Prized as a talisman since medieval times, Zircon was believed to clarify the mind, improve confidence and inspire the spirit. Today, zircon is believed to bring wisdom, wealth and protection to those who wear it. Zircon is naturally available in many colors including yellow, orange, and green, with blue and red being the rarest and most valuable. Zircon is mined in Australia, Canada, Malawi, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Tanzania, Thailand and the United States and is known to be brittle and must be handled with care. Clean in warm soapy water and avoid chemical or ultrasonic cleaning.
Turquoise was originally mined by the ancient Egyptians (as early as 5500 BC) and was widely used in Pharaonic jewels of adornment and ritual objects. Europeans credited turquoise with the ability to help them achieve a higher state of consciousness. Tibetans revered the gemstone as a talisman of good fortune. Native Americans still use the stone as a shaman’s stone. Turquoise (hydrated copper aluminum phosphate) occurs in masses, encrustations, nodules, veins and seams in igneous or sedimentary environments, as a secondary mineral formed under the influence of evaporating surface waters in arid regions of the world. Sources today include Afghanistan, Australia, Chile, Egypt, Iran, Russia and the United States. Being a very soft stone, turquoise is routinely enhanced to improve color and durability. To clean, wipe with a soft, damp cloth.
Tanzanite is the newest member of the December birthstone club. In 1967, a Portuguese prospector discovered tanzanite near Arusha, in Tanzania, while looking for sapphire. Named and promoted by Tiffany’s, tanzanite rapidly won the public’s heart and is also used as the 24th wedding anniversary gemstone. Tanzanite occurs in various colors naturally, including yellow, golden brown and green. It is routinely enhanced by traditional heating methods which produce shades of vivid violet blue to purple. Fine tanzanite is typically free of inclusions, and large crystals of saturated purplish blue command top prices. Tanzanite is found in Austria, India, Mexico, Mozambique and the United States, but the finest comes from the Arusha and Merelani districts of Tanzania. Tanzanite is a personal favorite of Mark Schneider and in 2001, he donated an award winning platinum and tanzanite ring to the United States National Gem and Mineral Collection, housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC. Tanzanite has perfect cleavage and must be worn and handled with care: It is prone to crack when exposed to large temperature differentials. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, and clean with a soft brush using warm soapy water.
Fine Color Gemstone Jewelry by Mark Schneider Design
Many of Mark's award winning designs feature Tanzanite, such as the Exquisite Tanzanite Ring and the Flourising Tanzanite Earrings. View our color gemstone jewelry collection to see more tanzanite pieces or come in and view our extraordinary tanzanite jewelry, and let our designers use our loose gemstones to design that one of a kind piece for you.
The Gemstones Handbook, Arthur Thomas, 2008, New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. ISBN:978-0-7607-9438-8
Various American Gem Trade Association Publicity Brochures, 2009 www.agta.org