Agate is the name given to numerous varieties of banded Chalcedony gemstones, a mineral of the quartz family. Its name comes from the River Achates in Sicily, where Agates were first found. They were banded in layers, or stripes, some varieties have “eye” markings, or specks of color, some have fossilized inclusions, and others are solid. Called the earth rainbow, the concentric bands of Agate form in nearly every color the earth can produce, including a colorless form.
Historically, Agate has been discovered with the artifacts of Neolithic people, and was used as healing amulets and ornamentation dating back to Babylon. Its medicinal uses continued through the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations, and spread throughout Africa and the Middle East into Russia. Agate sparked a world renowned stonecutting and polishing industry in Germany that flourished from the 15th to the 19th century, and still exists today.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of types of agate gemstones. That are found all around the world.
Agate’s most noticeable properties overall are balancing yin/yang energy, courage, protection, healing, and calming. Historically it was placed in water for cooking or drinking to dispel sickness. The Metaphysical and Healing Properties Lore of any specific type of agate depend to some extent on the color of the agate, but all agates have certain things in common.
Agate is a stone of strength. It was used by the Ancients on the breastplates of armor to give warriors strength and make them victorious in battle. Energetically, it is considered to give strength in both battle and physically.
Agate enhances creativity and strengthens the intellect, making it a beneficial stone for both students and artists. It is also known as a good luck stone. As a stone of harmony, one of the things agate does is balance yin/yang energy. Agate increases energy. However, because it is a grounding stone, it does not increase energy at all times, but rather enables bursts of energy as needed. In this way, agate is a conservation stone, and enhances longevity.
Because of the harmonizing qualities of agate, and its emotional energies of removing and releasing resentments and bitterness, it is also considered by many to be an excellent stone for helping to heal and improve relationships.
Agate can cleanse and stabilize the aura by removing and/or transforming negative energy.
As far as relationships go, agate is a stone of marital and romantic fidelity.
Agate is said to strengthen the body and the body’s connection to the earth. It also increases energy. Agate is used in crystal healing for healing of all kinds by bringing the elements of the healer into harmony. Physically, agate is said to be particularly helpful with tooth and gum issues, stomach problems, physical endurance, insomnia, detoxification. Note that healing crystal meanings are spiritual supports to healing and are not prescriptions or healthcare information.
Amber is a gemstone formed through the fossilization of tree resin. Amber resin is not the same as typical tree sap. It is sourced specifically from the Pinus succinifera tree. The fossilization of amber can be traced back to the Tertiary period, meaning that amber stones formed approximately 50 million years ago. Since amber is formed from soft and sticky resin, amber often contains animal and plant inclusions; mostly mosquitoes and other insect species. Amber that developed in coal seams is often called resonite, and specimens sourced specifically from New Zealand coal seams are referred to as ambrite. Amber is one of the few varieties of organic gemstones. The most common varieties of organic gems include amber, pearl, coral and ivory.
The word amber comes from the Middle Persian word for ambar. It was originally used to describe a hardened waxy substance found within the intestines of sperm whales called ambergris. Ambergris is used in the production of fragrances because it has a very appealing aromatic smell. During the 14th century, the use of the term amber shifted from reference to ambergris to the gemstone. Amber and ambergris were often confused with one another because both can be found washed up on beach shores. The two are easily distinguished by density. Ambergris has a much lower density and floats in freshwater. Amber gemstones do not float in freshwater, but float in saltwater.
Amber occurs in a range of different colors, but it is mostly yellow, orange or brown. Golden-yellow amber is usually hard, translucent resin from evergreen pine trees. Amber can also occur whitish to pale lemon-yellow and brown to nearly black. The Dominican Republic is known to produce rare blue amber. There is also rare green and red colored amber. Red amber is sometimes referred to as “cherry amber”.
Amber has been used for many generations as a medicinal gem, from the Middle Ages up until the early 20th century. Although it is an amorphous gem, it is still used for its crystal healing abilities. Since the time of Hippocrates in ancient Greece, amber and its resinous extracts have been used to cure and relieve a variety of health ailments.
Amber was one of the first stones used in amulets throughout Asia. Amber is said to carry a bright energy, likely due to its natural golden color, and it is used to eliminate negative energy. Sunny dispositions and positive outlooks are enhanced by wearing amber stones. Amber gemstones are known to cheer up those who wear them. Amber is believed to be able to draw sickness away from the body and to eliminate negativity from emotional energy.
Amber has been used in jewelry since prehistoric times. Amber is believed to have been one of the first types of gems used in amulet jewelry. Amber ornaments have been found in ancient Mycenaean tombs, as well as other areas where ancient civilizations prospered across Europe. Still to this day, amber is popular and is used for ornamental designs such as glassblowing pieces.
Although amber is one of the softest gem types available, it is still frequently worn as jewelry. It is not recommended for wearing in cabochon ring designs, but with care, many people do use it for rings. Amber gemstones are best used for earrings, brooches, and pendants, but if properly taken care of, amber can be worn in a variety of different jewelry designs.
Aventurine is a variety of quartz characterized by its translucency and sparkly metallic inclusions. Glittery inclusions are typically composed of muscovite mica, which usually results in medium to dark green aventurine stones with a silvery green or blue sheen. The metallic inclusions give aventurine quartz a unique sparkling iridescent effect, known as aventuresce.
Most gemstone names are unambiguous, but aventurine is an exception. The name is used both for aventurine feldspar and aventurine quartz. The aventurine feldspar is now commonly sold under the name sunstone, leaving the name aventurine to be used mainly for the quartz variety.
The reason why both of these gems were labelled as aventurine is due to their resemblance to a type of Italian glass known as aventurine or goldstone. The name aventurine comes from the Italian a ventura, meaning “by chance,” since it was thought that the unusual Italian glass was discovered by accident. In fact aventurine glass is credited to an Italian family of glassmakers by the name of Miotti. They created this special iridescent glass in the mid 17th century and it became quite famous. Their process for creating the glass remained a closely guarded secret for many years, and for a long time the Miotti family had the exclusive rights to produce it.
Eventually the word got out that aventurine glass was created by combining glass with copper or copper salts. When the glass melted and cooled, these mineral deposits would create a gold-flecked and shiny appearance on the glass. Though the glass was clear, the added minerals could create various colors such as green and blue, though the most common color is a rich reddish brown.
Aventurine quartz is sometimes classified as a rock since it contains more than one type of mineral. It is largely quartz, but also contains fuchsite (a type of mica) or hematite. The aventurine containing fuchsite is a medium to dark green with a silvery green or blue sheen. Aventurine with hematite is typically red-brown or gold-brown.
The source of the green color in green aventurine, is a type of mica or muscovite containing chromium. It is curious that the name muscovite also come from a kind of glass, Muscovy-glass, a name formerly used for the mineral because of its use in Russia for windows.
Aventurine quartz is found in Brazil, India, Austria, Russia and Tanzania. Aventurine is usually used for ornamental objects and cabochons, including beads and carvings.
Aventurine is most often thought of as a green variety of quartz, but it can naturally occur in variety of other colors, including brown, peach, yellow, red and blue. Other colors are quite rare as gemstones because they do not often occur in gem-quality.
Aventurine is known to be a stone of luck. Green aventurine is thought to hold the most power compared to other colors available. Aventurine is thought to stimulate dreams and have a positive effect on psychic ability. It is known to promote feelings of well-being and give its wearer a positive outlook on life. Aventurine can ease anxiety and strong emotion. Aventurine is thought to help one make decisions from the heart, stimulating creative inspiration and giving its wearer the courage to live among others (this applies to light to dark-green aventurine). It is a comforter and supporter as well as a balancing stone.
Pure green aventurine has the strongest healing energy. Many believe that it has the capability to calm a troubled spirit and bring about inner peace. In summary, aventurine symbolizes tranquility, patience and creativity. Physically, aventurine is thought to facilitate psychotherapy. It is an ideal stone for treating heart and respiratory disorders. Aventurine is also believed to help improve vision. It is associated with the planet Mercury and also the 6th and 7th chakras (the brow and crown chakras). Aventurine is a stone of Cancer and is also popular for those born under the signs of Taurus and Sagittarius.
Azurite is most typically used for ornamental objects. It was also widely used in the ancient world and throughout the middle ages as a pigment and dye as it was valued for its beautiful range of blue colors. It was most popular with painters in the middle ages. Today, azurite it is still used as a color base for some paints. In ancient Egypt, azurite was associated with the studies and arts that improve mental disciplines. Ancient Egyptians used azurite for carving ornaments. Azurite was also one of the stones believed to have been used in the lost, mythical city of Atlantis.
Despite its attractive blue color, azurite is not used frequently in jewelry because of its low hardness rating. However, one can still find simple, beautiful jewelry pieces made of azurite as it may be coated with wax or other clear substances to protect it. Azurite is formed either by water containing carbon dioxide reacting with copper bearing minerals, or by cupric salts reacting with limestone. It is often found connected with malachite, creating fabulous green and blue color effects. The mixture of azurite’s deep blue and malachite’s vivid green is a beautiful, colorful stone known as azurmalachite. Azurmalachite is very popular with jewelry enthusiasts and gem collectors.
Azurite can be used to help the body remain strong. It has been known to promote health and healing in the upper respiratory area, and it helps to decrease unhealthy tissue growth such as cysts and tumors. Mentally, azurite is beneficial for one’s brain and mind, bringing clarity to situations, which might otherwise be confusing and difficult to understand. Azurite is also good for inspiration and it contains the virtue of spiritual balance. It helps those on spiritual paths find balance and helps them to pursue their deepest thoughts and dreams. Azurite is also good for mental growth and focus, and enhancing wisdom and maturity.
Carnelian is a chalcedony, also called Cornelian, this translucent, reddish orange variety of chalcedony was once thought to still the blood and calm the temper. It’s various shades of red are due to the presence of iron oxide.
Favored by the Arabic peoples, the Carnelian is one of the stones of Kings. The rich, warm color of the stone has often linked it to the energies associated with fire. Projective, proactive energy, the beast of fire being the Lion, the King. It is also a stone to lend courage to those in need, and very helpful to wear while speaking publicly.
The Prophet Mohammed was said to have worn a carnelian seal set in silver on the little finger of his right hand. This helps to explain part of the Carnelian’s appeal as a talismanic stone for his followers. Often Carnelians will be engraved with small prayers for luck, or to turn away envy, a powerful force in the minds of many Easterners. The carnelian was worn extensively in Egypt to avert the powers of the Evil Eye and to instill peace.
Napoleon I, Napoleon III and the Prince Imperial all wore the same type of seal as Mohammed, also carved in Carnelian. This piece is said to have been liberated from Egypt during a campaign fought there. This talisman was held in high regard by the respective Napoleons, however the Prince Imperial merely followed orders when wearing this article. His faith in his talisman obviously didn’t run as deep as the faith the Zulus put into their weapons when they slew him in South Africa and took it from him.
Carnelian is an agate class of chalcedony that is a stone of creativity, individuality and courage. Like all agates, it has protection energies. It can aid memory, including recall of past lives. It can assist one in finding the right mate. It is also a stone of protection in general and from anger, jealousy and fear. In addition it can help with manifestation of one’s desires, and brings good luck. Carnelian can help ease or remove sorrows. It also helps stabilize energies in the home. It is sometimes called the “actor’s stone”. Physically, carnelian has been used in crystal healing to heal open sores, rejuvenate tissues and cells, rheumatism, kidney stones and other kidney problems, gall stones, colds, pollen allergies, and neuralgia. Note that healing crystal meanings are spiritual supports to healing and are not prescriptions or healthcare information.
The Cat’s Eye is one of the most unique looking gemstones available and comes in many colors and sizes. If you are looking for ornamental jewelry that is unique, mystical looking and fashionable, look into the Cat’s Eye.
Cat’s eye is a gemstone quality variety of beryllium aluminum oxide which exhibits a rare optical trait known as ‘chatoyancy’. Chatoyancy is the unique ability to reflect light in a way that resembles the slit eye of a cat, hence the name ‘cat’s eye’.
Chrysoberyl was first discovered in 1789 by renowned geologist, Abraham Werner. For many years, it was referred to as chrysolite but today, the term is no longer commonly used. Cat’s eye gemstones come in many different colors, and has several important gemstone varieties. The green variety, Emerald, is one of the most precious gems. Some forms of chrysoberyl may exhibit the unique ability to change color under different lighting sources.
Cat’s Eye gets its unique look due to the presence of fibrous mineral inclusions. The fibers in a Cat’s Eye form tubes that are parallel to one another deep within the quartz stone. These fibers are not that pronounced when in a square or rectangular form, however when in a sphere or oval shape, the fibers are more pronounced and fascinating to look at.
Some specimens of cat’s-eye will appear to have a different color on each side of the cat’s-eye line when illuminated from the proper direction with respect to the observer’s eye. It gives the illusion that the stone is made of two different materials, a light material on one side of the line and a dark material on the other. This phenomenon is known as the “milk-and-honey” effect.
Cat’s Eye acts to stimulate intuition and to enhance awareness. It is a grounding stone that provides a very effective protective energy. Cat’s Eye dispels unwanted energy from the aura. It amplifies good luck and fortune. Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye transforms negative thoughts into positive energy. Cat’s Eye brings happiness and serenity, along with optimism, generosity and confidence. It can enhance creativity and kindness. Traditionally, Cat’s Eye is believed to protect the wearer from evil spirits.
Cat’s eye gemstones are believed to induce positive thoughts and help promote tolerance and harmony. Also because of its golden hue, it has often been associated with wealth. Chrysoberyl’s are known to be associated with discipline and self-control. They are said to promote concentration and the ability to learn and to help the wearer with striving for excellence. In addition to this, they bring peace of mind; clearer thinking and increased self-confidence helping one become more understanding of the fact that they have everything they already need to succeed.
It protects the wearer from all kinds of misfortunes. This stone if it is of a good quality, can take the person to top. It can cure ailments such as heart trouble, hemorrhage and increases knowledge, longevity and strength and cures otherwise chronic and incurable diseases.
Cat’s Eye treats eye disorders and improves night vision. It relieves headaches, facial and sciatic pain. Cat’s Eye aids the nervous system and associated pains. It can be used to heal the kidneys, pancreas, liver, lymph nodes, spleen and issues associated with leukemia.
Chalcedony quartz, is a unique mineral with a fascinating history. Many of its colorful varieties were highly esteemed by early peoples, both for personal adornment and utilitarian articles. Even though it is found in abundance throughout the word today it is more popular than ever before. The seemingly endless array of colors and patterns of color distribution in which chalcedony occurs presents a never ending source of pleasure.
The origin of the world chalcedony is uncertain. The obvious belief is that it came from “Chalcedon” a sea ports in Asia Minor near Byzantium, and a probable early source. The Greek word is “chalkedon”, in Latin it is “chalcedonius” The use of the modern spelling can be traced only to the early part of the sixteenth century.
Most of the chalcedony varieties have an intriguing historical background and more than the usual share of legends, superstitions and strange beliefs. Agate was one of the first gem materials known to man. According to legend, it made the wearer agreeable and persuasive and gave him the favor of God; too, it assured him of victory and strength.
It was supposed to cure insomnia and make the owner have pleasant dreams. It was also said to assist the owner in acquiring riches by making him more cautious and prudent. The Sumerians, the earliest inhabitants of Mesopotamia, seem to have been the first to use agate and other forms of chalcedonic quartz for seals, signet rings, beads and other articles of jewelry. Since the Sumerian culture apparently was well developed when the Egyptian was in its infancy, it can be seen that chalcedony was used and cherished from earliest civilization. The Sumerians also used agate for making ceremonial axe heads, an excellent example of which is in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. An engraved inscription sets the date of the instrument at between 3000 and 2300 B.C.. In early times, agate was a favorite material for carving into bowls, bottles and cups. An excellent example, cut from a single piece of agate, measures twenty eight and one-half inches in diameter. This piece was taken as loot by the Crusaders and carried to Europe; it is now preserved in Vienna. What is often said to be the most outstanding object fashioned from agate is a two-handled wine cup, with a capacity of more than one pint, intricately carved on the outside with Bacchanalian subjects. Historical records tell us that it was made for the Emperor Nero, and that, after being owned by many persons, was give in the ninth century by Charles the Bold to the Abbey of St. Denis, where it was used for centuries to hold the wine at the coronation of the kings of France. This cup is still, considered by the French to be one of the most valuable mementos of their history. The Persians and Arabs had great regard for the various types of agate, undoubtedly because of its color and durability. They used it principally for finger rings, upon which was carved a verse from the Koran (in more recent periods), the owner’s name, or some magical or symbolic figure. Such rings were, and still are, considered powerful talismans, protecting the owner from a wide variety of disasters.
The word chrysoprase comes from the Greek meaning “golden green”. One of the superstitions associated with this yellowish-green variety states that if a thief sentenced to death holds a chrysoprase in his mouth he will escape his fate. Although the legend does not describe how this miracle was accomplished, historical records indicate that the stone was believed to make the prisoner invisible. Another interesting story concerns a chrysoprase that Alexander the Great wore in his girdle during all of his battles. According to this fable, he laid aside his girdle to bathe in the Euphrates River after his Indian campaign and a serpent bit off the stone and dropped it into the river.
Carnelian, the original but now obsolete spelling of carnelian, was derived from the old Latin word “cornum” meaning “cornel berry” or “cornelian cherry”. The newer spelling came into existence during the fifteenth century, as a result of the mistaken belief that it originated from the Latin word “carneolus”, after “carnem” meaning “flesh”. Legend says that this red to brownish-red to orange-red variety had the power to drive away evil and bring good luck. It was supposedly the stone for weak or timid voices, giving courage to speak boldly and well. It protected against the envious and was responsible for making sure that desires were gratified.
Sard, which is similar to carnelian but darker and more brownish, comes through the Latin from the Greek word “Sardis”, which was the capital of Lydia in Asia Minor. Sardonyx, a name that describes stones consisting of bands of sard and black and white levers, alternates with peridot as the birthstone for the month of August. Sard was long thought to be a protection against incantations and sorcery and was believed to sharpen the whites, rendering the wearer fearless, victorious end happy. The color of this stone was supposed to neutralize the malign influence of the dark onyx, driving away the bad dreams caused by the latter and dispelling the melancholy thoughts inspired.
Bloodstone, or heliotrope, the dark green chalcedony spotted with red, alternates with aquamarine as the March birthstone. Heliotrope comes from two Greek words meaning “sun” and “direction”. Bloodstone was once used as an amulet in the belief that it would stop bleeding. As with many of the chalcedony varieties, bloodstone has been used as a gemstone since earliest recorded history.
According to legend, it could cause the sun to turn red and make thunder and lightning occur. It was supposed to give the wearer clairvoyance and preserve his faculties and health. It meant respect to the wearer and guarded him from deception. In addition, he was supposed to be given what he asked for and to be believed, regardless of what he said. All doors were open to the owner of a carved bloodstone.
Since quartz is the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and the minutely crystalline chalcedonic form is found in every country, it is not surprising that there are a large number of distinct varieties, those described below are the only ones of significance to the jeweler:
Chalcedony, Moonstone, Chrysoprase, Carnelian, Sard, Bloodstone or Heliotrope, Prase, Agate, Onyx, Jasper, Plasma, Chrysocolla Chalcedony, and Agatized Wood.
Chalcedony has many healing properties. It is a nurturing stone that promotes overall generosity. It is said to aid with emotional balance, stamina, vitality, endurance, energy, kindness, and friendliness. It alleviates hostility, self-doubt, negative thoughts and emotions, and nightmares. Chalcedony is said to help symptoms of dementia and senility. The stone has also been said to have the power to heal the eyes, gallbladder, bones, spleen, and blood and circulatory systems.
Chrysoprase used to be referred to as “the stone of Venus,” and was often used by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians to make seals, signets, jewelry and other ornamental objects because of its beautiful, vivid green color. It is said to have been the favorite gemstone of Alexander the Great.
Chrysoprase comes from two words, chrys being the Greek for gold or yellow and prase from the Greek for ‘leek’, referring to the green coloring.
The colors of the gemstone vary; depending on how much nickel there is in them. In the past the gold or yellowish green colored stone may have been more common, but these days the apple green Chrysoprase is the most common.
Pieces of this stone are often very beautiful as the nickel creates a pattern in the stone. They may be quite different to each other, and may be bright green through to a pale yellowish green, with nickel inclusions through them. Chrysoprase is the most valuable gemstone in the chalcedony family and used to be mistaken for emeralds by ancient jewelers.
Chrysoprase can be found in Germany, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, India, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Poland, California, Brazil, Western Australia, Russia, and the USA in Arizona, California, and Oregon. The most amount of chrysoprase ever found in the world was found in a mine in Poland. This mine was completely depleted in the 14th century. The highest quality chrysoprase is found in Queensland, Australia, which is why it is also referred to as Australian ”jade.”
Emotionally, chrysoprase has been known to promote love, forgiveness, compassion, joy and happiness, self-confidence, and brings one far away from feelings of anxiety, depression, and co-dependence. Chrysoprase attracts prosperity, abundance, mental clarity, love and enhances your intuition, allowing one to be truly centered. The crystal will also help one make use of gifts and talents they possess, but may have forgotten about. This in turn promotes creativity and attracts success in new businesses. It is also said that chrysoprase has the ability to attract new love as it helps in mending a broken heart by aiding the wearer with his or her new self-esteem.
Chrysoprase can be cleaned using warm soapy water and a soft cloth. It should always be kept away from harsh household chemicals and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Faded color may sometimes be remedied through dark, moist storage.
Hematite is a red oxide of iron, like iron rust. The name hematite comes from the Greek word haima, or ema, meaning blood, as it shows a blood red color when cut into thin slices. As such, hematite is also called ‘bloodstone.’ Sometimes, when the stone has a layered appearance, like the petals of a flower, it’s called “iron rose”. Hematite has a long history as a material with many different uses. Hematite crystals that are shiny have traditionally been used in mirrors, and are sometimes called specular hematite. From 2500 BC to 500 BC, hematite was used to make cylindrical seals. Hematite has also been ground and powdered, and used by artists as a pigment, or for polishing. In fact, powdered hematite was used by prehistoric man for cave paintings, by the Egyptians to decorate the tombs of pharaohs, and by Native Americans as a war paint. Today, it is still used as pigment, as well as a metal polishing powder called “jeweler’s rouge”.
Hematite is a dark, blackish gray opaque stone with a metallic luster. It has an extremely high brilliance and shine and takes a metallic polish that can look silver, pure black, or gunmetal blue.
Hematite can be found in numerous localities around the world. Some of the more significant sources include Minas Gerais, Brazil; Cumbria, England and Elba, Italy.
Morroco, South Africa, Bangladesh, China, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and the United States (Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona and New York) are also known to produce fine quality hematite.
Hematite has been mined from the island of Elba since the time of the ancient Etruscans. A NASA spacecraft has also discovered hematite on Mars.
Hematite is very similar to a variety of different gemstones, but technically remains unrelated. Some similar gems include pyrite and marcasite, which both share hematite’s distinctive metallic luster. Hematite is one of many forms of iron oxide. Iron oxide is often found as the coloring agent for many of today’s popular gemstones including bloodstone, garnet, ruby and spinel. Iron oxide is also the chemical make-up of the surrounding rock matrix of a variety of gemstones including boulder opal and tiger’s eye matrix.
There are a few specific gemstone varieties of hematite, although gemologically they are not considered to be distinct species from regular hematite. Some of the more popular trade names include rainbow hematite, an iridescent form of hematite; titano-hematite, a titanium-rich hematite; and specularite, an aggregate form, which exhibits an attractive glistening luster when rotated.
Hematite is also commonly associated with other minerals, including pyrite, marcasite, calcite and albite.
Hematite was used as red chalk for some of the earliest writing in human history. The first use of hematite is estimated to have been around 164,000 years ago. Red chalk mines dating back to 5000 BC have been found in Poland and Hungary. Hematite gemstones are thought to be very powerful healing stones. They are primarily used for alleviating blood-related disorders, especially when combined with the powers of bloodstone, one of the most popular healing stones available today.
Hematite is thought to stimulate the absorption of iron and in turn, improve the supply and circulation of oxygen in the body. Hematite is also used for the relief of fever and pain from cramps. It is considered to be a grounding stone that has a cooling and calming effect. Mentally, it is thought to help calm the mind and clear the way for enhanced focus and concentration. Hematite is also an important stone for Chinese feng shui. In feng shui practice, hematite is used for its protective force and for its ability to energize its wearer. Overall, hematite is an excellent gemstone for mental, physical and spiritual healing.
Howlite is named for its discoverer, Henry How, a geologist from Nova Scotia. Howlite is an easily obtainable stone, found mostly in the United States, (in California) in large quantities, where nodules of up to one hundred pounds have been found.
Howlite is quite porous and because of this quality, it can be dyed to imitate similar coloured stones such as turquoise, coral and lapis lazuli. However, howlite itself is generally not mimicked. Howlite could be confused with incredibly rare white turquoise. Native American Indians have named white turquoise, “the sacred buffalo stone” or “the white buffalo stone”, due to it being as rare as a white buffalo. For this reason white turquoise is far more valuable than howlite, so it would not likely be sold as howlite.
Howlite is milky white or grey, and is interspersed with black or dark brown veins. These veins are the matrix, or surrounding stone. It can also be pure white, which means that the matrix (surrounding stone) is not present in the gemstone.
Howlite is a hydrated calcium borosilicate. It has a dull to sub-vitreous, porcelain- like luster, and is earthy. Stones come in all sizes. Howlite is a light mineral, and is usually of a chalky white color, with gray, brown or black veins or streaks and web-like markings and blotches. It can be described as a marbled stone. Crystals are opaque to translucent. Sometimes, howlite fluoresces a blue, yellowish white or off-white color under shortwave UV light. Howlite forms in nodules that have been said to look like the heads of cauliflower. Crystal faces on the nodules are very rare but veins of black, web looking streaks are often interlaced through these nodules, creating a beautiful effect. Often, artists paint slabs of howlite, using these veins to work into their artistic designs.
Howlite is said to balance calcium levels and strengthen the bones and teeth. It is also thought to be a calming stone that can relieve insomnia, therefore, some insomniacs place a piece of howlite beneath their pillow to encourage restful sleep. In traditional Hindu belief systems, howlite is considered to benefit the third eye chakra, and when placed on this chakra, between the brows, it is thought to open up memories of previous lives. Howlite is a non-traditional stone for those born under the zodiacal sign of Gemini. Additionally, howlite is believed to eliminate anger and absorb negative energy.
Spiritually, howlite is a stone of awareness. It can prepare the user or wearer to receive wisdom and attunement from the Higher Self and the Divine. It is also used for dimensional travel and healthy meditation.
Howlite can also be used to release attachments, or cords, linking old emotional pain, from this life or a past life, to the present. Once these atachments are severed, it allows for processing those emotions and bringing peace in those areas.
Howlite is a wonder stone for calming upset states of mind and emotion. Howlite decreases an overly critical state of mind, selfishness, stress, and anxiety, bringing calm and relaxation. Howlite also can decrease anger originating from within or externally. The wake of such calming can help one be truly comfortable as oneself without the need to pretend to be anything but what you are.
Subtlety and tact are also energies that howlite brings. This can calm difficult communications and ease confrontations., particularly by decreasing rudeness and facetiousness.
Howlite is also used to heighten creativity and expand self-expression.
Howlite is softer than many other gems, so it can be easily scratched. Since howlite dissolves in hydrochloric acid, harsh household chemical cleaners should be avoided. Howlite is softer than common quartz, and since ordinary dust often contains traces of quartz, simply wiping off dust can eventually lead to reduced polish and unwanted surface scratches. To clean your howlite, simply use soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. As with most gemstones, ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are not recommended. Always remove any jewelry or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in harsh physical activities such as sports. Store howlite away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.
Iolite is a variety of the mineral cordierite. This mineral was named after French geologist Cordier. … Like sapphire and tanzanite, its fellow blue gemstones, iolite is pleochroic- meaning it transmits light differently when viewed from different directions.
When Leif Eriksson and other legendary Viking explorers ventured out into the Atlantic Ocean, far away from any coastline, iolite there secret gem weapon held there position. Viking sailors allegedly used thin pieces of iolite as the world’s first polarizing filter. By looking through an iolite lens, they could determine the exact position of the sun on cloudy days to help them navigate safely to their new worlds and back.
Iolite does what a Polaroid does- it cancels out haze, mist, and clouds to make things appear clearer. The stone has been called the “Viking’s Compass.” Only officially named in 1912, iolite has been used and admired for centuries. It was very popular in jewelry in the 18th Century in Europe but today it is used somewhat infrequently.
Legends describe iolite as a way to strengthen one’s eyesight. There are also many emotional attributes to the stone. Iolite has been said to enhance curiosity and achievement, guiding one through spiritual growth. It has also been said to overcome co-dependency with a partner. It brings friendliness and higher, purer thoughts, promotes charity and helpfulness. The stone awakens our hunger for the love of our whole self, aiding in accepting ourselves. Once we can accept ourselves truly, we come to understand that our level of self-acceptance reflects in our relationships with others.
Jade is the stone given in celebration of the 12th, 30th, and 35th anniversaries of marriage. For thousands of years, the stone has been revered in China and other countries throughout the world. The Chinese, Mayas, Aztecs, and the Maoris of New Zealand have long prized the stone for its use in jewelry, and in carvings of sacred religious figures. Before there were written records of jade, it was used for axe heads, spear points, daggers, and sacred knives in pagan religious ceremonies. From the earliest days of jade’s history, it has been the most favored gem among the Chinese. There are collections of jade with Chinese carvings, dating back to 2000 BC in museums throughout the world. These include carvings of meaningful shapes such as fish, birds, bats and dragons. Jade was used extensively in daily and ceremonial objects of Chinese nobility and represented high rank and authority. Jade amulets were actually buried with the dead in China. The Spanish conquistadores adopted the use of jade when they invaded Central America. They often wore amulets made from the stone. Jade was also used by Ancient South American cultures in ornamental objects and as axe heads. The ancient Mexican hieroglyph for precious stones actually refers primarily to jade. Maori tribes in New Zealand made their legendary war clubs and ceremonial carvings out of jade. The Spanish conquistadores called jade piedra de hijada (loin stone) or piedra de los rinones (kidney stone), believing it prevented or cured ailments in those areas.
Jade has been mined and worked in China since the Stone Age. In prehistoric sites, jade artifacts include simple ornaments with bead, button, and tubular shapes. It was also used for tools and weapons. Jade later became revered with special significance. Beautiful designs were used for carvings, decorations, ceremonies, furnishings, and jewelry for the Imperial families.
By 3,000 BC, jade became known as “yu” or the “royal gem”.
Jade also plays a part in the history of New Zealand. It is found on the South Island and has been treasured for many years by the Maoris of New Zealand, who call it “pounamu”, “greenstone” or “New Zealand jade”. Pounamu has been made into Maori tools, such as chisels and fish hooks, and weapons, such as short clubs and ornaments. This New Zealand jade is usually nephrite. Spinach-green nephrite from the Lake Baikal region of Russia is known as “Russian jade”. Jadeite is the rarer of the two varieties of jade, and as a result it is more precious. The most valuable variety of jade is a striking and even emerald green jadeite, known as “imperial jade”.
Xu Shen, from the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 221 AD), details the five virtues of jade in his work Shuowen Jiezi:
Benevolence for its luster and brilliance.
Honesty for its translucent texture.
Wisdom for its tranquil and far-reaching tone.
Integrity and Bravery for it may be broken but cannot be twisted.
The most wealthy and influential members of society would be buried in jade suits. Extremely costly and taking years to assemble, the thread used to join the pieces of jade would be gold, silver, copper, silk, or other materials depending on the status of the person buried.
The first archaeological discoveries of these suits, of Prince Liu Sheng and Dou Wan of the Western Han dynasty, consisted of: 2498 pieces of jade and 2.5 lbs of gold wire.
The gemstone’s significance to Chinese culture cannot be understated. Entire kingdoms in China have started wars over particularly precious stones.
Jade is different than other types of valuable gems or precious metals. In fact, the cultural term “jade” refers to two different and similar types of ornamental rocks, both made of different silicate minerals.
Nephrite jade was the very first of these materials discovered in China, and was the traditional jade used and carved since ancient times. Nephrite was so important that the traditional deposits in China are now all but depleted.
There is evidence that jadeite jade, coming primarily from Burma, began to be traded in China on a wider scale in the 14th century. It was harder, denser, and worked easier – it eventually became the form of the gemstone preferred by Chinese artisans and prized by the Chinese people.
Today, most jade traded in China is of the jadeite variety.
However, the country’s traditional nephrite jade is not forgotten. Every athlete’s medal, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was embedded with a piece of pure, natural-carved jade. The gold medal featured a rare form of white nephrite known as “mutton fat” jade.
Jade is valued differently than other comparable gemstones or precious metals. Jade is not fungible like gold, and jade is not a single polished and cut crystal, such as in the case of diamonds or rubies.
Both jadeite and nephrite jade are stones formed of interlocking microcrystals. Jade comes in different shapes and sizes, and can have impurities or grains in the stone that define its character. This means each piece of jade is unique.
Professional craftsmen look at raw jade’s beauty, flaws, and spirit to determine what shall be carved from it. This potential ties into the price that people are willing to pay for it.
Jade ranges in color. It occurs in green, white, orange, yellow, lavender, grey and black. The most highly valued jade is a vivid emerald green and is semi-transparent. It is known as imperial jade and only occurs in Burma (Myanmar). Jade can be more than one color in a single gem. Jade in which the color is evenly distributed is highly valued. However, color preferences vary depending on the region. For example, in the West, deep and vivid green jade is preferred, but in the Far East, pure white or yellow jade with a pink tone is prized, along with green imperial jade.Black Jade emanates strong, protective energies to ward off negative assault, physical or psychological, including self limitation.
Blue Jade calms the mind, encouraging peace and reflection, and is valuable in promoting visions and dreams.
Brown Jade is grounding. It connects to the earth and provides comfort and reliability.
Lavender Jade alleviates emotional hurt and provides spiritual nourishment. Its energy is of the highest etheric spectrum.
Orange Jade brings joy and teaches the interconnectedness of all beings. It is energetic and quietly stimulating.
Purple Jade encourages amusement and happiness, and purifies one’s aura. It dispels the negative and increases one’s level of discernment.
Red Jade is a stone of life-force energy, dispelling fear that holds one back, and urges one to action.
White Jade filters distractions, pulls in relevant, constructive information and aids in decision making.
Yellow Jade is cheerful and energetic, a stone of assimilation and discrimination.
Although jade is a tough material, it should be cared for properly in order to maintain its luster. To clean your jade, simply use soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. As with most gemstones, ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are not recommended. Always remove any jewelry or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in harsh physical activities such as sports. Store jade away from other gemstones to avoid scratches. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewelry box.
Jasper has a very long history. The stone was mentioned in the bible and other classical sources. Though it is a common stone today, Jasper used to be a very valuable. Between the 4th and 5th millennium, Jasper was used to make bow drills. It was one of the most loved gemstones of the ancient world. Archeological finds at the palace of Knossos on Minoan Crete, prove that jasper used to be used to produce seals all the way back in the year 1800 BC.
Jasper is the zodiacal stone for Leo, Virgo and Scorpio. It is a planetary stone for Mars and is associated with the element of fire. Since the actual colors of jasper can vary from stone to stone, its metaphysical abilities may also vary depending on the color of the specimen. Generally, jasper is considered to be the ‘supreme nurturer’ stone. It helps its wearer through tough times and brings tranquility and feelings of well-being to those who wear it for its power. It is also a stone of protection and is able to absorb negative energy. Physically, jasper is said to re-energize the body and alleviate symptoms of prolonged illness. It is specifically used for relieving stomach pains, pancreatic disorders, sciatica and foot problems, such as troubled toenails. It is thought to be a good stone for the libido and many wear it for its ability to prolong pleasure.
Jasper is ideal for balancing energies associated with the base chakra. In antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages, people believed that the cosmos was reflected in gemstones. Jasper is assigned to the planets Mars and Pluto. The healing powers of gems remains a controversial issue, but gems have been used by healers, shamans and medicine men for centuries. Whether these healing properties are based on faith, fact or the placebo effect, it truly doesn’t matter if it helps those who are in need. The best approach is to wear the gemstone in contact with the skin or the troubled part of the body.
The name “Jasper” means “spotted or speckled stone.” This can be traced back in the history to a few different languages, including Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Assyrian, Greek and Latin. Jasper is normally red due to its iron inclusions, but can also be found in white, black, orange, yellow, brown, green, banded, multicolored, and sometimes blue. Most Jasper is natural – the stones are not treated or enhanced, although occasionally they are dyed.
Jasper is a member of the chalcedony quartz family; one of the most important jewelry and ornamental gemstone groups of all-time. Unlike many other colored stones, jasper can often be found in local jewelry stores. It is a favorite for both hobbyists and professional jewelers, due to its excellent affordability, abundance and variety of colors, shapes and patterns.
Jasper quartz is perfectly suitable for any type of jewelry design imaginable, including pendants, necklaces and even daily-wear gemstone rings. Jasper has the durability and hardness required for mainstream jewelry, making it very resistant to wear and tear. It can be classy, traditional, urban or tribal depending on how you wear it, and it rarely requires any special maintenance. Jasper is a favorite for both men and women because of its versatility and availability as large and oddly-shaped fancy stones.
Jasper is especially appealing when it is found with interesting, beautiful patterns on it. Often it is spotted, striped, or ringed. The patterns found on jasper are caused during the consolidation process. Water and or wind form flow and depositional patterns in the original sediment or volcanic ash, creating these lovely natural designs. Specific colors or patterns on Jasper are unique based upon where geographically, the stones are found.
Jasper comes in all colors, mostly striped, spotted or flamed. A variety of trade names specify colors, appearance or composition. There is no recommendation for color, although red, caused by traces of iron oxide, is one of the most common colors. Brown and yellow are also commonly occurring colors for jasper. Unicolored stones are extremely rare, but not unheard of. The saturation of color defines overall value.
Jasper is a powerful healing stone. It is known to alleviate stress and eliminate all negative energy. It soothes the nerves, increases focus and positive thinking and heals injuries. The stone is also thought to promote the healing process during illness or hospitalization. Jasper is also known to aid in self-discipline, so it can be a great stone to have if one is struggling with addiction, including the task of dieting or quitting smoking. Jasper is also known to increase fertility and remove toxins from the body over time.
Jasper is found in Indonesia, Egypt, Brazil, Venezuela, Madagascar, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Australia, Uruguay and in the United States in Oregon, California, Arizona, Arkansas, Texas, Utah, Idaho, and Washington.
Labradorite was named after Labradore Newfoundland, northeast Canada, where geologists first identified the gem in the 1770’s. Legend has it that the Northern Lights were once stuck inside rocks on the Canadian coast until a brave warrior freed most of them by hitting the rocks with a spear. The rocks that were not hit, still have those Northern Lights within them, the cause of the beautiful iridescent quality labradorite possesses. Today, the most highly prized variety of labradorite still comes from Labradore, however some extremely valuable specimen also come from Finland, where labradorite is known as Spectrolite.
Labradorite is a member of the feldspar family and is treasured for its remarkable play of color, known as labradorescence. This is a result of diffraction of light in the layers of rock. Popular colors are royal blue and multicolor. Labradorite can also be colorless, orange-red and brownish. The metallic tints of labradorite can show the full spectrum of color, especially in spectrolite, which is named after the full range of color that it exhibits.
The stone, usually gray-green, dark gray, black or grayish-white, is composed in aggregate layers that refract light as iridescent flashes of peacock blue, gold, pale green, or coppery red. The predominant blue varies within the light, displaying hues from deepest blue to various shades of pale, almost blue-green. It became a popular gem in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Labradorite is also the most powerful protector of the mineral kingdom, creating a shielding force throughout the aura and strengthening natural energies from within. It protects against the negativity and misfortunes of this world, and provides safe exploration into alternate levels of consciousness and in facilitating visionary experiences from the past or the future.
Labradorite radiates a predominant blue crystal energy that stimulates the Throat Chakra, the voice of the body. It is, in essence, a pressure valve that allows the energy from the other chakras to be expressed. If it is blocked, or out of balance, it can affect the health of the other chakras. When the throat chakra is in balance and open, it allows for the expression of what we think and what we feel. We can communicate our ideas, beliefs, and emotions, bringing our personal truth out into the world. We have an easy flow of energy within the body and spirit. The energy that springs upward from the lower chakras can continue its path enabling free expression and natural release. Darker shades of blue encourage the power of truth, while lighter shades carry the power of flexibility, relaxation, and balance. Labradorite, with its iridescent flashes of color, can be very beneficial in uniting all of the chakras.
Lapis lazuli is a gemstone of the kind that might have come straight out of the Arabian Nights: a deep blue with inclusions of pyrites.
This opaque, deep blue gemstone has a great past. It was one of the first gemstones to be worn as jewelry. At excavations in the ancient centers of culture around the Mediterranean, archaeologists have found among the grave furnishings, decorative chains and figures made of lapis lazuli – clear indications that the deep blue stone was already popular thousands of years ago among the people of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome. It is said that the legendary city of Ur on the Euphrates plied a keen lapis lazuli trade as long ago as the fourth millennium B.C., the material coming to the land of the two great rivers from the famous deposits in Afghanistan. In other cultures, lapis lazuli was regarded as a holy stone. Particularly in the Middle East, it was thought to have magical powers. Countless signet rings, scarabs and figures were created from the blue stone which Alexander the Great brought to Europe.
Lapis Lazuli is a stone of communication that can bring truthfulness, openness, and mental clarity. It is used to help you say just the right thing, as if by magic.
Lapis gemstone has helpful energy. It can bring mental and emotional virility and strengthen to the mind. It also is said to enhance creativity. Its energy can help organize daily life as well as quieting a restless mind.
Strong emotional components of Lapis are the strength and ability to overcome abuse issues, trauma, as well as depression and grief. This is due to its energy of bringing inner power and hope. The inner power can also build courage, confidence, and overcome shyness. Hope brings trust that things will work out in spite of past issues. It also is used to decrease irritability, whether caused by trauma issues or day-to-day frustration.
The name malachite derives from the Greek Moloche meaning mallow, because the stone is the same color as mallow leaves. Malachite is copper based, and has been crushed and used as pigments for thousands of years. It has been valued as a gemstone since ancient times. Ancient Egyptians wore malachite in jewelry and used it for carving ornaments. They mined the stone in an area between Mt Sinai and the Suez as early 4000 BC. Egyptian hieroglyphs describe malachite as an integral part of their deities’ existence. The image of the sun was engraved in the stone to protect its wearer from evil spirits. Malachite was also carved into amulets and scarabs, and was thought to be a protective stone for children. The ancient Greeks and Romans also made vases and sculptures out of the stone. Later, the Russian czars used it as a decorative stone, quarrying vast deposits in the Ural Mountains to create magnificent structures such as the columns of St. Isaacs Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Malachite is used as a source of copper and as a gemstone. It often occurs with azurite in copper deposits. Malachite often has distinctive concentric bands in varying shades of green, which make it an interesting gemstone. It typically occurs in aggregate form, as botryoidal (grape-shaped) masses. The history of malachite goes back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who used malachite to make jewelry and amulets, and ground it into powder to make eyeshadow. Malachite has also been used as the pigment in green paints. Many years ago, huge blocks of malachite, some weighing an enormous 20 tonnes, were found in Russia and were used by the Tsars to decorate their palaces. However, the most significant contemporary source of malachite is Africa. Most malachite is mined in Zaire, Australia, Chile, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Arizona.
Malachite is often cut en cabochon for rings, earrings or into fancy shapes for pendants. It can also be carved into intricate forms such as cameos. Spherical shaped malachite makes attractive beads for necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Malachite is sometimes faceted or tumbled. When cutting malachite, the lapidaries will cut it in order to show off the stripes.
In fact, malachite was believed to warn its wearer of impending danger by breaking into pieces. Malachite is therefore thought to possess protective qualities. Some say that malachite mirrors the feelings of the wearer, so it is best to wear it when feeling positive. However, others say that malachite is a calming mineral that can encourage positive feelings and release feelings of negativity. Physically, malachite is claimed to increase physical energy, reduce swollen joints, facilitate labour, alleviate menstrual disorders, encourage liver detoxification, prevent vertigo and travel sickness, aid peaceful sleep, help respiratory problems, enhance the immune system, stimulate digestion and encourage good circulation. Malachite is a traditional gemstone for the 13th wedding anniversary. It is also believed by some to encourage business success. In traditional Hindu belief systems, malachite is thought to balance the heart chakra, helping us to be in touch with our emotional needs and deal with our emotions effectively.
It helps to clear and activate all the chakras, has a lovely stabilizing energy that helps you to feel more balanced emotionally.
This lovely green crystal encourages loyalty and practicality in partnerships, and faithfulness in all types of relationships, whether love, business or friendship.
It helps you to open your heart to others and it brings peaceful harmonious energy to all types of relationships.
It also embodies the power of coincidence and this can be used to help you to take the right path to change your life.
This stone also helps to clear the obstructions from your path that may have been holding you back. So you may, just coincidentally, avoid the things that may cause you difficulties or that may harm you.
Moonstone is the birthstone for the month of June and the stone traditionally given in celebration of the 13th anniversary of marriage. Moonstone has always been very popular in India. The stone was also prized by the Romans, who thought it was magically formed out of moonlight. Moonstone was used in Roman jewelry since the year 100 AD. Ancient Greeks and Romans both linked the stone with the moon deities. Moonstone comes from the mineral family feldspar, which is one of the most plentiful in the world, however fine gem quality moonstone is scarce and is becoming more scarce as time goes on. Moonstone was very popular in the Art Nouveau jewelry of the early 20th century and continued to flourish until around 1925 in the US. Men wore the stones in stickpins for their ties, in cuff links, rings and mounted as ornaments on watch chains. Women wore moonstones in bracelets, brooches, rings, earrings and necklaces.
Moonstone has a rich history and abundant folklore. Its story begins in ancient Rome, where it was believed moonstone was formed from solidified beams of moonlight. They also held that the Roman goddess Diana, goddess of the moon, could be seen within the stone, and that it would bestow love, wisdom and good fortune upon those who possessed it. They believed it would help keep the mind clear, so that its owner could make the smartest and wisest choices in life, and even enhance the wearer’s ability for second-sight or prophecy. Moonstone was a most popular jewelry choice, being such a magical looking stone, and having such benefits for its wearer.
In India, Moonstone was a sacred stone. Its powers as a love stone made it useful as a traditional wedding gift, and was thought to be instrumental in reconciling estranged lovers. There was a belief in India and in Europe that two people wearing moonstone on the full moon would fall passionately in love. The moonstone’s history in India includes the belief that since the beginning of time, a moonstone had been set into the forehead of India’s moon god, Chandra. In fact, his full name was Chandra Shekara, which means “Person who wears the moon.” The stone on Chandra’s forehead was said to grow dimmer or become more bright with the waning and waxing of the moon (and the waxing and waning of Chandra’s power), thus giving the gem the name “moon stone.”
Moonstone also has a long history as a “Traveler’s Stone.” When worn as an amulet, moonstone was said to protect travelers, especially at night, and especially when the moon is shining. Ancient mariners believed it would protect them when traveling over water. Some suggest keeping a moonstone in a pocket, or otherwise stashed in your car or aboard your usual mode of transport for extra protection when abroad at night.
In more recent history, during the Art Nouveau period (1890-1910), the moonstone gained a resurgence in popularity. The French master goldsmith Rene Lalique led the way creating stunning pieces of jewelry featuring the moonstone. Though now most of Lalique’s jewelry is in museums, plenty of jewelers all over the US and Europe were beginning to work with moonstone again. Such jeweled creations no doubt benefitted from beliefs such as giving your lover a moonstone necklace during the full moon would create endless passion for the loving couple.
Throughout the ages, moonstone has been synonymous with the moon, magic, love, good fortune, and protection. One myth says that blue moonstones are washed up by the ocean tides every twenty-one years, and another claims that moonstone will lose its pretty shine and sheen if the owner of the stone keeps a lot of anger pent up inside. Later, during the Middle Ages, moonstone was used for scrying the future.
Today, moonstone is the state gem for Florida.
Moonstone is said to have many intuitive and emotional properties. It helps tap into the more gentle qualities of love and peace, especially if the person has had to close up their emotions for survival (think police, active duty military, rescue workers, therapists, or those grieving). Moonstone helps bring out an empathic response, bringing feeling back to those who’ve been numb. Yet moonstone is protective as well, and will open a person up as far as they are able, but not so much that they are overwhelmed. It naturally helps compassion and tenderness unfold in a healthy way. This ability to increase empathy makes moonstone useful for people in leadership positions, management, and coaches also, to help them stay in touch with the people they need to direct and make decisions for. For people who already feel, moonstone can bring up old, old emotions that still need to be worked through. It will assist the calming of fears and the smoothing out of hormonal mood swings. Moonstone is a stone of that brings out the nurturing in feeling.
Along with moonstone’s ability to open the heart to compassionate love, it also opens the way for more romantic love. The moonstone has long been used as a gift for lovers, and for those wishing to secure the passions of their partner. One folk tale said that wearing a moonstone in a piece of jewelry during the full moon while making love would increase the chances of fertility.
Moonstone is said to increase one’s sensitivity to the Divine, to heighten intuition and open one up to their psychic gifts. There is a certain positivity to moonstone in that it encourages hope and inspiration, allowing you to wish and aspire and flow in harmony with your dreams (especially if you’ve already used moonstone to help work through any past emotional issues). Moonstone is said to help fulfill the things in life that one actually needs. It does not always attract what you want, but it will always attract what you need, and it will also help you to understand the difference between the two.
Moonstone can be found in Ceylon, India, Burma, Mexico, Norway, Australia, Madagascar, Tanzania, the US, Brazil, and Switzerland. Small stones are not too difficult to find, but large unflawed stones are extremely hard to find. Sri Lanka is the most important source of the gemstone, in terms of volume and quality. Because moonstone is a soft stone, it is fragile and can be easily scratched. Moonstone must be handled with care. The best way to clean it is to rub it lightly with a soft polishing cloth.
Obsidian is an igneous rock that forms above the Earth’s surface when molten rock cools very quickly. The result is a volcanic glass with a smooth, uniform texture. Obsidian can be found where lava comes into contact with water and around the edges of a volcanic dome or lava flow. Obsidian is a birthstone for Sagittarius.
Obsidian is usually black but can also be green, brown, or beige. When obsidian contains inclusions or other elements, it can be orange, yellow, blue and red. Sometimes two colors are swirled together- the most common color combination is black and brown, which is known as “mahogany obsidian.” Black obsidian mixed with white obsidian is known as “snowflake obsidian.
Obsidian can also have an iridescent or metallic sheen, caused by light reflecting from minute inclusions of mineral crystals, rock debris, or gas within the stones. These rare colored specimens are known as “rainbow obsidian,” “golden obsidian,” or “silver obsidian,” depending upon the color of the iridescence. These beautiful stones are highly desirable for use in jewelry.
Obsidian is found in many locations worldwide where there has been recent volcanic activity. It is rare to find obsidian that is extremely old, as it is destroyed quickly by the weather. Obsidian deposits are found in New Zealand, the US, Peru, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Guatemala, Iceland, Russia, and Italy. Most obsidian used in the jewelry trade is produced in the United States.
Obsidian was revered by ancient cultures. It was one of the major barter materials, and prized for its ability to be worked to razor-sharp edges for arrows and spears. It has been used since prehistoric times for making tools, masks, weapons, mirrors and jewelry.
The manufacture of obsidian tools by humans dates back to the Stone Age. At some locations, tons of obsidian flakes reveal the presence of ancient “factories.” Some of these sites have enough waste debris to suggest that many people labored there for decades producing a variety of obsidian objects. Making arrowheads, spear points, knife blades, and scrapers from obsidian, flint might have been the world’s first “manufacturing industry.”
Obsidian was so valued for these uses that ancient people mined, transported, and traded obsidian and obsidian objects over distances of up to a thousand miles. Archaeologists have been able to document the geography of this trade by matching the characteristics of obsidian in outcrops with the characteristics of obsidian in cutting tools. A study done by the Idaho National Laboratory used composition studies by X-ray fluorescence to identify the source outcrops of obsidian artifacts and map their use across the western United States.
Although using a rock as a cutting tool might sound like “stone age equipment,” obsidian continues to play an important role in modern surgery. Obsidian can be used to produce a cutting edge that is thinner and sharper than the best surgical steel. Today, thin blades of obsidian are placed in surgical scalpels used for some of the most precise surgery. In controlled studies, the performance of obsidian blades was equal to or superior to the performance of surgical steel.
Obsidian is thought to be a powerful stone that can offer protection against negativity. It is sometimes called “the stone of truth” because it encourages the surfacing of secrets and hidden emotions. Additionally, obsidian is also thought to be a balancing and grounding stone. Traditional Indian belief systems associate obsidian with the root chakra, which governs sexuality and stability. Centuries ago, black obsidian mirrors were used to contact the spirit world, and it is thought to be useful in resolving issues related to past lives. Obsidian is also considered to be particularly useful for those suffering from depression or addiction.
Onyx is black and white banded agate or chalcedony quartz. It should not to be confused with onyx marble, which is limestone. The banding of onyx is parallel and consistent. Some varieties of onyx differ in color, such as sard onyx, which has a brown base and white upper layer, cornelian onyx, which has a red base and white upper layer which is very thin allowing the black base color to show through as grey or blue. Onyx takes its name from the Greek word “onux”, which means fingernail; this could be due to a Greek legend, in which Eros mischievously cut the fingernails of Aphrodite with an arrowhead while she slept, and the gods turned the clippings into stone. As a hard stone, onyx has been used for carvings and jewelry since ancient times. Some of the earliest examples of onyx carvings are bowls and potteries from the Second Dynasty in Egypt.
There are also examples of beautiful onyx artifacts from Minoan Crete. Onyx is also prized in mythology. In the Book of Revelation, the foundation of the city of Heaven is made of onyx. Onyx is also mentioned as being a component in the garments of priests.
In recent history, onyx was used by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to construct a famous iridescent stone wall in the historic Villa Tugendhat in the Czech Republic. The house is considered to be an exemplary icon of modernist architecture.
Onyx can be identified by its black base and white upper layer with parallel banding. However, in the case of sard onyx the base is brown and cornelian onyx has a red base. It is difficult to identify when the material is a single color and can only be clearly distinguished from agate when seen in the exhibiting visibly and continuing banding.
Black onyx is thought to have protective properties and to bring inner strength, self-confidence and mental discipline to its wearer. Additionally, onyx is said to help to release negative emotions and alleviate fear and anxiety. Physically, onyx is believed to help in wound healing, childbirth, eye and ear problems and to benefit the skin, hair, teeth and nails. Onyx is the birthstone for the zodiacal sign of Leo and the seventh wedding anniversary gemstone. Like many gemstones, some cultures believe onyx to be unlucky, but others consider it to be virtuous and to protect against black magic.
Onyx is a versatile material that can be fashioned into a wide variety of jewelry that displays its unique banding or a single color. Black onyx is commonly used for both men’s and women’s jewelry. Onyx contrasts well with gold settings that give it a bold appearance. In Victorian times, onyx was popular as mourning jewelry and black onyx provided a dramatic contrast in silver set Art Deco jewelry. Onyx is beautiful by itself and stunning alongside diamonds and other colored gemstones, such as in the Van Cleef & Arpels “Manhattan Flowers”; earrings made from moonstone, onyx and diamond that were worn by Adele at the 2012 Brit Awards.
The black onyx, the most popular among all the varieties of onyx actually is grey chalcedony. The rich black color is the result of profuse chemical treatment. In order to bring out the black, the grey stone is saturated with a solution of cobalt chlorate and ammonium chloride. Immersion of the stone for a prolonged period in a sugar solution and then heating in sulphuric acid to carbonize the sugar also leave the stone with a brilliant black color.
Although onyx is found worldwide, the most important place of its mining is Brazil. Brazil supplies the best multi-colored untreated chalcedony. In addition to that it also occurs in India, California, U.S.A, Uruguay and Madagascar. Gray chalcedony is found in India and China. If international trends are something to go by, the emphasis on spiritual or mystical aspects of the gemstones have become the latest rage across the globe. The belief is getting increasing strong that chemical structure of the stones have the power to attract different energetic vibration, which can positively affect the mind and body of the wearer. This stone is believed to have many such mystic powers.
These beliefs about the mystic power of onyx vary from country to country. In Middle East, it is associated with the lives and ways of the sorcerers. In India it is believed to calm the ardors of love. The Romans associated it with courage and it is thought to be useful when one is defending him or herself against unfair criticism. In many countries black signifies regeneration and new beginning. So onyx is often prescribed as a healing agent for old emotional wounds and moving ahead by forgetting the past experiences of bad relationship. It is believed to fill the wearer with a gift of eloquence in the time of expressing his or her love for the new romantic interest in life. This is also believed to cure bad habits of the individuals. For absent minded people onyx prove to be very helpful in increasing the concentration level and calming down the mind in the chaotic situations of life. It is also regarded as a helpful tool for growing fingernails hair and skin. Onyx is mystical birth stone for the month of December. It is also the birth stone for the zodiac sign of Leo. It is the alternate birth stone for February and anniversary gemstone for 16th wedding anniversary.
The colored gemstones are in high demand in the international fashion circuit. The colorful jewelries made with multi-colored gemstones have become the hot favorite of the season. Amidst the cluster of bright-colored gems, onyx stands out with its black beauty. Black being one of the basic colors, this stone is hugely used along with light colored gems to bring out the contrasting effect. The richness of the black in onyx is best displayed when teamed with dollops of pearl. In addition to its beauty, it is the affordable price of the stone, that made it popular among the jewelry lovers around the world.
Pyrite is one of the most widely used and distributed sulfide minerals. The name pyrite comes from the Greek word pyr meaning fire, because pyrite actually emits sparks when it’s struck by iron. In fact, it has been used to start fires since prehistoric times. Pyrite has also been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Examples of this jewelry from the ancient times of the Greeks, Romans and Incas have been found. Pyrite was, and still is, an ornamental material. Ancient Greeks polished it to make pins, earrings and amulets. It was also popular in Victorian Britain. Pyrite is highly reflective so the Incas used pyrite tablets as mirrors. Although lighter than gold, prospectors used to mistake pyrite for gold, earning it the synonym, fools gold.
Thanks to pyrite’s ability to create a spark when struck against steel, it was used in the 16th and 17th centuries as a source of ignition in early firearms, especially the wheel lock. In a wheel lock, a pyrite crystal was held against a metal file in order to strike the sparks necessary to fire the gun. In the 1800’s, pyrite found popularity as marcasite jewelry, marcasites of the time being small, faceted pyrite set in silver. Later, in the 20th century, pyrite was used in Energizer brand lithium batteries, and in crystal radio receivers as a mineral detector.
Throughout history, pyrite has been believed to have various healing powers. North American Indians believe the magic powers of pyrite is attested by their presence in the outfit of objects which the medicine men use in their incantations. Pyrite supposedly has the power to aid its wearer in cleansing the oxygen within the circulatory system, which is good for the entire cardiovascular system. It has also been said to be a useful stone for those born with cognitive disorders or learning disabilities. Pyrite is also believed to stabilize one’s energy level. It also calms, supposedly aids prosperity, uplifts, and grounds at the same time.
Pyrite is present in igneous rocks as an accessory mineral, in sedimentary rocks and in metamorphic rocks. Pyrite can be found well crystallized; either isolated, or in small, often well formed groups. Among the richest deposits of pyrite are those at Rio Tinto, Spain. Large crystals also exist on the island of Elba in Italy, and high quality specimens are found near Freiberg Germany. Pyrite is mined in many of the United States including Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania. Pyrite is also found in Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Greece, Norway, Russia, Japan, and Peru.
Rhodonite is a pink manganese mineral. The name rhodonite comes from rhodes, the Greek word for rose, referring to the stone’s distinct pink or rose red color. Some rhodonite stones display beautiful black veins or patches within the stone. These black spots are due to concentrations of manganese oxides and stones displaying these features are more popular than the uniform pink stones. Banded rhodonite became a very popular ornamental stone during the 1930s, after the discovery of the fine material in Argentina. These particular stones from Argentina are sometimes called Inca Rose. Argentina is the main source of this pink-banded rhodonite, which is semi-opaque to opaque. It’s actually inexpensive and sold by the piece. Much of it is used for carvings, spheres and other ornamental items. Some is also found in Peru, South Africa, Mexico and Japan. In 1974, an important new source of rhodonite was discovered in Cape Province, South Africa, where banded rhodonite and fine transparent crystals are both found.
Rhodonite’s pink hue attributes it to emotional healing, especially when it comes to past issues and relationships. Rhodonite is said to bring calm, confidence and clarity of mind to its wearer. In traditional Hindu belief systems, rhodonite is associated with Anahata, or the heart chakra, which is related to peace, decision-making, love, compassion and psychic healing. Physically, rhodonite is considered to be helpful for skin disorders, and to encourage the healing of cuts and scars.
Rhodonite helps to balance the emotions. It is a very supportive stone that works with the Heart Chakra to attract love, ground negative energies and see areas in your life that can be improved upon. Rhodonite helps you to rediscover your inner gifts, bringing out much-needed love into the world. It also assists you in discovering your true passion and learning brand new skills to enhance that passion.
Rutile is a mineral made mostly of titanium dioxide. Rutile can be included in other minerals and one of them is quartz. Tiny rutile inclusions in the form of needles also cause “asterism” in sapphires and rubies, which are known as “star sapphires” and “star rubies”. This means that cabochon cut gems appear to reflect a star on their surface. Rutile is the kind of inclusion that improves, rather than decreases the value of a gemstone because of its interesting and unusual appearance. Some call it “Venus hair”, others say it looks like straw, and yet others compare it to yellowish-brown needles or golden threads. Since the inclusions of “rutile topaz” appear very similar to those in rutile quartz, it was assumed that they were composed of the same material. Therefore, “rutile topaz” was the term adopted for topaz with inclusions that appear as brownish-yellow needles. However, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) conducted an investigation of “rutile topaz” stones in 1987, using microscopy. Due to the habit of the inclusions, the GIA concluded that the inclusions are not rutile, but are limonitic stains, which partially or completely fill dislocation channels. Limonite is a yellow or brown iron ore which was first used as a pigment. A famous product of limonite is yellow ochre from Cyprus. This revelation suggests that “rutile topaz” should be more accurately named “limonite topaz”, but the name “rutile topaz” seems to have stuck, so this is how it continues to be referred to.
Rutile is a substance that makes frequent appearances in the gemstone world. Rutile is responsible for the “silk” that makes some rubies and sapphires more valuable. It is also the cause of most asterism (the star effect) and chatoyancy (the cat’s eye effect). It is microscopic inclusions of rutile that create these unusual optical phenomena. Rutile becomes visible in the inclusions characteristic of rutilated quartz, where large rutile needles form fascinating and unique patterns.
Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide.
Rutile topaz is usually colorless (clear) topaz with golden thread-like inclusions. These inclusions can be very sparse, consisting of just one or two visible threads, or they can be more dense and closely-packed. The inclusions of rutile topaz can range in color from golden yellow to brownish-yellow. In extremely rare cases, the thread-like inclusions can appear silver or even rainbow colored. This is due to the limonite forming with other minerals. Since topaz occurs in other colors, such as orange, pink, pale blue, pale green and even violet, rutile topaz can also occur in these colors. However, rutile topaz is mostly clear.
Rutilated quartz, is a type of quartz with needlelike rutile embedded in it. The rutile needles can be reddish, which is what rutile means in Latin, or they may be golden, silvery, or on very rare occasions, greenish.
Rutilated quartz is reputed to be an energizing stone that helps get energy moving on all levels. Intuitive sources say that it assists with mental focus. It is also said to attract love and stabilize relationships. Rutilated quartz said to be particularly effective for getting things moving energetically. It can help slowed chakras return to normal spin and balance.
Emotionally, rutilated quartz is said to be very helpful in uncovering the causes of mental issues and hang-ups. It is reputed diminishes fears and be excellent at assisting with decision-making processes. It is said that it can also ease loneliness and relieve guilt thereby bringing happiness. It is used metaphysically to help one get out of a rut with their life as well as for stabilizing emotional and mental processes, clarifying thought patterns and emotional reactions. Rutilated quartz is also said to increase one’s self-reliance and ability to find one’s own way.
In the psychic and spiritual realms, rutilated quartz is used for meditation, spiritual communications, and dream work. It is particularly good for seeking higher spiritual experiences and meditation on feminine ideas. Rutilated quartz is also used metaphysically to deflect negative energies and unwanted energetic, psychic, and magickal interferences.
Physically, rutilated quartz is said to be beneficial for food disorders, the immune system, regeneration of tissue, fatigue, depression, respiratory illness, stability of all physical systems and general health, and absorption of nutrients from food. It is also reputed by intuitive sources to be helpful for getting energy moving in meridians and areas where the physical energy is sluggish. Rutiliated quartz is also a mystical crystal “diagnostic tool” which can help discover the true cause of an ailment. Note that healing crystal meanings are spiritual supports to healing and are not prescriptions or healthcare information.
The meaning of this stones name relates to its resemblance to the eye of a tiger or cats eye. Its color is yellow brown to golden brown and it is very attractive with lovely bands of color through it.
Tiger’s Eye is a most ancient talisman, mysterious and powerful, revered and feared – an “all-seeing all-knowing eye,” thought to grant a wearer the ability to observe everything, even through closed doors. It was chosen by the Egyptians for the eyes in their deity statues to express divine vision, and was believed to provide the protection of the sun and earth combined, of Ra, the sun god and Geb, god of the growing land. Linked to the magical tiger, the king of beasts in Eastern mythology, Tiger’s Eye portrayed courage, integrity and right use of power. Roman soldiers carried it to deflect weapons and to be brave in battle. It has been highly regarded throughout history as a stone of prosperity and good fortune, protecting one’s resources and reflecting back malice or threats from others.
While it is not really classified as a quartz crystal, it could be said to be in the quartz family, as it is a variety of quartz with inclusions of fibers of gold asbestos which gives it the golden color.
This is a powerful stone that aids harmony and balance, and helps you to release fear and anxiety.
It stimulates taking action, and helps you to make decisions with discernment and understanding, and unclouded by your emotions.
It enhances creativity and is one of the stones that aid kundalini awakening. This natural crystal balances the brain, so it may be of benefit to help those who are suffering from mental disease or with personality disorders.
This amazing stone of the Golden Ray is still as captivating as it was in the past, with chatoyant layers. It is warm and radiant, synthesizing the frequencies of Sun and Earth, bringing stability and awareness while integrating the spiritual with the physical realms. It teaches balance between extremes, moving one out of the world of duality – right and wrong, good and bad, dark and light – and provides an understanding of the underlying unity behind apparent opposites. It brings a more practical and compassionate reasoning to one’s choices, and helps one to reflect on the past.
The largest numbers of Tiger Eye Stones are found in South Africa, but it also comes from Brazil, India, Burma, Western Australia and USA.
These stones are profound amplifiers of energy, similar to most quartz crystals, and will boost the energy of any other crystals you use it with.
Tigers Eye stone will integrate both hemispheres of the brain, and aid those with scattered energy to resolve any mental conflicts.
It helps you to be clearer mentally, and will charge the intellect as it allows you to remain calm and grounded through the changes.
Tiger’s eye is actually quite rare in regard to worldwide distribution, but over due to sizable deposits located in South Africa and Thailand, it remains rather affordable, making it quite popular for jewelry. Tiger’s eye is also quite durable like all other varieties of quartz gemstones. It has an attractive golden brown color which appeals to men and is often seen in interesting pendants, beaded necklaces or rings. Beaded tiger’s eye jewelry is very popular.
Turquoise stones are found all over the world in places where volcanic activity has occurred. In the United States, turquoise stones are found in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Virginia.
The turquoise stones found in Virginia are a rare form that grows in crystals that are prismatic in nature. Most of the stones in other parts of the world do not grow in crystal shapes.
The highest quality of stones are found in Persia, which is also where the earliest mines supplying modern day turquoise are found. Large successfully mined deposits have also been found in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Tibet.
Turquoise is perhaps the oldest stone in man’s history, the talisman of kings, shamans, and warriors. It is a stone of protection, strong and opaque, yet soothing to the touch, healing to the eye. Its unique shade of blue, often blue-green, lends it name, Turquoise, to all things of this tranquil hue. The delicate veining or mottled webbing in cream or brown is inherent to the stone and serves to enhance its character.
The name Turquoise is derived from the French, pierre turquoise, meaning “Turkish stone,” because the trade routes that brought Turquoise to Europe from the mines in central Asia went through Turkey, and Venetian merchants often purchased the stone in Turkish bazaars.
For thousands of years, Turquoise has covered across all cultures, prized as a symbol of wisdom, nobility and the power of immortality. The Ancient Egyptians, Persians and Chinese, Aztecs and Incas of South America, and Native North Americans, Turquoise was sacred in its adornment and for power, luck, and protection.
Turquoise has been valued for over 7,000 years. Beads made from turquoise in 5000 BC were found in Iraq. Egyptians mined turquoise rocks in Sinai as long ago as 3200 BC. They used it to adorn Egyptian King Tutankhamun’s death mask.
The Aztecs used turquoise gemstones in mosaic masks to represent the gods in keeping with turquoise meaning. They also used turquoise gemstones in ornate inlaid skulls, shields and statues representing the power of Moctezuma who was the last Aztec ruler.
Native Americans have been mining turquoise stones for about 1,000 years. They use turquoise gemstones to make jewelry and adorn burial sites in keeping with turquoise meaning.
In the world of crystal healing, Turquoise is supposed to be a stone of communication. New Age healers recommend the healing powers of Turquoise for people who have a fear of public speaking. They believe it has the ability to make a speaker more eloquent, loving, creative and honest. But the healing powers of Turquoise also improve the mental state overall by increasing all of the following positive mental characteristics: serenity, creativity, empathy, positive thinking, sensitivity, intuition, happiness wisdom all of which result in a calmer state that leads to greater self-realization. It is also considered a stone of friendship. As a communication stone, the New Age believers say that it opens up the connections between friends and allowing love to flow in those communications, which strengthens the friendship bond. Further, they believe it has the power to strengthen convictions, courage and personal power.
The healing powers of Turquoise are said to open all chakras, allowing the stone’s powers of love and communication to flow through the entire being. This Chakra is the center of communication, creativity, serenity and spiritual bonding. Turquoise can also benefit the operation of the Heart Chakra by opening it up for giving and receiving love. The blue color has come to symbolizes the spirit or sky source for spiritualists. Turquoise has serious Chakra Powers that are realized by native people around the world. The healing powers of Turquoise concerning chakra run deep and can be easily realized by most individuals interested in metaphysical healing.