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While the most popular color of a garnet is reddish-brown, it is found in other colors such as purple, pink, violet, green, yellow, orange, red, brown, black, and even colorless. Garnets were used for beads and jewelry in ancient Egypt over 5,000 years ago. Garnet was very popular in ancient Rome and Greece, and in Sumeria, Sweden, and Europe during the Middle Ages. The garnet was used as a sacred stone by Indians throughout the world. In ancient times, the garnet was used as a talisman and was a prized jewel.
February Birthstone – Amethyst
The amethyst’s purple tones range from deep, dark violet, to the less coveted pale lavender. The gem’s rich color is associated with royalty and nobility. The amethyst is said to have been Catherine the Great’s favorite gemstone and dark-hued stones are found in today’s British Crown Jewels. It is important to keep amethyst jewerly away from the sun, as heat strips the gem of color and causes it to turn yellow. Evidence points to the use of amethysts by Egyptian nobility around 3,000 B.C., when it was used in pendants, bracelets, and crowns. In ancient history, the amethyst was believed to be a “gem of fire” and was considered to be a precious stone valued as much as a diamond. Amethyst stones mined from South America tend to be bigger in size, but smaller stones mined from Africa are thought to have superior color.
March Birthstone – Aquamarine
Symbolizes loyalty, honesty, and beauty. Aquamarine is a pastel stone that is greenish-blue in color. The name is derived from Latin, meaning “sea” and “water.” Hues range from a nearly colorless whitish-blue to a rich teal, but the most valued color is a vivid blue aqua shade. Because of its durability, aquamarine is often used in rings. However, many believe that its beautiful color is better suited to more delicate settings of earrings and pendants. In the U.S., aquamarine deposits are found in the eastern states of Connecticut, Maine, North Carolina, Vermont, and New Hampshire, as well as Colorado. Aquamarine is also mined in India, Russia, Nigeria, and Pakistan, but the best gems are said to come from Brazil.
April Birthstone – Diamond
Is a precious gemstone and is the most popular of all gemstones. A diamond is a mineral compound made of pure carbon and is the hardest natural substance on the planet. For this reason, diamonds should always be stored separately, as they can damage other jewelry. They are so strong, they can only be cut or polished by another diamond. The name itself is derived from the Greek word, adamus, which means “invincible.” The diamond is typically colorless, but yellow, brown, green, gray, black, pink, blue, red, and purple stones can also be found along the diamond color spectrum. Jewelry-grade diamonds are rated based on color from bluish-white to yellow, and on clarity, which ranges from pure to various levels of flawed. Diamonds are measured in carats—the higher the carat weight and purity level of a stone, the more valuable the gem.
May Birthstone – Emerald
Is a precious gemstone and represents wisdom, faith, success in love, and domestic bliss. Known for its brilliant green color, emerald can also have blue or yellow undertones and loses all color when subjected to high heat. The earliest emeralds were mined in Upper Egypt as early as 2,000 B.C. They were mined throughout the reign of Alexander the Great and were well-loved and collected by Cleopatra. The Aztecs and Incas also coveted emeralds, and the Moguls of India revered them so much they inscribed the gems with sacred text to be used to ward off evil. Historically, emeralds have been mined from Russia, Austria, Australia, and Norway. Today, the majority of emeralds are found in Brazil, Zambia, and Columbia.
June Birthstone – Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
A pearl symbolizes success, happiness, and love. Unlike most other gemstones, pearls are not mined. The most highly valued pearls are created inside of saltwater oysters and freshwater clams whose shells are lined with mother-of-pearl, or nacre. Pearls from other mollusks lack the desired luster and are considered to be of less value. When a foreign particle enters the mollusk’s mantle, shell-secreting cells attach themselves to the particle and form a protective barrier. The resulting pearl is measured in grains and is more sensitive to elements such as humidity, acid, and dryness than other gemstones. Cultured pearls are essentially the same as those found in nature, the only difference being that a foreign particle is intentionally inserted into the mollusk with the express purpose of creating a gemstone. The process of “pearling” began before 1,000 B. C. in China and continues today in many freshwater and saltwater areas of the world.
Alexandrite, the second birthstone for June, is bluish green in color but it turns into purple-red or violet when it is exposed to daylight. It was first discovered in Russian emerald mines and named after the then reigning prince of Russia, Alexander II. Alexandrite is a scarce formation of the mineral chrysoberyl and has some hints of chromium – the coloring agent that makes this gem change its color. Today, alexandrite, the June birthstone is mined in Burma, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Brazil, India and Madagascar, but a fine stone is very rare and thus extremely valued. It is believed to enhance intuition, imagination and creativity. It also has the healing powers to cure Leukemia, illnesses related to the spleen and pancreas, and promote regeneration of neurological muscles.
Moonstone, the third birthstone for June, bears its name from its blue color which reflects a silvery play of tones that appear like phases of the moon when light shines on it. It is composed of fine layers of feldspar and albite that make the stone look like it’s textured. Moonstones come in various colors including gray, blue, peach, yellow, pink and green. Today, the gem is found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, Myanmar, Australia and Madagascar. June birthstone moonstone is associated with astral magic and mystery. It possesses calming and balancing energies that influence the natural biological clock. This is why it is applied in treatment of fertility problems.
July Birthstone – Ruby
Is a pink to deep red precious gemstone. The name comes from the Latin word for red, ruber. Rubies are said to attract good luck for the wearer. Ancient Hindus believed rubies were a sign of protection from evil. Today, ruby has come to symbolize love and passion. Rubies were also highly prized by ancient Chinese warriors who were known to wear rubies on their armor. Most rubies today are mined in Africa and Southeast Asia. The largest mined ruby weighing in at four pounds, the Liberty Bell Ruby, was stolen in a heist in 2011.
August Birthstone – Peridot
is one of the few gemstones to occur in one color, naturally – olive green. The intensity of the color depends on the amount of iron in the crystal formation. The name of the gem is Old French in origin, and is said to have been first mentioned in the will of a bishop. He bequeathed three rings to the St. Albans Abbey, one being peridot. The peridot is very often confused with the emerald, and is sometimes called “the evening emerald.” It is said to symbolize strength, and if set in gold, will protect the wearer from evil dreams.
September Birthstone – Sapphire
comes in a variety of colors, but are mostly associated with blue hues. A sapphire of another color, like pink, white or yellow, is generally called a fancy sapphire. The blue sapphire represents peace and serenity. It is seen many times in ancient religious writing to symbolize purity, wisdom, loyalty and faith. The sapphire is a precious gemstone, along with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. They are mined throughout Africa and Asia, but can be found in Australia and the U.S.
October Birthstone – Opal
represents hope and innocence. The name “opal” can mean “to see a change in color” and is derived from the Latin word opalus, or stone. Most opals are white with iridescence, but they can be black or even transparent with flecks of red or yellow. Opals are a gem formed by non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices of ancient rock. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into opals. The almost three dimensional repeating patterns give an opal its radiance. The October birthstone is found most often in the U.S., Mexico, and Australia.
November Birthstone – Topaz and Citrine
Topaz can come in a variety of colors, but the prized Imperial Topaz, adored by Russian Czars, is orange with pink undertones. Named for an island, Topazos, in the Red Sea where the Romans found the gem, it has come to symbolize consistency, faithfulness and friendship. Topaz is thought to have healing properties to help breathing disorders, like asthma and tuberculosis. The topaz is mined on nearly every continent and has been found in sizes as big as boulders in Brazil. Learn more about topaz,
December Birthstone – Turquoise, Tanzanite, and Zircon
Turquoise, the first birthstone for December, is a green-blue stone with sky blue tones that has existed since the 13th century. It was originally worn by ancient Egyptians and widely recognized as the national gemstone of Tibet. It derives its name from the French expression pierre tourques which means “Turkish stone.” They referred it so because the stone was brought to Europe from Turkey. Today, this December birthstone is mined in Egypt, Iran, the U.S and Sinai. It symbolizes love, fidelity, joy and delight. Wearing turquoise jewelry is believed to relive mental tensions and enhance confidence in communication.
Zircon is the third magnificent gem associated with December birthdays. It comes in various colors including blue, orange, green, yellow and red. Its popular color is blue and can be heat-treated to obtain colorless and gold zircon. Many people confuse this spectacular gem with synthetic cubic zirconia because of their analogous names and common use as diamond stimulants. However, zircon is a natural crystal whose existence on earth dates back over 4.4 billion years. It derives its name from Persian (modern Iran) term zargun that stands for “gold-colored.” Today, zircon is found in South Africa, Australia the USA, Russia and Brazil. The December birthstone zircon symbolizes prosperity, wisdom, honor and self-respect. It has healing powers to cure allergies and asthma, gallbladder and liver complication as well as promote common sense.