January - Garnet (Alaska/Bohemia)
Derived from the Latin word (14th century) for pomegranate- as garnets were thought to resemble the seeds of this fruit – this is a brittle and more or less transparent silicate mineral. The term garnet converses a wide variety of chemically different stones of varying colours.
April - Diamond
(35 different countries, Russia/Botswana/RSA/Angola) A native crystalline carbon that is usually nearly colourless, although white, black, and various pale shades of pink, yellow, red, orange, green blue and brown are found. All good gem diamonds are transparent and free of flaws, and colourless stones, known as white diamonds, are extremely valuable. Considered the hardest substance on earth, diamonds are also widely used industrially. Named in the 14th century after the Greek word adamas, meaning “invincible”.
July - Ruby (Burma/Thailand)
A red form of corundum, second to diamond in hardness. The red colour is caused by the presence of chrome, and the name derives (14th century) from the Latin rubrum meaning “red”.
October - Opal/Tourmaline
A quartz mineral valued for its iridescence and showing variations in colour from white to black and in transparency from transparent to opaque. Numerous types are known, but usually only the transparent or translucent varieties are used as gems. Opals contain between 1% and 21% water. The name derives from the Latin word opalus meaning “stone” or “jewel” (14th century). Tourmaline: Apparently derive from the Sinhalese turamali (1759) referring to mixed colour gems of unknown identity, this is a stone of variable colours that makes a striking gem when transparent and cut. The pink (rubellite), blue(indicolite) and the more common green are the most popular varieties.
February - Amethyst (Uruguay)
A variety of crystal quarts that occurs in colours ranging from deep purple to pale lavender. The presence of manganese in clear quartz produces amethyst, while the amount of iron contents varies the strength of the purple colouration. The name derives from the 13th century from the Greek word amethystos, meaning “remedy against drunkenness”.
May - Emerald (Columbia/Peru/Spain) Named in the 14th century, this green form of beryl, takes its colour from the presence of chrome in the stone. It is probably the most valuable of all precious stones after diamonds.
August - Peridot
The gem variety of the mineral olivine, usually green and yellow-green, named (1706) from an old French term of unknown origin. Generally, the greener type tends to be called peridot and the yellower type, chrystolite.
November - Golden Topaz/Citrine (Brazil/Spain/Africa/USA)
Today the most common and affordable Topaz is produced in a laboratory controlled procedure. Topaz, mainly from Brazil, is eradiated to a brown colour and then heated to make blue. Other varieties in the market are smoky “Golden Topaz” and the colouless called “Silver Topaz”. Citrine: A variety of quarts, the colour ranging from yellow to golden brown to burnt amber. It was named in 1748
March - Aquamarine (Brazil/Madagascar/Afghanistan/Pakistan) Named in 1598 from aqua marina, the Latin for “sea water”, this is a transparent variety of beryl that is blue-green or green in colour. The blue variety is the most valuable and the darker the blue, the more valuable the stone.
June - Pearl/Moonstone (Arabia/France/India)
Pearls are valued as gemstones although they are not actually minerals, but organic gems. They are the result of a minute particle of foreighn matter, such as a fine grain of sand, entering the shell of a mollusk and being coated with the same material that covers the inside of the shell (called nacre, or mother-of-pear). Eventually, the grain of sand is transformed into a pearl. There is a wide colour range including white, black, grey, pinkish-white, and yellow-white.
Moonstone: A transparent or translucent feldspar of pearly or opaline luster, named in 1632. The best moonstones, clear with a silky or blue sheen, came from Burma and Sri Lanka, but are now rare.
September - Sapphire (Greece)
A transparent rich blue form of corundum named in the 13th century, the blue colour caused by the presence of titanium.
December - Blue Zircon/Turquoise
A pale blue, greenish blue or pale green opaque gemstone, sometimes permeated with brown stains from iron compounds. The sky-blue variety, often referred to as robin’s egg, is the form most desired for jewellery. Turquoise was named in the 14th century.