If you were born in November, you are lucky. If you’re celebrating your 14th Anniversary, you’re lucky too. You can choose from not just one November birthstone, but two: Citrine and Topaz.
The warm color of Citrine is said to be a gift from the sun and it’s believed to be a healing gemstone. Topaz is most desired by many people because of its rich orange imperial Topaz color. But it is found in a variety of rich colors like blue, pink and yellow. Because the citrine and topaz are so close in appearance often they are substituted. This is the result of the Citrine not easily available. Hence we recommend the topaz, especially the blue topaz, which is equally as beautiful.
The blue topaz: second November birthstone, but first in our hearts.
If you’re like we are, the lore and history of a stone always interests us. Did you know the ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength? In Europe during the Renaissance (the period from the 1300s to the 1600s) people thought that topaz could break magic spells and dispel anger. And there’s more.
For centuries, many people in India have believed that topaz worn above the heart assures long life, beauty, and intelligence. Wow! Who knew.
The name for imperial topaz originated in nineteenth-century Russia. At the time, the Ural Mountains were topaz’s leading source, and the pink gemstone mined there was named to honor the Russian czar. Ownership of the gem was restricted to the royal family. That’s no longer true. We can all wear the topaz.
Today, topaz is one of the birthstones considered for November. The other is citrine quartz.
Natural citrine is rare. Most citrine on the market is the result of heat treatment of amethyst. Because it is rare, sometimes topaz and yellow sapphire are used in its place.
To learn everything you need to know about citrine and all birthstones, here’s a link the the Gemological Society’s fact page. What you will discover is this is a gorgeous stone, with unrivaled clarity and beautiful color as well as being able to be cut into unusual shapes.
When we think about sapphires, as we’ve previously said, we think of deep, deep blue. And the September birthstone, sapphire is the bluest of blues. Prince Charles gave Princess Diana a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring for their engagement. It certainly made the sapphire, as opposed to diamonds, a popular engagement stone. But it’s for the September birthdays.
It’s the lucky September birthdays that can call the sapphire their own. But there’s more to be happy about. Rather than just one color, the sapphire comes in a variety of colors. The photo below shows the variety of colors including violet, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and intermediate hues.
You can also learn more about sapphires, including origins and history at the GIA Encyclopedia
A brief history of Sapphires
Historically sapphire is associated with nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. It has always been associated with royalty and wealth. After all, Prince Charles thought it worthy of an engagement ring. But the stone has always been for the upper classes.
In ancient Greece and Rome, royalty believed that the blue sapphire protected them from envy and harm. In the Middle Ages the clergy wore sapphires to symbolize Heaven.
People believed, in other times and places, sapphires had the power to guard chastity, make peace between enemies, influence spirits, and reveal the secrets of oracles.
For more information about sapphires, we suggest you peruse the GIA Encyclopedia. They discuss not only sapphires, but every gemstone under the sun. Great fun.
For more of our collection of vintage, antique and contemporary jewelry, timepieces, and silver go to our home page
If you asked ten people what is the August birthstone, the Peridot would not be mentioned by more than one—if that.
The Peridot is probably the least known and least appreciated of all the gemstones.
A woman friend, who is also born in August, said she hated having the Peridot as her birthstone when she was young. After all, her friends had “real” gemstones like diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and others. As she learned more about the stone, she considers it her favorite.
Where did the Peridot originate?
The formation of the Peridot, August birthstone
Peridot was formed early in the solidification of the Earth. As the earth’s magma slowly cooled to form igneous rock, Peridot was born. Parts of the magma which cooled particularly slowly created large and clear specimens of Peridot. These rich deposits are located in Egypt, and in Burma as well as surrounding areas.
Peridot is not only born of fire here on earth, but it has also arrived to Earth from outer space. Although many different gems can be found in meteorites that have fallen to earth, Peridot is the only one that is found in large enough sized to make jewelry from. In 1749, a meteorite landed in a desolate area of Siberia. It was found to contain many pieces of Peridot crystals large enough to be set into Peridot jewelry.
Peridot, August birthstone: its lure
A few jewelry historians are now convinced that some, or possibly all of the emeralds Cleopatra was famous for wearing, were not actually emeralds, but Peridots from Egypt. This emerald-looking shade of green is almost never encountered in Peridots under ten carats.
Peridot has long been called “an Evening Emerald.” That’s because under artificial light, the stone glows a brilliant green. Peridot is similar to the emerald.emerald but softer in intensity. Two of the finest Peridot displays containing some of the largest and best specimens are in the American
The beauty of the Peridot, August birthstone, is what lures most knowledgeable people to the gem. But the lores of the stone attract others.
The Talisman.Throughout history, there have been many legends that state the strong magical power that Peridot possesses. Legend says that if the gem is set in gold, it will develop its full potential as a talisman and will have the power to dispel terrors of the night- fears and bad dreams. However, according to Pliny The Elder, the Great Roman authority on such matters, for Peridots to work their strongest magic, they must be worn on the right arm.
The Healer. As with other gemstones, the color of the Peridot stone is directly related to parts of the body that it can be of aid to. Because of its yellowish green color, Peridot has been believed to cure diseases of the liver and difficulties with digestion. It aids in physical detoxification and helps problems with the kidneys, bladder, gallbladder, and the stomach. Peridot heals such illnesses as ulcers, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. Hence, it’s a panacea.
Peridot, How it can be used to help you!
Useful in helping to heal insect bites.
Has a tonic effect- it heals and regenerates tissues, strengthens the metabolism and benefits the skin.
Aids the heart, thymus, lungs, and spleen.
When placed on the abdomen, it aids in giving birth by strengthening the muscle contractions while lessening the pain.
Helpful in treating skin diseases and difficulties associated with the adrenal glands and endocrine systems.
Used to treat fevers.
Other lores and Legends. It said that Peridot, August birthstone, can help with anger management, depression, recovery from a broken heart. The stone calms the nervous system, helping to dissolve emotional tensions and bringing balance to the system. It actually attracts love and calms raging anger from within. It alleviates jealousy, resentment, and spite, and reduces stress.
So who needs a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. You just need a Peridot. Problems solved. To learn more about the Peridot, please check out the encyclopedia of gems.
To see more of our collection of contemporary, vintage and antique jewelry go to our home page.
The July birthstone, the Ruby, is a stone of nobility, considered the most magnificent of all gems. It is the queen of stones and the stone of kings. Ancients believed it surpassed all other precious stones in virtue. Its value exceeded even that of the Diamond. The Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan was said to have offered an entire city in exchange for a sizable Ruby.
The July birthstone has been believed to be a talisman and a protector
The July birthstone, revered in many cultures throughout history, has always been a talisman of passion, protection and prosperity. It symbolizes the sun, and its glowing hue suggests an inextinguishable flame within the stone that legends claim would shine through even the thickest clothing and could not be hidden; if Ruby were cast into water it would cause it to boil, and if carved and pressed into wax, it would melt the wax.
It was worn as an amulet or charm to ward off plague and pestilence, warned its wearer of impending danger, kept the body safe, and banished sadness and foolish thoughts. It was reputed to bring its owner peace, drive away frightful dreams, restrain lust, and to help resolve disputes. Burmese legend declares inserting a Ruby into the flesh would make one completely invulnerable.
The Powers of the Ruby, the July birthstone
The movie “The Wizard of Oz” confirmed the magical qualities of the ruby when they gave a pair to Dorothy to provide protection to her. For years, the ruby is believed to have supernatural and special powers. These include providing protection, physical and emotional healing energy, healing and spiritual energy. To learn more about the Ruby, its history and lore go to the GIA Encyclopedia of gems.
Natural Rubies and their flaws
The July birthstone, the ruby, like all natural Rubies have imperfections within them, including color impurities and inclusions of Rutile needles known as “silk.” These inclusions help distinguish natural Ruby from synthetics and when structurally oriented so the light shines off the “silk” in certain ways, the inclusions actually increase the rarity and value of the stone. If cut en cabochon, these special stones may display a chatoyancy, or rare “cat’s eye” effect, or in the case of a Star Ruby may display a six-rayed star effect called asterism, that causes the light rays to appear to glide magically across the stone as it is moved. [wikipedia.org][gemstone.org]
The most well-known June Birthstone is the pearl. However June is one of only two months that has three birthstones associated with it. That means if you are one born in June you have a choice of gemstones: pearl, alexandrite and moonstone.
In this blog we will only tell you about the pearl, since it’s most associated as the June Birthstone. Let us share some interesting information with you about pearls.
About Pearls: The most well-known June Birthstone
Pearls are the only gemstones made by living creatures. Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their shells—usually not a grain of sand, as commonly believed.
While any shelled mollusk can technically make a pearl, only two groups of bivalve mollusks (or clams) use mother-of-pearl to create the iridescent “nacreous” pearls that are valued in jewelry. These rare gems don’t require you polish them to reveal their natural luster. In fact, the finest pearls have a reflective luster, making them appear creamy white with an iridescent sheen that casts many colorful hues.
Cultured freshwater pearls can also be dyed yellow, green, blue, brown, pink, purple or black.
Black pearls—which are mostly cultured because they are so rare in nature—aren’t actually black but rather green, purple, blue or silver.
The June Birthstone: The History of the Pearl
Pearls have been used as adornment for centuries —at least as far back as ancient Greece, where they believed pearls were tears of the gods. The oldest known pearl jewelry was discovered in the sarcophagus of a Persian Princess who died in 520 B.C.
Ancient Japanese folktales told that pearls were created from the tears of mythical creatures like mermaids and nymphs. Early Chinese civilizations believed that dragons carried pearls between their teeth, and the dragon must be slain to claim the pearls—which symbolized wisdom.
Other cultures associated pearls with the moon, calling them “teardrops of the moon.” Hindu folklore explained that dewdrops fell from the moon into the sea, and Krishna picked one for his daughter on her wedding day.
Because natural pearls were so rare throughout history, only the richest echelon could afford them. During the Byzantine Empire, rules dictated that only the emperor was allowed to wear these treasured gemstones. Ancient Egyptians were often buried with their prized pearls.
Tudor England was known as the Pearl Age because of the stone’s popularity with the upper class during the sixteenth century. Portraits showed royals wearing pearl jewelry and clothing adorned with pearls.
Green has been associated with “envy” since Shakespeare’s time. You can’t help but be envious that the May birthstone is the beautiful emerald. Of course, emeralds are so loved, people own and wear them regardless of their birthdate. The May Birthstone is considered to be a symbol of rebirth and love. Emeralds are the rarest gemstones and are typically mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia.
All About Emeralds
A little bit of the lore
Emerald’s lush green has soothed souls and excited imaginations since antiquity. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdus.” Rome’s Pliny the Elder described emerald in his Natural History, published in the first century AD: “…nothing greens greener” was his verdict. Even today, the color green is known to relieve stress and eye strain.
Emerald is the most famous member of the beryl family. Legends endowed the wearer with the ability to foresee the future when an emerald was placed under the tongue, as well as to reveal truth and be protected against evil spells. Emerald was once also believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. Wearing an emerald was believed to reveal the truth or falseness of a lover’s oath as well as make one an eloquent speaker.
Legend also states that emerald was one of the four precious stones given by God to King Solomon. These four stones were said to have endowed the king with power over all creation.
Its color reflects new spring growth, which makes it the perfect choice of a birthstone for the month of May. It’s also the gemstone for twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC into the 1700s. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments.
The History of Emeralds
Emeralds are gem-quality specimens of the beryl mineral family with a rich, distinctly green color. They are found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks in a small number of locations worldwide.
For over 5000 years, emeralds have been one of the most desirable and valuable colored gemstones. Ancient civilizations in Africa, Asia, and South America independently discovered emeralds and made them their gemstone of highest esteem.
Emerald is defined by its green color. To be an emerald, a specimen must have a distinctly green color that falls in the range from bluish-green to green to slightly yellowish-green. To be an emerald, the specimen must also have a rich color. Stones with weak saturation or light tone should be called “green beryl.” If the beryl’s color is greenish blue then it is an “aquamarine.” If it is greenish-yellow it is “heliodor.”
Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. However, to be considered a “real” emerald it should be deep and saturated enough in color.
The first synthetic emeralds were produced in the mid-1800s, but it was not until the 1930s that Carroll Chatham began producing emerald in commercial quantities. To date, several companies including Chatham Created Gems, Gilson, Kyocera Corporation, Lennix, Seiko Corporation, Biron Corporation, Lechleitner, and Regency, have produced synthetic emeralds by flux and hydrothermal processes.
Synthetic emeralds, also known as lab-created emeralds, have the same chemical composition and crystal structure as natural emeralds. They are sold beside natural emeralds in most mall jewelry stores in the United States. When compared to natural emeralds, the synthetics have superior clarity and a more uniform appearance than natural stones of equivalent cost. Many consumers purchase them for their attractive appearance at a lower cost.
Before we delve into the April birthstone, let’s consider “who the heck created birthstones?” Well, it was too long ago to consider it a ploy to generate more business. The origin of birthstones is believed to date back to the breastplate of (Biblical) Aaron which contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. As time wore on, the 12 gems became associated with the zodiac and the months connected to it.
Aaron started the tradition of wearing a colored stone each month as a sort of good luck charm. Initially people wore all twelve stones, rotating according to season. The current list dates back to 1912 with only one addition since then – the Tanzanite was added to December.
The Chronology of diamonds:
Diamonds have been around as long as mankind. Diamonds have a long history as beautiful objects of desire. In the first century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny stated: “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.”
The world’s love of diamonds had its start in India, where diamonds were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams. Some historians estimate that India was trading in diamonds as early as the fourth century BC. Gradually, though, this changed. Indian diamonds found their way, along with other exotic merchandise, to Western Europe in the caravans that traveled to Venice’s medieval markets. By the 1400s, diamonds were becoming fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite.
Things changed in the 1700’s
In the early 1700s, as India’s diamond supplies began to decline, Brazil emerged as an important source. Diamonds were discovered in the pans of gold miners as they sifted through the gravels of local rivers. Once it reached its full potential, Brazil dominated the diamond market for more than 150 years.
The story of the modern diamond market really begins on the African continent, with the 1866 discovery of diamonds in Kimberley, South Africa. Entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes established De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited 22 years later, in 1888. By 1900, De Beers, through its mines in South Africa, controlled an estimated 90 percent of the world’s production of rough diamonds. Today, South Africa accounts for a much smaller percentage of diamond production. In fact, production is spread all over Africa and many countries in the world.
The lore of diamonds…
Getting back to the April birthstone, diamonds have been admired for centuries; some historians estimate it was traded as early as 4 BC. Before man understood diamonds were produced under earth’s surface and pushed to the top, many ancient civilizations believed that diamonds were lighting made real on earth. Perhaps this is the reason that diamonds have often been associated with great healing powers. Many thought the diamond could cure brain disease, alleviate pituitary gland disorders and draw toxins from the blood. But there’s more…
The Healing Powers of Diamonds.
During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers and to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body.
It was also believed that diamonds could have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst.
The diamond as the April gemstone has garnered the hearts of many and is the most coveted crystal to date. Deemed as the “King of all Birthstones,” diamonds make the ideal choice for an April birthday gift. And, diamonds were beloved by the ancient aristocracy..;
Historically, the diamond first became a popular gemstone in India, when the Moghuls and Imperial Colony easily mined diamonds from deposits along three major rivers. Today, the diamond is most widely known as the stone to give as part of an engagement ring.
Diamonds: A variety of colors. Often called Fancy Diamonds.Adopted from the Greek work adamas, meaning “invincible,” diamonds come in a wide range of colors such as black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow. The color is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. For instance, yellow stones have minuscule traces of nitrogen while blue ones contain boron. The planet’s most valued gems are fancy color diamonds. Only one in 10,000 diamonds has a fancy color. Red, green, purple, and orange are generally the most rare, followed by pink and blue. Yellows and browns are the most common fancy colors, but they’re generally less valuable than the rarer colors. To learn more about diamonds, check out Gemological Institute of America.
With fancy color diamonds, their value generally increases with the strength and purity of the color. Large, vivid fancy color diamonds are extremely rare and very valuable. However, many fancy diamond colors are muted rather than pure and strong. Blacks, grays, and fancy whites are considered fancies, too. Some have been fashioned into gems. The 67.50-carat Black Orloff diamond, named after the Russian Princess Nadia Vyegin-Orloff, is the most well-known example. It’s shown here.
For the lucky individuals born in March,the March birthstone are actually two. They are associated with this early spring month: aquamarine and bloodstone.
Both stones are very different from one another in appearance, but each share a similar symbolism of preserving or enhancing the health of the wearer. More about each March birthstone is discussed below:
The first March birthstone is a serenely colored aquamarine invokes the tranquility of its namesake, the sea. In fact, the name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea. It was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. The March birthstone was also thought to enhance the happiness of marriages.
The best gems combine high clarity with limpid transparency and blue to slightly greenish blue hues. Like many beryls, aquamarine forms large crystals suitable for sizable fashioned gems and carvings.
This gem is mined in Brazil, but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones. Like emeralds, this gemstone is actually a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large stones have been found all over the world, including one stone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds. Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gem to be cut and polished in larger carats for statement pieces.
Bloodstone is also called heliotrope, a word from the ancient Greek that means “to turn the sun.” Many believe it was probably named such because of ancient ideas about how minerals reflect light. In fact, some believed that the sun itself would turn red if this stone was put into water.
Bloodstone is sometimes also known as another name, Blood Jasper. But really these stones are chalcedony, a crypto crystalline quartz. There are two forms of bloodstone: one is more transparent (heliotrope) with red spots while the other is more opaque (plasma) and has little or no red spots.
For those looking for a good quality bloodstone, it is generally considered that a solid green color with visible veins of red is best. It also comes in many shapes and cuts including traditional cuts like emerald, oval, and cushion.
Bloodstone may not have the overt beauty of aquamarine, but many prize this stone for its symbolism and other properties.
Well, you may not have been thinking long and hard about jet jewelry. But we think you will be intrigued and surprised to learn about this ancient gemstone. This article may not tell you everything, but it will tell you more than you know now and refer you to sources of information.
As a stone of good luck, Jet Jewelry was believed to make a great gift for someone starting a new job or beginning a new business pursuit. It has been said that Jet can bring clarity to a confusing situation. Those who are struggling through multiple trials and tribulations will appreciate Jet’s supportive powers. That’s what they say and many have believed. For more about the lore, here’s an article.
That’s the lore about Jet Jewelry.
Jet is also called “Mourning Jewelry.” Queen Victoria popularized jet jewelry after her beloved husband, Prince Albert, died. She insisted that everyone in the royal court wear jet (mourning) jewelry, which they did for three years.
Whether it’s a good luck charm. A means for protection. Or for mourning, much of the jewelry carved from the stone are unique and beautiful.
Jet Jewelry: The protector of man
According to Helen Muller, a Jet jewelry expert and author, “Jet has been used as a jewel and talisman for over
four thousand years.”According to Ms. Muller, Jet is a type of brown coal, a fossilized wood of an ancient tree similar to our present day Araucaria. These trees flourished in the Jurassic period about 180 million years ago. How they are converted to Jet is too lengthy to cover here. But trust Ms. Muller, through a series of evolutionary steps, Jet gems emerge.
Jet: first gem to be discovered.
Coincidentally Jet was discovered during the stone age. Primitive man used it as an adornment, and, because it had electrical properties, they would also use it as a protector or potent talisman.
Germany has unearthed jet artifacts that have been dated to 10,000 years B.C. They are mostly small, primitively carved amulets in the shape of animals. Other ancient pieces of Jet have been found, in a variety of forms from simple to intricate, in France and England.
When the Romans invaded Britain they found high-quality hard jet, which impressed them. By the 3rd
Century A.D. they were hard at work producing rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, dagger handles and dice. These artifacts have been uncovered during excavations of areas in Britain.
Workshops have never been found in Germany (although Jet pieces have been unearthed), it is assumed that they were brought in from Britain (York).
In the 7th Century AD…
Christianity arrived in Yorkshire and for the next thousand years or so, jet was mainly used for ecclesiastical jewelry. Rosaries, rings and crosses were made for the monks.
In Spain, Jet was discovered in three provinces. The Moors wore a jet phallic hand to protect them from the evil eye and this practice continues in Spain today.
From the 9th Century AD…
Jet was used to make souvenirs for the pilgrims to the shrine of St. James. From the 13th Century there was a successful jet trade, with workers organized into the Brotherhood of Jet Workers. The trade declined in the 17th century and very little work is being performed today.
While very common on the Continent, in America jet is found only in Utah and Colorado. Pueblo Indians used it in their jewelry, often combining it with turquoise and shell.
The rediscovery of jet Jewelry.
It is said that the introduction of the lathe in 1800 was the start of the Whitby jet industry in England. Of course, other changes in the world, such as the railroad, helped spread the demand for jet jewelry around England. With the start of the Regency period, with heavier, darker dresses, the larger, dark jet jewelry was perfect. The history that follows jet into the 19th century is very interesting. Of course, Queen Victoria insisting that Jet be worn into the court, helped with its popularity, even among those not in the court.
Regency Jewelry’s sale of Jet Jewelry.
We have a large collection of antique jet jewelry in our showroom. We have also put selected items on sale at 50% offin our online catalogue. Or, in-store during the month of September. If you want to learn more about the history of jet gemstones, you can purchase Helen Muller’s book on its history at Amazon.com. Ms. Muller is a respected historian especially about the Jet gemstone.
Amethyst is the February Birthstone and the gem for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. It is also one of the emblems of the twelve apostles.
The lore behind the February birthstone include its wine-like color, leading early Greek legends to associate amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. Other legends reflected beliefs that amethyst kept its wearer clear-headed and quick-witted in battle and in business affairs. Because amethyst was associated with wine, it was believed that wearing amethyst prevented people from getting drunk.
Fine amethysts have been set in religious jewelry and royal crown jewels for ages. It was once considered equal in value to ruby, emerald, and sapphire. It’s no wonder that fine amethyst adorns the fingers of bishops as well as the coronation regalia of British royalty.
February Birthstone: St. Valentine and Camillo Leonardo
It is said that St. Valentine, the patron of romantic love, wore an amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid. Camillo Leonardi, the astrologer, wrote that amethyst quickens intelligence and gets rid of evil thoughts.
Here are two other beautiful amethyst pieces of jewelry we found in our antiquity search. Whether all amethyst or integrated with other gems, the amethyst always adds to the beauty of any piece.
Browse our collection of amethysts and other gemstones on our website.