Gems have intrigued humans for thousands of years. The first known gems used for crafting jewelry were amethyst, rock crystal, amber, garnet, jade, jasper, coral, lapis lazuli, pearl, serpentine, emerald and turquoise. These stones were reserved for the wealthy and served as status symbols.
In ancient times, gems were used as healing stones and talismans on account of their magical powers. Today gemstone jewelry is worn for its aesthetic value and beauty. Some still buy gemstone rings and charms for their mystical properties.
Gem stone jewelry
Broadly gemstones can be categorized as naturally found and the human made stones. Natural gems are found in Mother Nature's earth whereas synthetic gems are created artificially. The laboratory gemstones possess essentially the same chemical, physical and visual properties as natural gemstones. Such gemstones are relatively cheaper than natural gem stones. Researchers and gemologists are of the opinion that only natural gemstones offer positive healing powers.
A gemstone is usually measured by weight and size or both. The basic unit for weighing gemstones is the carat, which is equal to one-fifth 91/5th) of a gram. Carats are divided into 100 units called points. For example, a half-carat gemstone would weigh .50 carats or 50 points. When gemstones are measured by dimensions, the size is expressed in millimeters (for example, 7x5 millimeters).
Ruby is one of the most durable gemstones, second in hardness only to diamond. The word ruby brings to mind powerful emotions of passion, romance and power. The ruby is a crystalline form of aluminum oxide infused with trace elements of chromium, which gives the gemstone its red color. The stone gets its name from the Latin word ruber, meaning red. Fine rubies are much rarer than top-quality diamonds and are also far more expensive.
Rubies are the red members of the corundum family of minerals. Corundum of any other color - blue, pink, yellow and others are called sapphire. Natural ruby shades vary from light to dark red and even a purplish cast. Ancient cultures believed that the ruby could cure ailments of the digestive system, energize the blood, and treat the heart. It was worn by warriors on account of its protective qualities.
- The Crown of Charles IV of Luxembourg from the 1300s held a ruby that was whopping 250 carats
- The Smithsonian is a home to a 137 carat cabochon star ruby
- The most expensive ruby ever sold at auction was 15.97 carat, sold for $3.63 million in 1988.
The hardness of a gemstone is measured based on a standard called the Mohs scale. The higher the Mohs scale number, the harder the stone is. Stones that have Mohs hardness less than 7 are highly subjective to scratching. Here are certain tips to keep your precious gemstone jewelry in good condition for a long time.
- Handle the gemstones carefully especially when attempting to clean or removing the dust. Use a soft lint free cloth to remove dust particles from your gemstone.
- While cleaning non-porous gemstones, wash them with a weak solution of ammonia, rinsing with lukewarm water. Dry it with a soft cloth later.
- Do not expose gemstone jewelry to high temperatures.
- Avoid exposing gem stone jewelry to salt water and chlorine or other harsh chemicals. These chemicals and detergents can harm the stones and may ruin the stone's finish.
- Store your gemstones in a divided jewel box or soft pouch so that it doesn't touch other jewels.
- Never wear your jewelry while doing rough work.
- Hair spray, perfume and perspiration may cause jewelry to become dull. Apply all cosmetics, perfumes and colognes before putting on colored gemstone jewelry. Wipe clean your gemstones after wear to remove any chemicals, oils or perspiration
Gem stone jewelry buying guide
Gem stone jewelry can be bought in different colors, from pink saffire to golden brown citrines to blue topaz. Another popular gem stone is opal - a stone that exhibits flashes of rainbow colors when viewed from different angles. Opals have light or dark body color that ranges from transparent to translucent. Dark opals are more expensive and have fiery shades of black and gray.
Check to see if the color is even throughout the gemstone? For gemstone jewelry pieces such as earrings and necklaces, ensure that all the stones are well matched and harmonious. Some gemstones are treated or enhanced to improve their appearance or durability or even change their color.
Gem stone - Birthstones
Every month has a gemstone associated with it. Look up the birthstone guide to select a gift for someone you love.
January dark red garnet
February purple amethyst
March pale blue aquamarine
April clear diamond
bright green emerald
cream pearl moonstone
August pale green peridot
September deep blue sapphire
October Variegated Opal or Tourmaline
November Yellow Topaz or Citrine
December Sky Blue Turquoise or Blue Topaz