The Four Elements and their Gemstones

The Four Elements and their Gemstones

What is nature? Or rather, what is found in nature? Plato and Aristotle believed that nature was composed of four elements: fire, earth, water and air. These elements were not only found in the physical world, but the ancient Greeks also believed that these were attribute to the 4 temperaments a person could have: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic

Ancient Eastern cultures such as the Chinese, on the other hand, said that there were not four but five elements in nature. These elements were called Wuxing or the Five Phases which include, Fire, Water, Wood, Metal and Earth.

Earth represents not only the soil but also the sensual parts of life.

Water stands for motion and also the emotions of human beings.

Air is the breath of life, the oxygen that we breathe in and breathe out. It also represents the thoughts, aspirations and inspirations of mankind and its intellect.

Fire represents the heat in all things as well as the passions and ardor in humanity.

The four elements are also linked with the zodiac:

Earth - Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn
Water - Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces
Air - Gemini, Libra and Aquarius
Fire - Aries, Leo and Sagittarius

Each of these elements have their own gemstones.

Earth element gemstones include Agate, Malachite, Rutile Quartz and Tiger's Eye.

Agate was considered sacred since ancient time. Ancient Babylonians, Greek and Romans believed that Agate was a powerful spiritual stone that protected its wearer from harm and envy. (Note, Blue Agate is not an Earth element gemstone)

Malachite is a gorgeous dark green gemstone with magical swirls, bends and patterns of light and dark shades. Some come with an all-seeing eye imprinted on them.

Rutile Quartz are transparent quartz with golden, reddish, or orange inclusions that resemble hairs or grass or straws inside the quartz crystal.

Tiger's Eye is a chatoyant gemstone in a lovely honey brown color with yellow, orange, red or black stripes and swirls.

Other Earth element gemstones include the Aventurine, Fluorite, Jade and Black Tourmaline.

Water element gemstones include Opal, Moonstone, Aquamarine and Chrysoprase.

Opal is the magical stone per excellence. No other stone has as many adjectives to describe its amazing iridescence. Opal can contain up to 20% water. It reflects every color of the rainbow on its surface.

Moonstone is mesmerising in its shimmering of white, gray, pink, yellow, orange, brown and red color that looks as though it is made from water.

Aquamarine occurs in the color of the soothing blue crystal-clear ocean waters and it brings relaxation and peacefulness of mind instantaneously.

Chrysoprase was known as the Stone of Venus by the ancient Romans. It is an opaque quartz of mint-like or apple-green color. They believed it was a powerful stone for protection and thus made their amulets, talismans and seals with it.

Other water gemstones include the Emerald, Pearl, Kunzite and Pink Tourmaline.

Air element gemstones are Amethyst, Blue Topaz, Labradorite and Lapis Lazuli.

Amethyst was considered a luxurious item that very few could own and possess. It was a precious gemstone comparable to diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds; not only because of its rich purple color, which was the symbol of royalty and power in ancient times but also due to its limited source. However from the 19th century, large deposits of amethyst were discovered in Brazil. Since then amethyst has become affordable and extremely popular for decorative and ornamental purposes. Now large crystal clusters and geodes are relatively common. Amethyst is a classic air gemstone.

Blue Topaz

Blue Topaz is a peaceful clear blue-sky color that induces calmness, relaxation and inner peace. It was believed that it had the ability to cool off fiery tempers and was used as a powerful amulet against black magic spells.

There is no doubt that Labradorite is a magical gemstone.
Labradorite comes from Labrador, in Canada where the Inuit people believed that the Aurora Borealis was trapped within the Labradorite rocks and this transformed the stone into a rainbow-like magical dance of colorful lights.

The legend of Labradorite tells of an Inuit hunter-warrior who struck the Labradorite rock with his spear and the colors were released to the sky thus creating the Northern Lights. The hunter-warrior was not able to release all of the colorful lights found in the stone and some of its rainbow remained. These rainbow-like colors are still in the stones that are highly esteemed and loved today.

Lapis Lazuli

Ancient Babylonians, as well as Assyrians and Egyptians used Lapis Lazuli for their sacred amulets and cylinder seals. The tombs of Egyptian mummies were decorated with Lapis Lazuli. One of the best-known ornaments was the death mask of King Tutankhamun who reigned in 1332–1323 BC. His inner coffin and gold mask were inlaid with Lapis Lazuli.

Over in ancient China, Lapis Lazuli or Liu-Li was used in the ceremonies of the Temple of Heaven. Chinese emperors were fond of wearing this precious stone and offered it to the King of the Universe.

Lapis Lazuli is a very spiritual stone. The Sumerians believed that the spirit of their gods lived within the stone. It is also strongly believed that it calls man towards the infinite, awakening him to the higher consciousness. The Egyptian Book of the Dead recognised it as the amulet of inestimable power.

Other air gemstones include the Sapphire, Blue Tourmaline, Sodalite and Kyanite.

Fire element gemstones include Fire Agate, Peridot, Carnelian and Citrine.

Fire Agate was formed millions of years ago during massive volcanic activity. Its value is in its unique iridescence. Thus, it requires a lapidarist's great skills and care in grinding and polishing the stones. The cut must be perfect in order to maximize its fiery colors and reveal its stunning beauty. Typically, Fire Agate is plain-cut into fancy freeform shapes and slabs.

Fire Agate helps stimulate and increase sexual stamina and gives a boost of energy.


Peridot is derived from the Arabic word Faridat which means Gem. It is also known as the “Poor Man’s Emerald" or “Chrysolite”. However, it is anything but poor! Peridot is ancient! It is as old as our solar system which is 4.5 billion years old! It has been found in Pallasite meteorites. These meteorites consist of green olivine crystals embedded in an iron-nickel matrix. It is the first type of rock to be identified as extraterrestrial.

Peridot brings to the wearer money, prosperity, abundance, happiness and joy.


Over 4500 years ago, Sumerian and Egyptian craftsmen were making jewelry set with Carnelians. In Ancient Egypt, Carnelians were worn by architects and warriors to give them courage. It was also worn by living people to prevent them from hatred, jealousy and envy.

Ancient Romans and Greeks also valued the stone which they used for intaglios. Very interestingly, the ancient Romans held such high regards for Carnelians that they deemed the yellow Carnelians female as the beloved of the sun, and the stronger colored ones, such as the brownish-reds, males. The pale colored ones were also regarded as females.

The Romans loved Carnelian. They used Carnelian for their seal rings. Egyptian, Phoenician, early Greek and Etruscan used Carnelian for their sacred scarab amulets. Carnelians were also used in ancient Mesopotamia. Eighteenth-century Europeans also used Carnelian-Sard intaglios.

Carnelian was also thought to boost sexuality and stimulate fertility.


Citrine and Amethyst are found inside geodes. A geode is a circular or oval shaped rock formed from cooled lava, trapping gases within its empty cavities left over by animals and tree roots. As the gas and water are pushed out, crystals form inside. This process takes thousands and even millions of years. In areas where there are elements of iron, amethyst grow out from the geodes. The heat from nearby magmatic bodies naturally "cooked" the amethyst turning it into natural citrine.

Citrine was associated with the Greek Goddess of the Harvest, Demeter. In Egypt, it was related to the goddess of power, the lion-headed Goddess Sekhmet.

Citrine is also known as the Merchant’s Stone for it was believed that it can help the wearer obtain prosperity.

Citrine can get rid of negativity and re-energize the body and mind.