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Jewellery Guides

A Guide to Gemstones

Gemstones from L to Z

Discover the range of gemstones Cassandra uses in her jewellery designs. From recognisable to rare and obscure gemstones, delve into the world of gemmology and explore new and unusual gemstones and the jewellery created with them.  

Labradorite

Labradorite stones showcase a stunning play of colour, gleaming with red and yellow reflections, as well as the blue hues of traditional moonstones. Sometimes called ‘spectrolite’, the breadth of its body colour ranges from opaque, transparent to colourless brownish or grey material. These gemstones are notably found in Labrador, Canada as well as other localities like Australia, Finland, and the United States.

Gemstone Egg - Labradorite

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Lapis Lazuli

Originating from Afghanistan, lapis lazuli has been used as an ornamental material in jewels, inlay work and as azure paint for over 6000 years. With a typically resinous and mottled appearance, the metamorphic rock is acclaimed for its intensely vivid and opaque ultramarine blue colour. Unusually for a gemstone it is a rock, not a mineral.

Persephone Bangle Yellow Gold - Lapis Lazuli

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Malachite

Malachite has a distinctive structure and green colour from the copper minerals within, typically comprising curved concentric banding that alternates between light and dark green shades. Often its fibrous structure is visible, with the long direction of fibres appearing perpendicular to the colour banding and giving the stone both a silky and dull lustre.

Gemstone Egg - Malachite

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Moonstone

Extremely fine alternating layers of albite and orthoclase feldspar cause a magical reflection of light within moonstone to give its blue to white ‘moon-like’ shimmer and translucency. The name for this ‘adularescence’ comes from the Adula mountain range where moonstones were first found in Switzerland. A moonstone placed under a pillow is said to bring beautiful dreams, especially to those born in June.

Severine Medium Ring Yellow Gold - Moonstone

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Morganite

Drawing its colour from the element manganese, morganite is known for its subtle pink tones, ranging from peaches to pinks. Named after the American banker and gem collector, J.P Morgan, this stone can be found across the world in Afghanistan, Brazil, Madagascar, Pakistan, and the USA, with some crystal specimens from Brazil weighing over 10 kilograms. Morganite is a Beryl, from the same family as aquamarine and emerald.

Octavia Margarita Necklace Pendant 18ct White Gold - Morganite and Diamond

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Pearl

Pearls are among the earliest of gem materials used for personal adornment. Enraptured by their luminescent shades, the Ancient Greeks once believed they were tears of joy from Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.

The only gemstone to be produced by a living organism, this gem epitomises incredibly rare and unique wonders in nature, as a symbol of purity and modesty. It also denotes love, success and happiness, so is often presented as a wedding gift, as well as being the birthstone for June. Quite different from other polished gemstones, their unique ‘orient’ is a result of subtle iridescence and a surface reflection of light.

They are commonly white, golden, grey, brown and black in colour; with various iridescent tints including pink, green, blue and lilac, and are either produced naturally or artificially, in marine saltwater or freshwater.

Kerala Necklace Yellow Gold - Pearl

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Peridot

Distinguished by its adventuresence, aventurine quartz contains inclusions displaying green mica crystals, creating a glittering green appearance. It is difficult to find fine quality aventurine and when it is cut as beads the wonderful green colour can be enjoyed as a necklace.

Baguette Ring 18ct Yellow Gold - Peridot

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Rhodochrosite

From displays of raspberry swirls in concretions that resemble the structure of malachite, to sharp rose red cut gemstones, rhodochrosite can be fashioned into beads, whilst rare transparent material can be cut into facetted gemstones. Found in Argentina, it is a delicate gemstone that should be worn with care.

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Rhodonite

Rhodonite was discovered in the Ural mountains in 1790, colours range from pink to a rose red. The fine material can be facetted and is rare, found in Australia and Japan. Rhodonite is usually cut as cabochon gemstones or beads displaying the black dendritic veins, and can look similar to Rhodochrosite.

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Rock Crystal

Rock crystal is the purest form of quartz and it is associated with new beginnings. Rock crystal can be beautifully included, creating bold, artistic, and unique pieces like tourmalated quartz which has dramatic black needle inclusions. Venus’ hair stone is quartz included with golden crystals of rutile.

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Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz holds a vitreous lustre with delicate tones of soft pink, it is often used to commemorate the fifth wedding anniversary, symbolising love and compassion. Rose Quartz can contain small inclusions, creating a beautiful ‘cats eye’, asterism effect on a cabochon carved gemstone.

Gemstone Egg - Rose Quartz

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Ruby

One of the rarest precious gemstones, rubies are famed for their resplendent red lustre and strong, emotional hues. Radiating love, health, and physical strength, this powerful corundum gem absorbs natural light, symbolically soaking up the powers of the sun. The birthstone for July and a celebratory gemstone for 40th wedding anniversaries, rubies blaze with strength and passion, protecting you from negativity, misfortune, and evils.

Pomegranate Large Necklace Pendant 18ct Yellow Gold - Ruby and Diamond

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Sapphire

Sapphire’s dazzling lustre ranges from deep velvet translucent depths to colourless transparency, in blue, pink, yellow, green, purple and colourless hues. Originating in Sri Lanka, Australia and Myanmar, Cassandra often finds unusual colours and cuts on her travels, enraptured by rarer green sapphires in particular: regarded as a healing corundum gemstone, with calming properties, it’s no wonder sapphires appear in such captivating and mystical hues. The birthstone for September; this protective gemstone is known to have create powers of serenity and purity, with each colour embodying its own unique sense of wisdom.

Toi et Moi Engagement Ring Platinum - Sapphire and Diamond

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Smoky Quartz

Drawing light into the brown hues, Smoky Quartz was historically mined in the Scottish Highlands. According to Celtic folklore, smoky quartz is the gemstone of power. The soft pale brown colour works well in rings and earrings, even contrasted with citrine, garnet or blue topaz.

Whirlpool II Ring Yellow Gold - Smoky Quartz

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Sphene

Observe the magnitude of a sphene gemstone, with its high dispersion and fire once facetted. The striking gem varies from transparent to translucent and is enriched with the most resplendent green colour. Sphene is rare and difficult to work with because of its delicate properties, it is one of Cassandra’s favourite gemstones.

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Spinel

Traditionally, spinel have been important stones for British and royal regalia, a hard lustrous gemstone that forms in a breadth of shades. While ferrous iron minerals within will impart bright, striking blue hues, chromium will imbue dazzling pinks and reds. They are known to possess optical effects, both four and six rayed stars sometimes occurring within the gemstone. The Black Prince’s Ruby in the Imperial State Crown is in fact red spinel.

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Tanzanite

Extraordinary pleochroism makes the infinite blues and violet shades of tanzanite so lustrous. Tanzanite is trichroic, displaying blue, purple, and yellow in varied directions of light whilst holding a rich blue body colour. The birthstone for December and a precious jewel for meditation, this gem is a reminder of wintery moonlit nights. But this intense colour, that Cassandra so loves to design with, comes at a price – the stones are fragile and should be worn with great care.

Severine Ring 18ct Yellow Gold - Cabochon Tanzanite

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Tiger's Eye

The Tigers Eye displays shades of yellow and golden brown. From South Africa and Western Australia, this fibrous material is often cut as cabochons to display the chatoyant “all-seeing, all-knowing eye”. An ancient talisman, the tiger’s eye is often sought after to grant the wearer the ability to observe everything.

Gemstone Egg - Tiger's Eye

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Topaz

Topaz is an aluminium fluoro-hydroxyl-silicate that occurs in large crystals, mostly in Brazil. Glowing with the gift of healing, a blue topaz (the birthstone for November) is said to help your mind and body feel restored, a symbol of friendship, love, honesty, and fidelity. While a golden yellow topaz, permeated with healing warmth and life like the dazzling sun, will rejuvenate both your mind and body. Highly protective, the magic set within these stones is believed to make the wearer invisible to danger.

Ozymandias Ring 18ct Yellow Gold - Blue Topaz and Diamond

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Tourmaline

Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese term “turamali” meaning ‘stone of mixed colours’. As part of an isomorphous series, in which a range of chemical compositions occur in many individual crystals, they can be found in almost every colour.

From pinks, reds, forest greens and blues, colourless and transparent to multi-coloured and opaque shades, making it one of Cassandra’s favourite gemstones.

The birthstone for October, it appears to have an affinity with the autumnal time of year, its myriad of colours resembling autumn leaves, falling in a cacophony of colour. Turn to pink tourmalines for an emblem of friendship and unconditional love, or delight in vibrant green tourmaline to harmonise your internal energies.

Aeneus Roman Ring 18ct Yellow Gold - Green Tourmaline and Diamond

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Turquoise

Discover the beauty of turquoise, in which vibrant Mediterranean blue shades meet rich greens, a result of copper and iron minerals. This gemstone often contains veins of dark brown matrix material, adding to the striking effect of the translucent, waxy lustre. With a long history from the earliest days of Ancient Egypt, and now one of December’s birthstones, it is said to bring good fortune and happiness.

Cavolfiore Earrings 18ct Yellow Gold - Turquoise and Diamond

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Zircon

Fiery like a diamond, zircons have been used in jewellery for centuries. Very bright yet very brittle, their sub-adamantine lustre is exceptional. Cassandra adores the deep rich blues she finds in Cambodia, which remind her of the Paraiba tourmalines she used to buy when she first set out in the jewellery world.

Severine Small Ring Yellow Gold - Blue Zircon

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