The name garnet is derived from the Latin word “Granum” meaning grain. This refers to the typically rounded shape of garnet and also
reminds us of the seeds of a pomegranate. Garnets are red, green (Tzavorite), pale to bright yellow, fiery orange (Mandarin Garnet), and fine earth and
umbra-shades. Garnets are said to protect against evil and bring faith.
The finest garnets come from African countries, Russia, Central and South America. Garnets are hard and have a very robust structure.
The value of garnets is measured on their rarity, intensity of colour, brilliance and size.
The amethyst name is derived from the Greek word “amethystos” meaning “not drunken” as it was believed to be an antidote for drunkenness in the Middle Ages. It is also considered the stone of royalty and plenty. Amethysts are said to symbolise sobriety, clarity of mind and royalty. The colour of amethysts is purple.
In addition to being the February birthstone, the amethyst is also the symbol of the 33rd wedding anniversary.
The finest amethysts are mined in South America and Africa. Joan Crawford, the American actress, owned a 75 carat amethyst ring. Amethysts are hard and have a very robust structure.
The value of amethysts is measured on their rarity, intensity of colour, brilliance and size of stone.
The aquamarine is derived from the Latin term “aqua” meaning water. Aquamarines are said to inspire sympathy, trust, harmony, spirituality and tranquillity. Aquamarines are found in all shades of light blue – the colour of the heavens (divine) and water (life).
In addition to being the March birthstone, the aquamarine is also the symbol of the 19th wedding anniversary.
The finest aquamarines are sourced from Brazil and Mozambique. One of the most famous aquamarines is the “Dom Pedro”. It weighs 26 kg and was cut in 1992 by the gemstone artist, Bernd Munsteiner.
Aquamarines are generally inclusion free as they have a robust structure.
The name “diamond” comes from the ancient Greek word “adamas” which means invincible. Diamonds have been valued for their beauty for thousands of years. It is the hardest mineral on earth and this combined with its exceptional lustre and brilliant fire has made it the most highly prized of all gems.
Pure and colourless diamonds are the most popular, but other varieties such as yellow, green, pink, red, blue and black are also found, their colour determined by the impurities present in the stone.
South Africa, Angola, Australia, Congo and Russia are the sources of the finest quality diamonds. The Cullinan Diamond, which is part of the British crown jewels, was the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. The most expensive diamond was the 100-carat pear shaped flawless diamond sold to a Saudi Arabian sheikh by Sothebys for over $16 million.
Inclusions do diminish the value of the stones. The value of diamonds is affected by their clarity, cut, colour and size.
The word emerald is derived from the French word ” esmeraude” which simply means ” green gemstone”.
Colombia, Zambia, Brazil and Zimbabwe are the sources of the finest quality emeralds. One of the most famous emeralds, the Mogul Emerald (circa 1695) weighs 217.80 carats. It fetched 2.2 million US dollars at an auction at Christie’s of London.
Fine inclusions do not diminish the value of the stones. In fact an emerald of deep, vivid green with inclusions will be valued higher than an inclusion-free stone of paler colour and is considered an identifying characteristic of a naturally grown emerald.
Pearls are formed in shellfish – especially oysters and mussels – as a natural defence against an irritant, such as a piece of grit. Layers of aragonite, known as nacre, are secreted around the irritant. These gradually build up to form a solid pearl.
Light which reflects from the overlapping layers produces a characteristic iridescent lustre, which is known as the “orient of pearl.” In cultured pearls an irritant is introduced to initiate the formation of the pearl.
Pearls are cultured and mined in Australia, Burma, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, United States of America and Japan. Natural pearls have become extremely rare and are sought after and priceless.
Pearls vary in colour from white, white with a hint of colour, to brown or black, depending on the type of mollusc and the water.
The word ruby is derived from the Latin word “Rubens” meaning red. In the Sanskrit language a ruby is called “Ratnaraj”, which translates to “King of Gemstones.”
The finest rubies are mined in Burma/ Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Kashmir. The most famous ruby was is a 167 carat ruby named the Edwardes Ruby. It was named in honour of Major General Sir Herbert Benjamin Edwardes who served the British in India.
Fine rubies are relatively scarce in sizes above 3 carats. Inclusions do not affect the quality of a ruby, unless they decrease the transparency or “life” of the stone. (ie: the vibrancy of the ruby) The rarity, intensity of colour, brilliance, “life” and size of the stone influence the value of a ruby.
The name peridot is derived from the Greek word “Peridona” which when translated, means “giving plenty”. A peridot is said to drive away evil spirits and to bring life. The colour of the stones can vary from yellow green to bottle green.
The finest peridots come from Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Large peridots which are more than 200 carats in size, adorn the shrine of the three magi at the Cologne Cathedral.
Peridots are difficult to re-cut, but they are robust and excellent for daily wear. The value of the stones, is determined by the rarity, intensity of colour, brilliance and size of the stone.
The name sapphire is derived from the Hebrew word “Shaddai” which means “ The Almighty”. Sapphires can be blue, yellow, pink, orange, purple, green and white. The blue stones are said to inspire harmony, friendship, loyalty, composure, trust and faithfulness. The pink stones are feminine, fun and inspire love.
Sapphires are not only the September birthstone, but are also the symbol of the 45th wedding anniversary.
The finest sapphires originate from India, Burma and Ceylon. The most famous sapphires are the 543-carat “Star of India” and the 330-carat “Star of Asia“.
Inclusions do not affect the quality of a sapphire unless they decrease the transparency of the stone. The value of sapphires is determined by rarity, intensity of colour brilliance and the size of the stone.
The name tourmaline is derived from the Singhalese expression “turamali” which translates as “stone of mixed colours”. Tourmalines come in every possible colour and are often multi-coloured. They symbolise love, friendship, permanence and stability.
Tourmalines are not only the October birthstone, but are also the symbol of the 38th wedding anniversary.
The finest come from South America, Madagascar and Africa. They have a hard and robust structure.
The value of tourmalines is determined by rarity, intensity of colour, brilliance and the size of the stone.
The name Topaz is derived from the Greek word “Topazos” which is the ancient name for St John’s Island in the Red Sea, or from the Sanskrit “Tapas” meaning fire. Topaz stones are found in a rainbow of colours. The stones are said to inspire good health and a long life.
The finest topaz stones come from Brazil, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Russia. They have a very robust structure.
The most famous topaz is the “Braganza” which is set in the Portuguese royal crown.
Topazes usually are inclusion free as a result of their very robust structure. The value of topaz stones is determined by rarity, intensity of colour, brilliance and the size of the stone.
The name of the Tanzanite is derived from its birthplace – Tanzania. Tanzanite stones range from a pale violet to an intense royal purplish – blue colour. The stones symbolise rarity, royalty and opulence.
Tanzanite stones are only found in the Merelani Hills in Tanzania. They are quite soft and not robust.
The most famous tanzanite is the 16 839 – carat, Mawenzi, which weighed over 3kg as an uncut stone.
Inclusions are not common and do not often affect the colour and beauty of the stone. The value of a tanzanite is measured on its rarity, intensity of colour, brilliance and size.
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