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Coral, Carnelian, Rhodochrosite – Tropical Treasures

Coral, Carnelian, Rhodochrosite – Tropical Treasures

In this blog post, we will be discussing some rare gemstones, ahead of our weekly Gem Talk on Wednesday!
You may already know that we have been running weekly virtual Gem Talks since last September on Zoom. These occasions have proven to be really delightful events where gemstone – and jewellery enthusiasts gather together and listen to our founder and head designer, Alexandra, discuss the culture, history and gemology behind various stunning gemstones. Alexandra always comes prepared with her own selection of gemstones for the session so that participants can try themselves out at gemstone valuation. A particular highlight this year was our introductory session to jewellery design where our participants had the chance to design their own gemstone jewellery with the guidance of Alexandra.
Our next Gem Talk takes place this Wednesday and bears the title Tropical Treasures. This event will be an opportunity to learn about three less known but fabulous gemstones: coral, carnelian and rhodochrosite. In this blog post, I will be talking about these gemstones a little more extensively, but don’t forget: if you are interested, do come along to our Gem Talk at 6.30 pm on Wednesday, the 17th of March, hosted on Zoom. You need only to send an email to eszter@augustinejewels.com to express your interest, and we will forward to you the Zoom link to join the meeting! We very much hope to see you there – but until then, on to the gemstones!
Coral gemstone
You might be surprised to hear that coral is not only a name of the branching living organism living in tropical and subtropical ocean waters but also a gemstone. After all, aren’t all gemstones of mineral origin? Well, most may be, but not all. Coral is an excellent example of gemstones that are of organic origin. These gemstones were formed by living organisms: when the coral polyps die, the hardened skeleton remains, and this material is what is used as a gemstone. When thinking of corals, the popular orange colour comes to mind. However, most corals are white. It is only a matter of preference that orange-coloured corals – or as it is widely known, precious coral – get used the most.
Carnelian
This bright orange gemstone has been favoured by kings and emperors for millennia. Often used as seals and amulets in ancient kingdoms, this gemstone is often found in archaeological sites. As the gemstone played a major role in the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, the gemstone’s value is to be accorded to its cultural significance, rather than to its rarity.
Famously, the Prophet Muhammad had an inscribed carnelian signet ring which he used as a seal for important documents. This makes the gemstone have a special significance for Muslims and it is still widely worn by people of the denomination all over the world.
Carnelian is the translucent orange form of chalcedony quartz – although its colour ranges from brown to red and usually appears more opaque than translucent. The orange colour is due to iron impurities found in the quartz. The gemstone is called jasper if there is a mix of orange, red and brown colourations within the same stone.
Rhodochrosite
This rather hard-to-spell name stands for a gorgeous, raspberry-pink to rose-red gemstone, the allure of which is undeniable. Rhodochrosites have some of the loveliest and warmest pink hue of all gemstones. Therefore, it is no wonder that they have come to symbolise tender love. It is also known as the Stone of the Compassionate Heart. At the same time, it is only fair to note that the Incas believed that rhodochrosites were the blood of their ancestral rulers turned to stone. This status among the Incas is perhaps the reason why rhodochrosites are the national gemstones of Argentina.
In massive form, rhodochrosite’s pink and white bands are extremely attractive and often used in semi-precious jewellery. Fine transparent crystals are rare and costly, sometimes faceted into gems for collectors, however the softness and brittleness limit it as a gemstone for everyday usage.
We, at the London-based luxury jewellery studio of Augustine Jewels, love to work with special, truly stunning, hand-selected gemstones. No wonder that one of our handmade statement rings features a no less unique gemstone than rhodochrosite. Take a look at this elegant ring below and do explore all our rings to find the one that suits you most perfectly!
As always, do follow us on social media @augustinejewels to keep up to date with our latest collection and bespoke handmade jewellery pieces and fashion recommendations!
For bespoke enquiries, please contact Alexandra directly at alexandra@augustinejewels.com.
For general enquiries, email info@augustinejewels.com or call 020 3556 5780 during business hours to speak to a member of our team.

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