Alternative Stones – Part Two

This past summer we released an article on some of the amazing diamond alternatives out there.  However, we only scratched the surface (something that’s admittedly hard to do with diamonds…) of the vast array of alluring, provocative and sometimes beguiling gemstones at our collective disposal.  Here is a compilation of just some of the enchanting stones available that you can use in place of, or in addition to, diamond jewelry.

Ammolite – is one of the most intriguing gemstones ever discovered.  Found in fossils of ammonites (predator squids that went extinct 66 million years past), “Fractured Ammolite” has one of the most eye catching color schematics of any gem: iridescent spectrums encompassing practically every brilliant color under the sun.  Pure Ammolite will mostly appear as red or green, with blue and violet shades being more scarce.  Worn by Native Americans for fortuitous hunts, Ammolite today is ideal for anyone dauntless who loves to be bold.

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Andalusite – this gem exhibits an astounding property called “pleochroism,” where when viewed from various perspectives, it presents itself in contrasting colors (much like the recent and controversial “Dress” that permeated all forms of social media).  Initially believed to have been discovered in Andalusia, Spain, this stone is great for someone who enjoys change and flux in their jewelry/life.

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Chalcedony – a form of silica known as “cryptocrystalline,” this stone usually appears in a blue to light blue to white shade, and has thin streaks within it of quartz and moganite.  An interesting fact about chalcedony: it can “psuedomorph” from living (organic) material.  For example, petrified wood can turn into this gem, as evidenced in the Petrified Forest National Monument in Arizona where massive trees now exist in the incarnation of these lovely blue stones.

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Coral (Precious Coral – aka Red Coral) – now eponymous with the color it most commonly appears in, which is a deep pink to red, coral is found at the bottom of the sea.  It naturally occurs in a matte hue, but is primarily polished to a brilliant sheen for jewelry usages.  Coral has long been associated with Ancient Egyptian and European burial ceremonies and later became a huge trend in Victorian era jewelry.

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Feldspar – formed in a very combustable environment, feldspar crystallizes from “magma,” the beyond boiling material that runs deep beneath the earth’s crust.  It is currently regarded as the most widespread mineral on the planet, as the earth’s crust is actually comprised of 60% feldspar.  This stone usually turns up in light rusty hues from pink to grey, with numerous other shades laid within.

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Fluorite – most flourite stones come in extraordinarily deep tones (especially purples), with the occasional less intense color popping up.  One striking characteristic of fluorite is “banding,” where striated sections naturally occur.  Flourite is not often used in jewelry because of its relatively low hardness and tendency to crack or chip.  Therefore, this could be the perfect stone for someone who is very careful, delicate and fragile themselves.

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Iolite – is known for its gorgeous shades of rich blue and explosive violet.  Like andalusite, it is pleochroic, and this in conjunction with its high degree of hardness makes it challenging to cut (as only certain angles will achieve ideal color and fire).  Used as a navigation tool by Vikings to determine the precise position of the sun, Iolite was once referred to as “water sapphire,” as it changed color from intense blue to hoary white depending on the angle it was seen from.

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Jade – over time this stone has become known for its alleged mystical properties, but was oft used during the prehistoric era in weaponry (it’s an incredibly tough stone).  Synonymous with Chinese jewelry, as far back as 3000 B.C. jade earned the classification of “yu,” which means the “royal gem.”  Jade is famous for its verdant color and vibrant luster.  A lovely stone for enthusiasts of Eastern culture or simply the color green.

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Jet – like chalcedony, jet forms when organic matter (typically wood) is subject to extremely intense pressurization.  That is where the similarities end though, at least aesthetically, as jet appears in truly dark shades (deep brown to black).  This obsidian stone has been associated with mourning, but also was used in rituals of purification and for warding off evil.  Jet can sometimes contain pyrite deposits, which appear as shiny, brassy lines.  A pretty stone for those who crave the darker things in life, with the occasional bright glimmer.

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Liddicoatite – is truly a wonder of nature.  In the tourmaline family of gemstones, this dynamic crystal exhibits breathtaking pigments and patterns.  A veritable rainbow can be contained in each stone, and when properly cut, appears in a triangular pattern.  This colorful, geometric miracle is found mostly in Madagascar.  Definitely a superb option for those who lust for vibrancy and like to brandish brazen hues.

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Malachite – The Greeks found that this stone mimicked “mallow plant” leaves, hence its name.  Those who subscribe to the metaphysical powers of crystals believe that malachite is a stone of transformation and spiritual augmentation.  Its striking green colors and sequenced banding make this a unique pick for anyone in the market for jewelry that resembles an ocean of lush vegetation.  Malachite will sometimes bind with blue azurite, resulting in “Azure-Malachite,” which looks somewhat like the planet earth when viewed from space.

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Spinel – While spinel comes in a vast variety of colors, the most sought after is the bright red version, which is known as “Ruby Spinel” (and is often confused with actual ruby).  One such “ruby” is the infamous centerpiece of the Royal British Crown, called the “Black Prince’s Ruby,” which was eventually revealed to be none other than Spinel.  This is a potentially appropriate stone for people who enjoy being perceived in one way, but actually are something altogether different under the surface.

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Spodumene – the illustrious Greeks are responsible for yet another gem name: “spodumenos,” which translates to “ash colored” and very accurately describes the majority of known spodumene.  However, there exists two forms of the much maligned mineral that are keenly desired, and these express themselves in translucent shades of lucent green (known as Hiddenite) and pink (Kunzite).  A nice style for people who revel in the ethereal.

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Sugilite – despite is non-mellifluous name, Sugilite is associated with melodious things, as it is thought to help align one’s chakras and leave the soul susceptible to “spiritual love and wisdom.”  Regardless of the validity of the philosophical and fantastical pontifications on Sugilite, its marvelous pink to purple hues are certainly appealing to the eye.  Originally discovered in Japan, most Sugilite is currently mined from South Africa.  This international, amorous stone could make a great present for the lovestruck.

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Zircon – from the Persian phrase “zargun,” meaning “golden-colored,” Zircon is often seen in just such a gilded tone but actually comes in a tremendous assortment of hues.  Derived from the earth’s crust, Zircon often contains trace amounts of radioactive material (don’t fret, not enough to cause any damage to living things).  Many of these stones are heat treated to stabilize them from changing colors or to bolster their tones.  Definitely a good gem pick for those who like it “hot.”

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Diamonds truly are not forever, especially with this slew of glittering gems that are virtually at your fingertips.

Acquiring any of these stones is extraordinarily easy when you sell your old diamond jewelry with Diamond Lighthouse.  We don’t buy diamonds, we help you sell them.  We will make sure you get the most money possible for your diamonds, which you can then use to purchase a plethora of these stunning rocks.  Find out more now!

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-Joe Leone 

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