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Click on the corresponding button for the gemstone you want to learn more about! Each gemstone write-up will tell you briefly about the stone’s history, origins, lore, where it’s found now, color pallet, and hardness.
One of the June birthstones, Alexandrite is a part of the Chrysoberyl family. Alexandrite is one of the rare gemstones used in jewelry. Named after Alexander II Alexandrite was initially found in the 1830s in the Russian mountains. Alexandrite is a relatively ‘new’ gemstone. Alexandrite is a color change, meaning depending on the light source the stone will change colors. Alexandrite has been described as ‘Emerald by day and Ruby by night.’ Meaning that in daylight it looks like an emerald and at night under “warmer” light or candlelight it will change to a reddish color.
Alexandrite is 8.5 on the hardness scale, meaning that it is very durable and suitable for everyday wear. Alexandrite is now found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil. Original ural mountain Alexandrites (Russian) can still be found in some estate jewelry, are very rare, and still are the gold standard for the unique gemstone.
Along with Topaz, Citrine is the birthstone for November. Citrine is a member of the Quartz mineral family. The color of Citrine ranges from yellow to orange to a light orangery red. Quartz family gemstones have been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Today, completely natural Citrine is rare. Most Citrine in jewelry now is a result of heat treatment of Amethyst Quartz.
Naturally occurring Citrines have been found in Brazil, Madagascar, Norway, and Bolivia to name a few. Prior to modern technology, Citrine was often mistaken for Topaz as they can share a similar vibrant orange color. Citrine is said to be a self healer and promote growth, and self-improvement. Citrine is also recognized as the gemstone that commemorates the 13th anniversary and is a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale.
Only 1 in 10,000 diamonds are ‘fancy colored’. A true fancy-colored diamond is extremely rare. All fancy-colored diamonds are not equally valuable. For example, brown and some yellow fancy yellows are more frequently occurring than green and red colors for example. Fancy-colored diamonds are the same makeup as traditional diamonds.
Fancy-colored diamonds have the same grading scale for clarity as the more traditional ‘white’ diamonds. The color grading scale is different though. A basic breakdown of fancy-colored diamonds is: Fancy (lighter color) Fancy Intense- more saturated than fancy and fancy vivid- the most saturated color. Fancy-colored diamonds have increased in popularity in recent years
Fancy-colored diamonds are not limited to yellow. Diamonds can also be found in red, orange, green, blue, pink, purple, and gray. These colors are incredibly rare, Fancy colored diamonds can also come in mixed colors as well for example purplish pink or brownish yellow.
Garnet has one of the oldest gemstone histories and lours. Red Garnets were found on Egyptian pharos as they were said to be prized possessions in the afterlife. During the Pliny times, Garnets were some of the most widely traded gemstones. They are said to The amount of Garnets vastly increased around 1500 when a large deposit called the Bohemian Garnet Deposit in Central Europe.
Garnets can come in almost any color. They are best known for the traditional red as those are the most common as well. Green garnets, also known as Tsavorite garnets are named after Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. They are also found in Tanzania which is also home to Tanzanite. Other colors are much more scarce. Garnets are a 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. suitable for occasion gemstone rings and everyday wear in earrings, pendants, and bracelets. Garnets are rarely treated as they have a very strong natural color and clarity.
Octobers birthstone, Opals was thought to be the most precious stone by the Romans because of the many different colors the gemstone has. The Bedouins believed that Opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Opals can be in almost any color. Opals almost always have shades of many different colors that streak through the stone. They were thought to be found as early as 250 BC in Eastern Africa. Today they are mined in primarily Brazil, Honduras, and the Western United States.
Up to 20% of an Opal is water. Care and cleaning of opals can be sensitive. They are also on the softer side of gemstones, being a 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. You should not leave them for too long in direct sunlight when it’s hot. This can dry out the opal and affect its color and even shape.
Rubies are part of the Corundum family along with Sapphires. They are the second hardest group of gemstones with a 9 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning they are extremely durable and suitable for everyday wear.
Ruby is one of the most prevalent gemstones in history. Almost all cultures have coveted the rich red color and are still relevant today. Ruby’s have long signified wealth and success. Spanning from Roman times to European royalty, They are thought to be discovered in Myanmar (Currently Burma) around 600 AD.
Ruby is known for its vibrant red color. Rubies have a much smaller array of colors compared to other gemstones. Rubies can range from a deep blackish red to pinkish red. The bright true red is still the most coveted color and therefore the most expensive per carat.
Some of the highest-quality Rubies come from Myanmar, but can also be found in Afghanistan, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Madagascar, and the United States, to name a few. Heating is the most common Ruby treatment. Heating a Ruby enhances the color and will make the stone look cleaner by “melting” away internal inclusion/ silk found naturally in the stone. Unheated Rubies are very rare and therefore incredibly expensive per carat. Unheated Rubies are among the highest prices per carat out of any gemstone in the world.
Sapphire is the other half of the Corundum family. Also a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, Sapphires are a great alternative to Diamonds in engagement rings as they are very durable and suitable for everyday wear. Perhaps the most famous Sapphire ever was Princess Diana’s engagement ring in 1981. This increased the popularity of Sapphires in engagement rings.
Sapphires are a recent discovery in the world of gemstones. Found around 1880 about 4,500 meters up in the Himalayas. They were quickly a popular gemstone. Today the ‘bluest’ Sapphires are mined in Kashmir, India. They are also mined in Montana, Eastern Africa, and Madagascar.
Another reason why Sapphires are such a popular stone is because of their color versatility. Sapphires come in every color of the rainbow (except for Red because then it’s a Ruby). Sapphires are best known for their signature blue color similar to Rubies, Sapphires’ most common treatment is heat to enhance the color. This is common practice for Sapphires, meaning that unheated Sapphires are more rare and valuable. Their versatility in color and durability has made them a popular alternative to diamonds as the center stone in engagement rings.
Tanzanite is new to the world of gemstones. The most accepted story about the discovery of Tanzanite comes in 1967 when a Masai tribesman found the gemstone out of the ground in Tanzania. Shortly after, 90 different claims were made to mine the area even though no one was quite sure what the colorful gemstone was. Tiffany & Co. then made a deal to become an international seller, and promptly increased the popularity of the gemstone.
Tanzanite can be shades of blue to shades of purple and is one of the birthstones for December. It is a 6 – 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. Tanzanite is commonly heat treated to take a more brownish color to the bright blue or purple associated with the stone. Tanzanite is said to enhance communication and help with good karma. Tanzanite is still only mined in Tanzania.
The birthstone for October, Tourmaline is also the gemstone associated with the 8th anniversary. Tourmaline has one of the broadest ranges of colors in all gemstones. Tourmaline can come in almost every single hue. Rubellite is the term for tourmalines in shades of red and pink,
The first Tourmaline was thought to be found in the 1500s by a Spanish explorer, who uncovered a green Tourmaline and confused the bright gemstone for an Emerald. This thought prevailed until the 1800s when scientists made the distinction between the chemical makeup between Emeralds and Tourmalines. While they can be found all around the world, they are mined today primarily in Brazil and Africa.
Tourmalines are said to calm nerves, counter anger, and resentment, and relieve stressful thoughts. The most common treatments are heating and irradiation. Heat treatments in Tourmalines can change and enhance the color of the natural stone. These treatments are common practice as most all Tournamlines have been heat treated. Pariaba Tourmalines are a recent discovery in the 1980s. They are more expensive than a normal Tourmaline, as they have a really bright almost neon color to them.