Most people think of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds when they think of fine jewelry. However, there are many semi-precious stones that are equally beautiful and sought-after by fine jewelry collectors. Not only are these stones brilliant and scintillating, they usually cost less than the four precious stones.
Discovered roughly 2,000 years ago, topaz comes in many colors, such as brown, pink, green, red and the most popular, blue. Blue topaz is used as the birthstone of December. It is believed that the word "topaz" originates from the ancient Greek word "topazos", which means "green gemstone." In recent years, a yellow topaz stone, called citrine, has become popular in jewelry pieces.
Amethyst is a member of the quartz family. Due to its widespread availability, this semi-precious stone is relatively inexpensive. This stone can be mined in Mexico, Brazil, United States, Canada, Russia, Italy and Germany. In fact, most gemologists can determine where a stone originated based on minor chemical elements found in each regional crystal. It is the birthstone for the month of February.
Designated as the birthstone for March, aquamarine is a member of the beryl crystal family. It is also a traditional gift for the 16th and 19th wedding anniversaries. The color ranges from a pale blue to a teal shade. Currently, this semi-precious stone is mined in Brazil, Russia, Pakistan and parts of Africa. In folklore, it was said that sailors carried aquamarine to prevent seasickness.
Although it can range in color from yellow, green, purple and orange, rad garnets are among the most sought-after. The word "garnet" comes from the Greek word "Garanatus," meaning "seedlike," in reference to a pomegranate. Garnets were one of the most popular stones used in Victorian jewelry. Garnets are also popular among New Age practitioners for healing properties and magical powers.