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Stones

An Alphabetical Listing of Gemstones & Crystals          

Agate, Alexandrite, Amazonite, Amber, Amethyst, Ametrine, Andalusite, Apache Tears, Aquamarine, Aventurine, Azurite, Benitoite, Beryl, Bloodstone, Calcite, Carnelian, Chalcedony, Chrysoberyl, Chrysolite, Chrysoprase, Citrine, Coral, Diamond, Emerald, Feldspar, Fluorite, Garnet, Heliotrope, Heliodor, Hematite, Herkimer Diamond, Iolite, Jade, Jasper, Jet, Kunzite, Labradorite, Lapis Lazuli, Lodestone, Malachite, Moonstone, Obsidian, Onyx, Opal, Pearl, Peridot, Quartz, Rhodochrosite, Rhodonite, Rose Quartz, Ruby, Sapphire, Sard, Sardonyx, Serpentine, Sodalite, Sphene, Spinel, Staurolite, Sunstone, Tanzanite, Topaz, Tourmaline, Tsavorite, Turquoise and Zircon 

 

Agate
Agate is a type of chalcedony quartz that took its name from the River Aghates near Sicily – it is now called River Drillo. As an aid to emotional healing, it is said to help discern the truth, as well as accept circumstances. Because agate was believed to help protect against high fevers, it was placed in drinking water to banish illness. Agate was also thought to be instrumental in relieving arthritis, headaches and thirst. In addition to being worn as an amulet, agate was used for decorative jewelry and small objects. During the classical Greek and Roman era, agate was widely used for cameos and intaglios. These were frequently worn upside down for the wearer’s enjoyment. Bowls carved of agate were common throughout the Byzantine Empire, and Mithradates had amassed a collection of several thousand. During the Renaissance in Europe, collecting agate bowls surged in popularity again as did its use in jewelry and furniture inlay.

Not only does agate come in a wide variety of colors, but also a plethora of fascinating effects. Eye agate actually looks like an eye, and plume agate displays a feathery pattern. Because of layers that form when agate is created, some colors and textures are structured into bands of color while others seem to create “scenes” (nature’s Rorschach test). There are also the delicate-patterned lace agates.

Agate is good for grounding and balance. It fosters abundance, wealth, love and connection with the natural world. It is also used for protection. Moss agate attracts abundance and aids in building self-confidence and strength. Lace agate helps to clear the mind.

Color(s) - A wide range and usually multi-colored, black-banded, blue-lace, crazy-lace, moss, tree and white.
Associations - General: Gemini; solar plexus chakra; Earth, Mercury; yin/yang
Moss agate: Virgo; heart chakra; yin
Lace agate: Pisces; throat and third eye chakras; yin
Uses - balance/connection to the natural world; wealth; love; protection/combat illness

Alexandrite
Discovered in Russia in 1830 and named for Czar Alexander II, this gemstone of the chrysoberyl family changes color according to the light (natural or incandescent) in which it is viewed. Because of the green/red color change, alexandrite was fashionable with the aristocracy in Russia where the imperial colors where red and green. In the rest of Europe, alexandrite was especially popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

While alexandrite has been somewhat rare and expensive, another source was discovered in Brazil in the late 1980s giving this gemstone a new-found popularity. Color-changing sapphire grown in the lab and sometimes called alexandrine is used as an imitation.

As a healing stone, the use of alexandrite with other stones enhances the power of the others. On its own, alexandrite strengthens personal power and spirituality. It is also effective in building intellect and creativity. It is a stone for achieving success and has been used as a good luck amulet.

Color(s) - A color-change stone, greens/blues to reds/violets
Associations - Scorpio; crown chakra,
Uses - spirituality; success and reputation; self/net-worth; good luck amulet; any area where healing is needed

Amazonite
Although this type of feldspar takes its popular name from the Amazon Basin where it was first thought to be jade, amazonite has been widely used for thousands of years. This gemstone’s older name, microcline, comes from the Greek words micro for small and klino meaning tilt. It is suspected that this second word was associated with it because of the shape of its crystals.

Amazonite was used for jewelry in Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and the Sudan as early as 2000 B.C.E. It was included among the gemstones found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb. While the Egyptians used this gemstone widely for amulets, tablets of amazonite have been found with part of The Egyptian Book of the Dead engraved upon them. In pre-Columbian Central and South America, amazonite was used for personal adornment. Ancient Assyrians believed amazonite was the gemstone of their god, Belus, and used it in sacred rituals.

Amazonite is useful to disperse negative energy. It is also emotionally soothing and can aid in communication with a lover. It inspires openness, trust and honor.

Color(s) - Green, blue-green
Associations - Virgo; heart and throat chakras; yin
Uses - self-cultivation; partner/relationships; disperse negativity

Amber
Now sometimes referred to as the “Jurassic gem”, the film Jurassic Park has made amber popular again. The ages for this organic gem can be anywhere between one and 360 million years. Amber was created by heat and pressure applied to sticky tree (usually pine) resin. The presence of insects and leaves in amber adds to its value on the market.

Amber’s long history includes a lengthy association with humans. Archeologists have found artifacts made of amber that date to 8000 B.C.E. It was also used by the ancient Assyrian, Egyptian, Phoenician and Greek civilizations. Labeled the “gold of the north” by some, the Greeks called it electron. Rubbing a piece of amber with cloth will build up an electric charge which makes it attract small pieces of paper, feathers and dust.

Because of amber’s most common color, it has been linked with the sun. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the ancient tale of Phaeton (the son of Phoebus, the sun) tells of his death and how his mother’s tears dry into pieces of amber. This gemstone is also mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey and the writings of Pliny. Only upper class Romans could afford amber, however, gladiators lucky enough to obtain it, wore it as an amulet for its protective powers.

Because it gives off a pleasing odor when burned, amber was utilized in temples throughout Asia. In Medieval Europe, amber was used for rosary beads. During this period it was also worn to ward-off disease. During the eighteenth century, amber was used to adorn rooms – inlaid in wall panels, as well as door and window frames.

Amber is useful for yin/yang balance because it draws on the power of the sun while keeping the wearer grounded. It is also a healing and protective “gem” that attracts luck, calms energy and aids in building vitality. Amber is also useful to manifest general change; and inspire love and wisdom. 

Color(s) - Colorless/white, pale yellow to dark brown, reddish, green, black, blue
Associations - Leo and Sagittarius; sacral chakra; Mercury, Sun; yin/yang
Uses - balance/calm; wisdom; ancestors; love; builds vitality; helps boost changes you want to attract into your life


Amethyst
A variety of quartz, this gemstone has enjoyed a long history of popularity that has rarely waned. Since ancient Egypt it has been a prized stone of royalty. It was preferred by Catherine the Great of Russia and has an honored place in the crown jewels of England. It was a favored stone worn by bishops in the Middle Ages. Since the sixteenth century each new Pope is given an amethyst ring during his investiture. This ring is destroyed when the Pontiff dies and a new one is made for his successor. It was especially popular during the Renaissance. Pale-colored amethyst was occasionally called “Rose de France” and was frequently used in jewelry during the Victorian era.

This gem’s name comes from the Greek word amethustos, as well as the Latin amethystus which translates as “not drunken” or “without wine”. Throughout the ages amethyst has been hailed as a preventative for getting drunk. Goblets carved from amethyst were believed to allow drinkers to imbibe as much as they liked without suffering the after effects. It is suspected that the drinker could appear to be enjoying vast quantities of wine while actually consuming water that looked wine-colored because of the amethyst. This could also be the source of the belief that amethyst aids in overcoming alcoholism.

Several versions of a Greek myth tell of a young woman named Amethyst who, while on her way to pay tribute to the Goddess Diana, is set upon by tigers dispatched by an angry Dionysus (or Bacchus). Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of white quartz to protect her from the tigers’ claws. One version of the story tells that the remorseful tears of Dionysus (which were wine, of course) fell on the statue and turned it into a purple quartz. The other version merely states that a less charitable Bacchus poured wine over the statue. This story could be the root of the belief in amethyst’s powers of protection.

Today amethyst is commonly used in crystal work to transform body energy into the spiritual realm. A gemstone of change, amethyst is a general healer, spiritual tool and a stone of wisdom. It is good for calming the mind and attracts good luck, as well as love. Amethyst is a general healer.

Color(s) - Pale lilac to deep purple
Associations - Pisces; third-eye chakra; Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune; yin/yang
Uses - balance/spiritual growth; wisdom; protection/good luck; helps manifest change

Ametrine
This dual-colored quartz combines the deep beauty of amethyst with the light sunshine of citrine. Although the colors of amethyst and citrine are opposite each other on the color wheel, this pairing of complementary opposites provides yin/yang balance.

Found only in Bolivia, ametrine was presented on the world stage in the seventeenth century by a Spanish conquistador who brought gifts from the New World to his monarch. Ametrine brings the physical and spiritual realms into balance. It calms negative emotions and is used to cleanse the aura.

Color(s) - Dual-colored lilac/purple and yellow
Associations - Libra; all chakras; yin/yang
Uses - balance/spiritual growth; cleansing

Andalusite
Andalusite is called the “earth stone” because of its soothing earth-tone colors and grounding vibrations. It gets its name from Andalusia, the area in Spain where it was discovered. Unlike other multi-colored gemstones that display bands or speckling, andalusite is a pleochroic gem that presents its colors through a dance of patterns. Usually, a cutter will try to bring out the best color in a stone and minimize the others, however, andalusite’s strong pleochrosim is used to advantage to produce an exciting play of colors. At one time andalusite was known as poor man’s alexandrite which was a misnomer. Alexandrite’s color change depends on the light in which it is seen whereas andalusite’s depends on the angle of view.

A variety of andalusite called chiastolite often displays a dark cross pattern when sliced. These were found frequently near Santiago de Compostella in Spain which is an important Christian pilgrimage site. Chiastolite became known as the “cross stone” and was sold to pilgrims.

Kyanite is formed from andalusite. An increase in pressure or decrease in temperature will cause andalusite to recrystallize into this mineral. Andalusite has seen industrial use as a mineral ingredient in the manufacturing of spark plugs and special porcelains.

Andalusite’s earth stone reputation is upheld in its use for grounding and balance. Like Mother Earth, andalusite touches the emotions and aids in the spiritual journey. This gemstone fosters wise leadership and success.

Color(s) - Brown-reds, greens, yellows
Associations - Virgo; root chakra; Earth; yin
Uses - grounding/balance/ spiritual growth; success; helps manifest change

Apache Tears
See the entry, Obsidian, for a full description. Apache tears are used for protection and to attract good luck.

Color(s) - Black
Associations - Saturn; yang
Uses - protection/luck

Aquamarine
This variety of beryl gets its name from Latin aqua marina, meaning sea water. The stone’s blue-green color is reminiscent of the soothing water of the Mediterranean. Mythology says that this gem was presented as a gift by King Neptune to the mermaids. Sailors have used it as a protective amulet as it was believed to possess its greatest degree of strength when in water. It also symbolized the moon – a connection which is easy to understand since the moon effects the earth’s tides. Its earliest documented use was in ancient Greece.

Natural aquamarine is more green than blue, depending on the amount of iron. It is usually heated to subdue the green. Light blue-green, synthetic spinel is used to imitate aquamarine.

This gemstone is said to bring love to those who wear it. Its comforting influence on couples promotes fidelity and calms differences. Aquamarine’s power to moderate, supports and enhances good communication. It is also known as the “stone of courage”. Since it imparts courage to the wearer, it also offers protection. Aquamarine promotes cleansing and tranquility, especially when dealing with loss or grief.

Color(s) - Light-blue, green-blue, blue
Associations - Gemini, Pisces, Aries; throat and heart chakras; Neptune, Moon; yin
Uses - relationships/love; courage/protection

Aventurine
This gemstone is a type of sunstone which is a variety of feldspar. Tiny flecks of mica or hematite produces its iridescent sheen. In China it was called Imperial Yu. Aventurine began its current wave of popularity in the nineteenth century.

This gemstone is a powerful healer – both physically and emotionally – and has been called the “healer of heart and soul”. It quells anxiety and aids in finding solutions to life’s problems and assists in making the right choices. Aventurine attracts career success and fosters creativity. It is also a calming gemstone.

Color(s) - Mostly green, also red-brown, occasionally blue
Associations - Aries; heart chakra; Mercury, Venus, Uranus; yang
Uses - career; creativity; any life aspect that needs an emotional lift; solutions/choices/luck

Azurite
This gemstone’s fifty-five percent copper content is responsible for its deep color. Azurite frequently forms with malachite – both are created by the oxidation of a copper such as chalcopyrite.

For centuries azurite has been used as a pigment for fabric and paint. Because of its color, azurite has been dubbed the “stone of heaven”. Ancient Mayans revered azurite for its ability to help the wearer connect with wisdom. In Native American traditions it is believed to help the wearer contact their spirit guides.

Azurite aids in strengthening intuition and communication. It also helps to unseat and release deep-rooted problems. Azurite promotes patience, cleansing and spiritual guidance.

Color(s) - Azure, pale blue to deep blue
Associations - Sagittarius; throat and third eye chakras; Saturn, Venus; yin
Uses - spiritual growth/guidance; wisdom; communication/remove problems

Benitoite
As the official California gemstone, the only significant source of benitoite is in the San Benito County of that state. In Spanish, benito means “blessed”. This gemstone was first discovered in 1907, however, there is controversy as to who was the first to unearth it – the team of Hawkins and Sanders (who at first thought they’d found sapphire) or James Marshall Couch. Benitoite was the first example of the ditrigonal-disyramidal crystal shape to be found. It is easily confused with sapphire. This gemstone promotes understanding on an emotional level.

Color(s) - Blue, blue/violet, black, (colorless, pink extremely rare)
Uses - Use as supportive gemstones for others

 

B-C
Beryl
Beryl comes from the Greek word beryllos which was used to identify the gemstones known as beryl, as well as most other types of green stones. Beryl is a group of minerals that includes aquamarine, emerald, heliodor, morganite and others. The many colors of beryls are the result of varying amounts of metals within these minerals.

Various beryls were used as cutting tools during the Upper Paleolithic period, however, the first recorded (by Pliny) technical use is the cut emerald Emperor Nero used as a monocle. Because of the size of a stone required to provide a slice for such use, later scholars believed that the gem was actually an aquamarine.

Morganite was named for the nineteenth century industrial baron J.P. Morgan who was an avid gem collector. This name was applied by Tiffany’s George Kunz (to honor Tiffany & Company’s best customer) when it was discovered in California, however, this mineral was known and mined elsewhere in the world and popular from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries.

Helidor has been called the “gift of the sun” as its name implies from the Greek words helios (sun) and doron (gift). In Medieval Europe, helidor was believed to “cure” laziness. Bixbite is named for Maynard Bixby who catalogued the minerals of Utah, however, this is not a scientifically recognized type of beryl.

Beryl was one of the gemstones mentioned in The Bible as included in the breastplate of Aaron. This gemstone stimulates communication, acceptance and healing. It also supports spiritual growth.

Color(s) - Gold, yellow, green, pink (colorless and red are relatively rare)
Bixbite – strawberry/raspberry color
Golden beryl – lemon to golden yellow
Goshenite – colorless (found in Goshen, Massachusetts)
Heliodor – yellow-green
Morganite – peach, pink and lavender
Associations - Chakras according to color; Moon; yin
See aquamarine and emerald for their individual Associations -
Uses - spiritual growth; personal journey; relationships; any where healing energy is needed

Bloodstone
This form of chalcedony was called the “martyr’s stone” in Medieval Europe because of the legend that the green jasper at the foot of the cross was stained with drops of blood from Jesus. Due to the popularity of this story, bloodstone was believed to possess special powers and was a favored stone for carving scenes of the crucifixion. The most famous piece of this genre was created in 1525 by Matteo del Nassaro of Italy. It is entitled “The Descent from the Cross”.

Bloodstone is also known as heliotrope. This name came from the Mediterranean regions where it was said that the stone’s coloring was reminiscent of the red glow of the sun (helios) setting over the deep green sea. This gemstone was used by the Babylonians for seals and amulets. Bloodstone was believed to render the wearer invisible – an attribute mentioned by Dante in his novel, The Inferno. Bloodstone is frequently confused with hematite.

A gemstone of courage and strength, bloodstone is useful in helping to remove obstacles. It is associated with honesty and integrity. Bloodstone is believed to help connect with ancestors and support relationships especially love. It also neutralizes toxins, and attracts good luck and abundance.

Color(s) - Green with bright red spots
Associations - Aries, Libra, Pisces; root and heart chakras; Earth, Mars; yang
Uses - communication with ancestors; abundance; relationships/love; remove obstacles/attract luck

Calcite
This is not a glamour gemstone but its use has been important to people in the past as well as the present. Calcite takes its name from the Latin calcis which means lime. This is not unusual as it may first seem because limestone is one of the rocks formed from calcite.

Calcite, calcium carbonate, is one of the most common minerals found on (and in) the earth and is one of the most widely collected minerals. Hot springs and other calcium-rich waters leave behind deposits of calcite. Many of earth’s caverns are made wondrous by calcite stalagmites and stalactites.

As previously mentioned, limestone is formed from calcite – containing fifty percent or more. Chalk, because its composed of limestone, contains a great deal of calcite. Calcite’s glamour rock is marble which is simply a recrystallization of calcite.

Calcite has also been called calcspar. Iceland spar is sometimes used in place of the name calcite, however, it usually refers to the large colorless crystals. Iceland spar has been utilized for prisms in microscopes and other optical instruments. Calcite is employed extensively as an industrial mineral in the production of metals, glass, paint and rubber, as well as the primary component of cement.

Because it is used in a wide range of materials, it is no surprise that calcite is a stone of support, especially for those engaged in the sciences and arts. Calcite also amplifies energy. 

Color(s) - Colorless and all colors, occasionally multi-colored
Associations - Cancer; all chakras according to color; Moon, Venus; yin
Uses - creativity/projects; knowledge; career; benefactors; personal resources; amplify positive energy)

Carnelian
Carnelian is a form of chalcedony quartz and is found throughout the world. One of the earliest Uses - of carnelian was in jewelry found in the tomb of Queen Pu-Abi of Sumer which dated to approximately 3000 B.C.E. It is common in Egyptian tombs and was apparently as popular as lapis lazuli and turquoise for jewelry. Egyptian myth links carnelian with the Goddess Isis who is purported to have used it to protect the dead (more specifically, their souls) as they made the transition to the afterlife.

Buddhists in China believed in carnelian’s protective powers and fashioned it into amulets. Tibetans used it for amulets as did Muslims who called it the “Mecca stone” because it was believed that Muhammad wore carnelian in a ring. This gemstone is also named in The Bible as one of the stones in the breastplate of Aaron.

Ancient Greeks and Romans called carnelian sardius. It has also been known as sadoine and pigeon’s blood agate. The word carnelian comes from the Latin carneus which means fleshy and probably was so named because of the stone’s color. Carnelian was popular in Europe during the Renaissance and the nineteenth century.

Belief in carnelian’s power of protection remains, as well as its power to calm fears of death. It also protects against anger and soothes grief and sorrow. Carnelian is useful for maintaining calm during times of transition and is helpful in drawing out a person’s talents. This gemstone aids in reaching goals through focus. Carnelian promotes harmony, creativity and self worth.

Color(s) - Red
Associations - Virgo, Aries, Taurus, Cancer, Leo; sacral chakra; Earth, Saturn; yang
Uses - harmony; success; creativity; self-worth; protection/soothes

Chalcedony
Chalcedony is a group of micro-crystalline quartz gemstones that includes agate, bloodstone, carnelian, chysoprase, jasper, onyx, sard and others. It gets its name from the ancient city of Chalcedon in what is now Turkey. The use of chalcedony dates back to the Stone Age where early people employed its durability for weapons, tools and bowls. It is popular today for jewelry as it was in the classical period of Greece and Rome, and nineteenth century Europe.

For specialized use and Associations - refer to individual entries of gemstones.

Chrysoberyl (cat’s eye)
Chrysoberyl is the third hardest gemstone after diamond and corundum (ruby and sapphire). The name comes from the Greek words chrysos for golden or yellow and beryllos meaning the variety of stone, beryl. It wasn’t until 1789 that it was found to be a mineral separate from beryl.

Chrysoberyl imitators include andalusite, beryl, peridot, spinel, topaz and zircon.

The best known variety of chrysoberyl is the cat’s eye or cymophane. Cymophane is from the Greek kyma meaning wave and phainein “to appear” which describes the way the cat’s eye seems to move. Parallel inclusions in the stone creates the cat’s eye effect, however, it must be cut at the correct angle for the effect to be seen. Another dynamically-changing type of chrysoberyl is alexandrite. Star chrysoberyls are very rare.

Cat’s eyes have been used for centuries as amulets to attract luck, as well as to protect against bad luck. Cat’s eyes were treasured in first century Rome, but not popular in Europe until the late nineteenth century when Princess Louise Margaret’s (Prussia) engagement ring brought them into fashion. In Sri Lanka the cat’s eye was believed to protect its wearer from evil spirits. Hindus believed it provided protection against poverty.

Cat’s eyes are popular for luck, especially in financial matters. This gemstone fosters optimism and renewal.

Color(s) - Golden yellow to honey brown and spring apple yellow-green
Associations - Venus; yang
Uses - relationships/renewal; wealth/luck; attract luck; protection/luck

Chrysoprase
This gemstone derives its name from the Greek words chrysos meaning golden/yellow and prason which means leek. Nowadays we would refer to this yellow-green as apple green.

Used by Egyptians before 3000 B.C.E., chysoprase is a variety of chalcedony that was also popular during the classical period of Greece and Rome. In an eleventh century manuscript, Michael Psellius of Byzantine wrote that it improved one’s eyesight. It became very popular in fourteenth century Europe. It was said to be a favorite of Frederick the Great of Prussia and was used to adorn the Sans-Souci Palace in Potsdam, Germany. This gemstone was also greatly admired by Emperor Charles IV who had it used in the St. Wenaslaus Chapel of the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. Its popularity continued into the nineteenth century.

Chrysoprase is attributed with the power for attracting friends, success and abundance. It lifts emotions and aids in adaptability. This gemstone fosters communication.

Color(s) - Yellow-green
Associations - Libra; solar plexus and heart chakras; Earth, Venus; yin
Uses - success; relations; abundance; adaptability

Citrine
This gemstone’s name comes from the Latin citrus and French citron (lemon), however, it is anything but a lemon. Citrine is quartz that is yellow due to the presence of ferric iron. Ancient people used citrine for protection especially against snake bites and evil intentions of others. The earliest use of citrine was in first century Rome for intaglio (engraved figures/designs). Citrine has been called the “golden stone of wealth” and the “merchant’s stone” because of its power to attract wealth. Other names include Madeira citrine and ox blood.

When citrine forms with amethyst crystals, ametrine is created. Natural citrine is not as common as other types of quartz. Most citrine gemstones are “created” by heating amethyst. Natural citrine is most often a pale yellow. It has sometimes been referred to a topaz quartz, citrine topaz, gold topaz, and Madeira topaz which is frequently a marketing ploy to pass it off as the more expensive topaz.

Citrine symbolizes joy and aids in getting in touch with one’s higher self. As a protector, it raises personal power by helping a person to connect with their inner self and tap into their hidden strengths. Citrine is also an energizer that aids in emotional healing through awareness. It is useful in emotionally binding families and groups.

Color(s) - Pale yellow, lemon, yellow-brown, orange, dark orange/brown, reddish brown
Associations - Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra; sacral and solar plexus chakras; Earth, Mercury, Mars, Sun; yang
Uses - spiritual growth/ guidance; relationships; community; creativity; personal journey; self worth/prosperity/wealth; protection/strength/healing

Coral
The coral that is considered a gemstone comes from the species Corallium rubrum. The best grows in clear, shallow (10 to 45 feet deep) warm water. Evidence of its use dates to the Paleolithic Period. Its use in Sumer dates to 3000 B.C.E. and it continued to be popular into the classical Greek and Roman era. Greek legend tells that when Medusa died, her drops of blood turned into red coral. In Rome it was used as a protective amulet for children.

Even today the Italian “horn” luck charm is made of coral. Pliny mentioned a coral trade with India in his writings. Centuries later, Marco Polo wrote about the coral that adorned Tibetan temples. It was also used by Tibetans for mala beads – an aid for prayer and meditation. In twelfth century England, coral was used as an amulet of protection and an aid during childbirth. Coral was particularly popular in Victorian and Art Deco jewelry.

Coral promotes love and harmony, and helps build community. It is useful to clear negative energies and provides protection.

Color(s) - From white to black, most valued are pink and red
Associations - Venus, Neptune; yin
Uses - relationships; harmony; community; protection/clear negativity         

D-I

 Diamond
The word diamond comes from the Greek adamas which means invincible or “I subdue”. This is believed to refer to its hardness. Diamond is mentioned in The Bible as one of the twelve gemstones in the breastplate of Aaron. As a symbol of power and protection, diamonds were worn by ancient leaders when they marched into battle. Aristotle and Pliny mentioned diamonds in their writings and made reference to the “valley of diamonds” in India where they had been mined since 800 B.C.E. This was the only known source of diamonds until 1725 when they were discovered in Brazil. In 1866 a new rich source was found in South Africa and set off a diamond rush between 1870 and 1880 which was not unlike the gold rush of the American West.

The ancient Romans used uncut diamonds in jewelry. King Louis XI (1214-1270) of France did not allow women to wear them – not even the queen. Famous diamonds include the Hope diamond which is now in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Its history began in 1669 when it was sold to King Louis XIV of France. The largest cut diamond is the Cullinan which is part of the British crown jewels – housed in the Tower of London. The first diamond engagement ring was worn by Mary Burgundy upon her betrothal to Hapsburg emperor Maximillian I in 1477.

The way in which diamonds are formed is as equally fascinating as their beauty. Their story is old – beginning approximately two billion years ago. And their journey is long – starting 95 to 120 miles below the surface of the earth. Diamonds begin as carbon crystals formed by intense heat and pressure below volcanoes. These carbon crystals are transported up to the surface in “pipes” of kimberlite or lamproite rock. If these crystals cool too slowly as they rise to the surface, the result is graphite. The carbon crystals have to rise and cool quickly in order to produce a diamond. What a disappointment to end up with lead for a pencil instead of a diamond.

The “purest” diamonds are colorless. Colors occur when other substances such as nitrogen (producing a yellow diamond) are present as the diamond forms. A vast array of colorless substances have been used to imitate diamond.

Not only has their beauty attracted people, their hardness (it’s the hardest mineral) and their ability to conduct heat are attributes that have diamonds employed in a wide range of industrial applications. Diamonds with rich colors such as blue, champagne, green, pink, orange or yellow are called “fancy” diamonds.

Diamond has been called the “stone of invulnerability” as well as the “king of crystals”. In addition to being a symbol of power and wealth, they are also an emblem of love trust and commitment. Their powers of protection in battle also extended to protection against disease and pestilence.

The power of diamonds can be utilized to build emotional strength, and unite people through reconciliation. In addition, diamonds attract abundance and wealth, and are useful during periods of transformation to help call on inner strength. Diamonds help build relationships and support longevity.

Color(s) - Colorless, white, black and all colors of the spectrum
Associations - Aries, Leo, Taurus; all chakras; Venus, the Sun; yang
Uses - family/community; wealth/abundance; love/relationships; personal journey; longevity; good luck amulet

Emerald
This gemstone’s name is said to come from the Greek word smaragdos which among its various meanings includes “green stone”. Although this word was applied to all green stones, as far as emerald is concerned “nothing greens greener” according to ancient scholar and writer Pliny. From Greek to Latin, the name evolved to esmaraude in Old French, then emaraude in Middle English.

A type of beryl, emerald’s deep color is caused by the presence of chromium – which also produces the deep red of rubies. Inclusions (crystal formations within the gemstone) provide depth and a unique identification to each individual stone. On the market, fewer inclusions are more desirable, however, for crystal therapy and feng shui these features add character and interest. Many emeralds are “oiled” with linseed or cedarwood oil to soften the effects of the inclusions and improve the stone’s clarity. The emerald cut – which helps to enhance the color – was created to avoid chipping the corners of the stone.

Emeralds were prized by early civilizations and the Babylonians traded in them as early as 4000 B.C.E. Cleopatra’s famed emerald mine was located near Aswân, Egypt. For centuries this mine was thought to be only a legend until it was uncovered in 1818. By then, very few emeralds were found but the mine did yield tools that were later dated to circa 1300 B.C.E. Emeralds were popular in ancient Egyptian jewelry and many people chose to be buried with them.

Emeralds were also valued by the rulers of India. Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal one of the great symbols of love and devotion, is said to have worn emeralds inscribed with sacred texts as a personal talisman. Perhaps his connection with emeralds began this gemstone’s link with love. In Europe, emeralds were especially popular from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. In the new world, the Aztecs carved emeralds into the shape of flowers and small animals. Emeralds were also used by the Incas and Mayans.

The trapiche form of emerald contains a rare six-spoke pattern around a hexagonal center. Trapiche is the name given the Spanish wheel used for pulverizing crops – usually sugar cane. Many other types of green stones, glass and plastic have been used to imitate emerald.

Emeralds are a symbol of love, and attract good fortune and harmony to all areas of life. This gemstone is also useful against negative energy. It improves memory and some believe it can help a person divine the future – perhaps because it provides access to desires held deeply within. It is associated with spring and rebirth and promotes understanding.

Color(s) - A wide range of greens
Associations - Aries, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus; heart chakra; Jupiter, Venus; yin
Uses - relationships; wealth; personal journey/growth; banish negative energy/navigate difficulties

Feldspar
Feldspar is one of the most common minerals on earth, and is most widely used industrially. One of its earliest applications was in the clay from which the Chinese made their porcelain. The presence of this simple mineral gave the porcelain a fine quality that Europeans could not duplicate for centuries. Feldspar is still used in making pottery, tile, glass and some plumbing fixtures.

Feldspar gets its name from the Swedish words feldt, field, and spar, an Anglo-Saxon name for “easily cleaved minerals”. Feldspar’s iridescent luster is created by the dispersion of light through its thin layers.

Gem-quality feldspar includes labradorite, sunstone, amazonite and moonstone. These gemstones are covered separately.

Fluorite
Fluorite’s name comes from the Latin word meaning flow. This is apt for this industrial mineral which is used in metal processing as flux. The deep blue, banded fluorite found in Derbyshire, England, is nick-named Blue John. Decorative objects have been made from this for more than 1,500 years.

Sometimes called the “stone of discernment” fluorite is useful as an aid in finding truth that has been concealed. Fluorite helps to navigate a path of order through chaos and boosts physical, mental and spiritual unity through healing. Fluorite nourishes and vitalizes energy while grounding it. This gemstone is also useful to boost the effects of other stones. Fluorite provides strength and protection in times of transition.

Color(s) - Clear, black, blue, green, pink, purple, red, yellow. Some pieces of fluorite have fluorescent qualities.
Associations - Aquarius, Capricorn, Pisces; brow and third-eye chakras; Neptune; yang
Uses - illumination; personal journey; harmony/balance/ spiritual healing; boost vitality; good luck/protection

Garnet
The garnet family of complex silicates obtained their name from the Latin word granum which means grain or seed-like. This name most likely evolved from the ancient jewelry that used clusters of tiny red garnets that resembled pomegranate seeds. (Pomegranate is malum granatum in Latin.) The garnet group includes almandine, andradite, grossular, pyrope (now popularly called rhodolite), spessartine and uvarovite.

The use of garnet dates to at least 3100 B.C.E. in Egypt where it was used in jewelry and made into beads. Early mentions of garnet come from The Bible. Carbuncle was another name for garnet (as well as ruby) which was one of the twelve stones in the breastplate of Aaron. Noah was said to guide the ark at night with a garnet lantern. The almandine variety has been widely used since the classical era of Greece.

For centuries garnets were carried by travelers to protect them from accidents. Ancient Persians considered it a “royal stone” and carved it with images of their kings. In Arizona, tiny granules of this gemstone are called anthill garnets because ants push it to the surface while building their tunnels. Garnet saw its first industrial use in 1878 in the United States as a coating for sandpaper.

Like alexandrite, some garnets change color according to the light in which they are viewed. Although rare, there are both four and six rayed star garnets. This gemstone occurs in every color but blue. Some garnets are mistakenly called Arizona ruby, Ceylon ruby and Ural emerald.

Garnet symbolizes faith, devotion and truth. It strengthens personal power and helps bring victory/success. Garnet aids in the release of kundalini energy and sparks creativity. Garnets tend to have strong supportive energy. This gemstone fosters confidence and success.

Color(s) - Almandite – red, orange-red with brown, purple-red
Andradite – black, green, yellow
Demantoid – green, yellow-green
Grossularite – brown, green, orange-yellow, white, yellow
Hessonite – range of orange to brown
Malaya – orange, red-orange, yellow-orange
Melanite – black
Pyrope – red, orange-red, purple-red; all quite dark
Rhodolite – purple, red-purple
Spessarite – orange-brown, red-orange, yellow, yellow-brown
Mandarin – vibrant orange
Tsavorite – bright, dark green
Uvarovite – range of greens
Associations - Aquarius, Capricorn, Leo, Virgo; brow and crown chakras; Mars, Pluto; yang
Uses - spirituality; personal journey/success; partnership; travel; personal power to bring victory

Hematite
Hematite gets its name from the Greek haima meaning blood which is also the root word for hemaglobin. This iron oxide’s earliest use dates to ancient Europe. Hematite was crushed to produce red ochre which was used as a pigment to stain figures such as the famous Goddess of Laussel (20,000 to 25,000 B.C.E.) to symbolize abundance, fertility and life-giving processes from the great Mother Goddess’ blood. Red ochre was also used on burial figurines, as well as the corpse itself. In the ancient Goddess-worshiping cultures, red was the color of rebirth and transformation.

In ancient Egypt hematite was used for amulets. It was also used to stop hemorrhages. Roman soldiers wore it for protection as they marched into battle. Native Americans use red ochre for ceremonial and war paint.

Hematite is a transformer that turns negative feelings into positive ones and even into love. It is a power stone that helps maintain one’s sense of self and to deflect negativity from other sources. This gemstone enhances memory and balances the body’s energy.

Color(s) - Metallic/iridescent gray, gray-red, gray-black, brown-red
Associations - Aries Aquarius, Capricorn; third-eye and crown chakras; Mars, Saturn; yang
Uses - balance/grounding; self-worth; self-cultivation; maintain sense of self

Herkimer Diamond
This gemstone is a type of quartz but was mistaken for diamond when it was first found in Herkimer, New York, because of its brilliance. Herkimer diamond is sometimes called the “dream crystal” as it aids in getting in touch with one’s inner self. It is useful to place under your pillow for dream work to help remember dreams. When utilized this way it is best to pair it with an amethyst crystal to moderate the energy level. Herkimer diamond is helpful for congeniality among groups of people. It is useful for emotional cleansing because it releases energy blocks. This gemstone also raises energy levels.

Color(s) - Clear
Associations - Sagittarius; all chakras as a prelude to using other crystals; Uranus
Uses - move and raise energy; wisdom/self-knowledge; community; bind relationships; cleansing

Iolite
This gemstone takes its name from the Greek words ios, violet, and lithos, stone. The Vikings used iolite as a navigation aid – looking through a thin slice of the stone allowed sailors to find the position of the sun in overcast skies.

Iolite is another gemstone with strong pleochroic effects. In iolite’s case, three separate colors are displayed making its effect trichroic. It has been mistakenly called dichroite (from the Greek dichrois “of two colors”), however, a dichroic effect would consist of only two colors as the name suggests. Other names for iolite include water sapphire and cordierite. The latter is a tribute to P.L.A. Cordier, a French mineralogist of the early seventeenth century.

Iolite’s calming energy brings stability to people (emotions) and situations. It aids in strengthening faith and promotes cooperation.

Color(s) - Blue, violet-blue, gray-blue, green (rare)
Associations - Libra, Sagittarius, Taurus; base and sacral chakras; yin
Uses - stability; wealth/resources; spiritual/calming; cooperation

J-M

Jade
There are two types of jade: jadeite and nephrite. The name jade originated with the Portuguese phrase piedre de ilharga meaning “stone of the loins” describing its use to relieve kidney problems. In Spanish it is piedra de ijade and French piedra de l’ejade. Nephrite comes from the Greek nephros meaning kidney. Lapis nephriticus is Latin for stone of the kidney.

Both types of jade are technically rocks made up of microscopic interlocking crystals. Jadeite has a slightly more coarse crystalline structure.

Nephrite is the jade that was used in ancient China as early as 3000 B.C.E. It was a status symbol and believed to endow powers of immortality. For these reasons it was used in the tombs of emperors and other important people. It was also a symbol of love and virtue. While the ancient Chinese were familiar with jadeite, they did not consider it “real” jade and preferred their nephrite.

In the Americas, jadeite was used by Aztecs, Olmecs and Mayans for adornment and carvings. In Europe, jadeite axes and tools date back to the Neolithic period. It was also popular through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Today it is the jadeite that is generally considered the “real” jade. There are three grades of jade: “A” jade is a natural stone with no enhancements, “B” jade is stone that has been treated to diminish any secondary colors; “C” jade is artificially colored.

A plethora of imitators exist. These include aventurine, carnelian, chrysoprase, emerald, garnet, jasper, quartz, glass, plastic and others.

Jade has been called the “stone of fidelity” because of its connection with love and virtue. It is also called a “dream stone” as it aids in remembering dreams. Like herkimer diamond it can be placed under your pillow for dream work. Unlike herkimer diamond it does not need a companion stone to soothe the energy. Jade promotes peace and harmony, and is connected with longevity. It helps in finding wisdom to solve problems and bring good luck.

Color(s) - Jadeite – black, brown, green, lavender, red, white, yellow
Nephrite – black, brown, green, red, white, yellow
Associations - Aries, Gemini, Libra, Taurus; crown chakra; Neptune, Venus; yin
Uses - harmony; partners/love; wisdom; longevity; solve problems/bring luck

Jasper
Jasper was called jashp in ancient Persia and ashpo in Syria. The Latin name is jaspis. Nowadays the many types of jasper names correspond with their attributes such as colors or patterns such as ribbon jasper or picture jasper (another one of nature’s “Rorschach” stones).

This gemstone was popular throughout the ancient world for jewelry, bowls and other objects. Its early use dates to the Paleolithic Period. Native Americans employed it for protection when traveling, as well as connecting to the spirits. Red jasper is symbolic of blood and aids in connecting with earth energies.

Jasper is a variety of chalcedony that fosters the ability to nurture. It provides grounding and protection against negativity.

Color(s) - Gray-blue, green, orange, red, tan, yellow
Associations - Generally Leo, red jasper Taurus, yellow jasper Sagittarius; all chakras; yang
Uses - grounding; relationships; community/family; protection against negativity

Jet
This gemstone takes its name from the Old French jaiet which comes from the Latin gagates after the town and river Gagas in Asia Minor where the ancient Romans mined it. Technically, jet is not a gemstone as it comes from an organic source. Woody plants that became submerged in bogs and swamps eventually turned into a form of coal. This low-grade coal called lignite gets its name from the Latin lignum meaning wood.

When jet is rubbed vigorously with a cloth it will build up an electric charge and attract small pieces of paper or dust. For this it has been called “black amber” since amber also exhibits this characteristic.

Jet has been used for ornamentation since the Bronze Age. It has been mined in the area of York, England, since approximately 1500 B.C.E. and used for jewelry. It was also used for adornment by the ancient Romans whose empire extended through York. In fourteenth and fifteenth century Spain it was used for carvings, jewelry and talismans. Through the eighteenth and nineteenth century in Europe it was used for jewelry and religious items such as rosaries and crosses. When Queen Victoria went into mourning in 1861, jet became a frequently-used gemstone for her black jewelry.

In the Americas, the Aztec, Mayan, Alaskan and Southwest Native American tribes used jet for decoration. Jet is sometimes confused with obsidian and black tourmaline. Imitators include glass, plastic and canel (Pennsylvanian anthracite). Black glass in jewelry is referred to as Paris jet.

In 1213, Arabian botanist Ibnv’I Baitar wrote that jet could “drive away venomous beasts”. This idea has come down to us in the belief that jet can protect the wearer from illness and banish fear. Jet has a calming influence and lifts one’s spirits. It is said to help with the darker side of life. Jet engenders honor and justice and provides protection during times of transition.

Color(s) - Black
Associations - Capricorn; sacral chakra; Pluto, Saturn; yin
Uses - calming/harmony; personal journey; self cultivation; illumination; to calm and cope; protection)

Kunzite
Kunzite is a form of spodumene. Spodumenos, Greek for burnt ashes, describes the gray-white of many spodumene. Kunzite was named for George Kunz, an early twentieth century geologist and buyer for Tiffany and Company.

This gemstone is frequently found with morganite and pink tourmaline. In addition to being pleochroic, Kunzite is occasionally phosphorescent. This feature and its sensitivity to sunlight – it will fade if exposed to strong light – are the reasons it was dubbed the “evening stone”.

Kunzite engenders positive and loving thoughts. It removes negativity, as well as any obstacle that may impede your growth. It provides inner freedom, emotional support, guidance and protection.

Color(s) - Colorless, green, gray, pink, purple, yellow
Associations - Leo, Scorpio, Taurus; heart chakra; Pluto, Venus; yin
Uses - personal journey; relationships; self-cultivation; remove obstacles

Labradorite
Labradorite is a type of spectrolite in the plagioclase feldspar family. Its iridescent dispersal of different colors is called labradorescence. Frequently found with quartz, this gemstone’s most famous deposits are in Labrador, Canada, where it was “discovered” in 1770. Its use by Algonkian tribes in the state of Maine dates to the year 1000. It is sometimes confused with opal.

Labradorite is instrumental in cultivating psychic abilities. With strong powers of transformation, it ushers thoughts from intuition to positive action. It aids in self-reliance and ridding oneself of insecurities. It symbolizes vitality.

Color(s) - Light blue, light green, gray, white, pale orange-red, black
Associations - Leo, Sagittarius, Scorpio; sacral chakra; Neptune, Pluto, Uranus
Uses - resources; success/reputation; self-cultivation; vitality

Lapis Lazuli
Technically this gemstone is a rock made up of several minerals – mainly lazurite and calcite. Pyrite is also frequently included and gives lapis its gold speckles. Lapis lazuli gets its name from the Latin word for stone, lapis, and the Arabic word for blue, azul.

This gemstone was a favorite throughout the ancient world and has been mined for at least 6000 years. The city of Ur, the Mesopotamian capital, had a trade in lapis lazuli that dated back to 3000 B.C.E. It was used extensively in Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia, Persia and the Roman Empire. The Egyptians crushed it and used it for a cosmetic. They also employed it for seals, as well as carved figurines and vases. They believed that lapis lazuli helped one attain sacred wisdom.

The Europeans called it ultramarine, referring to its blue color and meaning “beyond the sea”. In Europe it was also crushed and used as pigment for paint well into the nineteenth century. It was used for inlay in furniture and in St. Petersburg, Russia, it was used to adorn columns in a cathedral and panel a room in a palace. Its imitators include synthetic spinel, glass, plastic and a dyed jasper called Swiss lapis.

Lapis lazuli is a powerful stone of wisdom that strengthens personal expression and intuition. The awareness it imparts aids in accessing ancient knowledge. It is also a protective stone and promotes tranquility.

Color(s) - Blue occasionally with a hint of violet, white or gold speckled
Associations - Aries, Sagittarius; throat and third-eye chakras; Neptune, Venus; yin
Uses - tranquility/spirituality; wisdom/knowledge; personal journey; creativity; protection

 Lodestone
This gemstone takes its name from the Latin magnes meaning magnet – magnetite is one of two stones that are magnetic. A fable connected with its name tells of a shepherd, Magnes, accidentally discovering this mineral on Mount Ida (Northwest Turkey) when the nails of his shoes clung onto the rocks.

Lodestone is one variety of magnetite which is an iron oxide. The Russian city of Magnitogorsk takes its name from the mineral, as well as its industry as a major iron manufacturer. In the Middle Ages the Polar Star became known as the Lodestar because it attracted the attention of sailors and helped guide them.

Lodestone balances yin and yang energies, provides motivation and boosts confidence. It aids in finding one’s spiritual path.
Color(s) - Black, dark gray, brown-red with black streaks
Associations - Gemini, Virgo; sacral chakra; yin/yang
Uses - personal journey; balance/spirituality; recognition/fame; motivation; guidance

Malachite
This gemstone is from the carbonate class of minerals and takes its name from the Greek malaku meaning mallow, a family of herbs. It is a secondary mineral of copper that is created when copper is altered by other chemicals. Azurite, another secondary mineral of copper, is usually found with malachite. It is not unusual to find malachite and azurite banded together in one stone. This is called azure-malachite.

Malachite has been used for centuries in jewelry and as household ornaments. Like other gemstones, it was crushed and used as pigment for paint. In Czarist Russia it was used to stunning effect to adorn cathedrals and palaces.

Malachite has been called the “stone of transformation”. As such, its powers encompass everyday situations, as well as spiritual progression. It is an aid for introspection and balance. This gemstone attracts loyalty and comfort. Malachite is also instrumental in providing protection, promoting success and banishing negativity. It aids in navigating life’s setbacks and challenges.

Color(s) - Light to dark green
Associations - Capricorn, Scorpio; solar plexus chakra; Venus; yin
Uses - spiritual progression/balance; relationships/loyalty; personal journey/introspection; achieve goals; protection and banish negativity

 Moonstone
Moonstone is a type of feldspar that has a shimmering glow. This shimmering effect is caused by the combination of feldspars with different densities and different refractive qualities.

An ancient Roman myth described this gemstone as being created by moonlight. It was used as jewelry by the Romans dating to the year 100. Many centuries later it was popular in Art Nouveau jewelry. The Romans believed that this gemstone held the image of the Goddess Diana. Moonstone was considered sacred in India. There it was believed that if one held it in one’s mouth during the full moon, the future could be seen. In sixteenth century Europe it was believed to help keep a person awake.

Moonstone has been called the “travelers stone” and believed to provide protection during a journey. This gemstone’s association with the moon and the Great Goddess also connects it with mothers and unconditional love. Moonstone encourages inspiration, awareness and creativity. It also brings good fortune, alleviates fear, and balances yin and yang.

Color(s) - Colorless to gray, blue-gray, brown, green, pink, yellow
Associations - Cancer, Libra, Scorpio; heart chakra; the Moon; yin
Uses - balance; personal journey; creativity; love/ mother; wealth; good fortune

 O-R

Obsidian
This gemstone is actually natural glass that is created when hot lava is submerged in water. This process forms obsidian’s glassy texture. Before the molten rock is cooled, bubbles of air can get trapped between layers which can produce stunning effects. Some of these have been called rainbow obsidian and sheen obsidian. When small cristobalite crystals get trapped, snowflake obsidian is the result. Apache tears is the name given to obsidian that has been worn smooth and round by wind and water making it perfect for use in feng shui.

Ancient tools and weapons were made with obsidian because of the sharp cutting edge that can be produced by chipping it. Obsidian has also been used for jewelry and mirrors. This gemstone is said to be able to mirror one’s soul.

Obsidian is a strong grounding stone and has been called “the protector” for its ability to block negative energy. Popularly used for scrying mirrors, it is believed to aid in divination and seeing into the future by providing insight. Obsidian is useful in dispelling half-truths.

Color(s) - Dark green, dark brown, black
Sheens – gold, green, blue, purple, yellow
Associations - Sagittarius; base chakra; Pluto, Saturn; yang
Uses - personal journey; grounding; protection

 

Onyx
This form of chalcedony quartz takes its name from a Greek word that referred to a fingernail, claw or hoof. It was popular in ancient Greece where a legend tells of Cupid (whether as a form of joke or service) trimmed the nails of the sleeping Venus. Not wanting to see any part of her perish, the Fates turned Venus’ fingernail clippings to stone. The Greeks called almost any colored chalcedony stones onyx.

The Romans limited the name onyx to only dark brown and black forms of chalcedony. They also gave the name sardonyx to reddish-brown onyx. (See separate listing for more on sardonyx.) Onyx was also popular during the Renaissance and in the nineteenth century.

Onyx is a stone that provides balance and stability, as well as protection. When used in dream work or meditation it can help bring guidance and transformation from an inner source. It helps control emotions and negative thoughts.

Color(s) - Black, black-brown with bands of white
Sardonyx – reddish-brown sometimes with white or lighter red bands
Associations - Leo; base and throat chakras; Saturn, Mars; yang
Uses - balance; self-cultivation; transformation; protection

Opal
This gemstone takes its name from the Sanskrit word upala meaning precious stone, as well as the Greek word opallios, change of color. In ancient Rome it was called opalus.

Containing as much as ten percent water, the opalescence “play of color” is produced by miniscule spheres of silica. Along with the water these tiny spheres create different rates of light diffraction. The more aligned the silica spheres, the more brilliant the stone’s color. This iridescent play of color is also referred to as a stone’s “fire”. If the stone is heated at high temperatures, the water will be lost and along with it the opalescence. The transparency of the stone and its background color also effect the overall depth of color.

Six thousand-year-old artifacts found by Louis Leaky are the earliest known use of opal. Ancient Greeks and Romans prized the use of opal and its value was greater than diamond. The Romans nick-named it “Cupid’s stone” because its color can be evocative of a sensuous complexion. The Aztecs also used and valued Opal. This gemstone was mentioned in the writings of ancient scholar Pliny, and again centuries later by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. In the Middle Ages it was galled ohthalmios meaning “eye stone” because it was thought to preserve one’s eyesight. Also in Medieval Europe, if it was worn by a woman with blonde hair the opal was believed to keep her hair from turning gray.

During the fourteenth century plague years, opal became known as a stone of bad luck. It was said that the stones of those who wore it and died had changed color. It is now thought that the fairly rapid change of temperature in the wearer’s body (from high fever to cold after death) may have been enough to cause an opal to change color. An opal that has a fracture can easily break – a fault that added to this gemstone’s connection with bad luck.

Rulers enjoyed opal. It was used in the emperor’s crown of the Holy Roman Empire and in the French crown jewels. Opals came to the attention of Queen Victoria when new sources were found in Australia. Her liking this gemstone brought it back into popularity during her reign.

Some of opal’s imitators are called opalite and Slocum Stone. Imitators also include glass and plastic.

Opal has been called the “stone of visionaries”. The Greeks believed that it had powers of prophecy. The Romans saw it as a symbol of hope. Opal attracts inspiration, insight, and stimulates a wider vision. Some believe it enhances clairvoyant abilities.

Color(s) - Black opal – dark to gray-black, dark base color
White opal – milky, light gray, white base color
Gray opal – light gray, gray base color
Fire opal – yellow-red, brown-red, red-orange base color
Hyalite – colorless (from the Greek hyalos meaning glass)
Associations - Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius; throat, third-eye and crown chakras; Mercury; yin
Use illumination/insight; personal journey; self-worth; creativity; symbol of hope

Pearl
Pearl is the only gemstone created by a living creature. Its popularity began before the classical Greek and Roman period and has never waned. Pearls were used through Asia, the South Seas and by Native Americans. The Greeks attributed pearls with the ability to help sustain a blissful marriage. Cleopatra wore pearls as did most European royalty centuries later. From the thirteenth to sixteenth century common people were not permitted to wear pearls as they were seen as being special for only those of royal blood.

Completely natural pearls are rare and as a result, quite expensive. Most pearls on the market are “cultured” meaning that the process of creating the pearl was initiated by human hands. A pearl begins as an irritant inside an oyster. In nature, this could be a grain of sand – in pearl “farms” it is a bead that is implanted into the mollusk. However it begins, it is not comfortable for the host oyster. In defense, a secretion called nacre is released to coat the irritant. Nacre is the same material that coats the inside of the oyster’s shell and is called mother-of-pearl. Any pearl that forms will color-match the mother-of-pearl. For example abalone, whose shell is widely used for inlay and jewelry, produces blue-green, green, pink and yellow pearls. Pearls are produced by both fresh and saltwater mollusks.

A pearl’s luster (reflective quality) adds to its value. The finer the luster, the higher the quality. A pearl’s “orient” refers to the iridescent shimmer of its surface. Shape is also important but changes with the times. Various irregular shapes – drops, pears, eggs, nuggets – come in and out of fashion. Perfect roundness has always been highly prized probably because they are difficult to find.

Imitators include coated glass and plastic beads called Majorca pearls which are created by dipping beads into a solution concocted from fish scales.

Pearl symbolizes purity and emotional clarity. It induces emotional balance and openness. Legend says that a pearl is a joyful tear from an angel.

Color(s) - White, cream, silver, gray, gold, blue, green, pink, yellow, black
Associations - Crown chakra; Venus, the Moon; yin
Uses - self-cultivation; personal journey

Peridot
Peridot, a member of the quartz family, gets its name from the French, péridot which originated from the Arabic word for gem, faridat. This gemstone was used by Egyptains as early as 1500 B.C.E. Records of its early mining date to the year 70 on St. Johns Island in the Red Sea.

This gemstone is born of fire – found in rocks from volcanoes. The Hawaiian Goddess Pele is said to have shed tears of peridot. Fiery meteors have also yielded deposits of peridot and it has also been found on the moon.

Peridot is a type of olivine. Its darker colors have been mistakenly used for the green demantoid garnet. Peridot’s mineral name is chrysolite, from the Greek chrysos meaning gold/yellow. The Greeks also used it for yellow chrysoberyl and other yellowish stones. In ancient Egypt the more yellowish peridot was called topaz as it was not distinguished from that gemstone at the time. Some scholars believe that it may have been the “topaz” in the breastplate of Aaron mentioned in The Bible.

Ancient Romans called peridot the “evening emerald” because it maintained its color and did not darken as the sunlight faded. Peridot became popular in Europe after crusaders brought it back from the Mediterranean. It is thought that they initially believed it to be emerald. The “emerald” that graces the Three Holy Kings shrine in Cologne Cathedral was identified as peridot in the late nineteenth century. It was later mined in Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), and in 1900 when additional sources were discovered, peridot became more popular. In addition to decorating churches, it was crushed into a powder and used as a remedy for asthma.

Peridot promotes peace and happiness, and attracts success and good luck. It protects against nightmares and general negativity. Peridot is also instrumental in healing damaged relationships. This gemstone is a symbol of rebirth and renewal. It attracts comfort and builds vitality.

Color(s) - Green, green-brown, green-yellow, yellow
Associations - Virgo; throat, heart chakra; Mercury, Venus; yin
Uses - success; personal journey; relationships; travel; protection; luck; vitality

Pyrite (Not from Sandra Kynes)
The shiny pyrite wakes up any space in a matter of seconds. Highly energizing and freely sharing its optimistic energy, a good quality pyrite is a must for your feng shui collection of crystals and stones.

Initially thought to be gold, pyrite is also known by the name of fool's gold. Pyrite mostly comes in clusters, but you can also find pyrite in stunning shapes of cubes and globes.  Pyrite jewelry is gaining popularity, along with many pyrite carvings.

Pyrite has a unique combination of excellent energies for any home or office. It radiates optimistic and cheerful energy that is also solid and grounding. Pyrite is very protective and can shield you from negative energies while promoting a happy and cheerful state of being.

The versatile pyrite can also share its qualities of shine and solid brightness to facilitate a better judgement and a clear mental state. It is an excellent stone to help with any business endeavours, as well as academic pursuits.

Pyrite will give you the optimism, the clarity, as well as the physical stamina necessary to pursue any of your endeavours. An excellent companion, indeed!

Most of the pyrite on the market comes from US, South America and Britain.

Feng shui-wise, pyrite is one of the best feng shui stones to attract the energy of wealth and abundance (another popular feng shui crystal for wealth is citrine). Pyrite can be used as a cluster, sphere or cube, as well as in combination with a variety of other popular feng shui cures for wealth, such as Chinese coins, the abundance ship, etc.

The pyrite is also an excellent choice for your wealth vase, as well as a good decor piece for your living room or office. You can also use pyrite in any areas of your home that need an energizing and uplifting solar energy that this stone can freely share.

Quartz
This gemstone takes its name from the old German word querkluftertz which described the white veins in rocks. Quartz is one of the most common minerals and can be found almost everywhere on earth. It is the main ingredient in sand found on beaches and in deserts. It has even been found on the moon. Quartz has been used by humans for thousands of years – at first for tools and weapons, then later for jewelry and decorative objects. Rock crystal objects have been found with human remains in France, Spain and Switzerland dating to 7500 B.C.E. It was used in ancient Egypt, as well as by the Mayans and Aztecs in the Americas. It was used extensively throughout the fourteenth century for Christian reliquary objects.

Clear quartz has been commonly called rock crystal. In Latin it was crystallus. In earlier times it was called crystallos from the Greek meaning frozen because it was thought to be a permanent form of ice. It’s no surprise that the ancients may have believed this, as quartz is always cool to the touch. In our modern world, quartz is widely used in watches and many appliances.

Colorless quartz is common, however, perfectly clear samples large enough to produce crystal balls, bowls or other objects is not common. Nowadays, glass is frequently substituted. Crystal bowls came from the idea of the Rinn or “singing bowl” used to create sacred sound in ritual or for meditation. The pure sound it produces is said to balance the energies of all the chakras. Like the chalice and the cauldron, the bowl is symbolic of female energies from which new life emerges.

Smoky quartz is sometimes called smoky topaz on the market to garner a higher price. Rutilated quartz is clear quartz with tiny “needles” of rutile arrayed inside. These have been called Venus hair and Cupid’s darts. Tourmalinated quartz is similar, but with dark green or black tourmaline crystals instead of rutile. Sunflower quartz and falcon’s eye quartz were popular in classical Greece and Rome, in Europe during the Renaissance, and in the nineteenth century. The falcon’s eye, cat’s eye and tiger’s eye effects are created by arrangements of fibrous minerals within the quartz.

Another variety of quartz is a gemstone called chalcedony. Instead of a single crystal, chalcedony consists of fine micro-crystals. The chalcedony group includes agate, bloodstone, carnelian, chrysoprase, jasper and onyx. (Amethyst, ametrine, citrine, chalcedony, chrysoprase and rose quartz are covered in their own sections.)

Quartz is a strong transformer that empowers people, as well as amplifies and focUses - energy. It is a protector that also opens the spirit, provides emotional and physical balance, alleviates anger and reveals distortions.

Color(s) - Colorless, white, blue-white, gray-blue, pink, rose, violet, purple, green, brown, yellow
Associations - All zodiac signs; all chakras; planet Uranus
Uses - amplify strengths; transformation; balance/spirituality; creativity

Rhodochrosite
This gemstone takes its name from the Greek rhodochros meaning rose colored. Although rhodochrosite was “discovered” in Argentina just before World War II, it was used by the Inca as early as the thirteenth century. It is sometimes called Inca Rose. Rhodochrosite is more widely used as an industrial mineral in the production of alloy steel.

To the opposite extreme, because of its color, rhodochrosite has been called the stone of “love and balance”. It is a gentle balancer of emotions and transmits a message of love by drawing in white light. This gemstone engenders love on all levels. It attracts comfort and provides support during times of transition.

Color(s) - Pink (usually pale) with white stripes
Associations - Leo, Scorpio; heart chakra; Mars, Mercury, Venus; yang
Uses - love/relationships/partner; balance; abundance/comfort; love and caring; support for transitions; offset negativity with love

Rhodonite
Rhodonite takes its name from the Greek rhodon meaning rose. This gemstone is pleochroic and has been used for decorative objects, mainly carved beads, boxes and vases, since the nineteenth century.

Because of its rose color and the Associations - of roses, rhodonite has been called the “stone of love” and the “stone of brotherly love”. This love is on the wider level of caring for humankind and spiritual wealth. Rhodonite brings order to chaotic situations with emotional support, and quells anxiety through clear vision. It balances yin and yang.

Color(s) - Dark pinks with veins of black
Associations - Taurus; solar plexus and heart chakras; Mars; yang
Uses - community; balance; wisdom; love; banish chaos

Rose Quartz
This milky rose pink variety of quartz was cherished in classical Greece and Rome, Renaissance Europe and the nineteenth century. It was used by the Assyrians (800-600 B.C.E.) for decorative objects, but very little jewelry.

Rose quartz is associated with the heart, love and beauty. Its calming effects help to balance yin/yang energy. Its warmth heals emotional turmoil and strengthens friendship.

Color(s) - Pink, milky rose
Associations - Libra, Taurus; heart chakra; planet Venus
Uses - relationships; emotional balance; emotional healing

Ruby
Ruby takes its name from the Latin word for red, rubeus. It has been called the “king of precious stones”, “lord of gems”, and “queen of gemstones”. This prized stone was written about by the ancients in The Bible as well as in Sanskrit writings. Ruby is a type of corundum – the crystalline form of aluminum oxide. All other colors of corundum are called sapphire. It has been an on-going debate whether or not pinkish colored corundum is ruby or sapphire.

In addition to its intense color, ruby can occasionally contain an asterism effect. This appears as a six-pointed star that seems to follow a light source. This star is created by rutile “needles” that align with the ruby’s crystal faces.

The intensely colored stones from Burma are called “pigeons blood”. The ancient Romans considered it the stone of their war god, Mars. Ruby was mentioned in the writings of Pliny and Marco Polo. It is believed that a ruby that turns a darker color indicates bad luck will befall the owner. Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon is said to have expected difficulties because of her darkening ruby.

Because ruby is rare it has many imitators – almost any deep red gemstone. The so-called balas ruby is spinel and Brazilian ruby is actually pink topaz. Non-gem quality rubies are used as movement bearings in watches.

For centuries ruby has been a symbol of devotion and love. In addition, it is believed to attract wealth, inspire wisdom, and strengthen self-esteem. This gemstone engenders loyalty and generosity. It dispels fear and protects from all forms of negativity.

Color(s) - Red, brown-red, pink-red, purple-red
Associations - Cancer, Leo, Scorpio; heart chakra; Mars, the Sun; yang
Uses - self-worth/wealth; relationships/loyalty; wisdom; protection

S

Sapphire
This aluminum oxide corundum comes in almost every color except red. As previously mentioned, when it is red it is called a ruby. In ancient India and Southeast Asia, sapphires were thought to be “unripe” rubies. In Latin it is sapphiru and in Greek sappheiros – both referring to the color blue. The Sanskrit saripruja which may have been closer to the origin word for sapphire was also applied to lazurite/lapis lazuli.

Sapphire’s long history has connected it with the heavens and the heavenly realms. An ancient Persian legend told of the earth balancing on a huge brilliant sapphire whose reflection gave its color to the sky. Another legend tells of the Ten Commandments being delivered to Mosses on tablets of sapphire. For these reasons, rulers of both church and state have used sapphires as emblems of their sincerity and wisdom.

Sapphire was used by Etruscans, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It was used frequently in Medieval Europe by royalty in brooches and rings. The British crown jewels sport a number of sapphires. This gemstone has been extremely popular since the eighteenth century.

In addition to its use for adornment, sapphire was utilized in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as one of a number of mineral ingredients in the varnish of Stradivarius and Guarner violins. Some believe that the use of crystal particles is what gave these instruments their rich sound.

This gemstone is particularly known for its star variety. This effect is caused by tiny “needles” of rutile that align within the stone’s planes. Centuries ago these stars were used as amulets and “guiding stars” by travelers. These were also called the “stone of destiny” with its three lines symbolic of faith, hope and destiny. The six-ray star is somewhat common, but twelve-ray stars are rare. Also rare is the sapphire cat’s eye. Some sapphires are color changing from blue in natural light to violet. Another rare type of sapphire is the padparadscha. This reddish-yellow-orange sapphire was named for the color of the lotus flower. The earliest source for these was in Sri Lanka near Ratnapura whose name meant “city of gems”.

While sapphire comes in a wide range of colors, the most popular is blue. Many of these are heated to remove unwanted trace elements that cause a stone to look cloudy, too dark or too light. Sapphires in colors other than blue are sometimes called fancy sapphires.

Sapphire is a gemstone of prophetic wisdom (gained through mental clarity and intuition) that helps one find their purpose in life. It also provides healing energy.

Color(s) - Blue, green, pink, purple, violet, orange, yellow, black, colorless
Associations - Aquarius, Libra, Virgo; third-eye and crown chakras; Neptune, the Moon; yin
Uses - personal journey; wisdom; love/devotion; healing energy

Sard
This gemstone takes its name from the Greek sard meaning reddish-brown. It is a type of chalcedony that if a little more red, would be carnelian. Sard was used by the Mycenaeans (1450-1100 B.C.E.) and the Assyrians (1400-600 B.C.E.). Along with carnelian, sard was used for engravings and seals by the ancient Romans.

In the fourth century, sard was used to heal wounds. It is a strong protector against negativity and boosts self-confidence.

Color(s) - Rich reddish-browns
Associations - Mars; yang
Uses - respect/reputation; self-worth; relationships; protection; a general healer

Sardonyx
This banded form of cryptocrystalline quartz takes its name from the Greek sard meaning reddish-brown and onyx, Latin meaning “veined gem”. In ancient Egypt (2000 B.C.E.) sardonyx became popular because it was commonly available to most people, whereas precious gemstones were accessible only to royalty and upper classes. It was mentioned as one of the stones in the breastplate of Aaron. Jews frequently wore it and used it to adorn their temples.

Cameos of sardonyx became popular in classical Greece and Rome and continued for many centuries. It was also frequently used as the stone at the end of the chain in the fob watch. Napoleon is said to have worn a carved sardonyx from Egypt on his watch chain.

In the Middle Ages sardonyx was used for healing, especially the eyes. The coolness of the stone when placed on the eyelids was said to bring respite from discomfort. During the Renaissance its power of communication made it a favorite for speakers. It was also a symbol of happy marriage.

A cameo of Queen Elizabeth I of England was carved in sardonyx and given by her in a ring to the Earl of Essex. This is the ring with which she also pledged her help to him. Years later when the Earl was convicted of treason and sentenced to death, the ring fell into the wrong hands and did not get back to the queen in time to save him.

Sardonyx aids in clear, focused thinking and is used to enhance communication between partners.

Color(s) - Red-brown
Associations - Mars; yang
Uses - partner/love; projects; wisdom

 Serpentine
This gemstone takes its name from the Latin serpens meaning snake, referring to its patterns and coloring which bears a resemblance to snakeskin. Since ancient times it was worn as an amulet to protect the wearer from snakebites. It has been used for decorative objects and is a popular stone for African sculptors in Zimbabwe. Serpentine has been utilized as a substitute for jade and is called Korean jade or immature jade.

This gemstone’s connection with serpents extends to its ability to draw up kundalini energy. It augments meditation.

Color(s) - Green, brown-green, back-green, brown, yellow
Associations - Gemini; heart chakra; Saturn; yang
Uses - personal journey; balance; spirituality

Sodalite
Sodalite is a rock-forming mineral that is frequently confused with and used as a substitute for lapis lazuli. Its name may have come from the Latin sodanum meaning a cure for headaches. (Suda in Arabic means headache.) Since the seventeenth century it has been used for jewelry.

Sodalite enhances community relationships and aids in resolving issues logically. It helps clarify purpose and direction in life. This gemstone is supportive for meditation and the pursuit of wisdom.

Color(s) - Blue, lavender-blue, green, gray, white and colorless
Associations - Venus; yin
Uses - community; relationships; wisdom; career; success; resolve issues

 Sphene
This gemstone takes its name from the Greek sphen meaning wedge – a reference to its wedge-shaped crystals. Sometimes called titanite, sphene is an ore of titanium and is used industrially in the manufacturer of airplanes. It is confused with topaz, yellow beryl and, because it can be pleochroic, chrysoberyl.

Sphene promotes intellectual and spiritual endeavors.
Color(s) - Green, black, brown, yellow, white
Associations - Mercury; yang
Uses - spirituality; foundation; knowledge

 Spinel
This gemstone is said to take its name from the Latin spinella, little thorn, as well as spina, spine or thorn. Either way it is most probably because of spinel’s pointed octahedral shape. Spinel is a magnesium aluminum oxide and is frequently found with rubies and sapphires – aluminum oxide corundums.

In ancient Sanskrit writing spinel is referred to as the “daughter of ruby”. As it turns out, many famous rubies have been identified as spinel. The Timur ruby which has been traced back to fourteenth century India is now among the British crown jewels. The Black Prince ruby – named for Edward (1330-1376), son of King Edward III of England – had been given to him in 1367 by the King of Castile. This spinel now has a place in the Imperial State Crown and is housed with the other crown jewels in the Tower of London. The ruby in the crown of Russian’s Catherine II (1762) is a spinel.

Spinel has also been called “balas ruby” which was a name generally applied to gemstones that were borderline red/red-violet. Color-change spinels have been found. These change from blue in natural light to purple in artificial light. Spinel has been popular in classical Greece and Rome, during the Renaissance and in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A green variety of spinel is sometimes called chlorospinel. Ceylonite is a black variety of spinel that is also called pleonaste.

Spinel is a gemstone to have during difficulties as it is a general healer that helps reconcile differences and relieve sorrows. It is also a stone of protection and can aid in attracting wealth. It enhances one’s ability to overcome obstacles and setbacks.

Color(s) - Red, blue, purple, pink, violet, orange. Colorless, green and yellow are rare
Associations - Pluto; yang
Uses - relationships; wealth; protection; deal with sorrow; make amends; overcome obstacles

 Staurolite
This gemstone takes its name from the Greek stauros meaning cross. The “twinning” of its crystals frequently occurs at right angles creating the shape of a cross. It has also been called the “fairy cross” because, according to legend, these crystals were formed from the tears shed by fairies upon the news that Jesus had been crucified. Staurolite crosses, like those of andalusite, were worn as amulets by Christian pilgrims.

Staurolite is a stone of protection and good luck. It is also good for grounding energy.

Color(s) - Red-brown, yellow-brown
Associations - Pisces; crown chakra; yin
Uses - grounding; protection; luck

 Sunstone
This gemstone is a type of feldspar that glitters because of inclusions of hematite and/or goethite. While the most common colors are like those of the sun, a green sunstone is commonly called aventurine feldspar. Sunstone has been used by people in ancient India and Greece, as well as Native Americans in Canada for rituals of sun healing and connecting with spirit guides.

Sunstone relieves stress and banishes fear. It is also useful when working with the spiritual realm.

Color(s) - Yellow, orange, red, brown, pink, peach, green and gray
Associations - Libra, Leo; sacral and solar plexus chakras; the sun; yang
Uses - spirit; personal journey; self-cultivation; deal with fears; relieve stres

Tanzanite
Tanzanite is fairly new on the scene, having been discovered in 1967 while a prospector was searching for sapphire. This gemstone is only found in Tanzania, not far from Mount Kilimanjaro. In the 1970s it was only available through Tiffany & Company.

Tanzanite is a trichroic gemstone meaning that it will appear as one of three colors when viewed from different directions. These colors are most frequently blue, purple and bronze-brown. Straight from the earth the predominant color is brown, however, heat treatment coaxes out the “velvety-blue”.

Tanzanite is a type of zoisite – a mineral named for Baron Siegmund Zois, an Austrian scholar (1747-1819). Tanzanite aids in dealing with change and weathering difficulties.

Color(s) - Blue, violet, purple, bronze-brown
Chrome tanzanite – green
Associations - yang
Uses - personal resources; knowledge; deal with change

 Topaz
There are two possible origins for this gemstone’s name. One is from the Sanskrit word tapas meaning fire. The other is the Greek name for an island in the Red Sea, Topazion. The island was frequently shrouded in mist and so its name came to be synonymous with seeking. This may be the source of the belief that topaz could help one be clear-sighted – not only physically to correct eyesight, but also to “see” one’s way through problems. Topaz was also endowed with the ability to make the wearer invisible (as though the mists of Topazion Island could be summoned). In the Middle Ages this cloaking capacity of topaz was attributed to its ability to call forth guardian angles in time of emergencies. At that time it was also believed to cure fevers and ease childbirth.

Because of its most prevalent color, topaz was associated with the sun god Ra in ancient Egypt and Jupiter in ancient Rome. In the classical era of Greece and Rome, the name topaz was used for most yellowish stones. Its popularity grew in the thirteenth century and it has remained strong ever since. The tag name, Imperial topaz, for the deep pink and orange-red stones originated because of it renown in the eighteenth and nineteenth century with Russian czars and czarinas. By the mid

nineteenth century it was highly prized and expensive. The large colorless topaz in the Portuguese crown was originally thought to be a diamond when it was found in 1740.

Blue topaz which has been growing in popularity is usually created by irradiating pale, white or colorless stones.

Topaz helps one focus on what one wants to achieve. Called the “stone of the sun” topaz brings warmth and light, as well as healing to those who need it. Topaz attracts abundance and love. It also is instrumental in getting energy moving. This gemstones alleviates tensions and promotes communication.

Color(s) - Yellow, yellow-brown, orange-brown, red, blue, green, violet
Associations - Sagittarius, Scorpio, Taurus; solar plexus chakra and up; Mercury, the Sun; yang
Uses - net-worth/abundance; love/partner; alleviate tension

 Tourmaline
Tourmaline is a large group of minerals that come in all colors of the rainbow, as well as colorless. This gemstone gets its name from the Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) words turamali (mixed colored stones) and toramalle (“something little of the earth”). These terms were first used in reference to green, brown and yellow stones and mainly zircon.

Tourmaline has been utilized for its beauty for several thousand years. A tourmaline intaglio of Alexander the Great dating to between 300-200 B.C.E. is on display in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. While Nordic jewelry with tourmaline has been dated to the year 1000, it was not until 1703 that Dutch traders brought it into widespread use in Europe from Ceylon. Many of the rubies in seventeenth century Russian crown jewels have turned out to be tourmaline.

In Victorian England the black variety of tourmaline, called schorl, was popularly used for mourning jewelry. The word schorl is an old mining phrase that meant “unwanted material”. Tourmaline was the favorite of famous gemologist, George F. Kunz, who gathered it for a number of collectors, including museums. He also introduced it to Tiffany & Company.

This gemstone is piezoelectric and pyroelectric. Most tourmaline is pleochroic and it is not unusual to find a tourmaline crystal that is half one color and half another. Tourmaline’s wide variety of colors come from a range of chemical compounds. Few of the type names are used today in favor of simply identifying stones by their color or pattern. For example, watermelon tourmaline is pink, white and green like a slice of the fruit. A few of the names still in use include rubellite (from the Latin word for reddish of color) and elbaite which is the tourmaline that comes from the Island of Elba. The latter is the type most frequently utilized in jewelry. Paraiba tourmaline simply describes the area of Brazil from which it comes. Paraiba tends to be very brilliant blues and greens.

Tourmaline is attributed with healing powers and the ability to neutralize negative energy. It can help to provide insight and attract inspiration. It is associated with compassion and meditation. Tourmaline aids in handling grief. It dispels fear for positive change.

Color(s) - Colorless, blue, black, green, lilac, violet, brown, pink, red, orange, yellow
Associations - Libra; all chakras according to color; Venus, Saturn, Pluto; yin
Uses - personal journey/insight; creativity/inspiration; wisdom; partnerships; neutralize negative energy; protection

Tsavorite
This gemstone is a grossular variety of garnet which was only discovered in Kenya and Tanzania in the late 1960s. It takes its name from the Tsavo game preserve in Kenya. Brilliantly emerald-like in color, tsavorite was brought to world notice by Tiffany & Company. It is usually found with a coating of quartz or scapolite and was originally thought to be demantoid, the only other type of green garnet.

Use tsavorite to vibrate with the heart chakra.
Color(s) - Light to emerald green, yellow
Associations - Heart chakra; Mars, Pluto; yin
Uses - balance/harmony

 

Turquoise
This gemstone takes it name from the Middle Ages and an Old French word turqueise which meant Turkish – stones arrived in Europe from the Middle East. Its more ancient name was callais from the Greek words kallos lithos, beautiful stone. Turquoise is one of the most widely used gemstones. It comes from dry (arid and semi-arid) regions and is a secondary mineral in copper deposits.

The use of this gemstone can be traced back to 5500 B.C.E. in Egypt where turquoise was found in the tomb of a queen. It was also used for amulets and ground into powder for cosmetics. Persia, where it was used for religious carvings, was the ancient source for fine turquoise. Turquoise is one of the twelve mentioned in The Bible on the breastplate of Aaron.

In China, the use of turquoise began before the year 1000. Hindus and Tibetans utilized it and ascribed it with the ability to bring good luck. In parts of the Middle East verses from the Koran were engraved onto tablets of turquoise. It was not used in Japan until the eighteenth century. In the Americas, it was mined in New Mexico since the fifth century and used by the Anasazi, Apache, Navajo and Zuni. It was mined by the Aztec since approximately 900. Some American Southwest tribes carved turquoise for beads, others utilized it for currency in trade with Mexico. Warriors tied turquoise to their bows to aid in making precise shots.

While the use of turquoise dates to approximately 500 B.C.E. in Eastern Europe (Siberia), it did not become popular in Western Europe until the late Middle Ages. Resembling the color of the forget-me-not flower, turquoise jewelry was given for remembrance and affection. Such use was documented by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice with the ring given to Shylock by Leah.

Howlite, dyed chalcedony, glass and plastic are used to imitate turquoise. Synthetic turquoise is sometimes called neo-turquoise or neolite.

Since the days of ancient Persia, turquoise has been a stone of good luck. During the Middle Ages in Europe it was believed to protect both horse and rider from danger. It was also thought to change color if the wearer was ill. This may actually happen because turquoise is slightly porous and will react to oils, soaps and perspiration. It is also sensitive to strong sunlight.

Many cultures from the Middle East to the Americas considered this gemstone a symbol of the sky. The Apaches believed that it contained the powers of the heavens and the sea. It is still considered to be a “bridge” between heaven and earth and is used for spiritual cleansing. Turquoise has been called a “stone of communication” and provides a balance of yin/yang energy. It protects against negativity, and can attract love. Turquoise is a general healer.

Color(s) - Blue, blue-green
Associations - Aquarius, Sagittarius, Taurus; throat chakra; Venus, Neptune, the
Moon; yin
Uses - balance; spiritual cleansing; personal journey; partner/love; protection

Zircon
This gemstone takes its name from the Persia word zargun which was a compound of zar, gold, and gun, color. It was well known in India and mentioned in the Hindu legend of the Kalpa Tree. This tree, which was given to the gods as a gift, was laden with fruit of various gemstones. Its leaves were made of zircon. This gemstone was popularly used by the Assyrians. During the classical period of Rome and the Middle Ages, yellow zircon was favored.

Zircon did not become popular again in Europe until the 1920s. The colorless zircon is so brilliant that it was used widely as a substitute for diamond. These have sometimes been called Matura diamond. Zircon is frequently confused with zirconia which is a lab-grown diamond imitation. Types of zircon include hyacinth and jacinth, both of which were mentioned in The Bible. The blue variety called “starlight” is created by heating yellow zircon.

Since the Middle Ages, zircon has been believed to aid in spiritual growth and to promote prosperity and wisdom. This gemstone is also instrumental in finding beauty and peace.

Color(s) - Colorless, blue, green, brown, orange, red, yellow
Associations - Scorpio, Taurus; crown chakra; the sun; yang
Uses - harmony; spiritual growth; wisdom; abundance/prosperity

 

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