Introduction To Gemstones
Not only are gemstones stunning, they are incredibly fascinating! A gemstone is a mineral or naturally occurring material that is durable enough to be carved, polished and cut to create beautiful pieces of jewellery and lustrous adornments. Diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire are considered precious stones, while the other stones fit into a semi-precious category; however they are all as wonderfully beautiful as each other.
When choosing gemstones for jewellery, the eye catching colour is generally the most notable physical feature. Each stone has a unique crystalline structure and how this composition interacts with light determines the optical properties of each and every gem and the appearance of its colour. It is this uniqueness and the organic nature of gemstones that makes them so precious to own.
There are many traditions associated with the usage and giving of gemstones although these can differ by culture and many of their origins are unknown. For instance, many believe that the agate gemstone protects against the evil eye and pearls are for health, wealth and good luck.
At British Jewellery Workshops, we’ve thought about it all and put together this guide to give you information on the colours of gems, caring for your gemstone jewellery and even where stones are sourced from. Whether you are looking to give a birthstone piece of jewellery, commemorate an anniversary or add a special splash of colour to your wardrobe, we have a wide selection of gemstone jewellery that can help you say it better.
Agate is a gemstone from the mineral quartz family and is formed in volcanic rock. Agate is used to make a variety of different jewellery types; it can be cut and set in jewellery such as earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets. Agate can also be left in free form slabs to give a more tribal or masculine look for men’s jewellery and friendship bracelets.
Agate occurs in a wide range of colours which include: blue, brown, white, red, green, grey, pink, yellow and black. The colours are caused by impurities present. When agate is cut open it often reveals a stunning array of patterns and distinct bands caused by ground waters seeping into the stone. Agate is a porous stone and is sometimes dyed in order to give it a more spectacular colour.
Caring For Agate
To clean your agate jewellery use mild soapy water when needed. Do not use other household chemicals as this may effect the durability of the gemstone. Agate is quite a hard gemstone but should be stored away from other jewellery in a clothed pouch to prevent damage and should not be exposed to heat or direct sunlight as this can cause discolouration.
As agate is formed from volcanic activity it is often sourced from places such as North America and Mexico.
Amber stones were formed about fifty million years ago in the Tertiary period from the fossilised resin of trees and can often contain the fossilised remains of insects and, more rarely, small animals such as mosquitoes and frogs. Amber has been used for jewellery since the prehistoric times and is still used today.
Most amber is golden yellow to golden orange, however some red, green, violet and black amber has been found. Amber can be translucent or transparent and can contain air bubbles, which will give amber a cloudy appearance, but heating in oil clears this.
Caring For Amber
Amber is one of the softest gemstones so make sure that you take extra care to avoid damage and scratching. To avoid amber jewellery dehydrating do not leave in the sun and where possible avoid wearing it in the heat of the day.
The most famous deposits are in the Baltic region; Baltic amber can be washed up on the sea beds and can reach as far as England, Norway and Denmark. It can also be found in Dominican Republic, Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Romania, Canada and the USA.
Amethyst is a gemstone, which comes from the quartz family and is known for its striking purple colour. Set in either gold or silver amethyst makes both elegant and stylish jewellery. Whether you’re shopping for vintage style earrings, a modern cocktail ring, or perhaps you’re on the lookout for a unique amethyst ring, British Jewellery Workshops has a wide range of amethyst jewellery to choose from. Amethyst makes a great gift for special occasions including February Birthdays as it is the birthstone for February, it is also the traditional gift for celebrating the 6th wedding anniversary. The stone is thought to represent luck and health.
Amethyst gemstones get their purple colour from the presence of iron. As with many other coloured gemstones the colour intensity is a way of determining the value of the gemstone. When measuring the colour of the gemstone, tone and hue are measured in primary and secondary hues. When you see amethyst set in jewellery it can be violet purple, lighter lilac or display lavender tones. In amethyst, primary hues are usually violet, light pinkish or purple and secondary hues are blue and red. The highest grade of amethyst is known as Deep Russian, which is deep purple with blue, or red flashes.
Caring For Amethyst
Amethyst can lose its brilliance or tone due to a build up of oil and dirt. Take care of your amethyst jewellery by keeping it stored away from high temperatures to avoid discolouration. You can use a soft cloth to wipe it clean, if you want to wash it use mild soapy water and a soft brush, if required. When wearing your amethyst jewellery avoid using harsh detergents as they can change the appearance of the gemstone or effect its durability.
Once as valuable as rubies and diamonds, amethyst is now a more affordable jewellery option as it is found in large deposits in places like Brazil. It can also be sourced in Africa and in many locations in the U.S. The largest amethyst mine is located in North America in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Aquamarine is a gemstone which ranges from sky blue to sea green. Like emerald, aquamarine is a variety of the mineral beryl and the name comes from the Latin term ‘aquamarina’ meaning ‘water of the sea.’ It is an extremely versatile stone that works in any type of jewellery, whether it’s a vintage style cocktail ring or a simple pair of aquamarine earrings. The gemstone suits many cuts and settings and all skin tones. It is also the traditional birthstone for the month of March so a piece of aquamarine jewellery from our range at British Jewellery Workshops would make a great gift for a March birthday.
Aquamarine’s value is determined by colour, clarity, cut and crystal. Crystal refers to the transparency of the gemstone while colour is measured by its hue, saturation and tone. The blue tone in aquamarine is caused by the presence of corundum and the darker the hue, the more valuable the gem. The darkest colour, known as maxixe, is the most valuable.
Aquamarine is one of the only gemstones found with almost perfect clarity. It needs to be ‘eye flawless,’ meaning no impurities can be seen with the naked eye.
Hard wearing, but unlike its close relative emerald aquamarine is not brittle, so it can be cut any way. It is most often cut rectangular to make the most of its pale colour. It’s important that the cut shows sparkle from all areas of the gemstone.
Caring For Aquamarine
You can take care of your aquamarine jewellery by cleaning it with a small, soft brush and warm water. Where possible avoid exposure to heat or light as this may cause the gemstone to lose its colour.
Aquamarine is sourced from many areas of the world including mines in Columbia, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
Citrine is a form of quartz. The name is derived from the French word Citron meaning lemon due to its citrus yellow hues. It is a popular gemstone choice for all types of jewellery including rings, pendants and earrings. Citrine is also contemporary birthstone for November. It is more affordable and available than imperial topaz, which is considered November’s traditional birthstone.
Citrine is most commonly pale yellow to golden orange, which is due to the presence of iron. Naturally golden citrine is very rare and expensive, therefore most citrine is heat treated to obtain a beautiful golden colour.
Caring For Citrine
Citrine is a hard, durable gemstone, however to avoid damage or scratching to other jewellery, it should be stored separately in a soft clothed pouch. To clean your citrine jewellery use warm soapy water. Avoid extreme temperatures and direct sunlight where possible as this can effect the colour of the gemstone.
The largest deposits of citrine are found in Brazil although it can also be sourced from Argentina, Bolivia, France, Madagascar and Russia.
Introduction To Diamond
Diamonds are created from carbon atoms and arranged into a transparent crystal; they are the most prized and valued of all gemstones. Thought to be the tears of the gods by the Ancient Greeks, diamonds have been loved throughout history, and favoured by royalty.
Hardest of all gems, diamonds are ranked number 10 on ‘The Mohs Scale of Hardness’ and their exceptional fire and beautiful lustre have made their sparkle highly sought after. Their ability to disperse light into the colours of the rainbow give them their signature breathtaking sparkle, which have made them the traditional romantic choice for engagement rings and wedding bands.
Traditionally, most diamonds used in jewellery are white or colourless, but fancy diamonds actually come in a wide range of colours such as pink and blue. Along with romantic gifts, diamond is also the birthstone for April, and has come to be the symbolic gift given to mark 60 years; perfect for an anniversary or milestone birthday.
The 4Cs – Colour, Clarity, Carat & Cut
The 4Cs a refer to the four main factors used to determine the value of a diamond. The closer a traditional white diamond is to ‘colourless’ the more desirable it is. Likewise, the clearer the clarity, in other words, the closer to ‘flawless’ the diamond is the higher the value of it. These two factors have an internationally recognised grading scale, differing slightly depending on which gemological institute you refer to. Carat refers to weight, and many believe that this is the main factor in valuing a diamond, but colour and clarity must be considered. Two diamonds of the same carat can vary greatly if their colour and clarity are extremely different. Cut refers to the way a rough stone is transformed into the final polished stone by an experienced cutter, with facets cut into the stone to enhance the way it interacts with light. Cut is often linked to shape, which is the overall shape of the stone to the naked eye.
Caring For Diamonds
Diamonds are the hardest of all gems and due to this, it’s best to avoid contact with other jewellery pieces. Keep your diamonds in a protective pouch or cushioned box to ensure they do not scratch your other items or become scratched themselves. Diamonds should be kept clean to make the most of their brilliant sparkle. Diamonds can be cleaned using special liquid jewellery cleaner.
Today, Australia is the main producer of diamonds; however other localities include Ghana, Brazil and the USA. Diamond sourcing can be a controversial subject, but rest assured that all diamonds sold by British Jewellery Workshops are responsibly sourced.
Emeralds come from the mineral beryl and are a vibrant and valuable green gemstone that complement gold jewellery settings particularly well. First found in Egypt, near the red sea, four thousand years ago, they were treasured by Romans and worn by Cleopatra. They are now worn by Hollywood’s elite actresses’ and are seen as a particularly luxurious style of jewellery. Our Emerald jewellery at British Jewellery Workshops makes an excellent gift for special occasions, particularly the twentieth wedding anniversary or a birthday in May. Emerald is the traditional birthstone for May and it is considered extra lucky if you receive emerald jewellery during the birthstone month.
Emerald Colour And Cut
Emerald derives its beautiful vivid green colour from the presence of the minerals chromium and vanadium. Emeralds are oiled to strengthen and enhance their colour and to disguise cracks and hide flaws. The recognizable emerald cut, or step cut design which is also a popular diamond cut is designed without corners to reduce the risk of damage to the stone and minimise the loss of material. The clarity of the emerald gemstone needs to be flawless to the naked eye, emeralds are often filled with resin to make them appear flawless. Emeralds with few or no inclusions are so rare; they’re more expensive than diamonds.
Caring For Emerald
Emerald does not have a strong resistance to breakage and can be damaged easily. Emeralds are sometimes treated or filled with oil resins to fill or conceal any cracks or damages. This then improves the clarity of the emerald. When caring for your emerald jewellery use a small, soft brush and warm water. Where possible avoid exposure to heat as this may also cause the gemstone to expand and crack.
Emeralds can be sourced in many areas of the world including Brazil, Zambia, Pakistan and Siberia. However there are three main mining areas in Columbia, Muzo Coscuez and Chivor. Due to emeralds rarity, there has been a method developed for producing emerald overgrowth from colourless beryl.
Introduction To Enamel
Enamel is made by fusing powdered glass at a high temperature to a metal. Enamel is usually opaque, coloured and often used to make jewellery. British Jewellery Workshops enamel jewellery includes cute children’s jewellery such as kids earrings. It is also a staple in the fun and funky jewellery brand Henry Holland.
Because enamel is a man made product it can be coloured any colour.
Caring For Enamel
Store your enamel jewellery separately in a soft cloth pouch to prevent damage and scratching. To clean use warm soapy water and a soft cloth pat dry and be sure to remove any soapy residue, where possible avoid direct sunlight and extreme temperatures as this can cause discolouration.
Enamel is a man made material produced from naturally occurring minerals including sand, borax, soda ash and sodium fluoride. These substances are heated to high temperature until dissolved and rapidly cooled to create the glassy enamel product.
The word garnet comes from the Middle English word ‘gernet’ meaning ‘dark red’ and is thought to symbolize love, garnet is often recognised in jewellery as a rich dark red gemstone however there are many forms and colours. Traditional jewellery styles often set garnet in yellow gold including drop earrings and studs or classic rings, however the British Jewellery Workshops Candy Hearts range includes garnet combined with sterling silver for a more modern style or look. Garnet is the traditional birthstone for the month of January and garnet jewellery from British Jewellery Workshops makes a great gift for a January birthday.
Although garnet is a dark coloured gemstone the brighter shades are more valuable. Size and clarity are also important when it comes to garnet. If the gemstone is flawless to the naked eye it has a higher clarity and is therefore more valuable. Size plays an essential part in valuing garnet, the larger the piece the higher the value, even if its colour is not of gem quality.
Caring For Garnet
If you want to clean your garnet jewellery simply clean with mild soapy warm water and avoid harsh detergents. To keep your jewellery in its original condition always store away from other jewellery pieces to avoid damage such as scratching.
The garnet gemstone is categorized in many different varieties and is sourced all over the world.
These are the 6 types of garnet that are sourced for jewellery. The different types are due to the different compositions of minerals and impurities found within them.
Pyrope garnet is the only form of garnet that is always red, created by iron within the gemstone. This type of garnet is located in Sri Lanka, Russia, and South Africa.
Almandine is the most common form of the gemstone and was popular in jewellery during Roman times. The colour of almandine ranges from deep red to violet and sometimes black. Sources include Russia, Pakistan and Connecticut US.
Spessartine also known as Mandarin garnet, is yellow to orange in colour due to the presence of manganese. This type of garnet is sourced in Sri Lanka, USA, Australia, Brazil and Madagascar.
Grossular garnet, is colourless in its pure state, it forms colour due to impurities. This type of garnet has been found in Tanzania and Kenya.
Andradite is found in central Russia. It gains its colour from impurities and comes in 3 varieties in colours black, vivid green and yellow – green.
Uvarovite has a stunning emerald green colour and is located Italy Turkey Russia and the U.S.
Hematite is a mineral. It is a form of iron oxide found in igneous rocks as a dark opaque material with a metallic lustre and iridescent surface. With its black to steel grey colour and sometimes reddish brown hue, Hematite is often used in fashion jewellery. The hematite jewellery at British Jewellery Workshops includes fashion bracelets and earrings.
Caring For Hematite
Hematite is harder than pure iron but it is also a brittle gemstone. It is almost glass-like and can easily be scratched so store hematite separately to other jewellery in a small pouch to prevent damage. To keep your hematite jewellery shiny, wash with a mild soapy water and soft cloth. Avoid putting on perfume and other cosmetic lotions on after you have put your jewellery on.
Hematite is mainly sourced from North America, Brazil, Venezuela, and England.
Mother Of Pearl Gemstone
Mother of Pearl is an organic gem, meaning that it has been created from a living organism, rather than a mineral. It is produced by molluscs and is found on the inner layer of their shells as well as on the outer layer of pearls as a protective layer against parasites and its technical name is nacre. It is strong, resilient and iridescent. Mother of pearl is used in a lot of jewellery and watches because of the beautiful shimmer it exhibits.
Mother of pearl has a beautiful iridescent shimmer. It’s mainly found in white; however it also comes in grey, pink, purple, blue and green.
Caring For Mother Of Pearl
To clean your mother of pearl, use a soft damp cloth. Do not use harsh chemicals to clean or whilst wearing your mother of pearl jewellery. Store it separately in a soft cotton pouch to avoid it getting scratched or damaged by other jewellery. Avoid direct sunlight and high temperatures.
Sourcing Mother Of Pearl
Mother of pearl is mainly sourced from pearl oysters, freshwater pearl mussels, and from abalone shells.
Onyx refers to a variety of chalcedony. It is made up of multicoloured bands and is formed in volcanic lava. Its bands are parallel to each other, unlike many other stones which may have much more chaotic and random patterns such as those of agate.
Onyx can have bands of every colour running through it. Black onyx is usually a mostly black stone with bands of colours running through it. The black onyx sold in gemstone jewellery is usually heat treated and enhanced to create a brilliant black stone. You may also find that agate dyed black is sold under the name of onyx.
Caring For Onyx
Store separately in a soft cloth pouch to avoid damage and scratching to other jewellery. Onyx jewellery should be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
One of the main sources of onyx is found in Brazil. Uruguay, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Hawaii and Madagascar all have notable sources of onyx.
There are two varieties of opal, precious opal and common opal. Common opal is often opaque while precious opal shows flashes of colour known as iridescence. The iridescence in precious Opal makes fabulous jewellery. At British Jewellery Workshops we have a selection of opal jewellery from very popular opal rings to earrings and pendants. Opal can look fabulous set in both gold and silver. Opal is the birthstone for the month of October. Opal jewellery will therefore make a great gift for October birthdays. Jewellery featuring an opal gemstone would be a perfect for either the celebration of an October new born or the christening of an October born baby.
Precious opal occurs in a number of colour varieties. The iridescence of precious opal is caused by the way the structure, a regular arrangement of tiny silica spheres, diffracts light 7 – the larger the spheres, the greater the range of colours.
Caring For Opal
Store opal jewellery away from other stones to avoid scratching and damage as opal is quite a soft stone. Opal is a hardened silica gel containing 5-10% water the water content of an opal also makes it prone to drying out and cracking. Storing in a tight plastic bag with a damp cloth will prevent dehydration.
Sourcing Of Opal
Over 95% of the world’s supply of Opal is from Australia, although it can also be found in the USA, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Opal is found in the cavities or as veins through many types of rock. Opals can also be synthesised in a laboratory.
Introduction To Pearl
Pearls have been worn from as early as 3500BC. The Romans, Egyptians, Chinese and Ancient Greeks all prized pearls as a symbol of wealth and power. There are also references to pearls in Hindu, Islamic and Christian traditions, often symbolizing purity. Among the oldest of gems, the pearl is unique as the only gem created by a living creature; Pearl hunting traditionally involved diver’s manually picking pearls from the sea and river beds. A pearl requires no polishing to reveal its beauty.
Pearls are timeless gems which are often worn by brides on their Wedding day. Although considered a traditional jewellery item, pearls are now available in many styles and designs, making them a popular fashion item. Pearl is the birthstone for June making a great gift for birthdays and is also the traditional gift for a thirtieth Wedding Anniversary. They are thought to represent beauty nobility and peace. The pearl section of this guide offers an insight into how pearls are created and what gives them their value.
A pearl is formed within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk, and is made up of calcium carbonate in crystalline form. Pearls are formed as a natural defense against an irritant or parasite. The shellfish produces a substance called nacre to coat the irritant in layers and stop the discomfort. Over years this build up of layers produces a pearl
There are two types of natural pearl – saltwater and freshwater.
Cultured pearls are still authentic pearls, however humans assist in the process by implanting the ‘irritant’ (a small bead or a piece of mantle tissue) into the oyster causing the pearl sac to form and eventually a pearl is created. Because natural pearls are expensive, imitation pearls are the most common, especially in costume jewellery. They are often hollow, made of plastic or solid glass and covered in a lacquer to imitate the pearl’s lustre. To see if a pearl is real (cultured or natural) or artificial, rub it along your teeth; if it feels gritty its real, if it’s smooth it’s artificial.
Pearl colour is a combination of overtone and body colour. The body colour is the primary colour of the pearl and is dependent on the species it comes from. Colours of natural pearls include ivory, cream, gold, black, pink, green, blue and brown. The overtone is the translucent surface that tends to alter or add depth to the body colour.
The value of a pearl is measured by factors including size, colour, shape and lustre. All factors are as essential in determining value, however the larger the pearl generally the more valuable. At British Jewellery Workshops we offer a premium range of certified authentic cultured pearls called Secrets of the Sea.
Caring For Pearls
Pearls are soft and delicate. When storing pearl jewellery, keep it separately wrapped in soft material, away from other metal jewellery to prevent the pearls from being scratched. As pearls are porous they mustn’t be immersed in water or cleaning products. Contact with perfume, hairspray and body cream may cause discolouration so always put pearl jewellery on last. Wipe pearls clean with a soft cloth and use special pearl cleaning solutions if necessary.
Today more than 99% of all pearls sold are cultured pearls. In pearl farming there are two types of cultured pearls, beaded and non beaded and each type are grown in separate parts of the mussel or oyster. The perfectly round pearls you see in jewellery are formed by the tissue of the donor shell having been moulded into a sphere before being surgically implanted inside the mollusk.
Peridot is a gemstone which comes from the mineral olivine, it has a distinctive olive or bottle green colour due to the presence of iron and it looks beautiful set in both gold and silver jewellery.
Peridot is thought to bring luck, success, and peace. As the birthstone for August, Peridot jewellery makes a great gift for August birthdays, British Jewellery Workshops even has few Peridot options for children that would make a perfect gift for an August new born. Peridot looks stunning in both stud and drop earrings and is the perfect stone for an elegant pendant.
Peridot can range in colour from yellow green to a deep bottle green. The shade of green will depend on the amount of iron present, the deeper the shade the less iron present.
Caring For Peridot
Peridot is not an especially hard stone so to avoid scratches and damage store separate from other jewellery in a soft pouch. To clean use mild soapy water, you should not get Peridot jewellery ultrasonically cleaned. You should also avoid subjecting your Peridot jewellery to extreme high or low temperatures.
Peridot is found on St John’s Island in the red sea, where it has been mined for over 3,500 years. It is also found in China, Burma, Brazil, Hawaii, Arizona (USA), Australia, South Africa, and Norway, however good quality crystals are very rare.
Rubies are the rarest form of the mineral Corundum, the other types are known as sapphires. and are renowned for their redness in colour. The hardness of a ruby is second only to diamonds, graded 9 on the Moh’s scale. Oval and cushion cut are popular shapes for ruby stones but their hardness means they are suitable for faceting in any cut. Ruby jewellery can make great gifts for July birthdays as it is the traditional birthstone. It is also the traditional gift given to celebrate a fortieth wedding anniversary and rubies are said to represent love and happiness.
The mineral Corundum contains traces of iron. titanium and chromium. It is the chromium that gives rubies the intense dark red that they are famed for. Chromium comes from the Greek word ‘chroma’ meaning colour.
The colours of rubies are valued by three components, hue, saturation and tone. Hue is the colour, saturation is the brightness and tone is the shade or depth of colour. Like sapphire, rubies have primary and secondary hues. In rubies the primary hue is red with secondary hues of pinks, oranges and purples. As with other coloured gemstones, it is not uncommon for rubies to be treated with heat to enhance the colour intensity. Colours vary from pale red to pigeon’s blood red, the most desirable colour of all for ruby is a very dark red with a hint of blue.
The clarity of a ruby is measured similar to a diamond, a clear stone without imperfections will be classed as a premium ruby gemstone.
Caring For Ruby
If you own ruby jewellery, remember it’s a gemstone known for its hardness so store it separately in order to prevent it scratching other pieces of jewellery or metals. To wash your ruby jewellery, use warm soapy water and avoid harsh chemicals as this can damage the intense colour.
Sourcing Of Rubies
In the past rubies have been discovered in Thailand, India and Africa. However more recently, large deposits of rubies have been discovered under the receding ice shelf of Greenland.
Traditionally, Burmese rubies were considered the best, but for political reasons they’re not currently available. Most now originate from Sri Lanka and Thailand. Rubies can also be synthetically produced and in this instance are known as ‘created rubies’.
Sapphires and rubies both come from the mineral corundum and are often found together, they are both 9 on the Mohs scale, meaning their hardness is second only to diamonds. Sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September meaning sapphire jewellery will make an excellent gift for a special September birthday. It is also the traditional gift for a forty fifth wedding anniversary and is thought to represent truth and loyalty. The word sapphire comes from the Greek word ‘sappheiros’ meaning blue gem. Throughout history, sapphires have been seen as the gem of royalty. Sapphires have become extremely fashionable since Prince William proposed to Catherine Middleton with the sapphire engagement ring that belonged to his mother, Lady Diana.
Normally associated with the colour blue, sapphire is actually the name for any corundum gemstone that’s not red, this is known as a Ruby. Although available in many colours one of the rarest sapphires, known as padaradscha, is of a vibrant pink-orange tone and is of very high value.
Sapphires are valued by three components, hue, saturation and tone. Hue is the colour, saturation is the brightness and tone is the shade or depth of colour. Sapphires have primary and secondary hues, in blue sapphires the primary hue is blue with secondary hues of violet and purple or green, sapphires with violet and purple secondary hues are valued higher than those with green. As with rubies it is not uncommon to heat treat sapphire gemstones to enhance their colour (this is a permanent process).
Caring For Sapphire
Renowned for its hardness, when you own a piece of sapphire jewellery, keep it safely in a cloth or pouch, so that it does not scratch other jewellery items. Whether it’s a pink sapphire pendant or a blue sapphire ring, try not to expose it to high temperatures which could affect the colour of the stone.
Sapphires are mined underground in many places around the world including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Eastern Australia and Madagascar, which is currently the world leader in sapphire production. They can also be synthetically produced and these are known as ‘created sapphires’.
Tanzanite comes from the mineral zoisite which was discovered in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro and therefore earns its name from the east African state of Tanzania. Being discovered in the 1960s it is celebrated as the gemstone of the 20th century. It’s recognisable by its striking blue or violet colour. It is a gemstone used purely for jewellery as it has quite a soft quality, ideal for delicate jewellery such as earrings and necklaces but less suitable for industrial uses. It is considered a geological phenomenon as it is found in one location worldwide and as a result is a very rare and often expensive gemstone. Both Turquoise and Tanzanite are considered birthstones for December so if you are looking for a premium gift for a birthday falling in December you may want to choose from our tanzanite jewellery collection.
The Tanzanite Foundation, a non-profit, industry supported organisation that is dedicated to protecting and promoting tanzanite, has introduced its own colour grading system which divides the hues between blue violet and violet blue. The most valuable colour of Tanzanite is violet blue also known as triple A. To bring out its violet blue hue, tanzanite needs to be treated at 600°C in a gemological oven. Gemstone colour is measured in primary and secondary hues. For tanzanite these are blue and purple. Purple lies between blue and red in the spectrum, but once treated with heat the hues range from blue violet or purple to violet blue.
Clarity also plays a large part in the value of tanzanite. The gemstone is more valuable if it is bigger and the clarity is flawless to the naked eye.
Caring For Tanzanite
Tanzanite is a delicate gemstone, sudden temperature changes may cause the stone to crack. When storing tanzanite jewellery be sure to keep it in a loose cloth or pouch in a cool place and away from other jewellery that could easily scratch it. Tanzanite jewellery should only be washed in warm mild soapy water.
The topaz gemstone has been mined for many years although it’s uncertain how the name originated. One story is that the name is thought to come from the Greek word Topazon, meaning yellow stone. In the Middle Ages topaz referred to any yellow gemstone. Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminium and fluorine. When you think of topaz in jewellery terms, its often blue topaz that springs to mind. Blue topaz is probably one of the more affordable gemstones and is often set in beads and popular in silver jewellery. Topaz is the traditional birthstone for the month of November and Topaz jewellery would make an excellent birthday gift. Topaz is thought to discourage fear, anger, release tension and enhance strength. The topaz gemstone balances happiness and symbolises friendship.
Pure topaz is essentially colourless and is often heat treated to create a deeper blue tone. Blue topaz remains the most common colour whether it’s naturally blue or enhanced. Topaz is treated to create yellow or pink shades and along with brown and orange topaz, these tones are referred to as Imperial Topaz. Pink topaz is the rarest form of natural topaz making it more valuable. Antique topaz jewellery, from before the technical colour enhancing treatments of today, will often feature brown topaz. Blue topaz is irradiated, exposed to gamma rays, followed by heating to enhance the depth of blue, this is a permanent treatment. Mystic Topaz is subjected to chemical vapour deposition, where natural Topaz is heated and elements are introduced during the process which alter the colour producing a wider rainbow type spectrum.
Caring For Topaz
Like diamond, topaz is a hard gemstone, so ensure it’s stored away from other jewellery pieces so that it can’t scratch other stones or metal. If you want to clean your topaz jewellery then simply use mild soapy water and a soft brush if required. Avoid using harsh detergents when washing at home.
Topaz is sourced all over the world, in places such as Topaz Mountain situated in the US state of Utah where it is the state gemstone. Other locations include Mexico, Italy and Brazil. The rocks can often be found in boulder size. In fact the largest cut topaz is of Brazilian origin, known as the American Golden Topaz, it is held at the Natural History Museum in Washington DC. It is a huge 22,892.5 carats, almost flawless in clarity, cushion cut in shape, and it is a light golden brown colour and took two years to cut.
Turquoise is a mineral composed of copper and aluminum. Turquoise was used by the ancient Egyptians and Aztecs as a decorative stone and a jewellery gemstone. King Tutankhamun’s burial mask and tomb was inlaid with turquoise. It is still used in jewellery today; it can be cut and set in beautiful expensive jewellery or polished for a more tribal or ethnic look. Turquoise is the traditional birthstone for December alongside Tanzanite.
The colour turquoise is named after the gemstone, it is the only gemstone where this is the case. Turquoise is a sky-blue, blue green colour, but often has brown, dark grey or black veins running through it. Pure blue turquoise is very rare.
Caring For Turquoise
Turquoise is sensitive to heat, it should not be exposed to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight in order to prevent discolouration. Avoid contact with perfume, hair spray, creams and any other household products, which could cause the gemstone to turn a dull green. Most turquoise jewellery can be cleaned using mild soapy water however some dyed stones may discolour. Test on a small area of stone. Be sure to remove any soapy residue. Store your turquoise jewellery separately in a soft cloth pouch to avoid damage and scratching from other jewellery.
Turquoise of the highest quality is sourced from Northeast Iran. Other deposits are found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Tanzania and the USA.
Synthetic Stone Gemstones
Cubic Zirconia is perhaps the best known of the man-made stones. Often used to look like synthetic diamonds, it is actually a synthesised form of Zirconium dioxide. It is a hard and eye flawless material, usually created colourless but can be a number of different colours.
Bloodstone is primarily dark green, but it can also occur bluish gray, greenish blue and brown. Bloodstone has red to brownish, and sometimes yellow spotting owing to iron oxide inclusions. Due to uneven colour distribution, bloodstone often occurs with noticeable light and dark colour zones.
Caring For Bloodstone
Bloodstone can be cleaned easily with warm water and a mild soap or detergent. It can be wiped with a soft cloth or brush. Always rinse your gemstones and jewellery well to remove soapy residue. Bloodstone has a relatively good level of hardness and durability, but there are many other gems capable of scratching bloodstone. Too many surface scratches will cause loss of polish and luster, affecting the overall beauty of bloodstone.
Care should always be taken when wearing or storing bloodstone. Do not use harsh chemicals or cleaners when caring for your bloodstone jewellery. It is also recommended to remove any gemstones and jewellery before engaging in vigorous physical activity, such as sports and exercise, as well as prior to performing daily household chores, such as washing dishes. Avoid exposure to extreme heat and temperature fluctuations. When storing your gemstones, wrap them in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined box. Always store gems separately from one another to prevent damage to your gemstone jewellery.
The most common gem mines and sources for bloodstone include India, Madagascar and California, USA. There are also significant deposits from Australia, Germany, Brazil and China. The most recently reported source is the Isle of Rum, located in Scotland.
Iolite is typically light to dark blue and violet, although it can also occur in various shades of yellow, gray, green or brown. The most desirable colour is an intense violet blue that can rival that of tanzanite. Iolite is trichroic which means that three different colour s can be seen in the same stone depending on the viewing angle. Some lower grade or poorly cut iolite can appear overly dark or ‘inky’, often appearing near-blackish.
Caring For Iolite
Iolite is considered to be fairly hard and durable, but it exhibits good cleavage which adds to its fragility. Extra care should be taken to prevent any hard knocks or blows. It is slightly harder than quartz, but softer than many popular jewellery gemstones (i.e., diamond, ruby and sapphire). It is best to refrain from wearing other types of gemstones together with iolite in order to prevent damage. Iolite should not be cleaned with heat steamers or ultrasonic cleaners. To clean your iolite gems and jewellery, simply use warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove any remaining soapy residue. Avoid extreme climates, temperature fluctuations and prolonged exposure to heat and sunlight.
Always remove your gems and jewellery before engaging in any vigorous sports, exercise or household chores. When removing jewellery, do not pull from the stone as this can lead to weakened prongs and eventually a lost stone. Always store gems separately, and if possible, wrap your gems individually using a soft cloth and place them inside a fabric-lined jewellery box for added protection.
Iolite deposits can be found in numerous locations around the world. Most of the iolite gemstones available today come from India, but some other significant sources include Australia (Northern Territory), Brazil, Canada (Yellowknife), Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Tanzania and the United States, including Wyoming and Connecticut.
Carnelian colours can range from yellowish orange to orange and from deep-red to brownish red. Its distinctive colour is owed to iron impurities and if heated, its colour can be enhanced. Deep-red and reddish-orange colour s are considered most desirable. Carnelian often exhibits light and dark colour zones within a single specimen.
Caring For Cornelion
Carnelian does not require much when it comes to care and maintenance. It is considered quite hard and durable, however, one should still be very careful when wearing and mixing carnelian gemstones with other harder gem types, such as topaz and sapphire, because harder materials can easily scratch carnelian. Carnelian gemstones can be easily cleaned using warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush. Be sure to rinse well to remove any remaining soapy residue.
As with most gemstones, avoid the use of harsh household chemicals as they can permanently damage the colour of your stones. You should also avoid prolonged exposure to extreme heat, as heat can damage or alter the colour of your gemstones. Although carnelian is very durable, it is still recommended that you always remove any jewellery prior to playing sports, exercising or performing any household chores. When storing carnelian gemstones and jewellery, always store them separately from other gemstones and wrap them in a soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined box.
Carnelian can be found in many places in the world. The most significant sources include Brazil, Uruguay, India, Madagascar and the United States (New Jersey and Oregon). Most carnelian gemstones available today are sourced from India and South America.
Tigers Eye Gemstone
Tiger’s eye is normally golden brown to brownish-gold in colour . Some materials may contain lower iron content which can result in more bluish colours. Tiger’s eye is typically multicolour ed with brown, black or golden coloured stripes and wavy patterns. Its chatoyancy can result in darker or lighter colour tones depending on the viewing angle.
Caring For Tigers Eye
Like most quartz gemstones, Tiger’s eye is quite durable and resistant to wear and tear. However, it is sensitive to some acids commonly found in many household cleaning solvents. Cleaning should only done using only warm water and a mild soap or detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals and cleaners such as bleach, ammonia or sulfuric acid. Also avoid spraying perfume or hairspray on your tiger’s eye gems.
Ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are generally considered safe for most quartz varieties, but care should be taken while doing so, and they are not usually recommended for any gem type. Always remove any tiger’s eye gems before playing any sports, exercising, or performing any harsh household chores such as dishwashing. When storing your tiger’s eye gemstones, store them separately and away from other gems and jewellery. It is best to wrap stones using a soft cloth, or place them inside a fabric-lined jewellery box for extra protection.
Sourcing Tigers Eye
Tiger’s eye can be found in many locations around the world. The two most important sources today include Thailand and the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Other notable deposits and sources include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Korea, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Spain and the USA.
Although the colour of lapis lazuli is defined by its name, ‘the blue stone’, its colour s can actually range from slightly greenish blue to violetish, medium to dark and from low to highly saturated. The blue is owed to sulfur colouring agents. The finest stones exhibit an evenly distributed colour and have no visible deposits of calcite, although a moderate amount of gold pyrite flecks is considered acceptable. Too much pyrite can result in a dull, greenish tint, while calcite can predominate the mix, giving the stone an overall less appealing lighter blue shade.
Caring for Lapis
Lapis is considered to be fairy tough, but it is also fairly soft at 5-6 on the Mohs scale. It’s softer than many gemstones, but with care, jewellery and ornaments can last for many generations. Lapis can be quite sensitive to strong pressure, high temperatures and harsh household chemicals and cleaners. Avoid exposing lapis to bleach or sulfuric acid. Most lapis lazuli can be cleaned using warm, soapy water, but some dyed materials may not be stable. For dyed or impregnated stones, it’s best to test a small area first to ensure stability. Wipe down stones using only a soft cloth and be sure to rinse well to remove any soapy residue.
Always remove any lapis gems or jewellery before exercising, playing sports or engaging in vigorous household chores. When storing your lapis lazuli, store it separately from other gems and jewellery to prevent scratches and fractures. It is best to wrap your stones using a soft cloth and place them into a fabric-lined jewellery box for extra protection.
Discovered 6000 years ago, the oldest lapis lazuli deposits are located in the difficult terrain of the West Hindu-Kush Mountains in Afghanistan. Today, Afghanistan is known to produce the finest quality lapis lazuli and is also the most significant source. Other commercial deposits have been also found in Angola, Argentina, Canada, Chile (North of Santiago), India, Italy, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, Russia and the United States (California and Colour ado).