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Information About Our Stones S - Z

Smokey Quartz
Smokey quartz is usually a smokey brown colour, but it can vary to nearly black. This gemstone can be found in Scotland, where it is known as Cairngorm. It can also be found in the USA and the Swiss Alps. It has a hardness of 7.

Snowflake Obsidian
Obsidian is a naturally occuring glass which can form when volcanic lava cools. Pure obsidian is dark, but is sometimes found with small clusters of white cristobalite to produce Snowflake Obsidian. It has a hardness of 5 - 5.5 and can be found in the USA, Iceland, Turkey and many other countries.

A beautiful blue mineral which is often mottled with white veins. It was discovered in Greenland in 1806. It is used to make beads and cabochons for jewellery, as well as ornaments. It has a hardness of 5 - 5.6 and can be found in Canada and the USA.

Tigers Eye
A variety of chatoyant quartz, the dark brown stone containing yellow fibres which create the cat's eye effect. It can be mined or found in gravels. It has a hardness of 7 and is found in Australia, Brazil, India and South Africa

Pure topaz is clear, the colours being dependent on the various impurities. The most common colour is a straw yellow, but it also occurs in pink, blue, wine and green colours. It usually occurs in cavities and veins of granite pegmatites, rholites and quartz veins. The largest crystals are found at Minas Gerais in Brazil, but topaz is also found in many other countries including Australia and the USA. It has a hardness of 8 and a vitreous lustre

Tourmaline is a semi-precious stone found in a wide variety of colours including black (schorl), red or pink (rubellite), green or yellow. Multicoloured crystals also occur, a crystal which is both pink and green being known as watermelon tourmaline. If heated or rubbed, tourmaline can acquire an electric charge which can attract dust. It is most commonly mined in Brazil or Africa and has a hardness of 7 - 7.5.

A turquoise substitute made from dyed howlite, also known as turquenite.

One of the oldest gemstones, turquoise has probably been mined for over 6000 years. It was used by the ancient Egyptians and Native Americans. A historically important source of turquoise is Iran, where it has been mined for over 2000 years. Turquoise is an opaque blue-green mineral, that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium. It occurs in veins in associations with aluminous, sedimentary or igneous rocks, usually in arid areas. It has hardness of 5-6 and can be found in Egypt, USA, China and Australia amongst other countries.

This stone was first discovered in the Unakas mountains in the USA and is usually green and pink in colour. It is an altered granite comprised of green epidote, pink orthoclase feldspar and usually clear quartz. It can also be found in Brazil, China and South Africa