There are more than 200 varieties of natural gemstones in existence. These include some of the world’s most precious gems, such as sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds, as well as semi-precious stones like opals and peridot. In the U.S., gemstones are highly treasured for their bold colors, brilliant luminosity, and wide variety of cuts and shapes. Gemstones are a staple in modern jewelry and are frequently integrated into custom engagement rings and other handcrafted jewelry.
Read on about several of the most popular American gemstones.
Discovered at the end of the nineteenth century in California, tourmaline is a resilient gemstone with a hardness of 7.0 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. It is known for having the largest variety of colors of any gem mineral, some abundant and others rare. Tourmaline is commonly found in jewelry, with red, blue, green, and multicolored gems being some of the most popular options. It is often used as large pendant stones in rings, bracelets, and earrings.
Emeralds are mostly found in North Carolina. Their name comes from the Greek word “smaragdos,” meaning ‘green stone.’ Emerald has a hardness of 7.5 to 8.0 on the Mohs scale and is the only gemstone with a cut named after it. Due to its lush greenish-blue tones, emeralds are highly recognizable and a popular option for modern rustic jewelry. The most high-quality and valuable emeralds are transparent and not too dark or light.
Turquoise can be found in several states in the U.S., including Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. This opaque, blue, greenish mineral has been prized as an ornamental stone for thousands of years due to its stunning hue and is commonly used in necklaces, pendants, earrings, brooches, bracelets, and rings. Spherical turquoise beads are also a common sight in modern jewelry, and we love using this stone in our jewelry.
As the name suggests, Montana sapphires are derived from the state of Montana. In fact, Montana is the only commercial producer of sapphires in North America. Sapphires have been ethically mined in the state for more than 150 years with the primary location being the Yogo Gulch where rare blue sapphires have been discovered. Montana sapphires can be found in blue, green, lavender, yellow, pink, and purple hues and are one of the most popular gemstones in our modern rustic jewelry.
Opal can be found mainly in the states of Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho. Black fire opals have been discovered in the Virgin Valley of Nevada which, unlike ordinary opals, contain iron and carbon oxide trace elements. Opal gemstones are unique in that they are amorphous, meaning they do not have a defined crystalline gemstone. Instead, their color and shape can be unpredictable. These beautiful stones can be found in yellow, orange, green, red, purple, and blue.
In the 1930s, Wyoming was named the Jade State due to the high quality and abundance of stones in the region. Jade has also been discovered in other areas of the U.S., including California. You can find this precious stone in earrings, bracelets, and pendants typically cut in cabochons, beads, or tumbled stones. There is a common misconception that jade only appears in its recognizable green hue but, it can be found in many colors such as red, blue, white, yellow, and black.
Different varieties of agate can be found across America. Moss agates are commonly found in the Northwest, while scenic agates have been discovered in Yellowstone National Park. Lace agate, characterized by its bright color and intricate patterns, has been mined in Arizona. Most agates are found in natural colors, such as browns, greens, and yellows. Other hues like natural blues are rarer and tend to fetch higher prices
Jasper is an opaque type of chalcedony usually found in yellow, brown, or reddish tones. These stones are almost always multicolored and may take on unique patterns or a mottled look. Although Jasper can be found worldwide, it’s quite common in the U.S. with sources in Idaho, Oregon, California, Washington, Utah, Arizona, Texas, and Arkansas. This semi-precious stone is often used in jewelry and is known to be a great stress reliever.
Rubies are known for their rich red color and are quite rare. In America, they can be found in Franklin, North Carolina which contains several mines. Rubies carry the highest per-carat price of any colored gemstone. While in its purest form, the stone is colorless. However, trace elements create variations in the crystal structure that give the stone its widely loved red hue, which we love to use in our modern rustic jewelry. The word ruby comes from the Latin word “ruber” which translates to ‘red.’
Topaz is not just the traditional November birthstone. It is also a stone with a long history dating back to 1737 when it was first discovered in Germany. Today, the stone can be found in Utah, California, and New Hampshire, although the largest producer is Brazil. Topaz remains one of the most popular American gemstones due to its desirable colors and superior hardness. Most people know topaz for its golden yellow-orange hue, but it can also be found in dark pinkish-red colors.
Benitoite is California’s state stone and where it can be found in limited supply. This highly rare mineral is typically blue in color but can also be yellowish to colorless. In addition to being used to produce jewelry, benitoite is commonly used as a mineral sample and as a small barium and titanium deposit.
Shop Chinchar Maloneys’ American Gemstone Jewelry?
Chinchar Maloney is a family-owned and operated jewelry design company dedicated to creating stunning heirloom-quality fine jewelry. From earrings adorned with natural diamonds to gold engagement rings enhanced with precious gemstones, you’ll discover a wide range of styles to choose from.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to visit our showroom or to speak with a Custom Specialist about building your own ring featuring our vast selection of loose diamonds and gemstones that have been ethically mined and harvested.