Garnet is the birthstone for January (Capricorn) and a 2nd Anniversary gemstone. The versatile garnet comes in a virtual rainbow of colors, including pink, red, purple, orange, yellow, violet, green, colorless, occasionally black, brown and many shades of red and green. The most common color of garnets is reddish brown. Garnets were so called by the ancient Greeks since color reminded them of the pomegranate seed or granatum.
Garnets are found in a wide variety of locations including Kenya, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Brazil, India, Madagascar, Canada and USA. The majority of today’s Garnet supplies come from Africa. Notable quantities of garnets have been also found in Czech Republic and Spain.
One of the world’s most ancient gems, garnet has been treasured for thousands of years. Use of garnets as gems is traced to the Nile Delta in 3100 B.C. Egytian artisans created beautiful garnet beads, bracelets and other jewelry. Garnets since ancient times used widely as an abrasive. Garnets are said to have been used by Asiatic tribes in place of bullets. During the latter part of the 19th century, garnet bracelets and brooches were particularly popular.
Garnet is believed to combat blood deficiency diseases, depression and lethargy. Its energy is supposed to be balancing and peaceful. Whether one believes in these or not, the gemstone is worthy of collection due to its dazzling beauty. What do you say?
Amethyst is a variety of Quartz. Typical colours of Amethyst are light slightly-pinkish violet to a deep grape purple. Designers celebrate Amethyst as the ideal choice for jewelry due to its regal color, variety in size and shape, affordability, and wide tonal range. The pale colors are sometimes called “Rose de France” and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes.
Amethyst is mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Siberia, Canada, India, Bolivia, and Argentina and some African countries; Zambia being a significant source for Amethyst.
Amethyst derives its name from Middle English amatist, from Old French, from Latin amethystus, from Greek amethustos, not drunk or intoxicating. There is an ancient folk belief that the stone protects its owner against drunkenness. As the myth goes, drinking wine from an Amethyst goblet would prevent one from becoming inebriated. Amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy. Amethyst is associated with a number of superstitions, being regarded as a love charm, and as a protection against thieves. In Tibet, amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it. Amethyst is given as a symbol of sincerity, security, and peace of mind.
Amethyst is the birthstone of Aquarius. Amethyst is anniversary gemstone for the 6th year of marriage.
Amethyst often becomes paler if kept out in the sun. Clean your Amethyst with warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush. Keep away from strong chemicals and avoid sudden temperature changes.
Carnelian is a brownish red to red-orange variety of chalcedony or cryptocrystalline quartz. Its name is believed to come from a variety of cherry known as kornel. The distinctive red-orange color of carnelian is a result of trace amounts of iron. Sometimes the name Sard is used to refer to the darker colors of carnelian, though there is no clear distinction between carnelian and sard.
Carnelian is one of the oldest known gemstones. It was widely used in ancient Rome to make signet or seal rings for imprinting a seal on letters or important documents (hot wax does not stick to carnelian). Carnelian is one of the twelve gemstones mentioned in the Bible as appearing on the Breastplate of Aaron. It also is one of the birthstones listed in the ancient Arabic, Hebrew and and Roman tables and is a Zodiac birthstone for the sign of Virgo.
Since carnelian has such a long history, it is not surprisingly that many legends have become associated with it. Carnelian was regarded as one of the luckiest gems to wear. The proverb is that “No man who wore a carnelian was ever found in a collapsed house or beneath a fallen wall.” Carnelian was a talisman of good luck as early as the ancient Babylonians and Greeks. Many Muslims man believe that wearing a carnelian brings peace and happiness to the owner. This belief is attributed to the fact that Mohammed wore a ring set with a carnelian seal. The emperor Napoleon jealously guarded a carnelian seal which he found in an Egyptian campaign and often wore as a watch charm.
Coral is among the most ancient of gem materials, used for adornment since prehistoric times. Coral inlays and ornaments have been found in Celtic tombs from the Iron Age. It’s also the statement of modernity in fashion today; its bold tone and strong color adds drama to everything you wear.
Coral is an organic gem, calcium carbonate with a trace of carotene, deposited by tiny sea creatures living in the depths of warm seas in huge colonies. It grows in branches that look like underwater trees. Most coral used in jewelry is found in the Mediterranean Sea or in the Pacific off Japan and Taiwan. Coral was long thought to be a powerful talisman that could stop bleeding, protect from evil spirits, and ward off hurricanes. The ancient belief in the protective and invigorating powers of coral lives on in the traditional present of red coral necklaces for small children. Coral is one of the seven treasures in Buddhist scriptures and Tibetan Lamas use coral rosaries.
The most valuable colors of coral are red, black, and pale pink, which is known as angel skin coral. Good quality Coral has an even color and has no fissures, spots, bands or cavities. Since genuine untreated Coral is rare, it is valuable. Coral is commonly enhanced to improve its color and durability. White coral is bleached. Pink coral is permeated with a colorless wax and orange coral is stabilized with plastic. Black coral is sometimes bleached to create gold coral. Occasionally, red coral is dyed to deepen or uniform its color. All commonly used forms of coral enhancement are stable.
Special care is required for coral regardless of whether it is enhanced. A soft and porous gem, coral scratches and abrades easily and chlorine, alcohol, ammonia, nail polish remover, and other chemicals can damage it. Remove coral rings when washing and moisturizing your hands. Avoid exposing your coral to extreme temperatures. It may gradually change color from everyday wear. As an organic gem, coral is softer than other gem materials and should be stored away from other gemstones to prevent scratches. To clean coral, wipe it gently with a moist soft cloth.
Malachite is a beautiful green earth stone with irregular black banding. It is easily recognized by its color, green streak, and silky or velvety lustre. It is beautiful in earrings, necklaces, and pendants.
Malachite derives its name from Greek word malakos - soft. According to another theory the word malachite comes from Greek malhe, which means grass. Malachite is especially fragile. It needs to be protected from scratches and sharp blows. Modern day malachite is treated with a protective layer to avoid breaking up and to add luster.
Mining Malachite began as early as 4000 BC by ancient Egyptians. Malachite has many beliefs associated with it. It is said to aid in the regeneration of body cells, lend extra energy, create calm and peace, and aid one’s sleep. Malachite is worn by many to detect impending danger. In the Middle ages, malachite was worn to protect from black magic and sorcery. It is also believed that malachite gives knowledge and patience. Malachite is used as a children’s talisman to ward off danger and illness.
Not all would believe in these healing properties. One thing is sure though that it is a georgeous stone that makes a gemstoneconnoisseur go “wow” ! So are you up for Malachite and some sure compliments that may come your way?
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral considerably softer than other gemstones. Often, the material has veins or blotches running through it, which are brown, light grey or black depending on where it was found. These lively, more or less regular patterns are known as ‘turquoise matrix’. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue.The word turquoise, which dates to the 16th century, is derived from an Old French word for “Turkish”, because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey. A common belief many ancient civilizations held that turquoise possessed certain prophylactic qualities; it was thought to change colour with the wearer’s health and protect him or her from untoward forces.
Turquoise is rarely faceted. Usually, it is cut into cabochons or beads, or into some more imaginative shape. Being relatively soft, turquoises are sensitive. As the colour may pale when the stone has been worn for a long time, even high-quality stones today are treated with wax and subsequently hardened. This treatment makes the sensitive gemstonedurable.
Turquoise should be protected from cosmetics, heat and bright light. It is not a gemstone to take with you when you go sunbathing. It is best to give it a clean from time to time with a soft cloth.
The turquoise is the most ancient of all gemstones, yet it finds itself at the helm of fashion even today. Its shining sky blue is one of the most popular trend colours in the world of jewellery. Hope you have one in your collection !
Lapis lazuli is a gemstone of the kind that might have come straight out of the Arabian Nights: a deep blue with golden inclusions of pyrites which shimmer like little stars. Its name is composed from ‘lapis’, the Latin word for stone, and ‘azula’, which comes from the Arabic and means blue. This opaque, deep blue gemstone has a grand past. It was among the first gemstones to be worn as jewellery and worked on. In ancient Egypt lapis lazuli was a favorite stone for amulets and ornaments such as scarabs; it was also used by the Assyrians and Babylonians for seals. Powdered Lapis was used as eyeshadow by Cleopatra. Ahem !
Lapis lazuli is an opaque rock that mainly consists of diopside and lazurite. Many a cutters turn up their noses when cutting lapis, for as soon as the stone comes into contact with the cutting-disc it gives off a typical smell. Lapis lazuli is often sealed with colourless wax or synthetic resin to improve the stone’s wearing qualities. The stone should always be protected from acidic substances, and it should not be exposed to too much sunlight. Lapis usually contains impurities of calcite (white), sodalite (blue) and Pyrite (silver or gold). The less the calcite and more the pyrite, the inclusions shimmer in silver or gold colour and enhance the price of the stone.
Labradorite is a fascinatingly beautiful gemstone. Its charm is easy to miss but once you spot it, it captivates you like magic. It is a dull, dark looking mineral but shows a spectacular play of colour when seen closely at an angle. This phenomenon is called labradorescence. The colors typically range from blue and violet through green, yellow and orange. Some rare specimens display all these colors simultaneously. The name labradorite comes from the province of Labrador in Canada, which is a famous locality for labradorite. According to an Eskimo legend, the Northern Lights were once imprisoned in the rocks along the coast of labrador, and then a wandering Eskimo warrior found them and freed most of the lights with a mighty blow of his spear. Some of the lights were still trapped within the stone however, and thus we have today the beautiful mineral known as labradorite.