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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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The Midnight Hour

It’s a quarter to midnight.

You stand between the wide-open french doors of your beachfront villa. You inhale the sea breeze and listen to the crashing waves below as they dance in the moonlight.

Where is he taking me to dinner this late at night? You wonder… your long, cream-colored, chiffon dress moves with the air. It’s a moment you’ll remember forever.

the midnight hour
You’re almost ready for the planned 11:59 p.m. departure, but not quite.

You walk up to your vanity. It’s filled beautifully with lipsticks, bobby pins, and adorably tiny perfume bottles. But you know exactly what you’re looking for.

You pick up the velvet pouch, unfold it carefully, and pull out your serene, blue, chalcedony earrings.

sea blue chalcedony
As you hold them in the air to let them glow, the vanity light makes the briolettes dazzle next to the gleaming gold that holds them.

Chalcedony is known to increase vitality, emotional balance, charity, and friendship. What a magical night this could be.

You slip on each earring, look at yourself in the mirror, and smile.

There’s a knock on the door.

 

 

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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???????

Aquamarine for Aries

Happy Birthday to all those born in March!

The next stone up in my birthstone series is  the gemstone Aquamarine.

Aquamarine, the birthstone for March, is also the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Aries.

 

aquamarine

Derived from Latin word aqua = water,  and marina = the sea, Aquamarine is known as the sailors’ lucky stoneLegend has it that aquamarine was originally found in the treasure chest of mermaids  So, this gemstone was believed to protect sailors and guarantee safe travels.

Aquamarine comes in a range of colors with the most common ranging from almost colorless to pale blue to sky blue.  Folklore indicates that this serene blue stone keeps the wearer calm. Aquamarine is also thought to empower those who wear the stone with intelligence, courage, and happiness.

According to the folklore of sailors, the aquamarine originated in the treasure chest of mermaids, and has, since ancient times, been regarded as the sailors’ lucky stone and protected against the dangers of the sea.  Some even thought that the mermaids’ tails were made of aquamarine.

Bloodstone – the alternative birthstone for March

bldstone

A dark-green jasper flecked with vivid red spots of iron oxide, bloodstone (also known as heliotrope) was believed to have healing powers and was often used in the making of amulets. The bloodstone was also thought to generate a change in one’s life.  The bloodstone is also known as a symbol of justice.

While birthstone gems are commonly known, there are flowers associated with one’s birth month as well.  The flower associated for those born in March is the ipomea (morning glory) as well as the violet.

‘Sentiments of The Months’ from a book on gemstone lore by George Frederick Kunz  focuses on the birthstone of bloodstone for this month:

Who on this world of ours her eyes

In March first opens may be wise,

In days of peril firm and brave

Wears she a bloodstone to her grave.

Who wears a jasper, be life short or long,

Will meet all dangers brave and wise and strong.

Which stone do you prefer – aquamarine or bloodstone?

Amethyst & Pisces

Happy Birthday to all those born in February!  The next stone up in my birthstone series is  the gemstone Amethyst.

Amethyst, the birthstone for February, is also the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Pisces.

The word  ‘amethyst’  comes from the Latin word – amethystus –  not intoxicated (or ‘not drunk’ – which led to crushed amethyst being used as a charm to ward off intoxication.

amethyst geode

Amethyst is believed to be a meditative and calming stone.  It can bring the wearer emotional stability and inner strength, as well as courage, freedom, enhanced intuition, and, spiritual nourishment.

This gemstone is also thought to be beneficial when dealing with problems of money, which can lead to prosperity and abundance.

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

amy collage birthstone-001
 

  ‘Sentiments of The Months’ from a book on gemstone lore by George Frederick Kunz:

The February-born may find

Sincerity and peace of mind,

Freedom from passion and from care,

If she an amethyst will wear

Let her an amethyst but cherish well,

And strife and care can never with her dwell.

Garnet – The Protector

Being totally obsessed with gemstones, (and anything that sparkles for that matter) it seems only natural to start a blog post series on gemstones and their folklore.  So….here we go!

garnetgem
 

Garnet, the birthstone for January,  is also the astrological birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign of Aquarius.

The word  Garnet  comes from the Latin word – granatum (seed), or granatus (having many seeds) – due to the gem’s strong resemblance to pomegranate seeds.

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Folklore surrounds the Garnet – some believed the stone to be a talisman and protector – illuminating the night, and protecting the wearer from evil – and so, it became a common amulet for travelers.

Garnet is also said to provide strength, inspiration, compassion, creativity & rejuvenation.    In earlier times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to insure that they meet again.

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

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’:

January

No gems save garnets should be worn

By her who in this month is born;

They will insure her constancy,

True friendship and fidelity.

The gleaming garnet holds within its sway

Faith, constancy, and truth to one always.

Up next for this series is Amethyst – my favorite stone – I love, love, love purple!

What are your favorite gemstones?  Let me know in the comments below… they may show up in my spring gemstone jewelry line (coming soon)….