Thursday, February 7, 2013

Birthstones: February & March

 February's birthstone is Amethyst.

Amethyst is the purple form of quartz, and the most desired of the quartz family. Shades include dark purple, lilac, lavender or mauve, yet top quality stones will be a medium deep purple with rose colored flashes.

Did you know ancient Romans and Greeks made drinking glasses of Ameythist in belief it would keep them from getting drunk?

 February's alternate stone is Onyx.

Onyx is formed of bands of chalcedony in alternating colors.  The black variety is the most famous, yet not as common as onyx displaying colored bands.

Did you know slabs of onyx were famously used by Mies van der Rohe in Villa Tugendhat at Brno to create a shimmering semi-translucent interior wall?

 February's birth crystal is also the Amethyst.

Amethyst stones can fade in sunlight. It is recommended that jewelry not be worn while sunbathing, swimming, in a solarium, or near a black light. Sudden temperature changes can also be harmful.

Did you know in 1993 a 9-foot cave was found near Maine which contained more than a ton of amethyst crystals


March's birthstone is Aquamarine.

Aquamarine (Latin's "aqua marina"  means "water of the sea") is a blue or teal variety of beryl though the most desired shade is a deep aqua-blue color. Brazil has the largest mine.

Did you know the largest aquamarine ever to have been cut is the "Dom Pedro" weighing 26 kg and designed by Bernd Munsteiner in 1992?


March's alternate is Rock Crystal.

Rock Crystal is the name given to all clear colorless quartz.  The best source are in the famous Hot Springs area of Arkansas, USA.

Did you know that after the time of the Roman Empire, Persians made large vessels from rock crystal?

March's birth crystal is also Aquamarine.

Aquamarine is a very hard stone (Mohs Scale = 8), and trace amounts of iron give the stone its color.

Did you know that sailors believed wearing aquamarine would protect them from danger at sea, and prevent sea sickness?