Garnet, the January birthstone, is in my opinion, underappreciated. Garnet derived its name from the Latin word granatus, meaning like a grain, which refers to the mode of occurrence where crystals resemble grains or seeds embedded in the matrix. The name is also thought to be derived from the pomegranate fruit because some garnet crystals bear a resemblance to pomegranate seeds. Believe it or not, garnet displays the greatest variety of color of any mineral, occurring in every color except blue. Garnets can sometimes exhibit optical phenomena such as asterism (a star shaped pattern of reflections), chatoyancy (a “cat’s eye” seen in reflected light), or a color change when viewed under different types of lighting.
Jewelry takes people’s minds off your wrinkles ~ Sonja Henie
Traditionally, sapphire symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. It has decorated the robes of royalty and clergy members for centuries. Its extraordinary color is the standard against which other blue gems—from topaz to tanzanite—are measured. Rulers of ancient Persia believed the sky was painted blue by the reflection of sapphires. In some religions, the blue color of sapphires represented the heavens. In the 12th century, the sapphire gemstone was known as the most appropriate stone for ecclesiastical rings. The Sinhalese believed that the star sapphire served as protection and a guard against witchcraft. During the 18th century, sapphires were used to test female loyalty, changing color if the woman was unfaithful. Sapphires have long been used as talismans for protection, warding off diseases and to bring peace, happiness and superior intelligence.
Since it was discovered in the late 1980’s, Paraiba tourmaline’s striking neon blues and greens have electrified the gem world. The gem’s unique vivid coloring instantly set it apart from other tourmalines. The stone was discovered by Heitor Dimas Barbosa, who spent years digging in the hills of the Brazilian state of Paraiba on his personal hunch that he was going to find something completely different under the “Paraiba hill”. Mr. Barbosa began digging in 1981 and it was in the autumn of 1989 that the first crystals were being brought out. Mr. Barbosa was getting over an illness at the time and never saw the first crystals as they were sold before he saw them!