What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a birthstone, usually in the form of a jewellery piece. Why every month was assigned a specific stone is still unclear but it was believed that people started to wear a different gem stones each month as a sort of talisman, believing each stone held certain powers and gradually specific gemstones became attached to specific months. In 1912 a birthstone list was created for commercial use and it is now excepted all over the world. Some months have more than one stone and over the next weeks we will share with you some information on the birthstone assigned for every month of the year.
Garnet is the birthstone of January and is mined in a rainbow of colours ranging from the fiery orange of a mandarin to the rich green of a tsavorite garnet. a Garnet commonly occurs in red and when people hear garnet they immediately think of a red gemstone. The name garnet comes from the Medieval Latin word “granatus” meaning “seed like” in reference to a pomegranate. This reference is quite suitable as small garnets look like bright red seeds from a pomegranate.
The use of red garnets date back thousands of years when it was used by Egyptian pharaohs for both decorative and ceremonial purposes. The ancient Romans also wore garnet rings and traded garnet gemstones. As with many precious stones garnets were once believed to hold medicinal powers and in medieval times it protected the wearer against poisons, wounds and bad dreams. It was also believed to cure depression. Receiving a garnet is a great gift and symbolises a light heart, loyalty and enduring affections.
The birthstone for February is the Amethyst. Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz and is a popular gemstone available in different shapes and sizes, making it more affordable. Amethyst complements both warm and cool colours and therefore can be used with white, yellow and platinum jewellery. The name “Amethyst” comes from the from the Greeks and means “not drunken or sober”. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed Amethyst would ward of the intoxicating powers of alcohol and keep the wearer clear headed and quick-witted. Purple Amethyst speaks of peace, temperance, serenity and royalty.
It is so important to keep your jewellery looking as beautiful as the day you received it and all it takes is a little care and attention. Generally the gentlest way of cleaning is to use a mild soap(no detergent), warm water and a very soft brush and drying with a soft cloth or towel. It is a good idea to store your jewellery in separate compartments or boxes. Some delicate gems can be affected by sunlight. Hairspray and perfume has a detrimental affect on pearls so always remember to spray these before putting your pearls on. Chlorine and products with bleach can effect certain alloys, especially those associated with white gold It is important to take special care of gems, especially emeralds with natural inclusions on the surface as these can chip or discolour.