Garnets are their own variety of stone. While red Garnets are the most popular, these gemstones come in all hues including purples, blues, oranges, greens and can even have a color changing phenomenon. All Garnets have the same crystal structure, varying in chemical composition. Of the twenty Garnet species, only five are used as commercial gemstones. Garnet is a stone of regeneration, said to boost energy and revitalize the wearer. It is believed to be a protective stone, especially from evil, travel and nightmares.
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and is one of the world’s most popular gemstones. Funnily enough, this gemstone got its name from Koine Greek word amethystos, which means ‘not intoxicated’ for it’s believed ability to protect its wearer from getting too drunk. It gets its violet color from impurities of iron called irradiation and occasionally from impurities in other transition metals along with the presence of trace elements. Amethyst is thought to be the stone of protection; believed to bring calm, balance, patience and peace to the wearer.
Aquamarine is named after the latin word aqua marina, meaning ‘sea water’ for its ocean-like appearance. It is a blue or cyan variety of a mineral composed of beryllium, aluminum, and cyclosilicate called beryl. Aquamarine is found in Brazil in a variety of shades of blue, from pale blue to dark blue with shades of bluish-green. Aquamarine, once believed to be the treasure of mermaids, brought luck to sailors. Used for fearlessness and protection, it is considered a stone of eternal youth and happiness.
Herkimer “Diamonds” are double-terminated quartz crystals that are found in and around Herkimer County and the Mohawk River Valley in New York state. Herkimer Quartz are a true stand-out amongst their quartz relatives. These magical little crystals are often called “diamonds” due to both their clarity and natural faceting. Their double termination points and up to 18 facets grants them more ability to shine, refract and reflect light. The distinct black, gray, and red dappling is a result of liquid, solid and gas inclusions. Known as “Herkimer Diamonds,” these are said to be the most powerful of all quartz crystals. Naturally occurring with two points, they are believed to both transmit and receive spiritual energy.
Emerald is the most popular gemstone of the beryl variety, alongside Aquamarine and Morganite. It is a green stone that gets its coloring from chromium and/or vanadium components. It is made from the four elements; oxygen, aluminum, silicon, and beryllium, found in hydrothermal vents. These hydrothermal vents are underground streams (veins) of hot water and when the water begins to cool to just the right temperature, Emeralds are formed. Thought to bring good fortune and positive energy to its wearer, emerald stones are known to help strengthen friendships, attract love and encourage success.
Moonstone is the most valuable variety of the feldspar group. Although the body color varies, most Moonstones have adularescence— a phenomenon unique to Moonstone where the stone projects a floating bluish glow when under a light source. This is caused by light refracting off of different layers within the stone. Some also show chatoyancy, also known as opalescence or the “cat’s eye” effect, where a band of light extends along the stone’s surface. Moonstone is believed to calm and to provide relief from emotional stress. It is also believed to provide protection and is associated with love.
Rubies are the red variety of the mineral corundum. Another popular Corundum is Sapphire. Corundum is the second hardest natural material on Earth, second only to Diamonds. When Rubies are forming they are exposed to extreme heat and pressure. The corundum is composed of densely packed oxygen and aluminum atoms; and if 1% of the aluminum atoms are replaced by chromium atoms then the ruby forms a deep red color. While most gemstones have a specific origin, Rubies are found all over the World. Associated with love and commitment, Ruby is believed to encourage passion and a zest for life. It is said to promote a clear mind and to encourage prosperity and achievement.
Peridot is the gem form of olivine, a group of minerals that form green igneous rocks. Although olivine is common, gem quality Peridot is quite rare. It gets its color from iron and has discoid cleavage which is referred to as “lily pad” shaped inclusions. Peridot is thought to help eliminate negativity, enhance confidence and encourage positive change. It has been used to overcome challenges that hinder one from reaching full potential.
Sapphires, a variety of the mineral corundum (next to Ruby) is formed deep underground and brought to the surface by aluminum rich igneous rocks, or in metamorphosed rocks. Magma cools as it passes through these rocks, crystallization within the rock creating Sapphires. The slower the cooling process, the larger the crystals are. Sapphire can be found in blue, black, green, purple, orange, and yellow or colorless. Blue Sapphires are the most well known and have been associated with royalty for centuries. Traditionally, Sapphire has been known as a symbol of power and strength, but also of kindness and wise judgment. It is thought to bring serenity and to help focus the mind.
Tourmaline is its own family and comes in a variety of colors. Tourmaline is hardly ever colorless. Its different colors are due to various minerals being present within the stone— iron creates blue, black, and brown tourmaline, where magnesium creates yellow and brown, and lithium creates virtually any color. Tourmaline can even come in a ‘watermelon’ color, forming a red or pink core surrounded by green caused by a change in the chemistry of a geothermal fluid creating the stone. It is also often found in “bi-colored” or “tri-colored” crystals where more than one color is found in the crystal. Tourmaline is said to foster a connection with the higher self, promoting deeper understanding and encouraging new perspectives. It is thought to inspire self-confidence and balance the mind.
Citrine’s name is derived from the word citrus for its resemblance to lemons and oranges. It comes in a variety of yellow hues, as well as orangish and brownish shades. Natural formations of this gemstone are rare as most of Citrine today is created by heat treating purple Amethyst or Smoky Quartz. Citrine is known as the stone of success and prosperity. It is believed to increase motivation and to encourage creativity and self-expression.
Turquoise is a bluish-green gemstone that can only be found in a few places in the world with dry climates. In these locations, copper rich groundwater combines with aluminum and phosphorus minerals under the earth's crust creating a porous, opaque to semi-translucent stone. Because of its rich coloring, Turquoise has been an extremely popular gemstone for thousands of years. A purification stone, turquoise helps dispel negative energy and protect from outside influences. It is a calming stone that promotes communication, self-realization and creative problem solving.