Recent Posts About Gemstones


December Birthstone – Turquoise, Blue zircon, Tanzanite

November 18, 2016

Turquoise hardness is #5 to #6 on Mohs scale, and generally fair to good in toughness. Sources are China, Iran, and the US. Turquoise is one of the world’s most ancient gems. Archaeological excavations revealed that Egyptian royalty wore turquoise jewelry as early as 5500 BC, and Chinese artisans were carving it more than 3,000 …

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November Birthstone – Topaz, Citrine

Topaz is #8 on the Mohs scale, and toughness is poor due to cleavage. Sources are Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar(Burma), Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and United States. The topaz name came from Topazios, the old Greek name for an island in the Red Sea, now called Zabargad. The island never produced topaz, but …

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October Birthstone – Opal, Tourmaline, Rose zircon

Opal is ranked at #5 to #6.5 on Mohs scale and very poor to fair in toughness. Sources are Australia—black and white opal, Brazil—white opal, and Mexico—fire opal. Opal is the world’s most popular phenomenal gem. Many cultures have credited opal with supernatural origins and powers. Arabic legends say it falls from heaven in flashes …

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September Birthstone – Sapphire/Corundum

Sapphire is usually #9 on Mohs scale, excellent in toughness, but with large fractures/inclusions, or some treatments, can be less durable. Sources are Australia, Cambodia, China, India (Kashmir), Kenya, Madagascar, Myanmar(Burma), Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United States, Vietnam. India is a famous, historic source of fine blue sapphire, and production is now …

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August Birthstone – Spinel, Peridot, Sardonyx

Spinel is #8 on Mohs scale, good toughness. Sources are Cambodia, Myanmar(Burma), Sri lanka, Tanzania, Thailand. Myanmar is known for fine-quality pink and red spinels. Spinel is a good candidate for the title of “History’s Most Underappreciated Gems.” Some Ancient mines that supplied gems for royal courts, from Rome to China, produced spinels. Yet, they were …

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July Birthstone – Ruby/Corundum

Ruby is a #9 on Mohs scale, usually excellent in toughness, but with certain treatments or large fractures/inclusions can be less durable. Sources are Afghanistan, Kenya, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Tanzania, Vietnam, and Thailand. Thailand is the world center for treatment and wholesale trade and mine production of rubies and has been declining since …

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June Birthstone – Alexandrite, Pearl, Moonstone

Alexandrite is #8.5 on Mohs scale and has excellent toughness. Sources are Brazil, East Africa, Russia, and Sri Lanka. Alexandrite is a rare chrysoberyl variety with chameleon like qualities. Its color is a lovely green in daylight or fluorescent light, but it changes to brownish or purplish red in the incandescent light from a lamp …

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May Birthstone – Emerald/Beryl

#7.5 to #8 on Mohs scale, poor to good toughness. Sources are Colombia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, Zambia. Colombia is one of the largest commercial producers of emeralds. Fine Colombian emeralds are highly regarded for their excellent color. Zambia, a major commercial source, as well. Zambian emeralds tend to have good clarity. Zimbabwe, the Sandawana Valley …

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April Birthstone – Diamond

Diamond scores #10 on the Mohs scale, and good is to excellent in toughness. Sources are South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Botswana, China, Canada, Ghana, Guyana, Indonesia, India, Namibia, Sierra Leon, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United States, Venezuela.  India was the world’s only major source until the 18th century. Then Brazil’s alluvial deposits were discovered …

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March Birthstone – Aquamarine/Beryl

#7.5 to #8 on Mohs scale, good toughness. Sources are Brazil (major source), Australia, China, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria (known for intense color under 5 carats), Pakistan, United States, and Zambia. Aquamarine’s cool blue hues are reflected in its name, which comes from the Latin for “sea water” Medieval sages prescribed water touched by aquamarine …

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