Knowing the basic properties of some of the more familiar gemstones is important before deciding what gemstone to have in your special piece of jewellery. We have tried to lay out a few points on some of the more popular choices to help you in your decision.
Diamonds are a very popular choice and justifiably so, they are incredibly hard wearing so will withstand years of wear without looking very different from the day they were cut. This makes them a symbolically good choice, representing longevity in a relationship.
Rubies are also a good choice to be used in any type of jewellery, as they too are hard wearing (though not quite to the same degree as diamonds). Rubies are usually thought of as blood red, although come in many different shades of pink-which can add a femininity to your jewellery. Rubies are said to go dull to warn the wearer of impending danger.
Emeralds are very soft stones, and are best suited to use in necklaces and earrings. If you have your heart set on an emerald ring then it is best to have it as a dress ring, only to be worn on special occasions. Emeralds are also very sensitive to heat and chemicals, so it is best to avoid wearing them when you wash your hands or are in the bath! Emeralds should be cleaned with a baby's tooth brush and luke warm water (though do not soak). If you would like a piece of jewellery with a green gemstone that is more hard wearing it is worth considering green tourmalines and peridots.
Sapphires, like rubies, are very hard wearing so are suitable for use in all types of jewellery and for everyday wear. Sapphires are best known in their royal blue form, but are actually very diverse, it is possible to get all shades of blue, through to green, yellow, pink and lilac.
Aquamarines come in all the colours of the sea and are often refered to as ‘mermaids treasure’. If looked after properly aquamarines can be used in all types of jewellery, including engagement rings. However, if you are wanting something that never has to leave your finger, aquamarine is not for you. Aquamarines must be taken off before any kind of manual work as they are prone to chipping, they do not like chemicals or extreme changes in heat, so must be taken off before washing up or swimming. Aquamarines can also sometimes lose their colour or dull slightly when exposed to too much sunlight. If you are wanting the colour of an aquamarine it is also worth considering topaz and light blue sapphires.
Topaz is a reasonable choice for all types of jewellery including engagement rings. They are hardwearing and resistant to heat though can chip if knocked. Most topaz is dyed ‘Sky Blue’ or ‘London Blue’ and it is yellow or orange in its natural state. To clean your topaz jewellery it is best to use a baby's tooth brush and some mild washing up liquid in warm water.
Amethyst comes in all shades of purple - the deeper the colour the more valuable the stone. Amethyst is suitable in all types of jewellery, though care should be taken not to expose the stone to too much sunlight as they can dull slightly.
Opals are very temperamental stones and have to be treated VERY carefully if used in jewellery. Opal needs to be set in a loose setting to allow them to expand and contract, so that they do not crack. Opals are very sensitive to changes in temperature and light and moisture content of their environment. Some opals are known also to fracture for no apparent reason even when looked after perfectly. Some even believe wearing opals encourages misfortune! If you are set on having a piece of opal jewellery extreme care must be taken in all activities. Their beauty is rewarding and we find their temperamental nature adds to their character!
Using birthstones, and stones said to carry certain properties can help to add a real personal touch to your jewellery. Below are the generally agreed lists of birthstones and their corresponding month, and properties believed to be associated with some of the more infamous gemstones...
Traditionally, wearing your birthstone is thought to bring you good fortune and luck.
Gemlore- percieved qualities
Amber: Soothing, calming, cleansing.
Amethyst: Contentment, spirituality, dreams, healing, peace, happiness, love, intuition.
Aquamarine: Courage, purification, peace, intuition, self-expression, balance, preparedness.
Citrine: Intuition, comfort, protection, creativity, physical energy, wealth, mental awakening.
Diamond: Courage, strength, healing, protection, spirituality, mental abilities.
Emerald: Love, domestic bliss, sensitivity, loyalty, memory, mental capacity, harmony, focus, eliminating negativity.
Garnet: Health, removing negativity, awareness, commitment, regeneration, order, insight.
Iolite: Intuition, spiritual growth, healing, balance, releasing discord, awakening to inner knowledge.
Opal: Creativity, spontaneity, relationships, memory, happy dreams and changes.
Pearl: Purity, faith, charity, innocence, integrity, focus, wisdom, spirituality, sincerity, fertility.
Peridot: Warmth, friendliness, understanding, openness in love and relationships, regulation of cycles.
Ruby: Nurturing, spiritual wisdom, attainment of values, economic stability, protection from distress.
Sapphire: Joy, peace, beauty, intuition, prosperity, fulfillment of dreams.
Tanzanite: Communication, intuition, protection, symmetry, decision-making, spirituality.
Topaz: True love, success in endeavors, understanding of interrelationships, expression of ideas, trust, health, personal expansion and growth.
Tourmaline: Energizing, soul-searching, releasing.