|Occurence:||Brazil, USA, Zambia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka|
|Hardness:||7 – 7.5|
The tourmaline gemstone family is extremely multicolored and the fact that there is a colorless variety, the achroite, is known almost only to collectors. Its use in jewelry making is extremely rare because there is too much competition from other colorless gemstones. Rock crystal or quartz dominates the lower end of the market while at the top end the diamond is the undisputed king of gemstones.
|Occurence:||Russia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Tanzania, Zimbabwe|
The alexandrite is one of the rarest and most precious of gemstones. It possesses the intriguing quality of pleochroism: in daylight the alexandrite appears green, but in artificial lighting its color changes to red, occasionally with a shot of violet. The color and the change in color are caused by iron, chrome and vanadium inclusions. Its name is said to come from that of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Legend has it that the stone was discovered on the day he reached the age of majority and was named alexandrite in his honor. The largest alexandrite crystal ever was found in the Urals. The rough stone tipped the scales at 5 kilograms (11 pounds).
|Occurence:||Brazil, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Thailand, Australia, USA, Sri Lanka|
|Hardness:||7 – 7.5|
The almandine is the most common gemstone in the complex garnet mineral group and belongs to the red varieties. Crystals measuring one meter in diameter have been found. Like most garnets, this variety too occurs almost exclusively as a mixed crystal, mainly with significant amounts of pyrope, spessartite and/or grossular. Its dark red to violet color makes it very attractive for jewelry making and it was an extremely popular stone with the Egyptians and the Romans. Large cut stones are rarely used because the intensity of their coloring makes them appear too dark.
|Occurence:||Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Madagascar, Russia, USA, Namibia, Zambia, India|
The amethyst is the most valuable member of the quartz family. It comes in a gamut of colors ranging from light pinkish violet and pale shades of lilac to intense deep purple. It is one of the oldest and best-known gemstones to occur in the European Alpine region, and artistically cut examples are often found among church treasures. Magical properties are ascribed to many different types of gemstone, but the amethyst outdoes them all. It is not only favored by Fortuna, the goddess of good luck, but also promises beauty, prosperity and pleasant dreams. It is even said to offer protection against drunkenness: the Greek word “amethystos” translates as “counteracting intoxication”.
|Occurence:||Burma, Brazil, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Norway, Sri Lanka, South Africa, USA|
Apatite takes its name from the Greek word “apatan”, meaning “to deceive”. The reason is that it occurs in almost all the colors of the rainbow, which means that the non-expert can easily mistake it for many other types of gemstone, such as tourmaline, beryl or even topaz. Apatite has become increasingly important for jewelry making in recent years, but it requires great care when being cut and polished. With a hardness of just 5, it is not one of the most resistant of gemstones. It is therefore more suitable for necklaces and earrings.
|Occurence:||Brazil, Madagascar, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Pakistan|
|Hardness:||7.5 – 7.75|
The name aquamarine, derived from aqua (water) and mare (sea), refers to the stone’s light blue color, which is due to traces of iron. Aquamarines with a hint of green or with visible inclusions are less expensive than the pure blue variety. Raw crystals weighing up to 100 kg have been found. Santa Maria is a quality designation denoting particularly fine aquamarines. The term comes from a mine of the same name in Cearà in the north of Brazil, which, up until the end of the 1930s, was the source of the most intensely colored aquamarines.