This page covers all gemstone names, colors, with gemstone pictures and meanings. You won’t find a more comprehensive guide to all of the types of gemstones than you will right here at our luxury jewelry guide.
Gemstones by Name With Pictures
A version of chrysoberyl, Alexandrite is best known as being one of the birthstones for the month of June. While pearl is the most popular June birthstone, Alexandrite is the second most popular and is followed by moonstone. Alexandrite is in great demand and very rare, so lab-grown versions of it have been made at an affordable price. Known for its color-changing effects, it appears to be green to green-blue most of the time. It can also appear to be red to purple-red if it is placed under incandescent light.
This gem was originally named after the Amazon River and was called “Amazon stone”. Since it was never found near the Amazon River, it was given a more scientific name. Used mainly for tumbled stones and making cabochons for use in crafts, amazonite is not often used in fine jewelry as a gemstone. Amazonite belongs to the feldspar group and is a colored variety of microcline that has a green-blue to blue-green color along with inclusions of white quartz or feldspar. It often has streaks as well, adding an interesting effect.
Known best for being February’s birthstone, the amethyst is also well-known for being the world’s most popular purple gemstone. Amethyst is the purple version of quartz and comes in all shades of purple, including some reddish-purple. They are very durable, making them an excellent gemstone choice for jewelry. They are also quite affordable, causing them to be in great demand. Most geodes that have purple gems inside are comprised of amethyst.
Citrine and amethyst come together in a quartz crystal to make this stunning gemstone called ametrine. Both yellow and purple will be present in ametrine, and oftentimes the yellow appears to be more yellow-orange. Depending on how the gem is cut, the colors may blend some or they may have a clear division between them. While finding ametrine is nature is rare, a mine in Bolivia produces it commercially at a low cost. Each piece of ametrine is unique due to color blending, and it can be used in all types of jewelry.
Made from the shell material found in ammonite fossils, ammolite is a rare, organic gemstone. It is striking with its bright flash of color that is comparable to labradorite and opal. Ammolite is very thin on its own, so it is often coupled with a backing piece made of shale and a transparent cover made of spinel or clear quartz. The triplet is now sturdy enough to be used in all types of jewelry.
This metamorphic mineral is an excellent choice for creating cabochons and faceted gems with its gem-quality pieces. It can be found in olive green, white or green, but it is most often found in a beautiful red-brown color. Depending on how it is cut as well as the direction it is viewed from, it can appear to have different colors. When graphite is present and creates a cross-shaped feature of black lines, it is known as chiastolite.
Used mainly for cabochons and tumbled stones, anyolite can also be used for making ornamental objects and small sculptures as well. It is comprised mostly of green zoisite, but it is the addition of red ruby crystals that makes it so attractive. The green and red, are sometimes accompanied by black crystals as well.
This phosphate mineral is transparent and comes in beautiful shades of blue, violet, pink, brown, green, yellow and also a colorless variety. It can be used for pendants or earrings that do not receive a lot of wear when it is cut into faceted gemstones. It is not recommended for rings or bracelets since it only has a hardness of five. Apatite is known for being a collector’s gem more so than being a jewelry gem.
Aquamarine may best be known as March’s primary birthstone. Hailing from the mineral beryl, it comes in a beautiful blue to greenish-blue color. The most sought after versions of aquamarine are rich in blue color, which are rare and valuable. The saturation range of aquamarine goes from clear to vibrant. It makes an excellent choice for use in all types of jewelry because of its hardness level and durability.
This variety of translucent quartz is known for producing the aventurescence, an effect that occurs from light reflecting from the grains as it enters the stone, producing a flash. It most often occurs as green in color, but it is in high demand because it can also be found in shades of white, gray, blue, yellow, green, red, orange and pink. Aventurine is filled with tiny reflective inclusions in colors of silver, gray, orange, brown, red, yellow, pink, or purple. With so many colors and variations of inclusions, it is not surprising that Aventurine is a very popular gemstone for jewelry. Also, it is perfect for all types of jewelry because of its hardness.
Azurite is a rare dark blue mineral that is sought after for its striking color which is often compared to evening skies in the desert or wintry landscapes. Because it is low on the hardness scale, azurite works best in jewelry when cut into cabochons that do not get a lot of wear. They are perfect for earrings, brooches and pendants. Azurite occurs in nature most commonly near malachite. Sometimes they combine into one gemstone together and are referred to azurmalachite.
This stunning blue and green gem, also known as bluebird, occurs when azurite and malachite form together. Azurmalachite can have a prominent green colored background with green additions, or it can have a prominent blue background with concentric patterns and green bands of color. It is known for its striking pattern of color and is in high demand among gem collectors. It has a low hardness, so it is often treated with resins to make it more durable for use in jewelry. Azurmalachite is also a popular choice in the creation of small ornamental decorations.
Found all over the world in igneous and metamorphic rock, beryl is a silicate mineral that is known for being available in a wide variety of colors and being named something different for each color. Some of the most popular gemstones that we call by other names are colored versions of beryl. For example, emeralds are the green version of beryl, and aquamarine is the blue to blue-green version of beryl. Gemstones made of beryl also come in the colors red, orange, yellow, pink, green and colorless. Rating high on the hardness scale, beryl is an excellent choice for faceted gemstones to be used in any type of jewelry.
This extremely rare barium titanium mineral is best known for being California’s official state gemstone. Benitoite is most often found in shades of blue and is sometimes mistaken for its sapphire look-alike, though it can range from colorless to a deep blue-violet. If it is treated with heat, it can turn to orange as well. It is used in all types of jewelry, but it is difficult to find in jewelry because of its rarity.
While bloodstone is best known as March’s secondary birthstone, it has also been popularized as an excellent choice for use in men’s jewelry. This is largely attributed to the color. Bloodstone is a member of the chalcedony family of quartz that has a dark green color with splatters of red. It often also has dots or bands of other colors including orange, yellow, brown or white.
These extremely valuable and rare diamonds are diamonds that are naturally blue. They are sought after because of their high clarity as well as their rare color. The Hope Diamond is the most famous of all blue diamonds, and it can be found on display in the National Museum of Natural History in the Smithsonian Institution. Some blue diamonds are not true blue diamonds because they are not natural and are made by either treating clear diamonds to look blue or by growing them in a lab. These are not nearly as valuable, but they are much more affordable.
Sometimes thin strands or small patches of precious opal can be found in the layers of rocks and are too small to extract to be used on their own, but they are also large enough to be seen and add beauty to the rock. When this occurs, the rock is cut in a way that showcases the opal and is called boulder opal. The striking juxtaposition of the precious opal and the rock create a unique piece every time. Because the boulder opal’s beauty largely depends on how it is cut, it is sought after by many artisans.
A popular choice for men’s diamond jewelry, the brown diamonds are very affordable. They were once considered to be worthy only of being used as an abrasive, but today they are recognized for their true beauty and are used as gemstones. Brown diamonds can often have hues of orange, yellow or red which give the brown diamond a bit more visual appeal. As with any diamond, they are perfect for all types of jewelry.
Cat’s Eye Opal
Some opals exhibit an optical phenomenon known as chatoyance. This can occur in a stone that is cut into a cabochon when a line of light is reflected just underneath the surface, causing it to have the appearance of a cat’s eye. Cat’s eye opals are most often found in shades of orange, brown and yellow.
Charoite is a relatively new gem as it was only discovered in 1978. It is a rare silicate mineral that can vary from light lavender to a deep, vibrant purple color. Charoite also has gorgeous swirls, spotted flecks and bands running through it, so each speciman is unique.
With its high rating on the hardness scale, chrysoberyl is a popular gemstone that is an excellent choice for all types of jewelry. It is found in a range of hues of yellow to green and comes in both transparent and translucent varieties. Transparent stones are cut into faceted gemstones while the translucent stones are cut into cabochons. The cabochons produce a cat’s eye effect because there are many parallel, fibrous inclusions in chrysoberyl.
Translucent specimens of chalcedony that range in hues from yellow-green to green are named chrysoprase. These beautiful gemstones usually appear greener than yellow which can be attributed to traces of nickel. While most pieces are cut into cabochons, remarkable specimens are cut into faceted gemstones. Supplies of chrysoprase are limited now but were very popular in Europe in the 1700s and date back much further. Chrysoprase has been found in ancient Greek and Roman artifacts.
Citrine is best known as the secondary birthstone for November. It is a form of amethyst that has been modified by heat. The heating process can be done in nature, but humans also purposefully heat amethyst to make citrine. The process changes the color to a range of yellow hues including gold, yellow-orange and sometimes yellow-green.
Without the flashes of color that precious opals have, most common opals are rather plain in appearance. Some common opals have spectacular patterns or rich colors. They come mainly in pastel colors ranging in shades of pink, blue, green and purple. Some white is usually present in streaks or flecks of color. The common opal is not well-known, therefore it is not in high demand and is very affordable.
The silicate mineral that is found in igneous and metamorphic rock that is blue to violet in color is called cordierite by geologists. Specimens that are gem-quality and transparent are referred to iolite by jewelers. Even though geologists and jewelers call it by a different name, one thing is certain. Cordierite is a great choice for all types of jewelry due to its hardness and its sapphire look-a-like quality.
Diamonds are best known as the most popular choice of gemstone in engagement and wedding rings, but they are also April’s birthstone. Diamonds are rare minerals that are composed of carbon and are the hardest naturally occurring substance. Diamonds are most commonly sold as clear specimens, but some diamonds do have color and range in hues of red, brown, yellow, green and blue. Synthetic diamonds are also available, but their value is relatively small compared to natural diamonds.
This fun novelty gem is made up of petrified bone whose cell walls were replaced entirely by chalcedony, and whose cell cavities have been completely filled in. Some popular uses of dinosaur bone are cuff links and rings, and it is popular in men’s jewelry. It is available in many colors such as brown, black, orange, green, yellow and red. There are variations in color between the walls and cells, so each piece is unique.
This magnesium calcium silicate mineral occurs all over the world in metamorphic and igneous rocks. The most popular color choice is a rich green that is caused by traces of chromium. The gem-quality specimens are compared to emeralds and are often cut into faceted gemstones for jewelry. Diopsides are available in shades of white to gray, light blue to purple, brown to black and light green to vivid green.
Known for their colorful bands and nodules, dryhead agates are considered to be one of the most beautiful agates. A dark brown matrix is often contrasted with gorgeous bands of white, orange, brown, pink and red. Dryhead agates are rare and very valuable because they are only found in one part of Montana. Also, it is known that there are very few dryhead agates that have not yet been mined.
Emeralds are probably best known for being the birthstone for May. They are the deep green variety of the mineral beryl. While deep green is the most common color, they can range in color from yellowish-green to bluish-green as well. Emeralds rank high on the hardness scale and are perfect for all types of jewelry. Emeralds, along with sapphires and rubies, are referred to as the “big three” in the industry because their total revenue is more than all of the other gemstones combined.
Sapphires that are not blue are called fancy sapphires. The mineral corundum also produces gems in the colors red, pink, yellow, purple, green and orange. The red ones are referred to as rubies, but all of the rest are usually referred to as their color name along with the word sapphire. Fancy sapphires make excellent choices for all jewelry.
Related Reading: Check out our guide to fancy color diamonds.
Brown agates that have striking iridescent flashes of yellow, green, orange and red are known as fire agates. When light enters the stone, beautiful flashes of color are set off. Fire agate is a rare gem used mainly by skilled artisans who craft jewelry settings specifically to accommodate the fire agate’s unique qualities.
Opals with a bright background color of orange, yellow or red are called fire opals. Common fire opals do not have the color flashes that precious opals do, but ones that do are referred to as precious fire opals. These come in both transparent varieties that are cut into faceted stones and translucent varieties that are cut into cabochons.
Fluorite, also called fluorspar, is a mineral used in a wide variety of metallurgical, ceramic and chemical processes. Some specimens with exceptional color are used to make ornamental pieces or cut into gems. Because its rating on the hardness scale is only a four, fluorite should be used only for jewelry that does not get a lot of wear and tear such as earrings, brooches or pendants.
Garnets are best known as being January’s birthstone, but they are also known for being the less expensive red gemstone when the price of a ruby is too high. While garnets are most commonly used in their red form, they are also available in pink, brown, orange, yellow, green, black, purple and colorless.
Derived from rare nickel carbonate mineral, gaspeite is a beautiful green gem that ranges in shades from yellow-green to bright green with a brown matrix. Popular ways of gaspeite being used are for tumbled stones and cabochons.
The most valuable form of chalcedony that is so rare that there are only a few high-end jewelers who even work with it is called gem silica. It gets its gorgeous green-blue to blue-green color from the presence of copper. The most revered specimens lack inclusions, have strong saturation and are uniform in translucence.
While geodes are not gems themselves, they do contain stunning arrays of gems. A geode is a rock structure that has cavities inside that are filled with minerals that produce gems. Geodes come in many sizes. Small ones can be sliced and used for earrings and pendants. Medium ones can be used as bookends or sliced and used as wind chimes. Large ones are often used as decorative pieces.
With highly reflective inclusions that have a striking metallic luster, goldstone is a popular man-made glass stone. This glittery effect makes it a popular choice for use in all types of jewelry. The most common and least expensive version is reddish-brown, but it also comes in dark shades of purple, green and blue.
Goshenite is a colorless version of beryl that is found in large crystals. Even though it displays exceptional clarity and transparency, it is seldom used in jewelry because both the diamond and white sapphire are far superior in overall appearance. Gem collectors do find goshenite to be more valuable than do jewelers.
While most colored diamonds are rare, the green diamond is so rare that unless seen in a museum, most people will never see one. They are also the most valuable of all of the colored diamonds. Because natural diamonds are seldom green, many are produced in laboratories. Some clear diamonds are treated to have a green appearance and are sold as green diamonds. It can be difficult for someone who is not familiar with diamonds to even know the difference, but these are not valuable like the natural ones.
Colored glass made from the volcanic ash from the Mount St. Helens eruption of 1980 is known as helenite. It was produced mainly to provide tourists who were visiting Mount St. Helens with another souvenir option. It was made mainly in hues of green, red and blue by the addition of coloring agents during the melting process. They are cut into faceted stones to be used in all types of jewelry.
The yellow-colored specimen of the mineral beryl is referred to as heliodor. This yellow color will range from a yellow-gold to yellow-green. Because of its hardness and clarity, it is suitable for use in creating all types of jewelry. Heliodor is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a yellow emerald. While they both come from beryl, heliodor is much less expensive and less in-demand specimen than the yellow emerald.
One of the most abundant minerals on both the surface of the Earth and in the Earth’s crust is hematite. It is very common and can be found in sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks. Hematite ranges in color from red to reddish-brown and black. It can also range in color from black to grayish-steel or silver. It has a beautiful metallic sheen that can be almost reflective and makes it popular for costume jewelry.
With deep blue colors similar to tanzanite and sapphire, iolite is a specimen of cordierite that is gem quality. Because it looks so similar to its more expensive look-a-likes, it can be a great alternative to tanzanite and sapphire if the budget calls for something less expensive. Iolite is also referred to as water sapphire because when it is turned just right, the blue can be seen from one angle, while it appears clear from another angle. While most iolite is blue, it can also be clear, gray, violet or yellow.
Iris agate is one of the few gemstones that appear most striking when it is not set into jewelry. It can produce a breathtaking rainbow of colors when light passes through its thin bands, it is cut into thin pieces and it is lit properly. It looks best hung with a backlight or in a window.
Translucent gems consisting of nephrite or jadeite is referred to as jade. It has been used for tools, ornaments, gemstones and jewelry for over five thousand years. While we usually refer to the green specimen as jade, it also comes in nine other colors. Its hardness lends nicely for carving because it does not break easily. In fact, in ancient times, jade was even used to carve weapons.
An opaque type of chalcedony that is usually gray, brown, red, orange, green or yellow that is banded with iron ores is called jasper. Excellent specimens can be cut into cabochons or beads for creating jewelry or tumbled into polished stones.
Jet is considered an organic gemstone because it is not made from minerals. It is produced when woody material sinks to the bottom of a body of water where it is covered in rich organic sediment, compacted and heated in isolation. It is black and its look is easily replicated by less expensive plastic and glass, so it is not as common as it once was. Jet can be carved into ornamental pieces, pins, bangles or cameos.
This unique rock that contains bright white granite along with bright blue azurite is known as K2 Granite. It is also referred to as K2 Jasper. The contrast between the granite and azurite is truly striking. Larger pieces show the bigger picture where it looks as if the blue azurite was dripped onto the white granite. These gemstones can be cut to show off the best pattern and polished to be used in jewelry.
Kyanite is a mineral that is found in metamorphic rock. It can be found in a colorless specimen or a range of colors including blue, green, gray and white. Considered an exotic gem, it is not often found in jewelry stores. It can be found in specialty shops where artisan jewelers work with it to create stunning, unique pieces.
Found in abundance in igneous rocks, labradorite is a feldspar mineral that contains a stunning display of colors. This display of colors comes from the labradorescence, an optical interference when light strikes a twinning surface inside the stone that causes the light to reflect. Depending on the surface, the light can be reflected as green, blue, orange, yellow or red. Labradorite is most commonly used by skilled artisans who carefully cut the gem to bring out its best.
Also known as lapis, lapis lazuli is a blue metamorphic gem that is made of multiple minerals. The presence of lazurite gives it its mainly blue color. The best specimens contain reflective pieces of gold pyrite that give it a unique look and add some sparkle.
In beautiful colors of red, purple and pink, lepidolite is a lithium-rich, rare mica mineral. As it is, lepidolite is not hard enough to be used in jewelry, but it can be strengthened with the addition of quartz. With added quartz, it can be used in jewelry that gets minor wear. It is best suited for earrings and brooches.
Magnesium is present in the composition of this mineral, giving it its name. Magnesite occurs primarily as being white with some black or gray striations. It can be dyed any color with the striations still showing through, so it is often used to mimic lapis lazuli or turquoise. Magnesite is often used for stone tumbling also.
For thousands of years, malachite has been used in jewelry and also to sculpt statues, tools and ornamental pieces. It is a gorgeous green gem known for its stunning array of green colors. They range in hues from pastel green to a dark green that appears nearly black. Many pieces contain strips of different shades of green.
Maw Sit Sit
Often confused with the gemstone known as jade, maw sit sit is also green. Oftentimes, it is a brighter shade of green than the green most often associated with jade. It does make a nice substitute for jade and is much more affordable. It is rare to find maw sit sit in a store, but it can be found online.
Moldavite is a natural glass that historians believe was formed from the impact of an ancient asteroid. It is beautiful as a gemstone, but it is soft so it is often used in wire-wrapped jewelry to help protect it. Moldavite can be found in shades of yellowish-green, green and greenish-brown and often has inclusions and bubbles for a unique appearance. It can be transparent or translucent and is considered a novelty gemstone.
Montana Moss Agate
The Yellowstone River Basin in Montana is the only place that Montana moss agate can be found. Gem collectors love it because of its distinct appearance. While it can be either translucent or transparent, it is either clear, yellow, red, gray or white with black inclusions and dendrites.
Known best as the secondary birthstone of June, moonstone is the gem-quality version of feldspar that has a soft glow of light under its surface. This glow comes from adularescence which is caused when light bends through alternating layers. Moonstones are available in white, clear, pink, yellow, gray, orange, green and brown.
The morado opal is a variety of opal from central Mexico that is known for its purple color. It is also called opal royale and purple opal. Morado opals range in color from light lavender to deep purple. Because it can be found in abundance, it is one of the most affordable varieties of opal. Like other opals, it is low on the hardness scale and should be used for jewelry that gets light wear.
Morganite is the name given to the orangish pink specimens of beryl. The color and the name come from trace amounts of manganese. Recently, morganite has become more popular. It is even a popular choice to use in engagement rings.
Also known as peridot, olivine is most often olive green. Yellowish-green and varying shades of bright green are also prominent colors for olivine. Transparent pieces are cut into beautiful faceted gems to be used in many different types of jewelry.
The opal is one of the world’s most popular gems, known for its striking flashes of color. Precious opals have a white background with flashes of all of the other colors. They are soft and are best used in earrings, pendants or brooches as they will crack easily, but it is not uncommon to see them in rings and bracelets because they are so popular. October is also known as being October’s birthstone.
Petrified wood that is made up of opal instead of the more common chalcedony is called opalized wood. Most petrified wood has common opal, not precious opal, so the striking flashes of color may not be present. Cabochons are cut in unique ways to show off the opal to be used in jewelry.
Fancy sapphires that are pinkish-orange to orangish-pink in color are referred to as padparadscha sapphires. Padparadscha means lotus blossom in Sinhalese, and that is what this color of sapphire was named after. It is in high-demand and therefore is sold at a higher cost than any other of the fancy sapphires.
Petrified wood that has dark brown or black along with cream or white markings is called peanut wood. It resembles the size and shape of a peanut as well. Peanut wood has interesting patterns that can be cut to make it into gorgeous gemstones.
Best known as June’s birthstone, the pearl is produced by mollusks and sometimes other shellfish. Most freshwater pearls are produced in mussels, while most saltwater pearls are produced in clams. A perfect saltwater pearl is a nearly perfect sphere that is white with a silvery-white luster.
The primary birthstone for August is peridot. The most valuable version is dark olive green, but it also comes in a yellowish-green and a bright green. It comes from olivine, and the two names are often used for one another. Peridot is considered to be a high-quality gem, so it can be used in any type of jewelry.
Petrified wood is a fossil. It is formed when water removes woody material by flowing through it and then replaces the woody material with calcite, opal, silica or pyrite. The cellular structures are preserved in the fossil, leaving unique patterns. It can be polished and cut into cabochons.
Polka Dot Agate
With interesting suspended dots, the polka dot agate was originally used mainly by Native Americans to make tools. Today it is used in jewelry and as a tumbled stone. It is translucent and comes in pale yellow, white or blue. The dots in polka dot agates can be any combination of brown, black, yellow, red or orange.
A small percentage of amethyst deposits contain material that allows for it to change colors when heated. Its color will go from purple to yellowish-green or green color. When this happens, the new colored gemstone is referred to as prasiolite.
Produced all over the world, quartz is the most abundant mineral that can be found on the Earth’s surface today. It is popular for use in jewelry because it ranks high on the hardness scale, so it is suitable for all types of jewelry. Also, it comes in nearly every color imaginable. The most popular colors include shades of white, red, pink, purple, brown, black, green and yellow.
Red beryl is a rare version of beryl that gets its beautiful red color from manganese being present. It is produced synthetically in large amounts because it only occurs naturally in one location. Ranking high on the hardness scale, red beryl can be cut into beautiful faceted gemstones and is great for all types of jewelry.
Red diamonds come in different shades of red, and they are most abundant in shades of light red that range in hues with added shades of orange, brown or purple. Pure red diamonds with a deep, rich red color are the rarest of all colored diamonds. There are only a few known pure red diamonds in the whole world.
Rhodochrosite is a popular manganese carbonate mineral that is best known for its pink variety of specimens. Though not as common, it can also be found in brown, yellow, orange or gray. Its signature look comes from a white streak that runs through it, allowing each piece to have a unique look. Because it is too soft for all jewelry but is also popular, a synthetic version is mass-produced with a higher ranking on the hardness scale.
This striking gemstone is a silicate material containing pink manganese, giving it a beautiful pink color. It also usually has black manganese oxides, which cause the contrasting black color. The combination of these colors makes a striking gemstone. Rare pieces can be found without the black color and are considered highly valuable.
When the mineral quartz appears to be pink, it is referred to as rose quartz. It can range from an almost colorless transparent light pink to a completely translucent dark pink. Rose quartz can be found in abundance, is very affordable and is widely used in all types of jewelry.
The ruby is best known for being the birthstone of July. Like sapphires, rubies come from the mineral corundum, but their main color must be red to be classified as a ruby. The color can range in shades of red with added hues of orange, brown or purple. Rubies are great choices for all types of jewelry.
Sapphires are best known as the birthstone for September. Like rubies, sapphires come from corundum, but they must be blue to be classified as sapphires. They will range in shades from light blue to dark blue and can also contain hues of green or violet. The most desired version of sapphire is rich, dark blue.
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Beautiful faceted gemstones are cut from pink and yellow scapolite to be made into all types of jewelry. Some specimens have what some may refer to as a flaw, but it makes a unique effect. It is a line of internal silk, and it causes a cat’s eye effect when cut into a cabochon. The cabochons can then be used for jewelry or as ornamental pieces.
Sardonyx is best known for being the third choice of birthstone for August. Another member of the chalcedony family, the sardonyx is an agate containing beautiful bands of white, brown, black, red or orange. It is cut into cabochons to show off its unique look.
Serpentine is unique because of its inclusions that give each piece a different look. It is available in an array of greens, yellows and black. It can be used an ornamental stone or cut into cabochons.
Best known for its striking colors, sodalite is most popular in shades of blue or violet with white veining. It can also be found in green, white, red, gray, yellow and clear. These also have white veining. It is most often used to make cabochons and tumbled stones.
Dark red cuprite and bluish green chrysocolla come together in Sonora sunrise to resemble a sunrise. The best specimens have a layer of iron oxide and black iron between the cuprite and chrysocolla that resemble mountains on the horizon when it is cut just right. It makes gorgeous cabochons to be used as pendants or ornamental pieces. Sonora sunrise is named for looking like a sunrise and for its city of origin, Sonora, Mexico.
A zinc mineral found in metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rock, sphalerite comes in hues of black, white, green, brown, red, yellow and clear. Streaks of white or yellowish-brown add character to this gorgeous stone.
Spinels have been showcased in crowned jewels because they were mistaken for rubies or sapphires. Interestingly, spinel develops in marble and is weathered out. It makes beautiful faceted gemstones.
Spodumene is the name for a group of transparent crystals that are named again according to their color when they are cut into gemstones. Purple and pink spodumene is called Kunzite, yellow is triphane and green is called hiddenite.
While its look is similar to a diamond, this gemstone is man-made. It can serve as a substitute for a diamond, but only in jewelry that does not get a lot of wear because it is much softer than a diamond.
An abundant and popular mineral, sugilite is best known for its vibrant colors. With beautiful hues of pink and purple, sugilite is in high-demand for both jewelers and collectors.
Red, orange and yellow feldspar that has inclusions of copper, hematite or goethite is referred to as sunstone. Beautiful metallic flashes can be seen when the light interacts with the inclusions. Sunstone is rare and used mostly by skilled artisans to create artistic jewelry.
Synthetic opals began being produced as a less expensive version of an opal that is significantly harder than a natural opal, therefore making it a great choice for all types of jewelry. Some synthetic opals are made so well that it is difficult to tell them apart from precious opals.
The primary and most expensive choice of birthstones for December is tanzanite. It is named after Tanzania, which is the only known location to produce Tanzanite. It is a gem quality piece of zoisite that is blue. Even though it was only discovered in the 1960s, tanzanite is the second most popular blue-colored gemstone. Its rise to fame can be partially attributed to Tiffany and Company.
Made popular by its chatoyancy, tiger’s eye is named because of the cat’s eye look that the chatoyancy causes in the gemstone. Tiger’s eye occurs most often in shades of amber and brown. It looks best cut into cabochons so the chatoyancy can be highlighted, but it is also cut into beads and used for tumbled stones.
This gem is composed of many minerals coming together and is found in mineralized nodules of beryllium. Tiffany stone comes in purple, white and blue and is known for looking like ice cream. Because they rank low on the hardness scale, they are best for use in jewelry such as brooches or earrings that do not get a lot of wear.
Titanite is also known as sphene. The most common colors of titanite are black, brown, green, gray and yellow. It is rarely found in pink, orange and red. It is popular among jewelers for its high clarity and brilliant fire.
Best known as being November’s birthstone, Topaz is most popular in its blue form. It can also appear colorless or be yellow, green, brown, orange, red or pink. It ranks high on the hardness scale and excellent for all types of jewelry.
Tourmaline is best known for being the second choice for a birthstone for October. It is found in metamorphic and igneous rocks and is a boron silicate mineral. Tourmaline can be found in a colorless version or an array of nine different colors. It has the unique quality of having multiple colors within the same piece. One very popular version of tourmaline is when pink and green are side by side and it is cut in a way that makes it resemble a watermelon.
Turquoise is best known for its beautiful opaque sky blue and robin’s egg blue colors, but it also comes in shades of yellowish-green and greenish-blue. It is a popular choice for use in all types of jewelry. In addition to being known for its beauty, Turquoise is also a tertiary birthstone for the month of December. It is a more affordable option than tanzanite and has a little more personality than zircon, which is the secondary birthstone.
Easily recognized by its patterns that are made from fossils, turritella agate is made in brown agates. An interesting fact about it is that it should have been named elimia agate, but the snails creating the fossils were incorrectly identified. Once the error was discovered, it was so commonly known as turritella agate, that the real name never stuck. Cut into beautiful cabochons, many people think it resembles a turtle shell.
With its striking pink and pistachio green colors, unakite is very popular. Also lending to its popularity is its cost and availability. It is both inexpensive and can be found in abundance. It can be cut into cabochons to be used in jewelry, but it is also used for small sculptures and ornamental items.
Found most commonly in green, variscite is a rare mineral that is known for its beautiful matrix. Variscite ranges in shades of yellow, green and blue, and it has a matrix of black, brown or yellow in addition to the base color. Each gemstone is carefully cut to show off the best color combination in each specimen.
When molten rock pieces from volcanic eruptions stick together, wonderstone is formed. The layers of molten rocks often appear in different colors, giving a unique look to wonderstone. Shades of brown, maroon, orange, red and yellow are most common in wonderstone.
Yellow diamonds are the world’s most valuable yellow gemstone, but they are not in great demand. This is largely because if there is only a trace of yellow, the diamond can look like a flawed clear diamond. Rich, dark yellow diamonds are quite striking and desirable. As with other diamonds, less expensive imitations are produced synthetically.
Known best as a diamond look-a-like in its colorless state, zircon is also a secondary birthstone for December. Zircon is great for use in jewelry and also comes in shades of brown, red, yellow, gray, blue and green.
This mineral that forms in all types of rocks has a second group of names based on color. Tanzanite is the most famous form of zoisite. It occurs most often in blue. Thulite is the pink version of zoisite. Green zoisite is referred to as anyolite and it is accompanied by ruby crystals and black inclusions.