Stones and gems come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. You can use our handy photo guide to help identify your treasures.
Types of Stones
Pyrite is the classic “Fool’s Gold”. There are other shiny brassy yellow minerals, but pyrite is by far the most common and the most often mistaken for gold. Whether it is the golden look or something else, pyrite is a favorite among rock collectors. It can have a beautiful luster and interesting crystals. It is so common in the earth’s crust that it is found in almost every possible environment, hence it has a vast number of forms and varieties.
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and is a popular gemstone. If it were not for its widespread availability, amethyst would be very expensive. The name “amethyst” comes from the Greek and means “not drunken.” This was maybe due to a belief that amethyst would ward off the effects of alcohol, but most likely the Greeks were referring to the almost wine-like color of some stones that they may have encountered. Its color is unparalleled, and even other, more expensive purple gemstones are often compared to its color and beauty. Although it must always be purple to be amethyst, it can and does have a wide range of purple shades.
Quartz is the most common mineral on the face of the Earth. It is found in nearly every geological environment and is at least a component of almost every rock type. It frequently is the primary mineral, >98%. It is also the most varied in terms of varieties, colors and forms. This variety comes about because of the abundance and widespread distribution of quartz. A collector could easily have hundreds of quartz specimens and not have two that are the same due to the many broad categories.
Kyanite is a polymorph with two other minerals; andalusite and sillimanite. A polymorph is a mineral that shares the same chemistry but a different crystal structure with another, or other, minerals. Kyanite is an attractive mineral that has a near sapphire like blue color in some especially nice specimens. Kyanite has a unique characteristic in that it has a wide variation in hardness, in the same crystal. The hardness of kyanite is approx. 4.5 when scratched parallel to the long axis of the crystal and approx. 6.5 when scratched perpendicular to or across the long axis. Other minerals usually have variable hardness on different crystal faces due to a different concentration and oreintation of the atoms in the structure. Diamond is one such mineral, a fact gem cutters take advantage of often.
Color is steel or silver gray to black in some forms and red to brown in earthy forms. Sometimes tarnished with irredescent colors when in a hydrated form (called Turgite). Luster is metallic or dull in earthy and oolitic forms. Transparency: Crystals are opaque. Crystal System is trigonal; bar 3 2/m Crystal Habits include tabular crystals of varying thickness sometimes twinned, micaceous (specular), botryoidal and massive. also earthy or oolitic. Cleavage is absent however there is a parting on two planes. Fracture is uneven. Hardness is 5 – 6
Citrine is a beautiful yellow stone. Named from the French name for lemon, “citron,” many citrines have a juicy lemon color. Like amethyst, citrine is a gem variety of quartz. The gem’s varying yellow color comes from trace elements of iron. It is a popular less expensive alternative to the much more expensive yellow sapphire or yellow diamond. To create wonderful multi-colored jewelry, it is often combined with other stones such as: peridot, amethyst, and garnet. November Birthstone.
Stones – Before and After
Photo Left: GARNET – Rough direct from mine and professionally cut by jeweler.
Photo Center: EMERALD – Rough direct from mine and professionally cut by jeweler.
Photo Right: RUBY – Rough direct from mine, lightly cleaned and professionally cut by jeweler.
Photo Left: PERIDOT – Rough direct from mine and professionally cut by jeweler.
Photo Right: AQUAMARINE – Rough direct from mine, lightly cleaned and professionally cut by jeweler
Photo Left: TOPAZ – Rough direct from mine and professionally cut and “heated treated” by jeweler to bring out the blue color.
Photo Right: CITRINE – Rough direct from mine, lightly cleaned and professionally cut by jeweler.
Photo Left: Black, Red & Green Tourmaline