While pure diamonds are clear, various impurities give the precious stones different colors. Of the several varieties of diamonds, the green gems are less rare than red and black, but less common than yellow and white. The green precious stones are a result of irradiation of pure diamonds. Diamond in general is the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of April, both in the Western and Hindu calendar.
Jadeite is the most expensive variety of jade stones, and is most popularly known to occur as green stones of various shades, the most valuable being the translucent and intensely green gemstones. Just like the chemically unrelated variety of jade, nephrite, jadeite is also available in white.
Exclusively green stones, emeralds are part of a group of minerals called beryl, which is also available in yellow, black and red. The name emerald comes from the Greek smaragdos, which literally means “green gem.” The precious green stones are prone to inclusions, as well as surface fissures. Perfectly smooth and transparent pieces of the green precious stones, which are very hard to come by, are indeed quite valuable. The green gemstones are the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of May, both in the Western and Hindu calendar, as well as the birthstone for the zodiac sign Cancer.
Alexandrite is a color-changing variety of chrysoberyl. Different varieties of alexandrite produce different colors. Alexandrite from Russia consists of green gemstones that at night, under incandescent light, shift to red in color. Other varieties of alexandrite may give off yellow or pink during the day. Along with pearl and moonstone, alexandrite is the modern birthstone for the month of June in the US.
Beside red, yellow and black, garnets also occur as green stones. The green gemstones come from three different garnet species. The andradite species is further divided into the varieties topazolite and demantoid, which is the most expensive of garnets. Grossular garnet also produces green rocks, while uvarovite, one of the rarest garnet species, are beautiful and consistently green gems. Color-changing varieties of garnet also exist. Garnet is general is the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of January in the Western calendar, as well as the zodiac sign Aquarius.
Beside black, red (rubellites) and yellow, tourmalines also occur as green stones. The green gemstones come the species of tourmaline called elbaite, which is further divided into two varieties: verdelite and indicolite, the latter also available in blue. Both green gemstones are sourced from Brazil, from which a newly discovered, brightly colored indicolite called Paraiba tourmaline has risen to popularity, and is the most expensive of the green rocks. Another highly valuable variety of the green jewels is chrome tourmaline, which is richly green due to the presence of chromium. A tourmaline that is green on one end and pink on the other is called watermelon tourmaline.
Serendibite is an extremely rare gemstone, much more so the green stones, which were the only serendibite known in existence until 2005, when the black variety was discovered. The green gems are attractively bright and transparent. The name serendibite comes from Serendib, the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka, from which the precious green gemstones were solely found.
Beside white, black, red and yellow, precious opal also occurs as green stones, or white/black stones that display a play of color involving green. Green fire against white background is the most common of the precious opals; green against black body tone is much more valuable. Most of the green gems come from Australia. The green gemstones are also found in Peru. Another variety of opal named hyalite also produces green rocks.
Beside red, black, yellow and white, spinels also occur as green stones. Glassy to dull in luster, the green gems are gray or dark in intensity, and indeed not very suitable for jewelry. Like yellow spinels, the green gemstones are also quite rare, and hence only mostly availed of as collector’s pieces.
Also called titanite for its titanium content, sphene is a stone with brilliance that can exceed diamond, though of far lower hardness compared to the latter. Beside yellow and red, sphene also occurs as green gemstones, usually with yellow undertone. The green stones are very rare, and accordingly more expensive.
Sapphires belong to a group of minerals called corundum along with ruby, or the red sapphire. While commonly thought of as blue in color, sapphires also occur as black, yellow and green gemstones. Beautiful though they are, the green precious stones are less commonly used in jewelry compared to the other colors of sapphire. Sapphire in general is the modern birthstone for the month of September in the Western calendar, and the month of July in the Hindu calendar, while traditionally identified as the birthstone for the zodiac sign Taurus.
While popularly known for its yellow variety, which is called cymophane or cat’s eye, as well as its color-changing cousin, alexandrite, chrysoberyl occurs most commonly as yellowish green stones, which may be transparent to translucent in clarity. The green gems used to be called by the name chrysolite, which confused the green gemstones with peridot.
Zircons are popular substitutes to diamonds. Beside red, yellow and black, zircons also occur as green stones. While excellent in terms of gem quality, the green gems are abundantly found in the earth’s crust; hence the relative inexpensiveness of the green gemstones compared to other stones.
Smithsonite, also known as zinc spar, is an ore of zinc, like sphalerite. Beside white, yellow and blue, smithsonite also occurs as green stones. The green gems are translucent to opaque. The green gemstones were named after the mineralogist James Smithson, who first identified the mineral in 1802.
Andalusite is an aluminum-bearing mineral that was named after the province of Andalusia in Spain, where the stone was first discovered. Beside yellow and red, andalusite occurs as green stones, though the same green gemstones may not be always green. Like alexandrite, the green gems changes color from green to red, or yellow.
Green Labradorite and Andesine
Labradite is feldspar mineral like sunstone and oligoclase, as well as moonstone and orthoclase. Beside blue and yellow, labradorite also occurs as green stones. The green gemstones produce an iridescent play of colors called labradorescence. A close cousin of labradorite that varies only slightly in terms of chemical composition is andesine, which also occurs as green gems.
Peridot is a gemstone from the mineral olivine. Like citrine, peridot is one of the very few gemstones that have only one color: green, though shades of the green gemstones range from olive green, to brownish, to almost yellow — all with glassy luster. Peridot is the modern birthstone for the month of August in the Western calendar.
Idocrase is gem quality vesuvianite, a mineral first discovered and named after the Mount Vesuvius. Beside yellow and blue, idocrase also occurs as green stones. The green gems are transparent to translucent in clarity. The green gemstones come from California, USA, and Pakistan.
Though popularly known for their white variety, pearls are also available as black, yellow and green stones. Light green pearls are produced by Japan’s Akoya oysters, while the dark green gemstones come from the black pearl oyster, whose pearls are not necessarily black, but may also be shades of green and blue. Pearl is the modern birthstone for the month of June in the US.
Though also found in yellow, bowenite are mainly green stones from the serpentine mineral antigonite, which is an otherwise soft rock. The green gems range in color from dark green to olive green. The green rocks are opaque to translucent, the latter being rare and accordingly expensive. The green gemstones are sometimes sold as jade.
Sphalerite is the main ore of zinc. Beside yellow, red and black, sphalerite also occurs as green stones. The green gems are rather soft, and therefore best left unset as collector’s pieces; though there are people who choose to wear the green gemstones in jewelry. The green rocks are found in Bulgaria.
Kornerupine is a rare gemstone first discovered in 1884 in Greenland. Translucent kornerupine makes fine gems, of which the green stones are more valuable than their yellow counterpart. Like cymophane, the green gemstones are also known to produce a cat’s eye effect.
While commonly used to make fertilizer, apatite is a phosphate mineral that produces rocks of gem quality, usually occurring as green crystals, though yellow and blue are also available. The green gems may exhibit chatoyancy or iridescent luster like cat’s eye. The transparent green gemstones of the apatite mineral are called asparagus stone.
Like black star diopside, chrome diopside is gem quality diopside. Chrome diopside occurs as green stones, the rich color being caused by chromium inclusion. The green gems have a glassy to dull luster. The green gemstones are found in a number of localities, including North America, South Africa, Russia and Brazil.
Enstatite is a magnesium-rich mineral. Beside yellow and white, enstatite occurs as green crystals, in which color it is known as chrome enstatite. Like cymophane, the green semi-precious stones can also produce a cat’s eye effect. A close cousin of enstatite, hypersthene, better known as orthopyroxene, likewise occurs as green stones, used in jewelry as well.
Sunstone belongs to the feldspar group of minerals, along with oligoclase, labradorite and andesine, as well as moonstone and orthoclase. Beside red, yellow and blue, sunstones also occur as green crystals. The glassy green semi-precious stones are clear on the edges, with the color concentrated at the center of the green gemstones. The green stones are found in the US State of Oregon and Norway.
A variety of spodumene, hiddenite occurs as pale green crystals, first discovered in North Carolina, USA. The color of the green semi-precious stones comes from the intrusion of chromium. There exist other green gemstones of the spodumene mineral not colored by chromium, and therefore not considered true hiddenite.
Moldavite consists, in a manner of speaking, of alien green crystals, coming from outer space. The semi-precious green stones are tektites, or debris from meteorites that had crashed on earth. While other tektites are black, moldavite is composed of light green gemstones that are translucent in clarity. Being a product of extraterrestrial activity, the green semiprecious stones are in quite limited supply, and may be very nearly exhausted from the ground.
While commonly yellow, ambers also occur as green crystals, beside red and blue. The green gemstones are not strictly stones, but fossilized resin from evergreen trees preserved under high pressure. Unlike other gemstones, the semi-precious green stones are warm to the touch, though the green stones are not to be exposed to intense heat, with which they soften. The green semi-precious stones are more expensive when they have fossil inclusions.
Beside yellow, white and blue, zoisite also occurs as green crystals. The green semi-precious stones are translucent to transparent, with the latter used mostly in jewelry. The green gemstones may occur in association with ruby, in which case the semiprecious stone is called ruby-zoisite or anyolite.
Beside yellow and red, topaz also occurs as green crystals. The green semi-precious stones are rather rare. The green gemstones do occur naturally in a number of localities, including Brazil, the United States, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Colorless topaz may also be treated to make the green semiprecious stones.
Beside white and yellow, nephrite also produces green rocks, although these green semi-precious stones are deemed inferior in quality compared to the chemically unrelated variety of jade, jadeite. Nephrites are translucent to opaque, with the shades of the green gemstones varying from light to dark green.
Discovered only in 1963, Maw-sit-sit consists of green rocks with dark-green to black veins. The green semi-precious stones are composed of several minerals, including jadeite and albite feldspar, hence the other name of the green gemstones, jade-albite. The semiprecious green stones are exclusively found in Myanmar (Burma).
Agate is banded variety of chalcedony, which is a member of the quartz group of minerals. Several types of agate produce stones with green stripes. Agate is the traditional birthstone for the months of May and June in the Western calendar, as well as the zodiac sign Gemini.
While called an agate, moss agate is not strictly an agate, but a separate variety of chalcedony. This green gemstone is different in that moss agate lacks the concentric banding that characterizes agate. Moss agate is distinguished for its green inclusions, which resembles green moss against a body of milk or clear quartz..
Malachite occurs as green rocks typically around copper deposits. Though very similar in composition to azurite, which is blue, malachite consists exclusively of green semi-precious stones, which only vary in shades from bright green, dark, to yellowish. The green gemstones are relatively soft, and hence not the best green gemstones for jewelry.
Fluorite, also known as fluorspar, is a brilliant mineral from which the word fluorescent was derived. Beside blue, yellow, red and black, fluorite also occur as green crystals. While beautiful, the green semi-precious stones are rather soft, hence not very suitable for jewelry, and accordingly inexpensive.
If yellow quartz is called citrine and violet quartz amethyst, green quartz is called prasiolite, also spelled praziolite. Like aventurine, prasiolite — also called vermarine or just green quartz — is a variety of quartz that occurs as green crystals. Natural specimens of the green semi-precious stones are rare, with small supply coming from Brazil, Poland and Canada. Most prasiolite sold in the market are treated amethyst.
Chrysoprase and Chrome Chalcedony
Chrysoprase, chrysophrase or chrysoprasus, is a variety of chalcedony, a group of quartz minerals which includes jasper, bloodstone, onyx, agate and carnelian. Chrysoprase occurs as green rocks that owe their bright color from nickel. Chalcedony may also be colored green with chromium, instead of nickel, but the green semi-precious stones would be called, not chrysoprase, but chrome chalcedony, which is found in Zimbabwe.
Aventurine is quartz like citrine, chalcedony and tiger’s eye, but is most commonly available as green gemstones, though yellow, white and blue are also available. The green semi-precious stones are translucent to opaque, and give off platy shimmer that is called aventurescence. Most of the semi-precious green stones come from India.
Moonstone is feldspar like orthoclase, as well as labradorite, andesine, sunstone and oligoclase. While best known for its opalescent white color, moonstone is also occurs as green gemstones, brown and black. The green semi-precious stones have a light hue, and almost the same opalescent luster as the white moonstones. Moonstone was traditionally the birthstone for the month of August, but was designated as the modern birthstone for June in the Western calendar.
Also called heliotrope, bloodstone is chalcedony like jasper, carnelian, onyx and agate. Bloodstones are green gemstones sprinkled with red intrusions, which may be red jasper. The green semi-precious stones were traditionally the birthstone for the months of March and December, and remain the modern birthstone for the March in the Western calendar. The green stones are likewise the birthstone of the zodiac sign Aries.
Beside yellow and white, prehnite also occurs as light green crystals. The green semi-precious stones are translucent, and only rarely transparent. First described in 1789, the green gemstones were the first mineral to be named after a person, Hendrik Von Prehn, a Dutch military commander.
Gaspeite consists of extremely rare green rocks that contain nickel. The green semi-precious stones are a bright green, almost like neon, and may be glassy to dull in luster. The green gemstones were named after the Gaspé Peninsula in Canada, where the green stones are found, beside Australia.
While also found in red, yellow and black, jasper is most popularly known in ancient times as green gemstones, often compared with emerald. The green semi-precious stones were the traditional birthstone for the month of March along with bloodstone. The green stones are widely found on earth, and accordingly inexpensive.
Seraphinite consists of green rocks that are distinguished for the resemblance of their groves to feathers. The green semi-precious stones have chatoyancy, or iridescent luster. The hardness of the green gemstones are very low, however, making the green stones relatively unsuitable for jewelry.
Variscite is phosphate mineral, like apatite, that occurs as green rocks. The green semi-precious stones are sometimes confused with turquoise, which is blue. The two semiprecious stones are at times marketed under one trade name: variquoise. The green gemstones are relatively rare, with supply coming from the US, Poland, Australia and Germany, where a region called Variscia gave the green stones their name.
Feldspar like labradorite, andesine, sunstone and oligoclase, as well as orthoclase and moonstone, amazonite occurs as green rocks. The green semi-precious stones were named after the Amazon River, from which early specimens were supposedly obtained. The green gemstones are rare, with limited supply coming from Russia, the US, Madagascar and Brazil. The green stones fracture easily, however.
Chrysocolla is a copper ore, like cuprite and chalcopyrite, that occurs as blue and green rocks. The green semi-precious stones display a rich brilliance, which may be striped with white. Like other copper ore, however, the green gemstones have low hardness, and hence not the most suitable for jewelry.
Unakite is a rock composed of pink orthoclase, epidote and clear quartz. Consisting of green gemstones sprinkled with pink spots, unakite has a rather mottled look. Where the pink orthoclase is absent from the green semi-precious stones, the mineral is simply called epidosite.
Fuchsite and Maripolite
Fuchsite and maripolite are varieties of muscovite, a mineral which has very low hardness. Due to their chromium content, both fuchsite and maripolite are available as green gemstones. Mariposite may have large quartz intrusion, giving them a more brilliant luster, and these green semi-precious stones are sometimes sold under the trade name emerald quartz. A variety of fuchsite from South Africa is called verdite.
Other Green Stones
Besides the green gemstones in the list above and the other, more precious green stones, there are still other green stones that exist, including fluorapophyllite, pargasite and ludlamite. These green rocks, however, have very limited use in jewelry, and are only mostly availed of as raw green crystals. Do you like to wear green jewels for your personal ornaments? Green gems make great jewelry for a stylish look.
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