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Category: Birthstones

  1. September – Sapphire

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    “A maiden born when September leaves
    Are rustling in September’s breeze,
    A sapphire on her brow should bind
    `Twill cure diseases of the mind.”
     
    The name “sapphire” comes from the Latin sapphirus and Greek sappheiros, meaning “blue stone,” though those words may have originally referred to lapis lazuli. Some believe it originated from the Sanskrit word sanipriya which meant “dear to Saturn.”

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog September Sapphire Nugget


    Historically, there are countless references to sapphires. The many biblical references to the stone include the Ten Commandments, which were given to Moses on tablets made of sapphire, as well as featuring on the second row of Aaron’s Breastplate. Medieval Christians expanded on the biblical allegories with their uses of sapphires, and the stone came to be known as the “guiding stone” of kings and emperors. It has decorated the robes of royalty and clergy members for centuries. Traditionally, the gem symbolises nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness.
     
    The mystic Hildegard von Bingen believed it a powerful talisman against madness and demonic possession, as referenced in the Gregorian poem. It was also believed by some to cure the “madness of love.” Sapphire’s mythical powers don’t end there though, amongst other things it is said to bring inner peace, focus the mind, and protect from envy and harm. They are also believed to symbolise nobility, sincerity, integrity, and when given as a gift represent trust, loyalty and honesty. Phew!

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog September Sapphire Engagement Ring

     
    Up until recently, the overwhelming favourite stone for engagement rings was not diamond, but sapphire! My mother’s engagement ring contained sapphire, and during the same era, but rather more famously, so did Princess Diana’s! There has been renewed interested in sapphire engagement rings since the engagement of Kate Middleton and Prince William in 2010.  Prince William proposed with the stunning eighteen carat blue sapphire ring, which formerly belonged to his mother, Princess Diana. Napoleon gave Josephine a sapphire engagement ring and sapphire rings have also been seen on the fingers of Penelope Cruz, Beyonce and Elizabeth Hurley. So, if a sapphire is your jewellery of choice you are in good company!
     
    Although sapphire typically refers to the rich blue gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, this royal gemstone occurs in a rainbow of hues. Sapphires come in every colour except red, which earns them the classification of rubies instead. Trace chemical elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper, and magnesium give the naturally colourless mineral corundum a tint of blue, yellow, purple, orange or green, respectively. Pinkish orange sapphires called padparadscha (from the Sri Lankan word for “lotus flower”) can draw higher prices than some blue sapphires.

    The vast majority of sapphires are treated using heat to create a more brilliant hue. 1% or less of sapphires are gem quality when they are first taken from the earth.  Untreated sapphires are particularly rare and valuable.
     
    Sapphire is one of the hardest natural gemstones placed second only to diamond in its hardness. This makes sapphire a very popular gemstone when it comes to jewellery making. Sapphires are also used in industrial applications including scientific instruments, high-durability windows, watches, and electronics. Sapphire’s durability makes it practical for everyday wear, and means it will definitely stand the test of time. This is probably why, besides being the birthstone of September babies, sapphires are also a traditional 45th wedding anniversary gift.
     
    September’s children can celebrate their birthday in style with a sapphire. And if it’s not your birthday in September but you just love sapphires, then buy one anyway. I won’t tell – promise!

     

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog September Sapphire Multi-coloured Strand

  2. August – Sardonyx, Peridot and Spinel

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    “Wear a sardonyx or for thee,
    No conjugal felicity;
    The August-born without this stone,
    `Tis said, must live unloved and lone.”
     
    Peridot is only one of a very small number of gems which only comes in one colour, although it is a beautiful colour. Lucky for August babies, Spinel comes in a rainbow of colours, so there is something for everyone! Sardonyx is a banded gem where two layered minerals create an eye-catching striped gemstone.
     

    Sardonyx

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog Sardonyx Pear Shaped with Stripes

    Sardonyx is the earliest birthstone for August. It has been popular for centuries, dating back more than 4,000 years to the Second Dynasty of Egypt. Ancient Greeks and Romans went to battle wearing sardonyx gemstone talismans engraved with images of heroes and gods like Hercules and Mars. They believed the stone could harness the bravery of those figures, granting them courage, victory, and protection on the battlefield.
     
    Sardonyx is also associated with happiness, and clear communication. During Renaissance times, public speakers and orators wore it to aid clear thinking and communication.  Ancients believed that placing a sardonyx gemstone at each corner of a house will grant protection against evil – someone should tell characters in horror films about this!

    However, unlike rare gemstones that were historically limited to wealthy royals, sardonyx has been popular with the elite and the masses alike. Relatively common and inexpensive, sardonyx is a beautiful gemstone that’s affordable enough to join any collection. It is often carved into cameos, intaglios, and brooches to show the colour contrast between layers.

    Its name, similarly, combines sard (referencing the ancient Persian city, Sardis, in present-day Turkey, where the red stone was found) with onyx (from the Greek word of the same spelling, which meant “nail or claw.”) Sardonyx is part of the mineral family of chalcedony, and combines alternating layers of two different types (sard and onyx) to create a reddish zebra-striped gemstone with white bands.

    Sard ranges in colour from yellowish red to reddish brown, depending on how much iron is present when the stone is formed. Sard is easily confused with carnelian, another type of chalcedony that is slightly softer and lighter in colour.

    Sardonyx, like onyx, shows layers of parallel bands—instead of the chaotic, curved bands that compose agate, another type of chalcedony.

    Peridot

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog August Peridot Small Nuggets

    The Egyptians, most notably Clepatra, would most likely be wearing peridot instead of the emeralds that rumour has her wearing. Known to ancient Egyptians as the "gem of the sun", it is found near Egypt and the Red Sea, although now it can be found all around the world.
     
    The word 'peridot' (pear-ih-doe) comes from the Arabic word for gem - "faridat". Also known as the "Evening Emerald", peridot is of a gentler hue. Peridot was historically confused with Emerald because of its colour. Peridot is believed to bring calmness and dissolve anger.
     
    Peridot is still a modern favourite among jewellery purchasers and is one of only a few gemstones to come in just one colour. It is a beautiful colour though – the green gemstone contains very fine traces of iron which is what contributes to the hints of gold in the gemstone. The intensity of the colour is dependent on the amount of iron present.
     
    Peridot is the gem-quality name for Olivine, a mineral which is mainly a product of igneous intrusions where melted rock from deep within the earth erupts at the surface, usually during volcanic activity. Olivine is part of a family of minerals called basalts. The mineral crystallises as the rock cools, and peridot is prospected and mined near lava and other volcanic activity making it a 'fiery' and passionate stone. Much of its ancient lore revolves around this love and passion, and bringing good fortune to lovers and others for the year to come.  Peridot is also said to cure nightmares and is traditionally given as a gift for a 15 year wedding anniversary.
     
    Certain meteorites also contain olivine (or peridot). First found in meteorites that have fallen to Earth, peridot is one of the few gems that has been found in an extra-terrestrial fashion. This "alien" has been found on Mars and the moon as well.

     

    Furthermore, NASA has found this birthstone in the dust of a comets known as Tempel1 and Wild2. NASA sent a ship in early 2004 ironically called "Stardust" to collect samples from these comets. When the ship came back to Earth they found the comets contained the little green gem, but no little green men.

     
    So for all you with August birthdays, you are truly out of this world – not bad for just one colour, right?

    Spinel

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog Multi Coloured Spinel Strands

    Spinel is a beautiful gemstone that is found in many colours: pink, red, purple, blue, yellow, brown and black.  A famous gemstone in England’s State Crown, called “The Black Prince’s Ruby,” is actually a red spinel, as is the “Timur ruby”, another gem in the Crown Jewels. Many English monarchs, including Henry VIII, have prized spinel gemstones, but today, Spinel would probably win the award for ‘most underappreciated gemstone’ – if there were such an award!

     
    Centuries ago, Sanskrit writings referred to Spinel as the daughter of ruby. The bright red colour of Spinel is so closely related to the Ruby the two of them have often confused in the past. Spinels are much rarer than ruby but, unlike ruby, they sometimes can be found in very large sizes.
     
    Of particular interest is a vivid, hot pink with a tinge of orange that is mined in Burma, which is one of the most spectacular gemstone colours and unlike any other gem. Spinel also comes in beautiful blues, but these are extremely rare.
     
    Vivid red is the most desirable colour of spinel gemstones, followed by the extremely rare cobalt blue, bright pink, and bright orange. The more affordable gemstones are often those with paler colours, like lavender. You may also find spinel in black, violet blue, greenish blue, greyish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown. 
     
    Believed to protect the owner from harm, to reconcile differences, and to soothe away sadness. However, its true appeal is the range of rich, brilliant colours and affordability, giving August’s children a real choice for their birthstone jewellery!

  3. July – Ruby

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    “The glowing ruby shall adorn,
    Those who in July are born;
    Then they’ll be exempt and free
    From love’s doubts and anxiety.”
     
    July hosts one of the most beautiful, rich and famous gemstones, the Ruby, to celebrate the July birthday. Named from the Latin word rubens meaning red, and known for centuries as “The King of Gems”, today it is usually considered to represent love and passion.
     
    Ruby is one of the most well-known and versatile gems and can be found in many different jewellery pieces and more. Best known by its deep red colour, the Ruby is second only to diamond and moissanite in durability and hardness. Rubies are incredibly hard, only slightly softer than diamonds. Rubies are safe to wear every day because of this, and are perfect for engagements rings, too.

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog July Ruby Teardrop Pendant

     
    In fact, Ruby is actually a variety of the same type of mineral as sapphire – the difference between them is colour.  Rubies are exclusively red, but sapphires can be blue, pink, purple, orange, yellow, green – any colour except red. The distinct red colour comes from the chemical element Chromium.
     
    To be considered a ruby, and not a (pink) sapphire, there is a certain amount of colour required in the ruby. The colour is divided into three distinct elements:
     

    • Hue - this refers to the colour in the most common sense of the word (such as the famous red hue and the 'purest form' of the colour).

     

    • Tone - the shade of the stone (deeper red tones).

     

    • Saturation - the intensity of the hue or colour (or how close it is to a 'pure red' or the pinkish colour).

     
    If the saturation reaches a particular point, then the stone moves from being classed as a pink sapphire into a ruby.
     
    Rubies are one of the highest valued for coloured gemstones. In fact, it’s been known for large rubies to fetch a higher price than a diamond. Unlike diamonds, rubies are nearly all flawed so to find one with no imperfections means a price higher than a diamond of similar weight or quality.
     


    Some rubies are heat treated in order to enhance their natural colour and make them more desirable. Many of these treatments can hide the impurity and imperfections very well to the naked eye. However, many jewellers can easily identify the unnatural occurrences made to create these enhancements with their jeweller’s loupe.
     
    Rubies are some of the most synthetic or imitated gems in the industry. This is most likely a cause of their demand and value throughout history. The first synthetic rubies were created in the early 1800's and were not truly mass-produced until the early 1900's. The uses of these artificial rubies are for both technological, like lasers, to gemmological purposes that we may use.
     
    Imitation rubies have been around for centuries, although they are not synthetic or lab made, they have been tried to be passed off as rubies. This was seen in as early as 17th Century Rome, where red coloured foil was put under another stone to create the red colour. More modern forms of imitation are trying to pass red spinels, garnets, rubellite (red tourmaline) and coloured glass as rubies.
     
    Rubies are linked to vibrancy and life because of their colour and ancient folklore. Some countries believe rubies enable you to live at peace with your enemies, and with other beliefs that rubies guarantee wealth, success, love and more, the ruby has become a staple of our society. Whether used for the purposes of technology or jewellery, the ruby may be one of the most important gems and birthstones we know.
     
    Of all the coloured gemstones it most represents passion and love; making it an ideal choice for your engagement ring or wedding ring. 40 years after your wedding day you could celebrate again with a ruby anniversary jewellery piece.  But don’t wait that long, there are too many birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries and beautiful rubies to let slip by.
     

  4. June – Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone

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    “Who comes with summer to this earth,
    And owes to June her hour of birth,
    With ring of agate on her hand
    Can health, wealth, and long life command.”
     
    June is one of only two months that has three birthstones associated with it, giving the lucky people born in June a choice of birthstones between pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone. June’s birthstones range from creamy-coloured opalescent pearl and moonstone to the rare colour-changing alexandrite.
     
    Pearl – June’s Traditional Birthstone


    Cinebling BIrthstone Blog June Pearl in Clam Shell on Sandy Beach

    As you may know, Pearl is not actually a stone at all, but it is seen as one of the most traditional items featured in jewellery. For centuries it has been used as a precious stone and has had meanings from mythological and more. Many different cultures have used this stone for jewellery because of its natural beauty and refined look.
     
    The unique feature of the pearl is that it is the only gem to be formed by a living creature, no other gem can make that claim. Molluscs produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their shells – not usually a grain of sand, as commonly believed. This unique formation is what gives pearls the ability to come in many different colours, shapes and sizes, and also gives them their natural lustre. The iridescent “nacreous” pearls do not require any polishing whatsoever (which probably makes them popular with jewellers!)
     
    Natural pearls usually only occur in creamy colours. Cultured freshwater pearls can also be dyed yellow, green, blue, brown, pink, purple, or black. Black pearls—which are mostly cultured because they are so rare in nature—aren’t actually black but rather green, purple, blue, or silver.
     
    The name “pearl” comes from the Old French perle, from the Latin perna meaning “leg.” This is believed to be a reference to the leg-of-mutton shape of an open mollusc shell. Because perfectly round, smooth natural pearls are so uncommon, the word “pearl” can refer to anything rare and valuable. In Cockney rhyming slang, “ocean pearl” was used to refer to a “girl” – usually one as pretty and rare as a pearl!
     
    Pearls used to be found in many parts of the world, but natural pearling is now confined to the Persian Gulf waters near Bahrain. Australia owns one of the world’s last remaining pearl diving fleets, and still harvests natural pearls from the Indian Ocean.
     
    Pearls are very soft, ranging between 2.5 and 4.5 on the Mohs scale. They are sensitive to extreme heat and acidity; in fact, calcium carbonate is so susceptible to acid that pearls will dissolve in vinegar. This means that they need to be cared for, and are not usually suitable for everyday wear.
     
    Besides being one of three birthstones for June, the pearl is also frequently gifted on 1st, 3rd, 12th and 30th wedding anniversaries.
     
    Alexandrite – June’s Colour-Changing Birthstone

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog June Alexandrite 


    A relatively modern gemstone, alexandrite was discovered in Russian emerald mines located in the Ural Mountains. Legends claim that it was discovered in 1834 on the same day that future Russian Czar Alexander II came of age, hence the name honouring him. Because this unique gemstone changed colours from green to red - the national colours of Russia - alexandrite became Imperial Russia’s official gemstone.
     
    Often described as “emerald by day, ruby by night,” alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes colour from blueish green in daylight to purplish red under incandescent light. This happens because of the "spectrum of colour" that incandescent light (such as from light bulbs) shows versus others types of light, and it is absorbed and reflected differently in Alexandrite.
     
    This chameleon-like behaviour is the result of its uncommon chemical composition - which includes traces of chromium, the same colouring agent found in May’s birthstone emerald. The likelihood of these elements combining under the right conditions is very low, making alexandrite one of the rarest, costliest gemstones.
     
    The alexandrite mined from Russia’s famed deposits set the quality standard for this stone. Today, most alexandrite comes from Sri Lanka, Brazil, and East Africa—generally paling in comparison to the vivid colours of Russian gemstones. With a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, alexandrite is softer than sapphire and harder than garnet - the other gemstones that can change colour. However, due to its scarcity, alexandrite is more valuable than most gemstones, even rubies and diamonds.
     
    Associated with concentration and learning, alexandrite is believed to strengthen intuition, aid creativity and inspire imagination - bringing good omens to anyone who wears it, whether they were born in June or not!
     
    Moonstone – June’s Modern Birthstone
     
     Cinebling Birthstone Blog June Moonstone Pendant
     
    June’s third and final birthstone, moonstone, was named by the Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone’s shimmery appearance shifted with the phases of the moon.
     
    Moonstone is the white variety of labradorite; both gems that belong to the feldspar family.  It is hugely popular due to its unique glisten and sheen, not unlike an opal or pearl, and it has been also been steeped in legend and beliefs about its healing powers. Around the world, moonstone has been believed to be formed from moon drops or moonbeams and considered sacred because of this.
     
    The most common moonstone comes from the mineral adularia, named for an early mining site near Mount Adular in Switzerland that supplied this gemstone. This site also birthed the term adularescence, which refers to the stone’s milky glow, like moonlight floating on water. Moonstone is made up of microscopic layers that scatter light to cause this billowy effect. Thinner layers produce a blueish sheen and thicker layers look white.
     
    Moonstone comes in a range of colours from yellow, grey, green, blue, peach, and pink. The finest classical moonstones – transparent with a blue shimmer – come from Sri Lanka. Since these sources of high-quality blue moonstones have essentially been mined out, prices have risen sharply.
     
    Moonstones are also found in India, Australia, Myanmar, Madagascar, and the United States. Indian gemstones – which have hues of brown, green, or orange – are more abundant and affordably priced than their classical blue counterparts.
     
    Like pearls, this beautiful gemstone’s weakness is its relatively low hardness of 6 on the Mohs scale, making it prone to stress cracking and cleaving. Care is required with moonstone jewellery like rings or bracelets; brooches and pendants are preferred and should not be worn constantly.
     
    Whether you believe this beautiful gemstone can improve your health and well-being or you just like the incredible colour and individuality; moonstone jewellery will not disappoint, whether it’s June, July, August or any month of the year.

     
  5. May - Emerald

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    “Who first beholds the light of day
    In spring’s sweet flowery month of May
    And wears an emerald all her life
    Shall be a loved and happy wife*.”
     
    (*This is taken from a Gregorian poem, which was written a long time ago, and printed by Tiffany & Co in 1870. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a loved and happy wife, I know that some people aren’t into marriage, so we’ll ignore the rhyming pattern and go with ‘loved and happy’ and just leave it there. OK? Great!)

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog May Emerald Rough Columbian

    The birthstone for May is Emerald. Their name is derived from the Greek word smaragdus which simply means green. It has had different meanings in different cultures, but in ancient times it was associated with love, rebirth, and granting the owner youth and love. Emerald has also been linked to the Roman goddess Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, and was said to be a favourite of Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra’s. The Ancient Egyptians prized the stone and had some of the first emerald mines. It was valued so much that they would bury mummies with the stone to represent ‘eternal youth’.I don't know about you, but a bit of eternal youth sounds good to me!
     
    More recent fans of emerald include Elizabeth Taylor, and Victoria Beckham, Uma Thurman and Angelina Jolie have all been seen sporting the green sparkler on the red carpet.
     
    Carat for carat, emeralds can be more costly than diamonds. They are more prone to imperfection than other gems, making high-quality emeralds extremely valuable.  Their rich green colour is the perfect hue for spring and May birthdays. While March marks the start of spring, April’s showers nurture the first buds, and by May, we are usually awash with green – though not always as beautiful as emerald.
     
    Emerald was originally mined in Egypt, but they are now produced in countries all over the world, with Columbia being their largest producer. Like March’s birthstone aquamarine, emerald is a variety of beryl, a mineral that grows with six sides and up to a foot in length. Emerald’s colour can range from light green to a deep, rich green. Emeralds are also like aquamarine in that the way the colour is presents itself in jewellery depends on a good cut by a skilled gemmologist. Clarity is also a key consideration with emeralds.
     
    From the emerald isle of Ireland, to the 'Emerald city' of Seattle, from describing the iconic diamond cut to even a city of fantasy and delight in the Wizard of Oz, the emerald is a gem that has been cherished for centuries. The green hues and vivid tones of the Emerald is nature's beauty at work, and all of May’s birthdays who have this as their birthstone must surely be blessed with ‘the luck of the Irish’.

    Cinebling Birthstone Blog May Emerald and Diamond Pendant


    Have a great May,
    Joy