12 underrated gemstones for your jewellery designs with Kernowcraft
There are so many beautiful gemstones available for your handmade jewellery designs but many get overlooked by popular stones such as diamonds, opals, turquoise and aquamarine. We think it’s time to shine the limelight on some other stones that deserve the same attention!
We’re sharing with you some of our favourite underrated gemstones that have beautiful and unique qualities, colours and natural markings. We hope this gives you inspiration to try new and interesting designs with different stones - you may even fall in love with a stone you’ve never heard of before.
Sunstone is certain to brighten up your day and jewellery pieces! This stone of joy and good luck is the distant cousin of moonstone (one of our most popular stones) and comes in a beautiful warm orange/brown colouring. Sunstone has reflective inclusions which reveals a stunning sparkly and metallic lustre which looks like golden glitter – a beautiful choice for your jewellery designs.
Tanzanite is mined in Tanzania in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, known as the ‘stone of magic’. It has a stunning blue/purple colouring and is an extremely sought-after stone. Tanzanite is definitely an up-and-coming gemstone, where we have seen it be used as for alternative engagement rings. It’s not however, a stone we see in everyday jewellery designs – and we think this needs to change!
We are definitely seeing amber gain popularity but as a soft gemstone, it can often end up being second choice. We find amber a fascinating gemstone as it is formed through the fossilisation of tree resin, it is so interesting due to the organic materials found within the stones such as insects and plants. If you want your jewellery to get noticed, amber is the stone to do just that. This ancient gemstone is thought to bring good luck and wisdom.
Want your designs to be out of this world? Well, you’re in luck as peridot is an extra-terrestrial stone due to peridot crystals being found in meteorites! This vibrant green gemstone is a variety of the mineral olivine and is one of the few gemstones that comes in only one colour. Its vibrant green colour is perfect for spring designs and would look wonderful alongside amethyst, citrine and quartz. It’s known as ‘the sun gem’ by ancient Egyptians - believed to be an uplifting stone, bringing harmony to those who wear it.
Aventurine is a variety of quartz or chalcedony which has beautiful speckles of shiny particles. It almost looks glittery due to the metallic inclusions, making it a beautiful stone to add interest to your jewellery designs. Aventurine is known as the gemstone of opportunity, good luck and wealth.
Sodalite is a royal blue coloured stone with beautiful white calcite markings, although the veins can also be grey, yellow, orange or pink. It can often be mistaken for the popular stone, lapis lazuli which contains calcite and pyrite which creates a similar mottled effect. Sodalite is believed to be a stone of emotional balance and helps boost self esteem.
Diopside is another stone we just love! It can be found in two forms, the black star diopside and chrome diopside.
At Kernowcraft, we offer diopside cabochons that have a 4 ray asterism which is very rare, as other types of gemstones have a 6 ray star. Star diopside rays are truly special, as the rays are slightly wavy creating the illusion that it is dancing across the surface of the stone. Diopside can also form with cat’s eye chatoyancy, but an asterism is more common.
Chrome diopside, also referred to as ‘million dollar emerald’ is a rare variation of diopside. It has a beautiful rich, forest green colouring which is often compared to emerald however chrome diopside differs as it has an amazing clarity unlike emerald which contains inclusions. Diopside is said to bring compassion and forgiveness to those who wear it.
Pyrite is a common gemstone but not one we often see being used in handmade jewellery designs. It has a metallic, brassy yellow lustre and is often called ‘fools gold’ due to its similarity with gold. We love the look of pyrite in jewellery designs, mainly due to its unique look - it’s a great choice to use in men’s jewellery too. Pyrite is believed to bring good luck and fortune.
If you’re after something completely unique, chrysocolla is the gemstone for you. The colours range from bright blue to green, often compared to turquoise, chrysocolla is a great affordable alternative. Many chrysocolla stones have copper deposits running through it, creating lovely speckled patterns across the surface. It is said to be a stone of harmony and hope.
Iolite, also known as ‘the water sapphire’ is a gorgeous violet coloured gemstone, believed to be an intuitive and balancing stone. It is known for its pleochroic properties where the stone appears to be different colours depending on the angle and light it’s in, having a sparkly, shimmery effect when viewed in sunlight. Iolite is a great and affordable alternative compared to blue sapphire and it looks wonderful placed in a design using different coloured gemstones such as citrine, tourmaline and aquamarine.
Another metallic gemstone we’re obsessed with is hematite. It is a form of iron oxide, when polished it is shiny and metallic and when unworked it has a red/brown colouring. Historically is has been used for mourning jewellery and is usually seen in men’s jewellery. Hematite is a gemstone of protection, reduces negativity and boosts self confidence.
Known as the ‘sea opal’, paua shell is a species of abalone that is only found in New Zealand. Paua shells grows in the ocean and offers a unique iridescence of colours and patterns from greens, blues, pinks to purples. Perfect for unique and interesting jewellery designs and we are thrilled to start seeing more jewellers using this gorgeous stone.
Share your designs!
Kernowcraft is your destination for gemstones and jewellery making supplies. Based in Perranporth, Cornwall our small team of experienced jewellery makers are here to help you through every step of your jewellery making journey. Find everything you need to get started online, with jewellery making tutorials, kits and all the supplies you need. You can browse our full range of gemstones here.
A Word From Jess: “I would recommend Kernowcraft because they have amazing stock of gemstones, tools and materials that are always of great quality and the images and info on their website make it super clear what you are going to get. Plus they are the friendliest jewellery suppliers you could come across. They always go over and above to make sure you are catered for. We love working with them and recommend them to all our students.”
THANK YOU TO KERNOWCRAFT FOR SHARING SUCH GORGEOUS GEMSTONES WITH US. HAD YOU HEARD OF THEM ALL?
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We’d love to see any jewellery you’ve made with these stones.
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Jewellers Academy membership gives you access to a library of jewellery business resources including the 8-week jewellery business Bootcamp, jewellery photography course, and more as well as monthly masterclasses, a thriving community, exclusive discounts and an access-all-areas pass to our online jewellery making courses.
It is the complete package of support and training for jewellery designers and you can now pay monthly to spread the cost.