The Fire Inside

Red hot. Fiery orange. Sunshine yellow. Red, orange, and yellow gems can evoke images of heat and flame. Some even have trade names that fit their fiery natures: flame opal, in which ribbons of red play-of-color race across the surface of the gem; fire opal, with its vivid, saturated reddish-orange hue; and flame spinel, a fiery orangish-red. Not every red, yellow, and orange gem produces spectacular fiery colors—only a few from certain localities do. Some commercially available gemstones, such as yellow sapphire and orangey-yellow spessartite, may have the right hue, but they don't have the right stuff—they're just not hot. Gem varieties such as citrine (yellowish-orangey quartz) and heliodor (golden or greenish-yellow beryl known as "gem of the sun") also fail the flame test. Spessartite is one of the gem varieties that differ from one locality to another. The "Little Three"

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