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Aug. 27 auction sparkles with magnificent loose gemstones & diamonds

NEW YORK – On August 27, Jasper52 will bring on the bling with a diverse selection of loose gemstones in a variety of cuts and colors. The 376-lot online auction running exclusively through LiveAuctioneers is brimming with fine gems, from certified diamonds to glowing emeralds, and more.

Whether your purchase of gems is driven by an interest in geology or you’re simply looking for a stunning “rock” to set in a special piece of jewelry, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for in this wonderfully diverse sale.

Estimate: $19,000-$23,000. Image courtesy of Jasper52

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Exceptional loose gemstones offered in online auction July 23

A diverse loose gemstones auction will be conducted by Jasper52 on Tuesday, July 23. This 470-lot auction showcases a variety of cuts, stones and colors. From certified diamonds to glowing tanzanites and more, bidders will find unique treasures among this kaleidoscope of colors.

4.53 carat natural pinkish red ruby from Madagascar (unheated), fine VS-Clarity rich. Estimate: $25,000-$30,000. Jasper52 image

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Colored diamonds add radiance to Jasper52 gemstones sale June 4

Four hundred lots of colorful loose gemstones, highlighted by fancy colored diamonds, are offered in a Jasper52 online auction taking place Tuesday, June 4. Certified natural emeralds, sapphires, opals and topaz are also featured in the auction.

Natural diamond, fancy deep yellow-orange cushion shape, 1.51 carats, GIA certification no. 5243311705, 4.44 x 4.22 x 3.16 mm. Estimate: $16,000-$18,000. Jasper52 image

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Kaleidoscope of colors will dazzle in gemstones sale April 3

Jasper52 will present an online auction of diverse loose gemstones auction on Wednesday, April 3. The 388-lot auction boasts a variety of cuts, stones and colors. From certified diamonds to lustrous emeralds and more, bidders will find a unique treasure among a kaleidoscope of colors.

Natural blue topaz, 33.62 carats, emerald cut. Estimate $350-$400. Jasper52 image

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Coral: treasured since ancient times

NEW YORK – Although coral reefs resemble underwater branched plants, they are actually colonies of tiny organisms living on limestone exoskeletons of their ancestors. Precious coral, as the decorative type is commonly known, ranges from pale pink to deep red. Since it is colorfast and polishes to a high sheen, this gem-like matter harvested mainly along the Mediterranean coasts of France, Italy, Spain, Tunisia and Algeria has been esteemed for its beauty since ancient times. It was also prized for its purported restorative and protective powers.

The ancient Greeks, believing that coral transformed from plant to stone when exposed to air, endowed it with wondrous powers. Many Greeks carried coral amulets to deter ghosts and witches, deflect lightening, neutralize poisons, avert shipwrecks, cure scorpion stings and repel curses.

Snail brooch, 18K gold, featuring carved coral body, Boucheron, Paris; French maker’s mark for Bondt and guarantee stamp, signed, 33.9 grams, 2½ inches long, realized $4,750 in 2010. Image courtesy of Skinner and LiveAuctioneers

Other Greeks believed that coral was born of blood. As the legend goes, when mighty Perseus beheaded the snake-haired monster Medusa, her blood, as it seeped into seaweed, hardened into red coral. So, amulets featuring Medusa’s likeness were deemed especially protective. In addition, people reputedly relied on powdered coral to cure internal bleeding, diseases of the spleen and bladder ailments.

Romans, too, believed that coral held therapeutic powers. Besides using it to treat snake bites and arouse libido, scores of them used powdered coral to quell life-threatening blood loss. Romans also draped pieces of coral around their children’s necks to guard them from harm.

Coral and bone carved yad (pointer) for reading a Sefer Torah, 11.4 inches long, 68 gr, 20th century, realized $1,700 in 2017. Image courtesy of Moreshet Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

From the first century AD onward, coral traders plied “coral routes” to the Arabian Peninsula and through Central Asia to the Far East. Eventually, communities they served integrated this valuable “red gold” into their local traditions.

Berber women in Morocco, for example, favored bracelets, ear ornaments and brooches featuring delicate coral beading or inclusions. Many also wore lavish necklaces or filigreed silver amulets enhanced with amber, silver beading, metallic coins and bits of coral.

Berber Moroccan silver, coral and amber necklace, 11 inches long, with enameled amulet, 3.23 inches wide, realized $400 in 2013. Image courtesy of Westport Auction and LiveAuctioneers

The Chinese, who perfected the art of hardstone carving, have long prized coral for its rarity and beauty. Artisans favored it because of its softness, which made it easy to “work” in fashioning pieces of wearable or decorative art. This craft rose to new heights during the Qing Dynasty, (1644-1912) when artisans, under Imperial patronage, carved fine, red coral figurines, jewelry and sculptures as royal tributes and ornaments. Their finest works, large, organic pieces featuring incredibly detailed images, frequently embodied auspicious wishes for good luck, wealth or longevity.

Sculpted Buddhist Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) with dragons, Qing Dynasty, China, about 15 inches x 19.6 inches, 6.19 pounds, realized $80,070 in 2014. Image courtesy of Cambi Casa D’Aste and LiveAuctioneers

Coral jewelry was especially fashionable during the Victorian era, when British women embraced ostentatiously carved cameos, densely designed floral trinkets, and flashy gold, diamond or sapphire-set brooches resembling beetles, bugs or dragonflies. Yet, British journalist G.A. Sala noted in 1868 that coral jewelry “carelessly selected, clumsily set and ignorantly arranged … may become one of the most vulgar and unsightly of all ornaments.” Today, happily, Victorian coral jewelry, which is widely collected, is available in abundance.

Spanish conquistadors introduced fine, red Mediterranean coral to the American Southwest in the 16th century, possibly as rosary beads or ornaments on najas, silver pendants hung on horses’ foreheads to avert the Evil Eye.

Old pawn Zuni sterling silver cuff bracelet, Irene Paylusi, 5⅜ inches round with 1¼-inch gap, 24.9 grams, realized $200 in 2012. Image courtesy of Santa Fe Gallery Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

It was not until much later that Navajo, Hopi and Zuni craftsmen began gem-working commercially. Their inlay work, delicately fashioned from coral combined with bits of turquoise, mother-of-pearl and black jet, often depict traditional tribal images like Rainbird, Sunface and Thunderbird. Alternately, many brooches, bracelets belt buckles, and bolo ties feature restrained, repeating coral beaded patterns. Coral necklaces range from impossibly petite, tube-shaped heishi beads and graduated, horny twigs to plump, shaped and polished cabochons. Contemporary Native creations, such as pins and rings, may dramatically integrate bits of unworked coral into traditional designs.

Graduated natural-piece coral necklace with 14K gold linkage, 19½ inches long, realized $125 in 2016, image courtesy. The Popular Auction and LiveAuctioneers

Coral amulets remain popular, as of old. Many Italian men, for instance, carry or wear slightly twisted, horn-shaped coral cornicellos to deflect the Evil Eye. Their wives and daughters may prefer more delicate coral-twig earrings, pins or pendants.

Today, too, enthusiasts scour auctions for authentic precious coral creations – superb sculptures, decorative natural specimens and enticing pieces of jewelry.

Lustrous loose gemstones gathered for online auction Dec. 26

Jasper52 will conduct a diverse loose gemstones auction on Wednesday, Dec. 26, showcasing a variety of cuts, stones and colors. From intense sapphire to lustrous emeralds, certified diamonds and more, bidders are sure to find a unique treasure among this kaleidoscope of colors to fit into a setting of equal beauty.

Ethiopian opal, 34.58 carats. Estimate: $1,500-$1,600. Jasper52 image

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Versatile lapis lazuli prized for its shades of heavenly blue

Lapis lazuli, a gem-like stone prized since prehistoric times, is featured extensively in ornaments and jewelry. The finest “lapis,” mined in the remote mountains of present-day Afghanistan, is intensely blue, evoking the sea and sky.

Yet due to varying mineral content, blue lapis actually ranges from light blue and bluish-green to deep indigo. In addition, some pieces include small, glimmering flecks of gold-colored pyrite, reminiscent of the starlit night. Lapis featuring excess pyrite is dullish-green, while that with excess calcite features white streaks.

Dramatic lapis lazuli bracelet, beads 3 inches in diameter. Image courtesy of Westbury Auction Galleries and LiveAuctioneers

Over the centuries, traders, plying age-old caravan routes, transported small, costly lapis chunks far and wide. Rough beads have been found at Neolithic burial sites in central Asia. In addition, gravesites in Mesopotamia and Persia revealed beads, dishware, animal statuettes and protective amulets, some embellished with delicate, decorative lapis inlays.

Many ancients believed that blue, the color of the heavens, held great protective powers. So scores of Egyptians carried tiny, carved lapis eye, animal and deity-shaped amulets strung about their necks, in pockets or attached to finger rings. The wealthy, in addition to favoring luxurious lapis anklets, collars, bracelets, necklaces and headdresses, outlined their eyes with powdered lapis. They also took finely ground lapis internally, to prevent melancholy, insomnia, fever and gallstones.

Tiny Egyptian lapis hippopotamus amulet featuring star-like pyrite inclusions, 2 inches, Late Period, Egypt, circa 712-304 B.C. Image courtesy of medusa-art.com

As Egyptians also associated blue with royalty and the afterlife, lapis-derived pigment decorated pharaohs’ sarcophagi and statues. In addition, carved lapis necklaces, figurines, scarabs, and heart amulets were customarily tucked among the grave goods in royal burial tombs.

Despite its use by barbarian tribes, the color blue remained popular throughout the Roman Empire. Wealthy women not only prized lapis beaded necklaces and lapis-carved gold rings. They also used it, powdered, as a medicinal, a cosmetic, and an aphrodisiac.

Victorian lapis lazuli gold-plated pendant-brooch, set in a Greek revival gold-plated tassel mounting, realized $175 in 2015. Image courtesy of Clars Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers

Through the Middle Ages, powdered-lapis motifs enhanced Afghani caves, Zoroastrian temples, Buddhist frescoes, Chinese paintings, and Indian murals. When Eastern trade routes reached Venice, monks graced manuscripts and Bibles with costly, powdered lapis illuminations.

During the Renaissance, the Medicis of Florence, along with others rich or royals, assembled collections of fabulously expensive, carved, gold-accented lapis lazuli footed bowls, goblets, flasks, and unguent bottles. Many also furnished their palaces with luxurious, lapis-inlay tables, virginals, house altars, cabinets, and mounted intaglio carvings.

Mosaic-like bowls, each 8 inches in diameter, featuring lapis geometric sections with pyrite inclusions, Afghanistan, realized $1,125 including the buyer’s premium in 2018. Image courtesy Bonhams, www.bonhams.com

During the Baroque era, lapis was laboriously ground into the deep blue, ultra-expensive pigment ultramarine, a “noble color, beautiful, the most perfect of all colors.” In frescoes and oil paintings, it was generally reserved for garments of heavenly figures.

Opulent, blue-hued, carved lapis creations remained fashionable symbols of wealth and status through the 20th century. Gilt-mounted boxes, statuettes, vases, clocks and lapis-laden candlesticks adorned many a parlor mantelpiece. Due to their exquisite quality and aesthetic appeal, each piece is worth far more than the amount of lapis it contains.

Bold lapis-dial wristwatch, 18K solid gold, signed, numbered, unworn with box and papers, Christian Dior, circa 2014. Image courtesy of Watches of Knightsbridge Auctioneers and LiveAuctioneers

Lapis lazuli creations continue to charm. Tiny Egyptian and Roman amulets, shaped like hippos, hearts, hawks, fish or frogs, offer spiritual protection as of old. Intricately carved Chinese figurines, snuff bottles, plaques, pendants and prayer beads evoke the mysterious Orient. Russian and Chilean white, cloud-streaked chess sets, vases, trinket boxes and bangles, when set to advantage, are not less alluring.

Exciting contemporary lapis designs also abound. Towering, highly polished, deep blue obelisks, freeform chunks and mosaic-like sculptures make dramatic decorative statements. So do stunning jewelry boxes, vases, inlaid clocks and artistic, nature-themed pieces.

Yet lapis lazuli jewelry, available in countless forms, sizes, styles and designs, is a perennial favorite. Classy lapis cufflinks and pinky rings vie with elegant tie tacks, wristwatches and lapis-veneered fountain pens. Delicately carved indulgences vie with chic, cabochon-cut lapis earrings, beads and brooches, many glittering with diamonds and gold.

Many, as of old, believe that lapis lazuli holds great healing powers. A pebble-size pyramid placed beneath a pillow, for example, allegedly eases insomnia. Lapis arm bangles are said to relieve stress, purify blood and boost the respiratory, immune and nervous systems. Rubbing lapis on afflicted areas alleviates a litany of ailments. Moreover, say some, lapis lazuli promotes self-awareness, inner harmony, confidence, joy and peace.

Jasper52 to hold no-reserve auction of gemstones March 20

All colors of the spectrum are present in a loose gemstones auction to be conducted by Jasper52 on Tuesday, March 20. This exclusive loose gemstones auction showcases a variety of cuts, stones and colors, from glowing green emeralds to deep purple amethysts. This is a no reserve auction; each lot will sell to the highest bidder. Bidding on each lot starts at $1.

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Jasper52 auction sparkles with precious gemstones Jan. 23

Fine jewelry in a variety of forms and a selection of loose gemstones are featured in a Jasper52 online auction on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Bidders viewing the catalog will find a combination of beautiful gems in every color alongside a selection of antique to contemporary designer pieces. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Blue sapphire (11.22 carats) and diamond (0.88 carats) 18K white gold ring by Orianne. Estimate: $15,000-$17,000. Jasper52 image

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Birthstones: What Does Yours Mean?

When shopping for a birthday gift, it’s hard to go wrong when you choose jewelry that includes a birthstone. For centuries, various gemstones were associated with months of the year. Then, in 1912, a standardized list was developed by the American Association of Jewelers. It is the most widely accepted guide to months and their birthstones option for the month of December, according to the American Gem Society.

Let’s examine birthstones, their history and symbolism, month by month.

 

January: Garnet

This gemstone is not just one mineral, but a combination of several similar minerals. Although the most common version of garnet is a dark red specimen, garnet also appears in yellow, orange, brown, gray, purple and green. Archeological exploration has unearthed portions of garnet jewelry daring back to 3100 B.C., and the popularity of garnet jewelry among the elite of the Middle Ages is well documented. The garnet represents peace, health and wellness; weal, and great happiness, while also providing an additional measure of safety for the wearer during their travels.

Tip: The rarest of all garnets are green and blue, so expect to pay a premium for either.

 

February: Amethyst

Amethyst, diamond, platinum and gold brooch designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., features cushion-shape amethyst weighing approx. 56.00cts. Sold for $25,000, Heritage Auctions, Dec. 5, 2016. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Heritage Auctions

The name of this striking quartz mineral hails from Ancient Greece and the word methustos, which means “intoxicated.” This gave way to the storied belief that if one were to wear an amethyst, they could avoid drunkenness. Although that may be up for debate, what isn’t is the amethyst’s durability, which is a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. They’re found in North America, regions of South America, and Zambia in southern Africa. The availability of amethyst gemstones has increased since the late 19th century, when significant deposits were discovered. As supply increased, the gems became more affordable. Perhaps owing to the legend of amethysts warding off drunkenness, it is said that the gemstone helps the person wearing it to be clear-headed, courageous, humble and loyal. Leonardo da Vinci wrote that the amethyst was useful for sharpening the mind and ridding oneself of evil thoughts.

Tip: Amethyst stones often appear to contain layers of color, which develop naturally as the stone is formed. However, the manner in which a gemologist or jeweler cuts the stone can even out the layers of color.

 

March: Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a variation of the mineral beryl, and gets its name from the Latin word aqua, or water, for its calming color reminiscent of the sea. Aquamarine gemstones vary in intensity – the larger the stone the more intense the color – but are consistently green-blue to blue-green in color. Most aquamarine gemstones are mined and exported from Brazil, however some specimens have reportedly been mined in Nigeria and Mozambique, as well as other parts of Africa. Legend and lore affiliated with aquamarine is extensive. Early adventurers and sailors were said to wear the gemstones to gain protection during a voyage and to bring about calm and clarity. It’s not hard to imagine how a clear head might be helpful when navigating uncharted oceans. History reveals armies of ancient societies had soldiers who believed wearing aquamarine would bring them victory. In addition to these benefits, there are also reports of the aquamarine being used as a cure for a variety of infections. The gemstone in powder for is said to help heal eye infections.

Memo: The bloodstone is regarded as an optional birthstone for the month of March.

 

April: Diamond

Edwardian-style sapphire and diamond 18K white gold jewelry suite with a bib necklace and pair of matching ear pendants. Sold for $32,500, I.M. Chait, March 2016. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers

The formation of diamonds from carbon atoms, in a high-pressure and high-temperature environment about 100 miles below the surface of the Earth, is a fascinating scientific process. It results in one of, if not the most, sought after of all gemstones. The formation process involves diamonds breaking the surface following a course of volcanic eruptions that occurred centuries ago. The diamond lays claim to being the hardest entity in nature – 58 times harder than any other substance. Its durable quality makes it the ideal choice for engagement rings, and it has been the subject of many songs and motion picture themes. While the colorless diamond is perennially desirable, diamonds also come in other colors, including yellow, pink, blue, and others. The recent upsurge of interest in colored diamonds has prompted the development of color-treated diamonds in laboratories.

Tip: Recent diamond-buying trends reveal a preference for Art Deco designs that incorporate scrollwork or flower shapes with diamond elements.

 

May: Emerald

Highly important platinum, emerald and diamond ring with fine 9.00ct green emerald flanked by two pear-shape diamonds totaling approx. 1.20cts. Sold for $9,250,000, Bruce Kodner Galleries, Dec. 19, 2010. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Bruce Kodner Galleries

This deeply hued gemstone shares a history like that of the aquamarine, as it, too, is a variation of the mineral beryl. The intensity of an emerald’s color is one factor in determining its value, with the rarest emerald being dark green-blue. Emeralds are mined in regions around the world, with the majority coming from Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia. Some of the earliest emeralds are estimated to be nearly 3 billion years old. Emeralds were sought out after by various ancient societies as fashionable adornments in life, as well as in death (burials). One of history’s greatest fans of emeralds was Cleopatra. They were among the gemstones harvested from mines near the coast of the Red Sea during Cleopatra’s reign. Ironically, or not, Elizabeth Taylor, who famously portrayed the fabled vamp in the 1963 Academy-Award film, was known for her sensational collection of jewelry. In 2011, an emerald and diamond brooch designed and created for Taylor by Bvlgari sold for $6.58M at Christie’s auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection. The brooch was one of 14 lots of the movie legend’s jewelry that included emeralds. The gemstone is a symbol of new beginnings, peace, security and loyalty.

Tip: A quality emerald should have an even distribution of color and a deep, but not too dark, green-blue hue.

 

 

June: Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone

18K yellow gold necklace with 245 round, brilliant-cut diamonds and 34 pearls; and a pair of earrings containing 40 round, brilliant-cut diamonds and six pearls. Stamped 18K HAMMERMAN. Sold for $15,000, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, April 18, 2010. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

People born in June have the good fortune of being able to select from three birthstones. The pearl is unique in that it is made by a living creature that relies on an irritant to form the creamy gemstone. Clams deposit layers of calcium carbonate around the irritants to create the pearl, which is among the softest of all gemstones, posting a minimum of 2.5 and maximum of 4.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. In addition to natural development of pearls, the process of freshwater culturing of pearls is a growing market operation. Natural harvesting of pearls is confined to an area of the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. The most common characteristics associated with pearls are purity and innocence.

Did You Know: One of the rarest types of pearl is the Black Pearl. However, its color is more often dark green, purple, or even blue.

Another June birthstone, the alexandrite is a “youngster” among birthstones, said to have first been discovered in the mid-19th century in Russian mines in the Ural Mountains. The gemstone’s most fascinating quality is its changing color. Due to a rare chemical composition, alexandrite appears green in daylight and with a purple-red hue when placed under incandescent light. After the Russian supply of alexandrites dwindled, so did interest in the stone – until the discovery of alexandrite in Brazil in 1987. Despite this current source, alexandrites are scarce.

Moonstone is said to have been named by a natural historian who thought the gem looked like the shifting of the moon’s phases. Tiny layers of the feldspar create the effect in moonstone. It is found in India, Australia, Madagascar and the United States. It’s said to aid in balancing energies and rendering tranquility, thus making it useful in the treatment of insomnia. It is also fondly referred to as the “traveler’s stone” due to the belief that its properties help keep adventurers’ safe during the evening.

 

July: Ruby

Platinum and 18K gold Art Nouveau-style cocktail earrings with 4.75ctw old, European-cut diamonds and 1.50ctw near-flawless Burma rubies. Sold for $13,500, GWS Auctions Inc., July 29, 2017. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and GWS Auctions Inc.

The power of this gemstone, as believed by ancient civilizations, is to keep evil at bay. The luxurious red color of the ruby comes from the element chromium. The same element provides this gemstone with the appearance of an inner glow, but it also leaves it more susceptible to cracks. The most common regions where rubies exist include Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, India and East Africa. It is also second only to the diamond in terms of hardness, according to the Mohs scale, which ranks it as a 9. The ruby is said to heighten awareness, increase energy, and encourage love and strength. Throughout history, leaders of various cultures believed in the power of rubies, including Chinese noblemen. Ancient Hindus seeking status as emperors in rebirth would offer rubies to the god Krishna.

 

August: Peridot and Sardonyx

The peridot was described by early Egyptians as the “gem of the sun.” They also believed it could protect people from nighttime dangers. A deposit containing peridot was discovered in Pakistan in the 1990s, but more than 80% of the global supply of peridot is located in a deposit in Arizona on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. Peridot is a variation of the mineral Olivine, and the amount of iron within the gemstone determines the depth of green color.

Sardonyx is a combination of sard and onyx minerals. Depending on the level of oxide within the composition, the color of the sard can be yellowish red or reddish brown, while onyx presents as white. India has produced the finest examples of this gemstone, which is said to render courage, clear communication skills, and genuine happiness.

Tip: A popular type of cut is cabochon, and in addition to its use with large, individual gemstones, it is also carved into cameos and brooches.

 

September: Sapphire

Harry Winston 18K gold necklace featuring an approximately 24ct rectangular-cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds on a multi-strand of cultured pearls. Sold for $110,000, John Moran Auctioneers, May 21, 2013. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and John Moran Auctioneers, Inc.

Most commonly seen in blue, sapphires can actually come in a variety of colors, depending on the elements that are present in their composition. In the gemological world, sapphires that are not blue are referred to as “fancies.” Like the ruby, it measures 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, which opens the door for sapphires to also be incorporated into the production of watches and electronic instruments. In ancient times, it was believed that sapphires could help avoid poisoning.

Tip: Clarity among sapphires is usually greater than that of rubies, often due to the presence of rutile (a form of titanium dioxide). While this might lower the value of other gemstones, in some form of sapphires it increases value.

 

October: Opal and Tourmaline

Necklace composed of 25 oval, bluish-green tumble polished indicolite tourmaline beads, 418.0ctw, interspaced with diamond and 18K gold rondelles. Sold for $5,000, Clars Auction Gallery, Nov. 15, 2015. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Clars Auction Gallery

Both of October’s gemstones are revered for the way they transform in varying degrees of light, and symbolize faithfulness and courage. In fact, the word opal has its origins in the Greek term opallios, which means “to see a change in color.” It wasn’t until the 1960s that the scientific community was able to explain the reason for the change, which is due to intricate silica spheres diffracting light. The climate and geography in Australia are said to be the most conducive to the creation of opal.

Tourmaline also presents in a variety of colors, and according to legend, this is due to its passing through a rainbow during its journey from creation below the Earth’s surface to the top.

Tip: One of the most sought-after types of tourmaline is the rubellite, which appears in varying degrees of red and pink. Dark-toned tourmaline often appears black in color, and they typically sell for less than more brightly colored variations.

 

November: Topaz and Citrine

Once believed to be only yellow in color, topaz is colorless, and depending on impurities, can take on various colors, including the most popular variation – imperial topaz – which is orange with hints of pink hues. Another storied variation of this gemstone is the blue topaz, which is said to rarely appear naturally. Citrine also ranges in color from yellow to brownish orange and is a variety of quartz. The yellow hues are the result of the iron within the gemstone’s quartz crystals. Most of citrine today is mined in Brazil, but Bolivia and Russia also mine citrine, as do the U.S. states of Colorado, North Carolina, and California. Citrine has also been called a “healing quartz,” with reports that the gemstone fosters optimism and helps cultivate prosperity.

 

December: Tanzanite, Zircon, and Turquoise

David Webb earrings with pear and oval-shape turquoise cabochons enhanced by full-cut, baguette-cut and marquise-cut diamonds. Sold for $36,000, Heritage Auctions, April 3, 2017. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Heritage Auctions

As the name suggests, tanzanite hails from Tanzania. It is a variation of the mineral zoisite first discovered in 1967, making it another of the more modern birthstones. While shades of blue ranging from pale to ultramarine are the most common color of tanzanite, depending on the cut of the stone, additional colors may evidence themselves. Zircon is sometimes erroneously confused with the synthetic but unrelated cubic zirconia, simply because of the similarity in names. Since the Middle Ages zircon’s qualities have been linked to peaceful sleep and prosperity.

Turquoise varies in color from powder blue to robin’s egg blue with a hint of green. The name turquoise originated in 13th-century France and the phrase pierre turquois, which means “Turkish stone.” Most prevalent in arid regions, five U.S. states are the sources for most of the turquoise on the market today. It is said that the turquoise was used to adorn ceremonial masks and equipment used in battle because of its ability to bring power and protection to those wearing it.