Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Amethysts in Jewelry at the Smithsonian

 The Smithsonian has a fantastic collection of amethysts in jewelry at the National Museum of Natural History!  Here are just a few.  Check out the links for more information about each piece. 

96-carat amethyst and diamond brooch in a platinum mounting, cir. 1915

56-carat square cushion-cut amethyst in 18k gold setting by Louis Comfort Tiffany, circa 1915

10-carat amethyst in 18k white gold from Four Peaks mine, Arizona, USA

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Amethysts in Ancient History

According to Greek mythology,  Dionysus, the god of fruitfulness and wine,  was angered by a woman named Amethystos.   Amethystos preferred the goddess Diana to Dionysus.   He sent two tigers to eat Amethystos. Diana rescued Amethystos by turning her into clear quartz (not much of a rescue!)  Dionysus was so sorry that he cried into his wine and then spilled it on the clear quartz, staining it purple and creating the first amethyst. 

The name amethyst is from the ancient Greek word "amethustos" which means "not drunk."    Because of the Dionysys myth, the Ancient Greeks thought that drinking from a vessel fashioned from amethyst would keep them from getting drunk.  They probably had a lot of fun testing that theory! 

In Exodus 28-19 in the Bible, the last gemstone in the third row of the High Priest's breastplate is thought to be amethyst by most scholars. 

In Hebrew, the name for amethyst is 'ahlamah' from the word halam meaning 'to dream.'   They thought wearing amethyst would give you good dreams.

In medieval times, amethyst was believed to keep your thoughts pure and make you more intelligent.

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1356897

In the early Christian church, amethyst was also believed to have spiritual qualities and was part of a bishop's regalia.  The best quality amethyst is often called "bishop's grade."  

Monday, February 01, 2021

Artist Spotlight: Microscopic Garnet Photos by Ethan Beckler

 Ethan Beckler takes amazing photos of garnets the size of a grain of sand! 

You can see more of his work here: https://www.facebook.com/1of1images/

Above is a garnet on a shell.  Below is the same garnet on the edge of a penny!

Above, garnet on a strand of hair.  Below, lovingly examine by a spider.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

New Jadeite Filter!


We did it! After tons of research and trial and error, we created our very own Jadeite filter.  We know there are other filters on the market, but we think ours is the best.  It gives really strong reactions that are easier to see than other jadeite filters. 

While filters alone are not a definitive test, they can be very helpful. They don't tell you what something IS, rather what something IS NOT.   By the way, there are bigger photos of the reactions on the website and I will be adding more. Please share your photos, too!

Filters can help distinguish between dyed and natural jade. 

They can also help quickly sort stones when buying a lot.  Say you are buying a lot of tsavorite garnet, you can use a filter to do a quick check to see if they are all at least giving you the same red reaction under the filter.  If they don't, that's a heads up that some of the stones maybe something else. In the example photo above, I added some green tourmaline to a lot of tsavorites. As you can see, under the filter the tsavorite reacts red, while the tourmalines are showing the blue of the filter.  Again, not a guarantee that the stones that react red are tsavorites, but at least you know the ones that don't, are not. Pretty cool, eh?

You can find the jadeite filter HERE.

Below are some photos showing the filter in use:

      Some Possible Jadeite Filter Reactions
      Natural Jade = Green
      Dyed Jade = Pink
      Tsavorite/Demantoid = Pink
      Alexandrite = Red
      Red Spinel = Bright Red
      Amethyst/Citrine = Red
      White Zircon = Pink
      Yellow Apatite = Pink
      Natural Blue Topaz = Pink
      Silver Topaz = Pink

10% off Coupon from PrettyRock.com - Ends 1/31/21


10% off all orders
Use coupon code:  SnowDay2021

Valid 1/15/2021  to 1/31/2021
Discounts can not be combined. No cash value.
Can not be applied to previous orders.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

10 Fun Sapphire Facts for November


  1. Sapphires have been coveted and worn in jewelry for thousands of years in ancient Persia, the Roman Empire, and throughout the Middle Ages
  2. Sapphires come in a rainbow of colors! Including blues, yellows, orange, pinks, green.  Red corundum is called Ruby. Colors other than blue are called Fancy Sapphires.
  3. Sapphire (corundum) is one of the hardest minerals!  It ranks a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale.
  4. Blue sapphire gets its color from iron and titanium. Ruby gets its color from chromium.
  5. One of the rarest sapphires is a pinkish-orange color called padparadscha. The name is derived from a Sinhalese word for lotus flower. These gemstones can be found in the rivers in and around Sri Lanka
  6. The word Sapphire comes from the Greek word “Sapheiros“, and the Latin word “Saphirus” which means blue.
  7. Sapphires are often heat-treated to improve their color and clarities.
  8. The largest Sapphire ever cut is the Millennium Sapphire discovered in Madagascar, weighing an impressive 61,500 carats.
  9. Sapphires are Pleochroism stones. Meaning, viewing these stones from two different angles (like the top view and the side view), may produce two totally different colors; green in one view, blue in another.
  10. Blue Sapphire is the proper gift for these Wedding Anniversaries: 5th, 10th, 12th, 16th (Star Sapphire), 45th, and the 85th Wedding Anniversaries.
  11.  Some of the best sapphires are mined in Kashmir, Burma, and Sri Lanka (Ceylonese).
  12. The most famous sapphire ring today is the royal sapphire ring given by Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Princess Catherine now wears the ring. The ring possesses a 12-carat oval blue sapphire and is surrounded by diamonds.

Do you have any sapphire facts to share? 


Fluorite Cubes

Love these fluorite cubes! They are so cool just as they are and would make great stocking stuffers for your favorite rock nerd.


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Guess how many rocks and win $20 gift certificate!

We are having some fun this week!  Can you guess how many rocks are in the jar?  

You will when a $20 gift certificate AND all the rocks in the jar!!
Don't reply here, post your answer on our Facebook page.