Archive for the ‘Birthstone of the month’ Category

Blue Rondo a la Turque – December – Turquoise

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Turquoise is a blue-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium. The name derives from the French turques as the gemstone mined in Persia was imported to Europe through Turkey. It was known to the Aztecs as chalchihuitl.

Persian sky-blue turquoise was highly valued for more than 2000 years, and primarily mined in the area around the mountain peak of Neyshabur. The Southwest of the USA was an important source, mainly from Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. It was mined from pre-Columbian times by First Nation peoples, and has been used extensively by Navajo, Zuni and Hopi jewellers up to the present day.

China, Afghanistan, and Northern India have all been sources of turquoise. It has been seen as a holy stone and good luck amulet. In Ancient Egypt it accompanied the dead inlaid in grave goods , and in Persia the brightest blue gemstones were believed to be protective against untimely death.


Above left to right: Ram Rijal 22ct gold and turquoise ring; Lithos pendant of turquoise and 18ct gold set with blue topaz  and 18ct gold, turquoise  and diamond ring. From a selection at Talisman Gallery Harvey Nichols

Jupiter Dreaming-November-Topaz

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Topaz is a silicate mineral; iron and chrome give this gemstone its colours, ranging through yellow, red- brown, light blue, pink-red, red-violet and light green. Read more . . .

Faithfully Yours – Sapphire — September

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Sapphire is derived from the Greek sappheiros or ‘blue stone’ and is the gemstone variety of the mineral corundum. Read more . . .

Meteorites from the Moon – Peridot – August

Monday, August 1st, 2011

The origin of the name peridot is uncertain, but possibly comes from the Anglo-Norman pedoretés meaning a kind of opal. It is one of the few gemstones occurring in a single colour – a khaki-ish green.Depending on the the amount of iron in the structure, the intensity of colour means that individual stones vary from yellow to brown on the green spectrum. Read more . . .

King of Gems and Gem of Kings – Ruby-July

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

“The price of wisdom is above rubies.”  This Old Testament quote suggests how highly valued the gemstone has been since antiquity. The name is derived from ’ruber’ - the Latin for red. Like sapphires, the ruby is a corundum gemstone and is the second hardest after diamonds.

The colours range from pink to the deepest red  with a hint of blue known as ‘pigeon’s blood.’ Deposits are found in Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Tanzania.

Ruby is the stone of prophecy, thought to darken when warning of danger. It was believed to be an antidote to snake venom, and to heal diseases of the blood. Rubies were royal gemstones, conferring high status, as they were so rare and valuable.

Call Talisman Gallery in Harvey Nichols for prices of ruby jewellery in stock at the moment.

The Queen of Gems and Gem of Queens – Pearl – June

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The Italian film director Federico Fellini said “All art is autobiographical, as the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” The pearl is also known as the queen of gems, and the gem of queens. Read more . . .

Green with Envy- Emerald – May

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Emerald is derived from the French ‘Esmeraude’ meaning green, the Latin ‘Smaragdus’ and Hebrew, Greek and Turkish words for lightning. The most important deposits of this beryl gemstone are found in Colombia and were originally mined by the Incas, but are still being worked today. Brazil is now one of the most important suppliers of fire coloured stones.

Africa (especially South Africa) is a new source of emeralds today where Gemfields is an important mining company. Emeralds are also mined in Russia, Pakistan, India and Australia. Some amazing examples are to be found in the Topkapi Palace Treasury in Istanbul, especially in the hilts of swords and daggers.

Cleopatra wore emeralds from mines worked in Ancient Egypt, and they were given as gifts, often engraved with her portrait. Many ancient cultures believed emeralds endowed their wearers with good fortune, well-being and good health. The Emerald City in Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz books was constructed from emerald gemstones and green glass, and the inhabitants wore green eye glasses. In antiquity, statues were often given emerald eyes in the belief that this was an amulet protecting sight.

The mother of heiress and writer Nancy Cunard changed her name from Maud to Emerald.


Left to right: Talisman Gallery emerald bead necklace (£2,750) Jordan Schlanger 18ct gold and emerald ‘dot’ earrings (£1,195) Natasha Dahlberg emerald bead  and 18ct gold charm necklace(£3,300)

ring-1Ram Rijal cabochon emerald and 22ct gold ring £3,500

All these beautiful emeralds are currently available at Talisman Gallery’s store in Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge.

A Slice-of-Diamond-Life – April

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Before the 1850s, the world’s diamond supplies came from India. These gemstones were found in riverbeds rather than mined underground, and are known as alluvial diamonds.

The word ‘diamond’ derives from the Greek, meaning ‘unconquerable’ or ‘untamable’ and suggests the gemstone’s qualities of immense hardness and ability to withstand fire.

In Indian mythology the diamond was worn for protection against poison, illness and numerous other dangers. In Europe in the Middle Ages, kings and nobles wore diamonds in the hilt of their swords or on their armour, believing it made them invincible. In order to offer this talismanic power and protection, however, the diamond must only be given as a gift.

Other suggestions for April birthday gifts from Talisman Gallery are Natasha Dahlberg’s gold and diamond bead necklaces, bracelets and earrings from £800. Audrey Savransky AS29 has designed pavé diamond flower pendants and bracelets from £700 (exclusive to Talisman Gallery London.)

Below: Ram Rijal’s 22ct gold diamond slice rings (from a selection at Talisman Gallery, Harvey Nichols)


A Mermaid’s Treasure – Aquamarine – March

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Aquamarine is a mineral beryl, its name deriving from the latin for ‘water of the sea’. It can be light blue through to dark blue, or an oceanic blue-green. This is a very highly valued and attractive gemstone that suits all skin tones. Read more . . .

A dream of faithful husbands – February – Amethyst

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Amethyst is a macrocrystalline  quartz (ie the crystals can be seen with the naked eye). It is a violet coloured gemstone, sometimes red-violet, and in the best quality examples it is polished and faceted. The name Amethyst is derived from ‘drunken’ in Ancient Greek – and it was worn as an amulet and carved into drinking cups to guard against intoxication. Read more . . .