Traditionally gemstones have been split into two categories precious and semi-precious.
Precious gemstones include Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds. Semi-precious include Amethyst, Aquamarine, Chalcedony, Citrine, Garnet, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Moonstone, Onyx, Peridot, Tanzanite, Topaz, Turquoise, Tourmaline to name but a few.
At Sheenashona we use a number of gemstones in our jewellery designs. Shop our gemstone collection
Agate is one of nature's most vibrant and creative designs. Mostly formed in cavities of ancient lavas or other extrusive igneous rocks, Agate is a variety of chalcedony and is a popular choice for jewellery due to its varied appearance and relative hardness with agate ranging from transparent to opaque. The stone can be found in Scotland, Brazil, Botswana, South Africa, Mexico and Egypt and has a MOH hardness of 7. At Sheenashona we stock Green Moss Agate which consist of transparent or milky quartz with green mineral inclusions that resemble moss-like patterns. It is often said to balance emotions and brings a positive outlook
Amethyst is a variety of Quartz and comes in a variety of colours but if often associated with the shade of purple and is favoured by royalty as purple is considered a regal hue. The birthstone of February it is said to be a calming stone and is associated with emotional, spiritual balance and peace. The stone can be found in Brazil, Russia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India and the USA and has a MOH hardness of 7.
Citrine is a yellow variety of quartz, its name derives from the French citron, which means lemon and is the birthstone for November. Citrine is believed to promote creativity, manifest success, attract abundance as well as prosperity and enhance personal clarity. Citrine is said to heal and balance the 2nd or Sacral Chakra and is used metaphysically to increase, magnify and clarify personal power and energy. The stone can be found in Brazil, Africa, Russia, France, Madagascar and Uruguay and has a MOH hardness of 7.
Diamonds, the ancient Greeks believed were "splinters of stars fallen to earth". Over 4,000 years ago the first diamonds were mined in India. Up until the 15th century only kings wore diamonds, as a symbol of strength, courage, and invincibility. In 1477 Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy from which the tradition of gifting a diamond engagement ring began. Over the centuries diamonds have acquired a unique status as the ultimate gift of love. Even Cupid's arrows were tipped with diamonds and ever since associated with romance and legend. The very word "diamond" comes from the Greek "adamas" meaning unconquerable, suggesting the eternity of love. Their rarity, durability and beauty made them popular among medieval royalty. Today diamonds continue to hold a deep fascination as the world’s ultimate symbol of wealth. Modern diamond mining as we know it today began in South Africa in the late 19th century. Diamonds are the hardest of all gemstones known to man but the simplest in composition and have a MOH hardness of 10. It is common carbon, like the graphite in a lead pencil, yet has a melting point of 6,900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is two and a half times greater than the melting point of steel. Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 kilometres (87 to 120 mi) in the Earth's mantle. Natural diamonds are brought close to the Earth′s surface through volcanic eruptions with magma, which cools into rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites. By 2003, 92% of diamond pieces cut came from Surat in Gujarat, India. Other important centres of diamond cutting and trading include the Antwerp diamond district in Belgium, where the International Gemmological Institute International is based, London, Tel Aviv, and Amsterdam. Dubai is the regional distribution centre for the Middle East with the Diamond District in New York, the largest market for diamonds in the world.
Garnet is widely known as a deep red gemstone. The word comes from the Latin granatium which means pomegranate. Garnet is available in a myriad of colours from Almandine (red to purplish red), Pyrope (orange red to dark red), Rhodolite (purplish red), Spessartite (Autumnal reds, oranges and brown), Demantoid (rich green) and Tsavorite (fine green). The birthstone of January, Garnet is thought to be a stone of love and passion, awakening creativity, positive energy, and self-confidence. The stone can be found in Russia, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Tanzania and has a MOH hardness of 6.5 to 7.5
Lapis Lazuli is called the 'stone of rulers', worn by royalty in ancient kingdoms and forbidden for commoners to wear. Its name came into use in Europe during the middle ages and originates from the Persian wordlazhuward meaning 'blue', the Arabic wordlazaward, meaning 'heaven' or 'sky', and the Latin lapis meaning 'stone'. Vivid blue in colour the stone comprises of sodalite, lazulite, calcite and pyrite. A highly valued gemstone it is said to impact wisdom, knowledge and enhance intellect and insight. Lapis Lazuli is the birthstone for December. The stone can be found in Afghanistan, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Italy and Mongolia and has a MOH hardness of 5.
Moonstone is part of the mineral family of feldspars with the colour and clarity ranging from transparent to a translucent lustre. A gemstone for intuition, balance and wishes it is linked with the crown, third eye and heart chakras and is said to calm and relieve stress while releasing the love of all kinds. The stone can be found in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Brazil, Tanzania and the United States and has a MOH hardness of 6.
Pearls are formed when an intruder enters the mollusc and continuous layers of nacre grow like little onion skins around the particle. Natural pearls have always been considered rare and can be very expensive. Cultured pearls also grow inside of a mollusc but with a little help. The shell is opened carefully and an object is inserted depending on the final shape of pearl desired. Over time the object inserted is coated with layers of nacre. The depth of the nacre coating depends on the type of mollusc involved, the water it lives in and how long the intruder is left in place before being harvested. Pearl shapes include spherical pearls which are round and typically the most desirable, symmetrical pearls which have symmetry from one side to the other but are not round and baroque pearls which are irregularly shaped and are often the least expensive category of pearls however can be unique and quite beautiful. The birthstone of June at Sheenashona our pearl necklaces, pendants, bracelets and earrings feature Freshwater, Akoya and Tahitian Pearls. Pearls can be found in rivers and oceans around the world and have a MOH hardness of 2.
Red Jasper is a variety of Chalcedony which is sometimes referred to as the stone of protection, fairness and justice. Thought to balance the bodies energy and ease emotional stress this is one of the oldest known gemstones. These red stones have an earthy tone to their colour. The can be found in India, Russia, Brazil, Germany, France and the USA and has a MOH hardness of 6.5 - 7.
Rose Quartz is linked to unconditional love and the heart chakra, it is said that rose quartz can enhance love in virtually any situation. Rose quartz is also used to raise self-esteem and improve one’s sense of self-worth. The name quartz comes from the Greek krustallos, meaning ice because it was thought that quartz was ice formed by the gods. Quartz is one of the largest of the gemstone families and comes in a myriad of colours, shapes and sizes. As well as Pink Quartz with the colour Rose others include Red Carnelian, Yellow Citrine, green Aventurine, Purple Amethyst, Brown Smoky and Clear Rock Crystal. Rose quartz can be found in Madagascar, India, Germany, and several localities in the USA with a MOH hardness of 7.
Topaz can be found in the colours of golden yellow, pink, green, blue and clear with blue and green topaz’s the rarest natural colours in its purest form. Blue topaz is said to work through your third eye chakra, to aid your mental abilities allowing you to think and to clearly express yourself when doing mental or brain based activities. The birthstone of December the stone is a symbol of happiness, true friendship and hope. The it can be found in Brazil United States, Sri Lanka, Burma, Russia and Africa and has a MOH hardness of 8.