Agate is a "chalcedony" which is one of the
many varieties of quartz. It is scientifically classified as
a cryptocystalline or microcrystalline
quartz. Agates come in many different forms.
The main conditions necessary for agate formation are the
presence of silica from devitrified volcanic ash, water from
rainfall or ground sources, and manganese, iron and other
mineral oxides that form the bands and inclusions.
Also see individual listings, BLUE
LACE AGATE, MOSS AGATE and TREE AGATE.
Formation of amber
goes back millions of years ago - up to 300 million years -
when, certain tree resin hardened and fossilized over a long
period of time. Amber comes in shades from Yellow to
Honey to Reddish Brown, often with Black veins or fossil
residue inside. Whatever got trapped in the tree
resin, got preserved in exactly the same shape to the
very finest detail - droplets of air, water, pieces of
leaves, flowers, wood from ancients forests, even small
living organisms such as insects are still found in amber.
The biggest source of amber comes from Northern Europe's
Baltic Sea region. Used in jewelry making in Europe
for ages, as well as a form of currency and even a medicinal
stone. One check for authenticity is to touch a hot
needle to the stone, the resulting smoke should smell of
Translucent Purple crystal
from Africa said to bring good luck and protect against
drunkenness. Hues range from Lavender to deep Regal
see CAPE AMETHYST and
is the modern-day gemstone of ammonite, and because every
single gemstone is a fossil, it is regarded as the rarest
gem on earth. Rare, gem-quality ammolite appears
similar to Black opal, showing different color combinations
when the stone is viewed from different angles. The most
common colors range from Yellows, Oranges to Reds and
Greens. The Blues are more rare and hence more expensive.
A translucent, Pearly, Pink or pale azure Blue crystalline
stone with a surface resembling finely cracked marble.
Translucent Teal Green
faceted or cabachon gem.
moonstone endemic to India.
translucent gem used as a talisman for sailors.
Somewhat turbid bright
Green stone consisting mainly of quartz with Greenish Brown
flakes (sometimes falsely referred to as Indian Jade).
An azure Blue color that is
oftentimes found with malachite. Azurite and Malachite
are basic carbonates of copper.
Large oddly shaped pearls
that are usually used as art pieces.
Beryl: Beryl is
a family of gemstones that includes: Green, Aquamarine,
emerald, heliodor (Pink), morganite (Yellow), and Red.
A Biwa pearl is a
pearl that comes from a specific region in Lake Biwa, Japan.
These pearls were easily distinguished by their smooth,
luminous skin. Now the term is used to refer to nearly
all such pearls.
referred to as Black agate, it actually is a form of banded
agate containing layers of varying colors. The
contrast between layers makes it ideal for cameos.
Less expensive black jade and obsidian are sometimes used in
Black Star or
Black stone with a moving
"Star" or "Cross".
see MABE PEARL.
Dark Green opaque stone with
Blue Lace Agate:
Light Blue translucent stone
with White or Milky banding.
Faceted bright Sky Blue crystal topaz.
Translucent light to medium
Purple stone with White banding. This is actually a
rough form of amethyst layered or striped with milky quartz.
Dark Red to Orange
colored agate thought to soften anger. The Orange
variety frequently has areas of lighter and darker Orange,
giving it a banded or less uniform look.
Cat's Eye: Gem
with a natural line breaking and moving across the stone.
Refers to the family of quartz that contains tiny crystals.
Examples include: onyx, agate and chrysoprase.
Often used to refer to a solid color, translucent, light
Blue stone. Watery Blue agate gem once used for
The swirling Purples of Charoite
resemble the eddys and rushing waters in a fast moving
stream. The colors range from deep Purple to pale
Lavender inter-spiced with White.
Charoite is composed of: Hydrated Sodium, Calcium,
Barium Strontium, Silicate Hydroxide Fluoride.
Charoite is found only along the Chara River Valley
in a very remote area of East Central Siberia. The only
source for these gems is located about 325 miles NE of the
northern tip of Lake Baikal. It is in the Chara Region
(State) and is near the Region's northern border.
The appearance of a
line or a star within a gemstone when it is viewed in a
certain light and at an angle. Star sapphires and
cat's eye chrysoberyl or tiger's eye stones exhibit this
quality. These stones are always cut as cabochons to
bring out this quality.
Golden "Citrus" colored translucent faceted gem, sometimes
is called topaz quartz.
or Rock Crystal:
A colorless transparent
Forms from the metamorphic and hydrothermal alterations of
other iron and magnesium silicate minerals.
Actually the skeletal remains
of marine organisms, coral has been prized since 3,000 B.C.
The most valued pieces have a uniform bright Red color,
though Pink and Salmon colors are also popular.
deep Green transparent gem from India.
An opaque multi-colored stone. Colors are muted and
range from Green-Blue to Pinkish to Orange-Yellow frequently
in the same stone.
A transparent stone with Green and Purple with clear areas
Fossilized crinoid with a Black, White and Pink spotted
Garnet: A family
of crystals named for its resemblance to Red pomegranate
seeds. Usually Reddish-Brown, but can range from true
Red to Blackish Red. Deep Red
fiery translucent stone are from India.
Light Green to Apple Green in color. Named for the
Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec where it was originally found. The
color comes from the fact that it is found around nickel
sulfides. Occurs in Rhombohedron and scalenohedrons,
as well as ball shaped aggregates. More recently it
has been rediscovered for its lapidary use and found a place
in the semi-precious stone market. Cut into cabochons
and set in sterling silver, it is often coupled with other
stones such as AZURITE and SUGILITE for a stunning contrast
Transparent moonstone that is Gray in appearance.
Chatoyancy, appearing in these varieties of quartz, is
caused by fibrous inclusions of crocidolite. Blue-Red
or Bluish in appearance.
Hematite: A type
of iron oxide with a Blackish-Gray metallic luster,
sometimes has a Brownish Red appearance. Used in the
ancient times as a shiny surface for mirrors.
snow White stone with Black veins and similar appearance to
marble. In its natural form, howlite's White nodules
resemble cauliflower. This opaque White stone with
Gray or Brown veins is porous, so it takes dye easily and is
frequently used to simulate more expensive semiprecious
Translucent "Greasy" Violet Blue stone from India.
Iron Tiger's Eye:
Brown Tiger's Eye with an
excess of iron deposits that give it Gold, Red and Gray
Jade is applied to jadeite and
nephrite. Jadeite is composed of microscopic
interlocking crystals that produce a very tough material.
Nephrite is actually not a mineral, but a variety of the
mineral actinolite. The nephrite variety is
composed of fibrous crystals inter-twinned in a tough
compact mass. The emerald green jade called Imperial
Jade is colored by chromium. The presence of iron
produces other Greens and Brown, and manganese the Violet
colors. Nephrite is usually only Green and creamy
White, while jadeite can have the full range of jade's
colors. Jade is an extremely tough stone.
Besides jewelry it is used in gem carving.
Pea soup colored jade
used as a cure for kidney disease in ancient times.
Jasper is a catch-all term applied to opaque,
colored chalcedonies. Often jasper displays no
pattern, but the body coloration is usually heavy and rich,
in shades of Brown, Red, Green and Yellow. The
material is dense and hard and takes a high polish. It
has been used and admired throughout the ages for jewelry,
ornaments and small sculptures.
Shiny Black dense coal or lignite. Most
varieties in costume jewelry are made of glass. Once
used to carve amulets, it was also popular in Victorian
Lapis lazuli or lapis for short is
mostly lazurite but commonly contains pyrite and calcite. The name means blue rock and is always a brilliant Blue with
Violet or Greenish tints. Pyrite crystals sometimes
give it a mottled look. The rich Blue color is due
to the sulfur that is inherent in the structure of lazurite.
In a piece of jewelry the small crystals of pyrite found in
lapis blend with the setting, looking like gold in a gold
setting and silver in a silver setting, giving the stone a
personality all its own. Most lapis looks in the
market are dyed howlites. Denim lapis is a cheaper
form with a faded Blue color.
Part of the moonstone family
with lustrous metallic tints of Blue and Green peacock
The deep Purple variety is
the most expensive, hence it is used primarily in fine
The most highly prized of quartz stones, it gets its name
from the Greek word "not drunken" because it was thought to
Sunny Lemon opaque gem
in the chalcedony family.
Transparent Clear crystal with Pink to Gray scenic moonscape
Cream and Rose colored Japanese developed cultured pearl
also called blister pearls.
Green to Emerald Green concentric rings and parallel lines
throughout to create a "Silky" appearance. This stone
is used in jewelry and for tabletops and decorative objects.
Major sources are the Ural Mountains, Africa and Chile.
These shiny crystals of iron pyrite first gained prominence
in the 18th century when they were used as imitation
diamonds. It usually has a deep Gray or Black color
and often has tiny Yellow metallic flecks.
variety of feldspar with a soft pearly sheen in delicate
Pinks, Blues, Greens and Whites.
Actually in the chalcedony family. Semi-transparent to
opaque, mostly a variety of Green tones with a little White
Mother Of Pearl:
Comes from the inner layer of
mollusk shells and has an iridescent White or Cream color.
A semi-translucent to
opaque, light colored stone with some banding. Found
in varying degrees of Yellowish-White, pale Greenish-White,
Obsidian: A natural glass that
forms from volcanic activity. Because it rapidly cools
when exposed to air, it forms without crystals. The
most common color is Black, but Grey and Brown also occur.
Rarely, colors such as Red, Blue, and Green may also be
found, and are the most expensive on the market.
Inclusions may add colors to it such as Gold, or Silver
sheen, velvet, or a rainbow affect. Some inclusions
could be bubbles or crystals creating a random pattern such
as snowflake. Pebbles of lava that rapidly cooled are
called Apache Tears.
individual listings, BLACK ONYX, NATURAL ONYX and WHITE
Opal is considered a mineraloid because its
structure is not truly crystalline. It is formed of
acid silicic, SiO2, and water, usually in porous volcanic
stone. Although there is no crystal structure,
(meaning a regular arrangement of atoms) opal does possess a
structure nonetheless. Random chains of silicon and
oxygen are packed into extraordinarily tiny spheres.
These spheres in most opals are irregular in size and
inconsistent in concentration. Yet in precious opal,
there are many organized pockets of the spheres. These
pockets contain spheres of approximately equal size and have
a regular concentration, or structure, of the spheres.
This has the effect of diffracting light at various
wavelengths, creating colors. Each pocket produces a
different color, with a different intensity depending on the
angle from which a viewer sees it. Thus, the beautiful
flashes of color that opal is famous for.
Paua Shell: New
Zealand abalone shell with intense Green, Blue and Pinks.
Creamy cultured pearl used
for more than 6000 years as adornment.
Green translucent stone.
Similar in appearance
to Hawk's eye or Tiger's eye. Chatoyancy, appearing in
these varieties of quartz is caused by fibrous inclusions.
They are generally cut en cabochon, but is often cut into
round pieces for necklaces and pendants. A Golden
Yellow reflection on a Brown stone is called tiger's eye.
If the stone is Blue-Grey or Bluish, it's colored by
crocidolite, and is known as hawk's-eye. A darker
Brown, or Mahogany colored stone is known as bull's-eye or
Actual pieces of
prehistoric wood that became organic stone through thousands
of years of freezing, thawing, drying, etc. Usually
Brown and Black, it often contains tree rings and bark.
A Tan, opaque stone
with medium and dark Brown patches that make the "picture".
Known as the tempest
stone it has combinations of Golden Brown and deep Blue-Gray
iridescent flashes of chatoyance.
Opaque with lots of
autumn colors- brick Red, Whites, Browns, and Blacks.
Blackstone with Gold pyrite flecks throughout. Pyrite
is also referred to as "Fool's Gold".
individual listings, CLEAR QUARTZ, ROSE QUARTZ, SMOKEY
QUARTZ, and WHITE QUARTZ.
Moonstone with a Blue and
An opaque, mostly a
rusty colored than a brick Red stone, sometimes with a few
dark veins running
Red Tiger's Eye:
Tiger's eye that is Red.
Opaque light Pink raspberry colored stone with thin White to
Creamy-Pink veins or banding.
Medium Pink to kind of dusty Rose, often with Black or Gray
see CLEAR QUARTZ.
Pink translucent crystal gem also referred to as the love or
Ruby: Warm Pink
opaque ruby commonly found with inclusions that are not
indicative of low quality, but show that the
gem is natural.
Clear quartz crystal with
strands of Gold fibers.
This is a gemmy variety of
clinochlore, a mineral of the chlorite group. Seraphanite
originates from the Lake Baykal region of Siberia. These
rare gemstones are primarily a deep Green color, with
feathery inclusions of Silver-colored iridescent formations
creating intricate chatoyant patterns. The crystalline
structure is monoclinic.
Serpentine: Serpentine is found
in many metamorphic and weather igneous rocks. Most
rocks that have a Greenish color probably contain serpentine
in some amount. The serpentine along with other
material make for a beautiful patterns in the stone.
Serpentine can be an attractive Green stone that takes a
nice polish and is suitable for carving. It has been
used as a substitute for jade and is sometimes difficult to
distinguish from jade, a testament to the beauty of finer
serpentine material. Non-fiberous
serpentine is not a cancer concern. Asbestos
serpentines should be kept in closed clear containers, but
makes an attractive specimen. Sometimes with a Golden
color as the name chrysotile in greek means golden fibers.
Smokey Quartz: A
Brown transparent stone. Ranges in color from very
slightly Brown to dark-like root beer.
Translucent Cola colored topaz.
see WHITE QUARTZ.
Black opaque stone with Gray
A common opaque stone; its
Blue color resembles lapis lazuli (also available in Mauve,
Yellow-Green, Pink and Purple). Grayish-White mottling
is found in lower grades. Has varying degrees of White
veining (calcite) and occasionally a fleck or two of pyrite.
Its name reflects its sodium content.
see BLACK STAR.
Sugilite is a stone of fairly recent
discovery. It does not form well shaped crystals but
is usually massive; therefore, it is used as a cabachon for
jewelry. The polished stones are mostly opaque with an
almost waxy luster and a deep Reddish Purple color. It
can be very dark, almost Black, to a nice pale Pinkish
mauve. It may have Black, swirly lines and spots of
Sunstone is a member of the feldspar group of
minerals and is closely related to Moonstone. It is
formed and crystallized in a lava flow. Sunstones range in
color from water clear through pale Yellow, soft Pink, and
blood Red to deep Blue and Green. Some of the deeper
colored stones have bands of varying color; a few stones
show two different colors when viewed from different
The color is caused by tiny crystals of copper within
the stones which often results in "schiller" or shimmer that
is usually a Peach color. Sunstone is cut into
cabochons or the deeper transparent colors may be faceted.
Opaque quartz stone with silky fibers or luster of Browns and Golds
produced by iron, and is reverse when the stone is turned
Translucent gem from Sri Lanka with Watermelon shades of
Pink and Green.
Clear quartz crystal with
dark Green Tourmaline spears.
Turquoise: Turquoise is a
hydrous copper aluminum sulfate found in every color of
Blue, Greenish Blue or deep Green. The rich Blues are
due to the abundance of copper while Green turquoise has
Green opaque stone with shades of Orange and Pink
Variscite is a relatively rare
phosphate mineral that is sometimes confused with turquoise.
It is usually Greener, it ranges from a beautiful apple
Green to the more common pale Green. It often has
veins of crandallite.
An opaque stone with a little metallic shimmer to it,
similar to Aventurine.
A semi-translucent White to slightly Yellowish-White stone.
Occasionally with more opaque White banding.
A translucent White stone, is usually pretty uniform in
terms of color, but has varying degrees of opacity.
Faceted transparent Clear crystals.
Gray/Green jasper with White zebra lines across the stone.