GUIDE TO GEMSTONES
GUIDE TO GEMSTONES
Most aquamarines are found in Brazil and are the birthstone of March. They belong to the beryl group of minerals, the most famous of which is emerald. They form in pegmatites and can be found in many places around the world where there are mountains. These beautiful crystals can be tiny or large and can weigh up to 100 pounds. Their name comes from “aqua” which means water and “marine” which means sea. They evoke the purity of crystal blue waters, which are calming, soothing and cleansing. And in ancient lore, aquamarines were believed to be the treasure of mermaids, representing good luck, fearlessness and protection. They are also considered to be a stone of eternal youth, health and happiness.
A bulk of the world’s amethysts come from South America, particularly Brazil and Uruguay and are the birthstone of February. Amethyst geodes can be found in thousands of places around the globe. Their name derives from the Greek word "amethystos", which means "not drunken", as Amethyst in antiquity was thought to ward off drunkenness. Amethyst colors range from a beautiful light to dark purple. These gemstones have symbolized power through the ages and were used by the Egyptians all the way back in 4000 BC. They are mostly regarded as a protective stone, which is thought to be helpful in clearing and purifying the mind.
Citrine is the birthstone of November and comes from Brazil, but can also be found in the Ural Mountains in Russia, Dauphine, France, and Madagascar. Most citrine on the gemstone market is produced by heat treating amethysts and smoky quartz. Citrine is a transparent, yellow variety of quartz, ranging from pale to golden yellow, honey or almost brown, and may contain rainbow or sparkle inclusions. Its name comes from the French word citron, meaning lemon. It was used as a gemstone in Greece as far back as 300 B.C. Carrying the power of the sun, they are warm and comforting, energizing and life giving. A premier stone for imagination, manifestation and personal will.
Diamonds were first discovered and mined in India over 2,400 years ago and are the birthstone of April. The diamonds that we see at the surface are ones from a very deep-seated volcanic eruption. It's a very special kind of eruption, that occurred a long time ago in the Earth's history. The name "Diamond" comes from the Greek adamao, which signifies "I tame" or "I subdue." From ancient times, the adjective adamas was used to describe the hardest substance known to man. It eventually became a synonym for the word “diamond.” This stone is known to attract love, power and strength. Diamonds are also said to help one accomplish their dreams and destiny.
Emeralds have been one of the most desirable stones found in Africa, Asia and South America. They are the birthstone of May and are defined by their green color. Emeralds are created one molecule at a time when the right minerals and conditions come together. This is what makes natural emeralds so rare and valuable. Beryl is the mineral that emeralds are created from. Beryllium, aluminum, silicon and oxygen come together to create the mineral Beryl. The name “emerald” comes from the old French word “esmeralde”, which was derived from the Greek word “smaragdos” meaning green stone. They’re known to represent growth, fertility, peace and balance. Emerald green also suggests the concept of eternity, as it’s a color that constantly renews itself in nature through generations.
Garnet is the birthstone of January and can commonly be found in Tanzania, Kenya and Madagascar. It’s prized for its rich color and transparency. The name “garnet” originates from the medieval Latin granatus, meaning “pomegranate,” in reference to the similarity of the red color. Garnet displays the greatest variety of color of any mineral, occurring in every color except blue. The rock-forming garnets are most common in metamorphic rocks. This means they are formed under high temperatures and high pressure which cause these isometric crystals to form. Garnets symbolize friendship, affection and courage. They also have a long tradition of supporting and helping one’s business or career.
Australia produces over 95% of the world’s opals. They are available in rainbow of beautiful colors and are the birthstone of October. It's believed that perhaps 30 million years ago, lots of silica was released into a solution which filled cracks in the rocks, layers in clay, and even some fossils. Some of them became precious opals. It takes about 5 to 6 million years to make a 1cm opal to mature. The word opal is ultimately derived from Sanskrit “upala” meaning “jewel.” They are said to represent love, passion and faithfulness.
Most of today’s fresh water pearls come from China. While the most common color is white, pearls naturally occur in nearly every color under the rainbow. The white pearl is considered a symbol of purity and is often associated with wedding and graduation celebrations. Pearls that grow with a natural white color include akoya pearls, freshwater pearls, South Sea pearls, and even occasional Tahitian pearls, which are most often dark. Pearls are one of a kind, especially when you consider that they are the only gemstone to come from a living creature. Mollusks such as oysters and mussels create pearls. In freshwater rivers and ponds, mussels produce pearls, while in saltwater they are produced by oysters. These magnificent stones symbolize purity, integrity and wisdom and are the birthstone of June.
Although most of the peridot seen in jewelry today comes from sources such as China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and the United States, some journeyed to Earth on meteorites while others are found in exotic locales like Peridot Beach and Hawaii, where the sands shimmer a luminous green. They are the birthstone of August and symbolizes strength and protection. The name peridot is a girl's name of Arabic origin meaning "a green gemstone.” They are the national gemstone of Egypt and known as “the gem of the sun.” They are also highly valued in Hawaii, where it is believed that they are the tears of the volcano goddess Pele.
Sapphires come in many different colors, but the blue sapphires are the most popular and sought-after. They have been the prized possessions of emperors, kings, queens and collectors for thousands of years. Still today it is the most well-known and in demand colored gemstone. Royalty gives sapphires over diamonds as engagement rings because they are known to be far rarer than diamonds. Sapphires come from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Cambodia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China, Vietnam and Madagascar. The purest sapphires are formed during the transformation of igneous rocks. The more slowly the magma cools, the larger the sapphires will be. Their name is derived from the Latin word “saphirus” and the Greek word “sapheiros,” both meaning blue. Some believe that the name sapphire is derived from its association with the planet Saturn. They are the birthstone of September and symbolize beauty, prosperity and faithfulness.
Topaz is the birthstone of November and December and symbolizes love, loyalty and clarity. It’s a mineral that is abundant in the earth’s crust and it can be found in a multitude of colors. Blue is the most sought-after color and is the best seller of all the colors thanks to its brightness. Deposits of topaz come from Brazil, Afghanistan, Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, Germany, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the USA. The name topaz comes from Topazios, the old Greek name for a small island in the Red Sea, now called Zabargad.