By Elizabeth Hart
The November birthstones - Citrine and Golden Topaz - emit the warm glow of the Autumn Season and make wonderful gifts for the season!
Citrine is the traditional birthstone of November as well as the gift stone for the 13th and 17th anniversaries. The citrine comes in a wide palate of colors from pastel yellow to dark orange-brown.
The energy and warmth of this stone is said to promote warmth and vitality in the life of the wearer. Because of this, citrine is known as the "healing quartz." The citrine is a very affordable as it is plentiful in nature. Common sources of the citrine are Brazil, Bolivia, and Spain.
Citrine Fact: Amethyst and citrine are often found in the same gem deposits. Extreme heat (and pressure) can morph the amethyst gem into natural citrine!
Pictured Right: #9147
The Golden Topaz is another acceptable birthstone for November. While the most common color of topaz may be that beautiful light blue, hues can range from clear to pale yellow to orangish-brown to green. In fact, the orange colored topaz can be easily confused with the less valuable citrine. The Golden Topaz is the gift stone for the 23rd anniversary. Common sources of topaz are United States (Southern California, Utah), Russia, Pakistan, and Brazil.
Topaz is associated with strength, wisdom, and courage.
Topaz Fact: Topaz crystals can reach enormous size - several hundred pounds! (Start digging!)
Pictured Left: Mystic Topaz #10003
By: Elizabeth Hart
First issue to address with this gem...how on earth do you pronunciate 'peridot?' My google-research has shown the most genenerally accepted pronunciation is "pair-a-doe," however, in peridot-mining Arizona it is often called "pair-a-dot." Therefore, both pronunciations are considered correct.
One of the largest modern mining areas is the Peridot Mesa (an old volcanic basalt flow) on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. Many of the stones found here are small, and less than 3 carats. The largest peridot gem, weighing in at 317 carats, is on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. Quality peridots are also mined in Burma, Norway, Brazil, Australia, Hawaii, and the Congo. What do these locations have in common: historical volcanic activity.
Peridot is the mineral olivine and ranges in hue from a hayish yellowish-green to a juicy granny smith green and onward to a dark olive color. The green coloration is produced by the presence of iron and a little bit of chromium during volcanic processes. The most popular color of peridot is a bright, lime green - think, sour apple Jolly Rancher.
The peridot received it's nickname "evening emerald" due to the observation that the gem's color glowed in low-light (or lamp light) conditions - such as evening twilight. It has been said that miners used the evening light to find and mark the glowing peridots' location then come back during the day to collect the gems.
Peridot is closely associated with nature in many cultures around the world. Ancient Egyptians considered it the "Gem of the Sun" because the gemstones could not be seen in the dessert sun, but nightfall would reveal the scattered peridot gems, still glowing from the heat of the sun. To native Hawaiians, these gems are the "Tears of Pele," the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire. Many Hawaiian beaches are dusted with peridot stones too small to be cut.
Peridot was also believed to cure asthma as well as thirst caused by a fever by being ground into powder and mixed with water as a drink.
The gift of peridot jewelry is said to represent vitality in life, love, and happiness. Wearing this gem is also said to repel evil and anxiety. Folklore also has it that peridot protects against night terrors, especially when set in gold.
The peridot is the birthstone for August and the 16th anniversary stone.
Special note on the care of peridot jewelry: pieces containing peridot stone should not be put in an ultra-sonic or steam cleaner. Use warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush, like a toothbrush to gently clean peridot jewelry.
By Elizabeth Hart
The ruby is June's birthstone; Known as Rajnapura (King of Gems) by the Hindu faith. The ruby has a long history of being revered by many customs as a magical talisman against evil. Lore has it that the ruby's red glow stems from an internal fire that cannot be extinguished. Because of it's deep and passionate red, the ruby makes an excellent gift to a lover, symbolic of everlasting love.
The name 'ruby' comes from the Latin word "ruber" - meaning red. Being a variation of the corundum mineral, the ruby is in the same family as sapphire. Corundum is the second strongest mineral, surpassed in hardness only by the diamond. This durability makes the ruby an excellent engagement stone.
The most beautiful rubies are mined in Burma, but quality rubies are also found in India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States.
Ruby Trivia: The brightest ruby red color is called ______________.
(Trivia question posted on the ATC Facebook page)
The brightest and most sought after ruby red color is called Pigeon's Blood Red. Believed to have originated in Burma (although Chinese origin is another possilibity), the color referred to as "Pigeon's Blood Red" is said to be comparable to the hue of the first two drops of blood from a killed pigeon's nose. It is the most pure red color that can be achieved.
By Elizabeth Hart
Pearls have been a popular adornment for centuries - dating back to the Roman Empire. The 1500s in Tudor England is considered the "Pearl Age."
Pearls are unique in the sense that they are the only gem obtained from living sea creatures. No polishing or faceting is required - the natural beauty is instantly revealed straight from the producing mollusk - such as an oyster or clam.
The ideal pearl is perfectly spherical, but Baroque pearls (those of irregular shape) can be just a fashionable.
Pearl Fun Fact: The pearl is made of calcium carbonate, and can be dissolved by vinegar!
Unlike the pearl, alexandrite is a fairly modern gem discovered in Russia during the reign of Czar Alexander II (in the early 1800s). Alexandrite is a very unique gem. It has the property to change colors, depending on the light source, from a greenish-blue to deep purplish-red.
Alexandrite became widely popular due to the American Tiffany Company. Tiffany's gemologist, George Kunz, fell in love with the gem and traveled to Russia. The Tiffany Company controlled the alexandrite market for decades.
This special chemical combination requires very specific geologic formations and because of this, alexandrite is very rare.
Alexandrite Fun Fact:
Since it shows both red and green, the principal colors of old Imperial Russia, Alexandrite inevitably became the national stone of tsarist Russia!
In addition to being one of the birthstones for June, Alexandrite is also the 55th wedding anniversary stone!
Alexandrite Ring Shown: Custom Alexandrite & Diamond Ring #9707
Moonstone was a favorite of Victorian and Art Nouveau jewelers. The charm of the moonstone is revealed in the mysterious shimmer of light. Classical moonstones are cut in the cabochon shape as it best reveals the moonstone's magical shimmer.
Considered sacred in many cultures, the shimmer of the moonstone is said to be a spirit who brings good fortune to the owner of the gem.
The moonstone exists in multiple colors: green, blue, peach, and champagne. The most prized moonstones come from Sri Lanka. Other sources are India, Australia, the United States, Mayanmar, and Madagascar.
Moonstone Fun Fact: In 1970, Moonstone was adopted by the Florida State legislature as the official state stone to memorialize the lunar landing the year before - the mission launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center!
Moonstone Ring Shown: Moonstone Filigree Ring #8072
By Elizabeth Hart
Emerald - Rich Color, Rich History
The emerald is a symbol of love, happiness, and good fortune and it's widespread use has been traced back to Antiquity. Ancient Romans dedicated the emerald, symbolizing the reproductive forces of nature, to the goddess of love, Venus. Royalty in Babylon and Egypt wore emeralds in elaborate wear. Tools dating back to 1300 B.C. during the rule of Rameses II have been found decorated with the stone. In the Middle Ages it was believed that emeralds held the power to foretell the future.
Several famous historical artifacts were made of emeralds, including the Crown of the Andes worn by Atahualpa - last Inca king of Peru. The crown is set with 450 emeralds, with a total carat weight of 1523 - weighing 10 ounces!
The magnificent green color of emeralds is said to rest and relieve the eye. The shade of green is derived from the presence of chromium and/or vanadium that replaces a portion of aluminum in the mineral structure. The stone can, however, lose its color when heated strongly, whether by natural or artificial processes.
Colombia produces the largest and highest quality natural emeralds. Other emerald mining countries are Russia (Ural Mountains), Zambia, Brazil, Pakistan, Norway, Austria, India, Madagascar, and Australia.
Emeralds can also be found in the United States, especially North Carolina, by the novice and expert alike. In fact, America's 20 largest emeralds came from North Carolina mines. If you're in search of your own emerald, look into Crabtree Emerald Mine in Little Switzerland, NC. This would make a fun family summer vacation - who doesn't like digging for treasure!
On the Mohs Scale of Harness the emerald rates at 7.5-8, making it highly scratch-resistant and well suited for daily wear.
Browse our collection of elegant emerald jewelry!
February Birthstone: Amethyst
By: Elizabeth Hart
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz. Once considered more valuable than diamonds, the availability of amethyst keeps this gemstone affordable. Amethysts are known and prized for their deep, rich purple coloring and are often compared to more expensive purple colored gems.
The amethyst is found world-wide with each locale producing unique characterizations such as color, shape of crystal, inclusions, associations and character of formation. Well known amethyst producing districts include:
• Guerrero, Mexico is known for producing deep, rich purple prismatic amethysts that radiate outward from a common attachment. These are some of the most valuable amethysts in the world!
• Thunder Bay, Canada amethysts contain a distinct red hematite inclusion just below the surface of the crystals. Here amethyst also appears as druzy crust lining fissures of metamorphic rocks. Amethysts with these characteristics are also found throughoutNorth America.
• Africa generates amethyst crystals that are known for their size rather than beauty. However, internal color and clarity produce fine gemstone slices and carvings that are admired world-wide.
• Ural Mountains, Russia produces very dark and clear amethyst gemstones that are cut for expensive jewelry pieces.
Deposits of this gemstone are also found inBrazil,Australia,India,Madagascar,Namibia, andSri Lanka.
The terms Siberian, Uruguayan or Bahain are generally used to represent high medium and low grade respectively, regardless of the actual source of the amethyst. Amethysts are usually cut as brilliant rounds to maximize the color distribution. However, other cuts can be used when an amethyst has evenly distributed color.
Amethyst is associated with spirituality, wisdom, sobriety, and security. The name “amethyst” comes from the Greek word "amethystos" or “sober.” In ancient Greecethe amethyst was associated with the wine god, Dionysus, and was adorned on the wine goblets to ward off intoxication.
The gift of Amethyst is symbolic of protection and the power to overcome difficulty and is said to strengthen the bond in a love relationship – making it an ideal Valentine’s gift!
By Elizabeth Hart
December's birthstone is the blue topaz, and it has an interesting history. The name "topaz" comes from the sanscrit term "tapas" or fire. Ancient civilizations believed that topaz had cooling properties - for a boiling pot of water, or a hot temper! Blue topaz was also believed to treat physical ailments: insanity, asthma, weak vision and insomnia.
Pure topaz is colorless, but when heated (whether naturally or by man) magnificent blue hues develop. The three shades of blue topaz are sky, swiss and London blue. London blue is the deepest color and is often used as a less expensive substitute for sapphire.
The gift of topaz symbolizes love and fidelity.
Browse our Blue Topaz Collection!
Interested in this ring? Blue Topaz Ring (Item#8070)