The Gem Guide

 

Loren Stewart has been using precious stones since the very beginning. We have long been drawn to the mysterious allure of these ancient stones and the power they impart on the wearer. So we decided to put together some information about all the gems that we love to help you find your “diamond in the rough.”

Gems are minerals that are used decoratively, and valued for their rarity, durability, & beauty. Gems are measured by their carat weight. One carat is equal to one-fifth of a gram, and is not to be confused with a karat (a unit of measurement for gold purity).

Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are considered “precious gems.” This categorization is based on their rarity in ancient times, as well as their translucency, natural color, and hardness. All other gems are considered “semi-precious.”

Loren Stewart is a member of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee. All our diamonds pass Kimberly Process Certification to ensure they are mined and shipped ethically. We source exclusively from lapidaries that operate in adherence with US labor standards.

 

 

 

MEET THE GEMSTONES

 

DIAMOND

Diamonds are known for their iconic sparkle & outstanding durability. They symbolize purity, longevity, protection, & everlasting love. Diamonds can be white, black, yellow, pink, or red in color.

Since ancient times, people have attributed magical properties to this precious gem. Ancient Greeks believed they were the tears of the gods, while Romans described them as splinters of fallen stars. Diamonds were also cherished for their spiritual significance and healing power within Ancient Indian and Medieval European cultures.

Diamonds are symbolic gifts for engagement rings and 10th anniversaries. The diamond is also the modern birthstone for April.

SAPPHIRE

Blue sapphires symbolize focus, loyalty, and wisdom. Sapphires are a blue variety of the mineral corundum. The red variety of corundum are known as rubies, while the other colored varieties are referred to as colored sapphires.

This blue gem was used as an antidote to poison amongst many early civilizations, while Ancient Greek & Roman elites also wore sapphires for protection from harm and evil. Clerics of the Middle Ages believed their blue color inspired heavenly contemplation.

Sapphire is the modern birthstone for September, and is associated with the Taurus zodiac sign.

RUBY

Rubies are a precious gem & variety of corundum. Their red color connote passion & vitality, and they symbolize courage, energy, and devotion.

The rich red hue of this gem has long been associated with blood, fire, and mystical power. Rubies were referred to as the “King of the Gems” in ancient Hindu practice. Asian & European cultures alike believed rubies could bring protection, good fortune, and strength in battle.

Ruby is the modern birthstone for July, is associated with the Capricorn zodiac sign, and is traditionally gifted in honor of a 40th year anniversary.

EMERALD

Emeralds are a vivid green variety of beryl stone that has been coveted for its beauty and symbolism since the earliest civilizations. This precious gem symbolizes rebirth and good fortune.

Emeralds were famously cherished by Cleopatra for their symbolism of life, fertility, & protection. The gem was used in religious rituals within Incan and Aztec civilizations, and was believed to have soothing properties that could cure to disease in the Middle Ages. Aristotle believed that an emerald could protect its wearer, as well as make them more eloquent.

Emerald is the modern birthstone for May, and is associated with the Cancer and Scorpio zodiac signs. It is a traditional gift for a 20th anniversary.

TOPAZ

Topaz are a sparkling stone that symbolizes balance, wisdom, & healing. Topaz can be white, yellow, orange, pink, green, or blue.

Topaz were used by Hindu & African shamans as sacred tools for healing & longevity. Ancient Greeks used the gem from strength and protection, and Europeans in the Renaissance believed it could ward off spells and soothe anger. In India, the practice of wearing topaz above the heart has been said to encourage health and intelligence.

Topaz is the modern birthstone for November, and is associated with the Sagittarius zodiac sign.

CZ’S

Cz’s (cubic zirconia) are a rare, durable mineral whose synthesized form is optically flawless with brilliant shine. They can be produced in any color, and are an eco-friendly, conflict-free alternative to natural gems like diamonds.

OPAL

Precious opals are known for their rainbow iridescence and mystical beauty. They symbolize hope and wellness.

Opals were believed to have heavenly origins across Bedouin, Australian Aboriginal, & Ancient Greek cultures. Many European cultures considered the gem a symbol of purity and hope. Opals were said to possess the powers and virtues of all colored gemstones together, giving them lucky and protective qualities.

Opals are the modern birthstone for October.

JADE

Jade has been a highly prized stone since neolithic times, and is coveted around the world. It represents virtue and spiritual power. While jade is mostly known for its green hue, The gem exists in multiple varieties, with colors ranging from pure white to vibrant red.

Ancient Chinese and Central American societies crafted jade ceremonial ornaments and ritual objects that date back to the Stone Age. For centuries, jade was used in burial ceremonies as a symbol of heaven that would protect the deceased and help them ascend. It became highly cherished for its spiritual power to connect heaven and earth, and is still valued across South & East Asian cultures as a symbol of luck and wellness.

TURQUOISE

Turquoise is one of the first gems to ever be mined and cut, and has endured as a symbol of protection, balance, and healing. Its sky blue color and unique pattern varies with each stone.

Ancient Egyptians attributed the discovery of turquoise to goddess of love and joy. They believed the gem had protective and healing powers, as well as promoting fertility. Ancient Persians used it to ward off doom and ensure victory in battle, and many Native American tribes used incorporated turquoise into hunting practices and sacred rituals. The gem is also treasured in Tibet as a token of luck and good health.

Turquoise is the modern birthstone of December.

ONYX

Onyx comes from a variety of chalcedony quartz that features alternating bands of black and white. It symbolizes emotional balance, respect, and protection.

According to Roman mythology, Cupid created onyx to memorialize the clipped fingernails of the goddess Venus. The gem was popularly used for carved cameos that featured portraits of Emperors and other elite. Victorian onyx cameos were later worn on the neck to calm strong energies. Indian and Persian traditions believed onyx could protect its wearer from evil, and East Asian cultures also used the gem as a source of grounding and balance.

Onyx is associated with the Leo zodiac sign.

GEM CUTS

BRILLIANT CUT

Brilliant cut stones are cut with triangular facets to maximize the sparkle of the gem. The most common shapes for this cut are round, oval, and square or “princess.”

STEP CUT

Step cut stones use rectangular facets to preserve the natural color and unique inclusions of a gem, as well as protect the gem from damage. Some popular step cut shapes include square, baguette, and emerald cuts.

FANCY CUT

Fancy cuts are any cuts with unusual or irregular outline or facet shapes. This includes marquise, heart, pendeloque, and pearl or teardrop shaped cuts.

CABOCHON

Cabochon gems are cut with a flat back and a domed top, without facets, to emphasize the color or pattern of a gem. This cut is commonly used for translucent or opaque gems such as jade and turquoise.