October Birthstones

October Birthstones opalPeople born in October are some of the few who have a choice in birthstones, and have even more choices among those. The American Gem Society lists both opals and tourmaline gemstones as the official October birthstones. Additionally, the AGS reveals that tourmalines come in more than one color. That means that if you prefer a solid-colored stone over the ethereal luminescence of the opal, you can take your pick among black, pink and green tourmalines. Black tourmaline looks a bit like flint, however, and is used less for representing October birthdays than the pink and green varieties of tourmaline. (more…)

17 Apr 2015

Sapphire

Sapphire: birthstone for SeptemberThose born in September have the honor of their births being represented by the brilliant blue gleaming sapphire gemstone. Believed to have amazing power, the Farmer’s Almanac says that sapphires were trusted to protect wearers from evil and even poisoning. (more…)

10 Apr 2015

Peridot Birthstone for August

august birthstone: peridotThe cool green peridot is the gemstone that’s known as the birthstone for birthdays in the hot and sizzling month of August. The Farmer’s Almanac says that the stone symbolizes strength and, because peridot is considered a heart chakra stone, the gift of a peridot pendant that doesn’t include any other types of stones is a thoughtful gift for an August birthday. That’s because a pendant holds the stone near the solar plexus chakra, encouraging warm, loving feelings toward creation, according to HealingCrystalsforYou.  (more…)

03 Apr 2015

Championship Rings

Jordan's championship ringsSporting the bling of six championship rings, it’s hard to remember that Michael Jordan wasn’t born with a 48-inch jump. According to some sources, he worked with trainer Tim Grover to increase vertical jump inches. Obviously the hard work and training paid off in the form of multi-million dollar contracts with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, not to mention the lucrative endorsements. However, Air Jordan would probably tell you that his hard-earned championship rings have as much sentimental value as they do actual monetary worth. (more…)

27 Feb 2015

Working With Gemstones

working with stonesWorking with gemstones is more than a job. It’s a form of art. Those with artistic talents may be naturally drawn to creating jewelry and other things with gemstones. However, if you don’t feel you have the natural talent to make a living from it, working with gemstones is something you can indulge in as a hobby. When using gems to create items for display or wear, you might think the first logical step would be to design the piece and then find the stones to set into it. Many times, though, it’s when you see a cut stone, ready for setting, that inspiration strikes. Your mind’s eye envisions the finished piece, created around the bare gemstone. (more…)

24 Feb 2015

Are You Allergic to Precious Metals?

Allergic to metalYou adore the gold pendant set with sparkling gemstones that your truelove gave to you, but every time you wear it, an itchy, unsightly rash develops around your neck. Curiously, the same reaction occurs whenever you wear the silver bracelet you got as a souvenir from your cruise to South America. At first thought, it might seem like you’re allergic to all jewelry, but DermNet NZ points out that often what people mistake for an allergy to precious metals is really an allergy to nickel. (more…)

16 Feb 2015

Ruby: July Birthstone

July birthstoneBirthdays landing in the heat of summer deserve a fiery birthstone, so it’s fitting that blazing red rubies are birthstones for July. Rubies have been making an impression on people for centuries. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it’s been considered the King of Gemstones since ancient times. (more…)

09 Feb 2015

Alexandrites and Pearls: Birthstones for June

pearl-necklaceMaybe it’s because of June’s association with the Gemini zodiac sign that birthdays in this summer month get two birthstones, one for each side of the twin personality. Both pearls and alexandrites are recognized as birthstones for June, though Crystal Cure reveals that four other months have at one time or another claimed the pearl as a birthstone. Because it isn’t a traditional, glittering gem you may not consider a pearl to be a precious gemstone. However, pearls have been sought-after symbols of affluence and wealth for centuries. Other than their appearance, the element that sets pearls apart from other gemstones is that they come from a living creature rather than being mined from the earth. The Farmer’s Almanac says that pearls symbolize purity, and that’s why they’re often worn by brides and sewn onto their gowns.

pearl-ringJune’s alternative birthstone, the alexandrite, is a relatively new gem, having only been discovered as recently as 1834, says the International Colored Gemstone Association. It’s possibly the alexandrite’s unique ability to change color that made it a logical choice to be the birthstone symbol for the duality of Geminis. Alexandrites are a variety of chrysoberyl. The highest quality stones appear green in natural light, but become red or a reddish-purple when viewed under artificial light. Geology.com says that alexandrites can even display different hues of green, red or purple, depending on which angle you view them from.

Like all gemstones, both June birthstones are thought to possess protective and healing qualities. The Gemological Institute of America tells pearl enthusiasts that it is a moon gem, and that pearls are thought to protect wearers from fire and even fire-breathing dragons. Geminis who favor alexandrites over pearls may be people who don’t fear dragons but who are looking for love or improved fortune. AJS Gems says that alexandrites are believed to facilitate romance and encourage joy for those who are excessively disciplined. The color-changing stones are also said to give hope and strength to the despairing and increase creativity, imagination and intuition.

23 Jan 2015

Emerald: May’s Birthstone

Emerald: May's BirthstoneEmeralds have a history of being connected to love, fertility and rebirth, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. Maybe that’s why they were chosen to represent the springtime birthdays of people born in May. Unless you speak Greek, you may not see the clear link between the lush green gem’s name and the Greek word “smaragdus,” but it does translate to “green.” Naming a stone after its color is appropriate for this gem, especially since the word “emerald” has come to represent a specific deep, rich jewel-tone shade of green.

The American Gem Society reveals that as early as 330 B.C. emeralds were mined in Egypt. These days, high-quality emeralds are hard to come by. Most of the emeralds on the market come from Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia and Zambia. The United States, however, is fortunate to have one source for the green jewel. Located near Hiddenite, North Carolina, is a small emerald mine that Geology.com says produced over 20,000 carats of the precious gemstone in the 15 year period between 1995 and 2010. emerald-stonesConsidering that one of them was 1869 carats and about 6 inches long, that’s not too shabby for a “small” North Carolina mine.

As with most precious stones and crystals, emeralds are thought to have positive effects on emotions and health. Crystal Vaults reports that emeralds have a calming, yet invigorating effect. While this might seem contradictory, consider that calming the emotions allows a person to more easily think and reflect, and even be more creative. As a heart crystal, emeralds have been used to alleviate heavy emotions in the heart and promote hope, abundance and encouragement. As for physical benefits, emeralds are said to rejuvenate and have anti-aging effects. Emeralds have been put to use to strengthen the heart and other organs such as the gall bladder, liver, lungs and kidneys. As a symbol of fertility, emeralds are thought to improve the reproductive system and provide assistance during childbirth.

16 Jan 2015

Aquamarine: March’s Birthstone

aquamarine-and-turquoise-beads-necklaceThe cool, pale-blue crystal known as aquamarine is the gemstone that represents March birthdays. Aquamarines are brilliant and clear, though the actual shade can vary from stone to stone and sometimes can even be affected by the size of the crystal. Although aquamarine stones can be found in shades ranging from blue-green to greenish blue, the tone in all aquamarines tends to be light, with larger stones often displaying more intense color. Gem Select reveals that heating aquamarine stones at low temperatures is a trick jewelers use to alter the color of the gems, bringing out the blue and reducing the yellow and green tones. (more…)

11 Jan 2015