Gemstone Index

Gemstone Index: Peridot

Peridot (pronounced PEAR-ih-doh or PEAR-ih-dot) is created under great temperatures and pressures deep within the Earth, and sometimes is extruded in basaltic lavas. Its yellow-green color is mainly dependent on the amount of ferrous iron present. The traditional birthstone of August, peridot's name origin is uncertain, but several theories exist.

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Gemstone Index: Apatite

The name apatite (aka Asparagus Stone, Berilo) is quite appropriate, considering this mineral makes up the teeth in all vertebrate animals (and teeth are used to satisfy one's appetite!). In fact, it comprises more than 60% of the bones and teeth in humans, fish, birds, cows, and even mammoths and dinosaurs. Apatite is a calcium phosphate that is typically green, but also can be blue, yellow, reddish-brown, violet, yellow-green ("asparagus stone"), colorless or multicolored. Colors often form due to natural irradiation or the presence of rare earth elements. This clear to opaque stone will sometimes show a cat's-eye effect.

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Gemstone Index: Carnelian

Carnelian Gemstone Beads: Carnelian is an A-grade agate. What a lot of people call "true carnelian" is the fiery red/orange color, and in theory, carnelian is naturally that color. However, most of that fiery red/orange "true" carnelian is heat-treated in secret before it reaches the gemstone-cutting factory. This apparently has been a secret for thousands of years; each part of the world thought everyone else's carnelian was naturally red, but they were heating theirs, too. When held against the light, the color-treated carnelian shows its color in stripes, while natural carnelian shows a cloudy distribution of color. Ayurveda holds that carnelian is excellent for the first chakra, and the gemstone is thought to bring passion to the wearer.

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Gemstone Index: Ruby

Ruby Gemstone Beads: From royal crowns to Dorothy's slippers to, of course, delicious jewelry, the ruby is a most desirable gemstone. Its hardness, durability, luster and rarity are among the world's finest, and its blazing red color is beyond compare. Ruby is the red variety of the corundum (aluminum oxide) mineral, a family that also includes sapphire, and takes its name from the Latin rubeus or ruber, meaning "red." Corundum (which sapphires and rubies are comprised of) is the second-hardest natural mineral known to mankind. Pure corundum is colorless; the presence of chromium impurities creates the fiery-colored stone known as ruby, and corundum of any other color is sapphire.

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Gemstone Index: Table of Contents

Discover the Story Behind Each Bead! From geology to metaphysics, this gemstone guide gives insight into the origins and uses of many gemstones that are used as beads. Most entries include: Origin of the stone's name | "Also known as" (aka) names | Chemical composition | Where it is found | Details about industry practices, enhancements, & synthetics | Metaphysical properties | History and fun trivia facts | Care recommendations Learn more about Agate, Amazonite, Amethyst, Carnelian, Emerald, Jade, Jasper, Lava Stone, Moonstone, Onyx, Opal, Opalite, Pearls, Prehnite, Quartz, Rhyolite, Serpentine, Tigereye, Tourmaline...

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Gemstone Index: Moonstone

Moonstone Gemstone Beads: With its ghostly glow, this feldspar stone almost seems magical. High-quality rainbow moonstone is usually chatoyant and sometimes displays a strong cat's eye. The floating-light phenomenon and sheen of moonstone are called adularescence or schiller. The light is scattered by alternating layers of two kinds of feldspar and produces a misty luster of white, dull yellow, yellow-gray or greenish-gray. The stone's main color also comes in shades of peach and gray. The Romans thought moonstone was formed out of moonlight and began wearing it in jewelry around 100 A.D. The gemstone has always been considered sacred in India, and Europeans of the Middle Ages thought by looking into a moonstone, you would fall into a deep sleep and see the future.

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Gemstone Index: Jade

Jade Gemstone Beads: For centuries, the word jade applied to green gemstones brought to Europe from China and Central America. It wasn't until 1863 that society realized the term "jade" was being applied to two different minerals. These two gemstones, nephrite and jadeite, are relatively hard to distinguish from each other, and both are still called jade. Varieties of serpentine have also been confused with jade throughout history, and some serpentine is still called jade. In fact, the Chinese word for jade is applied to a variety of minerals that can be carved, including serpentine, agate and quartz! Our jade beads include true jades, serpentine beads, and...

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Gemstone Index: Serpentine

Serpentine is a lovely green translucent, waxy silicate of magnesium. it is often mistaken for various types of jade, and some stones called "jade" are actually types of serpentine. A major difference between the two semi precious stones is that serpentine is softer and less dense than most real jade. Its name comes from the word "serpent," or snake, perhaps because of its mottled green colors and patterns that can resemble snakeskin. Most of serpentine's history is tied in with the history of jade, as the two were (and are) often confused. Historically, serpentine was thought to protect the wearer from snake bites. Modern mystics say...

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Gemstone Index: Lava Stone

Black lava stone beads are cut from basalt, a type of igneous rock formed during volcanic eruptions. Due to their holes and bubbles, lava stone beads add great texture, but not a lot of weight, to jewelry designs. Lava stone is naturally rough in texture, and our beads appear to be treated with a paraffin wax to make them smooth to the touch - plain basalt would be rather abrasive! Lava stone beads are a great base for Art Clay Silver paste and other Metal Clay pastes - just be sure to burn off the waxy coating in a kiln first. Natural lava (basalt) is only available in shades of black and brown. All white and other colors that are commercially sold as lava are a similar stone (likely pumice, which is also volcanic). Due to their unknown makeup, we don't recommend heating white "lava".

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Gemstone Index: Prehnite

This pale green stone has the distinction of being the first mineral named after a person. In the mid-18th century, Dutch mineralogist Colonel Hendrik Von Prehn (1733-1785) discovered it within Jurassic dolerite (volcanic rock) on the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. For many years, prehnite was regarded as a fairly rare gemstone. However, recent finds in Australia and China have made it available through many gem dealers. Prehnite is a hydrous silicate of alumina and lime, with bright, almost luminescent green coloring. It forms thick...

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Gemstone Index: Tiger Eye

Richly striped tigereye is a variety of quartz with a fine luster. These semiprecious beads are available in their natural, unenhanced brown-gold state, and sometimes in heat-treated blue or red. Also known as African cat's eye, crocidolite, and tiger's eye, this gemstone contains oriented fibers of crocidolite (a mineral of the amphibole group) that have been replaced by silica. We occasionally also have Tiger iron. Tiger iron is a natural mixture of hematite, jasper, and tigereye, and it provides the perfect example of a metamorphosed gemstone.

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Gemstone Index: Onyx

Onyx is a striped, semiprecious variety of agate, with white, black, brown or red alternating bands. It is different from regular agate only in that the bands of which it is composed are parallel and regular. The name onyx originates from the Greek word onyx for "fingernail" or "hoof," probably because of its weak transparency or possibly its color. Onyx may chip or scratch rather easily, so store it carefully. Stunning black onyx beads, gemstone donuts, and pendants work for a wide variety of jewelry applications from everyday wear to formal attire. As with nearly all black onyx on the market, our black onyx beads and pendants have been rendered a uniform, permanent black color with a treatment using sugar and acid (and/or heat). This process has been used on the gemstone for thousands of years and is water safe.

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Gemstone Index: Black Stone

Black Stone beads and pendants provide basic black gemstones that will perpetually remain in style! This semiprecious gemstone closely resembles black onyx, but since we have been unable to verify its true classification, "black stone" is the most honest descriptive name we can give to these beads and pendants. Black stone jewelry components generally appear less shiny than black onyx components.

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Gemstone Index: Emerald

Emerald is well-known as the birthstone for May. Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl, colored green by trace amounts of chromium. In the United States, emeralds colored by vanadium are recognized as true emeralds, but in Europe, vanadium emeralds (sometimes called "Columbian Emeralds") are simply called "green beryl"....

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Gemstone Index: Tourmaline

The official state gemstone of Maine, tourmaline is a complex crystalline silicate containing aluminum, boron and other elements. Its name derives from the Sinhalese (Sri Lankan) word tura mali, meaning "stone of mixed colors," and tourmaline is indeed found in blue (indicolite), yellow, pink to red (rubellite), black (schorl), green, dravite (brown) and clear (achroite) varieties. This semiprecious gemstone is piezoelectric (when it's heated, rubbed or pressurized the crystal gives it an electric charge). It is also pleochroic...

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Gemstone Index: Pearls

Pearls are June's most-popular birthstone, and are a favorite in bridal jewelry and couture. Cultured freshwater pearl beads come in several shapes and colors, making it easy to add elegance to a wide variety of jewelry designs. Pearls are organic gemstones, formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone) makes its way into an oyster (or similar mollusk's) shell. Over time, the mollusk covers the intruding object with 1,000's of layers of nacre. "Cultured" pearls are pearls in which people, rather than nature, implant the foreign particle, and care for the mollusks at a pearl farm while the pearls develop. Nearly all pearls available today are...

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Gemstone Index: Quartz

Quartz gemstone beads and pendants from Rings & Things include multicolor rutilated quartz, clear rock crystal quartz, rose quartz, smoky quartz, tourmalated quartz, druzy quartz and more. Members of this semiprecious gemstone family share the same chemical composition (silicon dioxide) and similar physical properties. All semiprecious beads described here are types of macrocrystalline quartz (crystals recognizable with the naked eye), just like citrine and amethyst. Quartz is said to be the universal healing stone. Quartz crystals are believed to promote...

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Gemstone Index: Opal

Opal beads have the same basic chemical composition as quartz, but usually contain 6 - 10% water. Because of this, opal jewelry components should be protected from heat and strong light. Make sure to keep your opal beads away from detergents, ultrasonic cleaners, metal polish, acids and strong solvents. Common opal (sometimes called opalite) does not have the flashes of light found in precious opal, but both are hydrated amorphous Silicon Dioxide. Birthstones for October include Opal, Rose Zircon and Pink Tourmaline. Bello Opal...

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Gemstone Index: Jasper

Jasper is a semiprecious chalcedony (or microcrystalline quartz), and is usually red, brown or green. Its patterns are much less regular and defined than agate, the other chalcedony variety. Another difference between the two is that jaspers are generally opaque, while agates tend to be translucent (or at least contain translucent bands). This distinction stems from the stones' composition. Jasper contains microscopic "grains" of crystalline quartz and agate has microscopic "fibers" of crystalline quartz. Although the term jasper is often applied to unidentified stones, true jaspers...

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Gemstone Index: Rhyolite

Rhyolite gemstone beads can look very similar to jaspers, and the popular green variety of rhyolite is sometimes called rainforest jasper. Similarly, the type of rhyolite that displays red, yellow, brown, and pinkish spots is descriptively called leopardskin jasper. Rhyolites, igneous rock chemically identical to granite, have beautifully markings which...

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