Iolite is a beautiful violet blue gemstone whose name is derived from the Greek word “ios” which means violet. Because of its soft, almost liquid color it is often mistaken for sapphire.
Iolite is pleochroic, which means that it transmits light differently in different directions in the crystal, similar to a polarizing filter in a camera. Ancient Viking navigators looked through thin slices of Iolite to filter out haze, mist and clouds to locate the exact position of the sun. Although iolite has been found in Norway and Greenland, it primarily comes from India and East Africa.
Iolite has become the accepted anniversary gemstone for the twenty-first year of marriage. To maintain its brilliance, clean in jewelry cleaner or lukewarm soapy water; do not use a home ultrasonic cleaner.
While tanzanite ranges in color from pale lilac to deep intense blue, each stone gives you three colors. From one angle, you may see it as a brilliant blue; turned in another direction, the color will show a purple almost as lovely as fine amethyst; turned a third way, the color will show a salmon-pink brown.
Tanzanite is one of the “newest” gemstones; it was named in 1967, when the first beautiful crystals were discovered in Tanzania. Because it comes from only one location and is relatively rare, it bestows on its owner a mark of distinction. Tanzanite is still “young” so there is no folklore connected with it.
To maintain its brilliance, clean in jewelry cleaner or lukewarm soapy water; do not use a home ultrasonic cleaner or subject to steam. Avoid hard knocks and scratches as well as extreme temperature changes.
Tourmaline occurs in the widest array of colors of any gemstone species. Sometimes as many as two or three colors exist in the same cut stone. Tourmaline is also known under different names: The “rubelite” is red, sometimes with a violet tint. Fine “chrome” tourmaline has a beautiful rich green color. “Indicolite” ranges from very light to dark shades of blue, violet blue, and greenish blue.
The name “tourmaline” has its origins in the Sinhalese word “Turmali”, which means mixture. Originally, native miners applied this term to mixed parcels of gems when they didn’t really know what the stones were. Tourmaline is sometimes known as an alternate birthstone for October, and the accepted anniversary gemstone for the eighth year of marriage.
Tourmalines are found mainly in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Africa and the U.S.A.
Kunzite is a beautiful light to deep pink/lavender purple member of the spodumene family. It is trichoicâ€” displaying different colors from different angles.
Kunzite was named for George Kunz, who in the latter part of the 19th century was chief gem buyer for Tiffany & Co. and a pioneered of the science now known as gemology.
Top kunzite can give enduring beauty equal to that of Ceylonese pink sapphire and Brazilian pink topaz. And, larger sizes are readily available since it is quite common for this species to produce stones of over 50 carats! It is important to bear in mind, however, that kunzite requires an understanding of its unusual characteristics.
Care should be exercised not to subject the gem to hot lights which can, and do, cause the color to pale. Perhaps the best way to avoid fading is to consider kunzite to be more of an evening gem.Â Â Kunzite is found mainly in Afghanistan and Brazil.
The chrysoberyl family comes in three varieties: alexandrite, cat’s-eye, and chrysoberyl. While chemically alike, they are quite distinct in their optical characteristics and bear no resemblance to one another.
Cat’s-eye chrysoberyl is known for its reflected light effect called “chatoyancy.” This effect is achieved by cutting stones which have very small, parallel “silk” inclusions into cabochons (dome shapes, not faceted). As the gem is rotated, it exhibits a distinct, silvery white line across its dome which seems to open and close like a cat’s eye.
Cat’s-eye is a translucent gem ranging in color from a honey yellow or honey brown to yellowish green to an apple green.
It has long been used as a charm to guard against evil spirits, and one can understand why, given the pronounced eye effect (the eye could see all, and it watched out for its wearer). It was also believed that to dream of cat’s-eye signified treachery. It has also symbolized long life.
Cat’s-eye chrysoberyl is found mainly in Sri Lanka and Brazil.
A relative newcomer to the gem world (ametrine was discovered in Bolivia in the late '70s), ametrine is a variety of quartz which exhibits the best aspects of both purple amethyst and yellow citrine within the same crystal.
Because its beauty lies in the coexistence of the two colors, ametrine is usually recovered in larger sizes — over five carats is most popular — which allow for the appreciation of the distinct color sections. When cut into emerald and pear shapes, this distinction is most notable. when ametrine is fashioned as a less-common brilliant round shape, its colors reflect and blend together to create a peach-like color.
As a newcomer, ametrine does not yet have folklore or historical significance attached to it as do amethyst, citrine or other gemstones. Some sources believe however, that the best aspects of amethyst and citrine lore should be attributed to ametrine since it is a combination of both these gems.
Lapis lazuli is a beautiful opaque gemstone which ideally has a deep uniform blue color that is free of white calcite veining and virtually free of golden pyrite flecks. It was prized by the ancients who mistakenly called it “sapphirus” after its deep royal blue color.
Lapis is a very popular gemstone for men’s jewelry, second only to black onyx. For women, lapis is often fashioned into earrings and beads, sometimes interspersed with pearls or gold beads.
Lapis is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the ninth year of marriage.
Lapis has been highly prized since ancient Babylonian and Egyptian times. An amulet of “great power” was formed when lapis was worked into the image of an eye and ornamented with gold. Sometimes it was even buried with mummies. It was recognized as a symbol for ability, success and divine favor.
The prime source of lapis is Afghanistan.
Jade’s colors range from shades of green to blue, yellow, red, lavender, gray and black, but experts call the ideal shade “emerald green.”
Jadeite, the most prized form of jade, is one of the toughest known minerals. It is valued for both carving and for setting in jewelry. Although never completely transparent, the closer the gemstone comes to being transparent, the more value it has. Other quality considerations are color, uniformity, clarity and brightness.
A gift of jade is suggested as the anniversary gemstone for the twelfth year of marriage.
Found in Burma, jadeite may well be the world’s only gemstone that is still used as much for an amulet as for adornment. Millions of Asians wear jadeite jewelry for good luck and health. For centuries its possession has been thought to give the owner power, knowledge, pure thoughts, long life and immortality.
Most people think of topaz as a transparent golden yellow gemstone. However, this gemstone also occurs colorless as well as orange-yellow, red, honey-brown (dark sherry), light green, blue and pink. The name topaz is derived from the Greek word meaning “to shine” and also implies “fire.” Orange-red “Imperial” topaz and pink colors are rare and most valuable.
The lore, magic and romance of topaz goes back many thousands of years. It holds the distinction of being the gemstone with the widest range of curative powers. Ancient Egyptians thought its golden glow symbolized “Ra,” their sun god. The Greeks felt it gave them strength. In addition, it supposedly cooled tempers, restored sanity, cured asthma, relieved insomnia and even warded off sudden death. Topaz is said to make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. It proved the loyalty of associates by changing color in the presence of poison.
Imperial topaz the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 23rd year of marraige. Topaz is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria and Sri Lanka.
Grape Garnet describes an intense purple-red variety of garnet that is distinctively different in color from ordinary rhodolilte or amandine garnet.
Mined in the Orissa district of Northwest India, Grape Garnet constitutes only a minute fraction of the massive Indian garnet production. Due to primitive mining methods and a short mining season interrupted by torrential monsoons, this stone variety is not widely known outside its local area. Historically we see examples of this material as badly faceted, dull purple stones in silver jewelry or as beads. But careful selection of rough stones and precision faceting bring out its unique fire and color. The result is an intense purple-red hue that flashes and sparkles even in very limited light, and positively comes alive in sunlight.