Gemstone Glossary

At Ain’t Miss Bead Haven we have a large variety of semi-precious gemstones in our show room. Here is a list of the general characteristics of those stones.

African Opal – African opal is not fine gem quality opal and doesn’t have the translucent fire of other opals. It is generally beige with darker beige or brown. African green opal is a rich green and brown stone.

Agate – Agate is a variety of chalcedony, and is banded. It comes in many colors and is often dyed or heat treated. When dyed the banding is not seen. Some of the agates are further described on this page.

Amazonite – A stone which has colorations in the aqua range and gets its name from the Amazon river. Some deeper toned and vivid forms of the stone can be confused with turquoise. Some amazonite has darker banding or dark flecks.

Amethyst – Amethyst is purple quartz and may range in color from lavender to deep purple. When heat treated it is called citrine.

Aquamarine – This stone is a type of beryl that is blue to blue green. It is most often heat treated to remove yellowness. It can be clear, translucent or have a cloudy appearance.

Aventurine – A hard stone with a lot of quartz, it is semi transparent. May be found in green or shades of red and orange.

Azurite – Azurite is a beautiful deep blue stone tending toward “azure” blue in color. The stone isn’t very hard and is often coated with wax to give it a sheen. It is very often found with malachite, a green stone.

Black Onyx – Usually this stone has been dyed black. In nature onyx is banded and can be dark brown. Most likely the black onyx is actually dark brown onyx that has been dyed black to give it a dark, even color. This is an opaque stone of medium hardness.

Blue Lace Agate – This stone is usually pale blue to lavender in color and gently banded. It has a hard shiny appearance.

Blue Mist Chalcedony – Chalcedony is a quartz type stone and translucent. Blue Mist, like the name has a strong bluish cast which may range from blue-green to almost lavender. It also can be very pale, almost white.

Carnelian – Carnelian is a stone that gets its red to orange look because of its high iron content. The color ranges from light brownish red to deep transparent red. It has a medium hardness. Carnelian is often heat treated and may be dyed.

Chrysoprase – This is a form of chalcedony and is generally translucent blue green. There is also a variety called lemon chrysoprase which is a pale yellow stone that isn’t as translucent.

Citrine – Citrine is a form of yellow quartz and is usually heat treated to get the color, which ranges from pale yellow to deep amber.

Crazy Lace Agate – This agate features crazy patterns in bright colors. Many times shades of red, gold and gray on a pale background. This is a very unusual looking type of agate. It can have shades of lavender and purple or can be in darker warm tones.

Fire Agate – Fire agate is named because the appearance resembles flames. It usually is the typical orange and cream coloration but may contain purple. It has an interesting look when cut a certain way that accentuates the “flame” look.

Garnet – Garnets are a medium hard stone and come in many colors. They also go by many names because they are members of many species. Common names are almandine, pyrope, spessartine, grossular, andradite and uvarovite. Most of us think of garnets are being dark red, sometimes with a purple cast. However there are varieties which are green. Grossular garnet is a green stone. The grossular garnet on this site is not a clear stone but most garnets are.

Howlite – In its natural state this stone is white and veined. It is very often dyed to resemble turquoise.

Jade – Jade is either jadeite or nephrite. Most of the jade jewelry on this site is made from jadeite. It comes in many colors including green, orange, brown, yellow, dark purple, lilac, pink, gray, white and blue. Hence we have honey jade, lime jade and others. Flower jade is a melange of yellow, cream, green and brownish tones.

Jasper – Jasper is a form of chalcedony, which is actually a type of quartz. It comes in many color varieties such as red, yellow, orange, green, gray-blue, brown and combinations of these colors. Some of the more distinctive are ones such as Picture Jasper, Owyhee Jasper and Poppy Jasper. Picture Jasper is from the mountain regions of the western United States. It gets its name from the stone patterns, which often look like miniature landscapes. Colors generally range from cream to brown, very often in bands of color. Owyhee Jasper is a form of Picture Jasper mined in Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon. It is gray and brown. Poppy Jasper is also referred to as Brecciated Jasper. It is a mix of colors with Red Jasper predominating and may also contain black, gray and white. Leopard or Leopardskin Jasper is a combination of yellow, brown and cream and resembles the skin of a leopard. Autumn Jasper is a mottled rust, green and cream coloration, the colors associated with autumn.

Kyanite – This stone often has chatoyency and you can see the crystal structure. Although most often blue in color it also can be green or gray.

Labradorite – Most of the time this stone looks gray and can have highlights which show in certain lights as blue, green, red or orange. This is known as chatoyency. Another name for labradorite is spectrolite. Labradorite has a medium hardness.

Lapis Lazuli – A blue stone which sometimes contains flecks of metal or white. It is opaque, which means you can’t see through it. Very often Lapis Lazuli is dued to give it a richer appearance. It also is sometimes coated with wax or oils to give enhance the color.

Larimar – Larimar is a beautiful stone found in the Dominican Republic and is truly the color of the Caribbean sea. It is pectolite but only in the Dominican Republic does it have this color.

Monaco Agate – An agate with orange to beige tones that has a soft mottled appearance.

Moonstone – This is an opalescent stone with a sheen. It generally has a cloudy look known as occlusions. It can be clear, white, gray or peach.

Pietersite – This is a form of quartz which can have some chatoyency. The brown within the stone is tiger eye and the blue is hawk’s eye.

Rhyolite – Also called rainforest jasper. It’s usually a combination of greens, browns and golds and sometimes has patches of red.

Rose Quartz – Quartz which has a pink cast to it. It usually isn’t clear but has a cloudy appearance.

Riverstone – These are beads made from stones found in rivers, mostly from limestone. Usually they are cream, beige or gray.

Ruby in Zoisite – Zoisite is an opaque green stone. Very often opaque patches of ruby are found in this stone.

Serpentine – Some serpentine is a jade look-a-like, but it is cheaper. It is easily carved. Russian Serpentine is a mottled stone that has an appearance that reminds many of snakeskin.

Sodalite – A opaque stone, generally dark blue with streaks of white. Sodalite is one of the componenets of lapis lazuli.

Sunstone – Also called oligoclase, it is very crystalline in appearance and usually red or orange in appearance. It almost has a metallic look to it.

Tiger Eye – Tiger eye is actually a form of quartz. It has a lot of chatoyency, caused by a fibrous crystal structure. The yellow glints in the brown give the stone its name – tiger eye.

Turquoise – Turquoise can range in color from pale blue to blue- green. Very often the stone is stabilized with plastic, oil or wax. When stabilized with oil or wax it can lose its color. The bluer the color the more valuable the stone. Turquoise is quite porous and will absorb liquids, oils and perspiration and can become discolored. Turquoise often has a black matrix which makes it less valuable although some people find the matrix attractive. The name comes from the French for Turkish as the stone was thought to originate in Turkey.

Unakite – A pretty stone with pink and green coloration. It is mottled in appearance and fairly hard.

White Quartz – Quartz with a milky, cloudy appearance.

Yellow Turquoise – Sometimes referred to as Chinese turquoise or yellow Chinese turquoise. Most likely this stone is a form of jasper. It ranges in color from yellow to lime.