The shell of abalones is convex, rounded to oval shape, and may be highly arched or very flattened. The shell of the majority of species is ear-shaped, presenting a small, flat spire and two to three whorls. The last whorl, known as the body whorl, is auriform, meaning that the shell resembles an ear, giving rise to the common name “ear shell”.
A mantle cleft in the shell impresses a groove in the shell, in which are the row of holes characteristic of the genus. These holes are respiratory apertures for venting water from the gills and for releasing sperm and eggs into the water column. They make up what is known as the selenizone which forms as the shell grows. This series of 8 to 38 holes is near the anterior margin. Only a small number are generally open. The older holes are gradually sealed up as the shell grows and new holes form. Each species has a typical number of open holes, between four and ten, in the selenizone. An abalone has no operculum. The aperture of the shell is very wide and nacreous.
The exterior of the shell is striated and dull. The color of the shell is very variable from species to species which may reflect the animal’s diet. The iridescent nacre that lines the inside of the shell varies in color from silvery white, to pink, red and green-red to deep blue, green to purple.
Agate is the name given to numerous varieties of banded Chalcedony, a mineral of the Quartz family. Agate characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Agate is a transparent, but often also has opaque varieties of quarts and sub varieties of Chalcedony. Usually banded in layers, or stripes, some varieties have “eye” markings, or specks of color, some have fossilized inclusions, and others are solid. Called the earth rainbow, the concentric bands of Agate form in nearly every color the earth can produce, including a colorless form.
Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks. The name Agate comes from the Greek word Achatès River in Sicily, where Agates were first found, currently known as Dirillo in southern-Sicily where Agates and other Chalcedonies can be found. In many cultures people wear Agate to ward off the ‘Evil eye’. We mainly use Agates as an ornament in jewelry. They are particularly popular because of their special motive and colors.
Historically, Agate has been discovered with the artifacts of Neolithic people, and was used as healing amulets and ornamentation dating back to Babylon. Its medicinal uses continued through the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations, and spread throughout Africa and the Middle East into Russia. Agate sparked a world renowned stonecutting and polishing industry in Germany that flourished from the 15th to the 19th century, and exists today.
Agate is useful as a protection amulet when traveling, and is especially effective against traffic accidents. Agate stabilizes the imagination and inspiration of artists, provides personal security for police, telephone workers, cooks, chefs and bakers, and protection from falling objects for builders and construction workers. It provides physical strength and endurance for dancers, dentists, and environmentalists, and emotional endurance for educators and recreational workers.
Amethyst occurs in primary hues from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and blue. The best varieties of amethyst can be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka, Brazil and the far East.
The name Amethyst derives from the Greek word ametusthos, meaning “not intoxicated,” and comes from an ancient legend. The wine god Bacchus, angry over an insult and determined to avenge himself decreed the first person he should meet would be devoured by his tigers. The unfortunate mortal happened to be a beautiful maiden named Amethyst on her way to worship at the shrine of Diana. As the ferocious beasts sprang, she sought the protection of the goddess and was saved by being turned into a clear, white crystal. Bacchus, regretting his cruelty, poured the juice of his grapes over the stone as an offering, giving the gem its lovely purple hue.
Throughout history the special virtue of Amethyst has been that of preventing drunkenness and overindulgence. Ancient Greeks and Romans routinely studded their goblets with Amethyst believing wine drunk from an Amethyst cup was powerless to intoxicate, and a stone worn on the body, especially at the navel, had a sobering effect, not only for inebriation but in over-zealousness in passion. Catholic bishops also wore Amethyst in a ring to protect from mystical intoxication. Kissing the ring kept others from similar mystical intoxication and kept them grounded in spiritual thought.
in today’s world, Amethyst is still a remarkable stone of spirituality and contentment, known for its metaphysical abilities to still the mind and inspire an enhanced meditative state. Its inherent high frequency purifies the aura of any negative energy or attachments, and creates a protective shield of Light around the body, allowing one to remain clear and centered while opening to spiritual direction. Amethyst stimulates the Third Eye, Crown and Etheric Chakras enhancing cognitive perception as well as accelerating the development of intuitive and psychic ability. It initiates wisdom and greater understanding, and is a stone of comfort for those grieving the loss of a loved one.
Amazonite (sometimes called “Amazon stone”) is a green variety of microcline feldspar. For many years, the source of amazonite’s color was a mystery. Naturally, many people assumed the color was due to copper, because copper compounds often have blue and green colors. More recent studies suggest that the blue-green color results from small quantities of lead and water in the feldspar.
The name is taken from that of the Amazon River, from which certain green stones were formerly obtained, but it is doubtful whether green feldspar occurs in the Amazon area.
As a powerful talisman of healing and prosperity, Amazonite has been used in jewelry and cut into beads since the time of the early Mesopotamian cultures. Well-known in India, Egypt, Sudan and Mesopotamia, it was a popular amulet stone and was once used as decorative material for building facades. It was carved and cut into tablets for the Egyptian funerary text, Book of the Dead, and an Amazonite scarab ring was found among Tutankhamen’s treasures. It was believed to be the third stone in the breastplate of the Jewish High Priest.
Amazonite was also worn as jewelry in pre-Columbian South and Central America, and was believed to have adorned the shields of the semi-mythical Amazonians, a formidable tribe of female warriors thought to live in the 10th century B.C. They also used Amazonite medicinally to heal wounds and illnesses of all kinds. The conquistadors prized it for adornment and its ability to be carved into cult objects. Amazonite is named for the Amazon River in Brazil and the lush jungle region surrounding it where the original “green stones” were discovered. Whether these stones were what we know today as Amazonite is uncertain, as principal deposits are not currently found in the basin area of this great river.
As a metaphysical healer, Amazonite soothes the chakras and aligns the physical body to the etheric. It is particularly rejuvenating to the Heart and Throat Chakras, enhancing loving communication on all levels. It balances one’s masculine/feminine energies as well as many aspects of the personality. It awakens compassion for others by allowing one to perceive both sides of a problem and accepting differing points of view.
Amber is fossilized tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry.
There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents. Because it originates as a soft, sticky tree resin, amber sometimes contains animal and plant material as inclusions.
The two substances (“yellow amber” and “grey amber”) conceivably became associated or confused because they both were found washed up on beaches. Ambergris is less dense than water and floats, whereas amber is less dense than stone, but too dense to float.
Aquamarine (from Latin: aqua marina, “water of the sea”) is a blue or cyan variety of beryl. It occurs at most localities which yield ordinary beryl. The gem-gravel placer deposits of Sri Lanka contain aquamarine. Clear yellow beryl, such as that occurring in Brazil, is sometimes called aquamarine chrysolite.] The deep blue version of aquamarine is called maxixe. Maxixe is commonly found in the country of Madagascar. Its color fades to white when exposed to sunlight or is subjected to heat treatment, though the color returns with irradiation.
In the United States, aquamarines can be found at the summit of Mt. Antero in the Sawatch Range in central Colorado. In Wyoming, aquamarine has been discovered in the Big Horn Mountains, near Powder River Pass. Another location within the United States is the Sawtooth Range near Stanley, Idaho. Although the minerals are within a wilderness area which prevents collecting. In Brazil, there are mines in the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, and Bahia, and minorly in Rio Grande do Norte. The mines of Colombia, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya also produce aquamarine.
The largest aquamarine of gemstone quality ever mined was found in Marambaia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1910. It weighed over 110 kg (240 lb), and its dimensions were 48.5 cm (19 in) long and 42 cm (17 in) in diameter The largest cut aquamarine gem is the Dom Pedro aquamarine, now housed in the Smithsonian Institution‘s National Museum of Natural History.
In 1914, pearl farmers began growing cultured freshwater pearls using the pearl mussels native to Lake Biwa. This lake, the largest and most ancient in Japan, lies near the city of Kyoto. The extensive and successful use of the Biwa Pearl Mussel is reflected in the name Biwa pearls, a phrase which was at one time nearly synonymous with freshwater pearls in general. Since the time of peak production in 1971, when Biwa pearl farmers produced six tons of cultured pearls, pollution has caused the virtual extinction of the industry.
A blisterpearl is a natural pearl which occurs when a parasite intrudes through the outer shell of a mollusc. The mollusc secretes nacre over the irritant, cementing it to the shell itself. This type of pearl must be cut off the shell, and is therefore hemispherical. In fact it is a piece of mother of pearl with a pearl inside.
Botswana Agate wraps its layers of gentle pinks, brown and grays around the soul like soft, warm flannel. It is comforting and protective, soothing to those who are lonely, easily hurt or grieve a loss. Its quiet energy is particularly centering in meditation, and as a fortification Agate, it supports love and the strength to look for solutions rather than dwelling on difficulties.
Botswana Agate is a variety of banded Chalcedony, a mineral of the Quartz family. It is predominantly banded in shades of pink and gray, though some layers may contain a muted brown or apricot. Agate has a lower intensity and vibrates to a slower frequency than other stones, but is highly regarded as a stabilizing and strengthening influence. It is excellent for balancing emotional, physical and intellectual energy, and in harmonizing yin and yang, the positive and negative forces of the universe.
Named for the area in Africa where it is mined, Botswana Agate is called the Sunset Stone because it retains sunlight and comforts people through dark, lonely nights. It was traditionally used in African fertility ceremonies to encourage potency and the conception of strong, healthy offspring. [Eason, 54]
The volcanic activity that produced these stones dates back nearly 187 million years ago, and though the igneous stones of Botswana began as volcanic flow, they did not originate from normal, mountainous volcanoes. Rather the lava flowed in waves from long faults along the lower rock layers and rolled across the landscape, depositing layer upon layer of Silica/Quartz, creating the extra fine banding and patterns which make Botswana Agates highly unique and desirable. Some collectors consider them royalty among Agates.
The ancient Egyptians called Carnelian “the setting sun.” In its orange hues, they identified it with the receptive or passive female energies, and associated it with the fertile menstrual blood of the mother goddess, Isis. In its red, red-orange to reddish brown shades, they considered it the active male energy stone, recognized by its glowing vibrant color. Carnelian is traditionally worn to enhance passion, love, and desire.
Since the time of the Majiabang, Liangzhu and Hongshan cultures (4700-2900 BCE), most jade carvings have been made from either nephrite or jadeite, although until the late 18th century Chinese jade objects were almost always carved out of nephrite. Jadeite has a similar hardness to quartz, while nephrite is a little softer, but since both varieties are as hard as steel, they cannot be cut or carved with metal tools. Indeed, the traditional method of carving jade was to wear it away with carborundum sand and a soft tool: a technique since replaced by rotary tools with diamond bits. Historically, due to its rarity and technical difficulties of manufacture, the wearing and use of jade was restricted to tribal leaders, then Emperors and noblemen, and was most commonly used in the carving of ritual vessels, ceremonial utensils and other totemic objects, representing status and power.
Blue Chalcedony is a demure crystal, subtle and mystic, cool and serene, ethereal yet solid. It has an inviting, soft blue translucence, and an almost imperceptible movement within the stone that invokes a stillness of silent reverence. It’s calming, and speaks of spirit and trust.
Chalcedony is a member of the Quartz family with a cryptocrystalline structure, perfect for magnifying its crystal energy to soothe and restore balance, from the conscious mind to the inner child, all the way down to the animal self. Its name may be derived from the Greek port city of Chalcedon. The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome used varieties of Chalcedony in jewelry and carvings, and, as gems of antiquity, they were believed to imbue their holders with certain powers.
Chalcedony is known as the Speaker’s Stone, the stone of one who must measure his words. It encourages reflection and meditation, its gentle radiance preparing us for action but helping to hold back words we might regret. The great Roman orator, Cicero, is said to have worn one around his neck.
Considered a nurturing stone, Chalcedony absorbs negative energy and dissipates it before it can be passed on. It promotes brotherhood and good will, opening the mind to new ideas, instilling feelings of benevolence and generosity.
Chalcedony was considered a sacred stone by the Native American Indians, using it to promote stability during their ceremonial activities. It is still in use today for meditations, and as a pathway for receiving successful thought transmissions.
Citrine is a transparent, yellow variety of Quartz, ranging in color from pale to golden yellow, honey or almost brown, and may contain rainbow or sparkle inclusions. The name comes from the French word citron, meaning lemon. It was used as a gem in Greece as far back as 300 B.C., and because of its color, is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Gold Topaz, Madeira or Spanish Topaz, or Safranite. Much of the commercial Citrine on the market is heat-treated Amethyst or Smoky Quartz that produces an enhanced Citrine color, usually a deeper amber or orange-reddish shade. Most Natural Citrine is a pale yellow color.
Unlike most other gemstones which are of mineral origin, Coral is organic, formed by living organisms. It forms from branching, antler-like structures created from coral polyps in tropical and subtropical ocean waters. When the coral polyps die, the hardened skeleton remains, and this material is what is used as a gemstone. Most coral is white, but nature can create coral in several other colors, including the popular orange to red forms. This Red Coral, or Precious Coral as it is often known by, is the most used gemstone form of Coral. In fact, the color known as coral is derived from the typical pinkish-orange color of many red Coral gemstones
Dumortirite was named in 1881 after Eugene Dumortier, a French paleontologist who found this mineral in France. It is an aluminum silicate containing boron and frequently also has iron, zinc, and manganese as part of its chemical composition. The mineral is usually blue or violet, but can also be brown or pink.
This blue stone is said to help relieve stomach problems and nausea, and to help with tension-related ailments such as headaches.As part of the enhancement of mental clarity, the stone is said to help clear both writer’s and artist’s block.
Emeralds, like all colored gemstones, are graded using four basic parameters–the four Cs of Connoisseurship: Color, Cut, Clarity andCarat weight. Before the 20th century, jewelers used the term water, as in “a gem of the finest water”, to express the combination of two qualities: color and clarity. Normally, in the grading of colored gemstones, color is by far the most important criterion. However, in the grading of emeralds, clarity is considered a close second. Both are necessary conditions. A fine emerald must possess not only a pure verdant green hue as described below, but also a high degree of transparency to be considered a top gem.
In the 1960s, the American jewelry industry changed the definition of “emerald” to include the green vanadium-bearing beryl as emerald. As a result, vanadium emeralds purchased as emeralds in the United States are not recognized as such in the UK and Europe. In America, the distinction between traditional emeralds and the new vanadium kind is often reflected in the use of terms such as “Colombian Emerald“.
Fire agate, a variety of chalcedony, is a semi-precious natural gemstone found only in certain areas of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Approximately 24-36 million years ago these areas were subjected to massive volcanic activity during the Tertiary Period. The fire agates were formed during this period of volcanism when hot water, saturated with silica and iron oxide, repeatedly filled cracks and bubbles in the surrounding rock.
Fire agates have beautiful iridescent rainbow colors, similar to opal, with a measurement of hardness on the Mohs scale of between 6.5 and 7 which prevent issues of fading, cracking and scratching. The vibrant iridescent rainbow colors found within fire agates, created by the Schiller effect as found in mother-of-pearl, is caused by the alternating silica and iron oxide layers which diffract and allow light to pass and form interference of colors known as fire. There is no actual object inside the stone, this special effect arises from light interference within the microstructure layering of the gem.
It has a translucent deep reddish-brown base, with flashes of orange, red, green and gold that appears as living flames within the gem. Historically, Fire Agate was used in alchemy because it was believed to contain the essence of fire.
Fluorite is a colorful mineral, both in visible and ultraviolet light, and the stone has ornamental and lapidary uses. Industrially, fluorite is used as a flux for smelting, and in the production of certain glasses and enamels. The purest grades of fluorite are a source of fluoride for hydrofluoric acid manufacture, which is the intermediate source of most fluorine-containing fine chemicals. Optically clear transparent fluorite lenses have low dispersion, so lenses made from it exhibit less chromatic aberration, making them valuable in microscopes and telescopes. Fluorite optics are also usable in the far-ultraviolet range, where conventional glasses are too absorbent for use.
Fluorite derives from the Latin noun fluo, meaning a stream or flow of water. In verb form this was fluor or fluere, meaning to flow. The mineral is used as a flux in ironsmelting to decrease the viscosity of slags. The melting point of calcium fluoride is 1676 K. The term flux comes from the Latin noun fluxus, a wash or current of water. The mineral fluorite was originally termed fluorospar and was first discussed in print in a 1530 work Bermannus.
In 1852, fluorite gave its name to the phenomenon of fluorescence, which is prominent in fluorites from certain locations, due to certain impurities in the crystal. Fluorite also gave the name to its constitutive element fluorine. Presently, the word “fluorspar” is most commonly used for fluorite as the industrial and chemical commodity, while “fluorite” is used mineralogically and in most other senses.
Garnet species are found in many colors including red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, pink, and colorless, with reddish shades most common.
Garnet species’ light transmission properties can range from the gemstone-quality transparent specimens to the opaque varieties used for industrial purposes as abrasives. The mineral’s luster is categorized as vitreous (glass-like) or resinous (amber-like).
The word garnet comes from the 14th‑century Middle English word gernet, meaning ‘dark red’. It is derived from the Latin granatus, from granum (‘grain, seed’). This is possibly a reference to mela granatum or even pomum granatum (‘pomegranate‘, Punica granatum), a plant whose fruits contain abundant and vivid red seed covers (arils), which are similar in shape, size, and color to some garnet crystals.
The original manufacturing process for goldstone was invented in seventeenth-century Venice by the Miotti family, which was granted an exclusive license by the Doge. Urban legend says goldstone was an accidental discovery by unspecified Italian monks or the product of alchemy, but there is no pre-Miotti documentation to confirm this.
The most common form of goldstone is reddish-brown, containing tiny crystals of metallic copper that require special conditions to form properly. The initial batch is melted together from silica, copper oxide, and other metal oxides to chemically reduce the copper ions to elemental copper. The vat is then sealed off from the air and maintained within a narrow temperature range, keeping the glass hot enough to remain liquid while allowing metallic crystals to precipitate from solution without melting or oxidizing.
After a suitable crystallization period, the entire batch is cooled to a single solid mass, which is then broken out of the vat for selection and shaping. The final appearance of each batch is highly variable and heterogenous. The best material is near the center or “heart” of the mass, ideally with large, bright metal crystals suspended in a semitransparent glass matrix.
The most common form of howlite is irregular nodules, sometimes resembling cauliflower. Crystals of howlite are rare, having been found in only a couple localities worldwide. Crystals were first reported from Tick Canyon, California, and later at Iona, Nova Scotia. Crystals reach a maximum size of about 1 cm. The nodules are white with fine grey or black veins in an erratic, often web-like pattern, opaque with a sub-vitreous lustre. The crystals at Iona are colorless, white or brown and are oftentranslucent or transparent.
Howlite is commonly used to make decorative objects such as small carvings or jewelry components. Because of its porous texture, howlite can be easily dyed to imitate other minerals, especially turquoise because of the superficial similarity of the veining patterns. The dyed howlite (or magnesite) is marketed as turquenite. Howlite is also sold in its natural state, sometimes under the misleading trade names of “white turquoise” or “white buffalo turquoise,” or the derived name “white buffalo stone.”
Agate characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks. The name Agate comes from the Greek word Achatès, currently known as Dirillo in southern-Sicily where Agates and other Chalcedonies can be found. In many cultures people wear Agate to ward off the ‘Evil eye’. We mainly use Agates as an ornament in jewelry. They are particularly popular because of their special motive and colors.
Agate is a transparent, but often also has opaque varieties of quarts and sub varieties of Chalcedony. The Agates have color bands and inclusions. Agate has an endless stream of fascinating patterns and structures.
Iced agate is a agate which has been ‘polished’ in a non shining way (tumbled).
During Neolithic times, the key known sources of nephrite jade in China for utilitarian and ceremonial jade items were the now depleted deposits in the Ningshao area in the Yangtze River Delta (Liangzhu culture 3400–2250 BC) and in an area of the Liaoning province in Inner Mongolia (Hongshan culture 4700–2200 BC). Jade was used to create many utilitarian and ceremonial objects, ranging from indoor decorative items to jade burial suits. Jade was considered the “imperial gem”. From about the earliest Chinese dynasties until present, the jade deposits in most use were from the region of Khotan in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang (jade deposits from other areas of China, such as Lantian, Shaanxi, were also in great demand). There, white and greenish nephrite jade is found in small quarries and as pebbles and boulders in the rivers flowing from the Kuen-Lun mountain range northward into the Takla-Makan desert area. River jade collection was concentrated in the Yarkand, and the White Jade (Yurungkash) and Black Jade (Karakash) Rivers in Khotan. From the Kingdom of Khotan, on the southern leg of the Silk Road, yearly tribute payments consisting of the most precious white jade were made to the Chinese imperial court and there transformed into objets d’art by skilled artisans, as jade was considered more valuable than gold or silver.
The name means “spotted or speckled stone”, and is derived via Old French jaspre (variant of Anglo-Norman jaspe) and Latin iaspidem (nom. iaspis)) from Greek ἴασπις iaspis, (feminine noun) from an oriental language (cf. Hebrew יושפה yushphah, Akkadian yashupu).
Green jasper was used to make bow drills in Mehrgarh between 4th and 5th millennium BC. Jasper is known to have been a favorite gem in the ancient world; its name can be traced back in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Assyrian, Greek and Latin. On Minoan Crete, jasper was carved to produce seals circa 1800 BC, as evidenced by archaeological recoveries at the palace of Knossos.
Although the term jasper is now restricted to opaque quartz, the ancient iaspis was a stone of considerable translucency including nephrite. The jasper of antiquity was in many cases distinctly green, for it is often compared to the emerald and other green objects. Jasper is referred to in the Niebelungenlied as being clear and green. Probably the jasper of the ancients included stones which would now be classed as chalcedony, and the emerald-like jasper may have been akin to the modern chrysoprase. The Hebrew word yushphah may have designated a green jasper. Flinders Petrie suggested that the odem, the first stone on the High Priest’s breastplate, was a red jasper, whilst tarshish, the tenth stone, may have been a yellow jasper.
Jasper is an opaque rock of virtually any color stemming from the mineral content of the original sediments or ash. Patterns arise during the consolidation process forming flow and depositional patterns in the original silica rich sediment or volcanic ash. Hydrothermal circulation is generally thought to be required in the formation of jasper.
Jasper can be modified by the diffusion of minerals along discontinuities providing the appearance of vegetative growth, i.e., dendritic. The original materials are often fractured and/or distorted, after deposition, into myriad beautiful patterns which are to be later filled with other colorful minerals. Weathering, with time, will create intensely colored superficial rinds.
The classification and naming of jasper varieties presents a challenge. Terms attributed to various well-defined materials includes the geographic locality where it is found, sometimes quite restricted such as “Bruneau” (a canyon) and “Lahontan” (a lake), rivers and even individual mountains, many are fanciful such as “forest fire” or “rainbow”, while others are descriptive such as “autumn” or “porcelain”. A few are designated by the place of origin such as a brown Egyptian or red African.
Keshi pearls, although they often occur by chance, are not considered natural. They are a byproduct of the culturing process, and hence do not happen without human intervention. They are quite small, typically only a few millimeters. Keshi pearls are produced by many different types of marine mollusks and freshwater mussels in China. Keshi pearls are actually a mistake in the cultured pearl seeding process.
In seeding the cultured pearl, a piece of mantle muscle from a sacrificed oyster is placed with a bead of mother of pearl within the oyster. If the piece of mantle should slip off the bead, a pearl forms of baroque shape about the mantle piece which is entirely nacre. Therefore, a Keshi pearl could be considered superior to cultured pearls with a mother of pearl bead center.
In the cultured pearl industry, the resources used to create a mistaken all nacre baroque pearl is a drain on the production of round cultured pearls. Therefore, they are trying to improve culturing technique so that keshi pearls do not occur. All nacre pearls may one day be limited to natural found pearls. Today many “keshi” pearls are actually intentional, with post-harvest shells returned to the water to regenerate a pearl in the existing pearl sac.
The geological type area for labradorite is Paul’s Island near the town of Nain in Labrador, Canada. The Inuit peoples claim Labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the Aurora Borealis, because it can display an iridescent optical effect, (feldspar) known as labradorescence.
Labradorite tempers the negative side of our personality, the traits and actions that rob our energy and may produce depression or shame. It may aid in detoxifying the effects of tobacco, alcohol, and to a lesser degree, hard drugs.
Lapis lazuli is a deep blue semi-precious stone. It has often little gold (brassy pirite) sports in the stone. Lapis beads have been found at neolithic burials. It was used for the eyebrows on the funeral mask of King Tutankhamun (1341–1323 BC).
At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into the finest and most expensive of all medium blue pigments. It was used by the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figure of the painting, especially the Virgin Mary
In ancient Persia and pre-Columbian America, Lapis Lazuli was a symbol of the starry night.Lapis was much used in Greek and Roman times as an ornamental stone, and in medieval Europe, Lapis Lazuli, resembling the blue of the heavens, was believed to counteract the wiles of the spirits of darkness and procure the aid and favor of the spirits of light and wisdom. Catherine the Great adorned an entire room in her palace with Lapis Lazuli walls, fireplaces, doors and mirror frames.
Lava stone is easily the oldest and most frequently found stone in world; hence, it’s used by nearly an endless amount of cultures.
Lava stone literally comes from the core of the earth- fiery brimstone that bubbles to the surface and cools.
Once the stone is cool, it becomes porous and black, creating the beautiful black color so many have come to love.
Well known to ancient Egyptians, Malachite mines were in use between the Suez and Sinai as early as 4000 B.C. It was also popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans, for jewelry, ornaments, and in powdered form, for eye shadow. In the Middle Ages, Malachite was believed to protect against the “Evil Eye” and to cure various stomach ailments.
Mookaite is an Australian Jasper of bold, earthy beauty with a fiery fusion of red and yellow energies. It carries an invigorating frequency of strength and vitality, and increases Life Force within the physical body. An Aboriginal Mother Earth stone, it is gaining in popularity throughout the world for its healing capacity, and for empowering one to feel and connect with the electromagnetic energy currents of the Earth. It enables one to utilize these positive energies to increase one’s will and focus one’s personal power. Mookaite promotes an ageless spirit willing to accept change and seek new experiences, and awakens one’s natural instincts in knowing the right direction to take.
Mookaite Jasper is found only in the Kennedy Ranges of Western Australia in outcroppings near Mooka Creek, the area for which it is named. The Aboriginal term “Mooka” means “running waters” and refers to the numerous springs that feed into this area. Mookaite was formed as the skeletal remains of radiolaria, microscopic protozoa with a hard silica shell, were deposited over millennia as sediment in shallow areas of sea beds. As waters receded, the remains were solidified by additional silica carried in groundwater, along with minerals that produced its beautiful combinations of red, burgundy, mustard-yellow, cream, white, brown, mauve and purple.
Moonstone is composed of two feldspar species, orthoclase and albite. The two species are intermingled. Then, as the newly formed mineral cools, the intergrowth of orthoclase and albite separates into stacked, alternating layers. When light falls between these thin, flat layers, it scatters in many directions producing the phenomenon called adularescence.
Moonstone has been used in jewelry for centuries, including ancient civilizations. The Romans admired moonstone, as they believed it was born from solidified rays of the moon. Both the Romans and Greeks associated Moonstone with their lunar deities. In more recent history, the moonstone became popular during the Art Nouveau period; French goldsmith René Lalique and many others created a large quantity of jewelry using this stone.
Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some mollusks as an inner shelllayer; it also makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is strong, resilient, and iridescent.
Nacre is found in some of the more ancient lineages of bivalves, gastropods, and cephalopods. However, the inner layer in the great majority of mollusc shells isporcellaneous, not nacreous, and this usually results in a non-iridescent shine, or more rarely in non-nacreous iridescence such as flame structure as is found in conch pearls.
The outer layer of pearls and the inside layer of pearl oyster and freshwater pearl mussel shells are made of nacre. Other mollusc families that have a nacreous inner shell layer include marine gastropods such as the Haliotidae, the Trochidae and the Turbinidae.
Onyx is a banded variety of the silicate mineral chalcedony. Agate and onyx are both varieties of layered chalcedony that differ only in the form of the bands: agate has curved bands and onyx has parallel bands. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color (save some shades, such as purple or blue). Commonly, specimens of onyx contain bands of black and/or white.
Brazilian green onyx was often used as plinths for art deco sculptures created in the 1920s and 1930s. The German sculptor Ferdinand Preiss used Brazilian green onyx for the base on the majority of his chryselephantine sculptures. Green onyx was also used for trays and pin dishes – produced mainly in Austria – often with small bronze animal figures attached.
Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica; its water content may range from 3 to 21% by weight, but is usually between 6 and 10%. Because of its amorphous character, it is classed as a mineraloid, unlike the other crystalline forms of silica, which are classed as minerals. It is deposited at a relatively low temperature and may occur in the fissures of almost any kind of rock, being most commonly found with limonite, sandstone, rhyolite, marl, and basalt. Opal is the national gemstone of Australia.
In the Middle Ages, opal was considered a stone that could provide great luck because it was believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented in the color spectrum of the opal. It was also said to confer the power of invisibility if wrapped in a fresh bay leaf and held in the hand. Following the publication of Sir Walter Scott‘s Anne of Geierstein in 1829, opal acquired a less auspicious reputation. In Scott’s novel, the Baroness of Arnheim wears an opal talisman with supernatural powers. When a drop of holy water falls on the talisman, the opal turns into a colorless stone and the Baroness dies soon thereafter. Due to the popularity of Scott’s novel, people began to associate opals with bad luck and death. Within a year of the publishing of Scott’s novel in April 1829, the sale of opals in Europe dropped by 50%, and remained low for the next 20 years or so.
Almost any shelled mollusk can, by natural processes, produce some kind of “pearl” when an irritating microscopic object becomes trapped within its mantle folds, but the great majority of these “pearls” are not valued as gemstones. Nacreous pearls, the best-known and most commercially significant, are primarily produced by two groups of molluskanbivalves or clams. A nacreous pearl is made from layers of nacre, by the same living process as is used in the secretion of the mother of pearl which lines the shell.
Natural (or wild) pearls, formed without human intervention, are very rare. Many hundreds of pearl oysters or mussels must be gathered and opened, and thus killed, to find even one wild pearl; for many centuries, this was the only way pearls were obtained, and why pearls fetched such extraordinary prices in the past. Cultured pearls are formed in pearl farms, using human intervention as well as natural processes.
Previously, natural pearls were found in many parts of the world. Present day natural pearling is confined mostly to seas off Bahrain. Australia also has one of the world’s last remaining fleets of pearl diving ships. Australian pearl divers dive for south sea pearl oysters to be used in the cultured south sea pearl industry. The catch of pearl oysters is similar to the numbers of oysters taken during the natural pearl days. Hence significant numbers of natural pearls are still found in the Australian Indian Ocean waters from wild oysters. X-ray examination is required to positively verify natural pearls found today.
Picture jaspers exhibit combinations of patterns (such as banding from flow or depositional patterns (from water or wind), dendritic or color variations) resulting in what appear to be scenes or images, on a cut section. Diffusion from a center produces a distinctive orbicular appearance, i.e., leopard skin jasper, or linear banding from a fracture as seen in leisegang jasper. Healed, fragmented rock produces brecciated (broken) jasper. While these “picture jaspers” can be found all over the world, specific colors or patterns are unique based upon the geographic region from which they originate. Oregon’s biggs jasper and bruneau jasper from Bruneau Canyon near the Bruneau River in Idaho are known as particularly fine examples. Other examples can be seen at Llanddwyn Island in Wales.
Originally, rhinestones were rock crystals gathered from the river Rhine, hence the name, although some were also found in areas like the Alps. The availability was greatly increased in the 18th century when theAlsatian jeweller Georg Friedrich Strass had the idea to imitate diamonds by coating the lower side of glass with metal powder. Hence, rhinestones are called strass in many European languages.
Rhinestones can be used as imitations of diamonds, and some manufacturers even manage to reproduce the glistening effect real diamonds have in the sun.
The word Rhodochrosite comes from Greek rhodon (rose) and chroma (color). It is the official Colorado state mineral. The Incas believed that rhodochrosite is the blood of their former kings and queens turned to stone, and that is what gives it the name Inca Rose.
Rhodochrosite is stone that is usually seen in elegant pink to red that often has bands of white. It is sometimes seen in brown with the characteristic bands of white as well.
Rhodochrosite comes in a variety of shades from bright red to soft shades of pink, and opaque forms with swirling patterns. Rhodochrosite is an excellent conductor of energy.
A silicon dioxide crystal, Rose Quartz is one of the most common varieties of the Quartz family. It is found in abundance around the world and occurs only in massive form, with no crystal faces, edges or terminations. It is hazy to translucent, and is usually found in the cores of granite pegmatites. Its name is derived from its soft rose color, which ranges from very pale pink to deep reddish-pink and is due to trace amounts of titanium, iron, or manganese in the massive material. It also contains microscopic fiber inclusions of rutile or a borosilicate similar to dumortierite that can occasionally produce a cat’s eye or “star” effect when polished into cabochons or spheres. The color of Rose Quartz is very stable and will not fade with heat or direct sunlight.
Rose Quartz is also called Pink Quartz or Hyaline Quartz, from the Greek hyalos, meaning “glass,” and was referred to in antiquity as a Bohemian or Silesian Ruby. It was thought for years Rose Quartz, in rare cases, also formed in clusters of small prismatic crystals that were labeled as Crystalline Rose Quartz. However, mineralogists in the 1990’s discovered distinct differences between common Rose Quartz and the rare crystalline specimens, and proposed the massive form still be denoted as Rose Quartz, while the crystal variety should be referred to as Pink Quartz. It is a confusion that is slowly being resolved.
The sapphire is one of the three gem-varieties of corundum, the other two being ruby (defined as corundum in a shade of red) and padparadscha (a pinkish orange variety). Although blue is their most well-known color, sapphires may also be colorless and they are found in many colors including shades of gray and black.
The cost of natural sapphires varies depending on their color, clarity, size, cut, and overall quality – as well as their geographic origin.
Blue sapphires are evaluated based upon the purity of their primary hue. Purple, violet, and green are the most common secondary hues found in blue sapphires. Violet and purple can contribute to the overall beauty of the color, while green is considered to be distinctly negative. Blue sapphires with up to 15% violet or purple are generally said to be of fine quality. Blue sapphires with any amount of green as a secondary hue are not considered to be fine quality. Gray is the normal saturation modifier or mask found in blue sapphires. Gray reduces the saturation or brightness of the hue, and therefore has a distinctly negative effect.
Their olive green color and smooth or scaly appearance is the basis of the name from the Latin serpentinus, meaning “serpent rock,
Serpentine is not a single mineral, but rather a group of related minerals. Besides for the main members of Antigorite and Chrysotile, a distinction is not usually made between the individual members except under scientific study and classification. Antigorite usually represents the more solid forms, and Chrysotile usually represents the fibrous forms, especially asbestos. Chrysotile is further sub-classified into four member minerals by its crystallization, and Clinochrysotile is by far the most prevalent form of Chrysotile
Inuit and Aboriginal peoples of the Arctic areas and less so of southern areas used the carved bowl shaped serpentinite Qulliq or Kudlik lamp with wick, to burn oil or fat to heat, make light and cook with. Inuit made tools and more recently carvings of animals for commerce.
The shell pearl is laboratory made from the shell of an oyster. The process of making a shell pearl involves several different stages. The raw material for the base of the pearl is the sea shell, which is coated and polished to the final shape of the pearl. In order to produce a good quality pearl, a key ingredient is what we call a ‘mother of pearl bead’. This element adds weight, value and durability to the pearl. In fact, the materials used in order to make shell pearls are the same materials from which cultured pearls are made.
Smoky quartz is a grey, translucent variety of quartz. It ranges in clarity from almost complete transparency to a brownish-gray crystal that is almost opaque. Some can also be black. Like other quartz gems, it is a silicon dioxide crystal. The smoky colour results from free silicon, formed from the silicon dioxide by natural irradiation.
A light, relatively hard yet fragile mineral, sodalite is named after its sodium content; in mineralogy it may be classed as afeldspathoid. Well known for its blue color, sodalite may also be grey, yellow, green, or pink and is often mottled with white veins or patches. The more uniformly blue material is used in jewellery, where it is fashioned into cabochons and beads. Lesser material is more often seen as facing or inlay in various applications.
The biggest deposits of Sodalite Stone is in Brazil. It has also been found in Russia, Greenland, Romania, France, India, Myanmar, Namibia, Canada and the USA. Its color is mainly blue, or blue-grey with white Calcite mixed within the stones.
Wear it when you want to lose a few pounds. It helps in communicating and will give confidence to speak more.
Thai silver beads are of a very high quality Thai silver. They are produced by the Karen people, who have a century long experience in making these silver beads. Silver is a very soft material and you have to mix it with pewter in order to use it in daily life. In Europa they use 75 parts of pewter on 1000 parts of silver, but in the Thai silver there are only 25 parts of pewter on 1000 parts of silver.
Tiger Eye lets you see everything. Use it for insight and you can be a very lucky person. When used in jewelry the tiger eye may bring good luck and protection from the evil eye to the wearer. It also known to bring clear thinking and insight.
Tiger’s-eye or Cat’s-Eye is a stone for the mind, not the body. Tiger Eye is used to focus the mind. It will cause the mind to have feeling of oneness and feel more direct in all thoughts. It makes one aware of one’s own needs related to the needs of others.
Tourmaline has a variety of colors. Usually, iron-rich tourmalines are black to bluish-black to deep brown, while magnesium-rich varieties are brown to yellow, and lithium-rich tourmalines are almost any color: blue, green, red, yellow, pink, etc. Rarely, it is colorless. Bi-colored and multicolored crystals are common, reflecting variations of fluid chemistry during crystallization. Crystals may be green at one end and pink at the other, or green on the outside and pink inside; this type is called watermelon tourmaline. Some forms of tourmaline are dichroic, in that they change color when viewed from different directions.
The pink color of tourmalines from many fields is the result of prolonged natural irradiation. During their growth, these tourmaline crystals incorporated Mn2+ and were initially very pale. Due to natural gamma ray exposure from radioactive decay of 40K in their graniticenvironment, gradual formation of Mn3+ ions occurs, which is responsible for the deepening of the pink to red color.
Brightly colored Sri Lankan gem tourmalines were brought to Europe in great quantities by the Dutch East India Company to satisfy a demand for curiosities and gems. At the time it was not realised that schorl and tourmaline were the same mineral (it was only about 1703 that it was discovered that some colored gems weren’tzircons ). Tourmaline was sometimes called the “Ceylonese [Sri Lankan] Magnet” because it could attract and then repel hot ashes due to its pyroelectric properties.
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium 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. In recent times, turquoise, like most other opaque gems, has been devalued by the introduction of treatments, imitations, and synthetics onto the market.
The substance has been known by many names, but the word turquoise, which dates to the 17th century, is derived from the French turques for “Turks”, because the mineral was first brought to Europe from Turkey, from mines in the historical Khorasan Province of Persia. Pliny the Elder referred to the mineral as callais and theAztecs knew it as chalchihuitl.
Turquoise was among the first gems to be mined, and while many historic sites have been depleted, some are still worked to this day. These are all small-scale, often seasonal operations, owing to the limited scope and remoteness of the deposits. Most are worked by hand with little or no mechanization. However, turquoise is often recovered as a byproduct of large-scale copper mining operations, especially in the United States. The pastel shades of turquoise have endeared it to many great cultures of antiquity: it has adorned the rulers of Ancient Egypt, the Aztecs (and possibly other Pre-Columbian Mesoamericans), Persia, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and to some extent in ancientChina since at least the Shang Dynasty.
Despite being one of the oldest gems, probably first introduced to Europe (through Turkey) with other Silk Road novelties, turquoise did not become important as an ornamental stone in the West until the 14th century, following a decline in the Roman Catholic Church‘s influence which allowed the use of turquoise in secular jewellery. It was apparently unknown in India until the Mughal period, and unknown in Japan until the 18th century. A common belief shared by many of these 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.
Tibetan Turquoise is green. As jewelry it is considered a promise of fidelity and protectiveness to a lover or partner. It is used in sacred prayer beads, adorns musical instruments, prayer wheels and bells. Tibetan Turquoise is traditionally received as a gift to pass on its natural fortune-bringing powers, so if you buy your own, make it a gift to yourself.
Vermeil is an alternative for the usual term silver-gilt, or silver plated or gilt with gold. Vermeil pieces appear to be gold but are much cheaper and lighter than solid gold. It is a traditional luxury material used for table plate, toilet services and grand decorative pieces. Vermeil is a French word which came into use in the English language, mostly in America, in the 19th century, and is rare in British English. is a combination of sterling silver, gold, and other precious metals, commonly used as a component in jewelry. A typical example is sterling silver coated with 14 carat (58%) gold. To be considered vermeil in the US, the gold must be at least 10 carat (42%) and have thickness equivalent to at least 2.5 micrometres of fine gold (a 12 carat [50%] plating would need to be 5 μm thick). In the US, sterling silver covered with a base metal (such as nickel) and plated with gold cannot be sold as vermeil without disclosing that it contains base metal.