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Red White and Blue Gems for the Fourth of July
What better way to pay tribute to those who have given their lives for our country than to wear red, white, and blue, all the way down to our gemstones? Memorial Day is a day of remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and wearing a beautiful red, white, or blue stone is perfect to celebrate this beautiful and important day in May. From barbecues to special Memorial Day services, we should all be thankful for our freedoms and our country. Red, white, and blue are the perfect way to get into the spirit of this special holiday, and your jewelry is no exception.
The garnet, which is also January’s birthstone, represents trust and friendship. The name is derived from a word that means “seed” because it looks much like a pomegranate seed. It is also the name of a group of minerals that are found in a variety of colors, one of the most common ones being red. Garnets are most commonly found in Africa, India, and Sri Lanka and were used more than 3,000 years ago in Egyptian jewelry.
The ruby, which is July’s birthstone, is said to promote health, wisdom, love, and success. Rubies are the red variety of corundum. While the diamond is the hardest gemstone, the ruby is a close second, as it is an extremely durable stone and can be worn every day. The value of the stone depends greatly on its natural color, and the best-quality rubies are rare to find. The most vivid red and the stones that have a slight hint of purple are the rarest of all rubies.
Usually seen in a milky white color, the opal can actually contain several different sparkles of color within each stone. Opal is the birthstone for the month of October. The inside of the stone is formed during the natural heating and molding process when a formation of non-crystalline silica gel made its way into the sediment. The colors within the stone create a sort of three-dimensional feel. The beauty of an opal is in the contrast between the stone and the colorful effects inside.
Pearls are the only gemstone that comes from a living creature in the ocean. They do not require polishing or cutting in order to be fashioned into jewelry. Pearls have been used for jewelry for several centuries and are now known as June’s birthstone. The 1500s in Tudor England were known as the “pearl age,” as they were one of the most popular gemstones to wear during those times. Commercial culturing of pearls started in the early 1900s and has since almost completely replaced natural pearls.
The sapphire is the birthstone for September and has been a popular gemstone to wear since the Middle Ages. It is a stone that is thought to protect family from harm. Clergy were adorned with sapphires because the blue shade represented heaven, while most people strove to wear them as well because they were thought to attract blessings. The shade of blue can vary, but the most valuable sapphires are medium to dark blue, while some even have a slight purple tint to them. Much like rubies, sapphires are a type of corundum.
Tanzanite, December’s birthstone, was first discovered in Tanzania in the late 1960s and is still only found in this exclusive area of the world. It is a rich violet blue color and occasionally must be treated with heat to achieve the deep color. Because it is similar in color to the sapphire, some people purchase a tanzanite stone in place of a sapphire because it is considerably cheaper. As time has gone on, its popularity has increased, and now, the stone has value for its brilliance and beauty and isn’t just thought of as sapphire’s replacement stone anymore.