ancient, the garnet has been the gem of faith and truth for centuries,
bestowing upon the wearer the quality of constancy and the ability to
make deep and lasting friendships. Like other red stones, garnet was
considered a remedy for hemorrhage and inflammatory disease and a
general protection from wounds.
Commonly thought of as a dark red
stone, it is actually a large family of gems occurring in every color
but blue. Brilliant, colorful and durable, garnets have been found on
every continent, but most are mined in Southeast Asia, Brazil and
by the ancient Greeks to have been stained with the wine of Bacchus,
this stone was thought to be an amulet against intoxication and so named
"amethustos" or "not drunken". It can also calm anger, quicken the wit
and make one shrewd in business matters.
Amethyst has been prized
ever since, particularly by nobility, for its rich purple hues. It may
be found in colors ranging from the palest lavenders to the deepest
purple. Generally, the deeper the color the more highly prized the
stone. A member of the quartz family, amethyst is mined extensively in
Brazil and Zambia.
from the Latin, no gem has a more descriptive name than the aquamarine.
The name aquamarine literally means "seawater", a tribute to its
beautiful blue color. Long associated with tranquility and happiness,
aquamarine was also thought to instill courage, cure laziness and
sharpen the intellect.
Like emerald, aquamarine is a member of
the beryl family. It is frequently free of flaws and may occur in very
large crystals. The aquamarine is not a brilliant stone, but depends on
its size and purity of color for effect. Brazil is the most prolific
supplier of aquamarine, which is often found in shades of blue-green.
diamond has been a symbol of eternal love since the 15th century, when
Archduke Maximillian of Austria sealed his engagement to Mary of
Burgundy with a diamond ring. Of all jewels, the diamond is supreme and
worthy of the name precious stone. It qualifies for all the virtues
implied in that term: brilliance, hardness, rarity, antiquity, purity
Although the most desirable diamond is colorless,
distinct body colors such as blue, green, red, pink, and yellow are
known. These natural fancy colors are rare and highly prized.
India was the world's main source of diamonds for over 2,000 years,
most diamonds now come from Africa, Russia and Australia. Of all
diamonds mined, only a quarter are of gem quality.
of the most valuable gems, emerald has been coveted through history. It
was attributed such great power that it was often used in powdered form
to prevent epilepsy, stop bleeding, cure dysentery and fever, and avert
panic. In addition, emerald was thought to make its owner eloquent and
persuasive, bring joy, give the ability to foretell the future and
The choicest member of the beryl family, the
ideal shade for emerald is an intense green, distinct from any other
green gemstone. Larger size stones tend to contain slight faults or
flaws. Accordingly, good sized perfect stones are extremely rare, which
accounts for their costliness. Colombia and Africa are the major sources
the Hindu god Vishnu searched the seas for a pearl to adorn his
daughter on her wedding day, pearls have been the symbols of love,
happiness, wealth, honor and longevity.
Both natural and cultured
pearls form when a piece of sand, shell or other irritant causes the
oyster to coat the foreign body with the pearly substance known as
nacre. The value of a pearl is determined by several factors: the
perfection of its shape, size, color and freedom from blemishes.
Today, Japan is a major source for cultured pearls.