Colored Gemstones


Colored Gemstones

The colored gemstone world is both exciting and beautiful. These gemstones derive their beauty from a rainbow of available colors. Reds, Greens, Purples, Blues, and Pinks all occur naturally. Some Gemstones are treated by heat, some by irradiation, and some by other means to enhance their natural color. Clarity, cut, rarity, and durability are also factors to consider when choosing colored gemstones.

ALEXANDRITE – Discovered in 1834 in the emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in the Urals of Russia. It was named for Alexander II since the crystals show the Imperial Russian colors of red and green. Alexandrite in its highest quality is very rare and displays the remarkable ability to change colors from green or blue-green in daylight to a purple-red in incandescent light. 

AMETHYST – Amethyst comes in a variety of colors ranging from pale lilac to deep purple. Long considered royal color, purple gemstones have been featured prominently in jewelry from Ancient Egyptian royalty to the crown jewels of Britain. 

AQUAMARINE – Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin words meaning “Sea of Water” because of its range of blue colors from a light sky blue to a dark blue or blue-green. 

BLACK/GREEN ONYX – Onyx is opaque quartz that can range in color from pale white to dark brown and black. Used as backdrop for other gemstones it has the ability to make them stand out in stark contrast to the black background. 

BLUE TOPAZ – Blue Topaz is a treated natural topaz. The treatments usually include irradiation and heating to achieve a light sky blue color that is often confused with aquamarine. 

BLUE ZIRCON - Blue Zircon, the stone of prosperity, is the rarer version of Zircon which can also be found in colorless, yellow, pink, red, green and more. Zircon is also the heaviest of the gemstones. When compared with an equal carat weight of another gemstone it will appear smaller because of this. 

CARNELIAN – Carnelian is a reddish brown or orange gemstone from the quartz family. Carnelian has been worn as far back as the Greeks and Romans. 

CITRINE – Citrine gets its name from the French name for lemon, citron. Citrine’s primary color is a rich lemony yellow, but its color ranges from yellow through gold into orangish brown. 

DIAMOND – Diamond, the stone of innocence, is the one stone everyone knows. Taking its name from the Greek work adamas, meaning unconquerable, it is pure compressed carbon and is the hardest substance known to man so far. First given in an engagement ring in 1470, it has become the traditional symbol of love. You can read even more about diamonds in other areas of our learning center. 

EMERALDS – Presenting the most intense and radiant green, emerald derives its name from the Greek smaragdos and the French esmeralde and means simply green gemstone. One of the oldest gemstones, it was mined by the pharaohs of Egypt as far back as 3000 B.C. 

GARNET – Garnet is traditionally thought of as red in color, but can be found in colors ranging from green to pale yellow to fiery orange and earth tones. Certain garnets also have the ability to change color, much the same as Alexandrite, when going from natural light to artificial light. 

LAPIS LAZULI – Lapis Lazuli gets its name from the Latin word Lapis, meaning stone, and the Arabian Zaul, meaning blue. Its rich blue color is often stricken through with golden highlights of pyrite. The color of Lapis was so intense that ground lapis was mixed with binding agents to create ultramarine blue paint as used by some of the grand masters of art. It wasn’t until 1834 that a suitable artificial color was able to replace Lapis in paint. 

MOONSTONE – Moonstone gleams and changes its appearance as it moves and was thought to represent the phases of the moon if you looked for the pattern while moving the stone. Extremely popular during the Art Nouveau period, its popularity has lessened somewhat over time. 

MOTHER OF PEARL – Mother of Pearl, also known as Nacre, is actually the smooth lining in the shell of certain types of mollusks. Created by layers of calcium carbonate and crystals, and lustrum, when it is thick enough it can then be cut into gems with a wonderful lustrous quality. 

OPAL – Opal reflects nearly every color of the rainbow. It was described by ancient Romans as the “Queen of all Gems” Its value is based on the brilliance and pattern of the “Play of Color” as well as size. 

PEARLS – Pearls are actually an organic gem. They are created when an Oyster tries to protect itself from a foreign substance that has entered the oyster. It coats the foreign object in nacre to separate the object from the tender muscles of the oyster. 

PERIDOT – The stone of Friendship is a vivid lime or olive green and symbolizes dignity, fame, and protection. Mined as early as 1500 B.C. by the Ancient Egyptians, Cleopatra had a Peridot collection and it was common in Roman and Greek jewelry. 

PINK TOURMALINE – Tourmaline is a multicolored gemstone. Red tourmaline that maintains its ruby like color in various light sources is referred to as Rubelite, while the rest of the red tourmaline is referred to as Pink Tourmaline. 

ROSE QUARTZ – Rose quartz is very light, almost powdery looking quartz that ranges from very rare transparent pink to the more common translucent pink. 

RUBY – Rubens, Latin for red gives Ruby its name. Extremely rare in its best color and quality, ruby has been one of the most prized gemstones in history. 

SAPPHIRE – Sapphire and Ruby are actually from the same family of stones. In fact, all rubies are simply red sapphire, while all other colors are called sapphire. Sapphire also comes in huge variety of colors, from colorless to greens, and blues, to yellows and oranges. 

TOPAZ – The gem of the setting sun. One of the most famous topazes in the world is set in the Portuguese Crown and was originally thought to be a diamond. 

TURQUOISE – Turquoise has been referred to as “The People’s Stone” for thousands of years. Turquoise inlaid artifacts have been found the world over, from ancient Egypt to Mexico. The word turquoise simply means Turkish Stone. 

DRUSY QUARTZ – The word Drusy comes from the ancient Greek word Druos for a gland or bump. In most cases Drusies are double decker quartz that is Quartz crystals deposited over a mineral base. The Drusy used for jewelry comes in geodes, in whose hollow it sometimes forms. 

LARIMAR – Larimar is a rare blue variety of Pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic. Also known as the “Jewel of the Caribbean” its color varies from white, light blue, green blue to deep blue. 

GOLD QUARTZ – Gold quartz is found in underground hard rock mines that are in the same areas where gold nuggets are found. In Alaska, it was first discovered in 1880 in the town of Juneau. Regions of Sierra County California, Canada and Australia are all known for gold quartz. Gold Quartz is gold formed in quartz deposits by hydrothermal pressure within the earth millions of years ago. Gold remaining in these deposits is called Gold Quartz. It is extremely rare, accounting for less than .1% of all gold found annually. 

If you would like to read even more information about colored gemstones, you want to visit The American Gemstone Association website.

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