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Submitted on
August 30, 2013
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Hello, it's me again! :D

Today I'd like to show you a little who-is-who in gemstone world. It will be probably most useful for jewelry makers but gems are used in so many artisan crafts that I hope even those of you who don't make jewelry will find the article interesting. So here we go! :squee:

Since I'd like to stay on topic, today's article will be just about popular stones, not about differences between precious and semiprecious or definitions or tips how not to buy a piece of crap instead of real stone. Maybe I will write about those things in future and if you have any questions or need help with identifying some stones feel free to note me, I'll be happy to help :)
Now let's get those stones rollin' :D


Quartz is one of the most popular minerals. It's a base for many other gems, like chalcedony, agate, jasper and others. The name 'quartz' is reserved for macro-crystals of transparent stone. It comes in variety of colours, from clear to brown, pink, yellow [called citrine], violet [called amethyst] and can have inclusion of other minerals like tourmaline [called tourmalined quartz] or rutile [rutilated quartz].

quartz1 by Dark-Lioncourt quartz2 by Dark-Lioncourt
1. Rough amethyst, 2. Clear quartz spotted with some small inclusions, smoked quartz and tourmalined quartz


An amazing stone, very popular for handmade jewelry. Its basic colour is grey but the iridescence gives him that kick :) From different angles stone may look very ordinary to just explode with vivid colours on surface, from icy blues, greens to warm gold and even violet. Every labradorite is unique.

labradorite1 by Dark-Lioncourt labradorite2 by Dark-Lioncourt
1. An amazing big labradorite, 2. and some less breathtaking but still lovely ones ;)


Garnet is very popular stone not only in handmade world, but also in highly professional jewelry making. Is has very unique, kind of "oily" or "waxy" shine that makes it easy to recognize. The most popular colour for garnets is wine-red but they also come in green [called grossular] and sunny-orange shades [hessonite]. The red ones sometimes can be so dark, that at the first sight they look almost black.

garnet1 by Dark-Lioncourt garnet2 by Dark-Lioncourt

1. Bigger stones are so dark that it is hard to show their colour on photo - it's very common for garnets. Small ones show well that "oily" shine garnet is known for, 2. Lots of hessonites in various shades of orange [the rose is made of carnelian]


Probably the most often mistaken with other stones. Agate is a type of chalcedony, which is a type of quartz transformed by high temperature and pressure. So yes, every agate is a quartz but not every quartz is an agate. It's quite simple to tell the difference: agates have layers, always. When there are no layers, there is no agate, simple as that. They can be dyed but the white and grey opaque layers always show through so it's easy to recognize this type of stone :)

agate1 by Dark-Lioncourt agate2 by Dark-Lioncourt
1. Dyed agates, 2. Natural coloured agate - layers are clearly visible on both of them


Malachite is a very lovely but fragile stone. Handle it with care because it is really easy to chip or scratch by accident. It always has rich green colour and most often has curved layers on surface. Sadly there is lot of fake man-made "malachites" made with plastic all around e-stores but if you have any doubts look at photos of genuine one and compare them to what you want to buy. Or ask ;)

malachite1 by Dark-Lioncourt malachite2 by Dark-Lioncourt
1. Cabochons of a great quality malachite, 2. Beads of not-so-wonderful-quality malachite :P


A very popular and durable stone that can be dyed on many colours. It's never transparent, goes from total opaque to translucent. They don't lose colour even when they are dyed with intense shades and are very resistant to basically everything exept direct high temperature [like silver soldering torch, not like a hot day ;)]. Great stone to work with.

jade1 by Dark-Lioncourt jade2 by Dark-Lioncourt
1. & 2. Range of natural coloured and dyed jades


It's one of my favourite stones. Like labradorite, moonstone has iridescence, just a bit less flashy. It's white, grey or peach-beige and can have no additional shine at all, only subtle white sparkle or, in its most desired form, it can show blue-violet flashes on the surface. That effect is very hard to catch on photos so I encourage you to see it in real - it's totally worth it :)

moonstone1 by Dark-Lioncourt moonstone2 by Dark-Lioncourt
1. White moonstones with white sprkle and blue flash along with peach-beige ones without any iridescence, 2. White moonstones with blue-violet flash


Very interesting, nicely coloured transparent mineral. It comes in variety of shades, most common are violet and teal-green, often mixed in one stone. It's durable and has nice shine when polished. Can be easily mistaken with violet quartz, amethyst. Fluorite is usually more shiny and reflective than amethyst also having lighter colour.

fluorite1 by Dark-Lioncourt fluorite2 by Dark-Lioncourt

1. Pale, 2. and vividly coloured fluorites


I you have question about favourite stone or are not sure what is that you have stashed and forgotten I can try to help you with that in comments :)

Hope you like the article and it's useful :heart:

All photos are taken by me, please don't use them without my permission. :la:

Hope it will be useful for those of you who work with gems :)
Add a Comment:
Chrissijulius Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Ah, I use semiprecious gems all the time! Only thing is that it is hard to recognize them when bought at a market without anyone to tell you what it is... This guide is really useful, but a bigger one had been even more useful :) But you covered the most popular ones though.


My favourite is fluorite! It's so beautiful with Bright colours, but is still translucent... And it's durable, very practical when you work with wires and pliers..

Dark-Lioncourt Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Professional
I'm very glad you like it, thank you :)

Oh I love the fluorite too, it's a lovely stone :)
EinhanderZwei Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My my! Thank you very much, that's very useful ^_^
Dark-Lioncourt Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Professional
Thanks, great to hear that :)
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Probably not something I'll take up anytime soon, but still a very informative article nonetheless :D
Dark-Lioncourt Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Professional
Thanks :)
Malintra-Shadowmoon Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That is quite interesting. I am a quartz person. My stones are amethyst, mountain crystal and rose quartz. I use them out of different reasons either for concentration, purification, healing or keeping away computer monitor radiation. When touching the stones and concentrating on them I gain different feeling. Touching mountain crystal is like getting little electro shocks. When touching rose quartz there is like I feel a pulsation, some life coming out of the stone, like a heart beating. And with amethyst I get clear visions, pictures arise about places, incidents, people.
Dark-Lioncourt Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Professional
Quartz is a lovely stone :)
I'm totaly not into 'mystic' properties of minerals, but whatever works for you I guess :)
dcason Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013
Myself I love amber; however, I have only seen it a couple of times irl.
Dark-Lioncourt Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Professional
Amber is amazing, not a stone actually but I love it so much :) I live in Poland where you can find a piece of amber while walking on the beach and we happen to have one of the best ambers on the world in Baltic Sea :) I grew up waiting for mid-autumn storms to go with my dad for amber-huntig at dusk :)
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