Gemstones 2017-09-23T07:12:10+00:00

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  • [toggle type=”white” open=”true” title=”Alexandrite – June Birthstone”]
    06 – June Birthstone

    Alexandrite

    Another of June’s birthstones is the Alexandrite. The stone is named after Prince Alexander of Russia (which is why the “A” in Alexandrite is capitalized), who was to later become Czar Alexander II in 1855). Discovered in 1839 on the day of the prince’s birthday, Alexandrite was found in an emerald mine in the Ural Mountains of Russia. Because it is a relatively recent discovery, there has been little time for myth and superstition to build around this unusual stone. In Russia, the stone was also popular because it reflected the Russian national colors, green and red, and was believed to bring good luck. The Alexandrite possesses an enchanting chameleon-like personality. In daylight, it appears as a beautiful green, sometimes with a bluish cast or with a brownish tint. However, under artificial lighting, the stone turns reddish-violet or violet. Alexandrite belongs to the chrysoberyl family, a mineral called beryllium aluminum oxide in chemistry jargon, that contains the elements beryllium, aluminum and oxygen. This is a hard mineral, only surpassed in hardness by diamonds and corundum (sapphires and rubies). The unusual colors in Alexandrite are attributed to the presence of chromium in the mineral. Chrysoberyl is found to crystallize in pegmatites (very coarse-grained igneous rock, crystallized from magma) rich in beryllium. They are also found in alluvial deposits, weathered pegmatites containing the gemstones that are carried by rivers and streams. Alexandrite is an uncommon stone, and therefore very expensive. Sri Lanka is the main source of Alexandrite today, and the stones have also been found in Brazil, Malagasy, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Burma. Synthetic Alexandrite, resembling a reddish-hued amethyst with a tinge of green, has been manufactured but the color change seen from natural to artificial lighting cannot be reproduced. Such stones have met with only marginal market success in the United States. [/toggle]

  • [toggle type=”white” title=”Amethyst – February Birthstone”]
    02 – February Birthstone

    Amethyst

    The Ancient Greeks believed that whomever wore this gemstone would be protected from the intoxicating effects of wine and the name is derived from the Greek word “amethustos” meaning, “not drunk”. Amethyst, the birthstone for February, is a variety of quartz and occurs in transparent light to dark purple. It has long been treasured by kings, queens and religious figures, dating back to the Minoan period (c. 2500 B.C.), because of its rich, royal color. Amethyst was a favorite of the Art Nouveau craftsmen of the 1920’s and is still a favorite of some of the most creative jewelry designers of today. The most notable reason for their popularity in jewelry design has been the wide availability and reasonable price. The two main sources of amethyst are Brazil and Zambia, although other deposits have been found in Russia, Sri-Lanka, Mexico, and Arizona.

    Enhancements – The scarcity of fine amethyst in recent years has prompted the production of a manmade synthetic making its way into the market. Darker hues of amethyst are rarely enhanced to perfect their color, although some varieties do respond well to heat treatment. Brownish varieties, when heated, magically turn into the bright yellow or orange colors known as citrine. This enhancement method is permanent and will last the lifetime of the gemstone. [/toggle]

  • [toggle type=”white” title=”Aquamarine – March Birthstone”]
    03 – March Birthstone

    Aquamarine

    Latin for seawater, this beautiful gemstone inspires visions of the transparent azure blue waters of the Caribbean. Aquamarine is identifiable by its flawless crystallization and greenish-blue color, just like the Caribbean water that is so clear that you can see through the surface to the sand below. As the birthstone for March, aquamarine differs greatly from its most famous relative, emerald. Both are from the gemstone group known as beryl. However, while emeralds are almost always imperfect (having visible inclusions) aquamarines are almost always flawless (no visible inclusions under