GEMSTONES: FACTS AND LORE
I have always been curious about rocks. Gemstones and minerals fall into this category. Many cultures, modern and ancient believe in the magical and healing qualities of these materials. I have attempted to describe many of the stones I use in my work.
Stone Lore Fact
Alexandrite Enhances the rebirth of both the inner and outer self, providing impetus to expedite the changing of ones world while producing the qualities of expansiveness, creativity and awareness. Variety of Chrysoberyl. Is named for the former czar of Russia, Alexander II, and was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia, supposedly on the day of his birth. The mineral exhibits the color green by sunlight and red-violet by artificial light.
Amber Amber cleans and purifies the system of the wearer. It is believed to be beneficial against fatigue and depression. Amber brings joy to life. Amber warms the heart in literal and figurative sense and is believed to be a good remedy for colds and flu. Amber was also believed to provide magicians and sorcerers with special enhanced powers. Amber is a fossilized resin and is usually golden to yellow-grown in color. Some amber has been found to contain red, blue or green hues, and well as a milky butterscotch color.
Amethyst Amethyst is a stone of spirituality and contentment. It facilitates transmutation of lower energies into higher frequencies of the spiritual and ethereal levels. Purple variety of quartz. Although it must always be purple to be amethyst, it has a wide range of purple shades.
Aquamarine The blue-green or aqua variety of Beryl.
Chrysoprase Gentle, soothing, friendly, prevents depression, increases grace and equilibrium Chrysoprase is an opalescent apple green variety of chalcedony (quartz). It was used by ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians in jewelry and other ornamental objects because of its semiopaque green color. It is often mistaken for Imperial jadeite.
Citrine Yellow and orange variety of quartz.
Diamond The ultimate gemstone having few weaknesses and many strengths. Diamond is four times harder than the next hardest natural mineral, corundum (sapphire and ruby). Color is variable and tends toward pale yellows, browns, grays and also white, blue, black, reddish, greenish and colorless.
Druzy, druzy, druse Many varieties and colors, but druzy means tiny quartz crystals that form within or on other stones.
Emerald (green variety of Beryl) Ancients prized it as the gemstone symbolizing love and rebirth. Emerald is said to quicken the intelligence as well as the heart. Gives its owner the gift of eloquence. The Incas had an emerald goddess, a fabulous emerald the size of an ostrich egg. In tribute they sacrificed her children: smaller emeralds which were presented to the goddess. Treasure hunters seeking wrecks of Spanish galleons are occasionally rewarded with the ultimate treasure: emeralds lost by the conquistadores long ago. Emerald’s precious green color is caused by small amounts of chromium and enhanced by traces of iron. Unlike other beryls, emeralds often contain inclusions and other flaws. Because emeralds are so rare without inclusions, some inclusions are expected and do not detract from the value of the stone as much as with other gemstones. However, you should look to make sure that fissures and inclusions do not go too deep into the stone so that it might be weakened enough to break it it were hit accidentally. You should avoid cleaning emerald with hot soapy water or steam and never clean an emerald in an ultrasonic cleaner because the oiled stone could be damaged, making fissures more visible.
Garnet Garnets as a group are relatively common. The more common members: Almandine-reddish brown to brown; Andradite-brown, black or green; Spessartine-orange, pink or brown; Uvarovite-green; Pyrope-drak red to ruby red; Grossular-colorless, orange or green
Labradorite (Spectrolite) Brings forth each person’s strengths, originality, aids sleep, relate to others. It is a feldspar which displays strong iridescence when cut correctly. Value increases with the strength of the labradorescense.
Lapis Lazuli Lapis is one of the oldest spiritual stones known. Used by priests and royalty in ancient Egypt. Through the ages, lapis has been associated with power, wisdom, love and as stimulator for psychic abilities. Strengthens total awareness, inner vision, gives enhanced wisdom, insight and good judgement; creativity, ESP, skeleton, thyroid. Strong blue, sometimes with hint of violet. Rich color is due to sulfur that is inherent in its structure. Lapis value decreases with presence of white patches (calcite), while small veins of pyrite are often prized. One of the most valuable semiopaque stones.
Opal, Australian Opal is believed to symbolize confidence, purity and serenity. Aids inner beauty, faithfulness, and eyesight and helps recall past lives. Precious opal forms in veins and patches within brown ironstone boulders. When the opal is mixed through the ironstone, it is called matrix opal.
Peridot Peridot is the gem variety of olivine. It has a unique yellow-green color. Historical legend states that peridot was the favorite gemstone of Cleopatra.
Petrified Dinosaur Bone The thought of having a piece of something that lived over 136 million years ago is thrill enough. This process has only occurred in a few areas on the surface of the earth. The original bone material has been replaced in such a manner that the structural detail is perfectly preserved and the interior pores and cavities have been filled with beautiful agatized material.
Quartz (mineral) Most common mineral on the face of the earth. Also the most varied in terms of varieties, colors and forms. Amethyst, Citrine, Milkey Quartz, rock crystal, Rose Quartz, Smoky Quartz are all examples.
Ruby Ruby is known as a “stone of nobility”, gathering and amplifying energy while promoting and stimulating mental concentration. It can improve ones success in controversies and disputes, encouraging gentleness and discouraging violence. It is an excellent shielding stone, protecting on all levels and safeguarding ones consciousness from psychic attack. It has been said that as long as one retains a bit of ruby, wealth will never depart. The ruby encourages one to follow bliss. This mineral stimulates the heart chakra and assists in the selection and attainment of ones ultimate values. It stimulates the loving emotional side toward nurturing, bringing spiritual wisdom, health, knowledge and wealth. Ruby is the red variety of corundum. The non-red variety of corundum is Sapphire. The red color is caused by trace amounts of the element chromium. Colors range includes pink, crimson red and orange red/
Sapphire Sapphire is the non-red variety of corundum. The second hardest mineral known to mankind. Sapphires are well known as being blue, but it can be nearly any color. Blue is the most popular color, but orange-pink, golden, white, and even black have generated much interest in the gem trade.
Serpentine Inspires respect for the elderly, longevity, retrieval of ancient wisdom and remembrance of past lives Serpentine is found in many metamorphic and weather igneous rocks. Most rocks that have a greenish color probably contain serpentine in some amount. The serpentine along with other material make for a beautiful pattern in the stone. The type of serpentine used for jewelry and carvings is an attractive green stone that takes a nice polish and is sometimes difficult to distinguish from jade.
Sugilite Strengthens heart, aids physical healing, reduces stress. Emotional balancer Recently discovered in S. Africa (1975). It is opaque with a waxy luster and ranges from a pale grayish lavender to a deep dark purple. Often contains black matrix. Bright purple stones with little matrixing are most valued. Similar in price to top quality lapis or turquoise.
Topaz Topaz has been used for centuries in jewelry. Its golden brown to yellow color is classic but can be confused with citrine. The blue topaz is rarely natural and is produced by irradiating and then heating clear crystals. Topaz crystals can reach incredible size of several hundred pounds. Colors: clear, yellow, orange, red, blue and green.
Tourmaline Three main types of tourmalines are distinguished by their color and transparancies. The It is transparent to translucent and is highly prized as mineral specimens and as gemstones.
Turquoise In the Orient, a turquoise ring was worn as a protector against all things evil. Indians of Mexico and the Southwest used turquoise to guard burial sites. To the ancient Indians, turquoise, worn on the body or used in ceremonies, always signified the god of the sky alive in the earth and in that way, it acted as a divining stone. It is believed to relax the mind and relieve mental tensions, calming the emotions and easing stress. Turquoise is a hydrous copper aluminum sulfate found in every color of blue, greenish blue or deep green. The rich blues are due to the abundance of copper while green turquoise has more aluminum. It has been mined from at least 6000 BC by early Egyptians.
Zircon Zircon is NOT the same material as the artificial gem material Cubic Zirconia (or CZ). Zircon resembles diamond in luster and fire and colorless zircons have been mistaken for diamonds by experienced jewelers. Zircon can make a very attractive and affordable gemstone. Color: brown, red, yellow, green, blue, black and colorless.