Birthstones

title dec

dec tanz zircon turqDECEMBER BIRTHSTONE

December’s birthstones offer three ways to fight the winter blues: tanzanite, zircon and turquoise – all of them, appropriately, best known for beautiful shades of blue. These gems range from the oldest on earth (zircon), to one of the first mined and used in jewelry (turquoise), to one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite).

All of these stones are relatively inexpensive, but their beauty rivals even precious gems. Colorless zircon is a convincing replacement for diamond, tanzanite often substitutes sapphire, and turquoise is unmatched in its hue of robin’s egg blue. Whatever your style preference or budget, one of December’s three birthstones will match your true blue desires.

Tanzanite: Tanzanite is the exquisite blue variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world. Named for its limited geographic origin in Tanzania, tanzanite has quickly risen to popularity since its relatively recent discovery. Zoisite had been around more than a century and a half before this rare blue variety was found in 1967. Trace amounts of vanadium, mixed with extreme heat, cause the blue color – which ranges from pale blue to intense ultramarine with violet undertones.

Due to pleochroism, tanzanite can display different colors when viewed from different angles. Stones must be cut properly to highlight the more attractive blue and violet hues, and deemphasize the undesirable brown tones. The majority of tanzanite on the market today is heat treated to minimize the brown colors found naturally, and to enhance the blue shades that can rival sapphire. Tanzanite is still only found on a few square miles of land in Tanzania, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Its price and availability are directly tied to mines in this region. Tanzanite measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness – which is not nearly as hard as the sapphire it often substitutes. Given its vulnerability to scratch during daily wear and abrasion, tanzanite is better suited for earrings and pendants than rings.

Between its deep blue color and its limited supply, tanzanite is treasured by many – whether one is born in December or not!

Zircon: Zircon is an underrated gem that’s often confused with synthetic cubic zirconia due to similar names and shared use as diamond simulants. Few people realize that zircon is a spectacular natural gem available in a variety of colors. The name zircon likely comes from the Persian word zargun, meaning “gold-colored.” Others trace it to the Arabic zarkun, meaning “vermillion.” Given its wide range of colors – spanning red, orange, yellow, green, blue and brown – both origins make sense.

Zircon commonly occurs brownish red, which can be popular for its earth tones. However, most gem-quality stones are heat treated until colorless, gold or blue (the most popular color). Blue zircon, in particular, is the alternative birthstone for December. Color differences in zircon are caused by impurities, some of which (like uranium) can be slightly radioactive. These gems are also treated with heat to stabilize the radioactivity. While radiation can break down zircon’s crystal structure, it plays a crucial role in radiometric dating. Zircon, the oldest mineral on earth, contains important clues about the formation of our planet. Colorless zircon, known as Matura Diamond, displays brilliance and flashes of multicolored “fire” that can rival fine diamond. There’s one key difference though: Zircon is more brittle. Though it measures 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, its faceted edges can chip.

Zircon from Australia dates back 4.4 billion years. Australia still leads the world in zircon mining, producing 37 percent of the world’s supply. Other sources include Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Cambodia, Canada and the United States.Since the Middle Ages, people have believed that zircon can induce sleep, ward off evil and promote prosperity.

Turquoise: Admired since ancient times, turquoise is known for its distinct color, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish robin’s egg blue. It’s one of few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles its striking color. The word turquoise dates back to the 13th century, drawing from the French expression pierre tourques, which referenced the “Turkish stone” brought to Europe from Turkey. Ancient Persia (now Iran) was the traditional source for sky blue turquoise. This color is often called “Persian blue” today, regardless of its origin. The Sinai Peninsula in Egypt was also an important historical source.

The U.S. is now the world’s largest turquoise supplier. Nevada, New Mexico, California and Colorado have produced turquoise, but Arizona leads in production by value, as well as quality. The stone’s popularity here makes it a staple in Native American jewelry. Turquoise is found in arid regions where rainwater dissolves copper in the soil, forming colorful nodular deposits when it combines with aluminum and phosphorus. Copper contributes blue hues, while iron and chrome add a hint of green. Some turquoise contains pieces of host rock, called matrix, which appear as dark webs or patches in the material. This can lower the stone’s value, although the uniform “spiderweb” pattern of Southwestern turquoise is attractive. Turquoise is sensitive to direct sunlight and solvents like makeup, perfume and natural oils. The hardest turquoise only measures 6 on the Mohs scale, which made this soft stone popular in carved talismans throughout history.

From ancient Egyptians to Persians, Aztecs and Native Americans, kings and warriors alike admired turquoise for thousands of years. It adorned everything from jewelry to ceremonial masks to weapons and bridles – granting power and protection, particularly against falls. Highly esteemed for its striking namesake color and its ancient history, turquoise remains popular through time.

 

All information here came from the American Gem Society. Read more about the overview, history, and how to buy these December birthstones on the American Gem Society website.

 

December

December

title dec

dec tanz zircon turqDECEMBER BIRTHSTONE

December’s birthstones offer three ways to fight the winter blues: tanzanite, zircon and turquoise – all of them, appropriately, best known for beautiful shades of blue. These gems range from the oldest on earth (zircon), to one of the first mined and used in jewelry (turquoise), to one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite).

All of these stones are relatively inexpensive, but their beauty rivals even precious gems. Colorless zircon is a convincing replacement for diamond, tanzanite often substitutes sapphire, and turquoise is unmatched in its hue of robin’s egg blue. Whatever your style preference or budget, one of December’s three birthstones will match your true blue desires.

Tanzanite: Tanzanite is the exquisite blue variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world. Named for its limited geographic origin in Tanzania, tanzanite has quickly risen to popularity since its relatively recent discovery. Zoisite had been around more than a century and a half before this rare blue variety was found in 1967. Trace amounts of vanadium, mixed with extreme heat, cause the blue color – which ranges from pale blue to intense ultramarine with violet undertones.

Due to pleochroism, tanzanite can display different colors when viewed from different angles. Stones must be cut properly to highlight the more attractive blue and violet hues, and deemphasize the undesirable brown tones. The majority of tanzanite on the market today is heat treated to minimize the brown colors found naturally, and to enhance the blue shades that can rival sapphire. Tanzanite is still only found on a few square miles of land in Tanzania, near majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Its price and availability are directly tied to mines in this region. Tanzanite measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness – which is not nearly as hard as the sapphire it often substitutes. Given its vulnerability to scratch during daily wear and abrasion, tanzanite is better suited for earrings and pendants than rings.

Between its deep blue color and its limited supply, tanzanite is treasured by many – whether one is born in December or not!

Zircon: Zircon is an underrated gem that’s often confused with synthetic cubic zirconia due to similar names and shared use as diamond simulants. Few people realize that zircon is a spectacular natural gem available in a variety of colors. The name zircon likely comes from the Persian word zargun, meaning “gold-colored.” Others trace it to the Arabic zarkun, meaning “vermillion.” Given its wide range of colors – spanning red, orange, yellow, green, blue and brown – both origins make sense.

Zircon commonly occurs brownish red, which can be popular for its earth tones. However, most gem-quality stones are heat treated until colorless, gold or blue (the most popular color). Blue zircon, in particular, is the alternative birthstone for December. Color differences in zircon are caused by impurities, some of which (like uranium) can be slightly radioactive. These gems are also treated with heat to stabilize the radioactivity. While radiation can break down zircon’s crystal structure, it plays a crucial role in radiometric dating. Zircon, the oldest mineral on earth, contains important clues about the formation of our planet. Colorless zircon, known as Matura Diamond, displays brilliance and flashes of multicolored “fire” that can rival fine diamond. There’s one key difference though: Zircon is more brittle. Though it measures 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, its faceted edges can chip.

Zircon from Australia dates back 4.4 billion years. Australia still leads the world in zircon mining, producing 37 percent of the world’s supply. Other sources include Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Cambodia, Canada and the United States.Since the Middle Ages, people have believed that zircon can induce sleep, ward off evil and promote prosperity.

Turquoise: Admired since ancient times, turquoise is known for its distinct color, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish robin’s egg blue. It’s one of few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles its striking color. The word turquoise dates back to the 13th century, drawing from the French expression pierre tourques, which referenced the “Turkish stone” brought to Europe from Turkey. Ancient Persia (now Iran) was the traditional source for sky blue turquoise. This color is often called “Persian blue” today, regardless of its origin. The Sinai Peninsula in Egypt was also an important historical source.

The U.S. is now the world’s largest turquoise supplier. Nevada, New Mexico, California and Colorado have produced turquoise, but Arizona leads in production by value, as well as quality. The stone’s popularity here makes it a staple in Native American jewelry. Turquoise is found in arid regions where rainwater dissolves copper in the soil, forming colorful nodular deposits when it combines with aluminum and phosphorus. Copper contributes blue hues, while iron and chrome add a hint of green. Some turquoise contains pieces of host rock, called matrix, which appear as dark webs or patches in the material. This can lower the stone’s value, although the uniform “spiderweb” pattern of Southwestern turquoise is attractive. Turquoise is sensitive to direct sunlight and solvents like makeup, perfume and natural oils. The hardest turquoise only measures 6 on the Mohs scale, which made this soft stone popular in carved talismans throughout history.

From ancient Egyptians to Persians, Aztecs and Native Americans, kings and warriors alike admired turquoise for thousands of years. It adorned everything from jewelry to ceremonial masks to weapons and bridles – granting power and protection, particularly against falls. Highly esteemed for its striking namesake color and its ancient history, turquoise remains popular through time.

 

All information here came from the American Gem Society. Read more about the overview, history, and how to buy these December birthstones on the American Gem Society website.

 

 

 

November

November

title nov topaz citrine

nov topaz citrineNOVEMBER BIRTHSTONE

Individuals born in November can choose between two sunny gemstones to brighten up this chilly month. November’s birthstones, topaz, and citrine, are both known for their calming energies, bringing warmth and fortune to those who wear them.

Topaz and citrine look so similar, in fact, that they’ve often been mistaken for one another throughout history. They are actually unrelated minerals, and topaz occurs in a wide spectrum of colors far beyond yellow.

Both of November’s birthstones are fairly abundant and affordably priced, even in large sizes, which means everyone can find a way to fit topaz and citrine into their budget.

Read more about the overview, history, and how to buy these November birthstones on the American Gem Society website.

 

October

October

title oct tourmaline opal

oct tourmalineOCTOBER BIRTHSTONE

The October birthstones are Tourmaline and Opal. Tourmaline’s colors have many different causes. It’s generally agreed that traces of iron, and possibly titanium, induce green and blue colors. Manganese produces reds and pinks, and possibly yellows. Some pink and yellow tourmalines might owe their hues to color centers caused by radiation, which can be natural or laboratory-induced..  - Gemological Institute of America

Because opal has the colors of other gems, the Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all. The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. When Australia’s mines began to produce opals commercially in the 1890s, it quickly became the world’s primary source for this October birthstone... - Gemological Institute of America

Gemological Institute of America gemstone resources

- Tourmaline Description
- Tourmaline History and Lore

- Opal Description
- Opal History and Lore

September

September

 

Sapphire

September StoneSEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONE

September’s birthstone is the sapphire—a precious gem of wisdom, loyalty, and nobility. This stone is said to focus the mind, encourage self-discipline and channel higher powers.

When people say “sapphire,” they’re usually referring to the royal blue variety of this gem, although it can occur in all colors of the rainbow (except red, which is classified as ruby instead).

This lovely gem gives September-born babies a full spectrum of options when choosing the shade of birthstone that best represents them.

- American Gem Society

 

Velvety blue. Liquid blue. Evening-sky blue. Cornflower blue. Sapphire, beloved for centuries as the ultimate blue gemstone. The ancient Persian rulers believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire and its reflection colored the heavens blue. Indeed, the very name in Latin, "Sapphiru," means blue.

But like the endless colors that appear in the sky, sapphire is also found in many, many other shades besides blue, from the gold of a sunrise, to the fiery reddish-orange of sunset, to the delicate violet of twilight. Sapphire may even resemble the pale white gloaming of an overcast day. These diverse colors are referred to as "fancy" color sapphires.

A gift of a sapphire symbolizes a pledge of trust and loyalty. It is from this tradition that sapphire has long been a popular choice for engagement rings...

- American Gem Trade Association

August

August

title august peridot

August StoneAUGUST BIRTHSTONE

Though peridot is widely recognized by its brilliant lime green glow, the origin of this gem’s name is unclear. Most scholars agree that the word “peridot” is derived from the Arabic faridat which means “gem,” but some believe it’s rooted in the Greek word peridona, meaning “giving plenty.” Perhaps that’s why peridot is associated with prosperity and good fortune.

Peridot is the rare gem-quality variety of the common mineral olivine, which forms deep inside the earth’s mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava.

Rarely, peridot is also found inside meteorites.

Peridot’s signature green color comes from the composition of the mineral itself—rather than from trace impurities, as with many gems. That’s why this is one of few stones that only comes in one color, though shades may vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish-green, depending how much iron is present.

Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Africa.

Peridot only measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, so while the raw crystal is prone to cracking during cutting, the finished gemstones are fairly robust and easy to wear.

Also known as “the Evening Emerald” because it's sparkling green hue looks brilliant any time of day, peridot is said to possess healing properties that protect against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune.

The original birthstone for August was Sardonyx, and then Peridot was added, becoming August’s primary gem. Now Spinel adds its multitude of color choices!

- American Gem Society

July

July

July-Ruby

July StoneJULY BIRTHSTONE

Celebrated in the Bible and in ancient Sanskrit writings as the most precious of all gemstones, rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. Ruby's inner fire has been the inspiration for innumerable legends and myths, and to this day, no red gemstone can compare to its fiery, rich hues. It was believed wearing a fine red ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner - although the owner must have already had good fortune enough to possess such a rare and beautiful gemstone!

Many people associate its brilliant crimson colors with passion and love, making ruby an ideal choice for an engagement ring. Ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral species, while all other colors of corundum are called sapphire.

This most sought after gemstone is available in a range of red hues, from purplish and bluish red to orangish red. Ruby is readily available in sizes up to 2 carats, but larger sizes can be obtained. However, in its finest quality, any size ruby can be scare. In readily available small sizes, ruby makes an excellent accent gemstone because of its intense, pure red color

Ruby is mined throughout Southeast Asia. While Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) produce exquisite examples of this gemstone that the ancient Sinhalese people called "Ratnaraj," the King of Gemstones.

Despite all the best efforts of gemstone merchants to use technology to enrich color, fine ruby is still exceptionally rare. After being extracted from the earth, rubies today are commonly heated to high temperatures to maximize the purity and intensity of their red hue. Impurities may also dissolve or become less noticeable after heating. However, heating will only improve the color if the gemstone already contains the chemistry required. Occasionally rubies with small imperfections are permeated with a silicate byproduct of the heating process, which helps to make small fissures less visible. This enhancement, like heating, is permanent and rubies, whether enhanced or not, remain among the most durable of gems.

Today a new method of artificially coloring the surface of paler rubies through the diffusion of beryllium, or a similar element, has made the red of ruby more affordable. Although this method is not yet common, in the future beryllium-diffused rubies may offer an affordable alternative to either untreated or heat-enhanced rubies, which are both much rarer. However, recutting or repolishing may affect the color of some beryllium-diffusion treated rubies.

- American Gem Trade Association

June

June

May Emerald

June StoneJUNE BIRTHSTONE

June is one of only two months that has three birthstones associated with it, giving the lucky people born in June a choice of gemstones between pearl, alexandrite and moonstone.

June’s birthstones range from creamy-colored opalescent pearl and moonstone to the rare color-changing alexandrite—one of the most valuable gems on earth. With this spectrum of price points and color options, people with June birthdays can choose a beautiful gemstone to fit any mood or budget.

- American Gem Society - 

May

May

May Emerald

May Emerald StoneMAY BIRTHSTONE

The ancient Egyptians mined emeralds nearly 4,000 years ago, and Cleopatra was an avid collector. South America's rich bounty of emeralds was discovered by 16th Century Spanish explorers who found large emeralds in the possession of the Aztecs and Incas. Believed by the ancients to empower the owner with foresight into the future, emerald is regarded as an amulet for good fortune

Emerald, to many, symbolizes rebirth and the abundance of the life force. The rich green hue brings to mind the regeneration of life in spring and hope of new possibilities. Emerald is the birthstone for May and a talisman for Gemini.

Today, most of the world's emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia. Emeralds can be cut in a variety of different shapes, ranging from the traditional rectangular step-cut, known as the "emerald cut," to rounds, ovals, squares and cabochons. Early gemstone merchants sought to purify the transparency of their emeralds by immersing them in clear oils or paraffin. They found that clear oils and waxes rendered surface fissures less visible to the eye. Today, we have many sophisticated technologies with which to clarity-enhance emeralds. In addition to the oils and waxes of ancient methods, we now use clear resins to penetrate the open fissures surfacing in the stones. Hardeners are often added to solidify these liquids. This step prevents the resin from evaporating, thus making the clarity enhancement more permanent than oiling or waxing the gem. Although emerald itself is quite durable, the garden of inclusions may make individual gems vulnerable to damage if handled roughly.

- American Gem Trade Association

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