Gemstone Information

  • A

Agate is a translucent, cryptocrystalline variety of quartz and a sub-variety of chalcedony. Agates are identical in chemical structure to jasper, flint, chert, petrified wood, and tiger's-eye, and are often found in association with opal. The colorful, banded rocks are used as a semiprecious gemstone and in the manufacture of grinding equipment. An agate's banding forms as silica from solution is slowly deposited into cavities and veins in older rock. The stones can be artificially stained to produce combinations of color more vivid than those found in the natural state.

Amazonite is also known as the Amazon Stone. It is a gem quality variety of green microcline, belonging to the feldspar group of minerals.

Amazonite was named after South America's Amazon River, which partially flows through Brazil. It was believed that Amazonite was found there long ago, but mineralogists claim that no green deposits of feldspar exist in Brazil's Amazon. As a result, the stones were later assumed to be nephrite jade and not actually Amazonite. Amazonite and other green feldspars do naturally occur in other areas of Brazil, just not in the Amazon River.

Amazonite is a light green to light bluish green feldspar.

Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz and owes its violet color to irradiation, iron impurities (in some cases in conjunction with transition element impurities), and the presence of trace elements, which result in complex crystal lattice substitutions. The hardness of the mineral is the same as quartz, thus it is suitable for use in jewelry.

The ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. It is one of several forms of quartz. Amethyst is a semiprecious stone and is the traditional birthstone for February.

Ametrine is a naturally occurring variety of quartz.. It is a mixture of amethyst and citrine with zones of purple and yellow or orange. Almost all commercially available Ametrine is mined only in Bolivia.

Angelite is the trade name for Blue Anhydrite. It is a relatively common sedimentary mineral that forms massive rock layers. Although it is not formed directly but as the result of the mineral gypsum losing all hydration. This hydration loss causes a reduction in physical volume of the rock layer, in large deposits as the rock shrinks, this can sometimes form natural caverns of amazing size.

Anhydrite is found in Mexico, Peru, Germany and New Mexico.

Aventurine is a translucent to opaque variety of microcrystalline quartz. It contains tiny inclusions of shiny materials which is what gives the stone a sparkling effect known as aventurescence. Inclusion that consist of mica will give a silvery shimmer, while inclusions of hematite will give a reddish or gray sparkle.

Aventurine can range in color from green, to brown, peach, yellow, red and blue.

Apatite is a calcium-phosphate mineral. It gets it's name from the Greek spelling “apate” which means deceit. Apatite comes in many different colors mostly green or yellow but also white, red, pink, purple, brown or blue. Sometimes specimens of Apatite are colorless or even multi-colored.

Apatite is the most common phosphate mineral, and is the main source of the phosphorus required by plants. The bones and teeth of most animals, including humans, are composed of calcium phosphate, which is the same material as Apatite.

This blue-green beryl has an ancient connection with seas and oceans. The name “aquamarine” is derived from the Latin word for seawater (aqua marina, “water of the sea”). This is a stone of the sea and a stone of the mystic.

Aquamarine comes in a wide range of natural blue colors and shades from blue to blue-green to sea-green. Color is mainly caused by the gemstone's selective absorption of certain wavelengths of light called the body color.

Gem dealers have never been able to successfully duplicate or synthesize aquamarine.

  • B

Bloodstone also known as Heliotrope was considered to be the most beautiful of the Jaspers. Bloodstone is a dark earthy green gem with spots of bright red. It was called the Sun Stone, and later Christ’s Stone, its energy carries the purity of blood and inherently speaks of life and birth, vitality and strength, passion and courage. As a talisman it is both mystical and magical, and its virtues are protective and nurturing.

Bronzite is a light to dark brown opaque form of enstatite that has a metallic or silky luster. It contains tiny flecks of golden pyrite, and this makes the stone look almost like bronze.

Bronzite is mined in Brazil, Germany, Austria, South Africa, Greenland and USA.

  • C

Carnelian is a variety of the silica mineral chalcedony colored by impurities of iron oxide The color can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange to an intense almost-black coloration. It is most commonly found in Brazil, India, Siberia, and Germany.

Carnelian has a long and storied past, and was once considered strictly the property of the noble class. People holding a high social status were often buried with this gemstone.

Chrysocolla is a hydrated copper silicate mineral. It is of secondary origin and forms in the oxidation zones of copper ore bodies. Associated minerals are quartz, limonite, azurite, malachite, cuprite, and other secondary copper minerals.

Notable occurrences include Israel, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chile, Cornwall in England, and Arizona, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in the United States.

Citrine is a beautiful gemstone that has become quite popular over the last few decades. While it is made from quartz (the most common type of mineral), it is quite rare in its natural form. Citrine has a beautiful yellow color which can vary from a light or pale yellow, to a yellowish orange to having other colors present such as a red or brown tinge.

Citrine gets its wonderful hues from the small particles of iron trapped in this quartz mineral. In fact, Citrine usually has only about 40 parts per million particles of iron. The oxidation of this iron is what gives the Citrine its yellow or yellow orange color. It should be noted that Citrine is associated with Amethyst. It is in fact the substance, except it has a different oxidation state of the iron present. This means that you can easily heat up Amethyst to create Citrine. Since Amethyst is found more readily than Citrine, the commercial Citrine you purchase is usually Amethyst that has been specially treated.

Citrine is a hard mineral and usually has a harness of 7 on Mohs’s hardness scale; this makes it a great stone to use for jewelry. Citrine can be found on many ornamental jewelry pieces including rings, earrings, charms, bracelets, etc. It can be cut easily and has a vitreous luster. It should also be noted that it is transparent or translucent giving it a nice glassy quality. Citrine is one of the more affordable gemstones and can come in many sizes.

  • D

Dumortierite is a fibrous variably colored aluminum boro-silicate mineral. The crystals are at the higher end of the hardness range, while the aggregates have the same hardness as quartz. Dumortierite was first described in 1881 for an occurrence in the Rhône-Alps of France and named for the French paleontologist Eugene Dumortier (1803-1873).

Dumortierite deposits are found in Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Sri Lanka, India, France, Italy, Poland and Norway.

    • F

    A fossil is the impression left when the body of an ancient animal or plant is encased in  mud or sand. Over many years, the ancient animal or plant turns into rock when the matrix around the object has become firm enough to hold its shape. The object itself is slowly replaced by some other mineral that works its way in from the surrounding matrix. If nature cooperates, the rock or mineral formed where the body used to be is different enough in composition from the surrounding rock or mineral that one can separate them to rediscover the original shape of the object. A fossil can be formed out of all kinds of different minerals.

    • G

    Garnet is a silica mineral; in other words, garnet’s complex chemical formula includes the silicate molecule (SiO4). The different varieties of garnet have different metal ions, such as iron, aluminum, magnesium and chromium. Some varieties also have calcium. Garnets all crystallize in the isometric crystal system. Garnets all are quite hard, ranging between 6 and 7.5 on the Mohs' hardness scale. They also lack cleavage, so when they break, they fracture into sharp, irregular pieces. The combination of the hardness and fracture make garnet a valuable abrasive material.

    In the United States, only a few companies in three states (Idaho, New York, and Montana) produce garnet for industrial use.

    There are many significant garnet-producing countries. Noteworthy among them are Australia, China, and India, all of which export significant amounts of garnet. Russia and Turkey also produce large amounts of industrial garnet, but they are not yet exporting much of this material.

    • H

    Hematite is a gemstone form of iron oxide. It is the principal ore of iron and one of the few gemstones that exhibits a metallic luster. Like most other gemstones with a metallic luster hematite is remarkably dense and possesses an extremely high refractive index. 

    When highly polished, hematite can sometimes appear like polished silver. As a gemstone in aggregate form, hematite is always opaque and typically occurs with blackish-gray color. However, in thin crystals, it is actually transparent and exhibits a reddish to brown color. 

    Hematite is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way. However, when used industrially, it can be artificially altered through heating.

    Howlite is white with grey veining. Howlite, a calcium borosilicate hydroxide is a borate mineral found in evaporite deposits. It was discovered near Windsor, Nova Scotia in 1868 by Henry How (1828–1879), a Canadian chemist, geologist, and mineralogist. How was alerted to the unknown mineral by miners in a gypsum quarry, who found it to be a nuisance. He called the new mineral silico-boro-calcite; it was given the name howlite by James Dwight Dana shortly thereafter.

    • I

    Iolite is the gem variety of cordierite. It ranges from a light to a deep blue. It usually has a purple tinge to it. It is useful in jewlery creation as iolite is durable and hard enough that it is not easily scratched. Its hardness is much greater than steel and fairly close to that of hardened steel.
     In jewelry making, iolite is sometimes used as a cheaper alternative for sapphire.
     Iolite is the most pleochroic gemstone, meaning it will exhibit a different color when viewed at different angles.

    • J

    Jasper is a versatile, decorative member of the quartz family that is well known for its interesting patterns. Jasper is often named for either its pattern or for its location of origin. Please be advised, that since jasper comes in so many varieties, its nomenclature is not entirely established. Many types of jasper's have multiple names. As jasper is a natural material, colors and patterns will very from bead to bead.

    Jet, also known as black amber is a geological material and is considered to be a minor gemstone. It is not considered a true mineral, but rather a mineraloid as it has an organic origin, being derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure.

    Jet is a product of high pressure decomposition of wood from millions of years ago, commonly the wood of trees of the family Araucariaceae. Jet is found in two forms, hard and soft. Hard jet is the result of the carbon compression and salt water; soft jet is the result of the carbon compression and fresh water.

    Jet is a soft, dull stone, but it will take a very high polish, even to a mirror finish. This is one of the things that has made it popular in talismans, jewelry, and carvings for centuries. Queen Victoria In the Victorian era, jet was used extensively for mourning jewelry. It has also been a traditional stone for rosaries.. Jet also feels lighter in the hand than most gemstone beads.

    In Whitby, England jet is mined that came from the Jurassic era around 180 million years ago.

    • L

    Labradorite is an iridescent gemstone with a fascinating schiller or metallic luster when viewed from certain angles. A member of the plagioclase feldspar group along with andesine and sunstone, labradorite is reasonably hard at 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale and has a perfect cleavage in one direction.

    The ground color of labradorite is a dark smoky gray, but when light strikes the stone in a particular direction, it displays striking rainbow-colored reflections. Most typically, these metallic tints are violet, blue and green; but sometimes yellow, orange and red can be seen. This effect is so unique to labradorite that it is referred to as labradorescence.

    The labradorescent effect is believed to be due to the presence of very fine platelets of different compositions as well as minute inclusions of limenite, rutile and possible magnetite which cause the diffraction of light.

    It was first found in 1770 on the Labrador Peninsula in Canada. It is also found in Norway, and the former USSR. There is a blue semi-transparent variety called spectrolite that is only found in Finland.

    Lapis Lazuli is an opaque to translucent blue, violet-blue, or greenish-blue semiprecious gemstone composed mainly of lazurite and calcite.

    In ancient times Lapis Lazuli was most highly regarded because of its beautiful color and the valuable ultramarine dye derived from it. Its name comes from the Latin lapis, "stone," and the Persian lazhuward, "blue." It is rock formed by multiple minerals, mostly Lazurite, Sodalite, Calcite and Pyrite, and is a rich medium to royal blue with gold flecks (pyrites). Lower-grade Lapis is lighter blue with more white than gold flecks, and is sometimes called denim Lapis.

    Larvikite is a variety of monzonite, notable for the presence of handsome, thumbnail-sized crystals of feldspar. These feldspars are known as ternary because they contain significant components of all three end-member feldspars. The feldspar has partly unmixed on the micro-scale to form a perthite, and the presence of the alternating alkali feldspar and plagioclase layers give its characteristic silver blue sheen (Schiller effect) on polished surfaces. Olivine can be present along with apatite, and locally quartz.

    The name originates from the Larvik Fjord region in Norway, where this type of igneous rock is found. It is also known as Black Moonstone, Blue Norwegian Moonstone, Blue Pearl Granite, Blue Granite, Blue Antique, Blue Pearl, Blue Pearl Fjord, Emerald Pearl, Larvik Granite, Marina Blue Star, Norwegian Pearl Granite, Norwegian Moonstone and Royal Blue Pearl Granite.

    Lava is molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption. As the lava cools and hardens gasses release causing holes to form.


    Lepidolite was discovered in the eighteenth century and was originally known as lilalite (from the Hindu word 'lila' meaning play, game). Lepidolite is not technically a gemstone, but a very beautiful purplish type of mica. It is referred to by healers as the Peace Stone.

    Lepidolite is a lilac-gray or rose-colored member of the mica group. It occurs in granite pegmatites, in some high-temperature quartz veins, greisens and granites.

    Notable occurrences include Brazil; Ural Mountains, Russia; California, United States; Tanco Mine, Bernic Lake, Manitoba, Canada; and Madagascar.

    • M

    Magnesite is a mineral, magnesium carbonate, that has the same crystal structure as calcite. It usually forms when magnesium-rich rocks, such as serpentine or dolomite, are exposed to carbon dioxide-rich water. Magnesite has the same hardness and texture as turquoise and marble. It has a dull luster to it, sometimes looking like unglazed porcelain. The most common color is white although the mineral can also be colorless, yellow, gray, tan or pink. Since the mineral is porous with a low luster, it readily takes a dye and can be found in many colors, including pink, orange, yellow purple and green!

    It can be found in many countries in Europe and Africa, in Brazil, China, Korea and the United States.

    Malaysia Jade beads are commonly mistaken for fine quality jade but they are actually a translucent quartzite which are formed through the metamorphism of quartz-rich sandstones. Quartzite may sometimes look like marble, but can be distinguished because quartzite cannot be scratched with a knife, unlike marble. Nor does it react with weak acid, as does marble. It is very hard and weather resistant. In ancient times, colorless quartz was used in urns, caskets, vases and pitchers that were part of the royal treasure as well as for ornaments, rosaries and necklaces. Today, Malaysia "jade" is quartz that has been transformed into various colors perfect for all kinds of colorful jewelry.

    Mashan Jade is also known as Mountain Jade or Candy Jade. It is not a true Jade but actually the trade name for white dolomite marble which is dyed in vibrant colors to enhance its natural beauty.

    Dolomite marble is a metamorphic rock composed mainly of dolomite crystals. The crystalline texture is the result of metamorphosis of limestone/dolostone by heat and pressure plus or minus the influence of aqueous solutions.

    These beautiful stones are found in Greek main land and islands, Turkey, Alps, and Italy

    Mookaite is an Australian jasper that combines the lighter colors of yellow and red jasper.

    Moonstone is a sodium potassium aluminum silicate.  Its name is derived from a visual effect, or sheen, caused by light diffraction within a micro-structure consisting of a regular succession of feldspar layers.

    Moonstone has been used in jewelry for centuries, including ancient civilizations. The Romans admired moonstone, as they believed it was born from solidified rays of the moon.  Both the Romans and Greeks associated Moonstone with their lunar deities.

    Deposits of moonstone occur in Armeni, Australia, the Austrian Alps, Mexico, Madagascar, Myanmar, Norway, Poland, India, Sri Lanka, and the United States. 

    Morganite is a peachy-pink variety of beryl, cousin to more familiar beryls like emerald and aquamarine. Morganite gets its color from the presence of manganese. After its discoveries in California and Madagascar in the early 20th century, this pink beryl was renamed morganite as suggested by famed gemologist George F. Kunz. named in honor of financier and gem enthusiast J. P. Morgan.  

    There are also small deposits found in Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, and Russia.

    Moss Agate is a beautiful grayish to milky-white agate, a variety of the silica mineral quartz that contains opaque, dark colored inclusions whose branching forms resemble ferns, moss, or other vegetation. The included materials, mainly manganese and iron oxides, are of inorganic origin. Most moss agates are found as fragments weathered from volcanic rocks. Long used for ornamental purposes, they are obtained chiefly from India, Brazil, Uruguay, central Europe, and the western United States.

    • O

    Onyx is a form of chalcedony, which is a micro-crystalline quartz. It is formed in the gas cavities of lava. Its multi-layering is similar to that of agates. It has a fine texture and black color; however some onyx also displays white bands or ribbons against a black or brown background known as sardonyx.

    In Greek times, almost all colors of chalcedony, from fingernail white to black and everything in-between, were referred to as Onyx. Romans eventually applied the term to describe black and dark brown colors only. Black Onyx was used in the memorial jewelry of England’s Victoria’s mourning period. The Romans associated it with courage and it is thought to be useful when one is defending him/her against unfair criticism.

    Onyx is mined in Brazil, India, California and Uruguay.

    Opal is a hydrous silicon dioxide. It is amorphous, without a crystalline structure, and without a definite chemical composition. Therefore it is a "mineraloid" rather than a "mineral".

    Although opal is found throughout the world. The famous mining areas in Australia include: Coober Pedy, Mintabie, Andamooka, Lightning Ridge, Yowah, Koroit, Jundah and Quilpie. Other countries that produce precious and fancy varieties of common opal include: United States, Mexico, Hungary, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Ethiopia.

    • P

    Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine. It can range from a greenish yellow to a fairly dark green. The greater the amount of iron in the gem, the darker will be the green.

    Although some peridot comes from meteorites, almost all of it is formed deep in the Earth's mantle. Volcanic activity brings some of the peridot to the Earth's surface where it is mined for its beautiful green shades.

    Although found localized around the globe, the State of Arizona still produces the greatest amount of peridot.


    Petrified wood is also known as fossilized wood. The wood has the mineral composition of jasper, chalcedony and sometimes opal.

    Prehnite is also known as cape emerald and looks very similar to green tourmalated quartz. Usually ranging from pale to grass green, prehnite can also be gray, white, black, brown or colorless. These semiprecious beads are hard, durable gemstones consisting of a hydrous silicate of alumina and lime. Their bright, almost luminescent coloring frequently features inclusions of black amphabole, which make them easy to confuse with green tourmalated quartz. Prehnite's luster is vitreous to waxy, and its crystals are transparent to mostly translucent. This gemstone is often found with zeolites, but the two stones are from different geologic classes.

    The mineral pyrite, or iron pyrite, also known as fool's gold, is an iron sulfide. This mineral's metallic luster and pale brass-yellow hue give it a superficial resemblance to gold, hence the nickname fool's gold.

    Most of the pyrite on the market comes from US, South America and Britain.

    • Q

    Composed of silicon and oxygen, Quartz, from the European "quarz", is a key component in a wide array of minerals designated as "silicates." It occurs as prismatic hexagonal crystals in compact masses and druses, as well as in dense fibrous or grainy formations without visible crystals. It is also an important mineral element in common rock such as granite, quartzite and gneiss, and in sedimentary conglomerates like sandstone

    Quartz is the most recognized type of crystal. In fact, many people envision quartz crystals when they think of crystals, even though there are many different types of crystals. Quartz can be icy clear or have inclusions, veils, bubbles, and various colors. Visual clarity normally isn't important to a quartz's energetic quality and ability to amplify subtle energies.

    Clear Quartz Crystal is found in Brazil, Madagascar and the Arkansas region in the USA.

    • R

    Rainbow obsidian is a lightweight volcanic glass with iridescent properties, giving it a subtle cat's eye glow in sunlight. Every movement reveals a subtle sheen, with muted rainbow colors moving on the stone. Microscopic crystals and bubbles of mica in the volcanic glass create the multicolored effect.

    Rose quartz is a type of quartz which exhibits a pale pink to rose red hue. The color is usually considered as due to trace amounts of titanium, iron, or manganese, in the massive material.

    Most rose quartz crystals come from Brazil, US and China

    Ruby Zoisite, also known as anyolite, is the natural combination of ruby and zoisite crystals in a single specimen. Zoisite, the same mineral as tanzanite, provides an earthy green color while ruby lends pink and red highlights.

    Ruby-Zoisite was first discovered in 1954 in Tanzania. The name anyolite derives from the word for "green" in the native language of the Masai tribe.

    Ruby-Zoisite has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, and is thus of moderate hardness.

    There are no common treatments for Ruby Zoisite known.

    • S

    Amethyst Sage Agate , also known as Purple Sage gets its name for its purplish grey color and lovely manganese dendrites. It is found in the Bilk Mountain range in Nevada.

    This material was discovered in the 1990's. Dendrites are tree-like inclusions, and were named after the Greek word meaning tree-like.

    Agate is a type of chalcedony, usually at least slightly translucent and banded or with inclusions. It forms in concentric layers in a wide variety of colors and textures. Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in host rock.

    Smoky quartz is a brown to black variety of quartz. Like other quartz gems, it is a silicon dioxide crystal. The smoky color results from free silicon, formed from the silicon dioxide by natural irradiation.

    Sodalite is a light, relatively hard yet fragile mineral. It is named after its sodium content. Well known for its blue color, sodalite may also be grey, yellow, green, or pink and is often mottled with white veins or patches. The more uniformly blue material is used in jewellery, where it is fashioned into cabochons and beads.

    Sodalite was first described in 1811 for the occurrence in its type locality in the Ilimaussaq complex, Narsaq, West Greenland.

    Significant deposits of fine material are restricted to but a few locales: Bancroft, Ontario, and Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, in Canada; and Litchfield, Maine, and Magnet Cove, Arkansas, in the USA. The Ice River complex, near Golden, British Columbia, contains sodalite.Smaller deposits are found in South America (Brazil and Bolivia), Portugal, Romania, Burma and Russia.

     The oldest known fossils are stromatolites.      Stromatolites are a rock-like buildup of microbial colonies that form in limestone and dolomite creating environments. Stromatolites usually form due to the natural processes of bacteria or algae. Stromatolites have been forming continuously for about 3.5 billion years.  Stromatolites are still being formed today and will eventually become fossilized.

    Sunstone is a plagioclase feldspar, which when viewed from certain directions exhibits a brilliant spangled appearance; this has led to its use as a gemstone. It has been found in Southern Norway, and in some United States localities. It is the official gemstone of Oregon.

    • T

    Tiger Iron is a metamorphosed rock consisting of Red Jasper, Tiger's Eye and Hematite. Billions of years ago deposits of these three parent stones were pressed together between shifting tectonic plates.

    Tiger's Eye is a chatoyant gemstone that is usually a metamorphic rock that is a golden to red-brown color, with a silky luster. It is mined in South Africa, Australia, the USA, Canada, India, Namibia, and Burma.

    Tourmaline's are gems with an incomparable variety of colors. There are tourmaline's which change their color when the light changes from daylight to artificial light, and some show the light effect of a cat's eye. No two tourmaline's are exactly alike. This gemstone has an endless number of faces, and for that reason it suits all moods. In the fascinating world of gemstones, the tourmaline is very special. Its high availability and its glorious, incomparable color spectrum make it one of our most popular gemstones - and apart from that, almost every tourmaline is unique.

    Turquoise is found in only a few places on earth: dry and barren regions where acidic, copper-rich groundwater seeps downward and reacts with minerals that contain phosphorus and aluminum. The result of this sedimentary process is a porous, semi translucent to opaque compound of hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate.

    • U

    Unakite is a jasper composed primarily up pink feldspar, green epidote and quartz. It was first discovered in the United States in the Unakas mountains of North Carolina. It exists in various shades of green and pink and is usually mottled in appearance. In good quality unakite is considered a semiprecious stone, will take a good polish and is often used in jewelry and other lapidary work such as eggs, spheres and other carvings like animals.

    Unakite can be found as pebbles and cobbles from glacial drift in the beach rock on the shores of Lake Superior. It occurs in Virginia where it is found in the river valleys after having been washed down from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Unakite is not limited to the United States, but has also been reported from South Africa, Sierra Leone, Brazil, and China.