Engravable Gemstones

An introduction to the colourful world of gemstones


Bloodstone (also called Martyr's Stone) is a dark green to dark bluish-green variety of Chalcedony that is speckled with red jasper. The spotting appears similar to blood stains, as is indicative of the name of this gemstone. The spots may be very sparse to almost non-existent, or they may be very dense and interwoven. Bloodstone is an ancient gemstone, and was historically regarded for its metaphysical aspects. Even today, many people find metaphysical significance towards this gemstone because of its unique appearance and name. The primary source of the stone is India. It is also found in Brazil, China, Australia and the United States.

One legend of the origin of bloodstone says that it was first formed when drops of Christ's blood fell and stained some jasper found at the foot of the cross. Bloodstone was once used as an amulet in the belief that it could stop bleeding. It was also said to be able to turn the sun red and to make thunder and lightening occur.


Hardness (Mohs scale): 6.5 - 7


Cornelian (aka Carnelian)

Cornelian is an ancient gemstone, having been used as gem material since antiquity. The word Carnelian comes from the Latin word carnis meaning flesh, in reference to the dark fleshy colour which is often present in this stone. The colour is due to iron-oxide being present. We supply this stone in a uniformly deep red to brown colour. Cornelian was used widely during Roman times to make engraved gems for signet rings or desk seals for imprinting a seal with wax on correspondence or other important documents. Hot wax does not stick to Cornelian. It is most commonly found in Brazil, India, Siberia and Germany.

Cornelian was supposedly the right stone for those with weak or timid voices, because it could give them courage to speak boldly and well. It was also said to protect against the envious, and was responsible for making sure the desires of its wearer were gratified.


Hardness (Mohs scale): 6.5 – 7


Lapis Lazuli

Numerous examples of jewellery and objects have been found in tombs around the Mediterranean, indicating that the people of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome cherished Lapis Lazuli. Lapis Lazuli is a deep blue opaque gemstone, used in antiquity and continuously used throughout the generations. It still continues to be popular today, and remains one of the most important opaque gemstones. Lapis Lazuli is chiefly composed of the mineral Lazurite and is rarely without other minerals including white Calcite and sparkling gold specks of Pyrite makes this stone very desirable. Lapis Lazuli is a sensitive gemstone, and can be chipped or cracked easily when banged. It is also relatively soft, so care should be exercised to prevent it from getting scratched. It is also slightly porous and should be protected from chemicals and cleaning solvents.

Famed for its vibrant blue colour, until the nineteenth century, Lapis lazuli was pulverized to make a durable pigment called ultramarine, which was used extensively to produce the intense blue of many of the world’s most famous oil paintings.


Hardness (Mohs scale): 5


Black Onyx

Derived from the Greek onux, meaning ‘nail’ or ‘claw’, legend says that while Venus was sleeping, Eros cut her fingernails and left the clippings scattered on the ground. As no part of a heavenly body should die, Moirae (the goddesses who controlled the destiny of everyone from the moment they were born until they died) turned these translucent clippings into onyx.

Onyx gemstones come in a wide range of natural colours and shades with bands of colours of white, tan, and brown. We supply Black Onyx, it is a semi-precious gemstone found in various regions of the world, particularly Brazil. It can also be found in Uruguay, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Madagascar. Onyx is formed in the gas cavities of lava. Onyx is also mentioned in the Bible at various points, such as in Genesis 2:12 "and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone". Used by the Romans for a plethora of interiors, it was extremely popular carved into seals and cameos.


In India, it is thought to help concentration levels in absentminded people, calm a chaotic life, and dampen the ardours of love. The Black Onyx has been considered essentially the stone for rosaries.


Hardness (Mohs scale): 6.5 - 7



Use of Sardonyx appears in the art of Minoan Crete, notably from the archaeological recoveries at Knossos. Sardonyx comes in a wide range of natural colours and shades. The Sardonyx coloured bands are Sard (top layer), meaning colours other than the onyx (bottom layer), the combination of the two elements giving rise to its name. The colours we can offer in signet rings are petrol blue cutting through to black and creamy white cutting through to amber. The contrast between the stone layers once engraved makes for a striking seal engraving. These qualities made it a favourite with the ancient Romans, who believed that the virtue of stones could be increased if suitably engraved.

The ancients also believed that this stone had the property of preserving its wearers from infectious complaints and the bites of venomous creatures, particularly from the sting of the scorpion. If hung round the neck it would allay pain, give self-control, attract friends, ensure conjugal happiness and success in legal matters.


Hardness (Mohs scale): 6 - 7



Hematite crystals are made up of 70% iron and 30% oxygen, it is one of the finest iron ores in the world and one of the most important pigment minerals which were used in Palaeolithic cave paintings rendering a red colour. The colour of Hematite that we use in our jewellery is a metallic, steel grey colour with a matte finish. But it is also found to range from almost black to a reddish-brown colour. Hence, its name is derived from the Greek work for blood. Legend has it that hematite can be found on ancient battlefields where large amounts of blood were spilt, giving rise to the red type of Hematite.

Interestingly, Hematite was discovered recently on the planet Mars, where it is responsible for the planet's distinctive red colour.


Hardness (Mohs scale): 5.5 - 6.5