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Maarten de Witte is one of the world’s premiere diamond experts. In this interview, he discusses how he got into the trade.
Nephrite jade carvings can teach us about Ancient China. See how ideas of transformation are reflected in numerous ritual objects.
One of two distinct minerals commonly known as jade, jadeite is the rarer and harder variety. Rich green jadeite, known as “imperial jade,”…
Jade is a beautiful and unique gem with incredible physical properties. Some cultures revere the gem as a sacred material, especially in the Far…
Sometimes, microscopic inclusions are the only way to distinguish natural from synthetic gems. This makes the microscope an essential lab instrument…
Jade toughness is legendary. However, this gem isn’t indestructible. Learn what makes jadeite and nephrite so tough and how to clean them.
The minerals known as jade, jadeite and nephrite, appear similar but have different properties. Learn how these materials form geologically.…
With beautiful green to blue-green colors and interesting patterns, variscite is a popular hobbyist material for cabochons.
Acid testing is a destructive procedure gemologists can use to determine if some pieces are real or fake. Learn how to perform this test safely.…
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Although many associate January's birthstone
, garnet, with the color red, they can come in a variety of colors including red, yellow, orange, green and even blue.
Thanks to its beauty and relative abundance, the February birthstone
, amethyst, is used in all types of jewelry: from the mass market to the finest custom couture pieces.
The March birthstone
is aquamarine. Famed for millennia for its pure and even blue or blue-green color, potentially large size, and sparkling clarity, the aquamarine has been a valued gem to many cultures. Aquamarine is a variety of the gem species beryl, making it a close cousin of emerald.
is diamond. The vast majority of diamonds are transparent, colorless, and show an extraordinary display of well-defined white and multi-colored flashes. Rarely, diamonds also occur in a rainbow of exciting body colors.
is emerald, a rich green variety of the diverse beryl gem group which must exhibit a dark enough tone and saturation to be called by that name.
is the pearl. Pearls can only be grown by a very small percentage of mollusk species which may live in either saltwater or freshwater environments. Each species produces a distinctive-looking pearl that is characterized by a specific range of colors and sizes.
This vibrant red gemstone is the July birthstone
and is closely associated with love, passion, and romance. While there are affordable options to be found, the largest and most beautifully colored rubies can be very expensive; the best rubies may be sold for the highest cost-per-carat costs of any colored gemstone.
Peridot is the August birthstone.
It is also sometimes called the “evening emerald” because of its unique capacity to sparkle under natural or artificial light. However, it should not be confused with emerald because peridot has its own distinct characteristics setting it apart from other gemstones.
The September birthstone
is sapphire. Sapphires are members of the gem species corundum. Depending on the exact chemistry of individual stones, sapphires may present a whole spectrum of colors with the exception of red. This is because red sapphires are put into their own category and called rubies.
Pink tourmaline is the modern October birthstone
, loved for its breathtaking beauty and awe-inspiring variations of the color pink.
The most common birthstone for November
is yellow topaz however citrine, another lovely yellow gemstone, has been rising in popularity as an alternative and is much easier to purchase.
Blue zircon is known a modern December birthstones
alongside blue topaz and tanzanite. The more traditional December birthstones are lapis lazuli and turquoise.