Gemstone Information


  • Loose alexandrite gemstonesAlexandrite

    Alexandrite shares the honor of the June birthstone with pearls. It is one of the most widely know natural color shift stones in the world, and is also one of the most expensive gemstones you can buy, often fetching prices higher than that of diamond.  Larger sizes are often difficult to come by and may not be available at all.  Alexandrite will change its color from a reddish pink to a blue green depending on the type of light that hits the stone.

    The stone was first discovered in the Ural mountains of Russia and more recently has also been discovered in Brazil.

    Alexandrite is not treated and has a hardness of 8 - 8.5 making it a very good stone for everyday wear.


  • Loose AmethystAmethyst

    Amethyst is one of the most widely known, and used, gemstone in North America at this time, aside from diamonds.  It is a type of quartz, and is very common.  It is most often mined in Brazil and parts of Africa. Specimens are usually found din large geode form and crystals which are clear enough to be faceted are harvested for cutting and use in jewelry. Amethyst is the modern birthstone for February.

    Amethyst has a hardness of 7 and because of its plentiful nature, even in larger sizes and shapes, it is a great choice for jewelry.  Aside from purple sapphire and spinel (Both rare) it is the only natural choice for a purple gemstone.



  • Loose AquamarineAquamarine

    Aquamarine is the modern birthstone for March.  It's name means "Ocean water" and it has been considered a good luck stone for sailors. It is a member of the Beryl family, like emerald and morganite, but it's color is more pure and it is less brittle than emerald.  With a hardness of 7.5 - 8 it is good for evening wear and pendants.  Smaller stones are moderately prices which larger stones with good color are increasingly rare and more expensive.

  • CitrineCitrine

    Citrine comes to us from the quartz family, sharing its chemical structure with Amethyst. This beautiful yellow stone can come in a range of yellow hues varying from a light haystack yellow, to a deep golden tone and a rich orange-red color.  The later reddish stones are referred to as "Madera" Citrine.

    Citrine is also one of the modern birthstones for November.

    Citrine has a hardness of 7 and is inexpensive, and comes in many shapes and sizes, making it a very user friendly stone when a beautiful sunny ring is needed.


  • DiamondsDiamond

    Diamond is the modern birthstone for April.  It is also the most commonly used gemstone in the world, accounting for well over half of all stones purchased and sold.  Although it was made popular over the years through clever advertising and product placement, it cannot be denied that its fiery character and durability make it a very attractive option as both an engagement ring stone and accent stone.  

    Diamond has a hardness of 10, being the hardest gemstone on the earth and in smaller sizes, it is plentiful and easy to come by in many shapes and sizes making it a jewelers favorite to work with.

    Did you know that some diamonds fluoresce? Watch a video about it here:


  • EmeraldsEmerald

    Emerald is a beautiful stone, and is also one of the most rare in larger sizes.  Its brittle nature makes it difficult to cut and even harder to set properly, but with care, it makes an amazing piece of jewelry.  Emerald is the birthstone for May.

    Emerald is mined primarily in Colombia as well as several other locales in the world.

    Its properties give most medium to larger stones a bit of wispiness to the color and clarity.  Truly clean stones are rare.


  • GarnetsGarnet

    Garnet is one of few gemstones that comes in almost every color.  The only color that garnet is not naturally found in is Blue.  Each color is given a different name and the chemical makeup of the stone is slightly different which is what gives the stone its hue. Garnet is the Modern Birthstone for January. Garnets were prized in ancient Egypt for their perceived magical properties and also as a Stone of Love.

    Garnet has a hardness of 7 - 7.5 and is an excellent choice for most jewelry as it is generally inexpensive (for most types) and easy to find in most shapes and sizes.

    Some types of garnet will have a higher refractive index, like demantoid garnet, which give it a beautiful sparkle, or fire to the stone.

  • OpalsOpal

    Opal is easily my favorite stone.  No other gem has such fire, vibrancy and unique qualities as opal.  Each stone is unique.  Different locations lend different characteristics to the opal.  There are three major opal fields in the world: Australia, Ethiopia and Mexico.  But beyond this, there are over 50 other locations that opal can be found in.  To explore more of these unique stones, you can visit our Opal Collection page to see a video of many of the stones we have collected from all around the world.

    Opal is the birthstone for October.  In China and Japan it is considered a good luck stone and is highly sought after.

    There are many myths surrounding opal and it has a very mixed history.  Many of the negative myths were spread in the mid 20th century by larger diamond companies, hoping to increase their sales, fearful of the beautiful stones coming out of Australia at the time.

    One of the most common questions is: Is my opal from, Australia or Ethiopia? The easiest way to tell is to place your opal in clean water for about 10 minutes and see if it begins to turn translucent. If it does, then it is a hydrophane type opal, meaning it can absorb water, and it is very likely Ethiopian. If it does not, then it is very likely Australian.

    I have created quite a few videos over the years about opals. A playlist can be found on Youtube here:

  • PearlsPearl

    Pearls come in more than just round white orbs, they can range from honey, to grey to black! They can also differ greatly in shape from the near perfect round shape we all know and love, to the more exotic baroque.  Pearl is also one of the birthstones for June, shared with Alexandrite.

    Pearls are exquisite natural wonders, but are susceptible to scratching and should be worn with care.  A ring with a prominent pearl makes a wonderful cocktail ring, and with care will last a long time.

    Pearls are currently harvested from all around the world, including Australia and Indonesia.  Tahitian pearls are possible the most famous, also known as "Black Pearls".


  • PeridotPeridot

    Peridot is a beautiful stone, a vivid untreated green mined in China, Alaska, Australia, Brazil and Arizona. For its color and vibrancy, it is a very inexpensive stone in medium to smaller sizes and its hardness of 6.5 - 7 makes it very wearable.  It is also easy to source in most shapes and sizes.

    Peridot is the birthstone for August and it only is found in green shades.  Although the exact hue will vary slightly depending on where the stone was mined.


  • RubyRuby

    Ruby is one of the most widely know gemstones and is considered one of the classics, along with sapphire and emerald.  Ruby always comes in red, a lesser known fact is that ruby and sapphire are the same gemstones, ruby is what name is given to a red sapphire! No other color of sapphire has its own name (except padparadscha sapphire).

    Ruby gets is amazing red color from the mineral Chromium. Ruby has a hardness of 9, second only to Diamond, making it very durable and a great everyday stone, or engagement ring stone.

    Ruby is the birthstone for July. 


  • SapphireSapphire

    Sapphire is one of my favorite stones.  Partially because it is a very hard and forgiving stone to work with.  It is not very brittle and its hardness of 9 makes it very durable and easy to set without too much concern.  It also is a very popular stone and while larger sizes and some colors are rare, in the pinks, yellows, blues and whites, it is easy to find a stone of almost and shape and size.

    Sapphire also is one of the only stones that can be found in every color!

    Sapphire is the birthstone for September.


  • TanzaniteTanzanite

    Tanzanite is one of several stones that only comes in one color: Violet-blue.  Its exact hue and saturation will depend on the size, quality and origin of the stone.  But the most prized stones will have a very rich, indigo color.  Tanzanite is moderately priced, being quite a bit more expensive than quartz, peridot and garnet, but not quite as expensive as sapphire.  It is rather unique in its color and is mined only in Tanzania, for which it gets its name.

    It has a hardness of about 6.5, making it a slightly softer stone, but when properly mounted and cared for, it can make a wonderful center stone in a ring, or pendant.

    It is also one of the birthstones for December.


  • Topaz of various colorsTopaz

    Topaz could be divided into two basic categories: Those that are naturally colored, and those that are colored through a chemical coating process.

    Natural colored stones include Pink, Golden, Imperial (peach), blue and white.

    Most other colors are achieved through a coating process; these include basic colors such as poppy, red, green, pink and "mystic topaz".

    Topaz is commonly considered the birthstone for November.  Generally it is the natural golden and imperial topaz that is used as the birthstone. It has a hardness of 8, making it harder than quartz or tourmaline.

     Topaz, because of its huge array of colors, inexpensive price and large array of shapes and sizes, it a jewelers best friend when it comes to producing colorful pieces within a tighter budget.

  • TourmalineTourmaline

    Tourmaline is a lesser used stone, but was perhaps made most famous for its "watermelon" variety, which displays both pink and green colors in a single piece! In addition, tourmaline can also be found in yellows, greens, pinks, black and even blue, called "Indicolite Tourmaline".

    Pink tourmaline is one of the birthstones for October.

    Tourmaline has a hardness of 7 - 7.5, making it slightly harder than quartz.  Because of its nature, it is slightly more brittle and larger stones will often exhibit some visible cleavage planes or inclusions, but often these can add to the beauty of the stone.

    Paraiba Tourmaline is the most coveted of the tourmaline types.  Technically speaking, it gets its name from the region in Brazil where it is mined.  It has a rich teal color.  Other stones with similar coloring can be found in Africa.  They are often given the same name, despite being mined from a different location.  True Brazil mined stones will sell for thousands per carat, while the African mined stones will fetch a lower price.


  • TurquoiseTurquoise

    Turquoise is still a very popular stone, and was used in great abundance throughout the 70's in hand made Native American style jewelry. It is still a prized stone among tribesman and in many other cultures.

    Turquoise is mined in two primary areas: The southwestern United States and in China.  The turquoise mined in the US is often individually named for the mine that it originated from, such as Sleeping beauty, Bisbee, Kingman or No.7.  To this day, most mines are owned and operated by individuals or families, using small scale rock harvesting methods.  There is also still a lot of vintage material on the market, some still in its raw form.  Knowing the exact history and origin of a stone can increase its appeal and value.

    Turquoise is also considered one of the modern birthstones for December.

    There are dozens upon dozens of different types of turquoise, mostly named from where they came, but there are also a lot of turquoise look-a-likes. Here are a few:

    Dyed howlite, dyed Magnesite, "White Buffalo Turquoise" and even plastic or resin cast turquoise.

    White buffalo turquoise is not actually turquoise. It is dolomite and is naturally white and has a similar veining as natural turquoise and is found in Nevada. It is is sometimes confused with howlite or magnesite due to its white color and black veining but cna be differentiated with a hardness test. Dolomite is harder with a hardness of 5 while the other two tend to be around 3-4.

    Here is a video about how to test your own turquoise at home:


  • ZirconZircon

    Zircon is an often overlooked stone, and is sometimes confused with Zirconia, although the two are not related.  Zircon is a natural stone and can be found in nature in three basic colors: Brown, blue and white.  With its higher refractive index, it has a lot more sparkle and life then blue topaz, or even sapphire, making it a wonderful alternative to diamond when a larger stone is needed at an affordable price.

    Blue zircon is the most common variety and is the birthstone for December.  It has a hardness of 7.5 making it fairly durable and suitable for rings.

    Major sources include Australia, China, and Indonesia.