Have you ever wondered exactly what gemstones are? Do you wonder where they form? How they form? What gives them their coloration? We have compiled a glossary of some of our most popular precious and semi-precious gemstones so that you can, hopefully, learn a bit more about those gems and jewels you love!
- Agate: Agate is a form of quartz. It ican be translucent or opaque and is porous, which means it can be easy to dye or enhance. Agate is usually banded and, in its natural state, comes in white, gray, brown, green and blue. Agate often forms within volcanic rock or lava, where cavities are filled by layers of minerals. When the deposit of materials is not complete, the interior of the rock gets encrusted with quartz crystals, resulting in druzy agate.
- Amethyst: Amethyst,a precious stone, is the purple variety of quartz. The color comes from trace amounts of iron fround within the quartz itself. Amethyst can occur as elongated crystals or in geode form with crystalline deposits. Amethyst is the birthstone of February and is found primarily in areas of South America and Africa.
- Chalcedony: Chalcedony is a semi-precious gemstone found worldwide. It is a form of quartz that naturally occurs in soft shades of white, gray and blue. Like agate, chalcedony is formed by water flowing through cavities and fissures in volcanic rock. In fact, agate is a form of chalcedony, the difference being that agate has distinct banding while chalcedony does not. This stone is very porous, lending itself easily to being dyed or color enhanced.
- Jade: Jade is found worldwide and comes in different forms. Some forms of jade are naturally very silky and smooth while others have a grainy texture. Color in jade comes from impurities; for example, dark green jade comes from the presence of iron within the stone.
- Jasper: Jasper is a plentiful stone found worldwide. It is naturally an opaque form of quartz, part of the same quartz family that includes onyx and agate. Its varying colors are caused by impurities within the stone. The bands and striations that jasper often have to do with the flow pattern of sediment during the formation of the stone.
- Labradorite: Labradorite is a transparent stone that is a member of the feldspar group of stones. It gets its name from the location in which it was first found: Paul's Island Labrador, a region of Canada near the island of Newfoundland. Due to the way this stone is formed, it often has veining and spots of iridescence.
- Lapis: Lapis is an oqaque aggregate stone known for its deep, royal blue color. In fact, lapis was treasured by many ancient civilizations and believed to be the stone of royalty. Lapis was also used as a pigment in paint and cosmetics. Today it is found in parts of the world incuing the Americas, Africa and the Middle East.
- Onyx: Onyx, like agate and jasper, is a form of quartz. Typically thought of as being an opaque black stone, onyx can also be translucent. Banded onyx is called Sard Onyx (or Sardonyx) and red onyx is called Carnelian Onyx. Onyx is a very common stone that is found and mined worldwide.
- Turquoise: Turquoise, one of our most popular and best selling semiprecious stones, is a gem that has been believed to have been mined as early as 6000 B.C. Turquoise is thought to be blue in its natural state; that is because copper acts as a primary coloring agent in turquoise, giving it a bluish hue. However, the presence of trace amounts of other minerals, such as iron, will give turquoise a green or yellow pigmentation. Turquoise is commonly found in the Southwestern United States, Australia, China and parts of South America.