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Young Rockhound Scavenger Hunt

Attention grown ups and young rockhounds!

We will be holding our Young Rockhound Scavenger Hunt, once again, this summer! We have held this in the past, and since we have an abundance of aspiring rockhounds coming from the newest generation, we are bringing it back! We genuinely hope this will be a fun yet educational experience for all the children (and the adults)! For more information, keep on reading.

First and foremost, this is a kids only event. We recommend that kids who are capable of reading comprehension and writing participate in this event, particularly ages 6-12.

About the Scavenger Hunt

All the young rockhounds that wish to participate will start at Level 1. They will have their entire visit to go around the store finding the answers to our questions. Once they’ve completed the worksheet, please have them hand it back to one of the associates to tally up their score.

If everything looks good, they will add their name to a crystal nametag, and we’ll tape it to our progress chart. This is merely so the children will be able to see their progress as they complete each level!

There are 3 Levels in total, and they will increase in difficulty. There will also be a bonus level for any child who wishes to take it on!

Each level that is completed will count as an entry for the GRAND PRIZE which will be announced at the end of summer, and that will conclude our event.

Meet Gemothy!

He is our mascot for this event, so you will be seeing a lot of him!

Every child that decides to participate will receive a “Gemothy” before they head off on their journey. Redeeming a Gemothy (handing your Gemothy back to an employee) will be helpful if they are stuck on a question and need a little guidance to find the answer.

They will receive one Gemothy per Level, so make sure they choose wisely!

Additionally, any question that was answered incorrectly on their worksheet will be corrected with the help of an employee. Whilst this event is meant to be fun and educational, we also want it to be fair in terms of giving every child a chance to be a winner.

Disclaimer: unfortunately, they cannot collect or take home Gemothy because we need to reuse him for any other children that would like to participate. We do appreciate your understanding!

Additional Event Details

  • This event will take place all summer – June 19th to August 31st, specifically when the kids are out of school to when they go back. Please keep in mind, we will be CLOSED the first week in July for vacation, so the event will be on pause during that time.
  • Kids should be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
  • Parents or guardians will need to leave their contact information for any child that is participating in this event. This way, if your child is the lucky winner, we’ll know who to contact.
  • Children cannot exceed 4 entries. When they complete a level, they are not allowed to retake it. They must move on to the next one.
  • Winner will be announced on September 1st.

For any additional questions, feel free to message us at (856)-795-5077 or chat with us in person! We are more than happy to help! We hope to see you soon!

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Unique Gift Ideas for Your Budget

Close out the holiday season with a one-of-a-kind gift that your wallet will ‘thank you’ for.

A little something for them, something for you! These $5 to $10 options make great stocking stuffers or gifts for kids. Here is what we recommend that is priced accordingly:

  • Tumbled Gemstones
  • Select Palm Stones
  • Soapstone Animals
  • Select Spheres & Points
  • Small Minerals
  • Tie Tacks
  • Geodes
  • Key Chains
  • Pendulums
  • Soapstone Boxes

The holidays are a time for giving! Give your friends, siblings, co-workers, or “Secret Santa” a gift that will truly last. If your budget is around $25, here is what we suggest:

  • Small Animal Carvings
  • Hearts
  • Gemstone Bookmarks
  • Tumbled Packs
  • Gemstone Trees
  • Select Minerals (mid-sized usually)
  • Amethyst on Stands
  • Select Fossils
  • Sandstones
  • Select Polished Specimens (Labradorite, Septarian, Obsidian Slabs)

Deck the halls with Gary’s Gem Garden! Make your loved one feel extra special with these $50 gift ideas. We say these items will certainly steal the show:

  • Points, Wands, Towers (Obelisks)
  • Geodes
  • Spheres
  • Select Animal Carvings
  • Select Minerals
  • Polished Items (Slabs, Pyramids)
  • Artifacts
  • Larger Sandstones
  • Nature’s Painting (small size)
  • Sterling Silver jewelry & chains

Spread some holiday cheer with these gorgeous gift ideas! If your budget is around $100 (or maybe even a little extra), we’ve got the perfect items for you! Here is what we recommend for those with a higher budget:

  • Minerals
  • Fossils
  • Meteorites
  • Nature’s Paintings
  • Sterling Silver & select Gold jewelry
  • Agate Bookends
  • Polished Specimens (Large Obelisks)
  • Candle Holders
  • Select Animal Carvings
  • Select Spheres

We hope this holiday season hasn’t been too stressful for all of you! Our wish this year is that this holiday gift guide will provide relief for some of you. Please feel free to use it to map out what you’d like to gift your loved ones with the remaining days of the holiday season. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to text or call us at (856)-795-5077 or stop in for our team’s help! Have a great holiday & happy shopping!

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New Year, New Look at Gary’s!

We’ve reconfigured our store’s layout to optimize your shopping experience.

Notice anything different? We’ve replaced some of our window displays, allowing us to shift a lot of our stock out onto the floor. If you see something you like on our website, they’re most likely in the tan cases you see in the picture!
A “subtle” reminder that we sell birthstones! Getting one of our birthstone pieces, or having something custom made with any of our loose birthstones, would make an excellent gift for any occasion!
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Check out this article!

Thank you Gina Cronin and Natural Awakenings Magazine for this awesome article!

Gary’s Gem Garden: South Jersey’s Unique And Complete Gem & Mineral Shop By Gina Cronin

Mar 02, 2020 05:43PM

Gary’s Gem Garden is one of the most unique gem stores on the East Coast. Serving the community for 47 years, the family-owned shop has recently moved from their Cherry Hill location to a brighter, fresher locale in Mount Laurel. “We are super excited to welcome everyone into our new location, and hope they find what they love like we did,” says Crystal Weinstein, daughter of owner Gary Weinstein.

The 2,300-square-foot shop is filled with rocks and minerals of all types including quartz, amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, celestite, selenite, fluorite and many more. They have stones from gigantic to microscopic and every size in between. Customers can find the stone they seek in many forms: tumbled, carved, cut, raw, polished, in jewelry or even create a custom piece of jewelry. From animal carvings and wands; to silver and gold gemstone rings, bracelets and necklaces; to rough geodes, the selection is expansive.

The shop extends more of an earth science lens into these little wonders of the planet, but welcomes rock seekers of all types, from teachers to collectors to crystal healers. “The metaphysical world of gemstone healing is so vast, it’s nearly impossible for us to memorize all of the properties,” says Gary. “We have books and charts to aid our customers in finding the perfect stone for them. We love to see what they choose or what chooses them.” 

Gary started collecting minerals at age 11 and his fascination only grew from there. He had a full-fledged business by the age of 18. At first, he was out doing rock and mineral shows around the East Coast, then had a store in Woodcrest Shopping Center, in Cherry Hill, and it all grew organically into what it is today. After 17 years in Woodcrest, Gary and his family moved the store to Route 70 in Cherry Hill for 27 years, and now to Mount Laurel. “I think what he loves most is the chemistry aspect of it,” Crystal says. “There are over 5,000 different minerals that form naturally in the Earth, it is all so genuinely unique and interesting and that’s what sparked it in him.”

Another detail that customers love about the shop is a large portion of the items sold come with a label, clearly displaying their name and where they are from. People are more and more interested in the origin of their crystals, and even if the information isn’t displayed, Gary and his team always have that information available when possible. This is different from a lot of metaphysical stores where information about the mineral’s origin or even the chemistry and mineral makeup is not accessible.

They also focus on affordability. Prices start at 10 cents up to the thousands for more rare pieces, with many of the more common minerals priced at only a few dollars. “We pride ourselves on having the lowest prices possible,” Gary says.

It isn’t only rocks and minerals that marvel visitors at Gary’s Gem Garden. Other items include genuine and natural fossils from all over the world, historical and cultural artifacts, shells, machinery, books and charts, display stands, and other gifts and collectibles. The team also provides jewelry repair and custom jewelry designing in sterling silver, gold and platinum. They also plan to have in-store crystal events in the near future.

Gary’s Gem Garden is located at 3119 Rte. 38, Ste 1, Mount Laurel. For more information, call 856-795-5077 or visit

Gina Cronin is a writer for Natural Awakeningsmagazine editions across the country, and lives in Lima, Peru. To connect, visit

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Sapphire Gemstone Information

Sapphire gemstones were referred to as hyacinths – specifically the blue variety – in ancient times. Later, their color was likened to yet another flower: the cornflower, an evocative term that is still used today and signifies a very desirable hue of blue sapphire. The word “safir,” from both Hebrew and Arabic roots, means blue, yet sapphires come in almost every color, such as yellow, pink, green and purple.

Sapphire is the September birthstone, but those born in other months also take pleasure from its classic charm and beauty.

Sapphire Facts

  • Sapphire is a variety of the mineral species corundum as is ruby. They virtually share the same chemical composition.
  • Sapphires in colors other than blue are referred to as “fancy colored sapphires” and are best described by their color, such as “yellow sapphire.”
  • Sri Lanka and Burma (Myanmar) are sources for sapphire, yet a more recent source, Madagascar, is also said to produce fine blue sapphires. Other sources include Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Kenya, Laos, Nigeria, Tanzania, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.
  • Sapphire is a very durable gemstone, along with ruby it’s second only to diamond, with a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Sapphire gemstones are faceted into all shapes. Star and cat’s-eye sapphire, two of the varieties sporting unique optical phenomena, are fashioned as cabochons. Some other sapphires change color in different types of light; these phenomenal sapphires (showing special optical characteristics) are considered collector’s gems.

Sapphire Treatment

  • Sapphire is often heat treated to improve both clarity and color. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.

Synthetic Sapphire

  • Sapphire can also be man-made, meaning it is manufactured in a lab rather than mined, and this fact should be understood by the seller and clearly disclosed to the buyer.

Sapphire Care & Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Sapphire jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
  • Bring all your fine jewelry to Gary’s Gem Garden at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
  • See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA

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Guide to Buying Diamond Jewelry

What you should know about diamonds when you visit the jewelry store


Rare and fascinating, mysterious and magical, the diamond has ignited romantic passion throughout history. The word alone conjures up a thousand images of rare, precious, desirable, beautiful, sparkling tokens of love. This guide from Jewelers of America details what you should know when buying diamonds or diamond jewelry for yourself or someone you love. 

One of the most important aspects of buying quality diamond jewelry is where you shop. A trustworthy jeweler or jewelry store, like members of Jewelers of America, will walk you through the jewelry shopping experience and take you on an educational journey about diamond information. 

The information in our diamond jewelry guide is intended to help you browse for diamond jewelry in advance of your purchase and understand the basic diamond quality factors so you can feel comfortable starting a dialogue with any jewelry salesperson.

A Diamond’s Unique Characteristics

Diamonds might not be the rarest gemstone known to man, but they have a set of unique characteristics that sets diamond jewelry apart from other gemstones and gives them a value beyond price. When considering a diamond jewelry purchase, a jeweler might first inform you of these special features of a diamond:

Unique Beauty 

The beauty and inner fire of the diamond has made this precious gem prized for centuries. Each stone, like its owner, is endowed with a personality and character uniquely its own. 


A diamond is the hardest substance known to man (ranking 10.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale) and is resistant to deterioration. When cared for properly, diamond jewelry can be worn every day and passed on as an heirloom to future generations. 

Enduring Value

Gem-quality diamonds have consistently retained their value, and most often have increased in value, after years of being worn and enjoyed. 

4Cs of Diamonds

There are four factors that determine the value of a diamond, collectively known as the 4Cs of Diamonds: CaratClarityCut & Color. The Diamond 4Cs are so important to selecting the perfect stone for you that we cover them indepth. Go to our guide on the diamond 4Cs >

Where to Buy Diamond Jewelry

Since expertise in the grading, selection and sale of diamonds takes years of training, always purchase diamond jewelry from a professional you can trust. Choose a retailer who has demonstrated a commitment to professionalism and has an established reputation. Ask if the jeweler is a member of Jewelers of America. Our members commit annually to a Code of Professional Practices, so you can buy jewelry with confidence.  Search our “Find a JA Jeweler” directory, or look for the “J” logo on company’s door or website. 

The jewelry store experience should be relaxed and fun. The best jewelers are passionate about their craft and love sharing their knowledge with customers. They will show you a selection of diamonds and be able to explain the subtle differences in grade and value. The knowledge and expertise you gain in the jewelry store will guide you in choosing the perfect diamond for a lifetime of wearing pleasure. 

A big plus of establishing a relationship with a jewelry store near you is that they will be there for your future purchases, repairs or custom design needs. 

Caring for Your Diamond

Diamonds may be the hardest substance known to man, but they still can be damaged, abraded or scratched. Use the following guidelines to ensure your diamond jewelry retains its beauty for years to come: 

  • Don’t jumble your diamond jewelry with other pieces, because diamonds can scratch other jewelry and each other.
  • Keep your diamond jewelry in a fabric-lined jewel case or in a box with compartments or dividers.
  • Don’t wear your diamonds when doing rough work. Even though a diamond is durable, a hard blow can chip and damage it.
  • Diamonds look best when they are clean, revealing the diamond’s fire and brilliance. Clean your diamonds regularly using commercial jewelry cleaner, a mix of ammonia and water, or a mild detergent. Dip the jewelry into the solution, and use a soft brush to dislodge dust or dirt from under the setting.
  • Keep diamond jewelry away from chlorine bleach or other chemicals that can pit or discolor the mounting. Do not wear your diamond jewelry in chlorinated pools or hot tubs.
  • See your professional jeweler (Gary’s Gem Garden) at least once a year to have your diamond jewelry professionally cleaned and checked for loose prongs and wear.

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Amethyst – February’s Birthstone

amethyst gemstone february birthstone

Amethyst gemstones have captivated humankind for centuries. The lilac-to-deep purple hues were once reserved for royalty or religious figures who wore it as a symbol of their important stature in society. Its lore comprises several claims to mystical powers, including that it would convey strength and wit to those who wore it. Amethyst was also associated with Bacchus, the ancient Greek god of wine, and wearing it was thought to keep the drinker sober.

Amethyst comes from many places around the world and is a gemstone everyone can enjoy. It is the February birthstone, but those born in other months also take pleasure from its charm and beauty.

Amethyst Facts

  • Amethyst belongs to the quartz species and is related to rock crystal, citrine,  and agate (a variety of chalcedony).
  • Russia was a classic source for amethyst. Current sources include Brazil, Bolivia, South Africa, South Korea, the United States, Uruguay and Zambia.
  • Amethyst is a fairly durable gemstone with a hardness of 7.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Amethyst gemstones can be cut into many shapes and sizes, often as cabochons or beads, and is also carved for ornamental use.
  • Nature produces a variety known as ametrine, a combination of amethyst and citrine. This gem is purple and yellow and is frequently cut to show its division of color or in a way that mixes the colors, forming interesting medium dark to moderately strong orange, and vivid to strong purple or violet hues.

Continue reading Amethyst – February’s Birthstone

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Ammolite Gemstone Information

ammolite gemstone

Ammolite is celebrated globally for its naturally captivating rainbow colors and layers of vibrant iridescence. Ammolite originates from prehistoric marine fossils that date back 71-million years and received official gem status as recently as 1981 by the World Jewellery Confederation. Feng Shui experts believe its colorful display awakens positive energy and stimulates creativity, energy, wisdom, intellect and wealth. Wearers and collectors call ammolites “gems of enlightenment.” 


Ammolite’s luminous qualities rival the black opal for color and fire. Ammolite reflects a rainbow’s worth of colors (red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple and more), and the luminous color spectrum in each gem is unique. Browse ammolite gemstone jewelry in our Jewelry Gallery.


To date the only source of ammolite is in Alberta, Canada.


Naturally, ammolite is a soft gemstone with a 3.5-4 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. A protective spinel crystal is often applied to protect the ammolite gem, increasing the hardness to 8.5.


Ammolites are not generally treated. It’s all-natural color is its most distinctive feature.

Care & Cleaning

  • As with most gemstone jewelry, you want to minimize scratching and wear, so store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Ammolite jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth. 
  • Most importantly, take all your fine jewelry to a professional jeweler, like a local Jewelers of America Member jewelry store, at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
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January Birthstone – Garnet

Garnet gemstones are among the most diverse of the gemstone groups, because it encompasses different species and varieties. Garnet varieties are extraordinarily diverse in color, and some rare varieties exhibit phenomenal characteristics, such as a star effect (aster-ism) or a color-change effect when viewed under different lighting. The deep, red varieties of garnet have been compared to pomegranate seeds, and in fact, garnet is a derivation of the word “pomegranate.” 

Garnet is the January birthstone and may be celebrated in its many varieties, providing an array of choices for gemstone enthusiasts. 

Garnet Facts

  • Garnet varieties and species come in a rainbow of colors, such as red, orange, yellow and green.
  • Tsavorite (green) garnet was named for the region where it is mined near Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Yellowish orange to bright orange spessartine garnet is named after Spessart, Germany, where it was discovered. Russia is an important source for demantoid garnet. Other sources of garnet include Brazil, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and the United States.
  • Nature also produces “collector” garnets. Star garnets are found in India, the U.S. state of Idaho, and Sri Lanka; a rare form of iridescent andradite garnet is found in Mexico; and garnets that change color in different light are found in Kenya, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.
  • Garnets have a hardness of 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Garnets can be faceted or carved as cabochons or beads.

Garnet Treatment

  • Garnets are rarely treated because of their natural clarity and color. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.

Garnet Care & Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Garnet jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth. Avoid steam cleaning.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to Gary’s Gem Garden at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
  • See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.
  • Information from Jewelers of America Website

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA

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November Birthstone


Topaz gemstones are often confused with citrine or smoky quartz; however, the colors we appreciate topaz for have a wide range ­– from pink to orange, red, purple, brown, yellow and even colorless. The name for this gem dates to biblical times, and its meaning has evolved over time. Its name likely derived from the island of Topazos, in the Red Sea, where Romans found yellowish gems.

Topaz is the November birthstone, but those born in other months also take pleasure from its warmth and beauty.

Topaz Facts

  • Topaz is a mineral species that occurs naturally in a broad color range, including various reds, pinks, purples, yellows, oranges and browns. More rarely, blue material is found.
  • Brazil remains an important source for topaz. Other sources include Australia, Madagascar, Mexico, Burma (Myanmar), Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the United States.
  • Topaz is a fairly durable gemstone with a hardness of 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Topaz can be cut into many shapes and sizes, often as faceted gems or cabochons.

Topaz Treatment

  • Topaz is commonly heated to change some of the yellow and reddish brown topaz to create pink gems. The vast majority of blue topaz on the market is irradiated, and heated. Another form of treatment common to topaz is surface coating, which results in many colors. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.

Topaz Care & Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to bright light as some stones may fade.
  • Avoid the use of ultrasonic and steam cleaners.
  • Topaz jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to Gary’s Gem Garden at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
  • See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA