We’ll Be Impressed If You Can Identify More Than 11 of These Gemstones


By: Beth Hendricks

6 Min Quiz

Image: Image by Catherine MacBride / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Gemstones have long held a place of treasure for gods and humans over the centuries. Some stones, like the opal, represented hope and purity. Others like hematite had connections to mythological gods like Mars, the red god of war. Gems like turquoise and amethyst were believed to be protective in nature for the one who had it in their possession. And in the modern day, we cherish gemstones for how they appear adorning our hands, wrists or necks. 

No matter whether you're a fan of various shades of green, red, pink or something with all of the above, there's a gemstone out there that will speak to you. Small or large, natural or man-made, striated or translucent, gemstones have an undeniable power to transform an outfit and maybe even make us wealthier (we're looking at you, citrine). 

This quiz is packed full of some of the sparkliest, shiniest, most iridescent and most opaque gemstones found around the world. Sure, you may know the ruby and you almost certainly would recognize a diamond, but what you do you know about amazonite, peridot or topaz? Impress us with your gemstone knowledge by seeing how many of these "rocks" you can guess using the photos and clues provided — no jeweler's loupe required!

Which of these gemstones is the only one created by a living animal?

Pearls are a combination of a mineral known as aragonite and a protein called conchiolin. These stones are created inside the shells of mollusks, although they are quite rare. You'll only find a pearl in one out of 10,000 wild oysters.


Which of these purple gemstones is not only one of the most popular of its color but all gemstones?

The amethyst, February's birthstone, comes in a variety of shades of purple, from light to dark. "Amethyst" comes from the Greek, meaning "not drunk." Greek legend asserts that the amethyst could be used to fend off Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and intoxication.


A one-carat ring made of this will appear larger than a one-carat diamond. Which gemstone is it?

The emerald is one of only four precious gemstones, joining the company of diamond, ruby and sapphire. Because of its lower density, a one-carat version of an emerald ring will appear larger than a one-carat diamond.


Which gemstone's name appropriately means "sea water" and has color representative thereof?

Aquamarine takes its name from the Latin "aqua marina," which means "sea water." This is an appropriate designation since its color — a light blue — is representative of the colors of the ocean.


This gemstone comes from the same mineral as the sapphire, yet looks vastly different. What is it?

The ruby is the second hardest gemstone next to the diamond. Its name comes from the Latin word "ruber," which means red. Rubies and garnets, both of the same color family, are sometimes confused. The ruby, however, is redder, while the garnet can appear almost brown.


Marilyn Monroe once famously sang that this gemstone was a "girl's best friend." Which one is it?

The diamond is perhaps the most celebrated gemstone of all time, taking the no. 1 spot in engagement rings the world over. They are the hardest substance found in nature and are made nearly completely of carbon.


There's silicon dioxide at play, too, but which of these gemstones owes its forming to simple H20?

Opal is formed by water running down into the cracks of rocks. When the water evaporates, the silicon dioxide left behind turns into opal. That might explain the rainbow of colors frequently found in this gemstone, a sight that's also produced when we see a rainbow appear after it rains.


Which of these gemstones has a striated appearance attributed to silica deposits that mimic the look of a body part?

Tiger's eye is a quartz gemstone that varies in color between amber and brown. Its striped appearance, once polished, mimics the look of a cat eye, thanks to silica deposits that run the length of the stone.


Which of these stones was favored by the one-time Queen of the Nile?

Cleopatra was a big fan of peridot, which was fitting since Egypt was a primary source for this green-tinted stone. Peridot comes from olivine, which can be altered by weathering.


The largest of this gemstone weighed in at 61,500 carats. Which blue-colored stone is it?

Known as the Millennium Sapphire, this stone weighs in at a whopping 61,500 carats. It recently sold to a company based in China for a cool $50 million. The word "sapphire" comes from the Latin "sapphiru," meaning blue.


The amber-hued version of this gemstone is most commonly associate with November's birthstone. What is it?

Though the topaz comes in many colors, the amber-colored version is the one most commonly associated with being November's birthstone. A topaz worn around the neck was once believed to make people smarter and prevent sadness.


Which of these opaque stones has been considered a symbol of good fortune for centuries?

Turquoise, which comes in shades ranging from blue to green, has been considered a symbol of good fortune for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used to inlay turquoise on their loved ones' caskets. Native Americans believed that turquoise was the result of their tears mixing with rain to produce the gemstone in the Earth.


Before the popular online retailer, there was which of these stones, named for historical female warriors?

Amazonite earned its name for the female Amazon warriors that lived during the Bronze Age. It's typically light green to blue-green in color, which is actually caused by impurities that occur in the formation process.


Which of these gemstones is known as "the merchant stone," believed to promote wealth for its owner?

Natural citrine is actually quite rare and believed to help promote health for its owner. Today, most citrine is produced by applying heat to amethyst quartz. When found naturally, it is most common to the country of Brazil.


Which of these stones is noted for the insects that frequently get trapped in it? Hopefully, you're not wearing one!

Many insects' lives have ended once they've become entrapped in the stone known as amber, which is actually just tree resin that's undergone fossilization. The majority of this stone is found in nature in the Baltic region of Northern Europe.


Which of these gemstones was used in alchemy because people believed it contained an element of nature?

Fire agate is considered a "phenomenal gem," meaning that it creates different optical sensations when exposed to light. Its iridescence is reminiscent of a fire's flames, which is perhaps why individuals throughout history believed it to contain the fire element.


Which of these colorless stones makes an appropriate substitute for a diamond? (But don't get it confused with this other diamond knock-off.)

Don't get this naturally-occurring mineral confused with its human-made cousin, cubic zirconia. Zircon is as bright as a diamond, but not nearly as expensive. You can find zircon in most types of soil.


If you love different shades of green, which of these stones would be your perfect fit?

Malachite features bands of light green and dark green shades. Ancient Egyptians used to grind the stone to a powder and use it for both cosmetic purposes and to paint with.


This gemstone doesn't have anything to do with the bubbly liquid that comes in a can, but rather sodium-rich magmas. What is it?

Sodalite is a rare blue mineral found in rocks that crystallized from sodium-rich magmas. It is sometimes referred to as a "wisdom stone" and may not only aid in concentration but boost your courage in difficult situations.


Which of these gemstones was once used to manufacture weapons and tools?

Because of its hardness and toughness, jade was once used to help produce things like ax heads and weapons. It's most valued in China and is usually green in color but may be other shades ranging from orange to purple.


Tiffany & Co. can be credited with coming up for this name of this gemstone. Which one is it?

Tiffany & Co. first coined the term "tanzanite" for the mineral zoisite, which is bluish-purple. True to its name, the gemstone tanzanite hails from an area in northern Tanzania.


A rarity! For every 150,000 diamonds that make it to market, only one of these makes the cut. What is it?

Red beryl is extremely rare, owing that rarity to a unique combination of geological conditions that must be present for its to be formed. It requires a sufficient amount of beryllium and manganese and the right conditions for red beryl to form.


This stone is named for the glow it gives off, particularly when it's moved. Which one of these is it?

Moonstone's color is reminiscent of the glow of the moon, shifting in color and sheen when the stone is moved or placed under light. Moonstone is actually the name of gemstone that hails from high-quality feldspar.


Which of these gemstones was named after an American financier, as a "thank you" for his support?

Pinkish-tinted morganite was named after financial powerhouse J. P. Morgan, whose name is also part of the bank JPMorgan Chase. After the stone's discovery, a gemologist at Tiffany & Co., and also a friend of Morgan's, suggested the stone's name as a thank you for his friend's contributions to the fields of art and science.


Which of these stone's names might not be entirely representative of its primary color?

You'd probably expect this gemstone to be the color of, well, blood, but it is, in fact, dark green with a splatter of red. It's sometimes called "heliotrope" in literary works dating prior to the 18th century.


Ooohh, shiny! Which of these gems glows when exposed to ultraviolet light?

Fluorite comes in every shade of the rainbow and glows when placed under ultraviolet light. Originally called "fluorospar ," it has also been called "the most colorful mineral in the world."


Which of these gemstones is known for being "not quite good enough" to be called an emerald?

Believe it or not, green beryl is actually a part of the same family that produces emeralds but is lighter in color and thus cannot be called a true emerald. This is good for buyers who prefer a lighter green (and a smaller price tag).


Which of these stones is named after the region it was discovered in Canada?

Labradorite, discovered in the Labrador area of Canada in the late 1700s, has actually been found in some meteorites. Eskimo legend attributes the stone's iridescence to the Northern Lights that were once trapped in the rocks in Labrador.


Which of these stones comes from the single most plentiful mineral on Earth?

Smoky quartz is an inexpensive gem because it's found in abundance all over the Earth. It constitutes more than 10 percent of the Earth's crust. This particular quartz ranges in color from yellow-hued to almost black.


Fight on! Which of these gemstones was used by warriors to help bring them victory?

Ancient warriors carried garnets as a type of talisman, believing that it would ensure them victory. Although most people associate the garnet with being red, the stone can come in a variety of shades from black to colorless.


Which of these human-made stones is named for a very specific incident that occurred in 1980?

The stone known as helenite was created from the volcanic ash generated after Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980. Tourists who visit the site in Washington are among the most frequent purchasers of these stones.


Which of these quartz varieties is found on every continent on Earth?

Jasper is a member of the quartz family and, believe it or not, can be found on every continent on Earth. It's known to take on many impurities during its formation, leading to a stone that is always opaque and frequently mottled with color.


Which of these gems is a mash-up of colors present in amethyst and citrine?

Ametrine is the color of sunrise and sunset rolled into one rare gem. It features shades of purple, orange and yellow in one stone, which is the result of iron in the stone during different states of oxidation.


Which of these stones is a member of the quartz family and is commonly mistaken as "green amethyst?"

Prasiolite is sometimes erroneously referred to as "green amethyst," although that name would be incorrect. Prasiolite is actually a green variety of quartz, obtained by applying heat to amethyst.


Which of these gemstones with a delicate-sounding name is colorless and highly sought after by collectors?

Named for its petal- or leaf-life appearance, petalite is a particularly brittle gemstone compared to the other colorless stones out there (like diamonds). Though the colorless form is most sought after, it does come in other shades, including yellow and gray.


This stone's copper streak is believed to help support the body's circulatory system. Which one is it?

Goldstone comes in a variety of colors, but its flair is its sparkly and reflective copper filings. Some people believe that its copper, like many other copper items available for purchase, grants health benefits to its wearer.


Which of these gemstones, according to legend, was produced during an interaction with Venus and Cupid?

Legend asserts that the onyx was formed from the fingernail clippings of Venus, which were cut by Cupid. The clippings were later turned into the onyx stone since no part of a god can ever die.


Which of these gemstones owes its formation to an explosive occurrence?

Wonderstone is formed after a volcanic eruption occurs and pieces of molten rock adhere together. Its cream-and-brown coloring occurs from staining as groundwater washes over it.


Which of these light pink stones has streaks of white and is very valuable?

Rhodochrosite ranges in color from pale pink to red and is tinged with streaks of white. It is frequently found in Argentinian caves, taking the form of stalactites and stalagmites.


The name of this stone is derived from its wedge-like shape. What is it?

Also known as titanite, sphene earned its name from the Greek for "wedge," representative of the mineral's shape — particularly the ends. Sphene is more commonly known today as titanite and can be green, yellow or brown in color.


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