Birthstone of the Month: Blue Zircon, December’s birthstone

Blue Zircon image


Though it is generally accepted that the custom of birthstones originated from the Breastplate of Aaron, a religious article which held twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel, over the years different cultures have interpreted the instructions for fabricating the breastplate differently resulting in a variety of birthstone lists. And though it is also probable that these stones were assigned according to astrological sign, in recent times it has become popular to appoint the variety of birthstones to the months of the year. The month of December, the final month of the year, is certainly no different in this respect and has a number of possibilities.

The modern birthstones for December have been Turquoise or Tanzanite, but in recent years Blue Continue reading

Birthstone of the Month: Citrine, November’s Birthstone



Citrine is a variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to reddish brown in color. The yellow color, which differentiates Citrine from other quartz varieties such as Amethyst or Smokey Quartz, is due to traces of iron and silicon dioxide within the crystalline structure. Natural Citrine actually is quite rare and is more often created when Amethyst formations near natural heat sources in the Earth’s crust are heated beyond about 900 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point the Amethyst turns yellow or reddish brown becoming Citrine. Interestingly, Citrine may be returned to a purple color by applying beta radiation to it, and sometimes Citrine exhibits both colors, at which point it is referred to as Ametrine. These processes were originally discovered in the middle of the 18th century, but were quickly perfected resulting in a boom on Citrine in Europe. These days only a trained specialist can recognize these “burnt stones”.


Because it is so rarely found in nature, there is very little mythology related to Citrine. However, Continue reading

Birthstone of the Month: the Opal, October’s birthstone

ER927 Earrings


The Opal has no crystalline structure, as do most gemstones, but instead is comprised of varying sizes of minute, spherically grouped chains of silicon and oxygen. The more precious the Opal, the more organized the groups of spheres and the more consistent their sizes. This resulting structure creates a changing play of colors as light is dissected and diffracted through the spheres at different wavelengths creating all the colors of the rainbow. It is this colorful, translucent appearance that gives us the term “opalescence”.


Almost 95% of all Opals come from Australia, where billions of years ago a vast sea which covered Continue reading

Birthstone of the Month: Sapphire, September’s Birthstone



The most celebrated Sapphires are a rich, deep blue but Sapphire may be any color except red. Yellow, green, white, purple and even pink-colored corundum is referred to as Sapphire while true red-colored corundum is known as Ruby. While trace amounts of chromium result in the Ruby’s red color, it is other elements, notably iron and chrome that result in the different colored stones referred to as Sapphires. Continue reading

Birthstone of the Month: Peridot, August’s Birthstone



The Peridot (pronounced: pair•a•doe) is the yellowish to olive green gem variety of the mineral olivine. Olivine itself is comprised of two other minerals, fayalite and forsterite, the main composition of each being iron and magnesium, respectively. Though most Peridot is the magnesium rich forsterite, it’s the amount of iron in olivine which contributes most to the final color of Peridot, with amounts less than 15% resulting in the higher quality gems. Other trace elements that contribute to its color are nickel and chromium.

Like other gemstones, Peridot crystals are formed by intense heat and pressure beneath the Earth Continue reading