In 1912, when the birthstone list was first established by National Association of Jewelers (which is now Jewelers of America), fine jewelry was, for the most part, still the prerogative of the wealthy, and the types of stones considered “gems” were relatively limited. That was pretty much reflected in the original birthstone list. ABOVE: This […]

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It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If so, topaz has been flattered a lot. Especially by quartz. ABOVE: This 3.35 ct. Brazilian Imperial topaz is unusual in that it is bi-color incorporating all the best in topaz. Photo Mia Dixon, courtesy Pala International. If your birthstone is topaz, you have no […]

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Opal’s reputation depends on its display of “play-of-color,” sometimes described as “fire.” Most opal, however, does not exhibit this mesmerizing phenomenon. Play-of-color depends on a very particular set of circumstances. ABOVE: An extraordinary opal, this 12.76 oval appears to be solid fire from one end to the other, and from front to back, something that […]

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Big Sky Country, Montana. Mountains. Prairies. Cattle. Movie stars. Sapphires. Wait. Sapphires? Yep, some of that big blue sky has fallen to earth. ABOVE: 2.26 ct. purplish-blue sapphire from Montana. Photo by Mia Dixon, courtesy Pala International. Montana sapphires are not a particularly well-kept secret. The mines have been producing for years, with more or […]

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Sapphire. The word itself has come to represent the color: deep, rich, brilliant blue. And the very best sapphires capture that color. (Take a look at Mia Dixon’s photo of the Ceylon blue sapphire in Gemstones & Birthstones: Smokin’ Sapphires, Just the Facts.) But sapphires of that color are rare and possibly out-of-the-budget world for […]

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Sapphires are endlessly fascinating and if they’re your birthstone, your collection will never be complete. In addition to coming in every color of the rainbow, sapphires can be little performers. Color change sapphires, of course, but sapphires may also be phenomenal “stars.” RIGHT: This blue star sapphire is the gold standard. A sharp star in […]

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