Here at Sarah Beth's we all share a common love of everything jewellery, from our high-tech Casio watches and Trollbeads, and our range of gem-stone jewellery and branded jewellery. When you visit us in store we are happy to pass on our advice, and enjoy sharing in the experience and excitement you feel when making a jewellery purchase. Whether you are buying a gift for a loved one, a treat for yourself, or are lucky enough to be looking for engagement or wedding rings, the staff at Sarah Beth are here to help you. So it is important to us with our new online shop to share that knowledge and passion with you, as if you were visiting us in Rochford in Essex. Below is some information on Birthstones, why they are special and a bit of our personal opinions on how to wear them.
Coloured gem stones have been sought after and coveted since ancient times, and are believed to possess magical powers. Over the years certain gemstones have come to represent certain months, and are a popular gift to celebrate the month a person is born. Below is a list of each birthstone for each month, and a description of the magical properties each is said to possess.
January - Garnet
Often dismissed as a dark brown stone, Garnet is actually often referred to as a Rainbow stone, due to the fact that it is available in such a large array of colours, except blue.Garnet is sexy, colourful and pure. The most common colour for garnet is a beautiful, rich, and red. Some garnets change colour, depending on whether they are under natural light or man-made lights. This means that people lucky enough to be born in January have a great range of Garnet jewellery to choose from, in many different colours and styles.
February - Amethyst
Amethyst ranges from a light washy colour to a deep, dark, purple. Thought to bring the wearer good luck and health, the origins of amethyst are very unusual:
According to myth Dionysius, the Greek God of intoxication, was pursuing Amethystos, a beautiful mortal. After praying to the Gods for help in refusing his affections Artemis the Hunter turned her into a crystal form for protection. On seeing this Dionysius wept tears of wine, turning the crystal purple. Amethyst is believed to counter the effects of alcohol. In terms of jewellery Amethyst makes a beautiful centerpiece for pendants and earrings, when surrounded by diamonds.
March - Aquamarine
A transparent stone with a delicate light blue or turquoise colour. Believed to possess many different mythical qualities.
Early sailors would wear Aquamarine as it was also thought to ensure a safe voyage, and guarantee their safe return. It was also traditionally kept under a pillow at night, to allow the owner a good night’s sleep. In addition to these quaint beliefs it is also a magical counter to any poisons. Aquamarine is a beautiful stone, whether set in rings, pendants or earrings and is most popular set in white metal.
April - Diamond
By far the most sought after stone, due to its sparkle and rarity, Diamonds are most popular as an engagement ring. This dates back to the 15th Century, where the Archduke Maxmilian of Austria presented the first recorded diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy. Most commonly found as a white or colourless stone, Diamonds actually come in a variety of colours.
Diamonds were often believed to be fallen stars, due to the mesmerising way they catch the light.
As well as rings, Diamonds can be worn as pendants, earrings and bracelets. Unfortunately, as the most sought after, they are the most expensive gem today. Better to be born in April, than know someone who is!!!
May - Emerald
Either found in the range of yellowish green to a bluish green. Emeralds are a very brittle stone with many imperfections such as fissures and cracks. Oil is used to cover over the cracks, so it is important to ensure emeralds are not cleaned with general jewellery cleaner, warm soapy water is best used to protect your emeralds.
Emeralds are considered lucky, and have been used in India and Egypt as far back as 3000BC. They were also considered to prevent snake bites.
Cleopatra, the owner of an emerald mine, tested this myth by dying of a snake bite.
Emeralds can make a stunning centre piece in both classic and contemporary jewellery alike.
June - Pearl
Pearls are gems produced within the soft tissue of a shelled mollusc, most popularly thought to be an oyster, but more commonly a muscle. Naturally formed pearls are very rare but the majority of pearls sold as jewellery are freshwater, cultivated, pearls.
A piece of sand is inserted into an oyster or mussel, and the living organism’s natural defence is to cover this in layers of calcium carbonate. Over time this creates the pearls we see. Cultured pearls like this can be produced in high numbers in freshwater streams; sometimes five or six pearls can be grown from one mussel. A round, naturally formed, pearl in the ocean is valued higher than a cultured pearl as a freshwater mussel can be manipulated to produce a round pearl.
July - Ruby
Thought to represent good fortune, courage and devotion, rubies were often used to adorn suits of armour and sword hilts. It was also the most popular stone to be worn in Victorian times.
Ruby is also the gem to represent the 40th wedding anniversary.
Oval and cushion cut rubies look fantastic when set in pendants and earrings, but princess cut and round brilliant are also popular.
August - Peridot
Peridot is thought to characterise success, peace and luck. Found in varying shades of green, peridot is a harder gemstone than emerald, and more durable. It has been known “as the emerald of the evening”, due to the way it reflects light more brilliantly than an emerald. Peridot is also believed to ward off evil spirits, and was used to decorate church roofs.
Sapphire, most popularly known by its deep blue colouring, is actually a corundum, which share identical properties to ruby. Any corundum which is not red is a sapphire. Sapphire occurs in every colour of the rainbow.
September - Sapphire
Sapphire is said to represent truth, serenity and loyalty, and the wearer is said to possess great insight. Sapphire has also had strong ties to the Royal family. In fact, up until the late 17th Century anyone other than royalty caught wearing it would be punished.
In terms of jewellery those lucky enough to be born in September have a whole host of vivid colours and various settings to choose from.
October - Opal
Often associated with bad luck, Opals historically are the luckiest gem stone, due to the fact that they contain all the colours of other gem stones. The stigma of bad luck
Can be traced back to Victorian times, where this was introduced to try and steady the high demand for opals. Opal is a stone most often found in Australia; according to Aborigine folklore the creator came to earth to spread word of peace among all men. Where His feet touched, rock mixed with rainbow to create opal.
Opal is a mineraloid gel, which collects in rock fissures and cracks, and solidifies.
Opal is most often cut into a cabochon, or oval cut, and looks desirable when set in yellow or white gold.
November - Citrine
This stone is yellow in colour, and said to prevent drunkenness, and bring good health and luck. You may notice that this is exactly the same as amethyst (February’s birthstone). That is simply because Citrine and amethyst are in the same Quartz family.
Naturally coloured Citrine is extremely rare, and most popularly you will now see a coloured Quartz advertised as Citrine. You will also see green amethyst as a fashionable stone. Again this is a coloured Quartz crystal.
Yellow gem stones are fairly rare, so a citrine pendant and earring set will really stand out in a crowd.
Said to enhance strength, and gift the bearer with emotional balance.
December - Topaz
Topaz derives its name from the Greek Topazian, meaning fire. Topaz is most commonly found as a pure white stone, and is actually treated using gamma radiation to create the deep blue, which is popular today.
In ancient Egypt, Topaz was the stone of Ra, the sun god, who was known as the giver of life. In Christianity, topaz is said to represent purity and strong virtue.
Blue topaz is a fantastic centrepiece for any item of jewellery, and an easy stone to wear as a set, due to its uniform colour.