- Turquoise is a blue-green mineral, with the chemical name of hydrated copper aluminum phosphate.
- The word turquoise is derived from the Old French word meaning Turkish stone.
- Some of the finest turquoise is known to come from Iran, but high-grade turquoise is also mined in Arizona and New Mexico.
- The ancient Egyptians used turquoise in jewelry, art, ornaments, and statues because they believed it had magical powers.
- Tanzanite is named after the East African state of Tazmania, the only place in the world where it can be found.
- The blue variety of tanzanite is called zoisite.
- Originally known as blue zoisite, the mineral’s name was changed to tanzanite by Henry Platt, Vice President of Tiffany & Co., because he felt zoisite sounded too much like suicide.
- In October 2002, the American Gem Trade Association officially named tanzanite as the third December birthstone.
- Zirconium silicate is the chemical name for zircon.
- The name zircon is derived from the Arabic words “zar” and “gun,” which means gold and color.
- Today, zircon is primarily mined in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- In the Middle Ages, many people believed zircons could relieve pain, induce hunger, protect travelers from disease and injury, ensure a warm welcome, and promote restful sleep.
Monday, December 1, 2014
Monday, November 3, 2014
- While the Ayurvedic birthstone list only includes topaz, the Jewelers of America list considers both citrine and yellow topaz as official November birthstones.
- Citrines are quartz crystals commonly found in igneous metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
- The common colors of citrines are yellow and orange.
- The word citrine is derived from the French word, citrin, which means lemon.
- Citrine is the gemstone for the Zodiac sign of Scorpio, and the 13th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
- In ancient times, citrine was worn as protection against bad skin, evil thoughts, snakebites, and even the plague.
- A gift of citrine symbolizes strength and hope.
- Some believe citrine began as amethyst, the purple quartz, but the heat from molten rock changed it to yellow quartz.
- The presence of fluorine usually indicates that topaz is likely to be found.
- When topaz has red or pink overtones, it is known as Imperial topaz, and can be very rare and expensive.
- It is widely believed that the word topaz is derived from the Sanskrit word, topas, which means fire.
- Topaz jewelry is given for the 4th, 19th and 23rd wedding anniversaries.
- Topaz is known as the “stone of strength.”
- A gift of yellow topaz symbolizes friendship, strength, wisdom, and courage.
- Topaz was once believed to ease bad tempers, cure insanity, and help insomnia.
- The ancient Egyptians believed yellow topaz’s color came from the glow cast by the sun god, Ra.
- The ancient Greeks believed topaz could make its wearer invisible.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
- The opal is an ancient mineral known as petrified silica gel that is found near the earth's surface where geothermal hot springs once existed.
- Many opals contain a rainbow-like iridescence known as "opalescence,” which changes the colors that appear in the stone depending on the angle it is viewed.
- Opalescence is caused by a hydrous silicon dioxide material that causes the gemstone to flash iridescent colors when the opal is viewed from different angles.
- The subcategory of opals known as precious opals are the most in demand because of their "opalescence” or “play of color.”
- The word opal is derived from the Latin word "opalus," meaning precious jewel, as well as “upala,” the Sanskrit name for precious stone.
- Opals are given to celebrate a 14th wedding anniversary, and are a symbol of faithfulness and confidence.
- The ancient Romans called the opal “Cupid Paederos,” which translates to “a child beautiful as love.”
- In ancient Rome, opals were ground up and consumed because they were believed to have healing properties and the power to ward off bad dreams.
- The Great Bard, Shakespeare, loved opals so much, he nicknamed them the “queen of the gems.”
- The opal is Australia’s national gemstone, and its indigenous people call opals “the fire in the desert.”
- Coober Pedy, Australia, is known as “The Opal Capital of the World” because 51 percent of the world’s supply of opals are mined there.
- In 2008, NASA discovered opal deposits on Mars! Since opal is made up of mostly water, Mars may have contained water for billions of years.
Monday, September 8, 2014
- Blue sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum, the same mineral that rubies come from.
- The sapphire is derived from the Greek word sapphirus, which means blue.
- On the Mohs hardness scale, sapphires are second only to diamonds in hardness.
- Although sapphires come in many colors, the most valuable and sought after are deep blue sapphires.
- In addition to the birthstone for September, sapphires are also the gemstone for 45th wedding anniversaries.
- The ancient Greeks believed sapphires were a symbol of wisdom and purity.
- The ancient Persians believed the Earth was supported by a giant sapphire and its reflection made the sky blue.
- According to Jewish midrash, Moses was given tablets of sapphire that were carved from God’s throne, making them the most precious gemstone.
- The late Diana, Princess of Wales, famously chose a blue sapphire and diamond ring for her engagement to Prince Charles. After enheriting it upon her death, Prince William gave his mother’s ring to Kate Middleton when he proposed to her, and she now wears it.
- During both royal weddings, reproductions of Princess Diana’s ring became so popular with the public that it became known as “the commoner’s ring.”
Friday, August 1, 2014
|Amethyst Peridot Ring|
- Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine, and range in color from from yellow-green to lime-green.
- Peridot is formed in magma deep in the earth’s mantle, and is brought to the surface by volcanic or tectonic activity.
- The word 'peridot' is derived from the Greek word 'peridona,' which means 'to give richness.'
- Peridot is also known as 'chrysolite,' derived from the Greek 'gold stone,' and 'olivine.'
- Peridot is the stone given to celebrate a 16th wedding anniversary.
- Peridot is an ancient gem, and can be found in Egyptian jewelry from the early 2nd millennium BC.
- The ancient Romans called peridot “the evening emerald” because of its deep green color when reflected by lamplight.
- Peridot is the national gem of Egypt, where it is referred to as the “gem of the sun.”
- Sardonyx is a variation of onyx, a semiprecious stone of the silica mineral, agate.
- Sardonyx only appears in hues of orange and red.
- The word sardonyx is derived from Sard, meaning reddish-brown, and onyx, meaning veined gem.
- During the Renaissance, sardonyx was often worn by public speakers to make them more visible to the audience.
- On sardonyx gems, the layers of white, grey or black interspersed with red or reddish brown are created by layers of reddish-brown mud and layers of lava.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
|July's Romantic Rubies: Fun Facts and Lore|
This month we pay tribute to the wildly romantic and luxurious Ruby, the birthstone of July. You’re all familiar with one of the most iconic movie costume pieces of all time — the Ruby slippers. Here we present some fun facts for those lucky enough to have the Ruby as their birthstone, and for those that just love rubies:
- Ruby is the birthstone for July, as well as the astrological sign of Capricorn.
- Ruby is the red gem form of the mineral corundum, which has an absolute hardness of 400 (compared to diamonds which have an absolute hardness of 1600).
- Trace amounts of the element chromium is what gives rubies their red appearance.
- Blue corundum gems are called sapphires.
- Rubies in shades of pink are simply referred to as pink rubies.
- The finest rubies in the world were once found in Burma in South and Southeast Asia. Today, Burma is known as Myanmar.
- The color of the pure red rubies from the mines of Mogok were sometimes referred to as "pigeon’s blood.”
- The most expensive ruby ever sold was an 8.62 carat pigeon's blood cushion-cut ruby set in an 18-karat gold rectangular mount. It sold at auction at Christie’s in 2006 for a reported $3.6 million.
- In ancient times, rubies were thought to give its wearer good health, wisdom, wealth, and success in love.
- Flawless top quality rubies are more valuable and rare than top quality colorless diamonds.
- The word red is derived from the Latin word, ruber.
- Almost all natural rubies are treated to improve their color and strength; this is standard practice and accepted by the American Gem Trade Association and Israel-Diamonds.
- At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy she can return home to Kansas by clicking the heels of her ruby slippers together three times and repeating the phrase, “There’s no place like home.”
Monday, June 2, 2014
June has not one, but three birthstones: Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone. In this issue of Adina’s Newsletter, find out some interesting information about the fascinating and unusual birthstones of June:
- There is only one other month of the year that boasts three birthstones. December’s birthstones are turquoise, zircon, and tanzanite.
- The pearl is also the birthstone for the Sun Signs Gemini and Cancer.
- Pearls are organic gemstones created when a tiny irritant such as sand enters a mollusk’s shell. The mollusk secretes nacre to coat the object, and the layers become pearls.
- You can tell if a pearl is real by sliding it across your teeth. If it’s gritty, it’s probably real.
- Around 90 percent of pearls are cultured, meaning they are made by mollusks under controlled conditions,and are difficult to differentiate from naturally occurring pearls.
- Shortly after her death in 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s La Peregrina pearl necklace was purchased at her "The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor" Christie's auction for $11.8 million — the highest amount any pearl has ever sold for at auction.
- The largest natural pearl was discovered in Patterson, NJ.
- Alexandrite is a rare gemstone made of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes from green to red in incandescent light.
- The Alexandrite was named after the Russian tsar, Alexander II, and was the national stone of old Imperial Russia.
- Moonstone was given its name by the Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that moonstone's appearance was altered with the phases of the moon — that belief held until some time after the 16th century.
- The blue seen in moonstones is not mineral color, but a form of iridescence from multi-layer interference of light known as adularescence.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
|Emerald, the May Birthstone|
Here are some fun facts to help improve your knowledge and lore of the stunning and ever-popular Emerald:
- Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl.
- Emerald green is the most sought after and valuable shade of emerald.
- Emeralds get their green color from trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium.
- Ireland is known as “the Emerald Isle” for its lush green fields.
- The emerald is the gemstone for the Zodiac star sign, Taurus.
- Emeralds are traditionally given as gifts for 20th, 35th and 55th anniversaries.
- An emerald with the right color and characteristics can be rarer and more expensive than a diamond of similar size.
- Emeralds are symbolic of springtime and rebirth, and so are believed to help with fertility, ensure a healthy pregnancy, and ease childbirth.
- The word emerald is derived from the Greek word, smaragdos, which means means green stone.
- On a scale of 10, emeralds are a 7.8 – 8 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
- Today, most emeralds are found in Colombia, and the most famous emerald deposit is called the Muzo mine, located northwest of Bogota.
- Up until around 200 years ago, peridots were commonly mistaken to be emeralds.
- Green Swarovski crystals are used to make replica emeralds because they can be more precisely faceted.
Monday, April 21, 2014
- Diamonds are a naturally occurring allotrope of what element?
- Diamonds are formed deep inside the Earth’s interior when carbon
is crystallized over a long period of time. What two factors cause the
- Diamonds are appraised and priced according to the 4 Cs: color,
clarity, carat weight and cut. What organization created this standard
- Diamonds were first mined in India around 800BC. Today, what are the four top diamond producing countries in the world?
- A state park in Arkansas is the only diamond-producing location in
the world that allows the public to dig for and keep the diamonds they
find. What is the name of the state park?
- Marilyn Monroe famously sang “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” in what 1953 film?
- In the 1963 film, The Pink Panther, Peter Sellers played clueless police inspector Jacques Clouseau on the trail of a jewel thief known as The Phantom. In the movie, what is the name of “the largest diamond in the world?”
- In December 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s renowned jewelry collection
was auctioned at Christie’s in New York. One of her most famous pieces
was the Taylor-Burton diamond ring, given to her by husband, Richard
Burton. How many carats is it, and what is its estimated worth?
- In James Cameron’s movie Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, what is the name of the fictional blue diamond lost to the ocean?
- On December 10, 2012 at the final lot of Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels” auction, a new world auction record was achieved for a reddish-orange fancy colored diamond. What was the diamond’s carat weight, and what did it sell for?
- Heat and pressure.
- The 4 Cs grading system was created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
- Australia, Zaire, Botswana, and the former Soviet Union.
- Crater of Diamonds State Park.
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
- “The Pink Panther.”
- The Taylor-Burton diamond is a 69.42 carat pear-shaped stone
estimated to be worth $3.5 million. Taylor sold the diamond in 1978
following her divorce from Burton to fund her charity work.
- “The Heart of the Ocean.”
- The rare 3.15 carat diamond is the largest reddish-orange diamond ever graded at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and sold for $2,098,500, setting a new world auction record for a reddish-orange diamond and a new per-carat record price of $666,200.