January Birthstone

Garnet

Garnet1The name garnet comes from the Latin word granatus, which means “seedlike” or “having many seeds”. This comes from the resemblance the garnet crystals have to pomegranate seeds. This gemstone is rich in lore and history. Red garnets were thought to stop bleeding and cure inflammation. They were also believed to have the powers to smooth discord between enemies and to prevent bloodshed. However, Asian and North American tribes used them as bullets, believing that their rich, glowing color might caus deadlier wounds. Now, garnet is considered the gem of faith, constancy and truth.

Garnet2When most of us think of garnet, we think of the red to reddish-brown stone described above. However, those with a January birthday may prefer a tsavorite or demantoid garnet, which are both green. There is also rhodolite garnet, which has a rosy pink to reddish purple color. Garnet also comes in yellow, brown and orange variations. All of these possibilities, along with its’ affordability, make the garnet a very desirable gemstone…even if your birthday isn’t in January!

Garnet3As always, outstanding examples of this incredible gemstones in one-of-a-kind settings or settings custom made to your specifications are available and awaiting you here at URBAN JEWELERS.  Come take a look!

September Birthstone

Sapphire

 

sapphirePeople born during the month of September are fortunate to have sapphire as their birthstone. It belongs to the family of minerals known as corundum, which is second only to diamond in hardness. Not only is sapphire a durable gemstone, it is also very beautiful. While all red corundum goes by the name ruby, corundum of all other colors is called sapphire. The most popular among these is the cornflower blue sapphire, which is Indian in origin. Closer to home, Montana produces sapphire of an attractive metallic blue. There are also various other colors of sapphire, including pink, green, yellow and orange. There is even a colorless sapphire.

9_2The legends behind sapphire are many. Kings in ancient times believed it protected them from harm and envy. The Persians believed that the earth rested on a great sapphire, the color of which was reflected to give the sky its blue color. It was also the symbol of truth and constancy.

Ring36-01In addition to being September’s birthstone, sapphire is also the recommended gem for couples celebrating their 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries, perhaps because of its reputed link to emotions such as harmony, friendship and loyalty.

Outstanding examples of this incredible gemstone, in a complete rainbow of colors, is available and awaiting you here at URBAN JEWELERS. Come take a look!

December Birthstone

Blue Zircon

During the Victorian period, zircon may have gained a considerable amount of recognition as a stand-in for diamond, but it certainly has enough favorable characteristics to be a lovely gem in its own right.  In fact, zircon has more fire than diamond and, although it is generally perceived to be a colorless stone, it occurs in a rainbow of colors.

The most preferred among these is blue, the birthstone for December. Those who are born during this month may be interested to know that zircon was once widely believed to provide its wearer with wisdom, honor and riches.

bs19As if these conferred benefits were not enough, those who wear this doubly-refractive gemstone will be rewarded with a sparkling piece of jewelry!

Other acceptable December birthstones are lapis lazuli and turquoise.

blue-zircon-ring-q1beh12oAs always, outstanding examples of these incredible gemstones in one-of-a-kind settings are available and awaiting you here at URBAN JEWELERS.  Come take a look!

November Birthstone

Topaz

The primary birthstone for November, is often confused with citrine, the alternative November birthstone. Both topaz and citrine were found on an island in the Mediterranean called Topazios in ancient times. Since these two gemstones were similar in color, although not in size or form, they were often mistaken for one another. The most common topaz colors are brown, yellow, yellow-gold, and orange, all of which are similar to the shades of citrine. The finest reddish-orange topaz, called Imperial topaz, can resemble exceptional

imperial topazPadparadscha sapphire, which is the most valuable and desirable type of sapphire. Oranges, reds, and pinks are the rarest topaz colors. Light green, purple-red, and colorless varieties of topaz are easily mistaken for other gemstones.

Throughout its history, topaz held the distinction of being the gemstone with the widest range of curative powers. Among other attributes, topaz was used to promote wisdom, which is probably why the custom in ancient times was to give topaz rings to heads of state, diplomats, and royalty.

Pendant38-01Outstanding examples of this incredible gemstone, in a complete rainbow of colors, is available in custom made one-of-a-kind settings and awaiting you here at URBAN JEWELERS. Come take a look!

October Birthstone

Opal

opalThe birthstone for October, was long known as the Wish Stone because it was supposed to grant wishes and personal happiness. The most common and affordable variety of opal is called milky opal, or white opal, because it shows play-of-color against a white, translucent to semi-translucent background. Colors may show as patches (“broadflash”) or tiny “pinpoints” and are usually light and bright pinks and greens.

Jelly opals and crystal opals are transparent to semi-transparent. Their play-of-color is a subtle sheen of color dancing through the gem, rather than color patches. The most valuable opals are black or gem bright colors against a dark, translucent to opaque background.

Earring Urban Jewelers in Ann Arbor, MIAn Interesting Alternative

Opal may be the birthstone for October, but tourmaline is often presented as an alternative birthstone for the month. To some, red-and-green tourmaline may provide a reminder that October is the month in which the leaves turn from green to red. Tourmaline’s versatility does not stop there. This most versatile gemstone is available in arrangements.

pendant04-01The so-called “watermelon” tourmaline looks much like fruit that lends its name, with red in the center and a green outer coating that somewhat resembles a rind. To top that, a tri-colored tourmaline is one-third blue, one-third green, and one-third yet another color.

Outstanding examples of this incredible gemstone, in a complete rainbow of colors, is available and awaiting you here at URBAN JEWELERS. Come take a look!

August Birthstone

Peridot

Peridot01Peridot (PAIR-uh-doe) is the birthstone of those fortunate enough to have been born in the month of August. The Romans referred to this green gemstone, the gem form of the mineral olivine, as the “evening emerald”. This references the fact that its green color did not darken at night but was clearly visible by lamplight.

Peridot02Curiously, the Egyptians considered peridot the “gem of the sun”, even though they mined it at night, because it was not easily spotted during the day. Peridot was also thought to have various powers, one of them being a talisman when it was set in gold. It was also strung on donkey hair and tied around the left arm to ward off evil spirits. If held under the tongue, the stone was thought to lessen thirst during a fever.

peridot-ringIf you remember peridot as being a rather unattractive, yellowish-green color, you need to look again! The newer finds are producing stones with vivid, lime-green color, with no olive tones. Peridot wears fairly well, with a hardness of 6.5 to 7. It is considered an affordable gemstone, even in its abundant larger sizes. The world’s largest recorded, cut peridot is 319 carats (from Burma) which you can see in the Smithsonian. Today’s major sources include Australia, Brazil, Burma, Arizona and Hawaii.

Closer to home, you can find a nice assortment of both loose and mounted peridot at Urban Jewelers. Come in and take a look …. we think you’ll change your mind about peridot!

July Birthstone

Ruby

Those of you born in July (including Cheryl Urban) share the good fortune of having ruby as your birthstone.

ruby 01Ruby comes from the Latin word “ruber”, which means red.  In Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, ruby was called ratnaraj, “king of gems”.  It quickly becomes apparent that the ruby has always been held in high esteem!  Legend has it that wearing a ruby in a ring on the left hand or in a brooch on the left side of the body gave the wearer the magical ability to live in peace among his enemies.  Also, wearing a ruby was once believed to bring health, wealth, wisdom and success in love. While few of us believe that a ruby has all of these wonderful powers, it does have a lot to offer us!

rubies03Ruby and sapphire are actually the same mineral, which is corundum.  While corundum comes in all colors, only red is considered to be ruby.  All other colors are considered sapphire.  Corundum is the second hardest mineral after diamond, rating a “9” on the Mohs hardness scale. Due to this, it wears extremely well, even on a daily basis.  The most desirable color for a ruby is found in stones originating from Burma.  From a gemological standpoint, the finest Burmese rubies are described as having a rich red color known as “pigeon’s blood”, with the runner up being a pinker variety, known as “cherry red”.  Thai ruby tends to be more purplish in color than Burma ruby.   The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a ruby (or any colored stone) is to pick the one that appeals most to YOU.

Ruby ringJewelry quality ruby is normally found ranging from melee size up to around 5 carats. Rubies larger than this, with any quality, are exceedingly rare.

At URBAN JEWELERS, we have available a collection of both finished pieces and loose stones….come in and check it out!

“The gleaming ruby should adorn,
All those who in July are born.
For thus they’ll be exempt and free,
From lover’s doubts and anxiety!”

June Birthstone

Those of you with June birthdays are the only ones lucky enough to have 3 different birthstones to choose from.

The rarest and most expensive of them is the alexandrite. Alexandrite is the color-change variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. In natural daylight (or similar), the stone is usually slightly yellowish to bluish green with gray overtones. When viewed in incandescent light, it changes to a brownish red or purplish red color. The more intense and crisp the color-change, the more expensive the alexandrite. This color-change property has prompted poets to describe alexandrite “emerald by day and ruby by night”.

alexandrite03The stone was first found in the Ural Mountains in Czarist Russia in 1830. It was named for the crown prince Alexander, who became Czar Alexander II. Today, very little alexandrite is found in Russia. Now its most important sources are Brazil and Sri Lanka.

Alexandrite has a hardness of 8 1/2 on the Mohs scale, so it is a very wearable stone. Larger stones are, however, very rare, with only a few being on display in museums around the world.

moonstoneIf alexandrite is out of your budget, or you are looking for something a bit larger, you’re in luck! The other options are moonstone, a variety of feldspar, or pearls.

Moonstone has a billowy, floating light about it called adularescence and it comes in various colors and larger sizes.

Pendant60-01Pearls allow shape variety by opting for either the fresh water or the South Sea variety. And of course, there’s always the classic round pearls.

What ever your preference, we have many exciting things to look at, including loose gemstones, here at URBAN JEWELERS.

May Birthstone

Emerald

Emerald, the green variety of beryl, is the birthstone for those born in the month of May. Just as the green of spring represents life and rebirth to us, emerald’s green stood for fertility and rebirth to the ancient Egyptians. As emerald grew in popularity, so did the beliefs that accompanied it. Some thought emerald, when held under the tongue, would show them the future. Others thought wearing one would strengthen the memory (oh, if it were only that simple!), make one more eloquent or help to avoid evil spells. Emeralds were also often used as antidotes for poisons and to prevent epilepsy in children. Today, most of us simply believe they make us feel more beautiful and privileged!

emerald03The first emerald mines were most likely in southern Egypt. Emeralds were so coveted that these mines continued to produce stones into the 1700’s, even though the finds were small and of mediocre quality. T oday, Columbia is best known as the world’s leading source of high-quality emeralds. While emeralds used in jewelry usually range from melee sizes to around four carats, much larger stones have been found. The Devonshire emerald, a Columbian specimen, weighs 1,384 carats, while a very unusual carved vase of emerald, found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, weighs in an astounding 2,681 carats.

emerald ringThis prestigious form of green beryl gets its color from traces of chrome and vanadium that enter the colorless beryl as it forms. Though emerald has a hardness of 7 1/2 to 8, these trace minerals cause it to be brittle. For this reason, an emerald should ideally be afforded some degree of protection in its mounting, as well as discretionary wear. By the way, other members of the beryl family include aquamarine, morganite (pink) and golden beryl.

Come on in and see us here at URBAN JEWELERS. We have all of these stones, plus so many more, to show you!

April Birthstone

Diamond

The name diamond, April’s birthstone, comes from the Greek “adamas”, which means “unconquerable”.  Since the first diamond discovery over 3,000 years ago, diamond’s unique hardness and high refractive index have inspired legends.  To the Greeks, they were teardrops from the gods.  The Romans believed them to be from the falling stars that tipped the arrow of Eros, the god of love.  For the Hindus, diamonds were the lightning that armed the hand of the god Indra.  Up until the 19th century, only men wore diamonds…but since then, women have really caught on!

Of course, we are most familiar with the traditional colorless diamond.  It’s value is guided by the “4 C’s”, specifically color, clarity, cut and carat weight.  Diamond is the hardest natural substance known to man, which makes it ideal for daily wear.  Also, it stays bright and brilliant longer, again, because of its hardness.

However, fans of diamonds may not realize that there are other color options.  Colored diamonds, or “fancies”, are becoming increasing popular.

diamonds colored 03Yellows are the most popular natural colored diamonds.

Pink diamonds, rarer and more costly than yellows, rank second in popularity.

Natural blues are also rare and quite valuable. It is the greens and reds, however, that are the rarest of all natural colored diamonds, and their prices reflect as much.

A less expensive alternative to natural colored diamonds are irradiated diamonds. In fact, the colors can be even more intense and unique.

Diamonds work well on any part of the body…ears, neck, fingers, wrists, bellybutton…anywhere you can imagine! When it comes to wearing diamonds, there is no wrong way!

Ring68-01At Urban Jewelers, we have a large collection of unique diamond pieces, as well as loose gemstones.  If you have something special in mind, come on in.  We can help you put together something that will be enjoyed for years to come.