Eye-catching natural gemstone jewelry has long been fashionable, but many of these semi-precious gems are making a major comeback. Luminous, amber-colored tiger's eye, brilliant blue turquoise and ethereal opal in soft rainbow shades make some of the most stunning rings, bracelets, earrings and pendants.
Tiger's Eye Jewelry
Tiger's eye, also called tiger iron, is a stone found in Australia, Thailand and South Africa. As its name suggests, tigers eye looks like the golden irises of the powerful jungle cat. The memorizing, ever- changing luster of this metamorphic rock is created as quartz crystal replaces the fine stands of asbestos, maintaining a dense fibrous appearance that shimmers as it reflects light.
In ancient times, warriors wore tiger's eye jewelry when they went to battle, as they believed it would offer them protection, strength and insight into their enemies' maneuvers. Ancient Egyptians, who revered members of the cat family, are thought to have used the lustrous gem as the eyes of their sculptured deities.
Today, tigers eye is popular in men's jewelry because of its wild appearance and bronze hues. Quite large samples of the stone can be found, making it an ideal pendant for statement necklaces or for the polished and non-faceted cabochon rings, which show off the velvety fibrous appearance.
Tiger's eye is a stand out stone that makes a great statement as a cabochon on cocktail ring or perhaps the center piece to a bold necklace. Choose something denim or blue to make your tiger's eye really pop!
Turquoise is another gemstone that has a long history of popularity. While it is known for its vivid blue color, derived from the small copper component of the stone, it can also take on a greenish or even yellowish hue if it contains iron or zinc. The stone is mined in both Iran and the Southwestern United States.
Historians calculate that the stone has been mined in Iran for two millennia. Because of the stone's heavenly color, early Persians used turquoise to decorate domes in their houses of worship. Aztecs in Mexico mined the gem to adorn their masks and headdresses for ceremonial dances and other rituals. More recently, in the early 19th Century, Navajo peoples have paired turquoise with sterling silver to make ornate rings, wide bracelets and arm cuffs, and elaborate necklaces.
Today, as Native American motifs have become popular patterns for clothing and home decor, so too has Navajo styled turquoise jewelry. Bangles inlaid with turquoise, silver and other gems are particularly lovely. Turquoise is also popular in contemporary statement necklaces, such as chunky turquoise nugget bracelets and matrix- forming bib necklaces. Join the bohemian trend with a big piece of turquoise jewelry. It is a classic stone that will remain in style for years to come, so making an investment in a quality piece of turquoise jewelry is always a smart move.
Opal Gemstone Jewelry
Delicate opal, October's birthstone, is another perennial favorite among jewelry makers. A stone that combines both rainbow flecks of color with a opalescent sheen, some opals are considered more precious than diamonds. White opals are the most well-known, but reddish fire opals and darker black opals are also sought after. Opal's iridescent quality makes for stunning jewelry. Today, opal is still popular in lovely and delicate rings, earrings, and pendants and comes in a wide array sizes and colors, such as pink opal, blue and white just to name a few.
Opal is mined in a wide array of countries, including Hungary, Poland, Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Canada and the United States. Each country has its own unique type of opal. In Arabian folklore, bolts of lightening brought the iridescent gemstone to earth. Legend has it that Mark Antony loved a large almond-shaped opal so much that he offered a third of his kingdom to its owner, hoping to win the gem for Cleopatra. Later, France used opals in its crown jewels, while both Queen Charlotte and Queen Victoria wore opal rings and gave it as gifts, setting off an opal trend in the British Royal Court.
Jessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in arts and crafts, DIY, and other handmade products. She currently writes for Indian Traders, a leading vendor of pendleton blankets and jewelry.