A dark stone with a white background

15 Fascinating Gemstone Facts

Want to learn more about gem stones? Here are 15 facts you probably did not know!

  1. Alexandrite shines red in lamplight and green in sunlight; hence, the saying “emerald by day, ruby by night”.
  2. Amber is an organic gem that is created from hardened and fossilized ancient tree sap. 
  3. Amethysts received their name from the ancient Greek word “amethystos”, meaning “not drunk”. They were once believed to prevent intoxication. 
  4. The term “aquamarineis Latin for “sea water”, and is thought to enhance the romance and happiness in a marriage. It is mined at high, mountainous elevations in places like Brazil, Pakistan, and Kenya. 
  5. Like an emerald, aquamarine is a color variation of the mineral beryl.  
  6. Lighter colored emeralds are often called “green beryls”, meaning “too light”Beryl can be found in pale blues, greens, and yellows. 
  7. Peridot is found both on Earth and in space! In 2005, the Stardust Space Probe returned to Earth covered in comet dust that contained peridot particles. 
  8. Tanzanite is only found in one place on Earth – near Mount Kilimanjaro in an area of land that is only 4.3 miles x 1.2 miles. 
  9. Tanzanite was officially named after the country of Tanzania where it is found by Tiffany & Co. in 1967 when it was first unearthed. 
  10. Tourmaline is a semi-precious gemstone that can be found in one of the widest variety of colors – a favorite of M.C. Ginsberg is known as watermelon Tourmaline!  
  11. Some opals, called “boulder opals”, are backed with the “mother stone” – a brown or black stone that sits behind the opal to help the natural color POP! 
  12. Prior to the 18th century, most diamonds were found in India. The largest diamond ever mined, known as “the Cullinan diamond“, weighed over 3,100 carats. 
  13. The name “garnet” is derived of the Latin word “garanatus“, meaning “seedlike“, in reference to the seeds of a pomegranate. 
  14. Gemstones are graded for their hardness on what is known as “Mohs’ Scale”. Amber is the softest gemstone, diamond is the hardest. 
  15. It takes anywhere from one to three years to grow a cultured pearl. True pearls are the only jewel created by a living animal.

Still have questions? Stop into M.C. Ginsberg: Objects of Art located at 110 East Washington Street in downtown Iowa City, test our knowledge, and see your favorites set in different pieces of jewelry!

Trillion Natural Violet Blue Tanzanite

7.47 ct Trillion Natural Violet Blue Tanzanite