Gemstone Glossary

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The inner lining of an abalone shell is composed of Mother of Pearl, which has beautiful iridescent colors and markings. Abalone Shells are oval shaped with natural imperfections such as grooves, and holes. The beautiful coloring varies from shell to shell, making every one uniquely different. Abalone has important religious and cultural significance across the world, including the Native Americans who used abalone shells and sage to send messages to the heavens.
Mohs scale: 3.5-4                                       Family: Shell
Locality: North America (west coast), South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
 

African Turquoise

African turquoise is a beautiful but complex stone to identify.  While it is marketed as turquoise, it is actually jasper that is mined in Southern Africa. Based on this, its more accurate name is African Jasper, though few call it by its true name. With a lovely green/blue turquoise base, it's easy to see why it is so easily mis-identified. It contains quartz, copper, and iron deposits which give it its pattern and yellow hues.

Mohs scale: 6.5-7           Family: Chalcedony           Locality: South Africa

Amazonite

Named after the Amazon River in Brazil, this gorgeous blue-green stone is a member of the feldspar family. It displays a pearly iridescence that shimmers in the light. This stone has been worn for centuries, having first thought to have adorned the shields of the legendary Amazon warriors from as early as 1,000 B.C.

Mohs scale: 6                       Family: Feldspar

Amber

Amber is fossilized tree resin that has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is most commonly used in decorative objects and jewelry. It has also been used as a healing agent in folk medicine.

Mohs scale: 2-2.5

Locality: While amber can be found in many regions of the world, it is most commonly mined for jewelry in the Dominican Republic, the Baltic region of Europe, and Myanmar (Burma).

"Purple Amethyst has been highly esteemed throughout the ages for its stunning beauty and legendary powers to stimulate, and soothe, the mind and emotions. It is a semi-precious stone in today’s classifications, but to the ancients it was a 'Gem of Fire', a Precious Stone worth, at times in history, as much as a Diamond. It has always been associated with February, the month the Romans dedicated to Neptune, their water-god, and is the traditional birthstone of that month."

Birthstone of February                                  State stone of South Carolina

Mohs scale: 7-7.5                                                         Family: Quartz

Locality: Uruguay, Russia, Austria, India, Canada, South Korea, the USA, and many other countries.

Ametrine

Ametrine, also known as trystine or by its trade name as bolivianite, is a mixture of amethyst (purple) and citrine (yellow/orange). The colour of the zones visible within ametrine are due to differing oxidation states of iron within the stone. The citrine segments have oxidized iron while the amethyst segments are unoxidized. The different oxidation states occur due to there being a temperature gradient across the crystal during its formation.

Mohs scale: 7                Family: Quartz               Locality: Bolivia

Angelite

Angelite, also known as anhydrite or angel stone, is a glacier blue to lilac blue colored stone that has a white center and snow-white flecks with occasional brown or rusty inclusions. A relatively recent discovery in the mineral and gem world, angelite was discovered in 1987 in Peru.

Mohs scale: 3.5                 Family: Gypsum                Locality: Peru

Apache Pyrite

Apache Pyrite, also known as Healer’s Gold or Apache Gold, is a rare combination of pyrite (Iron Sulfide) and magnetite (Iron Oxide). It was recently discovered in the Arizona desert, and is considered to be a rare stone. The colors are generally gold and sub-metallic black intertwined with occasional white trails.

Mohs scale: 5-6.5                 Locality: Arizona (U.S.A)

Aquamarine

Aquamarine, meaning "sea water" in Latin, is a blue or cyan variety of beryl. It occurs at most localities which yield ordinary beryl.

Mohs scale: 7.5-8                            Family: Beryl

Locality: U.S.A, Brazil, Colombia, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.

Astrophyllite

Astrophyllite is a very rare potassium, iron, titanium, manganese, sodium, silicate mineral. It crystallizes in the form of fine-bladed crystals that sometimes display a “starburst” aggregate. It was originally discovered in 1844 in Laven Island, Norway.

Mohs scale: 4

Locality: Russia, Norway, Canada, Greenland, and the USA.

Aventurine

Aventurine is a form of quartz, characterized by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give it a shimmering or glistening effect. The most common color of aventurine is green, but it may also be orange, brown red, purple, yellow, cream, blue, or grey. Interesting fact; Aventurine is named after goldstone, a man-made stone, which was originally called "aventurine glass"! They gave it the name due to its similar schillar to the the man-made glass.

Mohs scale: 6.5-7                      Family: Quartz

Locality: Most green and blue aventurine is found in India, while most other colors are found in Chile, Russia, and Spain.

Azurite

Azurite is a soft, deep-blue copper mineral produced by the weathering of copper ore deposits. It is one of two basic copper carbonate minerals, the other being malachite. It is often pseudomorphed (weathered) to Malachite, and the two are very frequently found together. Azurite is recognized as a major source of the blues used by medieval painters.

Mohs scale: 3.5-4

Locality: U.S.A, France, Morocco, Australia, Namibia, Chile, Russia, and Mexico.

Bloodstone

Bloodstone, also known as heliotrope, is a mixture of quartz that occurs mostly as jasper or sometimes as chalcedony. Bloodstone is generally an opaque green jasper with red inclusions of hematite, though it may also be grey or brown. It occasionally features pyrite inclusions. The red inclusions may resemble spots of blood, hence the name bloodstone.

Mohs scale: 7                               Family: Quartz

Locality: The main source of bloodstone is India, though smaller deposits can be found in Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Central Europe, and Scotland.

Brecciated Jasper

Brecciated Jasper is a member of the jasper family that contains hematite, an iron compound that gives it its color. It's also known as Poppy Jasper because it has orbicular patterns, or 'poppies'. It's characterized by its brecciated red, black, and grey colors. Brecciated comes from the word ‘breccia’, which is a geology term used when rocks composed of broken fragments cement together to form a fine-grained matrix.

Mohs scale: 6.5-7                               Family: Jasper (quartz)

Locality: The United States, India, Egypt, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia, and many other countries around the world.

Bronzite

Bronzite belongs to the pyroxene group of minerals. It can occur in most mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks like serpentinites, peridotites, gabbros, and norites.

Bronzite is a gemological name for Enstatite. It’s a beautiful stone in chocolate brown color with shimmering golden swirls.

Mohs scale:5-6

Locality: Czech Republic, Austria, Madagascar, Brazil, and the U.S.A.

Bumblebee Jasper

Despite the deceptive name, Bumblebee jasper is not a true jasper. It is actually is a complex calcium carbonate mineral with inclusions of arsenic and manganese oxides. The banding and layering is caused by inclusions of sulfur, calcium & Aragonite, Orpiment & Realgar, and Pyrite.

Mohs scale: 7

Locality: Mount Papandayan, West Java, Indonesia.

Carnelian

Best known for it's lovely orange, red, and rust colored hues, this warm variety of chalcedony reminds one of the setting sun. It has been used and worn through-out the history of many cultures and religions as early as 1800 B.C.

Mohs scale: 6.5-7                                 Family: Quartz

Locality: Brazil, India, Madagascar, Scotland, the United States, and many other countries.

Cat's Eye Quartz

Cat's eye quartz is a macrocrystalline variety of the mineral quartz. It is distinguished by its special optical phenomena, known as chatoyancy, derived from the French saying for the eye of the cat. This effect resembles the slit eye of a cat and is caused by the reflection of light by parallel fibers, needles or channels in the gemstone. It is most commonly grey with a silver/white streak, but can also be found in other colors such as green, yellow, and brown.

Mohs scale: 7

Dalmation Jasper

 

Dalmatian Stone is also known as Dalmatian Jasper, even though it's not actually a jasper. It is pale gray, cream or beige stone made of feldspar and quartz with black or brown spots of iron oxide or tourmaline. It's similar in appearance for the dog breed after which it is named.

Mohs scale: 6-7                          Family: Feldspar / Quartz

Dendritic Opal

Also known as "moss opal" and "merlinite", dendritic opal is classified as a common opal. It features fern, moss, or tree-like patterned inclusions (referred to as dendrites) of metallic oxides like manganese and iron, which give it its name. It generally is milk white in color with black or grey patterns, but it can also appear yellow, blue, or brown in color.

Mohs scale: 5.5-6                      Family: Opal (common)

Locality: Mexico, Australia, and the USA. Smaller deposits can also be found in other countries.

Fluorite

Believed by ancient civilizations to house rainbows, fluorite has been renowned for centuries for its beautiful range of colors. Some fluorite, when exposed to UV light, reacts by glowing and can even maintain luminescence for several minutes. While pure fluorite is actually colorless, impurities in the stone from other minerals give it its wide range of colors.

State Stone: Illinois         Mohs scale: 4          Family: Halide

Locality: Russian, France, the United States, Germany, South Africa, South America, and many other locations around the world.

Labradorite

 

Lore of the Inuit peoples claim that labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. At first glance, labradorite may appear grey in color until small shifts in lighting and positional reveal the gorgeous flash, also know as fire, that it is known for. Every stone is uniquely one of a kind in coloring and some may even feature a full range of colors.

Mohs Scale: 6-6.5                               Family: Feldspar

Locality: Madagascar, Canada, Russia, Finland, Mexico, and the United States.

Lapis Lazuli

 

Lapis Lazuli ranges in color from deep cobalt blue to denim that is sprinkled with gold pyrite (also known as Fools Gold). Its appearance has often been referred to as celestial, depicting the stars in the heavens. It has been used in jewelry making since the beginnings of humanity and is seen as a stone reserved for royalty. Many of Egypt's pharaohs were laid to rest in golden sarcophagi adorned with this sacred gem. It was popular in Europe, where it was ground into a fine powder that become ultramarine blue. It was favored by many notable artists. Lapis is known as a stone of truth, knowledge, and luck.

Mohs scale: 5.5-6

Locality: Afghanistan, Chile, and Russia are the main sources of lapis, though it can also be found in smaller deposits in Pakistan, Italy, Mongolia, the United States, and Canada.

Mookaite Jasper

 

Mookaite, also known as Mookaite Jasper, is only found in Western Australia in the Kennedy Ranges near Mooka Creek, which the stone is named after. It comes ina wide variety of colors, including red, burgundy, mustard-yellow, cream, white, brown, mauve and purple

Mohs scale: 6-7           Family: Chalcedony (silica quartz)

Moonstone

Named for its moon-like sheen, moonstone is a feldspar mineral exhibiting a soft, watery opaqueness and a silvery-white reflection called chatoyancy that moves as a line across the surface. moonstone occurs in shades of peach, blue, gray, white and a prismatic variety referred to as "rainbow moonstone". Since earliest times, moonstone has been a tangible connection to the magic of the moon - an amulet of protection for travelers, a gift of lovers for passion, a channel for prophecy, and a path to wisdom. Moonstone has been used in Roman jewelry for nearly two thousand years. It has always been a sacred stone in India with a special significance for lovers, where it is used as a traditional wedding gift.

Family: Feldspar                    Mohs scale: 6-6.5

Locality: Armenia, Australia, Mexico, Norway, Madagascar, Poland, the USA, and other localities.

Owyhee Blue Opal

Classified as a "common" opal, this unique stone is anything but. This beautiful stone is generally a powder blue with bands of white, black, and grey. It is often mistaken as chalcedony due to its unique banding. It was first discovered in 2003 near the sacred Indian springs of Owyhee, Oregon, where it gets its name-sake.

Mohs scale: 6-7                              Family: Opal

Locality: Owyhee, Oregon (U.S.A)

Rhodonite

Rhodonite is manganese silicate mineral with an opaque transparency. It comes in shades that vary from pale pink to deep red and can even oxodize to brown. It has a vitreous luster and is composed of other minerals such as calcite, iron, and magnesium. It is often found with black banding through-out the stone.

Mohs scale: 5.5-6

Locality: Russia, Sweden, New South Wales, and the U.S.A.

Rose Quartz

 

Often associated with love, passion, and romance, rose quartz is a soft lovely shade of pink with hazy to translucent transparency. Also known as the Heart Stone, Rose Quartz may have been used as a love token as early as 600 B.C. and was crafted into precious jewelry by the Assyrians back in 800 B.C. Since then, this beautiful quartz has been passed from civilization to civilization for centuries.

 

State stone: South Dakota              Mohs scale: 7             Family: Quartz

 

Locality: Madagascar, India, Germany, and several areas in the United States.

 

Selenite Satin Spar

 

Named after Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon, this silky stone looks like is is made of moonlight. Also known as "Liquid Light", it is believed that selenite is the most pure of all stones and is often used to charge crystals, cleanse homes, and is commonly used in reiki practices. Selenite is also known as satin spar, desert rose, or gypsum flower.

Mohs scale: 2                     Family: Gypsum

Locality: Morocco, Mexico, the United States, and many other parts of the world.

Silver Sheen Obsidian

 

Silver Sheen Obsidian is a form of glassy silica rich volcanic rock. It is characteristically back obsidian with filled with bright “sparkly” silver inclusions that produce chatoyancy.

Mohs scale: 5-5.5                   Family: Obsidian

Locality: USA (Oregon) and Mexico.

Sodalite

 

Often mistaken for lapis lazuli, this beautiful stormy blue stone often features white or orange calcite veining. It is also referred to as "Princess Blue" as royality was visiting Ontario, Canada when it was first discovered in the region. It has been used as ornamentation as early as 2,600 B.C.

Mohs scale: 5.5-6

Locality: Canada, Germany, India, Russia, and the United States.

Sunstone

 

Sunstone is a member of the feldspar family, similar to labradorite and moonstone. It is named for its warm shades of gold, orange, reds and occasional browns that sparkle like the sun. Inclusions of hematite and goethite refract light between the different crystal layers and produce an iridescent effect as the stone is viewed from different angles.

Mohs scale: 6-6.5                     Family: Feldspar

Locality: Southern Norway, Sweden, the United States, and Southern Australia.

Tiger’s Eye

 

Tiger’s Eye, also referred to as Tiger Eye, is a variety of Quartz known for its chatoyancy and rich layers of gold and brown color. It is thought to be a pseudomorph of Quartz, formed as layers of Crocidolite, a fibrous blue asbestos, were replaced over time by Chalcedony Quartz while still retaining the original shape of the asbestos fibers. A later theory proposes a simultaneous growth of the minerals through a crack-seal vein-filling process. In either case, iron from the decomposed Crocidolite oxidized to its brown color, and reflection of the light on the random fibers produces the gleaming chatoyancy. It can also be found in a variety of other colors.

Mohs scale: 7                          Family: Quartz

 

Turritella Agate

 

Generally an earthy brown or black, this unique stone is easily recognized by the fossilized snail patterns within the stone.

Family: Quartz                     Mohs scale: 6.5-7