Sunday’s Gem — Rhodonite

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

The name Rhodonite comes from the Greek rhodon (meaning “rose”). This lovely gemstone is a manganese silicate containing veins of iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Thanks to http://www.geology.com for this photo of tumbled Rhodonite stones.

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Sunday’s Gem — Agate

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

A variety of polished Agates (courtesy of http://www.geology.com)

First found in a river in Sicily between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, Agate is a banded Chalcedony, a mineral of the Quartz family. Known as the “earth rainbow,” it’s found throughout the world, and there are perhaps thousands of types, typically appearing in stripes, “eye” markings, colored specks, fossilized inclusions, or no color at all.

Ancient Islamic and Babylonian peoples thought Agate could ward off evil. Long ago Egyptians and Persians prized it as protection against natural disasters. Ancient Chinese expected it to cleanse their minds, making room for good fortune. Medieval peoples tied it to the horns of oxen to bring about a plentiful harvest. It’s believed to be the middle stone in the third row in the breastplate of the High Priest in early Israel.

Agate is a translucent, semi-precious stone whose color is caused by embedded minerals, typically iron oxides and hydroxides. A seven on the Mohs scale of hardness (ranging from 1-10), Agate is a relatively inexpensive gemstone which, when cut and polished, becomes cabochons, beads, cameos, statuary, knife handles, and other ornaments. Children’s marbles — “aggies” — once were made from polished agate.

The healing properties of Agate are slow, steady, and gentle. Agate fosters self-confidence, helps us multi-task, and lessens our desires for things we don’t need. Agate promotes marital fidelity, protects against traffic accidents, and helps writers espress their ideas in marketable form (okay, I’m convinced — I’ll take a wagon-load!!)

Chinese Rain Flower Agates — thanks to http://www.agatelady.com for this photo

The zodiac stone for Gemini (May 22-June 21) and the mystical birthstone for September, Agate’s Chakra healing energy depends upon the color of the stone. For example, Blue Lace Agate clears the throat Chakra; Fire Agate stimulates the base Chakra; green Agate is beneficial for the heart Chakra. Likewise, Feng Shui experts believe the different varieties of Agate resonate to different purposes.

Agate is said to be helpful for digestion, headaches, arthritis, fever reduction, throat conditions, and physical strength. It’s believed to help you overcome addictive behaviors, heal bitterness of the heart, improve communication, banish fear, and improve longevity.

Clean your Agate with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid exposure to heat and harsh chemicals.

Note: The claims here aren’t meant to take the place of medical advice. They’re based on folklore and other sources, and likely “work” best if one’s belief is strong enough!

Sunday’s Gem — Dalmatian Stone

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

Looking like the coat of a “fire engine dog,” Dalmatian Stone is comprised of feldspar and quartz and presents in shades of pale gray, cream, or beige-brown with black or brown spots of iron oxide, tourmaline, or other minerals.

Thanks to http://www.healingcrystals.com for this photo of tumbled Dalmation Stones

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Sunday’s Gem — Fluorite

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

The only common mineral with perfect cleavage in four directions is Fluorite, also called fluorspar.

Blue Fluorite (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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Sunday’s Gem — Aquamarine

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

The traditional birthstone for March is the beautiful Aquamarine, a transparent bluish member of the beryl family.

Thanks to healingcrystals.com for this photo of an uncut chunk of Aquamarine

From the Latin for “water of the sea,” Aquamarine once was valued as a green stone; today, it’s traditionally heated to bring out the blue hues the public demands.

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Sunday’s Gem — Ruby

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

One of four “precious” gemstones (the others being Diamond, Sapphire, and Emerald), Ruby is red Corundum, an aluminum oxide mineral with chromium responsible for its rich, red color.

Considered by many to be the most powerful gemstone in the universe, Ruby ranges from an orangey-red to a purplish or brownish red. The most prized color is “pigeon’s blood,” pure red with a hint of blue.

Unheated rubies from Mozambique; photo from http://www.gemstoneuniverse.com

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Sunday’s Gem — Garnet

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

Most of us think of Garnet as being a blood-red gemstone that’s the birthstone for January.

But did you know Garnet comes in lots of colors, ranging from pinks and purples, to oranges, browns, and vibrant greens? I didn’t either.

Orange, yellow, red, green, and purple African Garnets. Thanks to http://www.geology.com for this photo.

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Sunday’s Gem — Unakite

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

With the reds and greens of Christmas all around us, I thought it was time to discuss the beautiful salmon and green colored gemstone called Unakite.

8 mm round Unakite beads

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Sunday’s Gem — Clear Quartz

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

Composed of one part silicon and two parts oxygen (silicon dioxide), Clear Quartz (from the Greek “krystallos,” or “ice”) was once thought to be made from water frozen too hard to ever melt.

Quartz cluster, thanks to http://www.soulfulcrystals.co.uk

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Sunday’s Gem — Amazonite

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

Because there are so few turquoise-colored stones, one like Amazonite is particularly striking.

Thanks to http://www.mineralminers.com for this amazonite specimen

Ranging in color from light green to blue green — often with white veining — Amazonite is a member of the Feldspar family. It carries a 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness (1-10) and can be found in shades of white, yellow, pink, red, gray, or even colorless.

The presence of lead is what gives it its color.

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