Want to learn more about gem stones? Here are 15 facts you probably did not know!
- Alexandrite shines red in lamplight and green in sunlight; hence, the saying “emerald by day, ruby by night”.
- Amber is an organic gem that is created from hardened and fossilized ancient tree sap.
- Amethysts received their name from the ancient Greek word “amethystos”, meaning “not drunk”. They were once believed to prevent intoxication.
- The term “aquamarine” is Latin for “sea water”, and is thought to enhance the romance and happiness in a marriage. It is mined at high, mountainous elevations in places like Brazil, Pakistan, and Kenya.
- Like an emerald, aquamarine is a color variation of the mineral beryl.
- Lighter colored emeralds are often called “green beryls”, meaning “too light”. Beryl can be found in pale blues, greens, and yellows.
- Peridot is found both on Earth and in space! In 2005, the Stardust Space Probe returned to Earth covered in comet dust that contained peridot particles.
- Tanzanite is only found in one place on Earth – near Mount Kilimanjaro in an area of land that is only 4.3 miles x 1.2 miles.
- Tanzanite was officially named after the country of Tanzania where it is found by Tiffany & Co. in 1967 when it was first unearthed.
- Tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone that can be found in one of the widest variety of colors – a favorite of M.C. Ginsberg is known as watermelon Tourmaline!
- Some opals, called “boulder opals”, are backed with the “mother stone” – a brown or black stone that sits behind the opal to help the natural color POP!
- Prior to the 18th century, most diamonds were found in India. The largest diamond ever mined, known as “the Cullinan diamond“, weighed over 3,100 carats.
- The name “garnet” is derived of the Latin word “garanatus“, meaning “seedlike“, in reference to the seeds of a pomegranate.
- Gemstones are graded for their hardness on what is known as “Mohs’ Scale”. Amber is the softest gemstone, diamond is the hardest.
- It takes anywhere from one to three years to grow a cultured pearl. True pearls are the only jewel created by a living animal.
Still have questions? Stop into M.C. Ginsberg: Objects of Art located at 110 East Washington Street in downtown Iowa City, test our knowledge, and see your favorites set in different pieces of jewelry!