In Science, Metaphysics, History and Myth

Amethyst is the purple variety of Quartz. The color is induced by impurities of iron, or perhaps iron and manganese.

Amethyst has a long history of use as a gem and as a magical stone. The name is derived from an ancient Greek word meaning “not to intoxicate”: In Greek myth, the God Bacchus got mad at the goddess Diana, decided to get even with her by having the next person he saw devoured by tigers. A beautiful maiden named Amethyst was the first to cross his path afterward, and he set the tigers upon her. She called upon Diana for protection, and to save her, Diana turned her to a hard, clear stone. Bacchus came to regret his deed, and in despair poured his favorite beverage, a nice purple grape wine over the clear stone statue that Amethyst had become. The color was absorbed by the stone, and became permanently purple.
Because of this story, the legend that amethyst would prevent intoxication began centuries ago, and continues in some areas today.

Amethyst is occasionally known as the “bishop’s stone” due to the fact that amethysts are the predominant stone worn by bishops of the Catholic church.

Amethyst is found in Mexico, especially in the Vera Cruz area, in Canada, especially in the Thunder Bay area. It also comes from Siberia, Uruguay, and the major source of amethyst for gemstones is Brazil. In the U.S. Amethyst is found on Four Peaks, near Phoenix, Arizona and at several other localities in Arizona Including the now famous Fat Jack Mine. It is also found in Colorado, North Carolina and many other areas.

Current metaphysical beliefs about amethyst include:

Balances emotions, enhances compassion and tolerance, helps to blend opposing personalities into strong relationships.
Keeps you in touch with your spirituality and helps you reach your highest goals.
Balances and heals all chakras, but especially the third & seventh.
Keeps you grounded, and aids in Channeling.

AZURITE

Azurite – Malachite

Azurite, a copper carbonate, is almost always found intimately associated with malachite which is nearly identical chemically to it: Azurite’s formula is 2CuCO3 * Cu(OH)2, while malachite is CuCO3 * Cu(OH)2. Given time and the proper environmental conditions, azurite almost always alters to malachite. Because of this factor, azurite is much less common than malachite. And, since azurite was often used as a pigment in oil paints, this natural alteration process has turned the blue skies, and other blue areas into green on some paintings from previous centuries.

Azurite is found in many areas, but the major sources are Morocco; Chessy, France; Tsumeb, Namibia (South West Africa); Zacatecas, Mexico; and China. In the U.S., Arizona is a major source for azurite: Incredibly beautiful specimens have been found in Bisbee and Morenci, while many other Arizona copper deposits have produced some very nice specimens. California, Utah and New Mexico have also been significant producers.

Metaphysical attributes claimed of azurite include:

Helps body utilize oxygen and strengthens blood.
Reduces stress and confusion.
Aids in controlling emotions.
Enhances psychic abilities and creativity
Malachite is a great absorber of negative energies, therefore requiring regular “cleansing “; however, when combined with azurite, the negativity will be dispersed rather than stored.

CHRYSOCOLLA

and “Gem Silica”

This is an example of the very finest GEM DRUSY SILICA.
material of this quality is very rare and very expensive.

Until recently, GEM SILICA was a very rare material, found almost exclusively in Arizona, mostly from mines in the Globe-Miami area. It is chalcedony (silicon dioxide) covering, containing and mixed with chrysocolla which is a copper silicate. Small quantities of Gem silica have been found in other regions in the last couple of years.

Chrysocolla itself is a fairly common mineral, occurring in small quantities in many areas, usually associated with other copper minerals. Unfortunately, pure chrysocolla is usually too soft and crumbly to be used in jewelry, even though it is a beautiful stone. But when a deposit of chrysocolla is visited by silica laden solutions, one of the most attractive and uncommon gemstones is formed.

Look closely into a gem silica – chrysocolla and you will see “worlds within worlds”: landscapes, abstract forms, bullseyes and indescribable structures. Often, the chrysocolla will contain other minerals such as green malachite, black tenorite and (rarely) dark blue azurite or red cuprite, as well as other exceedingly rare minerals.

Modern metaphysical powers ascribed to chrysocolla include:

Aids in preventing ulcers, digestive problems and arthritis.
Balances hormones, Alleviates fears, guilt and tension.
Amplifies creativity, joy and communication.
Neutralizes anger and calms frazzled nerves.
Gem silica – Chrysocolla supposedly has the same metaphysical powers that plain chrysocolla has, but is stronger, because the silica acts as an amplifier.

Often confused with turquoise by novices, Gem Silica is much more interesting and valuable.

DIAMONDS

I never really cared for diamonds until recently- I always thought that they were vastly over-rated as gemstones, and never really felt that that they had any value metaphysically. But, a few months ago, I started a part-time job as a jeweler for a traditional jewelry store that deals mostly in gold and diamonds. There, and mostly by accident, I discovered that diamonds are a superb channel of powers of Spirit. Both the elemental powers of Spirit, and on the Astral and Spiritual Planes. Some of the metaphysical authors and researchers claim that diamond is primarily for fire energy, But my experience indicates that Spirit is its major use, although it does have a fire component.

The earliest known diamonds probably came from India- where most deposits are entirely depleted today. Today, most diamonds come from Africa- Mined from “kimberlite pipes” (A geological term), some from shafts over two miles deep; Also gathered from river beds, beaches and the ocean floor on the west coast of the continent. Russia (Siberia), Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Australia, Canada and China are notable producers. In the U.S., Colorado has very recently become a significant source of diamonds- (so far they are mostly fairly small).

Arkansas is the most famous U.S. producer, and there is even a mine called “The Crater of Diamonds” where you can go and for a small fee, try to find your own diamond. So far, the largest diamond found in the US (in Arkansas) is a 40.23 carat (rough weight) that was cut into a 12.42 fine quality rectangular gem. Also in the U.S. a very limited number of diamonds have been found in California, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and a few other states. There is considerable interest in diamond prospecting in Montana and neighboring states lately.

Diamonds are probably the most highly controlled gemstone in the world- The De Beers conglomerate tries to control the market with an iron grip. If not for De Beers, Diamonds would probably cost half what they do, although one good thing about De Beers is that they do tend to create a smooth, reliable flow of diamonds, rather than a “boom and bust” cycle that would probably exist without them.

Diamond crystals are usually octahedral in shape, forming in the Cubic system. They are pure Carbon- the only gemstone that consists of a single element. By far, the greatest percentage of diamonds are not of gem quality. Most are tiny, and not clear. While most people are familiar with diamonds as being colorless, they can range from opaque black to brown, orange, yellow, blue, green, pink, violet and even red(ish). Deeply colored, bright stones are very rare and very expensive. Non- gem diamonds are very useful industrially- as the hardest substance known, it is a superb abrasive.

Diamonds have also been formed synthetically- Carbon under great pressure and heat can be converted into diamond under the right conditions. Some gem quality stones have been made, but they rarely are over one carat.

EMERALD

emrald1.jpg (7799 bytes)emrald2.jpg (4356 bytes)

Emerald is the green version of the mineral Beryl. (Chemical composition: Beryllium – aluminum Silicate) The green color in emerald comes from chrome (Chromium) carried as an impurity {and what a wonderful impurity it is!!}. It usually is found in highly metamorphic geological formations , in schists and shales. (unlike other members of the beryl family which are usually found in pegmatites.)

Emerald is the May birthstone, and symbolizes Faith, Goodness, and Kindness, and was considered the talismanic stone of the goddess Venus.

The first emeralds known to “civilization” probably came from northern Egypt, but Colombia in South America is the most famous and possibly the most important source for high-quality stones. Siberia (Russia), Brazil, and the Sandawana area in Zimbabwe are known to have produced significant quantities of gems. New discoveries in Siberia, Brazil and in Africa occur with some regularity, and it is possible that one day there will be a source that out-shines Muzo and Chivor in Colombia, but for now, the Colombian emeralds generally have the best color. In the U.S., North Carolina, especially the Spruce Pine area is the only significant source of emerald. Some of the colors found there are superb- (I have personally mined some very pretty stones there), But they are rarely over a carat or so, and are usually considered a collectors item more so than source for jewelry.

Emeralds can range in price from quite cheap to incredibly expensive. Like most gemstones the price depends on the color, the size and the clarity of the stone. A top quality emerald will probably cost more than the equivalent quality Diamond. Rubies are the only stone that regularly beats Emerald in price where size and quality are equal.

Emeralds are often “enhanced” by oiling, waxing or several higher tech methods. There are a few types of “synthetic” emerald- Ranging from “lab grown” which duplicate the chemistry and conditions under which natural emeralds form, to outright fakes of other materials or even doublets or triplets using non or lightly colored beryl sandwiching a dark green glass etc. If you are in the market for a higher priced stone, to be safe, buy from a highly reputable jeweler, or with the assistance of an independent professional gemologist. There is a lot of trickery in the emerald market.

Metaphysically:

Emerald has been considered as a “medicinal” stone to soothe strained and tired eyes, just by gazing at a nice green one. Engraved with the image of a frog, it is supposed to help restore peace. It is the talisman stone not only of Venus as mentioned above, but The Guardian Angel Muriel, and is the stone of all the “Angel Princes”. It is supposed by many to be good for preventing epileptic attacks, stopping bleeding and soothing fears and irritations. It is the fourth stone in Aaron’s Breastplate. In “gem elixirs” it is supposed to be good for all kinds of digestive problems. It is also said to be of value in immune system deficiencies, and to improve meditation and psychic abilities.

QUARTZ

Clear quartz crystals are made of silicon and oxygen, combined to form silicon dioxide. It is the most common single mineral in the earth’s crust. It is found virtually everywhere. It is found in “perfect” single crystals from microscopic size to many tons. Common sand is composed primarily of quartz.

Quartz has many industrial uses: It is used as a flux and sometimes an alloying agent in metal smelting. It is the major ingredient in glass. It is very important in electronics- transistors and other solid state devices are based upon quartz’s or silicon’s physical properties.

Nearly every country and state produces clear quartz crystals, and to list them all would be just about impossible. The major producers of quartz include Brazil, Madagascar, Colombia and Arkansas.

While pure quartz is clear (colorless) impurities may give it color. Colored quartz is usually known by other names; Yellow to orange: CITRINE, Purple: AMETHYST, Pink: ROSE QUARTZ, Brown to Gray: SMOKEY or CARINGORM. Non- crystalline (technically cryptocrystalline) varieties of quartz include: AGATE, JASPER, CHALCEDONY, CHRYSOPRASE, BLOODSTONE and many others.

The history, mythology and lore of quartz crystals have provided the material for several books. Almost all societies from the dawn of man have held quartz crystals in esteem. Some used them for utilitarian purposes, more have used them for mystical purposes and in religious ceremonies and offerings to obtain the favors of their Gods. Who hasn’t heard of “looking into the crystal” to read the future? This belief was prominent in many cultures, from eastern and western Europe to China and even among Native Americans.

Modern metaphysical belief has ascribed to quartz many amazing powers. There have been so many claims made about what quartz can do, or help you do, that I can only list a few here:

Enhances the body and the mind.
Activates the pineal and pituitary gland.
Balances the emotions.
Stimulates brain function and amplifies thought forms.
Activates all levels of consciousness.
Dispels negativity in one’s personal energy field and environment.
Receives, stores, transmits, activates and amplifies energy.
Aids meditation and communication with the Higher Self and Spirit guides.

HEMATITE

Hematite is the major ore of iron, and is a quite common mineral. Solid, massive hematite has been used in jewelry for centuries, usually as beads, carvings, cameos, and occasionally faceted and called Black Diamond. However hematite CRYSTALS in a form suitable for jewelry use is fairly rare.

Chemically, hematite is iron oxide. (Rust is a combination of hematite and other iron oxides.) Major sources of hematite are near Lake Superior in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, Elba Isle (Italy), Cumberland, England and the Ural mountains in Russia. Most of the massive hematite used in jewelry comes from Brazil, and the major sources of hematite crystals are Arizona, Brazil and Switzerland. While massive hematite is a silvery black, powdered hematite is a brownish red. The color of this powder, especially when wet results in the name which is from both the Greek and Latin for bloodlike.

In the “olden days” hematite was considered a powerful talisman. In Babylon it was reputed that amulets of hematite would obtain the favor of kings and judges. In Rome, it was associated with the god Mars, and as such, it was a popular talisman for warriors who rubbed themselves all over with a hematite stone to confer invulnerability. In many societies, powdered and mixed with water, it was used as a substitute or imitation blood in various religious rituals.

Currently the metaphysical powers attributed to hematite include a power over all kinds of problems of the blood and circulatory system. It increases resistance to stress. It is supposed to increase energy, vitality, optimism, will, courage and enhances a magnetic personality.

Hematite is a very good “ground” and works to cut off unwanted influences from the astral plane. It also helps one to deal with changes in life and lifestyle.

JADE

The name of jade derives from the Spanish “piedra de ijada” which translates to “Stone of the side” because of the belief that if a piece of jade was applied to the side of the body, it would cure kidney ailments.

There are two minerals which are called jade; Jadeite, a sodium- aluminum silicate is the true jade. Nephrite a calcium – magnesium silicate is often called jade, but the purist may feel that nephrite is not a real jade, although it is very similar in almost all of its physical properties.

The premier source of jadeite is in the Tawmaw and Hpakan areas of Burma. It is also found in Guatemala, California, China, Japan and a few other places, generally in small quantities, and far from gem quality. Nephrite is more common, it is found in China, Siberia, New Zealand, Wyoming, California, Alaska, British Columbia, Poland, Taiwan and several other places. Jadeite and nephrite are found in a wide variety of colors, but green, black, gray and white are the most common.

Entire books have been written on the myths and legends of jade. It has quite a long history. Especially valued in Oriental societies, as well as in Central and South America. Even back to prehistoric times, important personages have been buried with gems and implements of jade. The jade miners in Burma daily pray to the jade spirits (Nats).
Even today, many people refuse to be separated from their jade talisman or amulet.

Current metaphysical beliefs about jade include:

Relaxes and soothes the mind.
Cleanses and balances kidneys, spleen, liver, pancreas, stomach & colon.
Brings good luck and fortune.