June’s Alternative Birthstone: Alexandrite

The rare and precious gemstone ‘alexandrite’ is an alternate birthstone for the month of June, and the gemstone associated with the Zodiac sign of Gemini.
It is prized as a good luck charm and is said to bestow joy and self-confidence upon its wearer.

Unique Geological Alexandrite Combination
Alexandrite emerged millions of years ago in a metamorphic environment, but unlike many other gemstones, its formation required specific geological conditions.

The chemical elements beryllium (a major constituent in chrysoberyl) and chromium (the coloring agent in alexandrite) have contrasting chemical characteristics and as a rule do not occur together, usually found in contrasting rock types. Not only has Nature brought these contrasting rock types into contact with each other, but in order to prevent the formation of emerald instead, the chemical element silica (the second most common element in the Earth’s crust) has to be absent. This geological combination has occurred rarely in the Earth’s history and, as a result, alexandrite crystals are very scarce indeed.

Color & Color Change Determines the Price
The most sensational feature of this gemstone is its ability to change color. Green or bluish-green in daylight, alexandrite turns a soft shade of purplish-red or raspberry red in incandescent light. This unique optical characteristic has made alexandrite a most valuable gemstone and determines its price depending on the degree of ability to change color.

Alexandrite, Imperial Russia’s Principle Colors
This rare gemstone was 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 red and green, the principal colors of Imperial Russia, alexandrite inevitably became the national stone of tsarist Russia. The country remained a primary source of alexandrite as gems from the Ural Mountains became available on the market.

When the Russian deposits were thought to have been exhausted, interest in the unique color-miracle decreased, especially since alexandrite from other mines hardly displayed the coveted color change, unique to this gemstone. In 1987, the discovery of alexandrite in a place called Hematita in Minas Gerais, Brazil, changed the situation dramatically. Even though the color of the newly discovered Brazilian stones was not as strong a green as that of Russian alexandrite, the unique color change was clearly. discernible. Today Hematita is one of the most important deposits of alexandrite in economic terms. Alexandrites are also obtained from sources in Sri Lanka, but the hue of these stones compares less than favorably with that of the Uralian alexandrites. They appear green in daylight and a brownish red in artificial light. The Tunduru area in southern Tanzania has also produced some outstanding specimens since the mid-1990s, and varieties of alexandrite have also been found in India, Burma, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

George Frederick Kunz’ Victorian Parures
Due to its scarcity, Russian alexandrite is seldom found in modern jewelry. It was used by Russian master jewelers in the 19th century and the Victorian gemologist George Frederick Kunz showed his fascination for the gemstone by having his firm produce a series of rings and parures using alexandrite. Alexandrite is a gemstone for enthusiasts and connoisseurs.

The mysterious color change will only occur upon exposure to different light sources and one may feel some of this magic and lore once acquainted with this beautiful gemstone. Alexandrite is considered a good omen in critical situations, having the ability to strengthen one’s intuition where logic alone does not appear to help.

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February Birthstone; Amethyst

The February born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they, the amethyst will wear.
(Unknown poet, 1870)

In spite of its seductive extravagance in violet, the February birthstone amethyst has, since its discovery, been said to protect against seduction. Its name derives from the Greek word ‘amethystos’ meaning ‘not intoxicated’ and as the elite gemstone of the quartz family, it has for centuries, been coveted by ecclesiastical and secular dignitaries.

On high the Amethyst is set
In color like the violet
With flames as if of gold it glows
And far its purple radiance throws
The humble heart it signifies
Of Him who in the Savior dies
(Marlbodus, 11th century)

Described by Moses as a ‘symbol of the Spirit of God’, amethyst was the favorite gemstone of the Russian empress Catherine the Great, who engaged thousands of miners to search for it in the Ural Mountains. Other cultures attributed miraculous powers to amethyst, such as protection of crops against tempests and locusts, bringing good fortune at times of war, driving out evil spirits and enhancing the intellect.

The Roman natural philosopher Pliny made frequent references to amethyst as a unique gemstone and its significance in the ancient Roman civilization. If worn around the neck on a cord made of dog’s hair, it would protect against snakebites and even eagles placed the gemstone in their nests in order to safeguard their young from danger. Later in history, the German gemstone therapist Hildegard von Bingen attributed a sobering and cleansing effect to amethyst, emphasizing its impact on skin purification.

In addition to its firm place in ancient medicine, amethyst has, to the present day, been esteemed as a ‘gemstone of friendship’, creating a chaste frame of mind for its wearer, symbolizing trust and piety, by virtue of which for centuries amethyst occupied a prominent position amongst the Catholic clergy. It was the ornamental gemstone of bishops and cardinals, to be seen in prelates’ crosses and the Papal Ring in the 15th century. The Jewelry Museum of Pforzheim in Germany has a valuable collection of antique ornaments adorned with amethysts and the Cologne Cathedral exhibits magnificent stones to fascinate viewers with their translucent and breath-taking abundance of violet.

It has taken the scientists considerable time to ascertain the constituents of amethyst’s unique color, attributed now to iron ingredients combined with natural radioactive radiation. Although bearing similarities with other members of the quartz family, such as hardness and moderate refraction, amethyst has a different and unconventional crystal structure. It has been known for a long time that amethyst changes its color when exposed to the heating process. At temperatures of 250 degrees, the gemstone is transformed to a shining brownish red, and when exposed to higher temperatures of 400 degrees and above, this violet gemstone can turn yellow and even colorless.

Bi-colored amethyst crystals were recently discovered in Bolivia, formed in nuggets and referred to as ‘ametryne’, and the Hern Brothers in Idar-Oberstein pointed out a highlight for esoterics by supplying photographs which shows energy fields in amethyst crystals made visible in polarized light.

The gift of Amethyst is symbolic of protection and the power to overcome difficulty. It is said to strengthen the bond in a love relationship, therefore an ideal anniversary or engagement gem. Whether or not amethyst holds such power, it’s stunning beauty will keep Brazil, Uruguay and neighboring Madagascar firmly on the map.

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August Birthstone; Peridot

Peridot is the birthstone for the summer month of August and the gemstone for the 16th anniversary of marriage.

The custom of wearing a particular gemstone for the month in which one is born originated in Germany in the sixteenth century, although at the time, the stones corresponded to the signs of the Zodiac, rather than the months of the calendar year, according to which Peridot would be the gemstone for the zodiac sign of Libra.

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1990’s Kashmir Peridot Sensation

Peridot is also a thoroughly modern gemstone, as only two decades ago peridot deposits were discovered in the Kashmir region. Stones from those deposits showed an incomparably fascinating color and transparency and succeeded in enhancing the image of this beautiful gemstone which had faded over the millennia.

Peridot became the sensation of the 1990’s at gemstone fairs around the world. The sensationally rich Kashmir deposits were found in an inhospitable region of Pakistan, at some 4000 meters of altitude, tough climatic conditions permitted mining operations during the summer months only.
To emphasize the special quality of peridots from Pakistan, these fine gems are referred to as ‘Kashmir peridots’, following the famous Kashmir sapphires.

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March Birthstones:Bloodstone & Aquamarine

Bloodstone is the traditional birthstone for the calendar month of March, alternating with aquamarine, the latter declared as the modern March birthstone in the year 1912.

Together with diamond, bloodstone and aquamarine are the ‘Gem of the House of Aries, the Ram’. The Chinese have a tradition giving the greatest prominence to Aries due to the fact that it was believed to have occupied the centre of the heavens at the Creation of the World, a belief that was also held by the Babylonians.
Also known by its Greek name ‘heliotrope’, translated as ‘sun turning’, bloodstone is a variety of green chalcedony which has been permeated by iron oxide to form the unique blood-red speckles. The name heliotrope is believed to derive from the belief that, in ancient times polished stones were described as reflecting the sun and perhaps the appearance of the gem reminded the ancients of the red setting sun, mirrored by the ocean. A somehow distinct version, attributes the name to the ancient belief that, when immersed in water, bloodstone could turn the sun’s image blood-red.
Historically used for seals and cameos, bloodstone could be highly polished, and is particularly suitable for engraving. While the first bloodstone specimens were found in India and the Ural Mountains of Russia, this alluring green chalcedony quartz has also mined in Australia and the United States.

Innumerable magic abilities and talismanic powers have been attributed to bloodstone throughout centuries, including the ability to cause thunder and lightning! The ancients applied bloodstone powder to stop internal and external bleeding, to soothe the eyes and as an antidote for snakebites. Even today, finely pulverized bloodstone is used as a medicine and an aphrodisiac in India, which may explain the relative scarcity of fine bloodstone specimens on the market!
Rings of dark green Jasper flecked with red were favorite ornaments amongst the Egyptians, who frequently wore them upon the thumb, probably because the thumb is under Martian influence, Mars being the ruling planet of the House of Aries.
One of these talismanic stones was worn by the Egyptian king Nechepsos, engraved with the form of a dragon with radiating rays of light. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that bloodstone would bestow fame and grandeur upon the wearer.

Medieval Christians often used bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs, for which reason it was also called the ‘martyr’s stone.’ An old tradition records the fact that Bloodstone had its origin at the Crucifixion, being formed by drops of blood which, following the thrust of the Roman soldier’s spear, fell upon some green jasper on which the cross was erected, the stains penetrating the stones and thus originating this particular variety. From this time onwards the stone seems to have been endowed with magical and divine powers, including the power to arrest hemorrhage from wounds, and was consequently worn by Roman soldiers for this very reason; amongst the natives of India it is customary to place the Bloodstone itself upon wounds and injuries after dipping it in cold water. Its curative properties in this respect have been explained in modern times by the fact that the iron oxide in this stone is an active and effective astringent still used today in surgery.
Bloodstone became a favorite material for carving Christian art in Medieval times and one of the most famous works of art carved from bloodstone was created in 1525 by the Italian artist Matteo del Nassaro. Bearing the title ‘The Descent from the Cross’ the statute was so masterfully carved that the spots of red on bloodstone were in their perfect positions to simulate the wounds of Christ.
In an essay written by Thomas Boyle on ‘The Origins and Virtues of Gems,’ dated 1675, we read that “a gentleman of sanguine habit” having been long troubled with excessive bleeding from the nose, was unable to find a cure until “an ancient gentleman presented him with a Bloodstone the size of a pigeon’s egg, to be worn round the neck, and upon the use of this stone he not only cured himself, but stopped hemorrhage in a neighbor.”

The Roman philosopher and poet Marbodeus Gallus described the virtues of bloodstone in the following poem:

Again it is believed to be a safeguard frank and free
To touch as ware and beare the same; and if it hallowed bee,
It makes the parties gratious and mightier too that have it
And noysome fancies as they write who ment not to deprave it
It doth dispel out of the mind. The force thereof is stronger
In silver, if this stone be set, it doth endure the longer.

And the 12th century French born Danish clergyman William of Paris (known as Saint William of ?belholt) emphasized the spiritual attributes of bloodstone in another poem he composed:

To many a gift divine this stone lays claim;
Surpassing which the power that makes its fame
Is, when conjoined with herb of title quaint,
Same as its own, whilst, spoken by a saint
Are incarnations, holy and a spell
Invoked, with words the pious tongue can tell;
Of gem and plant combined, the wearer then
Becomes invisible to the eyes of men!

Further belief in mythological powers was ascribed to Bloodstone by Magus in the Year 1801, in an article he published in ‘The Celestial Intelligencer':

“The stone heliotropium, (heliotrope) green, like jasper. or emerald, beset with red specks makes the wearer constant, renowned, and famous, conducing to a long life; there is likewise another wonderful property in this stone, which is, that it so dazzles the eyes of men, that it causes the bearer to be invisible.”

A beautiful collection of carved bloodstone is held at the Louvre Museum in Paris, amongst which a unique piece with the seal of the German Emperor Rudolf II and Medieval carvings of Christian significance can be viewed.

In addition to bloodstone, aquamarine is the birthstone associated with March, also being the gemstone for a 19th Wedding Anniversary.
Poetically described as ‘exhibiting the color of seawater parted by the bow of a sailing ship’, and symbolizing ‘eternal youth and happiness’ since ancient times, aquamarine is a variety of beryl family of minerals, of which emerald is also a member.
Aquamarine is almost entirely free of inclusions, and exhibits wonderful shine. Iron is the substance, which gives aquamarine its enchanting color, a color that ranges from an almost indiscernible pale blue to a strong sea-blue. Some aquamarines have a light, greenish shimmer which is also a typical feature of this translucent azure gemstone, but it is the pure, clear blue that continues to epitomize the aquamarine, because it brings out so well the immaculate transparency and magnificent shine of this coveted gemstone.
The various color nuances of aquamarine have been given melodious names: The rare, intense blue aquamarines from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil, for example, are called ‘Santa Maria’. Similar nuances come from a few gemstone mines in Africa, particularly Mozambique. To help distinguish them from the Brazilian ones, these aquamarines have been given the name ‘Santa Maria Africana’.
According to legend, aquamarine originated in the treasure chest of fabulous mermaids, and was regarded as the sailors’ lucky stone in ancient times. Ancient sailors traveled with aquamarine crystals, believing that it would ensure a safe voyage, and guarantee a safe return; they often slept with the stones under their pillow to ensure sound sleep.
The name of aquamarine is derived from the Latin words ‘aqua’ (water) and ‘mare’ (sea). It is believed that its strengths are developed more positively when it is placed in water and bathed in sunlight. However, according to the old traditions, wearing aquamarine per se promises a happy marriage and bestows joy and wealth upon its wearer.
The tender blue color of aquamarine arouses feelings of sympathy, trust, harmony, and friendship, feelings that prove their worth in lasting relationships. The blue of aquamarine is considered a divine, eternal color, because it is the color of the sky and the color of water with its life-giving force.
There is hardly any other gemstone in modern jewelry design which is refined in such a variety of ways as aquamarine. Whether fashioned as a clear, transparent gem in the classical step cut, or creatively cut in a more modern design, it is always alluringly beautiful and can produce the most fascinating creations. For decades, it has been amongst the most favorite gemstones of designers, who have often taken the world by surprise with a new, artistic cut, to be applied in their ‘avant-garde’ jewelry pieces, hence contributing to the widespread popularity of aquamarine. The lucid color of aquamarine enables the designers to bring out the brilliance of aquamarine with fine grooves, curves and edges. By doing so, each aquamarine becomes a unique specimen, whose magical attraction can hardly be resisted.

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November Birthstones; Topaz & Citrine

The yellow variety of topaz, known as ‘Imperial Topaz’ is the widely recognized modern birthstone for the month of November and the traditional birthstone for the Zodiac sign of Scorpio, along with citrine as the alternate ‘lucky gem’. The spirit of topaz is captured by this anonymous old rhyme:

Who first comes to the world below
With dreary November’s fog and snow,
Should prize the topaz’s amber hue
Emblem of friends and lovers true…

The ‘amber hue’ referred to by the poet evidently refers to the ‘Imperial Topaz’,

the choice of which, amongst other colors of topaz, is attributable to the tradition-based harmony of colors maintained between modern and traditional birthstones and alternate gems respectively, as seen in the combination of yellow topaz and citrine.

The golden color of imperial topaz was interpreted by the Egyptians as ‘the glow cast by the sun god ‘Ra’ and a gift of this gemstone symbolized friendship and enhanced one’s capacity to give and receive love.

Originally found on the island Topazios in the Red Sea, topaz is a mineral gem composed of fluorine aluminum silicate and occurs with a wide array of colors, ranging from yellow to yellowish-brown, green, blue, red, pink and white or colorless.

Topaz is one of the ‘apocalyptic stones’ that form the foundations of the Twelve Gates to the Holy City of New Jerusalem, stones intended to serve in protection against enemies and as symbols of beauty and splendor.

Topaz was first mined in Germany in the 18th century, then referred to as ‘Schneckenstein’ meaning snail-stone due to the close resemblance of the topaz-bearing rocks to snail-shells. Today, topaz deposits can be found in Brazil, the Ural Mountains of Russia, Thailand, India, Japan Australia, Africa, Scotland, and Ireland.

Popular throughout the ages, Topaz has been associated with innumerable qualities and powers. Greeks of the ancient civilization considered yellow topaz as a guardian against all calamity, and associated its color with the sun, in turn the ‘giver of life’.

The Romans wore topaz as a means of protection against danger and injuries from burns and scalds, and Emperor Hadrian ruled over a peaceful Roman Empire wearing as a talisman, an antique ring mounted with topaz intaglio engraved with the Empire’s emblem. In the Middle Ages, topaz was believed to calm anger, strengthen the intellect, reduce apprehensions, and bestow joy and contentment upon its wearer.

Interestingly, ancient cultures related most of the qualities found in topaz to the phases of the moon, with stronger powers becoming tangible near the full moon!

Citrine, the alternate birthstone for November, is as warm a color as a Van Gogh painting of sunflowers. A crystalline variety of quartz, its name is derived from the French word ‘citron’, meaning lemon, and offers a color palette of the palest yellow to dark amber, named Madeira because of its resemblance to the red wine which was a popular variety throughout the Victorian era, but often referred to inaccurately as topaz.

Mined primarily in Brazil, citrine is also found in Madagascar, Uruguay, Spain and Hungary, and was carried in ancient times as a talisman to protect against snake venom, evil thoughts, and epidemics.

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Sapphire – September Birthstone

Derived from the Greek word ‘sapphirus,’ is the birthstone for September and the gemstone traditionally given for a fifth, twenty-third or forty-fifth wedding anniversary. The cool blue sapphire marks the season’s shift from summer to autumn. To those born in the transitional month of September, it is thought to harness relaxing energy and clear the mind, in so doing, protecting its owner from fraud, envy, and ill health.

Although often considered synonymous with the color blue, sapphires are so much more, earning the term ‘fancy’ sapphires by ranging in color from the desirable padparadja to pink, green, yellow, orange and purple. All sapphires and rubies, irrespective of color, belong to the corundum family, the pink variety of which is defined by a fine color-differentiating line, separating pink sapphires from red rubies.

The ancient Persians called the sapphire a ‘Celestial Stone’ believing the earth rested upon a huge sapphire, reflecting its color, in so doing, turning the sky blue. The Greeks regarded sapphire as sacred to the god Apollo and the stone was traditionally worn when attending the oracle of Apollo’s shrine. The Greek wise-men understood what seafarers had broadcast for millenia, that sapphires protected one across the water. Buddhists believe that ‘a sapphire symbolically opens a closed door through which to hear the sweet bells of peace’ while the Hebrews made mention of sapphire as one of the gems on Aaron’s Breastplate in the Book of Exodus.

During the Middle Ages, sapphires were believed to represent the purity of the soul and priests who were expected to remain celibate, wore them as a means of protection from possible ‘temptations of the flesh’. In Medieval Europe, a widely held belief persisted, that sapphires were particularly beneficial to the eyes resulting in the thirteenth century’s Bartholomew Angelicus describing this gemstone as: ‘The sapphire is a precious stone, blue in color and similar to heaven in fair weather; is best amongst precious stones and most apt to fingers of kings’.

Last but not least, a fascinating point which might be of interest to gentlemen ‘on the verge’ of proposing and hesitant about their choice of engagement rings: there exists extensive literature on the characteristic of sapphire as a gemstone used for testing the fidelity of a spouse, as it was believed to change color if the marriage partner (mostly female!) committed infidelity. Many cultures throughout the world continue to believe that ‘sapphire refuses to shine for the unchaste or impure’!

In addition to testing one’s loyalty, sapphires have also been credited with amuletic powers. In his book ‘Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems’, the historian W. Pavitt writes that the wife of Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) possessed a powerful talisman composed of two rough sapphires and a piece of the True Cross made to preserve and strengthen Charlemagne’s affections towards her. It was so effective that his love for her endured long after her death, after which he ordered her talisman to be removed from her body and entrusted to the Archbishop of Mains and the Chancellor of the Empire. As Charlemagne suffered in his deathbed, the talisman was given to him and he was able to pass away peacefully!

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Its name derives from the Dutch language, translated as ‘diamond-like’ which refers to the outstanding qualities of the green garnet, primarily its brilliance and fire, hence the name given to it to by connoisseurs and lovers of gemstones, namely ‘the star of garnets’.

Demantoid is amongst the most precious gemstones hitherto discovered on earth. Belonging to the large family of garnets, it is a variety of the mineral ‘andradite’, but cherished far beyond a simple member of the garnet family. Demantoid is highly esteemed on account of its rarity and incomparable luminosity. It has extremely high refraction complemented by remarkable dispersion, which is the ability to split the incoming light and to break it down into fascinating colors of the rainbow. Some sources have placed demantoid before diamond with respect to light dispersion.

Demantoid displays different nuances of green, ranging from a slightly yellowish to a brownish green, with an enchanting golden glow. The deep emerald green variety of demantoid is esteemed as the most precious and the rarest of all other shades.


Discovered in 1868 in Russia’s Ural Mountains, the demantoid became a desired gemstone within a very short period of time. The jeweler’s workshops in Paris, New York and St Petersburg welcomed the newly discovered vivacious gemstone, but first and foremost Russia’s star jeweler Carl Faberge admired and praised the green gemstone for its exceptional brilliance and incorporated it in his artistic creations.

This popularity was disrupted by the outbreak of World War I, which made the appearance of the highly praised green gemstone increasingly rare, to the extent that only the remnant stocks of the gemstone’s original source in the Ural Mountains were to be seen.

Meanwhile, demantoids which were discovered in Congo and Korea in 1975 were found inferior in quality to the mines of Ural Mountains. The discovery of new gemstones in Nambia in the mid-1990’s, amongst which a variety of demantoid was found, meant a renaissance for the star of green garnets.

The story of that discovery resembles a fairy tale! This is a vast and steppe-like country, which surrenders to the burning African sun. Far away in the ‘black mountains’ of this hard and dry territory, there had been an unknown treasure of gemstones for millions of years, during which significant changes had occurred; the wind and other elements had removed the surface strata, leaving only the distinctive granite mountain, called the Spitzkoppe, and the gemstones it concealed.

In December 1996, a wandering goat-herd encountered by mere coincidence, a few crystal-like objects which appeared worthy of attention. Only the experts in the nearby village could recognize the treasure being presented to them.

In the meantime, the Namibian government has issued concessions for gemstone mines. The rare gemstones are carefully quarried by hand from the parent rocks and measures have been taken to minimize the loss when handling the precious raw material.


Demantoids from Namibia come in shades ranging from a vivacious light green to an intense blue-green, all of which display remarkable brilliance and have a hardness of slightly below 7 on Mohs’ scale, rendering them appropriate for jewelry. However, they are void of one important feature unique to the genuine demantoid on the basis of which the authentic gemstone has always been identified through the microscope, namely the ‘horsetail inclusions’.

These golden brown crystal threads of chrysotile, radiating from the center of the stone, whose resemblance to the tail of a horse is unmistakable, clearly visible in demantoids from the Ural Mountains, were missing in the relatively inclusion-free gems from Namibia. These horsetail inclusions were not only typical of the demantoid; they could even enhance its value if they were pronounced. As surprising as it may sound, and although inclusions as a rule can impair the transparency of a gemstone, the demantoid’s ‘horsetail inclusions’ if well formed, can increase the price of the gemstone considerably!

This ‘fingerprint of Nature’ is the hallmark which proves the authenticity of one of the rarest and most valuable gemstones on earth. This rarity will also determine the price, since a demantoid from the Ural Mountains of Russia will be appraised much more highly than a green garnet from Namibia, irrespective of the latter’s brilliance!

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Ruby – July Birthstone

Deriving its name from the Latin word ‘ruber’ meaning red, ruby is birthstone of the month for July, traditionally representative of both heat and power. Mined for over 2,500 years, rubies are considered to be one of the most valuable gemstones, originally deriving from India. In Sanskrit, this gemstone is named ‘rat-na-raj’ translated as ‘King of Gemstones’, and whenever a spectacular ruby crystal was discovered and reported to the Emperor, he would send notables to receive and welcome the precious new gemstone in appropriate style. However, before the ruby was held in such high esteem, it was actually used in blowguns as ammunition!

Ruby is the perfect symbol of powerful feelings and a ring mounted with a precious ruby symbolizes the passionate and enduring love between two people. The red variety of the corundum family, ruby is one of the hardest minerals, the perfect choice for an engagement ring, the red glow being thought to derive from an inextinguishable internal flame, making it a symbolic gift of everlasting love as this anonymous poem suggests;

The gleaming ruby should adorn
All those who in July are born,
For thus they’ll be exempt and free
From lover’s doubts and anxiety.

Greeks believed rubies derived from red hot coals that turned into stone, while according to a Hebrew legend, rubies became symbolic of the boy Reuben whose conduct towards his father made him blush. Ground to a fine powder, ruby was also used as a cure for indigestion! To the ancient Burmese and other early cultures, rubies were believed to ripen in color gradually while maturing in the earth, just as fruit ripens on a tree over the course of time. Please note that we are no longer purchasing Burma rubies for political reasons, the stones seen within the pages of www.faycullen.com have not been recently purchased and come from estates.

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June’s Modern Birthstone: Moonstone

Selene, Goddess of the Moon

The unique and enchanting gemstone rightly names moonstone belongs to the large mineral group of the feldspars, constituting almost two thirds of all the rocks on Earth. The moonstone represents the feldspar variety of ‘adularia’, a potassium aluminu-silicate of gemstone quality, found in the European Alps near the Adula Group – hence the name ‘adularia’. Another name for moonstone is ‘selenite’, given to it by ancient Greeks who related the fascinating gem to the Goddess of the Moon Selene.

Adularescence and the Waning of the Moon
In their uncut state, moonstones exhibit little indication of what actually constitutes their mysterious shimmer of light, which is first revealed when cut by a skillful Gem-cutter. Moonstone is characterized by an almost magical play of light, constantly appearing different as the stone is moved, referred to as in which, earlier cultures claimed to recognize the crescent and waning phases of the moon. Classical moonstones are always cut en cabochons, the most important cutting aspect being the correct height of the stone. The cutter tries to align the axes of the crystal precisely into the zenith of the stone, which is the sole manner of unveiling the desired light effect.

Beige-brown, Green, Orange, White and Blue Moonstones
Moonstones from Sri Lanka, the gemstone’s classical country of origin, possess a shimmering pale blue color on an almost transparent background. Specimens from India feature a nebulous interplay of light and shadow on a background of beige-brown, green or orange while other varieties of moonstone are found in Brazil, Australia, Myanmar and Madagascar. The alluringly discreet colors in connection with the fine shimmer make the moonstone an ideal gemstone for jewelry with a sensual, feminine aura. Moonstone was extremely popular around the turn of the 20th century, coinciding with the Art Nouveau movement. It adorned a noticeably large number of the jewelry creations of the French master goldsmith René Lalique and his contemporaries, whose valuable oeuvre-d’art are mainly to be seen in museums and private collections.

Moonstone, the Symbol of Fertility
Moonstone is surrounded by a great deal of mystique and magic. In India, moonstones are regarded as ‘dream stones’ which bring the wearer beautiful visions at night. In Arabic countries, women often wear moonstones sewn discreetly into their garments, as their cultures recognize the moonstone as symbol of fertility.
Do Moonstones Strengthen our Intuition?

For many peoples in the Orient, moonstone symbolizes human existence, strengthening emotional and subconscious aspects with its soft shimmer. In association with such virtues, moonstone is considered a ‘lovers’ stone’, evoking tender feelings and safeguarding the true joys of love. It is also said that wearing a moonstone strengthens one’s intuition and increase capacity to understand.

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