Aquamarine is the birthstone for March. Aquamarine is a type of beryl crystal. It ranges in color from a pale, pastel blue to a greenish-blue to a deep blue. The intensity of the color increases with the quantity of iron in the crystal. Darker shades of aquamarine are rarer and more valuable. Larger stones tend to have more vivid and intense color. Some stones are heated to high temperatures to enhance the color or clarity. Aquamarine is the most flawless of all crystals. This beautiful crystal is a perfect complement to spring and summer wardrobes. Continue reading
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February Birthstone: Amethyst
Amethyst is the birthstone for February. It is a variety of quartz with a beautiful purple color that ranges from a blend of deep violet and red to a lighter lilac hue. Found primarily in Brazil, Uruguay, and Zambia, it is the second-most abundant mineral found in the Earth’s crust.
Amethyst is said to represent courage, inner strength, balance, stability, peace, calmness, and sincerity. It is said to be able to reduce anxiety, stress, anger, and fear in the wearer.
The word amethyst is derived from the Greek word “amethystos,” which means “remedy against drunkenness.” Ancient Greeks believed it protected the wearer from intoxication and allowed them to keep a balanced mindset.
The popularity of the amethyst dates back to 25,000 years ago in France when it was used as a decorative stone by prehistoric humans. At one point in time, amethysts were in such demand that were worth almost as much as diamonds. Amethyst is said to be the stone of Saint Valentine, who wore an amethyst engraved with the image of Cupid, contributing to the belief that amethysts attracted love. It was also the first gem stone to be carved into the shape of a heart. At one time, only royalty could wear amethysts. Cleopatra treasured her amethyst signet ring above all of her other jewels. Egyptians believed it possessed good powers and placed amethysts in the tombs of pharaohs. In the Middle Ages amethysts were used as a medication, used to dispel sleep, sharpen intellect, and protect the wearer from sorcery.
Mythology attributes the origin of the amethyst to Bacchus, the god of wine. As the legend goes, Bacchus was offended by Diana, the goddess of the forest and the hunt, after she rebuffed his advances time and time again. As revenge, he declared that he would unleash his fierce tigers to devour the first maiden whom he met walking through the forest. A maiden, whose name was Amethyst, was on her way to worship on Diana’s shrine and was attacked by the tigers. After pleading to Diana for help, Diana turned her into a pure white gem to save her. Ashamed by his cruelty and misdirected rage, Bacchus poured his most delicious and sought after grape wine over Amethyst, giving the stone its beautiful purple hue.
January Birthstone: Garnet
Garnet is the birthstone for January. Garnet is actually a group of stones that exist in a rainbow of colors, except blue. While red is the most common hue, any of the colors are acceptable to wear as the January birthstone.
The garnet is said to signify eternal friendship, trust, and fidelity. It is also said to protect the wearer during travel and ensure a quick and safe return.
The name for the garnet comes from the Latin word granatus, which means seed. This is due to the fact that garnets resemble pomegranate seeds. Continue reading