Garnet’s are most frequently sought in a bold red color, but can also take on shades of purple, Garnet’s are usually a very vibrant and bold red, but also come in shades of black, brown, green, yellow, orange, blue, purple, pink, and even colorless. These gems have vivid color-changing properties that allow them to change hue based upon the light source. Garnet’s are found in South Africa, Europe, and Russia.
Garnet’s are often used as symbols of passion and loyalty. They were believed to prevent illness and often warn as a good luck charm. Birthstone for the month of January, Garnet’s are also traditionally given as a second anniversary gift.
Amethyst is a form of Quartz mixed with trace amounts of iron that comes in violet or purple shades. By adding heat to the stone, Amethyst’s can be altered to a green, yellow, red, brown, or even white hue. Natural amethyst is mined primarily from volcanic rocks in Africa and Brazil, although it’s also found in South Korea, Uruguay, Russia, India, and Zambia.
Birthstone for February, the Amethyst is traditionally given on the 6th wedding anniversary. Believed to make the beholder calm, and in a lifted state away from stress and anxiety. In medieval times, European soldiers wore amethysts in their armor to shield them from shrapnel.
One of the most recognizable gemstones around. Aquamarine ranges in color, from a cobalt blue, to a pale blue. This color change is a result of iron being present in the mineral. Aquamarine also comes in pink rose, white beryl, and yellow beryl. Aquamarine is mined in Brazil, Zambia, and Nigeria.
Traditional gemstone for the 19th wedding anniversary, aquamarine is also the birthstone for the month of March.
A favorite among many, the Emerald is derived from the mineral beryl. Emerald’s get their green hue from a small amount of naturally occurring chromium, and this color can vary widely from pale green to a deep blue. An emeralds value is determined by the color, cut, clarity, and size of the stone.
Mined early in history throughout Egypt, Austria, and Pakistan, the emerald was reputed to enhance clairvoyant powers and was often buried with mummies as a means of preserving spirits. Today, the highest quality emeralds come form Columbian mines.
Birthstone for the month of May, the emerald also commemorates 20th wedding anniversaries. It’s also the zodiac sign of the Taurus and Cancer, symbolizing love, prosperity, and happiness. The emerald was known to be the crown jewel of Cleopatra.
In terms of rarity, the emerald is on par with diamonds. Often used as a vibrant enhancement to fine jewelry pieces, emeralds also make a great center stone for any ring.
The Pearl is the birthstone for the month of June and there are two basic categories
Pearls have been prized for their beauty and rarity for more than four thousand years. From ancient China, India, and Egypt, to Imperial Rome, to the Arab world, to Native American tribes, cultures from around the world and throughout recorded history have valued pearls longer than any other gem.
Pearls are the only gemstones grown inside of a living organism. Pearls are formed within oysters or mollusks when a foreign substance (most often a parasite – not a grain of sand) invades the shell of the mollusk and enters the soft mantle tissue. In response to the irritation, the mantle’s epithelial cells form a sac (known as a pearl sac) which secretes a crystalline substance called nacre, the same substance which makes up the interior of a mollusk’s shell, which builds up in layers around the irritant, forming a pearl.
In the early part of the 20th century, Japanese researchers discovered a method of producing pearls artificially. Essentially, the method involves inserting a foreign substance, or nucleus, into the tissue of the oyster or mollusk, then returning it to the sea, allowing a cultured pearl to develop naturally. This practice was already quite widespread culturing hemispherical pearls known as mabe pearls. Kokichi Mikimoto is credited with perfecting the technique for artificially stimulating the development of round pearls in akoya mollusks, receiving a patent for this technique in 1916. Although patented in 1916 this technique has since been improved upon and used extensively throughout the pearling world – no longer simply used to cultured akoya pearls, but freshwater, South Sea and Tahitian pearls as well.
Typically known as the stone that is “emerald by day, and ruby by night”, alexandrite is a natural color changing stone, that fluctuates between red and green.
Formed by chrysoberyl, alexandrite displays different hues based upon the type of light illuminating it. In natural light, the stone ranges from a yellow-green to a greenish-blue. This natural hue fluctuation of the stone contributes to its rarity and high value. Mined primarily in Sri Lanka and Russia, it can also be found in India, Zimbabwe, Brazil, and Myanmar.
Named after Russian Czar Alexander II, this distinctive stone was first found in his country in the year 1830. One of the birthstones for the month of June, alexandrite is also the traditional gemstone for the 55th anniversary of a marriage.
One of the most rare and precious naturally mined gemstones, the ruby is often used in fine jewelry. Other than the usual red hue, ruby’s also come in burgundy, and range to pale pink. It’s the variation in color that determines the price of a ruby, and the darker or brighter the stone, the more it will command on the market. Other considerations when evaluating value are clarity, cut, and size.
Named after ruber, the Latin word for red, the ruby is derived from corundum, which is also known as aluminum oxide. Found in various parts of the US, ruby’s are mainly found in Burma, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Kenya.
Birthstone for the month of July, ruby’s are also associated with the summer season, and the astrological sign Capricorn. Usually given as a 40th wedding anniversary gift. Ruby’s are the 2nd hardest gemstone known to man, just behind diamonds.
Derived from olivine, peridot is a rare stone that is rich with iron and magnesium. Most commonly found in olive green, its’ shade can vary from bright kelly green to a light yellow. The color depends on the amount of iron present in the stone. The more intense the shade of green, the more the value rises. Any visible flaws or tinges of brown will decrease the value of the stone immensely.
Found in volcanic lava, the peridot is primarily mined in Kenya, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Australia, and the Hawaiian Islands. Early miner preferred to mine peridot at night, because they believed the moon increased its visibility. As recently as 1994, a vast amount of precious stone was unearthed in the Himalayan Mountains, including a 300-carat deposit.
In ancient Egypt, peridot was believed to represent the sun. Hawaiian’s claimed they symbolized the tears of revered goddess Pele. The birthstone for the month of August, peridot is the traditional 16th wedding anniversary gift.
Known for its variation in color, the sapphire can be any hue except red and an orange-pink. Although sapphires are usually sought after because of their blue hue, they come in other colorations like yellow, black, brown, grey, and green. Colorless sapphires are often used as substitutes for diamonds, and have great contrast when paired with darker colored stones. Titanium, iron, and chromium are the minerals that make up sapphires.
Sapphire is derived from the corundum family of minerals, and since ancient times has been known for its’ beauty and durability. Sapphire’s are mined from the deepest layers of the earths crust, and the highest quality stones are found in Sri Lanka. Sapphires are also known for their incredible durability, and because of this they’re a 9 on the Moh’s scale, which means sapphires are almost as strong as diamonds.
Birthstone of the month for September, they are the traditional 12th wedding anniversary gift. Typically linked to happiness, serenity, and romance, Sapphire’s are a great valentines day gift.
In the middle ages, opal was thought to possess all of the combined powers of all the other gemstones. Opals come in a formidable amount of colors. From clear, white, red, gray, yellow, green, magenta, and pink, to olive, brown, and black. One special variation of the stone is the fire opal, which is a combined yellow, orange, and red. Red and black are the most popular variations, and the most valuable. “Precious opal” refers to variations of mineral composed of silica spheres that display an interplay of various shades of color.
Opal’s were originally deposited as a mineral gel, and can be found in a wide variety of rock formations including basalt, limonite, sandstone, and rhyolite. Precious opal deposits can be found in the United States, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, and Ethiopia. Most of the worlds opal comes from Australia.
BBirthstone for the month of October, the Opal is believed to bring good luck. The Opal is named from the Latin word opalus, which means “precious stone”.
Tourmaline’s contain an abundance of colorations, and many fine jewelry pieces combine multiple hues of the gemstone together. One of the most popular variants is the watermelon tourmaline, which is green on the outside and pink on the inside.
Found in conjunction with trace amounts of iron, aluminum, magnesium, lithium, sodium, or potassium, the tourmaline is a trigonal crystal which is a naturally occurring mineral. Found in igneous and metamorphic rocks in Brazil, Namibia, Zambia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and the United States. The most common form of tourmaline, referred to as “schorl,” comprises as much as 95% of the world’s production of the mineral.
Citrine literally translates to “lemon” in French, and this quartz crystal is a yellow-orange in color. Citrine’s are most valuable when they are pure yellow. They’re often found with orange or brown tents, which lowers the value. Most citrine is mined in Brazil, although some amounts are found in Madagascar and the United States. The stone was believed to ward off evil spirits and poison, and is one of the three birthstones for the month of November.
Topaz is naturally found in an array of colors, however for the most commonly, it is colorless. For the most part, blue topaz, the birthstone of December, is irradiated to display the beautiful blue color. Natural blue topaz does in fact exist in rare occasions. The stones typically crystalize in granitic pegmatites all throughout the United States, Europe and South America.
Tanzanite is derived from the mineral zoisite. First found in Tanzania, this gem was named for it’s location. Tanzanite is known to come in blue-purple hue. The gem is only found in Tanzania currently. A vast majority of the mined Tanzanite is shipped to the USA for commercial use.
Because it’s only mined in one part of the world, Tanzanite is a highly precious gemstone. Surpassed by only rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. In 2002 it was adopted as a December birthstone.
The word “diamond” comes from the ancient Greek word, adamas, which means “unbreakable” or “proper”. Since ancient times, diamonds have been the most popular gemstone, and has a long tradition of being used to symbolize engagements since the for over 500 years. Thanks to heavy advertising by De Beers in the mid-20th century, engagement rings are the most common use for diamonds in the jewelry industry. Thanks to the strength and durability of diamonds, those that are not of gem quality are commonly used in manufacturing industries, and can be found in a lot of tools we use every day. Most of the gem quality diamonds today are found in India and Africa, and are traded in the Diamond District in Antwerp.