January is here folks! You know what that means, new beginnings, new happiness, and new exciting adventures. Garnet symbolizes love, passion, prosperity, & good health - this is just a few reasons why Garnet is an exceptional birthstone for January.
There are a couple different approaches on how Garnet got its name. One notion was it came from the Latin word “garanatus” which means ‘seed-like’ referring to the similarities between this gemstone and Pomegranate seeds. Another belief was it came from a Middle English word “gernet” which translates to ‘dark red’ referring to the Crimson red color of Garnet we all know and love.
Some may be surprised to hear that Garnet can be found in many colors, not just red. The type of Garnet determines the coloring of the stone. A few of the main types of Garnet are Almandine, Pyrope, Rhodolite, Spessartite, Demantoid, & more; the chemical composition varies but the overall chemical structure stays the same. Other colors found are orange, yellow, green, purple, pink and in extraordinarily rare cases, blue.
Garnet is mined all over the Country, but mainly sourced from Tanzania, China, Russia, Canada, & here in the United States. It can be found in sedimentary, igneous, & metamorphic rocks. It can also be found in magma chambers, volcanic eruptions, & lava flow. A Garnet forms when sedimentary rock that is rich with aluminum experiences intense heat & pressure. With a hardness of 6.5 – 7.5 on the MOHs scale, this gem makes for a perfect choice for any type of jewelry.
Shop delightful Garnet Jewelry & Specimens online or in any of our 3 galleries located in Santa Fe, & Taos, NM and Sedona, AZ.
Turquoise is a mixture of hydrated Copper and Aluminum Phosphate occurring solely in arid environments such as the desert. Turquoise has been found in many places like, Egypt China, Mexico, Iran and more; and has even been found here is the US such as, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, and more! The most popular places to find this stone is Iran and here in the Southwestern states of the US. While today, Iran is the leading producer of Turquoise, back in 1930's until early 1980's, Nevada was the largest producer - with over 150 mines throughout the state.
The value of Turquoise is determined by color, weight, and the mine it was produced from. The most valuable and sought-after colors are sky blue, sometimes referred to as Robin's Egg blue; the original mine to source this color is Nishapur district of Iran and was described as 'Persian blue'. The closest comparable mine in the U.S. for Persian blue Turquoise is the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona. Top quality stones are ordinarily fashioned into cabochons and can be found in numerous shapes; round & oval being the most common.
Turquoise is the first gemstone with an official color named after it, how neat! This gem ranks a harness of 5 - 6 on MOH's scale. Since this stone leans on the softer side, artists have been using Turquoise for years to carve charming jewelry and various décor items. To many, it is considered the stone of communication and helps with being heard. It's also believed to be the stone of travelers, dreamers, & adventurers; refreshing you when you are exhausted, and encouraging good intuition and foresight.
Shop Contemporary Turquoise Jewelry and specimens online or in any of our 3 galleries located in Santa Fe, and Taos, NM & Sedona, AZ.
When you step into the world of Topaz, it's easy to get lost in the beauty. This stunning mineral is composed of aluminum, silicon, & gaseous elements. Most Topaz is naturally colorless (known as 'white' Topaz') but it is also found in a range of different colors. Rare and valuable Topaz has natural pink & red tones, these colors are received from trace elements of chromium - this is also the cause for violet/purple tones. Imperial Topaz, known for its reddish/orangey color, is also very common and one of the most valuable on the market.
Over the years, blue Topaz has climbed its way into the spotlight, and today has become the most popular color for Topaz. Natural blue Topaz is very pale in color, but safe and common heat & radiation treatment gives the gem a striking darker color; this process was discovered in the 1960's. The stone is irradiated - turning it brown, then heated to turn the stone from brown to a stable blue hue. This gem ranks a hardness of 8 on the MOH's scale; which makes this a very suitable stone for jewelry.
One of the biggest sources for fine-quality Topaz is produced in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. Other sources come from, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Mexico & more. Topaz has even been found here in the United States; New Hampshire, Texas, Colorado, & Utah.
Shop brilliant Topaz Jewelry online or in any of our 3 locations: Santa Fe, & Taos, NM and Sedona, AZ.
Here at Touchstone, we've created this graceful Heartfelt Collection specifically for October to show that our hearts are with you during Breast Cancer awareness month. The beautiful blush pink druzy jewelry collection is specifically created to be a supportive and commemorative gesture to those who are now and have had struggles with cancer in the past.
Shop our Heartfelt Collection online or in any of our 3 galleries located in Santa Fe, & Taos, New Mexico, and Sedona, AZ
One of the many alluring things about Opal, is no two stones will ever be the same; each piece is unique in their own way. Another unusual trait that many find striking, is this gem doesn’t have a crystal structure; therefore, it is technically a mineraloid rather than a mineral. Opal is formed by Amorphous Silica spheres that stack together in random and unorganized patterns because they have no crystal symmetry.
The name Opal derives from the Sanskrit word “Upala” which means ‘precious stone’ and was changed later during the Roman times to “Opallios” which means ‘to see change in color’. If you think of other gemstones like Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, etc. they all have a solid color, Opal on the other hand will never be one solid color; instead, it uses ‘’play of color” to reflect different colors throughout the gem.
Play of color is when the light hits the Opal, it passes through all the gaps between the Silica spheres causing the light to bend in various ways, resulting in many different colors to shine through. Larger gaps produce red & yellow tones, while smaller gaps produce blue & green tones. Sometimes the gaps can be so small, only violet light will pass through. This is yet another reason why Opal is one of the most phenomenal gemstones out there.
Shop fine Opal online or in any of our 3 galleries located in Santa Fe & Taos, NM. And Sedona, AZ.
When you think of Amber, do you think of a gemstone, or a fossil? Some say a gemstone because of the gem-like look they give – especially in jewelry, but you may be surprised to hear that it is in fact a fossil. This is one of the reasons Amber is so fascinating!
Some think Amber is tree sap, but this is not true. Amber is tree resin, which may seem like the same thing as sap, but they are completely different. Sap contains nutrients and disperses it around the tree. Resin, on the other hand, has antiseptic properties that protect the tree from many diseases and heal spots that limbs were rotting or broken off. Some trees produce more resin than others, and not all resin will turn into amber, most resin will break down and decay before the Amberization process starts.
Another fascinating thing about Amber that I love so much, is the bugs! How cool is it to think that little insect inside the fossilized resin is millions of years old! To think of the amount of life that lives in this fossil is exceptional; imagine the stories they could tell. Amber consists of 79% carbon, 10.5% hydrogen, & 10.5% oxygen, and contains about 40 compounds – and no, that’s not including the insects.
Shop Stunning Amber online or in any of our galleries.
Sapphire is made up of Corundum but is mixed with traces of many different elements. This is how we get such an array of colors within this one gemstone, from the standard royal blue we all know and love, to pink, yellow, purple, white, etc. White Sapphires can sometimes be mistaken for a Diamond. In fact, lots of people use white Sapphires in-place of a Diamond because it’s much more affordable and because of the similarities in color and hardness.
The name Sapphire originally came from the Latin word “Saphirus” and the Greek word “Sapherios” - both meaning “Blue”. The name can be roughly translated to “dear the planet Saturn” in many languages. The finest Sapphires are mined mainly in Sri Lanka but are also found in Australia, Kenya, Thailand, & Madagascar. Miners have even found Sapphires in Montana along the Missouri River, Rock Creek, Dry Cottonwood Creek and more!
This gemstone has always been associated with royalty. In the Middle Ages, Kings and Queens would wear sapphires for protection and to attract wealth. It is believed to enhance creativity, focus, and calm the mind, and remove any negative thoughts. Sapphire is considered the stone of love and commitment and encourages faithfulness and loyalty. Because of this notion, many couples are drawn to this gemstone for their engagement rings. It is also a traditional gift for the 45th wedding anniversary.
Shop gorgeous Sapphire Jewelry at any of our 3 galleries, Santa Fe, & Taos, NM, & Sedona, AZ.
Peridot, the wonderful green gem we all know and love, has been treasured all the way back to the ancient times. It was first mined by Ancient Egyptians on an island located in the Red Sea, which is now called St. John Island. Ancient Egyptians cherished this gemstone so much, they kept the island a secret for as long as they could. They knew they had something special when it came to Peridot. Over 3000 years ago, it was believed that this stone was invisible in sunlight. Early minors were convinced that Peridot absorbed the sun rays during the day and release them at night, believing that this gem could glow in the dark. They referred to it as an 'evening Emerald'. For these reasons, miners would wait until nighttime to look for them.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones that is found in only one color. It is an idiochromatic gem, meaning that instead of getting its color from other impurities, it gets its natural color from the basic chemical structure within itself. Peridot is a Silicate material which contains both Iron and Magnesium, the amounts vary slightly from gem to gem, causing a variety of shades. The intensity of the green depends on the amount of iron in the chemical structure, the more iron, the deeper the green. Darker Peridots tend to be more valuable than lighter greens. Today, the most desired color is a deep olive color with a yellowish tint.
Peridot in its basic form is called Olivine, which often occurs on volcanic rocks. Peridot forms in extreme heat, just like diamonds. Most gemstones are formed in the Earth's crust, Peridot on the other hand, is found much deeper in the Mantel region. This fascinating gemstone has been found on Meteorites, Mars and even the Moon! Today, Peridot is found in Myanmar, Pakistan, & the Himalayas. It has also been found in Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and North Carolina.
Shop wondrous Peridot Jewelry at any of our 3 Galleries located in Santa Fe, NM, Taos, NM, & Sedona, AZ.
Ruby, widely known for its deep rich color, has been a favorite by so many. The name "Ruby" derives from the Latin word "Ruber", which means red. The scientific name for this Gemstone is Corundum. The mineral Corundum is colorless and gets its color by trace elements that become part of the crystals structure. Chromium is the element that causes the famous red color we all know and love. Rubies are always red, but some have orange, pink and even purple tints in the coloration. Other varieties of Gem-quality Corundum are classified as Sapphire.
Ruby is a very durable stone; it ranks a 9.0 on the Mohs hardness scale. Diamonds and Moissanite are the only natural Gemstones harder than a Ruby. This makes Rubies a perfect stone for any kind of jewelry. In fact, because Ruby is known as the stone of love, many get engagement rings or wedding rings with Rubies to symbolize a deep and passionate love to one another. Also, it has always been associated with the 40th anniversary. So, if you were looking for the perfect gift, you have found it!
There are many notions about this Gemstone. Some cultures believed that Rubies symbolized Passion, Protection, and wealth. They believed that the wealth and assets of the person wearing Rubies would be protected. Others thought if the gem was worn on the left side, it would allow the bearer to live peacefully. Some even refer it as "The Stone of Kings". Ruby has been found in Madagascar, Nepal, Thailand, and many more. It's quite rare, but Rubies have also been found in the US States of Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, & Wyoming.
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One of the most fascinating things about Pearls over most other gemstones, is that it needs no polishing or cutting, they are naturally "Pearl-fect"! It is a natural, organic product from a living creature - How cool! Another interesting thing is they are like fingerprints, meaning that no two Pearls are exactly alike. Any Mollusk that produces a shell can produce a Pearl. This includes Abalone, Marine Snails, Clams, & Oysters.
The notion that a Pearl is formed when a grain of sand enters the shell of an Oyster is a myth. Its actually from a parasite or a chunk of shell that lodged itself in the soft tissue on the inner body of the Oyster. This causes the irritated area to emit a crystalline substance called Nacre. This builds up layer after layer, eventually forming a small Pearl. Pearls are developed in just a few short months, but can keep growing for up to 20 years!
Freshwater and saltwater Pearls look similar but are sourced from different locations. Freshwater Pearls come from various species of freshwater Mussels that are found in Lakes, Rivers, Ponds, and other bodies of fresh water. Saltwater Pearls are found in Pearl Oysters from the Ocean. Today, cultured Pearls from Pearl Oysters & freshwater Mussels make up majority of those currently on the market. Due to over harvesting back in the 1800's many natural Pearl beds were destroyed, so natural saltwater Pearls aren't as easy to find anymore.
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