Known traditionally for their deep, blood-red color, garnets actually come in a variety of colors like grass-green tsavorite and blazing orange spessartite. One of the world’s largest garnet deposits is tucked away in the Adirondack mountains.
Jewel of the Month
This lilac purple stone was worn by ancient Greeks to ward away the ill effects of alcohol. It was prized by royalty in the Middle Ages, and can be found all over the world.
Aquamarine’s pale, ice-blue to sea-green hue was believed to protect sailors at sea. It is naturally pleochroic, which means it changes color in various light. Some of the most prized varieties are mined in Nigeria and Madagascar.
Hailed as one of the hardest substances on earth, diamonds are typically used in wedding rings for their unparalleled toughness. The largest diamond in the world, the Cullinan I or Great Star of Africa, weighs over 3000 carats.
The minty-green luster of an emerald almost seems to glow in daylight. The most expensive emerald in the world, the Bahia Emerald, is believed to be cursed. The crew that transferred it from the mine was slaughtered by a pack of panthers, and during Hurricane Katrina it flooded into an underground vault.
Pearls are the only gems created by a living creature, the oyster. They come in a variety of shapes and colors, and are considered the “queen” of all gemstones. Strands of matching natural pearls are now extremely rare.
Rubies are known for their vibrant, almost cherry red appearance. The optimal hue is referred to as “pigeon blood.” Rubies and sapphires are actually the same species and both are often used in wedding jewelry for their exceptional hardness.
Peridot has a distinct, almost grass or lime green luster that is resonant with summer foliage. Some varieties form in lava after it spills out from an active volcano and others have been found on meteorites.
Although sapphires are traditionally seen with a deep royal blue hue, they actually come in almost every color of the rainbow except for red. Kashmir sapphires are considered the most expensive, with one variety selling for over $175,000 a carat.
October has two birthstones. Opal is famous for its striking, multicolored flashes of fire. It is naturally softer than other gemstones. Tourmaline is known for showcasing two and even three colors at once. One of the more popular varieties is the “watermelon” tourmaline, which displays both green and pink.
November has two birthstones as well. Topaz comes in a variety of colors, with the most common being blue, yellow, and a smoky brown. The most expensive variety is a blue Imperial Russian topaz. Citrine has a warm, rich yellow color and is more affordable than other gemstones for its natural prevalence in nature.
December has three birthstones. Zircon, not to be confused with cubic zirconia, is a fine gem that is found commonly in the Chanthaburi region of Thailand. Its most common color is a deep blue-green. Turquoise comes in a variety of robin’s egg blue and earthy green colors. It is featured prominently in Native American jewelry. Tanzanite is a relatively modern discovery. Its fine bluish color has an electric hint of purple. It was first discovered in the 1960s in Tanzania.