Gemstones, Fact, Fiction, Care & Feeding

Agate

Agate is a variety of chalcedony found in many different colors and degrees of translucency. There are several varieties of agate named after their location of origin or physical characteristics. The layers of agate form as layers of chalcedony line a cavity (or vug) in a host rock.The banding tha ...(more)

Alexandrite

Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl with a distinct change of color when viewed in incandescent and fluorescent light. The colors that Alexandrite occurs in depends on its geographical source that has imparted minute chemical impurities into the pure chrysoberyl. Alexandrite was discovered in ...(more)

Amethyst

Amethyst is the the most coveted member of the quartz family. It can be found in shades ranging from a very deep royal purple with hints of red, to a pale pastel lilac with subtle undertones of blue. The pale colors are sometimes called "Rose de France" and are often seen set in Victorian ...(more)

Aquamarine

Aquamarine is the blue variety of the mineral beryl. Most natural aquamarine is a pale bluish green, which was the preferred color before 1900.Today it is routinely heat treated to remove the green component, making it a stable and permanent blue color. Simply heating aquamarine to 800 degrees Fahre ...(more)

Beryl

Beryl is a beryllium aluminum silicate that occurs in every color of the rainbow but is colorless in pure form; various metallic impurities give beryl its varied coloration. When green, it's an emerald. When blue, it's termed aquamarine. When pink, morganite. There is a berry red variety ...(more)

Chrysoberyl

Chrysoberyl is among the most brilliant of gems and it's hardness is only surpassed by diamonds and corundum. The name chrysoberyl derives from the Greek, meaning "Golden Beryl", although in reality, it is not a variety of beryl at all. Chrysoberyl is a berylium aluminum oxide, whereas, the minera ...(more)

Citrine

Citrine is a yellow or golden variety of quartz, colored with iron. Natural citrine is relatively rare, occurring in Brazil, Madagascar and Myanmar. Most citrine on the market today is actually heat-treated amethyst. When amethyst is heated to abut 900 degrees Fahrenheit, it alters to a golden to ...(more)

Coral

Coral is one of a very few organic gemstones. It consists of a mass of skeletons of tiny marine invertebrates that once lived in a colony attached to rocks or other objects on the ocean floor. The variety of coral that is of interest to jewelers and mystics is referred to as "precious coral&q ...(more)

Diamond

Diamonds are valued for their incredible brilliance and hardness. Diamonds are chemically pure carbon, identical to the graphite used for pencils. Diamonds' hardness is the result of extremely strong chemical bonds between the carbon atoms. Most people think of diamonds as being colorless, but ...(more)

Emerald

Emerald is the green variety of the mineral beryl, owing its vibrant color to a trace amount of chromium and occasionally a slight trace of vanadium. The majority of emeralds contain several inclusions of softer minerals. These inclusions have been termed "jardins", meaning gardens in Fre ...(more)

Garnet

The term garnet applies to a group of minerals with six main varieties. The varieties differ in chemical composition and color but share the same crystal system. These varieties are:AlmandinePyropeGrossularSpessartiteUvarivite andAndraditeWhile most people think of a garnet as red, it occurs in al ...(more)

Jadeite

Jadeite is a silicate containing sodium and aluminum. Jadeite occurs in a very wide range of colors, translucencies and textures. In jewelry, jadeite is the more valuable of the two varieties of jade. Its value is simply a function of its beauty. The criteria used in judging the beauty of jadeite ...(more)

Moonstone

Moonstone is a variety of orthoclase feldspar, which is a sodium aluminum silicate. Moonstones can occur colorless, blue-wjite, white and pale shades of apricot and peach. The rarest and most expensive moonstones will be colorless with a floating blue color or schiller that seems to hover above the ...(more)

Nephrite

Nephrite is a magnesium and calcium silicate with an interlocking fibrous structure that gives it extreme toughness. It is a member of the Tremolite/Actinolite Series in the Amphibole family. Iron is the coloring agent in nephrite. The more iron present, the darker the nephrite will appear. A hig ...(more)

Onyx

Onyx is a variety of cryptocrystalline silicon dioxide or chalcedony. It is banded with contrasting colors making it an excellent medium for three dimensional cameo and intaglio style carving. Cameos are usually carved with the white layer in relief and the darker color as background. In intaglios, ...(more)

Opal

Opal is a hydrous variety of silicon dioxide. It is unlike other minerals because it is not crystalline! Opal is made up of sub-microscopic silica spheres, bonded together with silica and water. The lower its original water content, the better the opals chances for longevity. Crazing in opal is cr ...(more)

Pearl

Pearls are organic gems, produced in pearl oysters. Pearl oysters are not edible, and edible oysters do not produce gem quality pearls. When an irritating foreign particle becomes lodged within the oyster, it responds by covering the irritant with iridescent layers of nacre, a variety of calcium ca ...(more)

Peridot

Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral chrysolite or olivine. It is a silicate of iron and magnesium found in basaltic igneous rocks. Although the mineral is fairly common, gem quality specimens are rare. Peridot is what is termed idiochromatic, meaning that the elements causing its color are ...(more)

Quartz

Quartz is a commonly occurring variety of silicon dioxide. It often crystallizes into well-formed hexagonal prisms. Quartz occurs in many colors, purple amethyst, pink rose quartz, yellow citrine, and a smoky variety, referred to as smoky quartz. The colorless, transparent crystals represent the mod ...(more)

Ruby

Ruby is the red variety of sapphire or the mineral corundum. When corundum occurs in any color, other then red, it is referred to as a sapphire. Rubies are primarily mined in Burma, Madagascar, India and Eastern Africa. The most renown source of fine quality rubies is Burma, known now as Myanmar. Th ...(more)

Sapphire

Sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum that occurs in spectacular colors with great durability and stability. When corundum is red, it is termed a ruby. All other colors, including pink, are referred to as sapphire. Usually, when one thinks of the color of a sapphire, blue comes to mind. ...(more)

Spinel

Spinel is a magnesium aluminum oxide, occurring in many colors with excellent durability. Natural spinel is really a group of related minerals in which its magnesium is substituted with other elements, like iron, manganese and zinc. Spinel is found in areas that are famous for sapphire deposits. ...(more)

Tanzanite

Tanzanite is a variety of blue zoisite that was discovered in the Merelani District of Tanzania in 1967. It's compelling beauty immediately won over the hearts of everyone that laid eyes on it, and within a very short period of time developed a worldwide popularity. Tanzanite would not exist as ...(more)

Topaz

Topaz is an aluminum, hydroxyl-fluorine silicate, found primarily in gem pegmatites. Minas Gerais in Brazil is the largest producer of topaz. A common, yet mistaken belief is that all topaz is yellow. It is most commonly colorless, but natural colors include varieties of blue, pale green, and the s ...(more)

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a group of minerals displaying the widest variety of gemstone color in the mineral kingdom. The spectral assortment of color in tourmaline is a result of substitutions of transition elements for other metallic elements in the crystal structure. Usually pink is due to manganese, gree ...(more)

Turquoise

Turquoise is chemically a hydrous copper aluminum silicate, occurring in microcrystalline nodules. It has been coveted and admired throughout our history because of its magnificent color. Turquoise is porous and relatively soft. Its porosity makes it susceptible to discoloration by the absorption ...(more)

Zircon

Zircon is a zirconium silicate that crystallizes in the tetragonal crystal system. It is highly dispersive and brilliant. Natural zircons range from colorless to pale yellow or green. These colors result from trace amounts of hafnium, uranium and thorium. Over time, these radioactive components b ...(more)