WHAT ARE GEMSTONES USED FOR
Gemstones are minerals, rocks, or organic matters that have been chosen for their beauty, durability, and rarity and then cut or faceted and polished to make jewelry or other human adornments. Even though most gemstones are hard, some are too soft or fragile to be used in jewelry, so they are often exhibited in museums and sought by collectors.
Gemstones are diverse in their beauty, and many are available in a stunning variety of shades and colors. Most gemstones have little beauty in the rough state, they may look like ordinary rocks or pebbles, but after a skilled cutting and polishing the full color and luster can be seen. Generally, gemstones with clear, medium-tone, intense, and saturated primary colors are most preferred.
Gemstones are formed below the Earth's surface and can sometimes show traces of other minerals, called inclusions. Inclusions can look like small spots or imperfections within the stone. When viewed through a microscope or a 10x loupe, they can give information about the geological environment in which the mineral was formed and its origin. Inclusions can sometimes identify gemstones and even prove whether the stone is natural or synthetic. Some gemstones, such as emeralds, are more likely to have inclusions. Others, such as aquamarine and topaz, generally have very few inclusions or even none at all.
The natural beauty of a gem can be enhanced by the way it is cut. There are two basic kinds of gem cuts: cabochon and faceted. The cabochon cut has a smooth rounded top, usually with a flat base, and it is mainly used for opaque or translucent softer gemstones. Cabochons were the only way in which stones were cut until about the 14th century when faceting was developed. Faceting is the process of cutting a gemstone to improve its beauty by making it reflect more light. The faceted cut has many flat cut surfaces (facets) with an overall shape that might be round, oval, square, and more. Only the harder gemstones can be successfully faceted. A gemstone that has been cut and polished is called a gem, or jewel.
The weight of the gemstone is measured in carats (5 carats = 1 gram). It's important to recognize that some gems are denser than others. For example, a one-carat ruby (very dense) is going to be smaller than a one-carat emerald (less dense). Also, different types of gems that are similar in size may still differ significantly in value.
The hardness of a stone is the only factor in determining gem durability. It indicates the stone’s resistance to scratching and abrasions, or how the surface of the gem will respond to contact with a sharp point. The Mohs Scale rates the hardness of gems and minerals on a relative scale of 1 (softest – Talc) to 10 (hardest – Diamond). Introduced in 1822, the scale originated when Friedrich Mohs chose ten minerals and assigned numbers to them based on the relative ease or difficulty with which one can be scratched by another.
Our planet, which was created about 4.5 billion years ago, is comprised of several layers: the Earth's crust, ranging from 3 to 25 miles deep, the mantle and the inner part of Earth known as the core. Most of the gemstones form as minerals under various conditions in the rocks of the Earth’s crust, while just a few of them form in the mantle. The crust is made up of three kinds of rock, known in geology as igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock. All gemstones are mined in the crust. After they are mined, they usually go to a lapidary, which does the final cleaning. This may involve grinding off the matrix or rock, in which the gemstone was buried, and then cutting or faceting and polishing the gemstones. A gemstone that has been cut and polished is called a gem, or jewel.
Gemstones Species and Varieties
Many types of gemstones belong to groups or species which share a common crystal structure and chemical composition. Some of the most important gemstone species include beryl, corundum, garnet, quartz, and tourmaline. Further, each species may have one or more varieties, which have special coloring or features. For instance, the species corundum includes the varieties ruby and sapphire. However, not every gemstone variety belongs to a group, many are unique varieties that don't share properties with any other kind of gem. For instance, peridot, zircon, topaz, and spinel.
Minerals vs. Non-Mineral Gemstones
Although most gemstones are considered minerals, some are also non-mineral. Minerals occur naturally in the Earth’s crust and are defined as inorganic substances that have a characteristic chemical composition and crystalline structures. Minerals are identified by their distinctive properties, such as color, hardness, crystal form, specific gravity, luster, fracture, and tenacity. When a mineral is regarded as rare and exceptionally beautiful, we refer to it as a gemstone (for instance diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire). All minerals can be gemstones, but not all gemstones can be minerals.
Also, rocks are comprised of minerals, but minerals are not comprised of rocks. A rock is an inorganic, solid, and natural substance without any specific atomic structure or chemical composition. Its an aggregate composed of two or more minerals which are all firmly locked together to form a hard solid.
Non-mineral or organic gemstones are derived from living organisms like animals and plant life, that have formed into beautiful gemstones due to natural processes — for instance, pearl, coral, amber, ivory, and jet.
Precious vs. Semi-Precious Gemstones
One of the major properties of gemstones is whether they are classified as precious or semi-precious. This is a marketing term designed to make specific stones seem more rare or important than others. Precious gemstones have beauty, durability, and rarity, whereas semi-precious gemstones have only one or two of these qualities. Diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are all considered to be precious, and thereby, the most valuable and most desirable. All other gemstones are considered semi-precious.
Natural vs. Synthetic Gemstones
Natural gemstones are found in nature, created deep in the Earth and mined out of it. They are sometimes enhanced, which means they were treated in some way to improve their color or clarity. This often involves heat or delicate chemical processes. Depending on the type and extent of treatment, they can affect the value of the stone.
Synthetic or Lab-created gemstones, on the other hand, are formed in laboratories by human hands and machines. They are chemical, physical, and optically identical to gems found in nature. Of course, lab-created gemstones don't have the rarity of natural gemstones, which is why they are less valuable. Nowadays, synthetic versions of nearly all popular gemstones are available. Some modern synthetic gemstones look more natural and are more difficult to identify, but an experienced jeweler or gemologist can usually detect them.
Simulant or imitation gemstones can be anything that resembles the natural gemstones but does not have the same physical characteristics or chemical composition. These items are usually much less expensive than natural forms. Simulant stones are often made of glass or plastic, and most can be detected easily by a jeweler.
Throughout the ages, the healing properties of gemstones and crystals - their beauty, and magic - have been recognized and harnessed. As far back as the Stone Age, men and women wore crystal jewellry. They had a protective, as well as a decorative function, guarding their wearer against harm. The ancients employed gemstones for protection, adornment, healing and for seeing into the future. Gemstones were frequently worn and carried by ancient Egyptians as amulets and charms. Greek mythology frequently refers to gemstones, and many have been discovered in the tombs of Chinese rulers. Gemstones were used extensively in ceremonies and initiations by the Native Americans, the Mayans and Aztecs. The breastplate of the Jewish High Priest was set with precious stones; it conveyed power to the wearer.
A stone of courage and truth. Its powerful and bold energy soothes the spirit, calms the soul, and quiets the unsettled. It provides harmony & balance, making this a great alleviator of emotional trauma, worry, & fear. Amazonite helps one to see both sides of a problem or different points of view, assisting in manifesting universal love. Amazonite also empowers one to discover ones self and truths. It aides in self expression of ones thoughts and feelings and to set clear boundaries.
A great stone to alleviate stress and help one to work out stressful situations. It is known as a stone of contentment, which helps to lower stress. Amethyst works with the Third-Eye and Crown Chakras and stabilizes the Aura. It is also used for deflecting and transmuting negative energies. As a meditation aid, Amethyst imparts a calm, peaceful and soothing vibe, allowing one to enter deeper states of consciousness.
A deeply spiritual stone of manifestation. A motivational stone encouraging independence and ambition. It balances the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies, and the chakras, removing blockages and congestion.
It stimulates both throat chakra and Third Eye chakra, making this a good public speaking or group communication tool along with a memory, focus, and time management.
Blue Apatite, when worn, carried, or used as an elixir, has successfully produced hunger suppression.
A stone of courage. Its calming energies reduce stress, quiet the mind, and soothes fears. It aids in sensitivity, as it can help ones tolerance of others and to overcomes judgment. Clarifies perception by clearing confusion and strengthening the intellect. Useful for closure on all levels. Promotes self-expression. Sharpens intuition and opens clairvoyance, making it wonderful for meditation. Shields the aura and aligns the chakras.
Aquamarine is also a very protective birthing stone great for pregnancy to help guard both mother and baby from harm.
A stone of opportunity and good luck, especially in the areas of manifesting wealth and prosperity (and odds at winning a game of chance). Great for helping with new projects, interviews, new jobs, first dates, etc as its known to be the luckiest of crystals. Aventurine helps one embrace change, and bring on new opportunities by releasing old patterns, habits, and disappointments so new growth can take place. It also reinforces one’s decisiveness.
Wearing Aventurine also protects against environmental pollution. Taped to a cell phone, it protects against its emanations.
Carnelian is a stabilizing stone that restores vitality and motivation, and stimulates creativity. It provides courage, promotes positive life choices, and motivates for success. It is said to attract prosperity, new resources and good luck.
Carnelian is useful for overcoming abuse of any kind, as it helps in trusting yourself and your perceptions.
Carnelian improves analytic abilities and clarifies perception. It sharpens concentration and dispels mental lethargy. Protects against envy, rage and resentment. Calms anger, banishes emotional negativity and replaces it with a love of life.
Carnelian also boosts fertility and stimulates sexuality.
Chalcedony is in the Quartz family, and is a nurturing stone that absorbs negative vibrations (dissipates negative thoughts, emotions, and bad dreams). It promotes good will, family ties, and helps harmonize the heart and the mind.
Chalcedony instills feelings of light-heartedness and generosity, alleviates hostility and transforms melancholy into joy, by easing self-doubt, improving self perception, and creating enthusiasm.
Chalcedony is known as the Speaker’s Stone, the stone of one who must measure his words, as it encourages reflection before speaking. Particularly blue chalcedony, a throat chakra stone, is good for public speakers, lawyers, politicians, and singers. Simply rub it to tip of tongue, drink water thats soaked in it, or wear it by the throat chakra. Blue chalcedony also stimulates the ability to learn new languages and improves memory.
Promotes prosperity, abundance, and success. Energizes, and doesn’t hold onto negative energy so does not need to be recharged (similar to Kyanite). Citrine raises self-confidence, stimulates the brain in turn strengthening the intellect. Enhances concentration. Promotes creativity, individuality, and self-expression. It also releases negative traits like depression and fears.
Garnet is a sensual stone of purification and love. It is a stone of strong, intense feelings. Garnet cleanses and re-energizes the chakras. It revitalizes, purifies and balances energy, and inspires love and devotion. It also balances the sex drive and helps aid emotional imbalance. It activates and strengthens the survival instinct, bringing courage and hope. Strengthens ones perceptions of self and others. Garnet removes inhibitions and taboos. It opens the heart and bestows self-confidence.
Onyx promote strength, vigor, steadfastness, stamina, and self confidence. It aids one to be at ease in ones surroundings. Onyx also helps rid of grief, improves self-control, and helps provide the power of smart decision making. It also encourages happiness and good fortune.
“Jaspers are the nurturers, the healers, and the spirit stones of courage and wisdom. They all carry a strong connection to the Earth’s energy, making the jasper healing properties very beneficial for grounding, stability, and strength.”
The unique color and pattern of Jasper illustrates mamma earth and resembles that of a small globe.
An elemental Earth stone, Jasper’s frequency is slow and steady, bringing gradual strength and renewed vitality. It allows us to be more conscious of Nature and our surroundings, as it’s aligned with the electromagnetic energies of the planet. It encourages one to celebrate moments of isolation to absorb, reflect, and connect with these energies and enhance an awareness of the spiritual connection we hold with all living things.
Jasper is superb for healing, both the physical and emotional bodies. Wearing Jasper helps alleviate stress and induce tranquility. Its cleansing effect eliminates negative energy and its a great stone for banishing nightmares or harmful thoughts.
An incredible gemstone known for its high vibration, strengthening intuition, and acting as a universal bridge (enhancing telepathic and psychic abilities). It doesn’t hang onto negative energy so doesn’t need to be recharged or cleansed. It encourages self expression and speaking ones truth. Aligns all the chakras and is particularly stimulating to the throat chakra (voice of the body).
Green Kyanite connects with the heart chakra regulating what we embrace vs resist, to help us keep balance within our envt and emotional relationships.
A stone of transformation, making it a helpful guide through change. Its also a stone of magic, a crystal of shamans, diviners, & healers as it helps awaken the inner spirit and raise consciousness. Labradorite strengthens intuition, psychic abilities, and telepathy. Helps strengthen faith in self and trust in the universe.
A stone of protection, stress reliever, brings deep peace. Brings harmony and deep inner self-knowledge. Encourages self-awareness, allows self-expression, reveals inner truth. Lapis brings qualities of honesty, compassion and morality to a person. It helps aid one to confront and speak ones truth and inspires confidence. Lapis also bonds relationships, guiding expression of feeling and emotions.
A stone for new beginnings. It promotes inner strength and growth. It is a calming stone that eases stress and emotional instability. Moonstone strengthens intuition and also enhances inspiration, success, and good fortune in both business and love.
MOTHER OF PEARL (SHELL)
MOP is the iridescent lining of the shell where Pearls grow. Known to attract prosperity. It is a stone of protection against negative energy and envt pollutants. It is known to strengthen imagination, intuition, and psychic ability. On a more physical level it is known for helping with dizziness , vision/cataracts, and aids in healing wounds.
A stone of sincerity, it symbolizes faith, loyalty, truth, and innocence. It enhances personal integrity and provides one with a sense of centeredness and calm.
Pearls are strong symbols of feminine energy and help women connect with their inner goddesses.
Pearls also increase fertility and ease childbirth.
A powerful cleanser that releases and neutralizes toxins. Helps remove jealousy, resentment, spite, bitterness, irritation, hatred and greed. Reduces stress, anger and guilt. Peridot opens our hearts to joy and new relationships. It enhances confidence and assertion, motivating growth and change. Sharpens and opens the mind to new levels of awareness. Banishes lethargy, apathy and exhaustion. Peridot enables you to take responsibility for your own life.
Pink coral is known to restore harmony to the heart. It quiets the emotions and brings peace to inner self. Strengthens intuition, imagination and visualization. Coral also expedites the transfer of knowledge and known to be a stone of diplomacy.
“Sea’s Garden” Coral is a stone of transformation.
It balances emotions and bring inner peace within self. It enforces diplomacy, dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way. It facilitates intuition, imagination, and visualization. Coral is also a protector against evil influences.
Known as the stone of compassion and unconditional love, it soothes the heart, comforts the soul, and vibrates to frequencies of inner peace. It heals the heart Chakra creating emotional balance, forgiveness and compassion. Restores ones sense of wholeness and confidence. Resonates with the inner child, so helps one reclaim feelings of joy, playfulness, and creativity.
Rhodochrosite can be used to call new love into ones life, either a friend or soulmate who can help bring one to greater good.
A stone of the heart, crystal of unconditional love, circulates divine loving energy. Its energy helps with compassion, peace, attracts love, romance, and intimacy. It also inspires the love of beauty, in oneself, others, nature, and that which stimulates the imagination.
A marriage of passion and patience, fiery Ruby has been embedded in earthy Zoisite. Helps with empowerment and spirituality. Enhances one to maintain individuality while being present in the world around you. Also keeps one from overreacting in difficult situation and prevents mood swings as well as increases sexual activity.
Ruby in Zoisite transmutes negative energy into positive energy. Helps the grieving process by releasing pain and regaining passion and compassion for others who may be going thru same pain, so it’s good for trauma.
A powerful stone, used as a guide in healing and meditation. It is known to protect and ground one physically and spiritually. Smoky Quartz also absorbs and transmutes negative energy, releasing it to the Earth to be cleansed naturally. It lifts depression and negativity, acting as a shield for emotional and environment stress. It relieves tension and anxiety/panic attacks and wards off negative thinking and doubt when faced with confusing or chaotic situations.
A stone of protection and good luck. Helps focus the mind and mental clarity, resolving problems unclouded by emotions. Particularly helpful in dispelling fear and anxiety. Balances yin-yang and emotions, stabilizes mood swings and aids with willpower, purpose, courage and self-confidence.
A purification stone, dispels negative energy and protects against negative influences and pollutants. Excellent for depression and exhaustion. Turquoise balances and aligns all the chakras which helps mood swings and provides inner peace. It’s also a symbol of friendship, and stimulates romantic love.
Turquoise also aids in the absorption of nutrients, enhances the immune system, and overall body healing by detoxifying.
Tourmaline aids in the understanding of oneself and others. It encourages self-confidence and reduces fear. It attracts inspiration, compassion, tolerance and prosperity. It balances the right-left sides of the brain and helps treat paranoia.
Tourmaline is known to aid in relieving stress, releasing tension, increasing mental alertness, improve circulation and strengthen the immune system. It is a powerful cleanser, helping to reduce toxin-related ailments. It balances male-female energy within the body, enhances energy and removes blockages.
One unique and distinguishable property is its ability to be electrically charged by heating or rubbing it, so one end becomes positive and one negative. It has been used for tuning radio and tv frequencies!
Repels and protects against negativity. It is excellent for deflecting radiation energy. It enhances ones physical well being by providing an increase in physical vitality, emotional stability, and intellectual acuity. When paired with pink tourmaline, it helps to lighten up obsessive behavior.
A stone of the heart. A stone of shamans. A stone for emotional support. Links heart chakra with crown chakra to encourage compassion and sensitivity. Helps with emotional imbalance and pas trauma or life experiences of abuse, hardship, etc. Helps one to release negative feelings of guilt, worry, anxiety , and depression and transform them into self love.