Monday, January 24, 2011

Which blue gem is for you?

There are several blue gems available in the market. So how do you decide which one to buy? You may want to choose a gem according to your birth date, budget or you may just fancy a particular gem for its color. In this article we will explore different blue gems like blue sapphire, blue topaz, aquamarine and tanzanite among many others.

Blue gemstones can be divided into roughly three categories- transparent translucent and opaque. Blue sapphire, blue topaz, iolite, spinel, aquamarine, tanzanite and Paraiba tourmaline are a few transparent gems that occur in shades of blue. Other less transparent (translucent) varieties are blue chalcedony, and turquoise and lapis lazuli which are both opaque. Each gem has its own particular properties and is available across different price-points according to size and quality. For the sake of brevity we will discuss only popular stones like blue sapphire, aquamarine, tanzanite and turquoise that are readily available and reasonably priced.

sapphire faceted beadsBlue sapphire Beads: Sapphire is the natal stone for the month of September and is believed to safeguard the wearer from envy and attract divine favors. It is also one of the hardest gem materials after diamond and can be used in articles of daily wear without any worries of chipping or breakage. The ideal color for sapphire is a deep clear blue. Articles like rings set with a single faceted stone or bracelets made with blue sapphire beads can be worn without fear of them getting damaged with constant use. The gem is readily available in the market with gemstone dealers and sapphire beads and drops are available at online stores.

Aquamarine Round BeadsAquamarine Beads:
Belonging to the same gem family as emerald- beryl, aquamarine is a blue-green stone that is often found in large clear crystals. Aquamarine ranges from blue-green to a light sky blue in color. It is gem that is relatively abundant. It is the birthstone for March and a gift of Aquamarine is said to signify safety and security for long standing relationships. It is even believed to revive the love in a tired marriage making it an ideal anniversary gift for many!

Although they are fairly durable aquamarine has a tendency to be brittle and so care must be taken while wearing or cleaning jewelry set with them. Aquamarine beads strung into necklaces or aquamarine drops in earrings are a good idea but it is not so wise to have these beads worn as bracelets as the constant contact with things may damage them. 

Tanzanite Faceted BeadsTanzanite Beads: Tanzanite is a fairly recent discovery in the gem world and is found in just one locality in the world- Tanzania.  Its deep royal blue color tinged with violet makes it highly desirable. TanzaniteOne is a commercial player in the tanzanite market and has introduced its own grading system. The system's color-grading scales divide tanzanite colors into a range of hues, between blue violet and violet blue. 
If you are buying a large stone from a reputed dealer you can ask for a certificate stating its grade. If it is tanzanite beads or smaller stones you are buying from a dealer or online you can have the stones appraised by a gemological institute if you wish. Tanzanite is a rare gemstone and its prices are steadily rising since the past decade- hence it makes sense to think carefully before investing in this stone, particularly if you are on a tight budget.

Turquoise Round BeadsTurquoise Beads: Turquoise is a blue to greenish blue opaque gem largely known for its popularity in ancient Egyptian and Aztec cultures. Although somewhat soft, turquoise takes a good polish and is polished cabochons are set in rings, earrings and pendants. Turquoise beads along with red coral are gemstones used in traditional Tibetan jewelry. Because the gem is porous it should be kept away from household cleaners, harsh detergents and rough use.  Turquoise, coral and other opaque gems are usually sold according to physical size in millimeters rather than weight.

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