Gemstones In Jewelry: A Complete Guide
Exquisite Wonders From Nature
At Nueve Sterling, I have a wide array of sterling silver pieces with semi-precious stones inlaid, handcrafted by our skillful artisans in Taxco. The variety of colors, textures, sizes and the contrast you get between the stones and the silver is simply breathtaking.
I invite you to keep reading this blog, and learn more about these beautiful gifts from the earth, their properties and qualities. The title of each gemstone is a clickable link that will bring you to the jewelry I have available with that particular stone.
Gemstones are basically classified in two different groups: precious and semi-precious.
"Precious stone" is the name that usually makes reference to four types of gems: sapphires, emeralds, rubies and diamonds.
As for "semi-precious stones" we can say that any gem suitable to be used for personal adornment, will fall into this category.
But there is another category that I would like to address, which is also very important in the jewelry industry: the "organic gemstones". These are the materials produced by organisms, that have been cut into gems and other ornamental objects. Good examples are: amber (which is a resin); pearls; shells such as abalone or mother of pearl; bones; coral and ivory, amongst others.
Turquoise and amethyst are some of the most popular stones used in jewelry, whereas ammolite, orthoceras or pyrite are examples of not so common ones.
In addition to their appearance, I must say that stones are greatly appreciated because for many people, they have healing powers, so each one has a spiritual meaning and a particular level of vibrational energy that gives the bearer some sense of confidence or protection. Stones are related to stability and for example, in Chinese symbolism, they are connected with ying-yang energy which basically means "balance".
For centuries, the gemstones have been highly appreciated not only due to their beauty but for their particular attributes such as healing or protective and that has entitled some of them to be associated either with a month of the year, a day of the week or a zodiac sign.
At Nueve Sterling, many of my pieces are embellished with different kinds of semi-precious stones, and here I present you a list of some of my most popular ones with a brief description and some facts, that perhaps will make you appreciate them in a different way.
Amethyst derives from a Greek word that means "not intoxicated" and in ancient times was worn to prevent drunkenness. During the Middle Ages, this stone was used in emblems and insignia to symbolize royalty.
It is the birthstone for the month of February, the official gem for Wednesday, and those born under the sign of Pisces. It is also known as the official gemstone of the province of Ontario and it is the favored gemstone for the 6th wedding anniversary.
Up until the 19th century, amethyst was just as expensive as rubies and emeralds, but this changed when large deposits were discovered in Brazil.
This beautiful stone has been used to symbolize deep love, happiness, humility, sincerity and wealth.
It is said to be a natural tranquilizer that enhances memory and improves motivation. Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote that amethyst quickens intelligence and gets rid of evil thoughts.
The word “turquoise” dates to the 17th century and is derived from the French meaning “Turkish”, because the mineral was first brought to Europe through Turkey.
It is the birthstone for the month of December, the official gem for Saturday and the gemstone for the 11th wedding anniversary.
Turquoise has a long history and is enveloped in mystery. It is one of the oldest gemstones associated with good fortune and life. It has been considered a holy stone for many different cultures and religions.
This stone is said to be an efficient healer, providing solace for the spirit and well-being for the body.
Agate earns its name from the Achates River in Sicily (currently Dirillo River), where it was originally found.
It is the gem for those born under the sign of Gemini and the gemstone for the 14th wedding anniversary.
It comes in a wide variety of colors and each one seems to have been associated with different physical and mental properties. This gemstone is considered to be great for conditions related to pregnancy as it is said to protect the mother and the child, keeping both away from any medical complication.
"Onyx" is a Greek word that means "claw nail" or "human fingernail". The legend goes that Cupid clipped Venus' fingernails while she was sleeping and scattered the cuttings on the ground around her. Since Venus was a goddess, she would never succumb to death, so the gods turned the nail clippings into the stone which later became known as onyx.
Onyx is considered the mystical gemstone for those born under the sign of Leo and is supposed to be given on the 7th wedding anniversary.
It is a protective stone worn when facing conflicts; for dark nights and lonely places. It is also said to be useful when a relationship needs stabilizing.
This stone is not only used for protection, but also as defense against negativity consciously directed towards you.
The name of this gem is composed of “Lapis,” the Latin word for "stone", and “Azula,” which comes from the Arabic and means “blue.”
Lapis lazuli is the gemstone for the 9th wedding anniversary.
It shares with turquoise the distinction of being among the most prized of all gemstones of earlier civilizations. It was used not only for ornamental but for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
It is a metaphysical stone par excellence, it facilitates spiritual journeying and stimulates personal and spiritual power.
It is a soft and porous stone that can absorb liquids, which might affect its color and possibly erode it.
According to Hindu mythology, moonstone is made of solidified moonbeams. Many other cultures associate this gem with moonlight, due to its internal structure which scatters the light that strikes it, creating a phenomenon known as adularescence. The visual effect is reminiscent of the full moon shining through a veil of thin, high clouds.
It is one of the birthstones for the month of June, the official gem for Monday, and the gemstone for the 13th wedding anniversary.
It is available in different colors
Moonstone is considered a healing stone that alleviates fear related to change, increases confidence and the willing to take action and balances emotions.
This stone is considered feminine in nature, as it is connected with the lunar phases controlling a woman's cycle. As a result, it's often used to address
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms
- Bloating and pain experienced during the cycle
- Facilitate pregnancy and childbirth
Coral is one of the gemstones that fall in the category of organic (made by nature) along with Pearls and Amber.
Coral, as a gemstone variety, forms on coral reefs covered with sand, rocks and plants, visited by hundreds of marine animals that play a crucial role in its occurrence. It is a long and delicate process, which can be considered a great indicator of the uniqueness and value of this precious colored gem. The typical environment for coral to form are tropical ocean waters, such as the Indian Ocean and the central portions of the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.
The Romans believed coral could protect children from harm, as well as cure wounds made by snakes and scorpions and diagnose diseases by changing color.
The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word “garanatus,” meaning “seedlike,” in reference to the bright red seeds you find inside a pomegranate.
It is the birthstone of January, the gem for Tuesday, the one that celebrates the 2nd anniversary of marriage and the gemstone for those born under the sign of Aquarius.
While most gemstones are mined underground, garnet is not. It is found as small pebbles in streams and water bodies in many places around the world. Garnets are most often seen in red, but they are actually available in a wide variety of colors except blue.
This stone has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, but due to its hardness it has also been used for industrial purposes over the last 150 years.
Throughout time, garnet has been used as an aid in addressing problems relating to inflammation, circulation, and the heart.
Garnet is a passionate stone linked to love, relationships, and friendships.
Labradorite derives its name from the peninsula of Labrador in Newfoundland, Canada, one of the places where it is found.
There's a beautiful story which goes that a mighty Eskimo warrior freed the colors that dazzle the Polar skies with blows from his spear, but could not break all the rocks leaving a number of labradorite gemstones for us to collect, carve, polish and admire.
It is said to be a great stone to help support anxiety, and should be used in times of turmoil or transformation. Labradorite helps to reduce stress and stimulates mental clarity.
This stone is also linked to intuition, and it is thought to increase communication between people working together, giving way for new discoveries and creativity.
Amber is the common name for the fossilized tree resin that is appreciated for its interesting mixture of colors. It falls into the category of "organic gemstone"
Most of the world’s amber is in the range of 30 to 90 million years old and it has been well appreciated since ancient times.
It has strong connections to the earth so it is believed to be a grounding stone for higher energies, a powerful healer and cleanser that draws disease from the body.
Interestingly, this gemstone comes in different colors, not only the one that its name implies. It can be found in yellow, orange, burnt red or copper colors and even sometimes cream or white. Some Amber may be green or even violet depending on the material that was originally preserved in the piece.
It also has electric properties: amber will produce static energy when rubbed against a cloth, producing sparks and attracting small particles.
As the name suggests, the cat's eye gemstone resembles the eyes of a cat. This stone is available in a vast array of colors, from white, blue, to grey, red, green, brown, yellow, pink, purple, and much more.
It is one of the gems for Wednesday, and the one that celebrates the 18th anniversary of marriage.
The cat’s eye stone is believed to calm down disruptions in a person’s life and bring positivity by eradicating negative energies, providing general protection.
It brings beauty, confidence, happiness, serenity and good luck.
Druzy gets its name from the word “druse,” which refers to a rock surface covered with tiny crystals, such as the ones found inside geodes or in larger pockets of mineral deposits.
It is also known as “The Gemstone of Heaven” due to its signifying effect on the individual’s body and mind, to get the highest wisdom.
Wearing druzy gemstones is believed to promote relaxation, stress relief and it can help with self-exploration, patience and the beginning of new projects.
Rose quartz is the name used for pink specimens of the well known mineral quartz. It obviously gets its name from its beautiful rose-pink color.
It is often called the "love stone" and refers to every type of love: family, platonic, romantic, self-love, or unconditional.
It is considered to be an alternate gemstone for the 2nd anniversary of marriage.
As a love stone, it sends off strong vibrations of love, happiness, warmth, and emotional health.
It is also said to have a calming and soothing effect, so you can expect to feel calmer and more collected even when dealing with difficult people or tough situations.
The list of gemstones is very vast, these are just a few examples of some of the most common stones and pieces of jewelry that Nueve Sterling has to offer.
Handmade sterling silver jewelry is my specialty, but gemstones can't be missing since they are the perfect complement to achieve the stunning beauty of my pieces. You can find them in my "Organics & Gemstones" section.
Now, it is true that every gemstone has its own particular market value, qualities and properties so you can see them in many different ways. The question is, how do you treasure your gemstones? Well, that's a tricky question because no matter how expensive a gemstone could be, the most precious ones are the one that have a sentimental value, or a story that means something to you. Just remember to focus on what appeals to you because the way you choose to appreciate a gemstone is a personal decision. Just try to find the piece that talks to you.
Remember that the title of each gemstone in this blog is a clickable link that will bring you to the jewelry I have available with that particular stone.
Please do not hesitate to let me know if you would like to see a particular stone in any of my collections, by leaving a comment below or contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I will be very happy to assist you.