Learn all about the best quality Gemstones

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Aquamarine

Aquamarines, like emeralds are members of the beryl family , a crystal mineral form of aluminum and berylium. Aquamarines, however, do not contain chromium, which gives emeralds their green colour. It is a relatively hard stone, and ranges in colour from light blue to dark blue, sometimes with a hint of green. Unlike emerald it is not always prone to inclusions, and near-flawless gems are more common. It is a very wearable, clear, brilliant gem that makes a good choice for all types of jewellery.

Emerald

Emerald is  May’s birthstone, is one of the most sought after and expensive gemstones. It has long since been regarded as the quintessential green in nature. Pliny the Elder wrote of emerald, about 50 A.D: “Nothing greens greener.” The name emerald is derived from the Latin word for green, smaragdus. Its typical color is a beautiful, distinctive hue known, in fact, as emerald green. But emerald can also be light or dark green, bright green or leaf green.

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Garnet

Garnet, January’s birthstone, is one of the most exciting gems on the market. This hard, durable and often very brilliant gem offers great versatility because of its variety. Believed to represent faith, loyalty, truth and devotion, garnet is known as the stone of commitment. Most people think of garnet as a single type of gem that is dark red in color. Actually, garnet is a gem family that spans a range of red, green, yellow, orange, purple and brown shades.

Opal

Opal, October’s birthstone, is sometimes considered the “Queen of Gems,” because it encompossed the colors of all other gems. The Romans revered opal as a symbol of hope, fidelity, purity, and good fortune and held it to be second only to the prized emerald.

Opal is a non-crystalline gem that is formed in the ground when silica is liquefied and washed into fissures in the surrounding rock where it solidifies into a hardened gel. Tiny silica spheres create a pattern in opal that causes a prism-like effect that produces flashes of color.

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Peridot

Peridot, also known as olivine, is August’s birthstone. It is found in varying shades of olive green, yellow-green, brownish-green, but the most valued color is a lively lime green. The yellower varieties are often referred to as chrysolite, but are chemically identical. Peridot is usually lighter in hue than emerald, and has a more velvety color rather than a brilliant one.

Ruby

Ruby, July’s birthstone, is aptly named the King of Gems. Both the Bible and ancient Sanskrit writing depict the ruby as the most precious of all gemstones. To the Hindus, ruby burned from an inextinguishable internal fire. The name ruby is derived from the Latin word for red, rubrum. Its color varies from purplish and bluish red to orange-red in medium to dark hues. Sister to sapphire, ruby is known in the mineral world as corundum, which is a crystal structure composed of aluminum oxide. Only red corundum is ruby, all other corundum colors are classified as sapphire. Ruby is considered the most valuable variety of the corundum. In fact, large rubies have consistently brought higher prices per carat at auctions than the most flawless, colorless diamonds! This is primarily due to the rarity of gem-quality rough ruby.

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Sapphire

Sapphire, September’s birthstone, has been the pre-eminent blue gemstone for centuries. Ancient Persian rulers believed its reflection painted the heavens blue. Indeed, its very name in Latin, sapphirus, means blue.

While sapphire has become the ultimate blue stone, it actually comes in virtually every color except red (red sapphires are rubies), including colorless and white, and such fancy colors as yellow, peach, orange, cognac, pink, violet, purple and green and all their many shades. In fact, white sapphire has become a popular natural diamond substitute for many people. Moreover fancy color sapphire often provides an alternative to other gems in similar colors that are less durable. It is considered the most important and versatile of the gem families.

Tanzanite

Millions of years in the making, deep-violet tanzanite revealed itself to humans only thirty years ago. Read about this newest discovery.

The ABC’S of Tanzanite

Tanzanite was only discovered less than 50 years ago. Whilst is lacks a heritage and romance of  times gone by, this has not stopped it becoming  a very popular gemstone. Tanzanite was discovered by Portuguese prospector Manuel d’Souza in Tanzania in 1967 while searching for sapphire. Tanzanite was named after its country of origin by Henry Platt, vice president of Tiffany & Co. in New York, one of the world’s most influential jewellers who began an aggressive marketing campaign to introduce tanzanite to the public in the 1980s.

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Tourmaline

Chemically speaking, tourmaline is a complex aluminum and boron silicate mineral. Colors are red, pink, blue, green, yellow, violet, and black; sometimes it is colorless. Two or more colors, arranged in zones or bands with sharp boundaries, may occur in the same stone. Tourmalines are found in pegmatite veins in granites, gneisses, schists, and crystalline limestone. Important sources include Elba, Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka, and parts of the U.S. Tourmaline scores a 7.0 on the Mohs scale.

Turquoise

Turquoise is an opaque mineral with a color range from blue to green to yellow-gray, while the stone’s waxen luster only enhances its color. Turquoise was mined as far back as 6000 B.C., by the Egyptians in the Sinai, from where it was transferred through Turkey to Europe. In fact, some say that its name, Turquoise, comes from the French word meaning Turkish.

Turquoise has been mined in Northern Africa, Australia, Siberia, China and Europe, but by far the best turquoise comes from Iran and Tibet. Despite the quality of those stones, it is still difficult to discover really good, untreated turquoise. There have also been superlative deposits uncovered in the American Southwest. These stones have a pronounced white or brown matrix, as opposed to the black matrix found in the Mid-East, Asia and elsewhere around the globe.

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