Perhaps gemstones are one of the greatest gifts we’ve been given in this world. For thousands of years, they have brought beauty and joy into our lives, and most have interesting folklore and legends associated with them. The August gemstone, Peridot, is often given to celebrate the 16th wedding anniversary, and is not lacking in either beauty or folklore.
Peridot is a variation of olivine, a mineral composed of magnesium and iron silicate. It is found in many shades of yellow-green. A gemstone of many names, it was originally called topaz. In the 18th century, the French renamed it peridot, meaning gold, because of its often yellowish-gold color.
The Egyptians called peridot “the gem of the sun.” Legend says it was Cleopatra’s favorite gemstone, and historians now believe that many of the “emeralds” she wore were actually peridot because Egypt and Burma were main providers of this gem during ancient times.
Cleopatra’s peridot was not the only example from history when it was mistaken for emeralds. The Cathedral at Cologne holds within its walls a famous shrine known as the Three Holy Kings. It is adorned with beautiful jewels of all sorts. For centuries, one large gemstone that was thought to have been an emerald was recently identified as peridot. In both of these examples, it’s easy to see how it was mistaken for the emerald because they bear a strong likeness to one another, but peridot is softer in intensity.
Gem quality peridot in the United States comes from Arizona, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Other sources are Norway, Burma, and islands in the Red Sea. In 1994, a new deposit was found in Pakistan containing some of the most beautiful and highly valued peridots ever seen. Finally, one of the most unusual sources of this stone are those found in meteorites. They are called pallasites, and are the only gems known to come from space.
As with many gems, part of its value is based on clarity; the clearer it is, the more its worth. A peridot of two to three carats is quite expensive, and an eight carat stone is very rare. One of the most beautiful and famous peridots in the world is located in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC—it is 310 carats!
Because Peridot has been around for thousands of years it is steeped in legend and folklore. Perhaps it has been known best throughout history for its healing properties. In ancient times, goblets made of peridot were used for curing maladies because it was thought that medicinal liquids drunk from them were more effective. Other conditions peridot is known to cure are insomnia, digestive distress, and soothing an upset nervous system.
Not only is peridot known to heal, but it’s also known for protection. When worn as jewelry it was thought to protect its wearer from evil spirits and if set in gold, its powers were considered even more intense.
Peridot is symbolic of vitality and strength, associated with stress reduction and relaxation, and is known to enhance emotional well being by bringing happiness and good cheer to those who wear it. Clearly, this gemstone is valued not only for its beauty, but also for the rich history it contains within the very facets of its existence.
Ruby is a semi-precious gemstone frequently incorporated into some of the most modern, beautiful handmade jewelry in the world. It is most often found in shades of opaque or translucent red, and is widely recognized as the July Birthstone as well as the gemstone for the 15th and 40th anniversaries. But beyond its modern-day uses and associations, ruby holds a decadent mythological, spiritual and etymological history that adds nostalgic value to its already strong esthetic worth. Read on for more information that will help you fall in love with your ruby jewelry – or inspire you to buy some today!
Ruby is a variety of the species Corundum, and is one of the most sought-after precious colored gems in the world. The word ruby is said to come from the Latin word "rubber" or "rubens," which means red.
In ancient Sanskrit, ruby is called "ratnaraj," or "king of precious stones." Centuries ago, people believed that if a ruby were placed in a pot of water, it would cause the water to boil. People also believed that if rubies were placed beneath the skin, they would generate a mystical force field that would protect the wearer from mishaps. Red is also the color of blood--the life force of all mankind.
Ruby gemstones look best as parts of formal evening jewelry when paired with diamonds, black onyx or dark blue sapphire. More casual combinations include softer contrasts of brilliant ruby reds with clear quartz, emerald or pearls. To see a selection of handmade artisan jewelry featuring ruby, click here. Ruby is typically considered a sophisticated gemstone that works well with any outfit. In earrings, it works especially well to enhance the luster of green or hazel eyes.
Rubies became a popular colored stone among European royalty and other nobility because of their intense red color. Whenever a ruby was found, the emperor/royalty sent out people to see and welcome the precious stone. The ancient Hindus believed that those who offered fine rubies to the God Krishna could be granted the life of an emperor in their next lives.
The ruby is often associated with the emotions of love, passion, majesty, power and anger. Rubies are also believed to open the heart, attract others, and overcome fear. They were also said to help predict the future if they change color or intensity. Rubies were first mined 2500 years ago. While they originated in Sri Lanka, today rubies are found in Thailand, Mynamar, and Kenya.
Mohs' Hardness score is based on a 10-point scale where 10 is the most resistant, like a diamond, and 1 is easily scratched, such as Talc. Ruby gets a score of 9, meaning that it is very scratch resistant and therefore suitable as a component of jewelry. Ruby gemstones should be regularly cleaned by a professional or with a soft rag and mild soap and water. Other methods, including ultra-sonic cleaners, are also okay as long as they are not oiled. Avoid harsh chemicals when cleaning your handcrafted jewelry as exposure to these elements can damage semi-precious and precious gemstones and pearls.
Article: Sarah Stephens
Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo
There are two October birthstones: opals and pink tourmaline. But while opals are more famous and certainly have their charm, pink tourmaline’s spooky qualities make it the perfect birthstone for the month in which we revel in ghost stories and the supernatural.
You see, pink tourmaline shares a unique quality with all tourmaline gemstones—it’s pyroelectric and piezoelectric. That means that when heated or put under pressure, tourmaline gemstones take on an electric charge and can actually pull things towards them. If you vigorously rub and warm up your pink tourmaline birthstone jewelry, it can “magically” attract nearby bits of paper and dust. It might even make the hairs on your arm stand on end!