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All About Gemstones Part I

Updated on June 13, 2010

Abalone

Abalone needs to be protected from sharp blows, scratches, harsh chemicals, and extreme temperatures. Clean with a very soft cloth with mild detergent only. Abalone is a shell and not a gemstone, but has properties that are important the same as gemstones are. Having abalone nearby when working through an emotional situation with someone is said to be beneficial, and to promote cooperation. Abalone is reported by intuitive sources to stimulate psychic development and intuition, and promotes imagination in a healthy way. Abalone can be used for arthritis and other joint disorders, muscle problems, the heart, and digestion.

Agate

Agate tends to chip or crack rather easily. Take care to protect it from scratches and blows. This creatively striped gemstone is also known as; chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers in a wide variety of colors and textures. Agate was highly valued as a talisman or amulet in ancient times. It was said to quench thirst and protect from fevers. Persian magicians used agate to divert storms. A famous collection of two to four thousand agate bowls, which was accumulated by Mithridates shows the enthusiasm with which agate was regarded.

Agate bowls were also popular in the Byzantine Empire. Collecting agate bowls became common among European royalty during the Renaissance and many museums in Europe, including the Louvre, have spectacular examples.

Agate is used for grounding and when there is a need to return to basics, starting over again or as an aid for the root Chakra. It promotes healing by transmuting negative energy into positive energy. The agate is calming and cheering and promotes active intellect in harmony with love and compassion in daily life. It is used to promote honesty and purify and clear rooms.

Alexandrite

Alexandrite needs to be protected from sharp blows, scratches, harsh chemicals, and extreme temperatures. Alexandrite is one of the most fascinating gemstones throughout history: a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that actually changes color from green in daylight to red in incandescent light. The first time you see it, it is hard to believe  your eyes! Gems that show special optical effects are known as phenomenal stones.

Alexandrite has a distinguished and glamorous past: it was discovered in 1830 in Czarist Russia. Since the old Russian imperial colors are red and green it was named after Czar Alexander II on the occasion of his coming of age.

Amazonite

Amazonite is a beautiful deep blue -green stone often has white streaks.  The Egyptians called the Amazonite the stone of courage and is named after the Amazon women warriors. In general, this stone enhances creative expression, aids in unity with life and improves self worth. It is known to have a soothing effect on th e brain and nervous system, and helps one to analyze and sort out information while encouraging intuitive wisdom.

Amazonite helps align the throat and heart Chakras. Use it to help with addictions and posture. May help with Motor Neuron disease and other similar progressive diseases, pinched nerves, spinal difficulties, and bursitis.

Amber

Amber is soft and may be easily scratched. Sharp blows, harsh chemicals, and extreme temperatures should be avoided. If heated enough, Amber will burn. Be certain to store Amber jewelry separately from your other jewelry.

Amber was formed a million years ago. Large strands of forests in some parts of the world began to seep globs of sticky resin. This aromatic resin oozed down the sides of trees, as well as filling internal fissures, trapping debris, such as seeds, leaves, feathers and insects. As geologic time progressed the forests were buried and the resin hardened into a soft, warm, golden gem, known as amber. Amber is the fossilized resin of ancient trees, which forms through a natural polymerization of the original organic compounds.

Most of the world's Amber is in the range of 30 -90 million years old!  Heating Amber will soften it and eventually it will burn, a fact that has given rise to the name of Bernstein, by which the Germans know Amber.

Rubbing amber with a cloth will make it electric, attracting bits of paper. The Greek name for Amber is Elektron, or the origin of our word electricity. Amber is used metaphysically to signify the sun, for clarity, confidence, discipline, memory, and uplifting the spirit.

Amethyst

Amethyst uses an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner or clean with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush. Amethyst will pale if left out in the sun. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty.

Amethyst, transparent purple quartz, is the most important quartz variety used in jewelry. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence. Amethyst was also thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety.  Amethyst was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic and other churches in the Middle Ages. It was, in particular, considered to be the stone of bishops and they still of ten wear amethyst rings. 

In Tibet, Amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it. Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it! The gemst one still symbolizes sobriety. 

Amethyst ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple. The pale colors are sometimes called "Rose de France" and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. Holistically Amethyst brings healing for the soul, body, and mind. It has a universal vibration and enables the holder of the crystal to be connected to it. It is used in helping to balance the sixth Chakra.

Angelite

Wipe Angelite with a soft, dry cloth.  Angelite is associated with particular forms of communication. It is said to be excellent for balancing the physical & etheric energies. The light -blue stones are associated with the healing of anger. This stone was discovered in  Peru at the time of the Harmonic Convergence. Do not clear this gemstone in water.

Use Angelite to treat infectious diseases, to correct deficiencies of the hemoglobin, inflammations and afflictions of the throat, and to alleviate symptoms relative to proper functioning of the heart. It can help to renew the blood vessels and refresh sensory perceptiveness.

Apache Tear

Apache Tear is found in Arizona and other parts of the U.S. and is a form of volcanic glass. There is a haunting legend about the Apache teardrop. After the Apaches had made several raids on a settlement in Arizona, they were completely surprised and out -numbered in the attack. Nearly 50 of the band of 150 Apaches were killed in the first volley of shots. The rest of the tribe retreated to the cliff's edge and chose death by leaping over the edge rather than die at the hands of the white men.

For years afterward those who ventured up the treacherous face of Big acacho in Arizona found skeletons, or could see the bleached bones wedged in the crevices of the side of the cliff. The Apache squaws and the lovers of those who had died gathered a short distance from the base of the cliff where the sands were white, and for a moon they wept for their dead. Their sadness was so great that the Great Father imbedded into black stones the tears of the Apache women who mourned their dead. These black obsidian stones, when held to the ligh t, reveal the translucent tear of the Apache.

The stones bring good luck to those possessing them. It is said that whoever owns an Apache teardrop will never have to cry again, for the Apache maidens have shed their tears in place of yours. The Apache teardrops are also said to balance the emotional nature and protect one from being taken advantage of. It can be carried as an amulet to stimulate success in business endeavors. It is also used to produce clear vision and to increase psychic powers.

Aquamarine

Aquamarine should be cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush. Protect it from sunlight as it may fade and avoid sharp blows and scratches. Aquamarines show all the shades of an exceptionally beautiful range of usually light blues. It is a truly fascinating stone and suits almost any complexion or eye color to perfection.

Its light blue colors arises feelings such as sympathy, trust, harmony or friendship. According to legend aquamarine has its origin in the treasure chest of the legendary mermaids, and has for ages been reputed to be a lucky stone for sailors. Its name has been derived from the Latin terms "aqua" meaning water, and "mare" or sea. It can help one understand difficult situations from a love -filled viewpoint.

Aventurine

Too much direct sunlight will pale pale the color of Aventurine. Wash in warm soapy water when needed.

Aventurine is often referred to as the all -purpose healer. This means not only is it considered by many to be good for physical disorders, but also healing on all levels. Green is the color of healing, and Aventurine, as a member of the quartz family, has a concentrated ability to dissolve blockages.

It is also said that green Aventurine in particular is said to attract money and increases ones perception and creativity. Blue Aventurine helps with circulation and to clear congestion, both physically and spiritually.

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    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Beautiful gems - I never thought of abalone in this context thanks for sharing your gem series it is a wonderful resource.

    • HappyHer profile image
      Author

      Tracy Morrow 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Thank you! They are lovely, and useful, two of my favorite things.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      This is lovely and Unique - It makes one appreciate Jewelry more. They are beautiful and thanks for the tips on how to clean and take care of them.

      Best Wishes. :)

    • HappyHer profile image
      Author

      Tracy Morrow 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Thanks Don! I've been a huge fan of gemstones for many years now. I'll have Part II of this series up soon. I hope it's helpful to others when they are deciding on gifts to get for themselves or others.

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 7 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      It's amazing that Abalone would have so many traits and characteristics. Gems are beautiful to observe.

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