As a member of the Beryl family of gemstones, Aquamarine is a color variety like Emerald and Morganite. Its name is Latin for seawater and Aquamarine quickly became a talisman for sailors, who would throw the gems into the sea as payments to Poseidon for safe journeys. Legendarily, Poseidon would gift Aquamarines to mermaids. Folklore has also long associated Aquamarine with healing and sustaining youthful love. This gem makes a perfect gift for married couples and it is the traditional anniversary gift for the 19th year.
Aquamarine gemstones typically undergo a permanent heat treatment to improve color. The rich deep blue color is the most valuable.
Use warm, soapy water to clean your Aquamarine jewelry. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe if no inclusions or feathers are present in the stone.
Amethyst, the purple variety of quartz, has a full history and folklore. Scholars believe the name comes from the Greek word amethustos, which means “not drunken.” According to Greek mythology, amethyst was the rock crystal of the dyed tears of Dionysus, the god of wine and mischief. Bacchus is his Roman counterpart. Both Greeks and Romans wore amethyst to prevent intoxication, going as far as to make cups out of it to help keep them sober.
With its rich purple color, it is unsurprising that amethysts have long been linked to royalty and crown jewels. The Bible mentions amethysts several times and in the past, Christian bishops often wore amethyst rings. Leonardo Da Vinci was another amethyst enthusiast; he believed the gem could make evil thoughts disappear and increase intelligence.
Major sources of amethyst include Brazil, Uruguay, and Zambia. Their colors can range from pale lilac (sometimes referred as “Rose De France”) to deep purples. Today, most amethysts undergo a permanent heat treating process to enhance the color.
Amethyst has a hardness rating of 7, which means it is suitable for all types of mountings, even rings and bracelets. Clean your amethyst jewelry with warm soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe, but steamers are risky.
Although the history of garnet as jewelry can be traced from the Egyptians to ancient Greek and Roman empires, the origin of the word itself is up for debate. One theory claims a derivative from the Latin word “granatus”, in reference to pomegranate seeds. Another notion of the word’s origin comes from the middle English word “gernet” which means dark red.
Because garnets have such a rich history, they also have a rich lore. Traditionally seen as a healing stone, garnets are said to help with the circulatory system, fevers, and general good health. Another interesting tidbit – Noah supposedly made a garnet lantern for the front of the ark to guide him during his voyage.
Most people are familiar with the beautiful deep reds associated with garnets. However, garnet is actually a name that encompasses a six minerals with a common crystal structure, but different chemical compositions. Just a few: Spessartite is a reddish orange – yellow orange, Rhodolite is a light to dark purplish red, Tsavorite is a light to dark green.
Clean your garnet jewelry in warm, soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe. Never use in a steamer.
December’s Birthstone is Tanzanite (or Turquoise, or Blue Zircon, or Blue Topaz).
One of the world’s newest gemstones, Tanzanite was only discovered in 1967. The first Tanzanite crystals were originally mistaken for sapphires and mines sprung up to capitalize on the new-found source. In spite of the mistaken identity, Tanzanite quickly became popular in its own right.
Because Tanzanite is commercially mined in only one location, the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, they are actually rarer than diamonds. Tanzanite is pleochroic, or shows one of three different colors depending on the direction from which the stone is viewed. Rough Tanzanite is usually brown and then the crystals are heat treated to bring out the rich blues and violets.
Clean your Tanzanite jewelry in warm soapy water. Avoid chemicals, hard blows, and ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
Found primarily in Brazil, Citrine, a variety of quartz, comes from around the world. Its name is derived from the French word for lemon. With a color range from pale yellow to reddish-brown, this sunny gemstone promotes happiness and cheer and blocks negative energy. Also believed to enhance creativity, Citrine was very popular during the Art Deco period between WWI and WWII. Be sure to protect your Citrine from scratches and prolonged exposure to heat.
The opal has long been a sought-after gemstone, with the earliest known opal artifacts dating back to about 4000 B.C. Some of the first beliefs surrounding this unique stone include its capability to amplify feelings, promote spontaneity, and enhance psychic abilities. Opals are also known as symbols of hope and purity.
Most opals come from Australia, with Lightning Ridge being one of the most famous mines. Opals are described by their background color (bodycolor) and how their play-of-color displays against it. The five types are: White or Light Opal, Black Opal, Fire Opal, Boulder Opal, and Crystal or Water Opal. Fire Opals have a warm bodycolor and don’t often show play-of-color. Boulder Opals have dark bodycolor and parts of the surrounding rock are incorporated into the finished gem.
One of the more delicate gemstones, opals need protection from scratches, household chemicals, and temperature changes. Clean your opals with warm soapy water to help keep their brilliance. Avoid ultrasonic and steam cleaners.
Derived from the Latin word for blue, “sapphires” were believed to be the guardians of love. Ancient Persians believed the Earth rested on an enormous blue sapphire, and its reflection caused the blueness of the sky.
Traditionally, sapphires have been worn as amulets to protect against disease and to grant peace and happiness. A gift of sapphire represents loyalty and love. With all this symbolism, it’s no wonder that the British Crown Jewels are full of large blue sapphires!
Facts about Sapphires
Fine sapphires were originally mined in India, specifically in the Himalayas. Newer sources of sapphires include Thailand, Australia, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Kenya.
The most valuable sapphires possess an intense, light violet-blue color. However, beautiful sapphires can come in a range of colors, such as pink, yellow, green, and purple. The pinkish-orange sapphire even has its own name – Padparadscha, which is Sinhalese for “Lotus Flower”.
With a hardness rating of 9, sapphires do well in all types of jewelry settings and have even become quite popular as a center stone for engagement rings. You can safely clean your sapphire jewelry in warm, soapy water or bring your pieces in for professional cleaning and inspection. We’ll get you bright and shiny in no time!
Peridot [per-i-doh] artifacts and mining date back to as early as 1500 B.C. Ancient Romans were big fans of Peridot. Cleopatra also loved Peridots, but probably because she mistook them for her favorite gem – emeralds.
Some of the legendary uses of Peridot were to calm anger and sooth nerves, ward against evil, and nurture friendships. Peridot was believed to bring luck, success, and peace to its wearer. With lore like that, it’s no surprise that relics decorated with Peridot can be found in Medieval churches in Europe.
As opposed to stones like sapphire and garnet that come in many colors, Peridot only comes in green. It can range from yellowish green to brownish green to true green. Yellowish green is the color most often found in jewelry.
Miners can find Peridot around the world, including Myanmar and China. One of the largest sources on Earth is here in the U.S. – on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. Some Peridot gems have even been found in meteorites!
You can safely clean your Peridot jewelry in warm, soapy water. Avoid steam cleaners and ultra sonic cleaners. Stop in today to see our selection of Peridot jewelry!
Long thought to bring peace and prosperity, the “King of Gems,” has been a popular choice for crown jewels throughout history. Because of their tough and durable qualities, rubies can hold up well in any type of mounting. The mineral corundum comes in two varieties, red (rubies) and blue (sapphires). With their red color, rubies have long been equated with love and passion. As a result of their color, rubies make a favorite engagement ring stone for many romantics. Clean your ruby jewelry with warm soapy water or a soft damp cloth. Happy Birthday, July Babies!
Here’s one more quick look at this month’s birthstone – PEARLS!
This lovely suite features coin pearls set in 14k white gold. This set has a great youthful look about it. Lots of designers are using pearls in updated styles, taking them beyond the timeless strand style. Come in to see our fun selection today!