Gemstone Jewellery Guide

Have a read through our gemstone jewellery guide.

Abalone Shell

Abalone Shell, otherwise known as Paua shell, is mother of pearl and originates from the interior of an Abalone mollusk. Abalone Shells are ear-shaped shells with a row of holes along the outer edge. The interior colours are a wonderful array of blues, green, purple, pink and silver in an iridescent display. Abelone is sometimes referred to as sea opal and is found of the coast of the United States and South Africa.

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Agate is from the Chalcedony family of gemstones and is usually banded with stripes, showing beautiful patterns. Named after the River Achetes in Sicily, some agates such as Moss Green Agate are quite translucent while others such as Blue Lace Agate have a dense milky appearance. Agate is a soothing and calming crystal which helps relaxation.

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Amazonite is a lovely opaque stone, it is usually a solid blue green colour but can be striped blue and white the colours are normally irregular and have a lovely silky sheen. It belongs to the Feldspar family of stones and can be found in Canada, India, Norway, Russia and the United States. Amazonite is a calming stone.

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Amber is the fossilised resin from pine trees. These non-extinct plants produce enormous quantities of resin which fall to the ground or fill cracks and holes in the trees where it eventually became fossilised. Amber was one of the first substances used by man for amulets, medicine and decoration. Amber radiates sun and solar energy and turns negative into positive and promotes positive thinking.

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Amethyst is fully Crystalline Quartz and is the most valuable of the quartz group. Amethyst can range in colour from light lilac to dark purple; this is often an indicator of the quality of the stone – the clearer the stone, the darker the colour, the more valuable. Amethyst can be found in Russia and Zambia. Amethyst is said to relieve headaches and help creative thinking. Amethyst is the Birthstone for February.

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Apatite is very pure in its colour and does not belong with any other groups of gemstones, it is found in shades of blue greenish yellow, greenish blue soft pink and lilac. It can be found in Brazil, Canada, Calafornia, East Africa, Mexico, and Spain. Apatite is also called the stone of inspiration.

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Aventurine has a lovely mid to dark green colour which is semi translucent with tiny specks of green fuschite mica. It can also be found in peach. Green Aventurine is a crystal for calming anxiety and fears. It can help to reinforce decisiveness.

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Blue Lace Agate

Blue Lace Agate is a stone which is said to promote qualities of kindness, wisdom and peace. Please see Blue Chalcedony for further information.

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Carnelian is a red variety of chalcedony which is crypto crystalline quartz it has an intense fiery glow and the colours range from red-orange to brown–red, it glows with a lovely warmth with a cloudy distribution to it. Originally found in the deserts of Arabia and Egypt, it has also been found in the Rio Grande area, India, China, Colombia, Saxony, Scotland, West Germany and USA. Also known as a life force stone, and helps with ambition, drive and more confidence. View pieces with Carnelian/
Chalcedony is said to be the memory stone and enhances listening and communication skills.

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Citrine is a fully Crystalline Quartz and as such it is related to Amethyst which is the purple form of quartz, and also to rock crystal which is the colourless variety. Citrine is a yellow quartz and ranges in colour from pale lemon yellow to deep reddish brown its name derives from its colour, ‘citron’ being French for lemon. Palmeira Citrine is a bright orange Amber like colour where Madeira Citrine is more of a deep brandy like colour, the names relate to the origin of the Citrine. Citrine is also known as the feel good stone, it aids emotional well being and creativity. Citrine is the Birthstone for November.

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The Coral we use is from sustainable sources and is in plentiful supply and not included in the international preservation programmes. Coral is quite light compared with gemstones of similar size. The sponge Coral is very suitable for carving into shapes like hearts, Coral is the vacated home of a marine animal and grows in branchlike formations, it is most frequently red, but also can be found in pink, white, black and blue. The black variety is especially protected as it is endangered and should not be purchased. Sources include the Red Sea, African Coast, Hawaii and Japan.

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Fluorite is a beautiful and versatile stone which ranges from greens to lilacs, clear and purples, this range of colour makes this stone very special and it occurs in varying grades from clear/translucent to slightly cloudy to cloudy in a range of colours including purple, lilac, clear, a range of greens – the stones usually have inclusions of white to black within them, inner flaws which are part and parcel of the stone being a natural occurrence giving the stone its interest. Sources include Argentina, Austria, Germany, France, Namibia, United States and the United Kingdom being found in Derbyshire.

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Fuschite is a chromium mica, it has a brilliant green color and comes from the same family as lepidolite (aluminium silicates) but where lepidolite contains lithium, fuschite contains chromium.

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The name Garnet comes from the Latin for pomegranate which has bright red, Garnet-like seeds. Garnet comes in many different colours such as orange/brown to brown /yellow this is called Hessonite Garnet which we use along with the more commonly known deep red Garnets. Garnets are found in many countries including Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Garnet is the Birthstone for January.

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Hematite is a compact form of iron oxide, and is a sleek dark grey/black colour and highly reflective it can be found in many countries including Brazil, Canada, Germany Italy and the United Kingdom. One of the main sources is Cleator Moor in Cambria, England, but it is also found in Elba, the Swiss Alps, Germany, Scandinavia, and the USA. Hematite’s name is derived from the Greek word ‘haimatites’ meaning blood like, or ‘blood’. Hematite strengthens our affinity with the earth making us feel safe and secure and giving us courage, strength, endurance and vitality.

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Howlite was named after the discoverer Henry How, a Nova Scotian geologist. Howlite is known for being readily prone to the dying process. Although white or grey, howlite is susceptible to colour changes and can be dyed a nice blue colour which imitates a turquoise blue. Dyed howlite is very beautiful and can be a cheaper alternative to turquoise. This look is enhanced by its porcelain type lustre. Howlite is said to help keep us calm, increase our awareness and express our emotions.

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Iolite comes from the Greek ios, which means violet. Iolite is usually a purplish blue, with a softness to the colour. Some people call iolite “water sapphire”. The shade is simply stunning and is found in India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania and the United States. Part of the Cordierite family, bluish white specimens were used by the Vikings as navigational aids. They could tell the points of the compass even when the sky was overcast, because depending upon which way it was viewed the mineral changed colour in polarised light.

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Jasper is a quartz in the chalcedony family, which includes Tigers eye, Agate, Bloodstone and Carnelian, Chrysoprase and Sardonyx; Jasper is usually striped, spotted or multi-coloured and is rarely one colour. The name Jasper means “spotted stone” and is very striking in its appearance. Depending on the colour of Jasper it can be sourced from Venezuela, Calafornia, Germany and France.

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There are two types of Jade, Nephrite and Jadeite. The later in its natural pure colour commands high prices and is more precious. Nephrite jade is normally a bright spinach green. Nephrite Jade can be found in many countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, and Mexico.

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Kyanite is truly beautiful with shades of blue, white, green, and sometimes black. It has a translucent appearance and as it is a lovely stone to use for blue jewellery as there are not many natural blue gemstones. The name comes from the Greek word Kyanos meaning “blue” in Greek. This gemstone can be found in India, Kenya, Australia and Russia.

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Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli translates from the Arabic as “heaven stone” and is a very popular stone because of its intense blue, it is completely opaque and often contains small gold or silver pyrite inclusions. Sometimes Lapis contains other minerals such as white calcite creating mottled blue and white stones called Lapis Matrix. Sources of Lapis Lazuli include Argentina, Canada, Chile, and Russia. Lapis is also the Birthstone for December.

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The volcanic rock is melted at a very high temperature and then moulded mixing 10% resin to hold the compound together. The resins used are hypo-allergenic and the volcanic rock is a natural stone, thus making the jewellery 100% environmentally friendly.

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Moonstone is the best known gem variety of orthoclase feldspar, being potassium aluminium silicate. Moonstones are the Birthstone for June.

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Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl is the hard, pearly layer on the inside of pearl oysters and seashells. It is mostly very pale with an iridescent appearance with hints of pale pink, lemon and green. Most sourced from the Bahamas, Madagascar and the Maldives Islands.

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Obsidian or natural glass tends to be overlooked in jewellery due to the extensive manufacturing of glass in gemstone jewellery. However Obsidian has beautiful natural patterns and optical effects. Obsidian is formed when molten Lava cools too rapidly and crystallization occurs. It is semi translucent to opaque and found in Black, Smokey Brown, Grey, Blue, Red and Green. The colour can have twisted or straight colour bands caused by the solidification of flowing Lava. Natural glass can be mined from countries including Russia, United States, Ecuador, Hungary and Iceland. Onyx is a banded variety of chalcedony which is crypto crystalline quartz. It is a translucent Chalcedony, part of the Quartz family, Onyx naturally has bands of Grey White and Brown. Onyx can be either highly polished or matt sometimes known as satinised due to the appearance of the stone when buffed. Onyx can be sourced worldwide and is a soothing and calming stone.

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Pearls are organic gem stones. They are formed when a foreign body, grain of sand or parasite, becomes trapped inside of the shell of a mollusk. The lovely lustre is the outer layer called the Nacre. Cultured pearls are when man intervenes and plants a foreign body into the shell or mollusk to create an irritant so that the oyster produces nacre to form over the irritant, hence creating the pearl. Pearls are the Birthstone for June.

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The name Peridot is thought to have been derived from the word “faridot”, gem in Arabic. Peridot comes naturally in pale yellow green, olive green to bright apple green the later being the most desirable. Peridot can be found in many countries which include Australia, Brazil, China Egypt and South Africa. Peridot is the Birthstone for August.

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There are a number of different groups of quartz gems, differentiated by their exact composition and crystalline structure. See Amethyst, Citrine and Rock Crystal for fully Crystalline Quartz. View pieces with Quartz.

Rock Crystal

Rock crystal is fully Crystalline Quartz. Quartz is a crystalline rock or mineral composed of silicon dioxide. The other gemstones in the same group are Citrine Smokey Quartz and Amethyst.

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Rose Quartz

Rose quartz is a delicate soft pink in colour, though can range from off-white pink to warm rose-pink, it is mostly produced in Namibia and South Africa. The early Chinese used rose quartz for carvings of the goddess of Peace as the colour was thought to reflect her gentleness and wisdom. It is said to promote a restful, cooling energy that will restore calmness, balance and clarity to the emotions and is considered excellent for healing emotional ‘wounds’.

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Rhodonite gets its name from the Greek rhodos, meaning “rose coloured”. Its colour can range from pink to rose red, brown-red, green yellow and black. It usually has vein type markings due to other products formed within it, one being manganese oxide. Also referred to as the ‘stone of love’ it assists you to achieve your greatest potential. Hardness of 5.5 – 6.

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Serpentine can range in colour from green, black-green, brown-red and white, it can be mottled with red and occasionally can include inclusions of magnetite.

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Smokey Quartz

Smokey Quartz is a brown to black variety of quartz. Like other quartz gems, it is a silicon dioxide crystal.

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Sodalite is named in reference to its sodium content and is an opaque dark blue laced with white striates of calcite. The color of blue is very typical and is one of the constituents of Lapis Lazuli; it is thought to be a very calming stone and is thought to stimulate courage.

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The word Sapphire in Greek means blue. At first only the blue variety was recognised as sapphire. Now, various colours are qualified by descriptions, green sapphire, yellow sapphire or pink sapphire. Hardness 9.

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Tigers Eye

Tigers Eye is mined in South Africa. Tigers Eye is a chatoyant gemstone that is usually a metamorphic rock that is a golden to red-brown color, with a silky luster.

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Turquoise is a blue/greenish opaque stone which often has brown stains which are the result of the stains of iron compounds which sit in the seams where the stone is mined and adds to its charm. It was first mined over 6000 years ago, and Native American Indians have used it as a protective stone. The stone is believed to enhance creative expression, peace of mind, communication, friendship and loyalty. Turquoise is normally stabilised or reconstituted with resin – this is a common practice since Turquoise in its natural state is very soft, and otherwise it would crumble to pieces. Turquoise is the Birthstone for December.

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The name Topaz is thought to have been derived from an island in the Red Sea, formerly known as Topazos. This stone comes in a variety of colors. The most usual colours are known as “London Blue”, “Swiss Blue” and “Sky Blue”. Hardness 8.

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Zoisite was a minor gemstone until the discovery in 1967 of Tanzanite, an attractive purple-blue variety. There is a rose red variety known as thulite which comes from Norway, and a green variety from Tanzania which contains large opaque ruby crystals. Ruby is the birthstone for July. Hardness 6-6.65.

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