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A comprehensive guide on precious and semi-precious stones/gemstones in India.


Precious Stones

Agate
Agate is a semi-precious gemstone and belongs to the Chalcedony family and can be distinguished only by its color and stripes. The word ‘agate’ is derived from a Greek word which means ‘happy’. Agate is available in a wide range of colors. This stone is said to have been discovered along the banks of the river Achates, now known as river Drillo, by the famous Greek naturalist and philosopher- Theophrastus.

Aquamarine
'Aquamarine’ gemstones resemble the greenish- blue color of the sea. In fact the name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word for sea water. Aquamarine gemstones look like the crystal blue seas and are normally pastel blue to greenish or the deep blue. The larger the stone the more the sheen is.

Carnelian
The carnelian is a variety of microcrystalline quartz and chalcedony and is said to have been used in jewelry as early as 1800 B.C. It is consists of silicon oxide and a few impurities that gives it its color. Carnelian is an attractive stone that is deep red to brownish orange in color. It has a long past and was considered the stone of the upper classes in ancient times. The Egyptian people even buried this stone in the tomb along with the dead pharaohs.

Citrine
Citrine is a crystal whose color varies from lemon yellow to a deep red brown or amber. The name "Citrine" is derived from the French word for lemon. It is a popular and affordable substitute to the much more expensive yellow sapphire or yellow diamond. To create stunning multi-colored jewelry, it is often combined with other stones such as amethyst, peridot, and garnet. It is the birthstone for the month of November.

Emerald
Emerald is a much admired fantastic green stone. It is the green variety of the mineral beryl and one of the most well prized gems. All over history emerald has been one of the most preferred and popular gems. Due to its dazzling beauty, emerald jewelry such as earrings, finger rings, necklaces, pendants and bracelets are highly cherished.

Garnet
Garnets belong to the semi-precious stone category. The name is derived from the Latin word “granatus” which was a reference to the fruit ‘pomegranate’ which has seeds similar to the shape, size and color of garnet crystals. Archeologists have discovered garnet jewelry dating back to 3100 B.C.

Kunzite
Kunzite, the beautiful icy pink colored gemstone and was discovered in the year 1902 by the gemologist George Frederick Kunz in a place called Pala in California. It was named ‘kunzite’ after the discoverer. It is available in countries like Brazil, Canada, Afghanistan, USA, Mexico, Western Australia, Pakistan and Sweden.

Lapis Lazuli
Lapis lazuli is a semi-precious gemstone which appears as though it might have come straight out of the ‘Arabian Nights’: ‘A deep blue background with golden insertions of pyrites which shimmer like little stars’. Lapis Lazuli is a semiprecious stone valued for its deep blue color, and one can often spot golden pyrite inclusions. Lapis Lazuli has a stretched history and has been considered precious by people around the planet for centuries.

Moissanite
Moissanite, the exact replica of diamond, is a distinctive mineral discovered by the Noble prize winner Dr. Henri Moissan in the year 1893. He found it as tiny bits of silicon carbide, inside a meteorite in canyon Diablo, Arizona. The stone was named after him. In the year 1959, moissanite was found with an inclusion of kimberlite in a diamond mine in Yakutia, Siberia and Wyoming- Western United States.

Moonstone
The moonstone is named for its resemblance to the color of the moon. It owes its name to the soft milky white stone with a bluish or yellowish tint. It is also known as ‘Stone of Emotional Balance’ and represents the moon goddess. It is an excellent gemstone used in meditation to understand oneself. It is believed that the stone transmits lunar energy and helps soothe and balance human emotions.

Obsidian
“Apache tears”, the other name given to obsidian is a natural volcanic glass which is formed by swift cooling of the glutinous lava inside the earth. This is made of rich silica without a trace of water. The making process of obsidian is the same as that of granite. However, it cools down so quickly that there is exactly no time to crystallize.

Opal
The Opal is considered a symbol of clarity, optimism and confidence. Any jewelry designed with opal gemstone adds beauty to the ornament. There are numerous myths enveloped with this enchanting gemstone. According to the ancient dream of the Australian aborigines, the creator came down to the Earth on a rainbow to convey the message of peace to all the humans. As soon he stepped on the ground

Pearl
Pearls are exquisite to behold and have been used in jewelry for hundreds of years. Unlike other gems, the pearl is organic matter obtained from the living creatures of the sea like the mollusks and oysters. The pearl is actually formed as the mollusks or the oyster coats itself with layers of nacre to protect itself from unwanted materials that could damage them. The process is very delicate and it takes years for a pearl to be formed.

Quartz
The quartz gemstone is probably one of the most popular and versatile gemstones that are available. Quartz is a rock crystal and has been in use since ancient times. Despite the most sought varieties of quartz like citrine, amethyst, rose quartz, agates, ametrine, chrysoprase, onyx and rutilated quartz, there are many other varieties available too.

Sapphire
Sapphire is the blue variety of corundum and is made up of aluminum oxide. Excluding the red and pink color, all the other colors of corundum are sapphires. The red colored corundum is called a ruby. The sapphire resembles the ruby in all properties except for the color. Sapphire is a word derived from the Greek word ‘sappheiros’ which means ‘blue stone’. Certain other elements like chromium, iron, etc

Tiger’s Eye
Tiger Eye also called as the ‘tiger’s eye’, ‘crocidolite cat’s eye’ or ‘African cat’s eye’, as the name entails, resembles the eyes of a tiger or a female cat. The surface of the stone glistens as a small ray of light passes through. Tiger’s eye is a variety of quartz and contains fibers of crocidolite which is then altered to silica.

Turquoise
Turquoise is one of the oldest known semi precious gemstones known to man. This popular gemstone is opaque, clear and transparent. This stone was used to make jewelry for the Pharaohs of Egypt and also used as jewelry to compliment the ceremonial dress of the early native Americans.