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Birthstones: December - Turquoise

 

Once again, there is an abundance of birthstones in December: Tanzanite, Zircon and Turquoise. Let's focus on Turquoise; a gem many can currently find in their jewelry box, or at least hope to be gifted this holiday season.

Identification

Color  Admired since ancient times, turquoise is known for its distinct color, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish robin’s egg blue. It’s one of few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles its striking color. Turquoise is colored by copper, which creates some of the most vivid blues.

Mohs Hardness – 5-6

History

Appreciation of turquoise spans the globe, from Egypt to Mesoamerica to China. It is one of the first gems mined and used in jewelry. Archeologists found it buried in ancient Egyptian tombs, where it was referred to as “mefkat,” which means “joy” and “delight.” Chinese artisans were carving it more than 3,000 years ago.

The gem’s name, which originated in the thirteenth century, comes from the French expression pierre tourques, or “Turkish stone,” reflecting the fact that the material probably first arrived in Europe from Turkish trading routes. - GIA

Pre-Columbian Native Americans mined turquoise throughout the present-day southwestern United States. Shamans used it in sacred ceremonies to commune with the spirit of the sky. Apache Indians believed that attaching turquoise to bows improved a hunter’s accuracy. Turquoise became valuable in Native American trade, which carried North American material toward South America. Consequently, Aztecs cherished turquoise for its protective power, and used it on ceremonial masks, knives and shields. The turquoise-studded silver jewelry that’s commonly associated with Native Americans today originated in the 1880s, when a white trader convinced a Navajo craftsman to transform a silver coin into turquoise jewelry.

Turquoise is found in arid regions where rainwater dissolves copper in the soil, forming colorful deposits when it combines with aluminum and phosphorus. Copper contributes blue hues, while iron and chrome add a hint of green. Some turquoise contains pieces of host rock, called matrix, which appear as dark webs or patches in the material. - American Gem Society

Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

Turquoise is the national gem of Tibet, and has long been considered a stone that guarantees health, good fortune, and protection from evil. For thousands of years, Turquoise has spanned all cultures, prized as a symbol of wisdom, nobility and the power of immortality.

It has been recognized as possessing the power to protect riders from injury due to falls. First used as amulets by Turkish soldiers, it later came to be used for protection against falls of any kind.

Turquoise is also reputed to be influenced by the physical condition of the person who wears it. It is thought to grow pale when its owner is sick or sad, lose all color when the person dies, and gradually recover its color when transferred to a new healthy owner.

Turquoise is a strengthening stone, good for exhaustion, depression, or panic attacks. It enhances physical and psychic immune systems, supporting the assimilation of nutrients, alleviating pollution and viral infections. It is anti-inflammatory and detoxifying, reducing excess acidity and benefiting gout, rheumatism, and the stomach.

It also assists in problems of the brain, eyes, ears, neck and throat, especially cataracts, migraines and headaches, and problems with balance. It is thought to be helpful to the respiratory system and aid in healing lung disorders and allergies.

Turquoise is a most efficient healer, providing solace for the spirit and well-being for the body. It benefits the overall mood and emotion by balancing and inducing a sense of serenity and peace. It is a stone for finding wholeness and truth, and communicating and manifesting those qualities.

In traditional thought, Turquoise unites the earth and sky. Spiritually, Turquoise heals and cleanses both the energy centers and the physical body. It acts to induce wisdom and understanding, and to enhance trust, kindness, and the recognition of beauty.

Turquoise enhances the ability to see all aspects of ourselves, good and bad, and to integrate these aspects into a cohesive whole. While it is tempting to try and rid ourselves of the traits of self that are not entirely enlightened, Turquoise, like an ancient Grandfather ally, reminds us that all experiences are valid and that mistakes are simply another experience. Wholeness can only come when we are willing to embrace all of who we are and what we have learned. Crystal Vaults

Birthstones: November - Citrine & Topaz

Illustration: Dream Marginalia

In the month of Thanksgiving, you can be thankful for an abundance of birthstones. November darlings get to choose between two gems: citrine and topaz. These sunny gemstones can look very similar and have often been mistaken for each other. They are actually unrelated minerals, and topaz occurs in a wide spectrum of colors far beyond the yellow and orange hues of citrine, which are produced by traces of iron in quartz crystals.

The gems are known for their calming energies, bringing warmth and fortune to those who wear them. - American Gem Society

Identification

Color - Citrine ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange in color. Its name originates from the citron fruit because of these lemon-inspired shades.

Topaz is most desired in its rich orange Imperial Topaz color, but is found in a variety of colors including blue, pink, and yellow.

Mohs Hardness - Citrine 7, Topaz 8

History

Throughout history, people believed that citrine carried the same powers as topaz, including the ability to calm tempers, soothe anger and manifest desires, especially prosperity. To leverage these powers, Egyptians used citrine gems as talismans, the ancient Greeks carved iconic images into them, and Roman priests fashioned them into rings. - American Gem Society

The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength. In Europe during the Renaissance (the period from the 1300s to the 1600s) people thought that topaz could break magic spells and dispel anger. For centuries, many people in India have believed that topaz worn above the heart assures long life, beauty, and intelligence.
 
The name for imperial topaz originated in nineteenth-century Russia. At the time, the Ural Mountains were topaz’s leading source, and the pink gemstone mined there was named to honor the Russian czar. Ownership of the gem was restricted to the royal family. Today, topaz sources include Ouro Prêto, Brazil, and Russia's Ural Mountains. - GIA

The state gem of Texas, topaz is also found just a stone’s throw from the fail studio.

Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

In the metaphysical world, citrine is known for manifestation, imagination, and personal will. Its frequency awakens creativity and imagination, and sustains the process of making dreams and wishes come true. With its pure yellow energy, citrine encourages fullness of life, fresh beginnings and new pursuits. Natural Citrine does not hold or accumulate negative energy, but rather transmutes, dissipates, and grounds it, making it extremely protective for the environment. It works out problems on both the physical and subtle levels, transforming negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones. It is one of only two crystals that never needs to be cleared or cleansed.

For thousands of years the mere mention of Topaz has conjured thoughts of opulence and luxury, influence and generosity, vibrancy and strength. It brings true love and fidelity, friendship, and a gentle nature, bestowing the gifts of courage and wisdom, and success. Its energy, harnessed from the sun, transcends both time and space, and is one of the most loving, beneficial crystals. It brings solid, lasting energy, joy, generosity and abundance. - Crystal Vaults

Birthstones: October - Opal

 

Illustration: Hot Shoe Prints

In October, you actually get to choose between two stones, Opal and Tourmaline. According to legend, both of October’s birthstones came to earth through a journey involving rainbows, which is quite fitting given that opal refracts light into rainbow-like colors, and tourmaline comes in all of the colors of the rainbow.  Since Opal has been EVERYWHERE lately, I decided to dig a little deeper and focus on its properties and lore today. - American Gem Society

Identification

Color - Opals are often referred to by their background “body color”—black or white but are characterized by their "play of light".  Opals are composed of microscopic silica spheres that diffract light to display various colors of the rainbow. These flashy gems are called “precious opals;” those without play-of-color are “common opals.”

Mohs Hardness - 5.5 - 6.6

History

Throughout most of history, opal has been regarded as the luckiest and most magical of all gems because it can show all colors. The Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all and the Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. - GIA

    Opal’s classic country of origin is Australia. Seasonal rains soaked the parched outback, carrying silica deposits underground into cracks between layers of rock. When the water evaporated, these deposits formed opal. Sometimes, silica seeped into spaces around wood, seashells and skeletons, resulting in opalized fossils.

    Since opal was discovered in Australia around 1850, the country has produced 95 percent of the world’s supply. Opal is also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho. - American Gem Society

    Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

    In the metaphysical world, Opal acts as a prism within the aura, bringing a full spectrum of Light energy to the system, soothing and clearing the emotional body, and boosting the will to live and the joy of one’s earthly existence. It enkindles optimism, enthusiasm and creativity, and allows for the release of inhibitions inspiring love and passion. Opal enhances cosmic consciousness and stimulates flashes of intuition and insight, yet is a protective stone for deep inner work, meditations, and lower world shamanic journeys. - Crystal Vaults

    Opal is a stone of inspiration which enhances imagination and creativity. It can bring inspiration to projects and to life and Spirit. Its own spirit is at times like that of a child spontaneously playing, dashing color where ever it  pleases. Carrying this imaginative spontaneity into the realm of you life can bring strong creativity.

    Opal has a larger proportion of water in it than most stones and is considered a water stone. This can help ease the effort of handling change in life. Like water rolls over and past rocks and roots in its way, the energy of opal can help continue on your path regardless of obstacles. During times of transformation, this  is an invaluable energy to work with and hold close to your heart. - Crystal Meanings

     

    Birthstones: August - Peridot

    Illustration: Elisa Werbler

    Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.  - American Gem Society

    Identification

    Color - The color range for peridot is narrow, from a brown-green color to yellowish green to pure green. Yellowish green is the most common peridot color seen in jewelry. - GIA

    Mohs Hardness - 6.5 to 7

    History

    The word peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat,” which means “gem.” Most peridot formed deep inside the earth and was delivered to the surface by volcanoes. Some also came to earth in meteorites, but this extraterrestrial peridot is extremely rare, and not likely to be seen in a retail jewelry store.

    Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might actually have been peridot. People in medieval times continued to confuse peridot with emerald. For centuries, people believed the fabulous 200-ct. gems adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were emeralds. They are, in fact, peridots. - GIA

    Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

    Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine. Its chemical composition includes iron and magnesium, and iron is the cause of its attractive yellowish green colors. The gem often occurs in volcanic rocks called basalts, which are rich in these two elements - GIA

    The lime, green, gentle Peridot gem, the August birthstone is associated with less tangible qualities of peace, good fortune and happiness. The mellow glow of the Peridot, a soft, light green under the starlit sky or lantern has earned this lovely gemstone the title ‘The Evening Emerald’. The august birthstone is associated with prosperity, growth, dignity and love. It is also believed that the stone has the power to ward away Evil and nightmares, bestowing peace and progress in one’s life. - Birthstone Zodiac




    Birthstone: July - Ruby

    illustration: Dream Marginalia

    "Rubies arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love." - American Gem Society

    In honor of the July birthstone, we’re looking into the qualities of the ruby.

    Identification

    Color: “In its purest form, the mineral corundum is colorless. Trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure cause variations in its color. Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red, which ranges from an orangy red to a purplish red.

    The strength of ruby’s red depends on how much chromium is present—the more chromium, the stronger the red color. Chromium can also cause fluorescence, which adds to the intensity of the red color.” - GIA

    Mohs Hardness: 9.0 Mohs

    History

    “Ruby is one of the most historically significant colored stones. Rubies are mentioned four times in the Bible, in association with attributes like beauty and wisdom. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones".

    Ruby has accumulated a host of legends over the centuries. People in India believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with their enemies. In Burma (a ruby source since at least 600 AD—now called Myanmar), warriors possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle. However, it wasn’t enough to just wear the rubies. They had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies.” - GIA

    Possessing a ruby was considered to be beneficial to the owner’s lands and estates, aiding in the accumulation of wealth, protection of holdings and acquisition of other precious stones.

    Some other talismanic properties assigned this stone had to do with protection. If worn on the left, (the side of the heart,) this blood colored stone was thought to allow the owner/wearer to live in peace and concord with all men, that neither his land nor rank would be taken from him, and that he would be preserved from all perils. Not only this, but the stone would also guard his house, orchards and vineyards from storms.” - Gem Society

    Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

    Physically, rubies are thought to energize and balance, stimulate heart chakra and encourage a passion for life, but never in a self destructive way.

    Emotionally, it is believed that rubies improve motivation and the setting of goals. They promote positive dreams and clear visualization and aid in retaining wealth and passion. They bring up negative anger in order for change and removal. They also promote dynamic leadership. They bring a positive and courageous state of mind- one that is sharp, hyper aware and concentrated.” - Jewels for Me







    Birthstones: June - Pearl

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/266126149/pearl-printable-85-x-11-nature-art-print?ref=shop_home_feat_1

    “For centuries, pearls have been a symbol of beauty and purity. Today, they are regarded as both classic and contemporary, coming in many more fashionable styles than your grandmother’s traditional strand of pearls.” - American Gem Society

    In honor of the June birthstone, we’re diving into the qualities of the pearl.  

    Identification

    Color: Pearls can occur in a wide variety of colors with the most familiar being white and cream. Black, gray, and silver are also fairly common, but the palette of pearl colors extends to every hue. The main color, or bodycolor, is often modified by additional colors called overtones, which are typically pink (sometimes called rosé), green, purple, or blue. Some pearls also show the iridescent phenomenon known as orient. - GIA

    Mohs Hardness: 2.5-4

    History

    People have coveted natural pearls as symbols of wealth and status for thousands of years. A Chinese historian recorded the oldest written mention of natural pearls in 2206 BC. As the centuries progressed toward modern times, desire for natural pearls remained strong. Members of royal families as well as wealthy citizens in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere treasured natural pearls and passed them from generation to generation. - GIA

    The most historically important source for fine natural pearls is the Persian Gulf, where pearl oysters were once found in great abundance off the coast and islands of present day Bahrain. The creamy white pearls from these oysters are still considered the finest natural pearls in the world and command premium prices. - Department of Geological Sciences at UT Austin

    The first steps toward pearl culturing occurred hundreds of years ago in China, and Japanese pioneers successfully produced whole cultured pearls around the beginning of the twentieth century. These became commercially important in the 1920s (about the same time natural pearl production began to decline). From the 1930s through the 1980s, pearl culturing diversified and spread to various countries around the world. GIA

    Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

    Pearl is a mixture of mineral and organic material formed with the soft living tissue of a shelled mollusk. Chemically pearls are made of calcium carbonate (mainly aragonite or a mixture of aragonite and calcite). - Gemdat

    There are four major types of cultured whole pearls: Akoya, South Sea, Tahitian and Freshwater.  - GIA

    Pearls have been used throughout medical history to help treat disorders of the digestive tract, muscular systems and the skin. They also are said to give the wearer a sense of calmness and centeredness and can especially enhance personal integrity. - Pearls International

    Birthstones: May- Emerald

    illustration: Dream Marginalia
     
    As the birthstone for May, the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth.  American Gem Society
      
    In honor of the May birthstone, we’re diving into the qualities of the emerald (My personal favorite!!!!)

     Identification

    Color: Emeralds occur in hues ranging from yellow-green to blue-green, with the primary hue necessarily being green. Yellow and blue are the normal secondary hues found in emeralds. Only gems that are medium to dark in tone are considered emerald; light-toned gems are known instead by the species name green beryl. The finest emerald are approximately 75% tone on a scale where 0% tone would be colorless and 100% would be opaque black. In addition, a fine stone should be well saturated; the hue of an emerald should be bright (vivid). - 

    The first known emerald mines were in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC into the 1700s. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald, and used it in her royal adornments.

    Mohs Hardness: 7.5-8 Mohs

    History

    Emerald has been a source of fascination and reverence in many cultures for over six thousand years, sold in the markets of Babylon as early as 4,000 B.C. It was a stone worshipped by the Incas, believed by the Chaldeans to contain a goddess, and was highly honored in all major religions for its spiritual power and beauty. Emerald was considered a symbol of eternal life in ancient Egypt, a gift of Thoth, the god of wisdom, and was a favorite jewel of Queen Cleopatra. The Emerald mines in Upper Egypt, rediscovered a hundred years ago, are some of the oldest in the world and were called Cleopatra’s mines for her love of the stone. Emeralds were also talismans of Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, and the moguls of India. They’ve adorned the crowns and royal jewels of many countries for centuries, and fabulous collections and stunning gems continue to be treasured and displayed by the rich and famous today. – Crystal Vaults

    Legends endowed the wearer with the ability to foresee the future when emerald was placed under the tongue, as well as to reveal truth and be protected against evil spells. Emerald was once also believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. Wearing an emerald was believed to reveal the truth or falseness of a lover’s oath as well as make one an eloquent speaker. – GIA

    Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties

    In every language, there were reports of the emerald helping eyesight. Additionally, the emerald’s healing powers have been associated with the skeletal system, the flesh and skin, the cardiovascular system, the adrenal glands, the kidneys, liver and intestinal system. The stone is also considered to be very cleansing and prevents infection and diseases

    Emerald is an excellent stone for reviving passion, whether for an interest, a person, or a job.  In addition, it is believed that wearing an Emerald improves one’s memory and intelligence, enabling one to think clearly about the past, present, and future.

    Emeralds are said to detoxify negativity and transform it into positive emotional energy, and are known to be calming and balancing, promoting creativity and eloquence and restoring faith and hope. – Jewels For Me