For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
Abalone is an edible sea snail found in warm ocean waters worldwide. The inside of the abalone shell, the nacre, is iridescent and noted for its multicolored mother-of-pearl lining. This nacre is very desirous in making decorative objects and jewelry. Abalone shell is cut and polished to display the vibrant rainbow colors. Abalone shell is very soft, with a rating of 3 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Clean your abalone with a gentle soap and soft cloth. Rinse with water and after drying, wrap your abalone jewelry to prevent scratches.
Agate is a quartz from the chalcedony family. It comes in a wide variety of colors. Some agates show a succession of parallel lines that give the gemstone a banded appearance. Agates are found all over the world. Some types of agates are Banded Agate, having the banded striping, Mexican Agate, having "one eye", Dendritic Agate and Moss Agate, have fern or tree-like patterns, Turritella Agate is fossilized turritella shells, Coral and Petrified Wood can become agatized. Mojave Blue Agate is pastel blue or blue-gray. Brazilian Agate is colored with browns, layered with white and gray. Carnelian Agate is a reddish color. Botswana agate is banded with fine, parallel lines, frequently pink blending into white. Blue Lace Agate is a medium blue color with light and darker blue banding. Plume Agates have inclusions that look like feathers, plants, or flowers. Fire Agate almost seems to have a glow of a fire inside of it. Mexican Crazy Lace Agate has a complex banded pattern usually with grays, whites and reds. Agates rate 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your agate with commercial jewelry clearer or ultrasonic gem cleaner.
Alexandrite (Lab grown) is a corundum gemstone that began its existence in a laboratory with a tiny piece of natural Alexandrite as the "seed". The gemstone is grown under certain laboratory conditions to become large enough for faceting. Alexandrite, as well as Lab Alexandrite, is well known for the ability to change color under different lighting conditions. Lab Alexandrite will change from pink to purple and sometimes teal hues. Lab Alexandrite ranks 8.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it a very durable gemstone. Alexandrite is the birthstone for June. Clean your lab-created alexandrite jewelry with ultrasonic gem cleaner.
Amazonite is also known as Amazonstone, named after the Amazon River. Amazonite is a Microcline feldspar that is commonly white or yellow colored that can be translucent or transparent. The blue-green colored semi-precious gemstone version of Amazonite is used as for jewelry and frequently is seen with white striations throughout the stone. Gemstone quality Amazonite is found in Russia, Colorado in the USA, and Brazil. Amazonite ranks 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness scale. Clean your Amazonite gently with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth.
Amber is fossilized tree resin, not sap as it is sometimes mistakenly described. Amber comes from extinct coniferous trees from up to 340 million years ago and is usually found along with lignite coal, which is also a fossil of trees and plants. Amber can be translucent or transparent. The English word electricity comes from the Greek word for amber; electrum, because amber can product an electric charge when rubbed. Amber can come in many different colors; whitish, light yellow, brown and black. Less common colors are red amber, green amber, and blue amber; which is rare and extremely sought after by collectors. The most common color of amber is yellow-orange. Amber, most frequently, is found with inclusions of bubbles encapsulated in the resin. At times, insects and organic materials that were trapped in the sticky resin and fossilized can also be found inside amber. Amber can be found in many places all over Europe, England, Africa, Burma, New Zealand, Borneo, the USA, Mexico, and Indonesia. In the Baltic Sea and North Sea, it is recovered from the shores after heavy storms. Amber is also found in the Dominican Republic, made famous by the movie "Jurassic Park". Amber ranks 2 - 2.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it an extremely soft gemstone and scratches easily. To protect your amber from your other jewelry, store it wrapped in a soft cloth. Keep away from heat and chemical substances. Clean your amber with lukewarm water and wipe with a soft cloth. After cleaning, dry the amber and lightly coat your amber with olive oil. Gently rub the amber to remove the oil and restore its polish.
Amethyst is a member of the Quartz family and is the birthstone for February. Amethyst can be found in many locations of the world, making it readily available and affordable. However, different grades of amethyst are found in a variety of locations. Amethyst coming from Africa is some of the finest in the world. African Amethyst is well known for saturation of purple color throughout the stone, as well as incredible clarity. Amethysts are also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Uruguay, USA, Germany, Italy, Bolivia, Argentina, Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka. Amethyst ranks at 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale making this gemstone durable for everyday wear jewelry. Clean your Amethyst with ultrasonic gem cleaner. Avoid exposure to high heat.
Ametrine is a combination of two varieties of quartz Amethyst and Citrine. Ametrine comes in a variety of color zoning from a 50–50 split to a light blend with either the many hues of purple of the Amethyst or the hues of golden colors of the Citrine being the more dominant gem. The color combination is believed to be the cause of the presence of iron in various amounts of oxidation due to different heat levels when the gemstone was being created. The most valuable Ametrine are those gems who show a distinctive split of color between the two gemstone varieties. Ametrine is found in Bolivia, Brazil and India. Ametrine ranks at 7 on the Moh's Hardness scale, making this gem a great choice to incorporate in any piece of jewelry. Clean your Ametrine with an ultrasonic gem cleaner or gentle soap and water.
Aquamarine is the most common member of the beryl family and is the birthstone for March. It's color ranges from sea-green to sky-blue. Aquamarine is usually sold as a faceted gem; however, if it is cut as a cabochon, it can sometimes have a cat's eye effect. Most aquamarine is heat treated to obtain a blue color. Aquamarine is mined in Brazil, Pakistan, and the USA. Some fine crystals are found in a mountainous region of Colorado. Because of it's high altitude, it can only be mined two to three months out of the year. Aquamarine ranks 7.5 - 8 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Clean your aquamarine with warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Protect from blows. Aquamarine can fade in bright light, so do not store it in the sun.
Aventurine, Green.  Green Aventurine is a quartzite rock. It has inclusions of mica that sparkle as the gemstone is moved about in the light. This is called aventurescence. Aventurine also comes in colors of peach and blue. India is the biggest supplier of aventurine. Other localities where aventurine is mined are Brazil, India, Austria, Russia, Tanzania, and the USA. Aventurine ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your aventurine with a soft, dry cloth. Store away from direct sunlight.
Azurite.  Deep blue azurite gets its name from the same Persian word as Lapis Lazuli; lazhuward, meaning blue. It is a secondary mineral of copper and the blue tones range from azure blue to a very dark blue. Azurite grows in various forms; crystal, stalactitic, and botryoidal. It is frequently found with Malachite. Azurite can be found in the USA; Utah, Arizona and New Mexico; France, Mexico, Chile, Australia, Russia, Morocco and Namibia. It was mined in ancient Egypt and used as a pigment for blue glaze. Azurite is a soft stone, ranking 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your azurite with a soft, dry cloth and protect from scratches.
Bronzite is a hypersthene mineral from the pyroxene group that frequently contains inclusions of hematite and goethite that are very reflective. When Bronzite is polished, these inclusions create schiller, a phenomenon that makes the gemstone appear to shimmer as the stone is moved in the light. Bronzite can be brown or green. Bronzite can be found in Syria, Austria, South Africa, and the USA. Bronzite is a medium-soft stone ranking 5.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your bronzite with a soft, dry cloth and protect it from blows.
Chalcedony , pronounced "KAL-SID-NEE", refers to the types of quartz that are semitransparent or translucent; solid or patterned. The most common is is a solid blue-gray. The color can also be white, blue, purple, pink, yellow, orange or red. Blue and purple are the most popular hues. The chalcedony family includes agate, jasper, carnelian, chrysoprase, onyx, bloodstone, aventurine, flint, chert and sard. This gemstone is found in Brazil, Germany, Russia, the U.S.A., Canada, Africa, Turkey and Indonesia. Chalcedony ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your chalcedony with mild soapy water and a soft brush.
Chrysocolla, is a very soft mineral of a blue to blue-green color. Chyrsocolla is a by-product of copper mining. It has a waxy luster and is transulcent to opaque. Since it is a very fragile gemstone, it is not very suitable for jewelry other than in a protected setting, such as a pendant or brooch. Chrysocolla can be found in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, the USA, Israel, Zaire and England. Chrysocolla ranks 2.5 to 3.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your Chrysocolla gently with warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid blows to the stone and avoid chemicals.
Citrine, from the quartz family, ranges in color from pale yellow-gold to brown. Nearly all citrine on the market is not natural, but is either amethyst or smoky quartz that has been heat treated. Citrine is found most times as a faceted gemstone. Citrine is the birthstone for November. Most citrine is mined in Brazil but other locations of citrine are Madagascar, the USA, Argentina, Burma (Myanmar), Namibia, Russia, Scotland and Spain. Citrine ranks at 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your citrine with ultrasonic gem cleaner. Avoid exposure to high heat.
Cubic Zirconia is a flawless synthetic laboratory created gemstone that was invented in 1977. It originally was created to simulate a diamond; however, many more colors have been added to the CZ repertoire. Because of the high refraction, the brilliance of a Cubic Zirconia exceeds that of a diamond. There are also CZ's that exhibit a color change in various light sources. Some Cubic Zirconias are also being treated to create an an iridescent effect termed "mystic"; however, this effect can easily be removed by abrasion of the gemstone. Care must be taken when wearing an iridescent CZ. Cubic Zirconia ranks 8.5 to 9 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Clean your Cubic Zirconia with warm, soapy water and a soft brush.
Dioptase crystals, at a quick first glance, can be mistaken for emerald crystals. Dioptase crystals are highly transparent and put up a good fight to equal an emerald on the intense green color alone; but the softness of this gemstone does not make it a good candidate for jewelry on its own and should only be worn as an ornament when mingled with other harder minerals. Dioptase is a secondary ore of copper and is found in the United States, the Congo of Africa and in Nambia, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Argentina, Chile. Dioptase ranks 5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean dioptase with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth.
Emerald is the most precious member of the beryl family. Other beryls consist of aquamarine, blue beryl, goshenite, morganite, bixbite, yellow beryl and green beryl. The emerald has a distinct green color, but some emeralds have a bluish hue. Most emeralds on the market have been treated to improve clarity. Emeralds have inclusions, which is acceptable in the jewelry trade. Emerald is the birthstone for May. The highest quality emeralds come from Colombia. Other locations for emerald mining are Zimbabwe, South Africa, Russia (Urals), Afghanistan, Australia (New South Wales, Western Australia), Ghana, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia, Tanzania, and the USA (North Carolina). Emerald ranks 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your emerald with mild soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid sudden temperature change, ultrasonic gem cleaner and chemicals.
Fiber Optic Cat's Eye is a man made product created from high tech fiber optics that are fused together and ground in such a way to create a chatoyancy effect called a cat's eye from the light refraction. The motion of the piece causes the cat's eye to move back and forth. China is the largest producer of fiber optic jewelry accessories. Fiber optic cat's eye ranks 5 to 6 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your fiber optic cat's eye with mild soapy water and a soft brush.
Fluorite is calcium fluoride and comes in colors of violet, green and yellow, which are the most common; but can also be colorless and transparent. There can even be several colors in one crystal. The transparent varieties are cut into gemstones. Fluorite also shows the phenomenon of fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet light. Fluorite has many uses, some more common uses are for industry, such as used as flux, used to provide the non-stick surface of Teflon and used in the fluoridation of water and toothpaste. Fluorite is found in locations worldwide, but the more important ones are Canada, the USA, South Africa, Mexico, Mongolia, Thailand, Peru, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Norway, England, Spain and Germany. Fluorite is a soft gemstone and scratches easily, so care should be taken when wearing jewelry made of this gemstone. Fluorite ranks 4 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Clean your fluorite with warm, soapy water and a soft brush.
Fire Opal is one of the gem opals. The transparent or translucent gemstone comes in the colors of red, orange or yellow. Fire opals are normally faceted, unlike most other gem opals. As with other opals, it is brittle, heat sensitive and prone to cracking. Protect your fire opal jewelry from getting scratches when not being worn by wrapping in a soft cloth. Fire opal is found in Mexico and the Honduras. Fire Opal is a softer stone and ranks 5-6 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Clean your fire opal with gentle soap, water and a soft cloth.
Garnet is a mineral that comes in many different colors. Garnets are used as abrasives and gemstones. Garnets come in an array of colors such as; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, pink and colorless; to name a few. In the garnet family you can find pyrope, almandine, spessartite, grossular, hessonite, uvarovite and demantoid. Garnet is the birthstone for January. Garnets can be found worldwide in locations such as the USA, Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Europe, Russia and South America. Garnets rank 6.0 to 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your garnet using warm soapy water and a soft brush. Using an ultrasonic cleaner should be safe for most garnets except for demantoid garnet.
Glass is not a gemstone. Glass is made from heat fusing of silica (sand), soda and lime. It is thought to have been invented during the Bronze Age, about 3000 B.C. Glass can be transparent or opaque and is hard, but brittle. Some specialty glass is formed to looked like a faceted jewel and is given the misnomer of "gemstone". A popular glass "gemstone" on the market today goes by the trademarked name of Zandrite. Zandrite has a strong color change in different light sources and is a simulant of Russian Alexandrite. Most glass used for jewelry is in the form of beads. Faceted Czech Fire Polish beads are very popular. They get their brilliance from a heat polishing process. Austrian crystals are faceted leaded glass beads with great sparkle. Seed beads, commonly used in Native American jewelry, are also made of glass. Dichroic glass is used by artisans to make hand-made beads or cabochons. Dichroic glass has a fine film of metal that has been fused to the glass creating a sheen that shows different colors when viewed at different angles. Millifiori (an Italian term meaning thousand flowers) beads are mosaic beads made from canes of glass created with different colors. The canes are sliced to expose the colors and then fused onto other glass. Glass is produced all over the world. The more well known glass bead manufacturers are in the Czech Republic, Japan and Italy. Highly desirable glass beads come from Murano, Italy, where beads have a rich history since the 1200's. Murano Glass is sometimes called Venetian Glass. Glass ranks 5.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your glass beads with ultrasonic gem cleaners or warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Protect from blows and extreme temperatures.
Goldstone is a man made gemstone created from glass with flecks of copper creating a facinating metallic sparkle effect. Goldstone not only comes in a copper color, but also green and blue, which sometimes appears purple. Goldstone reportedly was originally created by Italian monks using a secret formula. Many years later China began making the gemstone as well. Goldstone comes from Italy, Austria, and China. Goldstone ranks 5.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your goldstone with mild soapy water and a soft brush.
Hemalyke is a composition gemstone; a mixture of different materials. It is made by blending crushed natural hematite and a binder together, then formed into a shape. It has the same look as natural hematite and it is difficult to tell the two apart. Hemalyke has a popular use in jewelry due to the lower cost compared to hematite. The hardness and care of hemalyke is the same as hematite, described below.
Hematite is an important iron ore, having 70% iron content and it is found in abundance. Hematite has been used since ancient times by the Egyptians and Romans. Polished, hematite is a dark gray gunmetal color with a high sheen. Hematite is opaque and can also be iridescent. The largest deposit of hematite is found in the Lake Superior area of the USA. Other locations of hematite are in the Ukraine, China, India, Australia, Liberia, Brazil, Venezuela, England, Germany, and Italy. Hematite ranks 5-6 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Clean your hematite with mild soap in warm water and a soft cloth.
Howlite is a calcium borosilcate hydroxide that is usually found with dark veins of other minersals running through the base color of white. Howlite is frequently dyed in many colors, most commonly dyed a turquoise color. Howlite is a very soft stone, ranking 3.5 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Because of its softness, howlite should be placed in jewelry with proper protection from being struck. Howlite is found in California in the USA, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Russia and Turkey. Clean your Howlite with a soft cloth and gentle soap.
Jade as it is known, can be one of two minerals; Nephrite consisting of tremolite or actinolite and often has a fibrous or silky characteristic, or Jadeite consisting of pyroxene and having a granular texture. Nephrite is the more common of the two minerals. The color of Nephrite Jade varies from dark to light green, white, or cream colored. Nephrite Jade is mined in Alaska and California in the US, Canada, China, New Zealand, Siberia, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Italy, Poland, Germany and Switzerland. Nephrite Jade ranks 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
Jadeite has a wider variety of colors and pure Jadeite is white. Other Jadeite colors are green, lilac, pink, brown, red, blue, black, orange and yellow. Emerald green Jadeite is called imperial jade. Jadeite is found in Myanmar, Japan and California in the USA. Jadeite ranks 6-7 on the Moh's Hardness Scale.
Because of it's toughness, Jade was used very early in history for tools, weapons and for carving. For added enhancement jades can be treated with polymers, waxed and even dyed. Clean your jade by using a mild soap and wiping with a soft cloth and wipe to dry. Jewelry cleaners will damage the polymer coating or wax should your jade be treated.
Jasper is an opaque, fine-grained variety of cryptocrystalline quartz. It is a chalcedony that consists of various amounts of different materials that give jasper its color and patterns. Jasper is usually red, brown, or green. There is a long list of names for jasper and in some cases, the jasper is named after its pattern or the location where it is found. Jasper is common and found throughout the world. Some more notable places where jasper is mined is in North Africa, Sicily, France, India, Venezuela, Germany, the USA. Jasper ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness scale. Some jaspers are polished with waxes and can come off with water, so clean your jasper with a soft, dry cloth.
Labradorite is a gray colored gemstone from the plagioclase feldspar mineral family and displays an iridescence or play of colors, also known as labradorescence, These colors vary from golden to blue to green, depending on how the light is hitting the gemstone as it is moved about. Labradorite was first discovered in Labrador, Canada. Specimens can also be found in Norway, Finland, Newfoundland, Australia, the former USSR and a few areas in the USA. Labradorite ranks at 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your Labradorite with mild soapy water and a soft brush.
A Lab Created gemstone is created in a laboratory and has the exact chemical properties of the natural gemstone it represents. Lab created stones are also known as lab grown or synthetic. They have exceptional color and clarity and lack inclusions or faults. Lab created gemstones are not rare and will cost less than the stone they are representing. Simulants are not the same as lab created. Simulants may imitate the natural stone, but will not have the same chemical, optical and physical properties as a lab created stone. Examples of simulants are cubic zirconia, glass, plastic or resin.
Lapis Lazuli has been a highly desired gemstone since the ancient times of the Egyptian pharaohs. It is considered a rock rather than a mineral. This intense blue gemstone is mined in Afghanistan where it has been mined for the past 6500 years. The finest Lapis Lazuli is an extremely deep blue with flecks of pyrite and should have no white streaks. Denim Lapis Lazuli is a lower grade of Lapis due to the higher content of white calcite. Lapis Lazuli of a more pale blue than the Afghan Lapis is mined in the Andes. Lapis can also be located in Russia, Siberia, Angola, Burma, Pakistan, USA (California and Colorado), Canada and India. Lapis Lazuli ranks 5 to 6 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it a rather soft stone; best used for pendants or earrings. Clean your Lapis Lazuli with mild soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid chemicals and ultrasonic gem cleaners.
Malachite is a vibrant green mineral that is found in botryoidal, fibrous, or stalagtite forms. The botryoidal form polished into "bulls eyes" is highly desirable for jewelry and decorative objects. Malachite was used as green pigment in ancient times up to the 19th century. Malachite is usually impregnated with a clear wax to improve durability. Malachite is a very soft stone and can scratch easily; therefore, it is best worn as a pendant, earrings or tie tack. Malachite is mined in Africa, the Ural Mountains, Mexico, England, and the USA. Malachite ranks 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your malachite with a soft, dry cloth; no ultrasonic gem cleaner or steam cleaning. Protect from scratches.
Magnetite is highly magnetic. It will attract metal and deflect a compass needle. Magnetite is an iron oxide mineral. It looks similar to hematite, but hematite is not magnetic. Magnetite is a major ore of iron. When used as a gemstone, you will find it black in color and opaque with a high shine. Do not wear a bracelet made of magnetite on the same wrist as your watch. If you do, you will consistently be late! Magnetite will cause your watch to run slow. Locations of magnetite are Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Mexico and the USA. Magnetite with the strongest magnetic properties is found in Russia and Italy. Magnetite ranks 5 1/2 to 6 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Since magnetite is an iron ore, it can rust if it gets wet. Clean your magnetite with a soft cloth.
Mood beads are temperature-sensitive liquid crystal beads that change color; so said depending on your mood. Actually, the color change is due to temperature fluctuations. Warmer temperatures bring the lighter hues and darker hues with cooler temperatures. The colors displayed range from brown, golden, green, teal, purple and blue. They are made with nickel-free white silver plated brass ends and liquid crystal around the outside of the bead. Do not allow your mood beads to get wet. Clean your mood beads with a soft cloth.
Mother of Pearl is comprised of the nacre that lines the inside of a pearl-creating mollusk. The nacre is mostly calcium carbonate; the same substance that gives a pearl its luster. Mother of Pearl very durable and beautifully iridescent. Mother of Pearl has been used for hundreds of years as jewelry ornamentation, utensils, buttons and inlays. Oysters that are harvested for mother of pearl are split open, their meat used for human consumption and the shell made into mother of shell products. One in ten thousand oysters that are harvested for mother of pearl contains a natural pearl. Mother of Pearl is actually a more valuable commodity than pearls themselves. The cream color is natural and most common, but natural colors of black, gray, blue, yellow, green, lavender and mauve can also be found. White mother of pearl has been bleached and mother of pearl that is a very bright and vivid color is dyed. Mother of Pearl ranks 3.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your mother of pearl with mild, soapy water and a soft cloth.
Obsidian is glass that occurs in nature from volcanic activity. It can have inclusions such as air bubbles, crystals, or patterns that appear as snowflakes. Various types of obsidian are golden, mahogany, rainbow, red rainbow, snowflake, and red snowflake. Obsidian can be found in the USA, Armenia, Turkey, Italy, Mexico, Greece and Scotland. Obsidian ranks 5 to 5.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your obsidian with mild soapy water and a soft brush. Protect from blows.
Ocean Jasper is from the chalcedony group. This gemstone, which is created from fossilized coral, is only found off the northeast coast of Madagascar and can only be mined at low tide. The colors of Ocean Jasper run the gamut of pink, green, white, gray, brown, and yellow and can include druzy quartz (crystals) and botryoidal (shaped like a bunch of grapes) formations. It is sometimes referred to as Orbicular Jasper, which refers to the round circles patterns that are frequently found in the matrix. The more colorful pieces of this gemstone are getting harder to find, as the gemstone is in danger of being mined out. Much Ocean Jasper on the market today consists of the gray, white and brown colors. Ocean Jasper ranks 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your Ocean Jasper with a soft, dry cloth and protect from scratches.
Common Opal is called "potch" opal which lacks the iridescent flashes of red, blue, and green colors of the more precious translucent white opal. Potch opals are of one color in various opaque hues of red, yellow, brown, grey, milky blue or green, and black. Some potch opals do show some matrix. Opal is the birthstone for October. Common opal can be found in New Zealand and Australia. Opal can contain up to 10% water, so it can easily fracture with sudden temperature changes. Opal ranks 5 to 6 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your Opal with a soft, dry cloth and protect from scratches.
Pearls have been highly valued for centuries and at times were used as currency. A pearl is formed by a mollusk, oyster or clam, and is an organic substance called nacre or mother-of-pearl. Pearl forming mollusks are certain species of salt water oysters and freshwater clams. When a foreign body enters the mantle of the mollusk, cells inside build up layers of pearl around the particle to protect the mantle from injury. Baroque pearls are irregularly shaped pearls that have grown into the muscle tissue of the mollusk. Blister pearls grow on the inside of the shell and are flat on one side. Tahitian pearls are from the black lipped oyster and come in colors of dark gray, purple, green, gold, and silver. The South Sea pearl comes from the white lipped oyster and comes in colors of white, silver and gold. Both the Tahitian and the South Sea pearl come from the South Pacific Ocean. The value of a pearl is determined by its luster, translucence, play of color, and shape. The more spherical and deeply lustered pearls with good play of color are of higher value.
Cultured pearls, grown on pearl farms, are created from a tiny piece of mother-of-pearl placed inside the mollusk. The pearl is harvested usually no more than two years afterwards. Natural pearls come in a variety of colors; black, white, cream, gray, blue, yellow, green, lavender and mauve. Freshwater pearls usually never reach the size of salt water pearls. Freshwater pearls are most often irregular oblong shapes in shades of white. Freshwater pearls of deep vivid colors have been dyed. Salt water pearls are found in the Persian Gulf, in the waters between India and Sri Lanka, the South Pacific, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific coast of Mexico. Freshwater pearls are found in China, Bavaria, the Mississippi River in the USA, England and Ireland. Pearls are very soft, ranking 2.5 to 4.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Pearls are very delicate and should be kept separate from other jewelry to prevent scratching. Wrap your pearls in a soft cloth for storage. Wipe your pearls with a soft cloth after wearing and before storage to remove skin oils that can damage the pearls.
Pietersite is named after the man who discovered the gemstone, Sid Pieters. Pietersite is actually a sodium iron silicate named Riebeckite. The color of this gemstone depends upon the concentration of the iron content. Pietersite is a cousin to Tiger's Eye in that the same properties that cause the chatoyant shimmer of Tiger's Eye is also found in Pietersite. Colors of Pietersite range from russet red to golden brown to blue and blue-black. Pietersite principal source is South Africa. Pietersite ranks 6.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your tiger eye with a polishing cloth. Avoid steam or ultrasonic gem cleaner.
Prasiolite is a transparent green quartz that obtains varying hues of green color from heat treating amethyst that contains iron. Amethyst that will turn green with heat treatment is found Brazil and Arizona. Prasiolite ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Prasiolite can be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner or soap, water and and soft brush.
Prehnite has a translucent, pearly luster in colors of light green, grey, white or colorless. If cut into a cabochon, prehnite will sometimes show a cat's eye effect. Prehnite can be found in South Africa, the USA, India, Germany, Austria, Scotland, Canada, China, Australia and France. Prehnite ranks 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your prehnite with mild soapy water and a soft brush.
Pyrite is a common mineral with a metallic luster having a brassy hue. It is nicknamed fool's gold due to its resemblance to gold. Pyrite is an iron sulfite and will make sparks when struck with steel or flint. It grows as a cube crystal. Pyrite can be found as a component in quartz and lapis lazuli. This gemstone can be cut as a cabochon or, less commonly; faceted. Pyrite is found in Spain, Italy, Germany, USA, South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Greece, Russia, Japan and Peru. Pyrite ranks 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your pyrite with warm, soapy water and a soft brush. As it is a brittle gemstone, protect from blows. Avoid contact with chemicals.
Quartz is a bountiful gemstone that can be found all over the world. Many gemstones belong to the quartz family. Some more familiar gemstones in this family are amethyst, citrine, aventurine, tiger eye, prasiolite, rutilated (rutile needles inside the quartz), smoky, tourmalinated (tourmaline needles inside the quartz), crystal and rose. Well known locations where quartz is found are Brazil, Madagascar, Africa, Canada, and the U.S.A. Large, high quality quartz comes from the French and Swiss Alps. Quartz ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your quartz with ultrasonic gem cleaner.
Quattro Quantum Silica is a trademarked name for a gemstone made up with a rare mineral mix of robin's egg blue chrysocolla, green malachite, blue shattuckite and green dioptase swirled in a gray quartz matrix. Currently, the only known location where this gemstone is found is in Nambia on the dark continent of Africa. The mine is no longer a working mine, making the gemstone a rare treat. Quattro Quantum Silica ranks 3 to 7 on the Mohs Hardness scale, dependant upon which minerals make up the majority of the specimen. Clean your Quattro Quantim Silica with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. Avoid contact with chemicals and protect from blows.
Rhodolite is a mineral that is used for carving and in jewelry. It is generally a rose-pink color and can have streaks of white or black; however, specimens of red, orange and black have also been found. Rhodolite is found in the Ural Mountains, Australia, Sweden, Brazil, and the USA. Rhodolite ranks 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your rhodonite with mild soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid sudden temperature changes.
Rutilated Quartz Although quartz is an extremely common mineral found all over the world, Rutilated Quartz is not as common. This quartz has needle-like inclusions of the mineral titanium dioxide called rutiles. These rutiles can be gold, silver and sometimes green. The quartz can be clear, brown, gray, gold, red-brown and black. Rutilated Quartz rutiles rank 6 - 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale and Quartz ranks 6.5 to 7. Rutilated Quartz can be found in Minas Gerias, Brazil; the Swiss Alps; Arkansas, the United States of America, and Africa. Clean your Rutilated Quartz with warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush. Keep away from chemicals and extreme heat.
Ruby has been the gemstone of choice from ancient rulers to modern day royalty. A ruby stands alongside a very small handful of gemstones that proclaim status and class for the wearer. Rubies are corundum with a color range from deep red to pale rose-red. Some rubies have a tinge of purple color. The deepest red is the most coveted and the most costly. Rubies with rutile needles are cut into cabochons to show a star effect. Rubies are a very hard gemstone, ranking 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. The finest rubies come from Myranmar and Thailand. Rubies can also be found in Afghanistan, Madagascar, Vietnam, Cambodia and in the USA they are found in North Carolina and Montana. Tanzania produces opaque ruby in green zoisite. Clean your ruby with a commercial cleaner, rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.
Shattuckite is a beautiful turquoise-blue colored gemstone first discovered in Shattuck Mine in Brisbee, Arizona (USA) from where it gets its name. It is a secondary ore of copper, frequently found in conjunction with other rare minerals such as; malachite, azurite and chrysocolla. Shattuckite is a soft gemstone, ranking 3 to 3.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your shattuckite with warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid hot water, household chemicals, and ultrasonic gem cleaners.
Sodalite is a mineral and has distinctive characteristics of royal blue color with white and sometimes yellow streaks. Lighter shades of blue can be found, but dark blue is the most common. It is sometimes mistaken for Lapis Lazuli, which is made up of different minerals. Most specimens are opaque; however, an occasional translucent or transparent specimen can be found. Sodalite ranks 5.5 to 6.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Some locations where Sodalite can be found is Brazil, South Africa, Maine in the USA, British Columbia, and Ontario, Canada. Clean your sodalite warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners.
Sugilite, a recently discovered gemstone in 1944, is a mineral that rarely found as a crystal. It is pale to dark pink, brownish-yellow, or purple and has a vitreous luster. It often has brown, pink and white inclusions. The most valuable sugilite is a deep purple or reddish purple. Sugalite is mined in Canada, Japan, South Africa and Italy. Sugilite ranks 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Clean your sugilite with warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush.
Tiger Eye , also called Tiger's Eye, is from the quartz family with rich yellow and brown stripes, and a golden luster. It has strong chatoyancy, which is the phenomena that makes the stripes on the gemstone to appear to shimmer and move as the stone is moved in the light. Tiger Eye also comes in blue and red, which are heated to obtain their color. Tiger Eye ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Tiger Eye is mined in South Africa, Australia, Myanmar, Africa and the USA. Clean your tiger eye with a polishing cloth. Avoid steam or ultrasonic gem cleaner.
Tiger Iron has the composition of three different gemstones; tiger eye, red jasper and black hematite in contrasting bands. The colors range fron golden yellow to brick red to black. It is a member of the quartz family and as expected, the tiger eye has the optical reflectance of chatoyancy. Tiger Iron ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Tiger Iron is mined in South Africa, Australia, USA, Canada, Namibia, Burma, and India. Clean your tiger eye with a polishing cloth. Avoid steam or ultrasonic gem cleaner.
Topaz is considered a precious gemstone and comes in a wide array of hues. You can find colors of pale yellow, pink, a variety of blues, brown, greens and even colorless. Colorless Topaz is often mistaken for diamond. Brown Topaz is unstable and prone to bleaching in sunlight. Much of the deep blue Topaz found on the market is created by colorless Topaz that has been heat treated or irradiated. The sherry-yellow Brazilian Topaz is particulary valuable. However, natural pink topaz is found to be the most valuable although rare. Mystic topaz is topaz treated with vapor deposition to achieve the wonderful colors. The thin film coating creates a rainbow effect. The name topaz has been given to other types of less valuable stones. Natural topaz should never be identified as false topaz, quartz topaz, Madeira topaz, Oriental topaz or smoky topaz. Topaz is mined in Brazil, Russia, Nigeria, Japan, Germany, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Austrialia, USA, Tasmania, Pakistan and Mexico. Topaz ranks 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Blue Topaz has been used for December's birthstone. Clean your Topaz with warm soapy water and a soft brush.
Tourmaline is the name of a group of gemstones consisting of elbaite, dravite, schorl, liddecoatite, indicolite, achroite, rubellite, and verdelite to name a few. These names can apply to more than one tourmaline species. Crystals of tourmaline are strongly dichroic and frequently display color zoning. Many transparent tourmaline varieties are valued as gems, but most tourmaline is dark, opaque and not very attractive unless in specimen form. The most common Tourmaline is schorl, a black opaque iron rich mineral. Tourmaline comes in colors of black, brown, green, pink, red, blue, colorless, yellow-green, emerald-green, and watermelon colors. Tourmaline is found in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Namibia. Tourmaline ranks 7-7.5 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Clean your tourmaline with warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid hot water, household chemicals, and ultrasonic gem cleaner.
Turquoise has been a prized gemstone for several millenium from Turkey to the southwest of the USA. Turquoise is a blue to green mineral; however it has been found in colors of white, powder blue, sky blue and yellowish-green. Turquoise is a by-product of copper mining in the USA. The highly coveted Sleeping Beauty Mine turquoise from Arizona in the USA is a beautiful bright blue with no matrix. This mine is the largest supplier of natural turquoise in the world. Turquoise is usually treated in some manner to preserve color and increase durability. Turquoise is sometimes used as the birthstone for December. Turquoise ranks about 5 to 6 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Some locations where turquoise is found are USA, Iran, Sinai Peninsula, China, Afghanistan, Australia and Chile. Clean your turquoise with warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid hot water, household chemicals, and ultrasonic gem cleaner.
Unakite  is actually a silicate gemstone called Epidote. Unakite has an unusual pistachio green color that runs from dark to light with hues of rusty browns and occasionally is translucent. Unakite is frequently tumbled and polished for jewelry. Unakite can be found in Canada, France Myanmar, Norway, Peru, and in Colorado and California in the USA. Unakite ranks 6-7 on the Moh's Hardness Scale. Clean your Unakite with warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid hot water, household chemicals, and ultrasonic gem cleaner.