- Diamond: April’s Gemstone
Diamond is the birth stone for month of April, and besides being the most popular gemstone for engagement rings, is the anniversary gem for the 10th and 60th years of marriage. Diamonds are found in Australia, Congo, Botswana, Russia, and South Africa.
Even though the diamond is the hardest of all gemstones known to man, it is the simplest in composition: it is common carbon. The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen to earth. It was even said by some that they were the tears of the Gods or perhaps crystallized lighting or hardened dew drops. The truth is, however, that the exact origin of diamonds is still something of a mystery, even to scientist and geologists.
In ancient times only kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage, and invincibility. Over the centuries, the diamond acquired its unique status as the ultimate gift of love. It was said that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds which have a magic that nothing else can ever quite equal. But it wasn’t until 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy, that the tradition of engagement rings began. Even the reason a woman wears it on the third finger of her left hand dates back to the early Egyptian belief that the vena amoris, vein of love, ran directly from the heart to the top of the third finger, left hand.
- Emerald: May’s Gemstone
Emerald is the birth stone for the month of May and is also the anniversary gemstone for 20th and 35th years of marriage. They are found mainly in Colombia, Brazil Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The emerald is known as the Queen of Gems, and the gem of queens. The most prized is pure green or slightly bluish green. Emeralds are often characterized by the garden of included crystals trapped within. Under magnification, you will see all sorts of lovely patterns resembling foliage in a garden. A flawless, clear emerald is very rare and is usually found in small sizes. Small to medium sized stones are often faceted in the “step” or emerald cut. The gem is also lovely when cut into a Cabochon or dome shape. Sometimes emeralds are even carved.
The ancients held the emerald in great esteem, believing they sharpened the wearer’s eyesight and mind. The earliest engravers kept emeralds on their work tables to gaze upon from time to time to rest their tired eyes. Travelers relied on emeralds as protection against the hazards and perils of long journeys. The green gem was also said to give its owner the power to predict the future.
- Cultured Pearl: June’s Gemstone
Pearl is the official birth stone of the month of June. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 3rd and 30th years of marriage.
A pearl is the product of an oyster’s defense mechanism. When a foreign irritant is introduced naturally or by man (cultured), the oyster immediately surrounds it with layers of a substance called nacre. This forms the exquisite gemstone known as pearl. Pearls come in a wide range of colors from delicate rose white to black. They should be relatively free from skin blemishes. The more perfectly round the shape the better. The higher the luster or “orient,” the more valuable the specimen. Besides the popular round shape, there are stylish mabe (large hemispherical cultured pearls), fresh water (elongated in interesting shapes and colors), and South Sea (large cultured pearls 10 mm and up from Australian and Indonesian waters), to name a few.
The oriental pearl is known as the gem of the moon. They have been recognized as the emblem of modesty, chastity, and purity. They have also come to symbolize a happy marriage.