Jewelry Facts & Features
Gemstones (Part 2)
Lapis: Lapis is an opaque gemstone often featuring a deep midnight blue to violet-blue color. It frequently contains gold colored pyrite flecks sprinkled through the gem, making each piece of lapis beautiful and unique. Lapis is a versatile gemstone that is used both in classic and contemporary jewelry styles.
Opal: Opal is a gemstone that comes in a kaleidoscopic array of colors. It is typically formed in desert areas over long periods of time from layers of silica deposits in deep underground rock. It is known for its fascinating “play of color” that occurs when light interacts with the opal’s silica layers. Much of the opal on the market today is synthetic.
Peridot: Peridot is a bright green gemstone that provides the style and look of emerald at a more affordable price. According to the GIA, some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection was actually peridot. Peridot is one of the softer gemstones on the market, with a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Peridot most commonly originates in volcanic areas that are rich in iron and magnesium.
Quartz: Quartz refers to a family of crystalline gemstones of various colors and sizes. Among the well-known types of quartz are rose quartz (which has a delicate pink color), and smoky quartz (which comes in a variety of shades of translucent brown). A number of other gemstones — like Amethyst and Citrine — are also part of the quartz family. Rutilated quartz is a popular type of quartz containing needle-like inclusions.
Ruby: Rubies are known for their intense red color, and are among the most highly valued precious gemstones. Rubies have been treasured for millennia. In Sanskrit, the word for ruby is “ratnaraj”, meaning “king of precious stones.” Although rubies can command one of the the highest per-carat prices of all precious stones, they are increasingly being used in rough-cut faceted designs at much more affordable prices.
Sapphire: The most popular form of sapphire is blue sapphire, which is known for its medium to deep blue color and strong saturation. Fancy colored sapphires in various colors are also available. In the United States, blue sapphire is the most popular and most affordable of the three major precious gemstones (emerald, ruby, and sapphire). Like emeralds and rubies, sapphire is increasingly being used in rough-cut faceted designs that provide a strong, bold look at an affordable price.
Tiger’s Eye: Tiger’s Eye is a gemstone known for its unique and rich striped brown color, which, as its name suggests, can resemble the patterns on a tiger’s coat. It is a member of the quartz group of gemstones. It has a microcrystalline structure, meaning that it is made up of crystals that are smaller than those of quartzes like rose quartz and smoky quartz, but larger than the crystals of chalcedony group gemstones.
Topaz: Topaz is a bright clear gemstone which is often used to create bold, eye-catching designs. The most popular variety of topaz in the market today is blue topaz, which has a bright light blue color and is relatively inexpensive. This color is produced with irradiation and heat treatment (in nature, topaz is most often colorless). Pink topaz is another popular variety of this gemstone.
Turquoise: Turquoise is found in only a few places on earth, and the world’s largest turquoise producing region is the southwest United States. Turquoise is prized for its attractive color — most often an intense medium blue or a greenish blue — and its ancient heritage. Turquoise is used in a great variety of jewelry styles. It is perhaps most closely associated with southwest and Native American jewelry, but it is also used in many sleek, modern styles. Some turquoise contains a matrix of dark brown markings, which provides an interesting contrast to the gemstone’s bright blue color.
Rough cut stones are a wonderful way to wear gorgeous genuine gemstones at a great price point. These stones go through a chemical process to even and enhance their color and develop their natural characteristics, but with rough cut gemstones the emphasis is less on extensive cutting and polishing and more on bringing out the unique natural features of the stone. Fans of this organic look value the individuality and variety of each gem selected. Because a rough cut style embraces the natural variations in the stones, designers can get much larger gems at a fraction of the cost. This style is a beautiful, affordable option for wearing large carat weight, 100% genuine stones like emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.
Because a rough cut style embraces the natural variations in the stones, designers can get much larger gems at a fraction of the cost. This style is a beautiful, affordable option for wearing large carat weight, 100% genuine stones like emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.