Stone Library (A-D)
Abalones are molluscks not gemstones. However, they are prized for their glorious iridescent play of colors that ranges from pearly white to pink and even golden shades.
Though formed from tiny particles of soft, chalk-like materials, they are very hard and very tough; difficult to break.
These beautiful shells, flashing colors of the rainbow, are thought to help bring the body into balance. From a spiritual perspective, they offer comfort to the sorrowing heart.
Prized by many cultures, they were used by Native Americans in certain rituals. It has been suggested that when you are troubled or fearful or lacking the strength to speak your mind – take a piece of abalone and let the light play with it causing rainbow reflections and you will be healed and calmed and restored to a healthy and energized balance.
Agate is a form of chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers in a remarkable variety of colors and textures. Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in a host rock. As a result, agate is often found as a round nodule, with bands resembling the rings on tree trunks. The bands sometimes look like eyes, fanciful scallop shapes, or even a landscape with trees.
The name “agate” is derived from its discovery at the Achates River in southwestern Sicily. Agate is found all over the world including: Africa, Asia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, and the USA.
It is the Mystical birthstone for September. It is also the birthstone for the Zodiac sign of Gemini. It is prized for its fineness of grain and brightness of color.
Agate, historically, was believed to quench thirst and protect against fever. Persian magicians used agate to divert storms. The metaphysical and healing properties of agate are thought to be: courage, protection, healing and calming. Historically, it was placed in water for cooking or drinking, to dispel sickness.
Amazonite is a gem variety of feldspar and is usually polished as a cabochon. It displays a “Schiller” light which is caused by inclusions – lustrous reflections from planes in a mineral grain and similar to what is more commonly known as iridescence. The schiller is caused by a feature of the stone’s crystal structure. The stone is arranged in layers that causes an interference effect of light.
Amazonite is found in the United States, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Russia, Australia, Namibia. It is usually light green to blue-green, mottled and sometimes contains light striations.
This lovely stem-opaque stone was used extensively by the Egyptians and was called “the stone of courage.” It is said to have been named after the Amazon women warriors.
It is thought to enhance creative expression, aligns astral bodies, unifies the life force, and improves self worth. It is sometimes called the “hope stone” because it is thought to inspire confidence and hope. One source suggests that it is useful to activate lazy teenagers.
Amber is one of the birthstones listed for the Sun Sign for Taurus. Deposits of amber have been discovered that range from 360 and one million years ago and belong between the Carboniferous and Pleistocene geological periods. Syrupy resin oozed from ancient pine trees encasing small insects, plant material, feathers and other small objects, as it flowed down the trunk of the tree. Over time, the resin was encased in dirt and debris and through a process of heat and pressure it fossilized to become amber.
One of the things that increase the value of amber, is the rarity and perfection of the entrapped object. Amber can range in color from dark brown to a light, almost clear lemony yellow. Most amber that is used in jewelry designs come from the Baltic Sea or the Dominican Republic.
Because of its ancient character, amber is thought to have many healing properties. They include love, strength, luck, healing, and protection. They are thought to bring humor and joy to one’s life and strengthen the physical body. In jewelry designs, the light weight quality of amber, makes it perfect for the addition of other stones and/or precious metal and for layering, as it does not become too heavy for comfortable wear.
Amethyst is a violet/purple variety of quartz often used in jewelrymaking and to decorate and add value to items such as chalices and bowls, and even, clothing.
The name “amethyst” comes from Ancient Greek and means, “intoxicated.” The color of amethyst is caused by iron impurities. If heated, amethyst turns yellow-orange, yellow-brown, or dark brownish and resembles the quartz variety gem known as citrine.
Amethyst is the official birthstone for February. One of the famous stars you might see wearing amethyst as her birthstone, is Cheryl Crow. It is also the birthstone for the Zodiac sign of Pisces. Amethyst is the most valued member of the quartz family. It must be purple to be an amethyst but, it can range from deep purple shades to light lilac, lavender, and mauve.
Amethyst can occur as crystals that are six sided on either end. It also forms as Drusy, which are crystalline crusts covering the host rock. It is found inside geodes and in alluvial deposits all around the world.
Historically, amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming addiction. It has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and other pain. It is worn to make the wearer gentle and amiable.
The powers of amethyst include: dreams, healing, peace, love, spiritual joy, courage, psychism, protection against harm, and the bestowing of happiness.
Ametrine is doubly blessed with power having both the elements of amethyst and citrine to call upon. In ancient times it was believed that the “cosmos were reflected in gemstones.” Ametrine is associated with Jupiter, Mercury, Neptune and Pluto.
They have been used throughout the ages by healers. Wearing the stone directly against the skin or placing it on a part of the body that is in pain or troubled, is thought to bring relief. Many healers believe that it is most effective when dealing with headaches and backaches.
The pure liquid quality of silver, its brilliant ability to reflect light and striking beauty, have made it a metal of choice for jewelry makers throughout the centuries. Calmer and more reserved than gold, silver is believed to enhance and heighten the power of the stones it is paired with; making their healing and spiritual qualities more powerful.
Historically, silver was used very early on as a container for liquid, as it was discovered that it stayed fresher and purer than liquids stored in containers made of other materials. It is thought that a Persian King, Cyrus the Great (550-529BC) concerned for his people’s health, instructed that all drinking water be stored in silver vessels. Even today, silver is an important part of contemporary religious rituals.
Silver has been mined for over a thousand years from areas around the world. The largest piece of silver ever mined, weighed 1,840 pounds and was taken out of a mine in Aspen, Colorado.
Silver has been associated with the moon and is thought to reflect negativity back to the sender and has been worn as a magical form of protection for hundreds of years. Many people believe that silver can act as an antibacterial agent and that it can, in fact, boost the immune system. Some people even believe that ingesting silver (adding it as a purifying agent to water) will be beneficial and aid digestion. It is thought to help strengthen and channel the energy of particular gems such as: turquoise, amethyst, moonstone, and carnelian (to name a few.) Its energy is associated with water and it is paired with the Deities, Isis, Diana and Luna.
Its Zodiac sign is the moon and it is associated with the star sign Cancer.
Apatite, though not commonly used in jewelry making, is nevertheless prized by collectors who greatly admire the multiple colors and forms it comes in.
Apatite, like a rainbow, can display a range of colors from colorless to pink, yellow, green, blue and violet.
There is very little to be found in the literature, which offers any insight into the metaphysical or healing properties of Apatite. It has not been assigned to any Zodiac sign and has not been associated with healing.
Aquamarine is the birthstone of March as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the birthstone for the Zodiac sign of Scorpio.
The gemstone aquamarine is a member of the beryl family and ranges in color from an almost clear pale blue to blue-green or even teal. The most prized color is the deep-blue aqua reminiscent of tropical waters.
The most valuable stones come from Brazil but, it is also mined in Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Afghanistan, and Russia.
Aquamarines that are used for jewelry making today are often faceted but, when cut as a cabochon, they may display a cat’s eye effect that is known as asterism. Some of these gemstones are heated to very high temperatures to create and enhance the clarity and color of the stone. Once put through this process, the change is permanent.
These enchanting stones have been associated with many spiritual and physical legends of healing and enhanced powers. They are thought to endow the wearer with foresight and courage and, to increase intelligence and to restore youthfulness. Their healing properties were thought to be useful in lessening anxiety and in the Middle Ages, it was believed that this gemstone would reduce the effect of poisons. Another interesting belief was that if sailors wore them they would be protected and the stone would eliminate the effects of sea-sickness.
Aventurine is the Star Sign for Libra and the Planetary stone of Taurus. Aventurine is a translucent to opaque variety of microcrystalline quartz. It has small deposits of bright minerals which give the stone a sparkling effect known as “aventurescence”. The variety of colors this stone comes in can be attributed to inclusions of mica (a silvery sheen) or hematite (a reddish or grayish sparkle.) There is an artist’s palette of colors available for jewelry designs: green, peach, brown, blue and a creamy green.
Aside from its popularity with jewelry designers, it is also used to enhance the beauty of bowls, vases, and figurines.
Aventurine is found in India, Chile, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Austria, and Tanzania.
It is interesting that the name for the stone is derived from an accident. Sometime during the 18th century, Venetian glass workers were preparing molten glass we=hen copper filings accidentally fel into the atch producing a glass with sparkles. The name aventurine comes from the Italian “a ventura” which means “by chance.” This widely used stone is thought to be a lucky talisman and is often used by gamblers to bring them luck.
As a healing stone, it is amazingly inclusive, treating everything from stress to a troubled spirit. It was also thought to help develop confidence, imagination and improve prosperity. It is a calming stone that brings the wearer, inner peace.
Bronzite is a delightfully chocolate brown colored gemstone that often has an array of golden swirls interspersed giving it a wonderfully “alive and glowing” quality. An appreciation for this extraordinary stone goes back to Roman days. It is said that the Romans thought bronzite could protect them from confusion and mental illness. Bronzite is found deep within the earth and has acquired a bronze-like metallic gleam on its surface.
As an iron-bearing stone, it is thought to be very powerful and protective of the wearer. Many people believe that bronzite will help protect the skin from aging and will successfully treat issues like rashes and other skin related ailments. Bronzite is not a traditional birthstone for any particular month, nor does it have any particular star sign.
It is thought by some that the name “carnelian” comes from a “variety of cherry quartz known as kornel.” The history of carnelian is truly ancient as the stone was used by the Romans to make rings to be used as seals on letters and documents. Interestingly, wax does not adhere to the surface of carnelian so it was perfect for the task.
Carnelian is even mentioned in the Bible as being forged into the Breastplate of Aaron and is listed in the Arabic, Hebrew and Roman tables. It is the Zodiac sign for Virgo. This long history of carnelian is also associated with the idea that it was a “lucky” stone and would protect the wearer from calamities, such as: falling buildings and collapsing walls. Used as a good luck charm in Greece and Babylonia, it is thought to bring a measure of peace and joy to the wearer. It is believed that Mohammed wore a ring that contained a carnelian seal and so, is particularly highly thought of in the Muslim culture.
Carnelian is also associated with Napoleon who, it is said, highly prized a carnelian seal he found during a campaign in Egypt.
Cat’s Eye comes in a rainbow of colors ranging from golden yellow, yellow with brown, green with red, and pink. There are cavities within the stone that enables the stone to resemble a cat’s eye.
The qualities that are associated with Cat’s Eye are numerous and include: determination, strength, steadfastness, intelligence, knowledge, tenacity, courage, vigor and self control. It is not surprising that it is thought to help heal eye disorders and its gentle presence offers a protective energy.
It is associated with a positive attitude and is thought to bring happiness and serenity to the wearer.
Chalcedony come in a wide variety of colors: red-orange, apple-green, blue or lavender, black, and deep green with red. Each stone my have a myriad of colors while others, may appear solid in color.
Like carnelian, chalcedony was used as far back as in early Mesopotamia (7th century B.C.) to fashion cylindrical seals. It has also been used for centuries, in carvings, fashioning jewelry such as cameos and intaglios.
Though it looks a great deal like turquoise, chrysocolla is a very different stone and is comprised of different mineral elements and a very different spiritual and mystical aura.
Thought of, for centuries, as a stone of peace and reassurance, Chrysocolla was used by people in ancient Egypt as a stone of conciliation and compromise. Worn, or kept in a fold of one’s garment, it was brought to high level meetings and to places where decisions were made, in order to help people come to a better understanding of one another. It was also believed that Chrysocolla could absorb violence rendering people more peaceful and amenable to accommodating one another rather than using force to achieve their ends.
It is said that Queen Cleopatra Chrysocolla with her everywhere she went both as protection and, as a way of persuading people to accept her views and acquiesce to her demands.
Rarely mined today, Chrysocolla is none-the-less treasured by many as a stone of great beauty and, great value. It is prized for its lovely bright green to slightly bluish color tones and for the way it clusters into what looks very much like grapes, as it forms. When discovered, it often is mixed with malachite, turquoise and azurite and is so hard that it can easily be polished or cut into cabochons.
It is thought that Chrysocolla has many healing powers including, strengthening resistance and calming inner turmoil. It is also thought to help with the healing of burns.
Its Zodiac sign is Venus and it is not associated with any month as a birthstone. It is the stone of Taurus, Aquarius, Libra and Cancer.
Chyrsoprase has an apple green color and is made up of mostly chalcedony (quartz.) This sparkling green color, reminiscent of a Granny Smith apple, is due to the nickel content it contains. Interestingly, this means that if overexposed to too much sunlight, the color of the stone might fade.
The name chyrsoprase is from the Greek “chyrsos” which means “gold” and “prason” which means “bloom.” This name was used to describe the stone and the small inclusions of golden drops that can be seen within it.
This glorious gemstone can be found in Australia, Brazil, the Ural Mountains and in the United States.
The stone has been used for centuries by jewelry makers due to its beautiful complexion and wonderful reflective qualities and was often mistaken for imperial jadeite, due in large part to their similar coloring.
The fact that chyrsoprase is composed of fine crystals so minute that they can not be seen as individual particles, even under magnification, sets this beautiful stone apart from other rock crystals, such as; amethyst, citrine and other crystalline quartz.
Its healing properties are thought to be, that it can strengthen eyes, staunch blood flow from a wound and relieve the pain of rheumatism. It is thought that its healing potential works best when the stone is worn or placed on the affected area for long periods of time.
Its energy is receptive and its element is the earth. Its powers are believed to bring happiness, luck, success, friendship, protection, healing and money. Its Zodiac sign is Venus.
This beautiful golden stone was named after the French word for lemon (citron.) Citrines do have a range of colors that include yellow to gold to orange to orange-brown to shades of red.
The ancients thought that citrine had protective powers and would save them from the deadly consequences of snake venom and the evil eye. Citrine was assigned to the planet Mercury.
This highly prized gemstone is thought to provide healing powers when applied directly to the painful or debilitated part of the body, right up against the skin. In particular, it is thought to be quite helpful in easing backache.
Fashioned into beads and hand painted, clay has become an interesting and much utilized jewelry making component.
Clay comes in a wide variety of natural colors such as red, green, gray, white, and has a multitude of textures ranging from coarse like rough sand, to very fine and light. Clay has been used medicinally for centuries by indigenous people. It has also been widely used in cosmetic applications: mud baths and mud facials are quite popular in spas around the world.
Externally, clay absorbs excess oils, dirt and toxins from the skin while exfoliating, refreshing and improving circulation. It is interesting to note that some clay (Bentonite clay) is edible. It is used to heal both external and internal ills. In a particular spa in Morocco, very fine grained clay from ancient deposits in the fertile Atlas Mountains, has been used for over 1400 years as a skin conditioner, soap, and shampoo.
Copper is an essential metal and its discovery dates back to prehistoric times. There are records of copper items being found in Iraq that date back to around 9000BC. As long ago as 5000BC, method were developed for refining copper and 1000 years later, it was being form into pottery in North Africa.
Copper is such a popular metal because it is a good conductor of heat and electricity, it is malleable and it has a lovely, bright, metallic sheen. It is also one of the elements “which has an alchemical symbol.” Alchemy is an ancient pursuit concerned with the turning of metals into gold.
From a healing perspective, copper is an antioxidant which, when combined with vitamin C, seeks out damaging particles in the body called “free radicals.” These free radicals can damage cell walls, interact with genetic material and contribute to the aging process.
Used for centuries, it is believed that by placing copper close to, or up against, the skin, a small amount of the essential elements will be absorbed through the skin benefitting the liver, spleen and lymphatic system.
The astrological signs for copper are Taurus and Sagittarius. As a footnote, copper is known by some as the “love metal” as it is thought to make us more receptive to love energies.
A small group of “gems” are not stones at all. Rather than being formed from minerals, they are a crystalline structure formed from biological processes, either animal or vegetable. Coral, amber, jet, ivory and pearl form this grouping.
Gem quality coral is related to reef-forming corals (marine animals known as coral polyps) and the most valuable of these, is found in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and in the waters off the coast of Japan.
The colors of these corals range from bright to dark red – to orange-red, orange-pink, pink, white, blue and black. Coral achieves its lovely luster from polishing.
Samples of coral jewelry have been found in ancient Egypt and even in prehistoric European burial sites.
Crystals come in many shapes and sizes, textures and colors. They have, for generations, been used as healing stones. In fact, many “healers” use crystal wands to treat their patients. Individual crystals are thought to have different healing properties and are used in different rituals for a variety of physical, spiritual, and metaphysical enhancements. In general, crystals are used to empower the individual, helping to create a better physical and mental balance, release tension, negative energy and fearful thoughts, and strengthen the body and the spirit. There are, literally, hundreds of different crystal formations and each one has its own special qualities used to protect, preserve, heal, enhance and energize the individual.
A Drusy is, in essence, a grouping of silicon crystals that come together and form on geodes. Most commonly, it can be found along with gemstones such as; carnelian, garnet, turquoise, malachite, and chrysocolla. This is not an all-inclusive list. The tiny crystals that comprise a Drusy, resemble sugar crystals. Drusy come in many colors and combinations of colors. Primarily, they seem to prefer showing off earth tones.
Since a Drusy forms on gemstones, its metaphysical and/or healing properties are closely associated with the stone it is attached to. In general, Drusy are thought to help calm the spirit and relieve depression. It is said to help the wearer relax and find a place where they are free of stress and anxiety. Some believe, this earthy element, can heal mental and emotional illness. The Drusy is associated with the Zodiac and astrological sign of whatever gem it is attached to.