The most common color is deep red, thus the name Garnet which stems from the Greek word granatum or pomegranate seed. Red might be the most common color but it is by far not the only color. Natural garnets come in virtually every color of the rainbow with the exception of blue. The vibrant green colored garnets, called Tsavorites, are the most expensive garnets. They are mainly found in smaller sizes, but sizes larger than two carats are available in most of the other colors.
Garnets can be cut into any shape. They are a durable stone and can be cleaned with dish soap.
Amethysts are actually purple quartz. Quartz, which is usually colorless, can be found in almost every country on earth, except for the purple colored ones. The prized, purple colored Amethysts were used by kings and queens, perhaps giving way to purple being considered the royal color. The most expensive Amethysts have a very deep purple color. Green Amethysts do exist. However, the green color is obtained through heat treatment and does not occur naturally.
Amethysts are a durable stone which can be cleaned with dish soap.
Aquamarine belongs to the Beryl family of stones. The name Aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aquamarine which means seawater. It is a fitting description of the color of the stone because aquamarines are found in a wide range of blue shades, from greenish-blue to deep blue. Although many countries mine aquamarines, most of them today come from Brazil.
Many aquamarines are greenish or yellowish when mined and are heat-treated to obtain the pastel blue color. Since this treatment is permanent, the color will not fade. As with many pastel colored stones, the color is more intense in larger stones and less intense in smaller ones. They show off their beautiful color best when combined with pearls or blue sapphires.
Aquamarines are a durable stone and can be cleaned with dish soap and a soft toothbrush to remove any dust or dirt.
The word Diamond comes from an ancient Greek word meaning unbreakable. Although diamonds are not truly unbreakable, they are the hardest of all gemstones. Diamonds occur naturally in a range of colors including yellow, orange, green, pink, red, brown and black. The finest of diamonds are totally colorless and therefore graded as having D color. E, F, G, H, I, J and K graded diamonds have increasing color as the alphabet increases.
When purchasing a diamond, you should consider the 3 Cs: Color, Clarity and Cut. These will all determine the price. D color graded diamonds are the best of the color range. Completely flawless (Clarity) is rare and therefore more expensive. Which cut you prefer depends on your personal taste. There are many different cuts of diamonds. Some of them are the traditional round cut with 52 facets, square princess cut, emerald cut and baguette cut. However, there are many other ways in which diamonds are cut today.
Since diamonds are very durable they can be cleaned with dish soap and a soft toothbrush to renew their brilliance.
The word Emerald comes from the Greek word smaragdus, meaning green. Like many other stones, emeralds belong to the beryl family of stones. They are found in almost every country but the most famous emeralds are found in Muzo, Colombia, which produces 50 – 90% of the world’s emeralds.
Their color ranges from yellow-green to blue-green and emeralds tend to have numerous inclusions and fissures. Unlike diamonds, which are rated under a 10X loupe, emeralds are rated by the naked eye. Almost all emeralds are treated with oil after being cut, to enhance their clarity.
Although the emerald stone itself is durable, due to the many inclusions and fissures that they can have, they are very susceptible to breakage and must be handled with care. Eye-clean stones with a vivid green color are the highest priced emeralds.
June’s birthstone is Pearl, but since pearls are not actually stones, the second option is Moonstone.
Moonstones were associated with lunar gods and goddesses by both the Romans and Greeks. Some thought these stones to be frozen moonlight, thus the name Moonstone. The mineral Feldspar is responsible for the cool lunar light of these stones. They are usually cut in an oval or round cabochon shape to maximize the shimmer effect.
Moonstones come in quite a range of colors from colorless to yellow, orange, green, grey, blue, brown and pink. The clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. The best Moonstone is clear, colorless and has a blue sheen to it.
Moonstones are easily scratched and should be cared for gently.
Moonstone is the State Gem of Florida, U.S.A.
Throughout the ages, rubies have been the prized possessions of emperors and kings and have been the source of inspiration for countless legends and myths. Rubies are also known as the King of Gemstones, perhaps because so many kings treasured them.
For centuries, the world’s main source of rubies has been Myanmar (Burma). The term pigeon’s blood is associated with rubies from Myanmar because of their pure red with a hint of blue. Rubies have since been found in many other countries in Asia and most recently under the ice shelf in Greenland.
Rubies are available in a range of red hues, from purplish to bluish to orange-red, with the best rubies being bright red. They are commonly available in sizes up to two carats but larger sizes can be obtained.
Most stones nowadays are treated in some way and rubies are no exception. When heated, the color and imperfections can be improved. Ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral species, while all other colors of corundum are called sapphire.
Peridot is usually found in places of extreme climate and perhaps that is why it is August’s birthstone.
This olive green stone is produced in Hawaii’s volcanoes and is treasured in Hawaii. It can also be found in some meteorites. Although they are found in many countries, the largest quantity of peridot is mined in China. The most valued ones however, come from Pakistan, 15,000 feet above sea level in the Himalaya Mountains and usually command a higher price because of their dark olive-green color.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color. The amount of iron in the crystal structure determines the intensity and tint of the green.
Peridot is sensitive to rapid changes in temperature. It should be cleaned with dish soap, never steam cleaned.
Opal is said to be the symbol of hope, fidelity and purity.
Opals come in many different colors and varieties. The most well known type is the opaque white opal, which has a colorless body. The most valued of opals is the black opal, which has a dark blue body and specks of many colors. The least known of opals however, is the fire opal. Quite different from the other varieties, fire opals are translucent to transparent in a spectacular orange or fire red color. Fire opals are extracted, even sometimes blasted, from volcanic rock.
Today, opals come mainly from Australia, Mexico and the United States. Most opals are cut into rounded or free-form cabochons that show off the play of color. Opals are softer than many other stones and can be chipped or scratched easily. Opals are called the Queen of Gems because they display the colors of all other gems.