This stone has the ability to change from green/bluish to red/purplish red and can change color as the light source changes. It is said to be one of the most valuable gemstones in the world. It contains iron and titanium, as well as chromium, which provides the color changing abilities. It is a fairly hard stone.
Amber is an organic gem of fossilized tree resin of pine trees, its coloration can be from a light yellowish-orange to a dark cognac color. Often it contains air bubbles, inclusions such as small plant or animal fossils. most Amber is dated in the 50 million year old range. All amber is soft and should be used carefully so not to break or fracture the pieces.
This is a huge species of mineral types. It was first discovered in Italy. Most agates occur in volcanic rock or ancient lava formations. When cut, these agates form a succession of parallel lines, giving a banded, riband and striped appearance. In the formation of ordinary agate, they are often found in layers and may be banded with chalcedony and layers of crystalline quartz. It is truly a form of chalcedony, and occurs in nodular masses. Inside, agate has an amazing, beautiful array of colors and patterns and the distinct banding that does distinguish it from other types of chalcedony (a type of quartz, in various colors). It is a relatively hard stone.
This stone is probably the best known and most valuable form of quartz and is a relative of the agate. The color range is from light violet-y to the darker shades of purple colors. The natural colors are caused by iron or manganese compound impurities in the mineral. The better qualities are clear and bright. It is the birthstone for February. It is the symbol of heavenly understanding and thought to have philosophical, religious, and spiritual properties. It is a relatively hard stone.
This stone is a type of chalcedony (A type of quartz, variously colored). It is a translucent and varies in color from yellowish to reddish-orange. Its color comes from its iron oxide content. They can be a solid color or lightly banded. Polished, these stones are a beautiful addition to many designs. They are of medium hardness.
This stone has a range of colors also from a golden brown, which is highly desired, to the lighter colors of yellows, sometimes being mistaken for topaz. Citrine also belongs to the quartz family. It is a relatively hard stone.
This is one of the few organic gems. Coral is composed of marine calcium carbonate deposits. Many colors and varieties of coral are found in warm coastal waters around the world. It can be naturally white, salmon orange, orange to bright red. It is to be handled with care as it is fragile.
The beautiful common gemstone belongs to the beryl family and gets its green coloring from traces of chromium and vanadium. Many are treated with oils to enhance their color. It is a fairly hard stone.
Again, there are many different colors of this stone, ranging from a deep rich red, rhodolites lavender hues, almandine garnet a reddish color from Northern Idaho, to hessonite which is a cinnamon color to tsavorite a rich green because of its mineral content. It is a Fairly hard stone.
Iolite: This is a relatively newer stone on the market. It is a beautiful violet –blue and Sometimes called dichroite because of its dichoric (displaying multiple colors as viewed from different angles, creating a fiery iridescence) properties. It can show two or more colors, depending on the light coming through the stone. It is a fairly hard stone.
Jasper: There are many types of Jasper: It Is an opaque, impure variety of quartz. The usual colors are reds, yellows or browns and can be in combination. There are striped or banded varieties called Jasplite. The name, Jasper, means ‘spotted stone’. As described in the Book Of Revelations (21.11). “It shown with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” Dalmatian Jasper: a tawny, creamy colored stone with black spots. Shamans often wear jasper to provide protection. The following list is only a sampling.
Fancy Jasper: A variety of blended earth tones, with golds, greens, creams and browns. It has been used to promote practicality.
Leopardskin Jasper: This stone has a golden-tawny background with a touch of browns. Highly unusual and very beautiful.
Ocean Jasper: This jasper is dominated with pink, green and neutral round shapes. When worn, it is thought to emit a gentle nurturing energy.
Red Jasper: Is usually a more solid brick red in color. It is thought as a stone of protection.
Fire Opal: This opal is different from the ones we know as the white and bluish-green stones. This opal tends to have one color or orangish red and may vary slightly, it does not contain the flashes of light and coloration of other opals. It also is the only opal that is usually faceted to bring out its natural beauty. It is a medium hard stone.
Fluorite: A transparent, crystalline mineral of various colors ranging from crystal clear to bright jewel tones of green and purple. It also is the main source of fluorine and is used as a flux (a substance used to help fuse metals together) in glassmaking.
Hematite: This is an iron oxide, an iron found in igneous (by volcanic or extremely heated) rock. These gemstones are opaque with iridescent surfaces. It is black-ish with a metallic luster. They are of medium hardness.
Howlite: A silicate mineral found in evaporite deposites. Howlite was discovered at Tick Canyon, California in 1868 by Henery How (1828 – 1879), a Canadian chemist, geologist, and mineralogist. In appearance, it is white with fine grey or black veins in an erratic, often web-like pattern, and is opaque. Howlite, dyed blue is often used as a turquoise simulant. Howlite is commonly used to make decorative objects such as small carvings or jewelry components. Because of its porous texture, howlite can be easily dyed to imitate other minerals, especially turquoise because of the superficial similarity of the veining patterns. The dyed howlite (or magnesite) is marketed as turquenite. Howlite is also sold in its natural state, sometimes under the misleading trade names of “white turquoise” or “white buffalo turquoise”, or the derived name “white buffalo stone. It is of medium hardness.
Jade: Mostly Used for its pure green color and hardness, Jade is one of the world’s best choices for carving. It can also be found in naturally lighter shades and even be mottled. It is also found in many different colors than just green, black, golden etc.
Labradorite: An old stone, back in fashion. This is called a gemstone feldspar (hard, crystalline minerals) It has a gray-ish background with green and blue flashes, depending on the light and angle. It is a subtle, beautiful stone that is very attractive used in jewelry.
Lapis Lazuli: This stone has one of the longest traditions of being considered a gem, with a history dating back to 7000 BC in Mehrgarh of Indian subcontinent, situated in modern day Pakistan. This beautiful dark blue, opaque stone was highly prized in ancient Egypt, and has been recovered with some of the pharos tombs. The finest color is the intense blue with small flecks of golden pyrite. The name Lapis Lazuli, means “stone of azure”.
Denim Lapis: Has the same make up as Lapis Lazuli only, this variety is the color of faded denim jeans with streaks of calcite and pecks of pyrite. It is a hard stone.
Malachite: Is usually a vibrant green mineral, can vary from light greens to dark greens banded together in straight, swirl and concentric patterns. often resulting from weathering or copper ores. Typically associated with copper deposits with limestones, the source of the carbonate component in Malachite. It was used, in powder form, as a pigment in green paints until the 1800’s. In Israel, at Timna, it has been extensively mined and smelted for over 3,000 years, often being called King Solomon’s Mine. It also comes from other sources around the world. It is considered a softer stone.
Moonstone: Also belongs to the mineral family of feldspar (Hard, crystalline mineral) It comes in a variety of colors ranging from; gray, white, pink, green, and brown, but the most valuable are the deeper blue tones. The sheen is caused by light reflecting in the stone from layers of inclusions of different feldspars.
Onyx: A type of opaque chalcedony (a type of quartz, variously colored) It occurs naturally black and may be dyed to get a more uniform coloration for jewelry. Medium hardness.
Opal: Opals come in many variations and from many places, some are natural and some can be manufactured by layering different stones beneath a thin cut of natural opal, some can be completely manmade, know what you are buying. Most have a white background and have a multi-colored fire over the entire surface. The Australian aborigines still use opals to invoke visions and to find the way to ‘dreamtime’. They are a relatively soft mineral composed of silicon and water. Use caution when wearing and cleaning this gemstone.
Pearls: Another huge category. Cultured pearls, as the Akoya are top-quality salt-water pearls. They offer a deeper luster than a freshwater pearl. Cultured pearls mostly come from Japan and China. Freshwater pearls are a beautiful alternative to the higher priced cultured pearl. They can be natural colored in the white family or colored in every color imaginable, they are incorporated in many styles from necklaces to rings. They are not of a hard nature and should be cared for carefully.
Peridot: This is a gem from the mineral, olivine. It can be colored from a yellowish to a vibrant green. The coloration is caused from iron content. It is medium in hardness.
Quartz: This is a huge category containing many colors and types; A Brilliant, crystalline mineral, occurring most often in a transparent form, but also as variously colored semi-precious stones. Some common varieties are; crystal quartz, clear quartz, smoky quartz, rutilated quartz, green quartz, lemon quartz, whisky quartz, snow quartz, tourmalinated quartz, Rose Quartz, frosted quartz, ice flake quartz etc, etc. Major sources come from Brazil, Africa, India, mexico, Russia and Uruguay. Quartz has a close mineral relationship to Jasper also.
Rhodonite: Rhodonite is of the manganese family, and member of the pyroxene (silicate minerals) group of minerals, crystallizing, It commonly occurs as compact masses with a rose-red color, often tending to brown because of surface oxidation. a greyish-brown variety containing as much as 20% of calcium oxide is called bustamite; fowlerite is a variety containing 7% of zinc oxide. Rhodonite has also been worked as an ornamental stone. large, rough crystals, somewhat resembling pink feldspar, with zinc ores in granular limestone at Franklin furnace inNew Jersey.
Shells: Many types of shells are used for jewelry; one of the most common is Mother of Pearl. It has a lovely iridescent sheen and comes in basically white or ‘black’ which is just a dark version of the shell. They are also dyed about any color for specific uses. They are relatively hard. They are used in many forms from beads to pendants. Another type of shell similar to mother of pearl is the Paua, which resembles mother of Pearl, but is prized for its highly iridescent and bright colorations. It is not has hard as mother of Pearl and so must be used in more protected situations. Abalone is another choice, it is a sea mollusk in an oval, somewhat spiral shell lined with mother of pearl. They are used also in many, many forms, also having the beautiful iridescence of the other shells.
Snowflake Obsidian: This is an interesting variety of volcanic glass. It is a black color with white inclusions of round-ish shapes. It is a hard stone that can chip or crack under the right pressure.
Tiger eye: This is a variety of quartz with fine, striped inclusions. It comes in a rich brown color with lighter stripes of inclusions. It is a relatively hard stone. It is used in many applications in jewelry making and has been a favorite for many years.
Turquoise: This stone also has a wide variation of definition. There are a few stones that are referred to as turquoise, but are actually dyed howlite or Jasper or another stone dyed the turquoise color. African turquoise is a darker color with a lot of matrix, it is actually dyed jasper. Chalk turquoise is a newer item on the market and comes in a white color, then is dyed mostly turquoise, pink, apple green and lime green, an interesting process and result. Then we have the true turquoise which, again, comes in many grades and colors. It seems the brighter the color the more the price and desire for this gemstone is. A lot of turquoise comes from Arizona where there are quite a few different mines with specialization of their form of the gemstone. Most turquoise is treated with, paraffin polish or poly resin which gives the stone a sheen or even darken it to some degree, some stones are ‘stabilized’ which makes them harder and better for use in jewelry.
Unakite: First discovered in the US in the mountains ofNorth Carolina, unakite is an altered Granite composed of pink Fledspar and green Epidote, and generally colorless quartz. It exists in various shades of green and pink and is usually mottled in appearance. In good quality unakite is considered a semi-precious stone, will take a good polish and is often used in Jewelry and other work such as eggs, spheres and other carvings like animals. It is also referred to as epidotized granite. Unakite can be found as pebbles and cobbles and 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 mountains. Unakite is not limited to the United States, and is found from Africa, Sierra Leone, Brazil and China as well as the U.S.
*All writing is a combination of info provided by Julie Shea of ‘Two Shea Designs (http://www.twosheadesigns.com) , the Wikepedia and various source books and catalogs. Pictures obtained from images found on various search engines in which credits and sites were often not given.