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Gem of the Month: Carnelian

The July birthstone is well known as Ruby but for those looking for an unusual alternative, the ancient gem Carnelian may be of interest.  (Image from OldenWisdom) Gemmology Matters:  Carnelian is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz and is a translucent, semiprecious variety of chalcedony that owes its red to reddish brown colour to the presence of dispersed hematite (iron oxide) […]

More on Garnet

The birthstone for January is generally acknowledged to be Garnet. Unlike some other months, there are few alternative stones for January although some sources list emerald as the “mystical stone” for January.  However, garnet is a very versatile gemstone in its own right with a beautiful range of colours available. Since we have already covered Garnet in […]

Gem of the Month: Turquoise

The modern birthstone for December is Turquoise (traditional or alternative birthstones include blue topaz, zircon and tanzanite).  The example at left shows a beautiful sky blue colour with a dramatic black diagonal slash – from Aztec Moon. Gemmology Matters:  Turquoise is a hydrated copper-aluminium phosphate with the chemical formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·5H2O.  Turquoise is a cryptocrystalline opaque mineral […]

Gem of the Month – Yellow Topaz

Yellow topaz is also known as the modern birthstone for November.  Although now probably overtaken by the more commonly used Citrine, Topaz is a particularly lovely gemstone which is deserving of more recognition in its “precious” form. Photo at left from is a good example of Imperial Topaz from Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom Gemmology Matters:  Natural Topaz […]

Gem of the Month: Tourmaline

The theme for October birthstones is colour and lots of it!  We have already covered Opal with its “play of colour” in a previous article.  This time, we look at the alternative birthstone for October: tourmaline – the Rainbow Stone.  (Photo from ICGA article) Gemmology Matters:  Tourmaline is truly a fascinating gemstone. Tourmaline is a very […]