Hinsdale, Il.

Making Fine Jewelry and Friends Since 1981

Anniversary Guide

Although gifts have traditionally been given for wedding anniversaries since medieval times, Emily Post was the first to publish a list of suggested anniversary gifts.

Her first etiquette guide, published in 1922, contained suggestions for the first, fifth, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth and fiftieth years of marriage. When her book was reprinted in 1957, that list was expanded to include suggestions for each of the first 15 years and for every five years after that.

As time went on, even this list was broadened by other authors to include gifts for every year from the first through twenty, plus every five years through the 75th wedding anniversary.

 

  • 1st Gold jewelry
  • 2nd Garnet
  • 3rd Pearls
  • 4th Blue Topaz
  • 5th Sapphire
  • 6th Amethyst
  • 7th Onyx
  • 8th Tourmaline
  • 9th Lapis
  • 10th Diamond
  • 11th Turquoise
  • 12th Jade
  • 13th Citrine
  • 14th Opal
  • 15th Ruby
  • 20th Peridot
  • 25th Silver Jubilee
  • 30th Pearl Jubilee
  • 35th Emerald
  • 40th Ruby
  • 45th Sapphire
  • 50th Golden Jubilee
  •  55th Alexandrite
  • 60th Diamond Jubilee
Agate

Agate

Hardness: 6.5-7

Colors: Green, yellow, red, reddish-brown, white and bluish-white

Note: A sub-variety of chalcedony that has banded or layered colors

Primary Sources: Brazil, Uruguay, Indonesia, China, India and US

 

Alexandrite

Alexandrite

Hardness:   8.5

Colors: Color changes under different lighting, from greens to red or purple

Note: A regal gem in terms of demand, named after Russia’s Czar Alexander II

Primary Sources: Ural Mountains, Sri Lanka, Burma, Brazil and India

When you are shopping for alexandrite jewelry, the most important value factors to consider are the quality of the gemstone and the strength of its color change. The purest forms of alexandrite possess beautiful color-changing properties varying with different sources of light. In daylight, the stone turns shades of emerald and sea green. When lit by candles, lamps, and other incandescent lights, the gems take on a vivid red, violet, or purple hue.

An eye-catching, gorgeous gemstone and a rare form of the gem chrysoberyl, Alexandrite’s discovery traces back to 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains. The gemstone was discovered on Alexander II’s 16th birthday and was thusly named after the future Czar. The gemstone’s red and green hues mirrored those of the Imperial Russian flag, greatly enhancing its popularity throughout the empire, and for centuries to follow. Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenshold’s new discovery was widely believed to bring good luck and fortune to its bearer.

Alexandrite is the June birthstone and the 55th anniversary gem

Alexandrite is a very tough and durable gem, perfect for everyday wear.

Amber

Amber

Hardness:  2-2.5

Colors: Yellow to brown

Note: True amber is light enough to float in saltwater

Primary Sources: Poland, Baltic Sea, Rumania, Dominican Republic and Mexico

Amethyst

Amethyst

Hardness:  7

Color: Violet

Note: Most highly valued of the quartz group and is said to have strong supernatural powers.

Amethyst is the gem of sobriety and peace. Its name comes from the Greek “amethystos” which means “not drunken.” They served wine in amethyst goblets during long banquets because they believed this wine-colored gem had the power to keep guests sober.

Since the middle ages, Bishop’s rings have been set with amethyst as a symbol of piety and celibacy. Leonardo da Vinci wrote that amethyst has the power to protect against evil thoughts and to sharpen the intelligence. Tibetan Buddhists use amethyst rosaries to enhance the peace and tranquility of meditation.

The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from Greek myth. One day when Dionysus, the god of intoxication, was angry at he swore revenge on the first person who crossed his path. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. When faced with the tigers Dionysus had unleashed, the girl prayed to Diana, who turned her into a statue of pure crystalline quartz. At the sight, Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse. The god’s tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.

Primary Sources: Zambia, Brazil, Uruguay, Namibia, Congo, Madagascar and Russia

 

Amethyst / Citrine

Amethyst / Citrine, (quartz) Heat treatment

The darker hues of amethyst are rarely enhanced to perfect their color, although some varieties do respond well to heat enhancement.

Brownish varieties are commonly heated and magically turn into the bright yellow or orange colors known as citrine. This enhancement method is permanent and will last the life of the gemstone.

Ametrine

Ametrine

Hardness:  7

Colors: Violet blending to light yellow

Note: Iron content allows for this variety of quartz to contain both amethyst and citrine colors in the same crystal

Primary Source: Bolivia

Apatite

Apatite

Hardness    5.0

Colors: Blue, pink, yellow and violet

Note: yellowish-green apatite crystals found in Spain have been called “Asparagus stones”

Primary Sources: Madagascar, Brazil and Sri Lanka

Aquamarine

Aquamarine (Beryl)

Hardness             7.5-8

Color: Light blue, blue and blue–green

Note: A member of the beryl family, aquamarine is Latin for “Water of the sea”

Primary sources:  Brazil,      Sri Lanka, India, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Nigeria and US

Aquamarine captures the beauty of the sea, its pastel blue tinged with a hint of green. The icy color is as fresh with earth tones as with other pastel shades and the perfect accompaniment to grey and navy.

Legends say that aquamarine is the treasure of mermaids, with the power to keep sailors safe at sea. In addition to calming the waves, aquamarine is also said to have a soothing influence on relationships, making it a good anniversary gift. Contemplating aquamarine can inspire inner peace too. A dream of aquamarine means that you will meet new friends.

This elegant gemstone is the birthstone for March and the gem for the 19th anniversary.

Some natural aquamarine has a hint of green. Aquamarine is always more saturated in larger sizes: it isn’t possible to get the best color in small accent stones.

Aventurine

Aventurine (See Quartz)

Color: A type of green quartz with mica inclusions.

Note: It is believed to be a strong healer for the physical body. It alleviates doubt, anxiety and stress

Beryl

Beryl

Emerald & Aquamarine

Hardness:           7.5-8

Colors: Gold, yellow-green, yellow, red and colorless

Note: The most common inclusion in beryl varieties are long straight tubes that are typically hollow or filled with liquid

Primary Sources:  Brazil,      Sri Lanka, India, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Nigeria and US

Black Diamond

Black Diamond

Hardness:  10

Note: Most of the world’s famous diamonds are natural fancy colored diamonds

Primary sources: Angola, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Namibia, Russia and South Africa

Since diamonds are associated with sparkling white brilliance, how can we explain the mysterious appeal of black diamond? This sleek modern gem is black as night, an inky bottomless pool. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sparkle: its faceted surface reflects as only diamond can.

Opposites attract: black diamond is often paired with colorless diamond for the ultimate in contrast. Designs that have patterns in black and white diamond are very fashionable. Carmen Electra even has a black diamond engagement ring.

Like virtually all of the black diamonds available today, Most black diamonds have been enhanced by heat or irradiation to create a green so dark it appears black. Natural color black diamonds exist but they usually owe their dark color to small back inclusions so that the color is not as evenly distributed as in enhanced black gems.

The most famous black diamond is the 67-carat Black Orlov, which has been exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History. It was sold by Sotheby’s in 1995 by the auction house for $1.5 million. Legend is that once the black diamond was once part of a 195-carat rough diamond called The Eye of Brahma that was stolen from a temple in India. The gem was then cursed, leading the owners to try to change their luck by cutting into three gems.

Carnelian

Carnelian (See Quartz)

Color: Orange

Note: this orange variety of chalcedony is one of the oldest power and protective stones in history. In ancient Egypt, it was placed in tombs as a magic armor for life after death.

Chalcedony

Chalcedony

Hardness:  6.5-7

Colors: Blue, purple, green, yellow, orange, grey and white

Note: Versatile in varieties, chalcedony is commonly cut into cabochons, cameos and carvings

Primary Sources: Australia, Namibia, Turkey

Chrysoberyl

Cat’s-Eye Chrysoberyl

Hardness:           8.5

Colors: Milky white, yellow, greenish-yellow, honey-yellow and dark brown

Note: Fine parallel inclusions produce the cat’s-eye effect

Primary sources: Sri Lanka, Madagascar, India, Tanzania and Brazil

Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla

Hardness:   2-4

Colors: Green and blue

Note: Mainly cut into cabochons and is said to have first been found in the copper mines of King Solomon

Primary Sources: US, Peru, Congo, Russia, Chile and Indonesia

Citrine

Citrine:

Hardness:  7

Colors: Light golden-yellow to reddish-yellow

Note: Natural colors of citrine are quite rare with a majority of material heat treated to produce desirable colors

Primary Sources: Brazil and Uruguay

Citrine, a yellow quartz gem, adds a squeeze of lemony sparkle to any jewelry design. Often paired with amethyst, the purple quartz gem from the opposite side of the color wheel, citrine complements greens, pastels, reds, and earth tones too. Citrine is a warm golden color, compared to lemon quartz, which has a lighter yellow hue with a squeeze of lime. Citrine’s affordability is due in part to the fact that throughout history, it’s been confused with topaz, another golden-toned gemstone. Citrine even shares November birthstone status with topaz. In addition to being the birthstone for November, citrine is the gem for the 13th anniversary.

Coral

Coral

Hardness:  3-4

Colors: Red, pink, black and white

Note: Coral has many imitators with red the most sought after color

Primary Sources: Taiwan and Italy

Demantoid Garnet

Demantoid Garnet

Hardness:           6.5-7

Colors: Yellowish greens to emerald green

Note: Most sought after material from the Ural Mountains has signature horse-tail inclusions

Primary sources: Russia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia and US

Diopside (Chrome)

Diopside (Chrome)

Hardness:  5-6

Colors: Light to dark green, yellow, blue and colorless

Note: A star diopside is one of the few gemstones in the world that exhibits a four-ray star phenomenon

Primary sources: Russia, India

Drusy Quarts

Drusy Quarts

Hardness:  7

Colors: Various colors

Note: Tiny drusy crystals create the sparkle and glitter effect associated with this gemstone

Primary Sources: Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Russia and India

Emerald

Emerald (Beryl)

 

Hardness:  7.5-8

Colors: Light to dark green

Note: Caesar was said to have viewed gladiator battles through an emerald to soothe his eyes

Primary sources: Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Russia and India

Because the rich green color of emerald is the color of spring, it has long symbolized love and rebirth. As the gem of Venus, it was also considered an aid to fertility.

Cleopatra loved wearing emeralds to accent her beauty. Mummies in ancient Egypt were often buried with an emerald on their necks carved with the symbol for verdure, flourishing greenness, to symbolize eternal youth.

The emeralds the ancients adored, from mines in Egypt and perhaps what is now Afghanistan, were nowhere near as beautiful as those mined today. The modern emerald bounty began almost five centuries ago when Spanish explorers arrived in the new world. Montezuma presented Cortes with a staggering emerald crystal much larger and finer than any ever seen before. The Incas had an emerald goddess the size of an ostrich egg.

When buying an emerald, the most important value factor is color. Emerald is among the rarest of gems, are almost always found with birthmarks, often called the “jardin.” Some imperfections are expected and do not detract from the value of the stone as much as with other gemstones. These fissures that are characteristic of emerald are traditionally filled with oil or resin to make them less visible to the eye.

Although emerald is a very hard gem, emerald rings shouldn’t be worn when working with your hands or exercising vigorously. Avoid cleaning emerald with hot soapy water or steam and never clean an emerald in an ultrasonic cleaner.

Emerald is the birthstone for May and the gem of the 20th and 35th anniversary.

Fire Opal

Fire Opal

Hardness: 5.5-6.5

Colors: Orange, red and yellow

Note: The Aztecs, Mayans and Incas mined Fire Opal and traded these stones with Spanish explorers as early as the 1500s

Primary source: Mexico

Born in the fire of Mexico’s volcanoes, fire opal’s natural bright orange is unmatched in the gem kingdom. Fire opal glows with the fire of the sun: hot yellows, oranges, and reds so bright they look as though they might glow in the dark too.

Unlike most opal, fire opal is often faceted, so you can choose sparkle as well as color. It has a hazy velvety look that intensifies its color. Because it is light as well as bright, fire opal is especially good for earrings. Its juicy color is just the right accent to earth tones or black and also looks great paired with other bright tones.

Fire opal forms when water seeps into silica-rich lava, filling seams and hollows. Under heat and pressure, the silica forms a solid gel, trapping the remaining water within its structure. Small pebbles of fire opal are found embedded in lava flows>

Fire opal, like all opal, has high water content. As a result, it should be protected from heat and prolonged exposure to strong light, which could dry it out. Fire opal has been cured by drying it in the sun before cutting to make sure that any instability has been eliminated.

Although fire opal is durable, it should be protected from scratches when not being worn and rings should be removed during heavy activity.

Garnet

Garnet

Hardness:           7-7.5

Colors: Reddish-brown, reddish-violet, pink, green, yellow and recently indigo

Note: Asiatic tribes made bullets from red garnets to cause more lethal injuries

Primary sources: Sri lanka, India, US, Tanzania, Madagascar, Russia, Canada, Zambia, Malaya, Nigeria and Brazil

Break open a pomegranate: see the tiny glossy red seeds? Now you can see why garnet comes from the Latin word for seed, granatum. To the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, garnet was a tiny glossy red gem, bursting with fire. Beautiful garnet jewelry found in archeological digs is more than 5,000 years old.

Garnet is the birthstone for January, the zodiac gem for Aquarius, and the gem for the second anniversary. Garnets symbolize loyalty and kindness. In legend, garnets protect travelers when they are far from home.

Affordable red garnets from Mozambique, which have an earthy red ocher color, and rhodolite garnets, which have a juicy raspberry color. This beautiful purplish-red garnet was discovered in 1882 in the hills of North Carolina. Tiffany gemologist and author George Kunz named it after the rhododendron that grows in the mountains of that state.

Gold

Gold

Since ancient times, gold has been used to create the finest objects of art, religious articles and fine jewelry. Because gold can be mixed with other metals to create different colors and karats, it is one of the most popular metals for jewelry today in the United States and Europe. To regulate the use of gold, the United States passed the National Gold and Silver Stamping Act, which states that if an item is marked with its quality, that mark should be accurate and within the tolerances provided by the Act.

The most common marks for gold jewelry are 18K or 750 (signifying 75% gold), 14K or 585 (58% gold), and 10K (42% gold). Ten karat gold is the lowest level allowed under U.S. law. Jewelry made of higher-karat gold is more yellow in color and slightly softer than gold jewelry made of lower-karat gold, which may include copper, silver, zinc, or other metals. You, the consumer, need to be concerned with the alloys if you are allergic to certain metals or have a high acid content in your body. Acid can turn the jewelry that you wear on your body to black and appear to be of poor quality when it actually is not.

Pure gold is 24kt and it is too soft for jewelry use. The metals that are mixed with pure gold to give it strength can also modify the color of gold resulting in different shades of yellow, white, and pink gold. White gold was originally developed to imitate platinum. White gold stamped 18 karat, would be 75% pure gold with an alloy containing 25% nickel and zinc.

Gold Compositions in Percentages (%)

  • Type
  • 10kt yellow
  • 12kt Yellow
  • 14kt Yellow
  • 18kt Yellow
  • 22kt Yellow
  • 12kt Red
  • 14kt Red
  • 12kt Green
  • 14kt Green
  • 10kt White
  • 14kt White
  • 18kt White
  • 18kt White
  • Gold
  • 42
  • 50
  • 58
  • 75
  • 92
  • 50
  • 58
  • 50
  • 58
  • 42
  • 58
  • 75
  • 75
  • Copper
  • 45
  • 36
  • 22
  • 10
  • 2
  • 48
  • 40
  • 7
  • 5
  • 33
  • 24
  • Silver
  • 9
  • 10
  • 18
  • 14
  • 5
  • 1.5
  • 1.5
  • 42
  • 36
  • Zink
  • 4
  • 4
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0.5
  • .05
  • 1
  • 1
  • 12
  • 8
  • 5
  •  Nickel
  • 13
  • 10
  • 10
  • Palladium
  • 10
  • *
*18kt White with 25% platinum or palladium

Some gold producers are substituting the nickel with palladium to reduce allergic reactions.

Green Amethyst

Green Amethyst (Quartz)

Hardness:  7

Colors: Pale green, Seafoam

Primary Sources: Zambia, Brazil, Uruguay, Namibia, Congo, Madagascar and Russia

This lovely seafoam quartz relative of amethyst, also known as prasiolite, has a flattering celadon color that goes well with everything in your wardrobe, from pastels to neutrals to brights.

Prasiolite comes from the Greek for “leek stone.” But today’s green amethyst has a softer color that is more sage than leek: miners have learned how to irradiate the quartz to produce a softer, more lovely color.

As affordable and wearable as its well-known gem siblings, amethyst, citrine, and rock crystal quartz, green amethyst is growing in popularity. It’s an alternative for February babies who prefer green to purple and is prized by jewelry designers for the way its hue blends with both warm and cool colors.

Like all quartz varieties, green amethyst is durable and suitable for everyday wear.

Hematite

Hematite

Hardness: 5-5.6

Color: Dark, silvery black, showing dark red color when cut into thin slices

Note: Major ore of iron. Hematite was regarded as the stone of the warrior because of its healing properties. Wise men of the Orient regarded it as a lucky stone to ward off the evil eye.

Primary sources: US, Italy, Brazil and England

Indicolite

Indicolite (Tourmaline)

Color: Blue with a touch of green color

Iolite

Iolite

Hardness:           7-7.5

Colors: Various blue to purplish blue hues

Note: Viking explorers took advantage of iolite’s polarizing qualities to determine the location of the sun on cloudy days when navigating the open sea

Primary sources: India and Madagascar

Long known as “water sapphire,” this lovely blue gem has the steely hue of the ocean at dawn. Named from the Greek ios, or violet, iolite at its best is a rich violet blue that might remind you of better-known gems like tanzanite and sapphire. The 21st anniversary gem, iolite is still not well known, despite a long history.

When Leif Eriksson and the other legendary Viking explorers ventured far into the Atlantic, they relied on iolite. Looking through a naturally polarizing iolite lens, they could determine the exact position of the sun to navigate safely to the new world and back.

The property that made iolite so valuable to the Vikings is extreme pleochroism. Iolite has different colors in different directions in the crystal. A cube cut from iolite will be blue from one side, clear as water from the other, and a honey yellow from the top.

Pleochroism may be helpful for sailors but it makes things difficult for a gem cutter. If iolite is not cut from exactly the right direction, no matter the shape of the rough, its color will not show to its best advantage

Jade

Jade

Hardness: 6.5-7

Color:  Shades of green, white, purple, red and black

Note: Jade has long been revered as the stone of peace, wisdom and true love in China. It has been carved by the Chinese for over 2000 years.

Primary sources: Burma, China, Russia and Canada

Jadeite

Jadeite

Hardness:      6.5-7

Colors: lavender, green, white, reddish, yellow and brown

Note: In pre-Colombian Central America jade was more highly valued than gold

Primary sources: Burma, China, Russia and Canada

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli

Hardness:   5-6

Colors: Blue with gold, white and black flecks

Note: The most sought after lapis is a deep rich blue and has very little to no calcite or pyrite veins

Primary sources: Afghanistan, Chile and Angola

Kunzite

Kunzite

Hardness: 6-7

Colors: Pinkish-violet and light violet

Note: Gem cutters consider kunzite difficult to cut because of its cleavage, splintery fracture and strong pleochroism

Primary sources: Brazil and Afghanistan

Malachite

Malachite

Hardness: 3.5-4

Colors: Light green, emerald green and black-green

Note: In the Middle Ages malachite was believed to protect children firm witchcraft and other threats

Primary source: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Moonstone

Moonstone

Hardness:           6-6.5

Colors: Colorless, white, yellow, orange and grey with white or blue sheen

Note: In India moonstone is believed to bring good fortune and is considered a sacred stone

Primary sources: Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Burma and Brazil

Morganite (Beryl)

Morganite (Beryl)

Hardness: 7.5-8

Colors: Pink, rose and peach

Note: Like its red beryl cousin, morganite gets its pink color manganese not lithium as was once thought

Primary sources: Brazil, Madagascar and US

Onyx

Onyx

Hardness: 6.5-7

Colors: Most popular in black but also found in brown, grey and white

Note: One imitator of the quartz variety of onyx is onyx marble, which is a member of the calcite family

The little black dress of gemstones, opaque black onyx takes on extra polish in eye-catching faceted cuts. It has the look of black diamond for less. Black onyx is the 7th anniversary gem and the zodiac gem for the sign of Leo.

This basic black gem first became popular in Victorian times, when demand for mourning jewelry led jewelry designers to look for all-black gemstones.

Ancient Greek philosopher Pliny recommends soaking dark-colored quartz in sugar water for weeks, then plunging it into acid, turning the sugar to carbon and blackening the stone. That’s how black onyx was born. Today, more modern methods can be used to create the even black tone of black onyx but some still prefer the ancient technique.

Black onyx is often seen in jewels of the Art Deco period, the perfect foil for diamond in black and white geometric designs.

Like all quartz varieties, black onyx is durable and suitable for everyday wear.

Primary sources: US, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, India and Africa

Opal  (Precious)

Opal  (Precious)

Hardness:   5.5-6.5

Colors: White, grey of black base with blue, purple, red, orange, yellow and green fire

Note: On the average an opal can contain 5-10% water, but can hold as much as 30% water

Primary source: Australia

Opal in large sizes are rare and costly, especially black opal. Usually cut as cabochons, sometimes beads. Occasionally found as fossilized (opalized) clamshells, snail shells, or wood. Transparent opals, such as Mexican red or orange fire opal, are often faceted. Values are normally determined by the presence and nature of color flashes (play of color).

Paraiba Tourmaline

Paraiba Tourmaline

Hardness:  7-7.5

Colors: Intense neon blue and neon green

Note: a collector’s stone that has hit astronomical prices which has brought about many blue tourmaline imitators

Primary source: The Paraiba State of Brazil

Pearl

Pearl

Hardness: 3-4

Colors: Pink, cream, gold, black and white

Note: The oldest known pearl jewelry was found in the coffin of a Persian princess who died in 520 BC

Primary sources: Japan, China, Tahiti, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, US and Burma

Throughout history, we’ve seen perfection in the pearl. In Persian mythology, they are called “the tears of the gods.” In some Muslim legends, the pearl is God’s first act of creation.

Pearls are an organic gem, created when a mollusk like an oyster covers a foreign object with beautiful layers of nacre, the mother of pearl.

According to ancient Chinese legend, the moon holds the power to create pearls, instilling them with its celestial glow and mystery. The ancient Greeks thought pearls were dew from the moon collected by oysters that opened their shells as they floated on the sea at night.

Most pearls today are cultured by man. A shell bead or mantle tissue is placed inside an oyster and the oyster is returned to the water. The mollusk does the rest: it covers the implanted shell or with layer after layer of lustrous nacre.

Today cultured pearls are the preferred accessory of powerful women from politics to Hollywood. Nancy Pelosi, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, and Angelina Jolie are known for wearing pearls.

Although the culturing of pearls began in Japan with the saltwater white Akoya pearl, today the majority of the cultured pearls on the market, even traditional-looking white strands, are freshwater pearls cultured in the lakes of China. China has added beautiful natural pastel shades to the pearl palette: lovely warm pinks, oranges, and purples.

In the warmer waters of the South Pacific, bigger mollusks produce South Sea cultured pearls and black Tahitian cultured pearls, which come in larger sizes. South Sea golden cultured pearls are the world’s most valued pearls for their buttery color and natural satiny luster.

The popularity of Tahitian cultured pearls has exploded over the past decade. These natural colored pearls are not just black: they are grown in an amazing range of colors, including pistachio, silver, eggplant, green, and charcoal, with shimmering iridescent overtones.

Natural cultured pearl colors are much more valuable than dyed pearl colors, which often look too vivid or harsh to come from nature. The quality of a cultured pearl is also judged by the orient, which is the soft iridescence caused by the refraction of light by the layers of nacre, and luster, the reflectivity and shine of the surface. Also look for any flaws or spots in the nacre: the best pearls have an even smooth texture. Other factors that affect value are the regularity of the shape, size, and color.

Cultured pearls can be distinguished from imitation pearls by a very simple test. Take a pearl and rub it gently against the edge of a tooth. Cultured (and natural pearls) will feel slightly rough, like fine sandpaper, because of the texture of natural nacre. Imitations will feel as smooth as glass because the surface is molded or painted on a smooth bead.

Because pearls are organic, they have a relatively low hardness of 2.5 to 3.5 and should be stored away from other jewelry to prevent scratching. Always put on perfume, lotion, and sprays before you put on pearls, since chemicals may be absorbed into the surface of pearls, staining them. Wipe your pearls clean with a moist soft cloth after wearing them.

Peridot

Peridot

Hardness:  6.5-7

Colors: Yellow-green, olive green, and brownish

Note: The Island of St. John was the only ancient source of peridot until other sources were discovered in the 1900’s

Primary sources: Pakistan, China, Burma, US, N. Korea and Vietnam

Peridot is the extraterrestrial gem: tiny peridot crystals have been discovered in meteors that fall to earth. On our planet, this lime-green gem forms in volcanoes, under tremendous heat and pressure.

Peridot is treasured in Hawaii as the goddess Pele’s tears. The island of Oahu even has beaches made out of tiny grains of peridot. Today most peridot is mined, often by hand, by Native Americans on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona.

The color of most gems is caused by traces of other elements but the color of peridot is an integral part of its structure. If you love citrus tones or earth tones, you’ll find that peridot is an integral part of your jewelry wardrobe too. Its bracing squeeze of green is also an ideal foil to sky blue.

The ancient Romans called peridot “evening emerald,” since its green color did not darken at night but was still visible by lamplight. Peridot was mined in ancient Egypt on an island called Zeberget. Later, peridot was also often used to adorn medieval churches.

With a hardness of 6.5, peridot is harder than metal but softer than many other gems. Store peridot jewelry with care to avoid scratches. When you wear it, protect it from blows. Because peridot is sensitive to rapid changes in temperature, never have it steam cleaned and avoid ultrasonic cleaners.

Peridot, is the birthstone for August, the zodiac stone for Leo, and the 16th anniversary gem.

Platinum

Platinum

Platinum is an extremely durable metal that has been used in making fine jewelry since the 1880s. Because of its density and strength, platinum is favored above all metals to hold diamonds and was often used in very intricate designs requiring great detail. Platinum weighs 60% more than karat gold by volume. In the early 1900s platinum became very popular, and its popularity grew until World War II, when it was temporarily banned from use in jewelry because platinum’s military uses had higher priority. In recent years, however, platinum jewelry has grown in popularity again. The most common marks for platinum are “900 PT, 900 PLAT, PT900 and 900 Plat 100 Irid,” this signifies the percentage of platinum to other metals. Because of the small percentage of other metals alloyed with it, platinum is hypoallergenic and excellent for people who are allergic to other metals.

With today’s higher metal prices, manufactures are adding more alloys to platinum. These pieces should be marked 585 or 750 along with the platinum notation. The addition of more alloys not only lowers the value, it also makes it less hypoallergenic.

Quartz

Quartz

Hardness: 6.5-7

Quartz is the most versatile gem family, spanning the spectrum from well known gems like purple amethyst, green amethyst and golden citrine, to lesser known varieties like chocolate brown smoky quartz, pink rose de France amethyst, lemon quartz, rose quartz, and clear rock crystal, which we group under quartz. As beautiful as it is affordable, quartz is an irresistible addition to your jewelry wardrobe.

All quartz gemstones are durable and suitable for everyday wear

Rhodolite Garnet

Rhodolite Garnet

Hardness:  7-7.5

Colors: Rose-red or pale to rich violet

Note: All garnets have similar atomic structures

Primary sources: Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India and Brazil

Rock Crystal

Rock Crystal

Clear colorless quartz, is one of the treasures of the ancient world, more durable and luxurious than glass. Ancient kings and queens drank from rock crystal goblets, often encrusted with gold and gems. Fortunetellers used rare transparent quartz to inspire visions because rock crystal was said to have the power to enlighten and to open the doors to the spirit world.

Rare and beautiful, natural rock crystal has refraction that man-made glass crystal can’t touch. The Greeks theorized that rock crystal was ice that was frozen so hard it couldn’t thaw. If you crave a big rock that won’t break the bank, rock crystal is beautiful and natural, with lasting value

Rose de France

Rose de France Amethyst

Rose de France amethyst is a pale pink-purple quartz that blushes with a delicate lilac hue. Rose de france is the gem of serenity. Rose quartz has a pale powder-puff color and milky translucency. Although opaque rose quartz is common, the finest quality, which is transparent enough to be cut in faceted shapes, is difficult to find. The soft shade and velvety texture of this gem are feminine but also provide the perfect counterpoint to black, navy, and gray.

Rose quartz

Rose Quartz

Hardness: 7.0

Colors: Strong rose-pink to nearly white

Note: Pink quartz’s unique color is often due to the presence of the elements titanium

Primary sources: Brazil, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka and US

Legend has it that rose quartz is the love stone, with the power to heal a broken heart. Crystal healers advise sleeping with rose quartz under your pillow every night to keep love strong. Lemon quartz is a lively alternative to citrine: its yellow color has a hint of green and a bit of an edge. Light and bright, it adds a fresh accent to everything in your wardrobe.

Rubellite Tourmaline

Rubellite Tourmaline

Hardness:  7-7.5

Colors: Red to pink

Note: Rubellite can occur in violet and raspberry shades, but ruby red is the most sought after color in this gemstone

Primary sources: Nigeria and Brazil

Ruby

Ruby (Corundum)

Hardness:  9.0

Colors: Various shades of red

Note: The red variety of corundum is associated with the color of blood; ruby was once believed to remedy hemorrhaging

Primary sources: Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India

Worn by passionate women with a flair for the dramatic, ruby is the gem of courage and emotion. Its fiery brilliance attracts the eye and quickens the pulse. In legend, ruby is the gem of the heart with the power to kindle the flame of desire.

The ultimate red gem, ruby has been the world’s most valued gemstone for most of recorded history. According to the Bible, only wisdom and virtuous women are more precious. Named from ruber, the Latin word for red, ruby is the epitome of the boldest of colors. Burning with an unquenchable fire, ruby has long been a symbol of undying love.

Wear ruby to add life to classic neutrals or Art Deco flair to graphic black and white.

When buying a ruby, color is the most important value factor.  Before their final polish, most rubies are heated almost to 2,000 degrees in order to intensify the red color and improve clarity. Heat enhancement is stable, does not require special care, and does not reduce the stone’s value.

Ruby, like sapphire, is the mineral corundum, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide. Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale and is also extremely tough: in its common form, it is used to polish other gems. As a result, rubies are durable and suitable for everyday wear.

Ruby is the birthstone for July, the fifteenth and fortieth anniversary gem, and the zodiac gem for the sign of Cancer.

Ruby

Ruby (CORUNDUM) Heat treatment, Flux healing, Fracture filling

Despite all the best efforts of gem merchants to use technology to enrich color, fine ruby is still exceptionally rare. After being extracted from the earth, rubies today are commonly heated to high temperatures to maximize the purity and intensity of their red hue. Impurities may also dissolve or become less noticeable after heating. However, heating will only improve the color if the gem already contains the chemistry required. Occasionally rubies with small imperfections are permeated with a silicate byproduct of the heating process, which helps to make small fissures less visible. This enhancement, like heating, is permanent and rubies, whether enhanced or not, remain among the most durable of gems.

Sapphire

Sapphire (Corundum)

Hardness: 9.0

Color: Various hues of blue

Note: In the 12th Century the Bishop of Rennes gave high praise to sapphire and had all ecclesiastical rings set with the gemstone

Primary sources: Burma, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Australia, Cambodia, US

The ancient Persians believed the earth rests on a giant sapphire. Its reflection, they said, made the sky blue. Sapphire comes from the Greek word for blue, sappheiros, and this gem provides the most beautiful blues of the gem kingdom. Sapphire is the gem of truth. The tradition is so strong, we still think of an honest person as “true blue.”

Since the word sapphire is synonymous with the color blue, many people don’t realize that sapphire comes in other colors, like pink, yellow, and white.

In fact, the two most popular colored gemstones, sapphire and ruby, are twins separated at birth: different colored crystals of the mineral corundum, which comes in every color of the rainbow. When the family connection was discovered, gemologists decided that all the family members would be called sapphire except red, which would still be called ruby.

Sapphire symbolizes fidelity and the soul. In ancient times, a gift of a sapphire was a pledge of trust and loyalty. This tradition makes sapphire a popular choice for engagement rings. Princess Diana is among the many women who followed the sapphire engagement tradition.

Pink sapphire is even rarer than blue: in some ways it has more in common with ruby than the other colors of sapphire. Gem experts often debate where ruby ends and pink sapphire begins, since pink is really just light red. But the bright pastel shades of pink sapphire, from bubblegum to strawberry, have a candy-colored beauty all their own. They are the most feminine of gems, adding sweetness to delicate styles or a touch of romance to classic tailored designs.

Since most people assume that sapphires are blue, when you wear a yellow sapphire, people are more likely to guess that you are wearing a fancy yellow diamond. This gem’s understudy status means that yellow sapphire is more affordable than either blue sapphire or yellow diamond.

Yellow sapphire deserves more recognition. Its sunny color is an instant mood-enhancer on the grayest day. Rare and beautiful, yellow sapphire complements yellow gold and takes center stage set when contrasting against white gold and diamonds. Its durability means its beauty will last as long as diamond’s too.

Brilliant natural white sapphire also rivals diamond in rarity and beauty, offering the look and lasting value you love for less. Few gems have the beauty, brilliance, and durability of sapphire. It’s the perfect choice for jewelry you plan to wear for years and pass along to the next generation.

Sapphire with fine color is so desirable that producers take an extra step after mining and before cutting to make sure that a sapphire has the best hue possible. Before their final polish, most sapphires are heated to almost 2,000 degrees in order to improve the color and clarity. Heat enhancement is stable, does not require special care, and does not reduce the stone’s value.

Sapphire is the September birthstone, the gem of the fifth and 45th wedding anniversary, and the zodiac gem for Virgo.

Sapphires are durable and suitable for everyday wear.

Silver

Silver

Silver has been used for jewelry since 3500 BC. The word “sterling” is short for “Easterlings,” a form of money used in 12th-century England. Silver jewelry is popular because of its availability, affordable price and ease of manufacture. To be called “sterling silver,” an article must contain at least 92.5 percent silver; that is why sterling silver is marked “925.” Although rich in luster, silver tarnishes when exposed to the elements, causing it to turn dark or black. The tarnish can be cleaned using a variety of products on the market.

Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz adds earth-tone sophistication to any jewelry design. Cognac, chocolate, caramel: many of the world’s rich and decadent things are a beautiful brown. Smoky quartz has been valued for thousands of years. Although most smoky quartz faceted for jewelry today is mined in Brazil, it is also the state gemstone of New Hampshire and the official gem of Scotland, an early source.

In alpine countries, rosaries and crucifixes are often made from smoky quartz because it was said to protect from danger and also to help soothe grief. Smoky quartz is also said to bring its owner inner peace.

Smoky quartz used to be known as smoky topaz: you can still find jewelry stores today, online and off, that mistakenly refer to this brown quartz as topaz. The brown color of smoky quartz develops when rock crystal is exposed to radiation, either in the rock where it forms or after being mined. Most smoky quartz on the market is enhanced with radiation.

Spessartine

Spessartine

Hardness: 7-7.5

Colors: Orange to reddish-brown

Note: The gem’s namesake is the Spessart district of Bavaria where it was first discovered

Primary sources: Nigeria, Namibia, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Burma and Brazil

Sphene

Sphene

Hardness:  5-5.5

Colors: Yellow, brown and green

Note: The distinctive wedge crystal habit of sphene was the inspiration for its name, which mean wedge in Greek

Primary Sources: Madagascar, India and Brazil

Star Ruby & Sapphire

Star Ruby & Sapphire

Hardness:  9.0

Colors: Various hues of red and blue

Note: Perhaps the most famous star ruby weighs in at 138.7 carats and one of the world’s finest star sapphires weighs 563.3 carats

Primary sources: Madagascar, Burma, Sri Lanka, Australia, Cambodia, Brazil, India and US

Sunstone

Sunstone (Feldspar)

Hardness: 6-6.5

Colors: Orange and red-brown

Note: The mineral content of Oregon sunstone differs from other feldspars found throughout the world

Primary sources: Oregon, USA and India

Tanzanite

Tanzanite (Zosite)

Hardness:           6.5-7

Color: Sapphire blue to amethyst violet and green

Note: Thulite was the only variety of zosite on the market until 1967 when tanzanite was discovered

Primary source: Tanzania

Tanzanite has a velvety purplish-blue unlike any other gem. Mined in only one place in the world, a five-square mile area in Merelani in Tanzania near the feet of majestic Kilimanjaro, tanzanite is exceptionally rare.

This gem was discovered in 1969 and named by Tiffany & Co., who was the first to bring it to market.

The secret to tanzanite’s mesmerizing color is trichoism: crystals of tanzanite are three different colors from different directions. This means that blue and purple dance together in the depths of the gem as it moves and catches the light.

Only large gems show the most saturated colors. After mining, virtually every tanzanite on the market is heated to permanently change its color from brown to the spectacular violet-blue color for which this precious gemstone variety is known.

Of course, tanzanite is an ideal complement to all the rich blues, purples, and greens in your wardrobe. But the velvety depths of this gem are also beautiful worn with earth tones, from chocolates to rusts and golds.

Tanzanite jewelry is a little more delicate than other gemstone jewelry and should not be set in a ring that will be worn during strenuous activity. Never clean tanzanite in an ultrasonic cleaner or have a ring resized or repaired without having the gem removed.

Tanzanite is a birthstone for December, added to the official list in 2002 as a tribute to its beauty. It is also the gem of the 24th anniversary.

Tasavorite Garnet

Tasavorite Garnet

Hardness:           7.25

Colors: Green, pale yellowish-green and emerald green

Note: In 1968, tasavorite was discovered in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park

Primary Sources: Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar

Tiger Eye

Tiger Eye (Quartz)

Hardness:           7.0

Colors: Gold-yellow and gold-brown

Note: Tiger Eye is said to offer protection during travels

Primary Sources: Australia, Burma, India, South Africa and US

Titanium

Titanium

Used in the making of aircraft parts because of its extremely light weight, corrosion resistance and strength. Titanium is the hardest natural metal in the world. It is stronger than steel and yet is very lightweight. Also it is known for its lustrous natural grey color and 100% hypoallergenic traits which make it safe for everyone because it will not react with your skin. Because of these human friendly traits titanium is increasingly becoming a more popular metal for used with different types of body jewelry. Unfortunately, titanium is expensive due to the fact that it cannot be soldered, its strength and the high-tech machinery and equipment needed to process titanium.Another quality trait about titanium is its non-magnetic properties, which makes it ideal where electromagnetic interference is a problem. Rings cannot be sized.

Topaz

Topaz

Hardness:           8.0

Colors: Light blue, yellow, green, orange, pink, pinkish-red, brown and colorless

Note: The Braganza is a famous giant topaz specimen set in the Portuguese Crown

Primary sources: Nigeria, Brazil, Sri Lanka, India and China

The beautiful blue of the sky on a summer’s day sparkles in every blue topaz. Fresh and breezy, blue topaz is one of the most versatile gems in nature’s palette. It is affordable and available in both small and large sizes, making it a designer favorite.

Blue topaz has a bright and lively Swiss blue color that looks right set in all metals. London blue topaz, is a darker, more intense shade of blue for extra drama. You’ll find that blue topaz jewelry complements almost everything in your wardrobe, from browns and grays to vivid tones.

Blue was once the rarest color of topaz, but today it is the most common, thanks to a stable color enhancement process involving irradiation and heat that was developed in the 1970s.

Legend says that topaz dispels enchantment. The ancient Greeks believed that topaz has the power to increase strength and make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Topaz was also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink.

Blue topaz is a December birthstone and the gem for the fourth anniversary.

Tourmaline

Tourmaline

Hardness:           7-7.5

Colors: Blue, yellow, green, violet, multi-colored.

Note: More natural colors than any other gem

Primary sources: Nigeria, Brazil, Pakistan, Madagascar, Namibia, and US

Tourmaline is the gem of intuition and creativity. Tourmaline is named from the Sinhalese tura mali, which means “mixed stone.” Available in a rainbow of colors and color combinations, tourmaline lives up to its name. Legend says tourmaline inspires artistic expression. Certainly this gem inspires designers to create jewelry to suit every mood.

October’s birthstone and the 8th anniversary gem, tourmaline crystals have unusual electrical potential: crystals acquire a polarized electrical charge when heated or compressed. This property has made tourmaline the latest miracle ingredient in moisturizers: manufacturers claim the gem helps pull pollutants from your skin.

Pink tourmaline was an obsession for the last empress of China, who slept on a pink tourmaline pillow to inspire good dreams. The empress set off a tourmaline rush in the San Diego area at the turn of the century, buying tons of California pink tourmaline for her court. Today, most pink tourmaline comes from Brazil.

Green tourmaline has a restful green color that blends well with other gems, just as green leaves make the flowers around them more lush. Green tourmaline jewelry will complement all the colors in your wardrobe too.

As with most gems, the different colors have been named to identify their origin or founder

Tungsten

Tungsten (tungsten carbide)

An extremely hard metal originally developed by Osram, a German electric bulb company it is used primarily for industrial products like cutting tools. Now it is being used for rings and bracelets. Tungsten rings are very durable. They cannot be sized and can break into pieces if hit hard enough. Tungsten rings are a very durable alternative to the traditional gold or silver rings.

Article Sources: EzineArticles.com, ehow.com

Turquoise

Turquoise

Hardness:           5-6

Colors: Sky blue, blue-green and apple-green

Note: Turquoise has been a treasured gemstone since the ancient Egyptians first mined it in 6000bc

Primary sources: US and China

Watermelon Tourmaline

Watermelon Tourmaline

Contains bands of green to yellow to red, like a slice of watermelon.

Zircon

Zircon

Hardness:           6.5-7.5

Colors: Blue, green, red, orange, yellow, brown and colorless

Note: To obtain the best optical effect zircon are usually cut in to a modified brilliant cut which has a second set of pavilion facets

Primary sources: Cambodia, Tanzania, Burma, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Nigeria

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