The garnet group has many species that come in a variety of colors and identifiable traits. Most people are familiar with the pink-red to brown-red colors of the rhodolite garnet. The name "garnet" is from the Latin word "grantus" meaning "seed-like" because garnet crystals in its natural rock reminded the early scientists of the color and shape of pomegranate seeds. Garnet was considered the gem of faith, constancy, and truth. It was also believed to have curative powers. When ground into a power it was said to relieve a fever, and yellow garnet was used for jaundice. When the powder didn't work, it was said to be the apothecary's fault in having used another stone instead of the genuine.
The amethyst is the most valued member of the quartz family. Since quartz is the most abundant single mineral found on earth, good quality amethyst can be found at reasonable prices and in a large variety of sizes. The name of amethyst is from a Greek word meaning "not to intoxicate". The myth behind the gem tells the story of the god Bacchus (the god of wine), who in anger threatened to have tigers devour the first person he met, after he had been offended by the goddess Diana. The first person who came along happened to be the maiden Amethyst who cried out to Diana for protection from the attacking tigers. Diana having limited powers could only turn Amethyst to stone to protect her. Bacchus, upon seeing what he had caused, became repentant and poured his wine over the stone body and gave it a beautiful hue.
The aquamarine is a clear stone of the beryl family, generally ranging from a light-blue tint, graduating into the deeper blue-green shades, long treasured by women as decorative adornment. Aquamarine was considered an excellent stone for meditation. It is a stone in which a soul is able to immerse itself and feel the beauty of all nature. Because of the lightness of this stone, it was believed that one could see the equality of life; a sense of serenity or peace within it, much as the sea brings peace to many troubled souls.
The Diamond is composed of pure carbon that has been crystallized under enormous heat and pressure from deep within the earth. Diamond is the hardest known naturally occurring substance known to man. It has a hardness of 10 on the MOHS Table of Hardness. The name Diamond is derived from the Greek word "adamas" which means unconquerable. This gem is mostly found transparent and colorless. However, it is found in various yellows, pinks, conac, browns, blues, and black. Prior to the mid-nineteenth century, diamonds were worn only by men. Diamonds were once considered a talisman against phantoms and nightmares and were also supposed to give courage and virtue to soldiers in battle.
The emerald is the green variety of the beryl family and is very highly prized. Because emeralds are usually flawed, visible flaws in emeralds are the norm rather than the exception. Many emerald lovers refer to the internal collection of liquid or gas bubbles, healing cracks and foreign crystals as the "garden". The emerald symbolizes the beauty in nature, goodness, faith, and kindness, and so long ago was dedicated to the goddess Venus. The history of the emerald's beauty has been told in legend and story since ancient man. Pliny the Elder, a Roman Scholar, told of the emerald's beauty and pleasing qualities to the eye. His records told of looking upon an emerald to refresh wearied eyes.
Alexandrite is rare color change stone, meaning under daylight, the stone is green and under artificial light (incandescent light) the stone is red. It was discovered in Russia's Ural Mountains in 1830 on the birthday of Czar Alexander II, the day he became of ruling age; hence the stone was named after him, Alexandrite. This gemstone was looked upon as a good omen in Russia since the red and green colors represented Russian Military. Alexandrite is thought to assist one in centering them-self, reinforcing self esteem, and broadening the ability to experience joy.
The ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum. It is a fairly common mineral, but rarely occurs in transparent materials. Even though large quantities of rubies are mined each year, only a fraction of one percent of these are gem quality. Due to their rareness in higher qualities and larger sizes, in recent years the price of rubies has been increasing greatly each year. The ruby has always been cherished throughout history. It has had many legends and beliefs surrounding it's beauty. There are beliefs that the wearer is blessed with health, wisdom, and success in matters of the heart, and wealth.
The peridot gem is from the orthorhombic crystal system, the system of uneven symmetry. The color ranges from medium to dark, slightly yellowish green. This velvety color of peridot is its most important characteristic. Peridot has a long history of superstition and legends. It was thought to dispel evil spirits and remove enchantments. Being called the gem of the sun, the peridot could drive away all powers of darkness. If it was held under the tongue, it was believed to lessen fevers.
The sapphire is a popular variety of the corundum group. It has all the same properties as the ruby. It is usually thought of as only a blue stone, but the sapphire comes in every color ranging from shades of blue, blue-green, lavender, red-orange, pink, black, white and gray, many times displaying a six-pointed star on its surface. The sapphire was thought to have strong medical powers. It could remove all impurities and foreign matter from the eyes and remove poisons and demons from the body. Although the blue stone was believed to be better at healing, the white stone was considered to be of high spiritual quality, and was an excellent stone to center one's attention upon, such as one would focus on a crystal. It was considered a focal point and the center of the mind.
Chemically, tourmaline is one of the most complex of all the gem minerals consisting of complex silicates of boron and aluminum. Although, October birthstone is represented by the pink color, it is available in many other colors; from pink to dark reds, light to dark greens, various blues, yellow, colorless, white and the very rare black. The Tourmaline with its mixture of colors takes its name from the ancient Singhalese word "turmali" which means "mixed precious stones".
Topaz is generally golden-yellow in color, but can range from colorless to blue, pink and brown. The legends of topaz vary greatly. When worn around the neck the topaz would dispel enchantment, make a person more intelligent, and drive away sadness. This stone was also a cure for burns, hemorrhaging, and insomnia. The ancients also believed the powers of the topaz would increase and decrease with the changes of the moon.
The zircon is sometimes known as "the poor man's diamond", a species that deserves greater recognition than it receives. It ranges in color from red, brown, and yellow, on into green and light blue. Clear colors, used in jewelry, are derived by applying heat to the yellow and brown stones. Zircon has been thought to be an aid to the healing of the spirit. It was believed that those of a fiery nature would not be able to relate to this stone. Only those who are already of a quiet nature will find the beauty and depth that is within the stone, and they will be able to use this for the peace of their own mind, for through this stone they will be able to relate, not only to themselves, but to others around them.
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