Friday, July 12, 2013

Birthstones: June & July

June's Birthstone is Alexandrite.

Alexandrite is a main variety of Chrysoberyl and very scarce due to its chemical composition.  Known for its ability to change color, called the alexandrite effect, the phenomenon occurs with a change in the source of illumination. Exhibiting green or bluish-green in daylight, it will be a soft shade of red, purplish-red or raspberry in incandescent light.

Did you know Alexandrite was named for Alexander II, the future tsar, because it was discovered on his 16th birthday?  Alexandrite displays the colors of old Imperial Russia and remains the country's national stone.


June's Alternate Birthstone is Opal.

Light enters an opal, curves around edges of wee particles of hydrated silicia, chips of silicon and oxygen suspended in water and is diffracted. The light that is made up of all visible colors of the spectrum, each in its own wavelength, produces a rainbow of colors.

Did you know Opal is the national gemstone of Australia? They produce 97% of the world's supply, which includes the production of the state of South Australia, which amounts to 80% of the world's supply.


June's Birth Crystal is Opaline.

Opaline is a word synonymous with Opal Matrix which is a thin layer of opal on a host rock; matrix. A matrix is a rock or mineral that has an embedded crystal or crystals emerging from it.

Did you know that opaline can also be a term for an opaque or semi-opaque whitish glass resembling a true opal?


July's Birthstone is Ruby

Pink to blood red in color, rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum. The color is caused by the presence of chromium.  Natural rubies have imperfections; inclusions (needles known as silk) and color impurities.


Did you know that the United States has a standard for minimum color saturation that must be met in order for the gemstone to be called a ruby? Otherwise the stone will be called a pink sapphire.


July's Alternate Birthstone is Carnelian.

Carnelian is a translucent chalcedony of orange or red or brown color. As a hard stone with bright color, it is popular with jeweler's and is reasonably priced.

Did you know that individuals holding a high status were often buried with Carnelian?  Egyptians considered it "magical armor" for life after death.


July's Birth Crystal is Ruby.


Rubies that show a three- or six-point star are cut into cabochons to showcase the effect properly.


Did you know that Catherine of Aragon wore a ruby that supposedly turned dark the day before Henry VII announced that he was divorcing her?


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Sources:
http://www.ehow.com/facts_5120594_alexandrite.html#ixzz2Yl9V9GDJ
http://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/opal/opal-info.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby
http://geology.com/rock-tumbler/gemstones/carnelian.shtml
http://www.shimmerlings.com/gemstones/carnelian.htm
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