Amethyst is our most popular purple mineral at touchstone. There are so many products to enjoy this gemstone mineral and not just made into jewelry. But, as Décor too! I Like to think of it as 'jewelry' for a room.
Origin: Most of the amethyst that we offer to our customers comes to us from Southern regions of Brazil, Bolivia or Uruguay where it is mined deep under ground. The Brazilian amethyst is known for its larger crystal forms. While the amethyst from Uruguay is known for its deeper, richer purple. From Bolivia comes the large clusters, better yet the Bolivian Bouquets that we carry.
Amethyst is formed in volcanic "vugs" that were formed from bubbling lava gases that when cooled left behind voids. Within these voids mineral rich solutions then washed/seeped through leaving behind layers of minerals that over millions of years then formed quartz along the walls of the empty spaces. Amethyst is a violet form of quartz, which is a silica, the most abundant mineral on earth. The colors of these mineral rich solutions contained iron and other transitional metals which when exposed to irradiation cause the violet color we see in amethyst. Amethyst comes in a variety of colors from lavender/lilac to shades of pink to deep purple.
Pictured below shows how amethyst is mined in
Prasiolite is a yellow - green variety of quartz. It is a heat treated amethyst that turns from purple to green. It can be heated in a laboratory oven or it can also be found naturally in rock bearing amethyst next to younger lava flows. When quartz containing iron impurities is heated by lava and turns to purple. Then, at a later time that lava flow is covered by another younger lava flow that heats up the amethyst and turns it to natural prasiolite.
* "Green amethyst" is a misnomer (an incorrect name) that some people use for prasiolite. Amethyst, by definition, is a purple variety of quartz. That makes "green amethyst" an incorrect name, just as "yellow emerald" and "red emerald" are misnomers for "heliodor" and "red beryl," respectively.
Read more on * Geology.com
Care of prasiolite and amethyst: Prasiolite and amethyst should be stored in darkness and not exposed to strong sunlight or some types of artificial light over long periods of time, as it can fade. Which makes sense when you think of how it was created.
Amethyst Stalactite Slices when cut crosswise used to make a piece of jewelry. Pictured right: On a geode you may see a what we call a "rose". When we see this on a polished geode it is a an added bonus!
New Item: "Portals" Were these portals cut from once large stalactites? Or were they crosscuts from geodes? Imagine the size that they must have started out as? Touchstone offers these vertical presentations of large amethyst slices on stands. They make for very attractive décor items. Notice that the centers are hollow with wonderful toothy crystals forming around the void.
What makes visiting TSG special:
Every year it never ceases to amaze me, that upon a new shipment it's like Christmas, seeing all of the wonderful products as they are unpacked from large crates. Be it tiny geodes on stands, tea candle holders, amethyst slices on stands that spin, accent tables, bonsai trees, bookends - its endless. touchstone is always seeking out the most unusual and fascinating to be newly discovered by you, the customer. Not to mention jewelry too! I implore you to keep visiting one of our three galleries located in Sedona, Santa Fe and Taos to be continually amazed and to find your own "treasure".
Although you may think of garnets as a red gemstone they also come in so many more colors depending on what elements influence it. Garnets are made of several closely related minerals and come in many variations. They are divided into two subgroups groups, those containing aluminum and those containing calcium.
Garnet Names that you may see in our jewelry descriptions:
Spessartite garnet is an orange to red gemstone. This type of Garnet contains aluminum as the second element.
Hessonite (Grossular Group) Garnet Due to its orange-brown color, as well as its historic connection to the spice-producing country of Sri Lanka, this garnet is also known as “cinnamon stone.”
Tsavorite (Grossular Group) is an emerald green variety of garnet, discovered in Africa along the Kenya border in 1967 and then marketed by Tiffany and CO. in 1974. It is the most expensive form of garnet due to its rarity.
Uvarovite (Grossular Group) is a green garnet that usually occurs as crystals too small to cut. It is sometimes set as clusters in jewelry. It is a rich bright green color as seen in the pendant.
Perhaps surprise your January birthday loved one with a colorful garnet that is unexpected in green uvarovite?
Raspberry Garnet (Grossular Group) New for touchstone gallery.
How to tell garnet from ruby? Have you ever wondered how to tell the two red gemstones apart? Red garnets can have hints of orange or pink while rubies are vivid red with occasional purple or blue secondary hues. Hold a garnet in front of a light until you can spot its spectrum reflected in the stone. If you see two rainbows with no yellow or green bands, you're likely looking at a ruby. Rubies are more rare of the two gemstones due to the way they are formed without any influence of silica which is the most abundant mineral on earth.
The birthstone for December is blue topaz and turquoise. Below are a few examples to show how many choices you have when choosing December's birthstone, you can go sparkly or earth tones and rustic.
As we come into Fall we tend to go warmer with our color palette. This is why citrine is the color that we love in our gemstone jewelry at this time of year. This month Susan's pick of the month is this stunning Princess Style Necklace multi-stone that gracefully drapes to the neckline. Each gemstone is individually set in sterling silver to create movement.
Sapphire is a precious gemstone that shares the same mineral properties as ruby. They are both a corundum, consisting of aluminum oxide (α-Al2O3) with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium, or magnesium. However, Ruby, the mysterious gemstone that I wrote about in July's blog, does not have the influence of silica and so it is a highly prized red gemstone. Silica being the most abundant mineral on earth for some unknown reason did not come in contact with the other minerals casing the ruby to then become a sapphire.
Sapphires are typically blue, but can also be in fancy colors like purple, pink, yellow, orange and green. Some even have two colors and called "Parti" sapphires.
Susan's Pick of the Month is this stunning sapphire necklace in multi colors. This necklace is light and airy to wear in our transitional warm to cooler weather. Its like a party in a necklace with all of its fun colors. Watermelon "jelly bean" shaped tourmalines are the gemstones that play with light against the colorful sapphires.
Touchstone has sapphire jewelry in bracelets, rings and faceted beaded necklaces.
We invite you to visit us on the web by clicking on the picture or in one of our store locations:
Sedona, Taos and Santa Fe.
Susan's Pick of the month is this spectacular showpiece that she had commissioned for our Sedona Gallery's tenth year anniversary. This necklace features multi-faceted shapes of peridot with matching earrings. *Susan Heike Wilhelm is a designer and part owner with her husband, Joseph.
Peridot, the birthstone for August and also the gemstone for the 15th wedding anniversary. Peridot is gem quality olivine. It is found in lava, meteorites , and deep in the earth's mantle.The green color is caused by impurities of iron.
Peridots can also have extraterrestrial origins in Pallasite meteorites. Peridot as an interplanetary mineral found in the stony-iron content of the meteorite with yellowish green olivine. Touchstone gallery offers its customers this rare meteorite on occasion, please inquire if interested.
Egyptians first mined peridot on the Red Sea island of Zabargad. The remote island was obscured by fog most of the time and early navigators had difficulty finding the island. It is thought that the green gemstone used in Cleopatra's crown was more than likely peridot and not emeralds as originally thought.
Today peridot is mined primarily in Egypt, from the once lost island of Zabargad in the Red Sea. Where fog made it difficult for the ancient mariners to navigate. It was rediscovered in 1905.
Myanmar, where the larger peridot is found several hundred carets in size.
Arizona and New Mexico where it is eroded from parent rock. Ants remove these these grains in order to build their homes subsequently grains of peridot can be found among the small grains of gravel of their hills. Navajo Reservations are also a source of peridot.
Touchstone gallery offers many choices in peridot jewelry and at affordable price points. We invite you to visit one of our gallery locations to see our many offerings in peridot.
Olivines can range in hardness from 6.5 (fayalite) to 7 (forsterite). Thus, peridots can approach quartz gems in hardness. However, they are still sensitive to scratching from household dust (which has a hardness like quartz). Furthermore, they have some susceptibility to stress fractures.
Clean them only with a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water. Peridots also have some sensitivity to acids, even those found in perspiration. Peridot jewelry should be worn against the skin only occasionally
Ruby is said to be associated with strong emotions such as love, passion, a fiery spirit, and a zest for life! Rubies and Sapphires share all of the same properties in that they are both varieties of Corundum with the exception that ruby has trace elements of chromium that gives it the red color.
It is that red color that makes it the highest priced gemstone per caret in the world of gems in the color gemstone realm. Rubies are a red to orange-red to purple-red variety of the mineral corundum, aluminum oxide (Al2O3). Ruby and its companion variety of corundum, sapphire, are very hard being 9 Mohs scale of 10. The very best color in Myanmar rubies is sometimes described as “pigeon’s blood.” Lore is that the first two drops of pigeons's blood from the beak was the prized color for comparing rubies. it has a hint of blue tint to the red. (BTW no pigeons were sacrificed for this blog).
When researching for this blog I came across some interesting geological information surrounding the question of how were rubies even able to come into existence? What follows is an excerpt from an article in Discover Magazine, The Geology of Rubies, written by Anne Sasso, November 4, 2014.
"The biggest question, the one that has geologists on both sides of the Atlantic at odds with each other, is how rubies formed in the first place. Geologists simply do not know. That rubies even exist, says Peter Heaney, geosciences professor at Penn State University, is something of a “minor geological miracle.”
My takeaway from this article is that corundum is a rare mineral made up of other tightly packed aluminum and oxygen atoms. Some of the atoms were substituted for aluminum, then more colorful hues emerge. Small amounts of traces of Chromium imparts the red color. Second factoid, Since silica is one of the most abundant elements in Earth’s crust, how is it that rubies managed to avoid it but at the same time connect with the exceedingly rare chromium? And how did rubies avoid iron, another common element? I just found this exceedingly interesting and had to share it with our readers, but I encourage you to read the whole article on your own as I was just doing a short summary. Scientist go on to try to offer other geological shifts that may have influenced how rubies were able to avoid silica and iron. So geek out and follow this link!
Touchstone is happy to bring to our customers offerings in Ruby Earrings, and Bracelet: Please click on the image to link to the page for more information about the products that you see here.
Moonstones are feldspar gemstones with varying compositions. Typically, they’re orthoclase feldspars with alternating layers of orthoclase and albite. The color we see is caused from diffraction of light as it hits thin, alternating layers of orthoclase and albite within the gem.
Learn more about minerals & fossils.