Gemstone List P to R

Gemstones P-R
Name from the Latin word perula meaning pearl

mostly CaCo3      hardness 2.5-4.5      specific gravity 2.6-2.78

Color: A pearl has 2 colors: a body color and an overtone color in the sheen. Body colors are white, cream, any other delicate shade, black
Color depends on the mollusk and its environment.

Pearls grow inside the shells of mollusks (saltwater oysters and freshwater clams). When a tiny foreign object gets inside the shell, the mollusk coats it with layers of aragonite, or mother of pearl material. Eventually the pearl is formed.

Natural pearls are found by fishing for the mollusks. Salt water pearls are often called Oriental Pearls. Natural fresh water pearls were harvested in China before 1000 BC. They have been found in the rivers and streams of China, Bavaria, England, Ireland, and the Mississippi River in the USA.

Coquette with fish
What are cultured pearls? Some people use the term to distinguish between genuine pearls and imitation glass based pearls. Cultured means genuine pearls that are grown on pearl farms in either salt water or fresh water. A small sphere, usually mother of pearl, is implanted inside the mollusk. The pearl is formed in a short period of time.
The sizes and shapes of pearls are determined by sorting.
The shapes of fresh water pearls are given descriptive names such as potato, button, rice.
They may be natural colors or dyed.
Most pearls on the market today are cultured.


Name from the 13th century English word peridota.

(Mg,Fe)2SiO4      hardness 6 1/2      specific gravity 3.34

Color: olive green from iron
Considered a variety of olivine
Transparent to translucent

Mined in Pakistan, Egypt, China, Myanmar, Brazil, Norway, Australia, South Africa, Hawaii, Arizona
Mined for more than 3,500 years in Zebirget, an island in the Red Sea.
It was made into beads as early as 1580 -1350 BC in Egypt.

Ancient Lore: May have been grouped with other green stones.
From ancient times to the Middle Ages, it was a symbol of the sun.
According to an 11th century French bishop Morbodious, a peridot stone had to be pierced, strung on the hair of a donkey, and then attached to the left arm. It could then protect against evil spirits or dissolve enchantments.
It could cure asthma and prevent nightmares.


Named for Sid Pieters who discovered it in Namibia, Africa
also called Eagle’s Eye
variation of Tiger Eye

Color: browns

Mined in Africa and China


Name from the Greek word prason, meaning leek, referring to its color.

SiO2      hardness 7      specific gravity 2.61

Color: green, not as bright as chrysoprase, from actinolite inclusions

Mined in Germany, Finland, Austria, Scotland

Named for Hendrik von Prehn who discovered tit.

Ca2Al2Si3O10(OH)2      hardness 6-6 1/2      specific gravity 2.87

Color: pale to mid green, tan, pale yellow, gray, white
Transparent to translucent

Sometimes called Cape Emerald

Mined in Canada, Australia, Scotland, Germany, and many other countries


Name from the Greek pyr meaning fire

FeS2      hardness 6-6 1/2      specific gravity 4.90-5.0

Color: pale brass yellow

Known as fool’s gold

Gives off sparks when struck by iron.

Mined in Spain, Mexico, Peru, Italy, France, world wide.

Used by North American Indian medicine men

Name from the Greek krustallos meaning ice
Rock Crystal name started in the late Middle Ages to differentiate it when other glass was made and called crystal.

Colorless transparent variety:
SiO2      hardness 7      specific gravity 2.65-2.7

Mined in Brazil, Swiss and French Alps, Madagascar, Russia, USA

Ancient belief: It was ice formed by the gods.
Used for crystal balls to predict the future.

Varieties of Quartz:
Milky – inclusions of gas and liquid bubbles
Black and White
Frosted – surface treated
Ice Flake or Cracked- heated to produce internal cracking
Rose – pink or peach color from titanium, usually cloudy or cracked
Rutilated – needle like rutile crystals of red, black, or brassy yellow
Smoky – grayish brown. Can be irradiated rock crystal. Black called Morion.
Tourmalated- inclusions of black tourmaline in needle like crystals

Man made quartz is many colors including aqua, blueberry, cherry or strawberry, moss green, pineapple, pink, ruby, sea foam, topaz. This is not glass.

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Name from the Greek rhodokhros meaning of rosy color

MnCo3      hardness 3 1/2 -4      specific gravity 3.60

Color: pink from manganese
Usually opaque with bands of rose and white. Transparent is rare and gem quality.

Mined in Montana, Colorado, Argentina, Mexico, Russia, Japan


Name from the Greek rhodos meaning rose

(Mn,Fe,Mg,Ca)SiO3      hardness 6      specific gravity 3.60

Color: pink or rose red, often with black veins from manganese oxides
Translucent to opaque

Mined in Australia, Russia, Sweden, New Jersey and many other countries

Click here to see RHODONITE JEWELRY

Name from the Latin ruber meaning red.

Al2O3      hardness 9      specific gravity 4.0-4.1

Color: red from traces of chromium, often heat treated to improve color.

Mined in Sri Lanka (since 8th century BC), Burma, Thailand, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Carolina, Montana

Ancient lore:
a talisman of good fortune and invincibility.
It could banish sorrow, restrain lust, resist poison, and stop bleeding.
An old Russian belief made it good for the heart, brain, vitality, clearing the blood.


Also know as Cuprite

Metamorphic rock containing copper and masses of quartz

hardness 3.5-4.0      specific gravity 5.8-6.1

Color: green to pink with reddish hues and brown in streaks or patches

Mined in Pennsylvania, Utah, Montana, Colorado

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