A Guide to Precious Stone Types

A Guide to Precious Stone Types
May 22, 2016 sophie

 Precious Stones


Precious stones such as diamond and sapphire are prized for their singular beauty and unique qualities. We source the finest precious stones to bring you the highest quality and the most beautiful jewellery possible. This section makes it easy to discover the beauty of precious stones.

Quartz


quartz2quartz1quartz3

Quartz is one of the most elegant crystals and can be crafted into beautiful jewellery. Clear quartz is largely transparent and known for its clarity. It forms in straight, six-sided crystals that often overlap each other to form stunning natural formations and gorgeous shapes.

Colours and Varieties of Quartz


Whilst clear quartz is the most common, quartz comes in many striking varieties, including vibrant Lime Quartz; Smoky Quartz which has soft greyish colour; Black Quartz; Milky Quartz and Rose Quartz, a beautiful pink crystal associated with love.

Measuring the Quality


Quartz comes in many varieties and is usually valued on the properties of the individual crystal. Value is based largely on size, but also on the perceived beauty of the crystal. Whilst clarity is important, many people find included and ‘flawed’ quartz highly desirable. With such crystals, ‘flaws’ are often displayed as a key feature of jewellery, creating highly individual and attractive pieces.

History of Quartz


Quartz has been used and valued by many different cultures for thousands of years. It has long been prized as a magical stone crafted into amulets and later, beautiful jewellery. Quartz is also used in quartz clocks and timepieces, although synthetic quartz is most often used for industrial purposes.

Symbolism and Crystal Healing

Quartz has a special place in crystal healing and is said to conduct spiritual energy as well as healing, protecting and cleansing.

In Chakra healing, quartz is aligned with the Crown Chakra, associated with higher consciousness.

To see our Quartz jewellery please click here.

Amethyst


amethystamethyst2

Amethyst is a beautiful member of the quartz family known for its gorgeous purple colour and association with healing and spirituality. This crystal appears in a vibrant range of colours, from soft lavendar to rich purple, all of which make wonderful jewellery to light up your look.

Measuring Amethyst Quality


Whilst size and cut are important factors, amethyst is primarily graded on its colour and clarity. The colour is assessed for the strength of colour, with the most vibrant hues considered the best. The most desirable amethysts display a clear, rich purple. Ideally the colour should be consistent, although jewellery that makes use of this variation can be very beautiful.

History of Amethyst


Amethyst gets its name from the Ancient Greek words ‘a’ and ‘methustos’, which together translate as ‘not drunken‘. This is due to the Greco-Roman belief that it prevented drunkenness and hangovers, leading to many goblets and cups being carved from amethyst. It has long been valued internationally, and has been found in places as diverse as Ancient Egyptian temples and Anglo-Saxon huts.

Symbolism and Crystal Healing


  • Amethyst is the birthstone for February and associated with the zodiac signs Pisces and Aries, Aquarius and Sagittarius
  • Amethyst is known as the master healer, said to soothe the mind and heal almost every part of the body.
  • It is believed to prepare the mind and spirit for spiritual development and meditation

Believed to ensure a good night’s sleep

To see our amethyst jewellery please click here.

Cubic Zirconia


cubic-zirconiacubic-zirconia2 cubic-zirconia3

Sparkling with light, cubic zirconia is a wonderful and versatile stone that makes gorgeous jewellery. Produced as a simpler alternative to diamond, cubic zirconia provides endless opportunities for stylish jewellery.

Measuring Cubic Zirconia Quality


Being a man-made crystal, cubic zirconia is produced to impeccable standards, meaning that quality and appearance are almost guaranteed. Unlike diamond, cubic zirconia is completely transparent, giving high shine and sparkle. It is also flawless and one should not accept crystals with any flaws.

Cubic zirconia can be produced in many colours, the most popular being pink, yellow, red, purple and green. Coloured cubic zirconia should also have an even colour and no visible flaws at all.

History of Cubic Zirconia


Cubic zirconia was first produced by scientists looking to find a diamond-substitute for use in lasers and industry. Although cubic zirconia was produced by accident in 1899, it has a very high melting point, and it was only in the 1960s that technology caught up with this crystal. Techniques for producing cubic zirconia were perfected in Moscow in 1973 and ever since, it has remained the most popular choice for jewellery with the sparkling beauty of diamond without the price tag.

To see our CZ jewellery please click here.

Citrine


citrinecitrine2citrine3

With its sunny colour and clarity, citrine makes beautiful jewellery. It ranges in colour from palest yellow, through orange to a warm brown for soft, flattering jewellery that looks gorgeous.

Measuring Citrine Quality


Citrine is not graded on a specific system, but is assessed on the overall beauty of the stone. Natural citrine of the ‘best’ colour is relatively rare, so one should check if a citrine crystal is man-made or natural as this greatly affects the price and quality of the crystal. The most highly valued citrine is natural, ‘eye clean’ – meaning that there are no visible flaws, and have an even golden orange colour.

History of Citrine


Known over the years as ‘gold topaz‘ and ‘smoky topaz‘ citrine became very popular at the beginning of the 20th Century. Yellow gemstones are quite rare, and the sunny colour of high quality citrine soon became fashionable in the jewellery-making centres of Europe. Since then it has enjoyed continued popularity, its pretty colours and clarity resulting in beautiful jewellery.

Symbolism and Crystal Healing


  • Citrine is the birthstone for November
  • Citrine is believed to protect against venom and snakes
  • Citrine is said to lift the spirits and create a happy, prosperous home

Citrine is believed to banish self-destructive tendencies

To see our citrine jewellery please click here.

Precious Stones


Precious stones such as diamond and sapphire are prized for their singular beauty and unique qualities. We source the finest precious stones to bring you the highest quality and the most beautiful jewellery possible. This section makes it easy to discover the beauty of precious stones

Diamond


diamond

Considered by many the most beautiful precious stone, diamonds have been prized since antiquity. These beautiful stones are the hardest substance known to man and disperse light in a unique way, resulting in unrivalled sparkling beauty.

Measuring the Quality of Diamonds


Diamonds are judged on the Four Cs: colour, cut, clarity and carat. Below is a brief summary of the 4Cs, and we also have an expanded article on Choosing a Diamond, so you can learn about diamonds and their value in greater detail.

Colour

The perfect diamond should be completely transparent, although coloured diamonds are often valued as they make beautiful jewellery, particularly pink diamonds. We have a full selection of pure diamonds and those chosen for their unusual colours.

Cut

The cut of a diamond is the way that it has been shaped to create a gem-quality jewel. Uncut diamonds have an uncommon beauty, but do not reveal the optical characteristics and beauty of the stone. Diamond cutting is a skilled and refined art, and naturally, those cut into desirable shapes by fine craftsmen are most valued. When choosing diamond jewellery, it is always important to look for a piece where the cut of the diamond suits the overall style of the item and gives you a piece that you can enjoy.

Learn more about diamond cuts in our expanded article on Types of Stone Cut.

Clarity

The clarity of a diamond describes how many flaws it contains. The flaws are usually inclusions of non-crystallised carbon, and the perfect diamond should be unflawed with complete clarity. Good jewellery makers will cut and construct jewellery to minimise flaws, making the most of a particular diamond. For good quality diamond jewellery, you should expect your diamond to be at least ‘eye clean‘, meaning that it has no visible flaws at all.

Carat

The carat weight of a diamond measures its mass, with one carat defined as 200 milligrams. The carat of a diamond increases with its weight, and as larger diamonds are rarer, high carat diamonds are more highly valued.

Please remember that carat weight describes the weight of the diamond, not its diameter or height. You may also see the phrase ‘total carat weight’ or abbreviation ‘t.c.w’ used to describe a piece of jewellery, meaning the total carat weight of all the stones included in the piece of jewellery.

History of Diamonds


It is believed that diamonds were first valued and mined in Ancient India, were they have been known for at least 3,000 years. The most legendary of the Indian diamond mines was at Golkonda, now a ruined city near Hyderabad that produced such large and famous diamonds as the Hope Diamond, Darya-e Nur and the Regent Diamond. With their singular beauty, diamonds soon became associated with divinity and were so valued that their ownership was restricted, with only kings allowed to own all colours of diamond.

Diamonds & The Engagement Ring


Over the centuries diamonds have become loved the world over. Their most common incarnation is as diamond engagement rings. Mary of Burgundy, a French noblewoman, is said to have received the first diamond engagement ring in 1477. While diamonds had long been associated with magic, health and wisdom, and was said to maintain happy relationships. Diamond is the symbol of a sixty-year anniversary, and often given as a gift to celebrate long and successful marriages.

Symbolism and Crystal Healing


  • Diamond is the birthstone for April, and is said to protect and strengthen those born in this month
  • The earliest use of diamonds was as the eyes of divine Hindu statues, and their association with divinity and the supernatural has only grown over the centuries. Hinduism has fourteen names for diamond, including Agira meaning ‘fire of the sun’
  • In traditional crystal lore, diamonds are said to banish pestilence, evil magic and chaos

In Greek mythology, Zeus created diamonds in a fit of rage, whilst Plato believed that they fell from the stars

To see our collection of diamond rings click here.

Emerald


emeraldemerald2emerald3

Getting their name from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘green’, emeralds are prized for their beautifully rich colour. Together with diamond, sapphire and ruby, emerald is one of the four recognised precious stones and is valued the world over for its beautiful colour and the wonderful jewellery crafted from it.

Measuring Emerald Quality


Emeralds are primarily valued on their colour. The most highly valued possess a deep, vibrant green that glows in the light. Emerald almost always contains inclusions and flaws, making it quite brittle. As a result, clear emeralds are rare and highly valued, commanding the highest prices.

History of Emeralds


One of the oldest precious stones known to man, emerald has been valued for approximately 6000 years. It has traditionally been seen as a symbol of immortality. Most gem-quality emeralds are found in South America, the current source being Colombia.

Symbolism and Crystal Healing


  • Emerald is the birthstone for May and associated with the zodiac signs Taurus, Aries and sometimes Gemini
  • Emerald is the traditional gift for a 55th wedding anniversary. It is also used to symbolise the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries
  • Emerald is said to bring peace, harmony and balance to those who wear it. It is also believed to encourage strong, happy relationships and is a symbol of immortality

Emerald is purported to be good for the eyes and general health, preventing sickness and bringing good health.

In our shop you can find our emerald rings and emerald pendants.

Ruby


rubyruby2ruby3

Prized for its rich colour, the ruby is one of the four precious stones along with diamond, emerald and sapphire. This beautiful stone is formed in the mantle, the lowest part of the Earth’s crust, and is one of the most valued stones in the world.

Measuring the Quality of Ruby


Rubies are judged primarily on their colour, then clarity and size. This means that rubies with the ‘best’ colour – a bright red known as ‘Pigeon’s Blood Red‘ – are much more expensive than paler stones of a similar quality.

Colour

This is judged to similar standards as those of sapphires – intensity of colour and the colour itself. The best rubies have an intense, bright red without fading.

Clarity

Unlike diamonds or sapphires, all rubies contain inclusions and flaws. However, the clearest rubies are most highly valued, with small inclusions not ruining the colour of the stone. The absence of any flaws in an uncut stone is a good indicator that a ruby is synthetic, and is usually shunned by jewellers.

History of Ruby


Rubies are more readily available than their relatives, sapphires. They have long been valued in Asia, particularly in India and China, where they are found on the scabbards, helmets and jewellery of historic figures. In modern times they are still highly valued for their beauty and attributes, both in Asia and the rest of the world and make beautiful jewellery of great value.

Symbolism and Crystal Healing


  • Rubies are the birthstone for July, and associated with the zodiac signs Leo and Cancer
  • In Vedic astrology, rubies are associated with the Sun

Rubies symbolise a 40th wedding anniversary and have long been a traditional gift to Celebrate.

To see our ruby collection click here.

Sapphire


sapphire sapphire2

Famous for its rich blue colour, the sapphire is one of the four most valued stones, along with rubies, emeralds and of course, diamonds. Blue sapphires are the most well-known, but other colours such as pink, yellow, orange, black and purple can occur, and are known as ‘fancy sapphires’. Most highly valued in its blue form, the sapphire makes truly beautiful jewellery.

Measuring Sapphire Quality


As well as clarity, sapphires are graded primarily on their colour, which is divided into three categories: intensity, hue and tone.

Intensity

Intensity refers to the strength of the colour and is usually described from ‘weak’ – usually greyish – to ‘vivid’. The most vivid sapphires were found in Kashmir, in deposits revealed by a landslide in the late 19th Century. In this category, the sapphires with a strong, vibrant colour are considered the most beautiful.

Hue

The hue refers to the actual colour of the sapphire, which can range from greenish to tinged with purple. The most desirable sapphires are a perfect blue untainted by other colours.

Tone

This describes how dark or light the colour of the sapphire is. This varies from pale to dark, with the most prized sapphires occurring halfway along the scale.

History of Sapphires


Sapphires are formed deep in the lowest layer of the Earth’s crust, the mantle. Because of this, sapphires were not really known before the Roman Empire (27B.C. to 476A.D. approx). This beautiful stone was often unearthed as the result of geological activity, as the great sapphire mines of Kashmir were by an earthquake and landslide. In the 20th Century, many large and famous sapphires have been unearthed. The most famous are the Logan Sapphire and the Star of Bombay which has a striking star formation. Both are from Sri Lanka, renowned for its flawless sapphires.

Symbolism and Crystal Healing


  • Sapphire is the birthstone for those born in September
  • In Vedic astrology, blue sapphires are associated with Saturn and yellow sapphire with Jupiter. In fact, the name ‘sapphire’ comes from the Sanskrit for ‘Saturn’

A 45th wedding anniversary is known as the Sapphire Anniversary.

Our sapphire collection can be found here.