Agates : Balancing physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual energies; perceptiveness, strength, inspiration, awakening talents.
Amazonite : Success, joy, self-expression, awakening heart, soothing, harmony, balancing.
Amber : Soothing, calming, cleansing.
Amethyst : Contentment, spirituality, dreams, healing, peace, happiness, love, intuition.
Ametrine : Intellectual stimulation, attunement, releasing, dispelling tension, connecting.
Apatite : Intellect, achieving results, healing, insight, humanitarianism, meditation, balance, creativity.
Aquamarine : Courage, purification, peace, intuition, self-expression, balance, preparedness.
Aventurine : Healing, money, mental agility, visual acuity, peace, opening heart, motivation, leadership. Azurite : Intuitive energy, dreams, healing, insight, stilling the mind, concentration, self transformation.
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Bloodstone : Courage, intense healing, renewal, strength, victory, intuitive decision making.
Calcite : Purification, peace, calming, memory, awareness, appreciation of nature.
Carnelian : Precision, analytical capabilities, physical energy, verbal skill, peace, spirituality.
Celestite : Verbal skill, healing, compassion, calming, growth, intuition, hope.
Chrysocolla : Easing heartache, stamina, wisdom, peace, love, communication, vitality, inner strength.
Chrysoprase : Balancing male-female energy, love, grace, compassion, clemency, personal growth.
Citrine : Intuition, comfort, protection, creativity, physical energy, wealth, mental awakening.
Coral : Diplomacy, quieting emotions, visualization.
Crystal Quartz : Intensifying energy, spiritual development, healing, raising consciousness.
Diamond : Courage, strength, healing, protection, spirituality, mental abilities.
Dumortierite : Self-reliance, stamina, patience, recognition of potential, understanding, communication of ideas.
Emerald : Love, domestic bliss, sensitivity, loyalty, memory, mental capacity, harmony, focus, eliminating negativity.
Fluorite : Stability, impartial reasoning, responsibility, concentration, health.
Fossil Stone : Accomplishments, improvement of one's environment, communication, innovation.
Garnet : Health, removing negativity, awareness, commitment, regeneration, order, insight.
Hematite : Mental attunement, memory, calming, balance, focusing energy and emotions, peace, inner happiness, transforming negativity.
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Howlite : Awareness, calm, emotional expression, observation, patience, eliminating negativity.
Iolite : Intuition, spiritual growth, healing, balance, releasing discord, awakening to inner knowledge.
Jade : Fidelity, dreams, realization of potential, peace, accord, resourcefulness, accomplishment.
Jaspers : Protection, nurturing, joy, awareness; balancing of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual energies.
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Labradorite : Alignment, spiritual connection, transformation, clarity, peace, progression, discernment.
Lapis Lazuli : Wisdom, intuition, awareness, objectivity, clarity, creativity, expanded consciousness, dreams, purity, courage, serenity.
Lepidolite : Hope, stress reduction, birth, peace, spirituality, physical strength, luck, protection, emotional balance.
Malachite : Transformation, insight, clarifying emotions, fidelity, loyalty, practicality.
Marble : Charitable actions, original thinking, alleviation of sorrow.
Moonstone : Introspection, reflection, beginnings, insight, tenderness, harmony, peace, travel.
Mother of Pearl : Mental clarity, intuition, sensitivity, imagination, adaptability, cooperation.
Obsidians : Clarity, deflecting negativity, protection, healing.
Onyx : Self-control, decision making, intuition, recognition of personal strengths.
Opal : Creativity, spontaneity, relationships, memory, happy dreams and changes.
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Pearl : Purity, faith, charity, innocence, integrity, focus, wisdom, spirituality, sincerity, fertility.
Peridot : Warmth, friendliness, understanding, openness in love and relationships, regulation of cycles.
Pyrite : Defense, prevention, protection from negativity, physical wholeness, memory.
Rhodocrosite : Love, emotional balance, cleansing, renewal, relaxation, expansion of consciousness.
Rhodonite : Peace, generosity, attention to details.
Rhyolite : Change, variety, progress, creativity, transcending barriers.
Rose Quartz : Love, peace, happiness, gentleness, healing emotional wounds.
Ruby : Nurturing, spiritual wisdom, attainment of values, economic stability, protection from distress.
Sapphire : Joy, peace, beauty, intuition, prosperity, fulfillment of dreams.
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Serpentine : (see Jade)
Smoky Quartz : Dissolving emotional blockage, clearing the mind, cooperation, personal pride, joy in living, attentiveness to the moment, protection.
Sodalite : Wisdom, logic, calmness, healing, stress reduction, companionship, self-esteem.
Sunstone : Alleviating fears, energizing, cleansing.
Tanzanite : Communication, intuition, protection, symmetry, decision-making, spirituality.
Tiger Eye : Practicality, peacefulness, clarity, intelligence, intuition, new experiences, financial stability, calmness, releasing inhibitions.
Tiger Iron : Artistic endeavors, beauty, vitality.
Topaz : True love, success in endeavors, understanding of interrelationships, expression of ideas, trust, health, personal expansion and growth.
Tourmaline : Energizing, soul-searching, releasing.
Turquoise : Spiritual attunement, cleansing, healing, protection, valor, soothing, peace of mind, guidance through the unknown, romantic spontaneity.
Unakite : Balance, re-birth, foresight, emotional balance.Zoisite: Dispelling laziness, facilitating advancement.
Pearls may be the world's oldest gems. Unlike crystal gemstones, which have to be worked before becoming beautiful and usable, pearls arrived from the water in a finished form, ready to enjoy. Natives needed very little skill to drill a hole through the relatively soft pearl to produce a pendant or necklace.
In the beginning, pearls were all naturals, accidents of nature occurring when an oyster or mussel reacted to a foreign object that it was unable to expel. To protect itself, the mollusk coated the irritant with nacre (mother of pearl) to make it smooth. The 8-strand gorgeous Persian Gulf natural pearl necklace above is a perfect example of these grand old artifacts. Fortunately some still exist in the market.
Beginning with Mikimoto in the 1890s, various people found ways to induce pearl production by inserting round shell beads into oysters. Once the mollusks coated the beads with nacre, the new products became "cultured pearls." Fred Ward's newly revised book on pearls clearly describes the history of pearls as well as the different types: natural, cultured, saltwater, freshwater, South Seas, and black pearls. The islands surrounding Tahiti are most famous for black pearls, although they are grown in other places. The Tahitian beauty, above left, is wearing a splendidly matched necklace of 16mm black pearls (and little else). Pearls occur in a number of colors; pink, white, silver, yellow, gold, cream, blue, and black. Different countries prefer different colors, and there is a market attempt to deliver colors that sell. Historically, cultured pearls up to 10mm were produced in Japan and those from 10 to 20mm, called South Sea Pearls, came from farms throughout the Pacific.
Today cultured pearls dominate the world pearl market. Now natural pearls are sought by collectors who want the best and are worth a fortune.
For the first several thousand years of pearl use, all pearls were naturals. Saltwater naturals, which used to come mainly from the Persian Gulf, were also sought by divers around India, Panama, and Mexico. Freshwater naturals were best known from the rivers of Scotland, continental Europe, and the Tennessee and Mississippi River valleys in the USA.
South Sea Pearls are considered the grandest of all cultured pearls. Utilizing the huge oysters that flourish in the warm clean waters of the Pacific, a new generation of pearl farmers has recently revolutionized what had been merely an extension of the Japanese pearl trade. The Japanese originally expanded into the South Seas after World War II as a means of growing larger, more profitable pearls. Once they began farming in Burma and Australia, they kept their techniques secret, employing only Japanese technicians and technology and exporting the pearl crops back to Kobe for marketing.
Directed by a small group of young Australian pearlers, South Sea pearl farming recently entered a new era. Gaining more control of their pearl farms and marketing, the Aussies evaluated oyster husbandry in order to make larger and more perfect pearls. They threw out much of what they learned from the Japanese and established new implantation, tending, and harvesting protocols to grow more, larger, and better pearls. Already the Australians are making the finest cultured pearls ever grown, absolutely round, up to 20mm in diameter, with great luster and surfaces.
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By far most of the world's cultured pearls are freshwater pearls produced in China, an estimated 1500 tons a year! Mostly they are inexpensive (read dull, cheap, and uninteresting). But Chinese pearl farmers are industrious and creative. From the 1970s until now they have improved their product until today they routinely culture great pearls like these beauties to the right, which are large, round, lustrous, colorful, with metallic-like surfaces. These cost less than $10,000 with diamond rondelles. Much of the controversy during the past five years has been how the Chinese are producing large round freshwater pearls. The answer is, "anyway they can." Some are traditionally tissue-nucleated. Others are nucleated with shell beads (like saltwater pearls), with old rounded pearls, and some with wax spheres. Never before has there been such variety.
The last of the great pearl types are the dramatic black, gray, and now multicolored beauties first available from Tahiti and now cultured on a variety of tropical islands from Tahiti all the way to Hawaii. Black Tahitian pearls generally cost less than comparable South Sea Pearls. Tahitian pearls are usually not a woman's first purchase. But sophisticated buyers typically want a black strand in their collections. Among several recent popular innovations are new colors, "metallic" lustre and surfaces, and faceting. For a memorable fashion statement, consider black or colored Tahitian pearls.
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