Aquamarine

Other Names: blue-green beryl
Origin of Name: The name originates from the Roman Aqua meaning water and Marine meaning sea
Meaning of the Stone: Water of the Sea, the stone of the scorpio zodiac
Classification:Precious
Family: Silicate mineral/Beryl mineral, of the emerald family
Region: Europe, USA, Russia, Brazil, Indies, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan,Pakistan
Color: Blue (pure aquamarine) green, yellow, red, white
Transparency: transparent or opaque
Fracture: Conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 7.5-8( 2.76 avg.)
Crystal System: Hexagonal
Similar Minerals:

1. Legend and History:

The Aquamarine was frequently used in the Roman Empire and Middle Ages; The Romans would quite often incorporate the stone into their jewelry and believe that specific carvings of the stone, such as in the shape of a frog, would help reconcile enemies and make them into friends, in addition, both Romans and Greeks, believed that wearing an aquamarine would ensure a safe journey across the seas, due to its unity as a stone, with the colors of the sea.
Aquamarine is said to be the stone of courage; It eliminates stress and calms the mind, whilst also harmonizing one with the environment and mitigating bad external factors. In ancient times it was believed to be a stone which fought against the powers of darkness and brought serenity from the spirits of the light. Most sailors and seamen would carry an Aquamarine stone close to them in order to have a prosperous journey and be protected by its mystical powers.
In addition this beautiful stone is said to help those whom wear it get through difficult situations and take a stance in their lives; it brings out ones positive aura and aligns the chakra.
As all precious stones, the aquamarine is said to have certain healing powers also, such as uses against sore throats, swollen glans, thyroid problems, growth, the eyes, teeth and stomach.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Aquamarine, literally meaning “water of the sea”, is a beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate mineral, which varies in its shape and size, but is most commonly known to be a hexagonal crystal. As it is a variety of beryl it therefore belongs to the emerald family, thus often used as a stone of outstanding beauty due to its main color.

3. Interesting Facts:

In the Middle Ages, the aquamarine was cut into crystal balls, as it was thought to posses mystical properties and the ability to renew love in one’s life; Dr. John Dee also used a crystal ball created from aquamarine to predict which would be the best time for coronation for Queen Elizabeth I.
The Aquamarine stone is thought to bring out its benefits when one holds it tight, or places it in the correct area, depending on the desired use; Rings and amulets are very popular with the aquamarine too, especially on persons whom gain it’s attributes from the zodiac signs, i.e the scorpio sign.

4. Care and Storing:

As aquamarine stones are in the middle of the Mohs scale, they are fairly durable, but still must be treated with care as any precious stone. The typical shallow cuts which are used in order to enhance their clarity and emphasize their color deem them in need of frequent cleaning with a soft cloth in order for their appearance to remain at its best.

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Apatite

Other Names:
Origin of Name: Greek απαταω,
Meaning of the Stone: literally meaning deception
Classification: semi-precious
Family: Phosphate Mineral
Region: USA, India, Brazil, Russia,Sri Lanka, Canada
Color: Green, yellow, blue-violet, transparent
Transparency: Transparent, translucent
Fracture: Conchoidal, uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 5 (3.16-3.22)
Crystal System: Hexagonal, Dipyramidal
Similar Minerals: Quartz, feldspar, Calcite

1. Legend and History:

The name of this specific stone literally means deceit in greek, and is considered to have derived from the fact that as it is confused with precious beryl, or topaz, it tends to deceit those whom are not familiar of the stone.
Apatite is considered to be a crystal which may enhance desired results when dealing with attributes of other crystals, thus acting as a positive agent. Furthermore, apatite is believed to enhance one’s inner view, learning abilities and creativity, whilst at the same time increase self confidence, improve coordination, strengthen the muscles, and ease hypertension.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Apatite is chemically a group of phosphate minerals, hydroxylapatite, fluorapatite, chlorapatite, and bromapatite, and is one of the few minerals which are produced and used by biological micro-environmental systems. It is rather infrequently used as a gemstone in it’s basic form, however, transparent stones which have a clear color have been faceted or cabochon cut. Furthermore, different varieties of Apatite exist and these depend on certain variables of the stone, for instance, chatoyant stones are known as cat’s eye apatite, while transparent green gems are called asparagus stone; in addition, when crystals of rutile grow inside the crystal of apatite, in correct light the stone may display a cat’s eye effect.

3. Interesting Facts:

In many instances apatite has been found to contain certain rare elements of the earth’s crust which can be used as ore.

4. Care and Storing:

Apatite should be cared for in the same manner as opal, as it is sensitive to high levels of heat and shocks, thus when cleaned lukewarm water and a soft cloth is best practice. Furthermore, as it is relatively soft, it is best kept away from hard crystal and jewelry which may damage it.

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Andesine Labradorite

Other Names:
Origin of Name: Andes mountains/ Labrador Canada
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: semi-precious
Family: Feldspar
Region: Italy, greenland, Finland, Russia, Canada, India
Color: Colors vary with light and polish/ originally colorless-yellow, black, blue,green,red
Transparency: transparent,translucent
Fracture: Uneven-conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 6-6.5(2.65-2.75)
Crystal System: triclinic
Similar Minerals: Labradorite, Andesine

1. Legend and History:

This gemstone is believed to hold certain powers of mystery, as was called the “light-bringer”. It is said to lift ones conscious and connect him to the activities of the universe. Andesine Labradorite is said to block unwanted actions caused by another’s aura and stop energy from leaking, creating a protective cycle against negative energy which leaves the body so as to not allow re-entry.
On a psychological level it is said to mitigate fear and insecurity whilst also providing with a hyperactive mind and imagination, in addition to bringing new ideas and help with meditation.
This specific gemstone is also said to cure diseases surrounding the eyes and brain, while also relieving one from stress and setting the metabolism; it may also be used as a “witness” in radionic treatment.
It is best used above the higher heart chakra, or held in ones palm when considered to be in need from the owner.

2. Origin in nature and use:

The name Andesine Labradorite is a hyphen of two different stones; Andesine originates from the Andes Mountains, where it was found in stone lava, while labradorite derived from the Labrador province in Canada. The reason for this “dual nationality” lies in the chemical formation, as the material falls between the characteristics of both stones.
The two are rather distinct minerals which share similar chemical analysis which are shown apart with reference to the percentage of sodium to calcium within their parts.

3. Interesting Facts:

Andesine Labradorite was rumored to become the Gemstone of the 2008 Summer Olympic games in China, and there is still much controversy around this matter as it is not known whether red andesine was used, or andesine labradorite.

4. Care and Storing:

As all gemstones with a low level of hardness, andesine labradorite must also be stored away from harder stones and jewelry in order to avoid scratches and damage. The safest way to clean this gem is with warm water and the use of a soft cloth or brush.

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Andalusite

Other Names: Lapis Crucifer, Chiastolite (for specific variety)
Origin of Name: Originates from area in which stone was found, Andalusia, Spain.
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: Semi-precious
Family: Silicate mineral
Region: Spain, Brazil, Sri Lanka
Color: Pink to red-brown, yellow, green, white, gray
Transparency: Transparent, Translucent
Fracture: sub-conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 6.5-7.5( 3.13-3.21)
Crystal System: Orthohombric
Similar Minerals: Kyanite, sillimanite

1. Legend and History:

Andalusite is named from its occurrence in the Spanish province of Andalusia. It is believed to be a stone of protection, which may be used to rid of the evil eye curses. In addition, it is considered to have certain healing powers, such as enhancing ones intellect, abilities to solve problems, and mental clarity.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Apart from originating in Spain, certain deposits have been found in Brazil and Sri Lanka, yet still is considered to be a rather rare gemstone; It is extremely remarkable in its ability to display marked pleochroism, and thus has wrongly been compared to Alexandrite.
Andalusite is a mineral which occurs under low pressure and high temperatures as a common regional metamorphic mineral. In addition, due to its variables in excavation, along with those consisting from kyanite and sillimanite, it is a useful tool to identify the pressure and temperature paths of the rocks in which they are hosted.
The reason Andalusite is considered an interesting gemstone is due to its colorations after it has been cut.

3. Interesting Facts:

Andalusite has not been economically exploited yet, due to the fact that it is associated with mica schist which increases alkali content in its ultimate product.

4. Care and Storing:

In order to clean Andalusite gemstones, warm soapy water is best to be used along with a soft cloth; Steam must however be avoided, thus one must make sure the water is warm, but not too hot so as to be steamy. Andalusite should be stored alone, or in a separate compartment of a display box as it may easily be scratched and damaged due to its softness.

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Ammolite

Other Names: Aapoak, calcentine, korite,
Origin of Name: Ancient Egyptian god, Ammon
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: semi-precious ( grading is dependent on colorations)
Family: Fossilized, mineralized
Region: USA, Canada
Color: gray-brown, showing red and green
Transparency: Opaque, transparent or translucent in a single layer
Fracture: Uneven-granular
Hardness (Gravity): 4.5-5.5( 2.80-3.05)
Crystal System: Orthorombic
Similar minerals: Aragonite

1. Legend and History:

The name of the ammolite stone originated from an Egyptian god named Ammon, whom thought of cephalopods as divine creatures, thus he too was represented with the head of a ram, and horns which resembled the shape of an ammolite shell, given the fact that they were spiral in the same way such fossils are found.
In Canadian lore, it is said that Blackfoot Indians first discovered ammolite near the Rocky mountains, and called it buffalo stone due to the legend that surrounds it; It is believed that, in a time of a particularly hard winter, the tribe was almost starving to death as they could not find any buffalo to hunt. A woman of the tribe went out in search of food and firewood in the deep snow as it was clear that they would not make it through the winter. There, she heard a beautiful song and followed the sound which led her to the Ammolite under a cottonwood tree; she took the ammolite back to her tribe as a spirit told her that it was powerful medicine, and held a buffalo ceremony. The next morning a large herd of buffalo appeared and the tribe was able to survive the hard winter. Ever since the Blackfoot tribe keeps Ammolite wrapped in buffalo hide in order to use it for hunting ceremonies.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Ammolite is similar to opal, but for it’s organic features. It is an organic cephalopod which has occurred fossilization and thus formed into a gemstone due to extreme temperatures and heat in the lower levels of the earths layers. Ammonites (now extinct) were marine animals which resemble the nautilus in shape, and the squid in their physical attributes. They existed in tropical seas and became extinct in the Mesozoic period. They existed in most seas however in very large numbers, thus their fossils may be found in abundance, although Ammonite fossils which exhibit bright colors and gem characteristics are found only in Canada, and more specifically the Rocky mountains, from which however, only 5% of those excavated show Ammolite colors and may be considered a gem, thus deeming such stones highly rare and unique.

3. Interesting Facts:

The CIBJO (Confederation Internationale de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie et Orfevrerie) recognized Ammolite as a gemstone only in 1981; it is one of the three organic gemstones to be recognized, along with amber and pearl, and is often compared to Opal

4. Care and Storing:

Given the fact that each and every Ammolite stone is unique when in natural form, as it occurs from a crustacean, Ammolite must be treated with extreme care both while cleaning and storing. Use of a soft cloth and water is suggested to clean the stone.

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Amethyst

Other Names:
Origin of Name: Greek αμέθυστος, meaning non-intoxicated, due to the belief that it protects from inebriation
Meaning of the Stone: February birthstone
Classification: semi precious
Family: Silica, Quartz
Region: USA, Britain,Canada, Brazil,Mexico, Russia,Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Indies
Color: deep purple, ranging to lavender and pink
Transparency: Transparent to translucent
Fracture: Conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 7 (2.65) both hardness and gravity tend to alternate in impure varieties
Crystal System: Rhombohedral, trigonal
Similar Minerals: agate, fluorite, apatite, further quartz types

1. Legend and History:

Legend has it that Amethyst was created in Ancient Greece by the God Dionysus; more specifically Dionysus, the god of intoxication was insulted by a mortal, on whom he unleashed a pack of tigers to attack. Amethyst, a beautiful young woman was on her way to worship the Greek Goddess Artemis, but crossed the path of the angry tigers, thus Artemis turned her into crystal in order to protect her from the brutal attack; On the sight of what he had caused, Dionysus is said to have wept tears of wine thus giving the purple color to the crystal of Amethyst.
In addition Amethyst was believed to protect from intoxication, thus wearers of this stone could drink more without the effects of alcohol indulgence; furthermore, in reference to healing beliefs, amethyst is said to strengthen the immune system and cleanse the blood. It also relieves from headaches and releases tension.
Amethyst also helps with decision-making and meditation, as it leads thought to the depths of the mind, thus allowing for clearer views.It cleanses the aura and transforms negative energy. Lastly, Amethyst should be worn around the neck and close to the heart in order to enhance it’s attributes, however, it can also be used in cases of sleep disorder and nightmares; in such cases it is best to place the crystal under ones pillow.

2. Origin in nature and use:

The quality of Amethyst, as with many other crystals, varies dependent on it’s source of excavation, with the most rare and expensive deposits being those of Siberia, which carry out a deep purple color with tints of blue and red in their varieties. Amethyst is usually found in the form of small pyramidal crystals, although some deposits, such as those in Mexico often display large prismatic crystals which are thought to be highly collectable due to their natural elegance. In addition, Amethyst formations have also been found in the form of geodes, some of which have been recorded to weigh many tons and stand many feet tall.

3. Interesting Facts:

Amethyst was considered to be a crystal of the cardinal family, one of the most valuable gemstones along with diamonds, sapphire, rubies and emeralds; in the 18th century however extensive deposits were discovered and therefore the general value of the crystal decreased, although there are still some varieties which are considered to be rare according to collectors and gemologists, such as the “Deep Russian” variety.

4. Care and Storing:

Amethyst, as all crystals, may be scratched and loose it’s shine, thus frequent cleaning with warm water and a soft cloth is advised, as is also correct and safe storing in a cool and shady place, as it looses it’s color when left in the sun.

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Amber

Other Names: ambrite
Origin of Name: Arabic anbar, originally referring to the Sperm Whale now called ambergis
Meaning of the Stone: Associated with the zodiac of the Taurus
Classification: semi-precious
Family: Organic Resin
Region: Russia (Baltic Sea), Dominican Republic,Italy, Germany, Poland,Britain
Color: yellow, gold-yellow, dark brown, blue, green( non-natural color)
Transparency: Transparent to translucent
Fracture: Conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 2-2.5( app. 1.1)
Crystal System: Amorphous
Similar minerals: copal, kauri, celluloid

1. Legend and History:

Amber has strong connections with the earth, and more specifically the age of the world, due to the way in which it is created and therefore it is believed to connect the person whom wears it with the earth, and ground his energy. In ancient times a common belief existed that amber offered light to the deceased to pass through the underworld, but also provide witches and magicians with magical powers of light.
Furthermore, amber is believed to have the ability to cleanse the body and mind, while also withdraw ones illness and fill the body with life and strength; In addition, amber removes negative energy and pain, while bringing the body to a balance with nature and self heal itself.
Amber is thought to display it’s healing attributes more when worn for long periods, mainly on the wrist or around the neck.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Amber is not precisely a crystal, but organic resin which has been crystalized and fossilized; it is heterogenous in terms of it’s composition and a macromolecule. It’s precise composition is not known due to the fact that it may vary depending on the plant species from which it has been released. The exact formation of amber however is due to molecular polymerization, which occurs when the resin which has been released from the plant or tree undergoes high pressure and temperature produced by the overlapping layers of earth, transforming the resin first into copal, and then, due to sustained heat, into amber.

3. Interesting Facts:

Archeological findings of entrapped insects and other organic mater have proven the existence of million year old amber deposits, which occurred from the resin being encased in dirt and stone over a long period of time, which through a fossilizing process turned into amber. Certain amber stones are highly valued due to the age and condition of the entrapped insect, as in some cases it may be a pre-historic organism, although in such instances the amber is considered less expensive and rare than the actual organism, as it may tend to show significant information in reference to the general pre-historic times.

4. Care and Storing:

Due to the fact that amber is an extremely soft stone, it requires special care when cleaning and storing; Amber should not be stored along with metal or other jewelry as it may be scratched and loose it’s brightness, thus the best storing method would be in a soft cloth, and away of direct sunlight. In order to clean amber, warm water and soft cloth is adequate to remove dirt and smudges; in addition, olive oil may be used in order to polish it and make it brighter.

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Amazonite

Other Names: Amazon Stone, Stone of Courage
Origin of Name: Such green stones were formed around the shores of the Amazon river, this however is rather misleading as no facts prove that amazonite occurs in that specific area.
Meaning of the Stone: The “hope stone” due to it’s legend of inspiration
Classification: semi-Precious
Family: Microcline feldspar
Region: Formerly almost exclusive to Russia, USA, Brazil, Australia, Namibia
Color: Green
Transparency: Translucent, Opaque
Fracture: Conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 5-6 (2.56-2.57)
Crystal System: Triclinic, Prismatic
Similar Minerals: quartz, muscovite, plagioclase feldspars

1. Legend and History:

Legend has it that the Amazonite stone received it’s name from the mythical civilization of the Amazons, in Ancient Greece; a tribe of female warriors in no need of men. Other discussions around the name show that it may have occurred from the coloring of the stone which resembles the shady green color of the shores and waters of the Amazon river, although no deposits are found in that geographic area.
Amazonite is also said to have been used by Ancient Egyptians as a stone to sooth and cool down ones mental state, while also heal spiritual growth.
Further uses of Amazonite in healing processes are said to include alignment of the heart and solar plexus chakras, enhancing of creative expression, and offering confidence.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Amazonite is a variety of microcline feldspar, and is a mineral of limited deposits; it was formerly obtained from only one deposit, in the area of Miass, in Russia, in more recent excavations however, large deposits of high-quality crystals have been found in the US, Madagascar and Brazil.
The natural green color of Amazonite remained a mystery for many years, and the general belief was that the color was due to copper components; recent studies however show that the rare natural color of the Amazonite stone is a result of small quantities of lead and water in feldspar.
Amazonite is generally cut en cabochon, however, the natural green coloring creates a beautiful antithesis of colorations when set on silver and used for the creation of bracelets, necklaces, and other jewelry pieces.

3. Interesting Facts:

Although amazonite is a mineral belonging to the microcline feldspar category, it is cut, in most cases, and used as a gemstone due to it’s bright green color when polished.

4. Care and Storing:

Amazonite ranks rather low on Mohs scale of hardness and therefore wearers of this stone must be careful not to fracture it, especially those which have been cut and used as a gemstone, as they are more prone to damage. Given the rarity of such stones, owners of this beautifully natural colored green stone, must clean and polish it regularly and be highly cautious when storing it.

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Almandine Garnet

Other Names: Almandite (incorrect name), Ceylon-ruby, Syrian Garnet
Origin of Name: Almandine may have originated from the name Alabanda in Asia Minor
Meaning of the Stone: Birthstone of the Aquarius
Classification: semi-precious
Family: ferrous Aluminum Silicate
Region: Burma, Madagascar, USA, Tanzania, Brazil, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka
Color: dark colorations of brown-red to violet-red
Transparency: translucent
Fracture: Conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 7-7.5 (3.93-4.05)
Crystal System: Isometric-Hexoctahedral
Similar Minerals: Phenakite, Olivine, Andradite, Kyanite, Topaz

1. Legend and History

Almandine was named after an alteration of the the word alabandicus, which the initial name of the stone given by Pliny the Elder to a stone found in Asia Minor, and more specifically Alabanda, thus also contributing to it’s name via means of topography.
Popular belief in ancient times said that those whom dreamt of almandine garnet would soon find the solutions to the mysteries of life; In addition, it was also believed that gemstones held the reflection of the galaxy, and the almandine garnet specifically was believed to hold the reflection of Mars, Pluto and Mercury.
As the majority of precious and semi-precious stones, almandine garnet is also believed to hold certain healing powers, such are, help with problems occurring from arthritis, varicose veins, and backache.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Almandine garnet is found in large amounts around the world, thus allowing for a low price, and wide distribution. As the stone is rather dark when delivered from nature, it is usually cut and hollowed out in order to allow light to fill it and gain somewhat of a spectrum of light. The usual cut used for such types of stone is either the brilliant, which brings out it’s natural deep red color, or in a cabochon style, or‘carbuncle-cut’.

3.  Interesting Facts:

Almandine stones sometimes are found to have asbestos fiber in their containments, which, when properly cut may produce high quality rare stones.

4.  Care and Storing:

As this is a semi-precious stone, it is rather easy to take care of, but nonetheless some amount of caution must be used as almandine is still a crystal, despite it’s abundance in deposits. The best storing for any type of stone, including almandine, is in a presentation box, or velvet pouch in order to mitigate damage to the specific cut and shine of the stone.

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Alexandrite


Other Names: Chrysolite during Victorian era
Origin of Name: Gemologist Nils G. Nordenskiold named it as a tribute to Tsar Alexander II of Russia
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: Precious gemstone
Family: Chrysoberyl
Region: Ural Mountains, India, Sri Lanka,Madagascar, Tanzania,
Color: emerald green, red, blue green, orange yellow, color according to angle and type of light
Transparency: Transparent to Translucent
Fracture: Conchoidal to uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 8.5( 3.70-3.78)
Crystal System: Orthorhombic
Similar minerals: Chrysoberyl, Cymophane

1. Legend and History

Alexandrite is a relatively new stone, as it was discovered in 1834 in the emerald mines of the Ural mountains in Russia, by a Finnish gemologist, Nils G. Nordenskiold, whom is said to have named it Alexandrite in honor of the future Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The main reason for Aexandrite becoming the stone of the Tsar, but also the fascination of Russian jewelers around this stone lies in the color; Alexandrite demonstrates the principal colors of old Imperial Russia’s flag. Despite it’s young age however Alexandrite is thought as a highly noble stone, with royal roots due to it’s impeccable beauty, and rareness in some varieties. Russian jewelers were fascinated with the colorations of this stone, and created many pieces, however, it is highly difficult to come across such antique jewelry pieces nowadays as they are kept well guarded by their owners.
As all precious stones, Alexandrite too is said to have certain healing abilities and mystical powers, such as improving the central nervous system, relieving from spleen and pancreas problems, but also assisting one in matters of self-esteem and the ability to be joyful.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Alexandrite is not easily found, due to it’s rather rare chemical disposition, despite being a variety of chrysoberyl. The primary source of Alexandrite is Russia, and more specifically the Urals, however, when the Russian deposits were thought almost obsolete, excavations began in search of new sources of Alexandrite, and they were indeed found in Brazil, more specifically Minas Gerais, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Madagascar. This remarkable gem was mainly used for the creation of expensive and extravagant jewelry, affordable only to the most fortunate of persons.

3. Interesting Facts:

When the Russian deposits of Alexandrite were thought to have been exhausted, interest in the stone showed a significant decrease due to the fact that other deposits did not show the same characteristics, mainly that of the color change, until 1987 when the deposit in Minas Gerais of Brazil was discovered and showed similar attributes to the rare beauty found in the Russian Alexandrite.
Furthermore, this gem is rather understated, as the uniqueness and rarity may be seen only by an expert or enthusiast, as at first sight, it’s interchanging colorations and mysterious sparkle cannot be seen, unless exposed to different light sources.

4. Care and Storing:

Alexandrite is a high valued precious stone, and must be kept well and safe in order for it’s wearer to be able to enjoy it’s fascinating colorations for years. Frequent cleaning with a soft cloth and salt water will help keep the gem sparkle, while rubbing down with a pure cotton cloth will keep it’s shine. Alexandrite must be kept in a presentation box and not in direct reach of light at all times.

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