Birthstones of the Month
January - Garnet
This gem comes in every color except blue, and its green hue is nearly impossible to find over one carat. Garnets are usually carried as an amulet to avoid accidents during travel. The Asiatic and South West Indians used them as bullets while the Persians regarded them as royal gems. The red garnet is believed to relieve fever and the yellow garnet to cure jaundice.
February - Amethyst
There are many shades of this purple crystalline quartz. The amethyst was originally thought to ward off drunkenness. Those who wore the stone believed they could keep and project a serious and sober mind no matter how abundant the wine flowed. Amethysts have distinctive inclusions that resemble tiger stripes or individual thumbprints making each stone as individual as its owner. Amethyst has a calming and soothing effect on its wearer.
March - Aquamarine
From the Latin word meaning seawater, aquamarines have been most preferred in the sea-green hue. However, after the nineteenth century, the color of choice became the sky and dark blues. To enhance the color, most of these stones have been heat-treated. However, too much heat can cause the stone to become colorless. Though the best gem quality aquamarines are found in Russia, Afghanistan, and India, Brazil has offered up the supreme choices in these gems- including a 243-pound aquamarine found in 1910. The American museum now carries a 13-pound chunk of this stone.
April - Diamond
The hardest of all stones, the diamond is also considered the most valuable. Formed under high pressure and over fifty miles underground, the diamond comes in a variety of colors. Though clear is the most popular, diamonds can also be found in yellow, brown, green, blue, pink, red, gray, and black. Western civilizations believed the diamond could bring courage, fortitude, superior strength, and marital happiness. No wonder the diamond is a girl's best friend!
May - Emerald
Throughout history, as far back as 4,000 B.C., emeralds have been viewed as one of the most coveted gemstones in the world. First traded in the Babylonian gem market and mined in ancient Egypt near the Red Sea, gem quality emeralds are rare; they can be considered just as much, if not more valuable than diamonds. It is said Nero used giant emeralds as sunglasses to watch the chariot races. Emeralds are believed to help women in the ills of childbirth as well as increase fortune.
June - Pearl
Once believed to be tears of the Gods, pearls are actually formed in shellfish as a natural defense against irritants. Secretions known as nacre are built up around the irritant- usually grit- and eventually form a solid pearl. They come in a variety of colors, white, pink, brown, or black, depending on the shellfish and the water.