June birthstone: Pearl

pearls
For info, click on…

http://www.gia.edu/pearl

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May Birthstone: Emerald

 

Emerald is the green to greenish blue variety of beryl, a mineral species that also includes aquamarine as well as beryls in other colors.

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Gem experts differ on the degree of green that makes one stone an emerald and another stone a less-expensive green beryl. Some people in the trade tend to give the name emerald to any green beryl colored by chromium. But to most gemologists, gemological laboratories, and colored stone dealers, it is more correct to call a stone green beryl when its color is “too light” for it to be classified as emerald. Even among that group, however, there’s a difference of opinion about what’s considered “too light.”

rough emeralds

GIA uses lab-graded comparison stones to determine if the green color is dark enough and saturated enough to be called emerald.

round emerald ring

For more info on Emerald, visit  https://www.gia.edu/emerald#

 

 

April Birthstone: Diamond

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A diamond is a stone that truly states, “I love you” in a deep way. In fact, you’ve probably heard the slogan many times that “a diamond is forever.” This is because of the stone’s symbol of deep, everlasting love, as well as the fact that it’s the hardest substance known on earth.The diamond is also the stone that marks the 60th anniversary of marriage, and is the birthstone for the month of April. It is believed that the first diamonds were discovered in India. In Ancient India, people viewed diamonds as religious icons.
Australia-origin-of-diamond.jpg Going back to early history, diamonds were always used to engrave tools because of their hardness. Diamonds have been found all over the world on all continents. In 600 AD, diamonds were found in Borneo, an island located north of Australia. In the 1700’s, Brazil was a rich source of diamonds, and in the 1800’s, South Africa was known for their large supply of diamonds. Since the 1970’s, Australia has been a large source for the precious stones.
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Ancient Greeks named the diamond “adamas,” meaning “invincible,” “indestructible,” “proper,” and “untamed.” Warriors in ancient Greece wore diamonds as the stones were thought to strengthen the warriors’ muscles and bring them invincibility. The power, hardness and beauty of the diamond have been prized throughout history in many civilizations. The famous Persian poet Hafiz remarked that, “the rainbow is confined in a diamond forever”. In antiquity, a diamond was always thought to be a symbol of innocence and purity. Ancient Greeks thought that diamonds represented the tears of weeping gods. Ancient Romans thought diamonds were considered to be parts of the outer rings of stars, which had fallen to the earth.

diamond-history-napolean-strength.jpg Almost every civilization has some kind of lore on the diamond. Every civilization’s lore however, shares one theme- that the diamond symbolizes all forces necessary for a healthy society, and that it brings its wearer great strength. The diamond was always considered a stone of winners. In fact, it was the talisman of Julius Caesar, Louis IV and Napoleon.
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The Renaissance Period was the first point in time when diamonds were used as engagement rings. They were thought to be a special gift, which represented the very ultimate gift of love. In 1477, this trend was started when Archduke Maximillian gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond engagement ring. This was a trend that was only popular among royalty and the very wealthy.

diamonds-facts-jewelry-rings.jpg Giving a diamond as an engagement ring did not actually become a standard until the De Beers marketing campaign started, during the 20th Century. Today, the primary use of diamonds is no longer for carving or protection during battles. They are now used for adornment because of the their sheer beauty- their dispersion of white light into many different beautiful colors, and their brilliance and indestructibility. Gemologists now rate diamonds based upon what is called “the 4 C’s,” referring to carat, cut, color, and clarity.
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“Carat” refers to the weight of the diamond. “Cut” refers to the brilliance of the stone, as the way it is cut determines how much brilliance a diamond will have. “Clarity” refers to the natural blemishes found inside diamonds (and remember, a flawless diamond is extremely rare). Finally, “color” is the last important factor when choosing a diamond. The highest color ranking for a diamond represents a completely clear and colorless stone.

Physical Properties and Science of Diamond

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As the hardest mineral in existence, a diamond is highly regarded for its beauty and ability to reflect light in an extremely dazzling way. Diamonds display a large amount of brilliance and fire, meaning they sparkle a lot, and always retain a freshly polished look.Created out of pure carbon, the carbon atoms within diamonds are bonded very strongly, which makes for the hardness and strength of the stone. Diamonds are the hardest known substances.

durability-diamond-jewelry-birthstone.jpg Because of the strength of this carbon bonding, diamonds rate a 10 on the Mohs scale- meaning they are as hard as a stone could possibly be. Since antiquity, it has been known that diamonds are the hardest stone. Because of this, the hardest diamonds can only be scratched with other diamonds. Also because of their hardness, not too much care is needed to keep your diamond looking new. It keeps a polish for a very long time and is therefore suitable for everyday wear. Other chemicals cannot affect diamonds, because they are the most durable and inert material.
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In their most natural form, diamonds are clear, but because of impurities of light elements, such as nitrogen, diamonds can also be found in colors such as orange, green, blue, pink, black, yellow, orange, green, red, and brown.

diamond-light-refraction-facts.jpg The brilliance of a diamonds comes from a combination of reflection, dispersion, and refraction. A ray of light first passes through a diamond and is then bent, or refracted. Then, this bent ray is reflected through a facet at the bottom of the stone and through the top of the stone. When refraction occurs, each ray is bent at a slightly different angle, which is referred to as dispersion. Of all gems, diamonds have the highest index of refraction.
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The most popular cut of diamond is called a brilliant cut, a cut where numerous facets are placed so the most rays of light will reflect through them. This cut is determined by mathematical and empirical analysis. A Brilliant cut does not refer to the shape of the actual stone, but the proportion and symmetry of the diamond.

 

For more info on diamonds, click on: https://www.gia.edu/diamond

March birthstone: Aquamarine

aquamarine crystal

If you were born in March, you’re lucky enough to have aquamarine as your birthstone. Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family, which also includes emerald. Aquamarine exists in many different shades, from pale blue to greenish-blue shades. Deeper colored aquamarine stones have the highest value, and connoisseurs typically prefer a pure blue stone with no green or gray in it. However, aquamarine is stunning regardless of the shade.  aqua ring

Characteristics of Aquamarine

Aquamarine is unique in that it never has inclusions, meaning that it’s flawless. In very rare cases, the stone will have inclusions that are only visible through magnification. Aquamarine stones are available in various shapes similar to diamonds but is often found in oval or emerald shapes.

Aquamarines vary in color from pale blue to greenish-blue. The varying intensity of the color is due to the quantities of iron in the beryl crystal. Naturally occurring deep blue aquamarine stones are rare, expensive, and in high demand. Aquamarine with a greenish color is often heated to remove the yellow component of the color. You can still find aquamarine that’s greenish in color, and these stones will be less expensive than aquamarine that has more blue to it. The icy blue color of aquamarine is flattering to a variety of skin tones, making this stone a timeless classic in the gem world.

Where Aquamarine is mined

Aquamarine is mined in Nigeria, Zambia, Pakistan, Brazil, Mozambique, and Madagascar. The largest source of aquamarine is Brazil.

Cleaning and care

Aquamarine has a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, meaning that it is a durable gemstone that’s perfect for everyday wear. Heat exposure is not recommended for aquamarine, but the color will remain the same even when exposed to light. To clean your aquamarine jewelry, use mild dish soap and a toothbrush to clean behind the stone where dust can collect. Cleaning aquamarine using ultrasonic and steam cleaners is usually safe unless the stone has liquid includes or fractures. This is rare, but if your aquamarine stone has fractures, you should only clean the stone using warm, soapy water.

* For more info on aquamarine..visit https://www.gia.edu/aquamarine

February Birthstone: Amethyst

Amethyst was as expensive as ruby and emerald until the 19th Century, when Brazil’s large deposits were discovered. It was believed to prevent intoxication—amethystos means “not drunk” in ancient Greek. Today, as the most valued quartz variety, amethyst is in demand for designer pieces and mass-market jewelry alike, and its purple to pastel hues retain wide consumer appeal.

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Amethyst is the purple variety of the quartz mineral species. It’s the gem that’s most commonly associated with the color purple, even though there are other purple gems such as sapphire and tanzanite. Its purple color can be cool and bluish, or a reddish purple that’s sometimes referred to as “raspberry.”

Amethyst’s purple color can range from a light lilac to a deep, intense royal purple, and from brownish to vivid. Amethyst also commonly shows what is called color zoning, which in the case of amethyst usually consists of angular zones of darker to lighter color.

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Amethyst is the birthstone for February and the gem for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.

https://www.gia.edu/amethyst

January Birthstone: Garnet

Wide Variety of Garnets

Most people do not realize garnets come in a wide variety of gem types and colors, with many cutting options.
Garnets are a set of closely related minerals that form a group, resulting in gemstones in almost every color. Red garnets have a long history, but modern gem buyers can pick from a rich palette of garnet colors: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, and even some blues.

Red garnet is one of the most common and widespread of gems, found in metamorphic rocks (which are rocks altered by heat and pressure) on every continent. But not all garnets are as abundant as the red ones. A green garnet, tsavorite, also occurs in metamorphic rocks, but it’s rarer because it needs unusual rock chemistries and special conditions to form.

Demantoid is a rare and famous green garnet, spessartine (also called spessarite) is an orange garnet, and rhodolite is a beautiful purple-red garnet. Garnets can even exhibit the color-change phenomenon similar to the rare gemstone alexandrite.

All garnets have essentially the same crystal structure, but they vary in chemical composition. There are more than twenty garnet categories, called species, but only five are commercially important as gems. Those five are pyrope, almandine (also called almandite), spessartine, grossular (grossularite), and andradite. A sixth, uvarovite, is a green garnet that usually occurs as crystals too small to cut. It’s sometimes set as clusters in jewelry. Many garnets are chemical mixtures of two or more garnet species.

Understanding Group, Species, and Variety Chart

Garnets are a group of closely related mineral species with many different color varieties.
For more info on Garnet, please click on link:
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