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Guide to Gemstones

Gemstone jewelry is the ideal vehicle for adding vibrant color and plenty of personality to any of your ensembles. One will surely find a glittering, quality gemstone in any hue. Our experts at Hannoush Jewelers have put together a guide to the most famous jewels on the market.


One of the priciest gems, rubies are rich and commanding. A variety of the corundum mineral species, these precious gemstones get their red hue from chromium, which can make the stones range in color from an orangey red to purplish red. Early cultures celebrated rubies for their resemblance to blood, believing the gems held the power of life. Today, they are said to represent our most intense emotions: passion, love, and desire.


Ranging in hue from a vibrant green to a more bluish variety, emeralds are a variety of beryl, a gem species that also includes aquamarine. The first known emerald mines date back to 330 BC in Egypt, where Cleopatra was said to have a particular affinity for the gems. Legends worldwide suggested emeralds allowed the wearer to see the future, reveal the truth, and protect against evil spells. 


Technically, any variety of the mineral species corundum that is not red (rubies) is classified as sapphires. They come in various colors, but blue is the most common. It has been traditionally said that blue sapphires symbolize truth, nobility, faithfulness, and sincerity. Sapphires are the standard to measure other blue stones like topaz and tanzanite. 


Regal in their rich hue, amethysts are the purple variety of quartz. They can range from light lavender to deep purple. Amethysts have been featured in religious and royal jewelry for centuries. Some ancient cultures believed the stone could keep the wearer clear-headed and sharp-witted in battles and business negotiations. Until the 19th century, when large deposits were discovered in Brazil, amethysts were valuable as rubies. 


Peridot has a wonderfully yellow-green color, and some of it is ancient. It can be found in pallasite meteorites, meaning it can have extraterrestrial origins. However, these are rare, and you won’t likely find them in jewelry stores. It has also been found in lava flows in the US, China, and Vietnam. This striking stone is available at all price points, depending on size and quality. 


These gorgeous, bright gemstones are among the few natural gemstones used in jewelry. Pearls are derived from mollusks, usually oysters. Depending on the mollusk and where the pearls are sourced, they can vary in shade and shape, yet all have an iridescent sheen. Cultured pearls are formed with the help of human assistance, as a bead or piece of tissue is purposely inserted into a mollusk, which the creature subsequently covers in nacre. 


This stone’s name was derived from the Latin word for seawater. It is also a variety of beryl, typically characterized by a very light, transparent blue. They generally are sizable when mined, the largest crystal to date measuring 19 inches long. Aquamarine is mined from the Karakoram Mountains in Pakistan at high elevations. It has been said to make the wearer unconquerable in battle as well as amiable and quick-witted. 


Topaz has one of the largest color ranges of any gemstone type. Colorless topaz is also bountiful but can be treated to produce a light blue hue that rarely occurs naturally. It is allochromatic, meaning that any color results from inclusions or imperfections. Its availability makes it relatively affordable, ensuring anyone can find stunning pieces in various colors to suit their personality and budget. 


The iconic yellow-orange gem is rare in nature. Because of this, most citrine on the market is actually heat-treated amethyst. Citrine is a variety of quartz, making it exceptionally strong and affordable. Its color ranges from a light yellow to a darker, orangey red. In some places, amethyst and citrine can occur in the same stone. This unique jewel is known as ametrine. 


Garnets occur in many colors, such as red, orange, green, and blue. However, red is the hue most think of when they hear the word garnet, as the red variety is one of the most common gems in the world. Green garnet, known as tsavorite, is quite rare but incredibly beautiful. 

Lapis Lazuli

This unique gem is a rock made of several minerals. Lapis lazuli is typically a bright or deep royal blue, cut through with golden flecks of pyrite that starkly contrast with the blue. It was treasured by many ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, China, and Rome. The rich blue is typically quite opaque, making it stand out from many other commonly worn gems. 


Microscopic layers of feldspar reflect light in unique, opalescent ways. Moonstone can come in a variety of base colors, typically soft whites and other pastel hues, but its stunning sheen can appear to contain all the shades of the rainbow. Hindu mythology claims that moonstone is made of solidified moonbeams. These ethereal stones were the muses of many Art Nouveau artists and saw a revived popularity in the 1990s. 


There are two major classes of opals: precious and common. Made of hydrated silica, opals are famous for what is known as a “play of color,” or a flash of a spectrum of colors that changes with shifts in the way the light hits the stone's surface. Some refer to the display as fire. Precious opals display this play of color, while common opals do not. Opals come in many base and accent colors, depending on where they’ve been mined and how they were formed. 


This lush blue stone is found in only one place in the entire world: near Mount Kilimanjaro. It was first discovered in 1967, making it a relatively new gem. Ranging in shades from blue to violet, tanzanite is very transparent and can be mined in large quantities for larger gemstone pieces. For a truly show-stopping piece, seek out mesmerizing tanzanite. 

Shop Gemstone Jewelry at Hannoush Jewelers

We at Hannoush Jewelers understand the impact richly colored gemstones can have on an ensemble, which is why we’ve stocked each of our Ohio and  Massachusetts jewelry stores with plenty of incredible designer gemstone pieces. Allow our expert staff members to assist you in finding the pieces that will spark your creativity and bring vibrancy to your wardrobe.  Request an appointment today for a personalized consultation with one of our associates.