Gemstones - A little more information
(Also called Paua Shell)
A gemstone created in the sea, with a fusion of blues and greens. Just like the ocean's waves with swirling and rolling in beautiful patterns. Considered a delicacy by many throughout the world, the Abalone, or Ear Shell, is a Gastropod: a member of the Mollusc family of sea creatures. Paua is the Mauri name given to the Abalone and now the most popular name for this shell stone.
Agate is a banded form of finely-grained, microcrystalline Quartz. The lovely color patterns and banding make this translucent gemstone very unique. Agates can have many distinctive styles and patterns, but each Agate is unique in its own habit, with no two Agates being the same. Quartz (Chalcedony)
Amber is fossilized tree resin, which has been appreciated for its colour and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is available in a variety of colours, Cognac, green, yellow, milky, Cherry and Blue
Traditional birthstone: February
Amethyst is a beautiful vivid purple or violet gemstone available in a wide variety of faceted and cabochon styles. Its wonderful variety of colours makes it the most popular of the quartz family to be used in jewellery production.
Amethyst can differ in colour depending upon the region in which it has been mined and generally varies from a pale lilac to a deep purple.
Aventurine is a gemstone variety of quartz characterised by its translucency and sparkly metallic inclusions. ... Aventurine's color is caused by trace elements of fuchsite in otherwise colorless quartz. Fuchsite is a chromium-rich variety of muscovite.
The Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of amber, called Baltic amber or succinite. It dates from 44 million years ago. It has been estimated that these forests created more than 100,000 tons of amber.
Alternative birthstone: July
Carnelian is also known as chalcedony and ranges in colour from bright orange to reddish orange. The shades of red are due to inclusions of iron oxide.
Most carnelian is stained chalcedony from Brazil or Uruguay, but it can also be naturally sun-treated to change its brown tints to red.
Blue chalcedony is a translucent to transparent milky blue or grayish quartz. It is a finely crystallised or fibrous quartz that forms rounded crusts or stalactites in volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Chalcedony, agates, jaspers, bloodstone, carnelian and onyx all make up the chalcedony gemstone family.
Being relatively inexpensive, chalcedony is the best available and most collected gemstone. Having good healing powers, the gemstone is believed to banish fear, depression and reduce fevers.
Alternative birthstone: November
Citrine is a pale yellow variety of crystalline quartz resembling topaz. It is considered an alternative to topaz but is a separate mineral altogether.
Being one of the most affordable gemstones, citrine is durable, slightly softer and has less brilliance than precious topaz.
Citrine derives its name from the French word citron, meaning 'lemon'. The different shades range from yellow, gold, orange and brown.
Cubic zirconia is relatively hard, 8–8.5 on the Mohs scale— slightly harder than most semi-precious natural gems. Its refractive index is high at 2.15–2.18 (compared to 2.42 for diamonds) and its luster is adamantine. Its dispersion is very high at 0.058–0.066, exceeding that of diamond (0.044).
Traditional birthstone: January
Garnet is an aluminium or calcium silicate mineral found embedded within igneous and metamorphic rocks.
The colour of garnet ranges from shades of red, pink, purple, orange, yellow, violet, green, colourless and occasionally black.
Garnet derives its name from ancient Greeks, as its colour reminded them of the pomegranate seed or granatum. It is a renowned ancient gem and has been treasured for thousands of years.
Garnet is said to stimulate the bloodstream and help to combat depression and lethargy. It symbolizes fire, faith, courage, truth, grace, compassion, constancy and fidelity.
Howlite was named after Henry How, who discovered it in 1868 in Nova Scotia. ... Howlite is best known for imitating other gemstones. Due to its porous nature,howlite can absorb dye well, which means it can be sold as turquoise, red coral, or lapis lazuli.
Alternative birthstone: September
Iolite is a blue silicate mineral that occurs as crystals or grains in igneous rocks, as a result of the contamination of volcanic magma by aluminous sediment.
Iolite has different colours running in different directions within the crystal, which helps us to understand how the gemstone changes colours depending upon which angle it is viewed.
The name iolite comes from the Greek word ios, meaning 'violet'.
Jade is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of gemstones, but the only pure forms of jade are jadeite and nephrite. ... The Chinese refer to jade as "yu", which means "heavenly" or "imperial". Therefore, it is considered to be the imperial gem in Chinese culture.
Jade ranges in colour. It occurs in green, white, orange, yellow, lavender, grey and black. The most highly valued jade is a vivid emerald green and is semi-transparent. It is known as imperial jade and only occurs in Burma (Myanmar). Jade can be more than one colour in a single gem. Jade in which the colour is evenly distributed is highly valued. However, colour preferences vary depending on the region. For example, in the West, deep and vivid green jade is preferred, but in the Far East, pure white or yellow jade with a pink tone is prized, along with green imperial jade.
Jasper is an opaque variety of Chalcedony, and is usually associated with brown, yellow, or reddish colors, but may be used to describe other opaque colors of Chalcedony such as dark or mottled green, orange, and black.Jasper is almost always multicolored, with unique color patterns and habits.
Labradorite is one of a series in the family of plagioclase feldspars (complex silicates with varying amounts of sodium and calcium). This family also includes the moonstone and sunstone.
The mineral property 'labradorescence' gets its name from this mineral and refers to the luminous blue, green, gold and red sheen given off when turned under light.
Alternative birthstone: September (also see Iolite)
Lapis Lazuli is an opaque to translucent blue, violet-blue or greenish-blue gemstone composed mainly of lazurite, calcite, pyrite and sodalite. The rich blue colour is due to the sulphur inherent within the structure of lazurite.
Lapis Lazuli is said to cleanse the mental body while releasing old karmic patterns.
Malachite is a green copper carbonate mineral. ... Malachite is used as a source of copper and as a gemstone. It often occurs with azurite in copper deposits.
Marcasite is a brittle material that cannot be scratched with a knife. The thin, flat, tabular crystals, when joined in groups, are called "cockscombs." In marcasite jewellery, pyrite used as a gemstone is termed "marcasite" – that is, marcasite jewellery is made from pyrite, not from the mineral marcasite.
Alternative birthstone: July
Onyx is a chalcedony that occurs in bands of different colours. It is also found in brown, gray and white.
Onyx is composed of relatively straight, parallel layers of different colours. When the dark layers are brown or brownish red, it is often called sardonyx. Onyx is usually cut into cabochon or beads. Some onyx is natural, but much is produced by the staining of agate.
Traditional birthstone: June
Pearls are not classed as gemstones, although we thought the information would be useful. They are created by oysters (and a small group of other shellfish) when a small irritant such as a grain of sand gets trapped under their shells. To avoid further irritation, the oyster will start producing nacre and coat the intruder to sooth its discomfort. Over years of treatment, a pearl is produced.
Nearly all marketed pearls are cultured, where a relatively large bead or piece of tissue from a mussel is placed inside the body of the host oyster. This stimulates the formation of a cultured pearl.
Pearls vary in colour from black, pink, cream, silver-gray, blue, yellow, lavender and green.
The pearls we use in our silver jewellery are mostly the freshwater variety.
Traditional birthstone: August
Peridot, which is a volcanic gemstone, is a yellow-green variety of olivine. It is composed of silica, magnesia and iron. The gemstone is formed of olivine; a silicate found in igneous rocks and a major constituent of the Earth's upper mantle.
Small crystallites of peridot are often found in the basalt rocks created by volcanoes but have also been found in iron-nickel meteorites called pallasites.
Peridot derives its name from the French word peritot, meaning 'unclear'. It is also believed to take its name from the Arabic word faridat, meaning 'gem'.
Alternative birthstone: June
A significant portion of the Earth's crust is composed of minerals from the feldspar group such as moonstone, amazonite, and labradorite.
In India, moonstone is considered to be a sacred stone and has a floating light effect and sheen called adularescence, similar to the light of the moon.
It is usually set as a cabochon and rarely faceted.
Moonstone specimens sometimes display a strong cat's eye. Colours vary from typically white, colourless or light grayish blue.
The rainbow moonstone often produces a full spectrum of colours when turned under a light, hence its name
Rose Quartz is one of the most desirable varieties of the quartz family. Its colour is obtained through iron and titanium impurities within the natural stone.
Rose Quartz beads, dating back to 7,000BC, have been located in Mesopotamia. It is said that the Assyrians and the Romans were the first to use it.
Rose Quartz is often referred to as the 'love stone', as it is said to open the heart. The gemstone is also believed to bring gentleness, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, tolerance and remove fear and anger.
Silver is one of the most popular precious metals and is associated with success, glamour and wealth. It is ductile and malleable, which means that it is therefore ideal for use in making all types of jewellery
Brighter in colour than the other white metals, silver has been used in fashionable and alluring jewellery throughout history. Plain, engraved or stone set silver is so wonderfully versatile; it is the perfect metal to complement precious gemstones.
You may have come across the term sterling silver, which is an alloy, made up of copper and 92.5% pure silver and this is reflected in the 925 sterling silver hallmark stamp. Slightly harder than pure silver, sterling silver is the most popular alloy for use in the manufacture of jewellery
Silver articles weighing less than 7.78 grams are not required to carry a hallmark.
Traditional birthstone: November
Topaz is a blue, yellow, brown, pink or colourless aluminium silicate mineral, often found located within granite rocks and valued as a gemstone. Under suitable conditions, topaz grows into enormous crystals. It derives its name from the Sanskrit word tapas, meaning 'fire'.
Being a transparent stone with a vitreous lustre, its pure crystals look beautiful in exclusive jewellery items. Although red and pink are the most rare and most desirable colours for topaz, blue topaz is extremely popular. Topaz is a very hard gemstone but it can be split with a heavy blow - a trait it shares with diamond.
It is said that topaz balances emotions and gives feelings of joy and is referred to as the spiritual rejuvenation gemstone.
Traditional birthstone: December
Turquoise is a blue to blue-green mineral of aluminium and copper.
It derives its name from the name Turc ('Turkish' in French), as it was transported to Europe through Turkey.
It is one of the oldest known gem materials on our planet. Turquoise is a mineral deposited from circulating waters.
Ancient manuscripts from Persia, India, Afghanistan and Arabia report that the health of a person wearing turquoise can be assessed by variations in its colour. It is also said to bring good fortune.