A Guide To Popular Gemstones

By: leedobbins
Gemstones have been used as adornments in jewelry and other items since for centuries. In early times, only royalty could afford gems but today nearly everyone can have a bauble with a gemstone or two in it. Here's some information on seven gemstones favored by jewelry makers.

Amethyst

Amethyst is a type of quartz that comes in shades of purple. It is a highly accessible stone and used in all types of jewelry. This gemstone can vary greatly in quality and color and is the birthstone for the month of February. There are 14 different locations where Amethysts are abundantly found today.

Aquamarine

This light blue gemstone is the birthstone of March and is a favorite of jewelry designers today. It can range in shade from almost white to sky blue and can be rather expensive. This stone belongs to the beryl family of gemstones and is abundant in Brazil.

Bloodstone

The vivid red spots in this stone give it it's name, but the stone itself is really green jasper. The spots come from iron oxide deposits within the stone. This stone was used in ancient times for many carvings and was a favorite of Christian martyrs. A German Emperors seal carved in bloodstone is on display at the Louvre museum in Paris.

Emerald

One of the more expensive stones, this birthstone of May is the stone of love and life. One of the most popular gemstones of all time, it has been used in many crowns and scepters. Emeralds range in shades of green, but the deepest ones hold the most value and can even cost more than diamonds.

Opal

One of the most opulent gemstones, this stone is a combination of fiery colors like a rainbow of sparks. Opals are used in many different jewelry settings and are a favorite gemstone of jewelry wearers today. Originating from Australia, this stone has great history and lore.

Ruby

This red stone has long been associated with love, passion and power. One of the more precious stones, it is considered the King of gemstones and has been extensively used in crowns and jewelry of Kings, Queens and Emperors. Mined mainly in India, the finest rubies are quite rare and expensive.

Sapphire

When we think of sapphire, we mostly think of the deep blue stone, but in fact, this stone can come in many colors. This stone belonging to the corundum group of gemstones is hard to find and highly valued. Second only to diamonds on the hardness scale, sapphires can be more expensive than diamonds especially the most prized specimens.

Topaz

With it's rich golden glow, Topaz is often used as a symbol for the setting sun. Though typically a golden brown, Topaz can also be found in blue, green, pink and red. This birthstone for November is a hard stone but can crack with a hard blow so care should be taken when wearing.

These are just a few of the many stones that are used in modern jewelry designs today. Some designs use just one stone or incorporate many different stones for more color and interest. Perhaps you have picked a favorite from the list above, or if you are like me, you love them all!
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