Andalusite and some of its Properties.
Andalusite holds the everlasting colours of the season of Autumn. It varies in colour from a pale yellowish brown to a dark bottle-green, dark brown or the most popular, greenish red.
It has a very strong and distinctive pleochroism, so that, when turned, the stone may appear yellow, green and red. A true mimic of the beautiful colours of Autumn.
Large crystals may be vertically striated prisms with a square cross section and pyramidal ends. These are rare. More usual are opaque, rod-like aggregates of crystals or waterworn pebbles. It is these pebbles that are usually cut as gemstones.
Andalusite is an aluminium silicate. It was discovered at Almeria in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia, from where it gets its name.
It is heated to form mullite, a refractory material with industrial uses such as spark plugs.
Some crystals have carbonaceous inclusions, arranged so that in cross section they form a dark cross. This variety is called chiastolite, named after the Greek for “cross”. Chiastolite existed in schists near the town of Santiago de Compostela, northern Spain. Many amulets of the “cross-stone” were sold to pilgrims. This variety is also found in Australia, China, Siberia, Russia, France, England and United States to name a few.
Agate and some of its properties.
Agate is distinguished by its many, often vivid colours . The bands of colours may be white, red, blue, grey, mauve, brown or black. These are irregular and sometimes curved. The parallel bands follow the wavy contour of the cavity where silica gel solidified.
The stone’s name was derived from the River Achates in southwest Sicily, since it was discovered in that area. This gemstone is one of the oldest known minerals. It was valued by the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians who used it for amulets, receptacles and ornamental pieces.
The Greeks and Romans carved it into cameos and intaglios, and the latter used it for intaglio signet rings.
This stone was especially valued during medieval times. Today it remains very popular for brooches, cameos and other jewellery. It is used as a decorative stone for inlaid work, such as boxes, table tops, table mats, clock faces and ornaments, to name just a few.
Agate can be translucent, transparent, or sometimes opaque. Wavy bands are often inside a geode (nodule) of Agate. The colourful bands are best seen when the geode is sawn through and the flat surfaces of the sections are polished. Cutting the stone into thin slices allows light to pass through and display the bands.
All Agates respond well to polishing and they are strong enough for everyday jewellery.
Birthstones: their Origin and Qualities
There are 12 birthstones representing each of the months in a year. Their origin can probably be attributed back to the biblical times, during the time of Moses, where twelve colors comprised the Breast Plate of the High Priest, which represents Israel’s twelve tribes.
After several centuries, the number “12” took on symbolic meaning such as the twelve apostles, the twelve months of the year, the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve foundations of the Holy City and many others.
The assignment of the gemstones to each calendar year can be traced to the Gregorian birthstone poem where each month has its own gem:
January – Garnet, February – Amethyst, March – Aquamarine, April – Diamond
May –Emerald, June – Pearl, July – Ruby, August – Peridot, September – Sapphire, October – Opal, November – Topaz. December – Tanzanite
Birthstone Jewelry makes for a perfect birthday gift. Here are some interesting facts about some of the birthstones:
1. Garnet – (January) This birthstone is also designated to be given on the second and sixth anniversaries. Deep red in color, this gemstone is made of neosilicates. It was the fourth stone in the High Priest’s Breast Plate during Moses’ time. It is known as an amulet for travelers to guard them against harm while on a journey.
2. Ruby – (July) This birthstone was known for its curative powers during the Middle Ages. Blood-red in color, this gem is made up of stable aluminum oxide. It is also known as the “rarest gem” or the “king of all gems” by Jewelers in America. It is believed to be true that owners of rubies are to have good fortune, peace and good health.
3. Aquamarine – (March) The symbol of everlasting youth and happiness, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans have regarded this gemstone as one that is of high value. It has the color of the blue sea, or blue green, having the composition of beryl, the same element present in emeralds. It is said to be an amulet for restoring lost love, increasing patience and healing laziness.
4. Amethyst – (February) According to legends, Amethyst is a beautiful young maiden turned by Goddess Diana into a pillar of quartz to protect her from Bacchus’ wrath. Bacchus is known to be the “God of Wine.” After repenting, Bacchus poured red wine into Amethyst, which gave this valuable quartz its purple color. It is known to be an amulet to prevent drunkenness and remain sober while drinking liquor. It is also known to make the owner smart and successful in business.
5. Peridot – (August) This gemstone is known for its utmost simplicity. It does not have any color variation except olive green. It is used as a talisman to ward off bad spirits and other night creatures, enhances the mood of the owner and gives them the power to have convincing speech.
6. Topaz – (November) Known as a symbol of friendship. When used as an amulet, it is believed to relieve the owner from sadness and help them with intellect and courage. It has color variations and the most common is the yellow one. Blue topaz is the birthstone for December.
BIRTHSTONES JULY TO DECEMBER.
JULY BIRTHSTONE RUBY
The glowing Ruby should adorn
Those who in warm July are born,
Then will they be exempt and free
From love’s doubt and anxiety.
No other gemstone shares it’s attachment to the feelings of love and passion. In the ancient world people believed that Rubies could help them predict the future. They have been worn as talismans to protect from illness or misfortune. It is also said that the wearer of a Ruby would enjoy romance, friendship, energy, courage and peace.
AUGUST BIRTHSTONE PERIDOT.
Wear a Peridot or for thee
No conjugal felicity.
The August born without this stone
‘Tis said must live unloved and loan.
Long associated with luck, many myths and legends celebrated this magical stone due to its apparent power to ward off evil spirits. Historically, if the stone was set in Gold or in any precious metal its capacity to bring the wearer luck and good fortune was even more intensified. In 2003 a NASA spacecraft identified the gem on Mars. [Read More…] about Birthstones July to December
Moonstone and its Properties.
Moonstone has long been considered as a sacred stone and is often believed to be moonlight in a magical, solid form. A virtually colourless stone, it is distinguished by a blush shimmer that moves across its face as the stone is moved.
Moonstone is ethereal and angelic in its appearance. It is just like gazing at the moon at night as it peeks through the clouds.
This gemstone is usually set in rings, pendants and earrings with the lesser graded Moonstone used in beaded necklaces.
Moonstones are said to possess healing abilities aligning your vertebrae, are a good digestive aid and soothe and balance your emotions.
Its mystical powers are said to protect women and babies. It is also associated with the oceans and planting cycles. It is said to balance “yin and yang” as well as bringing good fortune to the wearer. Legend says that Moonstone is a very prized gift for lovers as it arouses tender passion.
Sri Lanka is the most important source of this gemstone, both in terms of volume and quality. There it is mined by hand, a slow and laborious process. It is one of the few gemstones actually found in “Situ” in southern Sri Lanka, the others are found in gravel.
Zircon and some of its properties.
Zircon is a zirconium silicate well-known for its popular gem-quality stones. The name derives from the Arabic word “zargun” meaning ” golden colour”.
Zircon is a source of the metal zirconium, which took its name from the mineral and is now used in the production of nuclear reactors.
This gemstone is the very creation of beauty. After all it started its journey at the very moment our world began to spin.
Zircon is said to be the oldest gem on earth and it is far older than even the most ancient Diamond. A series of tests were done in 1988 and were able to ascertain that it was 4.27 billion years old. By studying the construction of the gem, scientists have been able to gain a far better understanding of how the earth was actually created.
In the middle Ages, Zircon was believed to induce sleep, and encourage honour and wisdom. It was also thought to bring prosperity to its owner and to drive away plagues and evil spirits. During the Black Death it was worn as a protective talisman.
Zircon was believed to increase ingenuity, glory and wealth and would prevent travel sickness. It is still used by some healers to this day.
Gemology and Gemstones
In Gemology, Gemstones are the precious stones pieces naturally; these are then polished and finished for the various purposes. The most common purpose of using gemstones is for creating jewellery. There are different varieties of gemstones that seem same but they are different in their composition. Gemologists, who describe gems and their characteristics using technical terminology specific to the field of gemology, identify gemstones.
The first method preferred by a gemologist is to identify a gemstone by its chemical components. As there is no such grading system for any gemstone universally, other than white (colorless) diamond, this gemstone is graded using a system developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). In olden times, all such gemstones were graded by simply checking their color appearance and visibility. In the early 1950’s the GIA system introduced a technical system for this purpose, the prologue of 10x magnification as the standard for grading clarity. Some gemstones are still graded using the old methods or simply by the naked eye. This is Gemology.
Gemstones have been divided into two groups; precious and semi-precious. These days diamond, ruby sapphire and emerald considered as “precious”, these categories was mainly based on trend and the composition of these two lists has changed frequently over time.
Color, cut, clarity and carat are the parameters decided as an aid to help the consumer in understanding the factors that were use to grade a diamond. With few alterations, these specified groups can be useful in understanding the grading of all gemstones.
The four criteria carry different weight that depends on their application to colored gemstones or to colorless diamond. In case of diamonds, cut is the most important determinant of value followed by clarity and color. Diamonds has the property to sparkle, to break down light into its constituent rainbow colors, chop it up into bright little pieces and deliver it to the eye (brilliance). This is a basic function of cut. The original rough form of a diamond, is crystalline and will not exhibit these properties. After its proper fashioning or “cutting”, diamond show these properties. In case of colored gemstones, including colored diamonds, the purity and beauty of that color is the primary determinant of quality.
Turquoise is the lovely blue gemstone that is used in December birthstone jewelry. It is a bluish green stone that has been used since at least 6000 B.C. when the Egyptians used it in mosaics and decorative work and in the jewelry worn by their Pharaohs. It was also used more recently by Aztec kings, in masks, shields and knives, and by Native Americans and the Persians in beautiful ornamental pieces and jewelry. Turquoise is a relatively rare gemstone. Turquoise of gemstone quality is mined in Australia, Iran (formerly Persia), Afghanistan and in the US in New Mexico, Arizona and other Southwest regions.
The name turquoise is thought to come from the French word meaning Turkey as it was mistakenly believed that the gems were mined in that country as they were traded in the bazaars to European merchants. In reality they almost certainly came from the Iran or the Sinai Peninsula. It may possibly also have arisen from the French word for dark blue stone, pierre turquin. It is usually found in copper deposits generally in arid, dessert conditions.
Before turquoise was found in the USA the finest quality gems, with an intense blue color, were found in Persia and ‘Persian Turquoise’ is still used these days to signify the finest quality gemstones. In the last years of the nineteenth century turquoise was found in the United States with deposits that were the equal of the quality of the Persian gemstones. Nowadays the USA is the major producer of this gorgeous precious stone.
One of the first gemstones to be mined, Turquoise has long been prized for its intense colour, which varies from sky-blue to green depending on the quantities of iron and copper within it. Turquoise is commonly found in microcrystalline, massive form, usually in encrustations, in veins, or as modules. It is opaque to semi-translucent light and very fragile, with conchoidal fracture. Some material is very porous, leading to fading and cracking, so it may be impregnated with wax or resin to maintain its appearance.
Bloodstone and its properties.
Bloodstone is also known as “heliotrope” which is an opaque green variety of chalcedony. The name, Bloodstone, was chosen because of the stone’s many red spots which are caused by Haematite. This is due to the red spots resembling drops of blood.
The red spots on the normally dark green gemstones are caused by the presence of iron oxides.
The heliotrope name comes from the Greek words helios meaning “sun” and tropos meaning “turn”. This is because in ancient times they believed it could turn the rays of the sun red and, if put into water, would show the sun as a blood red image.
The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that if worn by athletes they would gain endurance. Medieval people believed that Christ’s blood dripping down from the cross caused the red spots and therefore it had special powers such as stopping a haemorrhage if touched.
Bloodstone is porous and quite soft but is a very popular gemstone, usually cut as a cabochon.
Arizona Sleeping Beauty Turquoise
Arizona Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is now becoming harder to obtain and therefore more expensive to buy.
There has been a vast reduction in the quantity being mined and this has resulted in it beginning to be rare.
It is said that the mines in Arizona will not be able to produce much more of the gem, if any, as the months go by.
It is a gem with a pure clarity and vivid colour. There are no marks on the stone and when set as a multi gem item, all the stones will match in colour and clarity exactly.
It first became popular when it was announced that it would become rarer in the future and many people have been buying both made up jewelry as well as single gemstones as an investment. Like other gems such as Tanzanite, it has become now a very desired gem to own and to keep. It looks good in Silver and Platinum as well as Gold. You can obtain it in Rings, Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets and Pendants knowing they will all match.
Its beautiful Blue colour means that it can be worn for all occasions, Daytime, evening wear, special occasions and for any reason you may wish. It has all the qualities of Turquoise with all the meanings behind such a lovely gem.