A History of Children’s Jewelry
There are many references to children wearing jewelry both in historical writings as well as the Bible. Children have worn jewelry throughout the centuries for several different reasons. Jewelry has mostly been used for personal decoration. But children have also worn jewelry to show status and wealth. Superstitious beliefs have also played a part in the historical use of jewelry for children. Parents once believed that certain pieces had the power to ward off evil spirits, prevent sickness and protect their children from bad luck. Cambodian parents adorned their children’s ankles with silver chains embellished with bells in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. These pieces were also useful for knowing if their baby or toddler had ventured away from them and out of safety.
In ancient times necklaces and bracelets were made from shells, animal teeth, bits of wood and bone, leather, pebbles, berries and feathers. These pieces were worn by infants as well as older children. Babies were often presented with a simple necklace or bracelet at birth. In ancient Hebrew times bracelets were the insignia of Kings and their sons.
Jewelers in ancient Egypt made beautiful enameled pieces worn by men, women and children. Egyptians used gemstones in such jewelry as bracelets, brooches, head-dresses, pendants, and rings. They believed that gems had magical powers and wore them for good luck.
In ancient Greece artisans rarely used inlaid gems but instead worked with enamel along with gold and silver wire. They would twist the wire into patterns which would form a gorgeous lace-like decoration called filigree. Unlike the Greeks, the Romans often used gems in their jewelry. They used gold settings but placed greater emphasis on precious stones.
During the early Middle Ages, beginning in the A.D. 700’s, the wearing of jewelry was almost entirely restricted to royalty and members of the royal courts. Between 1200 and 1400, a prosperous middle class rose. This class began to acquire jewelry, wearing it as a sign of social status.
In Victorian times, babies often wore exquisite gold and silver bracelets, pins and bib clips. The bracelets had a flattened area were the word ‘Baby’ was engraved. Semi-precious stones such as garnets were sometimes set into gold bracelets and brooches for little ones. Older children often wore gold or silver necklaces, cameos and bar pins. Many of these items were beautifully personalized with engravings. These pieces became family heirlooms. Many Victorian baby and children’s jewelry items can be found on display in museums. In the 17th Century many sculptors would often apprentice to goldsmiths. Some of these jewelry items were created for functional reasons such as bib clips. Other items were created to symbolize religious membership, for example the Star of David, or a crucifix. This use of personalized jewelry continues today and is very popular in modern day children’s jewelry design.
Today the most common reason for giving jewelry to a baby or child is in the spirit of giving a meaningful gift that will last a lifetime. Personalized infant bracelets are a meaningful and unique baby shower, christening, first communion, bar mitzvah or birthday gift. Personalized infant jewelry is prized as the 21st Century’s family heirloom gift that will be cherished from one generation to the next.
Birthstones - An Overview
A birthstone is a gem that is associated with a month of the year. According to tradition, a birthstone brings good luck to a person born in its month. It is thought that the belief in birthstones originated from a Bible story about Aaron, the first high priest of the Israelites. The breastplate of Aaron is of interest to gem lovers and jewelers because it is an early account of the use of gemstones for both decoration and symbol. The breastplate is described in Exodus 28:15-20 where it states that Aaron’s breastplate was decorated with 12 precious stones that symbolized the 12 tribes of Israel. The gemstones were to be attached in four rows of three and each gem was to have the name of a tribe inscribed upon it. “Whenever Aaron enters the Holy place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastplate of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord.” Exodus 28:29 Early writers later linked these 12 stones with the 12 months of the year. The following is a list of the gem or gems that are accepted by most jewelers as the birthstone for each month along with the characteristic associated with that particular stone.
The custom of wearing the stone that represented a person’s birth month has become wide spread over the years. Today, many people wear birthstones on bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings. It is special to wear and give birthstone jewelry because it has a personal meaning and is more likely to be cherished. Birthstone jewelry is perfect for meaningful gifts that will be treasured and passed down from generation to generation.
January’s birthstone, the garnet, is thought to encourage sweet dreams and keep the wearer safe during travel. Garnet is known to symbolize constancy which means firmness of mind or stability. The garnet also signifies eternal friendship and trust and is the perfect gift for a friend. Garnet, derived from the Latin word gratatum, means seed and is called so because of the gemstones resemblance to a pomegranate seed. A Greek myth associated with the garnet is the story of the young goddess of sunshine, Persephone, who was abducted by Hates, god of the underworld. Hades eventually released Persephone but not before he offered her some pomegranate seeds, which guaranteed her return to him.
Historical texts suggest that the healing properties of the garnet included strength as well as protection and was often worn to relieve inflammations of the skin, regulate the heart and blood flow and aid in curing depression. Most commonly known to be a deep dark red, the garnet is found in a rainbow of colors including muted yellows, vibrant oranges, rosy pinks, lime greens and violets. This diversity is caused by fluctuating amounts of elements within the gem such as iron, calcium and manganese. References to the garnet date back to 3100 B. C. when the Egyptians used garnets as inlays in jewelry. Archaeologists have found primitive style garnet jewelry dating back to the Bronze Age. The garnet is mined in Sri Lanka, Africa, Australia, India, Russia, South America, and in the United States, particularly in Arizona and Idaho. Not all garnet is of gem quality. Garnet is also a very effective abrasive and is used commercially for grinding and polishing. Garnet coated sandpaper is one such industrial use.
Today the garnet continues to be the protective gemstone for travel. The garnet is the suggested gem to give for the 2nd and 6th anniversary. Garnet is used in personalized jewelry to signify the wearer’s birth month, anniversary month or to celebrate the birth month of a child.
February - Amethyst
Amethyst, the birthstone for February, was believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, the god of wine and intoxication. In fact, the word 'Amethyst' comes from the Greek word" amethystos" , meaning sober. The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from a Greek myth. Bacchus, the god of wine was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that would cross his path. In order to perform this, he created fierce tigers. Then along came the unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws of the tigers. Bacchus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz purple creating the gemstone as we know it today.
Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts. Amethyst has been used as a dream stone and to help insomnia. When placed under one's pillow it has been thought to bring about pleasant dreams and restful sleep. It has also been said to relieve headaches when rubbed across the forehead. Amethyst has been said to keep the wearer clear-headed, quick witted and sincere.
Amethyst occurs naturally as crystal within rocks. Amethyst is purple quartz, a beautiful blend of violet and red that can be found in Brazil, Canada, Australia, India, Madagascar, Namibia, Russia, Sri Lanka; and in the United States.
February's purple birthstone has been found amongst the possessions of royalty throughout the ages. The intense violet hue of amethyst appealed to early monarchs perhaps because they often wore this color. Purple dye was scarce and expensive at the time, so it was reserved for the garments of kings and queens. Amethyst has been found in ruins dating as far back as the ninth century, adorning crowns, scepters, jewelry and breastplates worn into battle. Because amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, it was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic churches in the Middle Ages. Amethyst was in particular, considered to be the stone of bishops and some still wear amethyst rings today. A large amethyst is among the closely guarded gemstones in the British Crown Jewels.
The gift of amethyst is symbolic of protection and the ability to overcome difficulty. It is said to strengthen the bond in a love relationship, so it is an ideal anniversary or engagement gem. Amethyst is also commonly given as a gift to those who are born in February. Mother's and children's bracelets and birthstone necklaces and earrings are the most current and trendy way to present a gemstone that has lasting meaning. These pieces often contain high quality Swarovski crystals to represent the birthstone color.
Derived from the Roman word "Aqua" meaning water, and "mare" meaning sea, this pale blue gem does indeed resemble the color of sea water. The ancient Romans believed that the aquamarine was sacred to Neptune, the god of the sea, having fallen from the jewel boxes of sirens and washed onto shore. Early sailors wore aquamarine talismans engraved with the likeness of Neptune. This gemstone was thought to protect sailors as well as guarantee a safe voyage. Since early times aquamarine has been said to endow the wearer with foresight, courage and happiness.
The association with water lead to the belief that Aquamarine was particularly powerful when submerged in water. In ancient times, this water was then used to heal a variety of illnesses of the heart, liver, stomach, mouth and throat. Aquamarines were also used to reverse poisoning and aid in fortune telling. The serene color of aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded.
Aquamarine varies in color from a blue-green to a light sky blue. The color is more intense in larger stones. Unlike other gemstones, the majority of aquamarines are flawless. It's pale, cool color beautifully compliments spring and summer wardrobes and is a lovely stone for bridal jewelry.
Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family. The mineral beryl was used as far back as two thousand years ago to correct vision and is still used in the manufacturing of eyeglasses today.Beryl is a very hard mineral making it ideal for use in jewelry. Aquamarine is mainly mined in Brazil but is also found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan and Mozambique.Aquamarine symbolizes both safety and security, especially within longstanding relationships. Aquamarine is the gemstone used to mark the 19th wedding anniversary. It is commonly used for Mother's birthstone jewelry as well and new baby gifts of bracelets and necklaces featuring the baby's birthstone.
April - Diamond
April's birthstone, the diamond, is remarkably simple in composition yet stunning in its unique ability to reflect and refract light into vivid flashes of brilliant color. The word diamond comes from the Greek word "adamas" meaning unconquerable or invincible. The myths and facts associated with the diamond transcend cultures and continents and the prominence of this stone is inscribed in the Greek, Indian, English, French, German, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, Japanese, American, African, Korean, Polish and Chinese cultures. The ancient Hindus called the diamond "vajra" meaning lightening, both because of the sparks of light thrown off by this gem as well as its invincible strength. The diamond is the hardest substance on earth.
The world's first know reference to this gemstone comes from a Sanskrit manuscript dating back to 322 BC. Roman literature makes its first mention of diamonds in the first century AD, in reference to the alluvial diamonds found in India and Borneo. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed they were the tears of the gods and splinters from falling stars. Cupid's arrows were supposed to be tipped with diamonds, having thus a magic that nothing else could equal. Plato wrote about diamonds as living beings embodying celestial spirits.
Diamonds were thought to impart virtue and generosity. Not only was it commonly believed that diamonds could bring luck and success, but also that they could counter the effects of astrological events. Minerals were among the first medicinal ingredients. In the Middle Ages it was believed that a diamond could heal a sick person that took it into his/her bed and warmed it with the body.
Kings in old days led battles with heavy leather breastplates studded in diamonds and other precious stones because it was believed that diamonds possessed God given magical qualities and powers far beyond the understanding of common man. Thus, warriors stayed clear of Kings and others fortunate enough to havethe magical diamonds in their breastplate.
Formed deep within the earth where there is intense heat and pressure, diamonds are simply crystallized carbon. Volcanic activity of long ago brought these gemstones to the earth's surface, where they are found either within volcanic rock formations or washed out into rivers. India is thought to be the first riverbed source of diamond mining, but today these gemstones are found primarily in Australia, Russia and Africa.
A gift of a diamond is symbolic of everlasting love and therefore is most commonly given as on engagement ring or anniversary band. Diamonds are represented with crystal quartz or man made crystals in most personalized Mother's and Grandmother's jewelry. Clear Swarovski Crystals are used in infant and children's personalized birthstone jewelry and in celebration of a new baby girl, baptism, christening, first birthday or first holy communion.
May - Emerald
May's birthstone is the intense brilliant green emerald. Emerald is derived from the word smaragdus, meaning green in Greek. Within its depths are tiny fractures which the French call "jardin," or garden because of their resemblance to foliage. The ancient Romans associated this gemstone with fertility and rebirth, and dedicated it to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.
Emeralds were once used as amulets to ward off epilepsy in children and have also been thought to cure diseases of the eye. Folklore suggests that these stones will improve memory and intelligence. Pliny wrote, "nothing is more intense than the green of emerald, sight is refreshed and restored by gazing upon this stone." For this reason, Roman Emperor Nero watched the gladiators while gazing through glasses with emerald lenses.
The Ancient Egyptians mined emeralds in the eastern dessert region many years before Cleopatra's birth, braving extreme heat, scorpions and snakes to search for the beautiful crystals. During Cleopatra's reign she claimed the emerald mines as her own, as this was her favorite gem. She often wore lavish emerald jewelry and it has been said that she gave visiting dignitaries gifts of large emeralds with an image of her likeness carved onto it.
The emerald is a member of the beryl family of minerals. The green crystals grow slowly within metamorphic rocks and are restricted in size by the rock, making large emeralds rare and costly. The rich green color of emerald is reminiscent of spring and has been prized by many cultures throughout history.
Today, most of the world's emeralds are mined in Columbia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Zambia. The availability of high quality emerald is limited; consequently, treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly. The emerald is believed to grant the owner good fortune, foresight, and youth. Some people believe that the emerald brings wisdom, growth and patience; three traits essential to a long lasting relationship. This may explain why a gift of emerald for an Anniversary, or anytime, is considered symbolic of love and fidelity.
The pearl is the official birthstone for the month of June. The Greeks believed that pearls were the hardened tears of joy that their goddess of love shook from her eyes as she was born from the sea. Early Chinese myths told of pearls falling from the sky when dragons fought. An Arabian legend states that pearls were formed when oysters were lured from the depths of the ocean by the beautiful moon and then swallowed moonlit dewdrops.
Through the ages pearls have been ground up and used in cosmetics as well as used to treat heart and stomach conditions. Pearls are considered to offer the power of love, money, protection and luck. Pearls are thought to give wisdom and to secure love relationships. They have also been thought to keep children safe.
Pearls are unique as they are the only gems that come from living sea creatures and they do not require any faceting or polishing to reveal their beauty. Pearls are formed inside mollusks such as oysters and mussels. They are formed when an irritant such as a bit of sand gets inside the mollusks shell. The process of building a single pearl can take up to eight years. Natural pearls are relatively rare so in the early 1900's the first successful commercial culturing of round saltwater pearls began. Divers find natural pearls in the Persian Gulf as well as in the waters off Japan, the South Pacific Islands off Northern Australia, and the coasts of Panama, Venezuela and California. Most of the cultured pearl industry is found in Japanese and Australian waters.
Pearls come in a variety of colors ranging from white and cream to pink, yellow, grey and black. Each coloration depends on the type of mollusk and the water in which the mollusk lived. These gems have adorned crowns, clothing and temples and were said to be a favorite of Cleopatra. Long ago, only those with royal status wore pearl jewelry, but eventually these gems were seen among all classes of people. They continue to be viewed as a mark of taste and refinement as well as a symbol of purity, and they are often given to celebrate a marriage or the birth of a child. Baby bracelets made of white pearls with a tiny cross charm at the clasp are popular baptism and christening gifts.
Alexandrite is the alternate birthstone for June. Naturally a yellowish or brownish green in color this gem has the unique ability to change to a purplish red when exposed to glowing light such as candlelight. Natural alexandrites are some of the rarest most expensive gemstones in the world. Alexandrite is symbolic of joy and good fortune. The alexandrite stone is often used for baby bracelets that are given as a gift to a daughter, granddaughter, niece, goddaughter or little sister.
July - Ruby
July's birthstone is one of the most highly prized gems in history. The word Ruby comes from the Latin word "ruber" meaning red. In the ancient language of Sanskrit the Ruby is called "ratnaraj" meaning "king of precious stones". In Greek mythology Heraclea's kindness to a female stork was rewarded with a Ruby so bright she was able to light her bedroom with it.
Protection from the plague and cleansing the blood of toxins were medicinal uses of Ruby during the Middle Ages. The Ruby was used to ease fevers and improve circulation. In ancient times it was thought that the wearer of the Ruby was blessed with health, wealth, wisdom and success in affairs of the heart. Myanmar legend has claimed that wearing a Ruby will make your most fervent wishes come true.
The beautiful deep red of the ruby is symbolic of love and passion. Ruby is a variety of the mineral Corundum that is called sapphire when it is any color except red. Rubies range in hue from orange red to purplish red but the most treasured Rubies are a true red.
The Ruby is very durable, surpassed in hardness only by diamonds. The history of Ruby mining dates back more than 2,500 years ago. The most beautiful Rubies are thought to be from Burma, but quality Rubies are also found in India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States.
The Ruby is the anniversary gemstone for the 15th and 40th years of marriage. It has been said that the Ruby's red glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished, making it the perfect gift symbolic of everlasting love. The Ruby is used in mother, grandmother and new mom birthstone jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets which showcase her childrens birthstones.
August - Peridot
The name Peridot comes from the Arabic work "feridat," meaning gem. When natives discovered Peridot crystals in the black sands of Hawaii, they explained their presence as tears shed by Pele, the volcano goddess. Early Egyptian priests drank a stimulating beverage called Soma from cups made of Peridot, believing this practice to draw them closer to Isis, the goddess of nature. They called Peridot the "gem of the sun." It was believed that the Peridot glowed with light even as darkness fell. Miners were said to have scouted for these gems during the night, marking their location and returning in the light of day to retrieve them. Perhaps this legendary mining method is the reason Peridot is sometimes called "evening emerald." Legend says the Peridot was one of the favorite gemstones of Cleopatra and that some of the "emeralds" worn by her were actually Peridot.
Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence and a wonderful year. It has been ground to powder and used as a remedy for asthma and as a cure for thirst brought on by fever. Peridot has been know to attract love and calm anger while also soothing nerves and dispelling negative emotions.
Peridot is a mineral named Olivine which is found in a variety of brilliant greens, ranging from light yellowish green to dark olive. The purer green a Peridot is, the higher its value. Peridot has been mined as a gemstone for thousands of years and is mentioned in the Bible under the name Chrysolite. It forms deep inside the earth and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. Early mining of this gem was done on St. John's island near Egypt around 1500 B.C.
Today Peridot is mined in Burma, Norway, Brazil, Australia, Hawaii, the Congo and Arizona.
Peridot is a gift symbolic of vitality. It signifies strength, both individual and in relationships and it is said to promise new growth in years ahead. Traditionally, Peridot is gifted on the 16th wedding anniversary and is also used in birthstone bracelets and necklaces for new mom's and grandmothers. Baby girls born in August are often gifted a name bracelet that is accented with her peridot birthstone.
September - Sapphire
Ancient civilizations believed that the world was set upon an enormous Sapphire, which painted the sky blue with its reflection. Named after the Greek word "sapphirus," meaning blue, Sapphires have long been a favorite amongst priests and kings, who considered them symbolic of wisdom and purity.
In ancient times Sapphires were thought to protect against envy and even against poisoning. A common belief was if a venomous snake was placed in a Sapphire vessel it would quickly die. When ground to a powder, Sapphire is said to have healing properties for rheumatism, colic and mental illness. It's powers were said to include spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. Sapphires were considered so powerful that they were thought to protect the original owner even after being sold.
Sapphires, like Rubies, are a variety of the mineral corundum. They come in a rainbow of colors with red being designated as Ruby and all other colors Sapphire. The most prized color of Sapphire is a rich deep blue.Black, green or grey overtones mixed in with the blue will reduce a stone's value. Sapphires in colors other than blue are often referred to as fancy Sapphires.
Sapphires were mined as early as the 7th Century BC in India and in what is now Sri Lanka. Today they are found in Sri Lanka, Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Kashmir, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Madagascar and the United States. Because of the way that corundum crystals are formed, large Sapphires are very rare and valuable. The Sapphire is second only to the Diamond in hardness, making it a durable gemstone for setting into jewelry.
Sapphire is the gemstone that is given for the 5th and 45th years of marriage. A gift of Sapphire represents sincerity and faithfulness. Women and children with September birthdays love to receive personalized jewelry accented with beautiful velvety blue Sapphire birthstones. Baby bracelets with tiny Sapphires charms at the clasp are popular baptisms and baby shower gifts.
October - Opal / Pink Tourmaline
The opal derives its name from the Latin word "opalus" meaning precious jewel. The opal is prized for its unique ability to refract and reflect light. The opal was call "Cupid Paederos" by the Romans meaning a child as beautiful as love. One legend states that the origin of the opal is that it fell from heaven in a flash of fiery lightening. Ancient Monarchs treasured opals, both for their beauty and their presumed protective powers. They were set into crowns and worn in necklaces to ward off evil and protect the eyesight. These gemstones were also ground and ingested for their healing properties. In the Middle Ages, opal was considered a stone that could provide great luck because it was believed to possess all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented in the spectrum of the opal.
The opal is a mineral found near the earth's surface in areas where ancient geothermal hot springs once existed. As the hot springs dried up, layers of silica combined with water were deposited into the cracks and cavities of the bedrock forming opal. Most of the world's opal deposits are found in Southern Australia. Opal can also be found in Brazil, Mexico, Czechoslovakia and Nevada.
A gift of opal is symbolic of faithfulness and confidence. It is given as a gift on a necklace or bracelet for special occasions such as baby baptisms, christenings, confirmation, first communion, baby shower and at weddings for bridesmaids.
Pink Tourmaline is the alternate birthstone for October. Tourmaline is mined in every continent of the world and comes in a rainbow of colors. Legend states that this gemstone fell from the heavens in a divine rain shower and passed through a rainbow. In doing so the stones grabbed the colors that they touched and fell to the earth. It was thought that those who found it would have everlasting joy and contentment. Pink Tourmaline has the seemingly magical property of pyroelectricity. Scientifically speaking, this means that when heated the gem takes on a static electric charge making it capable of attracting lightweight objects. Pink varieties of Tourmaline range in color from pastel pink to bright pink. A gift of Tourmaline is symbolic of hope and is often used for little girls jewelry to accent bracelet and necklaces.
November - Yellow Topaz / Citrine
The name topaz comes from Sanskrit, meaning fire. The golden color of the yellow topaz was believed by the Egyptians to be the glow cast by the sun god Ra. They wore yellow topaz as an amulet to protect them from injury. The Greeks believed that the stone could make a warrior invisible while on the battlefield and the Romans believed that the stone would help them to see the unseen. They often used it when preparing for battle against each other by inserting it into their armor or drinking it after it had been ground into a fine powder.
During the Middle Ages topaz was thought to heal both physical and mental disorders and it was even thought to have the power to prevent death.
Topaz occurs in a wide range of colors including red, orange, peach, pink, gold, yellow, brown, clear and blue. Red and pink topaz gems were used in the 18th and 19th Century Russian Czarinas and is why topaz is sometime called "Imperial Topaz". Topaz is found primarily in Brazil but can be found in the Middle East as well as Russia. A gift of this gemstone is said to symbolize friendship and to strengthen one's ability to give and receive love.
Citrine is the alternate birthstone for November. The name Citrine comes from an old French word "citrin", meaning lemon. Citrine is one of the more rare forms of quartz. The Romans were thought to be the first to wear the yellow quartz, crafting it into cabochons to set into jewelry Citrine, like all forms of quartz was said to have magical powers and was worn as a talisman against evil thoughts and snake venom. Citrine is mostly mined in Brazil but can also be found in Bolivia and Madagascar. A gift of Citrine is symbolic of hope and strength.
December - Blue Zircon / Turquoise
The name Zircon comes from the Persian word "zargun" which means gold colored, although Zircon comes in a wide range of different colors. The most popular Zircon color is blue. Hindu poets wrote of the Kalpa Tree, the ultimate gift of the gods which was a glowing tree covered in gemstone fruit and leaves of Zircon.
In the Middle Ages Zircon was said to aid sleep, bring prosperity and promote honor and wisdom. This stone was also said to encourage the appetite. It was placed in the hand of an ill person in the hopes that it would allow them to eat to gain nourishment and therefore recover.
Carvings sculpted from Blue Zircon were found in early archaeological mappings of the Hindu temple of Angkor. For centuries, brilliant Blue Zircon has captured the hearts of those who laid eyes on it. Blue Zircon was popular in jewelry designs during the Italian Renaissance and was worn by the rich merchants and Doges of Venice and Genoa. Zircon is found mainly in Australia, Brazil, Cambodia and Korea.
In the gemstone trade different terms refer to various colored zircons. Hyacinth is a yellow or yellowish red and Starlight is a rich slightly greenish blue variety.
An alternate birthstone for December is Turquoise. Turquoise has been a treasured gemstone around the world for thousands of years. This stone was made into beads by the Egyptians and was considered a symbol of prosperity. Turquoise was considered by ancients to be a sacred stone, protective against evil and ill health. According to American Indians the stone brought together the spirits of the sea and sky to bless warriors and hunters; a Turquoise arrowhead assured accurate aim. Turquoise is mined in Iran and the southwestern United States. A gift of Turquoise represents friendship and luck.
Blue zircon and turquoise are both used in jewelry such as necklace, bracelets, rings and earrings. They are given as gifts for occasions such as birthdays, anniversary, bridesmaid gifts, new baby gifts, baby shower, baptism and christenings.