I decided to post about gemstones, but since this topic is so huge, I’m just going to post about stones and stone-related things that I find interesting. It’s my blog after all!
Amazonite, my favorite gemstone, is a blue-green stone that is not found in the Amazon. It got its name by mistake. It’s mostly found in Russia and a few other places in the world. It varies in color sometimes and certain pieces can be quite green. It sometimes has white streaks. The second picture above is a composite some with amazonite and bronze, which I find really cool. It’s a fairly common stone and usually isn’t too expensive. The beads in the first picture were my first glance at amazonite and I love them, but they’re $51. Higher grade gemstones in general are more expensive and this stone is no exception.
Ametrine is a type of quartz that’s a mixture between amethyst and citrine. It’s mined almost exclusively in Bolivia. It can also be created artificially from amethyst. I worry that it would make me seem like a Vikings fan, not that I’m against the Vikings, I just don’t want to associate myself with football.
There are a great many types of jasper. Some are quite stunning and some I find ugly. The first photo is a stone I own. It’s called ocean jasper and it’s mainly found in Madagascar. Apparently it’s becoming depleted so it’s harder to find nowadays than in the past, especially in a larger size (this one is a couple inches long). The dots are called orbs and the stone is also called orbicular jasper (ocean jasper is the specific name for the kind found in Madagascar). The second photo is polychrome or desert jasper (a more general term that also includes orbicular is “picture jasper”). The cool patterns in these stones are created during the stone’s formation. I think it has to do with how different materials are compressed. They may have been liquid-like (not sure I understand the science completely). I also love aqua terra jasper (3rd photo) and dendritic jasper (4th photo).
Morganite is a type of beryl named after J.P. Morgan. It’s largely found in Madagascar, which I’m learning has a lot of interesting gemstones. Other types of beryl include emerald and aquamarine. Morganite is the pink kind. It’s often mixed with aquamarine in bead strings like in the first photo. It can also be highly polished and cut into a diamond-like gemstone like in the second photo. Many jewelry stores refer to it as a type of diamond or a diamond alternative.
Chrysocolla is a stone that contains copper material. It’s very pretty but I’ve found that at least some pieces are very brittle and break during normal working. I haven’t worked with it enough to know if that’s very common, though. I just had 2 matched pieces that both broke where there was a drilled hole. I own the stone in the second photo and just glued a bail on it. I have had the top photo in my favorites for like a year, but what makes me hesitate is the brittleness.
Larimar is a blue stone found only in the Dominican Republic. It is formed due to volcanic activity. I really like the type that has inclusions, as in both photos, but generally the more valuable larimar is only blue with kind of a cloud-like pattern.
The type of ruby I’m talking about is not the clear kind that’s used in fine jewelry (would that make it semiprecious? I don’t know because the definition of precious states “ruby”). You can find these opaque stones for a lot less money and they are equally as pretty IMO. I own the ring in the first photo and it’s beautiful (it’s also still available because they make multiple).
I like amethyst because it’s my birthstone. It’s also incredibly versatile and varied. The first photo is an awesome ring I own (still available too). I highly recommend her store. Amazing jewelry. You can get to it by clicking on the photo. Amethyst comes in a bunch of shapes and sizes, sometimes including other materials like in the second photo. It also comes in lots of different shades. It’s one of the most common and affordable gemstones but it’s always pretty.
This gemstone is named after the Chara River in Russia, the only place where it’s found. It can be really cool looking and sometimes can be a bit much.
I just recently discovered this stone, which is found in the small town of Larvik, Norway and in Thunder Bay, Canada. It’s also known as Norwegian moonstone. It contains a few different materials, which give it the speckled look. It also displays “labradorescence”, a type of iridescence found in the stone labradorite. Some people say that larvikite is a type of labradorite, but I don’t think it is. Also, I hate the look of labradorite. To me it looks like it’s a design from the early 90s.
Iolite, with an i, is named by the Greek word for violet. The funny thing about this is that it has widely been misunderstood to be called Lolite with an L. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing called Lolite. It’s confusing though.
Sunstone is found in Norway, Siberia, and the United States. It usually contains red copper.
People who know me know that I’m obsessed with Iceland and have been for about 18 years now. When I was there in 2013, I saw a lot of lava jewelry. However, I read in this article that actual Icelandic lava is too soft to make jewelry with. So, unfortunately, if you see Icelandic lava beads or stones, they probably aren’t, though it’s possible if it’s just a raw stone that hasn’t been treated or cut, it could be. But still a bummer!
Rhodonite gets it’s name from the Greek word for “rosy”. I don’t know too much else because everything online was too scientific.
The first thing I think of with this stone is that it’s the main stone in my sister’s engagement ring. It’s really pretty! I love the colors that tanzanite comes in. As you might guess, it’s from Tanzania in Africa. It can be very expensive.
Agate encompasses a huge number of rocks. It’s often used in non-jewelry items, like coasters and the bookends above, because it comes in large pieces. It’s formed by volcanic activity. It often has “druzy” in it, which I’ll explain later. The bookends have druzy, an open crystallized hole formed by water somehow.
Quartz is an extremely common and large group of rocks. It comes in tons of different colors, and actually a couple of stones I mentioned already are forms of quartz. The first and second photos are rose quartz, the second being coated with a coating called “Aurora Borealis” or AB. The last photo is quartz coated with titanium. I’ll talk about both coatings later.
Druzy is a layer of crystal that forms on other rocks. Druzy is usually quartz and the other rock is usually agate. You can find a lot of agate with druzy and they are also referred to as “geodes”, but I’m not sure if they’re the exact same thing. Druzy often comes in agate slabs like in the last photo. The first, second, and third photos are druzy by itself. The first is titanium coated, the second is more of an opaque, earthy look, and the third photo shows some coated and some plain. This type of crystal had been gaining popularity recently. I remember getting a blue druzy pendant at Michaels several years ago and I had never seen anything like it before. Nowadays it’s very popular.
As seen above, metal coatings can be applied to gemstones. They are often very thin layers of gold, titanium, or niobium. The Aurora Borealis coating is an invention of Swarovski. Most or all of their colors come in normal and AB styles. A couple other terms for various coatings are mystic and aura.
Doublet and Triplet
This is a doublet pendant that I made of a “Regency Plume Agate”. Doublet means that there are 2 layers stuck together. It’s a manmade creation and it’s most often used with opal. A triplet includes a third layer, usually a clear top.
The two main settings are prong (first photo) and bezel (second photo).
Calibrated stones are those that are cut to a standard size and shape to fit into premade settings. The stones above are tourmaline.
A cabochon, also called a cab, is a slightly domed stone with no holes and no facets. Many of the photos I posted above are cabochons. If it has holes it’s a pendant or bead or connector. If it has facets it’s just called a faceted stone.
Good sources of gemstones:
Stony Mountain Gems and Stony Mountain Stones are my favorite gemstone shops. They always have a large selection of really unique and varied stones. Sometimes stores only carry a select few types, but this one has everything. They also have a third store, Stony Mountain Jewelry.
Mile High Beads has a selection of stones, beads, finished jewelry, chain, and more. I’ve bought from there at least 5 times. The owner is also very nice and helpful.
Smart Parts has a dizzying number of products (over 10,000), including gemstone and gemstone rosary chain (like in the first photo of iolite). I have also bought from them several times. You can pretty much find anything jewelry-related there.
Bone Addict, Beads Addict, and Cab Addict all have gemstones. They all kind of overlap in content as Bone Addict doesn’t only have bone products, etc.
CRC Beads Shop has a great selection, many of which are in my favorites waiting to be bought in one transaction.
I’m obsessed with YZ Beads Land because of their photos being really consistent. They also have tons of different types of beads at standard sizes. I decided to create a “solar system” bracelet and wanted to get beads that closely resembled the planets’ colorings and relative sizes. I managed to get all but 1 at YZ Beads Land. I also got the beads there for sets for Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons.
ShungitArtCabochons I think should be Shungite, but I guess they ran out of characters.
That’s all, folks!