Tiger’s Eye, or Tiger Eye, is a variety of macrocrystalline Quartz known for its remarkable chatoyancy and rich layers of gold and brown color. It is thought to be a pseudomorph of Quartz, formed as layers of Crocidolite, a fibrous blue asbestos, were replaced over time by Chalcedony Quartz while still retaining the original shape of the asbestos fibers. A later theory proposes a simultaneous growth of the minerals through a crack-seal vein-filling process. In either case, iron from the decomposed Crocidolite oxidized to its brown color, and reflection of the light on the random fibers produces the gleaming chatoyancy.
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A variety of Quartz found in many locations around the world, and forms as transparent, terminated crystals of all sizes in geodes, clusters and as long single terminations. It is also found in vitreous masses and polished into wonderful specimens and personal talismans. The presence of manganese in clear Quartz produces Amethyst, while additional amounts of iron vary the purple coloration. Amethyst ranges in hue from pale red-violet to deep violet, and may be transparent or opaque. It is sometimes layered with white Quartz as Chevron Amethyst, found in combination with Cacoxenite, mixed with Citrine as Ametrine, or in rare cases, “rutilated” with Goethite
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A silicon dioxide crystal, Rose Quartz is one of the most common varieties of the Quartz family. It is found in abundance around the world and occurs only in massive form, with no crystal faces, edges or terminations. It is hazy to translucent, and is usually found in the cores of granite pegmatites. Its name is derived from its soft rose color, which ranges from very pale pink to deep reddish-pink and is due to trace amounts of titanium, iron, or manganese in the massive material. It also contains microscopic fiber inclusions of rutile or a borosilicate similar to dumortierite that can occasionally produce a cat’s eye or “star” effect when polished into cabochons or spheres. The color of Rose Quartz is very stable and will not fade with heat or direct sunlight.
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Citrine is a transparent, yellow variety of Quartz, ranging in color from pale to golden yellow, honey or almost brown, and may contain rainbow or sparkle inclusions. The name comes from the French word citron, meaning lemon. It was used as a gem in Greece as far back as 300 B.C., and because of its color, is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Gold Topaz, Madeira or Spanish Topaz, or Safranite. Much of the commercial Citrine on the market is heat-treated Amethyst or Smoky Quartz that produces an enhanced Citrine color, usually a deeper amber or orange-reddish shade. Most Natural Citrine is a pale yellow color.
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Onyx is formed by the deposition of silica in gas cavities in lava, which results in the distinctive bands or stripes we see in the stone. They come in varied shades of red, orange, and brown, which often alternate with striking bands of white. The banding in onyx is straight, and is either brown or black and white, while curved bands occur in the variety of quartz known as agate. Since ancient Egyptian times, onyx has been stained to improve or change its color. Natural black onyx is rare, so the commercial black variety is usually agate that has been stained by the sugar-sulfuric acid treatment, soaked in sugar and then heated in sulfuric acid to carbonize the sugar. It may be banded or solid black.
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Pearls, natural or cultured, are formed when a mollusk produces layers of nacre (pronounced NAY-kur) around some type of irritant inside its shell. In natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the water. In cultured pearls, a mother-of-pearl bead or a piece of tissue is inserted (by man) into the mollusk to start the process
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Turquoise is rarely found in well-formed crystals. Instead it is usually an aggregate of microcrystals. When the microcrystals are packed closely together, the turquoise has a lower porosity, greater durability, and polishes to a higher luster. This luster falls short of being "vitreous" or "glassy." Instead many people describe it as "waxy" or "subvitreous." Porous turquoise is sometimes treated by soaking it in melted wax or impregnating it with a polymer to improve its characteristics.
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Although sapphire typically refers to the rich blue gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, this royal gem actually occurs in a rainbow of hues. Sapphires come in every color except red, which earn the classification of rubies instead. Trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper and magnesium give naturally colorless corundum a tint of blue, yellow, purple, orange or green, respectively. Sapphires in any color but blue are called “fancies.”
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Like aquamarine, emerald is a variety of beryl, a mineral that grows with six sides and up to a foot in length. Emerald color can range from light green (though there is some argument whether these very light beryls are truly emeralds) to a deep, rich green. Emeralds are also like aquamarine in that the way the color presents itself in jewelry depends on a good cut by a skilled gemologist. The deeper or more green an emerald, the more valuable it is. The rarest emeralds will appear to be an intense green-blue. Emeralds are found all over the world, including Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia. The availability of high-quality emerald is limited; consequently, clarity enhancement of emeralds is a common treatment
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Morganite’s subtle color is caused by traces of manganese. Because morganite has distinct pleochroism—pale pink and a deeper bluish pink—it’s necessary to orient the rough carefully for fashioning. Strong color in morganite is rare, and gems usually have to be large to achieve the finest color.
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Garnet is the birthstone for January and the stone that celebrates the 2nd anniversary of marriage. The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word “Garanatus,” meaning “seedlike,” in reference to a pomegranate. This reference makes sense as small garnets look like the bright red seeds you find inside in a pomegranate. The garnet has been a popular gem throughout history. Garnets were found as beads in a necklace worn by a young man in a grave that dates back to 3000 B.C. This is proof of the hardness and durability of the stone.
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Natural moissanite is incredibly rare, so moissanite available today is laboratory-created. After many years of trial and error, the particles Moissan discovered were successfully synthesized to produce what is now one of the world’s most scintillating gemstones. Moissanite is engineered to give the illusion of similarity to diamonds, but is compositionally and visually quite different from a real diamond. The durability, brilliance, and color of the two gems are quite distinct.
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The most prized color is Imperial topaz, which features a vibrant orange hue with pink undertones. Blue topaz, although increasingly abundant in the market, very rarely occurs naturally and is often caused by irradiation treatment. The largest producer of quality topaz is Brazil. Other sources include Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Russia, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, Mexico and the U.S., mainly California, Utah and New Hampshire.
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The rich play of color in some Opals gives them unsurpassed splendor and mystique. For this reason, Opal is one of the most fascinating and fabled of gemstones. Opal, being amorphous, is not truly a mineral but a mineraloid. One of the scientifically accepted standards defining a mineral is that a mineral must have a crystal structure, which opal lacks. Despite this, virtually all scientific references, including the acclaimed Dana's System of Mineralogy, categorize Opal together with the true minerals.
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Natural Ruby is one of four “precious” gemstones (including Diamond, Emerald and Sapphire) known its rarity, monetary value, and hardness (second only to Diamond). Ruby is red Corundum, an aluminum oxide mineral with chromium responsible for its rich, red color. The name comes from the Latin word rubeus, meaning “red,” and until 1800 when Ruby was recognized as a variety of Corundum, red Spinels, Tourmalines, and Garnets were also believed to be Ruby. All other color varieties of Corundum are designated as Sapphire.
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Tanzanite is a trade name that was first used by Tiffany and Company for gem-quality specimens of the mineral zoisite with a blue color. Tiffany could have sold the material under the mineralogical name of "blue zoisite," but they thought the name "tanzanite" would stimulate customer interest and be easier to market.
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Information on these gemstones was provided by GIA, American Gem Society, Brilliant Earth, and Crystal Vault