Archive for the ‘Semi-precious Gemstones’ Category

Serpentine

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Serpentine gets its name from the word ‘serpent’ because it resembles the skin of a snake.  It is sometimes called New Jade, and it occurs in a variety of colors.  Serpentine is most commonly green, although sometimes you will find brown, black, red, or white mixed in depending on the region and various other minerals with which it is found.

History and Uses

Considered an important gemstone to the Assyrians, as early as 4000 B.C. it was used in seals, cylinders, carvings, and as amulets.  Serpentine was carried in ancient Assyria to request the gods and goddesses to provide double blessings.

The 30th Chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead is said to be carved from a tablet of serpentine. 

The Aztecs prized all green stones and serpentine was known to be valued in their time. 

Rasputin was said to favor serpentine and requested an entire dinner set be created for him by the Czar and Czarina as a favor for saving the life of their son.

Italian peasants believed that carrying serpentine pebbles protected them from the venom of poisonous creatures. These pebbles must be in their natural state and untouched by iron, or they would lose their protective nature.

Healing Properties

Serpentine makes an exceptional meditation stone. It helps you to find inner peace. It is said to help you to feel more in control of your life and to help balance mood swings.

It is said to protect against poisonous creatures such as snakes, insects, and so forth.

Serpentine can be placed directly on the skin. It is an aid to kidney and stomach complaints, relaxes cramps and menstrual pain, and helps to release the tension.

In healing Serpentine is believed to aid the detoxification of the internal organs and the blood.
Serpentine is found in New Zealand, India, Italy, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, South Africa, Russia, Zimbabwe, Britain, Norway, England, and the United States.

Feldspar

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Feldspar refers to a group of igneous minerals, all of which are softer than quartz, having the chemical composition of aluminum silicates, containing sodium, potassium, iron, calcium, or barium or combinations of these elements.  Feldspar is found in association with all rock types, including granite, gneiss, basalt, and other crystalline rocks, and makes up about 60% of the Earth’s crust.

Pure feldspar is colorless and transparent but the mineral is commonly opaque and found in a variety of colors.  Each variety of felspar has its own properties.

The feldspar family includes Amazonite, Labradorite, Moonstone, and Sunstone.  Moonstone is a milky, bluish variety of orthoclase used as a gem, and a green variety of microcline known as amazonite, or Amazon stone, is used for jewelry and other ornamental purposes.

Uses

In addition to gemstones, feldspar has many uses.  Feldspar is used to make glass artware, dinnerware, fiberglass, and ceramic glazes and fillers.  In ceramics and glass production, feldspar is used as a flux (a material that lowers the melting temperature of another material).  Feldspar is a major component in porcelain, where it provides the high glaze and smooth-impervious surface that distinguishes it from china and makes it valuable in a range of uses, from bathroom vanities, tiles, and building tiles, to ornaments and dolls.

Healing Properties

Feldspar helps us to find unconventional and exciting ways to reach our goals.  It is a stone of creativity and creative thinking.

It assists in locating that which has been misplaced, and also in discovering and understanding previously unidentified messages from both within and outward of the self.  It is a stone helpful with self-awareness.

It can be used in the treatment of disorders associated with the skin and muscular structure.
Feldspar is found in abundance mostly in Argentina, Brazil, India, Canada, and the United States.

Obsidian

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Obsidian is an extrusive rock, which is lava that cooled quickly without forming crystals, giving it a glassy texture. 

Pure obsidian is usually dark in appearance, though the color varies depending on the presence of other trace minerals.  Iron and magnesium typically give the obsidian a dark green to brown to black color.  A very few samples are nearly colorless.  In some stones, the inclusion of small, white, radially clustered crystals produce a blotchy or snowflake pattern called Snowflake Obsidian.  In addition to other minerals, it also can contain patterns of gas bubbles remaining from the lava flow.  These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as Golden Sheen Obsidian or a Rainbow Sheen Obsidian. Inclusions of other minerals produce other patterns and characteristics.

History and Uses

Because of the lack of crystalline structure, obsidian is hard.  Blade edges can reach almost molecular thinness, leading to its ancient use as projectile points, arrowhead, and blades, as well as its modern use in surgical scalpel blades.

Obsidian was valued in Stone Age cultures because, like flint, it could be fractured to produce sharp blades or arrowheads.  It was also polished to create early mirrors.

Native American people traded obsidian throughout the Americas. Each volcano, and in some cases, each volcanic eruption produces a distinguishable type of obsidian, making it possible for archaeologists to trace the origins of a particular artifact.  Similar tracing techniques have allowed obsidian to be identified in Greece also as coming from Melos, Nisyros, or Yiali (islands in the Aegean Sea).   Obsidian cores and blades were traded great distances inland from the coast.

Healing Properties

Obsidian is truth-enhancing.  A strongly protective stone, it forms a shield against negativity. Obsidian draws out mental stress and tension and dissolves emotional blockages.

Each variety of obsidian has additional attributes.

Snowflake Obsidian – This sophistication of black and white along with the natural beauty of the snowflake pattern is enchanting.   Like being snowed-in and shut out from the outside world’s distractions, that comfort and warmth and protection that you feel inside is the sense that Snowflake Obsidan provides.  It gives a deep, enduring sense of protection and safety.

Mahogany Obsidian – Think of a fine piece of mahogany furniture, polished so that it gleams like glass.  Mahogany Obsidian has a sense of solid protection, along with an increased sense of touch.  It connects you to the earth.

Golden Sheen Obsidian – In addition to protection and safety from negativity, Golden Sheen Obsidian is excellent for gazing and finding the root of a problem.

Obsidian can be found in locations that have experienced volcanic eruptions. It has been found in Armenia, Canada, Chile, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, Argentina, and United States.

Aventurine

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Aventurine is a translucent to opaque variety of microcrystalline quartz. 
It contains small inclusions of shiny minerals that give the stones a sparkling effect known as aventurescence. Inclusions of mica will give a silverish sheen, while inclusions of hematite will give a reddish or grayish sparkle.

Aventurine ranges in color from green, peach, brown, blue, and a creamy green.   Besides its uses in jewelry, aventurine is also used for ornamental purposes like vases, bowls, and figurines.

Legends and Myths

It is interesting that the name for the stone is derived from an accident.  Sometime during the 18th century, Venetian glass workers were preparing molten glass when copper filings accidentally fell into the batch producing a glass with sparkles.  The name aventurine comes from the Italian “a ventura,” which means” by chance.”

Legends say that it is an all-purpose healer, used to reduce stress, develop confidence, imagination and improve prosperity.  One legend from ancient Tibet says that aventurine was used to improve nearsightedness and to increase the wearer’s creativity.

Healing Properties

Aventurine is used as a lucky talisman and is a popular stone for gamblers.

Although there isn’t a “d” in the word, when you see aventurine, think  “adventure.”  Think optimism.  Think bountiful.  Think practical enthusiasm.  All are ingredients for adventure.  If you long for change, then aventurine is the stone for you.  It keeps various channels open and unblocked, allowing good things to come your direction.

Aventurine is found in Brazil, India, Austria, Russia, and Tanzania.    It is a 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.  This mineral is often mistaken for amazonite or jade.

Agate

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agateAgate is a a more translucent microcrystalline quartz that forms in concentric layers in volcanic lava rocks and other host rocks. The results are round nodule bands similar to tree trunks and may appear as eyes, scallops, or as landscapes with dendrites that look like trees.  Agate occurs in most colors including black, gray, brown, reddish, green, pink, blue, and yellow from transparent to opaque.

There are thousands of places worldwide where agate has been found.  Many of these are named for the locality, such as Botswana Agate, Montana Agate, and so forth.  Many are named because of their physical appearance, such as Moss Agate, Black Agate, Fossil Agate, and more.

Although agate is found all over the world, the most exceptional specimens come from Southern Brazil and Northern Uruguay. However, the moss agates of Colorado and Montana are equally beautiful.  Other gorgeous specimens have been found in Mexico and California.  A geode type of agate called “Thunder Egg” by Native American Indians, is found in Oregon.  Fire agates come from Mexico and Arizona.  Commercial deposits exist in China, Mexico, India, Madagascar, and the U.S. along the shores of Lake Superior.

 History and Interesting Facts

The agate is one of the oldest stones in recorded history.

The hobby of collecting bowls made of agate was popular during the Renaissance era, and this activity was responsible for the growth of the lapidary industry near Idar-Oberstein in Germany.  Although agate beds were originally found in that area, most of the local deposits were depleted in the nineteenth century and the majority of agate coming out of the shops in Idar-Oberstein today are imported from Brazil.

Many Gem and Mineral shows sponsor old-time rock hounds that bring hundreds of geodes to break open with a specially made tool that “pops” the geode open leaving the internal material undamaged.  Agate geodes can be very small (as small as a fruit seed) or very large. The largest geode ever mined was found in Brazil and weighed almost two tons.

Besides its use in jewelry, vessels, and ornamental objects, children’s marbles were once made of agate and were called “aggies” in reference to their composition.

 
Legends and Myths

Ancient civilizations believed that wearing agate would make them invisible, thus protecting them from danger.  Farmers used agates to ensure good crops. Romans wore agate to please the gods that would bring an abundant harvest. In Persia, agate was worn to confer eloquence and magicians used the crystal to divert dangerous storms. In ancient Asia, agates were used to see the future. Early Britons used the gem to prevent skin disease.  Agate talismans were worn in the Middle East to keep the blood healthy. Sucking on an agate was thought to relieve thirst. Another legend says that any person who looks upon an agate can not remain secretive and is obligated to tell the truth.

Healing Properties

This is THE stone that everyone should have for protection.  Because agate has been known and regarded around the world for centuries, its beneficial and healing properties are diverse and almost innumerable.  The properties of each agate depends to some extent on the color and composition of the agate, but all agates have certain things in common.

Agate’s most noticable properties overall are balancing yin/yang energy, courage, protection, healing, and calming.

Artists and writers have used agate to enhance creativity.

It is also known as a good luck stone.

Historically, it was placed in water for cooking or drinking to dispel sickness.

Because of the harmonizing qualities of agate, and its emotional energies of removing and releasing negative energies, it is also considered by many to be an excellent stone for helping to heal and improve enrgy in times of stress.

To see some of our agate gemstone necklaces and jewelry, click here.

Jasper

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jasperJasper is an opaque rock of virtually any color stemming from the mineral content of the original sediments or ash. Patterns arise during the consolidation process forming flow and depositional patterns in the original silica rich sediment or volcanic ash.

Jasper exhibits combinations of patterns, such as banding from flow or depositional patterns (from water or wind), dendritic, or color variations resulting in what appear to be scenes or images, on a cut section.  Diffusion from a center produces a distinctive appearance, for example, Leopard Skin jasper, or linear banding from a fracture, as seen in Leisegang jasper.  Healed, fragmented rock produces brecciated (broken) jasper.

The classification and naming of jasper presents an enormous challenge. Terms attributed to various well-defined materials includes the geographic locality where it is found, sometimes quite restricted such as “Bruneau” (a canyon), “Lahontan” (a lake), rivers, and even individual mountains.  Many are fanciful such as “Forest Fire” or “Rainbow,” while others are descriptive such as “Autumn,” “Porcelain,” or “Dalmatian.”  A few are designated by the country of origin, such as a Brown Egyptian or Red African.

Healing Properties of Jasper

Each variety of jasper has unique properties, although jasper as a whole is always regarded as a stone that gives a sense of well-being. 

Fancy jasper is a jasper of fairly scrumptious colors: mauves, lilacs, creams, and greens.  Fancy jasper is related to whims, visions, and fantasies, especially those related to romance. 

Rainbow jasper helps us focus without overanalyzing things, such as the focused attention needed for target shooting or archery. 

Silver-leaf jasper is natural sophistication and encourages willpower.

Jasper gives one the courage to speak out and have personal independence.  Jasper helps balance the emotional energy in the body.

Leopard Skin Jasper is said to bring one what they need.  Poppy Jasper is said to help bring joy into life.

It also protects from fears in the night.  Jasper was thought to drive away evil spirits and protect against snake and spider bites.  Opalite Jasper is said to help one sleep.

Jasper is common and widely distributed, occurring chiefly as veinlets, concretions, and replacements in sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, as in the Urals, North Africa, Sicily, France, India, Venezula, and Germany.  Some varieties are color-banded, and beautiful examples of jasperized fossil wood are found in Arizona.  Jasper is also found in California, Utah, and Wyoming.

To see some of our jasper gemstone necklaces and other jewelry, click here.

Turquoise

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turquoiseTurquoise is a stone that has been prized for many years.  Turquoise is one of the oldest protection amulets, and it was also known as a symbol of wealth in many ancient cultures.  The ancient Egyptians used turquoise in jewelry. 

Turquoise is greenish-blue or pale sky blue.  The name means “Turkish stone” as it came to Europe by way of Turkey.

Strength, protection from harm, psychic sensitivity, and connection to the spirit world are its major focus.

If given a turquoise by a loving friend, that stone would protect the wearer from negative energy and bring good fortune.  The turquoise is the symbol of friendship.  It also brings peace to the home.

This stone is a very personal and meaningful stone to one who wears it.  Turquoise takes on the characteristics of the owner.

Healing Properties of Turquoise

Neutralizes overacidity, alleviates rheumatism, gout, stomach problems, viral infections, increases growth and muscular strength, alleviates pain,  and relaxes cramps.  It contains anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects. 

Wear on or near the solar plexus.  Use with copper to increase the power of turquoise.

Turquoise was mined more than 6,000 years ago in Sinai.  The best turquoise comes from Iran, but not much is exported now.  Much of the turquoise comes from Mexico and the United States today.

Quartz

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quartzQuartz crystal is a clear variety of quartz that was first found high in the frozen mountains of the Alps. Ancient people believed it was a form of ice crystals that would never melt.  It is said to have cooling powers and is a romantic stone. 

Sources of quartz crystal include Brazil, Madagascar, Switzerland, France, and parts of the Soviet Union.

Healing Properties of Quartz Crystal

Crystal is a common stone, but a powerful one.  It is mainly used in healing as amplification for the energies of the other working stones.  In healing, the crystal point is best, and the size can be important.

For meditating, the crystal ball or point can be used.  As it is a powerful stone, you should experiment with each to find what works best.

The quartz crystal has a similar vibration as humans.  This is why using crystals to meditate and keeping a crystal helps you to know yourself.  It will sometimes not work for a negative person.

Rose Quartz

Rose quartz is known as the love stone.  It helps the user feel a strong sense of self-worth, therefore being worth love.  Rose quartz is the stone of universal love.  It is also the stone of love in marriage.

When worn in jewelry the wearer feels a sense of self-worth.

Healing Properties of Rose Quartz

Rose quartz has a gentle vibration of love for the owner.  It gives inner peace and helps in all matters pertaining to love in all its forms.  Rose quartz opens the heart to love.  It also helps as a rejuvenator to the skin.  It is a lovely stone for a young person.

It is said washing the face in water charged by rose quartz will help fade winkles and keep the skin young.

Smokey Quartz

Smokey quartz is nature’s stone of endurance.  If you need an extra boost, carry a smokey quartz gemstone with you. 

It promotes personal pride and joy in living, creativity in business, and opens the path for perception and learning.

Smokey quartz is a protection stone that cleanses and clears negative energy

Smokey quartz is a grounding stone that transmutes negative energies and facilitates your ability to get things done in the practical world.  It enhances organizational skills and is good to have around in the workplace or home office.

Healing Properties of Smokey Quartz

Smokey quartz is connected with the sounds of the universe.  It makes you more aware of sounds including telepathic sounds.

Smokey quartz helps relieve depression.

Tiger’s Eye

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tiger-eyeTiger Eye lets you see everything. Use it for insight, and you can be a very lucky person.  When used in jewelry, the tiger eye may bring good luck and protection from the evil eye to the wearer. 

It also known to bring clear thinking and insight.

Healing Properties of Tiger Eye

Tiger’s Eye or Cat’s-Eye is a stone for the mind, not the body.  Tiger Eye is used to focus the mind.  It will cause the mind to have feeling of oneness and feel more direct in all thoughts.  It makes one aware of one’s own needs in relation to the needs of others.

A personal symbol carved in Tiger eye is excellent for the spiritually advanced to use in meditation.

To see some of our Tiger’s Eye gemstone necklaces and other jewelry, click here.

Jade

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jadeJade is an ancient stone that has historically been used to attract love. 

Jade also can be used to bring money into your life.  Create a positive attitude towards money and visualize yourself using money creatively and productively while holding the stone in your power hand.  When making an important business decision, use the prosperous energies of jade by holding it while contemplating your course of action. 

Jade strengthens your mental faculties and assists in clear reasoning.

Jade is also a protective stone, guarding against accidents and misfortune. 

Symbol of Successful Love

A butterfly carved from jade holds a special romantic significance.  Ancient Chinese legend tells of a youth who wandered into the garden of a wealthy Mandarin in pursuit of a multi-colored butterfly. Instead of being punished for trespassing, his visit led to marriage with the mandarin’s daughter.

Today, a jade butterfly symbolizes successful love.

Healing Properties of Jade

The soothing green color of jade makes it a wonderful healing stone.  It helps the body in self-healing while working through underlying, non-physical reasons for a precipitation for disease.  It is particularly helpful for kidney, heart, and stomach complaints.