Yearly Archives: 2012

Charoite

Other Names:
Origin of Name: It’s name originates from the Siberian river Chara
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: semi-precious
Family: silicate mineral
Region: Russia, Yakuita Siberia (it is found in only one region)
Color: light to dark purple, violet, sometimes blue-purple
Transparency: Translucent
Fracture: Conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 5-6(2.54-2.68)
Crystal System: Monoclinic
Similar Minerals: sugilite

1. Legend and History:

Charoite, which it’s name derives from the river Chara in Siberia,Russia, is a semi-precious gemstone which has been used for the creation of artifacts since the 1950’s, thus having a fairly recent history. Many beautiful charoite vases have been found on the market, although the majority, of precious vases, created in Russia are still kept away as family artifacts.
Charoite is however believed to have certain healing and legendary powers, such as the ability to cleanse and purify ones energy, whilst also getting rid of negative energy existing in the body.
In addition it is believed to enhance ones self-esteem accelerate spirituality and improve the ability to love.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Charoite is found only in Russia, and more specifically in the Murun deposit of Yakutia, in Siberia,Russia, where it is found around a ten kilometer radius in alkaline veins. 90 percent of the gemstone is pure charoite whilst the remaining 10 percent is a mix of ore and metal. The most common cut used is that of cabochon, but charoite is also popular in the creation of sculptures and other household decorations, i.e vases, ornaments.

4. Interesting Facts:

Charoite did not become known to the Western world until 1978; before that it was purely used in Russia.

5. Care and Storing:

This marvelous gemstone must be kept safe from bumps and hits, and also away from relatively harder gemstones as it is easily damaged and cracked. Cleaning is recommended with warm water, soap and a soft brush.

Chalcedony

Other Names:
Origin of Name: Ancient Greek Town in Minor Asia, “χαλκηδονα”
Meaning of the Stone: Capricorn Zodiac stone
Classification: semi-precious
Family: Oxide Mineral
Region:USA,Austria,Czech Republic,Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, Canada,Mexico,Iceland, Russia,Brazil,Morocco
Color: pink, blue, red, green, gray, white, yellow,black [note that there are several stones belonging to the chalcedony family, thus more colors exist, and some multicolored stones also i.e heliotrope] Transparency: transparent to opaque
Fracture: conchoidal to uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 6-7(2.59-2.61)
Crystal System: Trigonal,Monoclinic
Similar Minerals: Agate,carnelian, chrysoprase,Onyx

1. Legend and History:

Archeological findings have shown that chalcedony was in use from the Bronze Age, specifically in the Mediterranean region, i.e the island of Crete, and it’s major use was for the creation of seals.
Findings from trade routes though have also shown that the specific stone was also used to carve ring bezels, and beads, which have a Graeco-Roman influence.
This stone is thought to promote and enhance an essence of brotherhood and good mood, whilst also help in the transmission of thoughts and telepathy. It absorbs negative energy and in addition dissolves it so as to avoid further conveyance; furthermore, it is believed to help with the healing of depression and sadness but also banish fear. Also, chalcedony is believed to balance the body and ones emotions, whilst also heal the eyes, bones, spleen, blood, and circulation.
Further colorations of chalcedony however, such as those mentioned above, are thought to have added values and healing attributes; Dendritic chalcedony for example promotes clear and precise thinking, and is best used when under pressure or while under verbal attack, as it allows for a clear mind and well constructed answers. Red chalcedony gives power and helps with an ultimate achievement of goals.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Chalcedony (also cryptocrystalline), from the latin word calcedonius, originating from the Greek khalkedon [χαλκηδονα] is a fibrous quartz form of silica also composed of moganite, thus allowing for a trigonal and monoclinic crystal structure. It has a waxy luster and may be found in various colors and varieties, such as blue chalcedony, dendritic chalcedony, pink chalcedony, red chalcedony, chrome chalcedony, agate, aventurine, carnelian, chrysoprase, heliotrope, moss agate, and onyx.

4. Interesting Facts:

In ancient times, chalcedony was used in order to create grails which were then silver-plated in order to prevent poisoning.

5. Care and Storing:

Although chalcedony is fairly durable, scratches may be caused to its surface, thus jewelry needs to be gently polished with a soft cloth; furthermore, the color of a chalcedony stone may be influenced by sunlight and temperature, thus it must be stored out of direct light and high temperatures, use of a presentation box may be wise for storing.

Cat’s Eye Tourmaline

Other Names: toramelli,thuramali
Origin of Name: Toramelli, from the Sri Lankan dialect
Meaning of the Stone: Pisces Zodiac sign
Classification: semi-precious
Family: Cyclosilicate
Region: Brazil, Italy, Czech Republic, USA, Afghanistan,Mozambique, Madagascar,Russia
Color: colorless, black,green,blue,yellow,brown, and some dual colored
Transparency: translucent to opaque
Fracture: conchoidal to uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 7-7.5(3.02-3.41)
Crystal System: Trigonal
Similar Minerals: amethyst,chrysoberyl, sapphire,ruby,topaz,zirkon

1. Legend and History:

The name Tourmaline derives from the Sri Lankan expression “tura malli” which literally means, stone of many colors; As there is a range of colors in which tourmaline is available, and some stones even show bi-colorations, it has been called the “rainbow gemstone”, especially in Ancient Egypt where the popular belief was that when Tourmaline travels from the depths of the earth, to the surface it brought with it a rainbow in order to announce its arrival, but also color itself.
Due to Tourmaline’s electrical properties it has often been used to transfer energy.
The Dutch first brought over Tourmaline to Europe in 1703, as at that time it was sparsely used as a gemstone, they also used it however in order to clean their pipes, due to the piezoelectricity which it exhibits, allowing for it to attract small particles of dust and ash.
In addition, Tourmaline is believed to stimulate artistic assets of its wearer, and thus has gained the belief to be a spiritual stone.
Cat’s eye Tourmaline is considered rather rare, and is more frequently being sought for due to its distinguishable beauty and effects and colorations which it exhibits.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Tourmaline is mainly found in pegmatites, granite, and metamorphic stone, i.e marble. It is a cyclosilicate mineral and is found with elements such as aluminum,iron,magnesium and potassium. Some of the world’s most beautiful Tourmaline gemstones are excavated in Brazil, and more specifically the Minas Gerais mines; One meter in length crystals have been found in 1978 in an area called Rocket,Rose of Italiaia.
Tourmaline however comes in certain species and varieties, such as, the Dravite species, Schorl species, Elbaite species, all receiving their names from the specific localities in which they were found.

4. Interesting Facts:

A unique tourmaline gemstone is found in Russia, and is 255 carats; At first however this gemstone was thought to be a ruby and was part of Rudolph II collection in Prague, possibly arriving from Burma.

5. Care and Storing:

Tourmaline must be cleaned only with soap and water; Steam or ultrasound is not recommended in order to care for such a gemstone. Colorful gemstone varieties of tourmaline are extremely fragile around the areas in which the colors change, thus must be treated with care and stored in presentation boxes away from harder stones.

Cat’s Eye Scapolite

Other Names: Wernerite
Origin of Name: Latin “scapus” and Greek “lithos”
Meaning of the Stone: Literally meaning rod-stone
Classification: semi-precious
Family: Tectosilicates
Region: Brazil,Tanzania, Sri Lanka,Canada, Mozambique, Russia,Finland,Sweden,Norway
Color: colorless,grey-white,grey-green,light blue,pink,purple,green-yellow,brown,orange
Transparency: Transparent to translucent
Fracture: conchoidal to uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 5-6(2.50-2.62)
Crystal System: Tetragonal-Dipyramidal
Similar Minerals: Marialite,Meionite,Analcime

1. Legend and History:

The name scapolite derives from the Latin word scapus, which means rod/shaft, and the Greek word lithos, meaning stone, and this is due to the way in which it is usually excavated, as it is in a form of stubby prismatic crystals, thus resembling some sort of rod.
Although scapolite has been described and mentioned as early as the 1800s, it has rarely been used as a semi-precious stone, but for recent years; It is not widely known as a gemstone and is also rather rare. The original discovery of scapolite occured in 1913, in Burma, more specifically the Mogok Stone Tract.
It is furthermore believed that the wearer of cat’s eye scapolite is to have good health, wealth, strong determination, knowledge and also protection from enemies.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Scapolite is found in many deposits around the world, however, due to the fact that it is found rather sparsely and in small pockets, it is deemed a rather rare stone. Major excavations of yellow,pink,purple and blue gemstones have occurred in Burma, and many of these gemstones are a cat’s eye variety.
Cat’s eye scapolite is usually cut into cabochons in order to fully display the coloration and effect given by this type of stone; a variety of jewelry can be made with cat’s eye scapolite, including necklaces, cufflinks and rings. It is a remarkable stone which can be used for the creation of many interesting pieces simply due to the effect which it possesses.

4. Interesting Facts:

The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, holds on display one of the rarest cat’s eye scapolite gems at 29.9 carats.

5. Care and Storing:

Scapolite needs to be protected from abrupt movement and hits, but also to excessive changes in its environment, including temperature. In addition it must be kept away from flames, and should only be cleaned with soap and water. Laser enhanced gemstones may also tend to fade in sunlight.

Cat’s Eye 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 glands, 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.
Cat’s Eye aquamarine is a fairly rare gemstone, and somewhat of a collectors stone; It may be found in a variety of shades of blue, ranging from the deep blue of the Antarctic sea, to the light blue of the sky.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Cat’s Eye Apatite

Other Names: chatoyant stone (specific cut/coloration)
Origin of Name: Greek “apatao” meaning deception
Meaning of the Stone: Birthstone of Gemini Zodiac
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 its 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.
Cat’s eye apatite is most commonly cut into cabochons, as only tall round cuts may exhibit the true beauty of the cat’s eye effect.

4. 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.
Chatoyant stones, including cat’s eye apatite, can change in luster or color by orienting the colors in different sequences and levels through towards the light source.

5. 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.

Cassiterite

Other Names: Tin gemstone
Origin of Name: Greek kassiteros which means tin
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: semi-precious
Family: oxide minerals
Region: Bolivia, Rwanda,Congo,Brazil,Mexico,USA,England(now exhausted)
Color: Black,dark brown,red-brown,red,yellow,gray,white
Transparency: transparent, opaque, depending on light
Fracture: subconchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 6-7(6.98-7.1)
Crystal System: tetragonal,
Similar Minerals: fluorite,apatite,tourmaline

1. Legend and History:

Cassiterite got its name from the Greek language, literally meaning the ore of tin; however, the Romans used to call the British Isles cassiterides, although scholars believe that the most valid origin of the name derives from Greek, as the stone is also called tin gemstone.
Cassiterite is believed to keep negative thoughts out of its wearers mind, and also help him adapt in a community where he feels unwanted, thus lifting self-confidence. In addition it is said to control feelings of equality and integrity but also keep mental stability. In reference to healing properties, cassiterite is believed to help in weight loss, and prevent hormonal anomalies from occurring.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Cassiterite is an ore found in the form of tin, and one of the most important ones for that matter; It is primarily concentrated in alluvial surfaces. It’s crystals are generally short as they occur in pematites. The main color of the cassiterite ore is black and transparent, and this variety is which is mainly used in jewelry making; In ancient times however cassiterite was used not only for the purpose of jewelry making, but also in order to make utensils. It’s main geographical origin is Bolivia, Rwanda, Congo Brazil, Mexico, USA and England.

4. Interesting Facts:

Cassiterite mines in Congo have recently been shut down and deemed illegal due to the fact that many wars and acts of violence have occurred due to its abundance and sale price.

5. Care and Storing:

There are not many important facts in reference to care and storing for this specific gemstone, it is however recommended to keep in a presentation box or soft pouch, due to it’s hardness, or lack thereof, and also clean with a soft cloth and warm water.

Carnelian

Other Names: cornelian,sadoine
Origin of Name: Latin, meaning the color of flesh
Meaning of the Stone: Birthstone of the zodiac Cancer
Classification: semi-precious
Family: Quartz-silica
Region: India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt,Brazil, USA,Russia,Germany,Romania
Color: dark red, orange red, brown-red
Transparency: translucent to opaque
Fracture: conchoidal,uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 6-7(2.50-2.70)
Crystal System: trigonal
Similar Minerals: sard,chalcedony

1. Legend and History:

Carnelian has been mined for more than 2000 years in order to produce colorful sealing products, jewelry, and decorative sculptures.The oldest mines of carnelian are found in India, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The name carnelian derives from the Latin word carne which means flesh, and resembles the color of the stone.
Archeological findings have also proven that carnelian was used even in Ancient Knossos, of Crete, where it was used to form decorative arts, and jewelry.
It is believed to protect it’s wearer from toothaches, and diseases of the mind, whilst also it is said to calm people and release anger while bringing happiness. In addition, carnelian ceases bleeding, lowers ones temperature, stimulates sex glands, and helps strengthen the heart.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Carnelian is found in various parts of the world, as it is a rather common gemstone; it is a translucent dark red to orange variety of chalcedony quartz, and it’s specific color is caused by impurities of iron oxide. It is a stone similar to sard, and often both names, sard and carnelian, are used interchangeably as there is no concrete definition in order to separate the two, but for the fact that sard is strongly darker and harder as a variety.

4. Interesting Facts:

Carnelian was used in Ancient Egypt, by the goddess Isis, in order to protect the dead while on their journey through the afterlife.

5. Care and Storing:

Carnelian needs not much elaborate care when in simple forms; it must however be kept in a dark storing box as it tends to fade with sunlight. In addition, carnelian gemstones which have inclusions need to be more thoroughly cleaned than those which are smooth, as dirt may be caught in the inclusions and damage the beautiful color of the stone.

Calcite

Other Names: Calcspar, Iceland Spar
Origin of Name: Latin Calx, meaning Lime
Meaning of the Stone:
Classification: semi-precious
Family: Carbonate mineral
Region: USA,Italy,Germany,England,Brazil
Color: red,blue,yellow,green,white,colorless,orange
Transparency: Transparent,translucent
Fracture: Conchoidal
Hardness (Gravity): 3(2.71)
Crystal System: Trigonal,hexagonal and more
Similar Minerals: aragonite, vaterite

1. Legend and History

Calcite derives from the latin word Calx and the Greek word chalix, meaning Lime. Calcite is believed to increase ones memory capacity and enhance learning abilities, thus is considered unique for students; it is also said to increase prosperity and increase ones intuition. In addition, calcite has a double refraction effect, meaning that when light beams enter the crystal they are split into fast and slow beams which leave the crystal at different angles, thus allowing for a perfect double image to be created when you lay a calcite crystal over an image or writing.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Calcite is one of the most common minerals on earth and one of the softest also. It can be found practically in all geological settings as a primary igneous mineral and the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate; It is a common constituent of sedimentary rocks, in particular limestone. Calcite limestone and marble is used in building, the production of cement, a flux in steel smelting, and for agricultural uses. Jewelry is also created with calcite, especially those stones which show a double refraction effect and glowing under fluorescent lighting.
In addition, while most crystals show one or few more crystal formations, calcite has been found to show over 300 crystal formations.

4. Interesting Facts:

Specimens of calcite which contain parts of manganese tend to glow in a variety of beautiful colors when put under fluorescent lighting, thus enhancing the stone’s beauty and physical attributes. Furthermore, Aragonite, when heated between 380 and 470 degrees Celsius will change into calcite.

5. Care and Storing:

Calcite must be kept away from anything acidic as it may dissolve the stone, thus it is best stored in a dark place away from any harming properties, and preferably in a presentation box. Although not a highly durable stone, jewelry is crafted out of calcite, but must be kept safe as it may break and scratch very easily. It is recommended to clean calcite with a soft polishing cloth, and use a small amount of olive oil in order to enhance its shine, and give it a beautiful lustrous look.

Boulder Opal

Other Names:
Origin of Name: Sanskrit word “upala”, or Greek word opillos, meaning “seeing”
Meaning of the Stone: October Birthstone
Classification: Precious
Family: Mineraloid, Quartz
Region: boulder opal is found only in Australia
Color: colorless, pink,black, green, blue, red,yellow, brown,orange, purple
Transparency: opaque, transparent
Fracture: Conchoidal to uneven
Hardness (Gravity): 5.5-6(2.15)
Crystal System: Amorphous
Similar Minerals: limonite,sandstone,rhyolite

1. Legend and History:

Opal was considered to be a stone of good luck in ancient times due to the fact that it was believed to posses all the virtues of each gem whose color shows in the various colorations of one opal stone.After the novel of Sir Walter Scott, The Maiden of the Mist, however, in 1829, opal lost it’s “good luck” attribute and was more closely associated to bad luck due to the events in the novel, more specifically the fact that once holy water was poured on the stone, it became colorless and it’s wearer dies shortly after.
Opal however is considered to empower the will of life, and heal parkinson’s disease, infections, fevers, and also strengthen ones memory, but also cleanse the blood and kidneys. In addition, opal is considered to be good for women in labour, as it is said to relief a woman prior to giving birth.

2. Origin in nature and use:

Boulder Opal is found only in Australia where it forms within ironstone boulders, and it is this fact which makes the stone so durable. In addition, as there is a very low water content within the boulder opal, it almost never shows cracks as time passes. When boulder opals are excavated it is necessary, due to the fact that the veins of color are so thin, to keep a back lining of ironstone on the opal; this may look as a doublet but in fact it is an absolutely natural occurrence and allows for the beautiful colorations of this wonderful stone to show.
There are many varieties of opal found around the world, the most valuable being that of black opal.

4. Interesting Facts:

Boulder Opal is the national gemstone of Australia, as it produces the largest percentage of the world’s supply, 97%.

5. Care and Storing:

Boulder opal is highly durable, therefore care and storing is made relatively easy; Cleaning however must be done with caution, and is best to take place with warm water and a soft cloth, though soaking the stone is not recommended.