Let's talk about birthstones. That beautiful group of twelve stones that represents a month in the year, which happen to go in line with the birth dates of the entire humanity. There are some things that can be considered more like folk wisdom than scientific statement, but still, very important to know. Birthstones are and can be worn as jewellery and pendants. Each of the birthstones have different purposes. They try to enhance the lack of something, and this goes in relation to the most needed aspect of average people born in X or Y month.
The twelve modern birthstones are the following:
The most popular and inexpensive gemstone is January's African garnet. It's a rich brick or dark red stone with a good lustre and even colour. Garnets are available in many different shapes and are mainly mined in South Africa, Mozambique, Brazil, the United States and Mexico. Garnet, which is thought to keep the wearer safe during travel.
An amethyst is a purple to almost-pink variety of quartz, and is the most prized variety of the quartz family. It is important when choosing an amethyst to ensure the stone is even in colour and not patchy. Amethysts are mainly mined in Brazil, Spain, North Carolina and Russia. Amethyst, which is said to strengthen relationships and give its wearer courage. At one time, only royalty could wear the gem. Ancient Greeks thought that the amethyst guarded against intoxication. In fact, amethyst comes from amethystos, a Greek word meaning “sober.”
This beautiful gemstone belongs to the Beryl family (nothing to do with Aunt Beryl) and is normally found in Brazil, Madagascar and Nigeria. Its magical green-blue colour is due to the presence of iron traces. Aquamarine, which is thought to cure heart, liver, and stomach diseases. Early sailors believed that aquamarine talismans, etched with the likeness of the sea god Neptune and also protected them against ocean dangers.
Lucky for all the girls born in this month, if not their hubby's wallet. Diamonds are made from carbon crystallised under great heat and pressure. Diamonds have a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale and are recognised for their exceptional durability, which makes them resistant to any form of abrasion from other minerals. Diamond, in addition to being a symbol of everlasting love, was once thought to bring courage.
In previous centuries, emerald was believed to promote honesty and frugality and to hold within it the promise of new life in springtime. Emeralds are precious stones of great value and intrigue. Their colours vary from brilliant green to soft blue or pale leaf greens. Emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil, South America, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia. Emerald, which of course has long been associated with fertility, rebirth, and love. Ancient Romans went so far as to dedicate this stone to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Today, it is thought that emeralds signify wisdom, growth, and patience.
A pearl is rather different from the rest because it's not found in the earth. Cultured pearls are formed inside oysters, with the assistance of man. Pearl cultivators insert a small shell nucleus into the fleshy interior of a pearl oyster. The rest of the grunt labour is done by the oyster, which coats the nucleus with a nacreous material that hardens to form the pearl. Then, shame, people take it away from the oyster.
Cultured pearls are amongst the most adaptable items in jewellery. Their simple elegance makes them an ideal choice in a wide range of pieces including necklaces, earrings and rings. There are a variety of shapes including baroque, pearl, barrel, round and 'mabe' (half sphere). Because cultured pearls are formed by a natural process, the shapes cannot be predetermined. Pearl, long been a symbol of purity. The ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the hardened tears of joy from Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
Rubies are regarded as symbols of freedom, charity, dignity and divine power. Like sapphires, they vary in strength of colour and their value is dependent on two factors - colour and the number of inclusions. Depending on the size, cut and quality of a ruby they are usually more expensive than sapphires. A hardness of '9' means that these stones are very durable. The finest rubies are found in Burma, although Thailand is the main source. Ruby, anciently believed to protect its wearer from evil. Today, the ruby’s deep-red color signifies love and passion.
Peridot is the name applied by jewellers to the mineral know to mineralogists as "olivine'. Peridot has a highly characteristic green colour and vitreous lustre that makes it a popular gemstone for jewellery. It is usually transparent and has very few inclusions. It has a hardness of '6.5' to '7', so it is reasonably resistant to daily wear. Gem cutters are able to cut the Peridot into many inventive and mixed cuts. The main sources are the island of Zebiget, Arizona (USA), the Hawaiian Islands, Burma and Brazil. Peridot, symbolizes strength. It is sometimes called the evening emerald for its light green color.
Sapphire is regarded as a symbol of truth, sincerity and constancy. A durable and versatile gemstone, it has a hardness of '9' on the Mohs scale - the hardest being a diamond at '10'. Sapphire is aluminium oxides know as corundum (not nearly as romantic a name as sapphire). This stone is valued according to the evenness and depth of colour, as well as the lack of visible inclusions. While most people think of sapphires as a deep blue, they actually come in a variety of colours including yellow, green, pink, different shades of blue and colourless. Sapphire, thought to guard against evil and poisoning. Traditionally a favorite stone of priests and kings, the sapphire symbolizes purity and wisdom.
Opals are popular for their iridescent flashes of colours. They are mainly shaped into cabochon (smooth not faceted) as they are brittle. They can also be damaged easily by chemicals, perfume, hand cream and daily wear. Solid opal has a hardness of only '5' to '6.5' on the Mohs scale and since it is easily damaged it's not suitable for daily wear –best worn as occasional dress rings, earrings and pendants. The fiery opal or triplet is a harder-wearing opal and comes in a variety of lively colours - the blues, greens and reds being our most popular. Opals are mainly mined in Australia, but the bright orange fire opal comes from Mexico. Opal, symbolizes faithfulness and confidence. Necklaces with opals set in them were worn to repel evil and to protect eyesight.
A very popular stone, the Topaz - which is mined all over the world - occurs in a variety of shades ranging from transparent to yellows and greens or blues. It can be worn daily without significant damage or scratching, and can be cut into any shape desired. Our most popular cuts are marquise, round, oval, pear and octagonal. Topaz sets up beautifully in white or yellow gold. Topaz, symbolizes love and affection. It is believed to give the wearer increased strength and intellect.
Tanzanite is a very rare and precious gemstone, because it is only found in one location in the world - the Merelani hills of east Africa, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Discovered only in 1967, it is said to be 1 000 times rarer than diamond. This rarity has seen it grow and grow in popularity in the 21st century. Due to its newfound fame, it was only declared in 2003 as the new birthstone for December. Tanzanite is blue in colour and shimmers in a slightly purplish hue. As with many coloured gemstones, Tanzanite is not ideally suited for everyday rings. To minimise the risk of harm, Tanzanite jewellery is suited for more selective wear. Turquoise, regarded as a love charm. It is also a symbol of good fortune and success, and it is believed to relax the mind and to protect its wearer from harm.
Certain months have two and june and december have even three.
Bloodstone, which helps to maintain control and fortifies the lymph and immune reaction; helps with problems of the heart, blood vessels and bladder as well as with ’flu, colds, infections, inflammation and pus formation.
Moonstone and Alexandrite. Moonstone helps with sleepwalking and makes receptive to inspiration and impulses, it also brings hormonal cycles in harmony with natural rhythms, helps with problems during menstruation, menopause and after childbirth. And Alexandrite intensifies dreams and perception of emotions, it also promotes power of imagination, willingness to take risks and perception of inner voice.
Spinel, which lends courage, optimism and life affirming attitude, it also promotes structure in thinking and perseverance in acting, strengthens the muscles, revives numb and paralysed limbs and cleanses the blood vessels, intestine and skin.
October: Tourmaline, which strengths faithfulness and ethics, dissipates grief and blocked emotions, makes open and tolerant, and enhances love for truth and sense of responsibility.
Citrine, is being known for giving courage to face life, it aids self-expression; helps with depression, helps to deal with and absorbed impressions and fortifies the nerves.
Zircon and Tanzanite. Zircon helps overcoming losses and let go of possessiveness, endows with recognition of what belongs to the past and what is really important (B) stimulates the liver, relieves pain, relieves cramps, and also helps with delayed menstruation. And Tanzanite helps overcoming fear and crises and build up trust.
Each of our calendar’s 12 months has its own birthstone. The idea of birthstones has been around for millennia. Today, some people still believe that a birthstone imbues its owner with magical powers or wards off evil (you’ll find a lot of them at folk festivals in the desert). For other people, birthstones are simply fanciful fun. Pick yours out from the guide below, wear it around town and let us know if you develop special powers - or just get lots of new admirers.