A Guide to Birthstones
The most common colour of garnet is a dark red or deep maroon but garnets are also available in shades of orange, green, purple, yellow and brown. Garnet have been worn for centuries not only fort heir beauty but also for their healing and magical powers as well as their powers of love.
A violet variety of quartz used in jewellery since Ancient Egypt, it is available in all shades of purple, lilac or mauve. Since ancient times amethyst has been believes to guard against drunkenness which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. It is also thought to have protective and healing powers.
A name derived from Latin describing the colour of the sea. aquamarines are known for for their delicate blue or blue-green colouring and exceptional clarity. According to myth,, aquamarine is believed to have originated in the treasure chest of beautiful mermaids, and has, since ancient times, been regarded as the sailors' lucky stone.
Bloodstone which is also known as heliotrope, is a green stone with distinctive red spots that resemble blood, giving this stone its name. Historically the bloodstone was used to stop bleeding, especially nosebleeds. The Greeks believe it to bring change. Bloodstone has also been used as an amulet to protect against the evil eye and is a symbol of justice.
The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek for "unbreakable" and is the hardest natural material know to man. Diamonds form naturally in a rainbow of colours including colourless, pink, yellow, blue, green, red, brown and black. The diamond's physical properties of clarity and hardness have given rise to it being a symbol of power, strength, innocence, longevity, love and good fortune.
Zircon was one of the earliest, if not the first, gems to be used by man. Ancient travelers wore Zircon to protect themselves from the plague, wounds and injuries. Zircon occurs in many colors, including red, pink, brown, yellow, hazel, or black. It can also be colorless. It has been credited with guarding sailors from lightning and expelling evil spirits with its brightness.
Emeralds have been long a treasured gem, possessing a truly beautiful, intense and radiant green. An Indian tale speaks about emeralds originating from fireflies in the moonlight. the green emerald is the colour of life and of springtime, it has also, for centuries, been the colour of love. In ancient Rome green was the colour of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love.
Tourmaline is a gemstone found in a tremendous range of colors that includes green, blue, yellow, pink, red, black and the watermelon variety, which is both pink and green. The reason, according to an old Egyptian legend, is that the tourmaline, on its long journey up from the center of the Earth, passed over a rainbow. In doing so, it assumed all the colours of the rainbow. It is the gemstone of love and of friendship, and is said to render both firm and long-lasting.
The Pearl is a symbol of love and good fortune and is considered the most feminine gem in existence. To the Romans, pearl meant “sweetness and pleasure”. To the Greeks, “perfect purity.” Whether they are mounted alone in jewelry or strung together in strands, pearls are simply the most elegant and desirable gift of nature. In an ancient tale, it is said Cleopatra ground a pearl, dissolved it in vinegar and drank it in an attempt to capture its beauty.
The moonstone is characterised by an enchanting play of light. Indeed it owes its name to a mysterious shimmer which shifts as the stone is moved. In earlier times, people believed they could recognise in it the crescent and waning phases of the moon. In India, moonstones are regarded as 'dream stones' which bring the wearer beautiful visions at night.
Ruby, in Sanskrit, is "ratnaraj", which translates to "King of Gemstones". Know for it's magnificent glowing red hue, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. Ruby has been revered for centuries, to own a ruby is said to have contentment and peace. Placed under a pillow the ruby may ward off bad dreams. Given as a gift, the ruby is a symbol of friendship, love and vitality.
Carnelian is one of the oldest known gemstones, deep red in colours. It was widely used in ancient Rome to make signet or seal rings for imprinting a seal on letters or important documents. Carnelian has been a talisman of good luck since as early as the ancient Babylonians and Greeks, it is regarded as one of the luckiest gems to wear.
Peridot is a beautiful, vivid green, with just a slight hint of gold. It is one of the oldest known gemstones, with ancient written records documenting the mining of peridot as early as 1500 B.C. It is a gem especially connected with ancient Egypt, some historians believe that the famous emeralds of Cleopatra were actually peridots.
Sapphire is a magnificent gemstone which comes in a true spectrum of colours including, all shades of blue, pink, violet, green, yellow , orange and completely colourless. The sapphire symbolises loyalty, love and longing and has been called the "Stone of Destiny". It has been regarded through the centuries as a stone that could protect its wearer from harm, detect purity and faith.
Lapis lazuili is beautiful a deep blue, with golden inclusions of pyrite, which shimmer like stars in the night sky. Lapis lazuli is regarded by many people around the world as the stone of friendship and of truth. The Romans also considered Lapis to be an aphrodisiac.
Opals are among the most captivating of all gemstones, displaying a fantastic spectrum of colour which seem dance within each one, they can be found with a transparent, opaque white or bluish-black body colour. In the Middle Ages, opal was considered a stone that could provide great luck because it was believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented in the color spectrum of the opal. In Arabian lore "opals are the remnants of lightning strikes to the ground, and the flashes in the stone are captured lightning". Each and every opal is unique and no two opals are alike.
Topaz exists in a variety of colours, including many shades of yellow and gold, burnt orange, silvery blue, pale pink and colourless. The Egyptians said that topaz was colored with the golden glow of the mighty sun god Ra. As an amulet topaz was used to drive away sadness, strengthen the intellect, and grant courage, it is said to be even more powerful if used in moonlight.
Turquoise is usually found as a brilliant sky blue but Turquoise is one of the oldest protection amulets, and was also known as a symbol of wealth in many ancient cultures. Egyptians began mining the gem in 3,200 BC. It was one of the most highly prized gems for use in protective amulets. The stone's powerful blue color was thought to have healing properties for both the mind and the body. Cleopatra regularly wore turquoise because she believed the gem would help protect her from her enemies.