Every Month has a stone, every stone has a meaning
At Artistry in Gold, our jewelers create handmade birthstone jewelry from quality gemstones. Gemstones are precious or semi- precious stones that have long been prized for their quality of color, and many believe they have healing and protective properties.
Their rich colors and variety of shades make each gemstone special. Gemstones are found all over the world and have been used throughout history to pass their qualities on to the wearer to help them in all aspects of life. For example, the green gemstone Peridot is also known as the ‘study stone’ and is said to help a person learn new skills.
Birthstones are gemstones that represent each month of the year, so gemstone jewelry is always a great gift idea and something that anyone would be delighted to wear.
Garnet is the birthstone for January, with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale.
Garnet has popularity dating back over 5,000 years to ancient Egypt, where the gems were worked into beads or set into hand wrought jewelry. Jewelry set with dark red garnet from Czechoslovakia was extremely popular in the nineteenth century. Pieces set with these Bohemian garnets are still in high demand today for their beauty and uniqueness. Today’s gemstone collectors know that garnet offers a myriad of color choices in every shade imaginable, except blue.
Origins: Garnets are mined in many locales around the world. Some of the more important sources include Africa, India, Madagascar, Russia, Sri Lanka and the United States.
Lore: Known as the “Stone of health and commitment”, the garnet reflects the attributes of devotion, warmth and understanding, said to instill patience, incite personal magnetism and cooperation in instances of change.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February, with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale.
Amethyst has been a popular gemstone for centuries, and with good reason. It is beautiful, durable and affordable. Amethyst is a variety of the mineral species quartz. It displays a majestic hue of purple, moving from very light to very dark. With purple being the chosen color of royalty, amethyst has enjoyed an unwavering popularity dating back thousands of years. The finest quality amethyst exhibits a high degree of transparency and a rich deep purple color enhanced by flashes of burgundy or rose.
Origins: Amethyst is found all over the world. Major sources include Brazil and Uruguay. Other sources include Zambia, Sri Lanka and the United States. Small quantities of very fine amethyst are also mined in Russia.
Lore: Known as a “Stone of spirituality and contentment”, the amethyst bestows stability, strength, invigoration and peace. It is also useful in the situation of debating, affording advantage to the holder of the amethyst.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for March, with a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale.
Aquamarine holds its place securely among the world’s most desirable gems. The Greeks proclaimed this highly prized, light blue gem aquamarine, because it sparkles like the sea touched by the sun. Ranging in tone from very light to medium blue, many aquamarines exhibit a slight tint of green in their body color. Generally the darker shades are more valued, but many people prefer the lively brightness of lighter hues. Aquamarine is readily available in larger sizes over 5 carats. In fact, gem quality aquamarine crystals weighing several hundred pounds have been discovered.
Origins: Today’s most important source for aquamarine is Brazil. Other sources include Zambia, Madagascar, and the United States.
Lore: It is said when the husband gives his wife an aquamarine gem their love is renewed, strengthened and reunited. A dream of aquamarine means that you will meet new friends.
Diamond is the birthstone for April with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale.
Diamonds are the most coveted of all gemstones. They are nearly 100% carbon, and are created deep in the earth’s upper mantle under intense heat and pressure. Diamonds rise through the earth’s crust in blue-tinged volcanic rock called kimberlites. They are the hardest natural stone, and can only be scratched by another diamond. In 1905 the largest diamond discovered was found in South Africa. Called the Cullinan, the diamond weighed 3106 carats, translating to 1.33 pounds! The stone was given to King Edward of England, and later was cut into 109 separate stones. Nine of these were quite large. The tower of London is now the home to three of the largest of these stones. While white is the most common color for diamonds, you can also find diamonds in an array of colors, including yellow, green, blue, pink and even the rarest color of all, red.
Origins: Originally India was the main source for diamonds. Later in the 1700s the source was Brazil, only to change to South Africa when they were discovered there in the late 1800s. Diamonds are also now mined in Canada, Botswana, Nambia and Russia.
Lore: The word diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas” which means indestructible or invincible. In ancient would wear diamonds into battle because it was believed the stones gave them strength and courage. Diamonds were also thought to have healing powers. The ancient Hindus would put diamonds in the eyes of statues, and believed that the stones had the power of protecting the wearer.
Emerald is the birthstone for May, with a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale.
Emerald is translucent to transparent. It is generally thought of as green in color. But with a closer look, you’ll discover subtle but important differences in tones and hues. Some of the world’s finest emeralds are described as slightly bluish green in color and medium in tone. Pure green emeralds are also highly desirable. Emerald is part of the mineral family called beryl. If a gem is too light in tone it is no longer considered an emerald, but is referred to as green beryl. Common in many emeralds are a wide variety of internal characteristics or inclusions, often described collectively as a garden. Many feel that this garden adds interest and individuality to an emerald. Emeralds without these internal features are very rare and valuable.
Origins: Current key sources for emerald include Columbia, Brazil, Pakistan, Africa and Russia.
Lore: Egyptians believed that emeralds stood for rebirth and fertility, and could ease childbirth. Emeralds have often been known to provide protection on journeys and are also associated with love and fidelity.
Cultured pearl or Alexandrite is the birthstone for June with pearl’s hardness of 2.5 to 4.5
Cultured pearls are formed when a small piece of mantle tissue, a bead, or both is implanted into an oyster. Implanted material encourages the oyster to begin producing a rich and luxurious material, called nacre, that creates the pearl’s lustrous outer glow. Cultivated in both fresh and salt water, cultured pearls come in many different shapes and colors. The most popular shapes have traditionally been round, but more unusual shapes like baroque and button are also available. Colors range from white and cream, to gray and black, as well as rich purples, golds and yellows.
Origins: Saltwater cultured pearls are produced in the ocean bays, atolls and inlets of Japan, China, Australia, French Polynesia, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines. Freshwater cultured pearls are produced in the lakes and rivers of China and the United States.
Lore: The pearl has in many cultures been associated with the moon. In ancient times pearls were thought to be the tears of the gods. They are known to be helpful in love relationships and thought to keep children safe.
Alexandrite is the alternate birthstone for June, with hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale
Alexandrite was named after Czar Alexander II as a birthday gift for him as the first gemstone was found on his birthday in 1830. When alexandrite is illuminated by sunlight its color is green. Under candlelight and incandescent light the stone appears red. Fine alexandrite is a rich purple-red in incandescent lighting and a rich bluish-green with daylight. The rarest of all gemstones, alexandrite is acceptable in clarity grades that would not be acceptable in other gems. Alexandrite is a gem variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. Chrysoberyl dominates the phenomenal stone category because it is the most spectacular color change
Origins: The first alexandrite was found in the Ural Mountains of Russia. Now most of them come from Sri Lanka, East Africa. and Brazil.
Lore: Alexandrite is known as the stone of spiritual love, luck and balance. It is said to increase one’s self esteem, increase confidence, and bring about positive change, happiness and success.
Ruby is the birthstone for July, with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale.
Ruby possesses a color like no other red gemstone. At its finest, the purity of its burning crimson hue inspires us with love and desire. Rubies come in a variety of colors ranging from purplish red to orangey red. Ruby belongs to the same mineral family as sapphire, but if a gem is too light in tone or too purple or orange in hue, it is called a fancy sapphire and not a ruby. The most sought after rubies are pure red or red with a very slight pinkish undertone. Very fine quality rubies, especially in sizes over 3 carats, are incredibly rare and valuable-much rarer than top quality colorless diamonds.
Origins: Some of the finest rubies in the world are mined in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Other important sources include Kenya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.
Lore: Rubies are given as a symbol of success, devotion and integrity. According to ancient lore a ruby is capable of reconciling lovers’ quarrels. Rubies are thought to ward off misfortune and ill-health.
Peridot is the birthstone for August, with a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale.
It is often called the “volcanic gem” because it usually forms in the rocks created by violent volcanic activity. Peridot has a history dating back well over 3,500 years. It was first mined on the Isle of Serpents in the Red Sea. Later renamed St. John’s Island, this historically important source of peridot supplied gems to the royal rulers of ancient Egypt, including Cleopatra. In recent years the popularity of peridot has steadily increased. This can be attributed to its availability, affordability, and the growing use of shades of chartreuse by some of the world’s leading fashion designers.
Origins: Peridot in limited quantities has been found in many volcanic regions all over the world, including parts of Italy and the Hawaiian Islands. Some of the world’s finest quality peridots are mined in Myanmar. The most prolific source of peridot is the San Carlos Native American Reservation in Arizona. Other sources include China, Brazil, and Pakistan.
Lore: Peridot has been long considered to be an aid to friendship and supposedly to free the mind of envious thoughts. Other legends credit peridot with bringing happiness and good cheer, attracting lovers and strengthening the eyes.
Sapphire is the birthstone for September, with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale.
Sapphire, the celestial gemstone long associated with the sky and the heavens, has been revered by humanity for thousands of years. Symbolizing truth, honesty and faithfulness, sapphire is an excellent choice for an engagement ring or any piece of jewelry given as a gift of love. As with most gemstones, the finest sapphires, no matter their color, are a vibrant hue with a medium tone. Extremely dark, almost black sapphires and extremely pale sapphires are among the most affordable. When shopping for a sapphire, let your own personal taste guide you.
Origins: An important historical source of fine quality sapphire is the Kashmir district of India in the Himalayas. Current sources include Australia, India, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States.
Lore: Sapphire is associated with romantic love, representing fidelity and romantic devotion. It helps one to find peace of mind and serenity and promotes a life of sincerity, preserve one’s innocence while learn life’s truths.
Opal is the birthstone for October, with a hardness of 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale.
Opal is treasured as much for its many different appearances as it is for its breathtaking beauty. There are over 100 different variety and trade names used today to describe opals. Opals with a lighter body color are more often called white opals, and those with a darker (and more rare) body color are classified as black opals. Whether white or black, the value of an opal depends upon the vividness of the spectral flashes (often called the play of color) visible from within the gem and the patterns these colors form. Another popular opal with little or no play of color is fire opal. Fire opals range in hue from vivid yellows to fiery reds and oranges.
Origins: Most of the world’s opals come from the deserts of Australia. Other important sources include Mexico, the United States, and Ethiopia.
Lore: Opal enhances self-worth confidence and self-esteem, and helps you to understand your full potential. It also brings lightness and spontaneity and encourages radiation of positive emotions.
Pink tourmaline is the alternate birthstone for October with a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
Tourmalines come in a unique array of spectacular colors. According to an ancient Egyptian legend this was because on the long journey from the Earth’s heart up towards the sun, Tourmaline traveled along a rainbow, and on Its way collected all the colors of the rainbow. Pink is one of the most popular colors in gemstones and no gemstone offers as many choices of pink as tourmaline.
Origins: Some of the finest examples of tourmaline today are mined in Southern California near San Diego. Other sources include Brazil, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Africa. The state of Maine is an important historical source for tourmaline and still produces small quantities today.
Lore: Lore: Tourmaline has been said to be a stone of reconciliation, bringing quarrels and disputes to a close. Tourmaline radiates the energy that attracts money and wealth of spirit.
Topaz is the November birthstone, with a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale.
Topaz owes its long-lasting popularity to many things, but chief among these is its remarkable combination of beauty and affordability. Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden light of the mighty sun god Ra. This made topaz a very powerful amulet that protected the faithful against harm. Some of the first topaz discoveries from Brazil had colors ranging from rich reddish cognac colors to vivid pinks. Topaz was also said to change color in the presence of poisoned food or drink. Found in many different colors and sizes; topaz continues today to be one of the world’s most desirable and sought after gemstones.
Origins: The most prolific sources for topaz are Brazil and Nigeria. Topaz is also found in Myanmar, Russia, Sri Lanka, and the United States.
Lore: Topaz will help one to act when making desired changes in one’s life. It balances emotions, helping those who go from one extreme to another. Topaz is particularly good for artists. It gives one access to their artistic creativity, and increases one’s appreciation of beauty.
Blue Zircon is the birthstone for December, with a hardness of 6 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
Zircon is the oldest mineral on earth, some specimens found in Australia date back 4.4 billion years ago. Its high refractive index exhibits a brilliant fire similar to a diamond. Zircon is frequently confused with the common cubic zirconia, a man-made stone created to simulate a diamond. Cubic zirconia and zircon are two completely different stones. Zircon is found in many colors; however, the blue zircon is the most popular. Blue zircon is created by heating the more common brown zircon, but only certain browns will produce the more sought after blue.
Origins: Southeast Asia provides most of the blue zircon, mainly from Myanmar, (formerly Burma), and Cambodia. It has also been found in Brazil, Korea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam. Of course the oldest deposits were found in Australia.
Lore: Zircon has been said to aid sleep, and bring prosperity. It also has the power to promote honor and wisdom. Zircon is also known to stabilize the mind and emotions.
Tanzanite is the alternate birthstone for December, with a hardness of 6.5 to7 on the Mohs scale.
Tanzanite is the “new kid on the block” of the gemstone kingdom. It is a very rare and extraordinary gemstone. Tanzanite was first discovered in 1967 by the Maasai. The only known source of Tanzanite is a five square mile hilltop at Merelani, ten miles south of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, where the chief deposit is almost exhausted. It was named in honor of the country it was discovered. Tanzanite’s deep violet blue is one of the most extravagant, mysterious colors available in any gemstone. It symbolizes immaculate but unusual elegance.
Origins: Tanzanite is mined in only one location in the world, the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, in eastern Africa.
Lore: Lore: Tanzanite has the power to transform negative energies into positive ones. It assists in manifesting your own self ratherbeing influenced by others or trying to conform to the norm. Tanzanite changes colors when it is viewed from different directions. This shifting of colors has been said to facilitate raising consciousness.
For quality birthstone and other gemstone jewelry, Artistry in Gold is the place to come. Visit our store in Poway, San Diego, to see our sparkling gemstone jewelry today.