January - Garnet
Legend holds that Noah hung a large garnet in the Ark for illumination. Garnet reportedly gives its wearer guidance in the night, protection from nightmares, and according to the Egyptians, is an antidote for snake bites and food poisoning. It was also thought to have a special affinity with the blood.
Garnets offer enough variety in appearance to suit every taste, as well as a price range to suit everyone.
February - Amethyst
Amethyst is a variety of quartz, and comes in shades from pale lilac to rich, deep purple. A Greek legend that it prevents intoxication certainly makes it a most desirable gem! Some say it will prevent baldness and improve the complexion, as well as protect from treason and deceit. Because royalty has always adored the colour purple, amethysts abound in the ornament of ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and in the British Crown Jewels.
March - Aquamarine
The ideal colour of aquamarine is a fresh pastel sea blue. Clear blue stones without green or grey are generally the most valuable. Aquamarine is a member of the important beryl family, which also includes emerald. In ancient times, the stone was said to aid seafarers, so it is an excellent gift for sailors or those who take frequent cruises! To dream of aquamarine signifies the making of new friends; to wear aquamarine earrings brings love and affection. It is a universal symbol of youth, hope and health.
April - Diamond
Besides being the most popular gemstone for engagement rings, diamond is the accepted anniversary gem for 60 years of marriage.
The name "diamond" comes from the Greek word adamas meaning unconquerable - suggesting the eternity of love. Diamonds have been the traditional symbol of love since ancient Greece. Discovered about 2500 years ago in India, the ancients believed they were splinters from the stars, perhaps crystallised lightning or hardened dew drops.
May - Emerald
Emerald is also the gemstone for the 55th anniversary. It is one of the most highly-prized of all gems, The name comes from the Greek smaragdos which means green stone. Emeralds are often characterised by a garden of included crystals trapped within, know at the jardin, because under magnification you will see all sorts of lovely patterns resembling foliage in a garden. According to legend, the wearing of emerald not only cured a wide range of ailments including low IQ, poor eyesight and infertility, it also enabled the wearer to predict the future.
June - Pearl
Pearl is also the gemstone for the 30th anniversary. A pearl is the product of any oyster's defence mechanism. When a foreign irritant is introduced either by man (cultured) or naturally, the oyster immediately surrounds it with layers of a substance called nacre. This forms the exquisite gemstone known as pearl. Pearls have been recognised as the emblem of modesty, charity and purity. They have also come to symbolise a happy marriage.
July - Ruby
Ruby is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 40th year. Ruby is know as the "Lord of the Gems" because of its rarity and beauty. Derived from the Latin word rubber, it simply means red. Ruby, like sapphire, is a variety of corundum and only exists as a true red in colour. The highest quality rubies are said to protect their owners from all kinds of misfortune. A fine ruby assured the owner he would live in harmony with his neighbours. It would protect his stature in life, his home and land. Many believed rubies possessed an inner flame which burned eternally.
August - Peridot
Peridot is the child of volcanic action. Tiny peridot crystals are sometimes combed from the black sands of Hawaii. Peridot was favoured by pirates, considered powerful amulets against all evil, and when set in gold, were said to protect the wearer from the terrors of the night. They had medicinal uses too. If fashioned into a chalice from which medicines were drunk, they intensified the effects of the drug.
September - Sapphire
Sapphire is also the gem for the 45th anniversary. A variety of corundum, it comes in all colours except red (the red variety being known as ruby), but is especially popular in deep blue. Fancy coloured sapphires - including pink, green, orange and golden yellow - are much sought-after. Ancient priests and sorcerers honoured sapphire above all gems, for this stone enabled them to interpret oracles and foretell the future. Marriage partners put great faith in the stone. If its lustre dimmed, one knew his or her spouse had been unfaithful. Sapphire refused to shine when worn by the wicked or impure.
October - Opal
The well-known Roman naturalist Pliny described opal as "made up of the glories of the most precious gems...the gentler fire of the ruby, the rich purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, glittering together..." Opal has symbolised hope, innocence and purity through the ages. In the Middle Ages, young, fair-haired girls wore opals in their hair to protect its lovely blonde colour. Medieval writers believed opal could render its wearer invisible when the need arose.
November - Topaz
Most people think of topaz as a transparent golden yellow gemstone. However, this gemstone can be colourless as well as orange-yellow, red, honey-brown (dark sherry), light green, blue and pink. The name topaz is derived from the Greek word meaning "to shine" and also implies "fire". Orange-red "Imperial" topaz and pink colours are rare and most valuable.
December - Tanzanite
Discovered in the late 1960's, this beautiful gemstone is only found in Tanzania, making it 1000 times rarer than diamonds. Tanzanite exhibits a rich colour which is quite unlike any other blue gemstone. With its fabulous ranges of colour from blue to purple, tanzanite makes a welcome arrival as a modern birthstone.