Aquamarine’s name derives from the Latin for water of the sea named because of its seawater color. Aquamarine is a blue-green variety of beryl, at its best quality it’s a sky blue color. Beryl is a mineral. The name Beryl is derived from the Greek beryllos, applied to many green stones. One of the best known sources for aquamarine is Brazil, other sources such as Burma, Madagascar, Northern Ireland, China, Argentina, India, USA, Norway, the Russian Urals and parts of Africa. In the 19Th century sea green crystals were highly valued, now a days the sky blue crystals imparted by traces of iron are preferred. In ancient times Aquamarine was worn by sailors as protection. Greenish Aquamarine can be heat treated to turn blue. Aquamarine is sometimes imitated by synthetic spinel colored with cobalt.

Birthstone: Aquamarine is one of the twelve gemstones of the ceremonial breastplate worn by the high priest Aaron, representing the twelve tribes of Israel as described in the Old Testament book of Exodus, and is also known as the month of February’s birthstone meaning, courage.






Ametrine are two colored quartz that contain both violet amethyst and yellow-brown citrine.

Ametrine is only found in Bolivia.   It is known as trystine or by its trade name “bolivianite.”  Legend has it that ametrine was first introduced to Europe through a conquistador’s gift to the Spanish Queen, after he received the Anahi mine in Bolivia as a dowry.

Ametrine could be imitated by heat treating of amethyst.




Amethyst’s name derives from the ancient Greek amethustos, meaning “not drunk.” It was believed to guard or protect against the drunkenness. Amethyst is one of the most highly valued stones in the quartz group. Ancient Mesopotamia civilizations highly valued amethyst and so did the ancient Egyptians.

Amethyst has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, and also used in ceremonial and religious designs. In the early Christian church amethyst was believed to have sobering properties; it was symbol of a high spiritual state.

The major sources of amethyst come from places like Brazil, Madagascar, Zambia, Uruguay, Burma, India, Canada, Russia, Sri Lanka and the United States. A deep rich purple is a valued shade in the market but the reddish purple color can also be pricey. When amethyst is heat-treated it changes color and can be changed to imitate citrine. Some citrine that is actually sold in today’s market can be heat treated amethyst. Synthetic corundum and glass can be made in color to imitate amethyst.

Amethyst Quartz: Is a more compact layer of amethyst and its layered and striped with milky quartz. Amethyst quartz can be confused with fluorite.

Amethyst has probably the widest range of miraculous powers of any of the precious stones.  It was believed to also possess the power of inducing dreams and visions.  Leonardo da Vinci believed that it could dispel evil thoughts and quicken intelligence.  It was accredited with the power to protect farmers’ fields from storms and locusts, to bring good luck in war and hunting; and also to protect against snake bites.

Amethyst is the (February) Birthstone:

Amethyst is one of the twelve gemstones of the ceremonial breastplate worn by the high priest Aaron, representing the twelve tribes of Israel as described in the Old Testament book of Exodus, and is also known as the month of February’s birthstone meaning, sincerity.

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Amber is also called succinite.  It is the fossilized, hardened resin of the pine tree (Pinus Succinifera).  It is formed mainly in the Eocene epoch of the Tertiary period, about 50 million years ago; found mostly in the Baltic, although a younger constituent is found in the Dominican Republic.  Yellow, brown, reddish, green and white are the colors of various ambers. Amber has a greasy luster.

Amber and partially fossilized resins are sometimes given mineral-like names depending on where they are found, their degree of fossilization or the presence of other chemical components; such as the resin from the London clay, which resembles copal resin is called copalite.

The word electricity is derived from the Greek name for amber, electrum.  This is because when rubbed amber gets electrically charged and attracts small particles. For several thousand years, the largest source of amber has been the large deposits along the Baltic coast, from Gdansk to the coastlines of Denmark and Sweden.  It is both mined and recovered from Baltic shores after heavy storms.  One of the largest uses of amber was the creation of the “Amber Room” in Catherine the Great’s palace in Russia, a huge room totally lined and decorated with cut amber.  It was described as the eighth wonder of the world after its installation in Catherine’s Palace in 1765. Unfortunately, the paneling disappeared during World War II, but it has now been completely recreated.

Amber is sensitive to acids, caustic solutions, and gasoline, as well as alcohol and perfume.  It can be ignited by a match, smelling like incense.   The largest deposit of Amber in the world is in the west of Kaliningrad, Russia.  It is surface-mined with dredging chain buckets.  First the amber is washed out, and then picked by hand.  Only 15 percent of the amber obtained is suitable for jewelry.  The remainder is used for pressed amber or used for technical purposes.  It is also found in the Dominican Republic in the mudstone mines of Amber Valley. Burmese amber is called burmite and amber from Sicily is known as simetite.

Amber is said to represent the dividing line between the individual’s sole and the universal soul.  It has been used to symbolize divinity; often seen on representations of saints and heroes.  The Greek god Apollo wept tears of amber when he was banished from Olympus.  It is also believed that a man that keeps a piece of amber on him will never suffer of sexual impotence.

Amber has been used since prehistoric times for jewelry and religious objects, accessories for smokers, also amulets and mascots.  The Baltic Amber the “gold of the North,” is among the earliest-used gem materials.  Baltic Amber artifacts are found over 600 miles from their place of origin since it was widely valued and traded through centuries.  Today, amber is used for ornamental objects, ring stones, pendants, brooches, necklaces, and bracelets.


AmazoniteAmazonite is also called Amazon stone.  The name is derived from that of the Amazon River, from which certain green stones were formerly acquired, but it is doubtful whether green feldspar occurs in the Amazon area. Amazonite is one of the most common feldspar minerals. It can be colorless, white, and cream to pale yellow, salmon-pink to red and bright green to blue-green. Its color comes from tiny amounts of water and lead in the mineral’s structure.

Blue-green specimens of microcline are called Amazon stone or amazonite. The word microcline is derived from the Greek micro, meaning small, and klino, meaning lean. This variety if used in jewelry; generally it is cut into cabochons.   It was famously used by the ancient Egyptians for jewelry and ornamentation.

Ametrine is found in granite pegmatites and in metamorphic rocks such as schists and gneisses. The best quality of amazonite is found in the Ilmen and Ural Mountains of Russia, the Pikes Peak district of Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia and in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Madagascar, the Sahara Desert, Southern Africa and Tanzania.

Amazonite is sometimes confused with chrysoprase, jade, serpentine, and turquoise.


AgateAgate is a common, semiprecious type of chalcedony.  Most agates form in cavities in ancient lavas or other extrusive igneous rocks.  The characteristic bands in the agate usually follow the pattern of the cavity in which the mineral has formed (curved, often semi-concentric bands).  The colors of those bands are determined by the different impurities present, materializing in different colors like white, yellow, gray, pale blue, brown, pin, red, or black.  The variety of sliced agate in the market in particular vivid bright colors is commonly dyed or stained to enhance the natural color.  Dyeing agate or stain enhancing it is very easy due to its porous nature.

The name agate is believed to have derived from the river Achates (now called the Drillo) in Sicily.  The most important deposits of agate today are in the south of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) and in the north of Uruguay.  Other deposits are in Australia (Queensland), China, India, the Caucasus, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, and the United States (Wyoming and Montana).

The South American deposits produce agates that normally appear opaque gray and without markings.  Only when dyed do they obtain their coloring and lively patterns.  The art of dyeing was known to the Romans.  In Idar-Oberstein/Rhineland-Palatine, a city in the Rhineland of southwest Germany, agate dyeing has been practiced since the 1820s; the perfection of their dyeing has not been achieved anywhere else in the world.  Therefore, it has developed into the most important center in the world, for the cutting of agate and other stones.

Depending on the sample, design, or structure of the agate layer there are different names of agate:  Fortification agate, (type of banded agate with angular arranged bands); Botswana agate from Africa has beautiful dark and light banding; Mexican lace agate, (sometimes called “crazy lace”) is a multicolored fortification agate; Blue lace agate from South Africa (one of the most common kinds for sale today), is a delicate light blue with a fine inter-layering of colorless agate; Fire agate (inclusions of red to brown hematite that give an internal iridescence to polish stones; Banded agate (produced by a series of processes  that take place in cavities in a solidified lava); Moss agate (translucent chalcedony with moss-like inclusions of hornblende or chlorite; Sweetwater agate from the Sweetwater River area of Wyoming is characterized by fine, black dendrites; Eye agate (ring-shaped design with point in the center, similar to an eye; Layer agate (layers and bands of about the same size parallel to the outer wall of the agate nodule); Scenic agate (shows landscape-like images through dendrites); Pseudo-agate (also called polyhedric quartz), its interior similar to agate with layering and druse opening of a geometric shape; Tubular agate (agate with numerous tubes); thunder egg or sandstone, a layered agate nodule with strongly furrowed outer surface; and Brecciated agate, which is an agate broken, but cemented together by quartz.

Ancient Egyptians used agate as gemstones almost 3,000 years ago.  Today it is used in the arts, for decorative purposes, beads, rings, brooches, pendants, and as layer stones for cameos.