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October’s birthstone treats the eye to an explosion of shimmering colors, not unlike those of a magnificent rainbow following a summer rain. The Opal derives its name from the Latin word “opalus,” meaning precious jewel. Prized for its unique ability to refract and reflect specific wavelengths of light, the Opal was called “Cupid Paederos” by the Romans, meaning a child beautiful as love. One legendary explanation for October’s birthstone gemstone’s origin is that it fell from heaven in a flash of fiery lightning.
Protective Powers of October’s Birthstone
Ancient monarchs treasured Opals, both for their beauty and for their presumed protective powers. They were set into crowns and worn in necklaces to ward off evil and to protect the eyesight. These gemstones were also ground and ingested for their healing properties and to ward off nightmares.
The History of October’s Birthstone
The Opal dates back to prehistoric times. It is a non-crystallized silica, which is a mineral found near the earth’s surface in areas where ancient geothermal hot springs once existed. As the hot springs dried up, layers of the silica, combined with water, were deposited into the cracks and cavities of the bedrock, forming Opal. This gemstone actually contains up to 30% water, so it must be protected from heat or harsh chemicals, both of which will cause drying and may lead to cracking and loss of iridescence. October’s birthstone Opal must also be guarded from blows, since it is relatively soft and breaks easily.
Most of the world’s Opal deposits are found in Southern Australia. Other sources of this gemstone are Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia and Nevada. Quality Opal is very expensive, made more so by the caution that must be exercised in cutting, polishing and setting it into jewelry. A gift of Opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence. And the powerful energy radiating from this fiery gemstone will surely illuminate any occasion!
October’s Second Birthstone
Another birthstone for October, Pink Tourmaline has the seemingly magical property of pyroelectricity. Scientifically speaking, this means that when heated, the gem takes on a static electric charge, making it capable of attracting lightweight objects. No wonder this gemstone was revered for its mystical properties centuries ago! Considered the “stone of the muse,” it was believed to stimulate the creative process of its wearer. Pink varieties of Tourmaline range in color from pastel pink to ruby red and are mined in Brazil, Afghanistan, Burma, and India. A gift of this stone is symbolic of hope and is October’s birthstone.
The story of gemstones is as old as the hills in which they formed, millions of years ago. Gleaning our knowledge from ancient burial sites, we know that gems were used for weapons as well as for adornment. Gemstone jewelry has been found in graves dating back 20,000 years. In the past, people worked mainly with local gemstones. Jade was carved in China 4,500 years ago, Egyptian craftsmen use lapis, carnelian, and turquoise, and the Romans carved agate. In the East, diamonds, rubies, and sapphires were very popular.
The beauty of gemstones, their shimmering colors and perfect forms, led people to believe that the came from the heavens. Superstitions grew up around them, and different stones were deemed able to do everything from curing drunkenness to calming the roughest seas. The alleged power of gemstones extended beyond the supernatural, and were also thought to have medicinal properties. Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine still involves gemstones, and healing with crystals is a growing art.
In China, powdered pearl is prescribed for skin complaints and is also used in many facial creams. Powdered lapis, taken in pill form, is a regular constituent of traditional Chinese medicine. In ancient times, gemstones were placed on an injured or infected part of the body. Mystical powers were attributed to rock crystal as it was polished and made into crystal balls that could “see into the future.”
Many ancient tribes believed that bones and claws of fallen prey would give them powers of invincibility, so they were incorporated into decorative talismanic jewelry. North American Indians once used stone fetishes such as stone buffalos to attempt to influence the forces of nature.
Gems have been associated with different months of the year since the 1st century. The wearing of birthstones was, and still is, deemed lucky. It fist became a popular custom in the 18th century, in Poland.
Have you been currently shopping for an awesome piece of hand made jewelry in Tucson?
There’re a couple concerns you have to consider prior to you begin shopping for that incredible present. You must first of all contemplate the recipients taste before you begin making any purchases. Among the best ways to make sure that your present of handmade precious jewelry is likely to be well accepted is to very first check to see if it fits amongst the receivers individual tastes. There’s absolutely nothing more awkward than providing a gift of hand made yellow gold jewelry to somebody that normally uses just white gold, silver or platinum jewelry.
An example would be if the recipient has a large amount of silver earrings, you might wish to attempt purchasing them a silver locket or silver cocktail ring to add a touch of flavor to their precious jewelry collection. You can really find some exquisitely made handcrafted silver and colored gemstone rings by Tuscon jewelry designers. Just like developments in civilization, precious jewelry design and designs have progressed in step with brand-new products and making techniques. Styles and designs have transformed and updated, and then commonly return to their most basic types and aspects. Even prior to the age of reason, males and females both adorned themselves with handmade precious jewelry. Some of the earliest kinds of jewelry utilized to improve our bodies were made from flowers, shells, stones and lawns.
National Geographic an instant ago disclosed that early man began wearing precious jewelry as far back as 75,000 years ago (virtually 30,000 earlier that formerly thought). Today, precious jewelry is mostly device made, making it possible for producers to create uniform precious jewelry designs much more financially than conventional hand crafting and hand-casting methods permit. Casting devices now quickly procedure into consistent molds such elements as metals, plastics, and resins, enabling even intricate jewelry designs to be produced with speed and consistency for lots of Tucson precious jewelry makers.
From your mother to your wife, jewelry is the ideal gift for the women you care about. You can perhaps add significantly to your store of jewelry wisdom by checking out this article’s tips. The use of polishing cloths are helpful in cleaning your jewelry. With this method, you can simply shine it up and not deal with the hassle of using cleaners. All you do is polish it like you would a glass with the two-sided cloth.
Use the one side designated for polish, and the other for making it shine. Identify the kind of stone in every piece you consider. The types of gems available are synthetic, imitation and natural. Imitation has little value, as it is generally plastic, while synthetic and natural are considered to be real gems. Natural gemstones are dug up out of the ground and synthetic ones are grown in a lab. Keep your jewelry looking like new by wiping it with a polishing cloth. A polishing cloth is a very gentle way to get a good shine on all your pieces.
You use the special cloth to polish your jewelry just like you would polish your silverware. Use the polishing side first and, then the other side to make your jewelry shine. TIP! Don’t use harsh chemicals like turpentine or bleach to clean jewelry. These chemicals can turn stones dull and even erode the enamel.
November’s gemstone, Citrine, is as warm as a Van Gogh painting of sunflowers. The name Citrine comes from an old French word, “citrin”, meaning lemon. One of the more rare forms of quartz, this gemstone ranges in color from the palest yellow to a dark amber named Madeira because of its resemblance to the red wine.
The History of November’s Birthstone
Perhaps because of its scarcity, there is little mention of November’s birthstone Citrine used as a gemstone prior to the first century B.C. The Romans were thought to be the first to wear the yellow quartz, crafting it into cabochon, or highly polished but unfaceted cuts of stone set into jewelry. Citrine became more popular during the Romantic Period, when artisans often favored these warm colored gems to enhance gold jewelry. November’s birthstone Citrine, like all forms of quartz, was believed to have magical powers and was worn as a talisman against evil thoughts and snake venom. It was also considered to have medicinal properties and was commonly used as a remedy for urinary and kidney ailments.
November’s Birthstone is a Cousin to Amethyst
Sister stone to the purple quartz known as Amethyst, Citrine crystals are found in igneous metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. It is believed that some Citrine may have actually begun as Amethyst, but heat from nearby molten rock changed it to the yellow form of quartz. Citrine is known to change color when subjected to heat and is routinely heated in the jewelry-making process to intensify its color. For this same reason, though, this gemstone should not be left in direct sunlight for a long time because it will permanently alter the color. Most Citrine is mined in Brazil, but other sources of the quartz are Bolivia and Madagascar. A gift of Citrine is symbolic for hope and strength. With its sunny brightness, this gemstone is ideal for helping anyone to get through the tough times in life!
November’s Other Birthstone
Yellow Topaz is an another gemstone for those born in November. It’s golden color was believed by the Egyptians to be the glow cast by the sun god Ra. Yellow Topaz ranges in color from a peachy blush to a deep cognac. A gift of this gemstone is said to symbolize friendship and to strengthen one’s capacity to give and receive love.
In the heart of every petrified wood hunter, there continuously beats the glimmering hope that someday, somewhere, they will find the biggest, best, and most noteworthy log yet to be taken from its ancient hiding place. Certainly, in the years of searching by thousands of fanciers and countless hours of back-breaking excavation, there have been some good logs, remarkable for their size, rarity, or other qualities. But, in all due credit, and with no intent to take away well-deserved honors earned by others in their good “finds”, I want to tell you about a petrified log that we will claim as a real champion on so many points of excellence it has yet to be (and probably will never be) equaled or excelled.
Our “winner” is Quercus alba leucobalanus, more commonly known among petrified wood experts as White Oak. Although the truth was long ago known, this rather amazing log-find proves that White Oak has been around in some unexpected places for more years than most of us can comprehend. The guesses on this example range from one million to as long as from 25 to 50 million years, but more on that later. It was in 1960, when William 3. Blake, of Burns, Barney County, Oregon, found and excavated his all-time greatest. It was found, standing in its original upright position in solid basaltic rock, on Stinking Water Mountain, located in the Northeastern corner of Barney County, Oregon.
With only the top to see, there was no way to know how deep the log penetrated into the rock. But Bill knew he had a good one, as it appeared to be (and later proved so) a perfectly preserved, complete and unbroken tree trunk complete with the roots. After two weeks of hard rock excavation, Bill came to the base and roots, 7 1/2 feet down. Lifting out such a large log and loading it without damage was probably a more noteworthy accomplishment than the work of hard-rock excavation. With proper rigging and heavy-duty winch, it was finally pulled out and loaded on a truck stationed as close to the location as the rough terrain would allow.
Bill took it home to his shop in Burns where it was placed on display in its imposing glory for several years. Thousands of tourists and friends have seen it at his shop in Burns during the intervening years, but it was only recently that it was decided to cut the 7 1/2-foot log into a section that could be taken to several of the gems shows in the Pacific Northwest. This posed a challenge, but challenges were routine for the man who dug it out. He simply designed and rigged a super strong steel dolly, on which shaped steel pillow blocks were cut. To the pillows he arc-welded heavy steel straps to wrap around and tie down the log.
Although quite heavy, loading and moving the exhibit is relatively simple. Needless to say at a gem show, there really is little concern about it being quickly lifted and taken away by those who might like it for their own collection. It has been exhibited in shows at Portland, Oregon, Boise, Idaho, Rose- burg, and Grants Pass, Oregon. The most recent showing was at the Northwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies in Forest Grove, Oregon in August. There are so many remarkable features which distinguish this rare gemstone find, that almost any one of them would make it newsworthy.
First is the excellent condition of the log. The unbroken surface makes it appear at first glance as if it were live wood. The significance of this is that the original tree must have been surrounded and buried very quickly and evenly in one rock flow (or formation) in a very short period of time. This prevented any surface decay. The surface appears almost as if it had been sanded. The texture is so well preserved it is difficult to believe it is a wood replacement.
To further magnify the perfect preservation are plainly visible teeth marks of the beavers which originally “topped” out the oak. The log is approximately 24 inches in diameter. The beavers teeth marks plainly show that the tree was gnawed down to an area about 2×12 inches before the upper tree fell. To add even more proof of the beavers’ work, there is a plainly visible hole gnawed out on one side showing even more teeth marks of the beaver. Blake has been told the species of beaver which cut off this oak were about one-quarter the size of the present-day beaver as we know and now see in our mountains and forest streams.
As if the beaver activity evidence were not enough, how about the woodpecker holes in the side? These too have been verified by scientists, positive proof: inside the woodpecker holes were fragments of perfectly preserved (or petrified) eggshells in a light blue color! The condition of the log, inside, from edge to edge, is virtually perfect. Microscopic examination of the cell structure of wood, growth rings, etc. is as perfect as any known. Sections of the root specimen and a limb section are equally fine.
Since the finding of this log there still is a question in the mind of many scientists who have studied the log, and the geology of Stinking Water Mountain, where it was found. Indeed there is disagreement on the estimated age of the geological formation. Until recent years many believed (so listed on the U.S. Geological map) the mountain was formed about 1,000,000 years ago, and perhaps some still have reason to believe this.
Later evidence, found by Mr. Blake, has convinced him, as well as some geologists, that the mountain is far older. Why? Fossils of trilobites, which flourished throughout the Silurian age, have been found in the same area as the log. Trilobites, however, died out near the close of the Palaeozic era. Evidence of trilobites would seem to prove that part of the mountain might range from 25,000,000 to 50,000,000 years old. Actually the obvious conflict in estimates (and fossil-age evidence) is of little or no concern to anyone who appreciates this extraordinary petrified log specimen. At the show in Forest Grove, the log was examined by one of the best-known and most respected mineralogists in America. His opinion: “It is the finest petrified log section I have ever seen.”
As cool and inviting as a blue lake on a blistering summer day, December’s birthstone is derived from the Sanskrit word “tapas,” meaning fire. This is because December’s birthstone Blue Topaz was considered by ancient civilizations to have cooling properties. Not only was it believed to cool boiling water when thrown into the pot, but to calm hot tempers as well! This gemstone was credited with many other healing powers, among them the ability to cure insanity, asthma, weak vision and insomnia. The Blue Topaz was even thought to have magical properties in its ability to make its wearer invisible in a threatening situation.
December’s Birthstone – Heat Treatments
Blue Topaz is the hardest of the silicate minerals. While pure Topaz is colorless, minor changes of elements within the stone result in a variety of other colors, such as blue, pale green, red, yellow and pink. The blue hue is created when Topaz is heated, whether the heat source is natural or engineered by man. The three shades of December’s birthstone Blue Topaz are Sky, Swiss and London Blue Topaz. The latter is the deepest blue and is often used as a less expensive substitute for Sapphire.
Sources of December’s Birthstone
Topaz is found primarily in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Pakistan, China, and the United States. A gift of Blue Topaz is symbolic of love and fidelity. Luckily, this cool blue gemstone has no legendary power to put out the burning flame of love!
Another birthstone for December is the Turquoise. So named because it was initially brought to Europe by way of Turkey, this stone is one of the first gems to be used in jewelry. Turquoise was considered by ancients to be a sacred stone, protective against all manners of evil and ill health. This beautiful gemstone is mined in Iran and the southwestern United States. A gift of Turquoise represents friendship and luck and makes a great gift as December’s birthstone.