This ancient gemstone was used by the Babylonians to make seals and amulets. Bloodstone was believed to have healing powers, especially for blood disorders. It is sometimes called the “martyr’s stone,” as legend tells that it was created when drops of Christ’s blood stained jasper at the foot of the cross.
Many other ancient cultures believed bloodstone gems had magical powers, with some references to its ability to heal dating back to 5000 BC.
The Babylonians used bloodstone in their divination, and the Egyptians prized bloodstone because they believed it helped them to defeat their enemies. They also believed it increased their strength or made them invisible.
Still, others believed that bloodstone could help control or change the weather, win legal battles or give the gift of prophecy. It was so loved for its properties, many used the gemstone in jewelry, signet rings, and even small cups or statues.
Today, some still wear bloodstone jewelry as a lucky charm. No matter how you use or wear bloodstone, it’s a unique gemstone great for everyday wear.
Aquamarine is made of two Latin words: aqua, meaning “water,” and marine, meaning “of the sea.” It was once believed that this gemstone would protect sailors and guarantee a safe voyage. Legend has it that aquamarine’s serene blue color would invoke calming properties of the sea, helping to cool tempers and allow the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded.
Yet sailors aren’t the only ones who thought aquamarine could protect them. People in the Middle Ages believed that wearing aquamarine would prevent them from being poisoned. Ancient Romans would carve a frog into the gem to help turn enemies into friends. Ancient medicines were made from aquamarine powder to help cure a variety of infections, eye ailments, and allergic reactions.
In folklore, aquamarine represented not only the sea, but also the heavens since the sky reflected in the water. It was believed that its reflective properties and symmetry could reveal hidden aspects of reality and things deep within our souls. This made aquamarine a popular stone with healers, mystics, shamans, and prophets.
When meditating with aquamarine, people believed it enhanced their paranormal abilities and aided in the occurrence of epiphanies. They focused on the stone’s perceived ability of calming reflection.
Other legends say that aquamarine helped with decision making, perseverance, and responsibility. People felt it aided with clear reasoning and feeling empowered during debates in order to come to a compromise.
Blog article courtesy of the American Gem Society (AGS) member, Malak Jewelers. Featured photos were contributed by members of the AGS.
Art Deco emerald and diamond bracelet by Nash James.
Throughout the world on March 17th, the streets fill with laughter, dancing, and most of all, the color green. St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious feast day observing the death of St. Patrick. But now it has turned into a variety of festivals across the globe, celebrating Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, and a whole lot of green.
If you are at a loss for what green to wear, or just want to add more green to your outfit, here are four of the most well-known green gemstones that will add sparkle and color to your St. Patrick’s Day.
Emeralds were first found in Egypt in 330 B.C. The name “emerald” derives from the Greek word smaragdos, which was a term used to refer to the greenest of gems. Emeralds can come in varying shades of green and some feature blueish hints. The green color comes from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium in the mineral beryl. Its color symbolizes the rebirth and renewal of spring, and that is why it is the birthstone for the month of May. It’s also a popular gem for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversary.
Emeralds are typically formed in six-sided prisms, so they are naturally suited for the emerald cut for jewelry. They are mostly found in Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe. North Carolina is also a minor source for emeralds.
Emerald and trapezoid-cut diamond ring by Takat.
Emerald and diamond pendant by Gregg Ruth.
Peridot’s name comes from the Arabic term faridat which means “gem.” Peridots were referred to as the gem of the sun by the Egyptians because of its bright color, which ranges from light to dark green and yellowish green. Most commonly it is seen in pale olive but can be bright golden lime. The mesmerizing color comes from trace amounts of iron within the mineral.
Peridot is the birthstone for August and the gem for the 16th wedding anniversary. The leading producer of peridots is in the San Carlos Indian reservation in Arizona.
Peridot, yellow sapphire, and diamond earrings by Spark Creations.
Peridot and diamond ring by Parlé.
The first alexandrites were discovered in Russia in the 1830s. The gemstone is named after Czar Alexander II. It is often described as “emeralds by day and rubies by night” because it is blueish, green in the daylight and purplish, red in incandescent light. Alexandrites change color because they are a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. This gem provides dramatic proof of how a light source can affect the color of gemstones.
If you know of any June babies or a happy couple celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary, then alexandrite makes a treasured gift!
Alexandrite and diamond ring by Michael Schofield & Co.
Alexandrite and diamond pendant by Omi Privé.
The names “jade” and “jadeite” come from the Spanish phrase piedra de ijada meaning, “stone of the lions.” They may sound similar, but they have totally different chemical, optical, and physical properties, with jadeite being the more valuable of the two.
Most of the classic jade (nephrite jade) comes from China, whereas Myanmar is the main source for jadeite. Jadeites are held in high regard throughout the Asian culture. And in China, nephrite jade is a symbol for purity, good luck, and prosperity. Jadeites come in varying shades of green. The most valuable jadeites are pure “imperial” green, which equals the intensity of emeralds.
Oval carved jadeite cabochon estate ring at Gleim the Jeweler.
Jade and diamond estate earrings at Goldstein Diamonds.
Malak Jewelers is Charlotte, North Carolina’s premier direct diamond importer, supplier of loose diamonds, and custom design jewelry.
Historically speaking, March is an unusual month. It’s a time of transition, from winter blues to the summertime blue of swimming pools. It’s a windy month, too, and the weather can be fickle as one day is cold and the next is warm. It’s supposed to be the first month of spring, but sometimes it feels like the final month of winter.
Even literature has a conflicted relationship with the month. Shakespeare warned Caesar to “Beware the ides of March” in his eponymous play, “Julius Caesar.”
Despite the ups and downs of March, there is one bright, shining and beautiful factor. Aquamarine.
It’s a word which evokes the sea.
Beautiful aquamarine gems. Courtesy of Suna Bros.
Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
Aquamarine and diamond ring from Suna Bros.
Like emeralds, this gemstone is a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large stones have been found all over the world, including one stone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds. Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gem to be cut and polished in larger carats for statement pieces.
Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones.
Opal pendant surrounded by aquamarine and diamonds. From Yael Designs.
First, visit an AGS jeweler, who will be happy to help you pick out the perfect piece. Next, look at the stone’s cut. Since aquamarine can be very lightly colored (and sometimes appear almost colorless), the cut is very important to the overall appearance of the stone and how saturated, or even, the color appears.
Of course, choose the color that most appeals to you, however, it’s generally accepted that lighter colored aquamarines are less valuable than the stronger, deeper hues of blue or blue-green.
Aquamarine and diamonds in a gold setting. From Erica Courtney Jewelry
Next, take a look at the stone’s clarity. Most cut gems do not have inclusions that are visible to the eye, and some rarer or more expensive aquamarines are available without visible inclusions, as well.
Since aquamarine crystals can grow to be quite large, larger cut gemstones are possible to purchase as a part of beautiful statement pieces. While you may not be looking to buy in that range, even smaller aquamarines make for lovely solitaires or companion jewels in larger pieces.
Ready to see aquamarine up-close and in person? Find an AGS Jewler here. Just don’t forget to bring your jacket. . . or not. It’s March, after all. Who knows what the weather will be like?
Directional colors and styles of jewelry shape up annually based on a trio of familiar factors—what’s trending in Hollywood, what the fashion designers are sending down the runways, and the gem material that Mother Nature provides. The following six jewelry trends were born from the intersection of these occasions, so keep them top of mind this year for gifts and self-rewards.
Oversize earrings. Calderesque versions in costume materials were evident on models at several spring couture shows though karat-gold numbers are an heirloom-quality choice. AGS members have plenty of options!
Chandelier earrings in 18k gold with rose-cut diamonds and rubies from Vivaan.
Hearts. Love takes a literal interpretation next season. Just look at the word itself on sweaters by Michael Kors! While hearts can elicit mixed reactions—are they kitsch or cool?—know the fashion gods have committed to them this year. Would you wear a heart? Diamond options (here and below) are hard to resist!
Ring in platinum with a heart-shaped yellow diamond, a heart-shaped emerald, and colorless diamonds from Setaré.
Choker necklaces. These continue to enjoy the spotlight. Both Céline and Versace sent choker-wearing models down the spring runways to create chic style messages. Chokers can feature traditional (think cameos) or contemporary elements ideal for wear dressed up for evening or down with denim during the day.
Choker necklace in 18k Strawberry Gold with Chocolate and Vanilla diamonds and a Neon Paraiba Tourmaline from Le Vian.
Mismatched earrings. These range from subtly mismatched styles—one stud and one drop—at Dior to completely different designs on each ear. And related to this trend of uneven mates are the large single earrings being worn solo. No matter how you wear the mismatched look, its novelty will attract attention and admirers.
Statement necklaces. Recent red carpet jewelry placements have fueled a growing appetite for attention-grabbing necklaces. Expect to keep seeing bibs, big pendants on long chains (think Givenchy’s über-cool agates), and multi-layer options that build a look by using many slimmer styles.
Collar necklace in 18k gold with blue chalcedony from Goshwara.
Pearls. From natural-color Chinese freshwaters to Japanese Akoya and South Sea varieties, pearls are making a comeback among jewelry designers for their iconic beauty. Even fashion brands like Gucci worked pearl accents into 2017 lines, further cementing the lustrous orb’s must-have status.
The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea. This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage.
Aquamarine and diamond ring from Mitchener-Farrand Jewelers.
The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Its pale, cool color beautifully complements spring and summer wardrobes.
Aquamarine ring in yellow gold from Maertens Fine Jewelry & Gifts.
Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil, but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
Aquamarine cocktail ring from Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry.
Read more about all birthstones here, and to find an AGS jeweler who can show you the gemstone in a variety of settings, click here. We’ll also be continuing the conversation about Aquamarine throughout March, so join us on Facebook!