Most of us are familiar with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires - the so-called "precious' gemstones. And many of us are familiar with "semi-precious" gemstones such as Peridot, amethyst, citrine, tourmaline and garnet. Beyond these there is a vast array of interesting and beautiful gemstones not frequently used in jewelry. Here are just a few.
Kunzite is an icy pink to lilac gemstone and can be found in beads as well as faceted gemstones. It was discovered in the early Twentieth Century and is named for George Frederick Kunz, Tiffany's legendary gemologist and gemstone author. Its soft pastel colors symbolize purity.
Kyanite, a shimmery transparent to translucent stone, is most commonly found in shades of blue and green. its crystals are long blades or columns and because of this structure it is very hard to facet. Therefore kyanite is most often formed into beads or cabochons. It is thought to inspire calmness, composure, serenity, loyalty and respect.
To learn more about these and other gemstones visit Jewelry Facets.
Green Garnet comes in two different mineral types, grossular and andradite. Tsavorite is a highly sought after gem-quality green grossular garnet that rivals Emerald in color. Demantoid is a rare green andradite garnet that has the sparkle of a diamond. Green garnet is a stone of confidence and service.
Quartz is a huge family of minerals with the same chemical composition and similar properties. It makes up 12% of the earth's crust.
However, in the gem and jewelry trade when someone refers to chalcedony, they are usually talking about a semi-transparent or translucent stone with a solid color (most often soft blue) with a waxy luster. This type of chalcedony can also be white, purple, pink, yellow or red but not orange-red which is referred to as carnelian.
I enjoy making jewelry with all types of quartz from clear rock crystal quartz to the astonishingly colored and patterned jaspers and agates. A few of my current favorites are:
Visit Jewelry Facets to learn more about all the branches of the quartz family as well as a wide variety of other gems and gemstones.
When I think of gems, I immediately think "jewelry." But gems are used in many other ways. In fact, the majority of gems that are mined are used in applications other than jewelry. Here are just a few.
Corundum is aluminum oxide. It is called ruby when red and sapphire when other colors. Regardless of color, corundum is used as an abrasive for grinding glass and polishing metal. It is made into sandpapers and grinding wheels.
Jewelry Facets provides more information about these and other gemstones.
Trees and shrubs are starting to bloom. Tulips and daffodils are popping up. Soft green blades of grass are visible. All signs spring is almost here.
Spring brings a sense of lightness and renewal. As I'm creating new designs, I'm choosing gemstones in soft pinks and greens and blues. I'm moving away from weighty styles and toward light, airy designs.
In addition to being beautiful, gemstones have distinct metaphysical properties which I enjoy learning about and sharing with you. So, here is a bit about some of the gemstones I plan to use.
Combined with sterling, bronze or copper wire, these gemstones will appear in jewelry that is sure to add a touch of spring to your wardrobe.
My birthday is in September which makes my birthstone sapphire. So, in honor of my birthday I'm sharing some fascinating facts about sapphire.
It is one of the four precious gems (diamond, emerald and ruby are the other three). Sapphire is the birthstone for the Zodiac signs Pisces, Taurus, Virgo and Sagittarius I'm also a Virgo.
Star sapphires contain intersecting needle-like inclusions that cause the appearance of a six-rayed star. The inclusion is often the mineral rutile. Star sapphires can be any color from shades of blue to pink, orange, yellow, green, lavender, gray or black. The most desirable color is a vivid intense blue.
Color-change sapphire is a rare variety which exhibits different colors in different light. The stones are blue in outdoor light and purple under incandescent indoor light.
Sapphires symbolize truth, compatibility, commitment and mutual understanding which make them the perfect gem for engagement rings. They are said to contribute to mental clarity and perception. Sapphires are also believed to promote financial rewards.
Natural pearls have been coveted as symbols of wealth and status for thousands of years. The first written mention of pearls was by a Chinese writer in about 2206 BC.
Nature couldn't keep up with the demand for pearls, so man devised a way to culture pearls by placing an irritant, often a piece of rounded shell from a freshwater mussel, into a mollusk. The majority of pearls on the market have been cultured and many of the shells used as an irritant are from freshwater river mussels harvested in the midwestern states. The few natural pearls available command high prices.
Pearls are a natural substance and are porous. They can absorb cologne, hair spray and lotions. So, make your pearls the last thing you put on and the first think you take off. Keep them looking their best by gently wiping them with a damp cloth.
Pearls are always in style; wear yours today.
Jasper is colored by oxides of iron and known for its deep earthy tones of red, yellow, brown and green. It also sometimes appears in shades of blue or purple. Jasper may also display bands of color, pictures, or small circular patterns. The colors and patterns are the result of the minerals present in the stone. Jaspers are often named after their patterns or for the places in which they're mined. Here a few of my favorites.
The diamond is April's gemstone and perhaps the most recognized gem in the world. Diamonds were first mined in India over 3,000 years ago. And while the diamond mines in India have mostly played out, India cuts and polishes over 90% of all diamonds. Today, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Russia are the leading diamond producers.
The popularity of diamonds escalated in the 19th century as a result of an increase in supply, improvements in cutting and polishing techniques, growth in world economy, and innovative advertising campaigns. The most successful and well-known of the advertising campaigns is DeBeers' A Diamond Is Forever, first launched in 1947. This campaign popularized the use of diamonds in engagement rings and fostered a demand for diamonds.
Lynn's musings about all facets of jewelry.