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Top » Catalog » Gemstone Information

Gemstone Encyclopedia

Amethyst

Amethyst is the most valuable forms of quartz and is a very popular gemstone. If not for a generous supply of this gemstone, it would be very expensive. Amethyst's name comes from the Greek with the meaning not drunken which was possibly due to the belief that anyone wearing Amethyst could not become drunk. To be Amethyst, the color must be purple however heat can affect the color. When heated, Amethyst will loose its color and turn gray or white. Caution should be taken in exposing our amethyst jewelry to too much sunlight or heat. The picture to the left is an excellent amethyst because of its perfect clarity and excellent cut (the quality of the cut is such that it reflects the maximum light). The color is deep and dark. When shopping for amethyst jewelry, this would be most valuable.

Charoite

Charoite is a relatively new gemstone and one of the rarest available today. With its intense lavender to purple color, with an almost translucent swirling marbling, no other gemstone is comes close to the unique properties of Charoite. Although discovered around 1940, this rare gemstone mined only in Siberia, Russia and having fairly prohibitive export restrictions, was not introduced as an ornamental stone or as setting for Native American jewelry until about 1978. Due to its rarity and unique coloring, the stone is said to be a symbol of individuality. It is also believed that the stone bestows deep sleep and powerful dreams and is a natural cure for insomnia.

Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla is often mistaken for turquoise with its variegated green and blue properties. The gemstone is a mixture of chrysocolla and copper minerals found in the Gulf of Aqaba, near the Red Sea. The name comes from the Greek chrysos translated means gold, and kolla translated means glue. Pure Chryscolla is too soft for jewelry settings, but when mined from quartz deposits it is hard enough to be polished into a gemstone. The metaphysical properties of this gemstone are believed to help with meditation and communication and is also referred as the Stone of Peace by reducing destructive emotions.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis is a somewhat rare semi-precious gemstone found most commonly in intense blue colors often with small veins of gold and white pyrite inclusions. The blue color is derived from the sulfur content which can range from a brilliant deep blue to lighter blue. Lapis is among the first gemstones to ever be worn as jewelry. Ancient excavation sites in the Mediterranean have discovered jewelry and figures made of Lapis indicating that the gemstone was popular dating thousands of years ago by the people of Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome. Lapis is the Latin for stone and azula comes from the Arabic meaning blue. The best Lapis gemstones are mined from Afghanistan and Argentina but can also be occasionally found in the United States, Canada, Russia and Chile. Lapis is said to the gemstone of friendship and truth by encouraging harmony in relationships. Lapis is the birthstone for December.Larimar Blue pectolite or Larimar is a highly sought after rare gemstone that is found only in the mountainous and mostly inaccessible area in the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. Larimar was first mined in 1916 but it was not until 1974 that it began appearing in Native American jewelry and Caribbean jewelry. The transparent to translucent blue color of Larimar is distinct from any other gemstone resembling the blue color of the sea and sky in Caribbean destinations. Among forklore, Larimar is considered a healing stone. In fact, even today many of the naturalists and those practicing alternative and holistic healing methods, use Larimar to assist in healing processes.

Malachite

Malachite is a brilliant green gemstone with beautifully banded shades of green swirls. Malachite’s spectacular coloration is a result of varying copper levels in the gemstone. Malachite is a copper ore found in copper producing regions of Russia, Australia, England, Mexico, in the Southwest U.S, and also in Zaire. The mineral given Malachite’s name is derived from the Greek molochitis which means “mallow green stone. Malachite is believed to from illness and danger. It is also considered in bringing harmony into one's life, and for enhancing knowledge and patience. You never want to use an ammonia cleaning products on Malachite.

Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl is the iridescent inner layer commonly found inside the shells of abalone, pearl oysters and mussel. Mother of pearl can be found in a variety of shades of white, yellow, pink. Care should be taken not to expose Mother of Pearl to chemicals.

Rhodochrosite

Rhodochrosite is mostly found in lighter shades of red and pink and appears almost transparent to translucent. This gemstone was first discovered in 1813 in present day Romania but in 2002 Colorado officially named rhodochrosite as its state mineral with some of the best jewelry quality gemstones having been found in the Sweet Home Mine near Alma, Colorado. This mine produces some of the rarest highest quality red crystals found in very few places on earth. In Native American cultures, the stone is worn to give energy and soothe emotions, give acceptance and forgiveness as well as cleanse the subconscious. It is also referred to as the stone of creative thinking.

Seraphinite

The Seraphinite gemstone stone is striking with its beautiful white streaking patterns throughout its sea green background. Seraphinite is a much sought after gemstone as it is only found in the Lake Baikal region of Siberia. The gemstone’s name comes from the Greek Seraphim which interpreted means Angels of the highest order. This stone is believed to provide healing powers of restoring health and balance by connecting one between the physical and angelic realm.

Spiny Oyster

Spiny Oyster is found off of Baja, Mexico in the Sea of Cortez. Spiny Oyster has been used in Native American jewelry making since 1976. This shell is mostly found in reds and oranges, but also purple and sometimes white and yellow. The Latin for Spiny Oyster is Spondylus which means “spines on its back”.

Turquoise Jewelry Gemstones

Bisbee Turquoise

The Bisbee Turquoise mine near Bisbee, Arizona is now closed, making the Bisbee turquoise jewelry one of the most sought after and expensive turquoise gemstones due to its rarity, high density and extremely good character. When shopping for Bisbee turquoise jewelry, look for its famous high-grade blue color and its smoky chocolate matrix.

Blue Gem Turquoise

The main Blue Gem Turquoise mine located near Battle Mountain, Nevada began production in 1934 but is now closed. The Blue Gem turquoise is one of the most valuable because of its rich color and hardness. The colors range from every shade of green and blue from intense blues to deep green combinations with a hard, irregularly distributed matrix. Blue Gem turquoise jewelry was very popular in the late 1930's and 40's and was commonly referred to as "tourist jewelry" that is greatly desired by collectors today.

Carico Lake Turquoise

Carico Lake turquoise is named after a dry lakebed in a cooler higher elevation of Lander County, Nevada. The Carico Lake mine is primarily a gold producing mine, which is from time to time leased to individual turquoise miners. Its clear, iridescent, spring-green color is due to its zinc content, but it is also found in dark blue as well as a blue-green color with a black, spider web matrix. The limited amount of Carico Lake turquoise and the limited amount of time allowed to mine it though make Carico Lake turquoise jewelry a valuable addition to anyone's collection.

Kingman Turquoise

The Kingman Turquoise mine in Northwestern Arizona has produced one of the largest supplies of turquoise throughout the years. The terms "high blue" and "Kingman" refer to the vibrant blue color associated with Kingman Turquoise, which has set the color standard for turquoise jewelry. About 95% of Kingman is stabilized which makes it very affordable. The Kingman mine reopened in 2004 since closing in the 1970's.

Number 8 Turquoise

The Number 8 Turquoise mine in Carlin, Nevada was active from the 1930's through the early 1950's. The mine however was depleted in 1961 subsequently making the Number 8 Turquoise jewelry quite valuable. In its prime, the Mine produced some of the largest turquoise nuggets ever found including a specimen that weighed 150 pounds. It was of good color and hardness and classified as gem quality. The color of Number 8 Turquoise varies from light blue, blue with shades of green to a striking dark blue. The most valuable is found with a black, golden, red or brown matrix, with the black and red spider webbing.

Royston Turquoise

Royston Turquoise is mined from the southwestern part of Nevada from several mines including Royston, Royal Blue, Oscar Wehrend and Bunker Hill. The first known mine was discovered in 1902. Today the Royston mines are still producing high quality turquoise but in limited amounts making Royston Turquoise jewelry quite collectable. Royston is a good producer of high quality gemstones and is known for is known for its beautiful colors from a beautiful soft blue to emerald greens, often running together in the same stone, displaying both dark and light green and sometimes blue. Royston has a heavy matrix ranging from dark brown to gold in color, making for beautiful combinations with the color variations of the stone.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

The Sleeping Beauty Turquoise mine located near Globe, Arizona is one of the largest in North America still in operation, and one of the most affordable in making turquoise jewelry. Sleeping Beauty is the favorite by the Zuni's for use in their inlay technique, petit point and needlepoint. It is most widely known for its solid light blue color with no matrix.

Turquoise Mountain and Birdseye Turquoise

Turquoise Mountain Turquoise comes from the same area as Kingman Turquoise in Northwestern Arizona but was closed in the 1980's. Turquoise Mountain turquoise is known for its light to high blue, many times with a golden or brown web but also in a non-webbed matrix making it some of the most highly sought after turquoise jewelry. "Birdseye" describes stones from this mine that show areas of light blue circled with dark blue matrix, resembling the eye of a bird.

White Buffalo

White Buffalo, although not turquoise as some sellers of Native American jewelry and Southwestern jewelry represent, is sometimes called Sacred Buffalo Turquoise or White Buffalo Turquoise because of its discovery in a turquoise mine. White Buffalo was discovered in the Dry Creek mine near Battle Mountain, Nevada in 1993. Its formation is the same mineralization process except that White Buffalo does not contain heavy copper, iron or zinc that make-up the traditional blues and greens of turquoise. The Dry Creek mine where White Buffalo was discovered is the only known mine with limited quantity of the gemstone yet to be mined therefore making it quite valuable and highly sought after due to its rarity.

Wild Horse

Wild Horse, also referred by some as Crazy Horse is a combination of magnesite and hematite and is mined in the Gila Wilderness area of Southern Arizona. The name is believed to be derived from the spotted brown and with pinto horse due to its resemblance. This gemstone is generally white with a brown to purple hue matrix running through the white magnesite. You will not find any two Wild Horse gemstones alike
   
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Common misspellings are turquoise jewellery, turqoise jewelry and turquiose jewelry.
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