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Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's in a gemstone?


Want to ward off evil spirits? Bring balance and harmony into your life? Here is some legend and lore about gem stones dating back millions of years.

Facts: Mystical stone for September, Zodiac sign Gemini. Gift for the twelfth and fourteenth wedding anniversary.
Location: All over the world
Color: All colors of the rainbow, although green and blue are rare.
Legend: Believed to discern truth, accept circumstances and is a powerful emotional healer. According to legend, agates improve memory and stamina and increase honesty. The agate is said to be particularly beneficial to those born under the Gemini sign as it brings calm. The agate is thought to prevent insomnia, bring pleasant dreams, improve one’s analytical talents and ward off danger.

Facts: Official birthstone for February, Zodiac sign is Pisces. Gift to give on fourth, sixth and seventeenth wedding anniversary.
Location: All over the world
Color: Purple variety of the quartz stone ranging from deep purple, light lilac, lavender and mauve
Legends: Throughout history, amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming addiction. This stone has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia headaches and other pain. The powers of the amethyst include peace, love, happiness, courage, general uplifting and is said to ward off thieves.

Facts: The mineralized remains of the ammonite. The ammonite is derived from the ancient Egyptian god Ammon who believed these creatures were divine. Ammon is depicted in literature by the head of a ram with twisted spiral horns.
Location: Mined in Alberta, Canada
Color: red, yellow, green, blue and every color of the rainbow
Legend: Dates back to the Blackfoot tribe of North America and was used to ward off evil spirits. It is believed by some Feng Shui masters that the ammolite absorbs cosmic energy from the universe and is thought to bring the wearer health, wealth and enlightenment. The ammolite is thought to enhance harmony, vitality and well being to owners and visitors of the home. The ammolite is said to be the rarest gemstone in the world.

Facts: Modern and traditional gemstone for May; Zodiac stone for Taurus and Cancer; Planetary stone for Taurus. Gift for twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversary as well as alternative stone for fifty-fifth.
Location: Columbia and Brazil
Color: Deep grass green with slight bluish cast
Legend: Used as amulets to ward off epilepsy in children and cure diseases of the eye. Folklore suggests these stones will enhance memory, intelligence and clairvoyance, thus helping to predict the future. Cleopatra considered the emerald to be a most precious gemstone, bringing love and contentment.

Facts: Birthstone for January, Zodiac sign for Aquarius. Gift for second and sixth wedding anniversary.
Location: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Scotland, Switzerland, Burma and the US.
Color: Every color except blue. Pyrope garnets are crimson to dark red.
Legends: Powers include protection, healing and strength and is often worn to reduce inflammation of the skin, regulate the heart, blood flow and ward off depression. In ancient times, garnets were given between friends to demonstrate affection and to ensure they’d meet again.

Facts: Mystical birthstone for the month of March and for the sun sign Virgo. Given as gifts for thirtieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.
Location: Mexico, Russia, Central and South America
Color: Emerald green. Rarer jade is pink, lavender and black
Legends: Thought to protect the kidney, liver, spleen, heart, larynx, sinus and thyroid. Ancient folk believed wearing jade would increase strength and add longevity. Jade is an ancient symbol of love and virtue.

Facts: From the quartz group, believed to be derived from sun-dried and oxidized iron-rich clay. Jasper is long attributed to magical powers in many cultures. It was used in ancient European cultures as a rain bringer as well as in some American Indian cultures.
Location: Morgan Hill, CA, Germany, Russia, India, Pakistan, France and the US.
Color: Multi-colored in stripes and spots, some of which are red and yellow.
Legend: Poppy jaspers act as adrenaline, stimulating areas of the body that appear to be sleeping. It is said to bring a deep connection with the life of the earth. Inspires joy and motivation and creativity. Jasper was thought to ward off evil spirits as well as snake and spider bites.

Facts: Mystical birthstone for December, Zodiac sign for Leo. Onyx comes from the Greek word meaning nail of the finger or claw.
Location: Mined in Brazil, India, California and Uruguay
Color: Black
Legends: It is believed that one day while Venus was sleeping, Eros/Cupid cut off her fingernails and scattered the clippings on the ground. Because no heavenly body part can die, the gods turned them into stone which later became onyx.

Facts: Birthstone for October, Zodiac sign Libra. Opals almost never crack because of their low water content.
Location: Australia
Color: Translucent reflecting all colors
Legends: Healing powers include aiding inner beauty, faithfulness, eyesight and helps recall past lives.

Facts: Birthstone for June, sun signs Gemini and Cancer. Fresh water pearls are given on the first wedding anniversary, as well as third, twelfth and thirtieth. An organic gem, pearls are formed inside mollusk shells as oysters or mussels. They are formed when an irritant as a stone or sand gets inside. A lustrous substance called nacre is secreted around the object to protect the soft inside. As layers of nacre form around the stone, a pearl is formed. This process can take up to eight years. The most valuable pearls are perfectly symmetrical and large. They have a shimmering iridescence called orient luster.
Types of pearls:
Natural pearls are made without human interference
Cultured pearls are made when a foreign substance is intentionally inserted in a living oyster.
Blister pearls are attached to the inside of the shell
Fresh water pearls form in fresh water mollusks and resemble puffed rice
Seed pearls are tiny pearls used in Victorian jewelry and are sewn on clothing
Location: Persian Gulf around the coast of India and the Red Sea. Chinese pearls come from fresh water rivers and ponds, where Japanese pearls are found near the coast in salt water. Fresh water pearls are also grown in the rivers of Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France and the US
Color: Pearls vary in color from white to those with a hint of color as pink, brown or black.
Legends: Fresh water and cultured pearls have the power of protection, love, money and luck. Pearls are thought to give wisdom through experience, quicken the laws of karma and to cement engagements and love as well as protect children. Ancient Chinese cultures believed pearls fell from the sky when dragons fought.

Facts: Tiger’s eye is the planetary stone for Gemini and is the accepted gift for the ninth wedding anniversary
Location: Mined in Western Australia, South Africa, Canada, US, India, Namibia and Burma
Color: Greenish cast with shades of brown, golden-yellow, red and blue
Legend: Psychic protector, great business aid and for achieving clarity. Also thought to bring health and well being to the wearer.

Facts: Birthstone for October, Zodiac sign Leo and the accepted stone for the eighth wedding anniversary. Tourmaline means that of mixed color.
Location: Mined in Africa, Australia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and various countries around the world.
Color: Wide variety and appear to change color from different angles. Pink and blue tourmaline are the most expensive.
Legend: Ancient legends suggest the tourmaline is found in all colors because it traveled along the rainbow and gathered all its colors. The stone is believed to strengthen the body, especially the nervous system, blood and lymphs. The tourmaline is said to inspire creativity in writers and artists.
Facts: Adopted birthstone for December and Planetary gem for Aquarius. Turquoise was brought to Europe by the eastern Mediterranean by Levantine traders—more commonly known as Turks.
Location: Mined in Persia and the US. The turquoise mined in the US has the black vein.
Color: Ranging from green to sky blue
Legends: Turquoise attracts money, success and love. Its powers include protection, healing, courage, friendship and luck. It relaxes the mind. Turquoise is sacred to many Native Americans and is carved in the shape of animals and birds. These carvings were placed in the Indian tombs to attract the beneficial spirits and to guard the dead.


Julie Robinson said...

Very Interesting Sharon. I'll have to add this to my gems reference book.

Pearls are my favorite and my birthstone. I have a ring black peal with a greenish tint, which I was told is more rare than other black pearls. I have another ring, which I bought as a birthday present for myself (from my DH) which is a double pearl ring. One is purple black and the other is white. I told my DH that it's symbolic of my b-day sign---the twins---one light and one dark.

I like the feel of the pearls. You can touch them as much as you want. In fact I was told that this one
'stone' lasts longer if you touch it frequently because the oils on your skin keep it from drying out and cracking.

Hey! I just remembered that the rose is the flower for June also. No wonder!


Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Julie. How interesting about touching the pearls. I like that legend and will have to add it to my list. And your two-toned double pearl sounds beautiful, purple black and white. What a striking contrast. It sounds like something I would look upon as a good luck omen. But you know me and my legends! If I hear something brings you good luck, I'm the first to run out and get it! LOL

Julie Robinson said...

Actually, Sharon, that ring is not one pearl with two tones; it's 2 pearls on the same ring, The question is: Do I wear it with the light side facing outwards or the dark side???
Depends on the mood . . . .