Do you know what Marilyn Monroe, Rafael Nadal, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Anne Frank, George Bush, Donald Trump, Paula Abdul, Michael Phelps and Prince William have in common? We know that they are all famous on their own right. They are after all some of the most popular actresses, actors, athletes, authors, musicians, entrepreneurs and politicians in the world. Well, the answer is actually not complicated. All of them are born on the month June.
It is then appropriate that we put the spotlight now to birthstones associated with the said month. True to the personalities of people born on this month, June has three birthstones. As far as I know, it is the only month with such number of birthstones. Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone are the three gems associated with June.
Pearls are the most popular among the three. The word itself has become synonymous to beauty, royalty and elegance. Now you can understand why Marilyn Monroe seems to be fascinated with pearls. Who wouldn’t be charmed with pearl beaded jewelry? Wearing them brings you class and a feeling of royalty. No less than the well-loved Princess Diana is often seen wearing pearl accessories.
But not just any type of pearl necklaces can pull this off. There are tons of commercially produced pearl accessories nowadays that can make your outfit look monotonous. What you need are handcrafted pearl jewelry that will help you stand out from the rest. Pearls are supposed to be rare and unique. Handcrafted beaded pearl jewelry makes a better statement and they bring out your personality even more.
Now let’s talk about moonstones. If you have been following the TV show Vampire Diaries, then you probably have an idea of what it looks like. Ancient civilizations believed that wearing jewelry with this stone can bring forth victory and good health. We don’t know for sure if that is true. What we do know is that handcrafted jewelry containing moonstones have become prominent because of their allure. Holding it up against the light will reveal silver streaks of color much like a moonlight. Twilight movie actress Kirsten Stewart and award winning actress Meryl Streep have been seen wearing moonstones publicly.
The third gemstone for June is alexandrite. It is rare and has chameleon like qualities. Alexandrite is basically yellow in color but it excitingly turns to red once exposed to light. This gemstone gives you two gems in one as it appears like an emerald in daylight while it looks like ruby at night. Aside from its natural beauty, women are attracted to it since it symbolizes happiness and good fortune.
Even better than having these pieces of jewelry is the idea that you own exquisite pieces that are one of a kind. Such is the case for handcrafted jewelry. Each piece is painstakingly designed and beaded. There is also a huge consideration in quality as opposed to those manufactured commercially. Seeing that they are one of a kind, chances are you won’t find somebody else wearing the same beaded jewelry. Isn’t that sweet?
Wouldn’t you rather own something unique and exquisite? Let us know and we know just the place find some.
Turquoise Jewelry Marks December Birthstone In Style
by Melanie Spark
Turquoise is a semi-precious stone, which is commonly opaque (non-transparent) and features a sky-blue or greenish-blue color. Recognized as the birthstone for December, turquoise symbolizes prosperity, which means to succeed or flourish. Perhaps you choose to wear turquoise because of its relation to your birth month or maybe you enjoy wearing it as a reminder of your goals of success but, whatever the case, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy this popular gem.
Commonly used in the popular southwestern jewelry style, turquoise is a must have accessory for many. With a hardness level of 5 to 6, this gemstone offers a lustrous finish filled with natural variations in the color. In addition to its modern presence in jewelry, turquoise is very much a part of history after being valued in ancient times for use in both necklaces and bracelets.
As mentioned earlier, turquoise is available in a variety of colors. The sky-blue variation is the most desired in terms of jewelry, and is often referred to as a robin’s egg blue. Because this mineral is one of great popularity, it can also be very expensive. For this reason, many jewelry lovers turn to simulated turquoise in an effort to enjoy the same look as the genuine mineral at a fraction of the cost. When set in sterling silver, a precious and durable metal, the beauty of turquoise comes to life in all types of designs. From pendants to rings and even earrings, this simulated mineral looks identical to the real thing and can even provide a bolder look for the money.
For those who aren’t already familiar with turquoise, it’s appearance is unmistakable. A smooth rock-like gemstone featuring the color variations mentioned earlier in this article is one way to quickly identify this popular mineral. To the touch, turquoise feels like a polished, tumbled rock and offers a shiny surface. Unlike most other gemstones, turquoise is opaque, which means it cannot be seen through. When you think of a traditional gemstone, you may think of a faceted stone such as topaz, citrine, amethyst, etc. A turquoise, on the other hand, showcases its beauty on the surface alone.
If you are in the market for turquoise, consider both price and style when choosing the perfect jewelry accessory. While the genuine gemstone may be more expensive, the simulated mineral may be more suited to your budget and lifestyle. If you are a lover of blue or green and can appreciate the look of southwestern flair, turquoise may be the choice for you. When set in sterling silver, the true colors of this popular find are more vibrant than ever.
Speaking of sterling silver, this precious metal is both durable and affordable. As that which is stronger than some types of gold, sterling silver is the choice of many who either appreciate the crisp look of a white metal or who simply understand the value of a dollar. Because it is a precious metal, sterling silver is designed to last a lifetime with the proper care. Regular polishing to minimize tarnish and a nice storage area are all that’s needed to keep your sterling silver looking bright and beautiful. When you add turquoise to the mix, you’re sure to have a winning combination.
Amethyst – Tears of Beauty
by Melanie Spark
The Amethyst Gemstone is a semi-precious jewel of violet or purple colour that is available in many different shapes and sizes and is a common form of transparent crystallized Quartz. Amethyst is the Birthstone for the month of February and is mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Russia, Bolivia and Argentina, as well as Namibia, Zambia and a few other African countries, within the United States of America, Arizona is a good source of Amethyst. The purple colouring of the Amethyst is caused by impurities of iron and manganese.
Amethyst compliments both warm and cool colours so it does look good set in white and yellow metals, many of today’s designers favour the Amethyst as the ideal Gemstone for use in Jewelry because of it’s royal colouring and the sheer variety of shapes and sizes available to use. The stone is also very affordable and the wide tonal range from pale lavender to dark purple gives the designer a lot of scope to work with. Stones from South America tends to be available in larger sizes than African Amethyst but the African offerings have a reputation for better, more saturated colours in the smaller sizes. When Amethyst is heated it turns yellow and a lot of yellow Topaz and Citrine seen today comes from the use of this treatment, although Citrine is available naturally it is very rarely found.
Fine examples of this lovely stone are featured in the British Crown Jewels and they were also a favourite of Catherine the Great, as well as Egyptian royalty, it is believed that the tears of the gods had stained the Quartz purple and created the Gemstone we know today. Because Amethyst Gemstones were thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, the stones were very important in the ornamentation of Catholic churches in the middle ages. In Tibet the Gemstone is considered to be sacred to Buddha with rosaries being fashioned from it, therefore the jewel is believed to be an excellent stone for meditation.
The healing power of the stone is said to be good for addictions, helping with arthritis, headaches, blood sugar levels, brain imbalances and a remedy for stomach disorders. The jewel is also said to bring serenity and calm and to better one’s ability to assimilate new ideas. The famous Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote that Amethyst Gemstones were able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence; the stone is also believed to bring money and success to the wearer and to aid in general healing after an illness or operation. The ancient Greeks believed that wearing Amethyst Jewelry would keep the effects of intoxication at bay, so strong were there beliefs that even drinking vessels and amulets were made from this lovely jewel.
It is possible to find Ametrine crystals, these are part Amethyst and part Citrine and often contain a number of inclusions where the colours change. Some examples of this Gemstone have been known to lose colour with continued exposure to sunlight but the original colouring can be restored by x-ray radiation. Like all varieties of Quartz, Amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale so care should be taken when wearing the stone. Above everything the Amethyst is a beautiful Gemstone and blend this with the fact that it is very popular with designers, means there is a lot of variety in jewelry stores to tempt you to purchase this very affordable Gemstone.
July’s birthstone is ruby. Given that July is a month dedicated to Julius Caesar—a dictator who died in a pool of his own blood–the red gemstone seems somehow appropriate. But then, July has always been a month for red hot passions, whether murderous rages or ardent love affairs. In that respect, with its own internal fire, ruby is the ideal birthstone for the hottest month of the year.
Because ruby represents such fiery human passions, it’s a common alternative to diamond for engagement rings. This might also be because ruby is the red variety of corundum, an extremely durable mineral that scores a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, second only to diamonds. As a birthstone it rates highly because of this hardness and also because it doesn’t require special care.
Whereas diamonds and most other translucent gemstones are valued primarily for their clarity, color is the most important factor for rubies. This is because it’s nearly impossible to find a flawless ruby. Inclusions are the main way that experts can tell genuine rubies apart from synthetics or simulated rubies. So while rubies range from orange to purple, the richer the red, the more costly they are.
In truth, there is something of a special glow to the reddest of the red rubies. Since ancient times, ruby admirers have commented on the stone’s ability to cast fiery light. Chinese Emperors claimed they could light up banquet halls with rubies alone. These stories are certainly exaggerated, but may have originated from an actual scientific property of rubies called fluorescence. Under certain conditions, a ruby absorbs blue light, goes into an excited state, and emits radiation on the red end of the spectrum. This quality led scientists to choose rubies for the creation of the first lasers.
But before July’s birthstone was put to use in modern technology, ruby beaded jewelry was prized purely for its symbolic qualities. For thousands of years, rubies have been one of the most sought after gems on earth, and one of the rarest. Ruby was one of the twelve gemstones on the breastplate of Aaron in the bible and has always represented fire and blood. Moreover, royals believed that if held by its rightful owner, ruby beaded jewelry would change color to warn of danger. Most famously, Katherine of Aragon is said to have foreseen her fall from political grace when her ruby darkened.
Ancient Indians called ruby the “king of gemstones” and when a large ruby was found, a diplomatic envoy was sent to officially greet the stone as if it were a demi-god. Ruby beaded jewelry was also prized by warriors who thought it stimulated their courage and willingness to die for a cause they passionately believed in.
As you can see, rubies have never been associated with any of the soft and lofty emotions that other gemstones bring to mind. Ruby is not meant for cool tempers and tender sentiments. It is a July birthstone, after all, meant to be worn by moody Cancers and fiery Leos. Intensely red and passionately beautiful, July’s birthstone continues to blaze its way through history as one of our most cherished treasures.
Pearl is June’s birthstone, lending its ethereal beauty to the traditional month for weddings. Since ancient times, when the month was dedicated to the Roman Goddess of marriage, it has been considered good luck to take marriage vows beneath June’s sunny skies. Even today, one cannot imagine June without conjuring images of brides in lace and, of course, pearls.
Pearls glow with an iridescent luster and represent both purity of heart and mystery of spirit. Purity for its spiritual iridescence, mystery because the ancients didn’t know where pearls came from. The Greeks hypothesized that pearls were the hardened teardrops of Aphrodite, born of the sea. The Chinese suspected that pearls were petrified dragon brains. Arabs believed that pearls were solidified moonlight.
The actual explanation for the formation of pearls is just as fanciful. Unlike gemstones which are embedded in the earth through geological processes, June’s birthstone is the product of biology. To be precise, pearls are created by mollusks when an irritant is trapped inside its shell.
Much like humans develop hard layers of skin called calluses to protect us from irritation, pearl oysters coat the invading particle with a layer of nacre—a hard smooth substance. Over time, layer upon layer of nacre covers the irritant—the more layers, the more lustrous the pearl.
Round pearls are the most famous, but June’s birthstone comes in a variety of shapes. Beyond a simple strand of pearls, pearl beaded jewelry is very popular with brides. So-called ‘coin’ pearl beaded jewelry is made with flattened disk shape pearls. There are also irregularly shaped pearl beads known as ‘nugget pearls’ and even long ‘stick’ shaped pearls that make more natural beaded jewelry.
Though elegant bridal white is the color most frequently associated with June’s birthstone, pearls also come in pink, yellow, grey and black. Natural black pearls are the most valuable because of their rarity. Pearls are also valued by their shape—perfectly round ones being the most expensive.
Though beautiful, genuine pearl birthstone jewelry requires more care than other gemstones. Pearls can lose their iridescent luster if left in a dry environment, so it is recommended that you wear your pearl birthstone jewelry often to keep it moist with your own skin oil. On the other hand, you should avoid showering or otherwise soaking pearl jewelry in water.
Softer than other gemstones, pearls can be chipped and scratched or otherwise ruined if not treated delicately. In fact, one of the most famous stories about pearls centers on its destruction.
They say Cleopatra of Egypt once wagered Marc Antony that she could hold the most expensive banquet in history. To make good on her bet, she took one of her pearl earrings—one of the largest pearls in the known world—and dropped it into a cup of vinegar. When the pearl dissolved, she drank it as wine. He was apparently so impressed that he forsook his wife and took Cleopatra as a lover.
This story about Cleopatra was perhaps propaganda invented by her enemies to destroy her reputation. After all, with June’s birthstone representing purity and marriage, what could it say about Cleopatra that she was willing to destroy such a valuable pearl for Antony? True or not, the story painted Cleopatra as an ancient home wrecker which goes to show you the important symbolism and mysterious power of June’s birthstone—the ethereal pearl.
Amethyst is February’s birthstone. Some might wonder whether amethyst’s rich violet hue is appropriate for a month associated with red roses and candy hearts. But as it happens, the legend of Saint Valentine says that he wore an amethyst ring carved in the shape of cupid. Amethyst beads, with their grape purple tints, have been associated with love, fertility and romance long before pink Hallmark Cards took February’s center stage.
In fact, before the legend of Saint Valentine and his amethyst ring, there was the legend of Cleopatra and hers. Though Egyptian pharaohs generally adorned their tombs with amethysts, Cleopatra wore hers on a spectacular ring symbolizing love, light and life. Cleopatra was thought to be the incarnation of Isis by Egyptians, and some Romans thought she was the incarnation of Venus, Goddess of Love. With her amethyst ring, Cleopatra was said to have ensorcelled not one, but two powerful Roman generals: Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Perhaps it is for this reason that Roman wives came to believe that amethyst beaded jewelry would assure their husband’s devotion.
Moreover, the story that gives February’s birthstone its name is a romantic tragedy. Dionysus, the Greek god of fertility and wine, fell in love with a maiden named Amethyst. When the maiden refused the drunken god’s affections, she was turned to quartz. But when the God saw the girl thus, he was overcome with love and sorrow. He wept upon her statue and his wine-purple tears stained the stone forever.
Thereafter, ancient people’s thought that amethyst had the power to prevent intoxication. Cups and goblets were carved from amethyst to protect against drunkenness. Amethyst’s reputation for being able to grant its wearer a clear head, promote feelings of love, and ensure devotion made it a popular stone amongst the early clergy. Amethyst beads adorned crucifixes worn by bishops and cardinals, but Catholicism wasn’t the only religion to prize February’s birthstone. Amethysts are also Buddha’s gemstone and treasured in Tibet.
Amethyst beaded jewelry can be as pale as lilac or as vibrant as lilac–versatile colors that compliment most skin tones. Moreover, February’s birthstone registers as a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, which means that it’s durable. In fact, amethyst’s beauty and durability ensured that it was once amongst the most expensive gemstones, but due to large deposits found in the modern era, amethyst birthstones are now affordable on any budget. One drawback to February’s birthstone, however, is that daylight can change its color. Purple amethysts can be restored by means of radiation, but to preserve the intense royal color, it’s best not to wear amethyst beaded jewelry when sunbathing or otherwise exposed to intense light.
In modern times, February has become a month of sober reflection. We acknowledge the accomplishments of African Americans during February because it is Black History Month. We remember our great leaders on President’s Day, and we show our appreciation for the ones we love on St. Valentine’s Day. So too has amethyst become a modern symbol of clear-headedness and an open heart, which makes it an ideal birthstone for those born under the sign of Aquarius.
There are two October birthstones: opals and pink tourmaline. But while opals are more famous and certainly have their charm, pink tourmaline’s spooky qualities make it the perfect birthstone for the month in which we revel in ghost stories and the supernatural.
You see, pink tourmaline shares a unique quality with all tourmaline gemstones—it’s pyroelectric and piezoelectric. That means that when heated or put under pressure, tourmaline gemstones take on an electric charge and can actually pull things towards them. If you vigorously rub and warm up your pink tourmaline birthstone jewelry, it can “magically” attract nearby bits of paper and dust. It might even make the hairs on your arm stand on end!
But spooky action at a distance isn’t the only haunting quality of this October birthstone. Tourmaline jewelry can also appear to be different colors when viewed from different angles. The scientific explanation for this is pleochroism, an optical phenomenon in which light wavelengths are absorbed and bent in different degrees as they pass through the crystal. The mundane result, however, is that a set of birthstone jewelry is mystical and ever changing. Is it any wonder that tourmaline gemstones have been considered magical since ancient times?
Amongst gemstones, tourmaline is available in the widest variety of colors. The Egyptians even told a tale that tourmaline passed over a rainbow on its journey to earth and called it the gemstone of the rainbow.
There are even varieties of color in pink tourmaline itself. One of the most popular varieties is called “watermelon tourmaline.” Watermelon tourmaline is green on the outside, giving way to a slight white rind, and then a brilliant pink or red interior. When October’s birthstone displays three colors, as it does with watermelon tourmaline, it’s known as multicolored tourmaline. If it displays only two colors, then it’s known as bicolored tourmaline.
Because tourmaline gemstones come in every color under the sun, special names have been invented to distinguish them. For example, blue tourmaline is known as indigolite and green tourmaline is known as verdelite, so when shopping for your October Birthstone, keep in mind that pink tourmaline also has another name: rubellite. (For jewelers and gemstone enthusiasts, a true rubellite is a variety that does not change colors depending on the light source or viewing angle, but pink tourmaline might be sold as rubellite anyway.)
Tourmaline is the official mineral of Maine. It’s quarried there and in a variety of other locations all around the world, so October’s birthstone is available in almost all price ranges. It can even be irradiated to give it a more intense color.
Tourmaline ranges between 7-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale; that makes it ideal for birthstone jewelry, which must both be durable and wear well. (October’s other birthstone, opal, is not as hard as tourmaline, and can become brittle and break easily. Also, whereas pink tourmaline can be faceted for more traditional jewelry settings, opals are best polished and smooth.)
Remember too that if transparent rubellite or multicolored watermelon tourmaline is not your style, you can even find October’s birthstone in a cat’s eye pattern. And if that’s not perfect for the month that celebrates Halloween, what is?