Gemstones in MMA's Silver Star Jewelry
Information about Gemstones and Pearls
Many of our jewelry items feature one or more
gemstones. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA),
to qualify as a gem, a stone must be beautiful, durable, and rare.
Some gemstones (like pearls, coral, and amber) are classified as
organic, meaning that they are produced by living organisms. Others
are inorganic, meaning that they are generally composed of and arise
from minerals. Stones that are identified as synthetic are created
in a laboratory (as opposed to natural gemstones, which are created
by natural processes without human help).
Here are the descriptions of the gemstones
featured in MMA's Silver Star line of jewelry that's available on our site.
- Amber - Amber,
an ancient organic gemstone, is composed of tree resin that
has hardened over time. According to the GIA, the stone must
be at least 1 million years old to be classified as amber, and
some amber can be up to 120 million years old. Amber can come
in a number of different colors, ranging from yellow to golden
orange to red. Most of the world’s amber comes from the shores
of the Baltic Sea in Eastern Europe.
- Amethyst -
Amethyst has historically been the most prized gemstone in the
quartz family. It is treasured for its purple hue, which can
range in tone from light to dark. The finest amethyst will have
strong color saturation and a medium to dark reddish purple
or purple color. Its attractive color, along with is affordable
price compared to other precious gemstones, make amethyst consistently
one of the most popular gems.
- Black Onyx -
Black Onyx, a member of the chalcedony family, is a gemstone
made up of tiny microscopic crystals. It is a very popular gemstone
in both women’s and men’s jewelry because its black color acts
as a great complement to white metals like sterling silver,
as well as clear crystals and CZs. Most black onyx on the market
today is treated to give it its dark black color. Black onyx
is sometimes faceted or fashioned into beads.
- Chalcedony -
Chalcedony is a type of quartz. It is classified separately
because, unlike other forms of quartz, it is composed of very
small microscopic crystals. It can come in a wide variety of
looks and colors. Several types of semi-precious stones discussed
separately — including Black Onyx, and Jasper — are varieties
- Citrine - Citrine
is known for its stylish yellow to brownish color, and is generally
considered the top selling gemstone of this color in the United
States. It is a member of the quartz family, and has a large
- Coral - Coral
is an organic gem that comes from the skeletal remains of sea
creatures (which are themselves called Coral). The most common
colors associated with coral jewelry are pink and red. Coral
requires pristine environmental conditions to grow, meaning
that producers must maintain calm waters free of pollution.
According to the GIA, coral is believed to have been used in
jewelry for about 30,000 years.
- Emerald - Emeralds
are one of the three main precious gemstones (along with rubies
and sapphires) and are known for their fine green to bluish
green color. They have been treasured throughout history, and
some historians report that the Egyptians mined emerald as early
as 3500 BC. Today, emeralds are increasingly being used in faceted
rough-cut designs that provide a bold look at an affordable
- Garnet - Garnet
is most commonly a deep red to purplish red gemstone with a
cubic crystal structure. Garnet is considered an affordable
alternative to more expensive red gemstones like rubies or tourmaline,
and goes particularly well with sterling silver.
- Jade - Jade
is most commonly associated with the color green, but can come
in a number of other colors as well. Jade is closely linked
to Asian culture, history, and tradition, and is sometimes referred
to as the “stone of heaven.”
- Jasper - Jasper
is a semi-translucent to opaque gemstone, of the chalcedony
family, that comes in a variety of colors. Oftentimes, jasper
will feature unique and interesting patterns within the colored
stone. Picture jasper is a type of jasper known for the colors
(often beiges and browns) and swirls in the stone’s pattern.
These unique patterns occur in nature and make each piece of
jasper a one-of-a-kind treasure.
- Lapis - Lapis
is an opaque gemstone often featuring a deep midnight blue to
violet-blue color. It frequently contains gold colored pyrite
flecks sprinkled through the gem, making each piece of lapis
beautiful and unique. Lapis is a versatile gemstone that is
used both in classic and contemporary jewelry styles.
- Opal - Opal
is a gemstone that comes in a kaleidoscopic array of colors.
It is typically formed in desert areas over long periods of
time from layers of silica deposits in deep underground rock.
It is known for its fascinating “play of color” that occurs
when light interacts with the opal’s silica layers. Much of
the opal on the market today is synthetic.
- Peridot - Peridot
is a bright green gemstone that provides the style and look
of emerald at a more affordable price. According to the GIA,
some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection
was actually peridot. Peridot is one of the softer gemstones
on the market, with a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale.
Peridot most commonly originates in volcanic areas that are
rich in iron and magnesium.
- Quartz - Quartz
refers to a family of crystalline gemstones of various colors
and sizes. Among the well-known types of quartz are rose quartz
(which has a delicate pink color), and smoky quartz (which comes
in a variety of shades of translucent brown). A number of other
gemstones — like Amethyst and Citrine — are also part of the
quartz family. Rutilated quartz is a popular type of quartz
containing needle-like inclusions.
- Ruby - Rubies
are known for their intense red color, and are among the most
highly valued precious gemstones. Rubies have been treasured
for millennia. In Sanskrit, the word for ruby is “ratnaraj”,
meaning “king of precious stones.” Although rubies can command
one of the highest per-carat prices
of all precious stones, they are increasingly being used in
rough-cut faceted designs at much more affordable prices.
- Sapphire -
The most popular form of sapphire is blue sapphire, which is
known for its medium to deep blue color and strong saturation.
Fancy colored sapphires in various colors are also available.
In the United States, blue sapphire is the most popular and
most affordable of the three major precious gemstones (emerald,
ruby, and sapphire). Like emeralds and rubies, sapphire is increasingly
being used in rough-cut faceted designs that provide a strong,
bold look at an affordable price.
- Tiger’s Eye -
Tiger’s Eye is a gemstone known for its unique and rich
striped brown color, which, as its name suggests, can resemble
the patterns on a tiger’s coat. It is a member of the quartz
group of gemstones. It has a microcrystalline structure,
meaning that it is made up of crystals that are smaller than
those of quartzes like rose quartz and smoky quartz, but larger
than the crystals of chalcedony group gemstones.
- Topaz - Topaz
is a bright clear gemstone which is often used to create bold,
eye-catching designs. The most popular variety of topaz in the
market today is blue topaz, which has a bright light blue color
and is relatively inexpensive. This color is produced with irradiation
and heat treatment (in nature, topaz is most often colorless).
Pink topaz is another popular variety of this gemstone.
- Turquoise -
Turquoise is found in only a few places on earth, and the world’s
largest turquoise producing region is the southwest United States.
Turquoise is prized for its attractive color — most often an
intense medium blue or a greenish blue — and its ancient heritage.
Turquoise is used in a great variety of jewelry styles. It is
perhaps most closely associated with southwest and Native American
jewelry, but it is also used in many sleek, modern styles. Some
turquoise contains a matrix of dark brown markings, which provides
an interesting contrast to the gemstone’s bright blue color.
What are "Rough Cut" Colored Gemstones?
Rough cut stones are a wonderful way to wear
gorgeous genuine gemstones at a great price point. These stones
go through a chemical process to even and enhance their color and
develop their natural characteristics, but with rough cut gemstones
the emphasis is less on extensive cutting and polishing and more
on bringing out the unique natural features of the stone. Fans of
this organic look value the individuality and variety of each gem
Because a rough cut style embraces the natural
variations in the stones, designers can get much larger gems at
a fraction of the cost. This style is a beautiful, affordable option
for wearing large carat weight, 100% genuine stones like emeralds,
rubies, and sapphires.
Pearl Jewelry and Shell Jewelry
What Are Cultured Pearls?
Almost all pearl jewelry in the marketplace
today is made up of cultured pearls. This means that the pearls
were produced with human assistance by oysters or other mollusks
at a pearl farm (as opposed to being found and collected by divers).
To create a cultured pearl, a pearl farmer will trigger the natural
process of pearl formation by inserting a small irritant into the
oyster or mollusk. The oyster will then surround it with layer after
layer of nacre. It is this nacre that gives pearls their characteristic
beautiful luster. Creating a cultured pearl can take from 6 months
to 3 years, depending on the type and size of pearl, and it requires
both constant care and clean, pure water.
What Types of Pearls Are There?
Cultured pearls may either be freshwater pearls
or saltwater pearls, depending on the type of oyster or mollusk
that produces them and the climate where the oyster lives.
Freshwater pearls are the most plentiful and affordable type of
pearl on the market. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors,
and are sometimes dyed to create a bright colorful look. Saltwater
akoya pearls are round, white (sometimes with a rose overtone),
and are often used to make classic pearl necklaces or pearl earrings.
What Is Mother of Pearl?
Mother of Pearl is a type of shell. It comes
from the inside shell of a pearl-producing oyster or mollusk. This
shell is made up of nacre, the same material the oyster produces
to coat a pearl.
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