Birthstones are a collection of precious and semi-precious gemstones, with each stone representing a month of the Gregorian calendar. The idea behind the birthstone can be traced back to the Breastplate of Aaron, a religious garment holding the twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. In today’s present culture, each birthstone carries special characteristics that are believed to hold true to its wearer.
JANUARY – GARNET
This stone represents faith, love and constancy. Garnet may provide directional guidance in the darkness, making it ideal for frequent travelers. Its wearers may feel an increase in will power, self image and energy levels., while nervous people may feel calmer.
FEBRUARY – AMETHYST
Amethyst signifies peace, temperance, serenity and royalty. Wearing this birthstone during the month of February may strengthen relationships and provide courage when it is needed. The amethyst stone is also known to protect its wearers from intoxication.
MARCH – AQUAMARINE
The aqua birthstone promotes good health, as its thought to help cure heart, liver and stomach diseases; all that had to be done was to drink the water in which the gem had been soaking. Sailors in the past believed the sea god Neptune blessed the stone, protecting its wearers from the dangers of the sea.
APRIL – DIAMOND
Diamonds are a well-known stone, symbolizing everlasting love and invincibility. Its wearers are thought to carry great courage, making it possible to conquer times of hardship. It was once believed that diamonds could help ward off insanity and the evils associated with it.
MAY – EMERALD
This stone has always been associated with fertility, rebirth and love, making it perfect for mothers and future mothers. Today, emeralds represent wisdom, growth and patience. The Ancient Romans dedicated this stone to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.
JUNE – PEARL / ALEXANDRITE
Historically, pearls have been used as an adornment for centuries. They were one of the favorite gem materials of the Roman Empire; later in Tudor England, the 1500s were known as the pearl age. Pearls are unique as they are the only gems from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty. In the early 1900s, the first successful commercial culturing of round saltwater pearls began. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market.
A relatively modern gem, Alexandrite, was first discovered in Russia in 1831 during the reign of its namesake, Czar Alexander II, and is an extremely rare chrysoberyl with chameleon-like qualities. Its color is a lovely green in both daylight and fluorescent light; it changes color to a purplish red in incandescent light. Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this enchanting gemstone. (Synthetic gemstones are man-made alternatives to the natural material, possessing the same physical, optical, and chemical properties as the natural gemstone.)
JULY – RUBY
The ruby stone provides strength and nobility, helping protect its wearer from the evils in the world. It signifies love and passion while attracting good friends and good luck. Rubies are used to increase vitality and confidence with hopes of bringing a life full of success of prosperity.
AUGUST – PERIDOT
The peridot stone signifies beauty, strength and morality. Some believe that the green peridot crystals found in volcanic ashes were the tears of the volcano goddess, Pele. When the stone is set in gold, it can protect its wearers from depression, evil and nightmares.
SEPTEMBER – SAPPHIRE
The strengths associated with the sapphire gemstones are used to shield the evils of poisoning of body and mind. Many believed that placing a venomous snake in a vessel made sapphire could kill it. This stone symbolizes wisdom, dignity and loyalty.
OCTOBER – OPAL / TOURMALINE
This stone may bring faithfulness and confidence to its wearers. Opal necklaces in particular are thought to guard against evil and protect eyesight. It can also be used to protect wearers from envious, mal-intentioned people who try to bring negativity into your life.
Tourmaline Tourmaline has become a favorite gemstone among jewelry designer, and gem collectors the world over. Since it is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone's taste. Tourmaline also is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized. One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline, and features green, pink, and white colors bands; to resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge. Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.
NOVEMBER – CITRINE / BLUE TOPAZ
Citrine is associated with strength and healing for both body and mind. It can offer good mental health as it clears the mind and gets the soul to action. Wearing citrine can help its owners in keeping an optimistic mindset and will help to embrace a positive point of view.
The blue topaz stone can be used to promote a happy life full of good fortune. It is a symbol of peace and relaxation, making it the ideal stone to relieve and prevent headaches. Blue topaz wearers are thought to have increased wisdom and the feeling of invincibility.
DECEMBER – TANZANITE / ZIRCON / TURQUOİSE
Discovered in the late 1960s in Tanzania, and found exclusively in this tiny area of the world, tanzanite exhibits a rich violet-blue color for which the gemstone is treasured; often it is heat-treated to achieve this color. Colors range from blue to purple, and tanzanites that are medium dark in tone, vivid in saturation, and slightly violet blue command premium prices. As tanzanite can be less expensive than sapphire, it often was purchased as an alternative. However, it has increased in popularity and now is valued more for its own beauty and brilliance than as a sapphire substitute.
Derived from the Arabic words zar and gun, meaning gold and color, zircon is found in a wide range of colors such as: blue, yellow, orange, brown, green, colorless, and red (the most prized color). For many years colorless zircon was used to imitate diamonds. Folk wisdom grants zircon the power to relieve pain, whet the appetite, protect travelers from disease and injury, to ensure a warm welcome, and to prevent nightmares guaranteeing a deep, tranquil sleep. Major sources of zircon are the Chanthaburi area of Thailand, the Palin area of Cambodia, and the southern part of Vietnam.
The name turquoise, from the French expression Pierre tourques or Turkish stone, originated in the thirteenth century and describes one of the oldest known gemstones. Turquoise varies in color from greenish blue, through robin's egg-blue, to sky blue shades and its transparency ranges from translucent to opaque. Turquoise is plentiful and is available in a wide range of sizes. It is most often used for beads, cabochons, carvings, and inlays. Although its popularity fluctuates in fashion, it is a perennial favorite in the American Southwest.
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