Buy Handcrafted Authentic Semiprecious Stones, Beads, Jewelry in Sterling Silver

Shipped Worldwide
Free US Shipping Over $ 70


Origin and History of Stones

Agate was discovered with the Stone Age man in France 20,000-16,000 BC. The Egyptians used it prior to 3000 BC. Agate was highly valued by ancient civilizations. Said by the ancients to render the wearer invisible.
The agate-working industry grew up centuries ago in the Idar-Oberstein district of Germany, where agates were abundant. Cameos are cut from stones, such as onyx or agate, where different colors occur in layers. The background material is cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief. Agate is one of the gemstones, that used in commesso, also called florentine mosaic. Commesso is a technique of fashioning pictures with thin, cut-to-shape pieces of brightly colored, semiprecious stones, developed in Florence in the late 16th century. The stones most commonly used are agates, quartzes, chalcedonies, jaspers, granites, porphyries, petrified woods, and lapis lazuli. Commesso pictures, used mainly for tabletops and small wall panels, range from emblematic and floral subjects to landscapes. Agate derives its name from the Greek "Agateес" – meaning happy.  According to another theory the word Agate comes from the Greek name of a stone found in the Achates River in Sicily, now known as the Drillo River, which still remains a major source of this stone.

The story of the origin of amethyst comes from Greek legends: The god of wine, Bacchus, was insulted one day by a mere mortal. He swore the next mortal that crossed his path, would be attacked by his fierce tigers. Along came a beautiful maiden named Amethyst. Goddess Diana turned Amethyst in a beautiful statue of quartz to save her from the tigers claws. Remorseful Bacchus wept tears of wine over the stone maiden, creating a lively purple stone.
Purple color has long been considered a royal color so it is not surprising that amethyst has been so popular through the history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. There are evidences that around 3,000 B. C. in Egypt and in anterior Asia were made jewels of Amethyst. The Amethyst is perhaps as popular today as it was in ancient time. Amethyst derives its name from Middle English amatist, from Old French, from Latin amethystus, from Greek amethustos, not drunk or intoxicating.

In the Middle Ages, bloodstone (sometimes also called blood jasper in the trade) was attributed special powers as the spots were thought to be the blood of Jesus Christ. It was used in sculptures representing flagellation and martyrdom.  It is often used as seals for men's rings and for ornamental objects. Bloodstone is a stone with red spots which resemble drops of blood, so it is received its name due to this similarity. Heliotrope derives its name from Greek words meaning sun and turning.
Ancient Egyptian tombs are full of examples of Carnelian jewels, because of their belief in the stone’s power in the afterlife. According to their system, amulets of Carnelian could prove helpful in ensuring the Ka’s (the soul’s) passage into the next world. In more modern times, Goethe attributed the powers of protection against evil, of continuation of hope and comfort, and of good luck. The blood-red varieties were greatly valued by the ancients, who produced beautiful engravings in carnelian and also used them for seals. Buddhists in China and India created amulets inlaid with Carnelian and other semi-precious stones, ascribing to them powers of protection and utilizing them for many rituals.
Citrine is a gemstone which has been used in Greece since the Hellenistic period (end of the 4th to the end of the 1st century BC). The name citrine is derived from the French word citron - lemon.
Fluorite is one of the more famous fluorescent minerals. Many specimens strongly fluoresce, in a great variation of color. The word "fluorescent" is derived from the mineral Fluorite. The name of the element fluorine is also derived from Fluorite.
Garnets were so called by the ancient Greeks since color reminded them of the pomegranate seed or granatum. One of the world's most ancient gems, garnet has been treasured for thousands of years.
Use of garnets as gems is traced to the Nile Delta in 3100 B.C. Egyptian artisans created beautiful garnet beads, bracelets and other jewelry. Garnets since ancient times used widely as an abrasive. Garnets are said to have been used by Asiatic tribes in place of bullets. During the latter part of the 19th century, garnet bracelets and brooches were particularly popular. Most familiar during the peak of popularity were varieties of pyrope. The hardness of garnets and their sharp fracture make them suitable as abrasives for wood, leather, glass, metals, and plastics. Garnet varieties have become known by misleading names, frequently consisting of a locality with the name of another mineral variety, such as Uralian emerald or Cape ruby.

Medium brown with slight coppery glitter. Goldstone is a man-made stone, just a type of glass with glittery metallic material in it. Originally created when alchemists were working towards creating gold. A transmitter stone which causes light to pass through you in order to convey or receive as a medium. Aims to be a revitalizing, energizing stone, encouraging a positive attitude and individualism. Intellectually calming and refreshing. Mildly helpful to Solar plexus Chakra to reduce stomach tension, protect center of body.
Hematite or Haematite (as it also sometimes known as,) derives its name from the Greek word haem (blood ) in allusion to its red color. Ancient Egyptians used hematites as ornamental objects placed inside their tombs. Red ochre was used by prehistoric artists in their cave paintings. Nowadays hematite may also be used as a polishing powder and as a paint pigment.
The name Iolite is derived from the Greek "los", meaning violet. It was also known as the Vikings' compass, due to it's ability to determine the direction of the sun on overcast days. When the legendary Viking mariners sailed the wide ocean, they used thin pieces of iolite as the world's first polarizing filter. Looking through an iolite lens, they could determine the exact position of the sun, and navigate safely. The natural mineral has little commercial use. When clear, iolite is cut as a gem.
Jade was used in ancient times for weapons, utensils, and ornaments. A variety of jade called axstone is used by the natives of the South Sea islands for making hatchets. Jade has always been prized by the Chinese and Japanese as the most precious of all stones, and the most beautiful specimens of carved jade in the form of ornamental pieces, such as vases, bowls, tablets, and statues, many of which are now museum pieces, were made  in China.
The name jasper is derived from the Greek word iaspis. In ancient writings the term jasper was chiefly applied to translucent and brightly colored stones, particularly chalcedony, but also was applied to the opaque jasper.
Jasper was known as the great "rain-bringer" in the fourth century. For thousands of years, black jasper was used to test gold-silver alloys for their gold content. Rubbing the alloys on the stone, called a touchstone, produces a streak the color of which determines the gold content within one part in one hundred. Jasper is one of the gemstones, that used in commesso, also called florentine mosaic. Commesso is a technique of fashioning pictures with thin, cut-to-shape pieces of brightly colored, semiprecious stones, developed in Florence in the late 16th century. The stones most commonly used are agates, quartzes, chalcedonies, jaspers, granites, porphyries, petrified woods, and lapis lazuli. Commesso pictures, used mainly for tabletops and small wall panels, range from emblematic and floral subjects to landscapes.

The name lapis comes from word pencil in Spanish. Lapis Lazuli with deep azure blue color, often flecked with golden pyrite inclusions, was treasured by ancient Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations and often worn by royalty. Lapis lazuli was widely used by Egyptians for cosmetics and painting . Persian legend says that the heavens owed their blue color to a massive slab of Lapis upon which the earth rested. Lapis Lazuli was believed to be a sacred stone, buried with the dead to protect and guide them in the afterlife.
Malachite derives its name from Greek word malakos meaning soft. According to another theory the word malachite comes from Greek malhe, which means grass. Mining Malachite began as early as 4000 BC by ancient Egyptians. In the Middle ages, malachite was worn to protect from black magic and sorcery. In Ancient Greece amulets for children were made of malachite. In the New Stone Age came the discovery of the possibility of extracting certain metals from the ores in which they generally occur. Probably the first such material to be used was malachite, then already in use as a cosmetic and easily reduced to copper in a strong fire. It is impossible to be precise about the time and place of this discovery, but its consequences were tremendous. Namely it led to the search for other metallic ores, to the development of metallurgy.
It has derived its name from the resemblance to the color of moon. Moonstone was very popular with the Romans, who thought it was formed out of moonlight, also used in Roman jewelry since 100 AD. In India moonstone is considered a sacred stone to this day.
Moss Agate is essentially agate itself, only possessing moss like color. Its origin and history are therefore synonymous with agate's.
The discovery that pearls could be cultivated in freshwater mussels is said to have been made in 13th-century China, and the Chinese have been adept for hundreds of years at cultivating pearls by opening the mussel's shell and inserting into it small pellets of mud or tiny bosses of wood, bone, or metal and returning the mussel to its bed for about three years to await the maturation of a pearl formation. Cultured pearls of China have been almost exclusively blister pearls.
The production of whole cultured pearls was perfected by the Japanese. The research that led to the establishment of the industry was started in the 1890s by Mikimoto Kokichi, who, after long experimentation, concluded that a very small mother-of-pearl bead introduced into the mollusk's tissue was the most successful stimulant to pearl production. Cultured pearls closely approximate natural pearls.

Chrysolite means "golden stone" in Greek. Peridot has been adored since ancient times and has been valued for centuries. People in the Middle Ages wore peridot to gain foresight and divine inspiration. Legend has it that pirates favored peridot to protect them against evil. Peridot was greatly prized by Egyptian Kings. Some of Cleopatra's emeralds were in fact peridots.
The deposit on Saint Johns Island in the Red Sea, that was mentioned by Pliny in his Natural History (AD 70), still produces fine gems.

Quartz appears to be from the German “Quarz” but that word’s origin is not known. The name quartz possibly comes from a Saxon word meaning cross vein ore, while some it is instead derived from the Slavic word kwardy (hard). The Greeks had originally named Quartz, Krystallos, the word for ice, but this soon came to mean any crystal The gem varieties of quartz have been used as gemstones and other ornamental objects for thousands of years. Polished rock crystal spheres or crystal balls were used as a means of divination or scrying in medieval times. In China’s Ming Dynasty, Quartz often showed up as stone in jewelry work. In Pre-Columbian America, explorations of Mixtec graves have uncovered Quartz use for ear jewelry For thousands of years before this, quartz crystals and objects made from them were used for divination, disease diagnosis and for awareness of current events in distant places in many ancient cultures.
Sodalite is named in reference to its sodium content.
Tiger eye, (also called crocidolite cat's-eye or African cat's-eye) shows bands that resemble an eye of tiger, so it received its name due to this similarity. Roman soldiers wore tiger's-eye for protection in battle. Tiger Eye was thought to be all seeing due to its appearance.
Tourmaline came from the Sinhalese name of turmali or tormally (multicolored). For centuries it was known by the name schrol. Colored crystals were imported from Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 18th century.
During medieval days tourmaline was thought to heal physical and mental disorders as well as prevent death. Used as a gem for over 2,000 years. In addition to its use as a gem, tourmaline is employed in pressure devices because of its piezoelectric properties. It has been used in depth-sounding apparatus and other devices that detect and measure variations in pressure.
The colored crystals of tourmaline are very strongly dichroic – i.e., they are of different color when viewed in the direction of different axes. Plates cut parallel to the vertical axis of a tourmaline crystal allow only the extraordinary ray through; if two such plates are placed in crossed position, the light is entirely blocked. A pair of these plates form a very simple polarizing apparatus known as tourmaline tongs.

The name turquoise undoubtedly comes from turc (Turkish in French) as it was transported to Europe through Turkey. W its blue hue, it is among the oldest known gemstones. Turquoise was obtained from the Sinai Peninsula before the 4th millennium BC in one of the world's first important hard-rock mining operations. Turquoise was in use even before 4000 BC! The Aztec of Mexico commonly used turquoise for their fine mosaic art and introduced the stone to the surrounding areas, where it became known as chalchihuitl.
It was an important ornamental mineral for jewelry and bracelets wore by the ancient Egyptians. It graced the necks of Egyptian Pharaohs and adorned the ceremonial dress of early native Americans. Turquoise has been attributed with healing powers as well as promoting the wearer's status and wealth. A very special stone indeed, Turquoise is a sacred stone to many American Indian tribes and has been used in various jewelry items.

Monthly Newsletter

For latest products and information

Browse New Jewelry

Social Networks

Why Semiprecious?

This is why 30,000 customers prefer Semiprecious:

  • 18,000 Designs
  • Authentic Gemstone & Sterling Silver
  • Affordable
  • Great Customer Service
  • Easy returns
  • Secure Payments
© 2003 All Rights Reserved.