Gemstones have mesmerised people and have been treasured by us globally for thousands of years, not only for their beauty and rarity but also for their alleged mystical and healing properties.
They are pure crystalised wonders of nature.
Diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires are known as precious stones. All other stones are known as semi-precious. Cubic Zirconia (CZ) are synthesised.
Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth. From 1-10 they are measured as 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. The name comes from the ancient “adámas” which means "unalterable, unbreakable".
Fine, large specimens are extremely expensive because of their rarity. Russia being the world’s largest supplier with Africa in second and third place.
They are found in a wide spectrum of colors, are considered to be the master healer due their ability to unify the mind and body and are a symbol of purity and innocence.
Emerald belongs to a mineral family called beryl. They are a 7.5-8 on the Mohs hardness scale and are found in a variety of shades and hues of green.
The name is derived from the Greek word “smaragdus” meaning green.
Columbia is the world’s largest producer, but they are also found in Africa, India, Russia as well as a number of other countries.
The ancients associated emerald with the Greek goddess Venus, the goddess of love and beauty and is considered to be very cleansing, protecting against infection and disease.
Ruby belongs to the mineral family called corundum. They are a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale and are found in various of shades of red, the most expensive being what’s known as “pigeon blood red”.
The name ruby comes from the latin name “ruben” (red). For centuries the Mogok valley in Myanmar (Burma) was the world’s main source.
The Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan was said to have offered an entire city in exchange for a sizeable ruby.
Ruby has always been associated with love, especially faithful passionate commitment and closeness.
Sapphire, like ruby, belongs to the mineral family known as corundum. It is also a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale.
Sapphire is found in a large variety of colours and among other places, are mined in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and Africa, to name but a few. The name was derived from the latin word “sapeiros” meaning "blue".
Because sapphire represents divine favor, it was the gemstone of choice for kings and high priests. It is said to open the mind to beauty and intuition, bringing lightness and joy as it restores balance within the body.
Aquamarine, like emerald, belongs to the mineral family called beryl. It’s a 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
The name is derived from the latin “aqua marina” meaning "water of the sea". It’s mined all over the world but notable sources are Brazil, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
Aquamarine is said to help balance excessive anger or fear, and clears past emotional, physical or verbal abuse, inspiring love and compassion. It is also said to protect all who travel by, over, or near water and opens channels of clear and heartfelt communication.
Tourmaline is not a single mineral but a group of closely related minerals. The three most well known are Elbaite, Schorl and Dravite. It’s 7-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
Its name comes from from the Singhalese words “tura mali” meaning something like ”stone with mixed hues” which is appropriate because it's found in a large variety of colours.
Mined primarily in Brazil and Africa with deposits also found in the USA and Afghanistan.
Tourmaline is believed to strengthen the body and spirit, especially the nervous system, blood, and lymphs. It is also thought to inspire creativity and is used as a talisman by artists and writers.
Garnet are a group of silicate minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. It’s a 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
The name is thought to derive from the pomegranate since the red variety of garnet resembles the seeds of the fruit.
Garnet is found all over the world. There are different species and they come in a variety of colours - tsavorite (green), spessartine (orange), and pyrope (red) to name a few.
It was used in Egypt more than 5000 years ago, in Sumeria around 2100 BC and also in Europe during the middle ages to enhance truth, faith and constancy and to dispel melancholy.
It represents primordial fire, the creation of the world out of chaos, purification and love.
Peridot is gem quality olivine which is a silicate mineral. It’s hardness is 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale.
The origin of its name is uncertain. It may be derived from a latin word “paederot”, a kind of opal, which it is not. Peridot is always olive green in color and can be found in meteorites and many places on earth including Brazil, Myanmar (Burma), USA, Africa, and Sri Lanka.
Peridot is thought to foster emotional balance, security and inner peace while helping to enhance confidence and assertion without aggression. In ancient Rome peridot was worn to relieve depression.
Spinel is the magnesium aluminium member of the larger spinel group. It’s hardness is 8 on the Mohs scale and it's found in a wide variety of colours.
The name is thought to derive from the latin word “spina” meaning “thorn”. Primary sources are Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar.
The Black Prince Ruby and the Timur Ruby in the British Crown Jewels are in fact spinels.
It is said to have a rejuvenating energy, helping to renew, refresh and restore. It is associated with hope, will and purpose.
Amethyst is a variety of quartz. On the Mohs hardness scale it’s a 7 and is found in a variety of shades of violet.
Primarily found in Brazil and Uruguay it is also found in South Korea, India and Africa.
The name comes from the Greek “amethystos” which means “not drunken”. The ancient Greeks believed that it would prevent intoxication.
It is thought to expand the higher mind, enhance ones creativity and passion, strengthen the imagination and intuition and refine the thinking process.
Citrine, like amethyst, is a member of the quartz family with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale.
The colour ranges from a radiant yellow to brownish red.
The name is derived from the citron, a yellow fruit similar to lemon. It is found in Brazil and Uruguay as well as, historically, in Spain, Scotland, France and Hungary.
It’s said to be a stone of abundance and manifestation, attracting wealth, prosperity, success and all good things.
Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminium and fluorine and is found in a variety of colours such as blue, brown, orange, yellow green and fuschia (reddish pink). It’s hardness is 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. Sometimes the material is treated in order to enhance the color.
The name may be derived from the Sanskrit word “tapas” meaning heat or fire. It is said to drive away sadness, strengthen the intellect and induce courage.
Cubic Zirconia is a cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide and is a synthesised material reaching approximately 8 on the Mohs scale. It’s available in a variety of colours but usually produced as a clear flawless stone simulating a diamond.
It’s not to be confused with Zircon which is a genuine natural stone.