Stones are older than time. Rare, exotic objects of beauty, rich with mystery and the promises of powers unknown. Nature’s glimmering gift to man, the gemstone has been coveted, revered, mystified and exalted for centuries. Today, the gem finds itself at the center of our new story, Romancing the Stone…
While we love stones and crystals in all forms, shapes, and sizes, Romancing the Stone has one star at the center of its story: the gemstone. How does one define a gemstone, exactly?
A gemstone (also called a gem, fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments.
Certain rocks (such as lapis lazuli, opal, and jade) or organic materials that are not minerals (such as amber, jet, and pearl) are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well.
An ancient romance, mankind has been struck by the beauty and intrigued by the power of gemstones for centuries. Babylonians associated stones with the hues of the planets and stars; ancient Greeks touted the medicinal properties associated with gems; medieval lore believed gems harnessed virtues and powers to protect their wearers; Victorian art employed stones and jewelry in the quest for symbolism and meaning.
Throughout time, the reverence for gemstones as decorative art has been rooted in the talismanic. Talismans are stones or objects that are said to possess magical powers that bring luck and protect from harm.
PSYCHOLOGY of Desire
Scientists have also explored our seemingly innate obsession with “shiny objects.” Research published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggests that gems evoke the glossy surface of a body of water. Interestingly, gemstones are sometimes classified in terms of their “water,” a recognized grading of the gem’s luster, transparency, or brilliance.
Aja Raden, author of ‘Stoned’, tells a startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire. A scientist and jeweler, she convincingly argues that our desire for gemstones (which have long served as stand-ins for wealth, power, glamour and success) has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, started wars and shaped our history.
Stones are also a source of healing. Millions of years old, crystals carry the natural life force of the earth. In their natural form, crystals emit vibrational energy that can be used to finely tune your own energy. With the ability to absorb, focus, detoxify, and diffuse energy, crystals are able to bring your mind, body, spirit and environment back into harmony by restoring your body’s natural rhythm.
Many believe that each chakra has a crystal or a healing stone associated with it to improve the flow of energy within the body, and to help clear the senses and revitalize us, physically and emotionally.
Today, gemstones continue to evoke an aura of mysticism and power. And while modern jewelers, artists, and designers adorn their work with stones for a variety of reasons—from spiritual empowerment to markers of status—all can agree that gemstones are nature’s finest and most coveted adornment.
ROMANCING the STONES (we love)
Agate gets its name from the place where it was first located in ancient Sicily. Ancient civilizations believed this stone could be used to ward off evil energy and disaster and today agate is still known as a source of protection and a stabilizing influence.
Amethyst, the gemstone believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, also was said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted. It is an extremely powerful and protective stone with a high spiritual vibration. It guards against psychic attack, transmuting the energy into love. Peace, stability, intuition and spiritual awareness are said to be derived from this gemstone.
The serene blue or blue-green color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. The stone is used widely as a symbol in Tarot, as well as a meditation aid, and is said to help one cultivate more inner tranquility. It is also considered to be a great aligner of the spiritual and the physical, for those who feel out of harmony or alignment.
Born out of cooled volcano lava, black obsidian draws its energy from the elements of fire, water, and earth. Known as the “psychic vacuum cleaner,” Obsidian cleanses emotional wreckage and debris from the past.
Carnelian is known as a stone of courage, endurance and leadership. In antiquity, and today, carnelian is believed to help the timid become eloquent and bold. Look to this gem for motivation and inspiration.
Citrine is known as the “healing quartz” for its ability to comfort, soothe and calm. It can release negative feelings, spark imagination and manifest fresh beginnings. It’s also known to attract wealth and prosperity.
Clear quartz crystals are the supreme gift of Mother Earth. Even the smallest is believed to be imbued with the properties of a master healer teacher. Seen as vessels of light, clear quartz also amplifies whatever energy is programmed into it, and may accelerate the fulfillment of one’s intentions.
Many ancient civilizations believed that diamonds were lightning made real on earth. Perhaps this is the reason that diamonds have often been associated with great healing powers. Throughout history, the diamond has nearly always symbolized eternal and lasting love.
Cleopatra is perhaps the most famous historical figure to cherish emeralds. She even claimed ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign. Known as the stone of successful love, it enhances unity and partnerships, and is a symbol of integrity and infinite patience.
This celestial blue stone is the symbol of royalty, honor, power, spirit, wisdom and vision. Stimulating wisdom, truth, communication, and good judgment, lapis lazuli has many practical advantages for the modern wearer.
Malachite, with its beautiful, rich green hues, leaves no doubt of its importance as a jewel. Its opaque strength and power demands respect. Its intoxicating layers of green symbolize the lush and verdant hues of nature in full bloom. Known as the stone of transformation, Malachite absorbs negative energies, removing spiritual and psychological blockages, and mercilessly drawing out anything that makes one feel weak or toxic.
The pearl’s symbolic history dates back to ancient Greece, when they were believed to be tears of the gods. In many cultures, pearls symbolize purity and innocence.
Known as a stone of the heart and unconditional love, rose quartz carries a soft feminine energy of compassion and peace. Rose quartz is known for healing the heart attracting romance, and promoting intimacy and self-love.
Ruby is known for its fiery nature. In Hindu folklore, the glowing fire within rubies burned so hot that they allegedly boiled water. Greek legends similarly claimed that ruby’s warmth could melt wax. Due to its deep red color, ruby has long been associated with the life force and vitality of blood. It is believed to amplify energy, heighten awareness, promote courage and bring success in wealth, love, and battle.
Ancient Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun,” believing it protected its wearer from terrors of the night. This symbolism is still held today, and peridot is also said to bring peace and happiness.
Sapphire has been popular since the Middle Ages. Back then, the celestial blue color of this gem symbolized heaven and attracted divine favor and wise judgment. Today, sapphires symbolize loyalty, nobility, sincerity and integrity. They are associated with focusing the mind, maintaining self-discipline and channeling higher powers.
Egyptian legend tells that tourmaline found its famed array of colors when, on its journey up from the earth’s center, it passed through a rainbow. It is believed to shield against radiation, pollutants, toxins and negative thoughts.
From ancient Egyptians to Persians, Aztecs and Native Americans, kings and warriors alike have admired turquoise for thousands of years. Known for its distinct color, turquoise is one of the few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles its hue. It is known as a source of protection from injury and evil, as well as a symbol that draws friendship.
A gem is just a stone without a proper cut. Cutting, also know as Lapidary, brings out a gemstone’s luster and color, enabling it to be set into jewelry. Below are a few of our favorite cuts.
Brilliant: This round-shaped cut typically has 58 facets and is known for its ability to maximize brightness.
Cushion: This square cut features rounded corners and bigger facets, which increase the radiance and brilliance, making this a favorite.
Emerald: Parallel facets create the look of this sophisticated shape, a favorite for its stunning simplicity and mesmerizing clarity.
Asscher: A modified emerald cut, in that it is square with cut corners and parallel facets.
Oval: Beloved for its versatility and lengthened shape, the oval-cut gives a slimming effect to the fingers and works well with vintage settings.
Marquise: Extraordinary character and distinctive share are the hallmarks of this cut, which boast a long and fascinating history.
Pear: This unique cut diamond is also called a teardrop for its single point and rounded end. It can be worn pointed end up or down as a matter of personal style.
Princess: Designed for maximum brilliance, the princess-cut accentuates a diamond’s unique sparkle.
Cabochon: A cabochon or “cab” can be cut to a variety of shapes and has smooth surfaces without facets
Here are a few of our favorite gemstone hues to shop:
‘Glitterbomb’ Earrings, Green$11,600
‘Glitterbomb’ Earrings, Multi$11,600
Turkish Flower Earrings$13,200
Python Bag, Emerald$920
‘Ice’ Rock Crystal Necklace$10,900
Python Bag, Natural$920