Types of Gemstones
Gemstones come in a huge variety of shades, each with unique chemical compositions that make them one-of-a-kind. They also have unique stories to tell, from their historical origins to what they represent. Let’s explore some common and not-so-common gems you might find in a jewelry store and the special meanings behind the stones.
Alexandrite appears green in natural sunlight and red in man-made light. As a result, it’s often called “emerald by day, ruby by night,” though alexandrite is a rare color-changing variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. Discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the 1830s, it’s now found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, but it is still exceptionally rare and therefore valuable.
Amethyst is a beautiful violet or purple variety of quartz and is associated with February. This gemstone was thought to represent peace, tranquility, and balance. It has been linked to qualities like sobriety, clarity of mind, and spiritual growth.
Aquamarine, a captivating blue gemstone, is connected with March. Its name, derived from the Latin words "aqua" (water) and "mare" (sea), reflects its color's resemblance to the ocean. Aquamarine was believed to bring courage, clarity, and harmony to its wearer.
The beryl stone is a mineral that comes in a variety of shades. The most famous kind of beryl is green beryl, or an emerald. But when it is pink, we call it morganite, which can be quite large in size and was named after financier J.P. Morgan. Aquamarine is blue beryl, while yellow beryl is heliodor and purple beryl is kunzite.
Also a birthstone for November, citrine is known for its sunny yellow hue. It is associated with positivity, abundance, and clarity. Citrine was believed to bring joy, uplift spirits, and promote success.
Corundum is the second hardest natural stone after diamonds. The most popular color of corundum is blue, commonly known as a sapphire, whereas when corundum is red, it’s known as ruby. But corundum actually exists in all colors, including white and yellow.
Diamond, the hardest and most brilliant of gemstones, is the birthstone for April and the 10th and 50th wedding anniversaries. It is a symbol of purity, eternity, and invincibility. Diamonds have long been associated with love and commitment, making them a popular choice for engagement rings. They come in various colors, but the classic clear diamond is highly valued for its brilliance and sparkle. Most diamonds formed more than a billion years ago, deep in the earth’s mantle.
Emerald, a rich green gemstone, is associated with May and the 20th and 55th wedding anniversaries. It symbolizes rebirth, growth, and renewal, making it a fitting choice for the spring month. Emeralds have been treasured throughout history for their lush color and were often associated with fertility, love, and good fortune.
Garnet is a diverse gemstone that comes in a range of colors, but the deep red variety is the most well-known. It is often associated with January and is believed to symbolize friendship, trust, and protection. It has a long history of use in jewelry and was also used in ancient times as a protective talisman.
Pearls, known for their lustrous and iridescent appearance, are associated with June. They are unique among gemstones as they are formed within living organisms. Pearls symbolize purity, innocence, and wisdom. They have been worn as jewelry for centuries and have a timeless elegance that complements a variety of styles.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an olive-green. The intensity and tint of the green, however, depends on how much iron is contained in the crystal structure. So, the color of individual peridot gems can vary from yellow to olive to brownish-green. The most valued color is a dark olive-green. This gem is also connected with August.
Ruby, a captivating red gemstone, is linked with July and the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. It is a symbol of passion, love, and energy. Rubies have a long history of being associated with royalty and power. They were believed to protect against negativity and bring vitality and courage to those who wear them.
Sapphire, typically known for its deep blue color, is associated with September and the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. It symbolizes wisdom, loyalty, and nobility. Sapphires have adorned royalty and leaders throughout history, and they were thought to bring protection and spiritual insight to their wearers.
Topaz is one of the birthstones for November and is often associated with strength and protection. It comes in various colors, but the most well-known is the golden variety. Topaz was believed to enhance communication, creativity, and self-confidence.
Tourmaline is another birthstone for October and has one of the widest color ranges of any gem, often coming in shades of pink, green, and blue. It is associated with balance, protection, and harmony.