Birthstone Guide

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January

January's birthstone, Garnet, signifies eternal friendship and trust and is the perfect gift for a friend.  Garnet means seed and is called so because of the gemstone's resemblance to a pomegranate seed.  References to the gemstone date back to 3100 B.C., when the Egyptians used garnets as jewelry inlays. Like other red stones, garnet was considered a remedy for hemorrhage and inflammatory disease and a general protection from wounds.

Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that comes in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red of the pyrope garnet to the vibrant green of tsavorites.  Today, the most important sources for garnet are Africa, Sri Lanka, and India.
February

February's birthstone, Amethyst, was believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus and is said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted.  Throughout history, the gemstone has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures. English regalia were even decorated with amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize royalty. Amethyst is purple quartz, a beautiful blend of violet and red that can found in every corner of the earth. Historically, the finest amethysts were found in Russia and were featured in European royal jewelry.  Today, while Brazil is the primary source of this gemstone, fine material can be found elsewhere, especially in Zambia.

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March

March has two birthstones, Aquamarine and Bloodstone.

The name Aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea.  This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage.  The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Aquamarine ranges from greenish blue to blue-green and the color usually is more intense in larger stones.  This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil, but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.

Bloodstone is a dark-green jasper flecked with vivid red spots of iron oxide.  This ancient stone was used by the Babylonians to make seals and amulets and was believed to have healing powers — especially for blood disorders.  It is sometimes called the martyr's stone as legend tells that it was created when drops of Christ's blood stained some jasper at the foot of the cross.  Generally found embedded in rocks or in riverbeds as pebbles, primary sources for this stone are India, Brazil, and Australia.
April

April's birthstone, Diamond, has been a symbol of eternal love since the 15th century, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria sealed his engagement to Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring. Of all jewels, the diamond is supreme and worthy of the name precious stone. It qualifies for all the virtues implied in that term: brilliance, hardness, rarity, antiquity, purity and permanence.

While everyone thinks of the traditional white diamond, now you have more choices than ever with distinct colors such as blue, green, red, pink, and yellow. These natural fancy colors are rare and highly prized. They range in intensity from faint to vivid and generally the more saturated the color, the higher the value. In fact, diamonds sparkling with intense color are rare and may be priced higher than a colorless diamond of equal size. Because fancy-color diamonds are very desirable, color is sometimes introduced in a laboratory. These are correctly called color-treated diamonds. 

While India was the world's main source of diamonds for more than 2,000 years, most diamonds now come from Africa, Russia and Australia. Of all diamonds mined, only a quarter are of gem quality.

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May

May's birthstone, Emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. Emerald was mined in Egypt as early as 330 B.C. It was attributed such great power that it was often used in powdered form to prevent epilepsy, stop bleeding, cure dysentery and fever, and avert panic. In addition, emerald was thought to make its owner eloquent and persuasive, bring joy, give the ability to foretell the future and improve memory.

Today, most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia. The availability of high-quality emerald is limited; consequently, treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly.
June

June has three birthstones Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone.

Pearls are unique as they are the only gems from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing. 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.

Alexandrite, first discovered in Russia in 1831 during the reign of Czar Alexander II, is extremely rare and demonstrates chameleon-like qualities.  Its color is a lovely green in daylight and fluorescent light; it changes to a purplish red in incandescent light.  Due to its rarity, some jewelers stock synthetic versions of this enchanting gemstone.  

Moonstone was given its name by the Roman Pliny, who wrote that moonstone's appearance altered with the phases of the moon.  Moonstones sometimes show either a multirayed star or a cat's eye. The most prized moonstones are from Sri Lanka; India, Australia, the United States, Mayanmar, and Madagascar are also sources.

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July

July's birthstone is Ruby. There’s no better way to demonstrate your love than by giving a ruby in celebration of a July birthday. Rubies arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love. Ruby is a variety of the gem species corundum. It is harder than any natural gemstone except diamond, which means a ruby is durable enough for everyday wear. Fine-quality ruby is extremely rare, and the color of the gem is most important to its value. The most prized color is a medium or medium dark vivid red or slightly purplish red. If the gem is too light or has too much purple or orange, it will be called a fancy-color sapphire.
August

August's birthstone, Peridot, is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.  As peridot is a gemstone that forms deep inside the Earth and is brought to the surface by volcanoes, in Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes.  Today, most of the peridot supply comes from Arizona; other sources are China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.  This gemstone comes in several color variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but most people are attracted to the bright lime greens and olive greens.  Peridot, in smaller sizes, often is used in beaded necklaces and bracelets.

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September 

September's birthstone Sapphire has been popular since the Middle Ages and according to folklore will protect your loved ones from envy and harm.  Ancient Persians believed the earth rested on a giant sapphire whose reflection gave the sky its color. Medieval clergy wore sapphires to symbolize heaven while commoners thought the gem attracted heavenly blessings.  Blue sapphires range from very light to very dark greenish or violetish blue as well as various shades of pure blue.  The most prized colors are a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violetish blue.  Sapphire is a variety of the gem species corundum and occurs in all colors of the  rainbow.  Pink, purple, green, orange, or yellow corundum are known by their color (pink sapphire, green sapphire).  Ruby is the red variety of corundum.
October

October has two birthstones, Tourmaline and Opal.

Tourmaline has become a favorite among jewelry designers and gem collectors. 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 many combinations in the same gemstone.  One multi-color variety is watermelon tourmaline, and features green, pink and white color bands. Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

Opals range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. Opal is a non-crystalline silica gel that through time and nature's heating and molding processes, hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces are created that give opal its radiance.

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November

November has two birthstones, Topaz and Citrine. 

Topaz is available in a rich rainbow of colors. Prized for several thousand years, all yellow gems in antiquity were called topaz. During the Middle Ages topaz was thought to drive away sadness, bring wisdom, bestow courage, and even cure insomnia.The most prized color of topaz is called Imperial topaz after the Russian Czars of the 1800s and features a magnificent orange body color with pinkish undertones. Topaz also comes in yellow, pink, purple, orange, and the many popular blue tones.

Citrine is known as the "healing quartz". This golden gemstone is said to support vitality and health while encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer. Citrine can be found in a variety of shades ranging from pastel yellow to dark brownish orange. It is one of the most affordable and plentiful gemstones. Citrine is found most frequently in Brazil, Bolivia, and Spain.
December

December has three birthstones, Tanzanite, Zircon and Turquoise.

Discovered in the late 1960s in Tanzania, and found only there, tanzanite exhibits a rich violet-blue color for which it 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.  

Zircon is found in a wide range of colors. 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. Major sources of zircon are Thailand, Cambodia, and the southern part of Vietnam.

Turquoise is 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.