Most gemstones are extremely beautiful and have long been used to create jewelry of all types. In the west, the term “precious” stone applies to diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires whereas “semi-precious” can be applied to all other gems, although this designation is probably assigned for commercial purposes by marketers in order to give the impression that some stones are more valuable than others. To be sure, gemstones and their meaning is not an exact science since it changes depending on where in the world you are, and what culture you come from.
In reality, the true value is normally assigned through the same mechanism that applies to all things bought and sold: supply an demand. But for some people, the value of a piece of jewelry is often related to the meaning that the piece brings to the person, and or to those who are dear to the person. This is how some special pieces of jewelry are passed from one generation to the next, and in doing so, the value to the specific family members involved is bound to increase.
Associations Made to Gemstones
Some interesting associations have been made over time between gemstones and certain events, dates, and even the zodiac. The following three exemplify this fact:
- Each month of the year is associated with at least one gemstone, and in some cases with as many as three.
- Anniversaries is another traditional association with enough variety to go around for at least 75 yearly anniversaries.
- Zodiac signs are also associated, although with only 12 zodiac signs to go around and many, many gems available to cover them, things can get a bit confusing. Sapphire (September) for instance, is associated with the Taurus Zodiac sign, the Libra Planetary sign, and the Pisces, Taurus, Virgo, and Sagittarius Sun signs.
Some cultures also associate a certain meaning to different gemstones. Amethyst, for instance is thought to have a soothing capability, as well as the power to stimulate emotions and the mind. Turquoise was used early on as an amulet for protection and was thought to convey status and wealth. Peridot, known as the “Study Stone” was thought to help in efforts to learn new skills by allowing greater concentration.
There is much information on the topic of health and healing powers on the net and a more focused investigation is liable to yield large quantities of information. As a primer (or an enticement), one site offers the following topics:
- Balance and focus
- Health and wellness
- Love and Happiness
- New Beginnings
- Passion and creativity
- Protection and clearing
- Spirituality and faith
- Wealth and success
Wealth and success captivated my attention, and on further exploration I was advised that “…if [I] want to attract money and success into [my] life, crystals like Aventurine, Jade, and Malachite are a must have…”. I’m not sure of the soundness of such advice, but it’s possible that when I get some money, I’ll take another look into adding Aventurine to my collection.
Gemstones come in all colors
Gemstones are found in all colors of the rainbow (and more), Starting with black (no colors) through gray, blue, aqua, brown, green, orange, pink, purple, red, yellow, and white (all colors together). And of course the multicolored stones (which probably include indigo and violet). In fact, gemstone collectors tend to organize gems by color, even though the standard way to organize them is by species and variety. The following color scheme identifies four examples for each color listed. Note that Sapphire comes in all colors except Red and Multicolored.
- Red— Ex. Ruby, Garnet, Rhodolite, and Cuprite.
- Blue—Ex. Blue Sapphire, Aquamarine, Benitoite, and Blue Topaz
- Green—Ex. Green Sapphire, Emerald, Peridot, and Jade
- Pink—Ex. Pink Sapphire, Morganite, and Rhodochrosite
- Yellow, Gold, and Bronze—Yellow Sapphire, Citrine, Scapolite, and Imperial Topaz
- Orange— Ex. Orange Sapphire, Mexican Opal, Citrine, and Sphalerite
- Violet and Purple— Ex. Violet Sapphire, Amethyst, Chalcedony, and Scapolite
- White and Colorless— Ex. White Sapphire, Diamond, Danburite, and Moonstone
- Multicolored—Ex. Bi-color Tourmarine, Ametrine, Precious Opal, and Multicolor Florite
- Color Change—Ex. Color-Change Sapphire, Color-Change Alexandrite, Color-Change Garnet, and Color-Change Flourite
- Star and Cat’s Eye—Ex. Blue Star Sapphire, Black Star Sapphire, Star Ruby, and Actinolite Cat’s Eye
The List of Stones Found in Nature is Long
A cursory search on the web yielded over 150 semi-precious stones, not all of them well known, of course, but all qualifying as semiprecious. Another search provided a chart with images of at least 80 different gems, including the precious (and much prized) diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. When these numbers are applied to the multiple talents of many artisans in many lands, the resulting number of designs is innumerable.
So the topic of Gemology (science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials) is interesting indeed. Once you begin your journey into the world of gemstones, there’s no telling where you’ll end up, or when you’ll decide to stop the journey. With the advent of the Internet, many purveyors of fine jewelry are making use of the opportunity it provides to show their wares. And with the almost endless imagination of artisans who seem intent on producing newer and better ways for bringing out the beauty of multiple gemstones, well, the possibilities are endless.
What’s Your Take? How would you define gemstones and their meaning?
Please let me know what you think of this topic, and whether you feel that I’ve done justice to it. Doubtless, much information has been left out because there’s just so much of it to be had, all of it interesting. So much so, that it’s been difficult to select the details that deserve mention. At any rate, I’d be most grateful to you, if you took a minute to send your opinion my way.