Beading Glossary: Gemstones
Beryl (beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate) is the name of a family of stones that includes Emerald, Bixbite, Aquamarine, Morganite, Goshenite, Golden Beryl, Heliodor, and Honey Yellow Beryl. It is found in a variety of colors and is quite durable (except emerald). Pure Beryl is colorless, but it is often tinted by impurities, giving you the gemstones listed above. Beryl is found in many parts of Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world.
A subset of quartz. Chalcedony refers to cryptocrystalline quartz, that is, quartz whose crystals are too small to be seen, and includes agate, bloodstone, carnelian, chrysoprase, jasper, and onyx. This can be contrasted with macrocrystalline quartz such as amethyst, citrine, clear quartz, rose quartz, smoky quartz, and tiger’s eye. Here’s a thorough explanation.
Precious coral beads are made from harvesting deap-sea coral beds that are formed from the exoskeletons of the coral sea creature, and forming that coral into beads. Other coral beads are harvested from other sources of coral and died red. Corals of all kinds grow very slowly, and harvesting has depleted the world-wide supply. Regulations are beginning to protect them, much like ivory, but many places where coral is harvested are still unregulated.
Also known as the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, it was invented in 1812 by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs. It is a way to rate the hardness of a gemstone or mineral as compared to other stones and minerals. The Mohs scale ranges from one to ten, one being the softest, ten being the hardest. Diamond, the hardest natural substance rates as a ten, while talc rates as a one. It should be noted that the Mohs scale does not deal with the absolute hardness of a substance, just its hardness as related to the ten readily available minerals Friedrich Mohs initially analyzed.
Paraiba is a type of tourmaline of a particular turquoise-blue color, originally found in Paraiba, Brazil. Since it was discovered, tourmaline of a similar color has been found elsewhere and also called Paraiba tourmaline. Since it is rare, Paraiba tourmaline is expensive. Soon, people began selling other blue stone of a similar color as “paraiba apatite” or “paraiba topaz”. This is creative marketing and has nothing to do with the original deposit of tourmaline found in Brazil.
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