Gemstone Showcase: Green Gemstones

Gemstone Showcase

PeridotGreen is a wonderful colour!  It looks great with a variety of skin tones, the colour is refined while still feeling organic and natural.  There are an amazing number of gemstones that come in varying shades of green, such as emerald, peridot, and jade, just to name a few.  Additionally, there are a lot of gemstones that, while not commonly green, depending on their chemical composition can be green, like Tourmaline, Opal, Topaz,Sapphire, Agate and more.  Read on below for a brief introduction to some of the most common Green Gemstones.

Emerald Earrings by BlueGreenJewels on Etsy
Emerald Earrings by BlueGreenJewels on Etsy

Emeralds

Emeralds are a variety of the mineral Beryl that has trace amounts of Chromium in it.  They scores a 7.5 – 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.  They are found and mined all over the world.  Emeralds are traditionally associated with May birthdays and the astrological sign Taurus.  Emeralds are symbols of faith and hope and are thought to bring the wearer abundant love, wisdom, and reason.

Vintage Jade Pendant by TopCatVintage on Etsy
Vintage Jade Pendant by TopCatVintage on Etsy

Jade

Jade is an ornamental stone that is made of silicate materials.  There are two varieties of Jade: Nephrite and Jadite.  Depending on the variety of Jade, it scores a 6.0 – 7.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scales.  Burma and Guatemala are the principle places that modern Jadite is mined.  Nephrite was mainly used in pre-1800 China and other early cultures around the world.  Jade is thought to bless whatever it touches, and is used as an amulet for good luck, friendships, and tranquility.

Vintage Peridot Ring by GTJewellers on Etsy
Vintage Peridot Ring by GTJewellers on Etsy

Peridot

Peridot is the gem quality variety of the mineral Olivine, a silicate with high magnesium levels.  It scores a 6.5 – 7.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.  It is mined all over the world and found in meteorites.  Peridot is associated with August birthdays and is one of the traditional birthstones for the Leo zodiac sign.  Peridot symbolizes prosperity and happiness and is thought to bring the wearer renewal, rebirth and lessen stress.

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Gemstone Showcase: Ravishing Rubies

Gemstone Showcase

ruby ring
Tension Set Ruby Ring on Etsy

Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide).  The red colour is caused by the presence of chromium.  The colour ranges from delicate pink to blood red.  The deeper the red, the more precious the ruby is considered, and the more expensive.  Rubies are found all over the world, from Thailand & Myanmar to Namibia, Scotland and more.

ruby earrings
Wire Earrings with Ruby on Etsy

All natural rubies have imperfections in them: inclusions of rutile needles (called ‘silk’).  Gemologists use the presence of the needles to distinguish between natural rubies and synthetic lab created rubies.  Like diamonds, the clearer the ruby, the more expensive it is, although, highly occluded rubies are quite beautiful in their own right.  Rubies score a 9.0 on the Mohs Hardness scale, making them one of the strongest natural gems.  Ruby crystals can also be found in the minerals Fuchsite, Zoisite & Kyanite.  When present in these minerals, the stones take on a beautiful multi-coloured hue.

ruby necklace
Ruby Pomegranate Necklace on Etsy

Rubies have been used throughout history in beautiful and intricate jewelry and artwork.  There is early recorded trading of rubies on the Silk Road around 200 BC.  Traditionally, rubies were held in high esteem in Asian countries, used to ornament armour, scabbards and horse harnesses for the noblemen of ancient India & China.  They were also laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure.  It is said that the ruby was a favoured gemstone of Kublai Khan.  More recently, the world’s largest ruby, The Liberty Bell Ruby was stolen in 2011.  The world’s most expensive ruby, The Sunrise Ruby, sold in May 2015 at auction for $30 million to an anonymous buyer.

raw ruby ring
Dual Gemstone Raw Ruby Ring on Etsy

Rubies are the traditional gemstone for the month of July and are also associated with the astrological signs of Capricorn, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, & Scorpio.  Linked the planet Mars, the ruby is the 15th & 40th anniversary stone.  The ruby is a symbol of vitality and royalty and often associated with love.  It is said that a ruby under the pillow will ward off bad dreams and that when given as a gift, the ruby is a symbol of friendship and love.  In metaphysical healing, the ruby is an energy stone which can amplify energy and increase the wearer’s chi.

Gemstone Showcase: Pearls

Gemstone Showcase

pearlThroughout history, pearls have been prized as gemstones.  The iridescent white gem, a byproduct of mollusks, is rare, beautiful and timeless.  Synonymous with grace, class beauty, pearls have been used for a wide range of purposes.  While they have been used in makeup and paint for to achieve a pearlescent effect, the most common use for pearls has always been jewelry and personal adornment.

Pearl Necklace
Pearl & Gold Necklace by TheresaRose on Etsy

How Pearls Are Formed

Natural pearls can be created by any living mollusk, like clams, mussels and oysters.  Pearls are formed as a result of the mollusks immune system.  When an irritant enters the mollusk’s shell, the mollusk protects itself by forming a ‘pearl sac’ around the irritant.  The irritant is then coated in layer after layer of calcium carbonate, which forms the pearl.  These layers are held together and given their iridescence by nacre, the substance which makes up the Mother-of-Pearl coating on the interior of the mollusk shell.  Because they are primarily made of calcium carbonate, pearls can dissolve in weak acids like vinegar.

Pearl Earrings
Pearl Stud Earrings by EmbersWay on Etsy

Natural Pearls vs Cultured Pearls vs Imitation Pearls

Natural Pearls are extremely rare and occur spontaneously in the wild.  These pearls are highly sought after and valued as gemstones.  Natural pearls occur in both salt and freshwater.  Saltwater pearls are formed primarily by Pearl Oysters while freshwater pearls are formed primarily by Mussels.  Because the only way to find natural pearls is to open and therefore kill, wild mollusks, it is very time consuming to locate and procure natural pearls, thus increasing their value.  Cultured Pearls are created by Pearl Oysters that have had a piece of shell or sand artificially implanted so that they will form a pearl.  Both natural and cultured pearls can form in a variety of shapes, ranging from the irregular keshi and elongated biwa to the oval potato and petite rice shapes.  While the vast majority of natural pearls are an iridescent white, they occasionally form with slight colour tints.  Cultured pearls are often died in a plethora of hues, like pastel green, lavender and grey.  Imitation Pearls are just that-imitations.  They can be made from coral, conch shell, mother of pearl and glass and have the benefit of uniformity.

Pearl Ring
Tiny Pearl Ring by LilianGinebra on Etsy

Cultural Significance

Throughout history, pearls have been highly valued not only for their beauty and rarity, but for the cultural significance they have as well.  Pearls are found in the religious scriptures of Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Pearls are also linked to the astrological signs of Gemini and Cancer, are the 30th anniversary stones and are the traditional birthstones for the month of June.  Over time, pearls have come to signify purity and innocence and are often worn by brides or sewn into bridal gowns.

Gemstone Showcase: Emeralds

Gemstone Showcase

Cleopatra Emerald Ring on Etsy

Emeralds are the stunning green gemstone that is traditionally associated with May birthdays and the astrological sign Taurus.  Emeralds are found all over the world, from the United States, to Russia and Italy!  Columbia and Zambia are the world’s first and second largest producers of Emeralds.

EarringsEmeralds are a variety of the mineral Beryl.  Beryl comes in a variety of colours, and Emeralds get their beautiful green colouration from trace amounts of Chromium that is found in the Beryl.  Emeralds score a 7.5-8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.  Emeralds come in varying levels of clarity.  As with other forms of Beryl, the more inclusions and impurities found in the Emerald, the weaker and more likely to chip the Emerald is.  This means that the purest Emeralds with the least inclusions and impurities are the hardest and most valuable.  Emeralds with high levels of inclusions are stunningly beautiful with their marbled green appearance.

Emerald NecklaceIn the Christian religion, Emeralds have been associated with symbols of faith and hope.  In naturopathic practices, Emeralds are associated with the Heart Chakra and are believed to bring abundant love, wisdom, and reason into the wearer’s life.  Love Emerald but need a more affordable alternative?  Try out Green Onyx or Peridot!

Gemstone Showcase: Diamond Alternatives

Gemstone Showcase

Diamonds are a girls’ best friend and the birthstone for April babies!  Beautiful, classic and timeless, we all love this most precious of gemstones.  And while we all adore diamonds, we don’t always have a diamond-sized budget.  Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable diamond alternatives!

Cubic Zirconia
Cubic Zirconia Pendant on Etsy

Cubic Zirconia

The most popular diamond alternative, Cubic Zirconia is a synthetic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide.  While they come in a variety of colours, CZs are usually colourless, which categorizes them as a ‘diamond stimulant’.  Optically flawless, CZs register 8-8.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.  Natural CZ was discovered in 1892 and the synthetic version has been used in jewelry design since 1976.

Moissanite Stud Earrings on Etsy
Moissanite Stud Earrings on Etsy

Moissanite

Moissanite was discovered in Arizona in 1983.  Its chemical makeup is silicon carbide and registers a 9.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.  Natural Moissanite is extremely rare, which is why almost all modern applications of the stone use synthetic man-made Moissanite.  It is considered a ‘diamond stimulant’ because it is a clear stone made to look like a diamond.

White Topaz Bracelet on Etsy
White Topaz Bracelet on Etsy

White Topaz

Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluorine, typically found in mountainous regions around the world.  Impurities in Topaz give this gemstone its beautiful colour variations, such as yellow, pink, green, blue and many more.  Pure Topaz, Topaz without impurities, is known as White Topaz & is colourless and registers an 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.

Herkimer Diamond Ring on Etsy
Herkimer Diamond Ring on Etsy

Herkimer Diamond

Named after the county in NY where they were discovered in the 19th century, Herkimer Diamonds are double-terminated quartz crystals which are mined from dolostone.  They typically have 18 facets, varying levels of clarity and occlusions and register 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness scale.  The unique ratio of carbon to silicon gives the Herkimer Diamond exceptional clarity when compared to other quartz crystals.

White Sapphire Ring on Etsy
White Sapphire Ring on Etsy

White Sapphire

Sapphire is an aluminum oxide mineral called corundum and is found all over the world.  The colour variation in sapphires is due to the amount and type of trace element or impurity in the particular sample.  Colours range from the well-known dark blue to green, pink and more.  White Sapphire is pure, with no trace elements or impurities and registers 9.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.