Gemology: B is for ....

... well, what is B for? A lot of the 'B' minerals are not well known unless you're a collector. You might think of bloodstone, and maybe beryl, but after that it's easy to get stuck! We've found ten gemstone varieties beginning with B so you can expand your knowledge with our quick easy gemology read.

Selection of Gemstones

On this page you will find the colourful world of Bastnaesite, Benitoite, Beryl, Binghamite, Bixbite, Bloodstone, Blue John, Bort, Brazilianite and Burmite.

Bastnaesite Bastsaenite was first discovered and named in Sweden in the early 1800s, and it can also be found in America, Africa and China. It varies in colour from an amber-yellow to a rich blood-orange, but unfortunately minerals of gem-cutting quality are extremely rare. It doesn't particularly sparkle so is more often considered a gem-collector's piece rather than desirable for jewellery.

A Rough Cut Bastnasite Gem

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Benitoite Benitoite is extremely rare, and rather a stunner! So far it has only been found in San Benito, California, and is a relative new-comer to the gemstone scene, having first been documented in 1907. Benitoite is very similar in appearance to sapphire, but closer inspection shows a different structure - and a higher value per carat. You can dig for benitoite yourself at the Benitoite Gem Mine tourist attraction, where you can keep what you find. If you're lucky enough to find a gem bigger than 1 carat you'd recoup the cost of your entire Californian holiday! Happy digging!