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THE HISTORY OF BIRTHSTONES

The exact origins of using birthstones are ancient and have become a bit murky over time. Gemstones have been allocated to the 12 tribes of Israel and the signs of the zodiac for over 2000 years. Hindu beliefs have 9 celestial forces represented by 9 gemstones. When a child is born a chart is made to show which forces are in play at the month of birth and the priest recommends which stones should be worn to protect the child. In the 8th century, Christians developed a tradition where the twelve apostles were each represented by a stone. Priests wore a different stone each month to remember and meditate on each apostle’s strengths and weaknesses and these stones eventually became symbolic for anyone born in that month. Whether you believe the stones have mystic or spiritual properties, or that they simply represent a person close to you, they can form a beautiful, unique piece of jewellery that lets you carry your loved ones with you at all times.

What is a gemstone?

Gemstones are formed when liquid magma deep in the Earth squeezes through fissures in the Earth’s mantle. This happens during earthquakes, tectonic plate shifts, and volcanic activity. The liquid magma is subjected to immense heat and pressure and then cooled in the presence of other elements. If this combination of heat, pressure, cooling and other elements is perfect, crystals will be formed and a gemstone is created. A gemstone is a miraculous creation that needs these precise conditions to form. That is why there are rare, valuable and beautiful. The appeal of a real timber floor, real cotton clothing, real food flavors, real leather compared to man-made synthetic versions is true of gemstones too. Our stones are all natural stones made by the Earth. The only synthetic stone we offer is Cubic Zirconia because diamonds are expensive and may make the piece you are designing too expensive. Because our stones are made by the Earth in a natural process the colors are not perfectly matched like the man-made glass crystals coming out of a factory. But you will have a custom designed piece of jewellery that is as unique as your fingerprint.

January : Garnet

Garnets are amazing gems that are formed in nature in almost every color except blue. This is because as the crystal is forming other dissolved chemicals such as iron influence the color. Red Garnet is the official color for January and the color is caused by dissolved iron in the crystal.

February : Amethyst

Amethysts are a form of quartz that gets it clear to lilac to deep purple coloring from other dissolved chemicals present as the crystal is forming. It is one of the oldest gems used for jewellery because it occurs in many places around the world and the crystals can grow very large. The ancient Egyptians carved amethysts into animal shapes and the ancient Greeks believed amethysts prevented the wearer from getting intoxicated from drinking too much wine.

March : Aquamarine

Aquamarines get their name from the color of the sea. They are a member of the Beryl family of gemstones. They get their color from the presence of dissolved iron while the beryl crystals are forming. Usually iron turns things brownish red but in this case, it produces the beautiful colors of the sea. They vary from clear to pale greenish blue and very rarely can possess a deeper blue color. They are only found in a few places on Earth but are quite abundant in these places. Sailors believed they kept you safe on long voyages.

April : Diamond

Diamonds are the hardest substance on Earth and are formed when carbon is exposed to the precise amount of extreme pressure and heat. This turns fairly soft and black carbon into a super hard clear crystal that can take on other colors if other chemicals are present at the time. Diamonds can be clear or shades of yellow, brown, black, grey, pink, red and blue. Some of these colors are very rare and valuable, but grey, black and brown are fairly common and are used industrially for cutting and polishing other hard materials.

April : Cubic Zirconia

Cubic Zirconia is a man made synthetic stone that looks very similar to a diamond. If you need a diamond in your design but find it pushes the price too high, these are an option to make your design more affordable.

May : Emerald

Emeralds are famous for their green color. They are in the Beryl family and are related to Aquamarine. They get their unique color from the presence of dissolved chromium and vanadium present while the beryl crystals are forming in the Earth. Emerald jewellery has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

June : Moonstone

Moonstone is a rare member of the most common family of rocks called feldspar which includes granite. Moonstone is found on every continent in small quantities but only when the geological conditions are just right. It is clear to slightly milky and it flashes color as it moves like the mother of pearl or opal.

June : Alexandrite

Alexandrite was only discovered in the 1830s in Russia and was named after Czar Alexander. It is also related to Emerald and Aquamarine in the Beryl family but is extremely rare. Some Alexandrite changes color from bluish green to red under different light but stones with this property are more expensive than diamonds. Most are a pale green color.

July : Ruby

Ruby is a member of the corundum family. They are renowned for their red color which is caused by the presence of iron and chromium while the crystals were being formed in the earth. Rubies are extremely hard and low grade crushed rubies are used to make sand paper. Pure red rubies are as rare and expensive as diamonds. Ruby was said to bring health to the wearer.

August : Peridot

Peridots belong to the olivine family. They have been used since ancient times for jewellery. They are found on every continent including Antarctica. They turn green because of the presence of dissolved iron and chromium while the crystals are forming in the Earth. The amounts of these two elements determine whether the stones will be a pale lime green to very rare darker emerald green.

September : Sapphire

Sapphire is famous for their vivid blue hues but they come in every color except red. They are members of the corundum family and very closely related to rubies. If it is corundum and it’s red, it’s called ruby and if it’s any other color it’s a sapphire. Sapphires were worn by royalty because they were said to ward off poisoning and that was a big risk for royalty in the past!

October : Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a big family of its own with 14 members and comes in every color depending on dissolved elements present when the crystals were forming. The birthstone for October is rubellite tourmaline which is pink to pale red in color.

November : Citrine

Citrine belongs to the quartz family with amethyst. It is found in many places on earth and naturally creates huge crystals ranging from pale yellow to a fiery deep orange. The crystals are very clear and make beautiful jewellery.

December : Blue Topaz

Topaz means fire because originally all topaz was yellow to reddish orange like the colors of a flame. Topaz belongs to a family called neo-silicates. Geologists have now discovered many other colors as they explored other continents. Blue Topaz is the official birthstone for December.