Gemstone List L to O

Gemstones L-O
Name for Labrador where it was first identified in 1770 at Paul Island by Moravian missionaries.

(NaCa)(Al,Si)4O8      hardness 6-6 1/2      specific gravity 2.70

Color: colorless, gray to gray-black, brownish, may have blue or green schiller (play of color)
Transparent to opaque

Spectrolite is a name for a high quality variety from Finland

Mined in Canada, Norway, Russia, Finland


Name from the Persian word lazhward meaning blue

(NaCa)8(Al,Si)12O24(SO4)Cl2(OH)2      hardness 5 1/2      specific gravity 2.80

Color: best quality blue from Afghanistan and Argentina, pale blue from Russia and Chile, light blue from Canada, darker blue from USA
The blue color is from the mineral lazurite. inclusions of pyrite make gold specks.
Translucent to opaque

Ancient lore: Information is probably confused with other blue stones.
Jewelry found in Egypt dates from 3100 BC.
Ground into powder to use as a cosmetic, pigment in paint, and medicine.
Ancient Romans and Greeks thought it cured eye diseases and set prisoners free.
It was an old Assyrian cure for melancholy.
It also protected the wearer from the "evil eye." In 55 AD it was used as a cure for snake venom.
Ancient Buddhists thought it brought peace of mind and was good for dispelling evil thoughts.


Name from the Greek lepidos meaning scale and lithos meaning stone.

K(Li,Al3)(AlSi3)O10(OH,F)2      hardness 2 1/2 – 3 1/2      specific gravity 3.0

Color: usually pale lilac, can be colorless, pale yellow, gray
Transparent to translucent

Mined in Russia, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Czech Republic, Canada, Brazil, Japan, USA


Name is from Greek for mallow, referring to its green color

Cu2(OH)2CO3      hardness 4      specific gravity 3.80

Color: alternating bands of light and dark green from copper
Translucent to opaque

Mined in Zaire and worldwide where copper is mined.

In the 19th century it was mined in Russia and used for decoration in building interiors. Spectacular examples are the Malachite Room in the Winter Palace and St. Isaac’s Church in St Petersburg.

Ancient lore: In Egypt it was used as eye paint and was supposed to prevent eye infection.
It was worn to ward off danger and illness.
It was a talisman for children. When attached to a cradle, it kept evil spirits away.

Click here to find MALACHITE JEWELRY

Name is of Arabic or Moorish origin. The name was used by miners for common pyrite until about 1800.

FeS2      hardness 6-6 1/2      specific gravity 4.9

Color: pale bronze-yellow, darkens with exposure.

It is brittle and easily cracked. Much antique jewelry substituted pyrite or steel imitations. It was usually faceted.

Mined in Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, Germany, England, France, Czech Republic, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Bolivia, and other locations.

Used by the ancient Greeks and Incas of Central America. It was popular for jewelry in the 18th century and in the 19th century Victorian era.

Named for its moon like opalescent appearance

KAlSi3O8      hardness 6      specific gravity 2.57

Color: opalescent with blue or white sheen caused by reflection of light from its internal structure of alternating layers of albite and feldspar. The body of the stone may be colorless, white, beige, blue or reddish brown.
Transparent to translucent

Feldspars that are moonstone are anorthoclase, orthoclase, sanidine, albite, oligoclase.

Mined in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil, USA, Mexico, Tanzia, European Alps.

Ancient lore: The moonstone was sacred in India.
If lovers placed it in their mouths during the full moon, they could see their future.
In 11th century Europe, it could bring about reconciliation of lovers.


Named after J. P. Morgan, a banker

Be3Al2(SiO3)6      hardness 7 1/2-8      specific gravity 2.80

Color: soft pink to violet, salmon or orange
Color is improved by heating.
Transparent to translucent

Mined in Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Utah, California


mostly CaCO3      hardness 3      specific gravity 2.70

It is made of the inner layer of a mussel or snail shell. The substance is nacre, a combination of the mineral aragonite and the organic material conchiolin

Color: white from the cultured pearl farm mussels, blue-green from the Paua mussel in New Zealand. Can be other colors. Often dyed.
Opaque with luster

Comes from the clams in pearl farms.


variety of Jasper

SiO2      hardness 6 1/2-7      specific gravity 2.58-2.91

Color: red, brown, gold, white, mixed from clay and iron oxide

Mined in Australia


Also called common mica or potash mica

KAl2(Si3Al)O10(OH,F)2      hardness 2-3      specific gravity 2.8

Color: pink, colorless, silver white, yellowish, greenish, brown, light gray
Transparent to translucent with a silvery sheen

Mined in South Dakota, Russia


Named for a Roman Obsius, who probably discovered it in Ethiopa

Consists of rock or natural glass from volcanic rock

mostly SiO2      hardness 5      specific gravity 2.35

Color: black, gray, brown, rarely red, blue, green

Varieties: Mahogany – mix of dark brown and black, Snowflake – black with gray-white inclusions

Mined in Oregon, Hawaii, Japan, Java, Indonesia, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Ecuador

Ancient people used it, in addition to decoration, for tools and weapons because it could be chipped to make it sharp.
The Aztecs and Greeks used it for mirrors.


Name is from the Greek word onux meaning nail or claw

SiO2      hardness 7      specific gravity 2.61-2.7

Color: single color gray or gray and white banded, black or brown with white bands.

There is much disagreement among gemstone authorities concerning the definition of "true" natural onyx.
The name is given to 2 different natural varieties by suppliers of beads.
One is transparent to translucent gray.
The other is opaque black and white.
Most black onyx used for jewelry is dyed. Other colors are dyed blue, green, and white.

Ancient lore:
For the black and white onyx, it was a common belief that it caused discord and separated lovers.
In India if worn on the neck, it cooled the ardors of love.

Looking for ONYX JEWELRY? Click here for BLACK ONYX

Name is from the Roman word opalus, a version of the older Sanskrit upala meaning precious stone.

SiO2.nH2O      hardness 6      specific gravity 2.10

There are 3 kinds of opals:
Precious Opal – rainbow iridescence changes with direction of viewing, not often used for beads
Fire Opal – orange, no opalescence, from Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, USA, Australia
Common Opal – translucent to opaque, no play of color, variety of colors and trade names. Rose opal comes from France


Opalite is opalized quartz and is man made.


« « Gemstone List P to R   |   Gemstone List H to K » »
Posted By Handmade Beaded Jewelry Primary Jewelry Designer

Comments are closed.