Amber Mysteries RevealedWritten by Sam Serio
Amber, gem of a stone that's not really a gemstone at all, is actually fossilized pine sap. People have collected, traded, carved, and coveted amber for more than 10,000 years. Yet despite our fascination with it, much about smoky yellow stone -- history of amber -- remains a mystery. The price for amber stones varies widely, in right price range for Average Joe's (and Joannas) who can spend as little as $20 for amber and silver jewelry, and also for high-rollers ready to spend $40,000 or more for a "slice of sunshine" in amber jewelry crafted in gold, platinum, and featuring other gemstones. And although it not an official "birthstone -- a designation reserved for actual gemstones -- amber is often presented to those born under sign of Taurus (April 19-May 19). History of Amber Amber is found in Myanmar home to largest piece of transparent amber in world (33.5 pounds and 40-50 million years old), as well as Lebanon, Sicily, Mexico, Romania, Germany, and Canad. The two main sources of amber on market today, however, are Dominican Republic and Baltic states. Once highly regulated, Baltic amber has become more widely available due to more liberal economic policies in Eastern Europe. Today, whole world enjoys amber minded from Baltic region, where largest mine is in Russia, west of Kaliningrad. Baltic amber may also be found in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia. Baltic amber has even washed up on shores of Baltic Sea in Denmark, Norway, and England. Baltic amber is oldest geological specimen to be used in jewelry. Archeologists digging near Baltic Sea have found evidence of Baltic amber jewelry that is approximately 40,000 years old.
Amethyst is February's BirthstoneWritten by Sam Serio
If you're still young enough to remember your birthday, you probably also remember special birthstone assigned to it. But at your age, we bet you don't really know SIGNIFICANCE of your birthstone and what power ancients felt would be bestowed about you by wearing it. February's birthstone: Amethyst Birthstone powers: Brings peace and calm to your life Alternative Birthstone: Bloodstone Amethyst is birthstone for month of February and traditional anniversary gemstone for sixth of marriage. Once considered more valuable than diamonds, this member of quartz member occurs naturally as crystals within rocks. The stones are mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Zambia, Australia and in mountains of Russia American amethysts are mined in Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Montana and Colorado. Amethyst from Maine is usually dark with North Carolina amethyst having a bluish tint unique to that area. Amethyst can lighten if exposed to strong sunlight for a long time. When heated to 550-560 Centigrade, color changes to dark yellow or reddish brown. (They are then called citrines. These are more richly colored and more expensive then natural citrines) Ideally deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes, amethysts generally range in hue from pale lilac to nearly black purple. Since purple has always been color of royalty, amethysts abound in ornaments of in British Crown Jewels and in adornments of ancient Greeks and Egyptians, as well. They have been found in ruins dating as far back as ninth century, adorning royal jewelry, scepters, and crowns.