An Introduction to Gemstone Jewellery
Jewellery has a long history which has endured for thousands of years and has provided various insights into how ancient peoples lived.
Since the dawn of time men and women have used naturally available materials, including animal teeth, bone, various types of shells, carved stone and wood to fasten clothing. This is believed to be the earliest form of jewellery although used at that time for a purely functional purpose.
Using the naturally sourced materials, including gemstones, what we now know as jewellery evolved. The evolution was not so much for its practical use but for its aesthetic appeal and became a symbol of wealth and status.
Gemstones and crystals have been considered through out the ages as having healing properties and the ability to ward off evil omens. Belief systems have also used gemstones and jewellery to symbolise deities.
Today although there are over 3000 different gemstones only approx 50 are used in jewellery.
Gemstones have been a particular favourite not only because they are scarce, hard wearing and resilient but also have a natural beauty.
The majority of gemstones are mineral based however there are exceptions to this such as pearls, coral, jet and amber. These are known as organic as they come from plants or animals.
All gemstones have inclusions with the exception of the rarest and most valuable. Inclusions are internal features of gemstones. Although considered to be slight imperfections in the stone inclusions are regarded as giving the stone a uniqueness that otherwise it may not have.
Inclusions may be solids, gases or liquids that were enclosed by the crystal as it formed. The inclusions can help to identify a gem and its region of origin.
Gemstones range in colour from crystal clear to jet black and all other colours in between depending on the chemicals present during formation. For example Amethyst is valued as a semiprecious gem for its violet color. Some experts believe that its colour arises from its iron content others attribute the colour to manganese or hydrocarbons.
Tourmaline on the other hand comes in many colours including blue, yellow, pink, red, black, green and clear. The green colouring originates from iron, chromium and vanadium whilst the pink originates from manganese.
An unusual feature of tourmaline is that some stones are bi-coloured with crystals that are pink at one end and green at the other. This is known as watermelon tourmaline.
Whether you are wearing the Hope Diamond or a beautifully polished piece of Jasper you should appreciate you are wearing a piece of Mother Earth and continuing the age old tradition of jewellery wearing just as your ancestors did before you!