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GEMSTONES:

 

History and descriptions

 

 

 

Text Box: The Jewelry Doctor
Iris Rocker, AJP, (GIA)

Amethyst …

Trigonal formation,

Moh’s hardness=7

Chemical composition = SiO2

A common form of quartz.  Amethyst is usually purple, but can range in color from pale lavender to a very deep, reddish purple and may have milky white or green inclusions.  Deeper-colored amethysts are more highly valued.  The name comes from the Greek for “not drunken” as wearing amethyst was believed to be a proof against becoming intoxicated.  The amethyst is said to bring good luck and to radiate love.  Amethyst is the birthstone for February. 

Aquamarine …

Hexagonal formation,

Moh’s hardness = 7.5

Chemical composition = Be3Al2(SiO3)6

 

A member of the beryl family, like emeralds, Aquamarine is a transparent blue or sea-green, dichroic gem.  The name is derived from  Latin and means “water of the sea”.  This stone is found all over the world but most notable are Brazilian aquas (called Santa Marias).  They also found in Kenya, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Madagascar.  It was thought to bring the wearers knowledge, foresight and inspiration.

Citrine ...

Trigonal formation,

Moh’s hardness =  7

Chemical composition =  SiO2

Named after the French word for lemon, “citron”, It is often incorrectly called quartz or citrine topaz.  A variety of quartz, citrine is found in light yellow, amber-brown and a brilliant orange that may be confused with fine imperial topaz.  Most citrine comes from South America.  In ancient times, citrine was revered as a gift of the sun and believed to be a powerful antidote to a viper’s venom.  Citrine is the birthstone for November.

Emerald ...

Hexagonal formation,

Moh’s hardness =  7.5

Chemical composition = Be3Al2(SiO3)6

A rich, green gemstone of the beryl family.  Fine emeralds are among the most valuable gemstones.  Emeralds are created when chromium combines with various impurities.  Unlike most gemstones, inclusions (called “jardin” the French word for garden), are quite common in emeralds, so they lower the value much less than with other precious stones such as diamonds.  As a remedy to lessen the appearance of common flaws, emeralds may be oiled or dyed.  The most highly prized emeralds are mined from Columbia.  A valuable emerald will be  a bright, vividly colored green.  Those with a slight blue cast to the bright green are actually the most valuable color.  Many emeralds seen in jewelry are of relatively low quality.  If an emerald appears to be very fine, it actually may be synthetic.  There are several types of synthetic emeralds on the market and some to them are challenging to identify, even for a trained gemologist.  Emeralds have long been regarded as a symbol of fertility, rebirth and springtime.  They were believed to protect the wearer from the perils of long journeys.  Emerald is the birthstone for May.

Garnet …

formation,

Moh’s hardness =  6 to 8

Chemical composition =

A family of stones having many varieties differing in color and in their constituents, but all are silicates, with the same isometric crystallization and confirming to the same general chemical formula.  Garnet is a very commonly found in gneiss and mica slate.  The name is derived from its resemblance in color and shape to the seeds of the pomegranate  The colors of garnets are from light red to violet or plum-red, but garnets can also be white, green, yellow, brown and black varieties.  It seems as though every shade and color of garnet is given its own name.  Known varieties of garnet include Andradite, Tsavorite, Grossularite, Essonite, Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartitie, Melanite, Allochroite, Ouvarovite, Demantoid and Rhodalite.  It is believed that the wearer of garnet jewelry was kept in good health and protected while travelling.  Garnets are worn to signify truth and faith.  Red garnet is the birthstone of January.

Sapphire ...

Trigonal formation,

Moh’s hardness = 9

Chemical composition = Al2O3

One of the four precious gemstones.  The other three are diamonds, rubies and emeralds.  Sapphire is a member of the corundum family which come in a variety of colors from white to orange to green to pink.  If a corundum gemstone is red, it is a ruby, but any other color are properly referred to as sapphires.  Sapphires have been synthesized since the 1920’s.  Ancient Persians believed the blueness of the sky was caused bb the reflection from a enormous blue sapphire that the earth rested on.  Blue sapphire is the birthstone for September.

Topaz …

Orthorhombic formation,

Moh’s hardness =  8

Chemical composition =  Al2(F,OH)2SiO4

Topaz is light brown or colorless mineral when it is mined.  The color of Topaz is very variable;  it may be white, colorless, gray, yellow, orange, brown, blue, greenish, purple or pink.  However, it turns a vivid blue when exposed to heat.  Blue Topaz is the alternate birthstone for December

 

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