Not only are gemstones stunning, they are incredibly fascinating ! A gemstone is a mineral or naturally occurring material that is durable enough to be carved, polished and cut to create beautiful pieces of jewellery and lustrous adornments.
Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds and Sapphires are considered precious stones, while the other stones fit into a semi-precious category however, they are all as wonderfully beautiful as each other.
BIRTHSTONES FOR EVERY MONTH
The Moh's scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material.
It was created in 1812 by the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs and is one of several definitions of hardness in materials science. By determining the hardness of a mineral, we can make decisions about the ways in which it can be used.
Garnet represents eternal friendship and trust. Dating back to 3100 B.C., the Egyptians used garnets as inlays jewellery. Garnet is a group of minerals that comes in many different colours, from the dark red of the pyrope garnet to the vibrant green of tsavorites.
In modern day, garnet is mined in Africa, Sri Lanka and India. The healing power of a garnet: Aids blood, heart and lungs and is known to promote romantic love, passion, sensuality and intimacy.
Garnet is the birthstone for January and the gemstone for second anniversary. Garnet has a hardness of 7 on the Moh's scale. Campbell Bridges mined tsavorite garnet in Kenya near Tsavo National Park,
Faberge.The Imperial Russian jeweller created intricate jewellery designs for demantoid garnet. A stylish red garnet bead necklace found in a grave in Egypt is more than 5,000 years old.
FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE : AMETHYST
Amethyst is a transparent purple quartz. Amethyst is said to bring a clear-headed and quick-witted persona about the wearer. The essence of the colour purple, amethyst is beautiful enough for crown jewels yet affordable enough for engagement rings.
Amethyst has been associated with many different myths, legends, religions and diverse cultures.
It is purple quartz – a stunning blend of violet and red. In modern day, amethyst can be found around the world. Brazil is where it is primarily sourced but, can also be found in abundance in Zambia.
The healing power of an amethyst: Aids in the reduction of insomnia, arthritis, pain relief and circulatory issues. Amethyst is considered the gemstone of meditation, peace, balance, courage and inner strength.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February and the gemstone for 6th and 17th anniversary. Amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Moh's scale. ST VALENTINE, The patron of romantic love wore an amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid. LEONARDO DA VINCI, The artist wrote that amethyst quickens intelligence and gets rid of evil thoughts. Single amethyst crystals can be huge: the GIA Museum displayed a doubly terminated crystal that weighed 164 pounds.
MARCH BIRTHSTONE : AQUAMARINE
Named after seawater, aquamarine’s fresh watery hue is like a cool plunge into a refreshing pool. Aquamarine was historically believed to protect sailors and to ensure a safe voyage on the high seas.
The calm color of aquamarine is believed to cool any temper, calling for calmness and level-headedness. Aquamarine is a soft, light tone and can range in color from green-blue to blue-green.
Aquamarine can be mined in Brazil, Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan and Mozambique. The healing power of an aquamarine: Aids the liver, throat, stomach, jaw, teeth, eyes and ears.
Aquamarine is also known for releasing fear, calming nerves and bringing mental clarity.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March and the gemstone for 19th wedding anniversary. Aquamarine has a hardness of 7 on the Moh's scale.
110 KILOS is the largest gem-quality aquamarine crystal mined to date. It is 19 inches long. Aquamarine is mined at high elevations in Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountains at 15,000 feet.
APRIL BIRTHSTONE : DIAMOND
Diamonds are among nature’s most precious and beautiful creations. This hardest gem of all is made of just one element: carbon. It’s valued for it's colourless nature and purity. Most diamonds are primeval – over a billion years old – and are formed deep within the earth.
Diamond is a representation of love. The ultimate gift of love would be the fancy diamond, which is an extremely rare, completely natural and exotic gem of the earth.
Diamonds come in hues of yellow, red, pink, blue and green. They range in intensity from dull to vivid. The more saturated the colour, the higher the value!
The diamond is the king of gems, the strongest precious stone on earth. The healing power of a diamond: Will render positive influence on various organs of the body, in particular on heart and brain.
It was also believed, that Diamonds protect the owner from illnesses, drive away bad dreams, fight severe depression, prevent apoplexy. Furthermore, Diamond reduces fever, fights infections, helps with skin diseases, reduces physical tiredness and invigorates metabolism.
Diamond is the birthstone for April and the gemstone for 60th & 75th Wedding Anniversaries. Diamond has a hardness of 10 on the Moh's scale. Diamond is the hardest substance on earth.
Diamonds are the hardest material on earth: 58 times harder than anything else in nature.
“LUCY” IN THE SKY, Fifty light years from earth, this star is a 10 billion-trillion-trillion carat diamond. The average yield in most diamond mines is 1 part diamond to 1 million parts host rock.
MAY BIRTHSTONE : EMERALD
The most valued variety of beryl, emerald was once cherished by Spanish conquistadors, Inca kings, Moguls and Pharaohs. Today, fine gems come from Africa, South America and Central Asia.
Emerald symbolizes rebirth and is said to bring about foresight, good fortune and eternal youth on the wearer.
A high-quality emerald is difficult to come by, as quantity is very limited. Originally mined in Egypt as early as 330 B.C. It is mostly mined now in Columbia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia.
The healing power of an emerald: The stone is believed to be very cleansing and prevents infection and diseases. It was once believed that a mother who wears emeralds keeps her child safe from complications during childbirth.
It also aids in emotional life and life transitions. It keeps the mind in excellent condition and also promotes a healthy memory.
Emeralds are known to be calming and balancing, promoting creativity and eloquence and restoring faith and hope. They are believed to bring good fortune and are used to nurture kindness and sympathy.
They are also used to improve one’s intuition, thereby increasing one’s perception.
Emerald is the birthstone for May and also the gem of the twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries. Emerald has a hardness of 7 on the Moh's scale.
2.97 BILLION YEARS: Age of the oldest emeralds, from South Africa. CLEOPATRA: Pharaoh known for her passion for emeralds.
$6,578,500: 2011 sales price for Elizabeth Taylor’s emerald pendant - a record $280,000 per carat.
JUNE BIRTHSTONE : PEARL
Perfect shining spheres. Lustrous baroque forms. Seductive strands, warm to the touch. Pearls are simply and purely organic. Perhaps the best-loved gems of all time, Pearls - natural and cultured - occur in a wide variety of colours.
The most familiar are white and cream but, the palette of colours extends to every hue. Natural pearls form around a microscopic irritant in the bodies of certain mollusks.
Cultured pearls are the result of the deliberate insertion of a bead or piece of tissue that the mollusk coats with nacre. Produced in the bodies of marine and freshwater molluscs naturally or cultured by people with great care. Lustrous, smooth, subtly coloured pearls are jewellery staples, especially when worn as strands.
Pearls are the only gems on earth that come from living sea animals. For this reason, they require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty.
Historically, they have been passed down in adornment for centuries – from the Roman Empire to Tudor England to modern day society. In the 1920′s, cultured pearls have nearly completely replaced natural pearls on the market.
The healing powers of a pearl: Representative of purity, innocence, integrity, wisdom, sincerity, faith, charity, spirituality and fertility. Over the years, pearls and pearl jewellery have become the symbol for purity, innocence and modesty.
They are also believed to play a powerful role in fertility.
Pearl is the birthstone for June and the gem of the third and thirtieth anniversaries.
Pearl has a hardness of 3 on the Moh's scale.
2206 BC, A Chinese historian writes about pearls for the first time. 653 FIFTH AVENUE: In 1917, Pierre Cartier traded a double strand of natural pearls for a mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City. 1893: Kokichi Mikimoto successfully cultures a pearl in Japan.
JULY BIRTHSTONE : RUBY
Long-valued by humans from many cultures. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby was called ratnaraj or “king of precious stones”. Next to the diamond, the ruby is the hardest natural gemstone.
This is great news as, it wears so well for everyday use! Fine-quality ruby is very rare, where the colour of this gem determines it's market value. The darker the colour, with vivid red or slightly purple-red is the most sought after.
Rubies have been known throughout history to heighten the senses, excite the imagination and have been believed for ages to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.
The healing powers of a ruby: Aiding the emotions is the Ruby’s calling card. It is also known to increase integrity, devotion and happiness.
Ruby is the birthstone for July and the gem for the 15th (in the United States) and 40th anniversaries.
Ruby has a hardness of 9 on the Moh's scale. PIGEON BLOOD: The traditional descriptive term for the reddest ruby colour. $3.3 MILLION: On May 29, 2012, a 6.02-carat ruby ring sold for $551,000 per carat, setting a new record at auction for a coloured gemstone.
Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any coloured stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gems in the coloured stone market. In its purest form, the mineral corundum is colourless.
Trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure cause variations in its colour. Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red colour.
AUGUST BIRTHTONE : PERIDOT
Found in lava, meteorites and deep in the earth’s mantle, yellow-green peridot is the extreme gem. Yellow-green gem variety of the mineral olivine.
Found as nodules in volcanic rock, occasionally as crystals lining veins in mountains of Myanmar and Pakistan and occasionally inside meteorites. The ancient Egyptians mined peridot on the Red Sea island of Zabargad, the source of many large fine peridots in the world’s museums.
The Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun”. Today this gem is still prized for its restful yellowish green hues and long history. Large, strongly-coloured examples can be spectacular and attractive smaller gems are available for jewellery at all price points.
4.5 BILLION: Some peridot is ancient it's found in pallasite meteorites, remnants of our solar system's birth. STARDUST: In 2005, peridot was found in comet dust brought back from the Stardust robotic space probe. OLIVINE: Gem variety of the mineral olivine: found in peridotite rock from the earth’s upper mantle.
Peridot originates deep inside the earth and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. Most of the peridot supply comes from Arizona, China, Myanmar and Pakistan.
Typically found in beaded necklaces and bracelets, Peridot comes in various colours ranging from yellow-green to brown and from bright lime greens to olive greens.
Healing powers of a peridot: Healing stress in relationships, lessening anger, jealousy and slowing aging, the peridot promotes abundance and prosperity.
Peridot is the birthstone for August and the 15th anniversary gemstone. Peridot has a hardness of 6 on the Moh's scale.
SEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONE : SAPPHIRE
Intensely saturated and velvety, rare sapphires from Kashmir set the standard for blue.
Top quality sapphires also come from Sri-Lanka formerly known as Ceylon. The world’s most famous engagement ring: Kate Middleton’s and Princess Diana’s sapphire. PADPARADSCHAA rare and valuable pinkish-orange sapphire named from the Sinhalese for lotus blossom.
Sapphires were historically worn by medieval clergy to emphasize heaven. The commoners believed the gem generated heavenly blessings. Surviving in popularity extending from the Middle Ages, blue sapphires range in many different tones from pale light to dark violet-blue as well as, pure blue.
Their beautiful colours don’t stop there. They occur in all colours of the rainbow! The healing powers of a sapphire: This is the gemstone of creative expression and inner peace and meditation, the Sapphire also aids in personal expression and the alleviation of pain.
Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem of the 5th and 45th anniversaries. Sapphire has a hardness of 9 on the Moh's scale.
OCTOBER BIRTHSTONE : OPAL
Fireworks. Jellyfish. Galaxies. Lightning. Opal’s shifting play of kaleidoscopic colours is unlike any other gem. Because opal has the colours of other gems, the Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all.
The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms.
When Australia’s mines began to produce opals commercially in the 1890s, it quickly became the world’s primary source for this. October birthstone. Opal contains upto 20% water trapped in it's silica structure.
Deriving from the Greek Opallos, this gem surely holds true to its meaning: “to see a change of colour.” Opals have an intense range of colour – from a misty white to black with sparks of yellow orange, green, red and blue.
When an opal’s spherical arrangement of particles are packed together in a regular pattern, a beautiful three-dimensional array of spaces are formed to give an opal its sparkling radiance.
The healing powers of an opal: Associated with love and passion, as well as desire and eroticism. It is a seductive stone that intensifies emotional states and releases inhibitions. It can also stabilize emotions.
Wearing an opal is believed to enhance loyalty and faithfulness. Opal is the birthstone for October has a hardness of 5 on the Moh's scale.
NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONE : CITRINE
One of the most affordable gemstones on the market, citrine is a golden yellow form of quartz which takes its name from "citron", the French word for lemon. Citrine is the transparent, pale yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz.
Citrine is rare in nature. In the days before modern gemology, its tawny colour caused it to be confused with topaz.
Today, its attractive colour, plus the durability and affordability it shares with most other quartzes, makes it the top-selling yellow-to-orange gem.
In the contemporary market, citrine’s most popular shade is an earthy, deep, brownish or reddish orange. In former times Citrine was used as a protective talisman against the plague, bad skin, evil thoughts and as a charm against snake bites and other venomous reptiles.
It is also believed to symbolize happiness, aid digestion, remove toxins from the body, useful in the treatment of depression, constipation and diabetes.
Citrine is one of the accepted birthstones for November, as well as the anniversary gemstone for the 13th year of marriage. It is found mainly in Brazil. Citrine has a hardness of 7 on the Moh's scale.
IRONA: Trace of iron in citrine’s structure is responsible for its yellow-to-orange colour. POPULAR: Citrine is recognised as one of the most popular and frequently purchased yellow gemstones.
DECEMBER BIRTHSTONE : BLUE TOPAZ & TANZANITE
The utilization of topaz goes back to the days of the Ancient Egyptian Empire. It's popularity grew tremendously during the Middle Ages, when people believed topaz to have the power to strengthen the mind.
Many astonishing pieces of topaz jewellery were created with this sparkling gemstone.
In the past, many reffered to topaz as a yellow to orange gemstone but, due to the large supply of blue topaz in the world market today, many have been led to believe that topaz is exclusively a blue gemstone.
Of course neither of these misconceptions are true and topaz can display a wide variety of colours and even unusual effects - such as is seen in smoky topaz.
The modern word topaz is derived from the Sanskrit word "tapas". The world's largest supplier of topaz is Brazil. However, Pakistan and the former USSR are emerging as the new sources for topaz supply.
Topaz comes in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes making it ideal for a wide variety of applications. Topaz is the birthstone of December and has a hardness of 8 on the Moh's scale.
Blue topaz is the gem of the 4th anniversary and Imperial topaz is the gem of the 23rd wedding anniversary. 1768: The royal court in Portugal celebrates the discovery of Imperial topaz. 271 KILOS: A transparent topaz crystal discovered in Minas Gerais, Brazil weighs an astounding 596 pounds. 10 MEV Irradiating colourless topaz with electrons at energy of 10 million electron volts creates a sky blue colour.
Lush blue velvet. Rich royal purple. Named for Tanzania, the country where it was discovered in 1967, tanzanite is the blue-to-violet or purple variety of the mineral zoisite. It’s become one of the most popular coloured gemstones.
PLEOCHROIC: Tilt tanzanite and you’ll see three distinct colours in three crystal directions. Exotic Tanzanite is found in only one place on earth, near majestic Mount Kiliminjaro in the Hills of Mereloni in Northern Tanzania, Africa.
Found in just one place on earth, tanzanite is a relatively recent discovery.
The blue variety of zoisite was named after Tanzania, the country where it was found, by Tiffany & Co. Because crystals show different colours depending on viewing direction, cutters can choose bluish purple or the more favoured pure blue or violetish blue hue depending on hom much weight they want to retain from the rough. Masai tribesman Ali Juuyawatu is credited with finding the first Tanzanite crystal.
Tanzanite is also the birthstone for December and has a hardness of 6 on the Moh's scale. Tanzanite is also the gem for a 24th anniversary.
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