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Properties of Gemstones


Silver

History and Uses
Early silver artefacts have been found dating from 4000BC. It has been used in coinage and jewellery throughout human history as well as in many industries, including photography and electronics because it is the best electrical conductor of all metals. It is likely to be in even more demand in the future as a major component of photovoltaic cells which are able to make electricity from sunlight. It's particularly good for jewellery because it is a very highly reflective when polished and has a much greater reflectivity than gold. Sterling silver (used most frequently in jewellery) is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, the copper is added to make the silver harder wearing. Fine silver 99.9% is also used in some circumstances such as for silver wire for bead wrapping and some findings like bezel cups (the things that hold cabochon stones in place). Silver, like gold is a precious metal and with all its commercial uses should remain a good investment for the foreseeable future.

Magical and Healing Properties
There is a long tradition of silver being used in medicine and religious ritual. Long before medical discoveries in the 1800's demonstrated that silver was a bactericide, the use of silver coins and vessels to keep water, wine and vinegar sweet was well established. Silver cutlery was found to keep people healthier than that made from base metals. Hence the saying "Born with a silver spoon in his mouth", which meant the child was strong and healthy (not wealthy as we tend to think now). Nowadays silver compounds are used for burns dressings and in catheters as well as recently in plasters.

Many societies have developed mystical associations for silver. It's colour and brightness is linked to the moon, femininity, creativeness and emotional intelligence. The Egyptians saw it as the metal most closely linked to Isis, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. Isis is the goddess of fertility and creation.

In the chakra system, silver is linked to the sixth chakra or "third eye", associated with self awareness, insight, truth and wisdom.
 
 


Abalone

History and Uses
Abalone, a member of the same group of shellfish as scallops and clams, has been used decoratively ever since a human could pick up a shell from a beach. It has the iridescent colours of the sea: blues, greens and violets and is a very serene material, covered in smooth, wave like, ripples.

Mystical and healing properties
As in the doctrine of signatures, Abalone is used to soothe emotionally, to relax people who are stressed and to aid meditation. Various sources credit it with the ability to help the endocrine system, ease arthritis and aid digestion.
 
 


Amber

Once upon a time there were pine forests that made so much resin huge pools of it lay in puddles on the forest floor. Sometimes insects and small creatures got trapped in it and lay there over millions of years and became fossilised. Amber is a relatively soft stone, named by the Greeks after the sun, whose colours it shares. Amber comes from the Baltic and also Russia.

The colour of amber reminds us of the sun and its warmth and comfort and as such is helpful for those who are invalids or recovering from illness and injury. It is as if it focuses the suns energy in a positive, healing way. Good for those who are depressed and lacking in energy. Copal is an immature form of amber that isn't fossilised, it's beautiful but not as expensive or hard wearing as real amber. Beware of really cheap "ambers" because it is highly likely they are copal.
 
 


Amethyst

History and Uses
Amethyst is a type of quartz, a very abundant mineral in the earths crust. It gets its purple colouration from a combination of manganese and iron in the crystals and there are a huge range of colours from pale lilac to rich and deep purple. The name Amethyst comes from the Greek phase for "not drunken", they believed that drinking from an amethyst cup stopped intoxication. This idea also led to a belief that amethyst could give protection from poisoning.

Magical and Healing Properties
Has the reputation of helping to clarify thought processes and aid people in therapy, especially with problems connected to drug alcohol misuse and depression, anger and anxiety. Linked with the "third eye" and the sixth chakra as well as the seventh "crown" chakra, it is good for meditation. Physical systems it is supposed to help are the immune and circulatory systems. It helps with insomnia, headaches, arthritis, ear problems and memory problems. Known as a Major or Master healing stone for its many positive properties.
 
 

Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a type of Beryl (the same stone as emerald), it's name basically means sea water and it has that lovely blue/green colour.

Aquamarine is said to help communication and intellectual undertakings. It's calming influence is useful in times of stress and challenge, such as exams and driving tests!

The soothing, calming qualities of it make it helpful in meditation in stilling the mind. The Romans believed it was helpful for people with stomach, liver and throat problems.
 
 


Blue Lace Agate

History and Uses
It is a banded, blue form of Agate, found mainly in Southern Africa. All agates are actually made up of very, very,small quartz crystals.


Mystical and Healing properties
A very gentle, loving and soothing stone, good for nervousness and agitation. It is associated with the throat chakra and is therefore useful as an aid to communication, for teachers, politicians, police and others whose jobs require the use of tact and persuasion. Because of its helpfulness in communication is it also used for those with speech difficulties, especially those linked with nervousness, such as stammering. Said also to help with arthritis.

Blue Lace Agate isn't too common.
 
 

Chalcedony

History and Uses
As with all the agates, Blue Chalcedony is a stone made up of tiny quartz crystals. Chalcedony is translucent (lets light though) whereas the other opaque members of the group are sold as jaspers or agates. It's a good tough stone for jewellery making and will withstand constant wearing.

Magical and Healing Properties
Another good stone for enhancing communication powers. Linked to the throat (communication) chakra. Said to be useful in the treatment of forgetfulness and dementia and for encouraging mental and physical balance, goodwill and general harmony.
 
 


Blue Goldstone

Technically speaking this "stone" really shouldn't be listed here as it's entirely a man made creation BUT I'm taking the liberty of including it because it's just so beautiful and I love handling and looking at it. It also goes with silver just superbly! It is made by adding copper salts to molten glass. The molten glass melts the copper back to a sparkling metal form and the stone ends up looking like the most fabulous starry night you have ever seen. I personally find it very inspirational and uplifting to look at and wear it as much as I can. There is also a "goldstone" which is a orangey, gold colour and made in the same way but for me it doesn't have the beauty or power of the blue variety. The story is that goldstone was first discovered by alchemists (people looking for ways to create gold from base metals and other elements). Because of this association is was once known as the Sorcerers Stone. It's been known to man since the 1500s and prized as an ornament ever since.

It's properties are those of lifting depression, reducing tension and anxiety. It is a very strong and positive stone to wear. On the physical level it is said to help with stomach tension and the copper in the stone is said to help with pain and inflammation.
 
 


Carnelian

History and Uses
Another stone from the quartz family, usually bright orange to reddish orange, and is translucent to clear. Sometimes called the "actors stone" as it is said to help memory.

Mystical and Healing Properties
Known to help increase confidence, especially helpful when starting out in new ventures or a new job, it gives you the energy and motivation to see the challenges through. A stone often given to give "good luck". Physically, it has been used to heal sores, rejuvenate tissues and cells, rheumatism, kidney problems, gall stones, colds, pollen allergies, and neuralgia. Associated with the spleen or sacral (2nd) chakra it is believed to help with fertility and potency, also with the problems of menopause and the menstrual cycle.
 
 


Citrine

History and Uses
Another quartz stone. Colours are clear pale yellow to golden brown, the darker colours are considered the most valuable. Colour comes from traces of iron in the stone. It's name comes from the French word for Lemon. Most citrine sold now is laboratory made by heating smoky quartz or amethyst to around 878 degrees.

Magical and Healing Properties
Considered a stone that helps build feelings of self worth and confidence in ones own abilities. Good stone for those starting new ventures or projects because it helps to clarify thoughts and decisions. A good stone for the fluid systems in the body, urinary tract, circulatory and digestive. Believed to help eliminate body toxins and linked with the 2nd and 3rd chakras (solar plexus). Also known as the "Merchants Stone" as it is said to help in sales related businesses.
 
 


Emerald

Beautiful stone from the Beryl group. Highly prized and expensive (but fantastic lab created stones now available at low prices). A stone said to promote mental balance and well being as well as being good for physical healing. Historic beliefs said it could cure blood disorders and act against poisoning.

A general talisman for wealth and good fortune as well as insight into issues of the heart and love, leading to happiness and harmony in marriage.
 
 


Garnet

History and Uses
The name garnet is from the Latin word granatus which originated when garnet grains in rock were compared to the dark red seeds of the pomegranate fruit. Used to be called carbuncles in ancients times and mentioned in both the Bible and Koran. In 1892, the Hunzas used bullets made of garnet against the British troops in Kashmir, believing them to be more deadly than lead. Garnet is the birthstone for the month of January and
the symbolic gemstone for the 18th wedding anniversary. Garnets come in all colours apart from blue, although the most popular and well known colours are in the red spectrum.

Magical and Healing Properties
The different types of garnet are supposed to have different healing properties but the general uses of garnet are for building self confidence and increasing courage and creativity. Physically it is believed to help with the bones and spine, heart lungs and blood system. Because of it's red colour garnet is also believed to aid passion and help love and friendships develop. Linked to the first chakra. believed to extract negative energies from the chakras and change the negativity into positivity.
 
 


Haematite or Hematite

The association of haematite with the blood is obvious. The colour of blood is mirrored by the deep red colour of iron ore, both colours of course coming from the presence of iron. Consequently, it is said to be helpful in the treatment of blood related disorders ranging from anaemia to nose bleeds and menstrual problems to heart disorders.

On a psychological level it is said to help with mental clarification and problem solving, a good stone for scientists and mathematicians. It is also said to help diffuse stress and anxiety, bringing clarity of thought to a confused and muddled mind. Many people suggest carrying a small haematite tumblestone in your pocket when going into stressful or challenging situations to help keep you calm and alert, also for journeys to help overcome travel sickness.
 
 

Jade

History and Uses
Alternative birthstone for March and for the 12th, 30th and 35th wedding anniversary. The most valuable Jade comes from Burma and is an intense emerald green colour. Ancient people thought that wearing jade would increase body strength and add longevity for them Jade was also a symbol of love and virtue. Used for decorative purposes from well before 5000BC and particularly associated with China which has large deposits. Although most people think of jade as being green it in fact comes in a huge variety of colours, greens, white, black, blue red, russet and lavender too. Confusingly two different stones are sold as Jade, Jadeite and Nephrite, although they are both silica based Jadeite has Aluminium in it and Nephrite Magnesium. Jadeite is the rarer and consequently most expensive of the two. However both types are very tough and withstand use very well.

Mystical and Healing Properties
Said to be a very good stone for helping to empathise and "tune in" to others, so consequently of great use to the healing professions and parents! The Chinese believe jade items bring the owner a long and prosperous life. As jade comes in many colours it is used on various chakras and it's properties depend on it's colour. Said to be good for the heart both physically and emotionally (particularly relating to loneliness) and to help with toxin elimination from the body. Aids restlessness, insomnia and the recall of dreams.
 
 


Jasper

Jasper comes in many colours, the pendant above is red jasper. All the types have slightly different properties but the general properties of Jasper are it's ability to help people relax and feel calmer and more tranquil. For physical complaints, jasper is said to be useful for complaints of the spleen, liver, gallbladder and stomach.

Zebra Jasper has lovely black and white zebra like markings. It is said to help specifically with anxiety and depression and with the initiation of action, "just get on and do it and don't fret!"!!

Pink Jasper is said to be good for initiating new romances and giving the wearer the courage to approach someone they like. Jaspers can be found in the unusual stones sections.
 
 


Labradorite

Beautiful reflective stone whose name comes from Labrador in Canada. According to an Eskimo legend, the Northern Lights were once imprisoned in the rocks along the coast of labrador, and then a wandering Eskimo warrior found them and freed most of the lights with a mighty blow of his spear. Some of the lights were still trapped within the stone however, and thus we have today the beautiful mineral known as labradorite.

It comes in various shades of grey, green and blue, very closely related to moonstone as it is also a feldspar. It is also known as Spectrolite. Because of its changing appearance in different lights it is associated with helping people in states of transition and change and and also with promotion psychic abilities.
It's powers to help the body are said to be in the area of stimulating the nervous system and visual perception, because of this it is said to help with exams.
 
 


Lapis Lazuli

History and Uses
The name Lapis Lazuli comes from a Persian word meaning blue. It's a stone that has been valued for thousands of years and has been associated with religious and occult rites. It is mentioned in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and in the Bible. Traditionally it was believed to lift the spirits and to cure fevers. Before the 19th century Lapis was ground up and used as a blue pigment in painting, it was then called ultramarine. The best lapis comes from Afghanistan.


Mystical and Healing Properties
Associated with the throat chakra and said to be helpful with communication, particularly in close relationships such as marriage and therefore in marital counselling where it is believed to help the partners say what they really think and feel. Many people believe it also helps in communication between the living and the dead though spirits. Physically it is believed to help aid rapid healing after surgery. Because of its association with the throat chakra and communication Lapis is also said to be helpful in meditation and in developing self awareness.
 
 


Moonstone

History and Uses
Birthstone for June. There are two main types of moonstone, both plain and rainbow. As the name suggests rainbow moonstone reflects a full spectrum of light. By virtue of it's name and associations with the moon it is connected with femininity. Known also as the "Travellers stone" and given as a gift before long journeys.

Magical and Healing Properties
As a very female stone it is said to help with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, PMS and menopause. Moonstone is said to have the power to grant wishes. A stone of the emotions not of the intellect so enhances intuition and empathy. Believed to help with insomnia and for headaches and elimination of toxins. Said to be a particularly good stone for water signs of the zodiac. Good for periods of movement and transition for example moving house.
 
 


Onyx

History and Uses
Onyx is another member of the fine Quartz family. It's typically black or dark brown with white bands that run in straight lines, unlike the curvy lines in agates. Onyx is a very hard wearing stone and good for jewellery making. Sometimes dyed calcite is sold as onyx but it's easy to tell the difference as calcite is soft and easily scratched.

Mystical and Healing Properties
Helps ground negativity and release stress and tension. Used in meditation to connect the person to spirits and the power of the earth. Traditionally used for funereal jewellery and said to be able to help people through the grieving process. Some people believe it can protect against snake and insect bites, so it can frequently be given to travellers. You can find Onyx items in the unusual stones sections.
 
 


Opal

The name opal comes from the Latin, Opalus (to see a change in colour). For the Romans Opal was the most prized of all precious stones, they believed the wearer would have great good fortune.

Opals are formed from balls of silica and are volcanic in origin, the beautiful rainbow like colours in opals come from water which is part of the opals make up. They are not a physically strong stone and need gentle handing and care. They need to be kept away from other jewellery and away from heat and light and bathed in cold clean water to maintain their fire.

It has lots of magical and mystical properties, linked to the moon and the feminine and emotional it is said to help you blend into the background if you don't want to be noticed. The flashes of fire and colour in the opal are said to help creativity and inspirational thought.

Physically opals are said to help a woman relax into childbirth and to help the body digest proteins. It also reputed to be good for the lungs and respiratory tract and believed to protect eyesight and vision both physical and spiritual.
 
 


Opalite

History and Uses
Opalite is not a form of Opal but a form of Fluorite that has opalescence, also known as Tiffany Stone. There are also glass beads called opalite.

Mystical and Healing Properties
Associated with the "third eye" chakra so used in meditation and for improving communication on all levels, especially the spiritual. Also noted to help in overcoming fatigue and aiding sexual prowess. You will find opalite jewellery in the unusual stones sections.
 
 

Pearls and Mother of Pearl

History and Uses
With the advent of huge pearl farms in China good quality pearls have never been cheaper and more accessible. All colours, shapes and sizes are available but I tend to think that the simple beauty of a white natural pearl is hard to surpass and they look particularly lovely with silver. Pearl is the birthstone for June. Pearl wedding anniversaries are the 3rd, 12th and 30th. They are not hardy stones and need to be treated with care and stored in a soft pouch, not rubbing against other jewellery.

Magical and Healing Properties
Traditionally pearls are a symbol of innocence and purity and have a strong feminine association through their similarity to the shape and colour of a full moon. Good for water signs of the Zodiac. Tradition say that the pearl absorbs the negative energies of the wearer and will maintain that negativity until worn again. Pearls are said to reduce stress and anxiety, high blood pressure and headaches.
 
 


Rose Quartz

History and Uses
Rose quartz is pink quartz. Quartz is important to crystal therapists because of its electrical properties.

Mystical and Healing Properties
One of the most widely used healing stones. Used for cardiovascular problems, problems of fertility and sexual performance, headaches and for disorders of the eyes, ears, nose and throat. On a psychological level rose quartz is used during times of extreme emotional stress, divorce, bereavement, work problems and long term physical illness because it reminds the wearer to love themselves and the need to nurture and care for oneself. Used a lot in meditation to calm and order the mind so that progress can be made towards new goals. Believed to lift depression and create confidence in the wearer. I usually have rose quartz items in stock and they will be in the unusual stones sections.
 
 


Ruby

As with all red gemstones ruby is associated with sexuality, fertility and stamina. A stone of love and caring as well as strength and protection in times of danger. Because red is the colour of vitality and energy it can help those who need to channel energy into new endeavours when others have come to an end.
 
 


Sapphire

Sapphire known best for being blue, in fact comes in many colours but not red as red is Ruby! As with all blue stones there is a belief that it is a stone with spiritual properties, enhancing mental abilities and latent psychic powers.

It is said to have healing effects for those with blood disorder, colic and rheumatism and was believed to be an antidote to poisons in the Dark Ages.
 
 

Sardonyx

Red sardonyx is a complicated stone, a combination of layers of Carnelian, Chalcedony and Onyx, it is beautifully banded and looks like no other stone. It has a long history of being used in jewellery, sardonyx was used in both Ancient Egypt and Rome. It's red colour was associated with Mars the God of War and it was worn to make soldiers brave and strong, hence it is a good stone to wear if you think you are going to be in a situation where you will need extra strength, determination and courage.

Most red stones have the ability to help increase self confidence and attractiveness to the opposite sex. Sardonyx is said to be useful in maintaining a good, long term, relationships between life partners.

Physical ailments that Sardonyx has been used for are, as an antidote to poisonous bites and stings and for the relief of stomach pain. You will find Sardonyx jewellery in the unusual stones sections.

 

Serpentine

History and Uses
Serpentine gets its name from two possible sources: either it's scale/snake like markings or for the belief that it guards against snake bites. It's also known as New Jade. Has been used since ancient times as a stone for protection against evil spirits and witchcraft.

Mystical and Healing Properties
Traditionally used to help nursing mothers produce more milk, it has an affinity with the female and is said to help with menstrual pain and inability to reach orgasm. Other properties include it being used as a protection against snake and insect bites, to balance mood and for conflict resolution. Also used widely for meditation. Believed to increase absorption of calcium and magnesium so good for those with osteoporosis or bone and spine disorders. You will find serpentine jewellery in the unusual stones sections.
 
 


Topaz

History and Uses
The word Topaz used to refer to any yellow stone, the name is thought to come from the Sanskrit word for fire "tapas". Topaz is the birthstone for November and for the 16th wedding anniversary.

Magical and Healing Properties
As with other blue stones, blue topaz is said to help one communicate better with others. Blue Topaz is also said to help people become inspirational leaders. It also used for meditation, for self awareness, stimulation of creativity and psychic insight. Helpful for writers to remove writers block.
 
 


Tourmaline

No other mineral in the world has such a vast range of colours as Tourmaline. It was first discovered in the early 1700s, so it's a fairly recent stone to be used. Physically it is an electrostatic stone, if you rub it it will produce an electric charge and attract hairs and bits of paper!

Tourmaline is a stone that is linked to artistic endeavours and is often worn by musicians, artists and writers.

Because there are so many colours of Tourmaline I am just going to concentrate on the two types that I use in my jewellery, Pink/Red and Green.

Pink/Red (Rubellite) is thought to bring love and friendship to the wearer and to stimulate the Crown and Heart Chakras. A stone with feminine energy as with most pink/red gems. Red forms bring strength and courage and are protective.

Green: (Verdite) Also known as a Brazilian Emerald. This stone is thought to bring money, success and to help promote general healing after illness or operations. Thought to help with indigestion and digestive disorders as well as reportedly for helping with weight loss. When it is in stock this stone will be in the unusual stones sections.
 
 


Turquoise

History and Uses
Stone with beautiful blue/green colouration, it gets it's blue colour from copper. Needs to be treated with care as the colour will fade in sunlight, with oil, in water and it can scratch easily. Found in the US (where it has long been associated with Native American rituals), France and Tibet.

Mystical and Healing properties
As with other blue stones Turquoise is very helpful in promoting communication, friendship and debate. It is also known as a generally very useful healing stone. Physically it helps the lungs (asthma) the heart and the throat, helps to reduce blood pressure. It has very strong effects on the psyche, helping to relax, reduce anxiety and promote creativity and problem solving. All round a pretty wonderful stone!!

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