[[Note: I had written this a while back, but noticed that since I deactivated my Facebook back in April the photos no longer worked. So I revamped the post so everything “works” now. And…my opinions still stand. ;)]]
Last night [[years ago now]] I was making my impassioned mini-speech on why I hate diamonds. I don’t even remember how the whole thing started, but I really do think they’re hideous - in more ways than one. Let me lay it out for ya, nice and simple…
Diamonds are ugly because:
1. They’re clear stones. (Let’s face it, people…You can get the same thing from quartz, which can be chipped out of rocks back home. You can put a piece of glass in there and it wouldn’t make a difference to me. No, they do not have a hidden depth, for the reason that I will bring up next.)
2. They are nothing without light. (Throw a diamond in a darkened room with no visible light source and all you see is the jewellery setting behind it. It’s ugly, flat and lifeless. Only when you add sunlight do they get all sparkly and Oooh-Aaah. And even then, they’re not nearly as impressive as one of my all time favourite gemstones…read on.)
Now you might think that these two reasons are not enough to hate diamonds. Well, they’re not. Some people enjoy having that lifeless, light-dependent rock on their person. That’s a personal preference.
I hate diamonds because:
1. They turn your average person into a simpering peon for the jewellery industries. (Yeah, okay. That sounds a bit like an activist statement. But show a person a genuine imitation diamond and you barely get a shrug. Hold out a finger or a coatsleeve and say, “It’s real,” and watch them melt in their eyes. Which brings me to…)
2. Knowing its lack of physical beauty from traditional standards, it’s the biggest way to show off that you have something expensive. Brag much?
3. You act like we care. We don’t. It’s still a rock, no matter which way you turn it.
4. For the engaged or soon-to-be-engaged, what better way to tell your loved one that you’re not original at all and didn’t honestly put a whole lot of thought into it? Apologies to those who proposed with one and kudos to you if you’re the traditional sort…But really? You are getting married to your One True Only and want to get something to signify your love and you pick that lifeless piece of rock? Man…I don’t know about the other women out there, but I’d be pretty insulted if I reminded my s/o of a see-through, trumped-up piece of glass-rock. *shakes head*
But hey, if your loved one does indeed remind you of a diamond because she/he sparkles in the sunlight….Well, congrats on your future/past marriage to Bella Swan/Edward Cullen.
That being said, I do like some “just rocks.” They’re really pretty. They’re pretty in the dark, they’re pretty at dusk, and they’re pretty under florescent lights. Let’s take a look-see!
Oh. My. God. Opals. So many varities, so little time. Matrix boulder opals are probably some of the most overlooked gemstones in existence. Why is this? They’re gorgeous, a true brilliance of nature and come in so many different patterns and colours that it makes your head hurt. Take a look:
"Matrix" just refers to the style of boulder opal; there is another type, called "seam" boulder opals. You don’t need a polished-off rock to catch the beauty in these guys…Look:
Yeah. Because that’s way uglier than these things:
Thing is….Opals don’t need a trained jeweller to make them look nice. If the “natural rock” look isn’t your type, there’s also the world-devouring fire opal:
If you ever get a chance to look at one of these in person, you might be like me and get vertigo. I swear you can see past infinity in them. The Devil would approve. But if fiery tones and earth colours aren’t your thing, you could go for the ultra-rare (i.e., pretty damned expensive [but not as expensive as our dear Ugly]) black opal.
But, nooo….You still like diamonds? Are you mad?
Loved for its beauty for ages (and typically forgotten about by today’s population) is the oh-so-purty copper cousin azurite. This is the mineral produced by weathered copper ore deposits and though that might make it sound like the feces of common copper, it’s the prettiest darned feces I’ve ever seen…
Did you catch that? Wait, wait…Let me show you azurite in its natural settings…
Wow. Copper is pretty awesome. I don’t know about you, but when I see an aged copper tabletop, I go berserk. It’s insanely gorgeous for metal…And they spawn off other pretty stones, like chalcopyrite, which can come in a variety of colours…Personally, I lean towards blues and greens:
Still fixating on diamonds, huh? Tough crowd.
Moonstone looks exactly like you’d expect it to: moon-y. It has the same milky qualities as our little brother up in the sky, with a little bit of a sheen and a plethora of hidden colours. I found a bunch of raw stone images, but this one made me really happy:
Hey! An invertebrate! Alright, so while this wasn’t originally a gemstone, I think you can see the appeal here: you’d be wearing a fossilized piece of ancient history that, in life, had the unique ability to float at any depth in the ocean. (Perfect gift for your loved one who can’t swim, eh?) If there’s nothing that appeals about wearing a piece of a squid, maybe this will help:
Personally, I think it’s really pretty as it is in its natural formation. *gives nod to sacred geometry* However, you can find ammonite in other forms and it takes on different colour qualities when it’s manipulated into standard jewelry design shapes. To each their own…
Chinese Writing Rock.
Yes, that’s the name. It goes by a few, though: porphyry, writing stone, awesome. It’s simply a limestone matrix with andalusite crystals, but it’s anything but “simple:”
The natural patterns on these stones are reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy, albeit white on black, which is where the common nickname comes from. Each stone is significantly different from the other, so if your friend wants something no one else will have, this is an obvious choice.
Plus, you can make up what your stone says.
Which I’ve been known to do.
*pets the Hamsters Bane of Christmas*
TONS of colours. It’s opaque and fine-grained..A relative of chalcedony, red jasper is also the gemstone of the Scorpio. *puffs up chest with pride* Patterns can range from circular splotches of colour, to bands, to swirls and wisps. Hoodinkies and whatnots. And, of course, whoosawhatsits. This stone deserves photos because of it’s myriad forms…Check it out:
Stone canyon jasper:
No relation to “Jim-inite.”
Yeah, it’s a small mouthful. But what else can you expect from a stone that’s around 2.2 billion years old? These bad boys have history and are usually found from the lower eras of the Middle Precambrian Period. And, since they’ve been around for so long, you can pretty much find them in every shade imaginable.
How hippy can you get? If contrasts are your thing, than this natural combination is for you. First uncovered in Tanzania, there’s really no other stone (or combo) like them in the world. They can sometimes be pricey to buy as jewelry because the combination of soft zoisite and hard ruby can make it extremely difficult to cut. But, obviously, people manage:
Personally, I just love the colour scheme.
Oh….Crap. What was I talking about? Something ugly….Hm. Oh, well. I forget. =)
If you’re interested in the meanings of these gemstones (traditionally as well as New Age-y), check out this site and pick your poison: http://www.jewels-empire.com/gemstone_meaning.html
Some other neat stones to look at that I prefer over The Ugly:
Alexandrite… (Comes in a bunch of different colours, a bit on the crystalline side, but my favorite version of this stone is a purple with undertones of green. It stands for prosperity and longevity whereas diamonds stand for power. Psh, and you wanted to marry her with that piece of crap. Yeah, Alexandrite is odd-looking at times. Probably why I like it.)
Lace Agate… (Really pretty patterns. You can see the actual rock layers. There are many colours, but my favorites come in the soft tones of light purple and blue. There are tons of lace agate examples that come with layers of every colour from red to blue to gold in a single small stone. If you like things that seem to show their history, this would be it.)
Spectrolite… (A pretty rare formation, but awesome in its colourings. It can hold everything from red to blue and back, all covered with a nice shine.)
Lapis Lazuli… (The traditional birthstone for December’s kiddies, lapis is a strong blue with a hint of violet, sometimes hosting white patches of calcite [making them cheaper] or veins of pyrite [making them more expensive]. The Egyptians used lapis a lot for seals, eyeliner and decoration. Absolutely gorgeous.)
Turquoise… (A standard and probably the gemstone I have the most of, due to my own mother’s love for it. Has a looooong history of being favored by jewelry wearers throughout the ages, and it’s no wonder why. Today, though, you can find it in almost any setting you want. It’s contrasting green/blue with mustard/gold makes it beautiful.)
Rhodochrosite… (It’s rose-colored, sometimes a deeper fuschia. That’s what the name means and that’s what it is. It’s usually found in the form of stalactite formations in the caves of Argentina and has a neat little set of New Age/Folklore behind it. Rhodochrosite draws love to the wearer, helps release old and rotting psychological issues…and improves your eyesight. It’s thought to take away stress and developed inner freedom by helping you resolve conflicts and blah, blah, blah…I know, I lost you at “psychological issues.”)
Gibeon Meteorite… (Dude. IT’S A METEORITE. Want your love to go intergalactic? Buy her this for a wedding ring instead, you dolt. Seriously. Your pocket will thank me and it’ll look like you put thought into it. Some girls don’t actually like rocks that stick up far enough off our fingers that we can use them as “diamond knuckles.”)
Petrified Wood… (What once was tree is now stone. As much as I hate palm trees, you really should check out petrified palm wood. I probably wouldn’t want it as a pendant, because the pattern reminds me of the back of a bug’s shell, but the dots are reminiscent of a cheetah…Since my nickname is “Cheet” for that very cat, this appeals to me.)
I guess that would be the end of my whirlwind tour through gemstones/minerals. Hmmm…Obviously I left out the multi-stone settings, though I did include that one with the gibeon meteorite image. Whole point of this post was:
Tará O’Sullivan Hates Diamonds.