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.
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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.
Shop stunning Ruby Jewelry online or at any of our 3 locations: Taos, NM, Santa Fe, NM, & Sedona, AZ.
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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Memorial day, the day where every American memorializes all the brave men and woman who fought to protect our country. It's been celebrated in the U.S. for over 150 years, and lands on the 4th Monday in May. It originally landed on May 30th every year but was changed about 50 years ago. It was also formerly known as "Decoration Day" because most Americans would spend the holiday decorating the grave of their fallen soldiers with flowers, flags, and much more. Lots of Americans still celebrate this way, but ever since The Uniform Monday Holiday Act took place back in 1971, most people spend this holiday off work or out of school with their loved ones. Some believed it was at the end of May so that the flowers all across America was in full bloom. Whether that is true or not, it still makes us smile. Make sure to give thanks to all the veterans in your life this year, they deserve it the most!
"No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave."
Special Limited time event! Come see Naomi the Tiny Triceratops!
Naomi, found in Garfield County, Montana, was a young Triceratops that lived during the late Cretaceous Period, 66-68 MYA! Though we cannot know for sure, the delicate nature of the bones in this fossil leads discoverers to believe that our young Triceratops was a female. The Triceratops fossil is from the Lateral side of the skull and measures 32” in length. An adult triceratops skull measures at 80” in length. The state of Montana has unearthed a total of 75 different species of dinosaurs, the most in the entire country! Millions of years ago, nesting dinosaurs lived in the coastal plains next to the inland sea that Is now known as Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Younger dinosaurs are rarely discovered. A remarkable piece to see for yourself! Naomi will be in Touchstone gallery in Sedona for the weekend of May 20th and then she will be moved to the Santa Fe Gallery a couple weeks after! You won't want to miss her!
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Mother's Day is just right around the corner. All around the globe, there are moms that go above and beyond, and sacrifice so much for us. So, this year we should treat her with what she really deserves... Emeralds!
Emerald is a variety of the mineral Beryl, which is a silicate of Beryllium and Aluminum. It gets its famously rich green color from trace amounts of Chromium and/or Vanadium. The color can range from yellow-green, to blue-green, with the primary color always being green. The inclusions and fissures in an Emerald are sometimes referred to as 'Jardin', French for 'Garden', because of it's mossy display.
Emeralds have been found all over the world like, Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Madagascar, and so much more! The finest quality Emeralds are mined in Columbia, which is one of the largest producers of this beautiful Gem. On its own, Columbia produces over 50% of Emeralds. Another large producer is Zambia, producing about 25%. One of the earliest discoveries of Emerald mines was located in Ancient Egypt around 330 BC.
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Grape Chalcedony is very new to the Crystal market, it was introduced around 2016. Although it's discovery is very recent, that didn't stop the popularity from growing like it did, with a name like that, no wonder it is already loved by so many. Tiny spheres of purple Quartz make up this remarkable mineral resembling a cluster of grapes. Because of this, most people know this Crystal by the name "Grape Agate" but it is actually not an Agate at all. In fact, the true technical term for this Crystal is Botryoidal Purple Chalcedony, but that is a mouth full and doesn't sound as exciting as Grape Agate!
It was found in a small section of Indonesia, more specifically the Mamuju area of the Western Sulawesi Coast. Grape Chalcedony can be found in a variety of colors, some being blue, green, & grey, but the most prominent color being purple. The purples can range from a dark rich purple to a light lilac purple. Some Crystals have been found with multiple colors in them, like purple and green, these are extremely rare and a bit more valuable.
Grape Chalcedony is considered a dream stone. It has been said that if you place the Crystal on your nightstand or under your pillow at night, it will help help you remember and understand your dreams better and also help fight of the bad dreams. It's a Crystal with nurturing properties, it can promote a feeling of kindness and inner peace. It brings feelings of self confidence and security. Grape Chalcedony is truly something special. Its almost hard to believe this came out of the ground!
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Learn more about minerals & fossils.