We’re talking birthstones here and GIA is showcasing them in a big way through spring 2013 at the Carlsbad campus. The GIA Museum team decided to focus on birthstones because people connect with them as they search for the gem that represents their birth date.
“Birthstones are a fun, popular and colorful area of gemology and resonate with all audiences regardless of gender, age, nationality or religion,” said Terri Ottaway, curator of the GIA Museum. “The lore, origins, attributes and characteristics associated with various gems are educational and hold universal appeal for all of us.”
“GIA Celebrates Birthstones” contains more than 250 objects from around the world, including gemstones, minerals and jewelry pieces. Each month of the year and its birthstone is represented, along with fun facts about the gems. For example, did you know that garnets can be green, topaz can be blue and sapphires can be pink? Or that ancient people believed wearing amethyst would keep them sober, while emeralds were thought to have healing properties for the eyes?
Here are some more traits associated with modern-day birthstones:
October: opal/hope and tourmaline/strength
November: topaz/prosperity and citrine/awareness
December: turquoise/peace and tanzanite/balance
Why do some months have more than one birthstone? Different traditions are often cited, but the most significant reason is that some gemstones are too rare and expensive to be attainable for a majority of people, and others just aren’t that popular.