Stone list table

Properties of Gemstones & Semi-precious Stones

Click on stone or gem name to go to that info paragraph.

agate Fluorite Obsidian
Amazonite Garnet Onyx
Amethyst Gaspeite Opal
Aquamarine Hematite Pearl
Aventurine Howlite Peridot
Carnelian Jade Pietersite
Chalcedony Jasper Rhodonite
Citrine Jet Ruby Zoisite
Cloisonne Lampwork Sodalite
Coral Lapis  
Tiger & Cat’s Eye

Crystal & Quartz Mookaite                  
Dzi Malachite    
Flaked Stone           


No gemstone is more creatively striped by nature than agate – technically,
chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers in a wide variety of colors
and textures. Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in its host rock,
resulting in round nodules, with bands like the rings of a tree trunk, looking
like eyes.

Agate was highly valued as
a talisman in ancient times and has been used as a
traveler’s amulet for centuries.  It is believed to bring good fortune, health,
wealth and long life.  As well as quenching thirst and preventing fevers, Persian magicians used agate to divert storms and athletes to increase vitality. 
It’s also said to bring self-confidence by banishing fear.  Some call its
strange patterns ‘cosmic caterpillar tracks’.  Others’ swear that wearing
these beads can heighten the spiritual consciousness and balance the body’s
physical and mental states

Dzi is one of the most mysterious of all the beads known today.  These
shiny Tibetan agate beads, patterned with mystical eyes are among the most
treasured beads in the world. “Dzi” in Tibetan means:  "shine, brightness,
clearness, and splendor.


Amethyst belongs to the
quartz family and the purple color is due to traces of iron.   Colored
purple-to-lilac, and ranging from opaque to transparent.   Named from the Greek
word "amethustos",  meaning without wine.  Amethyst is an especially powerful stone, a
symbol of sincerity, security, and peace of mind.   It protects, reduces
negativity and brings spirituality – hence the name "Pope Stone".  The Christian
crusaders attached it to their rosaries.  A stone of divine love. 

Although some say amethyst is less powerful than fluorite, which also carries
the purple ray, linked with the zodiac it can help psychic knowledge. 
Healers of times gone by suggest this stone could help dream inspiration if
placed under the pillow at night.  Legend even says drinking from an
amethyst chalice will prevent intoxication.
From lightest
sky-blue to the deep blue of the sea, aquamarines show all these shades of an
exceptionally beautiful range of usually light blues. It is a truly fascinating
stone. Women all over the world covet it because of its fine blue color, which
suits almost any complexion or eye-colour to perfection, and creative gemstone
artists get their inspiration for new cuts more often from aquamarines than from
other stones.

Its light blue arises feelings such as sympathy, trust, harmony or friendship.
These are good feelings, which involve a partner or companion, and prove their
vale in long-lasting relationships. Aquamarine blue is a divine and eternal
color, since it is, after all, the colour of the skies. Aquamarine blue,
however, is also the colour of water with its life-giving properties. And in
fact aquamarine seems to have managed to embody the light blue of the seas. This
is not surprising, for according to legend it has its origin in the treasure
chest of the legendary mermaids, and has for ages been reputed to be a lucky
stone for sailors. Its name has been derived from the Latin terms "aqua¿ meaning
water, and "mare or sea. Allegedly its powers develop best if the stone is
immersed in sun-drenched water. However, it seems a wiser course to carry it,
because according to ancient traditions, carrying an aquamarine is supposed to
guarantee a happy marriage and to make its owner happy and rich. The ideal
gemstone, not only for lovers and married couples.

Aventurine also belongs to the quartz family.  Although sometimes called
“new jade”, aventurine often has inclusions (due to green fuchsite mica) which
creates a speckle, differing from genuine jadeite.

Spiritualists believe
aventurine has the ability to purify the spirit and bring balance to male and
female energies. Its capacity to calm and bring inner-peace makes aventurine a
very important stone in the spiritual realm. 

Green is the color of healing – with aventurine
the all-purpose healer.  Not only good for physical disorders, blockages
and migraine, but also healing on all levels.

Amazonite, sometimes called Amazon Jade, is a similar stone to Aventurine. 
Usually found in yellow-green to blue-green.  Some say Amazonite makes your
married life happier.



Another stone from the
quartz family, usually bright orange to reddish orange, and

is translucent to clear.
Carnelian is for
confidence.  Said to help blood disorders and eliminate toxins from the body.
Carnelian is in tune with the energies of the Earth, making you feel anchored
and comfortable with your environment.  Allowing you to pause and reflect,
while feeling settled and more secure.  Carnelian also stimulates energy
that influences the reproductive organs; hence it’s long use as a fertility
symbol.  It is said to stimulate creativity and have a clearing effect,
replacing negative energy with positive. Making it easier to find direction and
feel in control of your life. A good stone for people starting new projects or
who feel they are going nowhere.  It motivates, allowing you to find the
energy to make the most out of life.

Carnelian is best for people with the zodiac sign of Leo.


Chalcedony is a very fine-grained
variety of quartz. It has a waxy luster and appears in a great variety of colors
— usually blue-white, buff, light tan, gray, yellow or brown. It has a compact
fibrous structure and fine splintery fracture.

In the petrified forests of the American Desert Southwest, many of the original
tree tissues have been replaced by chalcedony in the formation of petrified
wood. What remains is a mineral replica of the original tree in various
fantastic colors. The brilliant reds and greens are caused primarily by traces
of iron oxides. Some of the best displays of petrified wood can be seen in
eastern Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park.
In all ages many varieties of chalcedony have been used as gems, and many
colored varieties are still cut and polished as ornamental stones. Unless it is
intricately carved or featured, Chalcedony is valued much less than it once was.

It is said that chalcedony was used as a sacred stone by the Native Americas,
promoting stability within the ceremonial activities of the tribe. Chalcedony is
said to augment emotional balance, vitality, stamina, endurance, kindness,
charity and friendliness. It supposedly alleviates hostilities, irritability and



comes from the
French word for lemon, and

is any quartz crystal or cluster that’s yellow to orange. 

The darker, orange
colors were traditionally the best, but today people prefer bright lemony shades
to mix with pastel colors. 

Citrine with man-made color tends to have more of an orange or reddish caste. 
Most natural citrine starts life as amethyst until heated in a molten state to

Sunny and
affordable, citrine brightens all jewelry, blending especially well with the
yellow gleam of polished gold.
The yellow color is a natural reviver, and citrine focuses the mind bringing a
feeling of self-esteem.  In medication it helps re-establish the link
between your conscious and subconscious minds.  If you are feeling down,
try holding citrine to lift your spirit.  It’s also very good at healing
the body and helping people communicate.  Citrine has warm energy, promotes
optimism, and attracts abundance.  

is one of the few stones that removes negative energy and never requires
In ancient times
it was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. 

Known as a "merchants’ stone”, placed in
the cash register to not only acquire wealth but to maintain it as well. 
Citrine is the birthstone for November, and its corresponding signs are Gemini,
Aries, Libra, and Leo.



Cloisonné is decorative
enamelwork in which metal filaments are fused to the surface outlining a design
filled in with enamel paste.  Cloisonné enamelware dates back over 500 years in
China. Being especially popular during part of the Ming Dynasty (mid 15th-centure).
Owing to its brilliant colors and designs, cloisonné has been highly appraised
around the world.  Hand crafted by an elaborate and complicated process of
hammering, soldering, enamel-filling, enamel firing, polishing and gilding. 
Cloisonné beads are no different in this process, and their energies are similar
to those of flaked stone.



Coral is not a true
gemstone, but a product of marine life.  However, it’s been used as a gem
since prehistoric times.  With a history of religious meaning, like being one of
the seven treasures in Buddhist scriptures. Coral was long thought to be a
strong talisman against evil spirits and hurricanes.  It is also said to reduce
blood flow, helping anaemia, and is thought to give wisdom and prevent madness.

 Its color ranges from white to red, but most red coral these days is dyed.
It grows in branches that look like underwater trees.  Most people think of
coral on the coral reefs in the South Pacific like the Great Barrier Reef.
 However, these reefs are formed by a different species than the coral
traditionally used in jewelry.  Most of this coral is found in the
Mediterranean Sea or in the Pacific off Japan and Taiwan. 




The most common flaked
stone is goldstone.  A man-made stone, first created by alchemists trying to
make gold.  Other variations are bluestone, lemon stone, and peach stone.  Each
are a type of glass mixed with metals to form a glittery appearance.

However, all material has properties – these are
transmitter stones.  Causing light to pass through you in order to convey
or receive a medium.  Revitalizing, energizing, and encouraging a positive
attitude and individualism.  As well as calming, refreshing, and is said to
protect the center of the body reducing stomach tension.



The mineral fluorite is
famous for its glassy luster and wide range of colors – from purple, blue,
green, yellow, colorless, brown, pink, black and reddish orange.  Named
after the Latin word "To flow".  Fluorite brings perceptiveness, peace and calm to
a troubled mind.  It’s particularly useful in medication, because holding
even a small piece in the hand brings a sense of inner peace.   Those
who choose this stone are likely to be artistic and creative, being able to earn
money from their talent  – as well as self-critical with a fear of failure.

Fluorite is considered to
be the most powerful healing stone, especially for strengthening the bone
tissue.  Fluorite have been excavated from the ruins of Pompeii, but
despite being a favorite with ancient civilizations, has been recently



Garnet is the name of at
least ten similar mineral species – with many “garnets” being a combination of
these minerals. 

All are quite
sturdy and resistant to everyday wear and tear because of their excellent
hardness of over 7 on the Mohs’ scale.

Garnet, the January
birthstone, derived its name from the Latin word granatus, meaning like a grain
– referring to how their crystals resemble seeds embedded in the matrix. Garnet
comes in many colors, but a reddish brown is the most common.

The use of garnets as a
gemstone can be traced to prehistoric times.
 Noah is recorded
using a garnet lantern to steer his Ark through the darkness of the night.
Garnets are found in jewelry from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman eras.
Travelers wore garnets as they were considered talismans and protective stones,
because it was believed garnets illuminate the night and wore off evil.  Said to
remove nightmares and depression. Today science says the proverbial luminosity
of garnet is caused by its high refraction.

This is
a relatively rare mineral that is only found in a few locations, and a fairly
new discovery found in 1966. It’s almost apple green in colour, and some
verities are even neon green in colour – it can also have brownish patches that
can give it a really distinctive character.

Although a similar color to turquoise, gaspeite is a nickel
carbonate.  Gaspeite is a little softer than turquoise, and should be treated
with at least as much care. It is found around nickel sulfide deposits, and gets
its name from the locality of Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec, in Canada, where it was
originally found.  It is also mined in western Australia – the best from North
of Perth, Australia.

Gaspeite was used by Aborigine’s to bring good fortune,
visions and grant success. It is known to reduce stress and help with
gallbladder, lung and heart problems. It’s also thought that Gaspeite brings
spirituality into everyday life. It awakens illusions, attracts friendship, and
removes the veil between distress and ignorance and aids assurance. Gaspeite
also helps to reduce emotional ignorance, helps to prevent loss and is related
to the heart chakra.



Hematite is one of the most
common minerals, being the principle ore of iron.  The color of most red rock,
like sandstone, is caused by small amounts of hematite. Although usually black
in jewelry, it may also be
responsible for the red color of garnet and ruby.  All non-crystalline forms of
hematite are transformations of the mineral Limonite that lost water, possibly
due to heat. Hence the recent excitement of the discovery of grey hematite on
the planet Mars – suggesting there was once water present.  Only well
formed hematite crystals are cut and polished into cabochons for jewelry, beads,
and ornaments.

Hematite is a protective stone and it’s energies help you connect with the Earth
and its benefits.  Use this stone during meditation to escape the
illusionary chains of physical reality and become more connected to your true,
spirit self – its been used as an aid to astral projection.  It also
bolsters low self-esteem, making you feel more comfortable and better about
yourself.  Its grounding and soothing energies can help you relax and
unwind both physically and mentally.  Hematite is said to be closely tied
to the blood due to its iron content.  Believed to aid the kidneys, speed
tissue regeneration, and contribute to improving the blood, and so the overall
health of your entire body.

Hematite is a good choice for those born under the zodiac sign of Virgo.



Howlite, named after its
discoverer Henry How (a
Nova Scotia
geologist), is one of those minerals that is more famous for imitating another
stone, turquoise.  Howlite is always white or gray, but is commonly dyed blue. 
However, dyed howlite is an affordable substitute for turquoise carvings and
beads. It accepts a nice polish and its luster is attractive, enhancing even
undyed beads. Howlite is formed in nodules that appear like the heads of
cauliflower. Veins of black web-like streaks often are interlaced, adding to the

has similar benefits to turquoise – used for creativity, calming, and reducing
anxiety and tension.  It also encourages emotional expression, subtlety and
tact, lessoning rudeness.  As well as helping to eliminate pain, stress and
rage.   A simple and gentle stone that aids sleep and helps to bring back wisdom
from the dream state. Assists in loosening and dispersing muscular tension.



For 5,000 years
Imperial China used the word "jade" as something precious.  Because jade is
said to have all the attributes most valued in society.  A symbol of purity
and serenity, it is delicate, but will not break – is beautiful, but not
impermanent, it can be flawed with lines, but still pleasing. It is believed to
radiate divine unconditional love and balance the emotions.  Held in the
hand it can improve judgment – ancient silk traders often held jade while
bartering.  A small piece of jade worn around the neck was said to dispel

Chinese jade first
arrived in the West during the sixteenth century, brought from Canton by the
Portuguese.  Today jade continues to be a symbol of love, virtue, and
status.  With Chinese carvings reaching the highest value.  The best
jade has a waxy, pearly appearance.  Feeling cool and so smooth, it seems
soft to the touch.  Yet hard enough that pressure from a sharp knife will
not leave a mark.

The most famous
type of jade carved in China is from Burma, with shades of green, lavender,
yellow, white and grey.  These colors form over millions of years from
minerals in the rock.   Every piece of jade has a secret meaning. 
Discovering that meaning and the legends behind it is a very satisfying for
those who practice this dying art.



Jasper is a crystalline variety of quartz that contains up to 20% foreign material.  This is what determines the 
stone’s multicolor, striped, or spotted appearance.   Jasper was highly valued in ancient times, not only for its 
beauty, but also for the reputed magical and medicinal properties.  In France jasper ornaments date back 
two-millennia, Babylonians used in for seals twelve-hundred years ago, and in India it has been used for 
jewelry and building for centuries. 

Jasper is known as the "Patron stone of counselors and healers".  Being very healing and balancing, it was used for many 
different medications - like grinding into a powder to treat gall bladder and kidney disease.  Ancient people used jasper to 
relieve pain, especially childbirth.  Jasper is reported to sooth the nerves and to treat the kidneys, spleen, bladder, liver and 

Red jasper is an intensely protective stone, stabilizing the aura and bringing contentment - even said to assist astral travel 
during meditation.  Poppy jasper is dark red with black flecks and thought to heal allergies to animals.  Picture  jasper is pale 
brown with darker patterns - named from pictures formed by patterns caused by trapped fossilizes algae.  Picture jasper helps 
to evaluate life's issues and develop business pursuits leading to increase.  Fancy jasper is creamy brown with lavender or 
green swirls.  Believed to clear the mind, bring tranquility and eliminate worry and depression.  And green jasper is thought to 
be lucky in monetary trades.

Jet is a soft, opaque black
gemstone, easily identified because it is very, very lightweight. Jet is
composed of carbonized wood. The material was first found near the River Gages
and mentioned by Pliny in Ancient Greece. Jet is rather difficult to find today,
but there is quite a lot in China.

Jet has been used since the Bronze Age as an ornamental stone. The Hopi and
other tribes of the western United States used jet in making fetishes, beads,
and inlaid jewelry. Jet reached its zenith in popularity during the reign of
Queen Victoria, who wore black jet jewelry while in mourning for her late
husband, Prince Albert.



The "lamp" in lampwork came from the oil lamps and blowpipes originally used in seventeenth century France and Italy. 
Blowing by mouth or bellows into an oil lamp flame with a small pipe makes just enough heat to soften and form this 
type of glass.  It's amazing the great work the early lampworkers were able to do with so little equipment. 
Hot glassworking skills came to us from a long history starting with the Syrians around 1700 BC, the Egyptians around 1450 BC, 
the Chinese around 550 BC, the Romans at the turn of the first millennium, and with the French, German, Italian, Indian and 
Islamic folks bringing us up to the present day.  When  lampworking is usually practiced using an oxygen torch and a few 
hand tools.  But the technique used to form and decorate the glass haven't changed much in millenniums. 


Lapis Lazuli is gemstone straight out of fairy tales of the Arabian Nights: deepest blue with golden shining Pyrite inclusions 
which twinkle like little stars.   Named after “lapis“, the Latin word for stone, and the Arabian for blue.  Thousands of years 
before Christ, Egyptian and Persian royalty wore lapis as a talisman to deter danger.  In other cultures it was worshipped 
as a holy stone and thought to have magical power in oriental countries.  Many believe the Biblical sapphire was actually 
lapis lazuli. Through the ages, lapis has been associated with power, wisdom, love, and a stimulant for psychic ability.  And 
in the art world it’s famous for the ultramarine blue paint used by the Grand Old Masters, like on portraits of the Virgin Mary.  
While other compositions have long since paled, lapis has lost nothing of its brilliance.

Lapis is still mined in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, the best stones being deep and intensive blue with finely 
distributed golden crystals.  The twinkling inclusions are not gold but pyrite, caused by iron.  The blue color comes 
from the sulfuric content of lazurite, and looks dull until polished.   Lapis is a soft stone that should be treated gently while 
polishing.  Unpolished, the dark blue looks dull with golden inclusions and whitish veins from marble.    However, a Lapis which 
has dulled after being worn too often is easily polished, and jewelry is often surface sealed with wax or resin.

For many people lapis is a stone of truth and friendship. Bringing harmony to relationships and helping its wearer openly state 
their individual opinion.  While aiding inner vision, wisdom, insight and good judgment.  It’s also said to be good for treating 
thyroid problems and helping to get in touch with our inner selves. A powerful gemstone that should not be worn by those 
who lack strength of character.



Malachite is green
with irregular black banding. Its green stripes have the ability to soothe and
bring rest – helping sleep, meditation, the circulation and balancing emotions. 
The copper content helps rheumatism.  It’s also the guardian stone of
travelers who wear it to warn of danger.  The magic of malachite is also
thought to attract love and wealth and change energies in your life and
environment.  Some say malachite travels the world in search of energies to
change.  If your life is in a rut, try wearing malachite – but beware of
unstoppable change.   Malachite is especially fragile, so guard
against scratches.  Washing malachite in water will remove its protective

Rhodonite is usually pink
to red or orange, but can also be black – named after the Greek word for rose,
Its beautiful pink color often has
black manganese oxide veins running through it, creating a distinct appearance,
popular in 18th-century Russia where it was used extensively to decorate the
Russian court.  Rhodonite has similar properties to malachite – stabilizing
the emotions, soothing and bringing order to feelings.  Its steady uplift
gradually makes your emotional foundation more solid and secure – allowing body
and emotions to harmonize and respond to life’s situations.


Mookaite is the name given to a silicified porcelanite which forms over much of
the Carnarvon Basin in Western Australia. An Australian aboriginal healing stone
that bestows strength. It helps heal wounds and regeneration. Useful in
stabilizing health and in fortifying the immune system, Mookaite also purifies
the blood in the liver and the spleen and can help with the glands in general,
the stomach, water retention and with hernias.

Mookaite encourages within us, the desire for variety and new experiences. It
makes thoughts more flexible and enhances decision making. It also helps us to
recognize that there could be several possibilities for the outcome of any
issue, and helps choose the best solution to that issue. It also embraces and
celebrates new circumstances and helps us when dealing with negative situations.
Mookaite helps us to be kind to others, and also, quite importantly, helps us to
be kind to ourselves too. It is a very protective stone, and is particularly
good as an emotional protector.

Microscopic examination of Mookaite has revealed that it is a somewhat unique
rock. Consisting largely of microscopic organisms known as Radiolarians, with an
unusual skeletal structure made up of opaline silica. Billions of these were
deposited as sediment near shores of ancient seas, together with remains of
other sea creatures. When the seas retreated, these sediments were cemented into
solid rock by silica, carried in groundwater, either from the radiolaria
themselves or from weathered rocks nearby.



Moonstone is translucent, and softens the light shining through it to give a
pearly moon-like glow.  This distinctive shimmering affect called adularescence,
is caused by the way the stone reflects light.   Moonstone comes in
colorless, white, grey, and subtle yellow or peach, but always has a blue or
white sheen.
Rainbow moonstone is colorless with a blue sheen and a rainbow-like array of
colors – a very attractive semi-precious stone.

Moonstone is thought to
grow stronger or weaker with the moons cycle.  During full-moon it’s a very
powerful stone for the reconciling of love, and as the moon decreases, is said
to allow person to foretell the future.  In India it’s sacred for lovers. 
A feminine stone for the inner-child, female issues and nurturing – but also
used by men who want to reach their female side and to understand dreams. 
Moonstone brings confidence and calms the emotions, easing an understanding of
spirituality, intuition, and clairvoyance.  Also known to protect against
fever, dropsy, fluid-retention and urinary problems. Especially protective to
seafarers who have been using it since ancient times.



Obsidian is natural glass
formed by rapid cooling of volcanic lava. Usually black, shiny, and hard – but
also grey, brown, or with white flecks.  When fractured it leaves sharp edges,
hence its use since the stone-age as a cutting tool and for weapons. Snowflake
obsidian is caused by inclusions of small, white, crystals of silica in the
black glass producing a blotchy snowflake pattern.  Sheen or Rainbow Obsidian is
caused by small bubbles of air trapped in the molten rock just before being

Obsidian is a nurturing
stone that can help you to accept the changes that are a part of everyone’s
live.  Its energy has a grounding, stabilizing influence, and can help
dispel negative energy.  But for healing, it’s recommend to balance
obsidian with a lighter crystal, like smoky quart.  Also used to improve
vision, relieve digestive problems, and clear the mind.  And is sometimes
gazed into like a crystal ball, to obtain images and help find inner spiritual



Onyx is a term used for
several stones. It has been dyed since ancient time, with the popular pure black
variety, being dyed microcrystalline quartz.  Its natural color is usually
brown, white or grey.  And onyx used in architecture isn’t a form of quartz at
all, but a type of limestone marble.  Onyx is very similar to agate.  With
straight bands of brown, white or black, where agate has curved bands of many

Although regarded as
protective, onyx has a reputation as a stone of discord.  Onyx was worn to
cool the ardors of love, probably because it helps to balance the mind and
emotions. Not only avoided by lovers, but also at night, as it provoked
nightmares.  However, it does improve concentration and devotion, hence
many onyx rosaries.  Onyx is a strength-giving stone, aiding confidence and
useful for athletes or people under stress.  Its energy is a mental tonic
and can help you cope with fears and worries, making you feel in harmony with
your surroundings.


All of Nature’s fury can be seen in fine opal. Like a Rembrandt: fire,
lightning, all the colors of the rainbow and the shine of far seas. Australia
supplies about 95% of the world’s opal from the outback. Aborigines there
believe their creator came on a rainbow to bring the message of peace – at the
spot where he touched the ground, opal was born!  The name Opal could have
came from many places. In Greek “opallios”, translates as “color change”, and to
the ancient Romans “opalus”, was a stone from several elements.

Fine opals shine and sparkle in a continually changing play of colors called “opalising”.
Most opal has this play of colors except “Common Opal”, a name give to all
others, like Pink Opal. Because demand outstrips supply, fine opalizing opal is
very very expensive, so is sold in individual beads for hundreds of US dollars
each. Therefore, the type of opal common in necklaces is non-opalizing opal –
usually pink opal from Peru.

Opal’s fantasy-like play of color is caused by small spheres of silica creating
interference and refraction manifestations. The spheres, which are arranged in
compact structures, dissect light through the gemstone, turning it into the
rainbow effect, always new and different.



The least expensive
cultured pearls today rival the most expensive natural pearls ever found. 
Natural freshwater pearls occur in mussels for the same reason saltwater pearls
occur in oysters.  Foreign material inside a mussel can’t be expelled. 
To reduce irritation, the mollusk coats the intruder with the same secretion it
uses for shell-building, nacre.  To cultivate a pearl, farmers slit the
mussel and insert small pieces of live tissue from another mussel.

The ancient Chinese
practiced this technique, but the first real cultured freshwater pearls
originated in Japan.  In the 1930’s, Japanese farmers by Lake
Biwa achieved natural colors unseen in
saltwater pearls.  However, water pollution today has virtually destroyed pearl
production there. China now has the resources that Japan lacks: many large
lakes, rivers, and a low-cost work force.  The first Chinese cultured pearls
were basic, until the 1990’s when China revolutionized pearling.  Shapes,
luster, and colors of the new Chinese pearls now surpass Biwa quality. Copying
the Japanese to improve off-white and mottling,

uses a mild bleach, bright lights, and heat.  Natural freshwater pearls are
usually odd shapes. So for more roundness, the Chinese now reshape rejected
pearls into spheres, and then nucleate mussels with them.

The best pearls have thick
overlapping layers of nacre.  This can be tested by viewing its "luster". 
Roll the pearl with a pen in good light – the best pearls will reflect the pen
the most.  A large pearl is only more valuable if it’s the same quality as
a smaller one – and the rounder the better.  Being an organic gem, grooves,
pits, or dents are expected.  However, matching color for a complete
necklace is important.  Freshwater pearls are popular for their colors:
white, silvery-white, pink, red, copper, brown, lavender, purple, green, blue,
and yellow.  The most desirable are the pastel pinks, roses, lavenders, and
purples.  Color comes from the mussel species and water quality. 
Generally pearls assume the color of the shell in which they form, but permanent
dyes are used today for most saturated colors.



Peridot (pronounced
pair-a-doe) is the gem variety of olivine, a mineral formed under intense heat. 
Perhaps named from the French word “peritot” meaning unclear, due to its
inclusions and cloudy nature.  Small crystals of peridot are often found in
rocks by volcanoes and in meteors that fall to earth.  Because the iron
which creates the color is an integral part of its structure, its color is
always green 
– ranging from transparent lime to olive green. 

Peridot has been mined as a gemstone for
thousands of years, said to be the favorite gem of
Cleopatra, and mentioned in the Bible.  In ancient

Egypt it
was mined at night because legend tells that peridot was hard to see during the
day, yet easily visible by lamplight. The Greeks and Romans called peridot
“topazion” and “topazius” – the later named topaz, to end the confusion between
the two.  Peridot has also been confused with emerald and many jewelers refer to
it as "evening emerald".   Peridot was later used to decorate medieval churches,
carried back to
Europe by the Crusaders,
like the huge stones of more than 200 carats in size at Cologne Cathedral.

Peridot is recommended for insomnia, digestive
problems and to stimulate the mind.  Some say peridot has the power to
drive away evil spirits, intensified when the stone is set in gold.  And
it’s also said to strengthen the power of any medicine drunk from peridot


Pietersite, a
beautiful variety of Tiger Eye, has been an extremely rare gem for decades,
mined only in Namibia until 1997. Limited production and the embargo on export
of tigereye rough by South Africa have caused its price to rise dramatically.
However, pietersite has since been discovered in Henan Province, China, where it
is as beautiful, if not better than the gem from Africa. Chinese pietersite has
an attractive golden color. Pietersite was first discovered by Sid Pieters in
1962, and is formed naturally from a combination of Hawk Eye and Tiger Eye.


Ruby Zoisite is a creative stone,
its energy coming from the red and green colors. In the chakra system red
relates to creativity and sexuality, and green is associated with healing,
balancing, and abundance.

By itself, ruby is associated with passion. It can bring anger to the surface,
and will amplify any emotion. Zoisite provides a natural medium for softening
ruby’s qualities. Its green cools and stabilizes. This is very valuable when
passion seems overwhelming, and ruby in zoisite is excellent for healing a
broken heart and reducing obsessive feelings about another person.

It can also be very helpful for creative energies. Often our ideas swirl around
in our heads, never quite reaching realization. What is needed in such cases is
some stabilizing energy, which zoisite provides. Ruby zoisite has become more
popular. This may indication that more people are ready to have relationships
which heal, not hurt, and to be more expressive of their innate creativity.



Quartz is the most common
mineral on the Earth’s crust and is a component of almost every rock type. Yet,
quartz has more colors and forms than any other stone because of this very
abundance.  The powerful atomic structure of this pyramid-shaped crystal gives
it magical powers that are as apparent in today’s computers as they are in new
age belief and folklore.

The Mayans, Druid
priests, and Tibetan monks all knew the spiritual power of crystal.  The
ancients used it to strengthen the sun’s rays to bring heat, and the Chinese
science of Feng-shui teaches that arranging crystals around the home retains
positive energy.  Crystals became important to these people because of the
belief in their capacity to store and amplify any power source fed into them –
physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.  Today’s crystal therapists say that
the stones’ ability to work as a conductor allows energy to be focused via a
person’s thoughts to stimulate healing.  And many people use crystal to focus
attention on what they want.  With a little imagination, you too can use
crystal’s energy to access a higher level of consciousness and turn a desire
into reality.

All types of crystal
have this magical power, but individual color crystal is believed to have other
uses too.  Rose quartz, the stone of unconditional love, is great for emotional
healing.  Red, yellow, and orange stones are said to produce energy; clear and
aquamarine stones are healers; and lavender and blue-violet are calming stones.

Pure rock crystal is clear, but usually quart
comes in a variety of opacity.  Milky quartz is cloudy because of
microscopic inclusions of fluid embodied in the crystal at the start of its
life.  Creating an attractive effect of a crystal within a crystal, giving
the interior a ghostly appearance.  Smoky Quartz is caused by natural
radiation from nearby granite rocks which have a small amount of radioactivity.



Sodalite is a blue stone
usually peppered with white calcite.  Especially valuable for those in mental
confusion – it helps rationalize decisions and calms the emotions.  It also
encourages self-expression, by uniting logical thought with the spirit and
helping you realize that you don’t have to do things the way you always have.  And it’s been said that a piece of sodalite
under the pillow can help you remember dreams.

Unakite consists of pink
feldspar mottled on green epidote and quartz.  Famous for finding the root cause
of an illness – useful for conditions where the symptoms can’t otherwise be
treated.  It works by allowing the gentle release of long-term energy blocks,
leading to an emotionally calm state.  Also believed to stimulate the
reproductive system, encourage pregnancy, and helping the healthy development of
the baby in the womb. Some people even say Unakite can neutralize the harmful
effects of electromagnetic radiation from television sets.



Tiger’s-eye is polished to
show  its
characteristic band of pearly luminescence, resulting from light reflecting off
its thin parallel inclusions in the quartz.  Colors range from a rich
golden yellow to dark brown. Tiger’s-Eye is good for those worried about
health as it’s said to guard against hypochondria.  It builds will-power and
inner-strength, and has traditionally been used to heal wounds, eyes, and the
lower legs and feet.  It’s also said to bring spiritual well-being and psychic
protection – as well as attracting beauty and abundance.

Similar stones are
cat’s-eye and hawk’s-eye – all with bands of pearly luminescence creating a
supernatural appearance.  Cat’s-eye can be yellowish-brown to green with a white
band, and is said to bring wealth and pleasure from your children.  Hawk’s-eye
has a blue radiance.  When a bright
light source is directed at the side of the stone, one side of the eye will be
milky white and the other remains colored.  When the stone is rotated, the
colors switch.



Topaz is a common gemstone that
has been used for centuries in jewelry. Usually golden brown to yellow color.
The Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the mighty sun
god Ra. This made topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful
against harm. The Romans associated topaz with Jupiter, who also is the god of
the sun. And Greek legend has it that topaz could make the wearer invisible and
would change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. It is the
birthstone of November.



Turquoise is a soft, opaque
gemstone – formed by volcanic rock reacting to copper deposits brought by
water.  Ranging from blue-green, to yellow-green with grey, black or brown
veining.  Turquoise has been found in 5,000-year-old Egyptian tombs and the
Tibetans used it as currency centuries ago.  North Africa and the

Middle East
hold large deposits, but most turquoise today originates from Burma and is carved
in China.  Turquoise didn’t reach Europe until the crusades when the name
originated, meaning "Turkish stone”.

Ancient doctors thought
turquoise prevented injury in accidents and ground it into a powder to cure
stomach disorders, internal bleeding, and insect bites. Turquoise has always
been used to protect the wearer from danger, attract wealth, and warn as a
talisman or good luck charm.   Some believe it will fade when danger
or illness is near, or a lover is unfaithful.  It is also said to protect against pollution
and strengthen the body.

Turquoise is porous, so
contact with liquids, oils or even perspiration should be avoided.  Jewelry
should be removed before washing. Turquoise is commonly impregnated with
plastic, colorless oil or wax to improve color and increase durability.
Untreated turquoise will eventually turn green. As genuine turquoise is
expensive, reconstituted turquoise is made today.  Crafted from real turquoise
chips fused with other stones to cut the cost.  Turquoise is the birthstone for
the month of December.