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Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz, and the most prized quartz variety. Prior to the 1800s, amethyst was rare and valued akin to ruby, sapphire and emerald. The gem's gorgeous shades of purples have captivated mankind for centuries. Amethyst has been used in jewelry for thousands of years.
Because of its wine-like color, the ancient Greeks associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine, and believed wearing an amethyst prevented intoxication. The word "amethyst" is derived from the Greek word "amethystos," meaning "not drunk."
December is another lucky month with two birthstones: Turquoise and Zircon. This newsletter discusses zircon as the lesser-known stone. In today's marketplace, Zircon comes in many colors, including green, yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and blue. The wide and varied palette of hues make zircon a favorite amongst collectors and informed consumers. Colorless zircon was once a common diamond simulant in the 19th century because it has brilliance and flashes of multicolored light called "fire." These two optical properties of zircon were close enough to diamond's optical properties to account for centuries of confusion between the two gems.
November has two birthstones: citrine and topaz. Before the development of modern technology to facilitate differentiation between similar gems, citrine was often confused with topaz due to their similar color palatte and other similar qualities.
The citrine gemstone is a variety of quartz. Its name is derived from the French word "citron," a fruit closely related to the lemon. The gem comes in a range of citrus fruit colors, most notably lemony hues ranging from pale to saturated yellows. Citrine also comes in a range of colors from deep yellows to deep oranges, including a lovely warm reddish orange hue referred to in the trade as "Madeira Citrine" due to the color's likeness to Madeira wines.
October is a month with two birthstones: Opal and Tourmaline. Opal is often associated with hope and tourmaline with strength. Each gem is worthy of separate presentation, and we look forward to chatting about opals in a future newsletter. Today, we focus on tourmaline, which has become known as an American gem, with prized stones mined in Maine and California. Sources of tourmaline outside of the US are Afghanistan, Brazil (a major source), Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Pakistan, and Russia.
The tourmaline color typically representing the October birthstone is pink. The impressive Pink Tourmaline is associated with fulfilling one's potential by joining feminine and masculine forces to create balance in life. Nurturing endurance, inner harmony, and self-empowerment, it is no wonder that the pink tourmaline is coveted around the world.