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Colored Gemstones from A to Z

By  Judith Anderson  GG, CGA


While shopping for just the right Christmas gift....or shall I say "hunting" for that truly unique and special item....you should consider the rainbow of colored gemstones.   There are hundreds of colors and gem varieties from which you can choose.... so there is no stopping you from finding or creating that one-of-a -kind gift you imagined!   To help you remember a few truly beautiful gemstones, let's start at the beginning of the alphabet.

A is for Andalusite and Apatite.   Andalusite is a "dichroic" gemstone, which is a gemologist's way of saying that it exhibits different colors when viewed from different angles.   In the case of Andalusite the colors are earth tones - yellowish-green and brownish red-orange.   When properly cut, Andalusite displays a shimmering pattern of alternating green and orange facets.

In contrast, Apatite usually exhibits a single hot, hot, hot color.   A truly international gem, apatite comes in over 20 different colors such as purple from Maine, bright yellow from Mexico, cobalt blue from Brazil, asparagus green from Canada, and even a cat's eye version from Sri Lanka.   However, the most exciting apatites to pursue are the neon teal, green and turquoise stones found in Madagascar and Tanzania.......some say these electric apatites rival the more expensive Paraiba tourmalines.

B is for Bijoux Extraordinaire, your source for extraordinary colored gemstones and fine jewelry.   B is also for Beryl, such as luscious green Emeralds, Mediterranean blue Aquamarines, and golden yellow Heliodores.

G is for Garnet.   Almandite and Pyrope garnets were favorites during the Victorian era.  These deep red gemstones were usually cut en cabochon or rose cut (also known as Bohemian Garnets) and pavé set in brooches, bracelets and necklaces.   However, the color palette of garnets extends beyond the traditional red and burgundy hues.

A stiking Tsavorite Garnet.

Spessartite garnet, from the Little Three Mine in California, is a lively, vibrant orange which is ideal as a .center stone when set in yellow gold.   At the opposite end of the spectrum is Tsavorite garnet.   First discovered in the Tsavo Park of East Africa, Tsavorite is a vibrant green that resembles emerald.

T is for Tourmaline.   Tourmaline has been called "Nature's Paint Box" because of its wide variety of rainbow-like colors.

A beautiful Paraiba Tourmaline. For example, Paraiba tourmaline is famous for stunning electric teals and rich sapphire-like blues; Rubellite tourmaline ranges from a rich raspberry to a dark ruby-like red with flashes of violet; and, Maine tourmaline is found in a beguiling, yet cool, mint green.   For the more adventurous at heart, consider a Bicolored Tourmaline with pink and green shades at opposing ends of an elongated emerald-cut stone.   Or, try on an exceptional Watermelon Tourmaline slice with a pink center surrounded by a green rim.   In addition to great colors, tourmaline is also a fairly robust gemstone and is well suited to exposed, active pieces of jewelry (e.g., rings and bracelets).

Z is for Zoisite.   Zoisite is the gemological name for the popular variety Tanzanite.   Since it was first discovered in 1966, Tanzanite has captivated us with its deep blue/violet color and flashes of purple and red.   Unfortunately, the popularity of Tanzanite on the "home shopping" channels has resulted in many lower quality, overpriced stones entering the market.   Buyer's Tip: As always,  comparative shop to assure that you purchase a gemstone of the highest quality and value at the lowest price.

Bijoux Extraordinaire, Ltd. is a practice of independent gemologists providing gemstone acquisition, appraisal and custom design services to the jewelry consumer.   Let us help you create a gift from the spectacular rainbow of colored gemstones.  As independent gemologists we are prepared to help you purchase a gemstone of high quality and value.



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