefully.
Topaz can be found in streams, rivers and in gravel deposits. It is found mainly in gem pegmatites where the presence of fluorine can be found. Flourine provides a rich environment for the stones to grow into very large crystals. In fact, without the presence of Flourine topaz would not exist. Topaz crystallizes orthorhombically and develops columns with square and diamond shapes planes with multisurfaced heads. Topaz can also be found in cracks and cavities where a combination of Flourine and silica and alumina which was released by very hot temperatures caused the gems to form. Chromium Oxide is what provides its beautiful color.
Brazil is the undisputed leader in topaz production. Topaz can also be found in the Ural Mountains in Russia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the United States. At Minas Gerais they are normally mined from their primary rock or found on valley floors there. Topaz was actually first discovered in Poland in the Erz Mountains in an area called Schneckenstein.
Topaz is a very large stone. One giant gem at the Viennese Historical museum is reputed to weigh 585,000 carats. The rarest topaz is the Imperial Topaz and pink topaz. Pakistan is the only place today where rose-red tinted topaz can be found today. All other pink topazes get their color from heat treatments of up to 475º C. Imperial topaz is has a yellow tint to it while other members of the topaz family can be completely colorless. Some of the most beautiful examples of topaz are the famous blue topaz which can have colorful ranges starting with light blue stones. The very deep blue topaz is artificially produced by heating and irridation processes. One of the most interesting characteristics about topaz is that it bleaches in daylight and then renews itself as the light subsides. The color changes occur because of natural heating and irridation.
The largest deep red topaz in the world was found either in Brazil or Russia, and is considered highly unusual. Naturally red topaz is not very often found.

Tiger Eye Quartz

The Tiger Eye is a semi precious gemstone, usually a metamorphic rock with a yellow, honey, red and brown color, with a silky luster. The gemstone is well known for its 'Chatoyancy effect', where a thin band of light is displayed on the gemstone and changes position as the gemstone is positioned back and forth.

Tiger Eye Gemstone Information

What Causes Tiger Eye To Shimmer
The Tiger Eye gemstone is part of the quartz family. The gemstone is a classic example of pseudomorphous replacement through silica of fibrous blue mineral called crocidolite. The gemstone is formed when criocidolite crystals compact simultaneously from hot mineral fluids flowing through the rocks' tiny cracks. This then produces the 'Chatoyancy effect' the Tiger Eye gemstone is renowned for. The gemstone mostly comes from South Africa. Small quantities of the gemstone are also found in Brazil, China, Canada, USA, Burma and India.
Where Tiger Eye's Name Came From
The gemstone got its name, obviously, because it resembles the eye of a real tiger. Tiger Eye gemstone is usually used for ornamental purposes and jewelry, cut for rings, necklaces and charms. The gemstone is quite affordable yet very beautiful. It should be noted though that the gemstone can be made synthetically, mostly made from plastic and lower valued minerals. There is also a similar looking gemstone called the Tiger Iron, made from red Jasper and black Hermatite. There is a blue variant of this gemstone, appropriately called 'Hawk's eye'.
Friendship Stone
The Tiger Eye gemstone is popularly called the 'gemstone of friends' or the 'friendship stone'. If you have been given this special Friendship Stone, you should always treasure the gemstone like the friendship itself. The gemstone is a perfect symbol that your friend is out to overlook your protection at all times, and will be there for you even during the hardest of circumstances. The gemstone will provide you positive energy even on the most gloomy of days. It helps you find your way and attain your dreams. Regardless of age, sex, or beliefs, many people will benefit from the gemstone.
Lore
Historically, the gemstone has been worn for protection. It was said that the gemstone kept a constant 'eye' on the wearer. For thousands of years, the gemstone has been used for many uses, for it is believed to have many mystical and medicinal properties within it. Oftentimes, the gemstone was given to children to wear as a protectorate.
Fast tract to the 1880s, large quantities of the gemstone have been founding South African soil during the 1880s. Metaphysically, it is believed that the gemstone allows its wearer to think clearly and transform negative energy to positive energy. The gemstone is believed to attain dreams and help the wearer judge and determine the best decision and course of action. It is often cleansed before sending it to someone else, to get rid of all the negative energies.
Care
The gemstone is cleansed by keeping it in salt water over the night to recharge its energy. After taking it out of the salt water, it should be washed in fresh water and placed under the sun for about two to three hours. The process should be repeated for three months, the least. By cleansing it, the wearers will be able to find their inner light and strength. The gemstone should be protected at all times from blows and scratches, and always be kept in a safe place when not worn or used.

Tanzanite

What separates tanzanite from any other gemstones is the way in which it was discovered which is entirely unrelated to mysticism or other spiritual beliefs. There are claims that the Masai cattle herders were the individuals who discovered this gemstones after burning occurred from terrible lightning instances happened in Tanzania. However, there is also another discovery version that is more accurate.
Tanzanite Information
True Story On How Tanzanite Was Found
It was said that on the month of July of 1967, one of the local tribesman by the name of Ali Juuyawatu noticed an attractive bluish piece of translucent crystal in Mount Kilimanjaro and decided to take it with him. He then showed it to Manuel D. Souza, who is a tailor and is interested in knowing about rubies in that area. He incorrectly termed it as peridot at first look and then corrected himself upon realizing that his judgment was incorrect. Therefore, he took samples and termed it as "dumortierite" and classified it as a non-gem material.
D. Souza eventually consulted with John Saul, a geologist and wholesaler of gemstones who was in Mount Kenya at that time. Disputing the early claim of D. Souza, he forwarded the discovered crystal to Hyman Saul, who happened to be not only the vice president of Saks Fifth Avenue, but also his father. Upon receiving them, Hyman Saul went to Henry Platt of Tiffany and Company to show it whom coined the term tanzanite. Further experimentations and observation led to the conclusion that it originated from the raw mineral soizite and is highly valued due to its high trichroism property.
Further observation made way to the announcement of Tiffany and Company's marketing launch featuring tanzanite as its primary feature. This event marked the popularity of this gemstone which served as enough reason for the United States Gem Associations to award it as the birthstone for the month of December. These changes were made in 2002 updating the standard birthstone list from 1912.
Where Tanzanite Is Mined
By nature, this gemstone is very rare since it could be found only in the Merelani hills nearing Arusha and Moshi in Northern Tanzania which only extends up to four miles. Because of this, recent efforts are done in order to ensure the security of the Tanzanian cutting industry by having the exporting of unprocessed tanzanite banned. Not only did this help ensure inward flow of profits but also encouraged local production of gem stones.
Colors
Experts base the deep dark blue hue of the gemstone as a basis for grading its value. In order to produce different shades of blue, manufacturers utilize heat treatments. There are also some rare instances wherein a green tanzanite is available. Another development made in order to lessen the coarse property of this gems tone is to apply a certain coating on its surface.
It is therefore not surprising that the demand for this gem stone has been on the rise recently due to the very beautiful bluish sparkle that it has. Currently, the tanzanite is one of the most popular gemstones produces in South Africa and is having great fans from distant countries like Australia, China and India. The popularity of this gemstone has become so sudden and immense that it has even outsold diamond in many occasions.

Sapphire

Sapphire is September's birthstone and comes in every color except red (ruby). Blue is the most common color for sapphire gems. White sapphire is occassionally used as a diamond substitute. Sapphire tennis bracelets are beautiful and loved by many.
 
Sapphire: Regal and Quiet
by Margaret Burgon Klemp

There is more than one way to become a legend. It cousin, the ruby, is well-known because of its' brilliant red color, and because man decided to equate it with their emotions as a symbol of love. But, there is more than one way to become a legend. History is full of legends that were quiet and less bombastic than some of their contemporaries. This is true of gemstones. The sapphire is legendary not because it appeals emotions, but it has an appeal that requires deeper meaning and understanding. It is quiet, it is calm. But its' effect is long lasting. Perhaps that is one reason why it is described in the book of Exodus in the Bible this way. "And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness." (Exodus 24: 9-10)
Marbode of Rennes (1035-1123) said in his writings:
Sapphire has an appearance
Similar to the heavenly throne;
It depicts the heart of simple men
Waiting with sure hope,
In whose life and ways
The highest is pleased.
Marbode was the Bishop of Rennes in France, and an avid researcher. He composed the earliest and most influential medieval lapidary which described in detail the attributes of sixty different stones. In addition to being an expert on various gemstones he composed hymns, and was a well respected leader and advisor in the Catholic Church. The sapphire has traditionally been involved in the area of religious magic, and it was believed that the owner of the stone could use it to harness psychic powers. It was, and still is, the choice of high church officials and regents especially when their rings are mounted. There are several language origins for the word "sapphire." In Sanskrit it was known as "sauriratna" in honor of the planet Saturn. Ancient Chaldean references called it "sampir," while the Greeks had a modern translation, "sappheiros" which denoted the color blue. The Arabic translation was "safir" and the Latin texts call it "saphirus."
The sapphire does share a lot in common with its' ruby relative, but there are some differences. First of all, the sapphire is must more widespread and more accessible. This is because sapphires originate in the earth's upper crust. The second difference is that it is blue and some natural processes have to occur that are a little different from rubies for a change in color. In some cases, however, early natural metamorphisms are identical to the ruby. They both come from the family of corundums, and share the same attributes of light refraction, density and hardness. Both stones are derived from the same chemical crystallization of alumina.
The sapphire comes in all shades of blue. The most sought after shade is Cornflower Blue Sapphire, the finest of all the sapphires. It is a gleaming blue gem with a touch of purple in it. The Royal Blue variety is velvety and the cobalt in it lets the viewer wonder how deep it really is. Marine Blue sapphires carry the color and dramatic tones of the oceans. Sapphires come in all different shades of blue. Titanium and Iron show up more in the rocks where sapphires are formed, however, they are formed differently all over the world.
In Kashmir sapphires are formed in pegmatites which are veins made up of pegmatite. In the pegmatite formations that are the feeding ground for Kashmir sapphires there is an abundance of aluminum and boron. In the rock surrounding the formation there is iron and titanium present.
In Australia, Cambodia and Thailand sapphires have developed over millions of years from rich deposits of molten carbonatite that has a lot of aluminum mixed with it. At first they were situated deep in the earth's crust where there was a presence of high pressure and extremely high temperatures. It was basalt volcanic activity that propelled them to the surface along with other minerals, and finally they were laid to rest on the valley floors.
In other parts of the world sapphires may have come from ancient formations that were once impure marble which developed over time through metamorphic conditions into crystalline cal silicates known as skarns. A skarn is a metamorphic rock that is usually variably colored green or red, occasionally grey, black, brown or white. It usually forms by chemical processes that form rocks during metamorphism and in the contact zone of magma like intrusions. Skarns in the igneous environment are associated with marble and wider zones of cal silicate rocks. Mixtures of corundum, titanium and iron were also a part of the crystallization process. Because of this process there are numerous inclusions in a sapphire, and like the ruby, they are useful in verification techniques when authenticating the stone.
Sapphires do twinkle. This is caused by the smaller, microscopic stones inside the primary gem that were created at the same time. This twinkling phenomenon is known as "silk" referring to its silky and silvery qualities. It appears as a star that seems to be imposed over a silk like background.
Some of the most important occurrences of sapphires can be found in Sri Lanka, but sometimes access to them is difficult. Pit and river mining are the most used techniques in Sri Lanka, but is impeded because the country resists modernization. Other areas where sapphires can be found are Tanzania, Australia, Madagascar, and Montana (USA).
Honored as the stone of fidelity and chastity, some say it is a sign of peace and friendship, while ancient Romans and Egyptians felt it was a holy stone of truth and justice. Innocent III, during his time as Pope said that every Cardinal and Bishop should wear a sapphire ring on the right hand to be used when they were giving blessings.
The sapphire: legendary, quiet and regal.
References:
Gems: A Lively Guide for the Casual Collector, by Daniel J. Dennis Jr., Henry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York, New York
Gemstones: Symbols of Beauty and Power, by Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona
Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore, by Bruce G. Knuth, Jewelers Press, Thornton, ColoradO

Ruby

Ruby is July's birthstone. Ruby is known as the stone of love. It is worn in all types of jewelry. Presently, diamond ruby engagement rings are becoming extremely popular.
Ruby: The Love Connection
by Margaret Burgon Klemp

The fiery red ruby has been known as "drop of the heart's blood of Mother Earth," and symbolizes the emotions of power and love. As such, it is sometimes used in diamond ruby engagement rings. Ancient ruby lovers from India called it "the lord of the gemstones." Those born in July precariously own the red fire because it is considered the birthstone for that month. According to birthstone enthusiasts the ruby stands for freedom, goodness, respect and dignity. No wonder the ancients fought to get their hands on one single ruby. The fight does still go on today. In the modern world the ruby hasn't lost its allure and its' fascination among retailers and collectors. In ancient cultures, and even in some modern communities, it is believed that rubies have magical powers according to the richness of the light that emits from them. Changes in light and color may be a signal that foreshadows terrible events: if the stone darkness there is supposed to be an approach of evil. If the piece lightens up then the evil retreats.
What Ruby Is
It comes from family of corundum gems, and its closest cousin is the Sapphire. The ruby is a rare gem, and the reason is because the chromium pigments that are embedded in the earth's crust are not very plentiful. Also, the chromium had to meet up with the element alumina at the exact moment that crystallization actually occurred. Without these two elemental factors the ruby might not sport a rich red color. In addition, other elements and natural processes played a role in ruby formation. Basalt marble, metamorphic rock and pegmatite are principal parts of the final product.
Where Rubies Are Mined
The Mogok mine in Burma (modern day Myanmar) in the Far East is known for the location of the world's finest rubies. At Mogok gems are found connected to dolomite limestone marble that has been identified as crystalline schists that are 500 million years old. Crystallizing has to be in the right place at the right time for the chromium to come through a natural door and lay the red color inside the stone. The whole schedule has to be perfect. The infamous blood red rubies are most impressive when they are found attached to white marble. Most of the time rubies are connected to something else, and very rarely turn up in their host rock.
At Mogok the gems are found on the valley floor. There is a wonderful story about how the mine started. According to popular lore in the 15th century a Burmese king started getting words from thieves who were working out their sentences there. They claimed that they were finding beautiful red stones on the valley floor. At that time the valley didn't really belong to the Burmese king, so through a lot of negotiation with the Shan prince who did own it an exchange took place. The king traded a rather worthless piece of property for an absolute treasure trove. The Mogok and other mines in Burma were responsible for building the great fortunes of the rulers so secrecy surrounded mining operations. The area was off limits to outsiders, and security was a major issue. The other major site in Burma has been the Hunza mine. The rubies found there have a large number of inclusions, and often are found clinging to white dolomite marble. Stones found in Africa at Kilimanjaro and in North Vietnam share this commonality with rubies found at the Hunza mine. They are all embedded in dolomite marble, and share the same mother rock.
Following Myanmar, Thailand is most important as a ruby supplier. Rubies are found at this site close to the earth's surface. Stones lay only a few meters under the ground in basalt, and according to experts they were derived from the erosion of ancient volcanoes. The rubies found in Thailand tend to be darker in color with tints and hues of purple and brown.
While beautiful rubies can be found in Cambodia the raspberry red rubies have their home in Sri Lanka. Found near Ratnapura the lighter red color makes identification difficult because light red rubies can be mistaken for pink sapphires.
In Tanzania in Africa transparent rubies can be found. Most of them are mined along the Umba River. At Longido, a site of an extinct volcano, smaller rubies are found which can be used as ornaments in the production of jewelry. Jewelry manufacturers use them to adorn metals like gold that is used in the final phases of production.
Most rubies have a similar appearance externally, but on the inside the inclusions and trace elements are different. Pure rubies, with rare inclusions or have a total absence of them are difficult to find. Almost all rubies retain small amounts of foreign crystals inside them, and it is assumed that these crystals formed at the same time as "rutile needles." These needles are formed by the intersection of the inclusions and their reaction to light. This light refraction forms a mirage of a star when it is cut. This phenomenon is known as an "asterism," and appears in both rubies and sapphires. Other inclusions are identified as liquid drops, and are used to identify genuine rubies from those that artificially produced. Large ruby crystals are hardly ever found, and when they are discovered elite oriental families usually end up with them and they are hidden away in dynastic vaults.
References:
Gems: A Lively Guide for the Casual Collector, by Daniel J. Dennis Jr., Henry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York, New York
Gemstones: Symbols of Beauty and Power, by Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona

Rose Quartz

Coming from the vast family of the mineral quartz is the rose quartz which is probably one of the most revered and fancied for jewelry and practical use. Often thought of as a stone of love, this rose quartz jewelry makes a wonderful gift.

Rose Quartz Information

Color and Stars
The beautiful shade of pink attested from this gemstone is due to the combination of impurities that is present in the rock from which is termed as Sio2. When proportions of manganese, dumortierite and titanium blends, the warm pinkish hue of the gem stone emerges. There are some variations of this gem stone showing asterism or "star effect" which is seen if one would look at the light through the gemstone.
History and Mines
This gem stone could be traced back as early as 7000 B.C. in Mesopotamia, wherein it was known to be formed as beads. Early records of this mineral show that it was used primarily for manual activities like the process of making seals in Rome. Such gem was first discovered in Rumford, Maine and Brazil. Other places wherein traces of this mineral are available include Canada, Australia, Namibia, England, Europe and Mexico.
Affordable Jewelry
The rose quartz is more often sold in the market in the form of the cabochon cut, perfect as a design for pendants and bracelets. A delightful fact to know when it comes to acquiring this gemstone is the fact that one could enjoy having its rose like characteristics as an accessory for an affordable price. However, one should be informed that it such gem is also mistaken with the man made pink zircon which could be determined by careful observance of the chemical properties.
Astrology
Since this gemstone is said to be a source of the astrological energy coming from Neptune, Mars, Venus and Moon, it presents a lot of help in a variety of situations. Rose quartz is a perfect gift for a friend who has recently experienced a deep level of sorrow in life or someone who has lost a great deal of self respect and hope. There is also an element of self worth that is given when bearing this gem stone which helps a lot in terms of strengthening personal resolve most especially in times of great distress.
More Lore
This semi precious gem stone is also a very useful tool when it comes to maintaining the serenity in the home and also in some cases, easing the discomfort of babies. In instances wherein the baby becomes restless placing a rose quartz underneath their cradle mattress. This will help ease their internal tension making way to a more comfortable sleep.
The rose quartz is also a great stimulant when it comes to renewing the flame of love between couples. It is said to be open the hearts of individuals to accept their partner's differences and helps teach the value of forgiveness. For single persons, owning this gem stone assures a degree of luck when it comes to finding that compatible partner.
In order to bring more in more balanced spiritual feeling, cleaning of this gemstone is highly recommended. This could be done by dipping it in salted water over night and have it thoroughly washed with clean water the day after. In every three months, placing it in direct sunlight for about three hours will help intensify its whitish pink glow.

Quartz

Quartz has been used for thousands of years. Persians called it "billor" while in Sanskrit it is called "sphatik". Due to its high potential in terms of physical application, the Chinese utilized this gem in order to complete their bottle cutting process while the Romans use it for carving purposes. On the other hand, it was the Sumerians who were able to make further developments in using this mineral as they were able to write on it as well as engrave it as stamp for the clay images they were creating.
Quartz Information
Colors
A quartz's characteristics features an initially very transparent type of mineral in which colours range from the snow coloured hue and the more common clear type. It is mined in big or small pencil sized chunks and has a very smooth surface. Many people admire this gemstone for its magnificent display of stable refinement and elegance. This gemstone also exhibits some characteristics that are often comparable to diamond that is why some prefer to wear it, an opportunity that presents almost the same privilege of wearing good jewellery without too much the cost.
Types
Quartz is a very abundant mineral. It is technically divided into two types: the cryptocrystalline type and the macro- crystalline type. Both types contain the same physical properties and chemical compound elements however what separates these two is the colour with which each type appears when viewed. The former which appears to be more translucent or opaque include jasper, bloodstone and agate among others. The latter, which is macro- crystalline, is more of transparent nearing translucence quality. Famous examples of this kind include the cat's eye, tiger's eye, hawk's eye, aventurine and citrine.
Folklore
It is not a rare sight to see the quartz as a constant part of ritualistic activities like the shamans have hundreds of years ago. Lore has it that this gem has essential qualities in order to solidify water or melt down ice which is quite practiced in distant islands of the Pacific reaching up to New Guinea and Australia.
During the times that shamans existed, quartz played a crucial role in the healing rituals performed by these individuals such that they claim that their bodies and the minerals are interchangeable. Such mineral is also placed directly above the infected organ or inflicted area for about a few moments to allow the re balancing process and removal of possible evil spirits in the body. To replenish its spiritual energy, Cherokee shamans are said to 'feed' it with blood coming from a slain deer.
When it comes to modern gem healthcare practices, the quartz comes in very handy as they are believed to produce the necessary electro chemical balance in the overall physiology of man. When worn, such gem is also said to relieve one of sleeping problems, nervousness, and helps one to focus when it comes to retaining knowledge from the past.
Finally, in practical daily activities, this gem is said to be a charm for gardeners as well as foresters in order for them to bear more abundant produce. In case of a negative event like a grievance, placing it inside the home would help alleviate the outcome.

Peridot

Often confused with emerald, peridot jewelry has a very beautiful greenish colour. It is originally a colourless mineral which is also known as forsterite in its initial state. However, the iron content that mixes with the mineral induces the green hue of the gemstone. It follows that the more iron content, the darker the shade of green in the gemstone. This gemstone is also regarded as the "Evening Emerald" due to its green brilliance under artificial or low light conditions and is especially beautiful at night.
Peridot Information
History
The peridot could be traced deep from the pages of history and in fact has been acknowledged by the term chrysolite in the Bible particularly in the book of Revelations stating that it was part of the gems that Aaron utilized in his time. Eventually, various rulers and monarchs utilized this gemstone and rumour has it that the Cleopatra's famous collection of emeralds was actually of this kind and she doted on its sparkly characteristics. There were also some cathedrals that used this as a form of ornament for the church plates.
The peridot is also regarded as Egypt's national gem and termed as "the gem of the sun". This may be due to the fact that it has a high level of birefringence meaning multiple light splitting areas giving way to its sparkling characteristic.
Mines
It has been mined for a long while in Saint John's Island or "Serpent Isle" which was once littered with poisonous snakes until the pharaohs had it killed and turned into a mining field. As of the present, the peridot could be mined from Norway, Burma, Hawaii, islands nearing the Red Sea and even in fallen meteorites.
Care
Since it has a hardness value of 6.5 on the Moh's hardness scale, the owner should always keep in mind to take it off in cases where rough physical activity is to be done. Avoiding the gem's prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is also recommended as it may bring a degree of fading. In terms of cleaning, steam cleaners are not suitable and should be carefully wrapped in a piece of cloth in a separate storage container.
Large Peridots
The purchase of a peridot nowadays containing high carats carries a hefty price as the gem is very rare. One of the most stunning displays of this gem is available in the Smithsonian Museum.
Lore
When it comes to the everyday rat race of individuals all around the world what would be a good thing to consider what would be a good accessory to bring along which will help replenish one's vitality? A good item would be a gemstone like peridot which is said to contain lots of powerful medicinal powers.
One of the benefits of having this gemstone is the idea that it is able to bring lots of luck when it comes to love. It has also been said to be very beneficial in fighting off fever and anger. It is also regarded as a charm for driving away bad spirits and is worn on the left hand attached to a donkey.s hair. Due to its attractive and stylish nature, it is much more convenient to utilize the magnetic energy of this gemstone if worn. Its magnetic state reaches up to one foot and is said to be effective in revitalizing the person overall.

Pearl

Pearl is one of June's birthstones. A classic pearl necklace and/or pearl earrings are one of the most loved gifts one can give. People seem to radiate when wearing pearl jewelry.
Pearl -- The Heart of Purity and Wisdom by Margaret Burgon Klemp
Nathaniel Hawthorne in his epic story, The Scarlet Letter called the innocent little girl portrayed in the story, Pearl. It was a sign of purity and virtue, and he exemplified those traits in the character. The members of the Mormon Church revere one of their texts: The Pearl of Great Price---as one source of the words of wisdom that they live by. The name Margaret and variations of it have connections with the Pearl.
Most people equate precious stones with open pit mines or ancient river beds or some other type of mining. Usually precious stones are found as a result of ancient lava flows and millions of years weathering processes. However, there are other habitats that produce some of the world's finest gems. They spawn in the oceans and in some cases freshwater streams and lakes all over the planet. Pearls, coral and jet are organic gems. The pearl has been found all the way from Asia to some of the rivers and water sources in the United States.
It was the Native Americans living along the eastern seaboard of the United States along with tribes around the Mississippi River Basin who were the first Americans to start collecting pearls. Pearls are unique in that they can be found in both freshwater and saltwater. The stones were highly prized by the Native Americans who used them for decorative purposes, while some tribes used the pearl as a form of currency. It is reported that the father of Pocahontas received pearls as tribute, and it is said that he had a tendency to hoard them.
Since pearls are found in mollusks that can be found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats they are quite plentiful. Pearl production started in the United States in New Jersey around 1850, although there were other smaller enterprises in operation prior to that time such as the Native American enterprises.
The pearl is produced by mollusks which have a nacreous lining. This lining is better known as "mother of pearl." Mollusks are invertebrate animals with soft, unsegmented bodies, such as clams, and snails, usually enclosed in a calcium shell. They are any of numerous chiefly marine invertebrates of the phylum Mollusca. Mollusks can occur in habitats ranging from the deep sea to high mountains. There are eight main classes of mollusks: Gastropoda (snails), Bivalvia (clams, oysters and scallops), Pelecypoda (fossilized bivalves), Cephalopoda (octopus and squid), Scaphopoda (tusk shells), Aplacophora (no shell invertebrates), Caudofoveata (scaly with calcareous spines), Polyplacophora (chitons), and Monoplacophora (ancient fossil shells). Some mollusks can also be utilized as a food source, as well a source that is used in jewelry and decorative items
John Latendresse is known as the founder of the cultured pearl industry in the United States, and it was he who organized the first experimental freshwater pearl farm in Tennessee where experimentation and research would contribute to the whole cultured pearl industry. Since then other farms have started, and the industry has grown.
Pearl is actually made up of layers and layers of Mother of Pearl which gives it an onion like appearance. Aragonite microcrystals are meshed together by horny substance known as Conchiolin which is a protein substance that is the organic basis of mollusk shells. The crystals that manifest in the production of the pearl overlap and results in a roughness that authenticates it. One way it is actually identified is by rubbing it across the teeth. To be an authentic pearl the surface has to be irregular. It if doesn't have a rough surface then the pearl is not genuine.
There is a wide color spectrum among pearls. The general color of a pearl is also called the body color. The color is produced by light interference known as the color "orient" and can be semitransparent to opaque. Orient refers to colors that seem to move around as the gem is turned. Pearls can be white, silver, cream-colored, gold, green, blue, or even black. The color is synonymous with the type oyster or mollusk from which it originated. Various types of oysters will sometimes produce different hues, and water and implants will also make a significant difference in the color. Some pearls have overtones and some don't. An overtone is a color that lays over the body color, and sometimes adds a depth to the piece that might not otherwise be there.
There are two types of pearls available on the gem market: Natural pearls and cultured pearls.
Natural Pearl - A natural pearl is one that forms in nature with no human intervention.
Natural pearls are nearly 100% Mother of Pearl (nacre). Pearls formed under natural conditions manifest because tiny parasites or intruders invade bivalve mollusks. Then the mollusk attempts to fight it off in self-defense by ejecting nacre many times to cover up the intruder, and this produces a natural pearl. Round pearls are rare, but pearls in other shapes are more plentiful.
Cultured Pearl - The cultured pearl is produced through the intentional, human introduction of foreign objects into the shell of a mollusk.
Baby oysters are usually used for the culturing process. They are placed in plastic cages in protected water for 3 years. A piece of the oyster called .mantle tissue. along with a bead of nacre is pre-formed, and then placed inside the oyster itself. This then produces nacre around the bead. Then they are placed in the sea for 3 more years when the pearls can finally be removed.
There is also a large market for imitation pearls. Some of them are of high quality like the ones from Majorca, and other cheaper ones that made out of either plastic or glass.
References:
Gems: A Lively Guide for the Casual Collector, Daniel J. Dennis Jr., 1999 Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, New York
Gemstones: Symbols of Beauty and Power, by Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona
Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore, by Bruce G. Knuth, Jewelers Press, Thornton, Colorado
Gems & Crystals, Anna S. Sofianides and George E. Harlow, Simon and Schuster, New York, New York
WikiPedia Pearl Page
Government Minerals Page
Pearls.com Education Page on Famous Pearls

Opal

Opal is October's birthstone and is an elegant sparkling gemstone. Opal is a soft gemstone so wearing it in pendants, necklaces and earrings is ideal. The fabulous fire of an opal has made this stone a favorite of many.

The Opal -- Beautiful Survivor
by Margaret Burgon Klemp

There is the precious opal, the common opal, the fire opal, the Peruvian opal and then, of course, there is the synthetic opal. The Sanskrit language knew the stone as upala, while the Greek variation is opallios while the Latin world for opal is opalus. All of the different word origins refer to the special nature of the opal. The Sanskrit word literally means "precious stone," and the Greek and the Roman meanings have a shared outcome. They called the opal "precious stone".
There are a lot of different trade names for opals, but the most recognized and widely used is the precious and common opal. Even though the opal is brittle and can break quite easily, and is prey to scratches and heat it remains high on the list of gemstone collectors. The reason is that opals are truly beautiful. Its. beauty fascinated earlier cultures. Some even believed it fell from heaven. The birthstone of October is the opal and in the 19th century those who were superstitious believed that only those born in that month should wear opals. Anyone else wearing one was supposed to have run the risk of having bad luck or running into a dire fate.
An opal is actually what is known as a mineraloid, a shapeless gel with silicium dioxide that was deposited at a low temperature in crevices and fissures of all different types of rock. The most common types of rock where they were deposited are limonite, sandstone, rhyolite and basalt. It can also form original fossils or replace fossils that have already been formed, and collectors find this phenomenon very interesting. Opals are relatively young gems, and they are so fragile they could never have survived early geological upheavals that produced other types of stones. Opals did occur in volcanic masses of calcite that filled the veins in lava rock. Hot, briny gel like mixtures would rise up to the surface from the volcano which decomposed the calcite. What was left behind was colloidal silica, and this along with water later produced opals.
The precious opal has a unique internal structure. It is made up of spheres that are closely packed in layers that eventually form something that looks like a four-sided triangle or a hexagon. They are made up of silica that allows light to pass through the structure like a prism to produce internal colors, and it also determines the quality of the stone. A precious opal has a doublet which is a colorful material laid on a black backing of ironstone, basalt or obsidian. This causes "a play of color" which produces a spectrum of different colors.
The common opal is quite a departure from the precious opal. There are several different types of common opals: the milk opal, opals with blue and green tints, resin opal, and a wood opal. There are also opals that can be found around hot springs and geysers. They are a clear glass opal made up of geyserite. There are other varieties of opals most notably the fire opal and Peruvian opal. Mexico and Mesoamerica is the chief source of the fire opal. They come from the Mexican high country where they can be found in rock surrounding extinct volcanoes. It is extracted from open-pit mines in the canyons and valleys there. It should be noted that more durable fire opals are found in drier region. The drier the region the more durable the opal will be. While Mexico produces the most fire opals they can be found in Honduras, Ethiopia, United States, Australia, Canada, Turkey and areas in former Russian states.
The Peruvian opal is said to aid sleeping and calming down the mind. It is a blue opal that is quite rare and can only be found in the Andes Mountains in Peru. It has a Caribbean color to it, and is considered the national gemstone of Peru. Charlatans have taken to pushing dyed blue opals onto the market. Experts say that if the blue color of the stone appears to be uneven then it is probably a dyed stone and not a valid opal.
Microcrystalline opals are made up of a microcrystalline material which is a crystallized substance or rock which contains small crystals that are visible only through microscopic examination. These opals are broken into two categories: Opal-CT is where a predominant mineral rich layer is present within the opal layers. They are all genuine minerals that formed from evaporating water with low amounts of soluble silica. They are not Opal-A because the A type of opals thrived during dry spells with very little water input.
Opal-C is made up of an arrangement known as a-cristobalite which is formed into a number of disordered stacks. Cristobalite is found in volcanic rock where the temperatures were high and the succeeding environments were arid.
Non-crystalline opals have two categories designated as Opal-AG and Opal AN, but they are usually grouped together as Opal-A. Non-crystalline is amorphous without real or apparent crystalline form.
The difference is that AG is a group of spheres of silica that has water filling the gaps. Both precious and common opals are signified as AG. The AN label refers to an opal that was formed in water containing amorphous silica-glass.
The Opal is the national gemstone of Australia. The state of Nevada in the United States honors the black opal as its' state gem stone. The black opal is found in Humboldt County, Nevada.
References:
Gems: A Lively Guide for the Casual Collector, by Daniel J. Dennis Jr., Henry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York, New York
Gemstones: Symbols of Beauty and Power, by Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona

Onyx

What does one get when quantities of silicon dioxide get dried up inside molten lava? The end result would be a black multi banded mineral called chalcedony or onyx, as it is most popularly known. It is uniquely characterized by virtue of its colour which features a wide range of hues which commonly come out in shades of brown, tan and white. Such gemstone is also known and valued highly more particularly for its purplish, whitish, bluish and blackish range.
Onyx Information
Mines
In several instances, this gemstone is mistakenly compared with a calcite in Mexico or the banded lapidary found in Pakistan which is softer in terms of hardness value. And while onyx could be found in different mining locations across the globe, its deposits are abundant in Brazil. There are also subsequent mining locations found in Madagascar, Arizona and California for these ornate pieces. One of the ways that miners do in order to enrich its colour and increase its market value is to clean and heat it.
Fashion
This gemstone also holds a distinct role when it comes to contributing to the development of modern fashion trends. When it comes to clothes, it could be sewn as part of the fashion accessory or it could be made into customized jewellery. This gemstone is most often used to add a hint of dark glamour to the outfit, especially when it comes to attires worn on formal occasions. Combining them with pearls is also a magnificent combination for worn jewellery and is fitting as a gift for every man or woman.
Care
It also takes a great deal of caring for the onyx to retain its lustrous shimmer as this semi precious gemstone tends to scratch easily. As such, an ultrasonic cleaner is not suitable for it to be cleaned. Having it soaked in warm water mixed with gentle soap is much more advised. If there would be intricate details, using a soft brush would be fine. Afterwards, dry it in open air and place in a separate box for storage.
Lore
Greek mythology has it that onyx took its name from the time when Cupid cut Venus. fingernails while she was asleep. The term specifically pertains to a finger or claw and in this case, the remains of Venus' nail clippings on the ground. During those times, it is a general thought that no godly body part would decay, so those clippings were transformed into stone.
During the earlier times, this gemstone was used by Romans as part of their engraved talismans during the time of war believing that it would bring a great sense of courage to the wearer. Later, public speakers of the Renaissance era expressed their high regard for this gemstone by donning it while they perform. It was a common thought among people in their profession that this gemstone pushes for the articulateness in speech. There are also beliefs that it helps eliminate body organ diseases and emotional negativities. Some claim it brings about intense sexual passion.
Astrology
Zodiac rules indicate onyx as very significant to Leos. It is also the official gemstone for those couples who are celebrating their seventh and tenth year of marriage. Some regard this as the birthstone for those who were born in February and is said to be of mystical value for December born people

Obsidian

Obsidian has been used in jewelry, as genstone statues as well as other ornamental purposes. Obsidians possess the unique property of a dual appearance: when cut in one direction, the stone is beautiful jet black, when cut on the opposite direction, the stone is beautiful gray. It has been used in variety types of jewelry such as rings, necklaces, pendants and brooches.
 
Obsidian Information

Physical Properties
Obsidian is a dark semi-precious gemstone that is naturally formed from occurring volcanic glass. The crystal is also known as Apache tears. It is a rock, not a mineral, for it is formed out of cryptocrystalline silica grains in a glassy suspension. The crystal is produced when lava is extruded from a volcano that cools with no crystal growth happening. Unlike other volcanic rocks, obsidians are devoid of large holes and bubbles.
Colors
Obsidians are typically dark in appearance. Their color varies from dark green, brown, grey, red, blue black, or anything in between. Some rare stones feature an almost colorless color. These color variations are due to presence of other impurities like iron and magnesium. The crystal is rich in silica, which has about 35% to 80% of the said material. Obsidian is fragile thus it has the tendency to crack.
Where Obsidian Is Found
Obsidian got its name from "Obsidianus", a volcanic glass that has close semblance to a stone found in Ethiopia by one fellow named Obsius. The crystal can be found in places that have experienced rhyolitic eruptions. The stones can be found in Chile, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Italy, Turkey, Scotland, Peru and more. In the US itself, it can be found in many different states, such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon and Utah.
History
The gemstone has been known since antiquity. It has been valued since Stone Age, used in weaponry for it can be fractured to make blades and arrowheads. The stone was also used to produce early mirrors. The stone has also been instrumental in ancient Meso-American civilizations. Studies have seen that it has been used for commerce, construction, production and distribution. The Meso-Americans used the stone for tools and ornaments. They carved swords with obsidian blades, and many other weapons. The Ancient Native Americans traded obsidians all throughout the continent. It held a huge importance in the development of these ancient civilizations.
Other Uses
Obsidians have been used for many important uses outside ornamental purposes. The stone has been used in Cardiac surgery, as surgical blades. These obsidian blades are many times sharper than the highest quality of steel surgical blades. Even the sharpest of metal knives have jagged, irregular blades when viewed under a microscope. Obsidian blades, on the other hand, are smooth and even when viewed under a strong electron microscope.
Lore and Myths
Like most gemstones, obsidians are believed to have many medicinal and healing properties. The gemstone is known as the "stone of truth". The gemstone is believed to be able to dispel any sort of negativity and transform them into positive attitudes. The gemstone helps its owners see their inner flaws and make the necessary changes to improve and remove these flaws. This helps the individual become a better person and improve his way of life. The stone also helps relieve stress and ailments. The crystal can protect the individual from physical and emotional harm. The black gemstone is a symbol of resilience, control and spirit. The crystal is a stabilizer and also a chastiser

Moonstone

The Moonstone is a semi-precious stone known for its pearly white color. The stone is available in many varied colors such as colorless, yellow, brown, green, grey or pink. It is known to be translucent to transparent. The purest and highest quality of moonstones is colorless, perfectly transparent, with a blue sheen. The stone is often used in rings, pendants and bead necklaces. It is often given as a gift to celebrate 13 years of marriage.

Moonstone Information

Why Moonstone Shimmers
Moonstone is made up of two feldspar types: orthoclase and albite. The stone can be mined in many different parts of the world. The stone looks enchanting and beautiful, because of its captivating play of light. It got its name due to the mysterious shimmer of light it produces, known as "adularescence". This is caused due to the lamellar inner construction of the moonstone. Light rays come in, they are refracted and then scattered in the stone. A unique light effect takes place, which makes the stone look so enchantingly beautiful. Obviously, the gemstone got its name for its physical semblance to the moon.
History
The gemstone has been popular since the Ancient Roman Civilization, where Romans constantly used the stone in jewelry and ornaments. The Ancient Romans in fact believed that the stone formed out of moonlight. Moreover, the people of ancient times actually believed that they could tell the phases of the moon just by looking at the stone!
Mines
Nowadays, the stones are found in Brazil, India, Myanmar, Madagascar, Mexico, Sri Lanka, European Alps, Tanzania, the United States, and many more. The highest quality moonstones are produced in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is actually the place of origin of moonstones. They were very popular during the Art Nouveau period, which was used extensively in jewelry, crafted by master goldsmith Rene Lalique, which is now found in collections and museums worldwide.
Folklore
Moonstones strengthen its wearers. emotional and unconscious facets. It is believed that it could evoke tender feelings and protect love. It is rightfully called the "lover's stone" because of its enchanting and romantic quality.
The gemstone is believed to help both men and women alike. For men, the stone is believed to help them connect to their emotional side and creative side. The stone is believed to help enhance and improve the wearer.s vision. For women, the stone is believed to help in balancing hormones during the menstrual period. Many women of olden times place the stones inside their skirts to increase their fertility. Moonstones are also beneficial for the women going through menopause.
The Moonstone is believed to have many other metaphysical and medicinal purposes. It is believed to give the person greater flexibility. It aids in soothing stress and anxiety. It is believed to help enhance the individual.s intuitive sensitivity, help the person cope in new changes and enhance perception. The ancient people believed that the stone is a bringer or wealth and good luck. Moonstone is the birthstone of Gemini and it is considered as a holy stone in India.
Care
The gemstone however is relatively soft and sensitive, thus it should be handled with care. Flaws and scratches can occur, and its shimmer may dwindle. They can be remedied by going to a jeweler and have your gemstone re-polished, afterwards it will shimmer like brand new.

Malachite

Malachite is a semi-precious stone popular for its opaque property and brilliant green color. The gemstone got its name most probably after the Greek word "malache", meaning "mallow", which means green herb, or from another Greek word "malakos", which means soft. It is known for its beautiful light and dark green pattern, a unique property found in malachite only. The light and green pattern is so distinctive that it the gemstone is one among the most easily recognized minerals in general.
 
Malachite Gemstone Information

History
Malachite was discovered in 4,000 B.C. by the Ancient Egyptians. The stone is mined in large quantities in the Urals and Israel. Archaelogical evidence proves that the gemstone has been mined for some 3,000 years in "King Solomon's Mines" at Israel, Timna valley, only to be disrupted during the 10th century, during the time of King Solomon. The gemstone can also be mined in Zambia, Congo, Namibia, Russia, Mexico, Wales, England, Lyon, and the Southwestern United States.
Folklore
The gemstone was worn during the middle ages to protect the wearers from black magic and sorcery. Ancient Greeks gave their children amulets made of the stone as protection. This gorgeous stone is also worn to help detect imminent danger. Many believe it could give extra energy to its wearers. It was believed to bring about knowledge, patience and calmness in the wearers. lives. The gemstone is believed to aid wearers in the regeneration of body cells, help attain peace and tranquility, and aid sleep. Usually, the stone is attached to baby.s cradles. Today, the gemstone is the traditional gift to celebrate thirteen years of marriage.
Famous Malachite
Because of its softness, the stone is easy to carve and shape, and takes on a good polish. This makes the stone fairly popular in sculpture and jewelry, most especially common in Southwestern Native American jewelry. It has been used for aesthetic decorative purposes, like the Hermitage's Malachite Room, and "The Tazza". Russian Royal Families often used the stone for their dinnerware, vases, sculptures and panels. A large piece of malachite was given as a gift from Tsar Nicholas II. "The Tazza" is in display at the Linda Hall Library. The gemstone is popular during the Victorian era, which they used for decorative purposes. Malachites are usually set in silver or gold. Now, the stone has been used as beads, cabochons and small carvings usually set in silver.
Other Uses
Since antiquity until the 1800s, the stone has also been used as a pigment for paints. It has some disadvantages though, for the pigment is fairly lightfast and extremely sensitive to acids. It has also been used as an eye shadow during the ancient times. Although the stone produces amazing and beautiful results, it is hazardous to health for it releases copper content that is toxic to breathe.
Gem Look-A-Like
Where there are real gemstones, gem imitations are always present. In the case of malachite, its imitation gem is called "pseudomalachite", a copper phosphate with properties very similar to that of malachite. In Latin, pseudomalachite means "false malachite", and is much rarer compared to malachite.
Care
The gemstone is very soft and painfully fragile. Always protect your stones from sharp blows and scratches. They cannot withstand from intense temperatures and sudden temperature changes. Practice carefulness even when cleaning. Do not clean your stone using a home ultrasonic cleaner, and even water---water will remove the protective polish of the stone. Keep it away from heat, for it may damage the stone.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli is a rare, semi-precious stone, highly prized because of its bright blue color. It has been highly valued since antiquity. The finest lapis lazuli gemstones come from northern Afghanistan, in the Badakhshan province. It isn't actually a mineral, but a rock constituting of more than one mineral. The purest of lapis have that intense blue color, with light specks of golden pyrite. Stones with little or no golden pyrite specks and veins have higher value. Usually, stones with inferior quality are dyed to improve its color.
 
Lapis Information

The stone is fairly soft and somewhat porous, thus it should be protected from chemicals and solvents. Lapis are commonly seen in jewelry and ornaments. They are usually cut as beads, or carved into ornamental objects.
The stone is considered as the stone of friendship and truth. It is believed to encourage friendships and relationships, and ward off cruelty and wickedness. It is also known as the stone of truth, and is believed to develop intelligence and inner vision. It helps the wearer conquer misery, fight off nightmares and feel more calm and tranquil.
Origin of the Name Lapis Lazuli
Lapis is the Latin word for "stone", while Lazuli is a genitive form of the Latin "lazulum", which comes from the Arabic word "lazaward", which in turn comes from the Persian word "Lazhvard", which was the name of the place were lapis lazuli was originally mined. The word "azure" (or French "azur", Italian "azzurro", and Spanish "azul") got its name from lazuli, which means the color blue. Taken as a whole, the gemstone means "the stone of Lazhvard".
Where Lapis is Found
The best lapis lazuli gemstones are found in Kokcha River, in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. This has been the mining site of lapis lazuli stones for more than 6,000 years. Badakhshan was the source of the stones since the ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian period. It still was during the Ancient Greek and Roman civilization, during the Indus civilization, and until now. Apart from Afghanistan, other sources of lapis are in Andes, in Chile, as well as in Russia, Angola, Burma, Siberia, Pakistan, USA, India, and Canada.
History
Lapis Lazuli was a favorite stone in the course of history. Ancient Egyptians used the stone for amulets, ornaments and scarabs. The Ancient Babylonians used the stone for their seals. Cleopatra used powdered lapis as her eye shadow back in the days. As inscribed in the Egyptian "Book of the Dead", the stone was considered an amulet that brings great power. In the ancient Sumerian tombs located in Ur, more than 6,000 beautiful statuettes of rodents, birds and dear were found, made of pure lapis lazuli. Many Akkadian and Sumerian poetry makes reference to the stone as a gem of royal splendor. The stone still holds importance during the Medieval and Renaissance period, as seen in the illuminated manuscripts and panels derived from the stone.
The stone is the most prized blue of all time. They were used as blue paints by painters before 19th century, despite its costly sum. They were grounded up together so that they can be used as paints. Many portraits of the Virgin Mary were created using this expensive blue paint. Unlike other blue paints that tend to pale when in light, it doesn't lose its radiance until this very day. Today, the lapis is still used, though for restoration purposes only.