Nothing adds more character and vibrance to a piece than bright, gorgeously cut and polished gemstones. These minerals are derived from earth and come in a vast array of colors and compositions. Non-minerals such as amber (fossilized tree resin) and lapis lazuli (rock) are also considered to be gemstones as they are used in necklaces, bracelets, rings and other types of jewellery. Diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire are considered precious, the rest are semi-precious.
Rarity can spike the cost considerably so synthetic creations such as cubic zirconia (diamond imitations) are made to imitate precious gems, making beautiful adornments more affordable. Below are some interesting details on various types of gemstones which are used in vintage pieces and even today.
What is it? a mineral, part of the beryl variety.
Color: green (primary hue) with hues ranging between yellow-green to blue-green.
Metaphysical properties: a stone of protection which preserves love and romance. It’s a symbol of faith and hope which eases a troubled mind and brings wisdom and reason to those who wear it. The stone generates passion and domestic bliss, harmony and joy. It’s thought to be the stone of clairvoyance/prophecy. It benefits memory, communication, intuition, truthfulness, decision making and honesty.
Crystal healing & folklore: emotional traumas, adrenal glands, muscle problems, heart issues, headaches, fibromyalgia, nervous system ailments, insomnia diabetes and heart issues.
Where is it found? Colombia, Brazil
Anniversary stone: 20, 35, 55
Did you know? if a person with normal vision acuity can’t see any inclusions (foreign materials) in an emerald stone with their naked eye, it is deemed to be flawless. This is unlike diamonds which require a 10x magnification to evaluate quality.
Vintage emerald jewellery: coming
What is it? A blue or turquoise variety of beryl mineral.
Color: Pale blue
Latin meaning: “water of the sea” thanks to its color.
Benefits: inner peace, courage and being in touch with your spirituality. A stone of power and fortitude said to bring protection from Angels. Assists with self-love and hope. Its metaphysical qualities make it a perfect stone for meditation.
Healing lore: chronic fatigue, eyes, eyesight, gastroesophageal reflux disease, headaches, fluid retention, intestinal disorders, phobias, teeth, gums and the nervous system.
Originates from? United States (Colorado, Wyoming), Brazil, Colombia, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
Anniversary stone: 19
Something of interest: In 1910 the largest piece of aquamarine mined was mined in Brazil, weighing over 110kg.
Vintage aquamarine jewellery:
What is it? A resin from ancient trees which has fossilized (not technically a gemstone).
Color: Usually a combination of yellow, orange and brown (a golden honey yellow look). Can also range from pale yellow/whitish to brown and more or less black.
Meaning: promotes good luck and success, drawing out negativity, produces both calming and enlivening energies. Provides patience, romantic love, protection, balance, calmness, sensuality and balance to wearers.
Folk medicine & healing: purifying the body, circulation, headaches, arthritis, heart problems, ears, hearing problems, lungs, stomach, spleen, kidney, bladder, joints, baby teething pains, bone problems and working on the inner child and past life.
How is it formed? Contrary to popular belief, amber is not sap, which is fluid inside the tree’s vascular system as opposed to the semi-solid secretion which is resin. Amber is fossilized resin, which was once secreted by the tree for protection (whether to heal a wound or to protect against disease or insects). The resin fossilizes over millions of years creating amber which can include insects and debris from the process.
Anniversary year: 10
Interesting fact: Amber can be included as an ingredient in perfumes. It can also be combined with other ingredients and burned to create a musky smell or incense.
Vintage amber jewellery:
What is it? A group of silicate minerals with different species such as almandine and pyrope.
Color: depends on the species:
Almandine: red and violet red
Spessartite: yellow, orange, pink, reddish-brown
Pyrope: deep red
Grossular: white, yellow, yellow-green, brownish-red, orange, black
Andradite: colorless, yellow-green or brown to black
Demantoid adradite: emerald green.
Meaning: The word 'Garnet' comes from the Latin word 'granatus' (grains/seeds) and from the middle English word 'gernet' (dark red) which is thought to refer to the pomegranate fruit.
Promotes: new beginnings, romance, love, luck, money, purity, truth, self-confidence and compassion. This beautiful stone helps with security levels, spiritual awareness and even sexual desire. Garnets are also used as gifts for departing lovers as it is thought to heal the broken bonds of separation. If your business is struggling, use garnet to stimulate success.
Healing: garnets can be used for depression (leave a stone under your pillow). They are believed to heal the blood, lungs, spine, heart, cell structure, bone, acid reflux, adrenal glands, GERD, allergies, skin, anemia, hemhorrage, DNA/RNA, physical strength, reproductive system and help absorb vitamins and minerals. The stone aids regeneration and speeds up general healing.
Where is it sourced? Africa, India, Soviet Union, United States, Brazil
Anniversaries: 2, 18
Did you know? Garnet sand (found in Australian and Indian coasts) is used as an industrial abrasive in sandblasting, cutting steel in water jets and even sanding back wood with garnet paper.
Garnet vintage jewellery: