Diamonds and rubies and emeralds – oh my! For thousands of years, the mythology of gemstones has been passed down through stories and jewelry alike.
Since selecting the perfect jewel can be a tough process, we’d like to make that process a bit easier. Here is a list of our favorite gemstones to work with – and some facts that may inspire you to create your own Mokume Gane jewelry piece!
Meaning of a Diamond Gemstone
In India, diamonds were thought to be created when bolts of lightning struck rocks. Plato wrote that these stones were alive, containing celestial spirits. By the 15th century, Venice had perfected the diamond-cutting process, further mesmerizing royalty and the aristocracy.
April’s birthstone continues to be the most famous and desired of the precious stones. Not only do we adorn our fingers and necks with them, but as one of the planet’s hardest surfaces, they’re also used for their cutting abilities in countless industries.
Colorless diamonds can be absolute showstoppers with the right jewelry setting, clarity, and cut.
The Rarity of Colored Diamonds
There’s a gemstone myth that colored diamonds are plentiful, but only 0.1% of all mined diamonds are colored. Green, orange, pink, blue, and yellow are extraordinary finds, but pure red diamonds are almost completely unheard of. If you’re looking for a natural stone, be aware that most colored diamonds are treated.
Meaning of an Emerald Gemstone
Romans believed that they could restore their vision. Egyptians maintained these green stones would ease childbirth ward off evil spirits. Throughout the world, people still believe that May’s birthstone alleviates depression, cures bodily dysfunction, and even helps users predict the future.
One thing is absolutely certain: transparent emeralds are extremely rare. In fact, flaws (called inclusions) are often overlooked and celebrated like a type of fingerprint. Should you come into the possession of an emerald, take care as they may not always be resistant to scratching and chipping. Speak to a trusted jeweler to find the right setting to ensure the safety of your precious gemstone.
Meaning of an Opal Gemstone
In ancient Greece, opals were considered to be magical sorts of stones that could cure eye disorders. If the stone had a great amount of ‘play of color ‘(or ‘fire’), you could expect to come into some money.
Some people continue to believe that black opals are powerful for magic, which is possibly why October’s gemstone has an unfair reputation of causing bad luck.
From a milky white opal through the full color spectrum, no two opals are alike. When you fall in love with a specific one, you’ll know just what we mean!
How to Care for Your Opals
Most gemologists attribute this rumor to the fragility of opals, Opals are incredibly delicate stones (with a Mohs hardness of 5.5 to 6), and unseasoned jewelers can be frustrated during the cutting process. Be sure to choose a protective setting, like a channel or bezel.
Meaning of a Ruby Gemstone
The symbolism of this gemstone has long been linked to fortune and healing. Ancient Hindus believed that by offering rubies as a tribute to Krishna, they would be reincarnated as rulers. Ivan the Terrible believed that powdered ruby could improve the heart and memory. Burmese warriors even wore these stones under their skin for protection!
What to Look for in a Ruby
You can find July’s gemstone in a variety of red hues, from deep pink to crimson, but pigeon’s blood red is the ideal color – and considered far more valuable than a diamond of a similar size.
Nearly all rubies have inclusions (or imperfections), but so don’t let this dissuade you! Most jewelry lovers believe that this rare ‘thumb print’ only adds to a stone’s personality, meaning that it’s perfect for a one-of-a-kind diamond alternative for engagement rings.
How to Care for a Ruby
Like sapphires, rubies are second in hardness only to diamonds, scoring a 9 on the Mohs scale, which allows for daily wear without damage. These gorgeous stones react beautifully under light and make for timeless jewelry pieces.
Meaning of a Sapphire Gemstone
Greek and Roman nobility believed that September’s birthstone protected wearers from harm. Sapphire signet rings became a mainstay in royal courts (as well as the Catholic Church), and also provided wisdom and inner peace.
How to Choose a Sapphire
Typically known for its blue hues, sapphires can actually be a wide range of colors like yellow, blue, pink, green, and an orange-pink called ‘padparadscha’, or ‘lotus flower’ derived from the Sinhalese language.
Only about 0.5%-1% of sapphires aren’t treated to boost their color. These rare gems are referred to as “untreated”. “Natural” sapphires have not been lab-created, but are very likely to have been treated either with heat (or chemicals if they are of lower quality).
For Jaume Labro jewelry, we only use heat-treated, high-quality sapphires.
Meaning of an Amethyst Gemstone
Amethyst is a favorite gemstone of February babies, and these semi-precious gemstone has had great admirers for thousands of years.
Deriving from the Ancient Greek word “amethystos” (which translates to “not drunken”), many believers maintained that wearing an amulet would keep them from intoxication. In Hebrew, the word “ahlamah” translates to “dream”, and if you dreamt of an amethyst stone, you’d be protected from harm. Over the centuries, farmers wore the purple quartz to defend their fields from predatory insects and bad weather.
How to Choose an Amethyst
You can find a wide range of amethyst shades, from lilac to lavender to deep violet. The ideal amethyst color is a deep purple with red and/or blue streaks. Today, nearly all of these gemstones are heat-treated to provide depth of color. Rather than a hindrance, this is a major benefit, as many varieties of untreated amethyst fade when routinely exposed to light.farmers wore the purple quartz to defend their fields from predatory insects and bad weather Click To Tweet
Meaning of a Citrine Gemstone
Once known as a “merchant’s stone”, citrine was thought to encourage communication, improve creativity, attract wealth, and fight bad energy. Mostly, it was historically used to beautify homes personal accessories (like sword hilts). Due to its affordability, large citrine pieces were incredibly popular in the 1920s and 1930s.
In recent years, citrine pieces have skyrocketed in popularity, with Art Deco-style pieces sought after for their warmth and expressiveness.
How Citrine Is Produced
The closest gemological relative to amethyst, citrine is typically a reddish-brown or pale yellow quartz stone. Most citrine gemstones are heat-treated and you’ll typically see reddish tints in heat-treated citrine (and less violet and purple). In fact, light-colored amethyst is often heat-treated to produce November’s birthstone.
Meaning of a Garnet Mythology
Derived from the Latin word “garanatus”, garnet refers to the red seeds of the pomegranate. Greeks believed that a pomegranate was connected to love and eternity.
Egyptian pharaohs wore incredible garnet necklaces in this life and the afterlife. Roman nobility used garnet gemstones to seal documents. Christians long represented Christ’s sacrifice with garnets while the Koran stated that the 6th heaven was made of garnets and rubies.
When garnet mines were discovered in 16th-century Bohemia, the market supplied an ever-hungry European demand.
How to Choose a Garnet
While they can be found in every color of the rainbow, the ideal garnet is typically thought of as a deep brownish-red.
Garnet is one of the few semi-precious stones that doesn’t need to be treated, and can be cut into nearly every shape and size with relative ease. And since it lands between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, it can withstand any variety of cut and setting.
Meaning of an Aquamarine Gemstone
Translated from Latin, aquamarine refers to the cerulean waves of seawater. In addition to the protection given to sailors, aquamarine was known to reawaken the love between a husband and wife. Perhaps the strangest of aquamarine myths was the belief that the stone protected wearers from being poisoned.
How to Choose an Aquamarine
Typically, you need a larger-sized stone to reveal deeper blue hues, so a smaller aquamarine with the same color will typically sell for more money per carat. Most gemstone providers heat-treat their aquamarine gemstones, but we only accept the highest-quality natural aquamarines.
A major benefit of March’s birthstone is its hardness of 7.5, meaning that aquamarine is perfect for a variety of shapes and sizes.
Meaning of a Peridot Gemstone
The word “peridot” comes from the Arabic word, “faridat” (which simply means “gem”). It may also occasionally be referred to as olivine.
Romans appreciated its unchanging color– whether in daylight or candlelight –and called it an “evening emerald”. Cleopatra was even known to favor the gemstone. August’s gemstone supposedly had powers to ward off evil spirits, calm anger, quicken the mind, and build stronger and more successful relationships.
How to Choose a Peridot
Unlike the majority of gemstones, peridot is only green, from a bright lime to a dark olive (which is the most valuable color). Because peridot is beautiful under any sort of light, it can be cut into nearly every shape and size. This is one of the few gemstones that has never been synthesized, but be on the lookout for green tourmaline –and even glass.
Over the last few decades, collectors and jewelry enthusiasts have been steadily snatching up pieces. While larger peridot gemstones are more difficult to obtain, it’s a great time to purchase medium-sized and small-sized pieces.
Choosing the Perfect Stone – from Mine to You
Due to the negative effects of diamond mining (as well as other precious gemstones), countless ecosystems and communities have been destroyed.
That’s why Jaume Labro goes above and beyond to track the route of each gemstone. We guarantee that we only purchase truly ethical diamonds, and all of our precious gemstones follow the strictest restrictions and regulations.