Gemstone Buying Guide

Amethyst Studs | The Village Goldsmith NZ
Throughout the ages, amethyst has often been associated with royalty, luxury and power. Amethyst colours range from light to dark purple. Transparent deep purple colours are the most highly regarded. The hue of the amethyst depends on its origin. In The Americas, amethyst has a deep purplish tone with strong hints of blue. Other varieties have more of a reddish hue as well as subtle blue aspects. Amethyst holds the potential to change colour when it is heated, either naturally or in a lab. Prasiolite is the name given to amethyst which turns green when reacting to heat. Citrine is another variety of amethyst produced by heat and is golden yellow in colour. 
February Birthstone
Amethyst is the birthstone for February and the gemstone for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. 
The name comes from the Latin words aqua - meaning “water” and marina - meaning “of the sea.” Aquamarine is the blue to blue-green variety of the mineral beryl. Whereas emerald is the green to bluish green variety of the same mineral.
The mesmerising colour of this gemstone has high clarity and lovely transparency and ranges from a light pastel greenish blue to deeper blue. It has been said that aquamarine protects against battles or litigation and can enhance the happiness of marriage. 
March Birthstone
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and commemorates the 19th wedding anniversary.

Citrine Stud Earrings crafted in Yellow Gold | The Village Goldsmith
This bright shining gem is said to have been a gift from the sun itself. French for ‘lemon’, the name ‘citrine’ is fitting for this gemstone of rich lemon yellow and juicy orange-brown hues. The variety of rich yellow to orange colours are caused by the amount of iron present in the stone. Citrine is often an appealing alternative to more expensive yellow-orange gemstone options such as topaz and sapphire as to the untrained eye, it can often be hard to distinguish the difference between them.
November Birthstone
Citrine is a birthstone for November (alongside Topaz). It’s also recognised as the gem that commemorates the 13th wedding anniversary. 
Emeralds are a bold green variety of beryl which are mostly mined in Africa, South America, and Central Asia. Beryl is a type of gemstone naturally comprised of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate. Other well-known beryl gemstone varieties include aquamarine and morganite. Emerald, the green variety of Beryl, is so rich and evergreen that they are often associated with lush landscapes and forests. Its deep green hue combined with its durability and rarity mean an emerald is one of the most famous and valuable gemstones on the market today. Rich green emeralds are the most desirable and valuable. Bold green emeralds can often be found with fascinating ‘birthmarks’ - which are inclusions in the gemstone. Because birthmarks are expected on the rich green emeralds the value does not decrease unlike inclusions in other gemstones. Emeralds range from 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Emeralds with inclusions are often more brittle and may be more prone to breakage.

May Birthstone
Emerald is the birthstone for May, it is also the gem of the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries. 
Pounamu and Diamond Drop Pendant by The Village Goldsmith
Jade has a rich history of creative artistry, adornment and deep cultural significance dating back thousands of years. It was prized by many civilizations including ancient China and the Aztecs and Mayans of Central America. Among Māori in New Zealand jade is known as ‘pounamu’ and is highly valued and handled with great respect. Pounamu it gifted on important occasions and used to display cultural status within iwi tribes as well as being used for adornment and peace making. Jade is considered a semi-precious gemstone which is often smooth and shapely in its finished form. Jade is classically known for its vivid green shimmer which varies from light to dark but there is also rare lavender, pink, yellow, black, and white jade. It can also be found with aspects of white, producing a marbled and swirling effect. Jade has been treasured by many cultures due to its sacredness as well as its strength. It is a durable gemstone, measuring a 6 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Jade is formed from two different stones: jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite (sodium aluminium silicate) is mostly found in Myanmar while nephrite (calcium magnesium silicate) is found in Europe, British Columbia, Australia, and New Zealand. 
Jade is the gemstone used to mark the 12th, 30th and 35th wedding anniversary.

Custom Morganite and Diamond Pendant
Morganite is the pink variety of beryl - a type of gemstone naturally comprised of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate. Other well-known beryl gemstone varieties include aquamarine and emerald. Morganite's beautiful pink hues are a result of the presence of manganese. Morganite is usually a soft pale pink without any overtones. However, the colour can range from yellowish salmon-pink, through champagne, to an almost lilac pink.  Morganite may have a natural yellow tone present and will often undergo heat treatment to remove the yellow to intensify its pinkness. This can also occur naturally if the gemstone is under enough heat and pressure. Highly saturated pink morganites are rare, and usually only these larger gemstones will reach the full colour potential of these pink beryl's. Much like other gemstones of the beryl variety, morganite’s hardness rates quite highly - 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale. Other desirable qualities of this peachy gemstone include its lustre and brilliance, as well as its frequently eye-clean clarity.
South Sea Pearl Necklace by The Village Goldsmith
The lustrous appearance of pearls emanate an almost magical quality. Being the only gemstone not formed on the earth’s surface, pearls are the embodiment of the magical and life-sustaining nature of water. 
This natural treasure given to us from the earth's ponds, lakes, seas, and oceans is formed through a process where an irritant, such as a grain of sand, becomes stuck inside a mollusc. In order to protect itself, the mollusc builds up layers of nacre (a calcium carbonate formula) around the irritant which eventually becomes the pearl. The mollusc continues to build more layers around the pearl causing it to grow in size as it ages. These factors, along with shape, colour and lustre all affect the rarity and value of a single pearl.

This natural process is also carefully imitated to create cultured pearls in controlled conditions to cultivate pearls both in freshwater mussel farms and saltwater oyster farms. Cultured pearls come in many beautiful colours - from pale cream and white to rose, lilac, green, gold, grey, and black. There are four main types of cultured pearls with unique qualities: Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and Freshwater. The colour of naturally formed pearls ranges from white to pink, blue, brown, grey and black - depending on the type of mollusc and the water in which they are found.

Peridot is a lime-green variety of the mineral olivine and is one of the world’s oldest known gemstones. Believed to have first formed early on during the Earth’s creation when magma gradually cooled and solidified as igneous rock. Peridot was born when some parts cooled slower than others forming larger, clearer bits of igneous rock. Peridot is most commonly found lining mountains in Myanmar and Pakistan. However, olivine crystals are also intermittently found in pallasites (stony-iron meteorites which have fallen to earth). These rich green meteorite crystals can then be cut into beautifully bright pieces of peridot. Peridot is only available in its signature green colour. This makes it an idiochromatic gemstone – which is very rare. Ruby is another example of this. Gemstones that occur in a variety of colours are known as allochromatic. The brighter and more saturated the green, the higher the gemstone’s value. The levels of iron present in a peridot affect the purity of its green hue. The less iron, the deeper the green. Unlike many other gemstones, peridot do not frequently get heat treated in labs to alternate their colour, meaning the richness and saturation of peridot is natural and organic.
Peridot measures a 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. While it is a relatively tough gemstone it should be worn with care and cleaned and checked regularly to maintain its quality and value. 

August Birthstone
Peridot is the birthstone for the month of August (alongside spinel), as well as the gemstone given to celebrate the 16th year of marriage.
Ruby and Diamond Halo Ring in yellow gold and platinum 
Rubies are stunning, rare and make an elegant statement in any piece of jewellery. The rich red colour of the ruby has become a classic and timeless look that exudes elegance, passion, and romance. Derived from the Latin word ‘rubens’ meaning red, rubies are amongst the only gemstones which occur in a single colour. This type of gemstone is described as idiochromatic. Ruby is the red variety of the mineral Corundum – any other colour of gem from Corundum is classified as a sapphire. While corundum crystals in their purest form are transparent, when enough of the natural chemical element chromium is present a ruby is formed. The possible colours of a ruby include deep red, pinkish red, purplish red, orangey red, and brownish red. The rarest colour range is a pure vibrant red known classically as “ruby red”. In addition to the ruby’s bright colour, its desirability derives from its hardness, durability, lustre, and rarity. The corundum variety (rubies and sapphires) rate 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness – second only to diamonds. 
Because rubies are so rare, the availability of a ready to ship ruby jewellery will be more limited than other gemstones. If a design isn’t available to meet your needs, our friendly team can work with you to understand your requirements and then source an exceptional ruby for your jewellery from our trusted supplier partners.

July Birthstone
Ruby is the birthstone for July and the gemstone for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.  
Referred to as the ultimate blue gemstone, sapphires are said to represent honesty, loyalty, purity and, trust. Sapphire engagement rings are growing in popularity as their symbolism and beauty become more widely known.  
Although blue is the most well-known hue, sapphires are available in a vast range of rich colours and beautiful tones representing every colour of the rainbow except red. Sapphires are from the Corundum mineral whose crystals in their purest form are transparent. A sapphire's rich and varied colours come from exposure to traces of natural chemical elements such as iron, chromium, and titanium that alter the gemstone's hue during formation. The amount and unique combination of chemical elements present in sapphires is what determines their ultimate colour. For example, blue sapphires get their distinct colour from traces of iron and titanium. Green sapphires also contain copper which gives them their green colour. Part of what makes sapphires so unique and remarkable is that the smallest trace of natural chemical elements will drastically change their character and colour so no two are ever alike. Some rare sapphires display the phenomenon called “colour change” where they appear blue in natural or even fluorescent lighting and can change to purple under alternative lighting such as incandescent. 
Measuring a nine on the Mohs scan scale of hardness, second only to diamonds, sapphires can withstand a lifetime of daily wear. This is second only to diamond – the hardest natural material known to man.

September Birthstone
Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gemstone which commemorates the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.
Peacock Spinel and Diamond Pendant crafted in Platinum
Red spinel has frequently been mistaken for ruby. While modern science now enables us to easily tell the difference between the two gemstones, this was not always the case. Centuries ago, upper class and royal individuals would use rubies to decorate their robes, ornaments and accessories. However, it has since been discovered that some gemstones thought to have been rubies are in fact red spinels. Perhaps the most well-known and most sought-after spinel colour is the rich red spinel. However, these gemstones can also be found in a range of hues including orange, pink, purple, and even blue – which are extremely rare. The different colours found in spinels are due to the traces and amounts of cobalt, iron and chromium whose presence determines the colour. In most cases spinel gemstones are more reflective and have a glittery appearance compared to rubies. Spinels also feature octahedral crystal forms (whereas rubies are more like hexagonal prisms). Ranging from a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, spinels are relatively tough gemstones and with reasonable care can be worn daily. 

August Birthstone
Spinel was recently added as an August birthstone, sharing this month with peridot. It can also be used to celebrate the 22nd wedding anniversary.

In ancient Greece, topaz was thought to give its owner additional strength during troubling times. While blue topaz is best known, topaz can occur in a stunning variety of colours. Ranging in hues from fire orange, honey yellow, golden-mocha brown, blushing pink, violet purple, warm green to completely colourless. The most prized is natural imperial topaz, which can be found in a strong orange, pink, or red. Regardless of colour, a topaz will always have a brilliant lustre. Due to its relative affordability compared to similarly coloured and more expensive gemstones, topaz has gained a strong following among jewellery lovers.

November Birthstone
Topaz is the birthstone for November, most commonly golden-yellow topaz as this is similar in colour to citrine – the other birthstone of November. Blue topaz in particular is the gemstone which celebrates the 4th wedding anniversary and imperial topaz commemorates the 23rd wedding anniversary. 

A gemstone that can come from far and wide, tourmalines also have a large variety of colours – perhaps one of the widest known in the gemstone industry. 
This gemstone can be found in pale to deep pink, flaxen red, rich red, purplish red, lavender purple, inky blue, deep sky blue, bluish violet, magenta violet, light and dark teal, lime green, golden green, emerald green, warm yellow, fiery orange, cappuccino and mocha brown, onyx black, and even the very rare colourless tourmaline. The rarest coloured tourmaline is known as Paraiba tourmaline, it is the bright neon shade of greenish-blue or bluish-green, coloured by traces of copper. On the RGB colour chart it closely resembles shades of cyan. 
The crystal's name tourmaline, was derived from the word “toramalli”, meaning “mixed gems”, in the Sri Lankan language of Sinhalese. Tourmaline’s hardness measures as a 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral and gemstone hardness, meaning its toughness is considered fair. Tourmalines can be crafted into jewellery pieces that can be worn frequently so long as they are well looked after, cleaned and checked by an expert jeweller often. 
Tourmaline is somewhat famous for its two or even three coloured tones in one gem. The most well-known variety of these bi-colour/tri-colour range is known as the watermelon tourmaline. Much like the colours of a watermelon, this tourmaline features a gradient which fades from a light coral pink to a pale lime green, it also sometimes features bands of white. These style tourmalines can appear in several combinations and are a highly prized version of tourmaline.

October Birthstone
Tourmaline is a birthstone for October, along with opal. Tourmaline is also the gemstone used to commemorate the eighth wedding anniversary.