Gemstone Education | Balboni Custom Jeweler, LLC | United States

Alexandrite is a color change gemstone.  It changes color depending on the type of light it is under.  It is bluish green in natural daylight and purplish red under incandescent light.  Major Sources:  Sri Lanka, East Africa, Brazil & Russia.  Alexandrite is one of three birthstones for the month of June which include pearl and moonstone.  It is the gem for the 55th wedding anniversary.

Variety Of The Mineral Chrysoberyl

Amethyst - purple quartz gemstne, February birthstone

Amethyst's appearance is purple through bluish purple in natural daylight and red through reddish purple under incandescent light.  Major Sources:  Brazil, Uruguay & Namibia.  Other sources include Iran, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Sri Lanka, South Africa, US, & Russia.  Amethyst is the birthstone of February.  It is also the gem for the 6th & 17th wedding anniversaries.

Variety Of The Mineral Quartz


Ametrine - a gemstone with bi-colored amethys and citrine colors

One of the rarest types of transparent quartz is ametrine.  It combines the purple color of amethyst and the orange-to-yellow color of citrine which grew together and formed a single crystal.  Major Source:  Brazil. Other sources include Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, US, & Russia.



Aquamarine is a gemstone named after seawater and is greenish blue to blue-green in color.  It is the March birthstone

Named after seawater, aquamarine is greenish blue to blue-green and light in tone.  Major Sources: Brazil, Nigeria, Zambia, Madagascar, US, & Russia.  Aquamarine is the birthstone of March and the gem of the 19th wedding anniversary.

Variety Of The Mineral Beryl


Bloodstone is a gemstone is dark green with red to brownish red spots.  It is he aternate birthston for March

Bloodstone is the a variety of the mineral Chalcedony (kal-SED-uh-nee).  It is dark green with red to brownish red spots.  It is semitransparent to opaque.  Sources:  Australia, Brazil, India, Scotland, & Russia.  Bloodstone is the alternate birthstone for March.

Variety Of The Mineral Chalcedony



A cameo is a relief carving in which the differently colored layers of a gem material such as agate, shell or coral are use to produce a contrasting background to the main figure or design.

Agate, Shell & Coral


Carnelian is a gemstone variety of the mineral chaledony

Carnelian is semitransparent to translucent, yellow-orange to orangy red, brownish red or brownish orange.  Sources:  Brazil, India, and Uruguay.

Variety Of The Mineral Chalcedony


Chalecedony is a gemstone that has many varieties.  It is a cryptocrystalline form f quartz and is translucent to opaque.

Chalcedony (kal-SED-uh-nee) is semitransparent to opaque.  It comes in all colors and is iridescent. Some examples are carnelian, bloodstone and jasper.  Most varieties are plentiful which includes:  fire agate, iris agate, chrysoprase, chrysocolla, and amethystine chalcedony are limited to scare.  These gemstones come from numerous countries around the world.


Chrysoprase is a bright green gemstone.  It is cryptocrystalline quartz.

Chrysoprase is semitransparent to translucent, light to medium yellowish green.  Typical cutting styles include cabochons, carvings, and beads.  Sources:  Australia, India, Czechoslovakia, & US.

Variety Of The Mineral Chalcedony



Citrine is a variety of the mineral quartz.  Its appearance is transparent.  Citrine has been cut and faceted over 1,000 carats.  It is the 13th wedding anniversary gemstone.  It is also a substitute birthstone for November.  Yellow topaz is the official November birthstone.  Color range is yellow to orange to brownish orange.  Major source:  Brazil.  Other sources: Bolivia & Spain.

Variety Of The Mineral Quartz



Coral is an organic material; it is the remains of a colony of tiny marine animals.  It is semi translucent to opaque.  Colors include light pink to dark red, orange, white and cream colors.  Rare colors are blue and purple.  Typical cutting styles include carvings, cabochons, beads, polished and drilled branch segments strung as necklaces.  Major sources:  Australia, Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Mediterranean Sea along the coasts of Algeria, France, Italy, Morocco, and Tunisia; US, and Ireland.

Coral Is An Organic Material


Emerald is a transparent gemstone light tovery dark green to very strongly bluish green. Emerald is the birthstone for May.

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl.  It's appearance is transparent, light to very dark green to very strongly bluish green.  Typical cutting styles include faceted, cabochons, and carvings. The availability in fine quality is limited to scarce.  Emerald is the May birthstone.  Major Sources:  Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Russia, Australia.  Montana is also known for fine quality emeralds.

Variety Of The Mineral Beryl



Garnet is a "group" made up of several mineral species.  Included in this group is Almandite Garnet, Andradite Garnet, Grossularite Garnet, Hydrogossular Garnet, Malaia and Color Change Garnets, Pyrope Garnet, and Spessartite Garnet.   Major Sources:  numerous countries from around the world, depending on the type of garnet.

A Group Of Mineral Species


Hematite is a mineral often used in making jewelry.

Hematite is a mineral species.  Its appearance is opaque, dark gray to black.  Typical cutting styles for hematite include rose cuts, cameos, intaglios, cabochons, and beads.  Sources:  England, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and US.

Mineral Species


Iolite is a beautiful gemstone.  Its color range is violetish blue through slightly violetish blue.

Iolite (EYE-oh-lite) is a mineral species.  Appearance is transparent to translucent.  Typical cutting styles include faceted and cabochons.  The color range is violetish blue through slightly violetish blue.  They also may occur colorless, yellowish white, green, gray, or brown.  These colors are very rarely used for gem purposes.  Availability is limited.  Iolite is designated as the 21st wedding anniversary gemstone.  Major Sources:  India, Tanzania, Brazil, Sri Lanka.  Other Sources:  Myanmar, Finland, Madagascar, Namibia, and Norway.

Mineral Species


Jadeite Jade is a gemstone that is commonly used in jewelry and carvings.

Jadeite Jade is one of two minerals commonly called jade.  The other mineral is nephrite jade.  Jadeite Jade's appearance is semitransparent to opaque.  Jadeite colors include white, green, yellow to reddish orange, brown, gray, black, light purple (lavender); often mottled.  The finest green color of Jadeite is often less than 1 carat.  Typical Cutting Styles:  cabochons, beads, and carvings.  Major Source:  Myanmar.

One Of Two Minerals Called Jade

Jadeite Jade

Lapis Lazuli is a gemstone that is medium to dark, slightly greenish blue to violetish blue.  It is often used in jewelry.

Lapis Lazuli is a rock.  It is primarily made up of lazurite, calcite, and pyrite.  It may also contain hauynite, sodalite with traces of diopside, augite, mica, and hornblende.  Lapis is semi translucent to opaque, medium to dark, slightly greenish blue to violets blue.  It is often veined or flecked with pyrite and as well as white to gray calcite inclusions.  Major Sources:  Afghanistan, Chile and Russia.


Lapis Lazuli

Malachite is a vivid, bluish green to green and is used as jewelry beads, inlay, and carvings.

Malachite is opaque (generally).  Its appearance is vivid, bluish green to green.  It is often banded in two or more tones of green.  Malachite is is used in carvings, beads, cabochons, tablets, and inlays.  Sources: Zaire, Australia, England, France, Namibia, Romania, South Africa, US, Russia, and Zimbabwe.

Mineral Species


Marcasite is a mineral often used in jewelry.  It is opaque with a brassy metalli yellow color.

Pyrite is considered a gem material which is often used under the name "marcasite".  Its appearance is opaque with a metallic yellow brassy appearance.  Although marcasite is used in jewelry, pyrite is used much more often because marcasite is less stable which makes less suitable for jewelry.  Marcasite is well know by the name Fool's Gold.  Sources:  Brazil, Peru, and US.

Mineral Used Under The Name Pyrite


Moonstone is a June birthstone.

Moonstone is the mineral orthoclase which is a species in the feldspar group.  Its appearance is transparent to opaque.  It usually colorless to white but occasionally green, orange, yellow to brown, gray to nearly black.  Moonstone has a white billowy effect which is called adularescence.  When exposed to direct light a white band like cat's eye can be seen moving back and forth across the gemstone as it moves.  This is called chatoyancy.  It is also known for asterism which creates a star in some moonstones, again, when under direct light.  Moonstone is often cut as cabochons, beads, and carvings. Major Sources:  Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India.  Others:  Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Tanzania, and US.

Orthoclase Feldspar


Morganite is a reddish orange throuh slightly puplish red gemstone.

Morganite is a pink variety of the mineral beryl.  Its appearance is light reddish orange to light purplish red. The typical size range for morganite is 1 to 20 carats, faceted.  Cuttings styles are both faceted and cabochon.  Major Sources:  Brazil, Afghanistan, Madagascar, and US.

Variety Of The Mineral Beryl


Onyx is a black gemstone used in making jewelery.

Onyx is a variety of the mineral chalcedony.  "Black onyx" is terminology used in the jewelry industry to describe chalcedony with a solid black color.  Its appearance is opaque.  Typical cutting styles are cabochon, tablet, faceted and beads.  It is almost always dyed.  It is one of the most widely used gemstones in men's jewelry.  Sources:  Brazil, Madagascar, Uruguay, and US.

Variety Of The Mineral Chalcedony


Opal is used in jewelry and comes in many colors including white, black, semiblack or gray, crystal opal, black crystal opal, fire opal, boulder opal and more.

White opal is one of the commonly used opals in jewelry.  However, opal comes in a tremendous variety of colors and trade names.  White opal is translucent to semi translucent with play-of-color against a white body color.  Not only is it the October birthstone but it is also the gemstone for the 14th wedding anniversary.  Some off the other well know trade names and varieties of opal are fire opal, black opal and boulder opal.  Typical cutting styles are cabochons, carvings, faceted and beads.  Major Sources: Australia, Brazil, Mexico.  Others:  Czechoslovakia, Honduras, Indonesia, Poland, Tanzania, and US.

Mineral Species


Pearls used to make jewelry, come in many varieties which incude akoya, cultured seed, freshwater, tahitian, mabe, south sea, and imitation.

Pearls are organic gems.  They are formed in the bodies of certain saltwater and freshwater mollusks around an irritant or parasite, or due to an abnormal physiological condition, and without human intervention of any kind.  They come in many varieties and trade names such as Akoya, Cultured Seed, Freshwater, Tahitian, Mabe, and South Sea.  Availability: scarce; very few natural pearls are being recovered or marketed today.  Not only is pearl a June birthstone, but it is also the gemstone for the 30th wedding anniversary.  Major Sources:  Persian Gulf, Sri Lanka.  Others:  Australia, Mexico, Panama, Red Sea, South Seas, Tahiti, and Venezuela.

Organic Gems


Peridot is a gemstone.  It is the August birthstone.

Peridot (PEAR-ih-doe) belongs to the forsterite-fayalite mineral series, which is part of the olivine group. Its appearance is transparent to translucent.  Its color is yellowish green to greenish yellow to brownish green.  Typical cutting styles include faceted, tumbled, and beads.  Peridot is the August birthstone and is the 16th wedding anniversary gemstone.  Major Source:  US.  Other Sources:  Australia, Brazil, Myanmar, China, Egypt (Zabargad), Kenya, Mexico, Norway, and Sri Lanka.

Part Of A Mineral Species In The Olivine Group


Quartz is a gemstone other than amethsyt and citrine.

Quartz is a mineral species.  Some of the well known varieties of quartz are amethyst, smoky quartz, rose quartz, quartz tiger's eye and citrine.  There are many others.  Appearance:  transparent to opaque.  Major Source:  Brazil.  Other Sources:  Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, US, and Russia.    

Mineral Species


Ruby is a red gem and is one of the most prized color gemstones.

Ruby is a variety of the mineral species corundum.  It is a transparent to opaque gemstone.  Its color ranges from orangy red to purplish red and brownish red.  The term Pigeon's Blood was often used in my earlier days in jewelry, although not as often today, when we are talking about the finest color rubies. Typical cutting styles include faceted and cabochons.  Ruby is the July birthstone and the 15th & 40th wedding anniversaries gemstone.  Major Sources:  Thailand, Myanmar, Kampuchea, Sri Lanka, and Kenya. Other Sources:  Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Tanzania.

Variety Of The Mineral Species Corundum


Sapphire is one of the beautiful and sought after blue gemstones.

Sapphire, like ruby, is a variety of the mineral species corundum.  Blue sapphire is well known and is one of the most widely sought after gemstones.  However, sapphire comes in many colors such as green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, violet, brown, black, gray, and colorless.  With the exception of blue, all of the other colors are considered fancy sapphire.  When a sapphire is red, it is called ruby, not red sapphire. Sapphire's appearance is transparent to opaque.  The finest quality blue sapphires are widely regarded as Kashmir or Cashmere often described as cornflower blue.  Typical cutting style is faceted and cabochon. Major Sources:  Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.  Other Sources:  India, Kampuchea, Kenya,Tanzania, and US.  

Variety Of The Mineral Species Corundum


Spinel is a gemstone that comes in many colors and is used in jewelry.

Spinel (spin-NEL) is a lesser known gemstone to most people but is widely used in the jewelry industry, mostly though, the synthetic or lab created spinel.  It comes in a variety of colors including red, pink, orange, blue, violet, colorless, yellow, green, brown, and black.  Typical cutting style:  faceted.  Major Sources:  Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Kampuchea, and Russia.

Mineral Species In The Spinel Group


Tanzanite is a popular blue to violetish blue gemstone.

Tanzanite has become a very popular gemstone over the last two decades.  It is variety of of zoisite (Zoe-ih-site) which is a mineral species in the epidote group.  Tanzanite's appearance is transparent with a color range bluish purple and violet through blue.  It received its name from Tiffany & Co in honor of the country where it was discovered, Tanzania in 1967.  It is one of three birthstones for the month of December and is the gemstone for the 24th wedding anniversary. Typical cutting style is faceted.  Single Source:   Tanzania in the Merelani Hills near the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.    

Variety Of Zoisite 


Tigereye is a quartz gemstone that is semitranslucent to opaque and is brownish yellow to brown to reddish brown.

Tiger's Eye is a variety of the mineral quartz.  Its appearance is semitransparent to opaque.  It is brownish yellow to brown to reddish brown with a typically wavy chatoyancy (fibrous structure).  Typical cutting styles include cabochons, cameos, intaglios, tablets, beads, and carvings.  Major Sources:  Australia, India, Myanmar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and US.

Variety Of Quartz

Tiger's Eye

Topaz is a gemstone that comes in  variety of colors such as colorless, yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple, blue and green.

Topaz is a mineral species.  Its appearance is transparent.  It comes in a variety of colors:  colorless, yellow, orange, brown, pink to red to purple-red, light to dark blue and light green.  Yellow topaz is the November birthstone, blue topaz is one of three December birthstones and is the 4th wedding anniversary gemstone.  Typical cutting style:  faceted.  Major Sources:  Brazil and Nigeria.  Other Sources:  Australia, Myanmar, Mexico, Namibia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, US, and Russia. 

Mineral Species


Tourmaline is a gemstone that comes in virtually every color.

Tourmaline is a group of mineral species consisting of many gemstones.  Their appearance is transparent to opaque in virtually every color.  Typical Cutting Style:  faceted, cabochon, carved, and tumbled.  It is one of two October birthstones and the 8th wedding anniversary gemstone.  Major Sources:  Brazil, Afghanistan.  Other Sources:  Myanmar, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, US and Russia.   

Group Of Mineral Species


Turquoise is a December birthstone.  It is a semitranslucent to opaque gemstone that is popular in jewelry such as necklaces, rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings..

Turquoise (TER-kwoyz) is a mineral species.  Its appearance is light to medium blue, greenish blue to green.  It is often mottled and may show dark splotches or veins.  Persian turquoise is considered to be be the finest quality.  It is intense even medium blue.  Typical cutting styles are cabochon, carvings, beads and inlays.  Major Source:  US.  Other Sources:  Australia, Chile, China, Iran (historical) and Mexico.

Mineral Species


Zircon is a transparent gemstone.  Colors include colorless, blue, yellow, green, brown, orange, red and purle.

Zircon is a mineral species.  Its appearance is transparent.  Typical cutting style is faceted.  It comes in several colors which include colorless, blue, yellow, green, brown, orange, red and occasionally purple. Zircon is also known as a diamond simulant.  It is one of three December birthstones.  Major Sources: Kampuchea, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.  Other Sources:  Australia and Thailand.

Mineral Species


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