Gemstones offer unique colors and beauty but in reality natural gemstone is too brittle for practical use in knife handles. Reconstituted stone is made by combining crushed or powders natural stone with synthetic polymers and resins and reformed to make a much more durable and waterproof material while retaining the beauty of the gemstone. In some cases, completely manmade materials can be nearly impossible to tell from natural or reconstituted materials.
Some believe various gemstone materials even have spiritual and healing powers. Below is information and folklore about various materials along with some examples as knife handles.
Azurite is a soft, deep blue copper mineral produced by weathering of copper ore deposits. It is also known as Chessylite after the Chessy-les-Mines near Lyon, France, where striking specimens have been found. Azurite is a very popular mineral because of its unparalleled color, a deep blue called "azure", hence its name. Azure is derived from the Arabic word for blue. The color is due to the presence of copper (a strong coloring agent), and the way the copper chemically combines with the carbonate groups (CO3) and hydroxyls (OH). Azurite is often associated with its colorful close cousin, malachite.
Azurite is found in Australia, Chile, France, Mexico, Morocco, Nambia, the southwestern USA, and Zaire.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Azurite was sacred to the Egyptians who believed it was an aid to spiritual communication. Many believe that this stone helps to reduce anger and to increase psychic awareness. It is also thought to reduce abnormal cell growth, promote wisdom, and is used as an aid to relieve the paid of rheumatism.
Green malachite is closely associated with azurite in many ways. Not only do they frequently occur together, they also have very similar formulae. Malachite can also replace azurite, making a pseudomorph, or an exact copy of an azurite crystal (only now instead of being blue, it would be green). Malachite can be found in Zaire, USSR, Germany, France, Chile, Australia, Arizona and New Mexico/USA.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Its powers include: protection, power, peace, love, and success in business. It is worn to detect impending danger. It is the guardian stone of travelers. Promotes inner peace and hope, provides protection and security.
Azurite / Malachite
A natural blending of two beneficial stones. Malachite and azurite are the same chemical, practically, Copper Carbonate. The only difference is the ordering of the elements in the molecule.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: A blue-green stone that is helpful to anyone. Malachite has the ability to draw out positive or negative energy, and Azurite is soothing and calming to the spirit. Together they have the ability to neutralize energy and produce a sense of calm. Sleep will improve and you will be better able to interpret your dreams.
Russian Lavender (Charoite)
Charoite is a rare mineral found only along the Chara River in Russia (hence it's name). It is strong, translucent lavneder to purple in color with pearly, swirling patterns. It is a discrete mineral rather than a rock. Reportedly discovered in the 1940s, it was not known to the outside world until it's description in 1978. It is opaque and unattractive when found in the field which could explain it's late recognition. However is polished to a beautiful luster.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Charoite is the stone of courage. Charoite is a soul stone with deep physical and emotional healing energies. It is a stone of transformation and is used to overcome fears. Charoite stimulates your inner vision. Charoite can be used to overcome obsessions and compulsions. It grounds the spiritual self, opening and balancing the crown chakra. Lifts energy when the body is exhausted, regulates blood pressure, assists with deep sleep and powerful dreams.
Turquoise is the one of the official birth stones for the month of December as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 and the Planetary stone for Aquarius, Taurus and Sagittarius. The name turquoise is apparently related to the fact that is was brought to Europe from the Eastern Mediterranean by Levantine traders, more commonly known as Turks. Its been used as a valuable ornament for ages and was used by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. The color is, of course, turquoise, but its range of color varies from green and greenish blue to sky blue shades.
For centuries, the most valuable turquoise came from Iran (Persia) but today some specimens mined in the southwestern United States compete with it. The name "Persian Turquoise" is now generally used to refer to any turquoise stone that does not have the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States and used in a style of jewelry created by the American Indians. The Aztecs mined turquoise in an area now known as New Mexico and a significant amount of turquoise comes from Arizona, California and Nevada in the United States.
Turquoise is often dyed and stabilized with resins to produce a harder stone which retains its color and polish. Reconstituted turquoise is made from small chips and "chalk" to which dyes and plastic resin is added. Pure turquoise is a relatively soft stone ranging between 5 and 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Turquoise attracts money, success and love. Its powers include protection, healing, courage, friendship, and luck. Relaxes the mind, and eases mental tension. Turquoise is sacred to many Native American's and was carved in the shape of animals and birds. These carvings were placed in the Indians tombs to attract beneficial spirits and to guard the dead. Turquoise was also used by medicine men for healing and by warriors who fixed turquoise to the end of their bows to insure accurate shots.
Onyx is the Mystical birthstone for the month of December. It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Leo. Onyx is also given on the 7th and 10th wedding anniversary.
Onyx is a chalcedony quartz that is mined in Brazil, India, California and Uruguay. It has a fine texture and black color; however some onyx also displays white bands or ribbons against a black or brown background and this variety is known as sardonyx.
The name comes from the Greek word onyx which means nail of a finger or claw. Legend says that one day while Venus was sleeping Eros/Cupid cut her fingernails and left the clippings scattered on the ground. Because no part of a heavenly body can die, the gods turned them into stone which later became known as onyx.
Originally, almost all colors of chalcedony from white to dark brown and black were called onyx. Today when we think of onyx we often preface the word with black to distinguish it from other varieties of onyx that come in white, reddish brown, brown and banded. A variety of onyx that is reddish brown with white and lighter reddish bands is known as sardonyx.
Most Black Onyx that is commercially available today is color enhanced (heated and dyed) to increase it's depth of color.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Thought to increase regeneration, happiness, intuition, instincts. Also thought to decrease sexual desire and helps to change bad habits.
Jasper is one of the birth stones listed for the Sun Sign of Virgo. It is also the Mystical birthstone for the month of October.
Jasper is an opaque and fine grained variety of Chalcedony. It is found in all colors including: red, brown, pink, yellow, green, gray/white and shades of blue and purple. It often contains organic material and mineral oxides which give it interesting patterns, bands and colors. Many of these patterns resemble landscapes with mountains and valleys, thus the name "picture" is part of the name of many well know jaspers.
Jasper was a favorite gem in ancient times and is referenced in Greek, Hebrew, Assyrian and Latin literature.
Found worldwide, a wide variety of named jaspers is found in the western areas of the Unites States; California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Washington. Jasper is the state rock of Massachusetts, USA.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Native American traditions use jasper for connecting with the spirit world and for protection when traveling. Legend says that Jasper would drive away evil spirits and protect against snake and spider bites. In the fourth century, it was thought to bring about the rain. Jasper is protective. It can align all the chakras and balance yin yang energies, it is stabilizing and healing.
Jade is listed as the Mystical birthstone for the month of March and the birthstone for the Sun Sign Virgo. Jade may be given as a gem on the 12th 30th and 35th wedding anniversary.
Jade is the term applied to forms of jadeite and nephrite. These minerals are
similar in appearance and a distinction between the two often was not made. But,
because of its more intense color and translucency, jadeite now brings higher
prices and is thought to be the true jade
The most valuable form of jade is known as imperial jade and comes from Myanmar, it is an emerald green color. Jades also appear in mottled green and white, and the rarer colors of yellow, pink, purple, and black. The range of greens are light to dark, creamy, grayish, and also white. A leek green variety called "Russian Jade" is found near Lake Baikal in Russia. Jade is also found in Mexico, and Central and South America. Because of its smooth even texture, jade has long been a preferred material for carving and is usually cut into cabochons for jewelry.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Thought to protect the kidneys, liver, spleen, heart, larynx, thymus, and thyroid. Ancient people thought that wearing jade would increase body strength and add longevity. Jade is an ancient symbol of love and virtue.
Rhodonite is a manganese inosilicate with a pinkish color mostly found in Germany. It is often confused with rhodochrosite because the base color is similar, but most rhodonite used for jewelry purposes contains black manganese oxides while rhodochrosite is banded with white. Pink rhodonite contrasting with black manganese oxides is sometimes used as a gem material as seen in this specimen from Humboldt Co., Nevada, USA
Rhodonite is the official gem of Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Rhodonite is the "Stone of Love"! This stone symbolizes "self realization". Rhodonite works with the Heart Chakra by soothing the heart center as well as the Root Chakra for grounding and balancing, due to the presence of black oxides in this stone. This balance of colors allows for a powerful and vibration for caring for one's self. Rhodonite allows for confidence and self worth. Helps us express confidence and lovingness on physical plane in day-to-day ways. Calms and feeds the soul through the heart; love and service. It helps us with confusion and allows us to focus. This stone helps to strengthen mantras, chanting, affirmations, singing and toning.
Folk Remedies: Rhodonite is considered the "first aid stone". It is one of the best stone for anxieties and phobias. It has been used to facilitate stress, heartache, loss and reflection. Rhodonite is believed to improve cardiac deficiencies at an early stage and toned up the respiratory tract and lungs. The Ancients use it also for speech/hearing problems, growth, fear, illness (emphysema, asthma...) and for soothing nightmares. Use for trauma, confusion, and confidence. This stone is believed to work on the muscular skeletal system and therefore is beneficial for degenerative disorders and autoimmune disorders such as lupus, chronic fatigue and multiple sclerosis. Very beneficial for the growth of bones.
Rhodonite soothes the nervous system. This gemstone vibrates with love. Just holding this gemstone promotes relaxation and brings a sense of well-being. This is a balance gemstone and is used to clear the psychic centers. Rhodonite raises self worth and helps ward off negativity. It has been known as a "rescue stone".
Blue Agate: Chalcedony is a catch all term that includes many well known varieties of cryptocrystalline quartz gemstones. They are found in all 50 States, in many colors and color combinations, and in sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. Chalcedony includes carnelian, sard, plasma, prase, bloodstone, onyx, sardonyx, chrysoprase, thundereggs, agate, flint, chert, jasper, petrified wood, and petrified dinosaur bone just to name a few of the better known varieties.
Because of its abundance, durability, and beauty, chalcedony was, except for sticks, animal skins, bones, plain rocks, and possibly obsidian, the earliest raw material used by humankind. The earliest recorded use of chalcedony was for projectile points, knives, tools, and containers such as cups and bowls. Early man made weapons and tools from many varieties of chalcedony including agate, agatized coral, flint, jasper, and petrified wood.
The move from using certain items as weapons and tools, to using the same items for ceremonial and personal adornment is very easily made. It was only natural for early man to use his finest looking knife for special occasions or to attach a special lance point or arrowhead to his tunic. In fact, agate and petrified wood may have simply been elevated to gems from common and functional weapons or tools.
All 50 States produce some variety of chalcedony, but the material from some States is better known than that from others. California's "Mojave Blue" agate has gained a great deal of attention in the past several years. This pastel blue or blue-gray agate cuts into attractive cabochons for jewelry and, in the hands of an expert carver, makes outstanding carvings.
Other forms of agate include Lake Superior agate, carnelian agate (usually exhibiting reddish hues), Botswana agate, Ellensburg blue agate, blue lace agate, plume agates, tube agate (with visible flow channels), fortification agate (which exhibit little or no layered structure), fire agate (which seems to glow internally like an opal) and Mexican crazy-lace agate (which exhibits an often brightly colored, complex banded pattern) also called Rodeo Agate and Rosetta Stone depending on who owned the mine at the time.
Properties: Composed of microscopic crystals of Quartz laid down in colorful bands or ribbons. The appearance of the stone is waxy and soft. Almost always translucent and occasionally transparent.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Agates are grounding stones. Agates are one of the oldest good luck stones. They help obtain a better physical/emotional balance. They work to raise consciousness. Builds self-confidence. Agate enables the person wearing it to choose their friends carefully. Used to avert from lighting and stormy weather (physically and metaphysically), agate brings prosperity. It is a protector of children. This stone helps us to have patience, and allows for inner peace. Use agate as a gazing tool for divination and meditation. Agate balances emotions and brings insight to any situation.
Folk Remedies: Agate is a fertility stone used for centuries. It is believed to prevent miscarriages and alleviate discomfort during pregnancy. It is a cooling stone used for stomach, colon, liver, spleen, kidneys. Used for centering, taking heart and maintaining blood sugar levels. This is why it is so helpful for dizziness, headaches and impaired balance. anorexia/food issues, lymphnodes, Restores nerve feeling and healing after injury/burns.
Amber: The gemstone Amber is one of the birthstones listed for the Sun Sign for Taurus. Amber deposits have been found that range between 360 and one million years old and belong between the Carboniferous and Pleistocene geological periods. As sticky resin oozed from ancient pine trees, small insects, plant material, feathers and other small objects in the path of the flow became entrapped. Over time, the resin was encased in dirt and debris and through a process of heat and pressure it fossilized to become amber.
Copal, is also a tree resin but it hasn't fully fossilized to amber. It is usually only thousands of years old, instead of millions of years. There is strong debate about some deposits of African amber as to whether it is copal or true amber.
Amber can range in color from dark brown to a light almost clear lemon yellow. Most amber that has been used in jewelry is from the region of the Baltic Sea or the Dominican Republic. Amber is very soft, between 2 1/2-3 on the Mohs scale and can be scratched easily. Much of the amber used in commercial jewelry is actually reconstituted which makes it harder and less prone to scratching. Reconstituted and processed amber usually doesn't have natural inclusions.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Powers attributed to amber include love, strength, luck, healing, and protection, calming for hyperactivity and stressed nerves, finds humor and joy. Legend says that Amber was believed to provide magicians and sorcerers with special enhanced powers. Helps remove energy blockages, strengthens physical body. Excellent for enhancing altered states of consciousness.
Lapis lazuli (sometimes abbreviated to lapis) is a relatively rare, semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color.
Lapis lazuli has been mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for over 6,000 years, and trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Predynastic Egyptian sites (as archaeologists have frequently stated, but lapis could also be found in, e.g. the Siwa Oasis in the Western Lybian desert), and lapis beads at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania.
Extraordinarily deep blue stone often flecked with Pyrite. Can also be mottled with white Calcite. Most is currently mined in the USSR and Afghanistan.
Notable Occurrences include Kokcha River valley, Afghanistan; Ovalle, Cordillera, Chile; near Lake Baikal, Russia; Mt. Vesuvius, Italy; Cascade Canyon, San Bernardino Mountains and Ontario Peak, California and in the Sawatch Mountains, Colorado, USA.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Solid, med. to dk. blue. In meditation, opens Brow Chakra: higher guidance, intuition, connection to higher self, overview, decisions for good of all. Organizes, quiets mind. Opens Throat/Thyroid Chakra: Self-expression, writing, creativity, dream insight, allows total awareness...Anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, autism, shyness, nervous system, depression, serenity, self-acceptance; MS, speech, hearing, pituitary, DNA, lymph, inflammation, pain (especially head), protection stone. Shelters the wearer like a shield. . Beneficial to the respiratory system, especially the throat and lungs, the cleansing organs, and the nervous system. A good stone for blood purification and for boosting the immune system. A powerful thought-amplifier and is helpful in aligning all the elements of the body and mind. Can increase psychic abilities and will open the third eye. Can guide you in the direction of mental and spiritual purity. It should be worn as close to the throat as possible or at least above the diaphragm so that the energy of the wearer is drawn upward.
Calcium and calcite. Though not really a stone, coral is often used as gemstone material in jewelry and knife handles. Initially believed to be a plant, William Herschel used a microscope to establish in the 18th Century that Coral had the characteristic thin cell walls of an animal. The hermatypic, stony corals are often found in coral reefs, large calcium carbonate structures generally found in shallow, tropical water. Reefs are built up from coral skeletons and held together by layers of calcium carbonate produced by coralline algae.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties: Coral brings diplomacy and concurrence, quiets emotions, brings peace to innerself. Facilitates intuition, imagination, visualization, expedite, accelerate the transfer of knowledge. Strengthens both circulatory and bone structure in the body. Stimulates tissue regeneration and nourish blood cells. Helps with disorders of the spinal, alimentary canals, nervous system and thalamus. Different colors of Coral can be used alone, in combination, or all together. Sympathetic to both the skeletal structure and the circulatory system. Good stone for ailments of the bones and blood such as arthritis and anemia. Also benefits the cleansing organs and thymus. Helps battle mental illnesses. Has a true link with the past and can pass knowledge along.
Red and orange: stimulates Root and Spleen Chakra for
energy and warmth, fertility. Energizes emotions. Muscles, blood, heart,
reproductive system; thyroid, metabolism; meridians; spine, bone and tissue
regeneration. (Avoid if high blood pressure, fever, anxious.)
Pink: Heart Chakra, increases sensitivity, caring, compassion.
White: Soothes, clears and heals the meridians. Helps one manage with stress, especially when stress effects the back. White coral helps with the ability to smell and soothes the nerves.
Black: Creativity, repels lower energies.
Blue: activates and energizes the Throat Chakra. Also used to illuminate the Third Eye Chakra, enhancing psychic awareness and capabilities of the user. Facilitates the improvement/permanence in pursuit of commerce, improves communication abilities, treatment of throat ailments and cleansing of mucoid system.