Chrome diopside certainly won't win any contests for the most beautiful name. To most people, it sounds more like a car polish than a gemstone. But don't be misled by that! Chrome diopside has a beautiful rich green colour and an amazingly low price. In fact it is the most affordable gemstone in a pure rich green. There are a few drawbacks. Chrome diopside is mostly available in small sizes: in the rare large sizes, the colour actually becomes so rich that it is too dark. But for bright green accent stones, chrome diopside is ideal. However, it is relatively soft, with a hardness of only 5.5, so it is a better choice for earrings or a pendant than for a ring which will receive a lot of wear. Chrome diopside is mostly mined in Yakutia and Siberia.
Kyanite is a gemstone quality aluminum silicate sometimes referred to as disthene, rhaeticite or cyanite. Its name is derived from the Greek word 'kuanos' or 'kyanos', which means 'deep blue', alluding to its typical blue color. However, in addition to blue, kyanite can also be colorless, white, gray, green, orange or yellow. With kyanite, color is typically not consistent throughout. In fact, most stones exhibit areas of light to dark color zones, along with white streaks or blotches.
Alongside emerald and aquamarine, morganite is certainly the best known gemstone from the colourful group of the beryls. Women the world over love morganite for its fine pink tones which radiate charm, esprit and tenderness.
Although this gemstone came into being millions of years ago, it has only been known by the name of morganite for less than a hundred years. To be precise, in fact, since 1911, since before that the gemmological world simply viewed the 'pink beryl' as a variety of beryl, not as a gemstone in its own right. But it is not only people that change their name. Gemstones sometimes do it too. And so it was that in 1911, on the suggestion of the New York gemmologist G. F. Kunz, the pink variety of beryl was ennobled to the status of a gemstone in its own right. In honour of the banker and mineral collector John Pierpont Morgan, it was given the name under which it is known today: morganite.
Which color would you spontaneously associate with love and vivacity, passion and power? It's obvious, isn't it? Red. Red is the colour of love. It radiates warmth and a strong sense of vitality. And red is also the colour of the ruby, the king of the gemstones. In the fascinating world of gemstones, the ruby is the undisputed ruler.
For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent colour, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. In addition to that, it is an extremely rare gemstone, especially in its finer qualities.
For a long time India was regarded as the ruby's classical country of origin. In the major works of Indian literature, a rich store of knowledge about gemstones has been handed down over a period of more than two thousand years. The term 'corundum', which we use today, is derived from the Sanskrit word 'kuruvinda'. The Sanskrit word for ruby is 'ratnaraj', which means something like 'king of the gemstones'. And it was a royal welcome indeed which used to be prepared for it. Whenever a particularly beautiful ruby crystal was found, the ruler sent high dignitaries out to meet the precious gemstone and welcome it in appropriate style. Today, rubies still decorate the insignia of many royal households.
In earlier times, some people believed that the firmament was an enormous blue sapphire in which the Earth was embedded. Could there be a more apt image to describe the beauty of an immaculate sapphire? And yet this gem comes not in one but in all the blue shades of that firmament, from the deep blue of the evening sky to the shining mid-blue of a lovely summer's day which casts its spell over us. However, this magnificent gemstone also comes in many other colours: not only in the transparent greyish-blue of a distant horizon but also in the gloriously colourful play of light in a sunset – in yellow, pink, orange and purple. Sapphires really are gems of the sky, although they are found in the hard ground of our 'blue planet'.
Garnets have been known to Man for thousands of years. Noah, it is said, used a garnet lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night. Garnets are also found in jewellery from early Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. Many an early explorer and traveller liked to carry a garnet with him, for the garnet was popular as a talisman and protective stone, as it was believed to light up the night and protect its bearer from evil and disaster.
Spinel is the great impostor of gemstone history: many famous rubies in crown jewels around the world are actually spinels. The most famous is the Black Prince's ruby, a magnificent 170-carat red spinel that now adorns the Imperial State Crown of England in the British Crown Jewels after a long history: Henry V even wore it on his battle helmet! The Timur ruby, a 361-carat red spinel now owned by Queen Elizabeth, has the names of some of the Mughal emperors who previously owned it engraved on its face: an undeniable pedigree!
In Burma (now known as Myanmar), where some of the most beautiful colours are mined, spinel was recognised as a separate gem species as early as 1587. In other countries the masquerade went on for hundreds of years. Spinels were most often referred to as 'balas rubies', which may have referred to their colour or their country of origin.
Now treasured for its own sake, spinel is a favourite of gem dealers and collectors on account of its brilliance, hardness and wide range of spectacular colours. In addition to beautiful rich reds, spinel can be found in a range of gorgeous pastel shades of pink and purple. Of particular interest is a vivid hot pink with a tinge of orange mined in Burma. It is one of the most spectacular gemstone colours seen in any species at all. Spinel also comes in beautiful blue tones called cobalt spinel, but these are very, very rare.
Tanzanite is an extraordinary gemstone. It occurs in only one place worldwide. Its blue, surrounded by a fine hint of purple, is a wonderful colour. Thanks to its unusual aura and the help of the New York jeweller's Tiffany, it has rapidly become one of the most coveted gemstones in the world.
It is named after the East African state of Tanzania, the only place in the world where it has been found. Africa? Does anyone think of gemstones when they hear that name? Well they should, because Africa is a continent which provides the world with a multitude of truly magnificent gemstones, like tanzanite for example. On its discovery in 1967, it was enthusiastically celebrated by the specialists as the 'gemstone of the 20th century'.
The shining green tsavorite is a young gemstone with a very long geological history. Its home is the East-African bushland along the border between Kenya and Tanzania. The few mines lie in a uniquely beautiful landscape of arid grassland with bare, dry hills. It's dangerous country, the habitat of snakes, and now and then a lion patrols, on the lookout for prey. There, near the world-famous Tsavo National Park, that history began.
In 1967 a British geologist by the name of Campbell R. Bridges was looking for gemstones in the mountains in the north-east of Tanzania. Suddenly he came across some strange, potato-like nodules of rock. It was like a fairy-tale: inside these strange objects he found some beautiful green grains and crystal fragments. A gemmological examination revealed that what he had discovered was green grossularite, a mineral belonging to the colourful gemstone group of the garnets, and one which had only been found on rare occasions until then. It was of an extraordinarily beautiful colour and good transparency. The find made the specialists sit up and take notice; Tiffany & Co. in New York also soon showed an interest in the newly discovered green jewel.