Not What They Seem

Don't let the name fool you. These stones are exquisite and don't always come cheap, so you don't want to choose the wrong one. If you want something with purpose and pizzazz, you can find it, but first you have to know what to look for. Let us help with a quick guide to all that is precious... or semi-precious.

Find Your Birthstone
Month Birthstone Gem
January   Garnet
February   Amethyst
March   Aquamarine
April   Diamond
May   Emerald
June   Pearl
July   Ruby
August   Peridot
September   Sapphire
October   Opal
November   Topaz/Citrine
December   Turquoise/Blue Topaz
A Little Shimmer and Shine
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What's the Difference?

So if these are semi-precious stones, what's it mean to be precious? The stones classified as precious are diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Semi-precious stones include the amethyst, opal, pearl, topaz, and more.

So how did people determine whether or not one was precious? In the jewelry world, it's all about frequency: how rare is the stone? Semi-precious are more common than precious ones. But just because it's more common, doesn't mean it's less beautiful. Semi-precious jewelry can be just as stunning as its counterpart.

Make It Last

Know how to properly care for your jewelry and it will remain beautiful and usable for many years.

• To clean off dust, soak them in water with gentle soap.

• If your stone is softer, don't wear it during strenuous activity.

• Opaque and organic gemstones should never be cleaned with Ultrasonics, ammonia, or any chemical solution.

• Wipe them clean with a moist cloth.

• Store them separately so they don't scratch.

With the guides below, you can find special care instructions for your specific stone.


Hardness - The Mohs Scale

The Mohs scale measures the scratch resistance of a stone. The hardness of a mineral is measured against the scale by finding the hardest material that the mineral can scratch, and/or the softest material that can scratch the mineral.

Gemstone Hardness
Diamond   10
Topaz   8
Aquamarine   7.5 - 8
Garnet   7.5
Amethyst   7
Citrine   7
Onyx   6.5 - 7
Peridot   6.5 - 7
Tanzanite   6.5
Opal   5.5 - 6.5
Pearl   2.5 - 5.5

Tell Me What It's All About


This beautiful gem is a transparent, purple-colored quartz - considered the most beautiful and valuable quartz - but can range in color from lavender-pink to black-purple. Durable enough for everyday wear, the amethyst is mined mostly in Brazil. Its root comes from the Greek "amethustos" meaning "not drunken" and was believed to have a soothing affect because of its color.
Care tip: clean with Ultrasonic or warm, soapy water. Avoid steam cleaning.


This gem often replaces the topaz in birthstone jewelry. Mined in Brazil, citrine can range in color from sun-yellow to clay-orange to a deep red. In legend, the citrine is believed to lend cheerfulness and hope to an unpleasant situation and help to unite all the aspects of your personality: mental, emotional, and intuitive.
Care tip: clean with Ultrasonic or warm, soapy water. Avoid steam cleaning.


Although it’s known for its black color, onyx is found in brown or with white bands around it. These stones are known as sardonyx. Mostly useful in carving. Often it is used as backgrounds for other stones to set off their color.
Care tip: clean with a soft, dry cloth. Chips easily, so avoid dropping it.


These gems are not minerals like most, but the by-product of oysters. Produced in Japan, they range in color from white to black. It was believed by the Hindus that pearls brought good luck and were given to brides. They are equated with wisdom and purity.
Care tip: clean by wiping with a soft damp cloth after wear. No Ultrasonic. No steaming. Avoid detergents, bleaches, powdered cleansers, ammonia-based chemicals. Acetone is safe to remove stains and glue. Put them on after using hairspray, perfume, and cosmetics. They should be checked yearly for restringing.


This gem gives off an array of beautiful colors when viewed from different angles, from violet to blue to bronze. Tanzanite is mined in many places, including Tanzania, Scotland, and Italy. Discovered in the 70's, this is one of the newest gemstones and extremely popular in the market because of its colors.
Care tip: clean with warm, soapy water. Avoid Ultrasonics and Steamers.


This blue-green gem received its name from the Latin word for seawater. Its color ranges from an iridescent blue to a strong sea color. As the color becomes more intense, the price of this gem heightens. Mined in Brazil, Russia, and Sri Lanka. The cool, light color was believed to relax the body and banish fears and phobias.
Care tip: clean with Ultrasonic or warm water.


From the Latin word “granatus” meaning “grain,” the garnet’s name comes from a comparison of garnet grains with pomegranate seeds. Mined in Africa, India, and Thailand. However, the garnet is found in more colors than simply red.
Care tip: clean in Ultrasonic or with warm, soapy water.


Australia is the world’s leading supplier of opals. From the Greek word “Opallio’s” meaning “to see a color change,” the opal has a range of colors described as fire, lighting, the rainbow, and seas. Ancient Easter customs regarded it as sacred, embodying the spirit of truth.
Care tip: avoid heat. No steaming. No Ultrasonic.


Mined in many countries, including Australia, Brazil, and Egypt. This gem was used for protection against enchantments, melancholy, and illusion. Believed to be more valuable than diamonds, it was considered currency to pay tribute to Egyptian rulers.
Care tip: clean with warm, soapy water. Ultrasonics are risky. Some cleaning solutions and acids will attack peridot.


Typically yellow or brown in color, the topaz can also be found in red, blue, green, violet, and without color. It is second only to some precious stones when it comes to hardness. Believed to dispel sadness, anger, and fear and warn of poison, it has been largely replaced in jewelry by the less expensive citrine. However the blue topaz has become the biggest selling, non-traditional color stone in the US.
Care tip: clean with warm water. Avoid Ultrasonic cleansers.


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