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Gemstones and Gem Lore

Quartz is one of Earth's most abundant minerals and one of the most versatile. Although quartz can mimic expensive gems for a fraction of the cost, it is more than worthy of its own admiration. In fact, there are actually a number of gem-quality quartz varieties available.
Most gem scholars agree that the tradition of birthstones began with the Breastplate of Aaron: a ceremonial religious garment set with 12 gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel and also corresponded with the 12 signs of the zodiac and the 12 months of the year.
The birthstone list, like the United States Constitution, is rarely amended. However, such is the enthusiasm for one gem - velvet blue tanzanite - among both jewelers and the public alike, that it was recently added to this exclusive group. Tanzanite has joined zircon and turquoise as commemorative gems for December birthdays.
Containing some of the most beautiful and versatile gemstones in the world, the beryl category includes such favorites as the emerald and aquamarine, lesser-known gems such as morganite and golden beryl and some virtually undiscovered gems such as heliodor and goshenite.
What is a garnet? If red and January birthstone are the only words that come to mind, you're missing out on a virtual rainbow of dazzling gemstones.
Who can forget the stunning Heart of the Ocean sapphire necklace worn by Kate Winslet's Rose in the Titanic, and later thrown back into the ocean? Or Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly window-shopping in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's?
Diamond and gemstone jewelry comes in a bewildering array of standard and fancy (unusual) shapes. Selecting which one is right for you is really a matter of personal taste - after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Did you know that the beautiful, colorful and unique gemstones that grace our jewelry cases have arrived here from, literally, all points of the globe? To enhance your appreciation of gemstones, here are the regions in which some of today's best-known gems are found:
Rarity and beauty are just two reasons customers favor rubies, sapphires or emeralds when buying fine jewelry. These three precious gemstones have been prized since time began; ancient civilizations attributed powers and superstitions to them and wars were fought over them.
While most of us are familiar with rubies, emeralds and sapphires, there is a whole new world of color out there beyond the big three gemstones.
Sapphires, rubies and emeralds are the most beloved and most valuable of colored gemstones, but the current passion for color has brought a number of more exotic stones to the attention of jewelry designers and consumers. Here are some of our favorites? 
Rubies and sapphires are both forms of a mineral called corundum. Rubies are unique because they contain chromium, which gives the gem its distinctive red color. Gemstone-quality corundum in any color other than red is a sapphire. Sapphires are most recognized in their deep blue color, but depending on the other elements they contain they can be of any color, including green, yellow, pink, and ?padparadscha,? an intense pinkish-orange.        
Diamonds may be a ?girl's best friend,? but you don't have to limit yourself to traditional colorless or ?white? diamonds to satisfy your appetite for these exquisite stones. 
From the runways of Italy to the red carpet of Hollywood, stylish women everywhere are satiating their lust for color with stylish colored gemstone jewelry. Once possessed by only the wealthy and noble, these precious baubles are now available and affordable ? bringing out the princess in all of us.
In 1830, a new gemstone was discovered in the wilds of the Ural Mountains in Russia. The gem turned out to be photochroic: it changed color depending on the light. In this case, it appeared red in the natural light of the sun and green under incandescent bulbs.
Turquoise became a major player in the 1960s and 70s, when prairie chic drew attention to the turquoise and silver jewelry produced by Southwestern Indian craftsmen. Today, a new generation of turquoise jewelry is emerging, featuring richer, more imaginative styles
Tanzanite, the magnificent violet blue gemstone, has had a rocky ride during its relatively short existence. One of the most recently discovered gems, tanzanite made its debut in 1969, fairly late in history compared to diamonds, pearls, rubies and sapphires.
Everyone has a favorite gem color. But did you know that your color preference says a lot about you and your personality? Read on.
The French essayist Jean de la Brueyere wrote that the rarest things in the world, next to a spirit of discernment, are diamonds and pearls.