A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING THE ORIGINS OF SOME OF OUR MOST POPULAR GEMSTONES
All the gemstones from our designers are naturally formed and thus variations in colour and texture will be present. Every piece is carefully hand-crafted and thus unique in its own right.
Agate is a banded form of finely grained microcrystalline quartz, typically found in South America, India, Africa amd the United States. Agates have many distinctive styles and patterns, making each stone unique in its own habit. Their individual colour patterns and banding makes this translucent gemstone a popular choice for jewellery and ornaments.
Amazonite is a green variety of microline feldspar. The name is taken from that of the Amazon River. Like waters deep and ancient, amazonite captivates in shades of turquoise-green, and was used in pre-Columbian South and Central America where it was considered to be a powerful talisman of healing and prosperity.
Amethyst is a purple variety of the mineral quartz, its colour ranging from a light violet to a deep purple. This rich, vibrant crystal is considered to be one of the most striking and beautiful transparent stones within the quartz family, and provides a regal touch for all modern statement jewellery. It is the birthstone for the month of February.
Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals, and is a favourite for many gemstone collectors due to the fact that it occurs in many attractive colours and forms. This transparent stone when cut and polished has a vitreous luster, and is typically found in a number of places in the world including Brazil, India, Myanmar and South Africa.
Aquamarine is a blue variety of the beryl family. Known in Latin as “water of the sea”, this beautiful transparent gemstone shines over a range of blue shades. The refreshing pure colour of aquamarine is comparable to that of the ocean, giving this stone its natural look and holistic qualities. It is the birthstone for the month of March.
The onyx is an ancient gemstone, having been used in jewellery and ornaments since antiquity. Black onyx is a chalcedony consisting of fine bands of quartz and morganite that has been dyed a rich black. The neutral but dramatic colour of this stone picks up light beautifully with its vitreous luster and strong presence.
Chalcedony is a member of the quartz family. Its translucent, ethereal look makes this stone an inviting and serene choice. The cryptocrystalline structure provides it with a waxy luster, and a subtle and demure appearance that is visually pleasing. A very popular stone that comes in a variety of colours including aqua, deep blue, grey, and white.
Citrine belongs to the quartz family of gemstones, and has a yellow-to-golden macrocrystalline structure. The name is derived from the French word 'citron' meaning lemon. Brazil is the world's leading supplier. Citrine is a very popular gemstone, and known to occur with excellent natural transparency and vitreous luster.
Quartz is one of the most common and varied minerals on Earth, with an abundance of colours to choose from. It's crystal structure is a continuous natural framework of silicon-oxygen tetraheda. Pure quartz, traditionally called rock crystal or clear quartz, is colourless and transparent.
Cubic zirconia (also known as CZ) is similar to a diamond with its brilliance and crystal clarity, but it is a synthesized (man-made) crystalline material that is colourless, hard, and flawless. It looks so much like a diamond, it is an affordable alternative and can made in different colors to simulate the different colors of a diamond.
Garnet is one of the most well-known dark red gemstones. The name itself is believed to have been derived from the Latin for ‘seed’ (granate) due to red garnet’s similarity to a pomegranate seed. All have a vitreous luster, and are easily recognised by their deep warm red colour. They are often found in classic antique jewellery but used in many modern fashion designs, with their convincing natural beauty and fiery presence. It is the birthstone for the month of January.
The onyx is an ancient gemstone, having been used in jewellery and ornaments since antiquity. Green onyx is a chalcedony consisting of fine bands of quartz and morganite that has been dyed a rich colour of green. The strong colour base gives it a distinct vibrancy and presence, suitable for everyday jewellery as well as statement pieces.
The name Iolite comes from the Greek 'ion' which means violet, and is known as the gem of the Vikings. The Viking mariners used thin pieces of it as the world's first polarising filter, helping them determine the exact position of the sun, and navigate their way to the New World and back. Iolite is mined in India, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Brazil. It's rich blue colour makes it an attractive gemstone.
Jade consists of the minerals jadeite or nephrite, and comes in a variety of colours, mainly blue and green shades. With its discreet, greasy lustre, this stone has been used by man for thousands of years, and featured as the 'royal gem' during the days of the Chinese Empire. Today it is still regarded as a symbol of the good, the beautiful and the precious.
Labradorite is a member of the Feldspar family and is admired for its remarkable play of colour, known as ‘labradorescence’. This stone has a base colour of grey-green, dark grey, black or greyish-white, and is composed in various layers that refract light as iridescent metallic flashes of blue, gold, and green. A very popular choice of stone for its expensive looks and neutral qualities.
Lapiz lazuli is a deep blue semi-precious metamorphic stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense colour. With its rich and vibrant looks, this stone has a grand past and was already popular thousands of years ago amongst the people of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome. Regarded by many as the stone of friendship and truth, this stone is widely used in the world of fashion.
Opal is a hydrated amorphous form of silica. Its internal structure makes it diffract light, taking on many splendid colours of the spectrum. This stone can be traced back to the ancient times of the Australian Aborigines, and shines and sparkles in a continually changing play of colours known as 'opalising'. Opal is the national gemstone of Australia where it is found in the dry and remote outback deserts.
Pearls are organic and formed by living organisms, making them different to other gemstones and minerals. They are generally formed within the soft tissue layer of mollusks such as oysters and mussels. Pearls are composed of calcium carbonate and organic conchiolin that build up as concentric layers. The most popular pearls are Freshwater pearls which are cultured by man. Their allure and beauty have always been valued, making the pearl a perfect choice for elegant jewellery designs.
Ruby is a variety of corundum that gets its red colour from chromium. Ruby has been prized for centuries because of its excellent Mohs scale hardness of 9, along with its treasured rich red hue and vitreous lustre. In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, ruby is called "ratnaraj", which translates as "king of precious stones". The most important sources for ruby include Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
Sapphire is a gem quality variety of the mineral corundum. It is the second hardest substance on earth after diamond, rating 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. The name sapphire comes from the Persian word safir, derived from the Greek word for blue. Sapphire is found in only a few locations in the world. The three most famous regions for blue sapphire are Kashmir, Burma and Sri Lanka.
Smoky quartz is a dark, translucent variety of quartz that draws light into shades of black and brown. Also known as “Champagne on Ice”, this easily recognisable gemstone is increasing in popularity amongst jewellery designers, thanks to its attractive vitreous luster. It is the national gemstone of Scotland and an alternate birthstone for the month of November.
Tourmaline is the gemmological name for an important group of complex gem-quality boron silicate minerals. Tourmaline gemstones can be found in all colours of the rainbow. Its name is thought to be derived from the Sinhalese word, "turamali", which means "stone with various colours" in reference to its extreme versatility. It is the national gemstone for the United States, where it has been mined for centuries.
Tanzania’s Tunduru district is a major producer of gem-quality sapphire. The gem deposits of East Africa are quite young in terms of discovery when compared to their eastern cousins in Sri Lanka and India. Sapphires from the Tunduru area are an especially recent find and often used for creating multi-coloured beaded jewellery.