The Lighter Side of Gemology

Gemstone history, legend, lore and other fun, non-technical articles.

The Lighter Side of Gemology

  • Birthstones are popular choices for personalizing jewelry.  This pendant features the birthstones of family members.  If you're looking for alternative birthstone choices, read on for systems based on astrology, seasons, and even hours of birth!  “Mother's pendant...” by gemteck1 is licensed under CC By 2.0
    Birthstone Alternatives by Season, Hour, Day, or even Guardian Angel!

    The wearing of a birthstone is supposed to bring luck to its owner. But there are other stones which can be worn as special talismans, symbolic of angels, zodiacal signs and apostles. For those individuals unhappy or unattracted to their own…

  • Amethyst is considered the birthstone for February, the second month of the year.  In the Book of Revelation 21:20, amethyst is named as the twelfth foundation stone of the Heavenly City.  Learn more about the influence of the Foundation Stones of the New Testament on Western birthstone systems.  “Amethyst” by Robyn Jay is licensed under CC By-SA 2.0
    Gems and Astrology: Foundation Stones of the New Testament

    The fact that people have long been fascinated by gems, by their enduring qualities, by their remarkable purity and beauty, and by their presumed supernatural powers led ultimately to a link-up with astrology. This, of course, led to the idea…

  • Jackie Kennedy Engagement Ring
    10 Most Famous Colored Gemstone Engagement Rings

    Though diamonds are a girl’s best friend and the classic choice for an engagement ring, colored stones are a trend that continues to show up on many a celebrity’s ring finger. Opting for a colored stone is a fresh take on the traditional…

  • Garnet with Black Inclusions
    What is my Birthstone? A Guide to Birthstones and Their Significance

    The idea of a birthstone dates back to biblical times when Aaron wore a breastplate set with 12 gemstones. Historians believe these gemstones originally corresponded to the 12 tribes of Israel; however, Josephus and St. Jerome, in the first and…

  • 10 gemstones rarer than diamonds
    10 Gemstones Rarer than a Diamond

    Did you know that certain emeralds are rarer than diamonds?  In fact, there are many gemstones that are rarer and more valuable than a diamond. In fact, there are many gemstones that are just as beautiful, but much rarer than the diamond. We’ve…

  • 2620-carat-carved-“Sacred-Emerald-Buddha”
    The Sacred Emerald Buddha

    The world-famous Emerald Buddha is housed in The Temple of The Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keo) on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. This statue is an historic, extensively documented, and highly revered icon of Buddhism. Mindful of…

  • “Heart Briolette Rainbow Moonstone Necklace” by Amelia Prayoga is licensed under CC By-ND 2.0
    History and Legend of Moonstone – Gems of Yore

    Moonstone is another of the ‘starred’ or ‘lighted’ stones, with a changing reflection coming from within. In the East this indicated a stone of good luck; a potent spirit of good dwelling within. In India the moonstone was considered a very sacred…

  • “Sapphire 10” by Alden Chadwick is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Sapphire – Gems of Yore

    The beautiful sapphire, ranging in color from celestial blue to violet, has long been associated with the planet Venus. The violet stones were chosen to represent the color that is also associated with the number three and with old age. Friday, the…

  • “Pearls at Dole Plantation” by Calsidyrose is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Pearls – Gems of Yore

    The soft white lustrous orb that is the pearl has long been associated with the moon, the ruler of the watery domain from which it is born. In ancient Vedic texts, the pearl is born of the earth’s waters and the heaven’s powers; it is fertilized…

  • “American Golden Topaz” by Karen Neoh is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Topaz – Gems of Yore

    The thirteenth century “Book of Wings” by Ragiel, was one of those middle ages writings which held the curious notion that gemstones carved in ancient times were actually created that way in nature. Of the topaz, Ragiel says “The figure of a falcon,…

  • “Heart of Stones,” heart-shaped emerald and diamonds, by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Emerald – Gems of Yore

    The emerald has long been known as the jewel of Kings, its rarity and beauty lending itself well to possession by royalty. As a talisman, it was said to have the ability to sharpen the wits, confer riches and power and to predict future events. It…

  • “Huge Blood Red Ruby with Silvery Schiller” by Amelia Prayoga is licensed under CC By-ND 2.0
    History and Legend of Rubies – Gems of Yore

    Another of the ‘Stone of Kings’, the ruby has long been associated with wealth and royalty, though most notably wealth. Possessing a ruby was considered to be beneficial to the owner’s lands and estates, aiding in the accumulation of wealth,…

  • “Opal” by Yagan Kiely is licensed under CC By-SA 2.0
    History and Legend of Opal – Gems of Yore

    For centuries, opal was regarded as a stone of kings and the bringer of good luck. In modern times the opal has become the subject of much superstition and all but the black opal have earned a reputation of being unlucky. The fact that it is such a…

  • “Silver and turquoise rings” by Mauro Cateb is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Turquoise – Gems of Yore

    Blue as a summer sky or a robin’s egg, the soft yet fragile turquoise has been revered the world over as a stone of luck and good fortune. From Afghanistan to the Aztec empire, its uses are many and varied, and most come with a mystical…

  • “_C286820 - Version 2,” jade sculpture, by Jennifer Gergen is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Jade – Gems of Yore

    Musical chimes, xylophones and gongs made of the melodically resonant jade have been used the world over for pleasant listening and for ritual. In China, Africa and the Hopi nation, jade instruments have been used to produce a ‘heavenly’ tone for…

  • “malachite3409,” malachite slab, by Bob Richmond is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Malachite – Gems of Yore

    Whenever discussing gemstones and their links in the ancient world, one must consider that no matter how holy the ultimate purpose of the finished product, they were obtained through trade. Merchants traveled far and wide accumulating pretty stones…

  • “Gemstone Called Amethyst” by Chris Bartnik is licensed under  CC By-ND 2.0
    History and Legend of Amethyst – Gems of Yore

    Long ago, a beautiful maiden was on her way to worship at the Temple of Diana, when she had the extreme misfortune of crossing the path of the wine god Bacchus. He was in a bad temper, having just endured some slight from a mortal, and had vowed to…

  • “Black Onyx” by Mauro Cateb is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Onyx – Gems of Yore

      In Arabic the onyx is known as ‘el jaza’ which means ‘sadness’. A manuscript from 1875 notes that in China the onyx was mined by slaves and menials, never would anyone willing touch or own an onyx, for fear of the bad dreams, ill…

  • “Carnelian” by Jarno is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Carnelian – Gems of Yore

    Wearing that Carnelian brooch to dinner simply wishes everyone ‘Good Luck’. This according to both the Acrostic method of gem placement favoured in the 18th century French and English courts, as well as to the much more ancient mythologies…

  • Many ancient civilizations prized lapis lazuli. To them, the stone had religious significance and reflected the high status of their rulers.  The Egyptian Pharaoh Osorkon II (874-850 BCE) wore this pendant made from solid gold and lapis lazuli.  The inscription on the stone is the pharaoh’s cartouche, or royal name inscribed within an oval shape.  “Pendant of Osorkon II, Paris, Museé de Louvre, August 2012” by Jan is licensed under CC By-ND 2.0
    Lapis Lazuli Symbolism

    The beautiful blue stone lapis lazuli has been highly prized for thousands of years. Scholars believe many early historical references to sapphire may actual refer to samples of lapis lazuli. Jewelry made from this lazurite rich semi-precious rock…

  • “Dangling Flower Amber Earring” by Choon Hong Yap is licensed under CC By 2.0
    History and Legend of Amber – Gems of Yore

    One of the earliest substances used for ornamentation by humans is Amber. Stone Age gravesites dating back to 8000 BCE have yielded amulets, beads and pendants carved out of amber. Amulets with ancient spiral patterns, placed with the dead and in…

  • “Opals-On-Black: Yowah Nut Boulder Opal Pendant” by Opals-On-Black.com is licensed under CC By 2.0
    Opals in the Australian Outback

    All the treasures have been found! At least that’s what I thought when I first set foot in the red dust of western Queensland, Outback Australia. “Whatever is to be found in the ground has already been found!” “Treasures are for Long John…

  • The world’s largest cut cat’s-eye chrysoberyl

    The “Eye of the Lion” The world’s largest cut cat’s-eye chrysoberyl – 465 carats Throughout history, the lion has been a symbol of power oft emblazoned on coats of arms, national flags and a wide variety of emblems…

  • “Interviews” by David Davies is licensed under CC By-SA 2.0
    Interviews 

    Table of Contents C.D. Parsons of Santa Paula, Calif. Gerald Wykoff GG, CSM C.D. Parsons of Santa Paula, Calif. C. D. (Dee) Parsons is someone who has made a substantial contribution to gemology, but one you may never have heard of. He…

  • Rose Quartz Stone
    Gemstones with Health Benefits

    In ancient Egypt and other cultures from antiquity, people believed gemstones had a wide array of health benefits. In modern times, gemstones are mainly used for ornamental purposes. However, some people still believe you can receive health bonuses…

  • “Canyon Sin Nombre,” Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA, by Michael Allen Smith is licensed under CC By-SA 2.0
    Sharing the Fun and Folklore of Gemology

    First, I would like to say thank you to Don Clark the President of International Gem Society for allowing me the chance to reach out and talk with each and everyone of you. My name is Douglas S. Le Grand G.G., the initials at the end of my name G.G….

  • “Theodore Roosevelt visiting a North Carolina mineral mine,” Emerald Village, North Carolina Mining Museum Little Switzerland (Mitchell County, N.C.), by Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC is licensed under CC By 2.0
    Old Mine Tales 

    Editors Note: These were originally submitted as letters to the Faceter’s Digest. They are a personal history of the author’s experiences with the mines in North Carolina. There are many unconventional spellings in the text. They have been…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Oregon Sunstone Mining – Out Back Mining Company

    Oregon Sunstone Mining – Out Back Mining Company Note: These picutes are compliments of Derek at Out Back Mining and Faceters.com. Above: Stormy weather in the high Oregon desert. Above: Digging in the pit. Above: The pit…

  • Just Ask Jeff: Oregon Sunstone Mining – Double Eagle Mining Company

    Oregon Sunstone Mining – Double Eagle Mining Company Note: These picutes are compliments of John and Debra at Double Eagle Mining and Faceters.com. Above: The high Oregon desert. Above: The high Oregon desert, home sweet home for the…

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    What Are Carbonados And Black Diamonds?

    Although most black diamonds on the market today are either superheated or irradiated to an almost black color, natural black diamonds do exist, though they are extremely rare. The 67.5 carat “Black Orlov” is perhaps the most celebrated natural…

  • emerald unguentarium - world's largest emeralds
    The World’s Largest Emeralds

    Emerald crystals can grow very large. Learn about some of the world’s largest emeralds, whether rough, faceted, or carved.

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    Gemstone Crossword Puzzle Collection

    Looking for a gem-themed diversion or a novel way to test your knowledge of gemology? Our gemstone crossword puzzle collection has something for everyone, from aficionados to serious gemology students. These seven puzzles get progressively harder….

  • colormea
    Gemology For Kids: Games And Activities

    Make gemology for kids educational and fun with these gemstone-themed games and activities. Print this entire article or just the games you want. Gemology For Kids: Fun With Colors The colors and play of light on faceted gems are appealing to…

  • Esperanza, the most valuable diamond mined in the US. © Embee Diamonds.  Used with permission.
    Master Diamond Cutter Mike Botha Takes On Esperanza

    June 26, 2015. That’s the date that Esperanza came to the surface at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Brooke Oskarson stopped at the park outside of Murfreesboro, Arkansas (the only place in the world where you can go to mine your…

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