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Stone Encyclopedia
When someone says, "That's a lovely piece of jewelry you're wearing," the chances are it's more than just a compliment. It is a sincere way of saying, "Tell me more about your new necklace or earrings." Our Stone Encyclopedia page features a variety of stones many of which are used in our jewelry. As such, you may talk with confidence about your pieces and how you acquired them. Browse through and familiarize yourself with these stones... You never know... You may become the hit of the next cocktail party or the office lunchroom!

Click on the stones below to read about their scientific properties.



Agate

Amazonite

Amber

Amethyst

Aventurine

Azurite

Bloodstone

Bone

Carnelian

Cat's Eye

Charoite

Coral

Flourite

Goldstone

Hematite

Howlite

Jade

Jasper

Lapis Lazuli

Leopardskin

Mother of Pearl

Obsidian

Onyx

Opal

Pyrite

Quartz

Rhodocrosite

Sodalite

Tiger Eye

Turquoise

Unakite

Zoisite
Agate
No gemstone is more creatively striped by nature than Agate, a chalecedony quartz that forms in concentric layers and comes in a wide variety of colors and textures.

Each individual agate is formed when the cavity in a host rock is filled. As a result, agate often is found as a round nodule, with concentric bands like the rings of a tree trunk. The bands sometimes look like eyes, sometimes fanciful scallops, or even a landscape with dendrite trees.

Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers. Persian magicians used agate to divert storms.
Amazonite
Amazonite is a stone that varies in color from yellow-green to blue-green and may also exhibit fine white streaks. Curiously, its name is derived from the Amazon River, though no deposits have been found there.

Healing ability: Amazonite makes your skin better. Releases fear and anxiety.
Mystical power: Amazonite makes your married life happier.
Amber
Millions of people learned from the movie Jurassic Park that amber is fossilized pine tree sap and demand for this antique from history has greatly increased since its release in the early 1990's (especially those pieces of amber with insects inside!).

Many myths surround the origin of amber. Ovid writes that when Phaeton, a son of Phoebus, the sun, convinced his father to allow him to drive the chariot of the sun across the sky for a day, he drove too close to the earth, setting it on fire. To save the earth, Jupiter struck Phaeton out of the sky with his thunderbolts and he died, plunging out of the sky. His mother and sister turned into trees in their grief but still cried mourning him. Their tears, dried by the sun, are amber.

The Greeks called amber elektron, or sun-made, perhaps because of this story, or perhaps because it becomes electrically charged when rubbed with a cloth and can attract small particles.

The Romans sent armies to conquer and control amber-producing areas. Emperor Nero was a great connoisseur of amber, and the Roman historian Pliny wrote the price of an amber figurine - no matter how small - exceeded the price of a living healthy slave.

The ancient Germans burned amber as incense, so they called it bernstein, or "burn stone." Clear colorless amber was considered the best material for rosary beads in the Middle Ages due to its smooth silky feel. Certain orders of knights controlled the trade and unauthorized possession of raw amber was illegal in most of Europe by the year 1400.
Amethyst
Amethyst, transparent purple quartz, is the most important quartz variety used in jewelry. It ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple. The pale colors are sometimes called "Rose de France" and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes.

Because purple has long been considered a royal color, it is not surprising that amethyst has been so much in demand during history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty.

The name Amethyst comes from the Greek word "amethystos" which basically can be translated as "not drunken" and finds its origin in that culture's myth. According to the legend, Dionysius - the god of intoxication - was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path. He created fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.

In the Middle Ages, amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety and as a result was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic and other churches. It was, in particular, considered to be the stone of bishops and they still often wear amethyst rings.

Amethyst was also considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it! The gemstone still symbolizes sobriety.
Aventurine
Aventurine is a translucent to opaque, massive variety of Quartz containing small inclusions of one of several shiny minerals which give the stone a glistening effect (called aventurescence). The color of the aventurescence depends on the mineral included in the stone. Mica inclusions give the give the stone a yellowish or silverish glitter or sheen. Goethite and Hematite inclusions give the stone a reddish or grayish glitter or sheen. Fuschite inclusions give the stone a greenish sheen.

Aventurine may be green, orange, brown, yellow, or gray. All colors may be used in jewelry, but the green type is by far the most desirable. Aventurine is cut and polished into cabochons and beads for jewelry, and is sometimes carved into ornamental figures.
Azurite
Azurite is a deep blue-black to brilliant "azure" blue crystal that is highly sought after for its rarity.

It is occasionally coated with colorless wax, or rarely impregnated with plastic and/or other hardened agents to improve durabilty and appearance.
Bloodstone
Bloodstone is green form of Jasper that is dotted with bright red spots of iron oxide. It is also known as "Heliotrope" because in ancient times polished stones were described as reflecting the sun (perhaps the appearance of the gem reminded the ancients of the red setting sun reflected in the ocean). It long served as the birthstone for March.

The legend of the origin of Bloodstone says that it was first formed when some drops of Christ's blood fell and stained some jasper at the foot of the cross. As a result, Medieval Christians often used Bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs, leading it to also be dubbed "Martyr's Stone."

A beautiful example of carved Bloodstone with the seal of the German Emperor Rudolf II can be seen at the Louvre museum in Paris.

Today, finely powdered bloodstone is used as a medicine and aphrodisiac in India.
Bone
Self-explanatory. Cabochons can be made of virtually any bone. There are petrified dinosaur bone pieces (fashioned for optomum jewelry useage) and carved bone pieces from animals such as the buffalo.
carnelian
Also spelled Cornelian, this is one of the accepted birthstones of August and ranges in color from light brownish-red to deep transparent red. The stone's red tones increase or decrease in direct proportion to the amount of iron found in each piece.

Carnelian is a moderately hard stone whose mallability makes it ideal for carving, especially in cameos. In fact, it is especially reveared by Muslims because it was worn by their prophet, Mohammed, who wore a silver ring set with a Carnelian engraved for use as a seal.

Early 20th-century gemologist and historian G.F. Kunz said, "The wearing of carnelians is recommended for those who have a weak voice or are timid in speech, for a warm-colored stone will give them the courage they lack so that they will speak boldly and well."
Cat's Eye
A member of the Chrysoberyl family, Cat's Eye is a hard, translucent gem ranging in color from a honey yellow or honey brown to a yellowish green to an almost emerald green. It has a velvety or silk-like texture and when properly cut displays a brilliant whitish line of light right down the center, appearing to almost be lit from the inside.

This stone has long been used as a charm to guard against evil spirits, and one can understand why, given the pronounced eye effect. Legend says they eye could see all and it watched out for it's wearer. It was also believed that to dream of Cat's Eye was a sign of treachery.

Cat's Eye is not to be confused with another, weaker form of chrysoberyl called Tiger's Eye.
Charoite
Charoite is an unsual mineral and of rare occurence. It is found to date in only one location: along the Chary River at Aldan in Russia.

The color of Charoite is described as a stunning lavender, lilac, violet and/or purple. It forms a swirling pattern of interlocking crystals, and all can be used as all are probably present in every swirling example. The look of Charoite is unlike any other mineral and can't be mistaken.
Coral
A semi-translucent-to-opaque material that is formed from a colony of marine invertebrates. It is primarily a skeletal calcium carbonate gem.

It comes in red (oxblood coral), white and black.
Flourite
Fluorite occurrs in a variety of colors, including colorless, green, blue, purple, magenta, pink, yellow, or a combination of several colors. It is relatively soft stone, and can scratch or chip easily.

There are some who say Flourite offers the wearer a stabilizing energy that facilitates order, balance, and healing. Excellent for clarity of mind, objectivity, concentration, and meditation. Aids in grasping higher, more abstract concepts, and to be discerning as to the truth or reality of a given situation.

Hard science says it strengthens bones and teeth.
Goldstone
Goldstone is nothing more than aventurine spangled densely with fine gold-colored particles.
Hematite
This is an iron oxide, a metallic, opaque stone found in iron-mining areas. It takes a very brilliant, metallic polish that can almost look like silver, pure black, or gun-metal blue. It is popular for use in carving hollow cameo portraits known as "intaglio."

In mythology, Hematite is said to bring "alertness, vivacity and success in litigation" to those holding or wearing it, and has been said to ensure sexual impulse.
Howlite
Howlite, which is named for its discoverer Henry How (a Nova Scotia geologist), is one of those minerals that is more famous for imitating another mineral. In this case the other mineral is Turquoise, a phosphate gemstone.

Although Howlite is always white or gray, it can accept dyes fairly easily and be dyed a turquoise blue. The look of this fake turquoise is so good that dishonest dealers have been unfortunately successful at this hoax. In more honest circumstances, dyed howlite is an affordable substitute for turquoise carvings, beads, polished stones and cabochons. It accepts a nice polish and its porcelaneous luster is attractive and enhances even undyed beads and carvings. Dealers must state up front to customers when a piece being showed is dyed Howlite.

Unfortunately it has low hardness, but it still has a distinct toughness.

Some say it helps eliminate rage, pain and stress.
Jade
Birthstone for March, jade is the term applied to both jadeite and nephrite. However, distinctions between the two nearly identical-looking gems are not easily made. Jade is the toughest gem known to man, it is proven to be tougher than steel!

The Spanish named the gem "piedra de hijada", or stone of the loins.

It is beloved by the Chinese who treasured its vivid greens, lavenders, pinks, yellows and whites. At one time, they believed it to literally be the very essence of Heaven and Earth itself.
Jasper
There are more than 50 types of jasper on the market, each one containing the stone's trademark multi-colored blotch or vein-like patterns.

Jasper was believed in ancient cultures to bring rain and to protect its wearer from the bites of poisonous creatures. It was believed to have as diverse powers as the colors and veins in which it came, so there were many magical powers associated with it.
Lapis Lazuli
Lapis lazuli was one of the first stones ever to be used and worn for jewelery...It is reported that at the legendary city of Ur situated on the Euphrat river, there was a busy trade in Lapis as early as four thousand years BC. It was introduced to Europe by Alexander the Great, where it was called "Ultramarine", meaning "from beyond the seas."

The evocative name is a compound of "lapis", the Latin word for stone, and the Arabian word "azul", denoting the colour blue. Once can easily fancy it a gemstone straight out of the fairy tales of the Arabian Nights, having the world's deepest blue with golden shining Pyrite inclusions which make it twinkle like little stars.

The value of this colour for the world of art was for example enormous: in fact the ultramarine blue paint used by the Grand Old Masters was nothing else but pulverised Lapis lazuli...Before it became possible in 1834 to manufacture this colour also artificially, the only kind of valuable ultramarine (blue) in the market had to be made from real Lapis lazuli, which still displays its splendour in many works of art. For example, many portraits of the Virgin Mary would have been impossible to create without Lapis lazuli blue.

Some cultures worshipped Lapis as a holy stone. Oriental cultures in particular considered it a gemstone with magical powers. For many people all over the world it is considered a stone of truth and friendship.

Numerous seals, rings, scarabs and objects were crafted from the blue stone throughout history.
Leopardskin
Leopardskin Jasper is an opaque tan, brown and ochre form of jasper that gets it's name from its leopard-like spots. It is sometimes called "Jaguar Stone."

There is an ancient Indian legend about Leopardskin Agate. They believed that before man, dark beings lived alone on the earth. They didn't like the darkness, so they sent a messenger to the Leopard, Numi. Numi was a black leopard, whose eyes provided the only light in the darkness. The messenger asked Numi to intercede with the Great Spirit to bring light into the world. He answered that the dark beings had great importance in the manner of things and without them, there would not be the heavens. If the Light Beings were allowed to enter the earth, they would push aside the Dark Beings and they would then be of lesser importance and treated poorly. He asked the messenger if his people could accept this. The messenger didn't know, but he said yes anyway. It is said thus began the war between Light and Dark. Numi asked the Earth to create a stone to help beings see the Dark Ones. Thusly the legend says, Leopardskin Agate was created as a bridge to the deepest essences and mysteries--to help reveal that which is NOT known.
Malachite
Malachite is a famous and very popular semi-precious stone. It is named for the Greek word for "mallow", a green herb. Its banded light and dark green designs are one-of-a-kind, and give it a unique ornamental quality unlike that of any other stone. The light and dark green bands are so distictive that malachite maybe one of the most easily recognized minerals by the general public...

Malachite is also popular in jewelry, Native American Southwestern jewelry especially. The stones inlayed in silver make a nice variance from the traditional turquoise jewelry. Instead of competing, the two green stones tend to compliment each other when placed together in the same settings. Other stones such as coral, mother-of-pearl, azurite, jasper and onyx used in the typically handcrafted jewelry also compliment malachite's green colors.

Malachite has a mineral impostor called pseudomalachite. Pseudomalachite is a copper phosphate that has a massive crystal habit and color that are very similar to malachite's habit and color, although the two minerals have different structures. Pseudomalachite means "false malachite" in latin and is very rare compared to malachite.

Malachite is an impostor of its own. It frequently pseudomorphs the closely associated mineral azurite. A pseudomorph is a mineral specimen where the original mineral has been chemically replaced by another mineral, but the outward appearance is still retained. Pseudomorph means "false shape" in latin parlance. The transformation is fascinating and sometimes leaves a nearly perfect azurite crystal shape that is actually malachite. Often the transformation is incomplete and leaves a blue/green mineral specimen unlike any other. A gem trade name is used for ornamental stones with this combination called azur-malachite.

Color is banded light and dark green or (if crystalline), just dark green. Luster is dull in massive forms and silky as crystals. Transparency is opaque in massive form and translucent in crystalline form.
Mother of Pearl
This substance is the pearlescent inner shell of the same mollusk from which Abalone is derived. Mother of Pearl is usually scraped off, sliced thin, and used as inlay on a variety of jewelry, furniture, etc.
Obsidian
Obsidian is what is formed when lava from an erupting volcano pours into a lake or ocean and is cooled quickly. This process produces a rock of glassy texture to which iron and magnesium lend a distinct dark green to black color. Its luster is vitreous and has a translucent transparency.

Obsidian has several varieties. There is Sheen- and Rainbow Obsidian, which contain small bubbles of air that are aligned along layers created as the molten rock was flowing just before being cooled. The former occurs when the bubbles produce a golden sheen when reflecting light; the latter occurs when the sheen reflects different-colored light in band patterns.Inclusions of small, white, radially-clustered crystals of cristobalite in the black glass produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern producing Snowflake Obsidian.

Small nuggets of obsidian that have been naturally rounded and smoothed by wind and water are called Apache Tears.

Obsidian has been used by ancient people as a cutting tool, for weapons, and for ceremonial purposes and is sometimes found by archaeologists in excavations.
Onyx
Onyx is a black, finely-textured chalcedony quartz that is normally used as a background in multi-colored upscale jewelry. It lends itself well to this use because it makes the colors on the forefront of the piece look crisper.

Onyx was very popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. Its name comes from the Greek word "onux," which means fingernail. The story is that one day frisky Cupid cut the divine fingernails of Venus with an arrowhead while she was sleeping. He left the clippings scattered on the sand and the fates turned them into stone so that no part of the heavenly body would ever perish. True, black isn't normally the color one associates with fingernails, but in Greek times, almost all colors of chalcedony from fingernail white to dark brown and black were called onyx. Later, the Romans narrowed the term to refer to black and dark brown colors only.

Onyx which is reddish brown and white is known as sardonyx. Sardonyx was highly valued in Rome, especially for seals, because it was said to never stick to the wax.

Black Onyx that has white bands or ribbons running through it can be carved into cameos if the layers are even.
Opal
The word "Opal" is probably derived from the Sanskrit name "upala" which means "precious stone."

Opal has been a popular gem for many centuries and has a very interesting structure. It is considered a mineraloid because that structure is not truly crystalline (meaning it does not have a regular arrangement of atoms). One will find random chains of silicon and oxygen are packed into extraordinarily tiny spheres within each specimen. In most Opals, these spheres are irregular in size and inconsistent in concentration. In Precious Opal - the variety used most often in jewelry - there are many organized pockets of spheres. The pockets in this quality of Opal contain spheres of approximately equal size and regular concentration, which defract light at various wavelengths. This defraction creates the stone's multi-colored shimmering effect, called "opalescence."

Opals are generally white, colorless, pale yellow, pale red, gray or black in color and have a vitreous to pearly luster. Transparency ranges from transparent to translucent. Their look has been described as containing the wonders of the skies - sparking rainbows, fireworks, and lightning - shifting and moving in their depths.

Black opal is found only in Australia in Lightning Ridge - the most famous Opal deposit in the world since its discovery in 1903, and in Mintabie, which also produces large quantities of light opal. Another large Opal-producing area in Australia is Coober Pedy, which produces light Opal... Mexico and the state of Oregon in the United States produce a volcanic form of Opal (see "Opal - Fire Opal" separate)... A green translucent Opal that resembles Chrysoprase or Jade, which is called Prase Opal, is found in Tanzania. A beautiful blue-green opal is found in Peru in the Andes Mountains.

Opal has been treasured throughout history around the world. Archaeologist Louis Leakey found six-thousand year old opal artifacts in a cave in Kenya! Opal was much loved and valued highly by the Romans, who called it "opalus" and the stone was also mined at the same time by the Aztecs on the other side o the Atlantic.

Opal was also treasured in the Middle Ages and was called "ophthalmios" or "eye stone" due to a widespread belief that it was beneficial to eyesight. Blonde women wore opal necklaces to protect their hair from losing its color. Some thought the opal's effect on sight could render the wearer invisible, and it was recommended for thieves!

Ancient opal came from the mines near Cervenica, Hungary, in what is now Eastern Slovakia, where hundreds of men mined the stone. Ancient opal fanciers never had the chance to see the opal of Australia, where the opal of today was born, which far surpasses the beauty of Hungarian opal in fire and brilliance.

A beautiful opal called the orphanus was set in the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor...Opals are also set in the crown jewels of France. Napoleon gave Josephine a beautiful opal with brilliant red flashes called "The burning of Troy," making her his Helen.

Choosing an Opal
Within each opal variety, the brillance of the play of color is the most important value factor. After this consideration, the colors seen and the pattern of the colors will also influence value. Generally, opal with red fire is the most valued because opal that shows red will also show other colors when rolled back and forth: it contains the whole spectrum. The pattern of the play of color also influences value. Generally large flashes and broad patterns are more rare and valuable than small pinfire patterns...

All Opal has a high water content. It should therefore be protected from heat and prolonged exposure to strong light (which could dry it out). All Opal is relatively soft and should be in a protective mounting if set in a ring. Be especially careful with the points of marquise and pear shapes.
Pyrite
Pyrite is the classic "Fool's Gold". There are other shiny brassy yellow minerals, but pyrite is by far the most common and the most often mistaken for gold. Whether it is the golden look or something else, pyrite is a favorite among rock collectors. It can have a beautiful luster and interesting crystals. It is so common in the earth's crust that it is found in almost every possible environment, hence it has a vast number of forms and varieties.

Pyrite is a polymorph of marcasite - which means that it has the same chemistry (FeS2) - but a different structure... Pyrite is difficult to distinguish from marcasite when a lack of clear indicators exists.
Quartz
If you gaze deep inside a crystal ball, you will see a versatile gemstone, one of the most popular gems on earth. Beautiful quartz, the "Rock Crystal" used in ancient times to make crystal balls and bowls, is today more often seen set in gold jewelry. Despite the popularity of quartz gems like amethyst, citrine, ametrine, rose quartz, onyx, agates, chrysoprase, rutilated quartz, and other quartz gemstone varieties, many people in the jewelry industry take quartz for granted because of its affordable price.

Throughout history, quartz has been the common chameleon of gemstones, standing in for more expensive gemstones ranging from diamond to jade. But the incredible variety of quartz is now beginning to be appreciated for its own sake.

Purple to violet amethyst and yellow to orange citrine are jewelry staples that continue to increase in popularity. Ametrine combines the appeal of both amethyst and citrine as well as both the purple and yellow in one bicolored gemstone. Different colors and types of chalcedony, from agate to chrysoprase, have grown in popularity with the growing appreciation for carved gemstones and art cutting and carving. And unusual quartz specialties like drusy quartz, with its surface covered by tiny sparking crystals, and rutilated quartz, which has a landscape of shining gold needles inside, are adding variety and nature's artistry to unusual one-of-a-kind jewelry.

- Chalcedony -
Quartz that is formed not of one single crystal but finely grained microcrystals is known as Chalcedony. The variety of Chalcedony is even greater than transparent quartz varieties because it includes cryptocrystalline quartz with patterns as well as a wide range of solid colors.

Agates are banded, bloodstone has red spots on a green ground, moss agate has a vegetal pattern. Jasper sometimes looks like a landscape painting. Another staple of the jewelry industry is Black Onyx, a Chalcedony quartz which owes its even black color to an ancient dyeing process that is still used today. Carnelian, another chalcedony valued in the ancient world, has a vivid brownish orange color and clear translucency that makes it popular for signet rings and seals.

Chrysoprase, a bright apple green translucent chalcedony, is the most valued. It was a particular favorite of Frederick The Great of Prussia, who loved its bright green color. It can be seen today decorating many buildings in beautiful Prague, including the Chapel of St Wencelas. Chrysoprase is found today mostly in Australia. Unlike most other green stones, which owe their color to chromium or vanadium, chrysoprase derives its color from nickel. Its bright even color and texture lends itself well to beads, cabochons, and carvings.

- Rose Quartz -
Quartz that has a very pale and delecate powder pink and ranges from transparent to translucent, is known as Rose Quartz.

Transparent Rose Quartz is very rare and is usually so pale that it does not show very much color except in large sizes. The translucent quality of Rose Quartz is much more available and is used for beads, cabochons, carvings, and architectural purposes.

- Smoky Quartz -
Smoky Quartz is a brown transparent variety of quartz that is sometimes used for unusual faceted cuts. The commercial market is limited due to the limited demand for brown gemstones. This variety was sometimes known as "Smoky Topaz" in the past, which is incorrect and misleading, since the mineral variety is Quartz, not Topaz.

- Rutilated Quartz -
While most varieties of transparent Quartz are valued most when they lack inclusions, some varieties are valued chiefly because of inclusions! The most popular of these is known as Rutilated Quartz.

Rutilated Quartz is transparent rock crystal with golden needles of rutile arrayed in patterns inside. Every pattern is different and some are breathtakingly beautiful. The inclusions are sometimes called "Venus hair."

- Tourmalinated Quartz -
Among the lesser-known varieties of Quartz is a type called Tourmalinated Quartz. It is distinguished by black or dark green Tourmaline crystals instead of golden rutile.
Rhodocrosite
Rhodochrosite (the name means "rose-colored") is a very attractive mineral with an absolutely one-of-a-kind, beautiful color. Although it can be an ore of manganese, it is its ornamental and display specimen qualities that make it a very popular mineral. The color of a single crystal can just astound the observer with its vivid pink-rose color that seems to be transmitted out of the crystal as if lit from within.

Individual crystals are found in well-shaped rhombohedrons and more rarely scalahedrons. In massive form, its pink and white bands are extremely attractive and are often used in semi-precious jewelry. Rhodochrosite is often carved into figurines and tubular stalactitic forms are sliced into circles with concentric bands that are truly unique in the mineral kingdom. Fine crystals are sometimes cut into gemstones, but rhodochrosite's softness and brittleness limit it as a gemstone for everyday use.

Color is red to pink, sometimes almost white, yellow and brown. Luster is vitreous to resinous.Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.
Rhondite
Rhodonite is an attractive mineral that is often carved and used in jewelry. It is named after the Greek word for rose, rhodon. Its rose-pink color is distinctive and can only be confused with rhodochrosite and the rare mineral, pyroxmangite, MnSiO3. Rhodochrosite however is streaked with white minerals such as calcite and is reactive to acids. While rhodonite does not react to acids and is usually associated with black manganese minerals and pyrite.

Color is typically pink to red or orange and even black. Luster is vitreous to dull to pearly on polished surfaces.

Transparency: Crystals are generally traslucent and rarely transparent.
Sodalite
Sodalite is a scarce mineral that can be rock forming. It gets its name from references to its sodium content. It is used for carvings and some jewelry pieces.

Some say it helps promote metabolism and eliminate confusion.
Tiger Eye
Tiger's-Eye quartz contains brown iron which produces its golden-yellow color. Cabochon cut stones of this variety show the chatoyancy (small ray of light on the surface) that resembles the feline eye of a tiger. The most important deposit is in South Africa, though Tiger's Eye is also found in Western Australia, Burma (Myanmar), India and the U.S. (California).
Turquoise
Turquoises are relatively soft gemstones, the color of which combines the light blue of the sky with the invigorating green of the seas. In fact it is so unique that the language took the stones' very name to describe it: Turquoise.

The best Turquoise quality shows a clear and light sky-blue. The colour is highly appreciated, with or without the fine regular spider web lines that often accompany it. Its quality decreases with the increase of green in colour, and the increase of spots and irregularities in the spider web.

Since the colour may also fade out in the course of wearing, even the top qualities receive a waxing and subsequent hardening treatment as of late. This procedure will make the sensitive gemstone sturdier. Turquoises which have been sealed with artificial resin are also available in large amounts and at competitive prices. Their colour appears fresh, and they show a high resistance. But one should be careful, because many of these stones have been additionally dipped in colour before being sealed, and this colouring is a kind of treatment which according to the rules set down by ICA must be indicated.

In addition, there are also so-called "reconstructed" Turquoises, which have been assembled from pulverised Turquoise.

Turquoise should be protected from cosmetics, heat and bright daylight. The gemstone does not really appreciate sunbathing. It is recommended to clean it from time to time after wearing with a soft cloth.

In many cultures of the Old and New World this gemstone has for thousands of years been appreciated as a holy stone, a good-luck-charm or a talisman. It is a virtual "peoples' gemstone". The oldest proof for this lies in Egypt, where in tombs from the period around 3000 B.C. there were found artefacts set with Turquoise. In the ancient Persian Kingdom the sky-blue gemstones were originally worn around the neck or on the hand as protection to ward off unnatural death. If the stones changed their colour, there was an imminent danger for the wearer.

However, in the meantime it has been uncovered that Turquoises may in fact change their colour, but this reaction is not necessarily an indication of danger impending. The reason for the colour change is rather the influence of light, cosmetic products, dust or even the ph-value of the skin, which may all trigger off chemical responses.

In earlier times Turquoises were sometimes thought responsible for the material wealth of their bearers...Turquoises were loved as ornaments decorating turbans, often set in a border of pearls, in order to protect the wearer from the "evil eye".They have been used as talismans decorating daggers, scimitars or the horses' bridles. Turquoise came to Europe only during the time of the crusades. And from this period comes the name "Turquoise", meaning simply "Turkish stone".
Unakite
This naturally-occurring mineral is an epidote-rich granite which contains pink orthoclase, quartz, and minor opaque oxides, apatite, and zircon. The name "unakite" is derived from the type locality, the Unaka Range in the Great Smokey Mountains of eastern Tennessee.

It is said Unakite balnces emotions and can help discover roots of illness.
Zoisite
An opaque green stone with black streaks, Zoisite is often found included with opaque ruby (corundum). Transparent green Zoisite is heat treated to form violet/blue Tanzanite.

Zoisite has been known for nearly two centuries as as a sometimes ornamental stone of limited distribution. Only in 1967 was the blue gemstone variety found in Tanzania. The variety was named Tanzanite and was a surprise to minerologists and gemologists alike in that it had come from a very ungemstone-like mineral. The blue-lavender color of tanzanite is unique and sets it apart from the other gemstones.

Besides Tanzanite, Zoisite has produced other attractive specimens that are of interest to collectors. A pink variety called Thulite is usually massive and used for beads and cabochons. A brilliant green variety is associated with medium grade rubies and is quite popular as an ornamental stone. Red rubies are often distorted and irregularly spread throughout the sea of massive green zoisite. It is one of the most colorful of ornamental stones and competes well with the popular pink Tourmaline and lavender Lepidolite of California.

It is said Zoisite with ruby dispels laziness and idleness, helps wearer maintain individuality and connection to others.