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The Famous Gem That Almost Wasn't: The Cullinan Diamond

The Famous Gem That Almost Wasn't: The Cullinan Diamond

It's shocking to think that the Cullinan diamond, a major piece of geological and British history, almost remained buried. Estimated to be worth billions of dollars in total, the original uncut stone was over 3,106 carats and weighed 1.369 pounds. That's a lot of sparkle!

Known as the Star of Africa, this amazing stone almost went undiscovered. In January of 1905, Captain Frederick Wells, the Premier Mine superintendent, was making his regular rounds when he saw what he thought was a glass shard. 

Legendary October Birthstones: Tourmaline and Opal Myths

Legendary October Birthstones: Tourmaline and Opal Myths

The October Birthstones,Tourmaline and Opal are set apart from other birthstones by their dazzling rainbow colors. Rubies, amethysts, emeralds; all of these stones have intense and gorgeous color, but none of them have the diversity of the October birthstones. Perhaps because of their unique coloration, opals and tourmalines are surrounded by myth, superstition, and folklore.
Myths and Legends Behind Amethyst Birthstone Jewelry

Myths and Legends Behind Amethyst Birthstone Jewelry

Amethyst is an instantly recognizable purple quartz stone that is used for jewelry and healing purposes throughout the world. Ranging in shade from pale lavender to the deepest purple, the gem is prized for its beauty and properties and is the birthstone for the month of February. With these amazing properties, amethyst birthstone jewelry is an ideal gift for a beloved friend or family member -- or even for yourself.

Amethyst Origins

One of the earliest legends surrounding the amethyst comes to us from Ancient Greece and explains the origins of this highly regarded purple stone. In the story, Dionysius, the Greek god of wine and revelry was angered at a mortal woman, who failed to pay him the proper respect.

Sapphire—A Gem Fit for Royalty

Sapphire—A Gem Fit for Royalty

For centuries, sapphires have made their mark in the history of our world.  SWCreations Sapphire Birthstone ArticleUnderstandably so—they are beautiful and unique gemstones that come in many different varieties.  In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers recognized sapphire for its wonderful qualities and named it as the official birthstone for the month of September.  It is the designated gem given for the 5th, 23rd, and 45th wedding anniversaries and if a couple is blessed enough to make it to their 65th anniversary, the unique star sapphire is often given.
June’s Birthstone: The Ethereal Pearl

June’s Birthstone: The Ethereal Pearl

Pearl is June’s birthstone, lending its ethereal beauty to the traditional month for weddings. Since ancient times, when the month was dedicated to the Roman Goddess of marriage, it has been considered good luck to take marriage vows beneath June’s sunny skies. Even today, one cannot imagine June without conjuring images of brides in lace and, of course, pearls.
July’s Birthstone: Ruby Passions

July’s Birthstone: Ruby Passions

July’s birthstone is ruby. Given that July is a month dedicated to Julius Caesar—a dictator who died in a pool of his own blood--the red gemstone seems somehow appropriate. But then, July has always been a month for red hot passions, whether murderous rages or ardent love affairs. In that respect, with its own internal fire, ruby is the ideal birthstone for the hottest month of the year.
Celebrities and their June Gemstones Birthstones

Celebrities and their June Gemstones Birthstones

Do you know what Marilyn Monroe, Rafael Nadal, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Anne Frank, George Bush, Donald Trump, Paula Abdul, Michael Phelps and Prince William have in common? We know that they are all famous on their own right. They some of the most popular actresses, actors, athletes, authors, musicians, entrepreneurs and politicians in the world. Well, the answer is actually not complicated. All of them are born in the month June
Emerald City - May Birthstone Gemstone

Emerald City - May Birthstone Gemstone

In the beloved movie “The Wizard of OZ,” Dorothy merrily skips along the yellow brick road on her way to find the Emerald City. Although it is a work of fiction compliments of L. Frank Baum, it is true that over the centuries emeralds have possessed a magnetic draw rife with mystical legend and lore. Ancient Egyptians wore them as a symbol of fertility, Cleopatra loved them so much that she had her own mines built, and the Incas worshipped the verdigris stone as a god.
About May Birthstone - Enduring Emerald

About May Birthstone - Enduring Emerald

May’s birthstone is emerald, a green gemstone that heralds the lush landscape of spring. May is a month in which flowers blossom, grass unfolds, and everything seems new again. Emerald is a stone that capture’s all spring’s verdant splendor, ranging in color between a bluish jungle green to chartreuse. The stone and the month are a perfect pairing.
Information and Legends of Topaz - November Birthstone

Information and Legends of Topaz - November Birthstone

Topaz is a gorgeous gemstone found in a wide range of colors. Striking shades of red, orange, peach, pink and gold are just a few shades of interest.  However, yellow topaz is the official birthstone for the month of November.  Commonly used as the suggested anniversary gemstone for the 4th, 19th, and 23rd years of marriage, this lovely stone has actually been quite famous throughout history.
About September Sapphires from Ancient Egypt to Today

About September Sapphires from Ancient Egypt to Today

In Ancient Egypt, sapphires were associated with the wisdom of the all-seeing Eye of Horus, which makes this gemstone the perfect birthstone for the month of September. Then, as now, September was a month for celebrating learning and knowledge. During September’s autumnal equinox, when day and night are in balance, the ancient Egyptians celebrated the wisdom of Isis, who used her knowledge to resurrect her dead husband, Osiris. And since ancient sapphires were prized by the Egyptians for their eye-opening qualities, they have come down to us as the birthstone for September--the month that starts our academic year, and our own quest for wisdom.
August - Birthstone - Cleopatra’s Favorite Gemstone

August - Birthstone - Cleopatra’s Favorite Gemstone

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 gemstonePeridot 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.

Octobers Birthstone: Spooky Tales of Pink Tourmaline

Octobers Birthstone: Spooky Tales of Pink Tourmaline

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!