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Birth stones are very popular in beading and jewelry making. There are many variations of birth stones dating back to early civilizations. The modern, official list of birth stones comes from the American National Association of Jewelers, Jewelers of America. These gem stones were officially adopted in 1912 (tanzanite was added in October 2002). This is the accepted list of birth stones in the U.S. January: Garnet, February: Amethyst, March: Aquamarine, April: Diamond, May: Emerald, June: Pearl or Moonstone, July: Ruby, August: Peridot, September: Sapphire, October: Opal or Tourmaline, November: Topaz or Citrine, December: Turquoise or Tanzanite.
Many believe that the breastplate of Aaron, or the breastplate of the High Priest is the basis for the origin of birth stones (also known as natal stones). The instructions for creating the breastplate call for the 12 stones of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to be set in four rows. These gem stones corresponded to the zodiac signs of the time. Today birthstones are associated with the calendar month of birth, although many people use stones from astrological charts to represent their birth or natal stones. All of these stones are available for beading and jewelry making.
Aventurine is a quartz gemstone that often contains tiny flakes of mica that give this stone depth and sometimes a metallic appearance. It is most commonly green in color, but also occurs naturally in shades of Peach and other tones. "Adventurine" (note the different spelling) was a term created in Italy in the 19th century to describe a glass bead decoration technique. The glass contains tiny flakes of metal to give a shiny and somewhat metallic appearance, similar to the Aventurine gemstone. The letter "d" was added to the name to distinguish between the two. Both of these beads are available for jewelry making so check them out to decide which appeals to your style.
Turquoise is a very popular stone for jewelry making. It's most valuable when it is a robin's egg blue color or a deep blue. This valuable turquoise comes from Iran and their color is an indication of copper deposits within the stone. The less precious turquoise is greener in color and is often found in North America, although birght blue turquoise is found rarely in the US. For example you can get bright blue turquoise fromt the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona, but the unreal beauty of this turquoise is reflected in the price! The green color or spidery texture of some turquoise indicates the inclusions of rock fragments such as malachite, limonite and sandstone. In some cases you may also find traces of jasper, another popular bead stone within turquoise.
The weight of a stone is important in planning your piece. The weight of a gemstone may be described in ounces, carats or by other units of measure. Here is a conversion chart to help you make sense of all of these units of measure: 1 carat (ct) is equal to 1/5 of a gram (g), 28.3 grams (g) is equal to 1 dry ounce (oz), 16 dry ounces (oz) is equal to 1 dry pound (lb) which is equal to 454 grams (g), 1 kilogram is equal to 1000 grams (g) which is equal to 2.2 pounds (lbs) which is equal to 5000 carats (ct).
|Sheri Ann Richerson|