Birthstone of The Month: Smokey Quartz and Alexandrite, June’s Birthstones


Today more than ever people tend to forgo tradition in favor of personal flair, and when it comes to choosing a birthstone, that trend is evident. Because there are various kinds of birthstones – modern birthstones, traditional birthstones, mystical birthstones, different birthstones for different cultures – people who do not like the looks of their birthstone certainly have a choice. This is clearly true for the month of June, for which a number of birthstones have been claimed. According to the American National Association of Jewelers, Alexandrite has been the regarded the official birthstone for June since 1912. But Pearl, Moonstone and even Opal have been named June birthstones as well. And more recently, Smokey Quartz has become a popular choice.

Alexandrite was named after the Russian czar Alexander II, it’s discovery supposedly occurring in the Ural Mountains of Russia on either the day of his birth, or his coming of age. Alexandrite is a variety of the mineral Chrysoberyl, a very hard and rare gemstone. So rare, in fact, that genuine Alexandrite is very scarce and hardly ever used in modern jewelry making.

Consequently, either synthetic Alexandrite or alternate genuine gemstones such as Smokey Quartz, which resemble Alexandrite, are typically used as the birthstone for the month of June. Continue reading

Birthstone of The Month: Emerald, May’s Birthstone


One of the most intense of all the gemstones is the Emerald. Like Aquamarine, the Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl. However, it’s the trace amounts of chromium when combined with iron that give the Emerald its fantastic, radiant green color.

As is the case with most crystalline gemstones, Emeralds are formed by intense heat and pressure beneath the Earth over millions of years. Though Emeralds are believed to be among the oldest gemstones in the world, it’s only in the last 4000 years that they have become valued.


Most of the world’s emeralds have typically come from Egypt. The Pharaohs of Egypt are the first people that exploited the use of Emeralds. For thousands of years Emeralds were mined in the desert south of Cairo at the famous Cleopatra mines, which got their name from Cleopatra’s intense love of the gems. Continue reading

Birthstone of The Month: the Diamond, April’s Birthstone

Diamond solitaireAPPEARANCE

Everyone is familiar with April’s birthstone, the Diamond, so where do we begin? Well, how are they formed? Diamonds are formed by intense heat and pressure acting on carbon atoms over millions of years. These carbon atoms come from either trapped carbon dioxide gas or from the melting of pre-existing rocks deep (at least 75 miles) beneath the earth’s crust. Over time volcanic forces push the diamonds to the earth’s surface revealing the intensely clear cubic crystal structure. Scientists believe that the oldest diamonds are somewhere around 3 billion years old.

But not all diamonds are clear. In fact some of the most valuable diamonds have colors ranging from pink to blue, and most colors in between. During formation, intrusion of atoms of nitrogen, boron and phosphorous creates colored diamonds; nitrogen and boron causing the yellow and blue color, respectively. However, given that the diamond is the most transparent of all known solid and liquid substances, it’s not a surprise that clear diamonds are the most popular and sought after.


It is believed that the first diamonds were discovered in India some 3000 years ago and were initially used for simple decoration because of their clear, crystalline beauty. They would soon come to be worshiped by the Greeks for being indestructible.

In fact, the word diamond comes from the Greek word, “Adamas” which means “unconquerable”. Continue reading

Birthstone of The Month: Aquamarine, March’s Birthstone

Aquamarine ringAPPEARANCE

Aquamarine is actually a bluish-green variety of the mineral beryl. Pure beryl is a transparent mineral consisting of aluminum and beryllium. But when iron finds its way into beryl’s crystal structure, the resulting range of colors equals that of the sea. This is the gemstone we know as Aquamarine.

In fact, the name Aquamarine is derived from the word “seawater”: ‘aqua’ (Latin for water) and ‘mare’ (Latin for sea).

With colors ranging from a pale blue to a deep sea-blue, it is the clearest, most saturated blue color of Aquamarine that is the most desired and the most valuable.


In ancient times the Aquamarine was believed to have come from a mermaid’s treasure chest and was thus considered by both the Romans and the Greeks as a lucky stone for sailors. The Romans believed the stone brought about both cheerfulness and friendliness and was considered to ensure a happy marriage as well as to promise health, prosperity and clearness of mind. Continue reading

Birthstone of The Month: Amethyst, February’s Birthstone

Amethyst gemAPPEARANCE

Amethyst is recognized by its alluring purple color that scientists believe comes from the stones natural radioactive properties and its long pyramidal crystals combined with its elemental iron makeup. However, though always purple, Amethyst exists in a wide variety of violet shades and is known to change color both when viewed in different lighting conditions as well as when heated.


Ancient Greeks believed that the Amethyst could avert the effects of alcohol, and crushed Amethyst would even be mixed in one’s drink to accomplish this cause. Amethyst has also been thought to protect its wearer from disease, violence and anger and the stone was believed to endow its wearer with intelligence, sobriety and clear thought.

Being a widely available and brilliantly colorful variety of quartz, Amethyst has been used for sculpture and jewelry throughout history. According the Greek mythology, the origin of the amethyst resides with the Greek God of wine and celebration, Dionysus (Bacchus). Continue reading