Beautiful red ruby is the birthstone for July and the anniversary stone for the 15th, 40th and 80th year of marriage. It is one of the four precious stones along with Emeralds, Diamonds and Sapphires. The name comes from the Latin word “ruber” which simply means “red”.
Ruby is red corundum and derives its color from the presence of chromium. Corundum is a mineral that produces sapphires of every color. All other corundum colors are called sapphires. Depending on the iron content, rubies can range from pinks and purples to orange and brownish reds; the most desirable being deep blue red which is referred to as “pigeon’s blood”.
The largest producers of rubies are Thailand, Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka but they can be found in Africa, Australia and the U.S. Rubies are the second hardest natural stone after diamonds which makes them perfect for jewelry.
Larger high-quality rubies are rarer than diamonds of the same size and for that reason can sell for a significantly higher price. The “Hope Ruby” Ring sold for 6.74 million at 32.08 carats and Elizabeth Taylor’s 8.24 carat ruby ring sold for 4.2 million at auction. (That’s $500k per carat!!)
Ruby jewelry was a favorite among royalty around the world. They were a symbol of power and believed to be a stone of protection. In India, rubies were believed to help them stay at peace with their enemies. In the Bible rubies are associated with wisdom and beauty.
Today, rubies are said to attract good luck to the wearer, protect you from misfortune and shield against negative energy. They symbolize passion and love, release limitations, help with focus and clarity and strengthen energy, courage and joy.
Who couldn’t use a little ruby jewelry in their life? Check out Jewel of Havana’s new raw ruby necklace and earrings just in time for July birthdays!
Aquamarine, the birthstone for March and the anniversary stone for the 19th year of marriage, has long been prized for its soothing color ranging from translucent pale blue to blue green or teal. A member of the beryl family, Aquamarine is a sister stone to Emeralds, both beautiful crystals but deriving their color from trace amounts of chromium (emeralds) or iron (aquamarine).
The name “Aquamarine” comes from the Latin words for water and sea. In ancient times, Aquamarine was worn by sailors for protection on the ocean. It was also believed to be a healing stone for calming anxiety. It is believed to bring courage and happiness to the wearer, increase intelligence and make one youthful. It is also believed to reawaken love, making it a wonderful gift for any anniversary.
The largest producer of aquamarine is Brazil but it is found all over the world - Australia, Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Russia and several locations in the United States, with India quickly rivaling Brazil for the top spot.
Although the clear variety is the most valuable, I prefer milky aquamarine. It is a naturally occurring aquamarine that is translucent to opaque instead of transparent. Milky aquamarine complements almost any skin tone making it a Jewel of Havana favorite. I’ve never seen it look anything but stunning on anyone regardless of skin tone or hair color.
Jewel of Havana has beautiful aquamarine necklace sets back in stock just in time for March birthdays or anniversaries. I’ve also added new aquamarine clips for our popular Leaf Bell Necklaces and just a few more aquamarine earrings are left as well. Add this stone of protection and calm to your jewelry collection. It is sure to bring you many years of happiness and natural beauty.
Black Onyx - The Stone of Protection
Formed by deposits of silica in lava, onyx is a microcrystalline quartz called chalcedony. It has been used for carvings and jewelry since ancient times. Ranging in color from white to black and every color in between, onyx was popular for the carving of cameos and Roman seals.
Black onyx is known as a protective stone. Ancient Romans believed it supported courage and carried it into battle for protection. Many believe it repels negative energy and brings good fortune, strength and commitment in relationships. English midwives even used it for pain relief during childbirth.
Black onyx is the birthstone for Leo’s and the Anniversary Gemstone for the 7th and 10th year of marriage. It is mined in Brazil, India, Peru, Uruguay, Afghanistan, Madagascar, NW Mexico & Baja, California in the US.
The best way to care for your onyx jewelry is to wipe it with a soft damp cloth. Onyx is a relatively soft stone so soap or chemicals can build up inside and cause discoloration. You can rinse onyx in water but don’t soak it overnight and make sure to dry it well with a soft cloth.
This beautiful ancient stone is a classic favorite at Jewel of Havana. Black onyx earrings, slide pendants, rings, bracelets and necklaces can add a touch of sophistication to your favorite fall and winter fashion that will never go out of style.
Amethyst, the birthstone for February and the anniversary stone for the sixth year of marriage, has long been prized for its captivating violet color, ranging from lavender to deep purple. A member of the quartz family, Amethyst is both beautiful and durable, making it popular and suitable for jewelry. Relatively abundant, Amethyst is found all over the world, making it an affordable gemstone for many.
The name “Amethyst” comes from the Greek word, “amethystos,” which means, “not drunk.” For centuries, Amethysts were worn by ancient civilizations for protection from intoxication and seduction. In the middle ages, amethyst was a popular wedding gift as it was believed to bless the couple with happiness and good fortune. European soldiers wore Amethyst amulets in battle, believing they offered protection and healing. And throughout history, both royalty and religious leaders treasured Amethyst for its beauty and value.
Amethyst owes its color to the presence of trace minerals and iron impurities, coupled with exposure to radiation. Because of its stratified crystal structure, some varieties of Amethyst can be not just solid in color, but banded purple and white, giving it a variegated appearance. Jewel of Havana carries necklaces and rings in Amethyst, that will make a stunning gift or a welcome addition to any jewelry collection.
Amethyst changes color when exposed to extreme heat, and its color can fade with prolonged exposure to intense light. So, care must be taken not to steam clean amethyst, or to sunbathe while wearing it. Amethyst can be safely cleaned with warm, soapy water.
Amethyst is said to promote peace, happiness and contentment. There’s a reason St. Valentine always wore it. Whether you choose a ring, earrings, or necklace, wearing Amethyst is bound to bring pleasure to you and those you encounter.
The practice of wearing a stone associated with your birth month is a popular and ancient tradition. Most gem scholars concur that this custom was originally inspired by the Breastplate of Aaron, which was set with twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel, also corresponding to the twelve months of the year, and twelve signs of the zodiac. Each stone was thought to have heightened influence during the time of the year to which it was attached, so many people collected all the stones, and wore them in successive order.
Wearing a single birthstone associated with the month you were born is a more recent custom, beginning several centuries ago in either Germany or Poland. The modern birthstone chart was not developed until 1912, when the National Association of Jewelers adopted the official list most people are familiar with today. Either list can guide you to a special piece of jewelry to celebrate the birth of a special someone.
Jewel of Havana carries jewelry featuring many modern and traditional birthstones, including ruby, amethyst, jasper, agate, opal, peridot, turquoise, and lapis lazuli. A birthstone ring, bracelet, necklace or pendant feels special to wear and makes a very personal gift, whether you purchase it for a friend, a loved one -- or for yourself!
Turquoise is a stone that continues to find its way to the height of fashion. In ancient times it was considered a holy stone: worn as a talisman, and for protection. It decorated royalty, and was commonly used in grave furnishings. The Aztecs used it to decorate ceremonial masks, and the Native American Indians, believing the blue gemstone cosmically connects the sky and sea, still produce a steady quantity of turquoise and silver jewelry today.
Turquoise is a copper aluminum phosphate, and is found in the largest quantities in Mexico, Israel, the USA, China, Iran and Afghanistan. Distinguished by it’s heavenly blue hues (created by copper) and brown or black veins, each sample of turquoise is unique, making it a splendid choice for creating one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry.
Jewel of Havana carries a full line of hand-crafted turquoise jewelry, including turquoise earrings, turquoise layering necklaces, and the very popular turquoise wrap rings in fine silver.
In many ancient cultures, turquoise was considered a symbol of wealth, and if it’s given by a loving friend, it is said to bring good fortune to the wearer. It is the birthstone for the month of December and the Anniversary Gemstone for the 11th year of marriage but the beauty and uniqueness of turquoise is enough to warrant a piece -- or a few -- in anyone’s collection.
Turquoise is relatively soft, and should be protected from cosmetics, harsh light, and heat. It should be cleaned regularly with a soft cloth. The distinctive mottling in each turquoise stone ensures that any piece of turquoise jewelry will have a character all its own. You can no doubt find one that harmonizes with your own individuality.
Lapis lazuli has been prized by humans for thousands of years. Its deep blue color, flecked and mottled with golden pyrites, is rich and beautiful. Lapis lazuli was inset in the eyebrows of King Tutankhamun’s funeral mask. And the ultramarine paint, used by the Old Masters to create so many classics, was made by grinding lapis lazuli into powder and mixing it with binding agents.
The best raw lapis lazuli stones come from Northeast Afghanistan, high in the Hindu Kush. There are also deposits in Russia, Chile, Italy, Mongolia, Canada and the USA (California and Colorado). Once it is mined, its crystalline marble properties allow it to be worked into vases, bowls, boxes, ornaments, mosaics and jewelry.
Jewel of Havana carries a variety of lapis lazuli jewelry in layering necklaces, earrings, and rings. The brilliant blue of lapis lazuli looks particularly stunning set in fine silver in the lapis lazuli wrap ring.
Lapis lazuli is one of the birthstones for December (along with Turquoise). But no matter which month you were born, a piece of lapis lazuli will soon become a favorite in your collection. It symbolizes prosperity, and is said to promote friendship and goodwill. It encourages harmony, and enhances wisdom.
Care for your lapis lazuli jewelry the way you do other gemstones. It should be protected from acidic substances and not be exposed to too much sunlight. A lapis lazuli that has grown dull from wear can be re-polished at any time. Any piece you own will be sure to be noticed, and will be treasured by you and anyone to whom you pass it down.
Peridot is the August birthstone and the anniversary stone for the 16th year of marriage. It has a long history adorning both people and famous architecture. Cologne Cathedral’s shrine to the Three Holy Kings is bedecked with 200 carat peridots. And some historians believe that Cleopatra’s notorious collection of emeralds may have actually been peridot instead. Originally mined on an island owned by Egypt now called Zabargad, in the Red Sea, peridot is also found in China, Tanzania, Myanmar, Vietnam, Pakistan, Norway, Australia and Arizona. Some of the most precious and beautiful specimens of peridot are currently coming from Kashmir.
Peridot was created in the early formation of the Earth. As the earth’s hot magma cooled to igneous rock, peridot came to be. It has also been found in meteorites that have fallen to Earth. Unlike many gemstones, peridot only comes in green -- though its color varies from light yellow to dark olive, and even brownish green. The depth of color is a result of the iron content in the stone.
Though peridot is very old, it is regaining popularity today. Jewel of Havana celebrates peridot in layering necklaces and earrings. With its vibrant green color, it’s the perfect compliment to a summer wardrobe. It is considered the stone of truth, faithfulness and loyalty. It’s energy has many positive effects, including bringing a sense of peace to the wearer, and helping to release ego, anger and jealousy. The person who wears peridot will be helped by its joyful energy in making and keeping friendships.
Care for your peridot the old fashioned way -- with warm, soapy water. Do not clean it in ultrasonic or steam cleaners. It is a relatively soft stone, and can be damaged by sharp blows or scratches. So, take care to protect it, and it will bring you many years of beauty and happiness.
Pearl: The Natural Beauty
Throughout human history, pearls have been sought after for their elegance and beauty. Before the advent of cultured pearl farming in the early 1900s, natural pearls were incredibly rare, and only the nobility or extraordinarily rich could afford them. Today, with more affordable cultured pearls making up the bulk of what’s produced, pearls are
more accessible to everyone.
Pearl is a “natural gemstone,” and the only gemstone created by a living creature. When a foreign object (like a grain of sand) gets into a pearl producing mollusk, like a mussel or an oyster, that mollusk’s natural defense mechanism coats the object with nacre. As layers of nacre build up, a pearl is born. Both cultured pearls and natural pearls are “real.” The difference between them is how the foreign object is introduced. In natural (wild) pearls it happens naturally, and in cultured pearls, it’s introduced by humans. You can’t tell the difference between a cultured and a natural pearl without an x-ray!
Traditionally, the ideal pearl was round, smooth, and white. But there’s a wide variety of shapes and colors available. Jewel of Havana’s pearl jewelry collection features fresh water pearl earrings and freshwater pearl necklaces and bracelets in white, gold, rose, peridot, black and even chocolate tones. Fresh water pearls are also prominent in the Children’s Jewelry Collection, with our christening baby bracelets, and ballerina bracelets being among the most popular.
Makeup and hairspray can build up and affect the luster of pearl, so let your pearls be
the “last thing on, first thing off” in your routine. Clean your pearl jewelry with mild soap
and water (or our recommended all natural jewelry cleaner) with a very soft cloth.
Dry them completely, and store flat. Never hang your hand knotted jewelry. Storing flat avoids stretching your silk and prolongs the time between restringing.
Pearl is the June birthstone, and considered the “stone of sincerity.” Historically, pearls have been symbolic of purity and faith, and many believe pearl can boost personal integrity and help clear the mind. Regardless of why you choose to buy or wear it, the luster and iridescence of pearl is irresistible. Let us help you add to your collection!
Ana Maria Andricain
Ana is a metal clay certified artist creating handcrafted nature inspired artisan jewelry from her Baton Rouge studio. If you love natural gemstones and metal, welcome home!