The Meanings and Origins of Gemstones

The Meanings and Origins of some Semi-precious Gemstones

Cardinal gemstonesGemstones that are found in the world today can be precious or semi-precious stones. There is a large range of precious gemstones sold on the world markets today and this includes all the semi-precious stones.

Most everyone is familiar with precious gemstones such pearls, rubies, and diamonds. But do not ignore all the other semi-precious gemstones that are available. Certainly this includes alexandrite, amber, amethyst, beryl, garnet, jadeite, lapis-lazuli, moonstone, opal, topaz, and turquoise.

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AlexandriteOne of the most transparent and fascinating of gemstones that you can purchase is alexandrite. It has the fascinating characteristic of changing color. When you are outside in broad daylight the stone shines a bright green hue but when you go indoors away from sunlight it changes color to a raspberry red and when viewed under different light bulbs it can give a variety of hues. This was noticed back in 1831 when this stone was first discovered in Russia by the Finnish mineralogist Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld and was named in honor of the future Tsar Alexander II of Russia.

Ant trapped in AmberAmber on the other hand is not actually a gemstone as it is a fossilized tree resin (not sap) from pine trees. Amber is highly sought after even today and it can be found mostly in the region around the Baltic Sea. The origins of Baltic amber are associated with the Lithuanian legend about Juratė, the queen of the sea, who fell in love with Kastytis, a fisherman. According to one of the versions, her jealous father punished his daughter by destroying her amber palace and changing her into sea foam. The pieces of the Juratė’s palace can still be found on the Baltic Sea shore.

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Amethyst from South AfricaIf you want to achieve inner peace, you can get amethyst. It is purple in color but it is also available in lighter lavender shades. Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz often used in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek ἀ a- (“not”) and μέθυστος methustos (“intoxicated”), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. The ancient Greeks wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. It is one of several forms of quartz. Amethyst is a semiprecious stone and is the traditional birthstone for February.

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3 types of beryl

Picture by Chris Ralph

Warriors of long ago wore beryl to protect themselves. This gemstone is available in different shades such as pink, yellow, golden, emerald, and aquamarine. In geology, beryl is a mineral composed of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate. The hexagonal crystals of beryl may be very small or range to several meters in size. Terminated crystals are relatively rare. Pure beryl is colorless, but it is frequently tinted by impurities; possible colors are green, blue, yellow, red, and white. This is a durable stone and because of this characteristic, the stone is well known.

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Garnet crystalBack in history garnet was used to stop blood diseases and hemorrhaging. Garnet species are found in many colors including red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, pink and colorless. The rarest of these is the blue garnet, discovered in the late 1990s in Bekily, Madagascar. It is also found in parts of the United States, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Turkey. It changes color from blue-green in the daylight to purple in incandescent light. Because of its durability and brilliance, this red stone is a very precious gem. The Chinese people revered jadeite and this stone came from Guatemala and Myanmar.

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Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan

Picture by Hannes Grobe

If your preference is for more intense brilliance and deep color, you can go for lapis lazuli. The best Lapis is found in Afghanistan but other deposits are also found in Chile, Russia, Argentina and Canada. At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments. It was used by the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer, and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figure of the painting, especially the Virgin Mary.

Moonstone comes from the family of feldspar. The blue moonstone varieties are far more valuable and desirable than the transparent and milky varieties.

If you love the colors of the rainbow, go for opal. This stone can also be found in rare black and this is really valuable.

Various topazTopaz is a gemstone that symbolizes affection and love. This is a very rare stone. It is brilliant, hard, and is available in a variety of colors. Most people are unaware that this is a rare stone and often mistakes the glass or quartz imitations as the true stones. In Africa and Asia, turquoise is very precious. It is also available in color varieties like greenish blue, light/dark blue, and robin’s egg shade.

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These are some of semi precious gemstones in the world. You can find these stones in major jewelry stores worldwide. However, beware of imitations so make sure that you’re only purchasing the genuine stones. If this is your first time to purchase a precious gemstone, make sure that you’re dealing with reputable jewelry stores. If you’re shopping online, you can check the customer testimonials to ensure the quality and genuineness of the gemstone.

Precious and semi precious gemstones are good investments. If you want, you can get your specific birthstone. Search the internet and find out more about the different gemstones for every month. There is a wealth of information on the internet that can help you in choosing the best deal gemstones in the market.

You can buy your own gemstones. Gemstones are also great gifts to friends and loved ones.