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Cabochon Stones - A-E

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Abalone Abalone Varies with deep blues, greens, and purples May be Dyed
3.5
Cabochon

Abalone: Also known as paua, abalone is a type of mollusk from the same family as clams and scallops having a single ear-shaped shell. The inner layer of the shell is composed of nacre, a pearly surface on the inside of many shells, or mother-of-pearl. In many species of abalone the nacre is highly iridescent and has a range of strong and changeable colors. The colors of abalone nacre varies among the different species from silvery white, to pink, red and green-red, through the predominantly deep blues, greens, and purples of the Haliotis iris species.
The majority of abalone species are found in cold waters, off the Southern Hemisphere coasts of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, and Western North America and Japan in the Northern Hemisphere.

Care: Avoid harsh detergents. Never clean ultrasonically or steam clean.
Note: Shell products are organic and cannot be exported from the U.S.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Agate, Black Lace Agate, Black Lace
(Black Sardonyx)
Black-banded May be Dyed
6.5-7
Cabochon
Agate, Red Lace Agate, Red Lace
(Red Sardonyx)
Russet-banded May be Dyed
6.5-7
Cabochon

Agate:
Agate is a type of chalcedony (a crypto-crystalline quartz) that occurs in nodular masses in rocks such as volcanic lavas. The inside of agates reveals an amazing variety of colors and patterns and distinct banding which distinguishes it from other types of chalcedony.
Agate's name comes from the ancient Greek Achates a river in Sicily where the stones were found.
Agate is a May birthstone in the ancient tradition and associated with the astrological sign Gemini.

Lore:
Agates have been worn by farmers on their upper arm to insure a good harvest and placed on the right horn of oxen to protect them.
Red agate has been said to provide protection from spiders and scorpions.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Amber Amber Golden yellow to orange None
2-3
Cabochon

Amber:
Formed from the fossilized sap or resin of pine trees, amber often contains bubbles and inclusions such as small plant or animal fossils.
Transparent amber is 120-180 million years old, where as opaque amber, called copal, is 60 million years old.
Its name probably stems from the Arabic anbar; meaning ambergris, a substance from a sperm whale used to make perfume. The term was extended to the fossil resin c. 1400 and is now the main meaning of the word. The Greeks called it elektrum, from the Phoenician word for sun or golden, because amber will hold a charge; this gave us our word electric.
Amber has been treasured and used for centuries: beads, pendants. buttons and other ornamental objects have been made from this gem.

Lore:
Amber dust mixed with honey or water was used to treat ears, eyes, stomach, liver, and kidneys.
The pine smell of burning amber has been said to help a woman in labor.
Holding an amber ball will keep one cool on a hot day and it was used to treat fever victims.
Amber beads were worn to protect against rheumatism, toothache, rickets and jaundice.

Caution: Amber will dissolve in solvents like acetone or nail polish remover. Avoid harsh detergents. Never clean ultrasonically or steam clean.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Amethyst, AAA-Grade Amethyst, AAA-Grade Varies from medium to dark purple None
7
Cabochon or
Faceted
Ametnyst, AA-Grade Amethyst, AA-Grade Light to medium purple None
7
Cabochon or
Faceted
Amethyst Amethyst Light to medium purple None
7
Cabochon

Amethyst:
Amethyst is the best known and most valuable form of quartz who's top grade is a deep purple and has no flaws or inclusions.
When amethysts are heated to 550-560° C amethysts will turn a dark yellow or a reddish-brown and are called citrines. Citrines created from heating amethyst are more richly colored and more expensive than natural citrines.
Its name is derived from the Greek amethustos; a- “not” and methyskein- “make drunk” from methys “wine”. This demonstrates the ancient belief that the amethyst would keep a person from becoming intoxicated.
The color can fade from an amethyst if the stone is left in strong sunlight for a long time.
Amethyst is a February birthstone in the modern and ancient tradition. It is associated with the astrological sign Pisces.

Lore:
Placed under the pillow, amethysts insure pleasant dreams, improve memory, and provide immunity from poison.
Some people believe that a wearer of this stone will become gentle and amiable.

Care: Avoid harsh detergents. Ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe for natural amethyst. Never steam clean.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Aquamarine Aquamarine Milky blue None
7.5-8
Cabochon or
Faceted

Aquamarine:
Aquamarine is a transparent gem of the beryl family who's name derives from the Latin aqua marina “sea water”.
This gem increased in popularity around 1920 when heat treatment was developed to turn pale stones into deeper blue shades.
Aquamarine is a March birthstone in the modern tradition, an October birthstone in the ancient tradition, and associated with the astrological sign Scorpio.

Lore:
It is traditionally a sailor's talisman.

Care: Ultrasonic and steam cleaning are usually safe for natural aquamarine.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Aventurine Aventurine Spring green None
7
Cabochon

Aventurine:
A quartzite gemstone composed of interlocking grains of quartz and small mica crystals. Aventurine occurs in many colors; mainly green, brown and grey.
The ubiquitous sparkle of this stone is called aventurescence.

Lore:
Aventurine is said to be an all-purpose healing stone. It has been said to reduce stress, develop confidence, imagination, increase the wearer's creativity, and improve prosperity. It is considered to be the luckiest of all stones in games of chance and is known to some as the "gambler's stone".

Although Aventurine is sometimes called "Indian Jade" and has been known to be used as a substitute for true Jade it is not related to Jade

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Carnelian Carnelian Light to dark reddish brown Heat-treated or Dyed
6.5
Cabochon

Carnelian:
A type of chalcedony carnelian is a translucent reddish-orange with its color coming from its iron oxide content. Carnelian may be uniform in color or faintly banded.
The opaque variety is called sard where as when it occurs in brown and white layers it is called sardonyx.
Gets its name from the Latin cornum (cornel berry or cornelian cherry).
Carnelian was popular in ancient Egypt where it was carved into insignia seals because it won't stick to wax.
Carnelian is a birthstone for May, July, and August in the ancient tradition and is associated with the astrological sign Virgo.
Carnelian is the anniversary stone for the 17th year.

Lore:
Carnelian is said to enhance attunement with the inner self and improves concentration.
Carnelian is worn for good luck in the Near East.
It was said to stop nosebleeds and prevent blood from rising to the head.
It was also used as a strong protection from the evil eye.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Chalcedony, Blue Mist Chalcedony, Blue Mist Very light periwinkle blue and white None
7
Cabochon
Sea-Blue Chalcedony Sea-Blue Chalcedony

Aqua-blue - Light Blue

Dyed
7
Cabochon
Sunfire Chalcedony Sunfire Chalcedony Yellow Dyed
7
Cabochon
Chalcedony:
Pronounced kal-SED-ne, it is a Crypto crystalline quartz (quartz with very tiny crystals) that is composed of microcrystalline quartz crystals and hydrated silica (opal).
Carnelian, onyx, agates and chrysoprase are all kinds of chalcedony.
Chalcedony is durable and takes a good polish.
In the world of jewelry the word refers to a solid color, translucent, light blue stone. These may be made by dying agates but the naturally occurring variety is more desirable.
Chalcedony is a birthstone for May and June in the ancient tradition.
Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Chrysoprase Chrysoprase Bottle green None
6.5
Cabochon

Chrysoprase:
The most valuable form of chalcedony, it is often mistaken for jade. The stone's vivid green color comes from nickel silicate. This stone is mined exclusively in Australia.
From the Greek words for “gold”and “leek,” referring to its golden-green color, which is caused by nickel salts.

Lore:
According to the 11th century Byzantine manuscript of Michael Psellius, chrysoprase was believed to strengthen vision and relieve internal pain.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Citrine Citrine Medium to dark gold; some color zoning Heat-treated
7
Cabochon or
Faceted

Citrine:
Although citrine is often mistakenly referred to as topaz, it belongs to the quartz family. The yellow color of citrine is due to the presence of iron.
They can be found naturally or may be made by heating amethyst (purple quartz) to around 550° C (1050° F). Citrines made from heating amethyst have a deeper color and are more expensive than the natural stone.
Yellow-brown variety is called carngorn after their place of origin in Scotland.
Dark reddish-brown quartz is called “sang de boeuf,” French for ox blood.
The gemstone has been used since the Hellenistic Age in Greece (323-280 B.C.). During the first and second centuries A.D. in Greece and Rome, citrine was used for intaglios and ring cabochons.
Citrine is a November birthstone.

Care: Avoid harsh detergents. Ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe. Never steam clean.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Coral, Oxblood Coral, Oxblood Deep red None
3-4
Cabochon
Coral, Salmon Coral, Salmon Salmon pink None
3-4
Cabochon

Coral:
Treasured for thousands of years by many cultures, coral is one of the world's few organic gems. It is composed of marine calcium carbonate (mineral calcite) deposits.
Many colors and varieties of coral are found in warm costal waters around the world, it can occur in shades of reddish-pink , white, and black which is called akabar.
It's name comes from the Greek korallion, originally derived from the word for pebble.

Lore:
Coral was believed to stop bleeding, to guard against poison, to and protect dogs from rabies.

Care: This is a soft material and should be treated gently. It will not tolerate harsh cleansers, abrasion or heat. Never clean ultrasonically or steam clean.

Note: Coral from this site cannot be exported outside the U.S.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Corundum, Ruby Corundum, Ruby Ruby Laboratory-grown
9
Cabochon or
Faceted
Corundum, Blue Sapphire Corundum, Blue Sapphire Blue Sapphire Laboratory-grown
9
Cabochon or
Faceted
Corundum, Pink Sapphire Corundum, Pink Sapphire Pink sapphire Laboratory-grown
9
Cabochon or
Faceted
Corundum, Yellow Sapphire Corundum, Yellow Sapphire Yellow sapphire Laboratory-grown
9
Cabochon or
Faceted
Corundum:
Eye clean, economical, and versatile.
Corundum occurs in yellow, green, reddish-yellow, pink, mauve, brown and black.
Corundum was called hyacinth until the Middle Ages when it was discovered that there are colors other than blue. Blue corundum was then given the name sapphire and the other colors were given a color distinction along with the name sapphire (i.e. golden sapphire) except for the red corundum which is called ruby.
Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Drusy Platinum Drusy Quartz
Platinum-Coated "Drusy Platinum"
Quartz crystalline that shimmers as the piece moves. Platinum-coated
7
Cabochon
Drusy Caribbean Splash Drusy Quartz
Titanium-Coated "Caribbean Splash"
Multi colored quartz crystalline that shimmers as the piece moves Titanium-coated
Dyed
7
Cabochon
Drusy Cobalt Blue Drusy Quartz
Titanium-Coated "Cobalt Blue"
Dark blue quartz crystalline that shimmers as the piece moves Titanium-coated
Dyed
7
Cabochon
Drusy Opalized Drusy Quartz
Titanium-Coated "Opalized"
Opal like color quartz crystalline that shimmers as the piece moves Titanium-coated
Dyed
7
Cabochon

Drusy Quartz:
Pronounced droo-zee, it is naturally forming quartz clusters of many very small crystals. These drusy clusters are coated to protect the crystalline structure that gives drusy quarts it's sparkle.

Care: Clean drusies with water or steam only. Never clean ultrasonically.

Stone Name Color Treatment Usually Cut As
Emerald Emerald Light to medium green Oiled
7.5
Cabochon or
Faceted

Emerald:
A green variety of beryl with traces of chromium and vanadium in its crystalline structure giving emerald it's green color. Emeralds are considered very valuable if they are strong in color and free of inclusions. Inclusions are referred to as the “jardin” (French, garden) of the stone.
It has been prized since 4000 B.C. and was traded in early gem markets of Babylon.
Until the 16th century the Egyptian emerald mines (worked as early as 2000 B.C.) were the main source of emeralds for the West. By this time finer-quality emeralds were being mined in Colombia, these eventually became the world's most coveted emeralds.
Emeralds are a May birthstone in the modern tradition, a May and June birthstone in the ancient tradition, and are associated with the astrological sign Cancer.

Lore:
Emeralds were linked to fertility and the Earth Goddess, it is a birthstone of spring.
Sacred to the Goddess Venus and worn by women to ease childbirth.
They have been said to stifle and epileptic fit.

Care: Avoid harsh detergents. Do not clean emeralds in an ultrasonic machine. The solution may penetrate the stone and cause it to shatter. Never steam clean.

 

Sources for the above information:
Gem supply catalogue.
McCreight, Tim. The Complete Metalsmith: An Illustrated Handbook. Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.: Davis Publications, INC, 1991.
Douglas Harper. “Online Etymology Dictionary.” November 2001. http://www.etymonline.com

Last updated 11/26/11