Ilmenite was named after the Ilmen Mountains, Russia, where it was first found. Another name for the mineral is titanium iron ore. Ilmenite is a titanium-iron oxide. The mineral’s coloring is black with a steel gray or brownish hue. The lustre is metallic or semimetallic. The hardness of the mineral makes up 5.0-6.0, and the […]
The name of psilomelane comes from the Greek words which mean “smooth”, “naked” and “black”. Another name of the mineral is romaneshite. Psilomelane is a manganese oxide. The mineral can be colored in black or dark brown. Its lustre is vitreous. The hardness is 5.0-6.0, and the density is 4.8 g/cm3. The mineral’s major deposits […]
The name of almandine is derived from the name of the region Alabanda in the Asia Minor. Other names of the stone and its varieties include Adelaide ruby, Alabandine ruby, carbuncle, Ceylon garnet, Oriental garnet, and anthrax. Almandine is a ferrous aluminum garnet. The mineral’s colouring is manifold, from violet-red, cherry red, and auburn to […]
Pollucite was originally called pollux. This mineral is of no interest for jewelers, as it doesn’t have any play of light. Pollucite is a cesium aluminosilicate. The specimens can be colorless or grayish. The minerals’ lustre is vitreous, while its hardness is 6.5 and the density is 2.8-2.9 g/cm3. The major deposits are located in […]
The name of chalcocite derives from the Greek word meaning “copper”. Other names of the mineral include chalcosine and copper glance. Chalcocite is a copper sulphide. The crystals are opaque, and their lustre is metallic. The hardness of the mineral makes up 2.0-3.0, and its density is 5.5-5.8 g/cm3. The main deposits are located in […]
Autunite was named after the French town of Autun. The mineral can be colored in lime green, lemon yellow, gray, or yellow. The crystals are translucent. The stone’s lustre is vitreous. Its hardness is 2.0-2.5, and the density is 3.05-3.19 g/cm3. The main deposits are located in Germany, France, England, and Madagascar. Healing Properties There […]
Fibrolite got such a name due to the fibrous nature of the specimens by which it was discovered. Another name for fibrolite is sillimante (named after Benjamin Silliman). The mineral coloring varies from brown and green to gray and even sapphire-blue. The crystals with the effect of cat’s eye occur as well. The stone has […]
Cobaltite is a sulfide mineral composed of cobalt, arsenic and sulfur. It occasionally contains up to 10% of iron. Another name for the mineral is cobalt glance. The lustre is metallic. The mineral has the hardness of 5.5 and the density of 6.2 g/cm3. Major deposits are located in Sweden, Canada, and Azerbaijan. Healing Properties […]
The mineral was named after J.J. Paris, the owner of the Muzo mine, where it was first found in 1835. Parisite is an ore. The colouring of the mineral may be brownish-yellow, brown, waxy yellow, or grayish-yellow. The crystals are transparent. It has vitreous, pitch, pearly lustre. The hardness equals 4.5, and the density is […]
Shungite was named after the village of Shunga in Karelia (Russia). The black mineral is a form in between amorphous carbon and graphite. It has dull, pitch lustre. The hardness makes up 3.5-4.0, and the density is 1.9 g/cm3. Shungite is only produced in Russia so far. Healing Properties In folk medicine, it is believed […]
The drawback of this increased choice is that many of the gemstones that are becoming mainstream are virtually unknown beyond how they look. Gemstones Advisor strives to change that. Giving all the information you need to make informed choices.
Not just general information about colors and hardness, these are included of course, but also how to take care of particular gemstones and common pitfalls when buying them. This and more is covered in the guides to gemstones that can be found here: List of gemstones
What Are Gemstones?
We talk about gemstones, but what exactly is a gemstone? The answer is still up for debate, however most agree to this definition: A gemstone is a mineral, rock or an organic material (amber for example) that in rough, cut or polished (cabochon) form is used in jewelry.
This is a very broad definition, as everything can be called a gemstone if it fits in a piece of jewelry. However in practice only materials that are extensively used in jewelry are called gemstones. Otherwise the list would become virtually endless.
The number of gemstones in existence depends on who you ask. However there are roughly 30 to 50 popular gemstones and up to 200 gemstones coveted by collectors. Some of the gemstones that were only really wanted by collectors have been making their way into the main markets. For example: sphalerite and apatite.
Usually the increased popularity comes from a spectacular find, kyanite comes to mind. Though at times it is the effect of a thoroughly planned media campaign. As is the case for zultanite, the trade name for a gem quality variant of diaspore.
The list of gemstones is growing almost every year as new types and even species are found.
For a full list of gemstones covered in detail on this site take a look here: List of gemstones
Due to the advent of large scale mining the prices of certain gemstones have dropped rapidly. In some cases to levels where they can be afforded by almost everyone, for example turquoise or pearls.
In the case of pearls it was not the effect of mining, as it is not mined, but that they can now be cultured. Which increased the supply dramatically, while cutting cost at the same time.
Other gemstones however have rapidly increased in price due to increased scarcity or due to high demand. Ruby and colored diamonds are great examples of this.
Because the price is very dependent on factors such as clarity, color and size it is hard to add a price-tag to them. However a general overview of the prices of gemstones and what properties are especially important can be found in the buying guides of individual gemstones.
Some gemstones have been in use for thousands of years and likely far longer in some cases. Ancient civilizations like Egypt, China, Greece and Mesopotamia were avid collectors of gemstones.
Most of these gemstones had significant religious meaning and were either linked to certain gods or to their placeholders on earth, god-kings such as the pharaohs. Most articles on gemstones will have a small part dedicated to this history, though some will be very short. In particular the newer gemstones have no real history and the focus of the article will be shifted to other, more interesting, topics.
Because gemstones have captivated the world for thousands of years it is no wonder that some of them have become famous.
There are various reasons for their fame, most of them are simply huge, have an amazing color or are virtually flawless.
In other cases the history is as interesting as the stone itself. Just take a look at the history of the Kohinoor diamond. For the truly world-class gemstones it is a combination of all the above.
An example of this would be the Hope Diamond which can be seen above. Not only is it one of the largest blue diamonds in the world, it is virtually flawless and has a fascinating history on top of that!
As you may have noticed, both examples are diamonds. The fact of the matter is that a large number of famous gemstones are diamonds, a rough count reveals that more than two thirds of the famous gemstones are diamonds!
The reason is of course that diamonds currently are the most popular gemstone. However even in antiquity diamonds were prized for their variety of colors, clarity and beauty.
Since ancient times people have attributed special powers to gemstones. In modern times this has decreased somewhat, but there are still hundreds of millions of people that believe in the power of crystals and healing stones.
Most stones are linked to certain powers based on how they look. Though some unassuming stones contain great power based on ancient myths in which they play a pivotal role.
To find out more about their meanings take a look at our article here: Gemstone Meanings or for an overview of all the individual meanings of gemstones take a look here.
The amount of information on gemstones is staggering and increasing on a daily basis. To help you with your search for knowledge Gemstones Advisor has compiled a shortlist of great resources in the field of gemstones and gemstone jewelry.
An extensive database of minerals and gemstones can be found at The Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom. It features most well-known minerals as well as a large number of fairly unknown minerals. Every entry includes the scientific properties. For those that want eye-candy, a photo gallery is usually included as well.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is well-known in the world of gemstones and gemstone jewelry. Their focus lies on protection of buyers and sellers of gemstones through education of the public and the training of experts. Their research of synthetic gemstones and new gemstone treatments is considered the best in the world.
If you have a question you haven’t been able to find an answer to you can try the Gemology Online forums. It is one of the oldest and most renowned forums on gemstones and everything related.
Of course if you have questions you can also contact us. We’ll find you the answers you need!