Agate - This stone is a type of chalcedony. It has an earthy feel with a touch of class. The most common types of agate are blue lace agate (light blue hue), tree agate (green and white), moss agate (dark green with clear patches) and petrified wood (brown, white or red). Agate is porous; so, it is usually dyed to enhance its natural color. Agate is said to help with insomnia and ensure pleasant dreams. In the past, it was given to children to ward off nightmares. Agate is found in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Egypt and Madagascar.
Alexandrite - Name after Russian Czar Alexander II, the gem comes in hues of red and green (the imperial colors of the old Imperial Russian Empire) and became the national gemstone of Russia. It is said to reinforce self-esteem and heightens one’s ability to experience joy. Alexandrite has a unique ability to change color; the greater the change in color, the more valuable it is. In daylight, alexandrite is green to greenish-blue; it turns a soft shade of red, purplish-red or raspberry red in incandescent light. This quality makes alexandrite one of the rarest gemstones in the world. It is difficult to find natural alexandrite and most of them on the market are synthetic. Alexandrite is found in Russia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Brazil. The best way to clean alexandrite is with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Amethyst - Amethyst is a variety of quartz. This stone is very feminine and its color ranges from a deep purple to light lavender. The highest quality amethysts are transparent. Make sure to keep this stone out of direct sunlight, it tends to become paler as a result. Amethyst is said to bestow strength, stability, invigoration and peace of mind. Many couples are using amethyst in their engagement rings as a sign of everlasting love. Amethyst is found in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Madagascar, India, Russia and Sri Lanka. This gemstone can be cleaned with a mixture of warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Aquamarine - Aquamarine is a variety of beryl. It usually comes in light blue, dark blue to green. The color is determined by the amount of iron in the stone. The highest quality of aquamarine is transparent. This stone loses some if its color if it is left in direct sunlight. Aquamarine is the stone of courage and it encourages its owner to have the innate ability to be prepared for anything. It is also believed to have the ability to ease grief and depression. The term aquamarine means "sea water". It is found in the United States, Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan and Russia. Keep your aquamarine jewelry clean with a mixture of warm, soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Black Agate /Black Onyx - This is actually a man made form of enhanced agate. It’s also called "black onyx" among gem traders. The agate is blackened by immersing the material in sulfuric acid and sugar; creating of carbon which is absorbed into the porous agate and colors it more or less permanently. This stone increases concentration and clarity and attracts good fortune. Many cultures believe black agate protects new life and therefore is a great stone to have during pregnancy.
Blue Gold Stone - This man made "stone" is actually glass (with a dark blue hue) infused with copper sparkles; which many believe to be powerful energy generators. It is said to be the stone of science and wisdom. Gold Stone is a symbol of hope. Many believe it eases anxiety and fear. This glass was originally created in monasteries; so, you will find a lot of it in religious jewelry.
Blue Lace Agate - It is a type of chalcedony and an agate with a blue and white lace pattern. This stone contains the qualities of air, light, movement and grace. It is one of the most sought after agate. Blue lace agate is a calming stone. It gives the owner peace of mind and is often used when there is a buildup of stressful energy. Many believe this stone aids in public communication; it’s great to wear if you are giving a public speech or during a difficult conversation. The most prized blue lace agate is found in Namibia.
Blue Quartz - This is an opaque to translucent, blue-variety of quartz (quartz is also known as rock crystal). Blue quartz is formed by the inclusion of tourmaline, tiny blue rutile or zoisite. It assists us in removing the fear while reaching out to help others. It can be used to promote consideration and is helpful to relationships. Blue quartz is found in the United States, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Asia, and Russia. Use warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush to clean your blue quartz.
Blue Topaz - Topaz is a balancing and calming stone. This variation of the stone has a pristine blue hue like the color of the sky. Blue topaz was once the rarest form of topaz, now; it is more common thanks to advanced technology. The color is created by exposing colorless topaz to irradiation then heat. The stone gives the owner leadership abilities and enhances spiritual growth. The term "topaz" comes from the Sanskrit and means fire. It is found in Brazil, Pakistan and Russia. The best way to clean this gem is with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush. Let it soak for 10 to 20 minutes.
Brown Gold Stone - This is a man made stone with a rich brown hue and golden copper flecks. The legend is that it was originally created by alchemists trying to make gold. In general, gold stone is good for detoxifying your system. Brown gold stone is said to be an uplifting stone that can help reduce tension. Many believe that the owner of this stone will attract positive energy. Brown gold stone is believed to be one of the most popular gemstones in the world. To care for brown gold stone; use a dry, soft cloth to clean it.
Calcite - Calcite is usually colorless or white but can turn shades of green, pink, golden, yellow, red, grey, blue or black when mixed with different compounds during formation. This mineral is an energy amplifier and is said to help with memory. The name "calcite" is derived from the Greek word "chalix" meaning lime. Calcite is found in the United States, England, India and many other parts of the world. Calcite can be cleaned with either hydrosonic cleaner or warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Citrine - Citrine is yellow quartz. It is an elegant and affordable alternative to the expensive yellow sapphire or yellow diamond. Citrine can be easily scratched and it permanently changes color if it is left in the sunlight for too long. Its color can range from yellow to burnt amber. Citrine is believed to help the owner acquire wealth and also maintain it. It enhances mental clarity and promotes honesty. It is found in the United States, Brazil, Spain, Madagascar and the former USSR. Use warm, soapy water and a soft cloth or brush to keep your citrine clean.
Cubic Zirconia - Cubic Zirconia is the crystallized form of zirconium dioxide. CZ is hard, usually colorless and optically flawless. It also can be made into a variety of colors. Cubic Zirconia has become increasingly popular since the 1970's because of its affordability, durability and its visual similarity to the diamond.
Diamond - Diamonds are perhaps the most classic and timeless stones of all. These precious stones are popular because of their rarity, durability, beauty and glamour. The color ranges from colorless, white, shades of pink, yellow, red, orange, green, blue and black. The most popular are the colorless and yellow diamonds. Diamonds are usually rated by the four C's: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. In many cultures, diamonds are a symbol of everlasting love and faith. Although diamonds are sturdy, they can chip if they are mishandled. Diamonds are usually found in the United States, Brazil, Ghana, Zaire, Australia and the former USSR. To keep your diamonds clean, use either warm, mild soapy water or an ammonia solution.
Diamond Accent - Unless otherwise stated, a diamond accent must be a real diamond. They are very small and are often added to jewelry to throw light on to the main stone. A normal carat is 100 points of a diamond; a diamond accent is one-third of a point. Most diamond accents do not add much retail value to the piece. However, higher end stores may have larger diamond accents that do increase the value of the jewelry.
Emerald - Emerald is a form of beryl with a medium to dark green hue. The darker the emerald the more valuable it is. Emeralds are rated similar to diamonds; by the four C's: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. Emeralds are said to stimulate the use of increased mental capacity and enhance the memory. It has been historically used in both physical and emotional healing. Some of the most beautiful emeralds in the world are found in Columbia; but they are also found in Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia. The best way to clean emeralds are with a soft, dry cloth.
Garnet - This most popular of this type of gemstone has a red hue, but other forms of garnet range from colorless to black. Red Garnet adds an exotic touch to many pieces and is more affordable than rubies or pink tourmaline. It is known as the "stone of health". When given as a gift, it is viewed a symbol of good health, power and prosperity. Garnet is found in the United States, Canada, Africa, Brazil, Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka. The best way to clean garnet is with a soft, dry cloth.
Gold Quartz - Gold Quartz is a natural optical-quality quartz crystal. Its color ranges from shades of gold, orange and pink. It’s also called the Golden Aura Quartz, named for its astonishingly beautiful and vibrant hues. Gold quartz is beneficial to the core of the body, helping those who are ill attain health and well-being. To keep your gold quartz looking vibrant use warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush to clean it.
Hematite - Hematite is a mineral that often appears in shades of metallic gray, gray or red gray with a metallic luster. This mineral is said to enhance mental capability as well as creating a calming atmosphere for its owner. In some cultures, hematite is used as a sleep aid, as it creates a reduced stress atmosphere. Hematite is found in the United States, Brazil, across Europe and in the Pacific in New Zealand. To keep your hematite shiny use a soft, dry cloth to clean it.
Jade - There are three types of jade, but the more common are: Jadeite and Nephrite. Jadeite is the rarer, high quality form of the stone. It comes in a wide array of colors: red, yellow, orange, green, lilac, pink, blue, brown and black. Nephrite is more common; it comes in various shades of green. The most common form is an olive green tone. Nephrite is often used in Chinese carvings. Jade is considered to be a balancing stone that gives the owner a sense of calm. Jadeite is found in the United States, Myanmar and Japan. Nephrite is typically found in Canada and British Columbia. The best way to keep your jade clean is with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Jasper - Jasper is a form of opaque, often multicolored chalcedony. This stone is both pretty and affordable. Most jasper is multicolored; but it also comes in shades of red, brown, tan, green, yellow and blue-grey. This mineral is known as the "supreme nurturer" or "healing stone". It is said to be useful when its owner has low energy. Jasper is found in the United States, France, Germany, India, Russia and Venezuela. The best way to clean Jasper is with a soft, dry cloth.
Lapis - This stone is said to have existed "before time was born". Its royal blue color with specks of white calcite or pyrite (which looks like gold) and is often associated with royalty. The highest quality lapis is completely blue. This stone is often dyed to improve its color. This stunning blue gemstone has a long history dating back to ancient Egypt and it is one of the first gemstones to be worn as jewelry. According to legend, the person who wears lapis will be protected from evil. The best lapis is found in Afghanistan; but it can also be found in the United States, Argentina, Canada and Chile. Keep your lapis clean using a soft, dry cloth. Also, avoid leaving it in direct sunlight.
Marcasite - Marcasite is a bronze-yellow stone but the color becomes a deeper yellow from increased exposure to sunlight. It shares the same chemical composition as pyrite. During the Gold Rush, it was often called fool's gold due to its similar appearance to gold but difference in value. It became popular during the Victorian era and remains popular with contemporary jewelry makers who want to add a vintage quality to their pieces. In small quantities, marcasite is said to have a calming effect and helps to stabilize the owner's emotions. Marcasite is primarily mined in South America but can be found all over the world. This stone is often sealed in jewelry with cement, so it needs to be cleaned gently. First, wipe it down with a clean, damp cloth. Then, dry with a soft, dry cloth.
Mother of Pearl - Also known as nacre, it’s the iridescent layer of material found in the shell lining of some mollusks. Pearl oysters and abalone are popular sources of mother of pearl. Mollusks create mother of pearl as a means of protection. Mother of pearl is said to attract prosperity and protect its owner from negative influences, particularly children. The best way to clean for mother of pearl is with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Opal - Opal is a noncrystalline form of silica and is closely related to quartz and agate. Most opal is over 60 million years old and it is found near the Earth's surface in areas where geothermal hot springs once flowed. Perhaps the most striking quality of opal is its ability to reflect and refract different wavelengths of light. Opal is said to help its owner see the possibilities of life and various paths that should be taken or avoided. Opal is considered to be a living stone and it therefore should not be exposed to any elements that could dry it out. If opal becomes dry, it starts to crack and lose its iridescence. 90 percent of the quality opal is found in Southern Australia, but it is also found in the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Czechoslovakia. Black opal is found exclusively in Australia. Opal is extremely fragile, the best way to clean opal jewelry it is with warm soapy water and a toothbrush.
Pearl - Pearls are formed in shellfish in reaction to irritants such as sand, creating nacre. Cultured pearls are formed by adding a piece of mussel or shell inside of oyster of mussel. Pearls come in different colors such as: white, pink, cream, brown or black. The value of a pearl is determined by its luster, color, type and how it was grown. The most expensive pearls are natural and freshwater pearls tend to be the most inexpensive. Pearls are said to represent innocence, integrity and purity. It is believed that the pearl allows its owner to accept love. Natural pearls have been found in the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Manaar. Cultured pearls are predominately produced off the coasts of Australia and Polynesia. Freshwater pearls are commonly found in rivers in the United States, Ireland, Scotland, Austria and France. For the most part, it is best to clean your pearls with a soft, dry cloth as soon as you take them off. However, if they are very dirty, you can use a mild soap and water.
Peridot - This striking stone is often a vibrant olive-green color and an affordable alternative to green tourmaline. It also comes in red, honey-yellow, yellow-brown and green-to-brown hues. Ancient Egyptians called this stone the "gem of the sun”. This stone is said to be an excellent healing stone that strengthens and regenerates the body. This stone is often thought to represent wealth and financial success. Peridot is found in the United States, the island of St. Johns, Pakistan, China and Burma. The best way to clean it is with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush. Avoid long term exposure to perspiration while wearing this stone, it damages peridot.
Prasiolite - Its name is derived from the Greek words "Prason" and "Lithos", which means leek because of its color similarities to vegetables and stone. Its color ranges from pale yellow - green to a deep green. Many cultures believe that this stone facilitates the space between the spiritual and physical aspects of life. Prasiolite attracts prosperity while strengthening the mind, emotions and will. Prasiolite is found in the United States and Brazil. It is best cleaned using warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Quartz - Also known as "rock crystal" it is colorless and transparent. It comes in a variety of hues; such as: rose quartz, smoky quartz, amethyst and citrine. The term quartz is derived from the Greek word krustallos; which means ice, because it was believed that quartz was ice formed by the gods. Clear quartz is said to alleviate pain and increase healing energies. Some ancient cultures believed that quartz helps heal ones emotions. Quartz is found in the United States, Brazil, Madagascar and the former USSR. The best way to keep your quartz clean is with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Rhinestone - Originally, rhinestones were rock crystals found in the Rhine River in Germany. Now, it is a diamond stimulate made from rock crystal, acrylic or glass. Rhinestones are an affordable alternative to diamonds and many manufacturers can even give them a glistening effect.
Rose Quartz - A variety of quartz that has a soft pink to golden-white hue. Also called the "love stone", it is said to open one's heart and balance emotions. Actually, it is the most powerful stone when dealing with matters of the heart. Rose quartz is often dyed to enhance its color; so, long exposure to sunlight will fade it. Extreme temperature changes will cause the stone to fracture. Rose quartz is found in the United States, Brazil, Scotland, Spain and Madagascar. Rose quartz should be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Ruby - Rubies are a type of corundum whose color ranges from pink to deep red. The term ruby is derived from the Latin word "ruber", which means red. Similar to the four C's that determine diamond costs; its pricing is determined overall by color, clarity, cut and carat. Primarily, the rubies price is determined by color. The brighter the ruby is the more higher the price. The ruby is known as the stone of nobility. It is said to bring courage, confidence, loyalty and love to its owner. Rubies are found all over the world but the brightest ones come from Myanmar. They are called Myanmar (Burmese) rubies and are often described as "pigeon's blood". You can keep your ruby clean by using an ionic cleanser or warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Sapphire - Sapphire is a type of corundum that comes in many colors: white, yellow, green and purple; but the most popular color is blue. It is said to get rid of unwanted thoughts and bring its owner peace of mind. The sapphire is known as the stone of prosperity, fulfilling the owner's dreams and desires. The value of a sapphire is determined by the four C's: color, clarity, cut and carat. Sapphires are found all over the world but the finest specimens are found in Kashmir, Madagascar, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. To clean sapphire, you can either use a soft dry cloth, an ultrasonic cleanser or an ammonia solution.
Smoky Quartz - This type of quartz comes in shades from brown to black and sometimes smoky grey. There are four types of smoky quartz: cairngorm, moriom, coon tail quartz and gwindel. Smokey quartz is known as a grounding stone and it turns negative energy into positive energy. It is said to be a great stone for elevating its owner's mood. This type of quartz is primarily found in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland and the Himalayas. Clean your smoky quartz with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Sodalite - This mineral comes in a variety of colors: colorless, lavender blue, dark blue, grey, light red, yellow, green and white. The most popular form is similar in appearance to Lapis, with a rich royal blue hue and white calcite deposits. Some say this form of sodalite looks like the sky at night during a lightning storm. It is said to enhance truthfulness in emotions, allowing its owner to recognize and verbalize their true feelings. Sodalite is also called "Princess Blue"; it was named after England's Princess Patricia who, after visiting Ontario, chose this mineral as the interior decoration for Marlborough House. Sodalite is found in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Greenland, Namibia and Russia. The best way to clean sodalite is with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Spinel - This mineral comes in a range of colors: almost colorless, white, yellow, orange, brown, green, blue, violet and black. The red version of this stone was often mistaken for a ruby. Its durability and beauty make spinel an ideal stone for jewelry makers. It is said to renew energy and to provide encouragement to the owner while attempting a difficult task. It is also called the "stone of immortality" because of its rejuvenating qualities. Spinel is found all over the world but the best specimens are found in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. You can keep your spinel clean by using warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Tiger Eye - Tiger Eye is a quartz replacement of blue or gold asbestos. Its fibrous structure allows it to vibrantly reflect light even though its colors are not transparent. Tiger Eye comes in red, brown, gold, cream, black and blue. It is helpful for people who are seeking clarity and who are dealing with several issues at once that need to be brought together into a specific pattern. Some cultures believe tiger eye offers its owner protection during travel. Tiger Eye is found in the United States, Canada, Namibia, South Africa, India, Burma and Western Australia. Many people believe the most beautiful tiger eye is found in Africa. The best way to keep it clean is by using warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Turquoise - This is a vibrant blue stone that is often the star of southwestern jewelry. Its color ranges from sky blue to green. Ancient legends say that turquoise warns the wearer of danger by changing its color. It is said to help its owner start new projects and remove limitations. Turquoise can be found in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, in many countries in Africa and throughout the Middle East. You can keep your turquoise clean by using an ammonia solution and a soft cloth or brush.
White Topaz - This form of topaz is an affordable alternative to diamonds. It promotes creativity, individuality and the ability to trust ones decisions. Ancient Greeks called the topaz the "stone of strength". Topaz is found in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Russia, China and Japan. The best way to keep your white topaz clean is with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush.
Ladies…Raise Your Right Hand
Over the last several years, right hand rings for women have become increasingly popular. Wearing a jewel encrusted ring on the right hand is a fashionable way for women who are not engaged or married to make a statement. Traditionally, wearing a diamond ring on the left hand signifies that a woman is engaged or married. Some say the...
October Birthstone: Outstanding Opals
October marks the beginning of fall in the United States. The trees begin to change color and the air becomes crisper. It is a season of change and it should come as no surprise that this month’s birthstone is somewhat of a chameleon. October’s birthstone is the opal and it treats the eye to an explosion of glistening colors.
Natural moonstone is a transparent species of mineral from the group of feldspars. It is formed only at high temperature; therefore it is a rare stone. Its second name, "adularia", is given after Mount Adular in the Alps, where it was first discovered.
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Bernie Madoff and His Jewels
Bernie Madoff and his wife Ruth lived a privileged life. Apartments on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side, a 55.5 foot luxury yacht named “Bull”, two private planes on call, a $9 million mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, memberships at exclusive country clubs, millions of dollars worth of expensive jewelry and $3 million beachfront property on Long...