All about gem color stones

Emerald

Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May and the gemstone representing the 20th, 35th, and 55th wedding anniversary.
Emeralds were once prescribed for eye diseases because the green color was believed to be soothing to the eyes. It was also once recommended as an amulet to ward off epilepsy in children. Emeralds were known to strengthen the owner’s memory, quicken intelligence, and assist in predicting the future, and also known as a symbol of rebirth and romance.

The emerald (bareket in the Hebrew Bible), a gem of highly saturated green color, is one of the most valuable stones found in nature. From the very dawn of history, it has been yearned for and worshipped. Pliny, the renowned first century traveler and explorer, published a book in 77 A.D. on natural sciences, in which he described the characteristics of gemstones. “The third most important stone in existence, for many reasons, is the smaragdus (emerald),” he wrote. “No other stone has a color more pleasing to the human eye.” (Pliny assigned first place to the diamond, and second place to the pearl.)
Emerald was credited with amazing powers against wickedness and deceit, and was even thought to be capable of blinding and killing snakes. It was also attributed to it the ability to improve weak eyesight, and the Emperor Nero contributed to its legend by claiming that an emerald crystal had improved his powers of discrimination during gladiator battles.

Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. Most gemologists, gemological laboratories, and colored stone dealers call a stone green beryl when its color is “too light” for it to be classified as emerald. Even among that group, however, there’s a difference of opinion about what’s considered “too light.”

Birthstones & Anniversaries

As the gem of spring, emerald is the perfect choice as the birthstone for the month of May. It’s also the gem of the twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.

 

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is the birthstone for the month of October and the gemstone representing the eighth wedding anniversary.

It was once believed that it protected the wearer against bad decisions, many dangers, and misfortune. It is also known to attract friends and lovers. Pink tourmaline promotes female balance and protection, as green tourmaline promotes the same among males.

Tourmaline’s colors have many different causes. It’s generally agreed that traces of iron, and possibly titanium, induce green and blue colors. Manganese produces reds and pinks, and possibly yellows. Some pink and yellow tourmalines might owe their hues to color centers caused by radiation, which can be natural or laboratory-induced.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Tourmaline is a birthstone for October, along with opal. Tourmaline is also the gem of the eighth anniversary.

 

Tanzanite

Tanzanite was recently chosen as the birthstone of December.
Tanzanite is the gemstone representing the 24th wedding anniversary. It has been recognized as helping one deal with change. Tanzanite is also known to uplift the spirit and open the heart. The blue and purple hues of Tanzanite are associated with generosity and friendship.
Tanzanite is one of the most important stones found in the 20th century. This stone is a rare variety of zoisite discovered in the early 1960s , found only in a specific area of Tanzania. Tanzanite is considered, along with the sapphire, to be the finest blue stone in existence.
Tanzanite belongs to the family of gemstones of orthorhombic crystals. When observing a single rough tanzanite crystal from various angles, one can distinguish three different colors. This phenomenon is called “pleochroism.” Also, the crystal changes its color drastically by way of a certain heat-treatment process.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Tanzanite is a birthstone for December, along with zircon, turquoise, and blue topaz. Tanzanite is also the gem for a 24th anniversary.

 

Sapphire

Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September and the gemstone representing the fifth and 45th wedding anniversary.
The ancients believed sapphires influenced spirts, guarded against unchastity, made peace between enemies, and protected them from capture. They were also thought to clear the mind and skin, cure fevers, colds, eye diseases, and ulcers.
Sapphire is a longtime symbol and guardian of purity, and it represents truth, sincerity, and consistency. Many believe sapphires are only blue, when indeed they are available in a variety of colors and are classified as fancy color sapphires.

White sapphire is a colorless material that has the typical luster of corundum.
Pink sapphire has a range of color from a bright, delicate pink to a pink with a slight tinge of violet. Its most striking characteristic is its luster and is considered to be one of the most valuable secondary gems.
Yellow sapphire ranges in color from pale to canary yellow, gold, honey, and brownish yellow. The lighter and brighter colors are the most common.
Ruby and sapphire are mentioned in the Bible as two of the stones on the High Priest’s breastplate. The ruby and the sapphire are both members of the corundum family, a group of crystallized aluminum oxides. Strange as it may seem, both have exactly the same chemical composition, and what distinguishes between them are only small amounts of coloring trace elements.
The ruby is a corundum occurring in various shades of red, including deep red, light purplish red, pink and light orange-red. The sapphire appears in all possible colors except red, such as blue, yellow, green, purple and brown.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem of the 5th and 45th anniversaries.

 

Ruby

Ruby and sapphire are members of the corundum family, a group of crystallized aluminum oxides. Both have exactly the same chemical composition and only small amounts of colouring trace elements distinguish between them.

Ruby is corundum occurring in various shades of red; whereas sapphire appears in all possible colors except red, such as blue, yellow, green, purple, pink and brown. In some cases, however, a gem can fall into the border between the two variety definitions, for example, in very light coloured corundum, or when the red colour is not dominant. In these cases, the gem will be identified as a sapphire (pink sapphire, orange sapphire, purple sapphire… etc.).

These borders, however, are not constant and they differ between the markets around the world. For example, a light-red-coloured corundum gem may be considered as a pink sapphire in the Far East, or as a light-coloured ruby in Europe, where the term pink sapphire is rarely used.

Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July and the gemstone representing the fifteenth and fortieth wedding anniversaries.

It is known as the stone of love and is capable of reconciling lovers’ quarrels. Ruby is given as a symbol of success, devotion, integrity, health, and passion. The gem was once thought to ward off misfortune and ill-health and to endow health, happiness and wisdom onto its wearer. If worn in a ring on the left hand or in a brooch on the left side, it would give the magical ability to live in peace among enemies. It was also considered a remedy for various ailments, and was an important component of the medicine chest in the Middle Ages.

Peoples of the East would insert a ruby into a cut in the skin above an artery, believing that the gemstone would infuse great courage and wisdom into their blood. On account of its rarity, rulers used it as a symbol of their wealth and power. Ruby is mentioned in the Bible as one of the gemstones on the High Priest’s breastplate.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Ruby is the birthstone for July and the gem for the 15th and 40th anniversaries.

 

Spinel

The colors of spinel. This variety ranges in color from pigeon’s blood to the colors of Thai rubies, and is even found in dark purples or dark reds similar to the colors of garnet. At times the stone tends to a color which is reddish-pink to light pink. A spinel of a different hue is the famous orange spinel. Another spinel is the blue spinel. Its colors range from a deep, almost opaque blackish-blue, to light blues. The stone always has a certain grayness like the color of very low-grade sapphires. Rarer spinel colors are the greens which mainly serve the collectors’ market.

The Black Prince’s Ruby. The Timur Ruby. For centuries, spinel, the great imposter, masqueraded as ruby in Europe’s crown jewels.

The Facts

Although frequently confused with ruby, spinel stands on its own merits. Available in a striking array of colors, its long history includes many famous large spinels still in existence

Until recently, spinel was an underappreciated gem with little consumer recognition. Increasing demand for ruby alternatives rekindled appreciation for spinel’s rich red color and history. In ancient times, southeast Asia’s mines yielded exceptional large spinel crystals, which became the treasured property of kings and emperors, often passing through many hands as spoils of war.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Spinel was recently added as an August birthstone, sharing this month with peridot and sardonyx. It has long been mistaken for ruby by emperors and monarchs. Many of the famous “rubies” of history were actually spinels.

Cut Zircon

Zircon

Zircon is a colorful gem with high refraction and fire that’s unfairly confused with cubic zirconia.

The Facts

Optical properties make it bright and lustrous. Best known for its brilliant blue hues; also comes in warm autumnal yellows and reddish browns, as well as red and green hues.

Colorless zircon is known for its brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire. These zircon properties are close enough to the properties of diamond to account for centuries of confusion between the two gems.

Zircon occurs in an array of colors. Its varied palette of yellow, green, red, reddish brown, and blue hues makes it a favorite among collectors as well as informed consumers.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Zircon is a birthstone for the month of December, along with turquoise and tanzanite.

Cut Ametrine

Ametrine

This transparent quartz has colors of both amethyst and citrine, and is called ametrine or amethyst-citrine.

The Facts

Ametrine, one of the rarest types of transparent quartz, combines two colors: amethyst’s purple and citrine’s orange-to-yellow, growing together in a single crystal

Whether projecting from pegmatite walls or encrusting cavities in volcanic rock, quartz abounds worldwide. People have used quartz in jewelry for thousands of years. When quartz displays the colors of amethyst and citrine in a single gem, the material is called ametrine or amethyst-citrine. Ametrine’s only commercial source is the Anahi mine in Bolivia.

Cut Aquamarine

Aquamarine

Named after seawater, aquamarine’s fresh watery hue is a cool plunge into a refreshing pool.

The Facts

Blue to slightly greenish-blue variety of the mineral beryl. Crystals are sometimes big enough to cut fashioned gems of more than 100 carats. Well-formed crystals might make superb mineral specimens

Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater and it was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. March’s birthstone was also thought to enhance the happiness of marriages. The best gems combine high clarity with limpid transparency and blue to slightly greenish blue hues. Like many beryls, aquamarine forms large crystals suitable for sizable fashioned gems and carvings.
Birthstones & Anniversaries

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Aquamarine is the birthstone

for March and the gem of the 19th wedding anniversary.

 

Cut Garnet

Garnet

Garnets are a set of closely related minerals forming a group, with gemstones in almost every color.

The Facts

The garnet group of related mineral species offers gems of every hue, including fiery red pyrope, vibrant orange spessartine, and rare intense-green varieties of grossular and andradite

Red garnets have a long history, but modern gem buyers can pick from a rich palette of garnet colors: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, and even some blues. Red garnet is one of the most common and widespread of gems. But not all garnets are as abundant as the red ones. A green garnet, tsavorite, is rarer and needs rarer rock chemistries and conditions to form.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Garnet is the birthstone for January and the gem for the second anniversary.

Cut Morganite

Morganite

Morganite is the pink to orange-pink variety of beryl, a mineral that includes emerald and aquamarine.

The Facts

Like its cousins emerald and aquamarine, morganite is a variety of the beryl mineral species. This gem gets its subtle blush when a trace amount of manganese makes its way into morganite’s crystal structure.

Morganite’s subtle color is caused by traces of manganese. Because morganite has distinct pleochroism—pale pink and a deeper bluish pink—it’s necessary to orient the rough carefully for fashioning. Strong color in morganite is rare, and gems usually have to be large to achieve the finest color

Cut Opal

Opal

Fireworks. Jellyfish. Galaxies. Lightning. Opal’s shifting play of kaleidoscopic colors is unlike any other gem.

The Facts

Opal’s microscopic arrays of stacked silica spheres diffract light into a blaze of flashing colors. An opal’s color range and pattern help determine its value

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Opal is an October birthstone.

Cut Kunzite

Kunzite

Collectors love kunzite for its color range, from delicate pastel pink to intense violetish purple.

The Facts

Trace amounts of manganese give this pink to violet variety of spodumene its feminine glow. A relative newcomer to the gemstone stage, kunzite was only confirmed as a unique variety of spodumene in the early part of the twentieth century.

Kunzite is the best-known variety of the mineral spodumene. It’s named after famed gemologist George Frederick Kunz, who was the first to identify it as a unique variety of spodumene. Kunzite gets its delicate color from trace amounts of manganese. California’s San Diego County is an important source of kunzite.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Some consider kunzite to be an alternate birthstone for February.

Cut Amethyst

Amethyst

The essence of the color purple, amethyst is beautiful enough for crown jewels yet affordable enough for class rings.

The Facts

Purple variety of the mineral quartz, often forms large, six-sided crystals. Fine velvety-colored gems come from African and South American mines. In demand for jewelry at all price points.

Amethyst was as expensive as ruby and emerald until the 19th Century, when Brazil’s large deposits were discovered. It was believed to prevent intoxication—amethystos means “not drunk” in ancient Greek. Today, as the most valued quartz variety, amethyst is in demand for designer pieces and mass-market jewelry alike, and its purple to pastel hues retain wide consumer appeal.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Amethyst is the birthstone for February and the gem for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.

Cut Amber

Amber

Amber is nature’s time capsule. This fossilized tree resin contains remnants of life on earth millions of years ago.

The Facts

Fossilized resin, color of the burnished sun–orange or golden brown. Amber might trap and preserve ancient life, including insects, leaves, even scorpions and occasionally lizards.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

While amber isn’t a birthstone, it is associated with the astrological sign of Taurus.

Cut Jade

Jade

Jade is actually two separate gems: nephrite and jadeite. In China, a pierced jade disk is a symbol of heaven.

The Facts

Prized by civilizations from ancient China to the Aztecs and Mayans of Central America, jade is crafted into objects of stunning artistry.

Jade has its cultural roots in the smoke-dimmed caves and huts that sheltered prehistoric humans. Around the world, Stone Age workers shaped this toughest of gems into weapons, tools, ornaments, and ritual objects. Their carvings invoked the powers of heaven and earth and mystic forces of life and death.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Jade is the official gem for the 12th anniversary.

Cut Iolite

Iolite

According to legend, Vikings used iolite slices to reduce glare when checking the sun’s position.

The Facts

Known in the jewelry trade as iolite, this mineral is known as cordierite to geologists and mineralogists. It was named after French mineralogist Pierre Cordier.

In legends, ancient Viking navigators used thin slices of iolite as filters to help locate the sun on cloudy days. Whether or not the tales are true, iolite (mineralogists call it cordierite) can be fashioned into beautiful gems. Strongly pleochroic iolite has been incorrectly called “water sapphire,” as it can display a blue to violet hue in one direction and pale yellow to colorless in another.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Iolite is the gemstone for the twenty-first wedding anniversary.

Cut Citrine

Citrine

Citrine is the transparent, pale yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz.

The Facts

Citrine’s color comes from traces of iron. It’s perhaps the most popular and frequently purchased yellow gemstone and an attractive alternative for topaz as well as for yellow sapphire.

Citrine is rare in nature. In the days before modern gemology, its tawny color caused it to be confused with topaz. Today, its attractive color, plus the durability and affordability it shares with most other quartzes, makes it the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem. In the contemporary market, citrine’s most popular shade is an earthy, deep, brownish or reddish orange.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Along with topaz, citrine is a birthstone for November. It’s also recognized as the gem that commemorates the thirteenth anniversary.

Cut Topaz

Topaz

Honey yellow. Fiery orange. Cyclamen pink. Icy blue. In warm or cool tones, topaz is a lustrous and brilliant gem.

The Facts

Colorless topaz treated to blue is a mass-market gem. Fine pink-to-red, purple, or orange gems are one-of-a-kind pieces. Top sources include Ouro Prêto, Brazil, and Russia’s Ural Mountains.

Topaz actually has an exceptionally wide color range that, besides brown, includes various tones and saturations of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple. Colorless topaz is plentiful, and is often treated to give it a blue color. Topaz is also pleochroic, meaning that the gem can show different colors in different crystal directions.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Precious topaz is a birthstone for November and blue topaz is a birthstone for December. Blue topaz is the gem of the 4th anniversary and Imperial topaz is the gem of the 23rd anniversary.

Cut Moonstone

Moonstone

A ghostly sheen moves under the surface of this feldspar, like moonlight glowing in water.

The Facts

Feldspar prized for its billowy blue adularescence, caused by light scattering from an intergrowth of microscopic, alternating layers. Favored gem of many Art Nouveau jewelry designers.

Moonstone is a variety of the feldspar-group mineral orthoclase. During formation, orthoclase and albite separate into alternating layers. When light falls between these thin layers it is scattered producing the phenomenon called adularescence. Adularescence is the light that appears to billow across a gem. Other feldspar minerals can also show adularescence including labradorite and sanidine.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Moonstone is a birthstone for June, along with pearl and alexandrite.

Cut Sunstone

Sunstone

Sunstone’s phenomenal varieties show a distinct and lively glitter called aventurescence.

The Facts

Sunstone, a member of the feldspar group, can be an orthoclase feldspar or a plagioclase feldspar, depending on chemistry. Both can show aventurescence. “Sunstone” applies to the gem’s appearance.

Sunstone is a member of the feldspar group. Both the orthoclase and the plagioclase feldspar species boast a sunstone variety. Other feldspar group gems include moonstone, non-phenomenal orthoclase, phenomenal and non-phenomenal labradorite, and amazonite. Sunstone from Oregon is gaining attention as a natural and untreated product of the United States.

Cut Pearl

Pearl

Perfect shining spheres. Lustrous baroque forms. Seductive strands, warm to the touch. Pearls are simply and purely organic.

The Facts

Produced in the bodies of marine and freshwater mollusks naturally or cultured by people with great care. Lustrous, smooth, subtly-colored pearls are jewelry staples, especially as strands.

Perhaps the best-loved gems of all time, pearls—natural and cultured—occur in a wide variety of colors. The most familiar are white and cream, but the palette of colors extends to every hue. Natural pearls form around a microscopic irritant in the bodies of certain mollusks. Cultured pearls are the result of the deliberate insertion of a bead or piece of tissue that the mollusk coats with nacre.

Birthstones & Anniversaries

Pearl is the birthstone for June and the gem of the third and thirtieth anniversaries.

All about gem color stones