WHAT IS A SOUTH SEA PEARL?
The queen of pearls
Thomas Edison once exclaimed: "There are two things which could never be manufactured at my laboratory - diamonds and pearls."
A pearl creates its own splendor. The creation of a pearl is a fascinating process that requires a great deal of time and care.
Gemologists classify pearls in general as coloured gems of organic origin that are formed by some types of oysters in sea water, and by some fresh water shells.
South Sea Pearls
South Sea pearls are entirely formed out of natural pearl material called nacre, which surrounds a small nucleus that is inserted in the vital parts of an oyster. South Sea pearls are the largest pearls with the thickest nacre. They are the most precious as they are the most difficult to produce. The oyster that hosts these pearls is the Pinctada Maxima that lives in the warm, calm, pure blue waters of the South Seas. There are two prerequisites for the production of nacre: an uncontaminated environment that is rich in plankton, and an oyster of considerable size. When conditions are favourable, oysters tend to accept larger nuclei and can be inseminated up to three times. In addition to a notable size, the Pinctada Maxima oyster endows these pearls with a very thick nacre, a velvety opalescence and an indefinable range of colours. It takes about 24 months for pearls to reach a diameter of 10 to 18 mm. The silver-lipped Pinctada Maxima oyster will almost always produce silver white pearls with pink, grey or green hues, while the gold-lipped type gives rise to yellow or gold gems.
The original colour of these pearls is very dark. They are formed in black-lipped oysters known by the name Pinctada Mergaritifera. They are cultivated all over Polynesia. They have a diameter that varies between 8 and 14 mm. Very rarely these pearls can reach a diameter of up to 16mm or even 17mm. They come in an immense variety of shades that range from dark grey to jet black.
QUARTZ CRYSTAL HISTORY
Quartz crystal was once believed to be an eternal ice sent by the heavenly gods. Until the late 1500s, many scholars thought this stone was fossilized ice. Quartz crystal is actually a mineral, one of the most abundant minerals in the Earth's continental crust, composed of silicon and oxygen.
Quartz can be icy clear or have inclusions, veils, bubbles and various colors. It is also known as rock crystal, crystal quartz, universal crystal or clear quartz.
People in the earliest recorded times believed in the magical powers of quartz. Ancient Roman, Egyptian and Greek civilizations used quartz crystals as potent talismans. The word quartz is thought to come from the German word "quarz," and the word crystal comes from the Greek word "krystallos," which means ice.
The Ancient Japanese believed quartz formed from the breath of a white dragon, and regarded it as representing perfection. Quartz has been used throughout history in rain rituals, crystal skulls and spheres for crystal balls to predict the future since the middle ages.
Quartz Crystal Metaphysical Properties
Quartz crystal is a power stone that's prized as a healing stone. It is known as the most powerful healing stone of the mineral kingdom, able to work on any condition. It has been called the "Universal Crystal" because of its many uses and is beneficial for manifesting, healing, meditation, protection and channeling.
Due to its ability to balance, quartz is excellent for harmonizing and stabilizing one's environment and is helpful in romantic relationships. It is said to amplify healing energy and is particularly effective for chronic fatigue, arthritis, bone injuries, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia and intestinal troubles. It is also believed to improve mental and physical energy, stamina and physical strength.
Quartz enhances spiritual growth, spirituality and wisdom. Because it clarifies thought processes and emotions, it can increase inspiration and creativity. It can also help with concentration, studying and retaining what one learns.
Amethyst (pronounced AM-eh-thihst) is one of the most common--and popular!--gemstone materials. This variety of quartz ranges in color from deep purple to pale lavender depending on the presence of manganese and iron.
The origin of this gemstone, according to the ancient Greeks, was the nymph named Amethystos. She refused the attentions of Dionysus, the god of wine and intoxication. As he pursued her, she prayed for protection and to preserve her chastity. The virgin goddess Artemis answered her call for help, transforming the nymph into a white or clear stone. The story ends with Dionysus pouring his wine over the stone--either accidentally or deliberately--dyeing the crystal purple.
With purple dye being the royal choice in the ancient Mediterranean, the amethyst quickly became associated with wealth and power. It traditionally adorned the robes and crowns of rich and powerful monarchs, being viewed as equal in value to ruby, emerald and sapphire. Amethyst still holds a place in the halls of power, being worn by church officials in the Church of Scotland, the Anglican/Episcopal hierarchies and the Roman Catholic church.
The British Crown Jewels include a number of pieces with amethyst, including the Royal Sceptre with the Cross, the Kent Demi-Parure and numerous brooches worn by Queen Elizabeth II and other female members of the family. Other royal families have amethyst-studded tiaras and parures in their own collections.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February.
Amethyst Metaphysical Properties
Because of the myth of its origins, this stone has been believed to prevent drunkenness and have the power to quell a range of other physical appetites and indulgences. This sobering effect is also believed to clarify mental acuity, improving the decision-making ability of those who wear it. This made it a popular choice for giving to young men--helping them avoid temptation and keeping them clear-minded when using weapons.
Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote that amethyst holds the power to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken one's intelligence. Healers have been using amethyst to increase their psychic abilities and intuition for centuries. Cross-culturally, this popular gemstone was used as a symbol of peace and unification. It is also thought to evoke feelings of serenity and calmness in those who wear it.
Amethyst is often used during meditation to provide an overall sense of spiritual balance. Some naturopaths will use amethyst to help treat insomnia and sugar imbalances, and to relieve headaches.
Amethyst Geological Properties
Amethyst is a naturally-occurring macrocrystalline (meaning large crystal formations) variety of quartz that usually grows on the inside of agate geodes. Geodes containing amethyst crystals are formed when clay, silt, sand or gravel are deposited and compacted by running water. While the crystals themselves may grow to be several inches, the geodes containing the amethyst crystals often reach several feet in height. Some of the largest amethyst geodes have been found in Brazil. Other locations where amethyst is mined include Sri Lanka, India, Uruguay, Madagascar, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Africa, Russia and the United States.
This majestic gemstone gets its color from the presence of manganese and/or iron. Amethyst can also appear reddish-purple or yellow-purple depending on the combination of minerals present in the clear quartz. Were amethyst less abundant, it would be even more highly-prized--and expensive!
Tourmaline holds a special place in the hearts of jewelry designers and gemstone enthusiasts. All possible color combinations imaginable are embodied in this gemstone. It is believed that tourmaline is found in all these colors because it traveled along a rainbow and shone in all the rainbow's colors.
Tourmaline was known for centuries by the name schrol, but the name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) words tura mali meaning "unknown gemstones of mixed colors." Colored tourmaline crystals would be grouped together in tura mali parcels in Sri Lanka and exported to Europe in the beginning of the 18th century.
Tourmaline displays a greater range of colors than almost any other known gemstone. The most common color available is black, but every color of the rainbow can be found. There is a tourmaline color that can mimic almost any other gemstone. This is why it is one of the most interesting gems to gemologists and jewelry designers. At one time, red tourmalines were thought to be other gemstones! Many stones in the Russian Crown jewels from the 17th century--once thought to be rubies--are actually tourmalines.
Tourmaline is renowned as the gem of sensitive poets and creative artists. (Shakespeare even had a small collection of tourmaline jewelry to help him overcome writer's block.) Tourmaline is believed to inspire creativity and was used extensively as a talisman by artists and writers from the Renaissance through the Victorian Age.
The rarest member of the tourmaline family is the pink tourmaline. In fact, it is even rarer than a ruby! The Empress Dowager Tz'u-hsi (tzoo-she), the last Empress of China, adored and avidly collected pink tourmaline. During her lifetime, she bought nearly a ton of it from the Himalaya Mine in California, USA. When she died, she was laid to rest among all her jewels, and her head was set upon a prized pillow of carved pink tourmaline.
When heated or rubbed, tourmaline acquires an electric charge and attracts small objects like dust, ashes and other lightweight objects, much like amber. This phenomenon is called piezoelectricity (pay-zoh-electricity), and it is considered a unique property. The first documented record of piezoelectricity is in the early 18th century.
In addition to its use in jewelry, tourmaline has been employed in pressure devices because of its piezoelectric properties. It has been used in sonar apparatus and other devices that detect and measure variables of pressure, too.
Because of its electric charge capabilities, the demand for tourmaline increased during WWII for the production of pressure sensitive gauges for submarine sonar instrumentation as well as other war equipment that became significant.
Tourmaline Metaphysical Properties
The pink tourmaline's status as the October birthstone is shared with the opal, and there are many unique metaphysical properties for each member of the tourmaline gemstone family. The piezoelectric property of the stone can help polarize people's emotions and energy with a magnetic-electric charge that appears when the crystal is rubbed or heated.
Tourmaline is thought to be for people who bear a broken heart, as it encourages love, gently disperses emotional pain and dissolves disruptive feelings. It calms the negative emotions that upset relationships. It is also considered an aphrodisiac, helping people realize when it is safe to love and when it is time to overcome sorrow or traumatic memories. It introduces the presence of compassion and wisdom when dealing with others because it is thought to promote flexibility of thought and open-mindedness.
All colors of tourmaline are thought to be powerful. Each person seems to have a different reaction to tourmaline.
Pink tourmaline is highly valued by people that have difficulty dealing with fear and suffer from panic attacks or are in need of something to help them heal their inner chaos and dread. Pink tourmaline represents a love of humanity and humanitarianism. It is worn to promote sympathy towards others. It is an excellent stone for healers and counselors because it promotes better listening and understanding. It carries the virtue of unconditional love and friendship. In fact, pink tourmaline radiates the highest amount of love of all the different colored tourmalines.
Watermelon tourmaline (pink with a green outer edge) has been said to be a stone of reconciliation, a stone that fosters compassion and cool headedness, radiates the energy that attracts money, healing and friendship while stabilizing, grounding and reaffirming our Earth roots.
Blue tourmaline creates a commitment towards the completion of one's goals and is said to protect the wearer against dangers.
Black tourmaline repels negative energy. It is suggested to carry this stone when you feel surrounded by negativity, and it is great for use in times of crisis or extreme stress. It will protect the wearer until they are strong enough in on their own power by breaking through old patterns and fears and cultivating inner wisdom, courage, stability and patience.
Red tourmaline builds inner strength and wisdom because it unites the heart and body in love and passion. It also brings joy, openness, emotional stability, compassion and devotion.
Tourmaline Geological Properties
Though tourmaline has been found in parts of Africa and Europe, the most prominent mine locations are established in North and South America. It is not uncommon for minute cracks to be filled in with resin or plastic to improve durability and appearance.
Many tourmaline crystals exhibit polarity--the crystal has a different charge at either end of the crystal, making it naturally magnetic.
Tourmaline comes in a wide family of varieties. The red colors are called rubellite and blue colors areindicolite. Other colored tourmaline names are verdite for greens, dravite for browns, achroite for the rare colorless tourmalines, schorl for the most common blacks and paraiba for a particularly rare vivid green variety.
Different colors of tourmaline are often confused with different gemstones. A few of these gemstones are iolite, topaz, citrine, amethyst, spinel, ruby, emerald, smoky quartz, aquamarine and tsavorite garnet.
Proper Care of Tourmaline
Do not store tourmaline with harder gemstones or other materials that might rub against it and cause damage. As with all gems, protect tourmaline from scratches and sharp blows that could shatter it. Also, avoid large temperature changes that can cause the crystal to fracture (such as leaving it near a heater vent or in a hot car).
Do not clean tourmaline in a home ultrasonic cleaner! Tourmaline jewelry can be cleaned with a mild solution of gentle dishwashing detergent and water at home. Soak the stone for 10-20 minutes, then wipe gently but firmly with a wash towel.
The deep, glossy red color of garnet resembles the juicy seeds of a pomegranate, which is perhaps why its name is derived from the Latin word granatum, meaning pomegranate seed. In Greek mythology, a pomegranate was often given as a gift of passion and associated with eternal love. In ancient history, travelers wore garnet gemstones because they were believed to light up the night and provide protection from nightmares and accidents.
Garnets were used in burial jewelry and carved signet rings to proclaim royalty during the Bronze Age (300 BC). Garnets were one of the most popular gemstones of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, as revealed in the stunning jewelry and sword fittings in the Staffordshire Hoard, because they believed the blood-red stone improved their fighting prowess.
In the middle ages, garnet was commonly believed to guard against poison. Royals would often drop a garnet gemstone into a glass of wine to ensure they were not poisoned to death. Garnets were also worn by the crusaders as an aid to safely find their way home. Eastern European folktales speak of garnets being worn around the neck to guard against night-wandering vampires. And in Victorian times, the gem was used in engagement rings and other women's jewelry, to mark fidelity in love.The deep red hues of garnet have been likened to pomegranate seeds. It's easy to fall in love with the beautiful crimson shade, but garnet also comes in other colors.
Garnet Metaphysical Properties
Garnet symbolizes a quick return to a separated love, fertility and feminine life force.
Legend states that Hades gifted a pomegranate to Persephone before she left his domain to ensure a speedy and safe return. When she did return, the fruit transformed into a handful of the red gemstones.
A garnet stone is often gifted to a loved one before they embark on travel. Garnets are commonly believed to aid in the healing of broken bonds of love. Garnets are also known to aid in the treatment of melancholy and depression by acting as a heart and blood stimulant.
RAINBOW MOONSTONE HISTORY
Moonstone has translucent white color with a white sheen similar to "moonshine" that rolls or flows over the stone when rotated, hence the name "moonstone." The sheen is caused by light diffraction within layers of feldspar. Generally a creamy translucent white stone, rainbow moonstone features occasional iridescent or multicolored (especially blue) flashes with transparency that ranges from opaque to semi translucent. Rainbow moonstone is best seen in natural light for play of color. Moonstone has been used in jewelry going back to ancient civilizations. The Romans believed moonstone was born from solidified rays of the moon. The Greeks and the Romans associated moonstone with their lunar gods. During the Art Nouveau period in the early 20th century, moonstone became popular with artists and goldsmiths for creating jewelry.
Rainbow Moonstone Metaphysical Properties
Moonstone is often called the visionary's stone. It helps us see things more clearly. Rainbow moonstone is thought to bring balance, harmony and hope while enhancing creativity, compassion, endurance and inner confidence. Rainbow moonstone is believed to help strengthen intuition and psychic perception, especially offering us visions of things that aren't immediately obvious. Because it helps us avoid tunnel vision, we are able to see other possibilities. It's like a flash of inspiration that comes when we are open and quiet. When we wear rainbow moonstone, life-changing inspirations can happen more and more often.
SILVER MOONSTONE HISTORY
Moonstone as a general gemstone has been revered for thousands of years by cultures all over the world. According to Hindu legend, moonstone was formed by moonbeams. Ancient Rome had a similar thought process, believing the stone to be created from drops of moonlight. Moonstone was viewed as a sacred stone in India and was thought to bring good fortune. Today, moonstone is the official birthstone for June and associated with the Zodiac sign Pisces. Moonstone is typically colorless, but can occur in a range of colors, including this variety with a distinct silvery sheen.
Silver Moonstone Metaphysical Properties
Moonstone was once called the traveler's stone because it was believed to protect traders and merchants from perils at sea. On our "journey" through life, silver moonstone gives a sense of calm, assured strength. Moonstone was also valued as a stone for lovers since it was thought this gemstone could encourage passion. If a couple held moonstone, it was believed they could tell the future of their relationship.
Named in 1789 by Abraham Werner, kyanite draws its identity from the Greek term cyanos (or "blue")--which this beautiful gemstone certainly is! Kyanite is one of the most attractive blue minerals in nature, sometimes exhibiting intense shades of blue, or even multiple shades with color zoning in a single crystal. The French spelling "cyanite" was common until the mid-20th century.
This andalusite relative--in its non-gemstone form--is used in ceramics, electronics, electrical insulators and abrasives. It forms under very specific metamorphic conditions, making it an "index mineral"--a material which helps geologists estimate the depth, temperature and pressure of its surrounding matrix.
Kyanite Metaphysical Properties
Kyanite is strongly believed to facilitate meditation; some practitioners consider its meditative power to be one of its two defining features. The second is that they believe kyanite never needs to be cleansed of negative energies--because it cannot accumulate or retain them!
This gemstone is thought to align with all chakras automatically, like wi-fi that's perpetually on. Its abilities are also believed to include stimulating communication, growing awareness of others, perseverance against challenges, promoting balance of female and male energies and much more!
Specific colors are said to have specialized abilities:
- Black: grounds the body by aligning all chakras simultaneously
- Blue: strengthens the voice, soothes the throat, useful for speakers and vocal performers
- Green: connects the heart to the third eye chakra to promote insight, increases connection to the natural world
- Orange: bolsters creativity, improves visualization and cleanses the aura
Kyanite is affiliated with the zodiac signs Aries, Taurus and Libra and all chakras.
Ruby gets its name from the Latin word for red, ruber. It is one of the four precious stones along with diamond, sapphire and emerald. Ruby is the third hardest gemstone--with a Mohs rating of 9--after diamond and moissanite. For centuries, rubies have been mined, collected, traded, treasured and used in fashion, such as the breastplate of high priests and to adorn weapons. Ruby is known as the gemstone of nobles. "Blood red" rubies are considered the most valuable. In some ancient cultures, ruby gemstones were used to cast lots to predict the future. Famous rubies include a ruby and diamond ring by Van Cleef and Arpels from Elizabeth Taylor's collection that set a record for price per carat: $4.2 million/8.24 carats.
Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July. It is also used to commemorate the 40th anniversary of weddings and other milestones such as, in 2013, the 40th anniversary of the founding of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.
Ruby Metaphysical Properties
Ruby is believed to promote loving, nurturing, health, knowledge and wealth. It has been associated with improved energy and concentration, creativity, loyalty, honor and compassion. Ruby is thought to be protective of home, possessions and family. Ruby is said to stimulate heart chakra and bring spiritual wisdom while shielding against psychic attacks.
Called the stone of Venus, is the rarest and most valuable rich apple-green gemstone in the chalcedony family and was often mistaken for emeralds by ancient jewelers. Unlike emeralds, which owe their color to the presence of chromium, the bright spring green of chrysoprase is a result of trace amounts of nickel.
Chrysoprase was used by the Greeks, Roman and Egyptians to make seals, signets, jewelry and other ornamental objects because of its vivid color. The modern word comes from the literal Greek translation chrusos, meaning golden, and prason, meaning leek, indicating the golden-leek green color of the stone.
Chrysoprase Metaphysical Properties
Chrysoprase is one of the birthstones for May and has traditionally symbolized happiness, enterprise and prudence. It is a powerful stone that brings good fortune and prosperity. It instills you with poise, grace and helps you to recognize the gentle beauty within yourself so you can enjoy self-expression and courage through fluent speech and mental dexterity.
Mentally, chrysoprase encourages non-judgmental attitudes, can reduce superiority and inferiority complexes and help you avoid speaking out unthinkingly in anger. It bolsters clarity of thought and creativity by attracting abundance and success in new ventures and promotes fidelity within business.
Emotionally, chrysoprase is said to help heal a broken heart by providing a gentle boost to your self-esteem, equalizing emotional balance and fostering acceptance of change and tolerance for others.
Labradorite is named for where it was found in Labrador, a Canadian province on the Isle of Paul. Inuits once called labradorite a "fire stone" and would use powdered forms to help cure ailments. According to Inuit legend, a warrior saw the Northern Lights trapped in the rocks and struck them with his spear to free some of the lights. The stone was first described by Moravian missionaries of the late eighteenth century, introducing the stone into the European market. Labradorite is not exclusive to Canada however, and can also be found in Mexico, Russia and Finland. Since its discovery, labradorite has been a highly sought-after stone for use in jewelry. Other than jewelry applications, labradorite has been used in the production of glass, road construction and ceramic manufacturing.
Labradorite Metaphysical Properties
Labradorite is considered a tremendously spiritual stone, especially helpful for people who tend to overwork. It helps an individual regain energy while aiding the body and spirit in healing itself. In the metaphysical world, labradorite is considered one of the most powerful protectors. The gemstone creates a shield for auras and protects against negativity of the world. Labradorite is said to temper the negativity within ourselves as well. Labradorite is known for its changing colors, so it is no surprise this gemstone is known as a stone of transformation, enhancing strength of will and inner worth. The gemstone labradorite is said to stimulate the throat chakra. Though not associated with any zodiac sign, supposedly the sign of Cancer is especially drawn to labradorite.
It wasn't until the Middle Ages that the word "sapphire" was used to describe the sapphire we know today. Before then, going back to antiquity, sapphire (from the Greek word for blue) was used to refer to lapis lazuli, another blue gemstone. The Greeks used sapphire to curry favor with the god Apollo and wore it while visiting the Oracle of Delphi. Sapphire is associated with Abraham in the Judeo-Christian tradition and was one of the twelve precious stones incorporated into the breastplate of the High Priest of Israel.
Since medieval times, sapphire has been associated with the majesty and tranquility of the heavens. Because they believed it symbolized heaven, clergy in the Middle Ages wore blue sapphires. Kings and queens wore it to attract wealth and for protection. It was thought by many to dispel evil thoughts and to bring peace and amiability to its wearer as well as ward off illness and overcome anxiety.
Sapphire Metaphysical Properties
From antiquity, gemstones have been thought to possess mysterious powers. Sapphire is said to be the wisdom stone, stimulating concentration, enhancing creativity and promoting purity and depth of thought.
It is believed to focus and calm the mind as well as remove unwanted thoughts, depression and mental tension. It is known as the stone of new love and commitment and is claimed to be useful in encouraging faithfulness and loyalty. Sapphire is thought to bring peace of mind, serenity and prosperity.
Because of its blue color, it is associated with the throat and brow chakras where energy imbalances are said to cause sore throats, headaches and nightmares.