Historically, gemstones have always been imbued with symbolic meanings. These gemstones, with their distinctive colors, have been associated with different meanings by different cultures and are believed to possess special properties.
Diamonds are considered symbols of true love, which may be why they are the most popular gemstones. But diamonds are not the only gemstones. There are so many lesser-known but still popular and symbolic gemstones. This article examines these gemstones, their meanings, and their popular uses worldwide.
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What Is A Gemstone?
A gemstone, also known as a precious or semi-precious stone, is a piece of mineral that, when cut and polished, is used to make jewelry or other decorative items.
The value of a gemstone is determined by factors such as its rarity, beauty, durability, and desirability.
Some of the most popular gemstones include diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. These stones are often used in engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry. Other gemstones, such as Amethyst, Aquamarine, garnet, citrine, topaz, peridot, tourmaline, and many others, are also used in jewelry making.
Their colors, shapes, and patterns make them unique and valuable. Some gemstones are also believed to have healing properties, making them popular in alternative medicine.
A History Of Gemstones
Gems have been a part of human history for more than 10,000 years. They were seen as god's teardrops or specks of starlight. People sought them and wore them because they were from the heavens. But even after this theory was debunked, gemstones still retained their significance.
During the 1st century AD, a historian created the theory of birthstones by linking the twelve stones on Aaron's breastplate with the 12 months of the Gregorian calendar. This theory gained popularity during the 8th and 9th centuries and has remained popular for centuries.
What Do Some Of Your Popular Gemstones Symbolize?
Symbolizes: Desire and Prestige
Uses: In jewelry
Let's start with the most popular and precious gemstone. Diamonds are so popular that they have gotten the moniker "A girl's best friend." They are a perfect representation of luxury and elegance, and for a good reason, too; diamonds are a natural wonder.
They require intense heat and pressure to form. And even after that, intense labor and adequate skills are required to mine and cut them.
Diamonds have been part of many cultures since the 4th Century BC, with the earliest historical appearance being the Indian Diamond Trade.
Symbolizes: Love, Passion, Intense Emotions, and Courage
Uses: In jewelry, especially engagement rings
Rubies were a favorite among royalty and world leaders. It is also the July birthstone and is often referred to as the king of gems. It is still one of the most sought-after gemstones to this day and has a lot of value attached to it.
Rubies come in different shades of deep red; this might be why it is used to symbolize intense emotions like love and passion, It also symbolizes courage and is believed to be a source of good fortune for people who wear them.
The Burmese Ruby is the most valuable and sought-after ruby in the world. It is seen in a few mines in Myanmar and has one of the most beautiful and radiant red colors seen on any gemstone.
Symbolizes: wisdom and truth, and strong relationships.
Uses: In jewelry, especially engagement rings, wedding rings, and other fine jewelry.
You will find that many engagement rings come studded with sapphires, and it is not just because of how stunningly beautiful the blue color is. Sapphires come with deep symbolism. Historically, sapphires symbolize a sacred and pure commitment built on honesty, loyalty, and trust. Centuries later, it still symbolizes the perfect relationship.
Although the blue variant is the most known, not all sapphires have this color. It comes in different colors, including pink, peach, and even yellow. However, the deep blue sapphire remains the most sought-after and can only be found in certain places like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Kashmir.
Symbolizes: rebirth, truth, and love
Emerald is a gemstone with several significant historical appearances. It is the favorite gemstone of popular female icons; Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor come to mind.
This gemstone's historical significance went as far as the 1st century and served as the inspiration for the nickname of an entire country; Ireland is referred to as The Emerald Isle.
Emeralds are typically green, the most precious of them having a deeply saturated hue.
Emeralds also stand for spring and rebirth and are the birthstone for May. It is also the traditional wedding anniversary gift for the twentieth and thirty-fifth year.
Symbolizes: Purity and Elegance
Uses: In Jewelry
Pearls are the perfect embodiments of elegance. Nothing completed an outfit more than the perfect set of pearls. And the mythical and cultural relevance adds to the value of the gemstone.
It had cultural and religious relevance in ancient China, Persia, and Egypt. The pearl is the only gemstone gotten from an actual living creature. Pearls come in an array of colors, with the most iconic being the black pearl.
Symbolizes: stability and peace
Uses: In healing and meditation jewelry.
Like the Emerald, the Amethyst is a stone that has left its mark in the annals of history. The gemstone is seen in myths and worn by many legendary figures and royalty for centuries.
The Amethyst also has deep connections to different religions. Ancient Greek and Romans believed it could protect those wearing it from black magic. It was said to have healing properties and the ability to offer the wearer clear-headedness and a quick wit.
Amethyst remains a popular stone because it comes in different shapes and sizes. The durability is also an added benefit. And although it only comes in purple, the different shades ensure you will find one perfect for your skin tone.
Symbolizes: Youth, health, fidelity, and hope
Uses: In engagement and anniversary rings.
A glance at the Aquamarine gemstone will make you think of blue skies and beautiful blue oceans. It is considered a symbol of youth, fidelity, and hope and is associated with eternity.
Believed to help rekindle and nurture romantic relationships, the Aquamarine also makes a great anniversary gift.
Aquamarines are typically blue and range from light pastel to dark cerulean. The darker the gemstone, the more valuable it is. The bigger stones are also more valuable because an increase in size magnifies the vibrancy.
Uses: In Birthstone Jewelry.
The name Garnet stems from granatum, a Latin word that means pomegranate because of how similar the stone is to the fruit's seed.
The January birthstone can be found in various colors, including red, orange, and green. This gemstone's unique composition often results in a blue undertone, giving the garnet a captivating look with a variety of deep red-purples and pinkish-oranges. Among the garnet family, tsavorite and rhodolite are considered the most valuable, as their formation requires specific chemical conditions.
They possess a color change phenomenon, a characteristic they share with Alexandrite. Garnet is a sensual stone with a warm quality to it.
Month: Alternative stone for November
Symbolizes: wealth and success
Uses: In prosperity and abundance jewelry.
Citrine is the French word for lemon and has colors ranging from yellow to orange-brown. Citrine is used by most cultures to ward off negative energies. It is also used as a healing stone.
People have used the stone as protection against evil thoughts, and some ancient cultures believe it protects the wearer from snakebites. Other cultures believe it also attracts success.
Symbolizes: Love, fidelity, and spirituality
Uses: In birthstone jewelry.
Topaz is a striking gemstone that can be found in a spectrum of hues, including blue, yellow, and pink. Known for its pale color and gentle shades, it is often associated with the clear blue of the autumn sky and the vivid oranges, reds, and browns of fall leaves. It is the birthstone for November. According to ancient myths, topaz is believed to possess the ability to enhance communication, amplify spirituality and strengthen one's connection to their inner wisdom.
Symbolizes: Strength and protection
Uses: In healing and spiritual jewelry.
Most Peridots come in a vibrant lime green color and are usually gotten from the deserts of Arizona. It is also found in Pakistan, China, and Myanmar.
Because of the beautiful green color, ancient cultures believed that it was a gift from mother nature. They believed it was a symbol of rebirth and associated it with different magical powers. It was believed to grant health, banish nightmares, and increase influence.
Month: Modern birthstone for October
Symbolizes: Balance and Grounding
Uses: In healing and meditation jewelry.
Tourmaline is available in a wide range of colors; usually, one crystal has multiple colors. Some popular color variations include the Watermelon Tourmaline and the rare Electric Blue Paralba Tourmaline.
Tourmaline is believed to have protective and grounding gemstones. It is great for reconciliations, with anecdotes claiming it has helped heal broken hearts and friendships. Practitioners of feng shui also used the stone to ward off evil energy.
With this guide, your next jewelry purchase should have much more significance. Let the next gift you give yourself or your loved ones be meaningful. A Tourmaline necklace might do the trick if you want to reconcile with a lover. If you want to add elegance to your style, a string of pearls might help.
Whatever the case, this guide should help you make the best jewelry choices.
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