Alexandrite - this
is a beautiful gemstone named after a Russian czar. The gemstone is a
basic crysoberyl type, and is best noted for it's color changing
properties depending on the shade of light it is exposed to.
Alexandrite shifts between greenish to blue, to purple and even
crimson hues. It is this very color-changing property that makes it
one of the most valuable gemstones around.
Amber - formed
from fossilized tree sap, amber is best known for it's soft yellow
golden hue, which is distinctly different from other yellow-colored
gem stones because it diffuses light into a much softer shade of gold
than other yellow gemstones, which tend to intensify and sparkle
instead. The fact that it is fossilized liquid makes finding unflawed
pieces with no bubbles or cracks in the gemstone much rarer and more valuable.
Amethyst - the
most famous type of purple gemstone, amethyst's color is a very light
shade of purple that captures light inside the gem's facets. The
color of amethyst is often semi-transparent as opposed to other
purple gemstones which are darker and more opaque. It is this
crystalline clarity and beauty which makes amethysts sought after by
Chalcedony - also
known as agate, chalcedony is a form of quartz crystal which is
composed of several different strains of quartz fused together in
parallel layers. This tends to make the gems multi-colored, and the
effect is like looking at a rainbow if the different layers of quartz
are of varied colors and types. Quartz mines which hold different
deposits of quartz types are ideal places to dig for this, and it is
the rarest form of quartz gemstone around.
Diamond - composed
mostly of superheated and compressed carbon, diamond is the hardest
known substance in nature, and it's basic color once polished and cut
is completely transparent. Diamonds are perhaps the most famous and
valuable of the different types of gemstones because of its pure
clarity and the enduring quality of the gemstones. Much romanticism
surrounds diamonds because of these features and they are most sought
after for wedding rings as a symbol of love's eternity.
Emerald - this is
the most well known type of green colored gem stone. They are
beryllium-based in chemical composition, sharing this element with
several equally well known gemstones like rubies and sapphires. An
emerald's shade of green is unique and quite a few ancient
civilizations regard this as a holy or mythic stone. More often than
not, emerald gemstones are cut into simple square or circular shapes,
with few variations.
Garnet - this is a
stone whose basic color is red. The most famous red gemstone remains
the ruby, yet the garnet's distinguishing factor is that it's shade
of red actually approaches crimson. For this reason, some people
refer to it as a "bloodstone". A very rare type of garnet
however is the "fire garnet", whose color is a brighter
orange instead of a deep crimson. This is more expensive than regular garnets.
Jadeite - this is
a form of jade that is rarer than the more common form, nephrite.
While both are green colored, jadeite is semi transparent, making it
more closely resemble "regular" gemstones than it's cousin
nephrite. The purity of jadeite is higher than nephrite, and it's
crystal density is higher, but it tends to naturally form in smaller
pieces as a result and is much harder to work with than nephrite,
which can be carved like stone.
Lapis Lazuli -
this is a relatively soft type of gemstone which can be carved into a
variety of shapes. What makes this particular gemstone unique is that
it's color is a deep night-sky blue, but the gemstones are always
flecked with small fool's-gold (pyrite) traces which gives the gem
the appearance of a night sky dotted with golden stars.
Moonstone - this
gemstone's fame comes mostly from it's mysticism and it's decidedly
"feminine" gearing. As gemstones go, it's actual worth
isn't very high, but it remains popular nonetheless. Moonstones are
opaque, white-silver stones that under moonlight appear exactly the
same shade as the moon in the sky. Naturally, this feature is what
gave rise to it's historic popularity.
Nephrite - when
people refer to jade, they often mean nephrite. This material is a
bright opaque green, and it's physical quality compared to another
form of jade, jadeite, is softer and more malleable. Large pieces of
nephrite are easier to find than jadeite, and aside from jewelry this
gemstone occurs naturally in pieces large enough to carve into small
figurines and statues. Smaller pieces are carved into entire pieces
of jewelry like bracelets and brooches.
Opal - these are
completely opaque quartz crystals which, like chalcedony, displays a
multitude of colors at the same time. The biggest difference between
the two is that chalcedony's color patterns are often set parallel to
each other, and chalcedony stones themselves are semi transparent.
Opals are completely opaque, and the splash of colors are random and
haphazard throughout the surface of the gem.
Pearl - these are
organic gems which naturally occur in oysters. They are often
rendered in an opaque whitish sheen that refracts light, making small
rainbows play across the surface of a well-cut and polished pearl.
Tons of myths surround pearls, and being reaped from the sea they
figure prominently in almost every sea-faring culture's stories.
Especially pirates. I don't know why, but pirates ALWAYS hoard them
in stories. Go figure...
Peridot - this
gemstone is perhaps best known for only one thing: simplicity. Unlike
other gemstones, which can come in quite a variety of colors,
peridots are uniformly a green-gold shade. Period. They are
silicate-based gemstones, and traces of iron in the gems give it a
gold hue. There are NO variations of opacity, color traces, or shade
variations in peridots no matter what part of the world they come from.
Ruby - along with
the emerald and sapphire, this red stone is one of the oldest and
most famous types of gemstone for collectors. It's shade of red is
actually rather bright and the stone itself is semi transparent
instead of opaque. It is a type of gemstone called corundum, and is
second only to the diamond in toughness among the world's gemstones.
Next to diamond, it is also perhaps the most expensive type of
Sapphire - like
the ruby, this is a corundum type of gem, making it much harder and
more enduring than other types of gems. Traditionally, sapphires are
best known for being a vivid crystalline blue in color, though what
few people know is that sapphires can come in a variety of colors
including green, yellow, and orange. The real definition behind this
is that corundums will almost always be RUBIES if they're red, and
sapphires if they're any other color. Strange logic there, but that's
how it's defined by a lot of gem collectors.
Turquoise - this
stone can easily be likened to nephrite for two things: one, it's
considerably softer than other gemstones, making it easier to work
with, and two, it is opaque. Turquoise come in shades of sky blue
with just a hint of green, and while it technically is a stone the
colors actually come from metals in the mineral - namely copper and
iron traces. These metallic traces are the main reason for the
stone's opacity and malleability.
Topaz - this
gemstone is an aluminum silicate based gemstone and is primarily a
rich yellow gold in color. The stone is semi transparent and is one
of the harder and more enduring gemstones around. If the ruby
"defines" red, the sapphire "defines" blue, and
the emerald "defines" green for other gemstones, the topaz
is the gemstone that sets the standards followed by other yellow