** Abalone is a Mollusk (shelled fish) in the Gastropod class. Gastropods also include snails and whelks. Abalone is prized for its meat as well as its beautiful shell.
** The pretty part of the shell in on the inside, where nacre (mother of pearl) of a variety of colors can be seen. The outside of the shell is dull brown, and you can see this when you look at our Abalone Chip Beads, which have brown edges and colorful inner surfaces.
** The word "Abalone" comes from the Spanish word aulone, which is the name of the animal. The shell is also called Paua Shell.
** Crystal healers use Abalone for a large variety of purposes. It is thought to be helpful in disorders involving joints, bones, and muscles. It protects against uncooperative attitudes, stimulates creativity, and promotes calm. Not surprisingly, it also helps in calcium deficiencies.
** Since Mollusks often have to leave their shells to find larger ones when they grow, all shells are considered to bring boundless growth in life and thought.
** The Abalone that you often see in jewelry is a brilliant blue or purple. These specimens are dyed. The natural colors, while beautiful, are generally more varied, and may include blue, green, purple, pink, yellow, orange, and white. It is sometimes known as a "Sea Opal" due to the changing opalescent hues.
** All jewelry made from shells, be it Abalone or Mother of Pearl, is suitable for a Mother's Day gift!
** Amazonite is a very rare variety of the most common mineral in the earth's crust, feldspar. Amazonite is cherished for its lovely aqua color.
** Originally called Amazonstone, named after the Amazon River in Brazil, the name was later changed to Amazonite. Incidentally, while it was named after the Amazon River, it is seldom found in that area.
** Amazonite is a favorite of crystal healers. It is associated with the heart and throat chakras. It is also said to be a calming, balancing stone, reducing stress, balancing male & female energy, and promoting creativity. It is used to treat disorders of the nervous system, and resisting tooth decay and osteoporosis. It is said to bring joy to the wearer.
** Called "The Prosperity Stone," it is sometimes hung over doorways of businesses to bring in new business. (Maybe I need to put one on my computer!) It is worn by gamblers to attract money!
** Amazonite can be used as a December birthstone.
** Read more about Amber HERE.
** Most gemstones are comprised of minerals or rocks (which are a combination of minerals). A mineral is described as a naturally occurring, inorganic substance with a definite chemical composition and crystalline structure. Amber, being organic in nature and without a specific chemical composition, is NOT a mineral. This stone bridges the gap between the plant and mineral kingdoms.
** Amber is the hardened resin of the sap of prehistoric trees that were similar to today's pines and spruces. Many different types of trees created today's Amber (some evergreen and others deciduous), and therefore Amber can come in many colors and densities. The sap oozed out millions of years ago, and hardened into Copal. Over many years, the Copal went through some chemical changes to become the harder, more durable Amber. (Copal is often used for incense today, and it is softer and more easily dissolved in certain solvents.) Amber in which are found bits of insects, plants, and feathers tend to be more highly valued, while the clearer Amber is less sought-after.
** While we tend to think of Amber as yellow, orange, and brown, it comes in over 250 distinct colors, each with its own defining name! It can come in red, white, green, blue, black (a combination of other dark colors), and even purple. The transparent reds and greens are the most valuable, followed by the yellows and golds. Certain types of Amber fluoresce (glow under ultraviolet light), but these samples are hard to come by. Amber is a poor conductor of heat, and because of this, it always feels slightly warm to the touch.
** Amber is a very soft gem (from 1-3 on Moh's scale), so it is easily scratched. But it is also very brittle and will shatter if handled too roughly. It has the lowest specific gravity of any gemstone, and will float in salt water.
** The word "Amber" comes from the Arabic word anbar, which means "ambergris," which is not Amber at all, but a substance from whales which was used to make oils and perfumes. Apparently they got the two substances confused at some point. The Greek word for this gemstone was elektron, meaning "sun gold." The Greeks noticed that the stone had an electrical attraction, and their word for it would eventually be the base word for "electricity."
** Amber is one of the oldest gems known. It was used for early medicinal purposes, and was thought to enhance the beauty of the wearer. Crystal healers use it to draw out negative energies, dispel depression, and promote physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It instills a feeling of self-confidence and a more positive mental state. It helps the wearer to find joy and humor, lightens the burdens of life, and promotes courage.
** Amber appears in Greek mythology. Phaëthon, son of the sun god Helios, asked his father to allow him to drive the glowing chariot of the Sun one day. The searing heat of the chariot grew to be too much for him to handle, and the horses bolted, dropping him to earth, to land in a river and never be found again. Phaëthon's sisters were so distraught that Zeus took pity on them and changed them into trees. But they still wept, and their golden tears became Amber.
** While fans of the movie Jurassic Park enjoy the idea of dinosaur DNA being found in the blood of trapped mosquitoes, extracting dinosaur DNA would be nearly impossible with the Amber specimens we have now. The Jurassic period was 144 million years ago, and dinosaurs died out completely 65 million years ago, while the oldest Amber specimens are only 50 million years old (and more often closer to 25 million years old).
** Please see general information on Quartz HERE.
** Amethyst is the purple form of Quartz. Traces of manganese create the purple color, while traces of iron are responsible for the depth of the color.
** This stone is purported to calm the mind, enhance meditation, relax the body, and enhance dream state. It is a calming stone that soothes those in constant mental activity, and thus has earned the nickname of "Nature's Tranquilizer."
** Physically, Amethyst is thought to prevent drunkenness, ease headache (if placed on the forehead) & toothache. It also is thought to aid insomnia when placed under the pillow (its similarity in color to lavender, a well-known calming flower, might be responsible for this belief.) Ancient Greeks were so convinced it would allow a person to drink as much wine as they liked without getting drunk that they created wine goblets made from Amethyst!
** The word "amethyst" is from the Greek amethystos, from a (anti) + methyein (to be drunk), from methy, "wine."
** Amethyst is the official birthstone of February, and is used for the 4th, 6th, and 17th wedding anniversaries.
** In Greek myths, the god of wine, Dionysus, fell in love with a nymph, who ran from him. In a panic, she called upon Artemis, goddess of maidens, to save her from the drunken god. Artemis turned her into a white quartz statue. Later, Dionysus felt badly for what he had done. As a sign of affection, he poured wine over the statue. As the white turned to purple, he vowed that anyone who wore an amethyst would be immune to drunkenness.
** Apatite is a fairly soft stone (5 on Moh's scale) that comes in a variety of colors, though the most common colors are yellow and blue-green. Its softness, coupled with its tendency to be brittle, make it a rare choice for gemstones, as it can't be cut very well. Still, there are a few gem-quality stones out there. The darker the blue, the more valuable the stone. (Our Apatite chips are neon blue-green, a very common color for them.)
** This is thought of as a "Humanitarian Stone." It helps earth-conscious people to help Mother Earth, and it promotes good will toward and love for others.
** The word "Apatite" comes from the Greek apatos, which means "to deceive." Since Apatite looks like several other stones, the ancient Greeks gave it this "deceptive" name.
** Apatite used to be a source of phosphate for fertilizers.
** Metaphysical healers use Apatite to reduce stress. It aids in alleviating "burn out," and quiets emotional upset during difficult times in one's life. It clears mental confusion, so it is a good stone to use while taking tests.
** Crystal healers also find Apatite useful in decreasing hunger, believe it or not!
** Aquamarine is the blue-green form of the mineral Beryl. It is essentially the same stone as Emerald, but with a different color.
** The word "Aquamarine" comes from the Latin for "sea water," due to its amazing ice-blue color. In ancient times, it was believed to be a good seafaring stone; sailors would wear Aquamarine to protect them during voyages.
** Crystal healers use Aquamarine to treat toothache, sore throat, sunburn, and fever (the latter two due to the stone's assumed "cooling" properties). It is said to help one to experience love and mercy, and to ease grief and depression.
** Aquamarine is said to re-awaken love in long-married couples, and it is used for the 16th and 19th wedding anniversaries.
** Aquamarine's color is somewhat fragile; it tends to fade if left too long in the sun!
** Aquamarine is the official birthstone for March.
** It was once believed that to dream about Aquamarine was a sign that you were soon to meet new friends.
** A form of Quartz.
** Features tiny crystals, mainly mica, to give it a sparkling sheen. Different minerals determine the color of the stone. Aventurine comes in several colors, including green, red-orange, blue, and gray. Green is the most highly prized.
** Aventurine is often color-enhanced to make its natural colors brighter.
** Aventurine got its name from the creation of a synthetic stone that was created to imitate it. This stone, which we call Goldstone today, was created accidentally when some copper dust fell into a vat of liquid glass. The stone was created "A venturi," which is Italian for "By chance." Later, the name Aventurine was given to the NATURAL stone the featured these sparkles, and the manufactured stone was given the name Goldstone.
** Aventurine can be used as a birthstone for August.
** Aventurine can fade if exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.
** Bloodstone is a dark green Jasper with spots of reddish iron oxide. (Though some smaller stones do not have red spots.)
** It is also called Heliotrope. In ancient times, this stone when polished was said to reflect the sun.
** Bloodstone is thought to enhance courage and promote understanding of the benefits of hard-earned victories, and therefore it is known as "Stone of the Warrior." It frees the wearer's energy to explore the unknown and take chances, and it is a good stone for those who are self-employed.
** This is a very porous stone, and will reject its polish if placed in water.
** In ancient times, Bloodstones were thought to slow bleeding. They were used to assist in labor and delivery, and to purify toxic blood.
** Bloodstone is a claming stone, removing distractions that might cause a person to walk into dangerous situations.
** The blend of red and green, which are opposites on the color wheel, are thought to allow Bloodstone to help integrate and blend opposites. This makes it a good stone to give to lovers who are very different from each other.
** Legend has it that Bloodstone was formed when drops of Christ's blood fell on green Jasper at the foot of the cross. Thus, it is a highly revered stone among certain Christian groups. Medieval Christians often used Bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs, which helped it gain the name "The Martyr's Stone."
** Bloodstone is a birthstone for March.
BLUE LACE AGATE
** Blue Lace Agate, also know as Banded Chalcedony, is comprised of white and light blue bands that look dull in their natural state but are brought to beautiful life when polished.
** The word "agate" is thought to come from the name of the Achates River (now known as the Drillo) in Sicily. The Blue Lace name refers to its delicate lacy look.
** Blue Lace Agate is said to be a calming stone. It helps the wearer achieve peace and wisdom. It is a gentle stone, and when worn by gentle people, it helps them to not be changed by the hectic events surrounding them. A Blue Lace Agate in the house reduces household tensions.
** Crystal healers use Blue lace Agate in applications of the throat. It is said to soothe a sore throat, and reduce hoarseness of the voice.
** Being a throat stone, Blue Lace Agate is thought to be an aid in expression and is a good stone for public speakers to wear.
** Agates in general are used for gifts for the 12th wedding anniversary.
** Topaz, called "The Stone of Love and Success in All Endeavors," comes in a variety of colors, the most common being golden-yellow and blue. We are focusing on the blue today.
** The word "Topaz" comes from the Sanskrit tapas, meaning "fire." The name was given to the original golden-yellow stone, and the same gemstone in different colors is still called Topaz, with a qualifier before it.
** Blue Topaz is naturally a pale blue stone. The color is heightened by heat treatment, which sometimes occurs in nature but is usually done artificially. There are three basic colors of Blue Topaz: Sky Blue (the lightest), Swiss Blue, and London Blue (the darkest, which is often used as an inexpensive substitute for Sapphire). Pale blue Topaz is also occasionally dyed blue for the most inexpensive gems.
** Blue Topaz is seen as a cooling, calming stone. It was believed to have cooling properties, both physical (it was thought to cool boiling water), and emotional (said to calm a hot temper).
** Blue Topaz is used by crystal healers to aid in communication. It helps to clear muddled thoughts, clarify the mind, and put ideas into words.
** Blue Topaz is the official gemstone for the 16th wedding anniversary, and is a modern birthstone for both March and December.
** The ancient Greeks believed that Topaz would afford the wearer invisibility in threatening situations, and also that it would change color in the presence of poison.
** Blue Topaz is said to be a lucky stone for people born in the 4th hour of the morning!
** All of our "neighbors" will be pleased to learn that Blue Topaz is the US State Gemstone of Utah!
** Brecciated and Poppy Jaspers are rocks that have been broken into small pieces, and then "glued" back together by other rocks. They consist of angular particles that are larger than sand, surrounded by finer grained matrix.
** The name "Brecciated" refers to the structure of the stone, not the minerals included. Red Jasper is usually a component, but Brecciated Jasper can contain any of many different types of Jasper. The stone commonly called Brecciated Jasper has fairly large (6-15mm) chunks, whereas the stone commonly called Poppy Jasper usually has smaller (1-5mm) chunks.
** The nature of the stone--where a formerly existing stone had been broken and fixed--is very significant to crystal healers, who use the stone to help heal any "broken" part of the body that has been "glued" back together, such as broken legs. Its heavy concentration of Red Jasper also makes it an excellent stone for blood disorders.
** The name Breccia comes from the Old Teutonic brekan, which means "to break."
** Brecciated and Poppy Jasper are thought to aid in dream recollection, provide a playful, joyous attitude, and to break any "drought" the body may be experiencing, whether it be creative, intellectual, fear, or acceptance. The stone produces an adrenaline-like awakening to areas of the body that are inactive. The stone is not recommended for use by pregnant women.
** This stone is thought to be very animal-friendly. It aids in communication with animals, and so makes an excellent stone for people in the animal business, such as veterinarians and farmers.
** Calcite is one of the softest minerals, and one of the most common on earth. It is often used in cements and mortars, and is the major component in Limestone and Limestone's igneous cousin, Marble.
** While most minerals show only a few crystal formations, Calcite comes in over 300 different crystal forms! It is also one of the most colorful stones, covering all areas of the rainbow, and some are even iridescent. Calcite fluoresces purple or bright red under a black light, and also displays the interesting property of triboluminescence. This can be seen when Calcite is struck or put under pressure--it will glow in a dark room.
** The word "Calcite" comes from the Greek chalix, meaning "lime" (as in "limestone").
** Crystal healers use Calcite as an aid in memory and to enhance learning abilities (which makes it a good stone for students). It is said to increase prosperity and aid intuition.
** Calcite has electrical properties. It shows electrical impulses under pressure, and is thus believed by crystal healers to amplify energy in the body.
** Clear, smooth Calcite crystals show double refraction. Light beams enter the crystal and split into a fast and a slow beam, which leave the crystal at different angles. Thus, when you lay a Calcite crystal against writing or a line on paper, a perfect double image will be seen. This double image is said to double the healing properties of the stone.
** You can see some amazing samples of Calcite simply by visiting a cave. Most cave formations are the result of Calcite in the rock. Calcite is very soft and dissolves quickly, thus helping in the creation of stalactites, stalagmites, arches, and a host of other cave formations.
** Carnelian is a form of Chalcedony (Quartz), and is sometimes known as Sard and "Pigeon Blood Agate." Its red color comes from iron in the quartz.
** Carnelian is said to protect against anger, envy, and fear; it is a calming stone. It enhances creativity, aids memory, and helps the wearer to stay grounded in the present and make good judgements.
** The energies of Carnelian influence the reproductive organs. Thus, it is commonly used as a symbol for fertility.
** In ancient Egypt, Carnelian was associated with the heart, and the resurrection of mummies. In the Middle Ages, it was used as protection against nightmares, mind-readers, and lightning.
** The word "Carnelian" comes from the Latin carne, meaning "flesh."
** A dream in which you see Carnelian is said to be a warning of future problems.
** Chrysoprase is the most valued of the stones in the chalcedony group. (Chalcedony is a group of stones made from finely grained quartz microcrystals, and it includes the Jaspers, Agates, Carnelian, and Onyx, among others.) The stone has a bright apple green color due to a high nickel content.
** The most valuable specimens come from Australia, and thus Chrysoprase is sometimes called "Australian Jade."
** Chrysoprase is a wonderfully durable stone that resists chipping and cracking, so it can be worn everyday. The bright color can fade if exposed to heat and sunlight, but can be restored with moist heat. (Take a bath while wearing your Chrysoprase jewelry!)
** Crystal healers use Chrysoprase for problems relating to the reproductive system. It is also thought to help heal any type of wound. The stone should never be placed directly on the wound, but should be held above it. Carrying Chrysoprase in the pocket and placing it close to the bed also enables it to speed healing. One of its more important properties is to help the person being treated to accept the healing energies of gemstones.
** Chrysoprase is a calming stone that helps the wearer work through problems without the distractions of daily life. Thus, it is a good stone for children to wear in school. It also helps to tap into inner courage, to gain self-confidence and create better social interaction. Its help in clarifying problems and providing solutions make it an ideal stone for those in positions of management.
** Chrysoprase is thought to shield the bearer from negative energies, and placing a bowl of Chrysoprase by the entranceway to the home helps to keep the home a happy one.
** Chrysoprase is an alternate birthstone for May.
** In the 1800s, thieves believed that holding Chrysoprase in their mouths would render them invisible. (I assume they soon learned otherwise.)
** Romanian folklore says that Chrysoprase enables the wearer to understand the language of lizards. If such a skill is really necessary!
** This is a stone that is almost NEVER used for jewelry. The Chrysotile chips you find on Ephemerala Online are the only ones you will be able to find online in North America. They are really pretty, so perhaps Chrysotile as jewelry will eventually catch on.
** Chrysotile is the main component in asbestos. There are two types of asbestos. One has hard, straight fibers, and can cause lung cancer if inhaled. The other type, which is Chrysotile, is less hazardous. Its fibers are silky in texture and curly. They do not get inhaled as readily as the other type, and the fibers are easier for the body to exhale.
** Approximately 99% of asbestos used today is Chrysotile.
** Also known as White Asbestos, Chrysotile is made up of lots of curly fibers. It is part of the Serpentine group, and it is what gives Tiger Eye its chatoyancy (shimmer). Chrysotile in itself is usually chatoyant to a small degree, but our chips don't show this very well.
** The name "Chrysotile" comes from the Greek chrysos, meaning "gold," and tilos, meaning "fiber."
** Being that this stone is seldom used for jewelry or decoration, few medical and/or metaphysical properties have been attributed to it. However, it is said to help the bearer find his or her true self. Physically, it is though to aid in problems with veins, arteries, and the pores of the skin.
** The bad news is that Cinnabar is highly toxic. It is a bright red ore of mercury; the main ore of this poisonous metal. Any beads made out of natural Cinnabar would be very dangerous to wear, as the body's heat would be enough to vaporize the mercury out of the stone and allow it to be absorbed through the skin. Yikes.
** The good news is that we don't carry real Cinnabar beads! Our beads are made in the same way most Cinnabar jewelry is made these days. A polyester plastic resin is layered, molded, and then machine-cut or hand-carved into the desired shapes.
** The name "Cinnabar" comes from the Latin cinnabaris, which was their word for the mercury ore.
** Any jewelry vendor who claims to be selling real Cinnabar jewelry is either lying or trying to kill you. Be wary of such sellers.
** Please see general information on Quartz HERE.
** Citrine is a yellow or gold form of Quartz. The yellow color comes from a small amount of iron in the crystal, and it is actually rather rare. Most commercial Citrine is Amethyst that has been heat-treated.
** Known as the "Success Stone," Citrine attracts abundance, power, self-confidence, and self-discipline. It is known to be a happy, "cuddly" stone.
** Citrine is used by crystal healers to stimulate the body's own healing energies, and is especially useful in digestive disorders.
** The word "citrine" comes from the French citrin, which means "lemon."
** The darker Citrine, known as Madeira Citrine, is the most valuable.
** Citrine turns dark brown when exposed to X-rays, and white when exposed to excess heat.
** Citrine is the gemstone for the 17th Wedding Anniversary, and is often used as a birthstone for November.
** Coral consists of the calcified skeletal remains of sea creatures called Coral Polyps. Their dense limestone skeletons cluster and build over many years to form coral reefs and islands.
** Coral is very fragile and can be cracked and chipped easily. It is best cleaned in salt water. The most valuable Coral is the naturally red and orange types, though most red Coral on the market is dyed. Natural red Coral is highly valuable for its naturally brilliant color. The colors (natural or dyed) can fade in sunlight.
** As a mineral of organic origin, it helps the wearer to connect with nature.
** Coral has also been called "Bones of the Sea" and "Garden of the Sea."
** As a very ancient gemstone, Coral has many superstitions and beliefs attached to it. Being from the sea, it was thought to carry the power of the oceans, and was carried by sailors to protect them at sea. It was thought to ward off hurricanes and bring good weather. It was once believed to cure madness, and was also worn to attract love and prosperity, and to ward off evil thoughts of ill-wishers. It was especially good for women (to promote fertility), children (to ease teething and to keep safe), and the elderly (to reduce the pain of arthritis).
** Modern healing properties of Coral include strengthening bone structure and healing mending bones, easing depression, stop bleeding and promote healing, and to protect against skin disease. It was once believed the red Coral would change color with illness. It would fade to white at the onset of illness, and would turn yellow with black spots as death approached. A dream of Coral was thought to foretell the recovery from a long illness.
** Coral is a birthstone for October, and is used for the 35th anniversary.
CRAZY LACE AGATE
** Agates are a type of chalcedony quartz that form in concentric layers in various colors. They form as round, lumpy nodules within rough, ugly crusts (geodes). Many beautiful agates are discovered in rivers after the water has eroded the outer crust away. The Crazy Lace variety consists of whorls and "eyes" of cream, tan, pink, brown and other colors.
** Crazy Lace Agate is mined ONLY in Mexico. Because of this, it is often called Mexican Lace Agate.
** Crystal healers use this particular Agate to absorb emotional pain, to counteract physical low periods, to bring stamina to the wearer, and to gain insight to many options available in any decision-making process. It is thought to aid in sleep disorders such as insomnia and nightmares. It promotes laughter and humor, and helps the wearer see life as a game.
** In ancient times, the "eye" patterns on Crazy Lace were believed to ward off the evil eye.
** This stone is known as the Generational Stone. It helps to bring grandparents and grandchildren to a closer understanding of each other. It is a great stone to wear when visiting with grandchildren, because it promotes calm in chaotic environments!
** Agates in general are the stone for the 12th anniversary.
** This is a stone for those who want more fun in their lives. Dalmatian Jasper is said to help the wearer relax and enjoy life, to be more open to fun situations and finding joy in everyday things.
** While Dalmatian Jasper helps to find fun in everyday situations, it also helps the wearer to stay grounded in reality and lessens and remove disillusionment.
** The origin of the stone's name is obvious--it looks just like a Dalmatian dog! Much like the dog, this stone promotes loyalty and is beneficial for long-term relationships.
** Dalmatian Jasper is primarily found in Mexico.
** Healing properties include the ability to purify the blood, and the protection from nightmares, depression, and negative thinking. It also helps to increase patience.
** Dalmatian Jasper is said to be a good stone for vets and other people who work in the healing of animals. It calms animals and lets them know that the person is trying to help them.
** Diamonds are the hardest mineral there is. Not only are they harder than anything else, but the degree of hardness is greater between Diamond and Corundum (the next hardest mineral) than it is between Corundum and Talc (the softest mineral). Some Diamonds are harder than others. For example, Australian Diamonds can cut South African Diamonds. Even though Diamonds are the hardest substance known on earth, they are also very brittle, so they can shatter under a hard blow.
** One of the things that makes Diamonds unique is that they are always found as crystals. There simply are no non-crystal diamond specimens. This is likely because they are so hard that they cannot be eroded like other minerals can.
** Another unique feature about Diamonds is that they are the only gemstone that are made up on one single element. Diamonds are pure crystallized carbon.
** While Diamonds can come in several colors, the colorless variety is the most prized. Chemical impurities create the different colors, so an impurity-free Diamond will be perfectly colorless. The famous blue Hope Diamond, as well as other Diamonds with a smoky blue tinge, are not actually blue. The blue color is an effect caused by a complete lack of color paired with perfect transparency. These so-called Blue Nile Diamonds are the most prized of all.
** If heated, a Diamond will decrease in size and finally disappear without any residue.
** The word Diamond comes from the Greek adamas, which means "hardest steel" or "unconquerable."
** Diamonds are called "ice" because they are actually naturally cold stones, often several degrees below room temperature.
** Diamonds are known as the "King Gems."
** Hindu lore says that Diamonds were created when bolts of lightning struck rocks. They believe that Diamonds are very powerful, but will lose their powers if bought or sold. They must be given as a token of love or friendship in order to be used as a talisman.
** Long ago, Jewish high priests would use Diamonds to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused. A Diamond was believed to grow dull and dark in the presence of guilt.
** Even though we tend to set Diamonds in gold, they are actually thought to be most potent, powerful, and valuable if set in steel.
** Diamonds are the official birthstone for April. They are the traditional gemstone for the 30th and 60th anniversary, and are the winter stones of the season.
** Dumortierite is a very pretty stone, usually found in denim-blue but occasionally found in black and red as well, that is used for carvings and decorative items.
** Dumortierite was named for the paleontologist M. E. Dumortiere.
** Dumortierite is said to be a calming stone that helps the wearer collect his or her thoughts. It prevents the wearer from being scatterbrained; it resorts order and organization in one's life. It promotes metal clarity to reduce excitability and stubbornness.
** Dumortierite is often confused with Sodalite and other dark blue stones. Sodalite has more white, and is much lighter.
** While Dumortierite is usually found in its massive state (meaning that large, solid hunks are often found), it does have a much rarer crystalline form. The crystals are pleochroic, which means they change color depending on what angle from which you view them. The color changes from red to blue to violet. (Unfortunately, my chip beads are all of the opaque type.)
** Dumortierite is the main colorant in Blue Quartz . Tiny Dumortierite crystals grow in the Quartz, giving it its blue hue.
** Dumortierite is found in several places around the world, but one special fact for me is that it is often found in Yuma, Arizona, which is at the very southwestern corner of the state. I lived in Yuma for a year, and would often find Amethyst and Citrine chunks out in my back yard of desert wilderness. Had I known back then, I might have been able to secure a specimen or two of Dumortierite!
** Emerald is the green form of Beryl. It is the same stone as the blue Aquamarine.
** Called the Stone of Successful Love, Emeralds are said to promote domestic bliss and to instill loyalty and sensitivity in couples. Thus, it makes a good gift for lovers.
** The word "Emerald" originated from the Greek smaragdos, meaning "green stone," and much later was found in Middle English as esmeralde.
** Crystal healers use Emerald to enhance memory and stimulate the use of mental capacity. It is said to be beneficial to the spine, lungs, heart, and the muscular system. It is also said to be soothing to the eyes.
** Natural Emeralds almost always include some flaws. The way they grow is conducive to many small inclusions of other minerals, and this is why even good quality Emeralds look cloudy.
** The ancient Egyptians called the Emerald the Stone of Spring because of its green color. They associated it with rebirth, and used it as an aid in fertility and childbirth.
** Emerald is the official birthstone of May, and traditionally is given for the 20th and 35th anniversaries.
** Fluorite has a very wide range of colors, with only Tourmaline featuring more colors. The most common colors are purple, green, blue, and clear, but Fluorite also comes in yellow, pink, red, and orange.
** The name Fluorite comes from the Latin fluere, meaning "to flow." This refers to the fact that Fluorite was often used as a flux in smelting metallic ores, and also because it is very easy to melt.
** Crystal healers use it for transferring certain types of negative energy into positive energy. Its mental healing powers make it a good stone to aid in sleep. It is believed to bring prophetic dreams.
** Often called The Genius Stone, Fluorite is said to help amplify, focus, open, and expand the mind, creating new pathways for knowledge.
** Fluorite's high percentage of fluorine is said to help strengthen teeth and bones, and aid in the absorption of nutrients.
** Fluorite can be used as an alternate birthstone for February.
** Fluorite exhibits two interesting physical properties. One is "fluorescence" (named for the stone), whereby the stone glows under a Black Light. The other is "thermoluminescence," whereby the stone glows when heat is applied. This can be seen by taking a stone and heating it over an electric range in a dark room! However, this thermoluminescence is a one-shot deal; once it is seen, the glow will fade and will never again be seen in the same specimen.
** Faerie Lore names Fluorite as a favorite stone of Faeries!
FIBER OPTIC CAT'S EYE
** As you might have guessed, this is a synthetic (man-made) stone. It is composed of a substance known as Ulexite, which is spun glass fibers fused together and then machine-cut to form the shapes.
** Any stone that displays the cat's eye effect, including Fiber Optic Cat's Eye, Tiger, Eye, and Chrysocolla to name a few, is said to have chatoyancy, which is a single streak of light that can be seen when the stone is rotated.
** Crystal healers put Cat's Eye into the same category as many other chatoyant stones. Even though the stone is man-made, it still contains the chemical properties of some types of natural glass (primarily Quartz), so it is said to posses the same metaphysical attributes. Cat's Eye brings serene happiness, it stimulates intuition and enhances awareness.
** All Cat's Eye stones (natural or synthetic) are considered to be lucky for gamblers.
** All Cat's Eye stones are said to protect from the Evil Eye and bring good fortune.
** Fiber Optic Cat's Eye is the same material used in fiber optic telephone technology.
** Please see general information about Opals HERE.
** While "fire" in Opals usually refers to the play of color across the surface, Fire Opals generally do not show any opalescence. The "Fire" in this case refers to the color of the stone, which ranges from dark red to orange to yellow. This color is caused by iron impurities, and is unlike any other gemstone.
** Fire Opals are the only Opals that are faceted instead of made into cabochons. They can be transparent or slightly milky, and occasionally show flame-like reflections when turned. Color play is very unusual, and any flash raises the value of the stone considerably.
** Most Fire Opal is mined in Mexico, so the stone is often called Mexican Fire Opal. Bright red Fire Opals are also sometimes called Cherry Opals.
** Crystal healers use Fire Opals in the healing of blood disorders, and problems with the back and intestines.
** This stone is thought to be useful in eliminating apathy, preventing burnout in stressful situations, freeing the spirit, promoting optimism and creative power, easing depression, and releasing deep-seated fears and grief. It helps the wearer deal with the past and let go of painful memories. When a person feels deeply mistreated or outraged, feeling that circumstances are not fair, Fire Opal will help the wearer to get through the shock and indignation.
** Fire Opal was known to the Aztecs.
** Natural pearls form when a tiny irritant such as a bit of sand or grit finds its way into the shell of shellfish such as oysters or mussels. Over time (as many as ten years!), the irritant is covered with layers of nacre, also known as Mother of Pearl, to form the roundish Pearl.
** Long ago, pearls were as valuable as real estate, because one would have to search thousands of oysters to find one single pearl! These days, pearls are "farmed" by placing a small bead into an oyster shell, and harvesting the completed pearl a few years later.
** Freshwater pearls are formed in mussels rather than oysters. They are formed naturally in rivers and lakes, and cultured on farms.
** There are three major things to look for in a pearl:
1. Orient (the depth of the inner glow of the nacre layers),
2. Shape (the rounder the pearl, the more valuable),
3. Color (pearls can naturally occur in several colors, but most colored pearls on the market are dyed).
** Pearls are known as the "Stone of Sincerity;" promoting faith, charity, innocence, integrity, truth, and loyalty. They are said to represent purity of body and mind.
** Pearls are thought to inhibit rough behavior, and are a good stone for children to wear.
** Pearls are the official birthstone for June, and are traditional gifts for the 1st, 3rd, and 30th anniversaries. Freshwater Pearls in particular are good for 1st anniversary gifts, symbolizing the purity of the young union.
** Pearls are very sensitive, and should be treated gently. Any perfumes or cosmetics should be put on an hour before donning the pearls, and after wearing they should be gently wiped with a soft cloth.
** Garnets are from a family of gems that come in every color except blue. The red-wine colored garnet is the most popular.
** The word "garnet" comes from the Latin granatum, which means "pomegranate seed." It isn't hard to see why!
** Garnet is the official birthstone for January, and is often given as a 2nd Anniversary gift.
** Garnet has many metaphysical healing properties. It is associated with the root chakra, and is used for cleansing blood, healing the heart, spine, and lungs. It is used to cure fever, and is used for balance and acceptance.
** Long ago, people wore garnets as protection against insect bites, evil spirits, and the evil eye. Asiatic tribes once used garnets in place of bullets, believing their blood-red color was more deadly than lead bullets.
** People used to believe that when danger was near, a garnet would lose its brilliance.
** Garnets used to be used as a symbol for lasting love, given when lovers would be apart, to ensure a quick return. This superstition had its roots in Greek mythology. Persephone, daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, once accidentally fell into the Underworld. Hades, god of the Underworld, wished Persephone to be his wife, but Demeter refused to allow anything to grow on earth until her daughter as returned to her. Hades eventually agreed to let Persephone go, but before this, he gave her a pomegranate. He knew that when she tasted the sweet fruit of the dead, she would return to him. She ate six seeds, and because of this, Persephone had to spend six months out of every year in the Underworld. During these months, Demeter was so distraught over her daughter being gone that she refused to let anything grow, and this was winter. The Greeks believed that Garnets represented pomegranates, and that a Garnet should be given to ensure one's lover would always return.
** Gold is the most highly valued metal in the world, in all cultures. Its beauty and usefulness is unsurpassed by any other. It has been known and used since prehistoric times, and its value has never wavered.
** Gold is indestructible. Being completely non-reactive, it will not rust, corrode, or tarnish. It is 100% recyclable, and is regularly used in medical, industrial, and electrical applications. It is highly ductile (meaning it can be drawn into a very thin thread), and is so malleable that one ounce of Gold can be beaten into 300 square feet of Gold Leaf. It can be rolled out so thin that light will shine through it.
** Gold is found naturally by itself, with no other elements contaminating it. It is usually mixed with other elements (such as copper or silver) to aid its usefulness, according to the intended purpose. Its purity is measured in carats. 24 carats is pure Gold; 18 carats is an alloy that contains 75% Gold.
** Gold is the world's only naturally-occurring yellow metal. Its primary color is yellow, but is also sometimes found in black, red, and purple.
** Gold is incredibly rare, and only comprises about five ten-millionths of the earth's crust.
** The word "gold" comes from the Old English word geolo, meaning "yellow."
** Gold is the traditional gift for the 50th wedding anniversary.
** While the 1849 Gold Rush makes us think of California as a big mining spot, most Gold in America is mined in Nevada and the Dakotas.
** Guess what? Goldstone is NOT a real gemstone! It is basically glass with copper flecks in it.
** Goldstone was created by accident in the European Renaissance period, when alchemists were trying to create gold.
** Goldstone was originally made by a group of monks in Italy, and to this day most of it is still made at this particular monastery (though it is made elsewhere too). The "recipe" was for a long time a very closely guarded secret. Due to its origins in the monastery, Goldstone is used frequently in religious (especially Catholic) jewelry.
** In the making of Goldstone, copper salts are added to brown-colored liquid glass. As the glass cools, the salts turn into copper crystals.
** The color of the stone is dependant on the color of the glass, not the crystals (which are always copper). Reddish Goldstone and dark Blue Goldstone are both popular and easy to find. Little mention is made of Green Goldstone, which is NOT well heard-of and is very hard to find but which I have located for you! (Aren't I special?)
** Because it is a man-made stone, it is hard to define any true crystal healing attributes of it. However, some people feel that it has the same powers as natural glass like Obsidian, and that the copper crystals in it provide great conduction of energy. Goldstone is said to promote calmness & stability.
** Hematite is an iron-rich (70% iron) stone that is a major ore mineral of iron. Its metallic sheen hides its secret "true" color, which is blood red! When Hematite is sliced very thin, the slices are red and transparent. In powdered form, it is blood red and is used for pigments (and is the ingredient of the Red Ochre that some Native American tribes use for face paint).
** Hematite is usually found in globular (round, bumpy) form; actual crystals are very rare and sought after by collectors.
** Crystal healers use Hematite for any disorder of the blood, as well as for leg cramps and insomnia. It is thought of as the "Stone of the Mind," bringing clarity of thought to the wearer, helping to focus the mind, enhancing metal capabilities, enhancing memory, and promoting original thinking. It is said to be a calming stone, and helps to allow the wearer to "Reach for the Stars" and understand that personal limitations exist only in the mind.
** The word "Hematite" comes from the Greek haima, meaning "blood."
** Hematite is thought to protect against unionized radiation, and is therefore a good stone to wear when working around computers.
** Long ago, polished Hematite was used as mirrors.
** Legend has it that Hematite formed in the earth during battles, when the blood shed during fighting fell to the earth.
** Also known as "Cinnamon Garnet," this is a variety of Garnet that is brown, orange, red, or peach colored.
** Hessonite is thought to aid in letting go of outgrown ideas, views, habits, and behaviors of the past. It promotes positive change in the wearer's life. It encourages new challenges, and provides the courage to accept those challenges.
** Called the "Creativity Stone," Hessonite stimulates creativity in all forms. It aids in self-respect and respect of others, and eliminates feelings of inferiority that may lead one to give up creative tasks. It is considered a strong spiritual stone for wise people; it prevents gossip-spreading and gives the ability to approach troubles with intelligence.
** Physically, Hessonite is used to regulate hormone, stimulate metabolism, bolster the immune system, and promote good health through better absorption of nutrients in foods.
** The word "Hessonite" comes from the Greek hesson, meaning "slight," which refers to the fact that it has a low specific gravity.
** There are several families of Garnets. One of these families is the Grossular group (also called Grossularite), which includes Hessonite, Tsavorite, and several others. The Grossular group comes in colorless (which is very rare), red, orange, yellow, brown, green, and black. It is the most colorful group of all the Garnets.
** The Garnet we are going to discuss today is a Grossular Garnet known as Hydrogrossular. It is a generally opaque stone in shades of yellow, green, and brown. (Our Hydrogrossular Chip Beads are olive green.)
** Hydrogrossular Garnet is sometimes called the "Gooseberry Stone" due to its resemblance to gooseberries. It is also colloquially known as "African Jade," and makes a good substitute for Jade in color and workability. (It is seldom faceted; it works better as cabs and carvings like Jade.) It is also sometimes called "Transvaal Jade," which is its official trade name.
** One of the unique characteristics of Grossular Garnets is that they contain tiny crystals (usually of the mineral Diopside), which, when viewed under a microscope, give the stones a particular swirled pattern known as "treacle." This is one way to positively identify a stone from the Grossularite group.
** The word "Grossular" comes from the Greek grossularia, meaning "gooseberry."
** Crystal healers use Hydrogrossular to treat problems with the kidneys and intestines.
** Hydrogrossular Garnets are thought to help solidify partnerships, thus they are good to use in business partnerships. It is also a good stone for husband and wife to give to each other. It helps to keep long-distance relationships (whether friendship, romance, or business) going strong. It is thought to help keep the wearer cool in times of crisis.
** Iolite is a generally blue-violet stone, but shows extreme pleochroism, which means it looks different colors when viewed from different angles. In a cut Iolite gemstone, the stone looks dark when viewed from above (down the crystal axis), and lighter when viewed from the side (across the crystal axis). In a cube-shaped Iolite, it may look as dark as a sapphire from one side, clear as water from the other side, and honey-yellow from the top.
** Iolite is one of the most difficult stones to cut; not because of its hardness, but because of its pleochroism. The stone must be cut in a certain direction to take the best advantage of the color-change properties, and this can be hard when the shape of the rough stone doesn't flow well with the pleochroism.
** Iolite has a very important place in history as the world's first polarizing filter. Viking mariners would use it in their journeys as a rough compass. The stone's pleochroism enabled them to determine the sun's location on overcast days. Looking through an Iolite lens, they could tell the position of the sun (the lens would look bluest at 90 degrees from the sun).
** Iolite is also known as "Water Sapphire," a reference both to its color and to its ancient usefulness at sea. Today, it is thought to protect the wearer on marine journeys.
** The name "Iolite" comes from the Greek ios, meaning "violet," and lithos, meaning "stone." The scientific name is Cordierite.
** Crystal healers use Iolite to help in dealing with addictions. It assists in detoxifying the body and squelching impulses.
** Iolite is also thought to enhance curiosity, and to help in building relationships.
** Iolite is used as a gemstone for the 21st anniversary.
** "Jade" is an all-purpose name that encompasses two main types of gemstone: Jadeite and Nephrite. Jadeite is the rarer of the two, and comes in a variety of colors, including white, green, red, blue-green, brown, purple, and yellow. The highly prized deep green Imperial Jade is a form of Jadeite. Nephrite is more common, tends to stay in the green range, and it often used for carvings due to its smoothness. (Jade is often dyed to enhance its color.)
** A sacred stone to the Chinese and Mayans, Jade is said to bless everything it touches. Often found in religious carvings, it is thought to be the symbolic link between mankind and the spiritual world, and is highly prized for spiritual growth. It promotes wisdom, peace, harmony, and devotion to one's higher purpose. It also promotes confidence, self reliance, and self-sufficiency, and aids in building dreams into realities.
** The Chinese call jade the yu, which is a word that applies to all precious things. It is the Chinese Royal Gemstone.
** Also known as the Dream Stone, Jade placed under the pillow at night will promote lucid dreaming. It is also said to be the concentrated essence of love, and is a good stone to give to a lover. Jade's ability to promote calm in chaotic environments makes it a good stone for parents of active children to carry. (Quick, give me some Jade!)
** The stone known as New Jade is actually a non-Jade stone called Serpentine. It looks a lot like light, sea green jade, and hence it is called Jade.
** Jade can be used as alternate birthstones for March and August, and is given for the 12th, 30th, and 35th wedding anniversaries.
** Jet is a black stone that is comprised of a coal called Lignite. It is from ancient trees that burned and fossilized. It is the only gemstone that is naturally pure black. It is sometimes called Black Amber, because it is organic like Amber and comes from trees, but it really is not related to Amber.
** Due to its composition of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon, Jet can be burned. In ancient times, it was burned and the smoke used to ward off evil spirits.
** Jet is a fairly soft material, but lends itself well to carving. In Victorian times, Jet was often made into intricately carved beads and buttons. Back then, it was believed to be a good stone to wear in mourning, as it was thought to bring grief to the surface to be healed. It was also used to protect against the evil eye, and against thunderstorms. To dream of jet was thought to foreshadow upcoming sorrow.
** Metaphysical healers recognize the power of Jet as a natural organic material. It is thought to enable the wearer to tap into the ancient wisdom and power of Mother Earth, and to draw power and knowledge to the wearer. It is also thought to stabilize finances.
** Like Amber, Jet has an electrical charge, and will pick up little bits of paper when rubbed.
(Please see general information on Jasper HERE.)
** Kambaba Jasper is a fossilized Jasper found on Madagascar, off the coast of Africa. Its main colors are dark and mint green swirled together.
** This stone is highly prized for its exotic colors and patterns. The patterns bring to mind a rainforest as seen from above. It is an excellent stone for cabbing.
** Crystal healers use Kambaba Jasper to aid in dietary stabilization. It helps the body to assimilate vitamins and minerals from foods, and it helps to cleanse the body of toxins.
** It is also thought to aid in the healing process after an illness or injury.
** Kambaba Jasper is said to soothe the nerves and calm the mind. It promotes a feeling of peace in the wearer. It brings wisdom and the ability to get along with others.
** Kambaba Jasper is thought to be beneficial for plant growth and health, particularly in arid areas with poor soil. (I think I will go hang some out in my garden right now...)
** Kunzite is a relatively new stone, discovered in the early 1900s. It is the lilac and pink version of Spodumene (the green version is called Hiddenite), and is very rare and expensive (it is not uncommon to see prices of $10.00 or more for a SINGLE BEAD!).
** While Kunzite is fairly hard--about the same hardness as Quartz--it is extremely fragile. It has perfect cleavage (planes of weakness), which makes it very hard to cut. If it is hit hard, it can fracture along the cleavage lines. Kunzite should never be left near overly hot areas, it should be protected from scratches and blows, and will fade if exposed to sunlight.
** Kunzite is pleochroic, which means it appears to be different colors when viewed from different angles. From one angle it looks clear, while from another it looks pink. Gem cutters have a hard task of cutting it so that it looks pink from above. Smaller stones don't look very pink when cut; a gem must be 10 carats or larger for a good pink color.
** Physically, Kunzite is thought to aid in problems of the heart, nerves, circulatory system, and lungs.
** Emotionally, Kunzite is thought to bring peace and inner calm, to help the wearer to focus on the task at hand, and to remove mental obstacles and dissolve negative emotions. This stone helps to foster self-discipline, and to break habits. It promotes love in all forms, and brings the wearer a sense of self-respect, self-love, and inner strength. Its high lithium content makes it an excellent stone for aiding in depression.
** Kunzite was named after George F. Kunz, who first described it.
** Kunzite is not a birthstone or anniversary stone, but it is the Patriotic Stone of September. In all my research on gemstones, I have NEVER heard of a monthly Patriotic Stone, so this is entirely new to me!
** Kyanite is a very unusual stone in that it has two hardnesses on Moh's Scale, depending on the direction it is tested. It grows in crystals shaped like long, flat blades, and it cleaves along perfect lines. Whereas other minerals have the same hardness all around, Kyanite shows a hardness of 4-5 when tested lengthwise, and 6-7 (harder) when tested crosswise.
** While Kyanite is typically a blue color, it sometimes comes in green, white, and yellow. It exhibits strong pleochroism, which means it looks different colors when viewed from different angles. Its color can look dark blue from one angle, and white or colorless from another.
** The word "Kyanite" comes from the Greek kyanos, which means "blue," in reference to its color. This mineral is also known as Disthene, which comes from the Greek di, meaning "two," and stenos, meaning "hardness," a name given because it has two hardnesses.
** Metaphysical healers use Kyanite as a claming stone. It helps to focus the mind and dissolve mental and emotional confusion. It helps the wearer let go of his or her anxiety. It keeps the mind focused and able to ward off distractions.
** Kyanite is thought to be a highly creative stone, enabling the wearer to tap into his or her creative talent in art, music, dance, writing, and other artistic expressions.
** Gem-quality Kyanite is extremely rare. Its perfect lines of cleavage and its brittle, splintery nature make it very difficult to cut, and stones of fine color and transparency are rare.
** Commercially, Kyanite is used in the manufacture of spark plugs and heat resistant ceramics.
** Labradorite is a type of Feldspar that occurs mainly in white, yellow, and gray, and occasionally in dull green. Its main characteristic is its shimmering "labradorescence," which is a blue, yellow, or green sheen under the surface of the stone.
** Labradorite is sometimes called "Black Moonstone," and is very closely related to Rainbow Moonstone.
** Labradorite gets its name from the location of its discovery, along the coast of the Labrador Peninsula in Canada.
** The finest quality Labradorite is found in Finland, and is called Spectrolite.
** Crystal healers use Labradorite to clarify the eyes, cure disorders of the brain, and promote digestion & metabolism. Its metaphysical uses include sharpening mental acuity, reducing stress, and promoting calm amidst chaos.
** Labradorite is said to bring out the best in the wearer, and is sometimes known as the Self-Esteem Stone.
** Called the Wizard's Stone in mystic circles, this stone was worn as a good luck charm in the 18th century, and is still believed to be a source of good luck.
** In Eskimo lore, the Northern Lights used to be trapped in the rocks along the coast of Labrador. One day, a wandering Eskimo found them and released them into the air with a blow from his spear. However, some of the lights remained trapped in the rocks. These rocks are what we know as Labradorite.
** Lapis Lazuli is a rock comprised of many minerals. The main mineral is Lazurite, and it can also contain Calcite (which gives it white streaks), Sodalite (which gives it its blue color), and Pyrite (which gives it golden flecks), as well as a number of other minerals. As a rock, rather than a typical gemstone, Lapis can have slightly different mineral compositions from stone to stone.
** In general, the fewer white lines, the more valuable the stone. The most expensive Lapis is a deep, solid blue with small Pyrite inclusions. Sometimes the white areas of Lapis are colored blue to raise the value of the gem. Lapis chips and scratches easily and should be protected.
** True Lapis is hard to come by. Most "Lapis" on the market is actually dyed Howlite or some other stone. If you see Pyrite inclusions, it usually means you have real Lapis.
** Lapis is one of the oldest gemstones known. Ancient Egyptians considered it a sacred and prized stone. Looking like the star-studded night sky, it was thought to possess the energy of the sky, limitless in its wisdom.
** Ancient Egyptians used powdered Lapis as eye shadow. Powdered Lapis was mixed with oil to form the pigment known as Ultramarine, which was used in paintings for thousands of years.
** Both Christians and Egyptians associated Lapis with motherhood. Hindus believed that a Lapis stone on a gold chain would protect children from evil.
** The stone's name comes from the Latin lapis, which means "stone," and the Farsi (Persian) azul, which means "blue."
** Crystal healers use Lapis to reduce fever and sore throat. It is thought to help the wearer understand his or her emotional issues; not necessarily reducing them, but bringing them into a clear light so that the wearer has the opportunity to understand and deal with them.
** Lapis is a traditional birthstone for December, and can be used as an anniversary gift for the 7th and 9th year of marriage.
** Lepidolite also goes by the name of Lavenderine.
** It's an uncommon form of the common mineral, mica. Mica is very soft and tends to flake easily into very thin panes.
** Lepidolite contains a large percentage of lithium, and is a main source for lithium.
** The pretty purple-pink color comes from the presence of rubillite, AKA pink tourmaline.
** The name "Lepidolite" comes from the Greek lepidos, which means "Scale." The stone's thin flakes look scaly.
** The presence of lithium causes Lepidolite to be used as a healing stone for stress, depression, and bad dreams (especially those caused by stress). It is sometimes known as "The Dream Stone," believed to eliminate nightmares. It is also used to heal muscle pain.
** Lepidolite has only recently been considered for a gemstone. The flaky nature of the stone causes it to be hard to cut, so it tends to be expensive. It's beautiful sparkly lavender color makes it very attractive in jewelry, though.
** Lepidolite can be used as a birthstone for April.
** Lepidolite is commonly found in Brazil, Russia, and parts of Africa. It is also found in large amounts in California. When I lived in Yuma, Arizona (right by the California border), I used to love to roam the desert wilderness and find pretty rocks. I found lots of colored quartzes, such as rose and amethyst. I found a few samples of a lovely pale purple stone with glittery mica sparkles in it. It wasn't until this year (six years later) that I took a chance on ordering some Lepidolite chip beads and discovered that this was the stone I had loved in Yuma! Due to the happy times I had at that place (my first child was born there!), I have a soft spot in my heart for this stone!
** Please see general information about Obsidian HERE.
** When volcanic lava cools, it doesn't have time to form crystals, so it cools into a sort of natural glass. This glass is often black, but a high concentration of iron in the lava can make it a reddish-brown color. When two lava flows of different colors cool side by side, the result is a streaked rock. Mahogany Obsidian is the result of iron-rich lava (red-brown) that cooled with regular lava (black).
** Small shards of Mahogany Obsidian (formed when droplets of lava cooled in the air after an eruption) are called Apache Tears.
** Early Americans used Mahogany Obsidian as arrows and spears. Ancient Incas used it for mirrors, weapons, and masks.
** Crystal healers use Mahogany Obsidian to increase sensuality, particularly the sense of touch. It stimulates the growth of physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional centers, and provides strength in times of need.
** Physically, Mahogany Obsidian is thought to be good for the gums.
** This stone promotes environmental awareness and a desire to care for the earth. It helps the wearer to connect to planet Earth, and to help Earth healing.
** Malachite is a copper carbonate, with copper giving it its distinctive deep green color and exotic banding. It was once melted to make copper.
** Malachite forms in lumpy masses rather than crystals. It is used primarily for carvings and cabochon jewelry. Most Malachite jewelry is fairly expensive. (We cannot sell Malachite round beads since we would have to charge a LOT for them to make a profit!) However, we have discovered that Malachite CHIP beads are usually more or less the same price as other chip beads, which allows us to sell these at the same price as others.
** The word "malachite" might come from the Greek malakos, meaning "soft" (to refer to Malachite's hardness), or from the Greek malache, meaning "mallow," which is a plant of this color.
** Crystal healers love Malachite for its many healing properties. Among other things, it is believed to aid digestion, heal injured muscles, ease childbirth, ease colic, protect against radiation, and help with heart problems. Emotional benefits include the ability to assist the wearer in changing situations, promotion of fidelity in love and friendship, promotion of loyalty in partnerships, and the ability to clear emotional blocks.
** Malachite amplifies every aspect of feeling, including the negative. Thus, it is an unwise choice to wear when you are in a bad mood!
** The ancient Egyptians used Malachite in jewelry, and also ground it up to make cosmetics. In the Middle Ages, parents attached Malachite to their children's beds to ward off evil spirits and witches.
** Malachite is said to be the Guardian Stone of Travelers, and is thought to protect pilots in particular.
** Due to its hardness of only 3 1/2, Malachite is a rather fragile stone that should be treated with care. It tends to scratch easily, and shouldn't be subjected to strong blows or extreme temperature changes.
** Malachite is a gift for the 13th wedding anniversary.
Chances are, you have not bought any of these beads. Only a few adventurous buyers have been curious enough to check these out. They sort of get hidden among the better-known beads. So here's a little info about them:
** Mookaite is almost exclusively mined in Australia. It is found primarily on Mooka Station, a sheep ranch in Western Australia.
** Mookaite, also spelled Moukaite and Mookite, is the common name for the stone Windalia Radiolarite.
** Mookaite is a form of Jasper that has mainly red and yellow colors, and a few other secondary colors. The stone often shows very interesting swirled designs.
** In Australia, Mookaite was and still is considered a powerful healing stone. Its main purpose is to promote the acceptance of chance, and to encourage the desire for variety and new experiences. It promotes inner calm while simultaneously promoting the desire for adventure.
** Physically, it is believed to promote good health by stimulating the immune system.
** It is also often made into jewelry for children, believing that it helps to modify children's behavior.
** Moonstone, so named because of its resemblance to the shimmering moon, comes in several colors (white, yellow, blue, pink), with the best specimens being of a milky-white color. Rainbow Moonstone exhibits a bluish chatoyancy (luminous reflections or "fire"), and other Moonstone exhibits adularescence (shimmer).
** Moonstone is a feminine stone. It's called the "Mother Earth Stone," and is helpful for all manner of feminine situations, including emotional balance, menstrual difficulties, hormone imbalances, menopause, and childbirth.
** Moonstone is said to soothe emotions, guard against worry, and help the wearer to trust his or her intuition.
** Known as the Traveler's Stone, it is thought to protect the traveler from the perils of journey.
** In India, Moonstone is considered sacred, and is known as a talisman of good fortune.
** Moonstone is used for the 4th Wedding Anniversary, and is a birthstone for June.
** In 1969, when humans first walked on the moon, the state of Florida (from where the moon launch had originated) wanted to claim Moonstone as its official gemstone. A year later, this request was granted--thought there is no Moonstone to be found in Florida (or on the moon, for that matter!).
(Please see general information on Agate HERE.)
** Moss Agate is a clear to milky-white form of Quartz with impurities of hornblende growing in fissures in the stone. Technically, it is not a real Agate. It has the same chemical composition as Agate, but the design occurs in pebbles and fissures rather than in layers.
** While the impurities do resemble moss, this is actually NOT where the name came from. It was first made popular near the seaport of Mocha (Al Mukna) in Yemen, and so it was called Mocha Agate, which later got changed to Moss Agate.
** Crystal healers use Moss Agate as a cooling stone--to reduce fevers and inflammations, to quench thirst, and to ease stomach acids. It helps to alleviate the symptoms of colds and infections.
** In some cultures, powdered Moss Agate mixed with water was thought to cure insanity.
** Moss Agate is thought to bring peace and patience to those who have extra chaos and stress in their lives. It balances male and female energies when they become extreme, and it helps the wearer achieve personal growth.
** Moss Agate is thought to help in the growth of plants, and is known as the Gardener's Stone. Place some in your garden to enhance plant growth.
** Moss Agate is the gemstone for the 14th anniversary.
** Mugglestone is a rock consisting of Red Jasper and Hematite, and as such, all properties for either of these stones can apply to Mugglestone as well. You can find more information on these stones by looking at the Stone Fun Facts page:
Info about Red Jasper
Info about Hematite
** Crystal healers use Mugglestone to help recover from anesthesia and surgery, and to reduce bleeding. It is thought to alleviate pain.
** Mugglestone is thought to be useful in calming quarrels between friends or lovers. It helps to alleviate anger and stress, particularly in conflicts with other people.
** This stone is also thought to be useful in encouraging understanding, compassion, kindness, and empathy.
** Before getting into detail, let's break this stone down into its components. Muscovite Quartzite is a Quartzite rock with inclusions of Muscovite Mica flakes. The reddish color of the flakes comes from iron deposits in the Muscovite, and the flakes give the entire stone a reddish sheen under the translucent Quartz.
** Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that is formed when pure Quartz Sandstone is exposed to high temperatures and pressure. It has compact, well-formed grains of clear to cloudy Quartz. It is very strong, and is a raw material in the glass and ceramic industries. Quartzite is often dyed bright colors to make tumbled stones, but our Muscovite Quartzite gets its color from the Muscovite in it.
** Muscovite is a dark version of the mineral called Mica. Mica is best known for its strong one-sided cleavage, which makes it split into very thin layers. The layers can get so thin as to be transparent, and thus Muscovite was once used as a window glass substitute.
** Muscovite is very soft (about 2-3 on Moh's scale), but it is surprisingly durable, tough, and flexible.
** Muscovite gets its name from the Muscovy state in Russia, where the mineral was used as a glass substitute in the 14th century.
** Muscovite used to be known as isinglass, and it was commonly used on furnaces, to allow people to look through the furnace as they would with tempered glass today.
** Today, Muscovite is ground and used to give wallpaper a shiny luster. It is also used in eye makeup and glitter.
** The rock Muscovite Quartzite, however, has very limited uses. We were able to get some chip beads in this stone, but I have not seen it elsewhere in jewelry applications. Perhaps its beauty and durability will eventually make it a nice stone for cabs and beads.
** Even though we have it in the form of beads, Myrrh is not a gemstone. It is the resinous sap from a desert tree called the dindin. The sap forms in small beads and has a very sharp, strong smell. (Our beads have a much more mild smell, because they were made from the by-product of the sap after the strong oils were removed.)
** Myrrh has been used since ancient times in perfumes, incense, and embalming. The ancient Egyptians used Myrrh to preserve mummies. Today, it is used in any application that warrants fragrance, such as candles, soaps, etc. It is also found in several commercial mouthwashes.
** While it is usually known for its smell, Myrrh can also be used as a flavoring for candy and baked goods. (Our Myrrh beads smell like cinnamon-vanilla cookie dough, and my 9-month-old baby loves to chew on his own strand!)
** Myrrh has a large number of healing uses. It is an astringent and antiseptic, and can be used to cure acne, boils, and other inflammations of the skin. It is also widely used to help heal infections of the mouth, such as gingivitis, ulcers, and bad breath. It is highly useful in applications of the throat, and is thought to help heal pharyngitis, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, and sore throat. It can be used as an expectorant (cough syrup).
** Myrrh makes a helpful childbirth aid, making contractions more efficient, and relieving pain.
** The word "myrrh" comes from the Arabic murr, meaning "bitter."
** The ancients found this resin to be so valuable, the Bible tells of it being given as a gift, along with Frankincense (another aromatic resin) and Gold to the baby Jesus.
** Modern science has recently discovered that Myrrh may be a cure for cancer! Laboratory studies show that a compound in Myrrh was effective in killing breast cancer cells. More research on this is currently in the works.
** Not a lot of information to be found on this stone. Also known as "Lapis Nevada," this gem is not in any way related to real Lapis! It is a rock that consists of several minerals, which differ from specimen to specimen. The mineral composition determines the color of the stone. Most Nevada Lapis is of a pinkish color, sometimes with green, cream, blue, or white mottling. (Our Nevada Lapis Chip Beads are mainly pink with gray-white mottling.)
** "Nevada Lapis" is the commercial name for what is more commonly known as Nevada Stone. It occurs exclusively in Nevada.
** Crystal healers use this stone to promote creativity and knowledge. It is said to promote courage, and is known as a protective stone.
** Nevada Lapis can be used as a birthstone for May.
** Obsidian is natural volcanic glass. It is formed when rhyolite lava from a volcanic eruption comes in contact with water, thus cooling it very fast. It cools so fast that crystals do not have time to grow, and that's why Obsidian breaks randomly, like glass, rather than along crystal lines.
** Obsidian is usually black, but the presence of other minerals during cooling sometimes gives it various dark colors. Hematite in the lava makes it reddish-brown. Crystals of cristobalite in the lava result in the white specks found in Snowflake Obsidian.
** When two colors of lava flow together, they occasionally mix with each other, but are so viscous that the colors do not mix; they appear side by side. This is how we get certain streaked Obsidians, such as Mahogany Obsidian.
** Bubbles of air trapped between layers of cooling lava form the unique deep stripes of Rainbow Obsidian.
** Metaphysical healers use Obsidian to clear insight into problems.
** Being glass, Obsidian can be very sharp when broken. Therefore, it was a favorite material with which to make arrowheads.
** In ancient times, Obsidian was used for mirrors.
** Ocean Jasper is a very rare stone, mined in one place in the world. It is found off the coast of the remote area of Marovato, Madagascar, and the deposit is so close to the ocean that it can only be mined at low tide.
** Ocean Jasper is known for its beautiful orbicular designs. (These show a little in our chip beads, but the patterns are best seen in large cabochons and spheres.) The patterns are spherical inclusions floating in solid jasper, and the little circles are often heavily banded in many colors. The deposit is a massive Rhyolite (a volcanic stone) flow that was silicified: as the hot liquid magma cooled, the silica precipitated out of the magma, forming small balls.
** Ocean Jasper got its name both from its proximity to the ocean, and also because the patterns look like foaming bubbles.
** Ocean Jasper is mined by local Malagasy natives, who gather it at low tide, take it ashore, then place it in a boat to be taken to the nearest area with a road, as Marovato is very remote and has no access other than by boat.
** This is a very new stone, discovered a few years ago after a very long search. Long ago, a local fisherman told of the beautiful rock formation he had seen on the beach, and people have been looking for it ever since. Its discovery at the turn of the millennium, as well as the fact that it is found under the ocean, have caused people to nickname it the "Atlantis Stone."
** Ocean Jasper is also known as Orbicular Jasper and "Moon Jewel Jasper," even though it is technically an agate! Madagascar natives call it "Snake Agate."
** Crystal healers use Ocean Jasper to promote patience and help in meditation. It helps to bring peace of mind. The circular patterns suggest that all of nature is interconnected, and that nature is cyclical.
** Physically, Ocean Jasper is said to aid in problems of digestion, and to help remove toxins from the body.
** Onyx is part of the Quartz family of stones called Chalcedony. It is a form of Agate.
** Onyx can be several colors, but this term usually refers to the darker Chalcedonies. Thus, most Onyx will be black, brown, or gray. Onyx with white streaks is called Sardonyx. Colored Onyx is always dyed.
** The word "onyx" comes from the Greek onux, meaning "fingernail." In Greek myth, Eros (the god of love) clipped the fingernails of Aphrodite (the goddess of love) while she was asleep. Her fingernails fell to the earth, where the Fates turned them into the Chalcedony the Greeks called Onyx.
** Crystal healers use Onyx to help with energy problems within the body. The stone is said to be able to banish excess or unwanted energy from the body, while holding in the necessary energy and assisting in challenges caused by a drain in energy. It is good for letting go of stress and banishing negativity.
** Onyx is said to help soothe worries and fears, and is often used for Worry Stones and rosaries.
** Black Onyx helps to overcome grief, banish old habits, and encourage happiness and good fortune.
** Black Onyx, for all its good properties, is also said to bring on nightmares, depression, and arguments. White onyx, on the other hand, is said to soothe quarreling couples.
** Onyx is sometimes used as an alternate birthstone or February. Onyx in general is used for the 7th anniversary, and Black Onyx is used for the 10th anniversary.
** Opals consist of silica spheres and water packed in layers. (About 10% of the stone is water.) The refraction of light between the layers causes the light to break into spectral colors. The size of the silica spheres determines the colors seen--larger spheres show all colors, while smaller spheres show the blue-violet range.
** High quality Opal is more valuable than Diamond, with the best specimens going for up to $20,000 a carat.
** The word "opal" comes from the Latin opalus, which means "to see a change of color."
** Opal is said to amplify personal characteristics (for better or worse!), to bring happy dreams and good changes. Opals are associated with change in general. Because it is thought to bring about change, it is sometimes considered an unlucky stone, as some people might not be prepared for the changes. Opal is also considered unlucky because it tends to break easily.
** Opal is the official birthstone of October, and is used as the 14th and 18th Anniversary gift.
** Opal needs to be worn often to retain its beauty. Because it contains a lot of water, it is in danger of drying out. Wearing the stone next to your body keeps it humid.
** Opal has had some wild attributes in the long-ago past. The Arabs believed Opals fell from the sky during lightning flashes, which gave them their color. Women in the Middle Ages wore Opals to protect the color of blonde hair. Opals were used in magic rites to promote invisibility!
** Several of our stones are actually glass. This one is our only PLASTIC stone! Opalite is made of a plastic resin, designed to look like Rainbow Moonstone. It has a milky color with a distinct blue fire tone. Held against a white background, it has a yellowish tinge.
** While glass stones like Goldstone or Cherry Quartz carry the physical (and sometimes health) properties of natural glasses such as pure Quartz, Opalite, being plastic, has no known healing properties.
** Opalite is also known as Moonstone Quartz, Opalized Quartz, Gerisol, Lunar Quartz, and Sea Opal.
** Opalite originated in Hong Kong, and was introduced to the gem trade in 1988.
** It is very lightweight (good for earrings), and soft, so it doesn't make good fine jewelry, but it is good for costume jewelry.
** There is another, genuine, stone called Moss Opalite, which is a type of Opal.
** Peridot is the gem variety of the stone Olivine.
** Crystal healers use Peridot as a good all-around producer of positive energy and healing. The gem emits warm and friendly energy, and heals bruised egos by helping to lessen feelings of anger and jealousy. It used to be used as protection from nightmares, and was thought to intensify the effects of a drug when the medicine was taken from a cup made of Peridot. It is given as a symbol of fame, dignity, and protection.
** Peridot gets its name from the French word peridot, meaning "unclear." The frequent inclusions in larger stones was the inspiration for this name.
** Approximately 90% of Peridot is mined in Arizona.
** Peridot is sometimes confused with other stones, including Tourmaline and Emerald, and is called "Evening Emerald" by jewelers.
** The ancient Egyptians called Peridot the Gem of the Sun. It was a favorite gemstone of Cleopatra.
** Peridot is the official birthstone for August, and a traditional 16th Wedding Anniversary gift.
** While this stone is also sometimes called Picasso Jasper, it is not truly a Jasper. It is a Marble--a metamorphosed limestone rock. In prehistoric times, hot magma (lava) spread over limestone flats, seeping into the tiny fissures caused by heat and pressure. The magma cooled in these cracks, to bring us the dark streaks in light rock that is Picasso Marble.
** While this stone is fairly new in the jewelry field (it is mainly used in building and sculpture), Zuni artisans have been using it to make fetish carvings for years.
** Picasso Marble is thought to assist in all areas of transformation. It is helpful when you need to renew a lost friendship, and it aids in banishing artistic blocks. It is thought to be an excellent stone for all creative endeavors, as it brings out hidden talents and skills.
** This stone is believed to be helpful in weight loss, promoting self-discipline and respect.
** Crystal healers use Picasso Marble to enable total recall of dreams.
** The stone got its name because some people thought it resembled the wild patterns of a Picasso painting. (Personally, I think it looks more like a Jackson Pollack than a Picasso, but I wasn't in charge when it was named.)
** Personal satisfaction alert! Picasso Marble is mined in only one place in the world, and that is Utah!
** Prehnite is a mineral that is usually NOT used in jewelry. It is used for ornamental decoration and as mineral specimens, and it is occasionally cut into faceted or cabochon jewelry, but not often. Its lovely clean light green color makes it a good stone for the few jewelry items it makes.
** This is a highly mystical stone, loved by New Age proponents as a stone of prophesy, protection, out of body experiences, and communication with extraterrestrial life.
** Crystal healers use Prehnite to stimulate energy in the body, and to aid in calming. Rubbing Prehnite right before going to sleep is thought to aid in lucid dreaming. It is thought to help the wearer back to his or her original dreams, plans, and wishes.
** Physically, it is said to help the immune system and encourage healing after an illness.
** The stone was named for Dutch Colonel Hendrick Von Prehn.
** Prehnite can change into Garnet under metamorphosis.
** Also known as "Cape Emerald," it is occasionally sold by unscrupulous sellers as Emerald.
** We've all heard of Fool's Gold--that bane of the Old West Gold Rush. Pyrite is a common mineral with a brassy yellow or gray-yellow metallic color. It is heavy (thought not nearly as heavy as gold), and was often mistaken for gold by frustrated miners. Unfortunately, it had no commercial value. Interestingly, though, the rock formations that contain Pyrite often contain Gold as well, so the experienced miner, having found Pyrite, might press on in the same locale, knowing that he might find Gold in the same area.
** When Pyrite is cut into small faceted gems and used in jewelry, it is called by its commercial name Marcasite. However, Marcasite tends to tarnish easily and actually does not make a very stable gemstone.
** Crystal healers use Pyrite as a general aid in metal activity. It helps improve memory, aids concentration and learning, and improves communication skills. It is thought to balance creative & intuitive impulses with practical impulses, and thus makes a very good stone to wear when dealing in business and education.
** The word "Pyrite" comes from the Greek pyrites lithos, meaning "stone which strikes fire." Ancient Greeks discovered that sparks were produced when iron was struck with a lump of Pyrite. For this reason, Pyrite was often used as a fire-starting stone similar to flint.
** Some Native American groups make mirrors out of Pyrite. Gazing into the mirrors, they say they can see the future, and see into a person's soul.
** The most important of all minerals! Quartz is one of the most common compounds in the earth's crust, and one of the most useful. It is used in sandpaper, soap, ceramics, TVs and other electronics, clocks, computers, and many other common items. The regular, predictable electric pulses that Quartz emits makes it a wonderful stone for electronic applications.
** Quartz comes in many colors, some of which have their own gem names. Examples are purple Amethyst, yellow Citrine, green Aventurine, and red Carnelian. It also comes in pink (Rose), brown (Smoky), white (Snow), and other colors. Clear Quartz is also known as Rock Crystal.
** Crystal healers consider Clear Quartz the most essential of their stones. Its main applications are to clarify thoughts, purify and cleanse the body, bring self-esteem, balance chaotic emotions, increase emotional energy, and focus the mind, but its clarity enables healers to apply virtually any healing property to it.
** Quartz finds importance in nearly every culture. Mythology and lore about the stone is abundant in many cultures. Balls made from Quartz have been used to see the future for centuries.
** The word "Quartz" comes from the Greek krustallos, meaning "ice," as the ancient Greeks thought Quartz was ice formed by the gods.
** Clear Quartz can be used as a birthstone for March and April.
** Quartz has been found on the moon.
** Rainbow Calsilica is a very newly-discovered gemstone. It only became available as a gemstone two or three years ago!
** This stone is used often in cabochons and occasionally in beads. It has recently been seen in Zuni fetish carvings as well.
** As fake as it seems (with its sharp layers of bright blue, green, brown, tan, and yellow), it is THOUGHT to be a real gemstone and not man-made. However, there is a lot of controversy over its true contents. Some say it is a Mexican product created by artisans from melted tiles, but this is unlikely. Some think it might be a composite material found in Mexico from dumped mining or oil-drilling wastes combined with leached minerals, but this is suspect. One reputable source says it is composed of Calcium and Silica; others say it is microcrystalline Calcite banded with a clay called Allophane (which has a blue/green color). While theories abound that it is man-made, most people nowadays accept that it is a real gemstone. It is said to appear in seams of color in the host rock, which is volcanic Rhyolite.
** It is believed to be a very young gemstone, having only formed in the last 30-50 years. Its youth makes it very soft, and to be used in jewelry, it is heavily stabilized, which means it is held together by a hard clear resin so that it won't crumble. (The stabilizing process is another reason why most people believe it is a naturally occurring stone, as a man-made stone wouldn't need stabilizing.) You can see this resin in the stone, as small clear spots.
** It supposedly comes from only one mine in the whole world, and that place is kept a closely-guarded secret. It is rumored to be in Mexico or northern Central America.
** The first specimens to come out of the mine were mainly red and yellow, with some greens and blues. More recently discovered stones have a lot more greens and blues.
** As you can probably guess, this is an EXPENSIVE stone, especially when it first came on the scene. Now that it is growing more common, the price has dipped slightly, but it is still incredibly expensive.
** Jasper comes in many colors, and is basically interchangeable with Onyx, Agate, and Chalcedony. Jaspers tend to be more opaque and colorful. Red Jasper has a dark red-brown color.
** Red Jasper, also known as Imperial Red Jasper, is a calming stone; it harbors nurturing and protective energies.
** Red Jasper is known to assist in rectifying unjust circumstances. It is a stone of fairness and justice.
** Crystal healers note Jasper's tendency to work slowly to help in healing. It can be worn at all times, and provides constant support, particularly in the areas of blood and circulation.
** Native Americans though that Red Jasper was symbolic of the blood of the earth. It was considered to be the best stone for connecting with the earth's energies.
** Red Jasper was once thought to protect against the bites of spiders and snakes. It was believed to help bring rain.
** Red Jasper can be used as a birthstone for March.
** Rhodochrosite is a gemstone that is primarily bright pink in color but also exhibiting yellow or orange tones, with bands of white. Though the bands are what makes it beautiful, the general rule is the less white seen in the stone, the higher the quality. Go figure.
** Rhodochrosite is considered to be the most powerful love stone. It is said to attract the perfect love, and to enable to wearer to achieve self-love, tolerance, forgiveness, and friendship.
** Crystal healers also use Rhodochrosite to raise the energy level of the wearer, and do remove avoidance and denial.
** The name Rhodochrosite comes from the Greek rhodos, meaning "rose," and chrosis, meaning "color."
** Rhodochrosite is commonly found as stalagmites and stalactites in caves. While it is sometimes found in the form of small crystals, they are too brittle to make good jewelry. Jewelry and carvings are made from the stone in its massive form, which is soft and easy to cut.
** The ancient Andean Indians believed that Rhodochrosite was the blood of former rulers, which had been turned into stone. This made the stone precious to them, and they buried it with their dead. When archaeologists later found the stone in Incan tombs, they nicknamed it Inca Rose.
** Rhodonite is a unique stone that is usually pink, but also comes in yellow, brown, green and black. It has black veins, called dendrites, running through it to give it a spiderweb look.
** Rhodonite is said to help the wearer achieve his or her greatest potential. Called the Stone of Peace, it helps bring an inner calm and patience.
** The name Rhodonite comes from the Greek rhodos, meaning "rose."
** Sometimes know as the Singer's Stone, Rhodonite is said to improve sound sensitivity. In healing it is used to improve hearing loss and help inner ear problems.
** Another nickname for Rhodonite is the Stone of Love. It is said to activate love energies, to attract the perfect love, and to help the wearer to love himself or herself.
** Rhyolite is a fine-grained volcanic rock with the exact same chemical composition as common Granite. It is basically a Granite that cooled too fast to form crystals.
** Rhyolite is actually the geologic name for this rock. When used as a gemstone, it is known as Rainforest Jasper. (So why am I still calling it Rhyolite??)
** Rhyolite is said to help all forms of communication, including listening. It pushes you forward to meet your goals and dreams, and helps you to face the changes that can occur when life goals are met.
** Leopardskin Jasper and Orbicular Jasper are varieties of Rhyolite.
** Rhyolite is sometimes worn to rejuvenate physical beauty, and to strengthen the permanency of love relationships.
** Rhyolite composes the majority of the island of Komodo and surrounding islands, where the famous Komodo Dragons live!
** Riverstone is a jasper-related stone that typically comes in a variety of pastel colors, including pink, beige, blue, and tan. (Our Riverstone chip beads are beige.)
** Since this is a newly-discovered stone, very little information is available on it. Crystal healers haven't yet examined the full range of possible healing properties. However, even at this early stage, Riverstone is thought to be helpful in alleviating anxiety. It is a good stone when change is necessary; it promotes speedy changes and helps the wearer move swiftly through change. It is also thought helpful in reducing boredom.
** Physically, Riverstone is thought to speed up metabolism, which can be helpful to those trying to lose some weight. It helps to regenerate the body and promote physical energy.
** Please see general information on Quartz HERE.
** Rose Quartz is unusual in several different ways. Its natural pink color is rather rare among minerals, and is caused by impurities of iron, titanium, and colloidal gold. It is also odd in that it is the only type of Quartz that is not commonly found in crystal form. Rose Quartz usually comes in massive formations that are translucent to opaque; transparent crystals are very rare.
** The pink color of Rose Quart is photosensitive and can fade in sunlight.
** Being pink, Rose Quartz has historically been a symbol of love & beauty. It is also known as the Love Stone or the Heart Stone, and is said to enhance the wearer's sensitivity to beauty, art, and music. It enhances the capacity to love, and is a very good stone to give at the beginning of a relationship.
** Crystal healers use Rose Quartz in all applications of the heart. It is also used to calm and balance emotions, increase self-esteem and self-confidence, reduce depression, assist in weight loss, clear the complexion and protect against wrinkles. Its calming, soothing nature makes it a good stone to put near a fussy baby's sleeping area.
** Rose Quartz can be used for a birthstone for January, and it is the gemstone for the 2nd wedding anniversary, believed to strengthen the love of young married couples.
** Ruby is a gemstone of the Corundum family, which also includes Sapphire. Pure Corundum is colorless, and it is only the impurities that make it a new gemstone. All colors of Corundum are called Sapphire, with the exception of the red version, Ruby. The red color comes from impurities of chrome.
** Ruby is considered the Queen of all Gems. Gem-quality Rubies are so rare that it is now the most sought after and expensive gem in the world; more prized than Diamond.
** Corundum has a Moh's scale hardness of 9, which makes Diamond the only gem that is harder. Thus, Rubies are extremely durable.
** The word "Ruby" comes from the Latin rubeus, which simply means "red."
** Hindus consider Ruby a sacred stone, worthy of offering to their god Krishna. The Sanskrit word for Ruby is ratnaraj, which means "King of Gemstones."
** Crystal healers use Rubies in all applications of the heart, and to purify blood. It is said to amplify energies, both good and bad. Ruby opens the heart to love and gives the wearer the capability to soothe lovers' quarrels. It is worn to ward off misfortune and ill health, and to promote longevity and stable finances.
** Ruby lore: It was once thought that dreaming of Rubies would predict coming success in business, money, and love. Rubies were once thought to grow darker when the wearer was in danger or when an illness was coming. If worn on the left side of the body, Rubies were thought to give the ability to live in peace among enemies.
** Ruby is the official birthstone for July, and it is the gemstone for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. It is the Summer Gemstone of the Season.
Please see information on Ruby HERE.
** Zoisite is a mineral that can be colorless, white, pink, blue, purple, yellow, brown, green, or red. The stone we are talking about here tends to be green with black streaks. It is a natural matrix for the growth of Ruby, and thus the two are often found in the same stone.
** When Zoisite is found with bits of Ruby in it, it is also known as Anyolite.
** Zoisite of the purple-blue variety is known as Tanzanite.
** Ruby Zoisite is thought to turn negativity into positive energy. It facilitates the advancement of all mental talents & abilities, it amplifies the energy field in the body, and helps to relieve lethargy and boost mental and physical energy. It helps to rid the wearer of laziness and idleness.
** This stone promotes a sense of one's own individuality, and helps the wearer to avoid conforming to other people's ideas and ways.
** Physically, Ruby Zoisite is thought to strengthen the heart. It stimulates fertility, and helps in diseases of the testicles and ovaries.
** Zoisite was named after Seigmund Zois, the Austrian natural scientist who discovered it.
** Please see general information on Quartz HERE.
** Rutilated Quartz is a rock made from crystalline Quartz embedded with impurities of titanium dioxide, which is called Rutile. Rutile grows in long, thin, crystals, and within the Quartz, the crystals look like tiny reddish or golden needles.
** The Rutile inclusions amplify the metaphysical properties of the Quartz. Thus, all of Quartz's properties apply to Rutilated Quartz, only more so.
** This stone is also known as Venus' Hair Stone and Cupid's Darts.
** Rutilated Quartz is a highly energetic stone. It helps energy move freely through the body, and assists mental focus. It is helpful in uncovering the causes of mental hang-ups.
** This stone helps to diminish fears, aid in decision-making, ease loneliness, enhance self-reliance, and reduce guilt. It helps the wearer to improve his or her creativity, to find creative potential and concentrate on personal skills and talents.
** The word "rutile" comes from the Latin rutilus, which means "red."
Not truly a "Stone," I love the scent of this herb, and since we sell Sandalwood products, I felt it deserved some recognition in this section. In doing the research on this, I gained a new appreciation and respect for this rare and threatened wood.
** Sandalwood is a small evergreen tree with yellow to maroon flowers. It lives as a parasite for the first seven or so years of its life. It is native to India, but will also grow in similar climates.
** The essential oil comes from the heartwood deep in the mature tree. It takes about 50-60 years for a tree to be ready for harvest. The tree is harvested by uprooting rather than cutting, because the most fragrant oils are found in the roots. The bark and the flowers have no scent at all.
** At the time of harvest, careful records are kept of every scrap of wood, including the smallest chips and sawdust. Sandalwood is becoming endangered due to careless harvesting, so each harvest is carefully monitored to reduce the likelihood of stealing. (Currently, Australian plantations are growing new groves, but it will be another half-century before these trees are ready for commercial harvest.) Despite all trees in India belonging to the government (including those on private property, for which the owner is entitled to 75% of the tree's value upon harvest), illegal poaching of trees happens regularly. Currently, there is only one Sandalwood producing factory in India that is permitted to export the oil and wood, but this doesn't stop smugglers from exporting it. It is important, when buying Sandalwood, to make sure it was brought to the States legally.
** Sandalwood is thought to have been in use for over 4,000 years. Its fragrance is warm and sensual, unlike any other in the world. It is used extensively in religious ceremonies.
** Used externally, Sandalwood is thought to be good for skin disorders of all types. It moisturizes aging skin, and is used as an astringent. Be warned, however, that allergic reactions can occur in some people, particularly those with very sensitive skin. For this reason, Sandalwood oil should not be used by children or women who are pregnant or nursing.
** Internally, Sandalwood is thought to aid in disorders of the stomach and digestive system. It is useful in treating urinary tract infections, and in reducing fever, especially the fever associated with sunstroke.
** Aromatherapists use the fragrance of Sandalwood in a large variety of situations. It can lift depression, help one to breathe more clearly, and reduce stress. It is used as a sleep aid and an aphrodisiac.
** The Hindi word for the Sandalwood tree is chandan.
** The mineral Corundum is clear and colorless. When it is colored red or deep pink from chemical impurities, it is called Ruby. When it is colored any other color, it is called Sapphire. You can read some general information about Corundum HERE.
** While Sapphires can come in virtually any color other than red, the cornflower blue type is the most highly valued. The blue color comes from impurities of iron and titanium. Sapphires usually show pleochroism, which means that they look different colors when viewed in different lights. Darker-colored Sapphires ore sometimes considered to be "male" stones, while the lighter colors are "female" stones.
** The name Sapphire comes from the Latin sapphirus, which means "blue."
** Crystals healers use Serpentine to treat colic, disorders of the blood and skin, depression, poor hearing, and nosebleeds. Sapphire is thought to promote generosity, good manners, wisdom, noble thoughts, peace between enemies, and protection against fraud and envy. It was once thought to darken with infidelity, so husbands would give them to their wives before leaving on extended journeys. It encourages truth, sincerity, and devotion, and therefore makes a good stone for an engagement ring.
** Traditionally, Sapphires have been associated with royalty. Kings would wear them for protection.
** Ancient Persians believed the earth rested on a Sapphire, and that its color was reflected in the sky.
** Sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September, and is the Fall Gemstone of the Season. Here is where I usually put the anniversaries that the gemstone traditionally covers, but in doing the research on Sapphire, I found lots of conflicting information from one source to another. Suffice it to say, various sources name Sapphire as the official gemstone for the 2nd, 5th, 15th, 23rd, 26th, 30th, 45th, 50th, and 65th anniversaries! I cannot vouch for the accuracy for any one of these, but a few anniversaries that tended to come up more than others were the 5th, 23rd, and 45th. Take it all with a grain of salt!
** Scenic Jasper, more commonly called Picture Jasper, is a member of the Quartz family. It exhibits interesting brown "pictures" of landscapes, trees, animals, plants, and unearthly creatures, on a tan background.
** There are two ways Scenic Jasper gets its pictures. One is when iron oxide seeps into tiny cracks in sandstone. The other is when tiny plants get trapped in the sand during the rock-forming process, where they fossilize forever.
** Scenic Jasper is a major stone for earth consciousness. It promotes a caring for and protection of the earth, and enhances the relationship between humans and nature.
** Crystal healers use Scenic Jasper in problems with the eyes, and it is also used to enhance visualization; to see the "big picture." It is also said to help protect against pain, particularly in childbirth.
** Carved into an Arrowhead, the stone is said to attract good luck.
** Some Native American tribes used Scenic Jasper to bring rain, and called it the "Rain Bringer."
** Jasper in general is sometimes used as a birthstone for October.
** Serpentine is a combination of several minerals in differing concentrations. Thus, there are many different looks to this stone. Antigorite is a dark green color while New Jade (which is not a real jade) is a light green.
** The mineral Serpentine, which colors the rocks used in gems, is rather common. Most rocks that contain some green usually have Serpentine in them.
** The name Serpentine comes from the fact that it often has a scaly appearance like snakeskin.
** Crystals healers use Serpentine to help reduce swelling, and to ease the symptoms of asthma. It is said to improve the milk production when worn by nursing mothers.
** Serpentine is thought to bring happiness, success, friendliness, and independence. It brings respect for the elderly and the wisdom they are able to provide. It is thought to be particularly protective of fathers, and so it makes a good gift for Father's Day.
** Serpentine was highly prized by the Aztecs, who valued all green stones.
** Long ago, Italian witches (streghe) believed that carrying small pebbles of Serpentine would protect you from the bits of animals such as snakes. If the person had already been bitten, the stone was thought to be able to pull the toxins out.
** Silver occurs on its own in nature, or as an ore in host rocks. It is slightly harder than gold, and fairly rare and expensive. It is slightly less valuable than gold, however, due to its tendency to tarnish when in the presence of ozone, hydrogen sulfide, or sulphur.
** Silver has been used since ancient times. There is evidence that humans learned how to separate silver from lead as early as 3,000 B.C. In 700 B.C., silver was first used to make coins. The words for "silver" and "money" are identical in at least 14 languages.
** Besides coins, silver has many other uses. Its most predominant use is in photography. It is also commonly used as a precious metal for jewelry, as an aid in dentistry, and in electronics, among many other things.
** Silver is the best conductor of heat and electricity known. However, due to the high cost of silver, the less-expensive copper is more readily used in electronics.
** The word "silver" comes from the Anglo-Saxon seolfor. Its chemical symbol is Ag, from the Latin argentum.
** Commercial fine silver is 99.9% pure silver. Sterling silver, which is widely used in jewelry, is 92.5% pure silver.
** Silver compounds can be absorbed by the skin and tissues, resulting in a blue or blackish pigmentation called argiria. This can typically be seen in the area on a finger where a ring has sat for many years. While silver is non-toxic, it can cause allergic reactions on the skin.
** In the early 1900s, people would put silver dollars in milk jugs, believing it would keep the milk fresh.
** Please see general information on Quartz HERE.
** Smoky Quartz is named for its color, which is light tan or brown or gray. The color is thought to be the result of chemical impurities in the quartz, but it is also widely believed that the color is due to small amounts of radiation. Natural Smoky Quartz usually occurs in rocks with a small but persistent amount of radioactivity, and the stone is sometimes artificially created by irradiating Clear Quartz to darken it.
** The color of Smoky Quartz is rather rare in the mineral world, as there are only a few other naturally dark brown stones.
** There are three famous types of Smoky Quartz:
~ Cairngoran--A light color that originates in Scotland.
~ Morion--A dark brown or black variety.
~ Coon Tail--A dark and light striped type.
** Smoky Quartz is thought to be a warm, soothing stone, bringing calm and comfort to the wearer. It helps to heal grief, and promotes creativity.
** Smoky Quartz is said to be beneficial to groups, fostering cooperation. (You mothers of young kids out there might try adorning your active children with Smoky Quartz to see if it helps them get along!)
** The energy in Smoky Quartz is more subtle than the energy of Clear Quartz, so the effects of the stone happen gradually.
** This stone carries the anchoring energies of the earth, and is helpful in creating a deeper appreciation of the earth, and a greater concern for the environment.
** Smoky Quartz is the gemstone for the 70th wedding anniversary.
** Please see general information about Obsidian HERE.
** Snowflake Obsidian (also known as Flowering Obsidian) is formed when ashes (called phenocrysts) get caught in the cooling lava and form the white-gray cristobalite that makes the "snowflake" look.
** As the volcano brings the liquid glass to the surface, so does Snowflake Obsidian bring emotions to the surface of the brain. Both positive and negative things are brought to the surface, where the wearer is better able to examine and deal with them.
** Crystal healers use Snowflake Obsidian to transform negative energy into positive energy, so it is a good stone to use at the beginning of a healing session.
** Snowflake Obsidian is said to lessen fear, bad dreams, anxiety, and grief. It helps the wearer become more aware of danger in order to stay safe.
** Known as "Poor Man's Lapis" due to its similarity in color, Sodalite is actually a component of Lapis, but is much less expensive. It comes in all colors of blue, with white Calcite veins.
** Sodalite is thought to help change the wearer's thoughts about himself or herself. It helps the wearer to be less self-critical, be more introspective, and to analyze goals.
** Sodalite is also believed to be a good stone for groups working together, as it forges a sense of solidarity and trust. It aids in communication and in writing.
** Crystal healers use Sodalite to draw out infection, to reduce fever, and to cure insomnia. It shields the wearer from negative energy, and blocks radiation (and thus it is a good stone to keep by a television or computer). It stills the mind, calms the spirit, and relaxes the body, and is a good stone to use in meditation.
** The name "Sodalite" refers to its high Sodium content.
** The stone is relatively rare, with only three known mines in the world.
** This stone has only been known in the gem world for about 150 years, but has been around much longer, as a Ruby impostor! Due to its close chemical composition to Ruby, Spinel has throughout the ages been mistaken for Ruby. Two very large "Rubies" in the British Crown Jewels are actually Spinels.
** Spinel comes in a variety of colors, but red and pink are the most popular. Even though it is not Ruby, it still is a well sought-after gemstone, and its value is rapidly approaching that of Ruby.
** Fine red Spinels can command $500-1,500 per carat.
** The crystals form in well-formed octahedrons. If you look closely at my Spinel Chip Beads, you can see the occasional perfect tiny crystalline octahedron!
** The name "Spinel" is unsure in its origins. Some think the word stems from a word that means "spark" or "point."
** Crystal healers promote Spinel for happy marriages. The stone is thought to set aside the ego to enable to become devoted to someone else. It helps to encourage great passion, and provides longevity. All three of these are helpful for a happy marriage.
** Spinel can be used as a gift for the 22nd Anniversary.
** Even though it is a relatively new discovery, there is still a lot of lore surrounding this stone. A loss of luster is said to warn of danger. It was once thought to protect the wearer from fire. Powdered Spinel was thought to make a potion to detect when others are lying.
** Sugilite is a fairly newly-discovered mineral. It was first found in 1944 by Japanese geologist Kenichi Sugi, after whom the stone was named. It is found in only a few places on earth, and can be found as deep as 3,500 feet under the ground. Because it its depth and difficulty in obtaining, the stone is very expensive.
** Sugilite is light gray purple to deep violet. The darker the color, the more valued the stone. It usually occurs in massive opaque form, though a few transparent crystals have been found. This "Sugilite Gel" is extremely valuable.
** Sugilite is also known as Royal Azel, Luvalite, and Purple Turquoise (though it has no relation to real Turquoise).
** This stone is highly valued by crystal healers. It is thought to be a wonderfully psychic stone. It stimulates the "3rd Eye," which is the energy center in the middle of the forehead, which helps with enhancing inner vision. It protects against "Psychic Vampirism," whereby energy is sapped from a person by others. It works as a "comfort stone" for highly sensitive people, given them security against hostility and other negative emotions. It lessens shock and disappointment, eases severe changes in life, and enhances belief in one's self.
** Sugilite helps the wearer understand the spiritual reasons for lessons or conditions realized on earth. As an example, once believed to be able to cure cancer, now Sugilite is thought to not cure it, but help the wearer figure out why he or she developed the disease, and to help find ways to treat it.
** Crystal healers believe they must "cleanse" this stone periodically by placing it in full sunlight or moonlight for a whole day or night. This removes the spiritual impurities and makes it an excellent stone for meditation.
** Sunstone is a type of feldspar with a metallic glitter caused by tiny Hematite and Goethite platelets. This causes the stone to have a deep, rich shimmer called "schiller." The feldspar crystals form in molten lava and are brought to the earth's surface during volcanic eruptions.
** There are essentially two types of Sunstone. One is found in India, Norway, and certain areas of the US, and the other type is found only in Oregon. My Sunstone Chip Beads are the Oregon type, and they are very rare and hard to obtain. Oregon Sunstone contains small amounts of copper to give them a reddish glitter. The copper causes the schiller to form in snowflakes, stripes, or sheets; thus, every individual stone is quite unique.
** Also called "Heliolite," "Red Labradorite," and "Aventurine Orthoclase," Sunstone is NOT Aventurine. It is often confused with Aventurine, and with the glass stone known as Goldstone, but Goldstone is obviously different, with more uniform sparkles. Sunstone is in the same family as Labradorite, and exhibits a similar sparkle, but warm gold instead of cool blue & green.
** Oregon Natives used the stone for bartering. Canadian Indians used it in medicine rituals to help the spirit guides access the healing power of the sun. Ancient Greeks used it in goblets to prevent poisoning.
** Sunstone is thought to dispel fear and stress. It is thought to increase vitality, originality, independence, and courage. It helps to promote a sunny outlook, and provides clarity in decisions.
** Metaphysical healers use Sunstone to enhance leadership qualities in the wearer.
** Tanzanite is a relatively new gemstone, introduced to the world in 1969 by Tiffany & Co. It was first discovered in 1967, in Tanzania (hence the name). Masai cattle herders were roaming in a place where a lightning storm had caused a recent fire. The brownish crystals that they had occasionally seen in the area were now a brilliant blue. Tanzanite, which usually occurs as a brown crystal, turns vivid blue when treated with heat; thus, nearly all gem-quality Tanzanite has been heat-treated.
** Tanzanite tends to look different colors in different lights. In natural sunlight, it looks purple. By light bulbs and candlelight, it appears more brown. Fluorescent lights and overcast lighting bring out the blue. This gem also exhibits trichroic pleochroism, which means it shows three colors in one stone (bronze, purple, and blue) when viewed from different directions, giving the stone beautiful depth. Heating the stone brings out the blue color, but reduces the pleochroism, so gem-quality blue stones look "flatter" than rough crystals.
** The bluest stones are the most valuable. The purple stones, looking a lot like Amethyst, are not as valuable. Our Tanzanite stones range from Amethyst-purple to light periwinkle, depending on the current supplier.
** Several things contribute to Tanzanite's value and thus its high cost. It is mined in exactly ONE location in the world--the Merelani mine located between the two historic African landmarks, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Olduvai Gorge where anthropologist Louis Leaky found his most famous early human fossils. (Having studied both anthropology and geology in college, Tanzanite is particularly interesting for me.) The hand-mining process is very laborious, which adds to its cost. At one time it was abundant, but then in 1998 floods entered the mine, killing over a hundred miners. Since then, the price has remained very high.
** While beautiful as a gemstone, Tanzanite is fairly soft and brittle, easily scratched and chipped, so great care must be taken to avoid heat and shock when wearing as jewelry.
** Being very new to the gemstone market, crystal healers have not made much claim on Tanzanite, though African lore says it is good for intense, high-strung people who need to slow down and mellow out.
** Tanzanite is the gemstone for the 24th wedding anniversary. In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association added it to the official birthstones list as an alternate birthstone for December.
** Tiger Eye is a compact form of Quartz, with fibrous, parallel inclusions of hornblende. These inclusions catch the light and give Tiger Eye the effect known as chatoyance, the shimmering effect that likens the stone to a Tiger's Eye.
** Crystal healers use Tiger Eye to strengthen bones, aid digestion and cure ulcers, and in healing problems with the eye. It is said to increase night vision.
** Tiger Eye is said to bring wealth, courage, strength, and joy. It is used to lift the spirits; to bring the wearer out of "the blues."
** Tiger Eye is usually golden in color, but also comes in green, blue, black, red, and brown.
** Tiger Eye is traditionally given as a 9th Anniversary present.
** Tiger Eye is known as the Stone of Perception. Its constantly changing appearance reminds us that life is always changing, and the stone helps the wearer to accept change and new directions in life.
** Crystal healers LOVE this stone. Its many colors gives it so many healing applications. Among others, Tourmaline is said to strengthen the skeleton and heart, and balance moods. It is soothing, calming, uplifting. Old lore says it was worn as protection from danger. Tourmaline is said to be a favorite to encourage artistic expression--it has many colors and expresses every mood. Watermelon Tourmaline is said to be a good stone for married couples: the pink balances female energy, and the green balances male energy.
** Watermelon Tourmaline is a crystal that is green on the outside and pink on the inside. The pink color comes from the mineral rubilite, and the green comes from verdelite. When the crystal first begins to grow, it is heavy in rubilite, and later on, the crystal faces chemical changes which turns it into verdelite, thus completing the growth of the crystal in green.
** The word Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word tourmali, meaning "mixed."
** Tourmaline is often used in electrical applications because it creates an electrical charge when put under pressure. The electric charge is sometimes so great that you can see a tourmaline stone collecting dust and ashes. Long ago, people used Tourmalines to clean out stove pipes!
** Tourmaline is a birthstone for October, and is a traditional gift for the 8th wedding anniversary.
** My own preference for Tourmaline came when I was a child. I loved looking at the picture of a beautiful red/green/yellow tourmaline gem in a book. Soon after I saw this, my mom made some Jell-o salad, where she layered lime, cherry, and lemon and then cut the result into cubes. I thought the cubes looked exactly like the gem in the book, and after that I called Tourmaline "The Jell-o Stone."
** Tourmaline is one of my most precious bead finds. It is very expensive, and I looked for a long time for some beads that were affordable. When I found them, I bought a very large number. My beads are very small, so the individual colors are not clearly noticeable, but when you pour the bag out and examine them closely, you can see the fabulous reds and greens, blues, yellows, and all sorts of colors among them. I recommend a bag for everyone!
** Turquoise gets its characteristic sky-blue color from a large amount of copper in the stone.
** Turquoise is considered a "lucky" stone in many cultures. In Native American cultures, it is thought to bring the energy of the sky down to earth.
** Turquoise helps the wearer to stay centered and "at home" in any environment. It is said to bring wisdom, understanding, trust, and kindness. It helps initiate romance, and this makes it a good stone to give to a new love.
** Turquoise draws negative vibrations from the body. When placed at the feet or in a sock, the stone draws the negative energy out of the body and returns it to the ground.
** The name comes from the French turquoise, meaning "Turkey." The best Turquoise is found mainly in Iran and Turkey.
** Old myths: Turquoise is used to gain wealth, to protect from environmental pollutants, and it changes color when the wearer is in danger.
** It is common to see saddles and bridles decorated in Turquoise. This stems from an old belief that the stone will protect horse and rider from injury. When both rider and horse wear Turquoise, the stone will absorb the injury during a fall.
** Turquoise is the official birthstone for December, and is the 11th anniversary stone.
** Turitella (also known as Turritella with two Rs) is composed of fossils embedded in a limestone matrix. The fossils consist mainly of snails and crinoids.
** This stone is also sometimes known commercially as Fossil Agate, Fossil Stone, or Fossil Limestone.
** This is a very soft stone, prone to chipping and shattering, and should be treated with care.
** Turitella is rich in lore and metaphysical belief. Fossils traditionally are thought to extend the life of the wearer; thus Turitella is said to bring longevity. Fossils also have traditionally been used to strengthen bones and teeth.
** The stone is worn to help overcome fears and insecurities. It aids in easing domestic relations and group interaction. It is also thought to help soften a strong ego.
** The hard fossils in a soft stone are thought to help the wearer combine old and new; to make transitions easier.
** Turitella has a special significance for me. When I was in college, I became friends with a certain Earth Science professor. When he discovered that I was an artist, he asked me to illustrate a scientific paper for him. The task included taking fossils of a prehistoric animal called crinoid, which would die with their branch-like armlets tightly closed (much in the same way a spider tightly curls its legs after dying), and envision and illustrate the creature as it would have looked alive. The job took a good degree of paleontology knowledge, imagination, and artistic skill, and at that time, I was the only person in the entire St. Louis metro area to fit that requirement. Thus, my original job led to quite a few other jobs, often very lucrative (one commission paid $200 an hour), and my illustrations appeared in several different published papers and paleontology textbooks. For your enjoyment, I have scanned some of these early illustrations and placed them on a website for all of you to see by CLICKING HERE.
** Unakite is a relatively new stone for jewelry. It is composed of olive-green epidote and pink feldspar, which give it its distinctive green-pink mottling.
** Crystal healers use Unakite in the treatment of the reproductive system. It is said to be a good stone for pregnant women to wear, as it facilitates a healthy pregnancy and good health for the unborn.
** Unakite is also associated with balancing emotions to help the wearer deal with issues from the past and help to live in the present. It removes the emotional blocks that keep the wearer from moving forward.
** Other health treatments include aid in gaining weight, and in the diagnosis of elusive illnesses.
** Unakite is named for the Unaka Range in South Carolina, where it was first discovered.
** Unakite is said to be helpful in gardening!
** Variscite is a rare stone with a bright green color. It is often confused with Turquoise, but it is not related to Turquoise.
** The name "Variscite" comes from Variscia, which is the old Latin name for Vogtland, Germany, where the stone was first found. Of personal interest to me, Variscite is occasionally found in Fairfield, Utah (very near Salt Lake City, where I used to live), and one of its alternative names is Utahlite.
** Variscite is an excellent calming stone. Known as one of the true "worry stones," it eases fear, tension, anxiety, and stress. It encourages truthfulness, courage, and hope. It is a good stone to be used by anyone who works with the elderly or sick, as it promotes inner strength and the ability to deal well with the stress of caring for others.
** Physically, Variscite is thought to be good in disorders of the nervous system, blood flow, and male reproductive system. It helps to aid concentration, and fights chronic fatigue.
WILD HORSE JASPER
(Please see general information on Jasper HERE.)
** Wild Horse is the name given to a type of Jasper that exhibits the spotted patterns of a pinto pony.
** There is another stone called Wild Horse Picture Jasper (note that "picture" in there), which is a type of Owyhee Jasper from Oregon and Idaho. The stone we are talking about today, however, is found ONLY in one mine in Arizona. Its rarity is what makes it so expensive, as there is only one source for it in the world.
** Wild Horse is a rather new stone, discovered in the 90s near that Globe copper mine in the Gila wilderness area in southern Arizona.
** It is sometimes called Wild Horse Turquoise, though it is not Turquoise.
** The word Jasper means "spotted stone" in Greek, yet Zebra Jasper is striped. It is usually a light gray or dull green with dark gray to black stripes.
** This stone is also known as Zebra Stone, Zebra Marble, Zebra Rock, and even Zebra Agate (though it is not an agate).
** Mystics believe that the light stripes inspire faith, joy, and optimism, while the dark stripes inspire endurance, confidence, and strength.
** Crystal healers like Zebra Jasper for its ability to ease depression and anxiety, and steady mood swings. Physically, it is said to stimulate energy and provide stamina and endurance. It helps the wearer to complete projects that require a lot of concentration and focus.
AGATE VS. JASPER
** Agates and Jaspers are both a type of microcrystalline Quartz called Chalcedony. (The Chalcedony group also contains Onyx and Carnelian.)
** While many people believe that the color or pattern alone determines what the stone is called, the main difference between the two is a structural difference on a microscopic level. Agates contain microscopic FIBERS of crystalline Quartz, while Jaspers contain microscopic GRAINS of crystalline Quartz. Thus, Agates are often transparent and Jaspers are usually opaque. The fibers in Agate may work like the fibers in fiber optic bundles, transmitting light and therefore making them transparent. The grains in Jasper may serve to scatter the light, thus making them opaque.
** Jasper can be thought of as "dirty Chalcedony," since it is dense with earthy or clayey matter. Jasper can be any color or many colors, based on the chemical impurities.
** Agate most commonly occurs as the cavity fillings (nodules) inside geodes. It grows in consecutive layers, so Agates are usually striped. The bands are sometimes perfectly parallel, or they can be twisting and uneven.
** Agates can be easily dyed to give them brilliant color, but Jaspers are so dense it is difficult to dye them.
** Agates in general are an unofficial birthstone for June, and the stone for the 12th anniversary.
** Many rocks contain both Jasper and Agate. They are called Jasp-Agates or Jagates. Crazy Lace Agate, which is opaque with some transparent parts to it, is technically a Jagate.
** Most rocks sold today as Agates are actually Jaspers. People tend to prefer the sound of the word "Agate" to "Jasper," and jewelers know this, so they fudge a bit and call many Jaspers Agates. When you have a stone with stripes, especially if they are transparent, it is pretty safe to call it an Agate. If you have an "Agate" that completely lacks stripes OR any sort of transparency, it is probably a Jasper.
** Many of these stones (both Agate and Jasper) have highly localized names, and the supply isn't always ongoing. This means that you may hear of a certain Jasper or Agate for a year or two, then it will fall off the market due to its depletion.
THE PAIN OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
Now I know how real authors feel.
Every so often, I do a search for "Ephemerala" to see on what other sites my store name is popping up. I recently found several website owners who have taken the information from my Stone Fun Facts page and reprinted it on their own sites and/or eBay listings, with no acknowledgement to me.
Now, some of you may recall my rant about cutting and pasting information. In a nutshell, I intensely dislike the practice of creating "information" pages where all that the site owner has done is copy and paste information he or she found on another site. I find this all the time while looking up info on the gems for the Stone Fun Facts pages. Now I have found I am a victim of this sort of mindless theft. Several people have copied my copyrighted information and pasted it onto their sites and listings. And to make things worse, several didn't bother to proofread, as some pages contain lines like "Learn more about agate here..." just plain with no link to show you where "here" is, or, "You can only find these stones here at Ephemerala," when the site is NOT Ephemerala and there is no information as to what Ephemerala might be! Can you imagine someone coming to these sites and getting frustrated by these teasers?
I wrote to the owners of a couple of the sites, saying that I was fine with their reprinting the info, but to please provide acknowledgement and a link to my site. One eventually gave me acknowledgement, but failed to provide a link. Another one agreed to do it, but after three weeks still has not.
It seems like such a small issue, but I can't express how disappointed I am about this. It's bad enough to find this sort of nonsense all over the web when you are trying to find information, but to actually be a part of it against my will is very dispiriting. I spend a good amount of time researching the stones, collecting information, compiling it, and putting it down in logical and easy to understand paragraphs, because I care about giving people fresh information, and to see that work so blatantly stolen from my site really irks me.
As always, I assure everyone here that the info you will find on the Stone Fun Facts page is 100% my own writing. If you ever find anyone else talking about how you can get this stone "here at Ephemerala," or find phrases that ring strangely familiar, just remember who did the legwork.