January - Garnet

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What Is Garnet?

Garnet Beads For January

Garnet is a name given to over ten gemstones with similar structure. Although usually red, there’s shades of green, pale to bright yellow and fiery orange.

The word “Garnet” derives from the Latin “granum” meaning “grain”. Describing the typically rounded shape of the gemstone and also reminds of pomegranate seeds.

Benefits
Garnet makes good jewellery because it’s very hard, and resistant to wear. Garnet is said to symbolize happiness as well as deep and enduring love and friendship. Garnet has been found in jewellery from ancient Greece, Rome, and dating back to 3100 BC in Egypt.

Oriental warriors made garnet bullets because they believed these would inflict more harm. Others thought garnet brightened the night because of its high refraction of light – explained Noah’s garnet lantern to steer his Ark.

Travellers’ wore garnets to protect against evil, poison and wounds. It was also believed to help depression and prevent nightmares. Red garnet in particular is said to break a fever, stop bleeding and to reduce inflammation.

Modern Garnet
Today, garnet is prized for its beauty rather than its magical powers.

People like its naturalness, its brilliance, and colour of a sun-drenched Indian summer. Deep green garnets are the rarest and therefore expensive. Emerald green and colourless garnet is next rarest, followed by pure red.

February - Amethyst  

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January Stone Amethyst
What is Amethyst?

Also called the Royal Purple Pope Stone, the purple variety of quartz. If it wasn’t so abundant, amethyst would be very expensive.

Its name comes from the Greek, meaning not drunken. Perhaps due to a belief that amethyst would sober the effects of alcohol. However, I find this doesn’t work!

Amethyst is always purple, but comes in shades of pale lilac to deep purple. Deeper colours are more valuable – milky amethyst is the cheapest.

Amethyst is mined in South American, but the best in Africa. Very dark amethyst, mostly in small sizes, also comes from Australia.

Mythology
According to Greek mythology, Dionysus, the God of Intoxication was angered by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish.

Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god’s tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today!

The Church & Crown
Purple has long been considered a royal colour, featured in the British Crown Jewels and a favorite of ancient Egyptian royalty. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that “amethyst could dissipate evil thoughts and accelerate intelligence”.

Because amethyst was believed to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, it was very important in the ornamentation of churches in the middle ages. Amethyst is still the stone of bishops’ who often wear amethyst rings. Even in Tibet, amethyst is considered sacred to the Buddha.

Benefits
Amethyst’s sobering and calming qualities is why it’s considered to have the power to purify and bring peace.

It’s also believed to boost lower energies higher, and heal at all levels of mind, body and spirit. Amethyst is especially useful to calm overworked minds as it brings mental strength, stability, and vigor, and reduces negativity.

Amethyst also supports all that is transitional. Especially death and rebirth – providing peace of mind when a loved one is lost. As an elixir, amethyst can help toothache, bone and joint discomforts and problems with the stomach and digestion. It has also been known taken for blood disease and balance blood sugar.

In yoga, amethyst aids the 6th Chakra, the Third Eye, center of the body’s spiritual power. Because amethyst heightens awareness, both spiritual and psychic – increasing intuition and psychic development and transition from a normal state of consciousness to a deeper awareness.

Amethyst is for those born under the zodiac of Pisces.

Amethyst Jewellery Design
Amethyst jewellery sells well because it has never gone out of fashion. In fact new-agers have made it more popular than ever.

It’s dark royal colour oozes style. Amethyst goes well with silver, clear crystal and other subtle colours.

If you make hand-crafted jewellery; design matching necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to offer more choice to your customers. Don’t overpower your design with too much of the gemstone – add lots of silver spacers and findings to balance.

March - Aquamarine      

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Aquamarine Beads
What Is Aquamarine?
Aquamarine is a blue-green gemstone from South America, meaning Water of the Sea. Aquamarine lifts spirit, and excellent for meditation, bringing peace and serenity. Use it for your spring jewellery designs.

Mythology
Folklore says it protects sailors’ and is the treasure of mermaids. The gemstone is also supposed to have powers that reach to land too, helping married couples solve their problems and drive off evil. Aquamarine is associated with the thymus gland and is very soothing worn as a necklace.

Other Benefits
Also thought to help coughs, reduce fluid retention and calm the nerves. The Romans used aquamarine for stomach troubles and believed it could cure liver and throat problems. Aquamarine brings courage, aids quick intellectual response, and protecting the aura.

Types
Colour ranges from a very light turquoise blue to a bluish green. Darker blue colours are the best, greener less valuable. Check the clarity of the stone. Because aquamarine has a light pastel colour, it’s important to be free of flaws or inclusions.

Examine the cut from different angles checking light reflects evenly off the surface of the gem, and that there are no scratches. Aquamarine is usually heat treated and sometimes irradiated. However, it will become paler if left out in the sun.

April - Diamond & Crystal

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What Is Diamond

Cubic Zicona For April

Diamonds are the rich cousins of graphite, both crystalline forms of pure carbon. The difference in their properties is because of how the carbon atoms are bonded together.

In graphite, carbon atoms are arranged in sheets that easily slide past each other, ideal as lubricants. Diamond crystals, are a tight-fisted network of carbon atoms securely held in four directions, making it the hardest naturally-occurring substance.

Mythology
Diamond is a wonder of nature. Their cold sparkling fire has held us spell-bound for centuries with myths of romance, power, greed, and magic.

Ancient Hindus, finding diamonds after thunderstorms, believed they were from lightning bolts. Today, the diamond is a symbol of enduring love.

Man-made Diamonds
Up until a few years ago De Beers controlled all the worlds diamonds. By stockpiling tons at a time, they greatly increased the value of a relatively-common crystallized rock.

However, it’s now possible to artificially grow diamonds, the same way they are formed over millions of years. Using high pressure and temperature in crystal growth chambers, the size of a washing machine.

Chemically these cultured stones are identical to mined diamonds – but they have different growth patterns and a lack of inclusions that would draw suspicions to a jeweller. However, those bits of minerals that are enclosed in a natural diamond as its forms are regarded as flaws; a lack of inclusions is actually a good thing. De Beers has designed a machine for just £10,000.

CUBIC ZICONIA
An even cheaper way of making a diamond-like stone was created by Russian scientists. Cubic Zirconia is a clear material which when melted at high-temperature and a electrical current sent through - crystallizes into chunks which are then cut and polished. Using the naked eye, even a jeweller can’t detect the difference between good cubic zirconia, genuine or cultured diamonds.

Quartz Crystal - April's Alternate Stone
Diamonds are too expensive for most to make jewellery, but a gemstone with similar characteristics for April is quartz crystal.

The Power Of Crystal

Crystal Beads For March

The Mayans, Druid priests, and Tibetan monks all knew the spiritual power of crystal. The ancients used it to strengthen the sun’s rays to bring heat, and the Chinese science of feng-shui teaches that arranging crystals around the home retains positive energy.

Crystals became important to these people because of the belief in their capacity to store and amplify any power source fed into them – physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.

Today’s crystal therapists say that the stones’ ability to work as a conductor allows energy to be focused via a person’s thoughts to stimulate healing.

Many people use crystal to focus attention on what they want. With a little imagination, you too can use crystal’s energy to access a higher level of consciousness and turn a desire into reality.

All types of crystal have this magical power, but individual colour crystal is believed to have other uses too. Rose quartz, the stone of unconditional love, is great for emotional healing. Red, yellow, and orange stones are said to produce energy; clear and aquamarine stones are healers; and lavender and blue-violet are calming stones.

Different Types Of Crystal
Pure rock crystal is clear, but usually quart comes in a variety of opacity. Milky quartz is cloudy because of microscopic inclusions of fluid embodied in the crystal at the start of its life. Creating an attractive effect of a crystal within a crystal, giving the interior a ghostly appearance. Smoky Quartz is caused by natural radiation from nearby granite rocks.

 

May - Moonstone

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Moonstone Beads For May

Moonstone is nature’s treasure with a sensuous and seductive charm. Its characteristic feature is its magical play of light. The strone is translucent, and softens the light shining through it to give a pearly moon-like glow which appears different whenever the stone changes position.

Years ago, it was thought to be brought upon by the moon’s phases. This shimmering affect is caused by light being refracted inside the stone.

Colours
Moonstone comes in colourless, white, grey, and subtle yellow, but always has a blue or white sheen. Rainbow moonstone is colourless with a blue sheen and a rainbow-like array of colours.

Moonstone folklore
Much mystery surrounds this stone. In India it’s considered sacred to lovers, and is also known as a “dream stone” bringing beautiful dreams.

In Arab countries women sew moonstone into their garment as a symbol of fertility. It was also believed to be protective to seafarers, who have used it since ancient times. During full-moon, moonstone is very powerful for reconciling love – and as the moon decreases, is said to allow one to foretell the future.

A feminine stone for female issues and the inner-child, but also used by men who want to reach their feminine side. Moonstone brings confidence, calms the emotions, and aids spirituality, intuition, and clairvoyance.

Also thought to protect against fever, fluid-retention and urinary problems. Its soft shine supports the emotional and dreamy side of a person. Wearing moonstone will also increase your sensitivity for others.

Natural moonstone
Classical moonstone from Sri Lanka shimmers pale blue and is expensive. Moonstone from India has a cloud-like plays of light on beige, brown or green, backgrounds – and some have a cat’s eye or a multi-rayed star.

Uncut moonstone is dull and lacks the play of light. This is brought out by the cutter’s skills, who must locate the stone’s axis. Classical moonstones are always cut as cabochons.

Value
The more intense the colour, size and transparency, the more valuable is the gem. Top quality fine blue moonstone shows an incredible “three-dimensional” depth of colour, which you will see clearly only when tilting. These are rare and expensive. Brighter coloured Indian moonstone is cheaper, so is opalite moonstone.

Opalite moonstone
Opalite moonstone is most common today. This is a synthetic stone with even more blue shimmer than genuine moonstone, that’s only been around recently.

Against a light background, it appears milky white, shimmering golden faint lilac-blue and other colours. Against a darker background, it changes to a bright icy blue with the highlights altering to intense oranges and reds. The stone practically glows on its own, and demands attention by outshining all around.

Opalite moonstone adds a romantic feminine allure to your jewellery, always looking refreshingly cool – ideal for summer. Its pastel glow is soft and captivating, complimenting other light-coloured stones like lilac amethyst, blue chalcedony, and rose quartz.

It also loves to compete with wild bright colours like reds and turquoise. This flamboyance makes opalite ideal to wear during a night out on the town.

Looking after moonstone
All moonstone is fragile and should be handled carefully. However, a jeweller can polish a dulled moonstone back to its original glory.

June - Pearl

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Pearl Beads For June

Pearl Jewellery Sells
If you want to make quality, impressive jewellery that everyone appreciates, then go for pearls.

Pearls are expected to be expensive and in short supply

The reason is that people understand pearls are natural. However, since the 1950s, natural pearls have been cultivated by man – making them much cheaper to buy. This means including them in jewellery, will give you even more profit!

What are Cultured Pearls?
The least expensive cultured pearls today rival the most expensive natural pearls ever found. Cultured freshwater pearls occur in mussels for the same reason saltwater pearls occur in oysters.

Foreign material inside a mussel can’t be expelled. To reduce irritation, the mollusk coats the intruder with the same secretion it uses for shell-building, nacre. To cultivate a pearl, farmers slit the mussel and insert small pieces of live tissue from another mussel.

History
The first commercial cultured pearls came from Japan in the 1930’s. Japanese farmers by Lake Biwa achieved natural colours previously unseen in saltwater pearls. However, water pollution today has virtually destroyed pearl production there.

China now has the resources that Japan lacks: many large lakes, rivers, and a low-cost work force. China has now revolutionized pearling – shapes, lustre, and colours of Chinese pearls now surpass Biwa quality.

Copying the Japanese to improve off-white and mottling, China uses a mild bleach, bright lights, and heat. Natural freshwater pearls are usually odd shapes. So for more roundness, they reshape rejected pearls into spheres, and then nucleate mussels with them.

Dramatic Colour
Freshwater pearls are popular for their colours: white, silvery-white, pink, red, copper, brown, lavender, purple, green, blue, and yellow. The most desirable are the pastel pinks, roses, lavenders, and purples. Natural colour comes from the mussel species and water quality – with pearls taking the colour of the shell in which they form. However, permanent dyes are used today for most saturated colours.

The Best Pearls
Good pearls have thick overlapping layers of nacre. This can be tested by viewing its “lustre”. Roll the pearl with a pen in good light – the best pearls will reflect the pen the most. A large pearl is only more valuable if it’s the same quality as a smaller one – the rounder the better. Being an organic gem, grooves, pits, or dents are expected.

What is Mother-of-Pearl?
The shining light of mother-of-pearl has attracted attention since ancient times. Today, it’s dyed every colour under the sun – creating attractive jewellery at affordable prices. The mollusk forms mother-of-pearl as a protective shell. Like the pearl it’s a secretion of the mantle, composed of alternate layers of calcium.

July - Ruby & Onyx

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What Is Ruby?

Ruby Beads For July

Like a perfect red rose, the Ruby’s rich colour speaks of love. Ruby was considered to have magical powers, and worn by royalty as a talisman against evil. It was thought to grow darker when danger was imminent, and to return to its original colour once safe. Ruby is the hardest mineral after diamond.

The word Ruby comes from the Latin “ruber,” meaning red. It comes in hues from an orangey red to a purplish red, but the best are a true red – and is called a sapphire in any colour other than red.

Mythology
Rubies were thought to represent heat and power. Ancient tribes used the gem as bullets for blowguns, and it was said that a ruby would boil water instantly.

It has been said that the ruby’s red glow comes from an eternal flame, making a gift of this stone symbolic of everlasting love. Powdered ruby was used as a cure for indigestion, and if worn on the left hand, ancient lore has it that the ruby will bring good fortune.

Onyx – Alternate Stone

What Is Onyx?

Onyx Beads For July

Onyx is a term used for several stones. It has been dyed since ancient time, with the popular pure black variety, being dyed microcrystalline quartz. Its natural colour is brown, white or grey.

Mythology
Although regarded as protective, onyx has a reputation as a stone of discord. Onyx was worn to cool the ardors of love, probably because it helps to balance the mind and emotions. It is also thought to improve concentration and devotion.

Onyx is a strength-giving stone, aiding confidence and useful for athletes or people under stress. Its energy is a mental tonic and can help you cope with fears and worries, making you feel in harmony with your surroundings.

August - Peridot

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Peridot Beads For August
Just the name Peridot sounds summer cooling, and its vivid, shimmering aqua-green colour is the ideal gemstone to complement a light summertime outfit.

What Is peridot?
Peridot (pronounced pair-a-doe) is the gem variety of olivine, a mineral formed under intense heat. Perhaps named from the French word Peridot, meaning unclear, due to its inclusions and cloudy nature.

Small crystals of peridot are often found in rocks by volcanoes and in meteors. Because the iron which creates the colour is an integral part of its structure, its colour is always green – ranging from transparent lime to olive green. One of the few gemstones of only in one colour.

History
Peridot has been mined as a gemstone for thousands of years, said to be the favourite gem of Cleopatra, and mentioned in the Bible. In ancient Egypt it was mined at night because legend tells that peridot was hard to see during the day.

Peridot has also been confused with emerald and many jewellers refer to it as “evening emerald”. Peridot was later used to decorate medieval churches, carried back to Europe by the Crusaders, like the huge stones of more than 200 carats in size at Cologne Cathedral.

The gemstone is actually known under three names: Peridot, Chrysolith (derived from the Greek word Goldstone and Olivin, because Peridot is the gemstone variety of the Olivin mineral. In the gemstone trade it is generally called Peridot, a name derived from the Greek Peridona, meaning something like giving plenty.

Benefits
Peridot is recommended for insomnia, digestive problems and to stimulate the mind. Some say peridot has the power to drive away evil spirits, intensified when the stone is set in gold. And its also said to strengthen the power of any medicine drunk from peridot goblets. Peridot is for people with the star sign of Leo.

September - Sapphire & Chalcedony

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What Is Sapphire?
Sapphire is chemically the same as ruby. However, where rubies are only red, sapphires come in every color but red: blue, golden yellow, reddish-orange, or violet.

We stock only small sapphire beads, because it is too expensive for most crafters, so a great alternative for September is blue chalcedony. This looks similar at a fraction of the cost. Chalcedony is a very fine-grained variety of quartz with a waxy luster with a compact fibrous structure.

Alternate Stone For September - Chalcedony

Chalcedony Beads For September

Natural chalcedony is usually grayish blue and sometimes with hints of pink, however it can be color enhanced to light blue. It is said that chalcedony was used as a sacred stone by the Native Americas, promoting stability within the ceremonial activities of the tribe.


Chalcedony is thought to augment emotional balance, vitality, stamina, endurance, kindness, charity and friendliness. It also supposedly alleviates hostilities, irritability and melancholy.

October - Opal

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What Is Opal?
Opal Beads For October
All of Natures fury can be seen in fine opal. Like a Rembrandt: fire, lightning, all the colours of the rainbow and the shine of far seas.

Mythology
Australia supplies about 95% of the worlds opal from the outback. Aborigines there believe their creator came down to Earth on a rainbow to bring the message of peace to all humans. And at the spot where his foot touched the ground, opal was born.

Types of Opal
Fine opals shine and sparkle in a continually changing play of colours called Opalising. Depending on the rock and location they have names like Harlequin, Peacock, Mexican, and Fire Opal. Most opal has this play of colours except Common Opal, a name give to all others, like Pink Opal.

As demand outstrips supply, fine opalizing opal is very expensive, so is sold in individual beads for hundreds of US dollars each. Therefore, the type of opal common in necklaces is non-opalizing opal – usually pink opal from Peru.

Opals fantasy-like play of colour is caused by small spheres of silica creating interference and refraction manifestations. The spheres, which are arranged in compact structures, dissect light through the gemstone, turning it into the rainbow effect, always new and different.

Peruvian Opal
Peruvian Opal comes in faint pink, light blue and light mint-green tones. 

Benefits
Most Peruvian Opal beads are semi-opaque to opaque. Peruvian opals metaphysical properties are similar to other opals. Helping to intensify your traits and characteristics and deepening your personal understanding. Peruvian Opal in particular is used to activate the heart charka and to assist you during spiritual journeys.

How to Value Opal
The most important criterion for determining the price of fine opal is the play of colour, the colours themselves and their pattern. If red appears when looking through the stone, all the other colours will also.

Value also depends on colour, transparency, and original location. Colour can be black, dark or light, or coloured. Black Opal or a dark grey body has the most brilliant play of colour. Black Opal from Lightning Ridge or Mexican Fire Opal is the best.

Crystal opal, is the next best, and should be more transparent with a deep play of colour. White or milky opals show more diffuse colour and are the cheapest.

To best bring out the play of colour in a fine opal, the stones are cut and polished to round or oval cabochons, or other softly domed shape. Only the best qualities of Fire Opal are suited to faceting. The opal cutter removes any impurities using a diamond cutting wheel, before working out the rough basic shape, fine cutting, and finishing with sandpaper and polishing with a wet leather wheel.

How does Opal Effect You?
Opal is thought remove depression and to help find true love. Opals are supposed to enhance the positive characteristics for people born under the sign of Cancer. With Black Opal recommended to Scorpios and Boulder Opal for Aries.

The opalizing effect reflects changing emotions and moods. People prefer different opals for different moods. Opals are like human emotions: each type creates different feelings.

November - Citrine

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Citrine Beads For November
Sunny and affordable, citrine brightens all jewellery, blending especially well with the yellow gleam of polished gold. Yellow is a natural reviver, and citrine focuses the mind bringing a feeling of self-esteem.

In medication it helps re-establish the link between your conscious and subconscious. If you’re feeling down, hold citrine to lift your spirit. It’s also good at healing the body and communication. Citrine gives warm energy, promotes optimism, and attracts abundance.

Citrine removes negative energy, and in ancient times it was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. Known as a “merchants’ stone”, placed in the cash register to acquire and keep wealth. Citrine is the birthstone for November with corresponding signs of Gemini, Aries, Libra, and Leo.

Although the darker, orange colours of citrine, sometimes called Madeira citrine after the colour of the wine, has generally been the most valued colour, in modern times, many people prefer the bright lemony shades which mix better with pastel colours. Most citrine comes from Brazil.

Sometimes citrine is wrongly referred to as topaz quartz. In the past it referred to the colour, which is similar to topaz. Since topaz is a separate mineral, this type of name can be confusing. However, citrine is considered an alternative to topaz as the birthstone for November.

As long as citrine is protected from prolonged exposure to light or heat, it will last for years, and it never requires cleansing.

December - Turquoise

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Turquoise Beads For December
For selling jewellery, turquoise is similar to jade and pearl for the same reasons: Everyone appreciates it, and the gem always looks good however it’s used. 

What is turquoise?
Turquoise is a soft, opaque gemstone, formed by volcanic rock reacting to copper deposits brought by water. Colour ranges from blue-green, to yellow-green with grey, black or brown veining.

Most non-green turquoise these days is dyed. Don’t believe otherwise! As genuine turquoise is expensive, reconstituted turquoise is common – crafted from real turquoise chips fused with other stones to cut cost.

History
Turquoise has been found in 5,000-year-old Egyptian tombs and the Tibetans used it as currency centuries ago.

North Africa and the Middle East hold large deposits, but most turquoise today originates from Burma and is carved in China. Turquoise didn’t reach Europe until the crusades when the name originated, meaning “Turkish stone”.

Benefits
Ancient doctors thought turquoise prevented injury and ground it into a powder to cure stomach disorders, internal bleeding, and insect bites.

Turquoise has always been used to protect the wearer from danger, attract wealth, and warn as a talisman or good luck charm.

Some believe it will fade when danger or illness is near, or a lover is unfaithful. It’s also said to protect against pollution and strengthen the body.