Garnet mineralogy - The name garnet came from the Latin word for pomegranate - the uncut crystals of a Garnet closely resemble the formation of the fruits seeds and its red colour. Garnets are often discovered in streams as 'pebbles'. Garnets come in many other colours too, and can even be colourless.
The deep, glowing red of the Mozambique Garnet is accented with hints of orange and brown and brings to mind the colours of autumn or Indian Summer.
A Pink Rhodolite Garnet boast the vibrant and feminine undertones of rose and plum.
A cheery orange hue is the defining colour of the Spessarite Garnet. First discovered in the German Spessart Mountains, it remains a favorite of collectors. Today the glowing spice hued Spessarite Garnet is also referred to as 'Mandarin Garnet'. The most valuable and vibrantly orange Mandarin Garnets currently are from Namibia.
Spessarite Garnet or Mandarin Garnet
J.B.Andrade e Silva was a famed Brazilian mineralogist who first described the honey-amber hue of what is now known as the Andradite Garnet. Golden Andradite Garnets are richly coloured and offer a brilliant clarity.
Distinguished by its plum to reddish brown undertone the intense fiery, almost ruby-like red of the Chrome Pyrope Garnet is sure to warm the heart.
In the Northeastern part of Tanzania, Tsavorite Garnet was discovered. It has only held worldwide recognition since 1974. Tsavorite Garnet is a refreshing verdant green with tones ranging from a light fresh spring green to a deep intense forest green. The gem boasts a high brilliance, and is one of the few to rival Emerald in beauty and rich colour. Tsavorite Garnets are the most valuable of the Garnet group.
Garnet - myths & lore - Psychic sensitivity and sexual energy are said to be increased by wearing Garnets. Garnet is believed to be a balance for ying and yang energies. Garnets were purported to protect sleepers from nightmares or evil spirits and travelers from dangers. A Garnet carved with a symbol of a lion is said to ensure success in all endeavors and to draw good luck. Blood coloured Garnet bullets were believed to be deadlier than lead and so used by tribesmen in India and America. The shimmering brilliance of this gem gave it the reputation of being able to magically illuminate the night. Noah was accredited with hanging a lantern made from dazzling Rhodolite Garnets on the bow of the Ark to aid navigation.
Amethyst mineralogy - Amethyst is a purple gemstone which belongs to the quartz family - the second most abundant mineral. It is the most highly valued of the quartz group. Amethyst ranges in colour from a deep plum, wine to a pale, refreshing lilac purple. The deeper the shade of the gemstone, the fewer imperfections visible to the eye, the greater the level of transparency, the absence of colour zoning - the higher the value commanded by the gem. Prolonged exposure to the sun will cause the colour of Amethyst to lighten. Structurally, amethyst differs from other varieties of the quartz group. Alluvial deposits and geodes are the most common sources for Amethyst.
Amethyst - myths & lore - The 'Passion of Purple', Amethyst symbolizes miraculous powers: power, peace, protection and spirituality. It is a gemstone that has always been associated with intense emotions and therefore fitting that the tale of its creation be one of revenge, devotion and immortal remorse. According to myth the Goddess of the Hunt, Diana, turned the maiden Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz, thus saving her from the vicious tigers of Dionysus, the amorous God of Wine. The maiden was so beautiful that the remorseful and sorrowful Dionysus wept tears of rich wine over the crystalline statue. The quartz was forever, permanently stained a 'passionate' purple by the tears, and thus the beauty of the maiden lives on in the gemstone which bears her name. In ancient times, Amethyst was believed to prevent intoxication and became the gemstone for 'sobriety'. Its name is derived from the Greek word, 'amethystos' which translates as 'not intoxicated'. The ancient Greeks actually fashioned wine glasses from the mineral! One of the first gemstones used by mankind for personal adornment - the Egyptians actually used amethyst charms, seals and beads as early in time as 3100 BC. The Amethyst ring worn by St.Valentine was engraved with a cupid, thus wearing an Amethyst ring is said to bring 'true love' to its wearer.
Aquamarine mineralogy - Aquamarine, along with Emerald and Beryl, are members or the 'Beryl Group'. Traces of iron create the distinct blue colour of Aquamarine. Aquamarine is so named from the Latin for 'Water of the Sea'. The colours of Aquamarine range from the intense deep, crisp blue of a mountain lake to the lighter shades of a cloudless sky. The finest Aquamarines are described as a vivid sea blue. All of the worlds continents have Aquamarine deposits but the most widely mined and best sources are in Brazil. The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais is the worlds primary source for fine Aquamarine gems and also where the largest Aquamarine on record was discovered. Crystals of Aquamarine can grow as large as 200 pounds.
Aquamarine - myths & lore - Aquamarine symbolizes good health and hope. Tales surrounding Aquamarines date back to ancient mariners. According to myths, Aquamarines are the glittering watery gems from the jewellery boxes of mermaids. Aquamarine was the 'patron amulet' for sailors. They believed it would protect them upon ocean voyages and guard them from sea monsters. It is still said to bear good luck for those who sail the sea. Aquamarine is also thought to have the ability to soothe marital discord.
Bloodstone - mineralogy - Bloodstone is also called Heliotrope or Blood Jasper. India is a major source for the stone. Bloodstone is green jasper that is 'stippled' with iron oxide. It is an opaque green stone featuring red flecks. The red can be attributed to trace amounts of iron in the chemical composition. Fine specimens of bloodstone are distinguished by their bright red spots - thus giving rise to the evocative nature of the gems name.
Bloodstone - myths & lore - Bloodstone possesses a complex, masculine appeal. Bloodstone amulets are believed to possess a plethora of enviable capabilities. Apparently Bloodstone will stimulate prophetic powers and preserve good health. It has also been reputed to be influential in averting lightening and conjuring storms and earthquakes. The significance of Bloodstone is related to the crucifixion of Christ - it is a symbol for martyrdom. Bloodstone was believed to have the virtue of stopping blood flow when applied to a wound. Many warriors in ancient Greece and Rome carried a Bloodstone amulet to battle. In India, Bloodstone is still used as a medicine and believed to be an aphrodisiac.