|GARNET JEWELRY ROSE QUARTZ JEWELRY
(Strength, perseverity, prosperity, health)
(Emotional balance, forgiveness)
|AMETHYST JEWELRY ONYX JEWELRY
(Wisdom, spirituality, sobriety, security)
|AQUAMARINE JEWELRY BLOODSTONE JEWELRY
(Beauty, honesty, loyalty, happiness)
|DIAMOND JEWELRY ROCK CRYSTAL JEWELRY
(Invincibility, clarity, purity, eternal love)
(Balance, clarity, energy)
|EMERALD JEWELRY CHRYSOPRASE JEWELRY
(Patience, understanding, foresight)
|ALEXANDRITE JEWELRY MOONSTONE JEWELRY PEARL JEWELRY
(Balance, confidence, joy)
(Balance, good fortune, tender passion)
(Modesty, purity, beauty, happiness)
|RUBY JEWELRY CARNELIAN JEWELRY
(Love, success, integrity, passion & promise)
|PERIDOT JEWELRY SARDONYX JEWELRY
(Fame, dignity, protection, success)
|SAPPHIRE JEWELRY LAPIS JEWELRY
(Truth, sincerity, commitment, loyalty)
|OPAL JEWELRY TOURMALINE JEWELRY
(Hope, faith, confidence)
(Balance, endurance, safety)
|TOPAZ JEWELRY CITRINE JEWELRY
(Strength, wisdom, courage)
(Hope, cheerfulness, youth, health, fidelity)
|TANZANITE JEWELRY ZIRCON JEWELRY TURQUOISE JEWELRY
(Wisdom, honor, wealth)
(New possibilities, happiness)
Diamond is the April Birthstone, and an alternate Zodiac stone for the Constellation of Aries.
Diamond is the ultimate gemstone, having few weaknesses and many strengths. It is well known that Diamond is the hardest substance found in nature, but few people realize that Diamond is four times harder than the next hardest natural mineral, corundum (sapphire and ruby). But even as hard as it is, it is not impervious. Diamond has four directions of cleavage, meaning that if it receives a sharp blow in one of these directions it will cleave, or split. A skilled diamond setter and/or jeweler will prevent any of these directions from being in a position to be struck while mounted in a jewelry piece.
As a gemstone, Diamond's single flaw (perfect cleavage) is far outdistanced by the sum of its positive qualities. It has a broad color range, high refraction, high dispersion or fire, very low reactivity to chemicals, rarity, and of course, extreme hardness and durability.
Diamond is the ultimate gemstone in several ways:
- Hardness: Diamond is a perfect "10", simply the hardest substance known by a wide margin. Nothing can scratch a diamond other than another diamond. And a diamond can scratch anything, even a sapphire.
- Clarity: Pure diamond is completely colorless and transparent over a larger range of wavelengths (from the ultraviolet into the far infrared) than is any other solid or liquid substance - nothing else even comes close.
- Thermal Conductivity: Diamond conducts heat better than anything - five times better than the second best element, Silver! This characteristic is the basis for "diamond tests", as it is simple and cannot be faked.
- Refraction: Diamond has a relatively high index of refraction (ability to bend light), which gives it the high luster called adamantine.
- Dispersion: Diamond has a relatively high optical dispersion which gives diamond the "fire" that makes it so desirable.
Diamonds may be nearly any color in the rainbow plus browns, grays, and white. Shades of yellow are most common, followed by colorless. Blue, black, reddish, and greenish are more valuable (some extremely so).
Diamonds are found in a type of rock called "Kimberlite", which comprises the core of certain volcanoes over especially thick portions of the earth's crust. This hard stone is mined and then crushed between giant steel rollers. The kimberlite is reduced to fine gravel, yet the extremely hard diamonds come out unharmed! Water is added and a grease covered roller sorts the diamonds from the gravel, as the diamonds stick to the grease. Typically, a single carat of diamond is recovered from a ton of rich ore.
Diamonds are found in many areas including South Africa, Russia, and even in Arkansas in the USA. In all cases, the diamonds formed deep within the earth's mantle, and were brought to the surface in volcanic eruptions. In many cases, the diamonds weathered out of the kimberlite by natural processes, and were transported downstream by water. Many diamonds are mined in the resulting alluvial deposits in areas such as along the coast of South Africa.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March, and it is commonly recognized as the Zodiac stone for the constellation of Scorpio (although it is usually referred to as beryl in this regard).
The gemstone aquamarine is the blue, or perhaps more correctly, blue-green or aqua variety of the mineral beryl. As beryl, aquamarine is mentioned in the Bible. Aquamarine jewelry is associated with beauty, honesty, loyalty, and happiness.
Other gemstone color varieties that are also the mineral beryl include emerald, morganite, and heliodor.
The hardness and durability of aquamarine make it a fine gemstone, and its light blue or aqua color makes it a fine choice when the harsher colors of some other gemstones would overwhelm or distract from an outfit. Its typical delicate color allows it to be used in a larger stone where its beauty can be impressive.
Aquamarine is colored by trace amounts of iron, and most gem aquamarines have been heat treated to produce the popular blue-green colors from less desirable yellow or pale stones. The leading producer of aquamarines is the country of Brazil, which has many mines. Pakistan, as well as many U.S. localities, produce wonderful specimens as well. Recently, a new mine in China has produced large numbers of excellent flat (stubby) hexagonal crystals, for a fraction of the price of those beautiful Pakistan specimens.
Aquamarine is sometimes found in huge crystals (unlike emerald). It is also known in a glassy form, often without showing crystal form, and sometimes with many holes or other odd shapes. Other times a large cluster of prismatic crystals can be seen to all have the same alignment - a sign that it is really a single crystal with many faces.
The gemstone Amethyst is the Birthstone for February. It is also the Zodiac stone for the constellation of Pisces. Amethyst is associated with spirituality, wisdom, sobriety, and security. Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz and is a popular gemstone. Although it must always be purple to be amethyst, it can and does have a wide range of purple shades. Its color is unparalleled, and even other, more expensive purple gemstones are often compared to its color and beauty. If it were not for its widespread availability, amethyst would be very expensive.
The name "amethyst" comes from the Greek and means "not drunken." This was perhaps due to a belief that amethyst would ward off the effects of alcohol, but most likely the Greeks were referring to the almost wine-like color of some stones that they may have encountered.
Amethyst can occur as long prismatic crystals that have a six sided pyramid at either end or can form as druzes that are crystalline crusts that only show the pointed terminations. As a mineral specimen, amethyst is popular for its color and nice crystal shapes that produce a handsome, purple, sparkling cluster.
However, amethyst is not the same everywhere. Different localities can produce a unique amethyst to that particular region or even to that particular mine. Experts can often identify the source mine that a particular amethyst came from. The key to this is the specimen's color, shape of crystal, inclusions, associations and character of formation.
The following is a list of many of the more noteworthy localities and some of the attributes that characterize the amethyst found there.
- Vera Cruz, Mexico -- very pale, clear, prismatic crystals that are sometimes double terminated and have grown on a light colored host rock. Crystals are typically phantomed, having a clear quartz interior and an amethyst exterior. Some are sceptered and phantomed.
- Guerrero, Mexico -- dark, deep purple, prismatic crystals that radiate outward from a common attachment point. Often the crystals are phantomed opposite of Vera Cruz amethyst having a purple interior with a clear or white quartz exterior. These are some of the most valuable amethysts in the world.
- Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul, Bahaia, Brazil -- crystals form in druzy crusts that line the inside of sometimes large volcanic rock pockets or "vugs". Some of the vugs form from trees that were engulfed in a lava flow millions of years ago and have since withered away. Other vugs are just gas bubbles in the lava. Some vugs can be quite large. The crystals that form are usually light to medium in color and only colored at the tops of the crystals. Most clusters form with gray, white and blue agate and have a green exterior on the vugs. Calcite sometimes is associated and inclusions of cacoxenite are common. On occasion, even excellent crystals of gypsum have been found nestled inside these amethyst lined vugs.
- Maraba, Brazil -- large crystals with unattractive surfaces that are of a pale to medium color and often carved or cut into slices. The large "Maraba points" are always polished to remove the rough and milky surface, revealing the beautiful purple amethyst inside.
- Thunder Bay, Canada -- a distinct red hematite inclusion just below the surface of the crystals is unique to this locality. Clusters are druzy crusts that line the fissures formed in ancient metamorphic rocks.
- Uruguay -- crystals are dark to medium and form in druzy crusts that line the inside of volcanic vugs that have a gray or brown exterior. The crystals are usually colored throughout, unlike the Brazilian crystals, and form with a multicolored agate that often contains reds, yellows and oranges. Often amethyst- coated stalactites and other unusual formations occur inside these vugs.
- Africa -- crystals are usually large but not attractive. However, the interior color and clarity are excellent and polished slices and carvings as well as many gemstones are prized and admired.
- Maine, USA -- Dark druzy clusters that are not widely distributed today.
- North Carolina, USA -- Druzy clusters that have a bluish-violet tint.
- Pennsylvania, USA -- druzy clusters that filled fractures in metamorphic rocks. They are generally a brownish purple and patchy in color.
- Colorado, USA -- druzy clusters form crusts inside of fissures in sandstone, often on top of a crust of green fluorite. Crystals are dark but rather small.
- Italy -- both Vera Cruz like crystals, although not as well defined, and large parallel growth clusters with good evenly distributed color.
- Germany -- associated with colorful agates that form a druzy light-colored crust.
- Ural Mountains, Russia -- a very clear and dark variety that is cut for fine expensive gemstones, natural uncut clusters are rarely on the market.