Gemstone Guide

 

Agate

Part of the Chalcedony family, Agate provides an infinite number of patterns and textures that mesmerize, fascinate and are totally unique. It is a highly regarded stone worn in many cultures as protection from the ‘evil eye’

Hardness: 6.5-7 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Sources: Brazil, Uruguay, Madagascar, Mexico.

Interesting Fact: Traced back to the Stone Age, Agate was one of the first materials familiar to mankind. In the ancient days, it was believed that wearing agates made the wearer friendly, truthful and persuasive.

Amethyst

Amethyst has been and still is one of the most popular crystaline quartzes being found in all shades of purple from light lavender to deep violet. Its name derives from the Greek "amethystos", which means "not drunken", as historically, Amethyst was thought to ward off drunkenness. Amethyst was once highly regarded among the precious gemstones like Ruby and Emerald.

Hardness: 7 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Birthstone: February

Sources: Germany, Brazil, Russia, Uruguay, USA

Interesting Fact: For thousands of years, the amethyst jewel has been coveted by princes both ecclesiastical and secular. Moses described it as a symbol of the Spirit of God in the official robes of the High Priest of the Jews, and the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great, sent thousands of miners into the Urals to look for it.

Garnet

Garnet is an exciting and versatile stone and is available in a range of colours with the most familiar being a dark blood or rich raspberry red. The red colour of the Garnet has been likened to the flesh of a ripe pomegranate and the name Garnet is derived from the Latin word ’granatum’

Hardness: 6.5-7.5 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Birthstone: January

Sources: Argentina, Brazil, India & Madagascar

Interesting Fact: Garnet was once thought to cure fever and promote good health and many explorers and travellers wore it as a protection talisman, as they were a popular protective stone.

Hematite

Hematite is an iron mineral and the metallic silver-grey crystal surfaces of specular hematite are so highly reflective that they were used in the past as mirrors. Its name derives from the Greek for ‘blood’ which is due to the fact that when powdered it becomes red.

Hardness: 5.5-6.5 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Sources: Brazil, Canada, Italy & Scandinavia

Interesting Fact: It has been said to stimulate attainment of peace, self-control and inner happiness.

Iolite

Iolite is a transparent gemstone of violet-blue colour with a glassy lustre and is moderately brilliant. It is one of very few blue gemstones available and the name derives from the Greek word for ‘violet’.

Hardness: 7-7.5 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Sources: India, Madagascar, Tanzania & Burma

Interesting Fact: Iolite shows different colours dependent on the angle that it is viewed at. This property helped Viking explorers to determine their exact positioning of the sun when crossing the Atlantic and helped them navigate safely to the new world.

Jade

For over 2,000 years Jade has been mined and worked throughout the world. Jade is a gemstone with two incarnations, one abundant, the other more rare. Yet both jadeite (rare) and nephrite (abundant) gemstones possesses a beautiful texture, strength and colour that range from creamy pastels to intense and earthy tones.

Hardness: 6.5 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Sources:  Nephrite - Australia, Brazil, Mexico, ZimbabweJadeite – Burma, Japan & USA

Interesting Fact: The Chinese were the earliest users of Jade making it part of their ancient religious cult and a symbol of high rank and authority in their society.

Pearl

Created naturally by a living creature over many years, every pearl is unique in its colour, lustre, size & shape. The two most important distinctions are the pearls habitat (saltwater or freshwater) and how the pearl was grown (naturally or cultivated). The constant demand for natural saltwater pearls over the last 150 years has led to a dwindling supply of them and as a result, the need to develop cultured pearls became essential. Pearl has a beautiful iridescent lustre and has been a symbol of innocence, faith and purity.

Hardness: 3-4 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Birthstone: June

Sources: Natural Pearls – Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean & Red Sea

Cultured Pearls – Japan, China, Australia & Cook Islands

Interesting Fact: One of the most famous pearls in the world is called ‘La Peregrina’. It is pear shaped and the size of a pigeon’s egg. Famous owners included Philip II of Spain, Mary Tudor and the last known owner is believed to be Elizabeth Taylor.

Quartz

The abundance and beauty of Quartz has meant that is has been used as a gemstone since the dawn of history. Quartz can vary in colour from transparent to opaque and can produce optical effects such as stars and cat’s-eyes.

Hardness: 7 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Sources: Africa, Australia, Brazil & Japan

Interesting Fact: Beads of Quartz have been found in caves in Israel that were occupied between 5,000-6,000 years ago.

Rhodolite

Rhodolite is part of the Garnet family and is a composition of Pyrope and Almandite Garnet with a beautiful bright violet-red colour. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘rhodon’ & lithos meaning rose-stone.

Hardness: 6.5-7.5 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Birthstone: January

Sources: Sri Lanka, Tanzania & Kenya

Interesting Fact: It is believed to balance emotion and foster greater awareness.

Topaz (Blue)

Topaz is a transparent gemstone that has a high brilliance and vitreous lustre. It is a durable stone that has a reasonable hardness and is impervious to most scratching.

Hardness: 8 Mohs (The Mohs scale from 1 to 10 indicated the scratch resistance of various minerals with 1 being the softest to 10 being the hardest)

Birthstone: November

Sources: UK, Australia, Burma and Sri Lanka

Interesting Fact: The Egyptians believed that Topaz was coloured by the golden glow of the Sun God Ra. This made Topaz a powerful amulet that protected the faithful from harm.