Alumni Spotlight

The Glory of Green Gems


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Demantoid garnets provide a field of green for this antique star brooch manufactured in Russia. Demantoid garnets were popular in Russian jewelry from 1875 to 1920. Courtesy of A La Vielle Russie, New York City; photo by Nicholas Del Re © GIA
The color green – in all its shades of glory – is the perfect complement to the many colors of flowers that dot our landscapes and the natural settings where we build our homes. It grounds us in nature and reminds us of the cycle of life, symbolizing fertility and growth, as well as freshness and harmony. Green makes us feel safe and rested in a way that few other colors do.

It follows then that green gemstones can uplift and heal our spirits − and have been popular gem choices ever since we began to adorn ourselves with jewelry.

Emerald and jadeite, not surprisingly, come to mind first when thinking of green gemstones. They have held a place of prominence in civilizations since ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. In the Chinese culture, jade is considered to be the gemstone of purity and nobility, with the ability to increase vigor and lifespan.

Other green gems include: malachite, maw-sit-sit and peridot.

Gems that come in shades of green include: amber, apatite, Brazilianite, chalcedony (bloodstone and chrysoprase), chrysoberyl (alexandrite), diamond, feldspar, fluorite, andradite garnet (demantoid), grossularite garnet (tsavorite), quartz (aventurine and “greened amethyst”, sapphire, scapolite, serpentine, sphene, spodumene (hiddenite), tourmaline (verdelite, watermelon, cat’s-eye and chrome), turquoise and zircon (beccarite).

Whether you enjoy the many colors of green from the plant world or these exceptional examples of minerals from deep within the earth, these greens are sure to make you feel invigorated!


Sharon Bohannon, a media editor who researches, catalogs and documents photos, is a GIA GG and GIA AJP. Peggy Tsiamis, a visual resources librarian who matches images to content, has a degree in gemology from Santiago Canyon College in Orange County, California and GIA AJP. Both work in the Richard T. Liddicoat Library and Information Center.