What’s January’s Birthstone – Garnet
What’s the meaning of garnets? – Protection
Color: Dark Red
“Red garnets were the most popular gemstone in the later years of the Roman Empire. The word ‘garnet’ comes from the Latin word for seedlike, ‘granatus.’ This was a reference to their similar appearance to pomegranate seeds. Another characteristic of garnets is their high refractive index which gives onlookers the impression that the gem is emitting light.
This phenomenon led explorers and travelers to carry garnets with them on their journeys to ward off evil and light up the night. This practice persisted through the Crusades. Interestingly, garnets’ association with protection was made in other ancient cultures as diverse as the Aztecs in Central America and some Eastern Asiatic tribes whose warriors would carry them into battle. Some of these tribes would even attempt to turn the tables on their enemies who were using garnets for protection by fashioning arrowheads (and eventually bullets during the late 1800s) out of garnets. While we don’t recommend that use for garnets, we do think the gift of a garnet is a great way to let a loved one know you want them to be safe on all of their future journeys.
What’s February’s Birthstone? – Amethyst
What’s the meaning of amethyst – Wisdom
Color – Violet
Amethysts are a member of the Quartz family of gems and are highly valued for their deep violet color and twinned crystal structure. Amethysts have been engraved and set into jewelry since ancient Egypt and continue to be very popular today. The word ‘amethyst’ comes from the Greek word ‘amethystos’ which translates to ‘not drunken.’
According to a Greek legend, Dionysus (the god of wine and drunken revelry) had become enraged with all mortals after one insulted him by refusing Dionysus’ hospitality. He vowed to punish the next mortal he came across. The mortal happened to be a young woman named Amethystos who was on her way to pray to the goddess Artemis. When Amethystos realized she was in trouble, she cried out to Artemis who transformed her into a pure white statue and saved her life (though we would argue that Artemis didn’t dramatically improve Amethystos’ situation). Dionysus was moved by the statue’s innocence and in an act of contrition emptied his wine cup on top of it, dying it a deep purple.
This rare moment of sobriety for Dionysus forged an association with avoiding intoxication. To take advantage of the stone’s power, the Greeks would carry them on their person as well as cover their drinking vessels in amethysts. While we can’t promise that giving your friends an amethyst will result in a mythological alcohol tolerance, we do hope that it will inspire the wisdom not to overindulge.
What’s March’s Birthstone – Aquamarine
What’s Aquamarine’s meaning? – Serenity
Color – Blue or Cyan
Aquamarine is the blue member of the visually diverse Beryl family. Pure Beryl is usually clear and all of the colors associated with it are caused by impurities. The blue color in aquamarines is a result of iron being present in the deposits where it formed. Aquamarines are primarily found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, and South-East Asia. While less famous than other gems, they are highly sought after for their beautiful color and flawless crystal structure. Stones with deeper blue hues are considered more valuable because they occur less frequently in nature. This has led to enterprising jewelers using heat treatments to darken the color of their aquamarines.
Regardless of the shade of blue, these gems have evoked images of sea water and endless skies for generations. Many sailors would bring aquamarines on their voyages for a variety of calming purposes like getting a good night sleep by keeping it under their pillow at night or warding off poisons and bad food by keeping one in their pocket while eating. Aquamarines are also said to inspire harmony in your marriage. These benefits combine to make an aquamarine a great gift for new brides, moms, and especially your “eccentric” friend who is planning to sail around the world.”