I really prefer coloured gemstones to colourless ones (sorry diamonds). There are some really beautiful stones around in reds, blues, purples and yellows. Today, though, I want to concentrate on transparent green gemstones. The first one we all think about an emerald and it is a beautiful one. Emeralds are renowned for their glorious colour, ranging from a deep green to a slightly yellow green. They are also renowned for the fact that they can be very included, that is, they contain a lot of internal defects such as tiny fractures and little crystals. These types of inclusions are evidence that the gemstone is a natural emerald. Although quite a hard stone, emeralds are also quite brittle and so are usually cut in a simple stepped octagonal shape known as the emerald cut. Emeralds are part of the Beryl family which includes aquamarines and morganites. Emeralds have been used in jewellery for centuries and continue to be popular.

Vintage claddagh gold ring with emerald heart (at Navette on Ruby Lane)

The next green stone I love is the peridot. This is an usual gemstone as the only colour it comes in is green, usually a lovely olive green. It has been mined for over 3500 years on the island of Zabargad (now St John) in the Red Sea. Because it is a doubly refractive stone, it has a great depth of colour. You see a lot of Edwardian pendants around with peridots and seed pearls.

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Antique peridot and diamond ring (in Navette on Ruby Lane)

Then we have green garnets, which may not be so well known. Garnets are often seen only as red stones, but they come in a range of colours, including pink, orange, black and a lovely honey brown. There are two varieties of green garnets, the demantoid garnet, which is the most expensive of all the garnets, and the tsavorite garnet which was discovered in 1967. The demantoid garnet has great brilliance and dispersion. It was discovered in 1853 in the Ural Mountains in Russia. The tsavorite garnet, from the grossular family of garnets, was discovered in the Tsavo National Park in Tanzania on the borders of Kenta and Tanzania and this is the only place it has been found. It is also fairly rare and shows a lot of brilliance as well.

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Striking tsavorite garnet earrings

There are other green transparent stones, like tourmaline and chrome diopside, both of which can be quite deep strong greens. Then there are more translucent and opaque stones, like jade, malachite, bloodstone, aventurine and chrysophase. I will talk about these in a later post.