January Birthstone – Garnet

The name garnet comes from the Latin word ‘granatus’ meaning ‘seeds’ – clusters of garnet crystals resemble the red seeds inside a pomegranate. However, garnets are a set of closely related minerals that form a group, resulting in gemstones of almost every colour. The name garnet refers to this group of minerals related in composition [...]

February Birthstone – Amethyst

Amethyst is a variety of quartz containing iron, which produces a colour varying from an intense deep purple to a light violet or lilac. Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals in the Earth’s crust and provides more gem varieties than any other mineral. Myth and mysticism The name ‘amethyst’ derives from the Greek amethystos, [...]

March Birthstone – Aquamarine

Introduction to Aquamarine Aquamarine belongs to the beryl family of gemstones, along with emerald and morganite.  The colour range of aquamarine is very narrow – from pastel blue, greenish blue to blue. Its natural colour is sea-green hence its name ‘sea water’, however, as the demand is for sky blue stones, most aquamarine is heated [...]

April Birthstone – Diamonds

Diamonds a Brief History and Introduction   Diamonds have a long history as beautiful objects of desire, wonder and awe.  First found in alluvial (river) deposits in India from the 4th Century BC.   Gradually finding themselves in western Europe along trade routes via Venice.  However, the first known cutting wasn’t until the 15th and 16th Century when [...]

May Birthstone – Emerald

Emerald is the uniquely beautiful, bright green variety of beryl. It’s coloured by chromium, vanadium and iron, the presence of which in their relative amounts determine the exact colour. Quality For quality, the price of emerald can rise dramatically as the size increases, and if compared with a diamond – strictly on rarity of quality [...]

June Birthstone – Pearls

The Queen of Gems The allure of pearls is eternal and universal; they are a timeless wardrobe staple, beloved by women of all ages for thousands of years. A gift from the sea, the world’s first gems, emerge from their watery homes without the need for cutting, faceting or polishing. I like to compare them [...]

July Birthstone – Ruby

On my coffee table lies Joanna Hardy’s book Ruby which should hardly come as a surprise. Whether it was rubies from the Al Thani collection or commercial rough, I have always been fascinated with rubies. When you look at rubies, it almost feels like the stone is glowing crimson from within. A glow so alluring, [...]

August Birthstone – Peridot

I have always been passionate about Egyptian Jewellery. The passion and love for symbolism it held would also lead me to write my dissertation on it. One of the many joys of my research included coming across exquisite peridot jewellery. Peridot was often used in talismans and amulets as it was believed to ward off [...]

September Birthstone – Sapphire

It is not hard for me to write about sapphires, quite simply they are my favourite gemstone.  It is therefore no surprise that every significant occasion in my life has been marked by a sapphire set piece of jewellery, large or small they simply hypnotise me. Sapphire is the gemstone variety of corundum, consisting of [...]

October Birthstone – Opal

Opal is one of the world’s most phenomenal and beautiful gemstones; in colour, pattern and rarity.  As such, many cultures have associated opals with supernatural powers.  The Ancient Greeks believed opals bestowed the gift of prophecy and protection.  Arabic legend says it falls from the heavens in flashes of lighting.  Europeans consider the gem a [...]

November Birthstone – Topaz

Myth and lore The origin of the name topaz is believed to come from the Sanskrit word tapas, which means ‘fire’. Others trace it back to the Greek topazos, the ancient name of St John’s Island in the Red Sea; although this is uncertain, undoubtably the ancient Greeks believed that topaz gave them strength. In ancient Rome it was [...]

December Birthstone – Turquoise/Tanzanite

Tanzanite Tanzanite is the blue-violet variety of the mineral zoisite, its unique colour caused by small amounts of vanadium. Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania, East Africa, in a miraculous strip of land only around 7km long by 2km wide. The name – after its host country – was given by Tiffany & Co who [...]