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Gemstone Education

Prized by ancient civilizations for their mystical powers to heal, soothe, and inspire, gemstones provide a unique character to jewelry. Their many different varieties make them perfect for establishing individuality in personal adornment. Gemstones encompass a host of different colors, weights, and cuts. From a deep purple amethyst to the soothing blue hues of turquoise, a gemstone is sure to enliven your jewelry’s presence.

Amethyst gemstone

Amethyst

The birthstone of February, Amethyst is known as the preferred gem of nobles and royals. Its rich purple luster provides a regal quality to all jewelry settings. Amethyst is the recommended gem for couples celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary.

Aquamarine gemstone

Aquamarine

Found in an array of blue shades, Aquamarine was once heralded as the “treasure of mermaids,” and believed to keep sailors safe at sea. The gem is known for its lack of flaws, durability, and refreshing color. It is the birthstone for March, and the traditional gift for the 19th wedding anniversary.

Citrine gemstone

Citrine

Found in shades ranging from yellow to brown, citrine is a bright and attractive gemstone with the capability to enliven jewelry with its illuminating presence. A form of quartz, citrine is more affordable then amethyst and is also available in much larger sizes. It is the birthstone for November, and the traditional gift for couples celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary.

Coral gemstone

Coral

Naturally produced in a variety of colors, coral is composed from the skeletal material of calcium built up by small animals living in sea colonies. The gem is most coveted in rose and red shades. It is extremely brittle, and great care should be taken when storing or transporting it. Coral is the anniversary gemstone for the 35th year of marriage.

Diamond gemstone

Diamond

The diamond is the hallmark of high-class jewelry. Its radiant luster, timeless durability, and elegant presence have mesmerized admirers for centuries. The unequivocal choice for an engagement ring, the diamond is a testament to love and commitment a couple. Its durability ensures a lifetime of performance, while its vibrancy provides an expression of romance that will never dim.

The birthstone for the month of April, the diamond is also a potential gift for wedding anniversaries and special occasion—or simply a token to express one's affection. Diverse in color and carat weight, diamonds are primarily light yellow, but also come in shades of red, pink, blue, green, and brown. In picking out a perfect stone, it is important to also thoroughly evaluate the cut and clarity of each piece.

Emerald gemstone

Emerald

Coveted for its luminous green shade, the emerald has long been a symbol of hope and rebirth. The stone is commonly associated with the season of spring, and has been steeped in mystique for thousands of years. In the Middle Ages, soothsayers used emeralds to tell fortunes, and ancient Romans believed emeralds had the power to calm the soul.

The emerald is a variety of mineral beryl, and gets it green coloring from trace amounts of chromium. It ranks between 7.5 and 8 on the Moh’s hardness scale, making it less resistant to scratching then diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. The emerald comes in a variety of green shades, with the darkest hues demanding the highest prices.

Traditionally, the highest quality emeralds have come from Columbia, but top quality stones have also been collected from the Ural Mountains in Russia. Flawless specimens, although existent, are rare. The majority of emeralds have minor inclusions that are treated with heat or oil to reduce their visibility. In caring for emeralds, owners should clean their jewelry with warm water and a cloth. It is also important to never expose emeralds to extreme temperatures.

The birthstone of May, the emerald is the recommended gift for 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries. Its enchanting shade and rich lore make it an attractive stone for a variety of jewelry settings.

Garnet gemstone

Garnet

Spanning a spectrum of colors, garnet is comprised of a family of gems that are mined all over the world. The most common varieties are almandine and pyrope, respectively dark red and blood red in color. Garnet is the birthstone for January, and a recommended gift for couples celebrating their second year of marriage.

Jade gemstone

Jade

Known in ancient Chinese culture as the royal gem, Jade is the generic term for the gems nephrite and jadeite. The gemstone has a remarkable toughness and was used by early civilizations for axes and knives. In Western culture, green jade is considered the most valuable, while Asian populations tend to covet pure white or fine yellow varieties the most.

Morganite gemstone

Morganite

Named after famous American industrialist J.P. Morgan, Morganite’s fiery pink hue makes it coveted by women looking for a riveting gemstone. With a score of 7.5 on the Moh’s scale, Morganite is durable enough to be worn on everyday occasions. Ranging in shade from pink to light violet, Morganite is recognized for its ability to compliment a wide variety of skin tones.

Onyx gemstone

Onyx

Onyx can be brown, red, black, white, or grey and often consists of alternating light and dark bands. In ancient Rome, soldiers would wear onyx talismans engraved with Hercules, Mars, or other heroes of folklore. Onyx is the birthstone of the Leo, as well as the anniversary gemstone for the seventh year or marriage.

Opal gemstone

Opal

According to lore, Opal has the power to ward of lightning, grant invisibility, aid the heart, and prevent hair from graying. Most commonly found in white, opals can also be black, crystal, or transparent. The fire opal, which has a yellow to red color, is the most valuable of all specimens. Opal is the birthstone of October, and the recommended gift for the 14th wedding anniversary.

Peridot gemstone

Peridot

Known in ancient Rome as the “evening emerald” because of its glowing green color, peridot is the gem form of the mineral olivine. Although found in various shades of green, its most coveted hue is lime. Peridot is the birthstone of August and the recommended gem for couples celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary.

Ruby gemstone

Ruby

Known as the “king of gems,” the ruby is the scarcest of all gemstones. Its presence symbolizes integrity, inspiration, and generosity. In ancient times, rubies were implanted under the skin of warriors to encourage valor and fearlessness. They were also rumored to have medicinal properties as well. According to legend, rubies were ground to a fine powder and placed under the tongue to stop bleeding, ensure good health, and bring peace.

Today, the ruby is known as a symbol of undying love and passion. The birthstone for the month of July, it is also the recommended gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. Smaller on average than other gemstones, the ruby comes in sizes up to two karats. However, its tremendous aura often makes it appear much larger.

When selecting a ruby the most important variable to consider is color. The highest quality rubies are a pure red, without overtones of other hues. Rubies also come in a translucent variety, which may display a six-point star when cut.

Although rubies are found in a multitude of countries, the most valuable specimens originate in Myanmar. Other high quality rubies come from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Kenya. Because rubies are rarely pristine when mined, their color and clarity are often intensified through heat treatment. Some stones also have small fractures filled in with glass to improve their appearance. Whether treated or untreated, the best method for cleaning rubies is a brush and soapy water.

Sapphire gemstone

Sapphire

America's #1 selling colored gem, the sapphire is a symbol of commitment, devotion, and love. It is a member of the corundum family, and the sister of the gemstone ruby. The birthstone for the month of September, sapphire is the recommended gift for the fifth and 45th wedding anniversaries. It is mined across the world, with the most valuable stones harvested in Burma and Sri Lanka. Recently, large sapphire prices have begun to compete with diamonds. In 2001, the Rockefeller Sapphire was purchased for $48, 871 per carat—a total of $2,850,000!

When judging the quality of sapphires, color is the most important factor. The majority of valuable sapphires are blue; however the gemstone appears in a wide array of shades. High-end sapphires have a medium tone, and sustain their shading under all types of lighting. In blue sapphires, undertones of other colors can decrease values.

Harder than any gemstone excluding diamond, sapphire scores a 9 on the Moh’s scale. Its durability makes it an excellent stone for jewelry that is subjected to everyday use, such as bracelets and rings. It can be cleaned with soapy water or commercial soap and a brush. When wearing sapphires, one should avoid strenuous activity and exposure to chlorine.

Mysterious and enchanting, sapphires are a striking gemstone that can be used in a variety of jewelry settings. From watches to rings, their presence furthers elegance and paves the way for luxurious jewelry design.

Tanzanite gemstone

Tanzanite

First discovered by Portuguese prospector Manuel d’Souza, Tanzanite was introduced by the famous Tiffany & Co jewelry in 1969. Due to the allure of its bluish purple coloring, Tanzanite was the number one colored stone sold worldwide in 1998 and 1999. The finest specimens of Tanzanite are violet colored, and have a slightly less intense shade than their peers. Tanzanite is the recommended gift for the 24th wedding anniversary.

Topaz gemstone

Topaz

Available in yellow, blue, brown, green, and red hues, Topaz was named by ancient Egyptians who believed the stone got its coloring from the influence of the sun. Imperial topaz, which has a reddish orange glow, is the rarest and most expensive form of the gem. Blue topaz is the traditional gift for the 24th wedding anniversary, as well as the birthstone for December.

Tourmaline gemstone

Tourmaline

Appearing in hues of blue, yellow, pink, red, black, and green, Tourmaline’s variety of colors have made it a popular gem choice for necklaces, bracelets, and pendants. It contains color crystals that are strongly dichroic—meaning that they are of different colors when viewed in the direction of different axes. Tourmaline is the birthstone of Libra, and the recommended gift for the 8th wedding anniversary.

Turquoise gemstone

Turquoise

One of the oldest known gemstones, turquoise was mined by ancient populations prior to 4,000 B.C. The bluish green gemstone was used as an ornament in ceremonial dress by Egyptian pharaohs and early Native Americans. The most valuable turquoise deposits are in Neyshabur, Iran, but mines also exist across Africa, Australia, and the Southwestern U.S. Turquoise is the anniversary gemstone for the fifth year of marriage.