The Lighter Side of Gemology

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

The Lighter Side of Gemology

  • Alternative Birthstones

    Not happy with your birthstone? Explore these alternative birthstones associated with astrological signs, angels, the hour or day of your birth, and more.

  • foundation stones of the New Testament - amethyst
    The Foundation Stones of the New Testament

    Commentaries on the foundation stones of the Book of Revelation influenced the development of the Western birthstone system. Learn more about this connection.

  • 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…

  • What is my Birthstone?

    The idea of a single birthstone for each month is a modern idea with a long history, but today’s consumers can choose gems from traditional or modern lists.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • moonstone symbolism - necklace
    Moonstone Symbolism

    With a silverly light that seems to come from within, moonstone has many associations with the Moon. While you certainly need no excuses to buy this beautiful stone, learn more about its other symbolic connections with meditation, love, and protection.

  • sapphire symbolism - ring
    Sapphire Symbolism

    Beautiful blue colors and the star stone effect have influenced sapphire symbolism through the ages. Learn more about the legends surrounding this gem.

  • pearl symbolism - Dole Plantation
    Pearl Symbolism

    Prized for millennia, pearls are organic gems with strong associations with The Moon, high value, and femininity. Learn more about pearl symbolism and lore.

  • topaz symbolism - faceted American Golden
    Topaz Symbolism

    Through the ages, topaz’s most popular and enduring mystical association has been with wealth. However, topaz symbolism and lore has also covered areas such as health, love, and astrology.

  • emerald symbolism - heart-shaped cut
    Emerald Symbolism

    Emerald symbolism encompasses not only royalty but also wit, eloquence, and foresight. Learn more about the legends surrounding this prized jewelry stone.

  • ruby symbolism - star stone
    Ruby Symbolism

    Many cultures have long considered ruby a king’s gem. Not surprisingly, ruby symbolism and lore have many associations with power, wealth, and protection.

  • faceted Welo opal - opal symbolism
    Opal Symbolism

    Once the stone of kings, the fragile opal has a convoluted personality and lore. Opal symbolism is as varied as the play of color of the stone itself.

  • turquoise symbolism - Zuni pin
    Turquoise Symbolism

    Many people consider beautiful sky blue turquoise stones to be lucky. Learn about the turquoise symbolism and lore of Native American and other cultures.

  • jade symbolism - Mayan pendant
    Jade Symbolism

    Both jadeite and nephrite have inspired beautiful works of art and a rich body of lore. Jade symbolism covers themes of harmony, eternity, and virtue.

  • malachite symbolism - travels
    Malachite Symbolism

    Behind every mystical gem is a merchant, and since ancient times malachite has been “the salesman’s stone.” Learn more about malachite symbolism and lore.

  • amethyst symbolism - fantasy cut
    Amethyst Symbolism

    Long associated with preventing drunkenness, amethyst has other purported spiritual and protective powers. Learn more about amethyst symbolism and lore.

  • onyx symbolism - cameo
    Onyx Symbolism

    Onyx symbolism and lore is filled with negative associations. Learn how people have counteracted these purported effects and enjoy this beautiful, dark gem.

  • carnelian symbolism - Sassanid era seal
    Carnelian Symbolism

    Carnelian symbolism and lore touches on health, luck, and royalty. However, just wearing these gems isn’t always effective. Would-be alchemists and Napoleons beware.

  • 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…

  • amber symbolism - floral motif earring
    Amber Symbolism

    Amber has a long history of ornamental use and popular associations with animals, energy, and The Sun. Learn more about amber symbolism and lore.

  • 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 

    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…

  • 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….

  • 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 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 Above: The high Oregon desert. Above: The high Oregon desert, home sweet home for the…

  • 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.

  • 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….

  • 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…

  • 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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