Birthstone Origins: Stranger than FictionWritten by Sam Serio
In Old Testament, book of Exodus tells story of Breastplate of Aaron, used in religious ceremonies. (Aaron…just in case you were absent from Sunday school that day…was Biblical figure who performed, at Moses' direction, miracles that confounded Pharaoh and his magicians.) Aaron's breastplate was adorned with four rows of gemstones, three gemstones in each row, in following pattern: Sardius, topaz, carbuncle; emerald, sapphire, diamond; ligure, agate, amethyst; beryl, onyx, jasper. These twelve gemstones represented twelve tribes of Israel. The twelve positions were later co-opted by astologers who linked them to twelve months of calendar year and twelve signs of zodiac. The Traditional Birthstone List contains these older birthstones and represents birthstone traditions heralding back to 15th century. The Modern Birthstone List was created by National Association of Jewelers in 1912 in Kansas City, Missouri. Gemstone purists complained that NAJ list was devised solely for commercial purposes (they probably didn't believe in Santa Claus either!). As a result, astrologers who prescribed gems often substituted alternate or secondary stones. The Mystical Birthstone list below originated in from Tibet over a thousand years ago. The Ayurvedic Birthstone list is derived from age-old Ayurvedic Indian Medicine, a practice of native people for more than a century. Month Modern Traditional Mystical Ayurverdic January Garnet Garnet Emerald Garnet February Amethyst Amethyst Amethyst Bloodstone March Aquamarine Bloodstone Jade Bloodstone
Buying Jewelry for Mother’s Day or How To Buy The Perfect Gift for Mom Without Getting Ripped OffWritten by Sam Serio
Jewelry can be perfect gift for mom on Mother’s Day, but there are pitfalls, especially if you rush at last minute. Procrastination and a lack of knowledge can be rewarded with overpaying for a piece of jewelry or even worse, being ripped-off. A gift of jewelry can be expensive. Asking friends, family and co-workers if they can recommend a website, brick and mortar store or local crafts person can help. Checking with better business bureau is also a commendable approach. When you are shopping, ask salesperson to write down any information you might rely on to make your purchase and before you buy, ask for store’s refund and return policy. When ordering online, keep printouts of web pages with details about transaction, including refund and return policies if you’re not satisfied. Six Smart Shopping Tips for Mother’s Day and Beyond 1. There’s a big difference between 14 karat gold and gold-plated jewelry. Fourteen karat (14K) jewelry contains 14 parts of gold, mixed in throughout with 10 parts of base metal. Gold-plated describes jewelry with a layer of at least 10K gold bonded to a base metal. Gold plating eventually wears away, depending on how often item is worn and how thick plating is. 2. If you’re buying a watch, determine whether you want one that runs on a battery or one that must be wound daily. Ask if a warranty or guarantee is included, how long it lasts, and what parts and repair problems it covers. Also ask how and where you can get watch serviced and repaired. 3. Know difference between laboratory-created gemstones and naturally mined stones. Stones created in lab are visually identical to stones mined from earth. The big difference is in cost: laboratory-created stones are less expensive then naturally mined stones. But because they look must like stones mined from earth, they must be identified as lab-created. If you want a naturally mined stone, ask if it has been treated. Gemstone treatments– such as heating, dyeing or bleaching– can improve a stone’s appearance or durability. Some treatments are permanent; some may create special care requirements. Treatments also may affect stone’s value.