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Garnet, a gemstone used in jewelry for thousands of years, enjoyed great popularity during the Victorian Era. Today, Garnet jewelry is available in every modern style of gemstone jewelry, in addition to many fabulous one of a kind antique and estate jewelry pieces. Garnet is readily available in all shapes and sizes at inexpensive prices for a genuine gemstone that seems to remain in the background, when it truly belongs in the spotlight. The fact that Garnet is not rare or expensive should in no way diminish its appeal, which is found in the real beauty of its magnificent colors.
Amethyst, the purple variety of Earthís most abundant mineral quartz, is a highly prized gemstone. The colors of Amethyst range from an almost colorless lavender to a very deep and intense royal purple. Amethyst is believed by many to have supernatural powers. It is said that anyone who wears Amethyst will benefit from the luck it brings. Amethyst is also believed to ward off drunkenness, protect against evil thoughts, and passion. Ironically February is the month for lovers who traditionally celebrate Saint Valentines Day with expression of their passion. In addition to being the birthstone for February, Amethyst is also given for sixth Wedding Anniversaries.
Aquamarine, the pale blue-green gemstone which reminds us of the calm soothing soft colors of the Caribbean Sea, is the precious gemstone of March. Transparency and lightness in color tone account for Aquamarines pastel shades of color. The word Aquamarine is actually derived from the Latin meaning: water of the sea. Over the ages it has been believed that an Aquamarine will give or bring out courage in whoever wears one.
Diamond, the hardest substance known to man is a rare and valuable gemstone which has been sought after for almost 2500 years. Kings, Queens, and Emperors have collected and worn Diamonds as a symbol of wealth and power for centuries. Diamonds are still a symbol of wealth and success, but they are much easier to acquire today than they were in the past.
If you were fortunate enough to have been born in April, then Diamond is your birthstone. Diamond is also the gemstone given for tenth and sixtieth Wedding Anniversaries, and more recently Diamonds set in a necklace are being given for the twenty fifth Wedding Anniversary. A Diamond embodies the fire and passion within us and represents the commitment of one to another when given as a betrothal or engagement ring. It does not have to be a special occasion to give someone a Diamond, but giving a Diamond will make an occasion special.
Emerald, the gemstone of spring, is also the birthstone for the month of May. Emerald is the gemstone which is given for twentieth and thirty fifth Wedding Anniversaries. Facetted gemstones, primarily oval and emerald cut (rectangular with cut corners), cabochons, and carvings are the most popular forms of Emeralds used in jewelry.
Columbia and South America have been a source of Emeralds for centuries, and still produce considerable quantities of top quality gems today. Columbian Emeralds are among the finest in the world. Brazil, Africa, Australia and the U.S.S.R. are also large producers of Emeralds. In the United States, Emeralds have been found in Connecticut, Maine, and North Carolina.
Alexandrite, a scarce gemstone, is best known for itís unusual ability to change color in different types of light. The chameleon effect of Alexandrite has made it a gemstone that is highly prized and sought after by collectors around the world. Alexandrite appears green in daylight and will change to red when placed under incandescent light. A vivid and distinct color change in Alexandrite can make this gemstone worth thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.
Pearls, both natural and cultured, are also the birthstone of June. Pearls are much more affordable and readily available in the marketplace than Alexandrite. One of the few organic gems, Pearls form in Oysters and other mollusks in both freshwater and saltwater. When a foreign body such as a grain of sand enters a mollusk and causes an irritation, the natural defense mechanism of a Pearl secretes a substance known as nacre which builds up in layers over time forming a natural Pearl. Cultured Pearls are formed in exactly the same way except that a bead or nucleus is inserted into a mollusk, by man to start the process. In Pearl farming, the size of a Pearl is determined by the size of the nucleus and the length of time it remains within the pearl before being harvested. The major sources for natural Pearls are the South Seas, Persian Gulf, Tahitian Islands, and Sri Lanka while the majority of Cultured Pearls come from Japan and more recently, China.
A fine Ruby, which can be more expensive than a comparable Diamond, is one of the most precious and beautiful gemstones of the world. Ruby is the sister of Sapphire, both of whom are composed of Corundum, which exists in all colors of the rainbow. Only the red to purple red hues of Corundum are called Ruby while all other colors including the light shades of red and pink are classified as Sapphires.
In addition to having the distinction of the birthstone for July, Ruby is the gemstone for summer and the zodiac sign of Capricorn. Ruby is also given for fifteenth and fortieth wedding anniversaries. Second only to Diamond in hardness, Ruby is an excellent gemstone for rings and bracelets which are subjected to greater wear than other types of jewelry.
Peridot, pronounced with a silent "t", is typically found in a variety of green colors ranging from a lively light yellow-green through a deep olive shade. Peridot is found right here in the United States in Arizona, New Mexico and Hawaii. Brazil, Burma, Australia, Norway and Sri Lanka are other well known sources for Peridot.
Sapphire, which is traditionally thought of as a royal blue gemstone actually occurs in all colors of the rainbow except red (See Ruby above). Pretty pinks, gorgeous greens, yummy yellows and an outrageous orange color known as "Padparadschah" are typical Sapphire colors found in the marketplace.
Opal, a spectacular creation of nature, displays the colors of the rainbow with a fiery iridescence unrivaled by other gems. White Opal, Octobers birthstone, is abundant in a wide variety of qualities ranging from almost solid white to gems that display intense blues, greens and reds. White Opal is also the gemstone for fourteenth Wedding Anniversaries.
Topaz, The traditional birthstone for November is Yellow, which is commonly called Precious Topaz or Imperial Topaz. Precious Topaz is found in a variety of colors, including pink, blue, clear and green. Topaz is found here in the United States in the state of Utah. The primary source of Topaz is the Soviet Union, where crystals exceeding one hundred pounds have been discovered.
Tanzanite is a violet-blue or blue-violet gemstone. Tanzanite has a soft electric blue color that is currently highly prized. Tanzania is the only place in the world in which Tanzanite is currently found. Tanzanite is quickly becoming as popular as the timeless colors of Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald as a choice among fine jewelry designers. Recently Tanzanite was adopted by Gen Trade Organizations around the world as the new birthstone for December.
Blue Topaz, a brilliant and electric blue gemstone, shares the spotlight for Decembers birthstone with the traditional Turquoise and Blue Zircon. The royal blue colors of Blue Topaz are so intense that many people wear this gem just because they love the color. Blue Topaz is relatively inexpensive and readily available in sizes up to twenty carats and more.
Blue Topaz, a member of the quartz family, is found in three distinct colors at the jewelry counter. The lightest shades, known as Sky Blue Topaz, resemble Aquamarine and are substituted for the March birthstone. Swiss Blue Topaz is the intense electric blue December birthstone and London Blue Topaz is the rich darker blue which some people also select as Decembers birthstone because they prefer the color. Blue Topaz is also the gemstone given for fourth Wedding Anniversaries
Natural Turquoise is an opaque blue gem, typically exhibiting light or dark matrix veining, that has been used as jewelry for over five thousand years. The color of Turquoise ranges from baby blue to a deeper ocean blue, and sometimes greenish blues like those found in the waters of the Caribbean. Turquoise, which is typically found only in very small nugget like sizes is usually cut in cabochon shapes (flat bottomed with a polished domed top), carved, made into beads or used for inlay work. Turquoise is given for thirteenth Wedding Anniversaries. Iran, Turkey and the American Southwest are the primary sources for Turquoise used in jewelry.