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.
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.
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.
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.
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!