Sun, 06 Jul 2003

Birthstones: What they say about you

Ancient civilizations relied on particular colored stones to cure diseases, calm the senses and ward off misfortune and evil spirits.

Some of the beliefs have hung on until today; many an urbanite believes that some stones, known as birthstones, radiate qualities which compliment or enhance the characters of people born in certain months or under particular signs of the zodiac.

"Whether you trust it or not, birthstones have become sort of an international language. Some people love wearing their birthstones and for others who understand gems, it provides a hint about the month the wearer was born," said gemologist/jewelry designer Betty Gunawan.

Even for those who do not believe in the metaphysical properties of gemstones, it's interesting to find the stones that work for you as jewelry.

"Always playfully mix and match gems with the outfit you are wearing. It can be fun," she added.

January : Garnet. Available in every color except blue. The stone is believed to protect the wearer against accidents while traveling. Red garnet was used to relieve fever, yellow to cure jaundice. Key property is constancy. February: Amethyst. A quartz which occurs in light to dark purple. Ancient belief was that it could be placed under the pillow to promote sleep and a sense of calm. Key word sincerity. March : Aquamarine, from the Latin for seawater. It occurs in blue to bluish green or greenish blue. Like amethyst, considered ideal for calming relationships. Key property courage. April : Diamond. Known as the hardest, most romantic and brilliant of gems. Its shades range from clear to blue, pink, green and yellow. Considered to promote confidence, especially in interactions with the opposite sex, and fertility. Key property innocence. May: Emerald. This green variety of the gem family beryl is said to strengthen owners' memory and quicken intelligence. Key properties are love and success. June : Alexandrite. Extremely scare and costly, first discovered in the 1830s. Emerald green in daylight but purplish red under artificial light or twilight. Believed to bring love and change. Key properties health and longevity. July: Ruby which occurs in medium to dark red. Ancient medics associated its colors with blood and used it to stop hemorrhaging and other blood ailments. Believed to eliminate evil thoughts, lovers' disputes and to rekindle desire. Key property contentment. August: Peridot. Occurs in yellowish to brownish green. Ancient people called it gem of the sun and was used to dispel enchantment and evil spirits. Key property is marital happiness. September: Sapphire, occurring in light to dark blue, violet, reddish orange, clear, pink and orange. It symbolizes truth, sincerity and constancy. Key property is clear thinking. October: Opal. It's an amorphous silica which displays flashes of color. It occurs in black or white with various degrees of transparency and varying color flashes, the stone is considered a symbol of hope, its key property, as well as purity and to protect the wearer against disease. November: Topaz. Available in transparent yellow, brown, orange brown, shades of red, blues and violet hues. Powdered topaz was used to cure asthma, insomnia, burns and hemorrhage. Its powers are subject to moon changes. Key property is fidelity. December: Turquoise. The stone was believed to bring good fortune and success in love. Key property is prosperity.

-- Maria Endah Hulupi