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Alternative Gemstones at Walters & Hogsett in Boulder, Colorado

Alternative Gemstones

We’ve all had the experience of watching a great movie, using an amazing product, or trying a fun new recipe and thinking, “How have I never heard about this? Why don’t more people know about this?” That is exactly how we feel about garnet, spinel, and tourmaline. Sure, you may have heard those names, but do you understand how amazing they are? Many people are familiar with sapphire, emerald, and ruby–and for good reason–but there are so many other incredible gemstones that haven’t received the praise they deserve.

Tourmaline gemstones

Tourmaline is a gorgeous gemstone that comes in a range of colors from hot pink-red to neon blue-green, giving it the reputation in the industry as the “colorful gemstone.” It is also thought to be particularly supportive of the feminine essence, so listen up, ladies! Yes, you read that right. Tourmaline is one of the more spiritual gemstones, and is often perceived as absorbing negative energy, protecting its wearer, and balancing the chakras. Its pink-red shades are thought to inspire compassion and gentleness, while the blue-green shades are seen as boosting courage and vitality. And when both green and pink exist in the same gemstone, as they do in watermelon tourmaline, they assist in bringing balance to life and relationships. The most rare tourmaline of all is the Paraiba tourmaline, known for its electric neon-blue color. Trace elements of manganese and copper make the gem appear as if it is actually glowing! Paraiba tourmaline offers power and focus to its wearer, and enhances the healing properties of other healing gemstones.

Next we have the garnet family, where some of the best-kept gem secrets lie.

Garnet has a high refractive index, meaning that it dazzles and sparkles like a diamond, but in vivid greens (tsavorite), oranges (mandarine garnet), pinks (rhodalite), and even color-shifting coral-pinks (malaya garnet), to name just a few. The majority of finer garnet comes from East Africa, and has been found in royal adornments from ancient Egypt to ancient China.

Garnet ring
alternative gemstones spinels

Another incredible gemstone with a high refractive index (and diamond-like dazzle) is spinel.

You may already be familiar with this gemstone without even knowing it. The famous 361-carat Timur Ruby of the British crown jewels is not actually a ruby at all, but rather a massive spinel! At one point in time all red gemstones were considered rubies; and when it was discovered that some of the world’s most famous rubies were actually spinels, spinels were given the nasty moniker “the great impostor.” This doesn’t seem particularly fair to spinel, seeing as it was just being its beautiful self. However, in recent years this fantastic gemstone has received its due praise, and many modern consumers have fallen in love with its reds, oranges, pinks, purples, blues, blacks, and very trendy greys. ​

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