Gemstone Guide


Garnet is the January birthstone. It comes in a varied range of colour from dark green to dark red. Garnets come from Brazil to Sri Lanka to Czechoslovakia to Africa. A green variety comes from Africa and is called Tsavorite.


Amethyst is the February birthstone and belongs to the quartz group of gemstones. Its deep colour purple is very desirable and goes back to an ancient Greek fable. Fine examples of this birthstone come from Brazil and Russia.


Aquamarine is the March birthstone and belongs to the same family, Beryl, as emeralds. Most fine aquamarine comes from Brazil and is a brilliant light blue colour.


Diamonds vary in colour in nature from white to blue to pink to yellow, and are formed at high temperatures and pressures fifty miles or more underground. Large deposits have been found from South Africa to Russia and now in Canada.


Emerald is the birthstone for May. It belongs to the Beryl family and varies from light to dark green. Emerald is one of the most coveted of all birthstones and is mostly found in South America and Africa, especially in Columbia and Zambia.


Pearl is the birthstone for June. For years, they have harvested from the ocean naturally, and cultured in round and free-form shapes. Pearls come in various colours from white to black and various sizes from less than a millimeter and up, with the most frequently used being about 6 millimeters


Ruby is the July birthstone and is the hardest material next to diamond. It belongs to the Corundum family along with Sapphire. The finest (pigeon blood) colour is found in Burma.


Peridot is the August birthstone and is one of the few gemstones that occur only in one colour, an olive green. The intensity of the green depends on how much iron is present. They can vary from yellow- to olive- to brownish-green. The Crusaders brought peridot to Europe in the Middle Ages from St. John's Island in the Red Sea.


Sapphire is the September birthstone and got its name from the Greek word for blue, however sapphire comes in a variety of colours such as yellow, green and the most expensive, a pinkish-orange colour, called "Padparadschah", which means lotus flower.


Pink tourmaline, along with opal is used as the October birthstone. No other gemstone has the richness in colour variation as tourmaline. It grows in long crystals which are sometimes bi-colour from green to red.


Opal is used along with tourmaline as the October birthstone. Opal is a very sensitive birthstone made in nature primarily of silicon and trapped water. Opals vary from white with little colour to dark with intense colour play.


Topaz, along with citrine is used the November birthstone and varies in colour from yellow to orange to blue. Many topaz are heat treated or irradiated to enhance the colour. The smoky colour and yellow colour are commonly confused with quartz.


Citrine is used along with yellow topaz as the November birthstone. The name for this yellow or golden variety of quartz is derived from the word citrus. Natural citrine is quite rare, but can be found in Spain or Brazil. Most citrine on the market are heat-treated amethysts.


Blue Zircon is the December birthstone. It is produced by heat treating brown zircon to turn it blue. Blue zircon is actually one of the few coloured stones with strong dispersion of "fire" (much like a diamond has). When well cut, you can see flashes of rainbow colours when you turn the stone in the light.