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gemstone experts
a forbes best of the web jeweler



Jewels for Me

Crystal-clear aquamarine. Luscious emeralds. Brilliant garnets. This site is all about colorful gemstones. Have a December birthday girl on your list? Click on blue topaz for dozens of choices, ranging from 1.6-carat pear-shaped danglers to diamond-encrusted slides. Browse for rings in 16 categories including Filigree Fashion, Two-Tone Treasures and Gems Galore. See a three-stone amethyst ring, but wish it came in peridot and citrine? Click on Design Your Own, choose replacement stones and the site will display an image of the new ring along with an adjusted price. Did you know that the ruby is known as the stone of courage or that ancient Greeks thought that white topaz prevents bad dreams? Find fun nuggets of info like this for each gem on the site.

BEST: Can see the same setting with different gems and metals with a click of a button.

WORST: Rings, pendants and earrings have sub-categories like Hoops With a Twist and Bold Beauty to help narrow your search but there's only one category for bracelets.

This article appeared on Forbes.com from 2006-2012. Forbes has recently redesigned their website, and has discontinued their "Best of the Web" section.

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Barite is the most common mineral source of barium. The name barite comes from the Greek word barys, which means heavy, as barite is unusually heavy for a non-metallic mineral. Barite is also known as heavy spar. Barite contains 59% Barium and 41% Sulphate and has many different and important industrial uses. It is powdered to produce heavy drilling muds, which are used in oil wells to help prevent blowouts. It is also used in hospitals in concrete and brick form, to shield radioactive sources, and to give "barium meals" to patients before x-rays. Barite is also used to refine sugar, as a base for white paint, and as a pigment and filler for paper. In the 1600's, phosphorescent specimens of barite were found in Bologna, Italy, and were given the name Bologna Stone. Barite can range in color from colorless to white, yellow tinged, brown, blue, red, or green. It rates only a 2.5 to 3.5 on the hardness scale, making it not very durable, so stones are usually faceted for collectors only.

Barite is vitreous, brittle, and transparent to translucent, but opaque varieties of the stone do exist as well. Barite crystals are usually quite large, tabular and sometimes prismatic, giving a diamond shaped outline. Barite occurs as a vein filling and as a gangue mineral, often in lead and silver mines. It also accompanies ores of copper, zinc, iron, and nickel, together with calcite, quartz, fluorite, dolomite and siderite. Barite also occurs as a replacement deposit of limestone, and as the cement in certain sandstones, sometimes with characteristic rosette-like forms, which are called "desert roses."

Barite can also be found in many hot springs, which deposit the mineral. Barite is similar to, and is often confused with celestine. The finest, largest barite crystals, sometimes up to three feet long, have been discovered in Cumbria, Cornwall and Derbyshire, England. In the United States, reddish brown desert rose forms of the mineral exist in Oklahoma and Kansas. Blue barite crystals are found in Colorado and various other forms are found in various locations around Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Michigan. Other major sources of the mineral include Transylvania, Northwest Romania, Freiberg, Eastern Germany, Pribran, in the Czech Republic, and various locations in Sweden and Finland.

Barite is a stone that represents strength from the heart. The stone strengthens communication with the heart, and through the heart, we are able to hear our inner voice more strongly. This allows for a better understanding of what our inner selves would like to tell us. This understanding in turn, gives us a great power. Overall, barite clears obstacles in order for us to achieve our life path. It helps those who are scattered or who have low vitality, chronic fatigue or exhaustion, aiding in achieving a gentle, balanced energy flow.