Our Gemstones Lore section covers gem history and folklore. Learn about famous jewelry pieces, birthstones, past and current perceptions, and more.
Amber’s warmth and rich glow convinced our earliest ancestors that it was petrified sunlight. Later, others believed it to be the hardened tears of a goddess. Those who were more earthy described amber as fossilized lynx urine.
At the time of Moses twelve gemstones comprised the Jewish High-Priest’s Breastplate of Aaron; each stone represented one of the twelve tribes of Israel. In ancient India, gems were associated with planets and astrological signs. From these early origins we have derived the idea of “birthstones”. In the first century, A.D., writings indicate a particular stone was to be worn during each astrological sign in order to be harmonious with the ruling planet. Not until the eighteenth century were stones worn as natal amulets. Now this is a great idea if you love your “birthstone”. If you are not happy with the stone currently accepted for your month you can always consult another list and find one that you like. Today’s commercial list includes.
Nature lavished her finest blues upon sapphires, the “Gem of the Heavens.” Although the word “sapphire” itself means blue, the gem is found in nearly all the colors of the rainbow.
Silicon dioxide, better known as quartz, is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth. Mineralogists divide quartz into two classifications: crystalline and cryptocrystalline, based on the size of its crystals. Cryptocrystalline is also called microcrystalline quartz.
Currently identified with love, diamonds are the gemstone of choice in engagement, wedding, and anniversary rings. Contrary to popular belief, we have not always given diamonds as love tokens. That custom results from modern marketing techniques, not ancient traditions.
Beryllium is a hard and shiny metallic element. Extremely rare, it’s prized in industry for its high melting point and conductivity. Combined with other elements, it forms beautiful gemstones that are hard and brilliant.
Every substance on Earth falls into one of three groups: animal, plant or mineral. Minerals are compounds of elements, like carbon, chromium and silicon. Gemstones are simply minerals that people have deemed attractive and, therefore, valuable.
Quartz, the most abundant mineral, is also one of the most diverse minerals known. It’s found in a rainbow of colors, and ranges from shimmering transparency to impenetrable opacity. Rock crystal, amethyst, and.
Prized for its sky-blue color, turquoise has been used in amulets and jewelry since antiquity. The oldest known piece of jewelry is a turquoise and gold bracelet found in the tomb of Zer, an Egyptian queen who lived 7,500 years ago.
My cats like to participate in most of my activities. Their “assistance” generally involves batting supplies off my desk. When they sit and stare at me, it’s easy to see how one of my favorite gemstones, cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, got its name.
Two gemstones bear the name jade: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite, first known as yu, was treasured by the Chinese for centuries. Its current name, and the word “jade,” both came from the Europeans via the Spanish conquistadores who.
The minerals grouped as jasper belong to the quartz family. Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth. It’s formed primarily from silica and oxygen, but includes trace amounts of dozens of other minerals. Because of these ineralogical impurities.
Lapis lazuli, as lovely as its exotic name, has decorated humans and enhanced their art for thousands of years. Normally a rich deep shade of blue or blue-violet, lapis lazuli may at times have a slight greenish cast.
Do you know what diamonds, rubies, and emeralds are? “Jewels” is the answer most people offer. It’s an accurate answer, but it doesn’t tell the fascinating story behind these treasures from nature.
The fragile opal first flashed its fiery colors at mortals millennia ago, igniting a love affair that has survived the fickleness of the human heart. Its faults, like softness and lack of stability, are overlooked by those entranced by its beauty.
Pearls don’t need polishing or faceting to reveal their natural beauty. That’s why pearls were among the first gems worn by humans. The oldest known pearl necklaces graced the necks of women more than 4,000 years ago.
When the Babylonians observed the passage of the heavenly bodies across the firmament many thousands of years ago and believed that they had discovered the secrets of their effects on the fate of human beings, this also marked the dawning age in which gemstones were seen as bringers and guarantors of health and happiness. Their unusual colors and their scarcity certainly contributed to the fact that magic powers were attributed to gemstones in various, independent cultures as humanity emerged…
Like many gems, rubies are known by several names. One of its earliest titles was ratnaraj, which is Sanskrit for “king of gems.” Another early name was carbuncle. At a time when gems were classified by colors only, carbuncle was the name given to all red gems, including rubies. The current word, ruby, is derived from the Latin word for red.
The marketing slogan ‘All Natural’ has been used for years to advertise products from cereal to shampoo. Now some gem dealers are using it to market their natural, unenhanced gem material – and to distance themselves from negative publicity over treatments. Why not take advantage of the fact that stones like garnet, peridot, and sunstone not only are unenhanced, but can’t be improved with treatments? After watching the price of small-sized yellow and orange sapphires tumble because of the controversy over diffusion treatment, some gem dealers are creating a marketing niche for people who want an absolute guarantee their purchase is not enhanced.
High quality ruby is being mined in the province of Rukwa , in the southern highlands of Tanzania , according to local sources. Miners in the region are calling the material “Burma” or “pigeon blood” ruby, a reference to the most desirable colors on the market today.
Long associated with Spring and birth, gloriously green emeralds have an extensive history of healing and supernatural powers. Green is Nature’s most soothing color, and early physicians instructed their patients to look through pieces of emerald to ease fatigue and treat eye diseases.
Think they just lie around? Oh, no! Rocks are constantly meeting, mingling, and occasionally making gemstones.
Every so often you hear about a miner who literally trips over a rock, or takes a good. hard look at the ground in just the right place, and suddenly discovers a gemstone deposit. For the serious prospector, though, finding a deposit requires a good grounding in how the Earth is put together – the different types of rock you encounter and the conditions under which they formed. all of which determine whether or not gems could have grown there.
The gem’s first known owner was Abu Said, a Moorish prince of Granada in Spain in the mid-1300s. Abu Said lost the gem, as well as his crown and his life, to Don Pedro the Cruel of Seville. In 1366 Don Pedro’s own brother attacked him in turn, but Don Pedro successfully defended himself with help from the armies of the Black Prince of Bordeaux. As payment, the Black Prince demanded Don Pedro’s prize jewel, and Don Pedro was in no position to.
Moonstone and sunstone, seemingly opposites because of their names, are in reality closely related members of the feldspar family. Formed when hot magma solidifies underground, feldspar makes up about 60% of the Earth’s crust. It’s found worldwide in one form or another. Mineralogists have identified at least 40 varieties of feldspar.
Tourmaline is one of the most unusual of all gemstones. Unlike other gems, which we often identify with a single color, tourmaline comes in every hue. Often more than one color occurs in the same crystal. Watermelon tourmaline, which is pale.
“My birthstone is emerald,” a potential customer recently told me. “But I don’t like green,” she continued, “so I never buy gemstones.” Do we, and our customers, have choices when it comes to selecting a birthstone? What can we do when we don’t like or can’t afford the gemstone assigned to our month of birth? What should we suggest to our customers when they ask for help in selecting the “right” birthstone?.