December Birthstones

Wednesday, 5 December 2018  |  Cristalmundo

December Birthstones

Three Birthstones - beginning with "T"

There are actually three birthstones associated with December: Blue Topaz, Tanzanite, and Turquoise.

Apart from starting with the letter “T”, all three of these stones have something else in common, and that is the colour blue – different shades of blue, but blue is definitely December's colour!

Blue topaz actually comes in different shades as well: Sky blue (the palest), Swiss blue and London blue (the deepest shade).  The question is often asked, is blue topaz a real gemstone? Natural blue topaz is quite rare, do colourless or pale material is heat treated and irradiated to produce the deeper blue colours described above.

Tanzanite, is a purplish/deep blue colour, and as the name implies, it is only found in Tanzania.  This means it is in limited supply and therefore one of the more valuable semi-precious gemstones.  It was first discovered in 1967, in one location, and as reserves of this mineral are diminishing, and replenishment seems unlikely, the perceived value of the stone is increasing and so is the demand!

Turquoise, that is, the genuine article, is also becoming scarcer. It is generally acknowledged that the best turquoise comes from various mines in Arizona, although it is found in other areas of the world as well, it is not quite the same quality.  It can be expensive. sometimes very expensive.  If you see items of turquoise jewellery that are quite cheap, then they can’t be the genuine natural thing.  There are many imitations and derivatives of natural turquoise. Glass imitation turquoise has been around since Victorian times, and so has enamel.  Other stones, such as Howlite and Chalcedony, can be dyed and stained to imitate turquoise.

Apart from imitations, there are numerous treatments which can be applied to turquoise.  For example, reconstructed turquoise uses turquoise powder or small chips which are bonded together with liquid plastic resin, then dyed and baked hard.  Reconstructed turquoise is much cheaper than natural turquoise but to the non-expert, it may look indistinguishable.

Turquoise is quite a soft stone and can be very porous and fragile so to make it easier to work with, it is nearly always stabilised or coated in some way to make it more robust. This type of treatment is effected at source and does not affect the price.

Enhanced turquoise is turquoise that has been colour-enriched by dyeing or staining. Turquoise that is enhanced and dyed is likely to be much cheaper than natural turquoise.  Turquoise is generally blue/green in colour although it can also be a sea green colour. 

Turquoise jewellery is quite delicate and should always be removed before washing (especially rings).  It should be stored in acid-free tissue paper in a cool, dark container, away from other jewellery that could damage it.  

We hope you have found this information useful.  Don’t forget to check out our blue topaz jewellery here

Peridot - August Birthstone

Friday, 18 August 2017

Peridot Jewellery – the perfect birthday or anniversary gift

Origins and History

Peridot is considered to be one of the world’s oldest gems.  This sumptuous green gem dates back as far as ancient Egyptian times. It is believed that peridot was first found on the island of Topazos (now known as Zabargad or St John’s Island)  in the Egyptian Red Sea.

The Egyptians were very fond of peridot and some historians even believe that Cleopatra’s famous emeralds were actually peridot gems. To this day, peridot is still the national gemstone of Egypt.  In biblical times, it was often referred to as chrysolite.  The first record of peridot in England dates back to 1245.

Although some scholars believe the word “peridot” is derived from the Greek word for “gem” (faridat), others maintain that it originates from the French word “peritot” meaning “gold”, possibly because it can sometimes have a golden tinge. 

Olivine Sources

Olivine is the actual name of the mineral, and peridot is the name gemmologists attach to olivine of sufficiently high quality that it can be used in jewellery. Although olivine is fairly abundant, the high quality peridot used in jewels is much less common.

Olivine is formed deep within the Earth’s mantle.  Like diamonds it can lie as deep as 50 miles underground.   It generally makes its way to the surface through earthquakes and volcanic activity.  This is why it is often found in lava in volcanic regions and may also be found in meteorites.


Peridot is one the few gemstones which only occurs in a single colour, although it does appear in various shades of green from bottle green to olive and apple green.  The precise shade of green is caused by the amount of iron contained in its crystalline structure.  Pure green, with no yellow or brown hues is exceedingly rare.

It is because of these variations in colour that it may have come to have been mistaken for emerald in the past.  The Romans called them “evening emeralds” because they reflect the light and appear more green under artificial light. This stone does not need to be treated in any way to enhance its colour.


Owing to its rarity, peridot was once considered more valuable than diamond.  However, as years have gone by, many other major sources of this gemstone have been found as far afield as Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Brazil, the US, Norway, Hawaii and several other countries.  Fresh deposits of a particularly fine quality and large size were discovered around two decades ago in the Kashmiri region of Pakistan.  This has led to a major revival in the stone’s popularity. 


Peridot became the official birthstone for August in 1912 when it was named as such the American National Association of Jewelers.  It is for this reason that it is so well-known today.   In the zodiac birthstone chart, it is the official birthstone for Librans, and is also the stone that is used to celebrate the 16th wedding anniversary.

Healing Properties

There are a number of mystical healing properties that have been long-associated with peridot.  It is alleged that peridot will bring good luck, love, friendship, harmony, peace, and success to those who wear it.  It is also believed to dispel anxiety.  Allegedly, a protective shield is provided around the wearer which will promote a good night’s sleep and banish any bad dreams or nightmares!

Regardless of whether or not you believe in the healing powers of crystals, there is no doubt that peridot is a particularly alluring gemstone.  For that reason alone it will always make you feel good when you are wearing  it in the form of attractive jewellery.  Peridot jewellery does not have to be expensive.

Gemstone Quality

It is useful to remember that gemstones are graded primarily by “the four C’s” : Clarity, Colour, Cut, and Carat (weight). 

Clarity grades run from completely flawless down to inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye.  As described above, colour can vary quite widely with some gemstones, according to their mineral content. Cut or shape will also vary according to the type and grade of stone.  The cheaper grades of stone may be used as beads and shaped into chips, nuggets and drops. The carat is highly relevant when discussing highly prized gems such as diamonds which can be cut into very tiny stones.


An example of how peridot chips can be used is shown in this peridot and agate cluster bracelet.  This shows how real gemstones can be made both fashionable and affordable and can look equally as attractive as the more expensive stones. The clearer faceted cut stones work well in smaller pieces of jewellery such as our silver earrings and pendants.

Peridot is particularly striking when combined with sterling silver in jewellery.  This stone is a particular favourite of ours and Caravela Jewellery has a constantly expanding peridot collection of pendants and earrings which we hope will suit a variety of budgets and tastes.  Why not choose something from our Peridot Collection now?



Thursday, 1 December 2016  |  Cristalmundo

Example Image

Birthstones are gemstones associated with particular months of the year or zodiac signs. They are often made into items of jewellery. These can make wonderful gifts for people with birthdays in that particular month.


Birthstones have been around since biblical times or even earlier.  Some scholars attribute the idea of a different stone for each month to the breastplate of Aaron. Allegedly, this breastplate was set with twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

However, the idea of wearing a gemstone according to a person’s birthday month is a relatively recent innovation which has been traced back to 18th century Poland.

Birthstone Charts

There are several different types of birthstone lists or charts currently in existence. These lists or charts are classified as traditional, modern, mystical, ayurvedic and zodiac. Birthstone charts can also vary from country to country. There are one or two though that have gained more widespread acceptance and are often referred to as “official” charts or lists.

The modern list is the one most commonly used when assigning gems to particular months. The traditional list is the second most prevalent. They coincide with some months having the same birthstone in both charts, whilst other months have completely different stones.   Some months also have more than one birthstone assigned to them.

The modern list has remained unchanged since 1912, apart from the odd “tweak”.  Birthstone lists, like everything else,  have now become commercialised.  They definitely help jewellers sell more gemstone jewellery so they are big business.  It is not surprising therefore that some jewellers seek to influence the official lists by adding gemstones they particularly wish to promote.  This birthstone promotion can sometimes result in a particular stone becoming very fashionable. An example is tanzanite which was added to the list in 2002 as the birthstone for December by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA)  – even though December already had two birthstones.

Zodiac birthstones are also very popular which is why, for example,  you might associate blue topaz with December.  Blue topaz is the zodiac stone for both Capricorn and Sagittarius.

Modern Birthstone Chart

This is the list which people commonly refer to as “the official list”. It is universally accepted by jewellers internationally and is promoted by the American Gem Society.

Each month has at least one official birthstone, beginning with January, which is garnet.  See the table below for the full list.   Cubic zirconia, which is the lab-created version of diamond, is an acceptable substitute for April birthdays.  For October, lab-created opal is an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to mined opal.  The official birthstones for December are blue zircon, turquoise (and tanzanite since 2002).  However, many people prefer blue topaz from the zodiac list as a December birthstone. It is certainly more easily obtained and affordable than tanzanite.

Zodiac Birthstone Chart

The zodiac or astrological chart is not included in the table below because there are several zodiac charts, and it can become very confusing. Astrological birthstones are also often divided into three lists: ancient, traditional and modern. The modern chart which includes many lesser known semi-precious gems can list as many as twenty different stones per zodiac sign.

Here at Caravela Jewellery you will find jewellery featuring most of the birthstones that are listed in the charts below. As blue topaz is the most popular birthstone for December, an item of blue topaz real silver jewellery will make a very personal and excellent Christmas gift.






January Garnet Garnet
February Amethyst, Pearl Amethyst
March Bloodstone, Jasper Aquamarine
April Diamond, Sapphire Diamond
May Emerald, Agate Emerald
June Tigers Eye, Turquoise, Agate Moonstone, Pearl
July Turquoise, Onyx Ruby
August Sardonyx, Carnelian, Moonstone, Topaz Peridot
September Chrysolite Sapphire
October Opal, Aquamarine Opal, Pink Tourmaline
November Topaz, Pearl Topaz, Citrine
December Bloodstone, Ruby, Blue Topaz Turquoise, Zircon, Tanzanite