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January Birthstones

Modern - Garnet     Traditional - Garnet      Mystical - Emerald When most people think of lush garnets, they think of the traditional transparent dark burgundy red that has long been associated with the January birthstone.  In fact, the word garnet comes from the 14th‑century Middle English word gernet, meaning 'dark red'.  Red garnet represents love.  It can aid in revitalizing feelings and enhancing sexuality.  It helps to control anger, especially towards oneself. Because of the differing minerals in garnets, there are actually a number of colors varieties.  There is even a rare color changing garnet that appears brownish or orange in daylight but rose-pink in incandescent light. This picture from the GIA website shows a variety of the colors:...

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Lampwork Inspirations

Call me a magpie, but I really love fancy pieces of colorful, shiny glass.  That is what attracted me to the art of making handcrafted glass beads, called lampwork. I also sometimes call the beads artisan glass. I was intrigued to the point of wanting to learn the process.  I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to take classes in this art and then to have the time to explore it further. I no longer make my own beads as that can be a full time job in itself, but still occasionally incorporate them in my jewelry designs, such as the necklaces pictured above. The name lampwork comes from the centuries-old process when glass beads were made with the heat of the...

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The Healing Energies of Jade

In a previous post "The Healing Energies, Metaphysical Properties and Lore of Gemstones - Introduction" I spoke about a class that I had taken which introduced me to the ways various stones can aid a body's healing.  I tend to be a bit of a sceptic so I wanted to try an experiment on myself to see if it really works.   I have a chronic problem with my left ankle from an accident in my 20s where I sprained the joint so badly that my foot and leg were put in a cast.  Even though I thought it healed well at the time, as I get older the joint locks up on occasion and pulls on the muscles in my...

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August Birthstones - Something New, Something Old

The modern birthstone for August has always been the yellowish-green peridot....that is until now. The Jewelers of America established the modern birthstone list back in 1912 and has only added new gems to the list twice before.  It was updated in 1952 to add alexandrite (June), citrine (November), tourmaline (October) and zircon (December) and again in 2002 when tanzanite was added as a birthstone for December. Due to popular demand, this month they are adding one more: Spinel, a glassy gem that comes in colors ranging from red, pink, purple, orange, grey, blue and black. A little about these two gems... PERIDOT: Small crystals of Peridot are formed in fiery lava ,deep within the mantle of the earth and are brought the the...

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The Healing Energies, Metaphysical Properties and Lore of Gemstones - Introduction

Ever since I started designing jewelry with gemstones I have been curious about the lore surrounding the energy of stones and crystals.  In the metaphysical world, the words stone, gem, crystal and Crystal Kingdom are used interchangeably.  That was always a bit confusing to me until I learned that most gemstones are actually mineral crystals - a pure solid substance that has an orderly repeating arrangement of atoms and molecules in three spatial dimensions. Some stones and organic materials used in jewelry such as turquoise, lapis lazuli, sunstone, amber, jet, coral and pearls are not crystals but still have metaphysical properties associated with them.  Learning that fact was just the tip of the iceberg. There are gems properties associated with emotional and physical...

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