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BIRTHSTONES

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 2:40 PM

JANUARY (GARNET)


Garnet is January's traditional birth stone as well as thegem used for 2nd and 18th wedding anniversaries.


Garnets are gemstones that are very closely related and comein a rainbow of colors. The most popular color is dark red and that is whatmost people think of when they picture a garnet. Garnets come in oranges, reds,greens and pinks so they can be used for almost any occasion and any style.There are even some that have a color-change phenomena, translucent green whichresemble jade and some with stars in them.


The garnet has been used by man for thousands of years. Theyhave been found in Egyptian, Roman and Greek jewelry. It is said that Noah useda garnet lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night.


Because of the large variety of stone, garnets come from allover the world including many mines right here in the US.


compiled from Stuller Jewelers and other sources.


FEBRUARY (AMYTHIST)


The Amethyst is the modern accepted birthstone for February.It is also the stone for the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. It is inthe member of the quartz family and gets its name from the Greek word forsober.


The legend of the stone name comes from the story ofBacchus, the God of wine, grew angry at mortals. He vowed to kill the next onehe saw. At the time, a young maiden named Amethyst was traveling to worship theGoddess Diana. Knowing of Bacchus’s plan, Diana turned Amethyst into colorlessquartz to protect her. Knowing what he was about to do and repenting, Bacchuspoured wine over Amethyst, staining her purple.


Amethyst comes in a wide range of transparent light to darkpurple. The darker, color stones are more valuable. The dark rich royal colorshave been treasured by nobility for centuries going back to the Minoan periodin Greece (2500 B.C.).


The 2 main sourcesare Brazil and Zambia although some come from Uruguay, Russia, Sri Lanka,Mexico and the US.


The Amethyst serves as a symbol of royalty, thought toprevent intoxication or being poisoned, protects from the plague and evilspells and protects the wearer from treason and deceit.


March (AQUAMARINE/BLOODSTONE)


The traditional birthstone for March is the Aquamarine butit is also the birthstone for the Zodiac sign of Scorpio. It is also thesuggested stone for the 16th and the 19th wedding anniversaries. Bloodstone is thegem many associate with the astrological sign of Aries making bloodstone analternative to Aquamarine often more popular with men due to its variety ofcolors.


Aquamarine is named after the Latin work for seawater. It ispart of beryl family, which also includes emeralds. It is known for its largevariety of bright blue, blue-green deep blue sea like tones and shades to almostcolorless pale blue. They are often heat treated to change the color and/orclarity of the stone.


Legend has it that the aquamarine can endow the wearer withforesight, courage and happiness. It is said to increase intelligence and makeone youthful. It is also thought to have the healing properties to treatanxiety. Most aquamarines come from Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar,Tanzania, and Russia among others.


The alternative stone for March is the Bloodstone. Thismember of the chalcedony family is a dark green opaque quartz with red spots.The legendary belief is that the red coloration was from the blood of Christspilling onto green jasper during the crucifixion gaining it the alternativename as “martyr’s stone”. It is mainly mined in India, Brazil, Uruguay,Australia and the United States.


Legendary it is thought to increase vitality, stamina andendurance. The Native Americans believed chalcedony was a sacred stone and usedin the spiritual ceremonies of the tribe.


APRIL (DIAMOND)


The birthstone for April is the Diamond. This is also thetraditional stone for the tenth and sixteenth wedding anniversary.


Most diamonds come from sources in Australia, Botswana,South Africa and the Soviet Republic. The diamond is a super dense form ofcarbon and the most valued of all the gemstones. To many people today, diamondssymbolize purity, faith, love, commitment and yet to others success, power andsecurity.


There are a few major diamond collections around the worldwith a lot of historical background. USA has the famous Hope diamond which is45.52ct. dark blue oval brilliant cut. The Winston is a 31ct. bright blue heartshaped Eugenie. Both are held in a collection at the Smithsonian.


Great Britain has the world's two largest cut diamonds: TheGreat Star of Africa (530.20ct.) and the Cullinan II (317.40ct). The Russian'sczars have added a few world famous diamonds such as the Orloff and the Shah.


Nobility throughout the ages has owned diamonds, but it wasnot until the twentieth century that a large segment of the American publicwere able to afford them as well.


When looking for a diamond, there are a few things that youwill need to consider.


Carat Weight: Carat (ct.) is the standard measure of adiamond’s size. The size alone is meaningless unless you consider the cut,clarity and color.


Clarity: When considering clarity, the fewer the inclusions,the clearer and more brilliant the diamond. A true flawless diamond is veryrare. The grades range from FL (flawless)-I 3 (imperfect eye-visibleinclusions)


Color: The more colorless the diamond, the greater itsclarity and value. Just like it’s rare to find a true "flawless"diamond, it’s also rare to find a true colorless one. The majority contain veryslight traces of yellow or grown. The more colorless, the higher the value ofthe stone. The grade for color ranges from D (colorless)-Z (light yellow/brown)


Style: A diamond's shape largely determines its style. Thereare six traditional variations: Round Brilliant-Cut, Marquise, Emerald-cut,Pear-shaped, Oval and Heart-shaped.


MAY (EMERALD)


The emerald is May's birthstone and also the traditionalstone for a twentieth wedding anniversary.


The first known emerald mines were in southern Egypt andwere from before 1000 BC making it one of the stones with the longest history.For the ancient Egyptians, the green color stood for fertility and rebirth andeternal youth. In many parts of the world, emeralds were used to treat eyediseases and gem engravers looked at them when their eyes got tired. Otherbelieved that they can help you tell the future, strengthen memory and helpavoid evil. .


The emerald is typically heavily flawed with cracks andinclusions of fluid and minerals. These are called "jardin" or gardenas they resemble leaves and branches. These are considered part of thecharacter of the stone.


JUNE (ALEXANDRITE)


The Alexandrite is the birth stone for the month of June andone of the popular choices for fifty-fifth wedding anniversary.


The Alexandrite is the color change variety of chrysoberyl.When it is illuminated by natural sunlight and most fluorescent light, whichcontain a large number of green and blue rays, its color is green. Undercandlelight and incandescent light, which contain more red, the stone willappear redder. Good alexandrite is a rich purple-red in incandescent lightingand a rich bluish green with daylight.


It is a modern gem that was discovered around 1830 in theUral Mountains of Russia on Czar Alexander II's birthday, the stone was namedafter him. The stone is still looked upon as a stone of good omen in thatcountry. Most of the important mines have been in Russia and Sri Lanka butrecently mines have been found in Brazil and Tanzania.


Being the rarest of birthstones, clarity that would not beaccepted for other gemstones is acceptable for alexandrite. It is considered oneof the world's most valuable gemstones. The most rare and valuable variety isthe Cat's Eye alexandrite.


JULY (RUBY)


The Ruby is the birthstone for July and the traditionalstone for the fortieth wedding anniversary. It is the most prized of the red gemstone. The medium to dark red topurplish red variety of corundum are Ruby's, all the other colors areconsidered sapphire.


Throughout history, the ruby has been the king of gems. InSanskrit, ruby was called ratnaraj which means "king of gems".Wearing ruby was thought to bring health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love.Some even believed ruby had magical abilities to protect one from evil andharm.


Burma and Sri Lankaare the oldest ruby sources. Today, Thailand is the main source of rubies andsome coming from Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania and Cambodia.


Today, most jewelry size rubies are up to 5 carats. Largehigh quality rubies are among the rarest of gems.


When looking for a ruby, the color can range from orangeyred to violet red and different colors can be found in the same stone. Thecolor is also accompanied by marked fluorescence that is stimulated by light.If the color is too pale, it may be considered a pink sapphire instead of ruby;if the color is more violet than red it is considered a violet sapphire.


AUGUST (PERIDOT)


The Birthstone for August and the gemstone for the 16thanniversary is the Peridot. This gemstone may be found where there has been volcanicactivity or from meteorites so you can say that it can come from the heavens orup from the earth. Ironically it is very near the color of Kryptonite (justwithout the glowing part) ranging from light green to dark olive green.


Throughout history, this gem has brought health and luck toits wearers. It is thought that the peridot can remove feelings of envy, helpdreams come true and give its wearers strength. It is also thought to reducedepression, ease anger, suppress jealousy and increase happiness. It brings iswearers success, peace and good luck.


The Peridot has been worn for thousands of years, used bythe Egyptians as far back as 1500 BC. The French named this stone peridotcoming from the Arabic word faridot which means “gem”.


Today the major sources of peridot come from China,Australia, Brazil, Myanmar, Kenya, Mexico, Sri Lanka and the US.


This stone can be worn regularly but should NOT beultrasonically cleaned or steam/heat-treated.


From Stuller, Inc.


SEPTEMBER (SAPPHIRE)


The sapphire is the birthstone for September and the traditionalgem to celebrate the fifth and forty-fifth wedding anniversaries. Because ofthe many different colors of this stone, in Roman times the sapphire meantlapis lazuli, the green sapphires were called emeralds, the blue sapphires werehyacinths and the purple sapphires were called amethysts. Sapphires come fromall around the world including India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma,Columbia, Kenya and the United States.


This stone can be almost any color except red (which is aruby). Blue is the most common and white is occasionally used as a diamondsubstitute. Sapphires can be bi- or partial- colored and show color change.


In the middle ages, people believed wearing a sapphire wouldsuppress negative thoughts, banish evil spirits and a tool for self-improvementand wisdom to help reveal ones “mission” in life. It symbolizes truth,sincerity and faithfulness and used to be the choice for engagement rings likePrince Charles gave to Princess Diana. It was also believed that the sapphire had a curing power for naturalailments. Being the color blue, it indicates wisdom and generous thinking.


History and world resources from Stuller Inc.


OCTOBER (OPAL/TOURMALINE)


The month of October has two birthstones associated with it.

The Opal is the traditional gemstone for the fourteenth andeighteenth wedding anniversaries. It is thought to benefit eyesight, banishesevil spirits and favors children.


Opal gets its name from the Sanskrit word upala, which means“precious stone”. It is the symbol of magic, love, hope, happiness, innocenceand purity. These gems were thought to have magic powers because of their playof many colors.


Ancient eastern cultures regarded opal as sacred andrepresent the spirit of truth. Early Arabs thought they fell from the heavensin flashes of lightning that gave them their color. The ancient Greeks thoughtthey would give them foresight, prophesy and kept away disease. Shakespearecalled it “the queen of gems”.


Opals are found in many regions of which Australia is themost important. Others include Mexico, Brazil and the United States.


The Tourmaline is the gemstone for the eighth weddinganniversary. This stone comes in more colors and color combinations than anyother gemstone variety. It was believed to protect the wearer from making baddecisions, dangers, misfortune and to attract friends and lovers. It wasthought to promote good health, build friendships, create harmony and developsocial popularity.


The word tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese word turmali,which means “mixed”. This fits the possibility of tourmaline’s appearance whichappears in every color of the rainbow and often combining two or three colors.This stone was probably used throughout the ancient world but mistaken forother stones. Many of the Russian Crown jewels once thought to be rubies areactually tourmalines. This stone has a very unique quality that no other stonehas. When heated, it becomes a polarized crystalline magnet and can attractlight objects.


Sources of tourmaline include Brazil, Tanzania, Kenya,Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States.


Information from Stuller Inc.


NOVEMBER (CITRINE/TOPAZ)


The Citrine and Topaz have both been used as the traditionalbirthstone for November.


Citrine is the traditional stone for the thirteenth weddinganniversary. The citrine is yellow to orange transparent variety. This stone isoften associated as a symbol of hope, youth, health and fidelity. Its color isassociated with light heartedness and cheerfulness.


Citron comes from the French word meaning lemon. Typically,however, citrines are not lemon yellow but are orangey or golden yellow. Mostcitrines today are heat treated amethysts and natural citrine is rare. Citrineis often confused with topaz, citrine topaz and topaz quartz due to similarcolors. The primary sources are Brazil, United States, Spain and the SovietUnion.


The Topaz is the stone for the twenty-third weddinganniversary.


Topaz comes from the name Topazios which was an island nowcalled Zabargad in the Red Sea. It is from the Greek word for "toseek" as the island was often covered by fog and difficult to find.


The topaz is the symbol of love and affection. To theEgyptians, the yellow of the topaz symbolized Ra, the sun god. To the Greeks,it conferred strength. It has been used to ward off spells and sadness. Much ofthe world's topaz comes from Brazil, Nigeria, Australia, Myanmar, Mexico, SriLanka, Soviet Union and the United States.


DECEMBER (TURQUOISE/BLUEZIRCONE/TANZANITE)


The Turquoise is one of the oldest stones to be used forjewelry dating back as far as 3000 B.C. in Egyptian jewelry. Most Americansassociate this stone with Native American jewelry and was used in the Americasas far back as 700 B.C. The Natives considered it a symbol of wealth and goodfortune. The Turquoise was originally brought to Europe by way of Turkey, whichis how it received its modern name. The Turquoise is thought to bring spoils tothe warrior, animals to the hunter and happiness and good fortune to all.


The 2nd stone of December is the Zircon. Zircons have beenused as talismans as far back as the sixth century. Some heat treated zirconsare mistaken for diamonds and due to the qualities of the stone, sometimes rosecut zircons are hard to distinguish from diamonds. The stone is found in SriLanka, Thailand, Cambodia and Africa. The zircon was thought to protect itswearers from plague, promote honor and wisdom, heals wounds and injuries, andexpels evil spirits.


The 3rd stone is the Tanzanite. This stone is used for 24thwedding anniversary. The Tanzanite was discovered in 1962 in Tanzania reachingthe US in 1970. This is a very rare stone so far only found in Tanzania. Thisstone is thought to help people deal with change, uplift the spirit and openthe heart. It is associated with generosity and friendship.


The information above was compiled from JCK and StullerJewelers. 

 

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