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E D U C A T I O N   Birthstones << back
-- Anniversary Gemstones
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-- Birthstones
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-- Precious Metals Education
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B I R T H S T O N E S

January - Garnet
Garnet occurs in a variety of colors such as red, orange, purple and green. It is a durable, affordable, beautiful semi-precious gem that is the mainstay of the jewelry industry. Garnet can be faceted, cabochon cut, beaded or carved. Star stones do exist. Rhodolite, a vivid purple-red to purple garnet, is the most expensive of the red garnets. Of the green varieties, Tsavorite has an intense pure green color, while the rarer Demantoid is a vibrant yellow-green color.

February - Amethyst
Amethyst is a variety of Quartz that occurs in varying shades of purple, the deeper the color, the greater the value. It is a soft gemstone that is often faceted, beaded, or cabochon cut for jewelry use. The semi-precious amethyst shares many similarities with its sister stone, citrine, and can occur in a beautiful half amethyst, half citrine form called ametrine.

March - Aquamarine
Aquamarine is the blue gem form of the mineral Beryl. It is a relative of gemstones such as the emerald and morganite. It is a precious gemstone that often displays a pure blue to greenish-blue hue. It is most valuable when it has an absence of green. The word aquamarine literally means seawater. Bloodstone is an alternate birthstone for March.

April - Diamond
Diamond is the most highly sought after gem. It is the hardest mineral on Earth. Diamonds are created by the transformation of carbon due to intense pressure and extreme temperature. They occur in a spectrum of colors from colorless to yellow, green, pink, orange, red, purple, blue, brown and black. However, it is the colorless variety that is the most revered. Diamonds have the greatest brilliance and luster of any gem.

May - Emerald
Emerald is the richly colored green variety of Beryl. It ranges in color from bright clear green to deep bluish-green. A bluish-green color with a lively appearance is the most desirable and valuable. Emeralds are unique in that they are notoriously flawed, and yet they remain a precious gemstone. The "garden effect" of eye visible inclusions is acceptable. Emeralds, while lovely, are brittle and should be worn with care.

June - Pearl
Pearls are an organic gem formed in shellfish, mainly oysters, occasionally mussels and conch. Pearl forms around an irritant whether it be the tiniest piece of grit or an inserted bead, as a natural reaction; the oyster builds up a layer of nacre around the pearl. As the nacre layer grows, so does the pearl. Pearls are grown in both salt and freshwater. Coldwater areas such as Japan produce pearls generally up to 9.00 mm. Warm waters such as around Tahiti grow the large South Sea variety. Pearls are sensitive and must be cared for gently. Alternative birthstones for June include moonstone and alexandrite.

July - Ruby
Ruby is the red variety of Corundum. It is a tough mineral, second only to diamond in hardness. Large rubies are difficult to locate, much more so than diamonds, sapphires and emeralds; their value increases more dramatically than any gem, hence ruby is referred to as the King of Gems. The finest rubies are called Burmese. They are intensely red and are often referred to as being "pigeon's blood" red. Jewelers may claim that a gem is Burmese, but technically, it must be certified by an accredited laboratory such as Gubelin or American Gem Labs (AGL) to bear the title Burmese.

August - Peridot
Peridot is a semi-precious gemstone that occurs in shades of green from clear, watery green to vibrant yellow-green to brownish-green. It was once referred to as the "evening emerald". Due to its abundance, unmistakable color and versatility, it is widely used in the jewelry industry.

September - Sapphire
Corundum that occurs in colors other than red is called sapphire. The various colors such as yellow, orange, blue, green, pink and purple are all colored by different elements. Like their ruby counterpart, sapphires are a tough mineral, second only to diamond in hardness. Blue is the most popular color. Kashmir is the most valuable of sapphires. It possesses a rich velvety-blue appearance. Colorless sapphire is often used as a more affordable diamond substitute.

October - Opal or Pink Tourmaline
Opal consists of hardened silica combined with water. It is a delicate gemstone that has a tendency to dry out or crack over time. Opal occurs in many different colors including white, orange, gray and black. An opal's internal structure determines the opalescence, "rainbow" or play-of-color; based upon the individual silica spheres alignment. Opals are unique in that their play-of-color changes as the light strikes; shades of yellow, orange, red, blue and green dazzle the eye. Of them, red is the most valuable. As for body color, black is highly prized, followed by crystal, white and milky opals. Boulder opal is a particular variety consisting of a slice of opal with its natural matrix rock attached. Fire Opal is a vivid orange with no play of color. The various play-of-color patterns have their own value scale as well. Pink Tourmaline is an alternate October birthstone.

November - Citrine or Golden Topaz
Citrine is a semi-precious gemstone that is the golden yellow variety of Quartz. Citrine shares many similarities with its sister stone, amethyst, and can occur in a beautiful half amethyst, half citrine form called ametrine. In its most valuable form, madeira citrine, the gemstone has a rich burnt orange or brandy color. Due to its abundance and versatility, citrine is widely used in the jewelry industry.

Topaz is a semi-precious gemstone that occurs in a wide spectrum of colors, such as yellow, blue, brown, pink, green and a colorless variety. Pink is the most valuable color. Blue topaz is a popular gemstone in its own right, but is also recognized as an affordable alternative to zircon, December's birthstone. Colorless topaz is utilized as a diamond substitute. Golden topaz is the traditional birthstone for November; however, many substitute citrine as a more affordable option.

December - Blue Topaz or Zircon
Blue topaz is a popular gemstone in its own right, but is also recognized as an affordable alternative to zircon, December's birthstone. Topaz is a semi-precious gemstone that occurs in a wide spectrum of colors, such as yellow, blue, brown, pink, green and a colorless variety. In its golden form, it is recognized as the traditional birthstone for November.

Zircon occurs in a variety of colors, such as blue, green, brown, orange and colorless. It is a transparent gemstone with a high degree of brilliance, much akin to diamond. Blue zircon is the most sought after color. Zircon is the traditional birthstone for December; however there are two other birthstone options; blue topaz, is more affordable and readily available, or turquoise, the historical birthstone for December.




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