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  The jewels in our basket

The myths, legends and facts about birthstones!


January

Garnet
Garnet

Garnet is a stone with a history! In the 18th century, this stone enjoyed great favor, and was often worn by the most wealthy and influential people. The stone was believed to have magical properties, which encompassed prevention of skin diseases, assuring the wearer of love & faithfulness, protection from wounds and even safety from the threat of evil, terrifying dreams!

Even to this day, the garnet is a much sought after stone and remains a treasured jewel.

Garnets can occur naturally in colors ranging from orange to deep red. Sometimes, they are available in shades of green. On the hardness scale (see below) Garnet stands at 6.5 to 7.5. Genuine Garnets are found in Africa, India and South America.

Hardness Scale


February

Garnet
Amethyst

The word amethyst comes from the Greek 'ameth' meaning "not drunken, without drunkenness". This is because it was believed to protect one from the effects of wine. The drinker was to hold a piece of the stone under the tongue, and no amount of wine could intoxicate him! However, we do not recommend trying this!

The amethyst if found in varying shades of purple. The stone of excellent quality will be a clear, deep purple and will have no discernible flaws. The hardness of this stone is rated as 7. Amethysts are mined in South America, Russia and India.

Hardness Scale


March

Garnet
Aquamarine

The word aquamarine comes from the Latin phrase 'beryllus aquamarinus' meaning "resembling sea-water". It has traditionally been considered a sailor's talisman and continues to enjoy this reputation to this day.

An aquamarine is a beautiful light blue-green if it is of high quality. Such stones are clear, with no visible flaws. Some commercially available aquamarine is often treated with heat to improve its color. However, such treatments do not affect the stone's strength or value.

On the hardness scale, the aquamarine stands between 7.5 and 8. Primary sources for aquamarine are Brazil, Russia and Madagascar.

Hardness Scale


April

Garnet
Diamond

'Diamond' is derived from the Greek "Adamas" meaning unbreakable or indestructible. In ancient times, diamonds were believed to render all poisons harmless and to drive away madness, night spirits and evil dreams.

Diamonds can be found in almost any color, but the colorless variety has been the most popular by far. Diamonds are also the hardest substance known to man and are rated 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. They are mostly found in South Africa.

Hardness Scale


May

Garnet
Emerald

A cousin of the aquamarine, the emerald has always been a mysterious stone. In ancient civilizations, the emerald has been linked to fertility and the Earth Goddess. It was reputed to be sacred to the Goddess Venus and women in labor often wore emeralds to ease the pain.

Emeralds in their natural state are deep green and almost always have visible inclusions. A natural emerald without flaws is very rare and of course, expensive! The hardness of the stone is 7.5 to 8. However, the stone is fragile and needs to be maintained with great care. Emeralds are found in Colombia, Brazil, Africa, Russia, Pakistan and Zambia.

Hardness Scale


June

Garnet
Pearl or Alexandrite

Both history and literature are replete with the mention of the pearl. But how many people know that the pearl is the Oyster's secreted response to a grain of sand that irritates it? Be that as it may, the pearl has always been admired and sought after for its translucent charm and is associated with the Goddess Venus. The Alexandrite too is a rare stone that mesmerized the ancients with its unique color change properties.

Pearls are found in many shades of white and in several shapes - ranging from the perfect sphere to the baroque rice grain form. Pearls are readily found in both seas and fresh water sources.

Alexandrite is a stone with the property to change color. It appears to be different colors in natural and fluorescent lighting. Since it is rare in its natural form, it can be produced in synthetic forms as well - that too with color change properties. The hardness of the alexandrite is 8.5. They are found in Russia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.

Hardness Scale


July

Garnet
Ruby

Historically, the ruby has been associated with royalty and the power of life and death. The ancients attributed to it the power to prevent loss of blood, strengthen the heart and negate the ill effects of poisons.

A Ruby is found in varying shades of red; deep, clear stones are desirable. Some may have seen "star rubies", these are cabachon (domed) stones that reflect an asterisk light effect on the domed surface. A flawless Ruby is more valuable than a diamond. The hardness is 9. Rubies are found in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Afghanistan, India and Kenya.

Hardness Scale


August

Garnet
Peridot

A stone attributed with magical powers, the peridot has been associated with magic and healing. It was strongly associated with the Sun. It is believed to cure liver disease, dropsy; to free the mind from envious thoughts; and to dispel the terrors of the night. For best results, the ancients suggested that the peridot should be set in gold.

The Peridot is usually found in a light green, almost electric color. The hardness is 6.5-7. It is found in plenty in areas like Australia, Brazil, Burma, Sri Lanka, and the United States.

Hardness Scale


September

Garnet
Sapphire

Sapphires are traditionally connected with the eye and the sky & thereby with vision and the ability to read the future. Sapphires are supposed to render black magic harmless, and help the wearer discern falsehoods. Buddhists believe that the Sapphire brings purity and spiritual enlightenment.

The Sapphire is found in a rainbow of colors - except red. Red Sapphires are actually Rubies! There are also 'star sapphires' - which are domed stones that show a starlight effect on the top. The hardness of sapphires is 9. Sapphire is readily found in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Australia India, Madagascar, Russia, South Africa, and the United States.

Hardness Scale


October

Garnet
Opal or Tourmaline

Opals are thought to possess the virtues of all the stones whose colors appear there. History records the fact that a Roman senator called Nonius chose exile rather than surrender his precious Opal to Mark Anthony.

Tourmaline on the other hand is a mystical stone. Its name is derived from the Sanskrit 'turmali'. It is supposed to be a stone that bestows good health on the wearer. Both the stones are considered to be birthstones for October.

Opals are usually opaque white stones with rainbow color specks or flashes that play over the surface. They can be found in breathtaking form! Opals are predominantly found in the Australian region.

Tourmaline is a transparent stone, usually occurring in shades of pinks & greens. The hardness of tourmalines is between 7 and 7.5. Tourmaline is found in the United States (Southern California and Maine), Brazil and Madagascar.

Hardness Scale


November

Garnet
Citrine

Named from the French name for lemon,'citron', many citrines have a juicy lemon color. Sunny and affordable, citrine can brighten almost any jewelry style, blending especially well with the yellow gleam of polished gold. In ancient times, citrine was carried as a protection against deadly snake venom and evil thoughts.

Citrine is a beautiful yellow quartz. It has a hardness of 7. Citrine can be easily scratched. Citrine often permanently changes color if left in the sunlight for several hours. Since it is rare, most Citrines in the market are heat-treated amethysts. Citrine is found in Brazil, Madagascar, Spain, USA (California, Colorado, Georgia, and Nevada) and the former USSR.

Hardness Scale


December

Garnet
Zircon

Another stone with limited color changing properties, the Zircon has long been favored and sought after. Zircon is said to drive away evil spirits & bad dreams, banish grief and melancholy, restore appetite, induce sleep and even protect against lightning!

Zircon usually starts out as a brownish-green stone, and is heated to turn it blue. Stones of more than a couple of carats are rarely seen, due to the difficulty in cutting this material. The hardness is 6-6.5. It is mainly mined in Sri Lanka and Burma. Gem varieties occur in stream gravels and detrital deposits, particularly in Indochina Australia and New Zealand.

Hardness Scale