A Complete Guide to Buying Tourmaline

Tourmaline minerals in a boxTourmaline is a stunning semi-precious gemstone that is known for its versatility. Due to the wide variety of tourmaline jewelry styles and colors, it can be quite challenging to make the best buy. 

In this buying guide, we cover different types of tourmaline stones, as well as additional factors that you need to be aware of when buying these beautiful gemstones.

What Is Tourmaline?

Tourmaline is basically a crystal silicate that was first discovered in the East Indies in the 1800s. However, this semi-precious gemstone can now be obtained in Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and North America. 

Even though tourmaline has been quite the well-loved gemstone throughout the age,s due to its high versatility and extensive range of colors, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that it became highly popular and subsequently, had its value skyrocket. 

There’s a myriad of minerals that fall under the tourmaline name. They differ in many aspects, including color, clarity and value. Since it is difficult to go through every type of tourmaline, we have listed a few of the most popular ones here: 

Blue Tourmaline

Tourmaline is generally considered to be a semi-precious stone and out of all its varieties, only indicolite, the blue variety, is considered to be precious. Blue tourmaline has a deep rich color that can have green tones which can be removed with special treatment. However, the clearer the blue, the more expensive the stone will be. Also, indicolite generally has more inclusions that can be minimized through good cutting. 

Chrome Tourmaline

With intense green color, chrome-colored tourmalines are the scarcest type of green tourmalines out there. This semi-precious stone gets its color from chromium and is often found in smaller carat sizes. Chrome tourmalines also tend to have more inclusions, so when buying them, you need to ensure that they are eye-clean. Also, due to the special tint of the stone, you require expert cutting to make sure they don’t appear too dark. 

Green Tourmaline

Also known as verdalite, this is the cleanest type of tourmaline. In fact, green tourmaline is often eye-clean and free of any visible inclusion. Even though its dominant color is typically green, you may see a few tints of yellow or blue. 

If you’re searching for green tourmaline, mint green color is considered the best option. Checkerboard cuts are a great choice for this variety of tourmaline, so before buying the stone, you should check the proportions, symmetry and reflection to see if the stone has been properly cut. Moreover, green tourmalines are free from heating and radiation treatments and are also available in almost any size. 

Paraiba Tourmaline

With copper in its composition, Paraiba tourmaline is an extremely valuable tourmaline variety. This stone is highly valued for its rich neon blue/green color, with a high-quality carat costing $2000 and upwards. In fact, some of the richer-colored stones of this variety are valued at around $8000 per carat as well. However, the mid-range Paraiba tourmaline jewelry is also available that is generally quite affordable. 

Red and Pink Tourmaline

When most people talk of tourmaline, their mind instantly goes to its red and pink varieties since they are the most commonly found tourmaline types. Red and pink tourmaline is readily available in various tones and can easily be cut into various shapes. Since they are easily available, these tourmaline varieties are also more budget-friendly. 

Watermelon Tourmaline

The watermelon tourmaline is quite the unusual gemstone that derives its name from its color – green and red that is separated by a strip of white color. Cutting this stone is a very skillful job as its orientation is very important. Typically, the best appearance of this stone includes fifty percent of each color, however, this largely depends on personal preference. 

Canary Tourmaline

Named due to its vivid yellow color like the canary bird, the canary tourmaline is a gorgeous stone that is typically found in smaller sizes – around one or two carats. Since this stone is extremely rare, it is one of the most valuable tourmaline varieties. 

Factors That Influence the Value of Tourmaline

Apart from its rarity, there are certainly other factors that influence the value of the tourmaline stone. 

Clarity 

The clarity of a gemstone influences its quality and overall appearance. It also determines whether the gemstone is eye-clean or has flaws. Since tourmalines are typically found in liquid-rich areas, it isn’t surprising that the liquid often gets caught in the crystal during its growing process, leading to inclusions. 

While the color of the stone often compensates for its clarity, light-colored stones don’t have the same advantage as their low-color intensity makes inclusions more visible, decreasing the value of the stone. Pink and red tourmalines are generally acceptable. However, when it comes to other colors, low clarity often decreases their value. 

In some cases, inclusions may even increase the value of the gemstone, specifically in the cat’s eye effect of certain tourmalines. Multiple parallel-running threadlike inclusions in a tourmaline coupled with an expert cut will result in a cat’s-eye tourmaline that is extremely rare and highly valued. 

Cut

Most tourmalines available on the market are generally narrow and rectangular in shape. This is mainly because tourmalines are naturally found in these shapes, so cutting them accordingly reduces waste. Another major factor that gemstone cutters consider is how a stone absorbs light. Tourmalines tend to absorb light lengthwise and not across. So, the depth, saturation and tone of the color of the tourmaline can be manipulated based on the direction of the cut. 

Carat Sizes and Color

After passing the first five carats, the price of tourmaline per carat increases dramatically. This applies to most tourmalines, except for the Paraiba tourmaline, that is rarely found over 1 carat. 

Tourmalines come in almost every color imaginable. This is mainly why they are known as the rainbow gemstone. While the bright and colorful varieties are the most expensive ones, dark tourmaline stones are quite cheaper. When buying tourmaline stones, make sure to evaluate them based on the above-listed factors. 

Understanding Rock Glaciers

Rock Glacier
A rock glacier in the Chugach, Alaska mountains. Public Domain

Rock Glacier – Overview 

A rock glacier is a body of rock, mud, ice, snow, and water that rests on top of mountains. These sentiments head down towards the valley below due to the force of gravity.

Typically, rock glaciers are covered with debris on the topmost layer, cemented with snow and ice underneath.

If you look at the surface of these glaciers, you will find very little. At a glance, it may not even seem like a glacier. Once the ice below the glacier’s surface begins to move, the rocks on the surface adjust to the movement. As a result, ridges or flow features may appear on the glacier’s surface. 

Rock glaciers are typically small in size. One of the largest may be only a few feet thick but and a few miles long. The rocks on the surface are of varying sizes depending upon the source of supply. 

These geological wonders are one of the most spectacular natural phenomena on Earth. Let’s delve deeper and find out more about how they are formed and what are some of the different types of rock glaciers. 

Changes in Rock Glaciers 

Over time, rock glaciers may grow or shrink. Both the ice mass and rock mass can change depending upon several factors. 

The mass under the surface may change due to weather conditions. It can change due to heavy rainfall, avalanches, spring discharges, and local runoffs. Moreover, the heat and sunlight can cause the underlying snow and ice to melt, which eventually reduces ice mass and causes a downward movement of the glacier. These components can also be lost due to evaporation. 

On the other hand, the rock mass may grow due to talus (large rock fragments) from the mountain or the valley walls. It may also grow as a result of landslides. Rock mass decreases as the glacier is carried down the slope due to ice mass movements. 

Formation of Rock Glaciers 

These glacial mass formations can develop for a variety of reasons. Some of them result from the melting of ice covered with debris due to a landslide. Such glaciers are a common feature of steep-sided valleys where mountainous rocks respond to Earth’s gravitational pull. 

Types of Rock Glaciers 

Depending upon the activity, ice mass, and shape, these entities can be classified into several categories. Let’s look at each of the different types.

Based on the current activity level, rock glaciers can be classified into active, inactive, and fossil rock glaciers. 

Active Rock Glaciers 

Active glaciers contain a significant amount of ice and due to their large ice mass, they move down the slope at speeds ranging between a few inches/year to several feet/year. They typically have well-defined and prominent ridges and a steep frontal slope due to deforming ice. 

Inactive Rock Glaciers 

As the name suggests, inactive glaciers are passive, which means there is very limited downward movement. Such glaciers may still have ice, but the underlying ice mass is not deforming. As a result, there is virtually no activity. Apart from the movement, an additional difference is in the frontal slope. Since there is no movement, the frontal slope is gentler than an active rock glacier’s slope. 

Fossil Fuel Glaciers 

The third type is based on fossil rock glaciers. There is no underlying ice mass as all of the ice has already molten. Therefore, the top surface is often covered with vegetation, and the frontal slope is significantly less steep than the other two types. 

How rock glaciers are formed is another way to classify them. Typically the two classifications are:

Glacial 

This type was active glaciers at some point. They were either detached from their main body or melted due to weathering and other forces. Over time, the deforming ice was covered with talus from the mountains. However, a distinguishing feature is an average temperature that remained around 32F  (0℃) with limited precipitation. So the glacier, which was initially reliant on rain and snow now feeds on talus. And the underlying ice plays a role in the downward movement. 

Periglacial Rock 

Periglacial rock glaciers are formed as a result of the freezing and thawing of the underlying material. The talus that feeds the glacier underwent periglacial processes. The intense freezing and melting of snow at the core of the rock glacier accompanied by talus accumulation of the top results in the forming of a periglacial rock glacier. 

Classification According to the Shape – Tongue-Shaped Rock Glaciers and Lobate Rock Glaciers

Tongue-Shaped 

Tongue-shaped rock glaciers have a length-to-width ratio of more than 1, which means they have a greater length than width. Such glaciers are usually confined to narrow valleys. The rock mass supply (talus) comes from the steep and rocky highlands nearby. A prominent feature is that the rock mass is only added to the head of a tongue-shaped rock glacier resulting in vertical growth of rock mass.

Lobate 

Lobate glaciers have a length-to-width ratio of less than 1. Such ice masses have a greater width than length. The rock is often derived from the valley walls that enclose the glacier. Since it has a wider size, the rocks can join in the glacier from multiple sides, adding more to the glacier’s width. 

Rock glaciers that do not fall into the above two categories are called complex rock glaciers

Bottom Line 

Rock glaciers are an interesting geological feature that often appears as land masses and move downwards in response to gravity. While the gravitational pull is a significant factor, how the landmass moves depends upon several factors, with the deforming ice beneath the surface being the most prominent one. Weather conditions, how the rock glaciers were formed, and the source of rocks (talus) are also major determinants of the glacier’s movements. 

 

 

 

Why Choose a Ruby Engagement Ring?

Ruby Ring in a BoxGetting engaged to the love of one’s life is a magical moment. While the promise and excitement of spending the rest of your life with your soulmate is the most delightful aspect of an engagement, the jewel used to mark the occasion also holds much prominence.

But, some people might believe that an engagement ring shouldn’t carry so much significance because that is a materialistic approach. As long as you get to spend your life with your special someone, nothing else should matter. 

Indeed, that’s a noble way of thinking but it’s not the material item that counts, it is the message it sends! With that said, your life’s love will still love the beauty of the ring that you give her.

Let’s take a closer look at what an engagement is all about.

An Ancient Tradition

When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, most people, if not all, gravitate towards the twinkling diamond. While that’s an excellent choice, it’s not the only one. There are other equally gorgeous sparklers that a person can use to propose, such as the rich red ruby.

If you think that a ruby stone is not the right choice for a commitment, here is an exhaustive list of reasons to change your mind.

Ruby is a Precious Stone

A purple gemstone on a ringIn case you didn’t know it already, the stunning ruby stone is just as precious as a blinding diamond. Diamonds are considered desirable because they are widely known as the most precious gem in the world, but that’s not true. That said, of course, diamonds are as classy as they come, but other precious stones are no less elegant.

Rubies are rich in color and incredibly appealing, which makes them an ideal choice for an engagement ring. Plus, they are among the rarest gems on the planet, which further makes them well-suited for marking a life-changing moment in someone’s life, i.e., an engagement.

Rubies Signify Love

All gemstones signify some aspects of human life. Some reflect beauty and class, while others represent resilience and patience. Likewise, the ruby stone carries a more profound meaning under its gorgeous appearance, which is love.

The word ruby comes from a Sanskrit term, which means the king of gemstones. In early times, rubies were worn to attract success, love and wealth.

Keeping the age-old belief aside, it’s pretty obvious that rubies signify love. How? Well, they are red and the color red is universally associated with love and passion. Most things that humans relate to romance and affection are red. The human heart is red; roses, which are the universal symbol of love and to express a romantic interest in someone are also red.

Putting two and two together, rubies by way of exhibiting a dark red hue symbolize love, becoming the perfect choice to mark a lifelong commitment of loving someone.

If you are planning to propose to your partner anytime soon, you should consider getting a ruby engagement ring.

A Ruby Stone is an Excellent Investment

Pretty much like a diamond, a ruby stone is a prudent investment because it doesn’t come cheap.

Rubies are the most expensive specimens of the corundum group of stones. They are unbelievably rare and fiercely sought-after; therefore, investing in a jewel featuring a ruby is bound to reap substantial financial rewards.

Thinking of your engagement ring as an investment may seem odd, but you cannot deny that it’s a perk worth considering. Of course, nobody is asking you to buy your commitment ring in hopes of gaining hefty profits in the future, but choosing a financially-rewarding piece won’t hurt.

Rubies are Durable

Pink Gemstone on a black backgroundRubies are not expensive without reason! They cost so much because they are unbelievably rare and super long-lasting. A genuine ruby stone is durable enough to last a lifetime. And that is why it’s a wise choice for an engagement ring because it will show your willingness to have a lifelong relationship.

Experts measure gemstones on a scale of hardness, known as the Mohs scale of hardness, to determine their durability. It’s a universal gauge with readings from 1 to 10, ten being the toughest and one being the softest. According to the Mohs scale, diamonds have the highest value of 10 and resultantly, the most durable, precious stones. But rubies are not too far behind as they possess a score of 9 on the Mohs scale.

An Extensive Selection of Matching Settings

The richly hued ruby stones are tremendously versatile in that they can be used with an endless variety of band styles. You can use a plain ringlet or go with something much more intricate; either way, the ruby on top will shine bright!

Owing to the adaptable nature of rubies, most jewelers offer a wide array of matching settings to set the sparkler on top. This allows customers to get the exact replica of the ring in their minds. Naturally, everyone has an image of what they want their engagement ring to look like, materializing, which is not always possible. However, with ruby stones, getting the ring of your dreams is pretty percent likely. Regardless of how painfully detailed and intricate ring design a person has in their mind, they can get exactly that by choosing a ruby gemstone.

Rubies are Popular in Celebrity Circles

Like the rest of the world, diamonds are the first choice for an engagement ring in celebrity circles. But rubies are picking up popularity. If you are one to follow pop trends, you should consider getting a ruby ring when popping the question because many A-list stars have done it. Orlando Bloom proposed to Katy Perry with a 2-carat oval-shaped ruby ring. Similarly, Eva Longoria and Ashlee Simpson received gorgeous ruby rings from their respective partners.

EndNote

Picking out an engagement ring is a totally personal decision, but a little help can nudge you in the right direction. If you are a non-conformist, you should break away from the traditional diamond engagement rings and consider giving your partner a ruby jewel at the time of engagement.

With that said, how about a ruby stone with a diamond ring around it?

 

 

How to Choose a Gemstone for Your Necklace

Opal sterling silver bracelet
Opal bracelet hand made in Belize

Choosing a stone to put on your necklace can be a pretty difficult task, especially considering that there are hundreds of natural gemstone variations. As overwhelming as this may be, the key to choosing a stone for your necklace is that it should be a personal choice. While new trends and styles might seem quite appealing, it’s best to go for something you like regardless of whether or not it’s in style.  

That being said, we’re here to make it easier for you to choose the perfect stone for your necklace. Here are some factors you should consider when selecting a gemstone. 

Choose a Birthstone

You might not have to think beyond this point: your birthstone could be a perfect choice! Generally, choosing a birthstone is a no-brainer for astrology enthusiasts. Wearing your birthstone close to your heart (in the form of a necklace) is known to bring luck, provide the wearer with inner strength and also offer a certain level of guidance in difficult situations. 

Birthstones also make for great conversation pieces. So, if you’re looking to strike a conversation with your crush to find out about their birthday, this will be a great option! The most appealing aspect of adorning a necklace with your birthstone is that it has a highly personal aspect to it; it offers some meaning to you, making you feel more spiritually connected.

Also, you don’t to have to choose your birthstone; you can always choose a loved one’s birthstone to feel connected to them and make them feel special. This entirely depends on your personal choice. 

Consider Its Health Benefits

As we have noted in a number of our previous articles, some people believe that certain stones have health benefits to offer. While they believe that gemstones possess specific healing properties that are transferred through their energy, others believe that certain stones just have a placebo effect. 

Whether you choose to believe in the former or latter, there’s no harming in wearing a stone that is believed to help you with certain health problems. 

Color of the Stone

Colored minerals
Photo: Pixels 1121123

Moving towards the more practical aspects – color is a vital consideration. The aesthetics of a gemstone is a very important factor that can make or break one’s decision. So, if there is any color that you particularly want in your necklace or if there’s a color that you want to avoid – now’s your chance! 

The choice of color of a gemstone largely depends on the style and preference of the individual. Those looking to make a bold statement can opt for vibrant-colored gems such as red rubies, while others who want to remain subtle can opt for a quartz gemstone. 

What’s the Occasion? 

Choosing the right stone also depends on the occasion on which you plan to wear it. While some people wear necklaces as a daily staple, it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon accessory for others. This factor will greatly influence the color, shape, price and overall look of the necklace. 

For instance, if you are choosing a necklace for your wedding day or a very important occasion, you should opt for a big and bright gemstone like the sapphire. However, if you are getting a necklace to wear daily, then it’s best to choose a neutral and refined stone like a pearl or rose quartz. You can make the decision of your necklace easier by matching it with the outfit you intend to wear to a specific occasion. 

Assess Your Budget 

A majority of people set a budget as to how much they are willing to spend for a necklace. There’s no doubt that despite how much you pay, you want to get the best possible value for your money. We all know that certain stones cost more than others; not everyone can afford to buy a diamond necklace for example. Establishing your budget can help you cancel out certain options. So, your budget could be a great place to begin the gemstone hunt. 

Some expensive stones include opal, sapphire, and musgravite. On the other hand, Quartz, Citrine and Tiger’s Eye are more affordable stones. Remember this – a more expensive or highly-priced gemstone doesn’t mean that you will get the necklace of your dreams. Even on a small budget, you can get some fantastic options if you’re creative enough.  

Consider the Clarity 

Mineral Tridymite
The Mineral Tridymite

Gemstones may have many imperfections on them. The number of imperfections determines its clarity rating. It’s not necessary that a stone is unattractive just because it has a lower clarity. In fact, many times it’s the imperfections and flaws of the mineral that adds character to it. 

If you’re searching for a stone that has a high clarity level and sparkles, some great options include white sapphire, garnet and white topaz. On the other hand, if you’re searching for a stone with imperfections that give them a different aesthetic, then moonstone and Rose Quartz are a good bet! 

Choosing a stone for your necklace boils down to one single thing – your personal style and preference. Regardless of whether a stone has health, healing or spiritual benefits, the only thing that truly matters is that you enjoy wearing a stone. Base your decision on what you love and what matches your style!

 

10 Gemstones That Make the Perfect Presents

Variety of gemstones on a matWhen it comes to presents, gemstones are always a great choice for your special someone. They are beautiful pieces that can be kept forever. Not only will they light up your loved one’s day, but you will also show them just how much she means to you. 

Choosing a gemstone can be slightly overwhelming though, given the variety of options available. You have to look at a variety of factors when making the right selection. Don’t buy it just based on appearance, but find out their durability, symbolism and the mysterious energy of the stone. Even though their healing powers can be disputed, think of them as similar to buying a star in the sky. You can’t verify that this is really your star or in this case, that the stone will give you the healing power they are known for, but as a metaphor that can work well for your special someone.

Here are 10 of the top gemstones that make the perfect presents, you really can’t go wrong with these!

1. Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz Healing Gemstone
Rose Quartz Healing Gemstone

The rose quartz makes an excellent present, considering it symbolizes love. Its delicate pink color is gorgeous to look at and gives out feelings of love and harmony. It is a favorite among women so you can’t go too wrong with this one! This beautiful mineral is known to bring delight and wellbeing to the person receiving it. It symbolizes femininity and encourages the wearer to open their heart out to love.

2. Lapis Lazuli

This gem has many healing properties, apart from it being absolutely stunning. Its blue color is calming to look at and is made of a mixture of crystals, including lazurite, pyrite and calcite. Lazuli enhances physical wellbeing and gives off positive energy, which helps deal with illnesses. It is believed to have amazing healing powers that are perfect for people who don’t have the best immune systems. The energy of this gemstone aids in cleansing both the body and the mind and that’s what makes it the ideal present to give to your loved one.

3. Amethyst 

Amethysts are among the most beautiful stones in the mineral world. Their deep purple color helps with providing peace and quieting the mind of the wearer. By giving it to someone, you are offering them inner peace and encouraging them to tune in and find themselves. Not to mention it makes a stunning piece of jewelry when worn. Its properties greatly help in keeping the mind and emotions balanced. 

4. Diamonds

The Diamond with excellent cut
“Diamond” by nikilok is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” you must have heard that one! Well, it’s one hundred percent true. It doesn’t get more classy than diamonds. They are no doubt one of the sparkliest stones out there and that’s what makes them so incredible. To add to that, they literally go with any outfit so it will make your friend’s life a whole lot easier while making them feel like a true queen!

5. Citrine

Add some brightness to your loved one’s life by gifting them this vibrant yellow crystal. It is one of the most sparkling gemstones, which makes it a popular choice amongst women. We guarantee you this stone definitely won’t go unnoticed, so it’s perfect to give to someone who likes a bit of attention. The stone provides its wearer with warmth and abundance, abundance in wealth and many other facets. It gives off a positive energy that keeps away depression and fatigue. Because of its color, citrine is known to symbolize the sun, bringing you hope and happiness and giving you the energy that you need. 

6. Garnet

Another stone that’s the color of love is the garnet. The deep red of the stone symbolizes passion and luxury. It is especially potent to give to a friend who you are romantically interested in. Garnet is a much sought after gemstone that women just adore. It is rich in energy and helps the wearer live their life boldly and compassionately. Given their extraordinary color, garnets are one of a kind and therefore make the best present when it comes to gemstones.

7. Moonstone

This one is a classic. Although it comes in a variety of qualities and price ranges, the one that is the most valuable is a white-ish one that is almost transparent. It is mesmerizing to look at and has a rainbow sheen to it. Moonstone gets its name because it is linked to the moon and the lunar cycle. It symbolizes wisdom and grace and is the perfect present to give to someone to who you look up to. The stone is also known to bring harmony and balance out emotions.

8. Labradorite

This gemstone may not be very popular just yet but it will surely get there in due time! Gray in color, when looked at closely, this stone comes to life and offers you a whole new perspective. It mixes with more delicious blues and greens and will take your breath away. Interestingly, it is known to symbolize the darker side of the moon. It is slightly mysterious and is often referred to as ‘the witches’ stone’ because of its dark color. By giving it to someone you are sending them power and we guarantee you they will love this one-of-a-kind piece.

9. Pearls

A timeless stone that is intricately beautiful, you can’t go wrong when it comes to pearls. Since they are a neutral color they will come in handy many times for the person you give them to. From lunch to a dinner party, they will add a touch of sophistication to the overall look and will make your loved one feel like a true princess. To add to that, pearls symbolize purity and femininity and that’s one of the reasons why they make great presents.

10. Aquamarine

It doesn’t get more beautiful than this gorgeous bluestone. Not only is aquamarine the birthstone for march but it is also the color of the sea so the perfect present if your friend is a sea lover. The blues in the stone are known to have a calming effect that brings peace and tranquility to the wearer. They can make any piece of jewelry with it whether it’s a ring or necklace.

Each of these is unique and breathtakingly beautiful. Whether you give one to a family member or a close friend, it’s the perfect gift for a gemstone lover. Don’t forget to watch the expression on their face when you give it to them.

12 Things You Didn’t Know About Sapphires

Sapphire in a ringKnown for its blinding blue beauty, the sapphire stone is considered an emblem of elegance worldwide. People love to own and flaunt this mesmerizing blue goodness that lights up every piece of jewelry it’s added to. But despite being so popular, there’s a lot about sapphires that remains unknown. People only regard the sapphire stone as the brilliant blue gem that reflects light and shines every which way, but there’s so much more to it than just the enthralling hue beauty that allures gem lovers everywhere.

While there’s no harm in touting sapphires as the azure marvels of the gem world, it’s certainly a disservice to such a well-rounded and versatile rock. Keeping that in mind, we decided to put together a comprehensive guide that’ll give all the lesser-known facts about the mesmerizing sapphire stone.

Sapphire Is Among The Top Four Gems

Although the precious and semi-precious classification of gems that was once widely used back is not relied upon much now, some gemstones are still given precedence over the others, namely diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. When these lavish rocks are refined and transformed into precious gems, they become not only exquisite but also super pricey. But that’s not to say that precious stones in their raw form are any less precious; polishing further adds to their value significantly.

Being a member of the precious category, sapphires enjoy a much more estimable position as a gemstone.

Sapphires And Rubies Are Twins  

Sapphires and rubies do not only share the title of precious stones, but they also have the same scientific structure. Aside from their colors, the two gemstones are exactly the same. Because of the same gem composition, rubies in lighter shades, such as pink, are referred to as pink sapphires and not pink rubies.

Sapphires Rank A 9 On The Mohs Scale

Besides the striking clarity, cut, and color, stones are also assessed over their hardness. And the metric used to do so is known as the Mohs scale of hardness. Gemstones that lie high up on the scale, i.e., close to ten, are harder than those near the tail end.

With that said, not many gemstones have a high Mohs ranking, but the sapphire is one that lies close to the top of the scale.

It ranks ninth on the Mohs scale of hardness, following a diamond that has the highest rating of ten. Sapphires share their high rating with rubies as both have the same scientific structure.

Having such a place on the Mohs scale means that sapphires are incredibly sturdy and cannot be cut by any stone other than a diamond. If you want to check whether a bluestone is actually sapphire, assess its hardness by trying to slit it using a stone. If it develops a fissure, it’s not a genuine piece because only a diamond can crack a sapphire.

The 4Cs Are Used Differently When Evaluating Sapphires

The 4Cs are used to evaluate gemstones based on its color, clarity, carat, and cut. While for most gems, having crystal clarity is considered a testament to their high quality, for sapphires, the said evaluating measure is used differently. Unlike diamonds that are considered more precious if they are clear, sapphires are regarded as of better quality and composition if they have inclusions and carry a rich hue. In sapphires, the color takes priority over all else when assessing the value of a particular piece. If it has high saturation, multiple tones, and shades, it’s considered supremely valuable. In simpler words, what might be looked at as a flaw in other gems is a favored characteristic in a sapphire stone. A dark, shaded, and rich sapphire is much more valuable than one with less color, shades, and hue intensity.

Naturally, the more precious a sapphire stone, the more expensive it’s going to be. But if you have money, always go for a darker shade.

Sapphires Come in Many Colors

Sapphires are mostly pictured as blue colored gems snugly placed on engagement rings, but they come in many more colors that are equally breathtaking. The many sapphire shades other than blue include green, purple, pink, orange, black and yellow. You may also find colorless sapphires that are excellent and less expensive substitutes of the exorbitant diamonds.

Color-Changing Sapphires

As the name suggests, color-changing sapphires possess a unique ability to shift shades under different lights. A color-changing sapphire will look different under natural light and appear differently under artificial light.

Star Sapphires

Based on how sapphire is formed, it can acquire certain imperfections. Sometimes, these flaws can gather near the center of the stone and create an asterism, making it a star sapphire. Star sapphires are pretty rare and are among the most sought after sapphire varieties.

Sources of Sapphires

Although sapphires are mined worldwide, some countries enjoy high-quality sapphires more than others. Those include Cambodia, Malawi, Afghanistan, India, Columbia, Kenya, Vietnam, and America.

Sapphires are Used in Tech Industries

Due to their sturdiness, sapphires are used for industrial purposes. The most well-known use of sapphire in an industry other than the jewelry world is the watch sector. Sapphire stones are used in many smartwatches and some Swiss pieces as well.

The History Behind the Name

The name sapphire comes from two words used for blue in Latin and Greek; sapphirus and sappheiros. It is believed that these names might have been used to describe a different gem known for its blue appearance, lapis lazuli, back in the day.

Sapphires Were Considered a Symbol of Royalty

Sapphires have enjoyed an esteemed position with royalties for the longest while. The deep blue stone was used by many medieval kings and queens as it was believed to possess magical healing powers that would ward off evil and restore health.

Expensive Sapphire Stones

One of the most expensive sapphire stones known to the world belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, Josephine. The emperor gifted the precious gem placed over a gold band alongside a diamond to his wife in 1796.

The ring was recently auctioned for a million dollars

Another expensive sapphire ring belongs to the British royal family. Prince Charles gave the glorious ring to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. It features a 12-carat oval blue sapphire and is now in possession of Princess Catherine.

 

If you love sapphires as the royals around the world, be sure to get yourself or your partner a magnificent ring with a chunky blue sapphire sitting on top to feel like royalty.

What You Need to Know About Charoite – A Rare Silicate Mineral

Colored minerals
Photo: Pixels 1121123

Charoite – Overview 

The next time you go to Siberia, take a leisurely stroll and you may just find Charoit. A rare silicate mineral that was not discovered until the late 1970’s. But make sure you are on the eastern part, as it is not known if you will find charoit in western Siberia or anywhere else of the world for that matter.  The purple to lavender silicate gemstone has a striking appearance and a pearly luster that makes it an attractive mineral. 

If you take a look at this mineral’s structure, it is huge and the fractures have a smooth rounded surface, similar to that of a scallop shell. The unusual pattern of swirls and its fibrous appearance and striking color make people believe that it is a synthetic rock. 

The lavender, violet and purple silicate has a pearly luster and while it is opaque, the mineral turns translucent when held in the light. There are also some transparent pieces of this rare silicate. However, it is the higher translucency that is one of the most desirable features of Charoite. 

Since it is abundantly found in the Siberia region; specifically, the Sakha Republic, most of these rocks can be polished and some pieces can be used as an ornamental stone to add beauty to a jewelry box or a decorative vase in your living room. 

Charoite’s color and texture is so distinctive that no other mineral can be mistaken for it. However, its rarity, as well as other factors contribute to this precious mineral’s restricted volume in the international market.

Formation 

As mentioned earlier, this rare mineral can only be found in the Eastern part of Siberia. The Murun Complex in the Sakha Republic is the only place in the world where Charoite is mined. 

The deposits are formed when a sedimentary rock containing the mineral dolomite interacts with an alkali syenite intrusion. This creates an unusual geochemical environment for rock formations. When other mineral-rich fluids come in contact with the dolomite, it results in the formation of this rare stone. 

While the process of Charoite formation is said to be a simple one, it has never been fully understood by researchers. And while this gemstone was first identified in the 1940s, its recognition as a mineral was not designated until the late 1970s.

Properties of Charoite

Composition 

Geologically, Charoite is a complex silicate mineral and as of now, there is no consensus regarding the chemical composition of this rare silicate. For you chemical enthusiasts, according to the Glossary of Geology, the stone has the following composition: 

(K,Na)5(Ca,Ba,Sr)8Si8O46(OH,F)·nH2O

But if you look at the composition reported by the International Mineralogical Association, it is as follows:

(K,Sr,Ba,Mn)15-16(Ca,Na)32[Si70(O,OH)180] (OH,F)4·nH2

And while the two defined compositions vary widely, there are genuine reasons for this confusion. Firstly,, no well-formed crystals of pure Charoite have been found. Moreover, the mineral almost always occurs with numerous other minerals, which makes it impossible to separate and find out the exact composition of this rare silicate. 

Hardness 

On the Mohs scale of hardness, the rocks containing Charoite measure between 5 and 6, which means that they are neither too hard nor too soft. This property makes it suitable for use as a gemstone or ornamental stone. 

Specific Gravity 

The specific gravity of Charoite varies between 2.5 and 2.6. 

Healing Properties 

Some people believe that a mineral that comes from the ground brings several healing properties and Charoite is not an exception. Since it is scarce and unique, it yields healing properties seldom found in any other mineral or gemstone. 

Additionally, they believe that it helps overcome physical, mental and spiritual disorders. Physically, the use of Charoite as an ornament or gemstone that can improve the following health conditions. 

  • Allow detoxification of the liver and is recommended for people who use too much alcohol
  • Aids in regulating blood pressure 
  • Is effective in treating sleep disorders such as insomnia 
  • Ease cramps, muscle spasms, and conditions such as restless leg syndrome 

The gemstone is also known to improve mental health and treating personality disorders. People who use Charoite as a healing stone claim that it assists to overcome fears of all kinds, including fear of illnesses and death. Additionally, it facilitates emotional healing and helps reduce stress and anxiety.  

Moreover, the energy that flows through this purple mineral acts as a powerful tool that can strengthen your spiritual state and bring in more balance in your life.

The Most Important Things to Know About Gemstones

 A purple gemstone on a ringGemstones are often considered one of the most precious possessions a person can have. Whether it’s a rare stone, a semi-precious rock or a synthetic crystal, a gemstone is always a prized asset for anyone. Although these precious minerals are incredibly popular, people still don’t know much about the crystal wonders. Generally, shoppers and jewelry aficionados buy them based on their appearance and size. However, a gemstone’s worth is more rightly assessed by its color and weight.

Similar to diamonds, just because a gemstone appears bigger doesn’t mean it’s more valuable than a smaller stone. You have to take into account the crystal’s chemical composition, color and weight density which can significantly impact its value. If anyone wants to be a collector or gemstone connoisseur, they need to thoroughly understand the essential features in order to ascertain an accurate worth of the stones you are interested in.

Since a lot of people don’t know the intricacies of minerals, they can easily be tricked into paying more than the fair price. To save buyers for paying a high price for a not-so-valuable gem, we put together a guide that will teach the significant aspects of gemstones. 

Here is a quick yet comprehensive guide on gemstones

Gemstones are natural or synthetic stones that are formed under specific circumstances and are known for their sparkling splendor. Natural gemstones are mined from sea or earth, while synthetic ones are designed in a lab. These stones come in every possible color and shape and have different chemical consistencies. 

In its raw and unrefined form, a gemstone is asymmetrical and dull, but after getting cut and polished, it becomes sharp and acquires a higher value. The actual value will depend upon a number of factors.

Types of Stones

Gemstones can be of many types based on their color, look, cut, purity level and rarity. However, two primary categories instantly distinguish a high-value crystal from a lower one: precious stones and semi-precious gemstones. 

Precious gemstones

As the name suggests, a precious gem is one that’s extremely rare, expensive and doesn’t contain many impurities. Out of all the gemstones, the following four are considered the most precious.

  • Diamond
  • Sapphire 
  • Ruby
  • Emerald 

Semi-Precious Gemstones

Any gemstone that’s not any of the mentioned elements, it’s a semi-precious stone. 

At times, these stones can be equally rare like a precious one, but they still might not be of high value because of their shape, cut, color or impurity level. Semi-precious gemstones include opal, amethyst, agate, garnet, quartz, zircon, among others. 

Every gem has a distinct chemical composition that gives it a recognizable shape and appearance. However, a precious stone specimen has a sharp, universal chemical makeup, while a semi-precious gemstone can have varying chemical compositions. 

Another significant difference is their color. Since refined crystals are pure in their composition, they come in primary hues only, which include violet, green, blue, red, yellow and orange. On the contrary, less-valuable gemstones can come in varying shades formulated by a combination of two or more primary hues. 

These minerals can also be categorized by their place of origin. The two classifications of gems based on their site of formation are organic and mineral.

Organic Gemstones

As the name suggests, organic gemstones come from living organisms, such as plants and animals. The three primary examples of organic gems are pearl, coral and amber.

The most popular among the three organic crystals is the pearl that is formed inside an oyster. When an oyster tries to protect itself from any foreign object, it creates a tiny globule inside its shell, which is refined over time, becoming a fully formed pearl. Coral is formed from the skeletal remnants of sea creatures called coral polyps. And amber comes from the fossilized sap or resin of age-old or extinct pine trees. 

Mineral Gemstones

Citrine
Citrine Crystal

Mineral gemstones are natural rocks that come into existence after undergoing multiple treatments of the environment they reside in; such as heat, pressure and time. Mineral gemstones include all the precious stones and are found through intensive mining. 

One other way of classifying these gems is the separation of natural rocks from synthetic ones, forming two categories: natural gemstones and lab-created gemstones

Natural Gemstones

Natural gemstones are formed in the earth or the sea by mother nature. Although they are magnificent, they need an awful lot of time to fully develop into a considerable-sized piece of gemstone. 

Lab-Created Gemstones

As mentioned earlier, every stone has a unique chemical composition that can be replicated in a lab without compromising its quality. Synthetic crystals are much cheaper than their natural counterparts and do not require a lot of time to acquire their shape and form. 

The Four C’s of Gemstones 

When buying a gemstone, one needs to pay attention to its four Cs: color, clarity, carat, and cut. All of these aspects significantly impact their value. 

    • Color: Gemstones come in every possible color. From dark, rich shades to light milky shades, you can find every imaginable color in a wide variety.
    • The color of a gemstone is assessed based on the following three qualities
    • Tone: The tone is the lightness or darkness of a color. 
    • Saturation: This signifies the intensity or aroma level of pigmentation. Typically, pure stones have high saturation. 
    • Hue: Gemstones can have six primary hues; violet, green, blue, red, yellow and orange. But only precious gemstones have primary hues; all other rocks have secondary hues that are a blend of two or more primary shades.

Clarity

The clarity of a gemstone signifies how pure it is, meaning how much impurities, known as inclusions, does it contain. The higher the level of inclusion in a gem, the lower its value. 

Carat 

Contrary to popular belief, gemstones are sold by weight and not by size. The unit used to measure a gemstone is known as carat, which is 1/8th of a gram. Two gems of the same carat measurement can still have varying values because of their different weight densities. In other words, a rock with a higher weight density will cost more than one with a lower density of the same carat count. 

Cut 

The Diamond with excellent cut
“Diamond” by nikilok is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How a gemstone is fashioned to reflect light determines its cut. Gems can have multiple cuts such as princess cut, cushion cut, emerald cut, Asscher cut, etc. Different cuts enhance the value of a gemstone differently; some are considered more elite and expensive than others.

Although some stones are more valuable than others, one should cherish them all. Owning a gem is a luxury in itself. Don’t let popular opinions steer your choices. Always purchase the stone that appeals to you, regardless of its general worth.