Gemology: F is for ...
Gemstones beginning with F are a little tricky to find; there are only a handful, and most are variants of other gemstones in 'fire' or 'fancy', but an avid collector or gemologist can still find a few 'F' gemstones for their collection! Take a look at the small but vibrant world of 'Fancy' gems, Feldspar, 'Fire' gems, Fluorite (Fluorspar), Fool's Gold and Freshwater Pearls. Fancy
'Fancy' is a term applied to many gemstones, but most commonly diamonds, that are a different colour to the usual. Fancy diamonds are rare diamonds with hues of pink, blue, green, purple or black and are highly desirable and very expensive.
9.75 carat Blue Fancy Diamond 'Zoe'
(Image Attribution: By Diamondhistorygirl (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
Feldspar makes up over half the earth's crust, and is the name for a group of minerals that includes labradorite and moonstone. Most feldspar is in mineral rock form and unlikely to be used in jewellery, but there are some wonderful examples of highly colourful and iridescent feldspar that is perfect for polishing into gems. Labradorite shines mainly blue with flashes of reds and yellows; Amazonite is a lovely aquamarine colour, and Moonstone is a milky opaque gemstone with a blue hue, We'll learn more of these gemstones individually when we reach them in the alphabet!
Labradorite Pendant Fire 'Fire' refers to a number of gemstones with a flame like iridescence or colours of fire within them, such as Fire Agate and Fire Opal.
Polished Fire Opal Cabochon Gemstone
Fluorite / Fluorspar
Fluorite, also known as Fluorspar, makes a beautiful collectors gemstone, though its relative softness makes it rather unsuitable for jewellery use. It remains highly collectible as a carefully cut and polished crystal, however, because of its high clarity and large range of available colours - often several colours in the one gem!
Multi-coloured Fluorite Crystal (Image Attribution: By Laura Gorla (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
Fool's Gold Fool's Gold is a common term for iron pyrite, a mineral with a golden metallic colour that fooled many a prospector in Gold Rush times. Fool's Gold has been used in jewellery (as a crystal), but it's not actually a metal so isn't used to form chains and rings.
Iron Pyrite, or Fool's Gold (Image Attribution: By Didier Descouens (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) Freshwater Pearl
A freshwater pearl, as the name suggests, comes from molluscs that live in freshwater rivers and lakes. Freshwater pearls often grow faster than saltwater pearls and are often more irregularly (baroque) shaped. They are found in a range of colours including white, ivory, peachy-pink, lavender and various shades of black.
Variety of Different Freshwater Pearls
(Image Attribution: By Hannes Grobe/AWI (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons) Next week: "Christmas Jewellery Gift Guide" With only seven weeks to go until the big day we can help you get your gift buying off to a flying start!