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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
Jade: most prized gem in its green variety but white works too
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Jade is an ornamental mineral known for its beautiful green hue. This gem can be formed from one of two minerals, nephrite and jadeite. Jade has been used for centuries in China, as it is thought to bring good fortune. It has a hardness of 6.0-7.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness while nephrite is slightly softer, ranging between 6.0-6.5.
Jade is most prized gem in its green variety, however, it can be also found in red, pink, black, white, brown, and purple. The gemstone has a luster that most would describe as “greasy,” which is not normally found in other gems.
This gemstone is common in China, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and North America, normally speaking, in metamorphic rocks which are associated with subduction zones.
Although jade is used in a lot of jewelry, it is more commonly used in cultural and spiritual art pieces.
Jade is approximately worth over $3000.00 USD per ounce, making it far more valuable than gold.
Meanings of Jade
It has been long believed that jade provides its wearer with enhanced clarity, wisdom, and intuition. For this reason, jade pendants have long been worn as protective talismans.
Moonstone: a gift from the goddess of the moon to humankind
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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.
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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.
Moonstones are either transparent or translucent with a light color.
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.
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Opal: the “palette” of all gemstones
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Love, passion and hope
Opal is the birthstone of October. In fact, throughout most of human history, opal has been considered the luckiest and most amazing gemstone thanks to its excellent capability to present all of colors on it own.
Colors and categories
Experts have classified high quality opals into five categories, namely: White Opal, Black Opal, Fire Opal or Pyrophane, Boulder Opal, Crystal Opal. White opal is also called “milk opal” because its background color is translucent white or light-toned. It is mostly mined in Coober Pedy, Australia, and the amount of high-quality white opal is very small.
Pearl: Health, peace, wealth and longevity
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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.
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Quartz or Rock crystal: common, popular and affordable
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
Zircon: So many colors!
While perusing birthstones by month, you’ll have an easy time setting your sights on a stone that comes in so many colors, you may feel unlimited choices as you browse Zircons. These gems come in white, blue, red, green, yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple, gray or colorless.
Whatever the color, you will give a gem that’s an impressive 7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale (10 is hardest). Colorless zircons can look just like diamonds, but the price tag will probably give the secret away.
A “stone of virtue.”
You couldn’t give more meanings to a birthstone for December. The name Zircon originated in Persia where Zircons served all sorts of purposes. Known as the “stone of virtue,” they are still used in the practice of Far Eastern religions and believers say that the right Zircon can impact specific chakras.
Said to help wearers hone their intuition, Zircons are reputed to keep the wearer spiritually grounded and help them hone their psychic communication skills, too.
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You can find inexpensive stones running as little as $35 per carat up to $400 per carat for the highest quality stones in hard-to-find colors. This price range is great news for budget-constrained gift givers.
Conclusion on white gemstones
Thank you for reading this article on white gemstones, feel to share your thoughts below or check other articles on gemstones that we have published.
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