Gemstone Guide

Introduction to Gemstones

NameA gemstone is a mineral or rock, which can be used in jewelry after cutting or faceting and polishing. Gemstones are an important commodity in today's marketplace. They have been sought after for thousands of years for their beauty, metaphysical properties, and commercial uses. In earlier times there were no such things as synthetic gemstones but today they are quite common.

Gemstones are diverse in their beauty and many gems are available in a stunning variety of colors. Most gemstones have little beauty in the rough state. They may look like ordinary rocks or pebbles. After a skilled cutting and polishing of a gem, full color and luster can be seen.

On the basis of its formation, gemstones are classified into five categories:

Natural Gemstones
These have been formed in natural environment with no interference by human. They form in a variety of ways in many different environments from many different chemical compounds. By the time they appear in our jewelry they've been cut or polished, but they've not been treated or altered in other ways.

Genuine Gemstones
Genuine Gemstones are nothing but natural gemstones which are treated in some way to enhance its appearance. A large percentage of natural gemstones are treated to enhance their appearance for jewelry manufacturing.

Synthetic Gemstones
A synthetic gemstone shares a natural stone's physical, chemical and optical qualities, but it is created in a laboratory. Now-a-days, synthetic versions of nearly all popular gemstones are available. Some modern synthetic gemstones look more natural and are more difficult to identify, but an experienced jeweler or gemologist can usually detect them. Jewelry that includes quality synthetic gems can be just as beautiful as jewelry made with natural stones.

Imitation or Simulated Gemstones
Imitation gemstones can be anything that resembles a natural gemstone but does not have the same physical characteristics or chemical composition. These items are usually much less expensive than the natural forms. Imitation stones are often made of glass or plastic and most can be detected easily by a jeweler.

Treated Gemstones
A number of techniques are used to improve the color and appearance of natural and synthetic gemstones. Gemstone's beauty is enhanced, to increase the desirability and demand of the gemstone. Probably the oldest method is that of heat treatment for gemstones to improve or change the color. As a result of recent advances in technology, there are now many different techniques, which use modern equipment such as lasers, and computer controlled heating and irradiating procedures. Lasers are used to drill holes into stones to reach inclusions. These are then evaporated or removed using chemicals before the crack is filled. Some treatments are permanent such as drilling while others may be temporary. For example stains and fillings may leak, some heated, and irradiated stones may fade or revert to their original color.

Gems manage to endure through time because of their certain characteristics. Following characteristics are desirable in a gemstone

Beauty & Appearance
A gemstone is prized especially for great beauty or perfection so appearance is almost always the most important attribute of gemstones. A gemstone's beauty will depend on its Color, Size, Shape and Sparkle. Color is the most important gem characteristic whereas Size and Shape also have a huge role in enhancing the beauty of gemstone. Gemstone's Sparkle enhances its beauty in a great manner. In a way, all stones reflect light from their surface and ideally all the light entering the stone from any angle would escape via the top (front) of the stone.

Durability & Hardness
Durability and Hardness are other aspects which are considered as important characteristics of a gemstone. Regardless of how beautiful a stone may appear, for it to be suitable as a gemstone, it will need to be reasonably durable and hard. There are numerous different ways of considering hardness, but the main one for gems is their resistance to abrasion. Rarity
Rarity is also desirable for a gemstone. The rarity of a stone imparts a sense of exclusiveness and worth that increases our desire to possess it. Rarity determines the prices placed on gems and famous jewelry the world over. Gems may be rare for a variety of reasons. Many gems are varieties of common stones, but their exceptional color or clarity determines them to be rare gemstones.

Other Characteristics
Fashion, Superstition and Social Customs also play a part in determining importance of a gemstone. Today, gem stone jewelries are also worn as a fashion trend. Where as many people also wear gemstones as Superstition and Social Customs. Since ancient times, colored stones have been believed to possess innate magical powers.

Gemstone Guide – Know Your Birthstones

A birthstone is nothing but a gemstone only, which is associated with the date of one’s birth and the wearing of such birthstone is considered to bring good luck and health. Certain gemstones are believed to have Supernatural powers and their relationship with planets. Many cultures originally assigned a specific gemstone to signify birth during each sign of the zodiac but over the time this tradition has been shifted from the zodiac to calendar months.

Birthstones have their roots in ancient astrology, and there have been many birthstone lists used over the years. The most common one today is based on a list first publicized by the US jewelry industry in the 1950s.

January Birthstone – Garnet
 NameBirthstone Powers – Facilitates night vision, ensures success
January Birthstone Color – Deep Red
Symbol – Constancy
Anniversary Year – 2nd Year Anniversary Stone

It is said that this stone keeps the wearer safe from harm. A garnet also signifies eternal friendship and trust. This stone has long been associated with blood purification and it is believed to protect against food poisoning, snake bite, and hemorrhage.

February Birthstone – Amethyst
NameBirthstone Powers – Brings peace and calm to your life
February Birthstone Color – Purple
Symbol – Sincerity
Anniversary Year – 6th Year Anniversary Stone

In ancient Rome, this stone was worn to prevent intoxication and bring the wearer tranquility. The gemstone symbolizes peace and tranquility.

March Birthstone – Aquamarine

NameBirthstone Powers – Bestows courage, insight, and victory
March Birthstone Color – Pale Blue
Symbol – Courage
Anniversary Year – 19th Year Anniversary Stone

This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage. The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Also it is believed that this stone prevents ageing effects.

April Birthstone – Diamond

NameBirthstone Powers – Enhances competence, trust and love
April Birthstone Color – White, Clear
Symbol – Innocence
Anniversary Year – 10th and 60th Year Anniversary Stone

Diamonds are the ideal gift for a loved one. They are a symbol of courage and true love.

May Birthstone – Emerald

NameBirthstone Powers – Symbolizes serenity and peace of mind
May Birthstone Color – Green
Symbol – Love, Success
Anniversary Year – 20th and 35th Year Anniversary Stone

This stone represents rebirth and it is believed that wearer gets foresight, good fortune, and youth. Some people believe wearing an emerald brings wisdom, growth and patience. It is also prized for its ability to reveal true love.

June Birthstone – Pearl

NameBirthstone Powers – Truth and beauty
June Birthstone Color – White or Purple
Symbol – Health and Longevity
Anniversary Year – 3rd and 30th Year Anniversary Stone
Other Stone for June – Alexandrite / Moonstone

Pearls have been recognized as the emblem of modesty, chastity and purity. The regal pearl was believed to possess life-restoring powers.

July Birthstone – Ruby

NameBirthstone Powers – Fire and emotion
July Birthstone Color – Red
Symbol – Contentment
Anniversary Year – 15th and 40th Year Anniversary Stone

Rubies arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love. It is believed that Ruby helps to make the wearer wise and gives protection against all sorts of misfortunes.

August Birthstone – Peridot

NameBirthstone Powers – Illumination
August Birthstone Color – Pale Green
Symbol – Married Happiness
Anniversary Year – 16th Year Anniversary Stone
Other Stone for August – Sardonyx

Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year. This gem was also worn as protection against evil spirits.

September Birthstone – Sapphire

Name Birthstone Powers – Brings physical and emotional balance
September Birthstone Color – Deep Blue
Symbol – Clear Thinking
Anniversary Year – 5th and 45th Year Anniversary Stone

Sapphire protects the wearer and their loved ones from envy and harm. Ancient priests believed sapphires helped them predict the future. The gem is associated with peace and happiness.

October Birthstone – Opal

NameBirthstone Powers – Enhances insight and dispels fear
October Birthstone Color – Multi-color, Pink
Symbol – Hope
Anniversary Year – 14th Year Anniversary Stone
Other Stone for October – Pink Tourmaline

Opal has symbolized hope, innocence and purity through the ages. It was said to have a beneficial effect on eyesight of the wearer. It was also thought to banish evil spirits and favor children, amusements, friendships and feelings.

November Birthstone – Citrine

NameBirthstone Powers – Brings happiness and warmth
November Birthstone Color – Yellow
Symbol – Fidelity
Anniversary Year – 13th Year Anniversary Stone
Other Stone for November – Yellow Topaz

This golden gemstone is said to support vitality and health while encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer. Citrines have also been used as an antidote for snake venom, as well as a talisman against the plague, bad skin and evil thoughts. They are believed to aid digestion as well as remove toxins from the body.

December Birthstone – Turquoise
NameBirthstone Powers – Brings good Fortune
December Birthstone Color – Blue
Symbol – Fidelity
Anniversary Year – 11th Year Anniversary Stone
Other Stone for December – Tanzanite / Zircon / Blue Topaz

It is believed that wearer of this gemstone gets happiness and good fortune. Native Americans associated the colors of turquoise with the blue sky and green earth.

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