A mineral needs to meet three requirements to be regarded as a gemstone: beauty, durability and scarcity, all of which are indispensable. Beauty mainly refers to the color and luster; durability refers to hardness and corrosion resistance and melting resistance; scarcity means limited natural reserves.
It makes sense to categorise such a large variety of gemstones by color, such as red, blue, yellow, and white. In this article we are going to introduce to you the most precious white gemstones in the world, as well as their characteristics, origins, values, meanings and iconic jewelry works.
Agate: the stone of happiness
Pasquale Bruni Bon Ton 18k Rose Gold White Agate & Diamond Necklace.
According to its classification, white agate has several shades. One is transparent and colorless, like a crystal that we can see through; the other one is opaque, yet we can still find a small amount of siliceous layers on closer inspection.
Agate is one of the seven treasures of Buddhism. It has been used as an amulet since ancient times. As the “birthstone of August”, agate is generally regarded as the stone of happiness. People believe that agate strengthens love, helps to improve the relationship between your lover and yourself, and therefore boosts harmony.
Diamond: the most precious and hard gemstone in nature
High end brands like Tiffany are very keen on making jewelry pieces with diamonds.
In as early as 1870, the Bernat brothers discovered the Kimberley diamond mine by accident, and it is thank to this discovery that we now know diamonds do exist in nature and in which kind of rocks they are contained.
Mohs hardness 10, new Mohs hardness 15, microhardness 10000kg/mm2, diamonds’ microhardness is 1000 times higher than that of quartz and 150 times higher than that of corundum. Due to this highest hardness, diamond cutting and processing must be performed with diamond powder or laser.
The Mohs hardness scale has 10 grades, where the diamond presents the highest grade of 10; the glass 6 is about, the knife is about 5.5, the copper coin is about 3.5 to 4, the nail is about 2 to 3.
Diamonds come in a variety of colors, from white to black, and colorless ones are particularly preferred. They can be transparent, translucent or opaque. Many diamonds are yellowish, which is mainly due to the impurities contained.
Because of its high refractive index, diamonds are really shining under the light. Large sized diamonds can be extremely valuable.
Moonstone: a gift from the goddess of the moon to humankind
Catbird and Leith Clark Collaboration Beaded Moonstone Choker.
Friendship, love, health, longevity and wealth
Moonstones are very beautiful gems. They have always been considered as a gift from the goddess of the moon, i.e. Selene to humankind, with its mysterious and irresistible power.
It is said that wearing moonstones when the moon is full, improves our consciousness and the power to feel supernatural forces and, very importantly, helps us meet good lovers.
Therefore, the moonstone is called “lovers’ stones“, due to the fact that it can evoke emotions and passions inside us. Moonstones are a symbol of friendship and love and are the best gift to love.
In some places the moonstone is also called the “travellers’ stone” because it is believed to have the power to protect travellers at night. In certain Asian countries, it is also used as a symbol of “no tears”.
In the United States, the Indians regard moonstones as a “sacred stone”, a commemorative gemstone for the thirteenth anniversary of marriage.
At the same time, the moonstone is also the birthstone for June, symbolising health, wealth and longevity.
Moonstones are usually white or colorless, either transparent or translucent with a light yellow, orange, brown, gray or green, and have a special moonlight effect, hence its name.
This is because the layered cryptolites of the two feldspars intersect in parallel with each other. This slight difference in refractive index scatters visible light. When cleavage planes exist, interference or diffraction can be accompanied.
Blue floating light of high quality moonstones.
The surface of the feldspar on light produces a blue floating light. If the layer is thicker, it produces off-white instead, and the glare effect will be not as good.
Care and maintenance
1. Avoid acid and alkali: Moonstone jewellery must not be washed with acid or alkaline liquids; therefore all cosmetics, perfumes, oil stains, etc. should be kept away.
2. Be careful of rubbing: Moonstones have a hardness of 6-6.5, which is a relatively soft material compared to other gemstones, so it is necessary to avoid friction and collision with hard materials to avoid scratches.
3. Don’t collide: Moonstones have two sets of complete cleavage inside, which can be easily broken by external forces. Beauty is fragile and needs careful protection.
Pearl: Health, peace, wealth and longevity
Pearls known as the “Queen of Jewels” are listed as a birthstone for June and a memorial gemstone for the thirteenth and thirtieth anniversary of marriage.
It symbolizes health, peace, wealth, and longevity. Pearls have been loved by people since ancient times and bring good wishes to people who are born in this month.
As the most popular gemstone ever, pearls come in a variety of colors, among which we are most familiar with are white and cream (light tan). Black, gray, and silver are also quite common. As a matter of fact, we can find almost every color in pearls.
Quartz or Rock crystal: common, popular and affordable
Chanel Café Society Vendome San Marco ring in white and yellow gold, with a Burmese ruby and brilliant-cut diamonds set into rock crystal.
Colorless and transparent quartz were called “Krystallos” by the Greeks, which means “ice”. Rock crystal belongs to the quartz family in mineralogy and is a kind of rare gemstones. Main component is silicon dioxide and the chemical formula is SiO2.
Rock crystal is generally colorless, gray or milky white; but when it contains trace elements like Al, Fe, it changes into multiple different colors like pink, purple, yellow, brown and so on.
Sapphire: well known for purity and rarity
White sapphire, also known as colorless sapphire, is a variety of “sapphire”. Since it is composed of pure aluminum oxide (AL2O3) without any color-causing elements, white sapphire is colorless and transparent.
The less impurities, the more transparency, the higher its value. But most white sapphires are usually cloudy or are a little bit gray, yellow and brown, which reduces the value. Colorless sapphire has always been popular in the jewelry world.
White sapphires are not widely produced. We can find them mainly in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Australia. In terms of gem quality, Sri Lanka has the best. Large white sapphires mined in Sri Lanka are truly pure and flawless and therefore are extremely rare and precious.
Meanings of white sapphire
The ancient Egyptians associated white sapphire with Horus, the god of sun; while the Greeks regarded such precious white gemstones as a symbol of Apollo.
Ancient Greeks used to mine white sapphire on the island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea. Containing zero iron, chromium, titanium or any other trace elements, this gem is known for purity. It is shiny, bright, and as popular as diamonds.
Topaz: friendship and happiness
Topaz is a November birthstone and a gemstone for the sixteenth anniversary of marriage. It symbolizes friendship and happiness.
The topaz is hard, has a high degree of transparency, a good reflective effect and really beautiful colors; there it has been popular for a long time. For example, as early as in the seventeenth century, the Braganza diamond, i.e. 1640 carats on the Portuguese crown was once considered the largest diamond in the world, which later was proven to be a colorless topaz.
Meanings of topaz
The ancient Greeks believed that the powder of topaz can be used to make wine in order to treat asthma, insomnia, burns and bleeding. In addition, topaz can regulate the lymphatic function, improving problems related to the respiratory tract, trachea, and throat. Topaz also helps digestion, strengthens the stomach and intestines, and helps eliminate abdominal fat.
Currently we believe topaz can be worn as an amulet to eliminate sorrow and increase confidence; Wearing it as a pendant is said to help make us emotionally stable, and avoid nightmares.
The color is the most important criterion for evaluating such a November birthstone, preferably to be intense, pure and uniformed. It is mainly caused by the iron or chromium in the crystal and different colors have different values.
A typical topaz is yellow or burgundy, other colors including blue, white, gray and green and transparent.
Amazingly colorful tourmaline: the rainbow that fell into the earth
Joy, Positive energy, Charm and Self confidence
Tourmaline, also known as the wish stone, has strong energy itself and is a gem that tends to absorb.
In 1500, a Portuguese exploration team discovered a gem in Brazil that glowed with colorful neon lights. This gem hidden at the foot of the rainbow that day was therefore called tourmaline by future generations, also known as “the rainbow that fell into the earth”.
At present, tourmaline together with ruby, sapphire, aquamarine, tanzanite, emerald, is classified as precious gemstones, which is deeply loved by the public and have huge market values.
Colorless tourmaline or Achroite
Colorless tourmalines are very rare, with only a small amount produced in Madagascar and California. It should be noted that some colorless tourmalines on the market now are made through heating and diluting pink tourmalines.
The English name of colorless tourmaline comes from the ancient Greek “achroos”, meaning colorless.
In the end
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- Black gemstones: Carbonado commonly known as black diamond, Obsidian, Onyx black, Pearl black, Sapphire black, Schorl known as Black Tourmaline, Spinel black
- Blue gemstones: Aquamarine, Diamond blue, Indicolite or Blue Tourmaline, Sapphire, Tanzanite, Topaz blue, Spinel blue
- Green gemstones: Agate Green, Amazonite, Aventurine, Bloodstone, Emerald, Jade, Malachite, Peridot, Tourmaline Green, Tsavorites- known as Garnet green
- Orange gemstones: Amber Orange, Carnelian Orange, Diamond Orange, Fire Opal or Pyrophane, Fluorite Orange, Sapphire Orange, Sunstone Orange, Sphalerite Orange, Sunstone Orange, Topaz Orange, Zircon Orange
- Pink gemstones: Diamond pink, Kunzite, Morganite, Rose quartz, Sapphire pink, Spinel pink, Tourmaline pink
- Purplegemstones : Amethyst, Chalcedony Purple, Kunzite, Sapphire purple, Sugilite, Tourmaline Purple
- Red gemstones: Carnelian, Diamond red, Fire Opal or Pyrophane, Rhodolite- red garnet, Rubellite- red tourmaline, Ruby, Spinel red
- White gemstones: Agate, Diamond, Moonstone, Pearl, Quartz or Rock crystal, Sapphire, Topaz, tourmaline
- Yellow gemstones: Alexandrite yellow, Citrine, Diamond yellow, Heliodor known as Yellow Beryl, Sapphire yellow, Topaz yellow, Tourmaline yellow