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A Trio of Gemstones in December

Turquoise is the birthstone for those born in December, and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Capricorn (December 22-January 19) – the alternative gemstone for December is Zircon.

Did you know there are also flowers associated with birth months?  December’s flower is Holly.

Holly Blossoms

Turquoise

The word Turquoise comes from the Anglo-French turkeise.

The color of Turquoise has a range of color from hues of green to blue.  I love wearing this stone when the weather begins to warm – it just feels earthy and organic against your skin!

turquoise
For centuries, the most valuable turquoise came from Iran (Persia) but today some specimens mined in the southwestern United States compete with it. Currently, “Persian Turquoise” is generally used to designate any stone without the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States.

Native Americans believed Turquoise to have many protective and healing properties including a positive healing energy, good fortune, and strength.  Other cultures believe Turquoise to enhance creativity, communication, serenity and wisdom.  Turquoise is also believed to foster empathy, loyalty, courage, confidence, and personal power.  A dream of Turquoise is thought to signify prosperity.

Zircon

The Zircon was one of the earliest, if not the first, gems used by man.  Zircon gems come in a range of colors from red to yellow, brown, blue and green.  It has a high refractive index – which gives it brilliance and sparkle.

In the Bible, zircon is noted by its ancient name, ‘jacinth‘ – a term used to describe the pale yellow to clear zircon.  Ancient travelers wore Zircon to protect themselves from the plague, wounds and injuries.

Zircon is credited with guarding sailors from lightning and expelling evil spirits with its brightness. It is an alternative birthstone for December, as well as one of the stones for the 4th year of marriage.

zircons
Zircon is thought to bestow wisdom, honor and wealth to those who possess it. It is especially prized for protecting travelers from harm, and even today, the Hindus believe zircon can stimulate spiritual growth. The name, Zircon, originates from the Persian word zargun which means “gold-colored.”

In the Middle Ages, this gem was thought to induce sound sleep, drive away evil spirits, and promote riches, honor, and wisdom.

Tanzanite

Tanzanite is a newer stone and was added to the official birthstone list in 2002 by the American Gem Trade Association as an additional birthstone for December.

With a chemical composition of calcium aluminum silicate is a member of the Zoisite mineral family, Tanzanite is found only in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, East Africa. This sole source for the supply of Tanzanite makes it a gemstone rarer than diamonds.

Uncut blue Tanzanite
Pure tanzanite can be a blue color when first mined, but is also found in brown hues and is typically heat-treated to create the sought-after bluish-purple color.

Being a new and rare stone – Tanzanite has little folklore other than the folklore from the Maasai tribe that lives in the area of the Tanzanite source. The Maasai tribe believe tanzanite to be a magical stone.  Their story tells of the ground being set on fire by a bolt of lightning,  whose heat altered the color of the stones into what is now known as Tanzanite.

Tanzanite is believed to be a stone of good fortune, and is thought to activate one’s psychic abilities, and provide wisdom and balance.

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Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts) comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.

In his book, turquoise is listed as the gemstone for July, while ruby is listed as the birthstone for December.  In all my other references – this is the complete opposite – as ruby is listed for July, turquoise for December – eeeek – time for some chocolate!!!!.  I will leave you with the poem for Turquoise from July:

‘Sentiments of The Months’:

July

The heav’n-blue turquoise should adorn

All those who in July are born;

For those they’ll be exempt and free

From love’s doubts and anxiety.

No other gem than turquoise on her breast

Can to the loving, doubting heart bring rest.

 

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Topaz and Citrine – Inner Radiance

Topaz is the birthstone for those born in November, and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius (November 21 – December 21) – the alternative gemstone for November is Citrine.

Did you know there are also flowers associated with birth months?

The flower for November is the Chrysanthemum – love all the gorgeous colors of these flowers!

 


The name Topaz was derived from island formerly Topazos (now Zabargad – which is also known as St. John’s Island, located in the Red Sea in Southern Egypt).

 

topaz crystal
Topaz is related to the Sanskrit word ‘tapas or tapaz’ meaning “heat” or “fire”. Natural pure topaz is colorless but due to impurities/minerals within the stone – a multitude of colors can result. Topaz can be found in yellow, brown, orange, green, pink, red and blue – the last three colors listed are the most rare.

 

Topaz
Folklore is abundant in the gemstone Topaz.  Egyptians believed Topaz came from their sun god Ra, granting them protection against harm.

Topaz has an inner radiance and is believed to strengthen one’s intellect, success, and courage.  This stunning gem is also thought to deter sadness and prevent bad dreams.

CITRINE

Citrine – an alternative birthstone for the month of November – is part of a group of minerals from the quartz family. These include amethyst, aventurine, prasiolite, and tiger’s eye.

The name is derived from the French word ‘citrin’, meaning lemon – this yellow color comes from the gem’s iron content. Natural citrines are quite rare – most commercial stones you find today are actually heat-treated amethyst gemstones.

 

citrine gem drops
Citrine is thought to promote success, generosity, and abundance. This radiant gem is also believed to increase personal power and energy, decrease self-doubt and negative energy.

By enhancing mental clarity and confidence, Citrine increases one’s creativity and honesty, which in turn can yield success and abundance for the individual wearer.

Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts) comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz:
‘Sentiments of The Months’:
November

Who first comes to this world below
With drear November’s fog and snow
Should prize the topaz’s amber hue –
Emblem of friends and lovers true.

Firm friendship is November’s, and she bears
True love beneath the topaz that she wears.

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Opals & October

October birthdays unite – this is your post!  Opal is the birthstone for those born in August, and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Scorpio. (Tourmaline is an alternative natal stone).

The Curious Lore of Precious Gemstones by George Frederick Kunz, mentions the gemstone beryl (fyi – emerald is a beryl, as is aquamarine) as the natal or birth stone for October – but since we already went over emeralds back in May; and aquamarines in March, we will stick to the more modern traditions of birthstones in this post – opal and tourmaline.

There are also flowers associated with the birth months.  The flowers for October birthdays are Hops (yes, the same hops that are used in beer-making!)

Green plant hops

However, further research finds the more traditional birth flower for October to be the calendula –  a species of herbaceous plants that also includes marigolds.

marigolds

I am going to begin with the opal – a delicate gemstone that can be found in a variety of colors.  Opals display a rainbow of colors depending on which angle you view them and many varieties exist.

The word ‘opal’ comes from the Greek word opallios meaning “color change”; derived from the Sanskrit word upala meaning precious stone.

The opal is a delicate gem which plays into its bad rep.  Opals are soft (between 5.5 and 6.5 on the Moh’s hardness scale – for comparison, diamond is the hardest gem – at 10) – meaning these stones are easily scratched. Given that a common component of household dust is quartz (moh’s scale 7) – merely cleaning your opal jewelry can scratch your opal stones.

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Did you know that opals also contain water – usually about 5 to 6%.  If you have ever had an opal from your jewelry collection crack, this characteristic water component could be the culprit.  Opals are also sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.  In low humidity environments or dry climates, opals can dry out and crack. You can take extra care for these delicate stones by storing your opals in a plastic bag with a damp cloth to prevent drying out, and cleaning them with a soft cloth.

The opal is believed to be a symbol of hope and purity, as well as protection form the ‘evil eye’.  It provides the wearer with luck and enhanced vision, and is believed to comprise all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented in the color spectrum of the opal.

Next up – Tourmaline.  The name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese term toramalli – meaning “crystal” or “false diamond”.  Tourmaline gemstones are available in many colors – pink, green, blue…and the list goes on.

Tourmaline gemstones

Gemstone folklore describes tourmaline as a tool to bring insight and intuition. Known for providing the wearer enlightenment, tourmaline also can be worn as a talisman to protect against danger.  Tourmaline is also thought to inspire creativity, and strengthen the body and spirit.

Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts) comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.  As I mentioned earlier, this book lists beryl as the gem for October in the poems of the month, while opal is not listed in any month as a natal stone – so I leave you with the poem for October and beryl:

 ‘Sentiments of The Months’:

October

October’s child is born for woe,

And life’s vicissitudes must know;

But lay a beryl on her breast,

And Hope will lull those woes to rest.

When fair October to her brings the beryl,

No longer need she fear misfortune’s peril.

 

What do you think of the folklore and superstition behind opals?  Do you wear opal gemstones?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Sapphires & September

Happy Birthday to all the September babies out there!

raw gemstones

Sapphire is the traditional birthstone for those born in September, and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Libra.

 

Chrysolite (aka peridot) is an alternative natal stone for September, and you can read more about that gemstone in last month’s blog post.

peridotgems

There are also flowers associated with birth months – for September, the flower is the morning glory.

morning glory
Sapphire is a variety if corundum that forms in many colors – all colors but red.  The red form of corundum is known as ruby.

Thought to impart clairvoyance, spiritual enlightenment and inner peace, sapphires were believed to protect your loved ones from envy and harm.

Other properties of sapphire include loyalty, trust, sincerity and faithfulness.

Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts) comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.  In his book, Chrysolite  is listed as the gemstone for July, while sapphire is listed as the birthstone for April, so both poems are listed below.

 ‘Sentiments of The Months’:

April

She who from April dates her years

Diamonds should wear, lest bitter tears

For vain repentance flow.  This stone

Emblem of innocence is known.

Innocence, repentance – sun and shower –

The diamond or the sapphire is her dower.

 

September – Chrysolite

A maid born when September leaves

Are rustling in the autumn breeze,

A chrysolite on brow should bind – 

“Twill cure diseases of the mind.

If chrysolite upon her brow is laid,

Follies and dark delusions flee afraid.

Click to comment below and tell me your favorite gemstone!

August Birthstones

Hello – the August birthstone post is here!   Peridot is the birthstone for those born in August (Carnelian is an alternative natal stone), and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Virgo.

And, there are also flowers associated with birth months.  The flowers for August birthdays are poppies and gladilous.

poppies

Let’s begin with peridot.  In my research, I was surprised to find two different pronunciations for peridot – ‘pear-a-doe’   or  ‘per-i-dot’ – who knew!

The word ‘peridot’ comes from the Arabic word faridat meaning “gem”.

In mineralogy, peridot is sometimes referred to as olivine, due to its olive-green color which comes from it’s chemical composition a magnesium iron silicate. In ancient times, peridot was known as chrysolite.

Peridot was believed to be the ‘stone of springtime’ by ancients, who considered it a true gift from Mother Nature.

peridot

A stone of lightness and beauty, peridot was believed to be a gem of the sun by Ancient Egyptians – they used peridot to give them power, and to protect against nightmares & evil spirits – including the evil eye!

This brilliant green gem – peridot – is believed to enhance success and power. It is also thought to attract love and friendship, as well as peace and good luck.

Next up – Carnelian – the less traditional birthstone for August…..

Carnelian is a member of the cryptocrystalline quartz family which basically means it is composed of microscopically small crystals.  These small crystals are commonly known as chalcedony.

The word ‘carnelian’ comes from Middle French,  similar t0 Old French ‘cornele’ or  ‘kornel cherry‘ .  Some speculate the spelling is influenced bythe Latin word carneus – meaning flesh-coloured.

Carnelian Deco Drop Earrings
Carnelian is known for its powers of protection and guard against evil.  This brilliant orange stone enhances courage, ambition, and creativity; and heightens sexuality and sensuality.

Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts) comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.

In his book, Carnelian is listed as the gemstone for August, while peridot (chrysolite) is listed as the birthstone for September; so, I have listed both poems for your reading pleasure!

‘Sentiments of The Months’:

August

Wear a carnelian or for thee

No conjugal felicity;

The august-born without this stone,

“Tis said, must live unloved, alone.

She, loving once and always, wears, if wise,

Carnelian – and her home is paradise.

 

September

A maid born when September leaves

Are rustling in the autumn breeze,

A chrysolite on brow should bind –

“Twill cure diseases of the mind.

If chrysolite upon her brow is laid,

Follies and dark delusions flee afraid.

 

What stone would you want to wear as your birthstone?  Let me know in the comments below….

The Folklore of Ruby

Happy birthday to all those born in July – off to the rubies!!!!!

rubynk

Composed of aluminum oxide, rubies come from the corundum family of minerals. We all know diamonds are the hardest stone, but did you know rubies also carry that hardness factor – second only to diamonds.

Ruby is the birthstone for those born in July, and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Leo. There are also flowers associated with birth months – the flowers for July are larkspur and the water lily.

rubiesshutterstock

Known as a symbol of love and passion, the ruby is thought to provide protection from danger, and provide power to the wearer.

Rubies enhance fame, virtue, health, and wisdom, while arousing the senses and imagination. These stones make the wearer bold and courageous, while providing a life of peace and harmony.

The word ruby comes from the Latin word ruber, which means red.

rubystones

Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts) comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.

In his book, turquoise is listed as the gemstone for July, while ruby is listed as the birthstone for December.  In all my other references – this is the complete opposite – as ruby is listed for July, turquoise for December – eeeek – I need some chocolate before I sort this out!!!!.

Since I will be going over turquoise in December (don’t fret – it’s not too many months away!) – I will leave the folklore of turquoise for later this year.  But, I will leave you with both poems so you can choose which is your favorite!

 ‘Sentiments of The Months’:

July

The heav’n-blue turquoise should adorn

All those who in July are born;

For those they’ll be exempt and free

From love’s doubts and anxiety.

No other gem than turquoise on her breast

Can to the loving, doubting heart bring rest.

‘Sentiments of The Months’:

December

If cold December give you birth –

The month of snow and ice and mirth –

Place on your hand a ruby true;

Success will bless whate’er you do.

December gives her fortune, love and fame

If amulet of rubies bear her name.

So there you have it – I am off to find some chocolate!

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The Birthstones of June

As I mentioned last month, we have four birthstones associated with this month – pearl, alexandrite, moonstone, and agate.

Before we get into the 4 gemstones for month of June, let’s start with the other basics.

The astrological birthstone for those born this month falls under the zodiac sign of Cancer.

The flower for those born in June is the honeysuckle.

Now, onto the gemstones!

First up – Pearls!

Pearls begin to form in oysters when a foreign substance gets inside the oyster’s shell – so they differ from all other gemstones & minerals due to their organic origin (vs being embedded in rock).

pearls

Just like our own bodies mounting a repair/attack on invading substances, the oyster starts its own attack on this foreign matter that has become an unwelcome guest inside of the oyster’s shell.  The oyster begins its attack by covering the unwelcome guest with layers of the same substance used to create its own hard shell – a substance called nacre.  Over time, layer after layer of nacre, a lustrous pearl is formed.

In ancient times, pearls were thought to come down from heaven into the sea. Early Chinese myths told of pearls falling from the sky when dragons fought (who knew?!?).

Pearls symbolize wealth, power, and longevity as well as purity, generosity, love, and integrity.

linethin

The next stone up is Alexandrite – it is a more modern stone and also very rare. (PS if someone tries to sell you one, it is very likely a lab-created, synthetic stone !)

Alexandrite has chameleon-like personality. In daylight, it appears as a beautiful green color, possibly with a bluish cast or a brownish tint.

However, under artificial lighting, the stone turns reddish-violet or violet.

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Alexandrite was discovered in 1839 on the birthday of Prince Alexander of Russia – in an emerald mine in the Ural Mountains of Russia – and the stone was subsequently named after him.

A dream of alexandrite was once thought to signify the approach of hard times.

It is believed that when an Alexandrite gemstone is worn close to the heart, it will bring love, energy, and harmony.  Alexandrite is also thought to impart wisdom and creativity, as well as strengthen an individual’s insight.

linethin

Next up – Moonstone!

The moonstone is believed to bring good fortune, victory, health, and wisdom to those who wear it.  These stones show off an array of colorful light – a bluish-white sheen – when under different light sources.

moonstone

Moonstone is also thought to enhance intuition, and is associated with mystery, magic, and dreams.

Many believe the moonstone to be associated with the moon. During a full moon, the moonstone’s power reaches its peak – so it is said to be especially powerful at this time to reunite lovers, heal the wearer, and promote inner emotional healing.

linethin

And now, for the grand finale – Agate.

Agate is shown in one of my books to be the birthstone for June, although its mention in other birthstone lists for this month is missing.

Formed from layers of quartz which usually show varicolored bands, agate usually occurs as rounded nodules or veins.  It is a more common stone and has many varieties of color/striations – some more common names include moss agate, lace agate; and plume agate.

agates

Agate is thought to improve memory, perception, and concentration, and encourage honesty.   It is also thought to provide a calming influence, and will also enhance creativity, strengthen the intellect, and offer protection from harm.

So there you have it for this month’s big party of birthstones – whew –  I need some chocolate after that!

linethin

Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts)  comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.  My  favorite section of this book contains the most charming short poems for each month – ‘Sentiments of The Months’:

 June

Who comes with summer to this earth,

And owes to June her hour of birth,

With ring of agate on her hand

can health, long life, and wealth command.

Thro’ the moss-agate’s charm, the happy years

Ne’er see June’s sunshine turn to tears.

So we went through more stones than normal this month – did you find a favorite?  Let me know in the comments below!

Go Green With Emeralds

Emerald is the birthstone for those born in May, and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Gemini.  There are also flowers associated with birth months – the flower for May is hawthorn.

hawthorn

The name emerald is derived from the Greek word ‘smaragdos‘ ; and from the French ‘esmeralde’, meaning ‘green gem’.

Emeralds come from the beryl family of minerals. The green color you see with your eye is due to aluminum silicates, chromium and vanadium – giving the usually colorless beryl its deep green color.

Okay, your science lesson is over for the day. Let’s get to the fun stuff!

Emeralds are traditionally thought to enhance the clairvoyance of their wearers – they sharpen the memory, and quicken the intelligence.

Considered by many to be a stone of prophecy, emeralds enhance one’s intellectual capabilities & wisdom. The are also believed to bring good luck, faith, and harmony.

emerald rondelles

A symbol of psychic powers, purity and immortality, emeralds were highly prized by the Ancients as the gemstone of love and rebirth.

Emeralds were often carried by sailors due to the belief that they could calm seas and ensure safe travels, bringing good fortune to those that possessed them.

A sacred stone of the goddess Venus, emeralds were thought to preserve love, beauty and fidelity. It is thought that if an Emerald is given by one lover to another, it will pale and grow dull as their love fades.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that their god Thoth gave them the gift of emerald and that the stone symbolized the seasons of spring. For this reason, the Egyptians dedicated the emerald to eternal youth, and it is sometimes call the stone of spring’.

emerald and quartz pendant

emerald and quartz pendant

Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts)  comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.  My  favorite section of this book contains the most charming short poems for each month – ‘Sentiments of The Months’:

May

Who first beholds the light of day

In spring’s sweet flow’ry month of May,

And wears an emerald all her life,

Shall be a loved and happy wife.

No happier wife and mother in the land

Than she with emerald shining on her hand.

 

Up next month for June – Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone and Agate – it’s going to be one big party!

Leave a comment below and let me know your favorite stone and why…talk to you soon!

 

Gemstones of April

Next up in the birthstone series – diamond – the birthstone for April and the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Taurus.  

diamond

Derived from the Greek word ‘adamastos’ the word ‘diamond’  means unbreakable.

With a reputation as the hardest substance on earth, the diamond remains a symbol of power and wealth.

di2

In ancient times, diamonds were thought to possess magical qualities and superpowers.  A person who wore diamonds would be protected from harm, and would also possess charm, luck and success.

The Romans believed that Cupid carried diamond-tipped arrows, and that diamonds came from the tears of the gods.

di1

While birthstone gems are commonly known, there are flowers associated with one’s birth month as well.  The flower associated for those born in April is the daisy.

Aside from charts and articles I have collected over the years, the majority of the information for this post (and future posts)  comes from a wonderful used book I found on gemstones by George Frederick Kunz.  My  favorite section of this book contains short poems for each month – ‘Sentiments of The Months’:

April

She who from April dates her years

Diamonds should wear, lest bitter tears

For vain repentance flow.  This stone

Emblem of innocence is known.

Innocence, repentance – sun and shower –

The diamond or the sapphire is her dower.

 

What’s your favorite gemstone???????