The Blue Diamond
Business Hours                Tuesday-Friday: 9:30-6:00
Saturday: 9:30-2:00
Sunday-Monday: Closed

(573)634-4241

1803 Missouri Blvd., Suite A
Jefferson City, MO 65109
Capital Crossing Center

Gemstone History and Folklore
Onyx

History and Folklore

Onyx has been revered throughout history, especially during the time of the Greek and Romans. The word onyx is derived from the Greek word "onus," which means fingernail. According to mythology, it is believed that Cupid cut off the fingernails of Venus with one of his arrows as she was sleeping. As a result, the gods then turned her fingernails into stone so that her body would be eternal in the earth. The Romans truly loved the onyx stone as they are given credit for the modern name and were also considered to be the first to enhance the stone with a darkening method that is still used today in which the stone is soaked in sugar water and then placed in a strong acid. After the stone has been boiling in the acid for some time, the sugars are dissolved away leaving a pure black stone.


Facts and Information

While onyx lacks the vibrant color of the other gemstones, it still has its place among the most interesting gemstones. Onyx is mostly used for carvings as well as inlay designs in both men's and women's jewelry. The true black of onyx allows any stone paired with it to really ignite and shine brightly next to its counterpart. Most ''black onyx'' in the market today have been treated and these enhancement are expected. While most onyx come from Brazil, it can be found worldwide. 


Cleaning Methods

Avoid chemicals and cleaning solutions
Clean in warm, soapy water


Major Sources

Brazil


Gemstone Characteristics

Hardness: 6.5-7
Species:Chalcedony
Citrine

History and Folklore

The name is supposed to have come from the Latin word citrina meaning yellow. This was recorded by Georgius Agricola in his 1546 writing ''De Natura Fossilium''. Others say the name came from the French word citrin meaning yellow. Egyptians believed its golden color was cast by the Sun god Ra. Citrine Jewelry has been found back as far as the Hellenistic period. Because of its sunny brightness, citrine is considered the most powerful of all healing stones. According to history, citrines were carried to ward off evil thoughts and safeguard against snake venom.


Facts and Information

Citrine is sometimes used for the November birthstone. Citrine is a variety of quartz that goes from light yellow and golden to a reddish brown. The reddish brown is sometimes called Madeira Citrine because it resembles the color of Madeira wine. The quartz is typically heated to produce this beautiful yellow color or to improve its color. At this time, this heat treatment is undetectable and it is a permanent change. Size of citrine are very common up to approximately 20 carats and stones have been found over 1,000 carats. Although citrine has sometimes been falsely referred to as ''topaz quartz'', this terminology is not recommended.


Cleaning Methods

Safe in warm, soapy water
Risky to use in steamer
Usually safe in ultrasonic


Major Sources

Brazil


Gemstone Characteristics

Hardness: 7
Species: Quartz
Tanzanite

History and Folklore

Discovered in 1967 by a Masai tribesman near Mt. Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania, it was originally believed to be the finding of a new sapphire deposit. The legend says that after a massive fire across the plains of East Africa, Masai herdsmen returned to their charred fields to find blue stones littering the ground. In 1969, top gemologists started studying the new crystal. Everyone was interested in the new find. Tiffany and Co. started promoting the new stone and gave it the name ''tanzanite''. Helping the bring health and happiness. tanzanite has been used by some as a blessing for expectant mothers.


Facts and Information

Tanzanites possess a rare and unique quality known as pleochromisim, which is the ability to exhibit more than one color. When viewed from different angles, one can see varying degrees of tones in purples and blues. After heating, this beautiful gemstone can range from a vibrant blue to a strong purple. The brownish zoisite is heated to approximately 600-650 degrees celsius to make this blue color. Tanzanites can be used as an alternate December birthstone. This gemstone is recommended for pendants and earrings. 


Cleaning Methods

Warm, soapy water is safe
Never in steamer
Never in ultrasonic


Major Sources 

Tanzania


Gemstone Characteristics

Hardness: 6-7
Species: Zoisite
Chrome Diopside

History and Folklore

Diopside came from the Greek word dis meaning "double'' and opsis meaning ''vision''. In reference to its pleochroism - different colors are displayed when viewed from different angles. Some claim it will help you in your relationship, health, spirituality and financial success. It is also believed to help you achieve your goals and increase creative awareness.


Facts and Information

Diopside was not very common until around 1988 when a large deposit was found in Siberia (Russia). With the fall of the Iron Curtain, the export of chrome diopside really started. Chrome diopside gets its color from chromium. It is not known to be treated. It is however, soft and very brittle, so care must be taken when working with or wearing this stone.


Cleaning Methods

Safe in warm, mild soapy water
Very risky in the ultrasonic
Never use in steamer

Major Sources

Russia

Gemstone Characteristics

Hardness: 5.5-6




Iolite

History and Folklore

The name comes from the Greek work Ios meaning ''violet''. The old Greek word diochrite has also been used for iolite, meaning ''two-colored rock''. Its ability to determine the direction of the sun (even on overcast days) has given it the name of ''water sapphire'' and ''Vikings Compass''. 


Facts and Information 

It is mainly found in gravel beds in Sri Lanka. Iolite has strong pleochroism, meaning when it is viewed from different directions, it displays different colors.


Cleaning Methods

Safe in warm, soapy water
Risky in ultrasonic
Risky in steamer


Major Sources

Tanzania 
Sri Lanka
Brazil 
India


Gemstone Characteristics

Hardness: 7-7.5


Pearls

History and Folklore

Throughout history in almost all cultures pearls have been very highly valued and associated with royalty and nobility. Chinese myths tell of pearls falling from the skies; while Greeks believed they would bring love and marital bliss. In Rome, they were worn as a symbol of prestige and wealth. Pearls are thought to give you love, money, luck and to protect children.


Facts and Information

Pearls, along with alexandrite, are considered the birthstone for June. Pearls come in a variety of shapes: perfectly round and smooth, slightly off round, baroque (almost egg shaped), and even button shaped. Culturing pearls is a process that was started over a hundred years ago by Japanese businessman, Kokichi Mikimoto. He is considered by many to be the father of the modern pearl industry and helped catapult pearls into the gemstone industry.

Pearls common varieties are:

Akoya Pearls- Almost always round in shape, these are cultured in the seas of Japan and China. Commonly found in white, cream, and slightly pink colors.
Freshwater Pearls- Grown mainly in China, these pearls can come every shape imaginable. Commonly found in white, cream, dyed black, and slightly pink colors. These pearls are also grown in the United States.
South Sea Pearls- Grown in the warm waters around Indonesia, Philippines and Australia, these pearls can reach sizes up to 18mm. Commonly found in yellow, gold, white and cream colors.
Tahitian Pearls- Cultivated mainly in French Polynesian islands, these pearls are known for there rich black and grey tones.


Cleaning Methods

Avoid jewelry cleaning chemicals and solutions
Never clean in the ultrasonic 
Never clean with a steamer
Clean with a soft cloth


Gemstone Characteristics

Hardness: 2.5-4.5