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Gemology, E is for ...

Continuing our Gemology series, this week we take a look at gemstones and minerals beginning with E.

Ekanite Ekanite is one of the rarest crystal minerals on earth, but it holds a few surprises! Ekanite is naturally radioactive, and this radioactivity causes the ultimate destruction of the gem. Most ekanite is over 800million years old so that's a lot of internal radioactive destruction they've had to endure - no wonder so few survive today! Whilst its radioactivity makes it undesirable for jewellery, Ekanite is still a beautiful crystal. It was discovered in 1953 in Sri Lanka and occurs in colours ranging from straw, through green to a reddish-brown.

Ekanite Crystal Showing Internal Radioactive Destruction

Eilat Stone Eilat Stone, or King Solomon's Stone, is blue green mixture of other minerals combined into one structure. Eilat Stone contains chrysocolla, malachite, azurite and turquoise to give it a alluring mottled blue-green colour. Eilat Stone is the national stone of Israel, and only stone mined in Israel can carry the name. It's a rare gemstone, opaque and often polished into cabochons, and has been used in jewellery since ancient times. There are many imitation Eilat Stones on the market, so if you're buying to add to your collection be sure to ascertain its authenticity.

Image Attribution: By Downtowngal (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Emerald Emeralds are a luxurious rich deep green-coloured member of the Beryl family. The birthstone for May, Emeralds symbolise Spring and new life. Emeralds have been mined for thousands of years and were worn by Incas and Ancient Egyptians alike. Emeralds are considered one of the 'Big Four' gemstones; the others being Ruby, Diamond and Sapphire. Emeralds can be translucent (most desirable) to opaque but most have inclusions which can lower the value. A clear, translucent Emerald with no inclusions can be very expensive! Emeralds can grow very big - in fact so big that an ointment jar in Vienna has been carved from a single 2,860 carat Emerald! The Emerald Unguentarium was carved in 1641 for Emperor Ferdinand III and is now on display in the Imperial Treasury of Vienna.

The Emerald Unguentarium

Emeraldite Emeraldite is simply another name for green tourmaline.


Enstatite was first recorded in 1855. In its purest form it's transparent, but transparent gems are extremely rare as most have iron impurities resulting in a brownish colour. Enstatite is often found in meteorites, but deposits are known in many countries.

Enstatite Crystal

Image Attribution: By John Sobolewski (JSS) ( [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Epidote makes a wonderful collectors' gem because of its stunning structural formations. It's most usually found in shades of green and can be transparent or opaque. It's a little too brittle for most jewellery uses but is a popular stone amongst crystal healers who use it to uplift the spirit.

Epidote Crystal Structure

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Essonite / Hessonite Essonite is a synonym of the more commonly used Hessonite, but we'll not make you wait until 'H' to hear about it! Hessonite is a gem quality crystal mineral that is part of the garnet family. It most commonly occurs in an orange-red cinnamon colour, which gives it its nickname, the Cinnamon Stone. It's not as hard or dense as other forms of garnet, but is still popular as a faceted gem for jewellery, and - as a form of garnet - it can also be worn as the birthstone for January.

Decorative Bird Jewellery Piece with Hessonite Gemstones


Euclase was first described in 1785 when a sample was sent to Europe from South America. It's a popular stone amongst collectors for it's variation from colourless transparency through to shades of blues, greens, pinks and white - occasionally all in the same crystal specimen! Although it's a tricky gem to cut and facet its durability makes Euclase suitable for many jewellery uses.

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


First discovered in Greenland in 1819, Eudialyte is a popular mineral featuring many colours (shades of red and yellow) and patterns in one stone. Although suitable for jewellery use it is often not faceted due to it's relative softness, so most Eudialyte jewellery on the market will be cabochon cut.

Polished Eudialyte Cabochon Gem

Eye Agate When you see this gemstone it's clear to see how it got its name! An Eye Agate is an agate with concentric circles forming 'eyes'. They eyes form when a bubble or hollow is present in agate into which silica can enter and crystalise. The eyes have been found in many colours and create a fascinating 'look'.

Eye Agate Showing Bullseye

Image Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Next week: "Jewellery Spells, Old Wives Tales & Superstitions" Delve into the world of old wives tales, superstitions, curses and spells attached to your precious jewellery pieces!


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