Andesine-Labradorite is a beautiful crystalline gem that is a combination of two feldspar varieties: andesine and labradorite. Its name "andesine" refers to the Andes Mountains where andesine was first found and the name "labradorite" was derived from Labrador, Canada, where labradorite was first discovered. So why the hyphenated name? Chemically speaking, our material falls between andesine and labradorite, so we chose to hyphenate and use both terms to be more accurate and descriptive.
Angelite is the bluish gray nodular polished form of anhydrite that was discovered in Peru in 1987. It is used in jewelry, spheres, and carved eggs.
Anglesite gets its name from a deposit locality: Anglesey, an island in Wales. Anglesite forms several types of crystal habits: tabular, prismatic, pseudorhombohedral, or pyramidal. They resemble those of barite and celestite. Prized by collectors for its strong dispersion, anglesite is often colorless to white, grayish, yellow, green or blue.
Anhydrite’s name can be translated to “without water”. The only difference between anhydrite and gypsum is that it lacks water. It produces mineral specimens that have fan like sprays or cubes. It is used for soil treatments, construction materials, and used as the source of sulfur in sulfuric acid.
“Anyolite” comes from the from the Masai word anyoli, meaning "green." It is also known as ruby in zoisite. It is a translucent to opaque rock composed of ruby crystals, green zoisite and black or very dark green pargasite. It is used for cabochons and decorative objects. It was first discovered in 1954 at the Mundarara Mine, near Longido, Tanzania. It has also been found in the Muriatata Hills, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania.
Apatite is the name for a mineral group as well as the generic term for many phosphates, but gem-quality apatite is a special gemstone found in a beautiful variety of colors. Apatite's various colors are often due to the presence of rare earth elements or natural irradiation. Because of its wide color range, apatite has often been mistaken for many other gemstones, including topaz, tourmaline, and various beryl varieties. Particularly rare in sizes over one carat, apatite is a relatively soft gem and when used in jewelry manufacture, is often set into more protective mountings that capture light yet safely display its beauty. The long-established sources for gem-quality apatite are Brazil and Mexico, but more recent African discoveries have thrust it into the spotlight once again.
Apophyllite is divided into three distinct species, fluorapophyllite, hydroxyapophyllite and natroapophyllite, depending on their chemical composition. It was once considered to be a single mineral, so if chemical composition is not yet determined specimens will still be referred to as apophyllite. It is commonly found as glassy prismatic, blocky, or tabular white to grayish or light pastel crystals. The name apophyllite comes from the Greek word meaning "leafs off," referring to its tendency to flake when heated.
The birthstone for March, aquamarine is one of the most popular members of the beryl family, a sibling to emerald, morganite, bixbite, heliodor, and goshenite. The color ranges, depending on the relative concentrations and location of iron within the beryl crystal structure. Aquamarine's tranquil color and crystalline clarity capture the beauty of the sea, which is fitting as its name is formed from the Latin words "aqua," meaning water, and "mare," meaning sea. A favorite among gemstone lapidaries, rough aquamarine is relatively easy to fashion, so lapidaries often create imaginative aquamarine cuts and shapes.
Aragonite's name is derived from the location of Molina de Aragon, Spain, the province where it was first discovered. Aragonite occurs in Agrigento, Sicily, Italy, in the famous sulfur mines, as well as on Mount Vesuvius, Italy. Aragonite specimens are highly prized by mineral collectors for their wide variety of forms, which include twins and pseudomorphs (uncharacteristic crystal forms). As an added bonus, many specimens are fluorescent as well as phosphorescent, a rare occurrence among minerals.
Arsenopyrite is the most common arsenic mineral, once known as arsenical pyrites. Its color is silver-white to steel-gray on freshly broken surfaces. It yields a garlic odor when heated and the fumes can be toxic. It may tarnish to form an iridescent layer. Although it has a reputation for being poisonous to humans, complex arsenic compounds are used in the treatment of disease caused by microorganisms.
Astrophyllite is golden-yellow to dark brown and usually forms as bladed crystals radiating from a common center. It gets its name from the Greek astron, meaning "star," and phyllon, meaning "leaf." It may also be translated as "star sheets" because of the interwoven star shapes that crystals sometimes form, and because of its strange luster, which can be metallic or pearly. Although there are occurrences of astrophyllite around the world, some of the finest crystals come from remote mountainous regions in arctic northern Russia.
Aventurine is a form of quartz, distinguished by its translucent to opaque appearance and the presence of mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glittery effect termed aventurescence. The phenomenon of aventurescence is caused by small leaf-like or plate-like inclusions, usually mica, distributed throughout the host material. Light striking the surface of these inclusions is reflected back to the viewer, creating an eye-catching sparkle. While customarily green in color, aventurine may also be found in colors ranging from blue, orange, white, yellow, reddish-brown to gray.
Axinite is an uncommon mineral that usually occurs in long, flat, axe-shaped crystals, a trait that makes it highly desirable to collectors who enjoy adding various crystal forms to their collections. Its strong trichroism only adds to its special appeal. As it is rotated, different colors are displayed, including rich cinnamon browns, violets, blues or greens.
Azurite is a copper carbonate mineral found in the oxidation zones of copper deposits and is considered a secondary ore of copper. Color ranges from light to dark blue, with medium to dark blue being more common. The intensity of its hues is what makes azurite a popular collector's stone. Azurite is commonly found in conjunction with malachite, a green copper carbonate mineral into which it slowly morphs. A mix of the two minerals is known as azurmalachite. Azurite is soft (3.5 on the Mohs scale) and opaque. When used in jewelry, it is usually seen in the form of cabochons or beads.
This trade name refers to a natural mixture of azurite and malachite that is often banded and can be used as both a gemstone or in decorative items. The bold greens and blues beautifully intertwine to form unique mineral specimens or gems, each piece always one-of-a-kind.
This mineral is most often white or colorless, but can form in an array of colors. It is prized among collectors for its various crystal forms and habits. Barite can be easily identified by its weightiness, as it is much heavier than most similar minerals.
A rare gem, bastnaesite is named after the Swedish locality where it was originally discovered in 1841, the Bastnas mines. Color can range from honey yellow to reddish brown and crystals vary from transparent to translucent in appearance. Valued by industry as a source of rare-earth elements, bastnaesite is rare, but has been found in small quantities throughout the world. It is difficult to cut because it is a relatively soft mineral, however, its high refractive index, combined with its rarity, make it an exciting gem to own.
Bayong is a hardwood tree from the Philippines. The wood is used to make beads and jewelry. The leaves can be woven into purses and baskets.
Benitoite is a single-source gemstone, meaning that so far, it has been found in only one place on Earth: San Benito County, California. Benitoite grows in relatively small crystals, only a portion of which are gem quality--further increasing the rarity and value of this unique gemstone. Gem-quality benitoite over one carat is incredibly difficult to come by. California's state gemstone, benitoite is especially prized by collectors for its strong dispersion, which rivals that of diamond in lighter material.
The name beryl is derived from the ancient Greek term for the same gem, beryllos; also the etymology for the element beryllium that is part of its chemistry. Some scholars believe the word beryl is related to the ancient trading city of Belur or perhaps has ancient Indian origins (being derived from the old Hindi word velurya or the Sanskrit word vaidurya). Varieties include emerald, bixbite (red beryl), morganite, aquamarine, heliodor (golden beryl) and goshenite.