MAJOR SOURCES: Africa

JANUARY – GARNET

Garnet comes in a range of colors like green, orange, pink, and red. Red is the most common color Mozambique Garnet, glowing deep red with hints of orange and brown, reminds us of an autumn harvest or Indian summer. Wrapped in its warmth, we feel protected against the storms ahead. It's no wonder that Garnet was believed to have healing properties, particularly with diseases related to blood.

The rich hue of Mozambique Garnet enhances designs that blend the exotic flavors of India, Africa and the Orient. These styles reflect today's culturally rich society, giving Mozambique Garnet special appeal to those who seek a sophisticated yet organic look. The affordability of this gemstone also makes it readily accessible to shoppers who desire its smoldering splendor. The gem is used for January birthdays and the second and sixth wedding anniversaries.

MAJOR SOURCES: Africa & South America

FEBRUARY – AMETHYST

Purple passion. From refreshing lilac to ripe plum, Amethyst demonstrates that drama and excitement of the color purple.

Perhaps because of its depth and richness, Amethyst has always been associated with intense emotion. For that reason, the legend of its origin is fitting, depicting a tale of revenge, devotion and immortal remorse.

Legend tells the story of Dionysus, the Greek God of wine, who was insulted one day by a mortal. Enraged, he called forth vicious tigers to exact revenge on the next mortal who would cross his path. Unfortunately, the maiden Amethyst, on her way to pay tribute to the Goddess Diana, was the unlucky traveler. The innocent girl suddenly found herself face-to-face with the tiger companions of the vengeful God. In order to save her from the beast, Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz. The crystalline maiden was so beautiful that Dionysus, in sorrow and remorse, wept tears of rich wine over the statue. His tears stained the quartz purple, thus creating the poetic gem that still bears her name.

MAJOR SOURCES: Afghanistan, Africa, China, India, Pakistan, Russia & South America

MARCH – AQUAMARINE

Imagine taking a dip in a crystal blue mountain lake – the morning air crisp and expectant, the sky soaring high and cloudless overhead. This is the unique refreshment of Aquamarine.

The name literally means "ocean water," with tales of Aquamarine dating back to ancient seafaring days. Sailors of old believed that these glittering, watery gems came from the treasure chest of mermaids. It’s no wonder then, that Aquamarine is said to bring good luck to all who sail the seas. Aquamarine also promises love, health and youthful energy to those who wear it.

Modern-day etiquette suggests Aquamarine as the gem of choice to celebrate March birthdays and the 16th and 19th anniversaries. Most Americans choose blue as a favorite color and Aquamarine’s powdery hue is a perfect gem for blue lovers.

Aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family. A cousin to Emerald and Morganite, its color is more pure and its attributes less brittle than Emerald, making it a desirable gem for special occasion wear.

MAJOR SOURCES: Botswana, Russia, South Africa, Australia, Namibia, Zaire, Brazil, China & Canada

APRIL – DIAMOND

What is the story of your diamond? Is it a story of passion? A story of intrigue? The beauty of a diamond is that it is the perfect expression of you – your special story. A diamond reflects the rarity, brilliance and breathtaking fire of a gem that has survived a journey of billions of years for the pleasure of adornment.

Fabulous takes and myths abound about the power of diamonds. Success, fearlessness and invincibility are some of the mystical properties ascribed to this famous gem. Perhaps the old legends were true. Today, diamonds remain the most treasured symbol of devotion, honor and strength.

The unmatched beauty and elegance of a diamond makes it the perfect jewel for marking life’s important occasions, from your newborn’s birth to a graduation, promotion or a birthday. Celebrate your special story with diamonds.

MAJOR SOURCES: Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Pakistan, Russia, Zambia & Zimbabwe

MAY – EMERALD

Lush. Exotic. Untamed. This is no ordinary, garden-variety green: Emerald pulses with life and vitality. In its depths beats the heart of the rainforest; its shadows alive with promise, expectation… even danger.

More valuable than diamonds, fine-quality Emeralds of significant size are among the world’s most bewitching jewels. Their incomparable dark green color is produced only under extremely rare conditions. Because these conditions also result in tiny cracks and cavities in the stone, inclusions are acceptable in top-quality Emeralds.

Ancient history records Emerald mines near the Red Sea called “Cleopatra’s Mines,” this was where the Pharaohs gathered gems between 3000 and 1500 B.C. On the other side of the world, the Incas and Aztecs of South America once worshipped Emerald as a holy stone. History also speaks of the Maharajas of India, whose treasure vaults were filled with Emeralds – the gem they believed to bring luck and health.

The green of Emerald is representative of life and springtime. In ancient Rome, it was the color that symbolized the beauty and love of the goddess Venus, Perhaps this is why Emerald is the gem chosen by love birds to celebrate their 20th, 35th or 55th wedding anniversary. Emerald is also the gemstone of choice for those born in May as well as those born under the sign Taurus.

MAJOR SOURCES: China & Japan

JUNE – PEARL

From the courts of ancient emperors, to the royalty and celebrities of today, pearls have been adored as a sign of wealth and exquisite taste.

Always prized, forever fashionable, the pearl is the only gem created by a living creature, and the oldest known to man.

To offer pearls to a loved one is to present her with the very finest of nature’s gifts. It is, quite simply, ‘The Queen of Gems’ – nothing else can come close. Forever elegant, forever in the highest fashion circles.The three most popular types of pearls today are South Sea, Tahitian, and Akoya Pears. Pearls range in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes and come in several types such as natural, freshwater and cultured. These factors along with luster and complexion help determine the value of a pearl. Cultured pearls account for 95% of the world’s pearl production. Cultured pearls were discovered in the early 1900’s by three different Japanese men. The most famous of the three, Kokichi Mikimoto, purchased the rights of the other two’s businesses and started the business Mikimoto we which come to know today as the premier name in cultured pearls. It is even said that Mikimoto ate two pearls a day to promote health.

MAJOR SOURCES: Brazil, Madagascar, Russia & Sri Lanka

JUNE – ALEXANDRITE

Night and day, the changing hues of Alexandrite enchant the eye and fuel the imagination. Its mesmerizing color swings from red to green depending on the light source, making it the most famous and popular of all color-changing gems.

First discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in the 1830’s this gem helped celebrate the coming of age of Czar Alexander II. The name Alexandrite was bestowed on this newly found Chrysoberyl as a tribute to the young royal, and its green and red colors reflective of tsarist Russia.

Due to its ability to change dramatically in shifting light, Alexandrite is associated with balanced life, self-esteem, and the ability to experience joy. According to legend, these powers are imparted to the gem's wearers. Often used to celebrate June birthdays, Alexandrite also commemorated the 45th and 55th wedding anniversaries. With a hardness of 8.5, Alexandrite is an excellent gem in terms of wear. Its natural (untreated) colors are perfect for those individuals who looks for a unique expression of self.

MAJOR SOURCES: Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Tanzania

JULY – RUBY

Blood-red. Fire-red. Color that burns along the veins, and gives brightness to the night. If you’re looking for the color of life itself, look no further than red. And the gemstone that brings red to life can have only one name: Ruby.

The "king of gems, " Ruby is one of the world’s oldest and most revered gemstones. It is also one of the rarest. The mineral Chromium is responsible for the gem’s startling color. Rubies with hardly any inclusions are so rare that large stones of good color fetch higher prices at auction than even diamonds.

Showing brilliant depth and intensity, Ruby is certain to demand attention. In settings that focus on its voluptuous color, Ruby sends a message of drop-dead glamour and femininity. Geometric-inspired jewelry designs featuring Ruby are equally appealing to both men and women who seek to convey strength, honor and classic style.

Ruby is the gem most often bestowed on those born in July as well as those born under the sign Aries. Its arresting hue speaks of passion and love, making it a stunning gem option for the celebration of the 15th and 40th wedding anniversary.

MAJOR SOURCES: Australia, Brazil, China, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka & United States

AUGUST – PERIDOT

The green-apple crispness of Peridot complements today's lively fashion scene perfectly. As the popularity of lime green continues to grow, so does the youthful appeal of this citrus-hued gem.

The Hawaiian people treasured Peridot, believing the gem to be the tears of the Goddess Pele. The Romans named the gem “Evening Emerald" because its brilliant color did not fade in lamplight, but instead seemed to glow in the evening hours. Partly for this reason, Peridot was believed to help dreams become reality and to drive away the evil spirits of night.

MAJOR SOURCES: Australia, Cambodia, East Africa, India, Kashmir, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand & United States

SEPTEMBER – SAPPHIRE

The color blue holds an endless fascination. From the high dome of the sky, to the oceans that cover two-thirds of the globe’s surface, blue literally surrounds us. When seen from space, the Earth is revealed as a shimmering blue planet. It’s little wonder, then, that the breathtaking blue of sapphire has captured man’s imagination from the beginning. Ranging from the deepest midnight to brilliant cornflower blue, Sapphires have long been prized for their intense, velvety color.

The ancients believed that Blue Sapphire – holding in its depths the power of sea and sky – had influence over the spirit world. Also among its reputed powers was the ability to make peace between warring parties. The calming influence of blue has also made it an enduring symbol for loyalty and trust – one reason that women around the world choose Sapphire for their engagement rings.

Sapphire – in all its rainbow of colors – is the gem given to those born in September or to those born under the sign of Virgo. Those who celebrate their 5th, 7th , 10th and 45th wedding anniversary find the brilliant blue color of the Sapphire makes the perfect gift to represent faith and steadfast commitment of their relationship. Many people believe that the darker the color, the more valuable the gem. In many instances, this is not the case. Sapphire is one such example where the best and most valuable color is a mid-toned hue. I the case of Blue Sapphire – it is the vibrant “cornflower” color that is most prized.

MAJOR SOURCES: Australia

OCTOBER – OPAL

The color of a rainbow. The glow of the Northern Lights. The dramatic flash of summer lightning. All the colors of the evening sky are captured in the mysterious, shifting hues of Opal.

With its pulsating display of fire and color, Opal was long thought to hold magical powers. For this reason, rare Opals were often reserved for royalty. The crown of the Holy Roman Emperor held a superb example, a fiery red Opal called "The Burning of Troy". This was given as a gift from Napoleon to Josephine – forming part of the crown jewels of France. Queen Victoria also loved Opals, and often presented them as wedding gifts.

The changing colors and flashing fire seen in Opal are symbolic of love, life, hope and truth. Its rainbow of hues make Opal an ideal fashion accessory with year-round appeal, particularly among those who seek drama and harmonic balance.

Opal is often chosen to celebrate those born in October. It also is the gem used to commemorate the 12th, 14th, or 18th wedding anniversary.

October – TOURMALINE

Tourmaline is the newer October birthstone. The name comes from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which means “stone with mixed colors,” because it often has multiple colors in one crystal. Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling array of colors. Perhaps this is why ancient mystics believed this October birthstone could inspire artistic expression – it has a color palette for every mood. Among the most popular are the pink and red rubellites, the emerald green “chrome” tourmalines, and the neon green and blue-to-violet “paraíba” tourmalines. 

Because of its vast range of colors, tourmaline was often mistaken for other gemstones  One of the “rubies” in the Russian crown jewels, the “Caesar’s Ruby” pendant, is actually red (rubellite) tourmaline. A Spanish conquistador found green tourmaline crystals in Brazil in the 1500s and confused the stones with emerald. These and other cases of mistaken identity continued for centuries until scientists recognized tourmaline as a distinct mineral species in the 1800s.

Different colors of tourmaline are thought to have their own healing properties. Black tourmaline is believed to protect the wearer and give a sense of self-confidence. Pink tourmaline embodies love and is associated with compassion and gentleness. Green tourmaline promotes courage, strength and stamina. Tourmaline is given to celebrate the eighth wedding anniversary.

MAJOR SOURCES: Bolivia & Brazil

NOVEMBER – CITRINE

The mellow gold of Citrine captures attention and brightens our moods. A sunny quartz whose name comes from the French word for "lemon." Cheerful and full of light, this sparkling gem was once thought to protect the wearer against various evils – from snake venom to wicked thoughts. Today, its radiant color is associated with joyfulness, youth and vitality.

Citrine is a member of the Quartz family of gemstones. Its color ranges from slightly golden yellow to a medium gold, showing hints of orange. The deeper brownish red quality of Citrine is called Madeira Citrine, so named for its wine-colored hue. Citrine is typically mined in South America.

Citrine makes a great gift for those born in November, as well as those born under the sign of Gemini. Citrine is also the gem used to commemorate the 11th and 13th wedding anniversaries.

MAJOR SOURCES: Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan & Sri Lanka

NOVEMBER – TOPAZ

The variety of topaz hues includes colorless, light blue, yellow, orange, pink, violet, brown and, very rarely, red. The vast majority of blue topaz seen today is the permanent result of treating colorless topaz with irradiation and heating. The rainbow effect seen in “Mystic Topaz” is created by coating colorless topaz with a thin artificial film.

Some believe the word “topaz” comes from the Sanskrit word tapas, which means “fire.” Others trace it back to the Greek topazos. This November birthstone was long thought to have many benefits. The ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength. From the 1300s to the 1600s, Europeans thought it could thwart magic spells and dispel anger. For centuries, many people in India have believed that topaz worn above the heart assures long life, beauty and intelligence.

The distinctly pinkish orange Imperial topaz has aristocratic cachet. It is commonly believed that the name originated with the Russian royal family’s insistence on keeping the finest colors of this gem, which was mined in Russia’s Ural Mountains, exclusively for their use. An alternate explanation, especially popular in Brazil, is that it dates from an 1881 visit by Brazilian Emperor Pedro II to Ouro Preto—the town closest to Brazil’s most productive topaz mines–and the gift of a reddish topaz to him.

MAJOR SOURCES: Tanzania

DECEMBER – TANZANITE

The first thing you notice is the color: Deep, vivid blue, with a purplish tinge that dances about the stone as it moves in the light. With its dazzling intensity and complex play of color, Tanzanite boasts a uniquely sensuous appeal.

Tanzanite’s rarity and exotic origin are also part of its fascination. This modern gemstone was unknown until 1967, when Massai herdsman in eastern Africa noticed blue crystals sparkling in the sun. Tanzanite’s dramatic discovery, coupled with its scintillating beauty, caused a worldwide sensation. To date, the world’s only source for the gem remains the hills of northern Tanzania, near Mount Kilimanjaro.

In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) named Tanzanite an alternative gem to celebrate December births. Massai belief holds that the color blue is both sacred and spiritual and according to folklore, only women blessed with new life have the honor of wearing the revered blue in both beads and fabric. Since the discovery of Tanzanite, Massai men began giving this gem to their wives when a new baby was born. Doing so bestows health and well-being upon the child, ensuring a prosperous life. This tradition makes tanzanite a true birth gemstone, a gift given to a mother to celebrate new life, irrespective of the month a child is born in.

Tanzanite is a member of the Zoisite family of gems. Its dual color – brilliant blue with hints of purple – ranges from indigo to violet to lilac to periwinkle. The color dynamic of Tanzanite makes each gem unique; it also means that they are very difficult to match. Bold yet meltingly beautiful, it is a favorite of both men and women.

MAJOR SOURCES: china, iran & United States

December – TURQUOISE

Turquoise is a semi-translucent to opaque gem that ranges from blue to green and often has veins of matrix (remnants of the rock in which it formed) running through it. This December birthstone has been cherished for millennia. The pharaohs and other rulers of ancient Egypt adorned themselves with it. Chinese artisans carved it more than 3,000 years ago.
 
The turquoise birthstone was thought to possess many beneficial powers, like guaranteeing health and good fortune. From the 13th century on, it was believed to protect the wearer from falling (especially off horses), and would break into several pieces at the approach of disaster. Hindu mystics maintained that seeing a turquoise after beholding the new moon ensured fantastic wealth.
 
This turquoise birthstone also played an important role in the lives of Native Americans. The Apache thought turquoise could be found by following a rainbow to its end. They also believed that attaching the December birthstone to a bow or firearm made one’s aim more accurate. The Pueblo maintained that turquoise got its color from the sky, while the Hopi thought the gem was produced by lizards scurrying over the earth.