AGATES - Coveted by the Ancient Greeks for their beauty and healing properties, agates appear in many colours and shapes. Promoting physical and mental balance and self-confidence, these crystal beds were formed over thousands of years inside rocks. They are valued to help pregnant women and new mothers.
AMETHYST - The birthstone for February and Pisces is one of the most beautifulnatural minerals with its violet crystals. It's in the British crown jewels, the Smithsonian museum and the jewelry of Catherine the Great. Given on the third wedding anniversary, the gem of the Chinese dragon star sign is valued in Feng Shui to enhance wealth.
CITRINE - One of the rarest natural quartz stones, its beautiful colour makes it afavourite for rings and pendants. Worn by Roman legionaries to protect them from jealousy and intrigue, November's birthstone is the energizing stone, considered to reverse degenerative diseases and ward off chronic fatigue.
DOLOMITE - Dolomite gets its beautiful milky white lustre from calcium laid downmillions of years ago, which has made it a favoured mineral for pendants, rings and carved stones. Considered to be a stone that calms, soothes and cheers, it is naturally associated with purity and balance.
EMERALD - A favourite of Cleopatra and the Russian czars, this glorious green gemhas held a fascination since ancient times, when Greek philosopher Aristotle believed carrying some of the stones helped businessmen and lawyers win over adversaries. So popular is the gem, that the finest emeralds can be twice as valuable as diamonds. May's birthstone has been used throughout centuries to bring luck, especially in love.
MADRE PEROLA - This beautiful lustrous white stone from Brazil gets its name - Motherof Pearl - from its similarity to the iridescent sheen of sea shells. From the south of Brazil it's a type of quartzite, formed by the fusing of thousands of tiny grains of quartz to create a hard marble-like rock that polishes into beautiful shining stones.
ONYX - While onyx can occur in almost any colour, it is the black translucent stonethat is one of the most prized, and is traditionally give to mark the 10th wedding anniversary. Roman legionaries wore amulets of onyx engraved with the god Mars to protect them in battle, while ancient physicians used the stone to treat many ailments. Today, gemologists may use it to promote harmonious relationships and reduce stress.
PEARL - So extraordinary is the pearl in nature that they were believed in ancientJapan to be made from the tears of mermaids. Civilisations throughout time have viewed pearls as symbols of love and sensuality, and from Cleopatra to Princess Grace no great beauty has been without her pearl necklace or earrings.
RHODOCHROSITE - Sometimes called the Rose of the Incas, this lovely pink bandedmineral is the national gemstone of Argentina. Known as the Stone of the Compassionate Heart, it symbolizes selfless love and is naturally a favourite gift for anniversaries and Valentine's Day.
ROCK CRYSTAL - The purest form of quartz, this clear, translucent crystal has anunmatched natural beauty and structure that has made it prized by gemologists throughout history. Reputed to be able to absorb, store and transmit energy is has been used for centuries in meditation to focus the body's energy centres.
ROSE QUARTZ - Lovers have been giving this fair and lovely pink crystal to each otherfor at least 2,500 years, from ancient Egypt to the courts of China. Often given on a second wedding anniversary, this rose gem is also a token of motherhood and pregnancy that is used to promote sleep and beautiful dreams.
RUTILATED QUARTZ - This dramatic mineral gets its striking lines from shards of titaniummineral that pierce the crystal.In Europe it is called fleches d'amour - arrows of love - for the shining filaments that in some stones can glow red in reflected light. Little wonder then, gazing into the the beautiful sprays of needles against the light, that the stone is thought to clear the mind and provide hidden insights.
SMOKY QUARTZ - Smoky Quartz is often carried as a protection stone, grounding oneto the earth and warding off bad moods to promote rational and constructive feelings. Its dark, translucent properties have made it popular through the ages, from Scottish Highland chiefs who wore it in brooches and dagger hilts, to imperial Chinese judges, who used it to make the first sunglasses to hide their expressions in court.
SODALITE - Known as the wisdom stone, Sodalite so captivated a young Englishprincess once that she decorated her palace with it, giving it the nickname: Princess Blue. Associated with star sign Libra, sodalite can be worn at night to banish sleeplessness.
TIGER’S EYE - Few minerals evoke so much wonder through the ages as golden Tiger's Eye.For centuries it has been carried to deflect evil and bring power and success. Its unique mesmerizing sheen, called chatoyancy, takes millennia of metamorphosis to form.