Category Archives: Birthstones

Peridot: Strung on Donkey Hair to Protect Against Evil

Egyptians attributed amuletic and medicinal powers to peridot. To exert its full powers, they believed, the gem had to be set in gold to ‘chase away the terrors of the night’. It was considered effective as a protection against evil … Continue reading

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Alexandrite

The rare gemstone alexandrite is named after the Russian tsar Alexander. The first crystals were discovered in 1834 in the emerald mines of the Ural Mountains, at the same time as the new tsar came of age. Showing nuances of … Continue reading

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Famous Historical Rubies

Amongst the rubies noted historically is a huge stone handed to England’s King William III in 1697 by young Peter the Great of Russia, while he was learning ship-building in England. In the coronation ring of English kings is a … Continue reading

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Double Refraction, Native American Jewelry & Meteorites

Peridot has a characteristic ‘double refraction’ in cut stones, especially those of significant weight, which enables the unaided eye to see a double image through the table. This feature is helpful in identifying peridot. The finest stones are of a … Continue reading

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Are you a Ruby or Pink Sapphire?

Ruby is the magnificent red variety of the multi-colored ‘corundum’ family, of which sapphire is also a member. Pure corundum is colorless, but elements such as iron, chrome, titanium or vanadium produce the mineral’s intriguing colors. Ruby is composed of … Continue reading

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Ruby: Ornithological My Feathers! Foil-backed Ruby Origins!

Historically, rubies were mounted above a peacock feather, specifically the blue quills. This ancient mounting method and a precursor to foil-backing, was done to give a shimmering brilliance to this sought-after gem, color-derived from the iridescent feathers. Early ‘foil-backing’ was … Continue reading

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Peridot; Myth & Legend Gem of the Sun

Ancient Egyptians called peridot the ‘gem of the sun’ although they believed its seekers might not find it in sunlight. Because of their brightness in the desert sun, the stones were supposedly invisible by daylight. In darkness, however, they were … Continue reading

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Ruby: Astrological Concepts ~ Stars Silk Rutile & Asterism

Experts refer to the ‘silk’ of a ruby when describing the wonderful silky shine of the red corundum. This phenomenon is due to extremely fine needles of rutile, a mineral which forms a star-shaped deposit within the ruby and causes … Continue reading

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Peridot: Evening Emerald Confusion

It is recorded that many of the green gemstones gracing royal treasuries in the past which were thought to be emeralds were in fact peridots, a confusion rather difficult to comprehend as their colors are decidedly different, but probably attributable … Continue reading

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Famous Historical Peridots

The largest known faceted peridot weighing 310cts, is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The collections of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Chicago Museum of Natural History include beautiful examples of peridot. … Continue reading

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