A couple of weeks ago at our Spokane Bead Frenzy, I was demonstrating how to use microtorches to solder pieces of metal together. Much to my shock, since I was doing 10 things at once and answering questions, some of the pieces actually turned out to be quite adorable! I turned one into a necklace with our new “Zambian aquamarine” beads as March birthstone jewelry project inspiration.
Notice my use of quotes – these beads are neither “Zambian” or “aquamarine.” In actuality they are quartz beads that have been dyed to look like the ultra-rare and ultra-spendy Zambian aquamarine. (You can learn more about gemstones in our Gemstone Index. ) I did a quick Google search and found many examples of these beads being called Zambian aquamarine by both bead stores and jewelry designers. I don’t think they intend to be dishonest, but are merely using a descriptive name. It can be confusing, but if you’re ever in doubt, the price tag can be a good indicator of whether the beads you’re looking at are a pretty imitation or the real deal. Materials such as quartz, magnesite and howlite can make pretty convincing substitutes for pricier stones, and in fashion jewelry, affordability is often a huge factor! There is nothing wrong with using less expensive stones as long as you are honest about it.
When designing birthstone jewelry, some people select their beads based purely on color, like I did for this necklace, while others like to use the traditional mineral or material. Both colors and materials are believed my many to have metaphysical properties. Here is a list of the traditional birthstone(s) for each month. Our Gemstone Index lists many of the metaphysical properties for the stones, so below I have added just a few tidbits about the colors themselves. (There is also chart of the Swarovski birthstone colors in the jewelry Tips & Techniques section of our site.)
Birthstone colors and meanings
January – Garnet. Red is known for warmth, energy, love and passion.
February – Amethyst. Purple is a color of transformation and renewal.
March – Aquamarine. Blue is a color of truth and peace.
April – Diamond. White/clear is the “perfect” color since it combines all colors.
May – Emerald. Green represents balance and harmony.
June – Pearl. White is also known as purity.
July – Ruby (red). Physical strength and energy are also attributed to red.
August – Peridot. Because of its balancing nature, green is very healing.
September – Sapphire. Blue is cooling and brings tranquility.
October – Tourmaline or Opal. There are too many color options here!
November – Topaz or Citrine. Orange is cheerful and stimulates creative thinking, as well as appetite! Brown is stable, like the earth.
December – Zircon or Turquoise. This color is said to help increase intuition.
What do you think – is it more important to use the traditional mineral/material or the appropriate color in birthstone jewelry? My vote is actually to give people their favorite colors and stones, no matter what the chart says! ~ Cindy