Garnets are a set of closely related minerals forming a group. Red garnets have a long history, but modern gem buyers can pick from a rich palette of garnet colors: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, and even some blues. Garnets are the birthstone of January. Garnets are the perfect gemstone to provide deep color and contrast to your jewelry.
Mineral: Garnet group
Refractive index: 1.714-1.888
Mohs harness: 6.5-7.5
Amethyst’s major attribute is its rich velvety purple or reddish purple hue. Gems that display this color evenly—with no visible color zoning when viewed from above—are highly prized. Amethyst was as expensive as ruby and emerald until the 19th Century, when Brazil’s large deposits were discovered. It was believed to prevent intoxication—amethystos means “not drunk” in ancient Greek. Today, as the most valued quartz variety, amethyst is in demand for designer pieces and mass-market jewelry alike, and its purple to pastel hues retain wide consumer appeal. It is the birthstone for the month February.
Refractive Index: 1.544 to 1.553
Mohs Hardness: 7
Aquamarines are a green blue to blue variety gemstone made of mineral beryl. Aquamarines normally have a light pastel color, with heat treatments allowing for richer blue hues. Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater and it was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. March’s birthstone was also thought to enhance the happiness of marriages. The best gems combine high clarity with limpid transparency and blue to slightly greenish blue hues. Like many beryls, aquamarine forms large crystals suitable for sizable fashioned gems and carvings. Aquamarines are a softer gemstone and would be best suited for a necklace or earring rather than a ring.
Refractive index: 1.577 to 1.583
Mohs Hardness: 7.5 to 8.0
Emeralds are a green variety of mineral beryl, the same material as Aquamarines! Very few places in the world can have the geological conditions that are vital to forming this beautiful gemstone. Emeralds are very soft which means they can scratch easily. Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. Most gemologists, gemological laboratories, and colored stone dealers call a stone green beryl when its color is “too light” for it to be classified as emerald. Even among that group, however, there’s a difference of opinion about what’s considered “too light.” It is the gemstone for the month of May.
Refractive Index: 1.577 to 1.583
Mohs Hardness: 7.5 to 8
Perfect shining spheres. Lustrous baroque forms. Seductive strands, warm to the touch. Pearls are simply and purely organic. Pearls are all different colors and types and can be found in various water bodies – rivers, lakes and oceans. The most popular pearl is the freshwater pearl that can be found in different light hues. Perhaps the best-loved gems of all time, pearls—natural and cultured—occur in a wide variety of colors. The most familiar are white and cream, but the palette of colors extends to every hue. Natural pearls form around a microscopic irritant in the bodies of certain mollusks. Cultured pearls are the result of the deliberate insertion of a bead or piece of tissue that the mollusk coats with nacre. Pearls are one of the birthstones for the month of June and is relatively soft, meaning its need special care.
- Mineral: Calcium Carbonate
- Refractive Index: 1.52-1.69
- Mohs Hardness: 2.5-3.0
Green in sunlight. Red in lamplight. Color-changing alexandrite is nature’s magic trick. Often described by gem aficionados as “emerald by day, ruby by night,” alexandrite is the very rare color-change variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. Originally discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the 1830s, it’s now found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, but fine material is exceptionally rare and valuable. The Alexandrite is a gemstone that is hard to scratch and tough. Alexandrite is a birthstone for June.
- Mineral: Chrysoberyl
- Refractive Index: 1.746 to 1.755
- Mohs Hardness: 8.5
The Ruby gemstone is one of the most coveted gemstones. The rich red of a Ruby gemstone comes from trace amounts of the element chromium mixed with a variety of the mineral corundum. Some Rubies get their deep read from being heat treated, this makes the gemstone softer and less durable. Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gems in the colored stone market. In its purest form, the mineral corundum is colorless. Trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure cause variations in its color. Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red color. The Ruby is the birthstone for July.
- Mineral: Corundum
- Refractive index: 1.762 to 1.770
- Mohs Hardness: 9
Peridot gemstone is a yellowish green to greenish yellow gem variety of the mineral olivine. You can find this green beauty at different parts of the world, or they come from meteorites or exotic places. The ancient Egyptians mined peridot on the Red Sea island of Zabargad, the source for many large fine peridots in the world’s museums. The Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun.” Peridot is one of the birthstones for August.
- Mineral: Olivine
- Refractive index: 1.65 to 1.69
- Mohs Hardness: 6.5 to 7
Sapphire is composed of the mineral corundum and is only found in areas of the environment that are free of silicon. The sapphire can be found in all colors of the rainbow but the most common is blue. The Sapphire is a harder gemstone and would be perfect to wear in any type of jewelry you wish. Blue Sapphire is the birthstone of September.
The Opal is a delicate gemstone found mainly in Australia but can be found in Central Europe, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Peru, Turkey and here in the United States. Opal is a very soft gemstone and can fracture, break or scratch easily. Wearing an opal in a ring is not recommended. Opal is the original birthstone for October.
Tourmaline is a newer birthstone for October. The gemstone got its name from the Sinhalese word tormalli which means “stone with mixed colors” – because Tourmaline often time has multiple colors in one gemstone. Tourmaline can be found in nearly all colors of the rainbow and is often confused with other gemstones. Tourmaline is most often found in Brazil but can also be found in many African countries and California and Maine.
Topaz is found in a range of colors, red being the rarest. The topaz gemstone is found in Brazil and gets its name from the Sanskrit name ‘tapas’ meaning fire. Topaz is one of the birthstones for November and does not handle heat very well.
Citrine is a transparent yellow to brownish orange gemstone made of quartz. Citrine is considered to be able to soothe tempers and calm the wearer. It is often found in Bolivia, Spain, Madagascar, Mexico and Uruguay. Amethyst can be heat treated to turn into a Citrine. Citrine is one of the birthstones for November.
Tanzanite is considered a newcomer to the gemstone world, with the first discovery being in the 20th century. Tanzanite’s name came from its origin place of northern Tanzania. The Tanzanite is found in a range of deep blue to blueish purple hue. Tanzanite is one of December’s birthstones.
Zircon is a gemstone found mainly in Sri Lanka and can be found in my different colors. However, the blue Zircon is the most commonly known color variety of the gemstone. Zircon is oftentimes heat treated to produce a richer blue or colorless variety. Zircon should be worn and cared for with caution and is one of the birthstones for December.