Click on any birthstone month to read facts about birthstones
January starts a fresh new year, and the birthstone Garnet is the gem stone to start it all. The use of the Garnet as a gem began with the ancient Egyptians, and have been found in tombs of the Pharoahs. Garnet has been thought to protect oneself from demons and bad dreams while others believe Garnet is a healing stone. And, of course, the heart is one body part thought to be healed by Garnet. It’s also interesting to note that since Garnet resembles the color of pomegranate, that the Latin derivative of the word comes from “granatum.” Also, during the latter part of the 19th century, Garnet brooches and bracelets were particularly popular.
The hardness of Garnet measures 8 on the Mohs scale, which makes them suitable as abrasives. There are various colors of Garnet ranging from colorless to black, and many shades of red and green. The green Garnet has been highly prized by Russian Czars and is the most rare and valuable of all Garnets. Rhodolite Garnet is a purply red while natural Garnet is more of a blood red. Garnets can be found in New York, Maine, and Idaho. Notable quantities have also been produced in Australia, China, and India.
In shades of lavender or purple, Amethyst is the most intriguing of gem stones. What will February bring you? True love for St. Valentines day perhaps? Amethyst is a variety of quartz but differs from common quartz due to its violet to purple color. The finest Amethyst can be found in India, Sri Lanka and Brazil. As a semi-precious gem stone, Amethyst has been in much demand in history. In the Middle Ages, Amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and extensive ornamentation was in use by many churches, including the Catholic church. Rosaries in Tibet are designed with Amethyst because the gem stone is considered to be sacred to Buddha.
Among the many legends, Amethyst is said to bring protection from sorcery, bad dreams, some medical problems. And it is valued to bring victory in battle, possess good powers, safe travel, repell nagativity and is considered a symbol of true sincerity. Amethyst is mined in many countries including South America, Africa and Australia. The darker purple Amethyst is found in small sizes in Australia and while South America presents most of the larger gem stones, the quality of color in the smaller sizes is found primarily in Africa. From the greek word “amethystos” it translates as “not drunken.” In ancient times Amethyst was thought to be an antidote for drunkenness so wine goblets were carved from this gem stone. Today Amethyst still symbolizes sobriety.
The first day of spring, Luck of the Irish, Major League Baseball’s opening day and the Aquamarine birthstone are all elements in the month of March. Aquamarine is a form of beryl, which includes other gem stones such as emeralds. It is a naturally occurring gem stone which means that no artificial heat treatment is ever used to change its color properties. The tranquility of this light blue gem stone brings forth many feelings such as friendship, harmony and trust.
In legends it is said that mermaids kept this gem stone hidden in their treasure chests while Neptune, the greek god of the sea, considered the Aquamarine sacred. It was also considered to bring good luck to sailors with a protection from sea monsters while bringing the sailors a safe voyage. From the latin “aqua” means water and “marine” means sea and of no surprise since this gorgeous gem stone inspires all to visions of calming, pale blue waters. It is also the most complementing of gem stones, no matter what color your hair, eyes or skin, Aquamarine suits all to perfection. Aquamarine is almost always free from flaws and displays a beautiful brilliance with colors ranging from the palest, nearly colorless blue to bright sea blue.
The more intense the color the more valuable the gem stone becomes. And even more, some Aquamarine gem stones have a greenish hue which is also common, but the deep, clear blue gem stones are prized as the best. The Aquamarine gem stone is mined in Nigeria, Pakistan, Madagascar, and Mozambique but the finest Aquamarines are found in Brazil where the intensely deep blue gem stones are mined.
April is the month of springtime, and Easter bunnies and the gem stone for April is the diamond. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend… but how would you like to have the look of diamonds without the high price? Shhh… No one will know unless you tell. We use only “Russian Imperial” cubic zirconia’s… the finest quality, laboratory grown CZs available in the world.
And these high-grade cubic zirconia designs will fit even the tightest budget… take a look and see! Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance known to man… it is also the most popular gem stone. In their natural state, diamonds can be found in various colors… the rarest colors are red, blue and green… while orange, violet, yellow and yellowish green are more common. The color can be changed using different heat treatment methods. Diamonds also vary from colorless to black, and they may be transparent, translucent, or opaque. The grade of a diamond is based on the visual carbon particles within the stone (called clarity).
The four C’s to remember when selecting natural diamonds are Carat (weight), Color, Cut, and Clarity. All diamonds are a mineral composed of pure carbon and the fewer carbon particles visible through a jewelers’ loupe, and the better the cut, the more your natural diamond will be worth. Yes, you can purchase very small diamonds, less than 1 or 2 points in size, for a few dollars; but remember two wise sayings, “you get what you pay for,” or “if it seems to good to be true then it probably is.” In other words, there are very inexpensive diamonds on the market, but the quality is usually inferior and not recommended as a good investment. Education about natural diamonds is the consumers only defense when it comes to choosing the right diamond. While we don’t specialize in the diamond market, we do have the information most consumers need to be informed about purchasing natural diamonds. Throughout history diamonds have held a great facination for different cultures…
the Hindus believed diamonds were created from lightening bolts while the Greeks thought diamonds were star fragments. Diamonds have always been the ultimate prize gem stone. Because the price of genuine, high-quality diamonds doesn’t necessarily suit everyone’s budget, high-grade, laboratory-grown Cubic Zirconia steps in as the closest you will find to a diamond… and at a fraction of the price. While the hardness of a diamond is 10, our high-quality Russian CZs have a hardness of 9.5 which means you can cut glass with them… if you want.
May brings May Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and Emeralds for the birthstone of this month. Emerald is a precious gemstone as well as a valuable one and is considered the stone of Success and Love. Early Christians associated Emeralds with the resurrection which has carried on into our lifetime since now Emeralds are thought to be a symbol of rebirth. The ancient Romans thought Emeralds symbolized fertility. And during the Middle Ages, Emeralds were used to fortell the future. Genuine Emerald is a green variety of Beryl and a similar variety of corundum. Two of the places Emeralds are found is Brazil and Columbia.
The Emerald is translucent to transparent with the finer grades leaning toward transparent. The color can range from an almost milky medium green to a richer and more transparent deep green. The very transparent Emeralds are considered by some as more valuable than diamonds. We offer a synthetic Emerald similar to the richer, deep green in our fashion rings and some of our pendants and earrings. Our beaded jewelry contains faceted and smooth glass beads in various depths of Emerald green color. These faceted beads are either Czech fire-polished beads or genuine crystal and our description will tell you what type is used in each design. Emerald it’s also the birthstone for aries .
The most rare of gemstones is the Alexandrite and this is the ancient birthstone for June. Natural Alexandrite is so rare that its value far exceeds that of the finest grade diamonds. It has been reported that a 1/4 carat stone of natural Alexandrite was offered for $18,000 on one of the shopping channels in 2004. We offer synthetic or “laboratory grown” Alexandrite which has the same color changing properties and beauty of the real gem stone, but at a fraction of the price. The name Alexandrite is dirived from Prince Alexander of Russia. The first Alexandrite was discovered in an Emerald mine in Russia, supposedly on the Prince’s birthday, hence the gem stone was named after him. Some Alexandrite can still be found in Sri Lanka while small quantities are also found in Brazil and parts of Africa and Asia. Natural Alexandrite ranges in color: by day a green hue with blue or brown shading to a violet to reddish color under fluorescent light.
And while this color change has never been duplicated by man, we have found a synthetic Alexandrite that does change color from a violet color in day light to a shade of light blue under fluorescent light. Sort of the opposite affect but still simply amazing. Of course for those of you who still go for the pearl for June… you will find a nice variety in genuine and synthetic pearl designs from which to choose. Genuine pearls are formed by a small grain of sand entering the shell of a Mollusk which causes an irritant to the sea animal. To get rid of the irritant the Mollusk begins forming a nacre around the grain of sand, to smooth out the roughness of the grain.
A natural pearl would cost thousands of dollars because man didn’t interfere with the Mollusk. When man creates a pearl bed with thousands of Mollusks, the cultured Pearl is created. A cultured Pearl is made by purposely introducing the grain of sand (or nacre producing agent) into the Mollusk. Only those pearls produced by Mollusks whose shells are lined with Mother-of-Pearl are considered fine pearls. Jewelers often refer to saltwater pearls as Oriental pearls and those produced by freshwater Mollusks as Freshwater pearls.
July is Ruby… Independence, summer days, and lots of fun. Whether you go to the lake or beach, mountains or river, you’ll look fabulous in Ruby Red. Throughout the ages Ruby has been associated with gods, life, and good health. In Asia, Ruby is called the “Lamp Stone” and during the Middle Ages, Ruby was thought to protect its wearer from evil thoughts and provide good health. Rubies in large sizes are quite rare, so the value of a Ruby is substancially higher than other precious gems such as diamonds, emeralds and sapphires in larger sizes. The genuine Ruby is made up of a mineral called corundum.
Its color varies from deep scarlet to pale rose red and in some cases displays a bit of purple. The Rubies most valued are the pidgeon-blood red colored ones. Ruby has a limited distribution and sources are found in Burma and Thailand, as well as other locales that produce a Ruby which most consider fine garnets… such as mines in Australia and Arizona. Synthetic Rubies have been produced with much success and provide a beautiful alternative to the rarer and more costly genuine Ruby. Plus, the synthetic Ruby containing at least 2.5 percent of chromic oxide displays the gorgeous and rare pidgeon-blood color characteristic which is sought after by most discriminating buyers.
August is the height of summer… beaches, mountains, deserts, lakes and streams, pool parties and Peridot – a beautiful pale green gemstone perfect for the summer month of August. Peridot, also called Precious Olivine, is a transparent green color and has been valued for centuries. Jazirat Zabarjad, Egypt, in the Red Sea, still produces fine Peridot gems.
In ancient Egypt Peridot was mined at night since its color didn’t change from light to dark and could be seen easier at night than in daylight. Very large crystals are found in the Mogok district of Burma while the United States seldom produces Peridots larger than two carats in size. While most Peridot is found in small crystals of rocks created by volcanoes, Hawaiian legends believed that drops of Peridot were the tears of the goddess Pele. Peridot can also be found in meteors that have fallen to earth and is considered by some as the Extraterrestrial gem stone.
A few samples of extraterrestrial peridot have even been faceted into gems! Peridot is found only in green, ranging from a light yellowish green to a deeper green. Later Peridot was also used often to decorate churches of the Middle Ages and the gem stones were probably carried back to Europe by the Crusaders. Large peridots, more than 200 carats in size, adorn the shrine of the three magi at the Cologne Cathedral. Peridot is considered to have the power to drive away evil spirits and becomes even more intense when the stones are set in gold.
Goblets fashioned from Peridot were said to increase the power of any medicine drank from such vessels. Most Peridot today is mined by Native Americans in Arizona on the San Carlos Reservation. Fine large peridot are found in Myanmar and peridot is also mined in China and Sri Lanka.
A new deposit of Peridot was discovered in Pakistan in 1994, and these stones are among the finest ever seen. The new mine is located 15,000 feet above sea level in the Himalaya Mountains. One stone found was more than 300 carats! Today more and more jewelry is fashioned using Peridot, either alone or combined with Amethyst or other lavender to purple gem stones. Peridot is gaining popularity and if you were born in August you can consider yourself quite lucky, indeed, to have such a beautiful gem stone as your birthstone.
September’s Sapphire is true blue and beautiful to wear… on the last boat ride of the summer season to the first day of school… the last trip to the beach, lake or mountains with your friends… to the first football game of the year. Genuine Sapphire is another prized gem stone… as well as a costly one. The Sapphire gets its color from the presence of small amounts of iron and titanium.
The color can range from a very pale blue to a deep indigo with the finest color similar to a cornflower blue. In ancient Greece, Sapphires were originally found on the island of sappherine and the Greek name “Sappheiros” is where Sapphire gets its name. In Greek mythology, the Sapphire was the gem of Apollo, the Greek god of prophesy. Ancient Persians called Sapphires the “celestial stone” and in the Middle Ages, Sapphire was one of the few stones worn in holy jewelry since it was thought to represent sincerity, purity and truth.
While Montana and North Carolina contain deposits of Sapphire, this gem stone can also be found in Burma, Australia, India, Russia and Madagascar. Due to the ever-increasing costs of genuine Sapphire, we offer a beautiful synthetic alternative in our fashion jewelry. And because natural Sapphire ranges in shades of blue, we have a variety of beaded jewelry designs featuring different blue shades of beads. Our glass beads are either Czech fire-polished or genuine crystal.
Pretty in pink is where you’ll be in this lovely birth stone for the month of October… the Rose Zircon. October is full of fun with ghosts and goblins, hayrides and corn stalks, football and hockey. You’ll look beautiful at any event in these pink designs. Natural Zircon is a zirconium silicate mineral. The rose color comes from a heat treatment process.
Zircon can be found in India, Australia, Brazil and Florida. But other quantities can be found in Indochina, Sri Lanka and New Zealand as well as southern Norway and Quebec. We offer synthetic Rose Zircon in our fashion rings. The beaded designs in pink are not Rose Zircon or synthetic but glass beads dyed to a pink hue.
The ancient birth stone for October is Tourmaline or Opal, and both, when produced in a high-quality gem stone, can be quite costly. The most common Tourmaline is the one that is two-tone in color… the natural crystal is green at one end and pink at the other. Gem-quality Tourmaline crystals are found in Southern California, Maine, Brazil and Madagascar. Pink Tourmaline is called the “Stone of Hope.” A genuine, all pink Tourmaline in a fully faceted, 1/2 carat (equivalent) size would cost approximately $120.00 retail, unmounted of course.
The other ancient gem stone for October is the Opal. Genuine opal is suitably cut only as cabochons due to their highly fragile state. In ancient times opal was considered to bring the wearer good luck, but in modern times it has been considered unlucky to the wearer… unless this is your birth stone. The ancient Romans felt the value of opal was only second to Emerald and was included as one of the Noble gems. Precious Opals are translucent to transparent with tiny flashes of color that refract when light hits them. They tend to change color a bit as you view the gem stone from different angles because the light interference touches tiny cracks in the stone.
The finest opals are found in Queensland, Australia while other deposits are found in Japan… a white opal, and South and Central America where fire opals are found in Mexico and Honduras. The fire opal is a somewhat transparent gem stone that is completely orange-red in color… and unlike white opals, can be faceted like regular gems.
Thanksgiving and Golden Topaz go hand-in-hand in November. Fall leaves, first snow and lots of turkey and stuffing… and of course the big after Thanksgiving Day sales – oh my! Golden Topaz is the gem stone for November. Pure topaz may be colorless and when brilliant-cut, has been mistaken for diamond.
The Golden Topaz most likely comes from Siberia where the “brown” topazes are particulary liable to be bleached by sunlight. In any case, the color is unstable. We offer a synthetic Golden Topaz that is sure to please anyone who sees this beautiful gem stone. In ancient times it was thought that Topaz could enhance ones strength, cool down water or cure fevers. It was also sought after by royalty and the clergy during the Middle Ages. As a gem stone, Topaz can be found in a variety of colors… from blue, pale green and yellow to pink… even red, brown and black with red being the rarest and most valuable of all the Topaz gem stones.
Pure Topaz is a colorless stone and is sometimes mistaken for diamond. Other choices for November include the Citrine, a natural gem stone with a deep golden color, and the canary yellow cubic zirconia… a paler version of Citrine. Due to the durability and availability of Citrine, it is one of the most affordable gem stones, which makes it quite suitable as a substitute for Golden Topaz.
The ancients thought that Citrine had the ability to protect its wearer from evil thoughts and travelers would carry Citrine to help protect them from venomous snakes. Most Citrine is mined in Brazil and is sometimes referred to as topaz quartz, which is a false assumption. Citrine starts out as Amethyst and is then heated to 880 degrees Fahrenheit to create the golden yellow color; the lighter the shade of Amethyst the more golden color the Citrine. Due to this heat treatment it is recommended that Citrine be kept away from extreme or prolonged exposure to heat or strong light.
December brides, Christmas trees, Hanukkah Menorahs, icicles, snowmobiles, and polar bears… what could be more beautiful – except the lovely Blue Zircon… one of the birthstone gems for December. In ancient days the December birthstone was turquoise. The most highly prized turquoise in the world today comes from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona, USA.
Its color is the purest blue and contains almost no inclusions which makes it also quite expensive. It’s unfortunate that the Native American Indians that make the beautiful Turquoise jewelry barely get paid for their labor since some of the mines and Trading Posts are owned by foreign countries who control the price. The Indians can only sell their jewelry to Trading Posts, and then the Trading Posts drive the price up by 1000% or more. Another type of turquoise is called “stabilized” turquoise.
The stablization process hardens the turquoise because when turquoise is first mined it is soft and porous. Once turquoise has been stabilized it also darkens in color. The hardening of turquoise makes it possible to be handcarved as well as suitable for jewelry making. Turquoise is thought to be the very first stone ever made into jewelry and has been found in tombs of mummies dating back 5,000 years.
It has also been found in Mexico, Central and South American burial sites. There the Incas fashioned figurines and beads from Turquoise while the Aztecs carved masks and pendants from it.
A beautiful, and less costly alternative is the dyed “jade” products that are actually a high-grade dolomite marble. This “synthetic” to turquoise is dyed the beautiful turquoise color very close to the Sleeping Beauty Mine color mentioned above. We offer a few pieces in simulated turquoise or “Mountain Jade” and of course our description will always tell you if the item contains simulated or genuine gemstones.
The modern-day birthstone for December, however, is the Blue Zircon. Zircon is a silicate mineral zirconium silicate. Its blue color comes from a heat treatment process under reducing conditions. We offer the synthetic version of Blue Zircon in our fashion rings. We also have other suitable subtitutes for Blue Zircon, including Blue Topaz in various shades such as Sky Blue, Swiss Blue and London Blue (the darkest blue) Topaz.