It’s hard to believe that I’m about to celebrate my ten year anniversary with Local Charm! Time flies when you’re having fun (and learning lots of new things every day). To celebrate, I wanted to share with you some of the coolest, most interesting gemstone facts that I’ve learned over the years. These are stories that I find myself telling to clients time and time again.
1. Legend has it that Cleopatra used Lapis Lazuli as a cosmetic; she applied the crushed gemstone like eye shadow and believed in its powers as an aphrodisiac.
2. The next time you file your nails, take a close look at your emery board. Emery, the abrasive mineral applied to nail files, is made primarily of the mineral corundum. What else is made of corundum? Your favorite pieces of Sapphire and Ruby, of course! Red corundum is called Ruby and any other gem-quality stone, regardless of color, is called Sapphire. Emery, which does have traces of other minerals, is generally black or grey.
3. Inuit legend states that Labradorite stones hold the Northern Lights inside of them, which causes the bright flash of inner color that is the gem’s hallmark. The Lights were released from the stone and into the sky when a warrior pierced a piece of Labradorite with his spear.
4.Hematite was calledBloodstone in medieval times because the stones would turn water red when washed during the polishing process. The modern gemstone known as Bloodstone is different from Hematite, but it does get its trademark color from inclusions of Hematite.
5. Women in Scotland once believed that wearing Opal would protect their blonde hair from losing its color.
6. Many large stones once thought to be Rubies have been identified in modern times as the gemstone Spinel. The most famous of these is the Black Prince’s Ruby, which is a 170 carat Spinel set in the center of the Imperial State Crown of England.
7. The ancient Greeks believed that Amethyst had the power to inhibit drunkenness, and often served wine from Amethyst carafes or glasses. The origin of these beliefs stem from a myth: the beautiful mortal Amethyst ran afoul of the God of wine, Bacchus. He attacked Amethyst while she was on her way to the temple of Artemis. Fearing for her life, she called out to Artemis for help, who turned the maiden into a pillar or clear stone. Bacchus immediately felt remorse for his hasty actions, and spilled a cup of wine on the stone, turning it a bright purple.
8. While Amber is considered a gemstone by many, it is technically a fossil. Because Amber is fossilized tree resin, stones can be found with pieces of leaves, insects, and even small vertebrates preserved inside of them. These stones are highly collectible and very valuable.
9. Larimar is found in only one country in the world: the Dominican Republic.
10. Olivene (Peridot) is the only gemstone to ever be found in a meteorite. If you’re an August baby, your birthstone might be from out of this world!
What are some of your favorite gemstone facts or legends? Is there a stone that you want to know a bit more about? I’d love to hear from you!