Archive for the ‘Birthstone of the month’ Category

Blood of Isis and Persephone’s Pomegranate – Garnet – January

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Garnet is a group of minerals with similar crystal structures occurring in different colours. It is believed that the name is derived from the Latin for grain, as the crystals of garnet are a similar size and shape to the seeds of a pomegranate. This connection also leads to an association in Greek mythology with Persephone and her journey between this world and Hades. Read more . . .

The Sky Gem – Turquoise – December

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

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.

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Isle of Serpents, gods of the Sun – Topaz – November

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

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.

In the 18th century the Schneckenstian topaz mine in Saxony was the most famous source of the gemstone, but Brazil is now a major supplier, including the rare and highly sought-after  Imperial topaz. Light blue topaz is even found in the British Isles. Read more . . .

Zeus Wept – Opal – October

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Opal derives from the Latin opalus and possibly  the Sanskrit upala meaning precious stone. It is a mineraloid gel with a high water content. The colour ranges from clear and white through green, blue, yellow, orange and red. Opals have been compared to both fire and rainbows, as they contain such vivid colour, movement and light. Read more . . .

Betty Blue – Sapphire

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Sapphire is derived from the Greek sappheiros or ‘blue stone’ and is the gemstone variety of the mineral corundum. It represents truth, sincerity and faithfulness in relationships. The power of the sapphire reputedly bestows enlightenment and was thought to be an antidote to depression.

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Little green stone from Mars

Monday, August 9th, 2010

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. Read more . . .

A Price Above Rubies : July

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

“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.

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Autobiography of an Oyster: June

Friday, June 4th, 2010

The title refers to a quote from Italian film director, Federico Fellini: “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 Lightning: May

Monday, May 10th, 2010

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. Read more . . .

The Untameable Diamond – April

Friday, April 16th, 2010

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.

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