Used in a ring worn by St Valentine, the amethyst is today given by couples for their 6th and 17th anniversaries, and to babies born in February. This quartz stone comes in a variety of colours, though purple is the most popular.
In Greek mythology, it was believed the stone protected its wearer from becoming intoxicated – and this property is where its name comes from. Amethyst is mainly mined in Brazil, but is also found in South Korea, Austria, Russia, India, Africa and the USA.
Taking its name from the Latin words meaning water and sea, aquamarine is a pastel greenish blue stone, a colour variety of the mineral beryl. It is thought to enhance the happiness of marriages, protect against foes and increase intelligence. Aquamarine is mined at high altitudes in Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountains, as well as Brazil, India and other countries – including Australia. It is the gem for the 19th anniversary and the birthstone for March.
Emerald is the most precious stone in the beryl group, a medium to dark (and sometimes bluish) green. Today, emeralds are found mainly in South America, and Columbia is a producer of some of the finest stones. These top quality emeralds can be more valuable than diamonds.
A stone of power, healing, loyalty and success, it was prized by Cleopatra above all other gems. Flaws in an emerald are considered part of the stone’s character and are used to assure the purchaser of its authenticity. The emerald is the birthstone for May, and is given as a gift on the 20th and 35th anniversaries.
The stone of purity and truth and the symbol of love and compassion, garnet brings steadiness to friendships, protection while travelling and success to business. It is given as a gem on the 2nd and 18th anniversaries, and is the birthstone for January.
While garnets are often red, they can occur in many colours including greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, purplish reds and some blues. Green garnets are especially rare – they are found in metamorphic rocks and require unusual rock chemistries. Garnets are found in Africa, India, Brazil and the USA.
The name of this gem comes from the Greek word ‘ios’, meaning violet. It is naturally found in blues and violets. From different angles, iolite may appear colourless or yellow, making it complex to cut for its best colour. It is usually cut as a faceted cut and is beautiful when done by an expert hand, with three distinct colours in three crystal directions. Iolite is known for love and power and is said to help build relationships. It is found in areas of Africa, India, Brazil and Norway.
A delicate rose to deeper bluish pink, morganite is another variety of beryl and the stone of divine love. It usually originates in Afghanistan, Madagascar, Mozambique and Brazil.
Often found in pastel shades of pink and formed into beautiful hexagonal prism crystals, morganite is prized for its femininity by women across the world.
Found as nodules in volcanic rock in Pakistan, Kashmir, Myanmar, China, the USA and Africa, peridot is a variety of the olivine mineral.
A yellowish green variety is the most common colour seen in jewellery. Peridot is given for 16th anniversaries and as the birthstone for August.
Found in hues from pale pink to rose red, rose quartz is a stone of the heart. It is said to be the stone of unconditional love and has been used as a love token for thousands of years – today it is given as a gem for the 5th anniversary.
It owes its hazy, translucent pink colour to microscopic inclusions of silicate mineral. The stone is usually found in massive forms in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Zambia and Brazil. It is rare to find a small specimen with its hallmark soft pink colour.
The ruby stands for love, respect, dignity, devotion and power. Its stunning deep red has been prized by nobility for millennia – it is the stone of kings and in ancient times its value exceeded that of the diamond.
Today, it commands the highest price per carat of any coloured stone, making it a truly special gift for the 15th and 40th anniversaries. It is also the birthstone for July. The finest rubies, which come from Myanmar, the Himalayas and northern Vietnam, typically form in marble – but rubies are also found in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Kenya and South America.
A stone of wisdom, royalty, truth and loyalty, the sapphire is guardian of love, and banishes envy and jealousy. Its hardness is second only to diamond. While ‘true’ sapphires are blue, the stone can also occur in transparent, green, yellow, gold, purple and peach varieties.
Sapphires are found in Australia, Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka – with Australian stones, found in Inverell, Rubyvale and Lave Plains, being darker blue in colour. The cornflower blue Sri Lankan sapphire is known as the Ceylon Sapphire. The sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem for the 5th and 45th anniversaries.
Thought to be protective and grounding, smoky quartz is a brown, transparent stone – sometimes as pale and dreamy as a wisp of smoke. Although it is found around the world, it remains fairly uncommon in jewellery, and is often used for unusual faceted cuts to create utterly unique pieces.
A vibrant blue to violet stone, tanzanite is known as a stone of magic and said to relieve stress and depression, enhance composure and increase self-confidence. Tanzanite is prized not only for its captivating colour, but for its exclusivity.
It is named after Tanzania – the only place in the world this stunning gem has been found, where it grew in deposits on the insides of rock formations in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. When viewed in different directions, the stone may appear to be different colours. Tanzanite is the gem for the 24th anniversary and the birthstone for babies born in December.