Garnet: January's Birthstone
Garnet, the birthstone of January, is mined in a rainbow of colors. From the fiery orange of Mandarin Garnet to the rich green of Tsavorite Garnet, it is considered a great gift to symbolize friendship and trust. While you can find it in a variety of colors, the birthstone is most widely associated with dark red or deep brown colors, and the name of the stone has Latin roots that reference the seed of a pomegranate, which is a similar color. The garnet has a unique crystal structure known as the rhombic dodecahedron, a twelve-sided shape with diamond-shaped faces. No other gemstone has as individual a crystal structure as the garnet.
Garnet is also a legendary precious stone. In Egypt, archaeologists have discovered garnet amulets in the tombs of pharaohs. In Rome, it was typical for noble patriarchs to have carved signet rings made from garnet. Ancient Persians only allowed their kings to own and wear garnets. During the Roman Empire people believed garnets protected travelers. If a garnet sparkled, it was a warning of approaching danger. The ancient Chinese said that a red garnet represented a tiger’s soul that had transformed into a precious gem after the animal’s death. Navajo Indians in Utah, USA, used garnets as adornments to bring luck and protection.
Red garnet is an affordable and beautiful gemstone. It naturally occurs as big, clear crystals. So its a good choice for showstopping jewelry pieces. If garnet is your birthstone, it will hold special significance for you and is worth including in your jewelry collection.
Amethyst: February Birthstone
Amethyst, the birthstone of February, is a variety of Quartz that carries a spectacular purple color that ranges from a beautiful blend of deep violet and red to a lighter lilac hue. Historically, the finest amethyst were found in Russia and were featured in much royal European jewelry. Today, while Brazil is the primary source of this gemstone, fine material can be found elsewhere, especially in Zambia.
From Cleopatra to Queen Elizabeth, the amethyst has long been referred to as the “jewel of the Gods,” the amethyst is also admired for its religious and political significance. Amethyst gives women and men the look of royalty at affordable prices. Royalty and religious figures once wore amethyst as a symbol of their important stature in society. Ancient Greeks believed amethyst possessed mystical powers, like preventing drunkenness and conveying strength and wit when worn.
The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from Greek myths. Dionysius, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.
Amethyst jewelry a special gift for those who were born in this month. Amethyst is not only a sight to behold, but also the color of royalty and a traditional symbol of peace, tranquility and protection. Amethyst jewelry, such as amethyst earrings, are available in shades of purple ranging from a light lavender to a deep, dark and royal purple. The amethyst birthstone is an attractive gemstone in virtually any jewelry setting, including white gold, yellow gold and rose gold.
Aquamarine and Bloodstone: March's Birthstone
Aquamarine is the official birthstone and can be found in the United States, Columbia, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Rhodesia, India, Pakistan, Zambia, and Ceylon. Even though it is found in many places in the world, it is still a fairly expensive stone in larger sizes from 2 carat up, one with rich green-blue shades can cost up to $300.00 a carat.
This enchanting stone is an ocean-blue color, just as its name implies. For centuries, this timeless gemstone has been a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Since this gemstone is the color of water and the sky which immediately brings to mind its stunning pastel sky blue or the bright color of the sea - inspired, most likely, by the calm cool blue color.
The aquamarine was the stone of the sea-goddesses and sirens of the past times. Beads of aquamarine are found in ancient Egyptian mummy tombs. They were used as a tribute gemstone to the Gods of the Nether world for safe passage. King Solomon is said to have worn one in his breast plate of the 12 holy gemstones. Legends say that it is the treasure of mermaids, with the power to keep sailors safe at sea. Aquamarine is said to be a particularly strong charm when immersed in water (which is a good thing, since that is when sailors need its power most!)
Jewelry made from aquamarine is chic and stylish. Anyone with a March birthday—or born any time of the year—would be pleased to own this shiny gem in any setting. This beautiful birthstone is the perfect gift for loved ones born in March.
While Aquamarine is the official birthstone of March as determined by the Jewelers of America in 1912, but bloodstone was long seen as the birthstone in the Ayurvedic system.
Bloodstone is a stone with some interesting name variations. It is also known as heliotrope, an older name still used in Europe for the stone, which in Greek means ‘sun turner’. In the jewelry trade, the name blood jasper is sometimes used, but don’t let this nomenclature fool you. Bloodstone is not jasper, even though they can be similar in appearance
The Babylonians used bloodstone in their divination and the Egyptians prized bloodstone because they believed it helped them to magically defeat their enemies. They also believed it increased their strength or made them invisible.
Today, many use bloodstone as a lucky charm and believe it to increase personal strength. Some believe it helps with mental clarity, increasing creativity, or even boosting overall energy.
Bloodstone may not have the overt beauty of aquamarine, but many seek this stone out for its symbolism and other properties. Bloodstone is a unique stone great for everyday use when you want to look good or even feel good.
Diamond - April Birthstone
Since ancient times, diamonds have been admired objects of desire. Formed one hundred miles beneath the Earth’s surface over a billion years ago, diamonds are the hardest gem of all. Diamonds have a long history of folklore; some of which say diamonds were created when bolts of lightning struck rocks, and others said the gem possessed healing powers. For centuries, diamonds have been adorned by women and men and regarded as the ultimate gift and a symbol of eternal love.
There’s more to a diamond than meets the eye. Did you know that the diamond birthstone is the hardest known substance, ever? Yup! A diamond is so hard in fact, that the only thing that can scratch it are other diamonds. It also has the highest melting point of any substance, meaning a diamond would have to be in a temperature of 7,362 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4,090 degrees Celsius, in order for it to melt. That’s a lot hotter than your oven gets to bake your favorite cake.
Today, diamonds are still admired all around the world. Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no standard by which diamonds could be evaluated. Gemological Institute of America created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. A diamond’s color can range from clear to yellow to brown and is graded as such. The color scale starts with a D grade as an absolutely colorless diamond, and goes all the way up to Z, which contains the most yellow / brown color. The higher the grade, the higher the value of the diamond. Clarity looks at the number, size and position of any inclusions or blemishes on the diamond. The less inclusions or blemishes a diamond contains, the higher its value will be. A diamond’s cut is a measure of how its facets interact with light and includes the actual shape of the finished diamond such as princess-cut, cushion-cut and round-cut. Lastly, a diamond’s carat size is its weight, and the bigger the diamond, the higher it’s price. Today, the 4C’s of Diamond Quality are the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world.
For the lucky people who are born in April, you should know Diamond represents love and eternity, strength, and everlasting affection. No wonder it’s such a popular gemstone for people who are getting engaged and married!
Emerald - May Birthstone
Emerald, the birthstone for May, has been beloved for millennia, evoking rebirth and renewal. Widely regarded as the definition of green, emerald is the perfect color for spring. From the poetic description of Ireland as “the Emerald Isle” to the vibrant green of the famed gemstone itself—the May birthstone emerald has captured hearts and minds through the ages.
Ancient History records Emerald minds near the Red Sea called “Cleopatra’s Mines,” this was where the Pharaohs gathered gems between 3000 and 1500 B.C. Cleopatra, Egypt’s tempestuous female monarch was as famous for wearing Emeralds in her time. Ancient Egyptian mummies were often buried with an Emerald carved with the symbol of verdure– flourishing greenness–on their necks to symbolize eternal youth. On the other side of the world, the Incas and Aztecs of South America once worshiped Emerald as a holy stone. Ancient Egyptian mummies were often buried with an Emerald carved with the symbol of verdure– flourishing greenness–on their necks to symbolize eternal youth. History also speaks of the Maharajas of India, whose treasure vaults were filled with Emeralds – the gem they believed to bring luck and health.
The green of Emerald is representative of life and springtime. In ancient Rome, it was the color that symbolized the beauty and love of the goddess Venus. Perhaps this is why Emerald is the gem chosen by love birds to celebrate their 20th, 35th or 55th wedding anniversary. Emerald is also the gemstone of choice for those born in May as well as those born under the sign of Virgo.
The deeper and more vivid the color of green, the more valuable the gemstone. The most treasured and beautiful Emeralds exhibit an intense bluish hue in addition to their basic bold green color. Emeralds, among the rarest of gems, are almost always found with natural birthmarks, known as inclusions. Some inclusions are expected and do not lessen from the value of the stone as much as with other gemstones. The message of Emerald is pure and simple, and that is to enjoy life to the fullest! Surprise your special someone on her birthday with an emerald birthstone jewelry gift that will make her feel your eternal love.
Pearl, Moonstone, and Alexandrite - June's birthstones
Happy birthday June babies! Your month has 3 birthstones, giving the lucky people born during this month a wonderful selection of gemstones. These enchanting June birthstones originates from oceans, lakes and rivers around the world. It is a timeless wardrobe staple, beloved by people of all ages. The origin of pearls fascinated our forebears. Ancients from the Middle East believed that pearls were teardrops fallen from heaven. The Chinese fancied that the June birthstone came from the brain of a dragon. Christopher Columbus and his contemporaries thought that mollusks formed pearls from dew drops.
Pearls have long been associated with purity, humility and innocence. So it may be said that the June birthstone meaning is "sweet simplicity". As such, pearls were traditionally given as a wedding gift.
The pearl birthstone was also thought to have beneficial properties. In the ancient Sanskrit text the Atharva veda, pearls were said to bestow long life and prosperity. In Asia, pearls were believed to help alleviate indigestion and hemorrhages. Some 19th century Arab physicians maintained that pearl powder improved eyesight, quieted nervous tremors and eased depression. .Persian mythology called them “the tears of the gods.” Ancient Chinese legend claims the moon holds the power to create pearls, instilling them with its celestial glow and mystery.
Pearls are unique because they are the only gemstone formed within a living organisms. Since natural pearls are rare and difficult to recover from the ocean’s depths, man invented the technique of culturing salt and freshwater pearls from mollusks carefully seeded with irritants similar to those produced by nature.
While any shelled mollusk has the ability to create a Pearl, only two groups of bivalve mollusks make us of Mother of Pearl to create the iridescent nacreous pearls which are very valuable in the jewelry world.
Cultured pearls come in many beautiful colors, from pale cream and white to rose, lilac, green, gold, gray, and black. There are four main types of cultured pearls: Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian, and Freshwater each having unique qualities that separates them for the other.
Today pearls are both classic and contemporary; a strand of white pearls can be timeless but a bracelet of chocolate pearls is more modern. One thing to keep in mind with pearls, no matter the color or size, they can be worn every day or they can compliment the most formal attire.
MoonStone - The finest moonstones show a blue sheen against a colorless background. This June birthstone has been associated with both the Roman and Greek lunar deities. Hindu mythology claims that it is made of solidified moonbeams. Moonstone is often associated with love, passion and fertility; it is believed to bring great luck.
The moonstone is commonly found from the mineral adularia, named for Mt. Adular in Switzerland which supplied this gem. It is composed of thin layers of feldspar, which scatters light to produce the strangely beautiful and wonderful effect of light flowing through the stone, comparable to the moonlight shining upon a body of water.
While moonstone ranges from yellow, gray, green, blue, peach, and pink, the finest classical moonstone is transparent with a blue shimmer and hails from Sri Lanka. Moonstones are also found in India, Australia, Myanmar, Madagascar and the United States. Indian gemstones are brown, green or orange in color and are generally more affordable than the blue shimmery ones.
Moonstone jewelry can help you achieve a gorgeous, dreamy look. Show off a pretty neckline with an exquisite moonstone necklace, or choose a pair of moonstone earrings to go with your new hairdo. From cool shades like gray and blue to warm shades like yellow, pink and orange, this selection offers stunning jewelry in incredible colors you will love.
No matter if you're going to a formal black tie event or a casual get-together with your friends, moonstone jewelry is the perfect accessory. You can also consider giving the gift of moonstone jewelry to someone else. Treat Mom to a unique moonstone piece on Mother's Day, or surprise your special someone on your anniversary. Moonstone is a pretty present for a variety of occasions.
Alexandrite is the rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes color in different lighting. Most prized are those alexandrite birthstones that show a vivid green to bluish green in daylight or fluorescent light, and an intense red to purplish red in incandescent light. Major alexandrite deposits were first discovered in 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains. The gem was named after the young Alexander II (1818–1881), heir apparent to the throne. Alexandrite caught the country’s attention because its red and green colors mirrored the national military colors of imperial Russia.
Alexandrite is truly a magical color change gemstone. It doesn't just change hues of color - say from pink to red or blue to green, but changes from one distinct color to another depending on the light source. Alexandrite will appear green (bluish green) in daylight or fluorescent light and will turn a red, purplish-red or raspberry red in incandescent light. Most people will never have the privilege to see an alexandrite that changes from a stoplight green to a stoplight red because they are so very rare. It is truly spellbinding to see the spectacular changing colors in this wonderful gemstone; you just might feel some of the mysterious magic and lore ascribed to it. It’s said to strengthen intuition, aid in creativity and inspire the imagination.
Whichever stone you choose to do, each of these stones will look beautiful on you and help you transform your life!
Ruby - July Birthstone
This stone is well known for being a vibrant, bright red. Sometimes called the "king of gems," the July birthstone is known for love, passion, energy, wisdom, and health. One popular legend says that rubies have the power to warn their owners of coming misfortune. Large rubies are also known for being especially rare and valuable. As July is often the hottest of the summer months in the USA, the blazing red ruby is an appropriately symbolic birthstone.
It has been said that in ancient Imperial China, bureaucrats wore badges to show rank. The top ranking bureaucrats wore red stones which included ruby and red or pink tourmaline. Also warrior chiefs, and other political rulers as it was believed to strengthen their leadership skills and their decision making. Ruby is referred to in the Bible (usually as carbuncle) not only as one of the 12 Stones of the Breastplate, but in Exodus, Ezekiel and Isaiah. Ancient Sanskrit writings celebrate the ruby as the most precious of all gemstones. In India, it was believed that ruby was the "King" of gemstones and that they possessed the power to allow the owner of the ruby to live in peace with their enemies. In England, ruby was the stone for coronation rings and also set into crowns. Rubies were also set in rings for bishops and cardinals. There is no question that it is a regal and royal gemstone.
Did you know that rubies and sapphires are made of the same mineral? They are. They're both made of the mineral corundum, but the desirable and distinctive red color come from trace amounts of chromium. Chromium incidentally cause cracks and fissures inside the crystal—these imperfections, called "silk" are in nearly all rubies, and are used to distinguish genuine rubies from lab-created ones. Rubies without imperfections are exceptional and can command prices higher than diamonds of comparable quality.
You can enjoy this beautiful gemstone in stunning earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more for a stunning jewelry piece to add to your wardrobe. Whether your birthday is in July or you just love the color red or what the ruby represents, having a piece of ruby jewelry will bring you many beautiful attributes. Pair your ruby jewelry with simple clothing colors such as cream, white and black to really allow the rich, radiant red color to pop. The ruby birthstone is trendy, distinct and expressive.
Peridot - August Birthstone
In Arabic it’s called “faridat,” in Hebrew it’s called “pitdah” - we call it peridot. Known as a symbol of opportunity and prosperity, peridot is beloved by many. The peridot gemstone, August’s birthstone, is one of the oldest gemstones known to man, with records dating back as early as 1500 B.C. Early records indicate that the ancient Egyptians mined peridot on an island in the Red Sea called Topazios, known today as St. John’s Island. These Egyptians referred to the peridot birthstone as the “gem of the sun.” Ancient Romans called it “evening emerald,” since its color didn’t darken at night. In Hawaiian culture, peridot crystals are thought to be the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess. The peridot gemstone is both a day and a night stone, and keeps its shining color in various environments, even under artificial lighting. Peridot was also used to decorate medieval churches. Leaders who wore peridot were considered to be gentle, fair and wise.
All peridots came to exist on Earth in one of two ways: they either formed deep underground at high temperatures or caught a ride on flaming meteorites (called pallasite meteorites). Peridot from asteroids is extremely rare and valuable, but lucky for us, the United States has a steady supply of peridots made underground. Brilliant Earth sources our stunning peridots from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, where Native American community members revere the land and use low-impact mining techniques. These gemstones provide Native Americans with safe, secure livelihoods in an otherwise isolated area.
The peridot gemstone is a variety of the mineral olivine, and most peridot stones with the finest color come from Myanmar and Pakistan. With the name being so similar to a common food, I’m sure you can guess what color olivine, and therefore peridot, is – green. It’s one of few gemstones that can be found in only one color. But, just because it’s only found in green, doesn’t mean all peridots are the same. Shades of peridot range from light yellowish-green to a dark brownish-green. The most desired and valued peridot color is a deep, rich green without a hint of yellow or brown. Although peridot maintains its color and shine in many different lights and environments, the peridot birthstone looks best under natural light. That’s when it can really sparkle.
Today,as we mentioned earlier most Peridot comes from Arizona but it is also found in China, Myanmar, and Pakistan. If your an August child or just prefer citrus tones or earth tones, you’ll find that Peridot belongs in your jewelry collection
Sapphire - September Birthstone
The September birthstone is sapphire – a gem that’s been cherished for thousands of years. Although the term sapphire usually refers to the blue variety of corundum (ruby is the red variety), this birthstone comes in a rainbow of other colors. Sapphires have been long associated with royalty and romance and are also said to symbolize fidelity and the soul. “Sapphire” comes from the Greek word sappheiros and blue sapphire is one of the most popular colored stones. . One of the benefits of sapphires is their hardness, registering a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale (diamond is a 10). This means it's a strong and sturdy gemstone that you don't have to worry about getting scratched.
The September birthstone has traditionally symbolized sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility. For countless centuries, sapphire has adorned royalty and the robes of the clergy. The elite of ancient Greece and Rome believed that blue sapphires protected their owners from harm and envy. Clerics of the Middle Ages wore sapphires because they symbolized Heaven. Ancient Persians believed the earth actually rested on a giant sapphire, which made the sky blue.
The September birthstone was reputed to have healing powers as well.
Medieval Europeans believed that sapphire cured plague boils and diseases of the eye. The sapphire birthstone was also thought to be an antidote to poison.
Sapphires today are mined the same as they were thousands of years ago. Most sapphires come from countries that have strict guidelines on how mining may proceed. In Sri Lanka (Ceylon) mining is regulated so that the land is protected from over use. Mining is restricted to small-scale operations where heavy machinery is forbidden.
Blue sapphires and other fancy colored sapphires make for exceptional jewelry. For those with a September birth month, these exquisite stones carry extra meaning.
Opal and Tourmaline - October Birthstone
Those born in October enjoy two spectacular birthstones to commemorate their birthdays – opal and tourmaline. Both October birthstones have endless color combinations and beautiful coloring characteristics.
Opal, the traditional October birthstone, is believed to have originated in India (the source of the first opals brought to the Western world), where in Sanskrit it was called upala, a “precious stone." .” In ancient Rome, this became opalus. Nearly 100 B.C., a Roman scholar by the name of Pliny compared opal gemstones to volcanoes and colorful artwork, realizing that opals have the ability to reflect the hues of any gem. . Most opals are valued for their shifting colors in rainbow hues – a phenomenon known as “play-of-color.” Because of these colorful reflective qualities, Throughout time it was thought that opals harnessed immense power and luck bringing the wearer good luck and fortune, especially for those with October birth months.
The October birthstone’s dramatic play-of-color has inspired writers to compare it to fireworks, galaxies and volcanoes. Bedouins once believed opal held lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Ancient Greeks thought opals bestowed the gift of prophesy and protection from disease. Europeans long maintained opal to be a symbol of purity, hope and truth. Hundreds of years ago, opal was believed to embody the virtues and powers of all colored stones.
While each opal is beautifully unique and durable, it is recommended for earrings, necklaces, and occasional rings, but not for everyday rings.
Tourmaline is the newer October birthstone. The name comes from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which means “stone with mixed colors,” because it often has multiple colors in one crystal. Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling array of colors. Perhaps this is why ancient mystics believed this October birthstone could inspire artistic expression – it has a color palette for every mood. Among the most popular are the pink and red rubellites, the emerald green “chrome” tourmalines, and the neon green and blue-to-violet “paraíba” tourmalines.
Because of its vast range of colors, tourmaline was often mistaken for other gemstones One of the “rubies” in the Russian crown jewels, the “Caesar’s Ruby” pendant, is actually red (rubellite) tourmaline. A Spanish conquistador found green tourmaline crystals in Brazil in the 1500s and confused the stones with emerald. These and other cases of mistaken identity continued for centuries until scientists recognized tourmaline as a distinct mineral species in the 1800s.
Different colors of tourmaline are thought to have their own healing properties. Black tourmaline is believed to protect the wearer and give a sense of self-confidence. Pink tourmaline embodies love and is associated with compassion and gentleness. Green tourmaline promotes courage, strength and stamina. Among some people, the stone is known as the “peace stone,” believed to dispel fear and make its wearer calm.
Compared with other gemstones, tourmalines are a relatively recent discovery. Hence, it lacks the rich lore that accompanies many other precious gems. The clearer a tourmaline gemstone is, the higher the value of the stone. The most crucial element to consider when purchasing tourmaline is the color because each color will carry its own price tag and this factor can hinder your budget.
Red tourmaline is a popular choice, and if you are looking for a sophisticated alternative to emeralds, the green tourmaline is perfect. The most expensive tourmaline you can find will be the Brazilian Paraiba Tourmaline because it is clear with a neon blue or green color. The rarer the color of the stone, the higher that price tag will climb.
Topaz and Citrine- November Birthstone
Those with November birthdays have two beautiful birthstones to choose from: topaz and citrine. Topaz comes in a rainbow of colors; citrine is prized for its charming yellow and orange hues. Both November birthstones are known to have calming energies while bringing fortune and warmth to the wearer. Most topaz and citrine birthstones are affordably priced, as good-quality gems are not as rare as for many of their counterparts. This means that those born in November have many options to choose from. Your challenge will be deciding which one to pick.
Most experts agree the name Topaz is from Topazios, an ancient Greek name for St. John’s Island in the Red Sea. Others say it is from a word that means “fire” in an ancient Indian language. For centuries, topaz was associated with the color yellow. People assumed that all yellow gemstones were topaz, and that all topaz was yellow. Topaz and citrine look so similar, in fact, that they’ve often been mistaken for one another throughout history. Today we know it occurs in a broad color range that includes various tones and saturations of red, pink, purple, yellow, orange, and brown, as well as blue and green. Blue Topaz, although increasingly abundant, very rarely occurs naturally and is often caused by irradiation treatment. Topaz can also be colorless. The most prized color is Imperial Topaz, which features a vibrant orange hue with pink undertones. Blue, once the most rare color of Topaz, is the most common today due to man’s ability to enhance its color; Topaz with a naturally blue color is very rare.
The ancient Egyptians and Romans associated this golden gem with the sun god giving it the power to protect and heal. Legend says that topaz dispels enchantment. With its worldwide mass appeal throughout the centuries, once you find that perfect Topaz jewelry you’ll soon be under its spell.
Citrine is the transparent yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz, which has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Citrine has been a popular gemstone since ancient times and has shared a history of mistaken identities with the other November birthstone, topaz. As a result, people thought citrine had the same powers as topaz. They believed the citrine birthstone could soothe tempers and calm the wearer.
Throughout history, people believed that citrine carried the same powers as topaz, including the ability to calm tempers, soothe anger and manifest desires, especially prosperity. To leverage these powers, Egyptians used citrine gems as talismans, the ancient Greeks carved iconic images into them, and Roman priests fashioned them into rings. It is also known as the “healing quartz” for its ability to comfort, soothe and calm. It can release negative feelings, spark imagination and manifest fresh beginnings. It was particularly popular in colorful Scottish jewelry from the Victorian era. Citrine, believed to derive from the French word for “lemon” (citron), is given for the thirteenth wedding anniversary. It’s even called the “merchant’s stone” for its tendency to attract wealth and prosperity.
Today, most of the citrine in the marketplace results from the heat treatment of amethyst. With its ready availability in a wide range of sizes, citrine birthstone is one of the most affordable and desired yellow gemstones.
Turquoise, Zircon, and Tanzanite - December Birthstone
Just like June, December has three birthstones: tanzanite, turquoise or zircon? From the blue to bluish purple of tanzanite, to the intense blue and green of turquoise, to the rainbow varieties of zircon – there’s a color for everyone. If blue is what you’re looking for, all three December birthstones have their own unique take on this favorite hue. Depending on what your color, style or budget preferences may be, we can help you pick the right December birthstone for you or a loved one.
Turquoise is a semi-translucent to opaque gem that ranges from blue to green and often has veins of matrix (remnants of the rock in which it formed) running through it. Originating in the 13th century, turquoise is one of the oldest stones in the world and its name is based off of a French expression meaning ‘Turkish stone’. The pharaohs and other rulers of ancient Egypt adorned themselves with it. Chinese artisans carved it more than 3,000 years ago.
The turquoise birthstone was thought to possess many beneficial powers, like guaranteeing health and good fortune. From the 13th century on, it was believed to protect the wearer from falling (especially off horses), and would break into several pieces at the approach of disaster. Hindu mystics maintained that seeing a turquoise after beholding the new moon ensured fantastic wealth.
This turquoise birthstone also played an important role in the lives of Native Americans. The Apache thought turquoise could be found by following a rainbow to its end. They also believed that attaching the December birthstone to a bow or firearm made one’s aim more accurate. The Pueblo maintained that turquoise got its color from the sky, while the Hopi thought the gem was produced by lizards scurrying over the earth.
This December birthstone adorns the funerary mask of King Tut, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. It also appears in jewelry belonging to more modern royalty: Wallace Simpson (1896–1986), Duchess of Windsor (the woman for whom King Edward VIII gave up his throne), wore a famous amethyst and turquoise necklace made by Cartier. Turquoise is also the gem of the 11th wedding anniversary.
In European tradition, the gift of a turquoise ring means “forget me not.” Turquoise is considered a national treasure in Tibet, where it is believed to grant health, good fortune and protection from evil. December's birthstone also imparts peace to those who wear it.
Radiant zircon is the oldest known gemstone, with some crystals dating back 4 billion years, but also perhaps the most misunderstood. Unfortunately, due to the similarity of zircon's name to the lab created diamond simulant cubic zirconia, many people don't realize that zircon is a beautiful, naturally occurring stone with its own merits. Thanks to its tremendous fire and dispersion, it has been considered a more affordable stand-in for diamond for many years, although zircon gives us many reasons to sing its praises and appreciate it in its own light
The origins of the word “zircon” have elicited colorful debate. Some scholars believe it comes from the Arabic word zarkun, meaning “cinnabar” or “vermilion.” Others think the source is the Persian word zargun, or “gold colored.” Considering the broad color palette for this December birthstone – red, orange, yellow, brown, green and blue – either derivation seems possible. Colorless zircon is known for its brilliance and flashes of multicolored light, called fire, which have resulted in centuries of confusion with diamond.
During the Middle Ages, this December birthstone was thought to lull one into a deep sleep and scare off evil spirits. In the Hindu religion, zircon alternates with hessonite garnet as one of the nine gems of the navaratna. When worn together, the nine gems protect the wearer and bring wealth, wisdom and good health. Victorians had a fondness for blue zircon. Fine specimens can be found in English estate jewelry from the 1880s.
The spectrum of beautiful colors, its rarity and affordability are why it is becoming more popular today. Some gem collectors seek out Zircon from different locations capturing gems in every color of the rainbow – colorless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the colors in between. Zircon jewelry should be stored carefully because although this ancient gem is hard, facets can abrade and chip.
Tanzanite may be a relative newcomer to the world of colored stones, but it was one of the most exciting gem discoveries of the 20th century. Blue stones emerging from Tanzania were identified as the mineral zoisite in 1962. Not until 1967, though, did prospectors locate the primary source for this December birthstone. It is a one-of-a-kind gemstone unlike any other and can only be found in one place on Earth: Merelani Hills, the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was eventually named tanzanite in honor of its country of origin. The tanzanite birthstone is often described as “ exotic velvety,” mostly because of its deep and saturated color, which ranges from a pure rich blue to violet, with the blue considered most valuable.
One of today’s most popular blue gemstones, Tanzanite comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and striking assortments of blue tones. Rarely pure blue, Tanzanite almost always displays its signature overtones of purple. In smaller sizes, Tanzanite usually contains lighter tones and the lavender color is more common. While in larger sizes, Tanzanite typically displays a deeper, richer and beautiful blue.Today, it is not only a December birthstone, but it is also the gem for the 24th wedding anniversary.
Another very important factor is size. Tanzanite is available in five, ten, or twenty-carat stones... even larger for the serious collector. Compared to fine, gem-quality sapphires and spinels of similar color, it is both reasonably available and more affordable by a significant margin. It also has sufficient durability to make it a favorite in a wide range of jewelry.