© 2015 Sarie Joynes

amethyst
aquamarine
citrine
hematite
labradorite
moonstone
onyx
pearl
peridot
Rutilated Quartz
sapphire
topaz
tourmaline
Birthstones
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Amethyst

Amethyst is the official birthstone for February.

It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Pisces. Amethyst is suggested as a gem to give on the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.


Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and the most valued member of the quartz family. It must be purple to be amethyst, but it can display a range of shades including deep purple, light lilac, lavender and mauve. Top quality amethyst is a deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes. 


Amethyst can occur as crystals that are six sided on either end. It also forms as drusy which are crystalline crusts covering the host rock. It can be found inside geodes and in alluvial deposits all around the world and occurs in both crystalline or massive forms. When manganese is present in clear quartz amethyst is produced, while the amount of the colouring element iron will account for the depth of purple.

 

  • Mohs scale of hardness is 7.


Most amethyst gemstones on the market today are heat-treated to produce a deeper color. Heat treating is permanent and these stones will not fade over time. Unless otherwise stated, assume that any amethyst you purchase today has been heat treated to increase the depth of color. 


Amethyst folklore and possible healing properties:
Throughout history amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness! It has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and other pain.

Aquamarine

The gemstone Aquamarine is the modern March birthstone.

It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Scorpio. Aquamarine is suggested as a gem to give on the 16th and 19th wedding anniversaries.


Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family and ranges in color from an almost colorless pale blue to blue-green or teal. The most prized color is a deep-blue aqua color.

 

  • Mohs scal of hardnes is 7.5-8 and gets its name from Latin words meaning water and sea.


The most valuable aquamarines come from Brazil, but it is also mined in Kenya and Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia. 

Aquamarines can be facetted or cut en cabochon. 


Some gemstones are heated to high temperatures to enhance the color and/or clarity of a stone. 

Aquamarines are often heat treated to change a blue-green or teal colored stone to a pure blue. This results in a permanent color change.


Its crystal system is hexagonal so therefor may sometime contain striations know as “rain” if heavily included enough and cut en cabochon may display chatoyancy giving a “cats-eye” effect. 
 

 

Aquamarine folklore and possible healing qualities
Since early times, aquamarine has been believed to bestow the wearer with foresight, courage, and happiness. It is said to increase intelligence and make one youthful! As a healing stone, it is said to be effective as a treatment for anxiety and in the Middle Ages it was thought that aquamarine would reduce the effect of poisons.


A legend says that sailors wore aquamarine gemstones to keep them safe and prevent seasickness.

Citrine

The gemstone Citrine is the official birthstone for the month of November.

It is also the birthstone for the Sun Sign of Virgo and the accepted gem for the 13th and 17th wedding anniversary. 


Citrine is a variety of quartz ranging in colors of yellow, yellow-brown, orange, dark orange-brown, reddish-brown. Citrine crystals can form together with amethyst or smoky quartz to form a bi-colored quartz called ametrine.

Most citrine comes from Brazil, but almost all of the Brazilian material is heat-treated amethyst. Natural citrine can also be found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, in Dauphine, France, and in Madagascar. The inexpensive low grade amethyst is heated at high temperatures to produce the popular orange, reddish and sherry colored citrine. Darker colors are considered more valuable, including the medium golden orange and dark sherry-colors.

 

  • Mohs scale of hardness is 7.


Citrine folklore and possible healing properties:
Citrine is believed to help the heart, kidney, digestive tract, liver and muscles. It promotes creativity, helps personal clarity and eliminates self-destructive tendencies.

Hematite

Hematite is a very common mineral consisting of iron oxide

Its color ranges from steel gray to almost black (specular hematite), brown to reddish brown, or red. 
It can occur as small inclusions in the host rock quartz as seen in some of my pieces. 
The name hematite is derived from the Greek word haimatites for blood.
It is mined in Australia, Brazil, England, Mexico, the United States and Canada. 
Hematite (iron ore) is a very common mineral on Earth and it also occurs everywhere on the planet Mars where it is responsible for the planet's distinctive red color. 
Rainbow hematite is the trade name given foliated specular hematite which comes from a mine near Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
An important pigment known as "red ochre" it was used in cave paintings and paint pigment.

Hematite folklore and possible healing properties: 
In ancient times it was believed that large deposits of hematite formed on battlegrounds where soldiers were injured and lost blood from their battles.
Hematite is believed to be a healing and grounding stone, strengthening the body and lessening life's stresses.
It is thought to reduce stress and enhance one's personal magnetism. It is also thought to increase optimism and courage and helpful in transforming negativity.

Labradorite

Spectrolite, the most valued type of labradorite, comes from Finland

The name is derived from Labrador which is the main and original source of the Canadian variety of this feldspar stone.

Labradorite is also found in India, Madagascar, Newfoundland, and Russia.

A type of translucent feldspar which displays strong iridescence when viewed from different angles, Finnish spectrolite exhibits vivid colors of bright aqua, golden yellow, peacock blue, reddish orange, greens and red.

 

  • Mohs scale of hardness is 6-6.5

 

Labradorite folklore and possible healing properties:

Brings forth each person's strengths, originality, aids sleep, relate to others.

Moonstone

Moonstone is one of the modern June birthstones and an accepted gem for the 13th wedding anniversary

Moonstone belongs to the large mineral family of feldspars. It is an opalescent stone which can range from colorless to blue, peach, green, pink, yellow, brown or gray with a silvery scheen. This iridescence is known as schiller, but in moonstone it is called adularescence. Clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. Rainbow moonstone is milky white with a rainbow colored sheen. Moonstone is the most valuable form of feldspar and is composed of albite, which gives it the bluish scheen, and orthoclase feldspar.
 
Moonstone is found in Brazil, Germany, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and the United States.
Moonstone was used in jewelry by the Romans who believed that the stone was formed from the light of the moon.

Moonstone folklore and possible healing properties:
It is believed to bring good fortune, to enhance passion, and balance the yin and yang and is said to protect women and children. In early times, it was believed that one could see the future if the stone was held in the mouth during a full moon!
Moonstone's healing properties are said to promote digestion, to protect against epilepsy, to calm emotions, cure headaches and nose bleeds, and protect against sun stroke.

Onyx

Onyx is the Mystical birthstone for the month of December.

It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Leo. Onyx is also given on the 7th and 10th wedding anniversary.
Onyx is a chalcedony quartz that is mined in  Brazil, India,  California and Uruguay. It has a fine texture and black color; however some onyx also displays white bands or ribbons against a black or brown background and this variety is known as sardonyx. 
The name comes from the Greek word onyx which means nail of a finger or claw. 
Originally, almost all colors of chalcedony from white to dark brown and black were called onyx. A variety of onyx that is reddish brown with white and lighter reddish bands is known as sardonyx.  

  • Mohs scale of hardness is 6.5

Pearls

Pearl is the official birthstone for the month of June

IIt is also the birthstone for the Sun Signs of Gemini and Cancer. Pearls are also given on the 3rd, 12th and 30th anniversaries.

 

An organic gem, pearls are formed inside mollusks such as oysters and mussels. They are formed when an irritant such as a tiny stone or bit of sand gets inside the mollusk's shell. A lustrous substance, called nacre, is secreted around the object to protect the soft internal surface of the mollusk. As layer upon layer of nacre coats the irritant, a pearl is formed. Light that is reflected from these overlapping layers produces a characteristic iridescent luster. This process of building a solid pearl can take up to seven or eight years.

 

The most valuable pearls are perfectly symmetrical, relatively large and naturally produced. They have a shimmering iridescence which is called orient luster. The principal oyster beds lay in the Persian Gulf, along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka, and in the Red Sea. Chinese pearls come mainly from freshwater rivers and ponds, whereas Japanese pearls are found near the coast in salt water.

 

There are many types of pearls:

  • Natural pearls (made without human interference)

  • Cultured pearls (made when a foreign substance is intentionally inserted into a living oyster. This method was first used in 1893)

  • Baroque pearls (pearls that have irregular shapes)

  • Biwa pearls (an irregular shaped pearl which forms in the freshwater of Lake Biwa, Japan)

  • Blister pearls (pearls which grow attached to the inside of the shell)

  • Black pearls (gray to black pearls)Freshwater pearls (pearls which form in fresh water mollusks and resemble puffed rice)

  • Mabe pearls (cultivated blister pearls )

  • Seed pearls (small, tiny pearls used in Victorian jewelry and sewn on clothing).

 

Pearls vary in color from white to those with a hint of color, often pink, to brown or black. Each coloration will depend on the type of mollusk and the water where the mollusk lived. Because the nacre is organic, pearls are very sensitive to extreme heat, acids, dryness, and humidity.

 

  • Mohs scale of hardness varies from 2.5-4.5

 

Natural pearls have been harvested from the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Manaar (Indian Ocean), and the Red Sea for thousands of years. The coasts of Polynesia and Australia produce mainly cultured pearls. Both freshwater and saltwater pearls are cultivated in Japan and China. Freshwater pearls occur in the rivers of Scotland, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany, and the USA (Mississippi)

 

Pearl folklore and possible healing properties:

Cultured or freshwater pearls are considered to offer the power of love, money, protection, and luck. Pearls are thought to give wisdom through experience, to quicken the laws of karma and to cement engagements and love relationships. They are thought to keep children safe.

Peridot

Peridot is the official birthstone for the month of August

It is also the stone for the Zodiac sign of Libra. Peridot may be given as a gem on the 16th wedding anniversary.

Peridot is the gem variety of olivine and ranges between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Gem quality peridot comes from Arizona, Burma, Norway, islands in the Red Sea, Hawaii and is sometimes found in meteorites. It's been mined as a gemstone for thousands of years.


Peridot folklore and possible healing properties:
It is thought to bring the wearer good luck, peace, and success,. Its powers include health, protection, and sleep. The advantages of peridot are to attract love and calm anger while also soothing nerves and dispelling negative emotions.

Rutilated Quartz

Quartz is the most common mineral on Earth

It is found in nearly every geological environment and is a component of almost every rock type.  It makes up about 12% of the earth's crust, occurring in a wide variety of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. It is also the most varied in terms of variety and color. 

 

  • Mohs scale of hardness 7.

 

Rutilated quartz is found in Australia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Norway, Pakistan and the United States.

Rutile is a major ore of titanium, which is a metal used for high tech alloys. It often forms needle-like crystal inclusions inside quartz.  This form of quartz is known as rutilated quartz and it looks like small bars of imbedded gold.  

Rutile is a 6 on the Mohs scale.

Because of the difference in hardness between the two materials and because of the way rutile forms inside, this can be a difficult stone to attain a smooth surface without pits.

The name quartz comes from the Saxon word querklufterz which meant cross vein ore. The name rutile comes from the Latin word rutilus meaning red.
 
Rutilated Quartz folklore and possible healing properties:
Brings forth each person's strengths, originality, aids sleep, relate to others.
Rutile is said to intensify the metaphysical properties of its host crystal and to enhance one's understanding of difficult situations. It is also said to enhance creativity and to relieve depression and loneliness.
Rutilated quartz is said to slow down the aging process and is said to be a strong healer.

Saphire

Sapphire is the official birthstone for the month of September

It is also one of the birth stones for the Zodiac signs of Pisces, Taurus, Virgo and Sagittarius. Sapphire can be given as a gem for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries while a star sapphire is given on the 65th wedding anniversary.

Sapphire is the non-red variety of corundum (the red variety of corundum is ruby). It is the second hardest natural mineral.

 

  • Mohs scale of hardness 9

 

Blue is by far the most popular color for sapphires, but they can be almost any color, including yellow, green, white, colorless, pink, orange, brown, and purple. Padparadscha is the name for a rare orange-pink variety of sapphire and has a higher value than blue sapphires.

Sapphires with inclusions of tiny, rutile needles exhibit an optical property called asterism. This is the star shaped effect seen in star sapphires and is usually only seen in cabochon cuts.

Star sapphires usually have six ray stars, but twelve ray stars are also known. Rarely, when sapphires are cut en cabochon, they can demonstrate a cat's eye effect. This effect displays a thin band of light down the center of the stone and is known as chatoyancy.
Heating colorless and very pale blue sapphires to high temperatures is done to give them an intense blue color This treatment can also improve the clarity of the stones by removing tiny inclusions.

Sapphire folklore and possible healing properties:
Its powers include spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. Sapphire is believed to offer healing properties for rheumatism, colic, and mental illness. It is also considered an antidepressant and an aid to psychokinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance and astral projection.

Topaz

Topaz is the birthstone of November

It is a talisman for the sign of Sagittarius and the suggested anniversary gemstone for the 4th, 19th or 23rd year of marriage.

The name topaz comes from the Sanskrit and means fire.

Topaz occurs in a wide range of colors including red, orange, peach, pink, gold, yellow, brown and clear and is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Russia. Naturally pale to medium blue topaz is enhanced by irradiation to produce a more intense blue color.
Red and pink topaz gems were used in the jewelry of the 18th and 19th Century Russian Czarinas and is why topaz is sometimes called "Imperial Topaz".

 

  • Mohs scale of hardness is 8.

 
Topaz folklore and possible healing properties:
During the Middle Ages topaz was thought to heal both physical and mental disorders. 
The Greeks believed it had power to increase strength and to make its wearer invisible while the Romans believed it had power to improve eyesight. The Egyptians wore it as an amulet to protect them from injury.

Tourmaline

The gemstone Tourmaline is the official birthstone for October

It is the stone for the Zodiac sign of Leo, and the accepted gem for the 8th wedding anniversary.

The name Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) word tura mali which translates as the stone of mixed colors.

 

  • Mohs scale of hardness 7-7.5

 

Tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors from black to bluish-black, dark brown, yellow, medium brown, blue to neon blue, lime to dark forest green, red and reddish purple, yellow, pink, and colorless.

Bi-colored and multicolored tourmaline may be green at one end and pink at the other, watermelon tourmaline is green on the outside and pink on the inside. Some stones are dichroic meaning they appear to change color when viewed from different angles.

The most expensive tourmalines are the blue indicolite, green verdelite and pink rubellite.

Cat's Eye Tourmaline exhibits a "cat's eye" effect similar to what is commonly seen in tiger's eye cabochons. Chrome Tourmaline is colored by chromium resulting in a beautiful green stone that is often confused with emerald or the tsavorite garnet. Indicolite is a dark blueish black stone. The Paraiba tourmaline is a bright neon-blue and Rubellite is a deep reddish purple stone. Schorl is the name given to black tourmalines which are the most commonly found tourmalines.

Tourmalines are mined everywhere in the world including Africa, Afghanistan, Africa, Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Siberia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, the USA, and Zimbabwe.

 

Tourmaline folklore and possible healing properties:

Ancient legend says that tourmaline is found in all colors because it traveled along a rainbow and gathered all the the rainbow's colors.Tourmaline is believed to strengthen the body and spirit, especially the nervous system, blood, and lymphs. It is also thought to inspire creativity and was used extensively as a tailsman by artists and writers.

Birthstones

Your guide to Modern Birthstones and Birthstones of the Zodiac

The Modern Birthstone list is the official birthstone list from the American National Association of Jewelers. These gemstones were officially adopted in 1912. Tanzanite was added as an additional birthstone for December by the American Gem Trade Association in October 2002.

 

Modern Birthstones: 


January:    Garnet
February:    Amethyst
March:    Aquamarine
April:        Diamond
May:        Emerald
June:        Pearl or Moonstone
July:        Ruby
August:    Peridot
September:     Sapphire
October:     Opal or Tourmaline
November:     Topaz
December:    Turquoise or Tanzanite

Birthstones of the Zodiac: 

Aquarius:    Garnet
Pisces:    Amethyst
Aries:        Bloodstone
Taurus:    Sapphire
Gemini:    Agate
Cancer:    Emerald
Leo:        Onyx
Virgo:        Carnelian
Libra:        Peridot
Scorpio:    Beryl 
Sagittarius:    Topaz
Capricorn:    Ruby

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