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January’s Birthstone (Garnet)

Derived from the Latin word granatum, meaning pomegranate, as garnet crystals closely resemble the ruby coloured seeds found inside the fruit. They are found throughout the whole globe, from South America to Africa, to Southeast Asia, Russia and even Spain.
It is a very durable gem, with remnants of it having been found as far back as the Bronze Age. It was used by the Egyptians as inlays in their jewellery and carvings, because they believed it was a symbol of life.
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Popular through centuries and with an extensive
folklore, the legend of garnet says it brings peace, prosperity and good health. It is also the symbol of a long, lasting friendship.
This precious stone comes in a beautiful rainbow of colours, even though they are commonly associated with a wide range of reds. You can find this stone in deep oranges, red with purple undertones, blue, yellow and intense green.
The green version of this gem is called Tsavorite and it is so rare it has become highly valuable.

Certain varieties of garnet will change
colour depending on the light they are exposed to. Some will go from green, blue, beige and brown in daylight to hues of purple, red or pink under incandescent light. This is a common trait on the Madagascan blue garnet, which presents itself as a stunning greenish blue gem in daylight, to turn to an intense purple with crushed velvet red undertones under incandescent light, thanks to the high contents of the metal Vanadium.

Almandine garnet is one of the hardest minerals in the world, ranking between 7.5 and 8.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (where diamonds, which serve as the benchmark for hardness, rank as a 10. This means it is an excellent abrasive, ideal for many industrial applications including water-jet cutting and abrasive blasting.
This beautiful stone is perfect for those who share a January Birthday and also all those who wish to start the New Year with a sense of goodwill, happiness and purpose.

February’s Birthstone (Amethyst)

February is the month of love, the month of passion and drama and, if you are lucky enough, it is the month of your birthday. Fittingly the stunning amethyst is the stone to adorn those born in this short month. Going from refreshing lilac to ripe plum, amethyst demonstrates the drama and excitement of the colour purple.
There is so much mythology in all parts of the world regarding this precious stone, and throughout centuries it has been regarded as one of the most precious gemstones, hugely favoured by monarchy and clergy as a symbol of the deity of Christ.
For many years it was held in the same regard as the diamond, and not until the discovery of bigger amethyst supplies could it be enjoyed by all and not just the wealthiest.
Many wearers prize the amethyst for its beautiful shades and the way it compliments both warm and cool colours with ease. Since amethyst is relatively plentiful the price in different carat sizes does not rise dramatically, making it a big favourite for statement pieces.
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Like diamonds, you can also look for clarity in an amethyst. Most experts will favour a richly coloured stone with some minor inclusions not visible to the naked eye. The biggest factor in the value of an amethyst is the colour displayed. The highest grade of amethyst is called Deep Russian and it’s exceptionally rare.

This beautiful stone is perfect for those who share a February birthday or anniversary. Celebrating those who are artistic, unique, often very intuitive and deeply interested in spirituality.

March’s Birthstones (Aquamarine)

There are two precious stones for the month of March:
Bloodstone, to remind us of the darkness of winter and Aquamarine, to look forward to the clear sky days soon to arrive.

A variation of the mineral beryl, presenting a dazzling cyan shade, from this beautiful hue of blue to having some stunning green undertones. The green version of this fabulous stone is the well known emerald that we will tell you more about in May.
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The name aquamarina is Latin for water of the sea, and you just need to look at its shade to know why the ancient Romans gave it that name. It was also often used as a wedding gift for the bride, for it symbolised long unity and love. Regardless of how you use aquamarine, with its cool and tranquil colour, this stone perfectly complements any skin tone or setting.
Aquamarine can be judged along the lines of cut, clarity, colour and carat weight, with cut being one of the factors that can greatly affect the colour and hence the price of the stone. Aquamarine can grow to be fairly large, which makes it perfect for statement pieces. Even if you are not looking to invest in the crown jewels range, smaller aquamarines make for wonderful solitaire rings or as companions to other stones in bigger statement pieces.
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Whether to celebrate a birthday or a 19th wedding anniversary, this gemstone is a beautiful way to show appreciation and love.

March’s Birthstones (Bloodstone)

The actual name of this stone is heliotrope, but due to its appearance, a dark green gem speckled with brilliant red spots of iron oxide, it is not a mystery why it has been traditionally called bloodstone
It was used by the Babylonians to make seals and amulets. Known as the martyr stone, the legend tells that it was created when drops of Christ’s blood stained some jasper at the foot of the cross. Ancient cultures believed it had magical properties, with some references to its healing abilities dating back to 5000 BC!
Throughout time it has been so loved for its properties that it has been made into jewellery, signet rings and even small cups and statues. Bloodstone presents a gradient in colour that forms part of its distinctive look and charm. Some stones are more opaque than others and when polished, they sport a beautiful shine and lustre.

Rife with symbolism and positive properties, this stone looks particularly beautiful as a pendant or on a beaded bracelet. Throughout history it has been cherished as an amulet and many still wear it, whether it is their birthstone or not!

April’s Birthstone (Diamond)

From the Greek adamas (which means invincible, or unbreakable) diamonds are a symbol of clarity and strength. Formed deep in the earth under extreme heat and pressure, then forced out of its hiding place by nature or by man, cleaved, cut and polished until its natural beauty shines through. Diamonds have always been admired objects of desire, symbolising since ancient times, love and light.
The love for them began in India, where diamonds could be collected from rivers and streams, but the market for these was limited, with only India’s very wealthy classes being able to afford them. Gradually, this began to change, and diamonds found their way to Western Europe along with other exotic merchandise. By the 1400’s they became very fashionable and desirable accessories between Europe’s elite. When the Indian diamond supplies began to decline after three centuries, Brazil took over as an important source, dominating the market for 150 years. The sources kept changing and the diamond market began its own evolution. After the French Revolution, this luxury was available only to a few select groups of people.
With the discovery of new mines in South Africa in the late 1800’s the market began to be able to meet the huge demand. The mining techniques became more efficient, the marketing improved and the cutting and polishing techniques evolved, enhancing the look of the finished stones. 150 years onwards, diamonds can be sourced from mines all over the world. Very few are able to produce a significant amount of highquality diamonds, increasing the price of any stone that grades highly on the Four C’s of Diamond Quality.

For centuries, diamonds have been regarded as the most precious and sought-after stone. It is the chosen gem for those celebrating 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries, and of course, the diamond engagement ring has become an almost universal symbol of love and marriage.

The ultimate gift, whether April is birth month or not!

The Four C’s of Diamond Quality

Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight.

The Colour, or the lack thereof, an important factor to examine when selecting a diamond. While it is usually difficult to notice the subtle distinctions in colour with the naked eye, the different grades have a significant impact on value and quality. The less body colour a diamond has, the more desirable and rare it becomes. The standard grading system of colour uses a scale that goes from D (colourless) to Z (light colour). Diamonds graded from D to F are the most sought afterr because of their lack of colour. They are truly rare and a real sight to behold, able to make any piece of jewellery look extraordinary.

Clarity: Since diamonds are formed deep in the earth as a result of intense heat and pressure, most diamonds will possess slight imperfections on their surface (blemishes) or inside the diamond (inclusions). These characteristics can be seen as the diamond’s fingerprint or birthmark because they will make each diamond unique and different from the next. The clarity of a diamond refers to the extent that the inclusions affect the appearance of a diamond under a 10x magnification. The diamond clarity scale is segmented in six categories: Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, Slightly included and Included.

Carat Weight: Most people would think of carat and picture the size of the diamond, but this measurement is actually based on weight. Each carat is divided into 100 points to allow the most precise measurement of the diamond. For example, a diamond that weights 0.50 carat would be referred to as “half-carat” or a “fifty pointer’”. Diamonds of equal carat weight may have different costs because of all the other C’s of diamond quality.
The Cut is arguably the most important of the 4 C’s, and has the biggest impact on the beauty and sparkle. It is a very complex aspect, but if cut to exacting proportions, a diamond will sparkle and return light unlike anything else. The grading for this is a ten point scale to grade round brilliant diamonds, with the best grading being excellent, sporting the highest grade of scintillation, brilliance and fire. This exceptional grade represents roughly the top three percent of diamonds.

Fancy colour: Approximately one in every 10,000 diamonds will possess natural colour and can be classified as fancy. The colour of the diamond and the intensity of it make each stone unique and increasingly valuable. Some of our designs feature fancy diamonds.

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Conflict Free and Ethically Sourced Diamonds What is an ethical diamond?

In a nutshell, it means sustainable and ethical mining practices, humanitarian efforts, the safe treatment of miners and more stringent diamond sourcing practices. Ethical practices mean the world to us both here at home and in the places where our materials are sourced. Doing the right thing is a priority at Fultons. It is important for us to know where the materials in our products come from. That is why we only use ethically sourced ore in all the jewellery we make.

May’s Birthstone (Emerald)

“The emerald condenses the green of the meadows and certain aspects of the ocean”
– Charles Blanc

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No wonder it is the stone for the vibrant month of May. When the landscapes have turned to bright green, and the clouds begin to dissipate at the peak of Spring.
Known as the symbol of rebirth and derived from the Greek word smaragdus, which is the name they gave for the colour green.
Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl. Its colour can range from light green to a deep, rich hue of green. The deeper the colour, the more valuable an emerald becomes, with the rarest ones sporting a deep green-blue shade.

The History of emerald mining can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt, having the renowned ruler Cleopatra claiming ownership of all the emerald mines in the kingdom to use the gemstones on her royal adornments. Her love for emeralds shows just how far back the fascination with these beautiful stones goes. The Egyptians were not the only nation to feel enthralled by this stone’s beauty.

Romans associated emeralds with the goddess, Venus, and in Greece, they used it to honour Aphrodite, both for goodness, beauty and fertility. In Columbia the Muzo Indians, the Aztecs and the Incas used them for their rites and as precious god sent stones. They valued them so much it took the Spanish conquistadores twenty years to find the sacred mines.

The fascination with this stone has not disappeared with the years. Even today, emeralds are regarded as a symbol of loyalty, peace and security, making it not only a stunning gem to wear, but also a precious gift to be treasured by the receiver for the meaning it holds.

Most emeralds display occlusions or imperfections, but finding them without is very rare. Dealers tend to reference the internal occlusions as jardin, “garden” in Spanish.
The most important factor to look for when buying emerald, is the colour. Top-quality emeralds can be worth more than diamonds on a per-carat basis.

Emeralds are a traditional gift for 20th, 35th or 55th wedding anniversary, and for all those born in the month of May.

June’s Birthstones (Pearl)

They are the only birthstones made by living creatures.
Molluscs produce them by depositing layers of calcium around microscopic
irritants that get lodged in their cells, not usually grains of sand, as it is commonly believed.
The name pearl comes from the Old French perle, meaning ’leg’ referencing the legof-mutton shape of an open mollusc shell. Since perfectly round, smooth natural pearls are so uncommon, the word ‘’pearl’’ can refer to anything rare and valuable.
The rarest and therefore most expensive pearls are the natural ones made in the wild. The vast majority of pearls sold today are cultured or farmed by implanting a grafted piece of shell (and sometimes a round bead) into pearl oysters or freshwater pearl mussels.

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Pearls are very soft, ranging between 2.5 and 4.5 on the Mohs scale. They are especially sensitive to extreme heat and acidity. The finest pearls have a reflective lustre, making them appear creamy white with an iridescent sheen that casts many colourful hues. Black pearls which are mostly cultured because they are so rare in nature aren’t actually black but rather green, purple, blue or silver. Because natural pearls were so rare throughout history, only the richest could afford them. During the Byzantine Empire, rules dictated that only the emperor was allowed to wear these treasured gemstones. Ancient Egyptians were often buried with their prized pearls.

Tudor England was known as the Pearl Age because of the stone’s popularity with the upper class during the sixteenth century. Portraits showed royals wearing them in jewellery and clothing. Only in the early 1900s, when the first commercial culturing of saltwater pearls began in Asia, did they become more affordable. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market; making this classic gemstone affordable for nearly any budget

As ancient symbols of purity and innocence, pearls are traditionally worn by a bride on her wedding day, making pearl jewellery a great gift to celebrate a bride to be, or a 1st, 3rd, 12th or 30th anniversary!

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June’s Birthstones (Alexandrite)

Alexandrite is a relatively modern gemstone,
being discovered in emerald mines located in the Ural Mountains.
The legend claims that it was discovered on the same day that future Russian Czar Alexander II came of age, so it was given his name to honour him. Often described as ‘’emerald by day, ruby by night’’. Alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes colour from bluish green in daylight, to purplish red under incandescent light. This chameleon like behaviour is the result of its uncommon chemical composition which includes traces of chromium, the same colouring agent found in emerald. The unlikelihood of these elements combining under the right conditions makes alexandrite one of the rarest, expensive gemstones

Alexandrite has a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, making it softer than sapphire and harder than garnet; the other gemstones that can change colour. It is associated with concentration and learning, strengthening intuition, aid creativity and inspire imagination bringing good omens to anyone who wears it.

Natural alexandrite gemstones are now more rare than diamonds. Because it is so scarcely available, fine quality alexandrite is practically unaffordable to the general public, and even the lab-grown version of it can be quite costly since the process is a fairly expensive one.

All of this makes it one of the rarest, and most luxurious birthstones, either for those born in June or for those celebrating a 55th wedding anniversary!

June’s Birthstones (& Moonstone)

Moonstone is part of the mineral family of feldspars
It’s an opalescent stone that can be found in colorless
form as well as peach, pink, green, grey, yellow, brown, and blue. The play of light seen in Moonstone is called adularescence, and its clarity ranges from transparent to opaque. When light is reflected, it touches the multiple, thin feldspar mineral layers present within the gemstone. These layers act like a diffuser by softening the light and cause it to bounce inside the stone, which results in a mesmerising glow.

Moonstone has been used as a beautiful adornment and a powerful talisman since ancient civilizations. The Ancient World admired it, believing it was formed from moonbeams. The Roman natural historian, Pliny, coined the name of this gemstone when he wrote that moonstone’s shimmery appearance shifted with the phases of the moon- a belief that held until well after the sixteenth century.

Florida adopted moonstone as its official state gemstone in 1970 to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing and other space flights that launched from Florida, even though moonstone is not naturally found in Florida or on the moon. Valued for centuries, moonstone is still popular and accessible today. It is the preferred June birthstone over pearl and alexandrite in parts of the world like Germany and Scandinavia.

Whether you are celebrating a June birthday or anniversary, moonstone truly makes a luminous gift!

July’s Birthstone (Ruby)

Derived from the Latin word ruber, meaning red,
this coveted gem symbolises passion, protection and prosperity,
and has been revered because of this since ancient times.

Particularly prized in Asian countries, with records suggesting that rubies were traded along China’s North Silk Road as early as 200 B.C. . Chinese noblemen would adorn their armour with rubies because they believed this gem would grant protection, and for good fortune, they buried them beneath building foundations.

In Myanmar (formerly Burma) a significant ruby source since at least 600 AD warriors believed that rubies made them invincible. They even implanted rubies into their skin to grant protection in battle. Myanmar rubies are still some of the most prized of all ruby gems.

Many cultures admired rubies as a symbol of love and passion, qualities that made it the perfect wedding gem before the commercialisation of diamonds. 

Red spinel was assumed to be a ruby until scientists discovered it was a completely different gemstone in the late 18th century! One of the most famous examples of this mistaken identity is the “The Black Prince’s Ruby” a 170-carat irregular spinel bead that has been in the British Royal Family’s possession since 1367.
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Ruby measures 9 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, second only to diamond and matched with sapphire. This makes ruby an extremely hard and durable gemstone.

The most important factor when buying rubies is the colour, with the finest stones having a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red colour. The highest quality rubies have a high-colour saturation.

Whether it’s to celebrate a July birthday, or a 15th or 40th wedding anniversary, this vivid gemstone sure makes an exceptional gift. With its brilliant red hues there is no better stone to represent the vibrancy of life, and the passion of love.

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August’s Birthstones (Peridot)

Peridot is a yellowish green to greenish yellow variety of the mineral olivine. All throughout history, peridot has often been confused with other gems like topaz & emerald. The Red Sea island of Topazios, a purported source of the name topaz actually produced peridot.
The Shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Cologne’s Cathedral is decorated with 200 carats of gems that were believed to be emeralds, but are in fact, peridot. These stones are so similar that even some historians speculate that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might have been actually comprised of peridot.

The word originates from the Arabic ‘faridat’, meaning gem. It has been valued in many ancient & medieval cultures, appearing in priest’s jewellery as early as the second century BC and in churches & chalices of medieval Europe.
The popularity of peridots grew in the mid1800s, reaching its peak in the Victorian & Edwardian eras, when flamboyant jewels set with colorful gemstones were the height of fashion.
The formation of peridots occurs only in the most extreme conditions. Originating deep within the Earth’s mantle, violent volcanic eruptions propel them to the Earth’s surface or deposit them within the magma, near enough to the surface for the stones to be discovered and mined.

Peridot and its sparkling hues have been closely associated with light for many centuries. It is thought that this association stems from how the Ancient Romans referred to peridots as evening emeralds.

This name is thought to be due to the fact that the gemstones do not darken at night. They continue to glisten in candlelight.

Measuring 6.5-7 on the Mohs hardness scale it has a fair to good toughness.

Most of the Peridot comes from sources such as China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and the U.S. but some others have arrived on earth from meteorites, or even been found in exotic places like Peridot Beach in Hawaii, where the sands shimmer a luminous green.

Peridot is not only one of the birthstones of August, but it is the traditional gem to celebrate a 15th anniversary with!

August’s Birthstones (Spinel)

The name spinel comes from the Latin word spinella, which means thorn, in reference to the shape of the crystals. It comes in a wealth of colours, almost the full spectrum of the rainbow. Red and pink spinels receive their colour from trace amounts of chromium. Many blue spinels receive their colour from trace amounts of iron, but the most vibrant blues are coloured by traces of cobalt. Purple and orange spinels are coloured by traces of iron and chromium.
For centuries, spinel has been mistaken for other gemstones. Some of history’s most famous ‘rubies’ have actually turned out to be this August birthstone, like for example the 170ct Black Prince’s ‘ruby’, which turned out to be spinel.

Spinel rates 8 on the Mohs hardness scale making it one of the most durable gems. Today, spinel is found in several locations. Major sources include Tajikistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tanzania and Pakistan. Some sources are known for producing spinel of arresting colour, like hot pink and red spinel from Myanmar.

Spinel, in any of its vibrant colors, is traditionally given as a 22nd wedding anniversary gift & is now recognized as one of August’s new birthstones.

August’s Birthstones & Sardonyx

Sardonyx is the original August birthstone, with a history that dates back more than 4,000 years. A perfect gift for those born in the month of August.

Made out of a combination of two types of chalcedony (cryptocrystalline quartz): sard and onyx. Bands of brownish red to brown, to dark orange sard alternate with typically white or black layers of onyx. In ancient times, sardonyx was a popular stone for Roman seals and signet rings, as hot wax would not stick to it.

For millennia, the bands of colour in this August birthstone have made it a popular carving material for cameos & intaglios. Some fantastic examples have been found recently at an excavated Roman bath site near Hadrian’s Wall.

Sardonyx is believed to be one of the stones in the High Priest’s breastplate, as referred to in the Old Testament, and to represent the strength of spiritual life.

This August birthstone has many sources. India is notable for producing sardonyx with good contrast between the different coloured layers. Sardonyx is also found in Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic, Madagascar, Uruguay and the U.S., among other locations.

This August birthstone is 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. As with peridot, care should be taken when wearing it, especially as a ring.

September’s Birthstone (Sapphire)

The history of sapphires is a glittering one. Once believed by the ancient Persians to be the pedestal on which the world perched and gave the sky it’s colour. Worn by the Greeks when seeking answers from the oracle. The Buddhists believed it brought spiritual enlightenment and Hindus used it during worship. Early Christian Kings cherished sapphires by using them in ecclesiastical rings for the celestial blue colour this gem symbolises heaven, attracted divine favour and wise judgement.

All throughout history sapphires have been associated with myth and legend. Desired by royalty, coveted by all and object of great expeditions around the world, sapphires are a prized precious gem. 

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Comprised of the blue variety of the mineral Corundum, they are valued highly for their vivid hue, with violet shades being particularly sought after. Sapphires can also come in other colours such as yellow or pink; although blue is most often associated with them. In fact the name sapphire comes from the Latin sapphirus and Greek sappheiros meaning “blue stone” though those words may have originally referred to lapis lazuli. Some believe it originated from the Sanskrit word sanipriya which meant dear to Saturn.

They are found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China, Brazil and North America. Their origin can effect their value as much as colour, cut, clarity and carat size.

Due to the remarkable hardness of sapphires; which measure 9 on the Mohs scale and second only to diamond – they aren’t just valuable in jewellery. But also in many industrial applications including scientific instruments, high durability windows, watches and electronics.

The sapphire has been a popular choice for engagement rings since time immemorial because the stone is said to represent loyalty, fidelity and truth amongst other things. This beautiful stone is also perfect for a September birthday or 45th wedding anniversary.

October’s Birthstones (Opal)

That miracle and Queen of Gems”, Shakespeare had to say about this stone. Arabic legend attests that opals fell from the sky in bolts of lightning during storms, where Australian aborigines thought the creator visited the Earth on a rainbow and imparted opals as a colourful gift for the earthlings, leaving a trail of them wherever his feet touched the ground.

The name “opal” itself originates from the Greek word opallios, which means “to see a change of colour”. Because of it’s amazing kaleidoscopic qualities and the enthralling play of colour, during the Middle Ages it was thought that opals harnessed immense power and luck and it was also believed that they possessed the powers of all the gemstones whose colour you could appreciate in its sheen.

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Opals were set in the Crown jewels of France and Napoleon presented his Empress Josephine a magnificent Red Opal containing brilliant fire like flashes called The Burning of Troy.
The Oriental tradition refers to them as the “Anchor of Hope”. “Lucky Opal”, the stone of Hope, is especially lucky for those born in October..

The beauty of this ever changing gem with that bewitching amalgam of colours, suits many moods and tastes, keeping these precious stones in high demand. Perfect for October birthdays, star gazers and 34th anniversaries

October’s Birthstones (& Tourmaline)

Tourmaline is a colourful alternative birthstone for those born in October. Its complex composition of a multitude of minerals gives us this beautiful stone. 

In Ancient Egypt it was believed that tourmaline passed through a rainbow as it emerged through the Earth to the surface. In Sinhalese, or Sri Lankan, the words “tura mali” are the root of the gemstone’s name, literally meaning the “stone of mixed colours”. 

The word rainbow is used figuratively to describe tourmaline, but in reality it is a well recognized fact that its diversity in colours is not limited to the seven hues of the rainbow. It can go from colourless, to just about any tone known to man, sometime presenting themselves as bi-coloured or multi coloured stones

Though tourmaline has left traces all throughout history, the earliest records confirm that it was discovered in the 16th century in Brazil by a Spanish conquistador that mistook this beautiful stone for an emerald. This error held until the 19th century, when mineralogists finally identified tourmaline as its own mineral species. Tourmaline deposits can be found worldwide and it rates a 7 to a 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it a durable gem, fit for everyday wear.

November’s Birthstones (Citrine)

This November birthstone is a variety of quartz which has been used in jewellery for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks would carve rock crystal ornaments that glistened like permafrost. Roman pontiffs wore rings set with massive purple amethysts and citrine has been reported on Roman jewellery in quite a few occasions. It was particularly popular in colourful Scottish jewellery from the Victorian Era.

Citrine, the name derived from the French word for lemon (citron), has hues ranging from transparent pale yellow to brownish orange. The finest stones are from a saturated yellow to a reddish orange, traditionally sought to be free from brownish tints. However, the last decades have made shades of amber-brown increasingly popular.

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Because these colours are rare in nature, most citrine is created by heating less expensive varieties of quartz to produce a wide array of yellow gems. Currently, most citrine on the market has been heat treated. Citrine rates 7 on the Mohs scale and has good toughness, so it is suitable for all jewelry types.

Perfect for November babies, 13th anniversaries, and those looking for a portable ray of sunshine!

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November’s Birthstones (& Topaz )

Topaz is actually available in many colours, but, throughout most of history all yellow gems were thought to be topaz. The name is derived from the word Topaizos, an ancient Greek name for St. John Island in the Red Sea. Egyptians thought it to be a representation of the Sun God, Ra because of the intense fiery colour. It can be found in many ancient artefacts and talismans because of this.

Even though it can come in many different shades of yellow, it can also be found in blue, brown, purple, grey, red, orange, green, pink, and sometimes no color at all. It is often found in amber gold, but truly the most special and valuable hue features a magnificent orange with a pink undertone, called imperial topaz, and is prized for its aristocratic cache.

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The Russian Royal Family insisted on keeping the finest colours of this gem, mined in Russia’s Ural Mountains, exclusively for their family’s use.

A good hardness with desirable colours, combined with relative abundance and availability, makes it one of the most popular gemstones. It’s easy for everyone to find a colour of topaz to fit their tastes; whether or not they get to claim it as their birthstone.

December’s Birthstones (Tanzanite)

This name is given to this rare variety of the mineral zoisite, a very unique stone, found in one exclusive location on the whole planet—the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Discovered by the Maasai herders in the late ’60s, who found blue crystals and notified a prospector named Manuel d’Souza, who quickly registered claims with the government to begin mining.

Discovered by Maasai herders in the late ’60s, who found blue crystals and notified a prospector named Manuel d’Souza, who quickly registered claims with the government to begin mining.

Initially, d’Souza believed he was mining sapphire, but the crystal was promptly identified as a vibrant blue variety of the mineral zoisite.

It was Tiffany & Co. who recognized this blue gem’s potential to rival the much more expensive sapphire and became its main distributor. Instead of selling it as “blue zoisite” – which sounded a little too much like “suicide,” Tiffany named the gem tanzanite to highlight its exclusive geographic origin and introduced it with a promotional campaign in 1968.

An independent study from 2012 suggests that with a production of 2.7 million carats per year, the tanzanite deposits may deplete by 2040.

The exotic velvet blue, with the rich overtones of purple truly makes this gem have a shine unlike any other, resulting in the popularity of this stone to continually increase.

Sought for its rare beauty and limited availability, tanzanite is an amazing stone for those born in December and for all those born in any other month!

December’s Birthstones (& Turquoise)

Known for its distinctive color, turquoise is one of the very few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles this striking hue.

The origins of the word turquoise date back to the 13th century. Drawn from the French Expression, pierre tourques, which references the Turkish Stone, was brought to Europe from the Anatolian Peninsula.

Ancient Persia, now Iran, was the traditional source for sky blue turquoise. That shade is often called Persian Blue today, regardless of its origin. The Sinai Peninsula in Egypt was an important historical source, and the oldest turquoise mines are located there.

On the other side of the world, pre-Columbian Native Americans mined turquoise for their shamans to use in sacred rites, while the Aztecs cherished it for its protective power, using it in their ceremonies.

Turquoise is one of the very few gems not judged by the 4C’s of diamond quality. The main factors that determine its value are the color, the matrix (those spiderweb-like narrow veins you can find in it), hardness, and size. The most sought-after color for this gem is the bright, even sky blue. The greenish hues can lower the value of a stone, although some designers prefer it.

Turquoise has been highly esteemed throughout centuries, and its popularity might not ever fade, both for the beauty of its shade and the endless story of this gem.

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