Find out more about some the world's natural gemstones
The beauty of gemstones, born from the depths of the Earth, is that the process from which they emerge is diverse. Some arise from subterranean explosions of molten rock, while others crystallize gradually from cooling hot fluids and gases far beneath the Earth's surface. With approximately 200 known varieties, the world of natural gemstones is rich and varied. Although diamonds reign supreme in the worldof jewellery, a many of the rare and captivating semi-precious stones add depth to the gemstone landscape. Explore fascinating details about these natural wonders.
Unveiled in 1830 within the Ural Mountains of Russia, the extraordinary alexandrite, named in honour of Tsar Alexander II, belongs to the chrysoberyl family. Its distinctive appeal lies in its remarkable colour-shifting ability. In the sunlight, the stone showcases a blue-green hue, while under incandescent light, it transforms into a captivating red-purple. The extent of this colour metamorphosis varies among stones. Some display subtle shifts, while the most prized ones are transparent gems showcasing a complete and dramatic change. Despite the discovery of some larger specimens, the majority of alexandrites are typically under one carat in size.
There is a reason the Red beryl is one of those extraordinarily rare gems. It is also known as bixbite and red emerald. One survey estimates a discovery rate of one such gem for every 150,000 gem-quality diamonds. The intrinsic colourlessness of pure beryl is transformed by impurities within the rock. Chromium and vanadium impart a green hue, which resulting in emeralds, while iron introduces blue or yellow tones and creats an aquamarine and golden beryl. Manganese is the key element that infuses the deep and rich red colour, forming red beryl. This precious gem is found in locations in Utah and New Mexico in the United Staes, as well as Mexico. These gems are usuallly minuscule and a two or three-carat red beryl is considered exceptionally rare.
Tanzanite, a stunning blue variation of the mineral zoisite, exclusively emerges from a small region near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Despite not gaining commercial attention until the 1960s, its allure has skyrocketed in popularity since. The majority of tanzanite gems undergo heat treatment at high temperatures to enhance their blue hue, becoming a common practice. However, the natural deep blue colouration in untreated tanzanite significantly elevates its market value. Given its singular origin and limited supply, the value of tanzanite is poised to increase steadily over time.
Larimar, an exceptionally scarce blue form of the mineral pectolite, is exclusively discovered in a limited region of the Dominican Republic. The moniker "Larimar" was coined by Miguel Méndez, who launched the stone into the spotlight in 1974. Although locals had been aware of the stone's existence for generations, encountering small specimens along the seashore, it was not until the 1970s that a sufficient quantity was unearthed in the ground. This discovery lead to the establishment of a mining operation.
Opals typically exhibit a creamy-white hue that is distinguished by the enchanting rainbow-coloured inclusions that play with light. Their allure is elevated by the fact that black opals are rare. They are primarily sourced from the mines in the Lightning Ridge region of New South Wales, Australia. The value of these opals increases with a darker background colour and vibrant inclusions. Among the most prized black opals is the Aurora Australis. It was discovered in the year1938 in Lightning Ridge region. This exceptional 180-carat gem stands out for its remarkable size and striking harlequin coloration.