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Popular Gemstones

Learn about facts regarding some of the most popular gemstones around the world.
a data set by WorldExplorer
created April 22, 2017
NamePicture (Rough)Picture (Polished)EtymologyTime of DiscoveryLocation of DiscoveryCurrent SourceMineral ClassColorMohs Scale HardnessLusterDiaphaneityBirthstone
AgateFrom the Ancient Greek "Achates", the name of a river in southwestern Sicily where the material was found.Between 400 BC and 300 BCShore line of the river Achates in present-day SicilyUnited States, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Brazil, China, India, and AfricaChalcedonyWhite to grey, light blue, orange to red, black, banded6.5 to 7.0WaxyTranslucent
AlexandriteNamed after Czar Alexander II of Russia.1830 ADUral mountains in RussiaRussia, Brazil, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India, and MadagascarChrysoberylBluish green in daylight, purplish red in incandescent light8.5VitreousTransparent to opaqueOne of the three June birthstones in the United States
AmberFrom the Arabic "anbar".The Baltic Sea Region, Sicily, United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Myanmar, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Southern Mexico, Canada, and AlaskaMineraloidYellow, brown, whitish yellow, reddish, cream color, orange shades. Rarely blue, greenish, violetish2.0 to 2.5GreasyTransparent to nearly opaque
AmethystFrom the Ancient Greek "amethystos", meaning “not drunk.” It was believed you could drink all night and remain sober if you had this gemstone in your mouth.3000 BCEuropeBrazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, and United StatesQuartzPurple, violet7.0Vitreous to glossyTransparent to translucentFebruary birthstone in the United States
AmetrineA combination of the names amethyst and citrine.17th Century ADBrazilBolivia (only commercial source)QuartzBicolor orange/yellow and purple7.0VitreousTransparent to translucent
AquamarineFrom the Latin "aqua marina" for "sea water," in allusion to the color.1723 ADAdun-Chalon mountains in SiberiaBrazil, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria, and MadagascarBerylGreenish blue, light in tone7.5 to 8.0VitreousTransparent to translucentMarch birthstone in the United States
CitrineFrom the old French "citrin", meaning yellow.Brazil and BoliviaQuartzYellow, yellow-brown, orange, dark orange-brown, reddish-brown7.0VitreousTransparent to translucentOne of the two November birthstones in the United States
CoralFrom the Greek "korallion".Red Sea, the Midway Islands, the Canary Islands,Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, Sicily, Sardinia, and HawaiiMineraloidWhite, red, orange, pink, gray, black3.0 to 4.0Vitreous to waxyTranslucent to opaque
Cordierite (Iolite)Named after the French geologist Louis Cordier who first studied its crystals.1813 ADMadagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, and BrazilCordieriteBlue, purple, gray7.0 to 7.5VitreousTransparent to translucent
DanburiteNamed after the type locality, Danbury, Connecticut.1839 ADConnecticut, United StatesMexico, Russia, Japan, Myanmar, Madagascar, and BoliviaDanburiteColorless, white, gray, brownish white, straw yellow7.0 to 7.5Vitreous to greasyTransparent to translucent
DiamondFrom the Greek word "adamas", meaning the hardest steel, and hence the hardest gemstone.800 BC - 1000 BCGuntur and Krishna district of the Krishna River delta, Southern IndiaCentral and Southern Africa, Canada, India, Russia, Brazil, and AustraliaDiamondTypically yellow, brown, or gray to colorless. Less often blue, green, black, translucent white, pink, violet, orange, purple, and red10.0AdamantineTransparent to subtransparent to translucentApril birthstone in the United States
EmeraldFrom the Greek "smaragados" for "green", through the Latin "smaragdus" to the Middle English "esmeralde".1500 BCEgyptColumbia, Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and MadagascarBeryl Green shades to colorless7.5 to 8.0VitreousTransparent to opaqueMay birthstone in the United States
GarnetFrom the Latin "granatus" for “grain”.East Africa, Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Africa, and United StatesGarnetVirtually all colors, but blue is very rare6.5 to 7.5Vitreous to resinousTransparent to translucentJanuary birthstone in the United States
JadeFrom the Spanish "piedras de ijada", meaning “stone of the loins”.Since the Stone AgeChinaJadeite: Mynamar, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, and United States (California); Nephrite: China, Russia, Brazil, and United States (Wyoming, Alaska, and California)Jadeite and NephriteGreen, white, orange, yellow, lavender, black6.5 to 7.0 (Jadeite) and 6.0 to 6.5 (Nephrite)Vitreous to sugary (Jadeite); Vitreous to silky, waxy (Nephrite)Translucent to opaque
JasperFrom Old French "jaspre", meaning "spotted or speckled stone".At least between 4000 BC and 5000 BCPakistanIndia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Egypt, Madagascar, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay, and United States (Oregon, Idaho, Washington, California, Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, and Texas)Quartz and/or Chalcedony White, blue, red, green, yellow, orange, brown, gray, black, banded, multicolored6.5 to 7.0VitreousOpaque
Lapis LazuliFrom the Persian lazhward for blue stone.7000 BCKokcha River valley of Badakhshan province in northeastern AfghanistanAfghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Chile, Italy, Mongolia, United States, and CanadaMetamorphic rockGreenish blue to violetish blue5.0 to 5.5DullSemi-translucent to opaque
MoonstoneNamed after the lustrous “moonlight” sheen of the adularescent effect found in these stones.Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Mexico, and MadagascarFeldsparCan be numerous colors, including blue, grey, white, pink, peach, green and brown6.0VitreousTransparent to opaqueOne of the three June birthstones in the United States
MorganiteNamed after J. P. Morgan, American investment banker and financier.1910 ADAn island on the coast of MadagascarBrazil, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Pakistan, and United States (California, Maine, and Utah)BerylPink to orange-pink7.5 to 8.0VitreousTranslucent to transparent
OnyxFrom the Latin word (of the same spelling), and from the Greek ὄνυξ, meaning "claw" or "fingernail". Yemen, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Madagascar, United Kingdom, and United StatesChalcedonyVarious from white to almost every color (save some shades, such as purple or blue)6.5 to 7.0Vitreous to silkyTranslucent
OpalFrom the Latin name "opalus", possibly derived from the Ancient Greek "opallios" for "color changing".4000 BCPossibly EthiopiaAustralia, Mexico, and United StatesMineraloidColorless, white, yellow, orange, and red (various shades), yellowish brown, greenish, blue, gray, black, violet5.5 to 6.5Vitreous to waxy, pearlyTransparent to translucent to opaqueOne of the two October birthstones in the United States
PearlFrom the Old French "perle", Medieval Latin "perla", and Classical Latin "pernula" or "perna" for pearl.Japan, China, and the South PacificMineraloidWhite, black, gray, yellow, orange, pink, lavender, green, blue2.5 to 4.5Pearly to dullTranslucent to opaqueOne of the three June birthstones in the United States
PeridotPossibly from an alteration of Anglo–Norman pedoretés (classical Latin pæderot-), a kind of opal.1500 BCTopazo Island in the Egyptian Red SeaUnited States (Arizona), China, Myanmar, and PakistanOlivineYellow, yellow-green, olive-green, brownish, lime-green, emerald-ish hue6.5 to 7.0Oily to vitreousTransparent to translucent One of the three August birthstones in the United States
RhodochrositeFrom the Greek word for rose-colored, in allusion to the color.1813 ADRomania United States (Colorado and Montana), Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, and PeruRhodochrositePale pink, rose red, deep pink, orangish red, yellowish, gray, tan, brown3.5 to 4.0Vitreous to pearlyTransparent to translucent
RubyFrom the Latin "ruber" for red.Thailand, Myanmar, Madagasca, Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikstan, Australia, and United StatesCorundumAll varieties of red, from pinkish, purplish, orangey, brownish, to dark red9.0Vitreous to adamantineTransparent to opaqueJuly birthstone in the United States
SapphireFrom the Latin "sapphirus" for blue.Sri Lanka, Kenya, Myanmar, Tanzania, Kashmir, Madagascar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Australia, and United StatesCorundumColorless, white, gray, blue, blue-green, green, violet, purple, orange, yellow, yellow-green, brown, golden amber, peachy pink, pink, black9.0Vitreous to adamantineTransparent to opaqueSeptember birthstone in the United States
ScapoliteFrom the Greek “scapos” or "rod", and refers to the short rod-like crystal habit.1913 ADNorthern MyanmarTanzania, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, China, Myanmar, Brazil, and CanadaScapoliteWhite, colorless, yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple5.0 to 6.0VitreousTransparent to opaque
SodaliteNamed in allusion to the sodium content.1811 ADGreenlandAfghanistan, Australia, Brazil, and Canada (Ontario and British Columbia)SodaliteColorless; white, yellowish, greenish, reddish; usually light to dark blue.5.5 to 6.0Dull vitreous to greasyTransparent to translucent
SpinelPossibly from the Latin "spina" for “thorn,” alluding to spine-shaped crystals. Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tanzania, and MadagascarSpinelRed, pink, blue, lavender/violet, dark green, brown, black, colorless7.5 to 8.0VitreousTransparent to opaqueOne of the three August birthstones in the United States
SpodumeneFrom the Greek word "spodumenos" which means burnt to ashes, referring to its most common color. 1800 ADUtö, Södermanland, SwedenAfghanistan, Pakistan, Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, and United States (California and Maine)SpodumeneWhite, colorless, gray, pink, lilac, violet, yellow and green, may be bicolored6.5 to 7.0Vitreous, pearly on cleavageTransparent to opaque
SunstoneNamed after the “sun-like” golden red schiller effect found in some of these stones.India, Norway, Russia, Madagascar, and United States (Oregon)FeldsparColorless, yellow, red, green, blue, and copper shiller6.0 to 6.5VitreousTransparent to translucent
TanzaniteNamed after Tanzania, the country in which it was discovered.1967 ADMererani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern TanzaniaTanzaniaZoisiteBlue and violet6.5Vitreous, pearly on cleavage Transparent to translucentOne of the three December birthstones in the United States
TopazFrom the Sanskrit "tapas" for fire, alluding to the orange color, or from Topazos, an ancient Greek name for St. John's Island in the Red Sea where the gem was said to be mined.Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, China, Myanmar, Japan, Ukraine, Australia, Madagascar, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mexico, and United States (California, Utah, and New Hampshire)TopazColorless, blue, brown, orange, gray, yellow, green, pink, and reddish pink8.0VitreousTransparent to opaqueOne of the two November birthstones in the United States
TourmalineFrom the Tamil and Sinhalese word "Turmali" or "Thoramalli", which applied to different gemstones found in Sri Lanka.Brazil, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and MalawiTourmalineMost commonly black, but can range from colorless, brown, violet, yellow, orange, blue, red, green, pink, or bi-colored, or even tri-colored7.0 to 7.5Vitreous, sometimes resinousTransparent to opaqueOne of the two October birthstones in the United States
TurquoiseFrom the French turquois for “Turkish”. The stone was brought to Europe from Persia through Turkey.Over 7500 years agoIran, Afghanistan, China, Australia, Chile, Mexico, and United States (Arizona and Nevada)TurquoiseBlue, green, multicolored5.0 to 6.0Waxy to subvitreousOpaqueOne of the three December birthstones in the United States
ZirconFrom the Persian "zargun" meaning gold-hued.Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Australia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, and AfghanistanZirconReddish brown, yellow, green, blue, gray, colorless6.0 to 7.5Vitreous to adamantine; sometimes greasyTransparent to opaqueOne of the three December birthstones in the United States
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