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GEM GLOSSARY


Sapphire

Hardness: 9

Family: Corundum

Although it is known most exclusively in its blue variety, sapphire actually comes in every color of the rainbow. The traditional blue sapphire represents loyalty, wisdom, sincerity, and faithfulness, which is why they make such popular engagement rings. Sapphires were a much more common stone used in engagement rings before the De Beers brothers took over the diamond industry in the 1930s.

Ancient sapphire sources include Sri Lanka, India and Myanmar (formerly Burma), then later on in Kashmir and Pakistan. Now, sapphires are found all over the world, mostly in parts of Asia, Africa, Australia and the US.


Ruby

Hardness: 9

Family: Corundum

Technically the red variety of sapphire, rubies are rich, fiery red gems, adorning royalty and religious accoutrements alike. The chemical chromium is what gives the ruby its red color and its inner glow, or fluorescence.

Rubies are primarily found in Myanmar, Thailand, Madagascar, Tanzania and Mozambique.


Emerald

Hardness: 7.5-8

Family: Beryl

The ancient Romans associated the emerald with the goddess Venus so the gems are said to bring passion, joy and unconditional love. A naturally very included gem, emerald rates poorly on the toughness scale (resistance to breakage). Emerald is the birthstone of May and the gem of the twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.

Found in Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Australia, the United States.


Garnet

Hardness: 6.5-7.5

Family: Garnet

Garnet is mostly known in it’s red variety, although it comes in many different colors including green, pink, orange, and even color-change. Rhodolite garnet, which is a rich berry red, is what we use in most of our jewelry.


Labradorite

Hardness: 6-6.5

Family: Feldspar

Known for its incredible play-of-color, Labradorite is typically a grey-blue semi-opaque stone with flashes of bright color. Labradorite is known as the gemstone of transformation, communication, and success.

Found in Canada, Russia, Mexico, USA, Madagascar, and Finland (highest quality).


Topaz

Hardness: 8

Family: Topaz

Known for its array of colors and notable hardness, topaz is a great gemstone for moderate everyday wear. Imperial Topaz is by far the most valuable variety, with a warm golden orange-pink color. When it was first discovered in Russia, it was named to honor the Russian czar, thus earning the Imperial title. Ownership of the gem was restricted to the royal family. Topaz has long been associated with energy, abundance, and the sun.

Found all over the world, with notable deposits in Russia and Brazil.


London Blue Topaz

Hardness: 8

Family: Topaz

One of our favorite varieties of topaz, London Blue was first created in London by using color treatment, (exposure to radiation, then heat), to create a deep blue-teal color. London Blue is said to be good for calming stress, strengthening the mind, and healing hurt feelings.

Found all over the world, with notable deposits in Russia and Brazil.


Onyx

Hardness: 6-6.5

Family: Quartz (Chalcedony)

Onyx is widely known for its pitch black hue, often dispersed with white or yellow bands of color. Onyx has been a staple in jewelry for thousands of years, notably used for cameos and intaglio carvings. Black onyx is thought to have protective properties and to bring inner strength, self-confidence and mental discipline to its wearer.

Deposits of onyx are found all over the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, Africa, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and the US.


Pyrite

Hardness: 6-6.5

Family: Sulfide mineral

Known most for its pseudonym Fools Gold, because at first glance pyrite was thought to be genuine gold by prospectors. The word pyrite originates from the Greek word pyr, meaning "fire." Pyrite gemstones can be used to create sparks when struck against metal or other hard materials. Pyrite is seen as a strong protection stone, bringing its wearer good fortune and success.

Pyrite is a common mineral, found all over the world. Notable deposits are found in Peru, Spain, and the US.


Iolite

Hardness: 7-7.5

Family: Cordierite

Iolite is known for its pleochroism, meaning from one direction, iolite can appear sapphire blue and from another, it can appear clear or honey-yellow in color. The name 'iolite' originates from the Greek word 'ios' meaning 'violet'. Iolite is also known as 'the Viking stone' because according to Norse legend, Vikings used iolite as a polarizing filter to help them find the sun on cloudy days. It is said that Iolite aids in sleep, recovering lost memories, and clearing the Third Eye Chakra.

Most Iolite comes from India, with other deposits in Brazil, Canada, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania and Namibia.


Peridot

Hardness: 6.6-7

Family: Olivine

The ancient Romans called it 'evening emerald' since its color did not darken at night and could still be appreciated by firelight. It is a gem especially connected with ancient Egypt, and some historians believe that the famous emeralds of Cleopatra were actually peridots. Peridot is the stone of gentleness, fairness and wisdom.

Most commonly found in Pakistan, the finest quality peridot comes from Burma and Vietnam.


Pearl

Hardness: 2.5-4.5

Family: Organic gemstone

For thousands of years, pearls have been admired for their beauty and rarity all over the world. Pearls form inside of oysters when a microscopic irritant gets into the tissue and, in order to protect themselves, they build up layers of nacre around the irritant. Cultured pearls, invented by Mikimoto Kōkichi in the 1890s, are formed the same way as natural pearls, the only difference being that a human places the irritant into the mollusk and cares for them for the 6 months to 7 years that they take to grow. Today, most pearls you see in jewelry are cultured, mainly because a natural pearl is found only once in 10,000 oysters.

Cultured Pearls were invented in the 1890s by Mikimoto Kōkichi, and are now primarily farmed in Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.


Moonstone

Hardness: 6-6.5

Family: Feldspar

Moonstone is best known for its soft inner glow and flashes of bright colors and rainbows. Moonstone supports intuition, creativity, and unconditional love. Moonstones were said to help men turn into werewolves at the full moon.

The traditional source of Moonstone is Sri Lanka, with more modern sources including India, Australia, Brazil, Myanmar, Mexico, and Madagascar


Amethyst

Hardness: 7

Family: Quartz

Amethyst refers to all varieties of purple quartz. The color purple is associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, ambition. Amethyst's name comes from the Greek word 'amethystos' meaning ‘not intoxicating.’ In ancient times it was thought that the crystal would prevent you from getting drunk because it was associated with the God of Wine, Dionysus.

Amethyst is found on all continents with the largest deposits found in South and North America and Africa. Currently the biggest producer is Brazil, with Zambia in second place.


Citrine

Hardness: 7

Family: Quartz

Often found alongside amethyst, Citrine refers to any yellow variety of quartz, with hues ranging from a light lemony yellow all the way to an earthy brown-orange color. Citrine is connected with two ancient goddesses: Demeter, Greek goddess of the harvest and productivity, and Sekhmet, Egyptian goddess of war and power.

The biggest supplier of natural crystals is Brazil and neighboring South American countries, with Africa, Russia, the US and Europe also having healthy supplies.


Tourmaline

Hardness: 7-7.5

Family: Tourmaline

Tourmalines are unique in their variety of colors, with greens and pinks being the most common. Heating and cooling, or rubbing a Tourmaline crystal can cause it to become electrically charged, with one end negative and the other positive. When charged, the crystal will attract dust particles.

Tourmalines can be found on all continents but are mined predominantly in Brazil and many parts of Africa. South Asia also has some fine deposits, and North America has produced some world class examples.


Opal

Hardness: 5-6

Family: Opal

Opal derives its name from the Roman word opalus, meaning “precious stone.” Opal is hardened silica gel and usually contains 5-10% water in submicroscopic pores. Opal comes in many varieties, but it is most known for its firework-like flashes of intense color when held at different angles.

While modern-day Slovakia was the primary source for opals in ancient times, now 90-95% of all precious opals are found in Australia. Smaller deposits have also been found in Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico and the USA. Opals have also been found on Mars! Conditions on this barren planet have been compared to modern day Australian deserts, so not a huge surprise there!


Chalcedony

Hardness: 7

Family: Quartz

Many well-known stones are actually different types of chalcedony, the most recognizable being onyx, carnelian, agate, bloodstone and rose quartz. Because of its toughness, chalcedony has been used for centuries as carving material, most used in the making of cameos and intaglios.

High-quality chalcedony deposits are found all over the world, especially in the USA.


Lapis Lazuli

Hardness: 5-5.5

Family: Metamorphic Rock

Technically a rare metamorphic rock composed of a number of minerals, Lapis Lazuli owes its color to the intense blue mineral lazurite. The best-quality Lapis Lazuli is an intense dark blue with minor patches of white calcite and metallic pyrite. Lapis was frequently powdered and used as pigment for some of the most famous works of art from the Impressionist period, including Starry Night by Van Gogh and Water Lilies by Claude Monet!

Mines in Afghanistan were an ancient source and remain so to this day. Some lapis is also found in the USA, Italy, Argentina, and Tajikistan.


Diamond

Hardness: 10

Family: Diamond

Diamonds are not only prized for being the hardest known natural substance on Earth, but also for their incredible brilliance and fire. Historically, diamonds have been claimed to possess many supernatural and metaphysical qualities. Diamonds are believed to inspire strength and resilience, creativity, and clearness of mind.

Some of the top diamond producers have been Russia, Africa, Australia, and Canada. There have also been significant deposits found in India and Brazil. We use exclusively antique diamonds, which have a striking amount of fire (colored light). They are also inherently conflict free, as they are recycled and have been in circulation for over 100 years.

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