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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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 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…

  • 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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