Throughout the ages, Garnet has always been noted for its deep, rich color. Ancient legends state that the Garnet could never be hidden, that even under clothing its glowing light would shine forth. This quality of revealing that which is hidden may be the reason why Garnets were thought to help illuminate the mind so that it could see back into past incarnations.
Garnet traces its roots to the Nile Delta in 3100 B.C., where Egyptian artisans would craft the gemstone into beads or inlay them into hand-wrought jewelry. Noah used garnet as a lamp on his bow as he cast about on the ocean. Garnet received its name from the ancient Greeks because the color reminded them of the "granatum," or pomegranate seed.
The versatile garnet comes in a virtual rainbow of colors, from the deep red Bohemian Garnet to the vibrant greens of the Russian demantoid and African tsavorite. The oranges and browns of spessartite and hessonite hail from Namibia and Sri Lanka, and the subtle pinks and purples of the rhododendron flower, are also yours to explore.
Garnet is the traditional birthstone for January; however, if red is not your color of choice, rich orange and golden hues, striking greens, and petal soft colors of violet and lavender await your selection.
Most commonly found in round, oval, and cushion cuts. Availability depends on variety: tsavorite is difficult to find in sizes above a carat or two, while rhodolite garnet is available in larger sizes.
This durable and brilliant gem is easy to care for with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the gemstone where dust can collect.
Amethyst is considered the most beautiful and valuable form of quartz. The word Amethyst stems from a Greek word meaning "without drunkenness," for in ancient times, it was believed that anyone carrying or wearing this stone could not become intoxicated. Perhaps the Greeks were aware of the soothing effect of its rich, purple color, for they believed it could help control the temperament.
Amethyst is often referred to as the "Bishop's Stone" because a ring set with this gem is still worn today by the Bishops of the Catholic Church, symbolizing their moral victory over worldly pleasures.
Quartz is found in abundance from every corner of the earth. In its purest form, quartz is colorless but is most prized for its purple variety- amethyst.
Purple has long been considered a royal color, so unsurprisingly, amethyst has been in so much demand throughout history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Great thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci believed that amethyst could dissipate evil thoughts and quicken intelligence.
Amethyst, the traditional birthstone for February, is available in small and large sizes. However, as with all gemstones, very large sizes in rich, deep colors have always been rare. Designers celebrate amethyst as the ideal choice for jewelry because of its regal color, variety of sizes and shapes, affordability, and wide tonal range from light to dark purple.
Brazil is the primary source of amethyst, and Zambia is also a significant source.
Darker hues of amethyst are rarely enhanced to perfect their color, although some varieties respond well to heat enhancement.
Aquamarine received its name from the Latin word for seawater. It is the favored gem of sailors and those who love the ocean. Its cool, light color relaxes the body and is reputed to banish fears and phobias.
Aquamarine, or blue beryl, symbolizes childlike innocence, joy, and everlasting youthfulness.
The very name aquamarine brings to mind the limpid, clear blue tint of the sea. Legend says that Neptune, the King of the Sea, gave aquamarine as gifts to the mermaids, and from then on, it has brought love to all who have owned it. Aquamarine was long thought to have a soothing influence on married couples, making it a good anniversary gift.
Aquamarines are found in a range of blue shades, from the palest pastel to greenish-blue to a deep blue. While the choice of color is largely a matter of taste, deeper blue gemstones are rare. Remember that Aquamarine is a pastel gemstone, and while color can be quite intense in larger gemstones, the smaller aquamarines are often less vivid.
This elegant colored gemstone is the birthstone of March and symbolizes youth, hope, health, and fidelity. Aquamarine was long thought to have a soothing influence on married couples, making it a good anniversary gift.
Aquamarines are mined in several exotic places, including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique, but most of the gemstones available today come from Brazil.
Many aquamarines are greenish when mined and cut. For those who prefer purer blue, these gemstones are heated to enhance their blue color permanently. Some aquamarine fanciers prefer the greenish hues, saying the greener tones remind them more of the sea. The color tones of aquamarine are subtle and varied. Their soft luster is a wonderful addition to any natural-colored gemstone jewelry collection.
Diamond is celebrated for the purity of its brilliance. Yet within the structure of a diamond, we often find impurities, or inclusions, that deflect light, distracting our eye from the radiance we so value. Many of these tiny imperfections are removed when the diamond is shaped.
Today, cutters can also use an enhancement technique that focuses tiny beams of laser light at imperfections and vaporizes them. The minute passageways created by the laser may then be filled with clear resins or glass-hard substances, rendering them nearly invisible to the naked eye. This method can also fill fissures that reach the stone's surface, rendering them less visible to the naked eye. This treatment is permanent: only extreme heat or specifically formulated chemicals will remove the filling from the laser passageways or fissures.
Diamonds may also be colored in a variety of hues. Extreme heat and irradiation permanently enhance certain innate color properties, allowing them to display their hues in a more brilliant array. Black diamonds, for example, are usually enhanced in this way.
A new high-pressure, high-temperature treatment known as HPHT can improve the color of certain types of diamonds. HPHT treatment can remove tints from some diamonds, making them more colorless, or intensify the pink, blue, green, and yellow colors in others. Because HPHT diamonds sell for less than naturally colored diamonds, industry rules require HPHT-treated stones to be identified with an inscription on the girdle of the diamond to prevent misrepresentation.
Whether color enhanced, lasered, or cut from the most perfect raw state, your jeweler will inform you of the magical journey your diamond has followed, from deep within the earth's mantle to the fine, finished gemstone you see before you. Your AGTA jeweler will tell you how to best care for your diamond.
Emerald, the gem of spring, has traditionally been associated with immortality and incorruptibility. It was the favored stone of Venus who, according to legend, detected the infidelity of lovers by its changing color.
Emerald's soothing green has no doubt contributed to the belief in the curative powers of this precious gem. Throughout the ages, it has been used extensively as an antidote against sickness and evil of all kinds. It is especially noted for its beneficial effect on the eyes.
The ancient Egyptians mined emeralds nearly 4,000 years ago, and Cleopatra was an avid collector. South America's rich bounty of emeralds was discovered by 16th Century Spanish explorers who found large emeralds in possession of the Aztecs and Incas.
Believed by the ancients to empower the owner with foresight into the future, an emerald is regarded as an amulet for good fortune.
Emerald, to many, symbolizes rebirth and the abundance of the life force. The rich green hue brings to mind the regeneration of life in spring and the hope for new possibilities. Emerald is the birthstone for May and a talisman for Gemini.
Spring can also be seen in the network of inclusions in the depth of the emerald that the French call the jardin, or garden because it resembles foliage. The inclusions are like a fingerprint, giving each emerald a distinct personality and distinguishing them as truly natural gemstones.
Round EmeraldToday, most of the world's emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia. Emeralds can be cut in various shapes, ranging from the traditional rectangular step-cut, known as the "emerald cut," to rounds, ovals, squares, and cabochons.
Early gemstone merchants sought to purify the transparency of their emeralds by immersing them in clear oils or paraffin. They found clear oils and waxes rendered surface fissures less visible to the eye. Today, we have many sophisticated technologies with which to clarity-enhance emeralds. In addition to the oils and waxes of ancient methods, we now use clear resins to penetrate the open fissures surfacing the stones. Hardeners are often added to solidify these liquids. This step prevents the resin from evaporating, thus making the clarity enhancement more permanent than oiling or waxing the gem. Although emerald is quite durable, the garden of inclusions may make individual gems vulnerable to damage if handled roughly.
A lovely Pearl, which results from irritation in the oyster, is symbolic of the Mystic's divine purpose of transmutation. The struggle of each human being can be likened to the formation of a Pearl; there is growth from humble beginnings, the attempt at self-preservation through patience and concealment until finally, a magnificent transformation takes place where the irritant has created from itself a most prized possession of true beauty.
Thus the Pearl has come to represent the virtues of purity, modesty, and gentleness.
According to ancient Chinese legend, the moon holds power to create pearls, instilling them with its celestial glow and mystery. Pearls have been treasured for their lustrous, creamy texture and subtle iridescent reflections since the dawn of humankind.
Pearls are unique in the world of colored gemstones since they are the only gemstone formed within a living creature. Because natural pearls are so rare and difficult to recover from the ocean's depths, man invented the technique of culturing salt and freshwater pearls from mollusks carefully seeded with irritants similar to those produced by nature. The painstaking effort of culturing is one of the most dramatic examples of man's quest to coax beauty from nature.
Today, cultured pearls are grown and harvested in many parts of the world, including the Tennessee River's fresh waters. Most cultured pearls come from Japan, China, and the South Pacific.
Cultured pearls come in many beautiful colors, including gold, yellow, champagne, pink, peach, lavender, gray and black. Cultured pearls come in many shapes and sizes and can be acquired in both graduated and uniform strands. They can be purchased singly or in pairs for rings, pendants, and earrings. June birthdays and third and thirtieth anniversaries are celebrated with the gift of pearls.
Due to the demand for perfectly matched white pearl strands, cultured fresh and saltwater pearls are often bleached to achieve a uniform color. They may also be polished in tumblers to clean and improve their luster.
Dyes, heat treatment, and irradiation are sometimes applied to produce a wide range of hues, such as yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, and black in freshwater and Akoya cultured pearls. Some South Sea cultured pearls are bleached to lighten their hue, but most South Sea and Tahitian cultured pearls are not subjected to enhancements to create or improve their color.
Pearls require special care because they contain calcareous crystals that are sensitive to chemicals and acids. Avoid using perfume, hairspray, abrasives, solvents, and nail polish removers to care for your cultured pearls while wearing them. Like your skin, cultured pearls contain water and may dehydrate and crack if exposed continuously to arid conditions.
Moonstone, a gem of emotion, is said to arouse the tender passions of young lovers. In metaphysical lore, it is noted for its exceptional ability to enable its owner to perceive the future - but only if the stone is carefully placed under the tongue on the night of the full moon.
According to East Indian tradition, Moonstone is the gem that symbolized the Third Eye. It is said to give clarity to spiritual understanding and to assist those in the astral realm.
The ancient Romans theorized that moonstone, with its unearthly shimmer, was formed from frozen moonlight. This appealing gem variety does shine with a cool lunar light, but it is the mineral feldspar, quite terrestrial in origin. The shimmer, called schiller or adularescence, is caused by the intergrowth of two types of feldspar with different refractive indexes.
Moonstones come in a variety of colors. The body color can be colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. The clarity ranges from opaque to translucent. The best moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and colorless body color.
Another related feldspar variety is known as rainbow moonstone. In this variety, the sheen is a variety of rainbow hues, from pink to yellow, to peach, purple, and blue.
Fine moonstone is quite rare and becoming rarer. It is mined in Sri Lanka and Southern India. The rainbow variety can be found in India and Madagascar.
Moonstones are usually cut in a smooth-domed oval cabochon shape to maximize the effect. Sometimes they are carved to show a man-in-the-moon face.
Moonstones should not be stored in contact with your other gemstones to prevent scratching. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.
If you love magic, especially the magic of science, you'll love alexandrite, the color-change gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Inside in lamplight, it is a red gem with a warm raspberry tone. You can watch it flick back and forth by switching from fluorescent to incandescent light.
Alexandrite is a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl discovered in 1830 in Czarist, Russia. Since the old Russian imperial colors are red and green, it was named after Czar Alexander II on the occasion of his coming of age.
Today, fine alexandrite is most often found in period jewelry since newly-mined gems are extremely rare. You'll see fine gems offered at auction with impressive estimates. The original source in Russia's Ural Mountains has long since closed after producing for only a few decades, and only a few gemstones can be found on the market today. Material with a certificate of Russian origin is still particularly valued by the trade.
Some alexandrite is found in Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and Brazil, but very little shows a dramatic color change. For many years, alexandrite was almost impossible to find because there was so little available.
Then in 1987, a new find of alexandrite was made in Brazil at a locality called Hematita. The Hematita alexandrite shows a striking and attractive color change from raspberry red to bluish green. Although alexandrite remains extremely rare and expensive, the production of a limited amount of new material means a new generation of jewelers and collectors has been exposed to this beautiful gemstone, creating an upsurge in popularity and demand.
Exhibiting the most dynamic of all colors, the Ruby has been aptly dedicated to high noon and bright midsummer. It was thought to contain a glowing spark from the planet Mars, a spark that could not be quenched until the world grew cold.
Ruby is the Hindu's "King of Precious Stones" and is said to increase vigor, renew vital life forces, and help cleanse the blood.
This gemstone's magnificent color is probably why it has been called "The Stone of Courage" throughout the ages.
Celebrated in the Bible and ancient Sanskrit writings as the most precious of all gemstones, rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. Ruby's inner fire has been the inspiration for innumerable legends and myths, and to this day, no red gemstone can compare to its fiery, rich hues. It was believed that wearing a fine red ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner - although the owner must have already had enough fortune to possess such a rare and beautiful gemstone!
Many people associate its brilliant crimson colors with passion and love, making ruby an ideal choice for an engagement ring. Ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral species, while all other colors of corundum are called sapphire.
This most sought-after gemstone is available in various red hues, from purplish and bluish red to orangish red. Ruby is readily available in sizes up to 2 carats, but larger sizes can be obtained. However, in its finest quality, any size ruby can be scarce. In readily available small sizes, ruby makes an excellent accent gemstone because of its intense, pure red color.
Ruby is mined throughout Southeast Asia. While Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) produce exquisite examples of this gemstone that the ancient Sinhalese people called "Ratnaraj," the King of Gemstones.
Despite all the best efforts of gemstone merchants to use technology to enrich color, fine ruby is still exceptionally rare. After being extracted from the earth, rubies today are commonly heated to high temperatures to maximize the purity and intensity of their red hue. Impurities may also dissolve or become less noticeable after heating. However, heating will only improve the color if the gemstone already contains the chemistry required. Occasionally rubies with small imperfections are permeated with a silicate byproduct of the heating process, which helps to make small fissures less visible. This enhancement, like heating, is permanent, and rubies remain among the most durable gems, whether enhanced or not.
Today a new method of artificially coloring the surface of paler rubies through the diffusion of beryllium, or a similar element, has made the red of ruby more affordable. Although this method is not yet common, in the future beryllium-diffused rubies may offer an affordable alternative to either untreated or heat-enhanced rubies, which are much more rare. However, recutting or repolishing may affect the color of some beryllium-diffusion-treated rubies.
Peridot is a gem variety of olivine, also known as chrysolite. Highly valued by the ancients, Peridots once were considered more valuable than diamonds. They were the only gems set in transparent form by the Romans, who wore them for protection from enchantment, melancholy, and illusion.
During the Middle Ages, Peridot was worn as a means of gaining foresight and divine inspiration. It was also thought to give eloquence in speech.
Peridot is treasured in Hawaii as the goddess Pele's tears. The island of Oahu even has beaches made of tiny grains of peridot. Although Hawaii’s volcanoes have produced some peridot large enough to be cut into gemstones, virtually all peridot sold in Hawaii today is from Arizona, another state with extreme geology.
The fresh lime green of peridot is its distinctive signature. Its spring green color also is ideal with sky blue.
Today most peridot is mined, often by hand, by Native Americans on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Peridot found here is beautiful in color but relatively small in size. Faceted peridot from Arizona is rare in sizes above five carats. Fine large peridot is found in Burma, and large quantities of peridot are mined in China. In 1994, an exciting new deposit of fine peridot was discovered in Pakistan, 15,000 feet above sea level in the far west of the Himalayan Mountains in the Pakistanian part of Kashmir.
Peridot, the birthstone for August, is harder than metal but softer than many gemstones. Store peridot jewelry with care to avoid scratches and protect it from blows. Because peridot is sensitive to rapid changes in temperature, never have it steam cleaned and avoid ultrasonics. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.
Sapphire, the gem of Autumn, brings to mind the beautiful blue of a September sky. No wonder the Persians believed that the earth rests on a gigantic Sapphire with the celestial heavens reflecting its color.
the calming blue of Sapphire, which has a relaxing effect on the mind, is said to give one an awareness of cosmic realms. It is also said that Sapphire symbolizes clear thinking and is capable of strengthening the will of the person who wears it.
Velvety blue. Liquid blue. Evening-sky blue. Cornflower blue. Sapphire has been beloved for centuries as the ultimate blue gemstone. The ancient Persian rulers believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire, and its reflection colored the heavens blue. Indeed, the very name in Latin, "Sapphiru," means blue.
But like the endless colors in the sky, sapphire is also found in many other shades besides blue, from the gold of a sunrise to the fiery reddish-orange of a sunset to the delicate violet of twilight. Sapphire may even resemble the pale white gloaming of an overcast day. These diverse colors are referred to as "fancy" color sapphires.
A gift of a sapphire symbolizes a pledge of trust and loyalty. From this tradition, sapphire has long been a popular choice for engagement rings.
One of Nature's most durable gemstones, sapphire shares this quality with its sister, the ruby.
Sapphire is found in many parts of the world, but the most prized sapphires are from Myanmar (Burma), Kashmir, and Sri Lanka. The purer the blue of the sapphire, the greater the price the gemstone can command; however, many people find that the darker hues of sapphire can be just as appealing.
Over the centuries, methods have been developed to enhance the purest hues of sapphire. This is now commonly achieved by controlled heating, a technique that improves color and clarity. But heating will only improve the color if the gemstone already contains the chemistry required. Heating sapphires is a permanent enhancement, as lasting as the gemstones themselves.
A new method of artificially changing the natural color of a sapphire is diffusion, whereby beryllium or a similar element is diffused into the gemstone's surface, producing a richer color. Sapphire treated by diffusion is far less costly and more available than rare fine untreated gems or those successfully heat-treated. Diffused sapphire is available in shades of orange, pinkish orange, yellow, and sometimes even blue. Information about diffusion should be provided on the invoice for your jewelry. Recutting or repolishing may affect the color of some diffusion-treated stones.
Revered as a symbol of hope, fidelity, and purity, opal was dubbed the Queen of Gems by the ancient Romans because it encompassed the colors of all other gems. Opal is prized for its unique play of color, the ability to diffract light into flashes of rainbow color.
Opal occurs in different colors, ranging from semi-transparent to opaque. The most common is white opal. Crystal or water opal has a colorless body. The most valued variety, black opal, has a dark blue, gray, or black body color. Boulder opal combines precious opal with the ironstone from which it forms. Bright yellow, orange, or red fire opal are quite different from the other varieties of opal. Their day-glo tones, which are translucent to transparent, are beautiful with or without play of color.
Opal, along with tourmaline, is the birthstone for October and the suggested gift for the fourteenth anniversary.
Today's supplies of opal come primarily from Australia, Mexico, and the United States. Most opals are not faceted but cut into rounded or free-form cabochons that enhance their play of color.
Although opal is rarely enhanced by methods other than cutting and polishing, opals can be treated to bring out their play of color. One technique is to immerse white, gray, or black opal in a sugar solution and then in strong sulfuric acid, which carbonizes with the sugar and leaves microscopic carbon specks that blacken the body color, making its flashes of color more visible. Opals can also be permeated with colorless oil, wax, resin, plastic, and hardeners to improve their appearance and durability. Occasionally, some thinner or translucent opal may be painted with black epoxy on the backside of the gemstone to darken the body color and improve the play of color. Fire opal is not commonly enhanced.
Opal, with or without enhancement, should be treated with some care. Opal is softer than many other gemstones and should be stored carefully to avoid being scratched by other jewelry. It should also be protected from blows, as exposed corners can chip. Opal should not be exposed to heat or acid. Your AGTA jeweler will tell you how to best care for your opal.
For centuries tourmaline has adorned the jewels of royalty. The Empress Dowager Tz'u Hsi, the last empress of China, valued the rich pink colors above all other gemstones.
The people of ancient Ceylon called tourmaline "turmali," the Sinhalese word for "more colors." Perhaps this is why ancient mystics believed tourmaline could encourage artistic intuition: it has the palette to express every mood.
Vivid reds, hot pinks, verdant greens, and blues abound in this marvelous gem variety. Earth tones as varied as a prairie sunset are readily available. Tourmaline occurs in a spectacular range of colors and combines those colors in a single gemstone called "bi-color" or "parti-color" tourmaline. One color combination with a pink center and a green outer rim is called "watermelon" tourmaline and is cut in thin slices similar to its namesake.
Dark blue, blue-green, and green tourmalines are occasionally heated to lighten their color. Red tourmalines, also known as rubellites, and pink varieties are sometimes heated or irradiated to improve their colors. Heat and irradiation color enhancement of tourmalines is permanent.
Occasionally, some tourmalines may have surface-breaking fissures filled with resins, with or without hardeners. Care must be observed with these gemstones. Avoid exposing them to harsh abrasives and strong chemical solvents.
Topaz has a long and interesting history; its folktales have been passed down through the ages with many fascinating anecdotes...
To the ancient Egyptians, the golden glow of the Topaz symbolized Ra, the Sun god who was the Giver of Life.
The Greeks called Topaz the "Stone of Strenght", and used it extensively for medicinal purposes.
In medieval times, Topaz was employed for healing certain illnesses which are particular to women. In addition, it was found to be especially helpful in the treatment of tension headaches.
In the Far East, soothsayers believed that with the help of the Topaz, they could contact astral beings, especially during the waxing moon.
The Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the sun god. Legend has it that topaz dispels all enchantment and helps to improve eyesight.
The ancient Greeks believed that it had the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Early discoveries from Brazil in rich reddish cognac colors to vivid pinks were used to grace the jewelry of the 18th and 19th Century Russian Czarinas, hence earning the moniker of "Imperial Topaz."
Topaz sometimes has the amber gold of fine cognac, the blush of a peach, and all the beautiful warm browns and oranges in between. Some rare and exceptional examples are pale pink to sherry red.
Topaz is found in Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Africa, and China. The birthstone for November, topaz, is a talisman for the sign of Sagittarius and is the suggested gift for the 23rd anniversary.
Blue, once the rare color of topaz, is today the most common, thanks to a stable enhancement process that turns colorless topaz blue. After the raw topaz is extracted from the earth and cut, it is irradiated to brown and then heated to sky blue. This enhancement process is permanent. Due to the popularity of blue topaz, a new treatment process called vapor deposition has been developed to create additional colors of topaz. In this treatment process, similar to those used by opticians and camera makers to make lens coatings, a thin colored film is bonded on the surface of the topaz to create dark blue, red, pink, and green colors or rainbow iridescence. These vapor deposition-enhanced topaz colors must be handled with special care, as the coating can be scratched or abraded.
Topaz is a very hard gemstone, with a Mohs hardness of 8, but it can be split with a single sharp blow, a trait it shares with a diamond. As a result, it should be protected from hard knocks. Clean with mild dish soap; use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.
Citrine, a yellow variety of quartz, is the stone of lightheartedness. It is said to lend cheerfulness and hopes to an unpleasant situation.
In ancient times, the stone was thought to cleanse the vibrations in the atmosphere. Because of this, Citrine was believed to help bridge the gaps between the mental, emotional, and intuitive selves, thus uniting all aspects of the personality.
Long ago, people carried the citrine as a protective talisman. It was considered an aid to the digestive system and was said to eliminate toxins from the body. Therefore, those who wore it were presumably blessed with clear complexions, radiant skin, and a happy disposition.
Named from the French word for lemon, "citron" since citrine has a juicy lemon color. In ancient times, citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts.
Sunny and affordable, citrine can brighten almost any jewelry style, blending especially well with the yellow gleam of polished gold.
It is the most affordable of all the earth-toned gemstones and is the alternate birthstone for November. Brazil and Zambia is the primary source of these gemstones.
Brownish varieties are commonly heated and magically turn into the bright yellow or orange colors known as citrine. This enhancement method is permanent and will last for the life of the gemstones.
Turquoise is among the oldest known gemstones- it has been mined since 3,200 BC. It graced the necks of Egyptian Pharaohs and adorned the ceremonial dress of early Native Americans. This robin egg blue-hued gemstone has been attributed with healing powers, promoting the wearer's status and wealth, protection from evil, and bringing good luck.
Turquoise is an opaque, light to dark blue or blue-green gem. The finest color is intense blue. Turquoise may contain narrow veins of other materials, isolated or as a network. They are usually black, brown, or yellowish-brown in color. Known as the matrix, these veins of color are sometimes in the form of an intricate pattern called a spider web.
To improve its color and durability, turquoise is commonly permeated with plastic, a stable enhancement. It is also sometimes permeated with colorless oil or wax, which is considered not as stable as plastic. Some turquoise is dyed to improve its color, but rarely, as this is an unstable enhancement.
Special care is required for turquoise regardless of whether or not it is enhanced. A porous gemstone, turquoise can absorb anything it touches. Avoid contact with cosmetics, perfumes, skin oil, acids, and other chemicals. Avoid dehydrating it or exposing it to heat.
Zircon was worn by the ancients as an amulet to protect travelers against the plague, wounds, and injuries. It was also said to guard sailors against lightning and to expel evil spirits through its brightness.
In the middle ages, zircon was said to aid sleep, bring prosperity, and promote honor and wisdom in its owner. The name probably comes from the Persian word zargun which means "gold-colored."
The fiery brilliance of zircon can rival any gemstone. The affordability of its vibrant greens, sky blues, and pleasing earth tones contributes to its growing popularity today.
Zircon is mined in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries. Because it can be colorless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the colors in between, it is a popular gem for connoisseurs who collect different colors or zircon from different localities.
Zircon jewelry should be stored carefully because although this ancient gem is hard, facets can abrade and chip. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.
Tanzanite is an exotic, vivid blue, kissed by purple hues. Legend has it that tanzanite was first discovered when some brown gemstone crystals lying on the dry earth were caught in a fire set by lightning that swept through the grass-covered hills. The Masai herders driving cattle in the area noticed the beautiful blue color and picked the crystals up, becoming the first tanzanite collectors.
Tanzanite has the beauty, rarity, and durability to rival any gemstone. It is the ultimate prize of a gemstone safari. Tanzanite is mined only in Tanzania at the feet of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.
One of the most popular blue gemstones available today, tanzanite occurs in various shapes and sizes and provides a striking assortment of tonal qualities. Rarely pure blue, tanzanite almost always displays its signature overtones of purple. Tanzanite tends toward lighter tones in smaller sizes, and the lavender color is more common. While in larger sizes, tanzanite typically displays deeper, richer colors.
Tanzanite is so hot that it was the first gemstone added to the birthstone list since 1912 by the American Gem Trade Association.
Virtually every tanzanite is heated to permanently change its color from orange-brown to the spectacular violet-blue color for which this precious gemstone variety is known.