A gemstone or semi-precious stone is a piece of mineral, when cut or polished that is used to make jewelry. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals may be used in jewelry because it gives the gem a shiny coating.
One ancient gemstone is Jasper. It is mentioned in the Bible as a stone from the breastplate of Aaron. The Greeks believed that a piece of jasper tied to a woman’s thigh would ease the pain of childbirth. It was also known to be a great rainmaker in the fourth century.
Jasper can be various colors, but is usually brick red to brownish red. This color comes chiefly from admixed hematite, but if the hematite is mixed with clay, the color is a yellowish white or gray. It has a hard surface like quartz.
Jasper is usually worn as beads or cabochon jewelry, and is usually not expensive. Clean your jasper jewelry with a clean dry cloth, as water can wash away the polish on the stone.
Turquoise started being used before 4000 BC. The ancient Egyptians used turquoise as an important ornamental mineral for jewelry. Native Americans used it to adorn their ceremonial dress, and the Egyptian Pharaohs wore it around their necks. Turquoise was transported to Europe through Turkey.
Mystical powers have been attributed to turquoise. Turquoise is thought to bring happiness and good fortune to all who wear it, as well as warning the wearer of impending illness by changing colors.
The color of turquoise can range from a sky blue to various shades of green, and can even be a yellowish gray. This gem is composed of turquoise, hydrated copper, and aluminum phosphate. The finest stone is an even blue, green, or blue-green color without mottling
Avoid hot water and chemicals when wearing turquoise. The stone’s luster and color tend to deteriorate with exposure to sun and heat.
The bands of a tiger eye resemble the eyes of a tiger, hence the similarity of the name. Tiger eye, also called tiger’s-eye, has rich yellow and golden brown stripes, with a fine golden shine when polished.
Roman soldiers wore tiger eye for protection. Tiger eye is also thought to have healing ability in the presence of high blood pressure, heart disease, and psoriasis.
Tiger eye is made of quartz that contains oriented fibers of crocidolite that have been replaced by silica. Pendants and beads that are made of tiger eye are very popular.
Avoid large temperature changes when wearing tiger eye, and avoid scratches and sharp blows.
Amber’s color is usually a honey brown, but can range from yellow to red or from green to blue. Some varieties are cloudy, but the best commercial amber is transparent. Insects, pieces of earth, pine needles, plants, and animal fossils can all be present in amber.
Made of fossilized tree resin from now extinct conifer trees and ancient pine trees, amber has a greasy to resinous luster. To be called amber, the resin must be several million years old.
The use of amber dates back to the Stone Age and may be the oldest substance used for human adornment. Beads and pendants of amber were found in North European gravesites dating back to 8000 B.C.E.
Amber is thought to have healing abilities concerning eyes, glandular swellings of the heart and lungs, and balancing the endocrine and digestive network.
You may remember amber from the book and movie, Jurassic Park. The movie and book promoted the idea that amber contained an ancient mosquito that might be the key to recreating dinosaurs. Blood was removed from the gut of the mosquito, which had fed on a dinosaur just before being trapped in tree resin, which later became amber.
Amber is used in the manufacture of beads, amulets, and other small ornamental objects. It is also used in cigar and cigarette holders. Be wary of amber imitations such as plastic, glass, and synthetic resin.
Since amber is soft, it is easily scratched, and it’s best to keep it separate from your other jewelry.