Wedding Ring Gems & Stones

various crystalsPrecious gems, have, since the beginning of civilisation been amongst mans most prized possessions. Since the discovery of ‘mineral rocks’ precious gems have been used as systems of payment, feared because of superstition and held in great regard by rich and poor alike!   

Long before diamonds were found and used in jewellery it was sapphires, rubies and emeralds that were held in high esteem and in some cultures having a collection of different coloured gemstones was the equivalent of today’s medicine cabinet.  They believed them to hold special powers and hold the cure for specific illnesses.

The wedding ring series of articles

Truly Precious

Despite the popularity of diamonds there are only three coloured gemstones that are truly considered precious.  Sapphire, ruby and emerald have retained their prized positions among jewels mainly because of their extreme rarity and extraordinary colours. 

Jewellers have over the years worked at developing to enhance the beauty of the stones and for hundreds of years it was common practice to bring out the best colour of the gems by heating them.  Since this is what nature started by pressure and heat while still within the earth, it was viewed as a way of simply extending the colour.

Treatment given to coloured gemstones are:

  • Emeralds are protected by oiling and waxing which also helps to hide the natural fine lines that occur within the stone. 
  • The blue colour of sapphires can be enhanced by using a chemical process.
  • Other coloured gemstones can be helped along by mimicking nature by treating them with radiation.


Symbols of Gems and Semi-Precious Gems

Emerald is thought to bring wealth and foretell the future as well as cure all types of evil and illnesses plus sharpens wits.  Colours can vary from green to bluish green.

Rubies are believed to hold magical powers and bring its owner protection and safety.  They are the symbol of love and passion.

Sapphires can range from colours of pink to blue although the name ‘sapphire’ refers to the blue variety.  It is a ‘mind-opening’ gem that is thought to help with relaxation and thoughts.  It is believed to prevent envy and fraud and help in truth and health.  This gem is believed to be a powerful antidote for poison.

Diamond is one of the most valued and hardest of gemstones.  Colours can range from yellow, green and blue but white or clear is the most popular used in jewellery.  These gems have the symbol of innocence and constancy and are were believed to be good for coughs and mucus problems.  Diamonds have always been greatly prized as crown jewels.

four precious gems

Semi-Precious Stones

All other stones are considered as semi-precious and their meanings are:

Amethysts were once considered one of the valuable gems until a large deposit was discovered in South America in the last 1800’s. This gem has colours from pale lilac to deep purple and to find that one that is very clear along with a very deep colour is considered to be one of the best. 

Magical powers are ascribed to the amethysts which can bring peace of mind and legend states it represents dignity and piety. Tip: Exposing amethysts to excessive amounts of bright sunlight can result in the colour fading.

Aquamarines colours are from pale blue, greenish to deep blue and the most prized is a rich watery blue.  This gem is a positive stone that is said to bring health, hopefulness and youth to the wearer.  Traditionally a favourite among sailors and those that love the sea.  If worn is it thought to bring love and affection and legend has it that placing an aquamarine in the mouth can summon the devil to answer questions.

Garnet can be seen by some as a ruby substitute but it has its own uniqueness and qualities with a variety of colours that includes shades of red to red-black.  In the past this was one of the stones that was believed to stop bleeding from wounds and is a symbol of loyalty and energy.  This semi precious stone, it is said, can alleviate anger, offer protection in health and travel and promote sincerity.

Onyx gems are from the opaque variety of quartz and can come in a variety of colours from striking black to white or grey and red to brownish red.  Each piece is totally unique which adds to its popularity. Myths associated with onyx are that it can drive away evil and hold back tempers.  At the other end of the scale it is said that it can cool passions of love between lovers and can promote independence between couples. 

Topaz can be found in many colours with the purest being yellow while the most common colour is blue.  From pale blue to pink, yellow and aquamarine this gem was once believed in the Middle Ages to hold incredible medicinal powers.  It is a symbol of love and fidelity and is thoughts to bring a pleasant disposition to the wearer.

Pearls are considered a symbol of virtue, modesty and purity.   From white, black, yellow and undertones of pink, rose and green these gems can be dyed to any shade.  The rarest and most expensive are the Black South Sea pearls.  One of the oldest known gems once held magical symbolic powers of the moon in ancient history. 

Opal with its shifting colours of ‘fire’ gives off a shimmering effect.  Colours of rare black or white make this stone totally unique to any other gem.  Legend believes the opal improves vision and wards of eye troubles.  It is a symbol of fidelity but with a price as it can bring trouble to those that are unfaithful.

Birthday Gem Stones

  • January (Garnet) – This birthstone symbolises loyalty and lasting affection and a light heart.  Latin word "granatum" which means pomegranate is what gives this the ‘garnet’ name.
  • February (Amethyst) – One the Quartz family, amethyst gets its name from the Greek word "emthystos" meaning not drunk.  It holds symbols of security, sincerity and peace of mind.
  • March (Aquamarine) – Derived from the Latin word for ‘aqua’ and ‘mare’, aquamarine means water and sea.  This gem was considered to keep the wearer protected and keep them safe.
  • April (Diamond) - An enduring symbol of long lasting love.
  • May (Emerald) – From the Greek word ‘smaragnos’ the emerald’s meaning is several type of green stones with a symbol of love and rebirth.
  • June (Pearl) - Indian myth treat pearls as dewdrops from heaven that fell into the sea
  • July (Ruby) - The name ruby is derived from the Latin "ruber", meaning red. It was considered to bring good health and to guard against evil thoughts, lust and discord.
  • August (Peridot) - In ages past it was considered a symbol of the sun.
  • September (Sapphire) - The name sapphire derived from Latin "sapphirus", meaning blue. It was considered as a symbol of truth and sincerity.
  • October (Opal) – Ancients Romans used to consider the opal a symbol of love and hope.  It derives its name from ‘opalus’ which means precious stone.
  • November (Topaz) - The Greek believed that it enhanced strength and increases wisdom.
  • December (Turquoise) - It is considered as guard against evil, boosting luck and love

Wedding Anniversaries Associated with Gemstones

  • Year 2 - Garnet
  • Year 3 - Pearl
  • Year 4 - Blue Topaz
  • Year 5 - Sapphire
  • Year 6 - Amethyst
  • Year 7 - Onyx
  • Year 8 - Tourmaline
  • Year 9 - Lapis Lazuli
  • Year 10 - Black Onyx
  • Year 11 - Turquoise
  • Year 12 - Jade
  • Year 13 - Citrine
  • Year 14 - Opal
  • Year 15 - Ruby
  • Year 20 - Emerald
  • Year 30 - Pearl
  • Year 35 - Emerald
  • Year 40 - Ruby
  • Year 60 – Diamond

World’s Largest Gems

pik passionA heart shaped pink emerald the size of a baby’s fist is believed to be the largest heart shaped emerald in the world. 

Known as the ‘The Pink Passion ’ this world class precious gemstone was found in Brazil and weights 169.01 carats.

With a price tag of £2,500.000 this would be the mother of all valentine gifts for some extra lucky girl.

You can buy the Pink Passion Emerald >>

millennium saphireA Sapphire of 61,500 carats is now posed to break at least three world records.  The ‘Millennium Sapphire’ was found in Madagascar in 1995 and has a value of between $90 and $500 Million dollars. 

It was placed in the Guinness Book of Records in 2001 as the World’s largest carved sapphire.

For more information visit the official website of the Millennium Sapphire >>

The World’s largest diamond, the Cullinan, weighing in with 2106 carats was put in the shade last year with the discovery in Johannesburg of a gem green in colour and weighing in at a staggering 7500 carats.

A ruby crystal weighing 18,696 carats is believed at this moment in time to be the largest known ruby gemstone.  It is up for sale by a company called 125West.

heart of eternityA blue shaped diamond named ‘Heart of Eternity’ is estimated to be worth $16 Million dollars. 

This 27 carat beauty was found in South Africa at the Premier Diamond mine and is the only mine to have ever produced quality blue diamonds.

The rarest mineral gem on earth is the Painite.  Only 18 specimens were known of this gem in 2005 and its colours of pink to red or brown are exceedingly rare and considered priceless.

The one in the Guinness Book of Records weighs 2.54 carats.

pearl of ashThe Pearl of Lao Tzu (also referred to as Pearl of Lao Tze and Pearl of Allah is the largest and most expensive ever to be found.  It weights 31,893.5 carats.

Valued close to 60 Million dollars it was found in 1934 by a Filipino diver and given to an American by the Palawan Village Chief’s son for saving his life. 

Although many have wanted to buy this gem, it remains the ownership of charitable organisation the ‘Pearl For Peace’ foundation.

 

Diamonds may, as the song suggests, be a girl’s best friend and with so many truly beautiful gemstones that shine and dazzle us all, it can be hard to forget at times that the jewellery we wear has been provided by nature over a period of many hundreds or thousands of years.