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Blog / Category_Gemstones

The Fascinating History of Peridot - The August Birthstone

Peridot has been the official August Birthstone since 1912 but its history goes back much further than that! The name comes from the French word ``peritot`` - which means gold - likely because the stone can vary toward the colour gold. Peridot is also given to celebrate a 16th Wedding Anniversary.

For any Leo in your group of friends and family (or, for that matter, anyone who likes Peridot), this collection of Peridot history, myth and lore would be a great accompaniment to the gift of this beautiful semi-precious gemstone.

The Ancient Egyptians considered Peridot to be a very spiritual gemstone. Believe it or not, Egyptians priests would brew a strong beverage from crushed Peridot gemstones to consume during ritual ceremonies. They thought it brought them closer to nature!

Ancient Hawaiian folklore believes Peridot to be the hardened tears of the goddess Pele. Pele was associated with fire, lightning and volcanoes. Quite the powerful goddess! Pele was also known to be benevolent and generous and Peridot is one of the gifts she gave to her people.

Cleopatra loved Peridot. She was famous for bedecking herself with emeralds. Guess what? There is archeological evidence that those emeralds were likely peridot gemstones.Peridot is mentioned in the Bible. Referred to as Chrysolite, during the Crusades, Peridot gemstones were brought back by the Crusaders from the Middle East and often used to decorate churches. Peridot is sometimes referred to as ``Evening Emeralds``, because under artificial light it glows brilliant green.

Peridot is very similar to Emerald but the stone is less intensive - softer. Many legends speak of the magical power of Peridot. For example, it is believed that Peridot set in gold develops strong talismanic power to dispel night terrors, bad dreams and nightmares. Peridot has long been thought to be an aid to making friends. It supposedly frees the mind of envious thoughts and is also thought to be a defense against the ``evil eye``. Other legends say Peridot creates happiness and attracts lovers! In ancient times, cups and other drinking vessels were sometimes made with Peridot to be used in healing. It was thought that medicines drunk from these vessels were more effective. Some people believed that powdered Peridot could cure respiratory issues and help with heart problems. In the Middle Ages, Peridot was placed under the tongue of sick individuals. It was thought to help reduce fevers. It is thought that Peridot brings good luck, peace and success to those who wear it.

August Birthstone Peridot

We hope you've enjoyed all the fascinating things we discovered about Peridot Gemstones.
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The History and Mystery of Sapphire - The September Birthstone

Sapphires get their name from the Latin word sapphirus which means blue. Often referred to as "the gem of the heavens" or the "celestial gem", sapphires mirror the colour of the sky at certain times of day. Rubies are the red version of the mineral corundum - just like sapphire..

We love sapphires (in fact it is my birthstone) and are very happy to say that our collection of sapphires are simply exquisite! If you have a Virgo in your circle of friends or family, consider treating them to one of our sapphires for their birthday.

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  • Psychologically, blue is linked to sympathy, calmness and loyalty.
  • Legend has it that Prometheus (the rival of Zeus) was the first to wear sapphire.

The bible mentions sapphire as being one of the twelve "stones of fire" given to Moses. Sapphire is also one of the twelve gemstones set into the foundation of the city walls of Jerusalem and is associated with the Apostle St. Paul.

In India, it was believed that if a sapphire was immersed in water, it made an elixir that would cure scorpion and snake bites. As well, it was believed that wearing sapphire protected one against evil spirits.

Ancient Persians believed sapphire was a chip from the pedestal that supported the earth and that the reflection is what made the sky blue!

For several hundred years, sapphires were a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings. Remember Princess Diana's beautiful 18 carat sapphire?

Sapphires and rubies are identical except for their colour. Sapphires range in colour from pastel blues to deep midnight blue. The word corundum is believed to be derived from three ancient Tamil, Hindi and Sanskrit words for rubies and sapphires - kurundam, kurund or kuruvinda.

Sapphires have been associated with royalty for over 2,000 years. At one time only the extremely wealthy could afford them!

In ancient times, a gift of sapphire was a pledge of trust, honesty, purity and loyalty. This may be why sapphires have traditionally been a popular choice for an engagement ring.

Sapphires from Sri Lanka were mentioned in the Tales of the Arabian Nights as well as in the Travels of Marco Polo.

During the Middle Ages, it was thought that sapphires preserved chastity, discovered fraud and treachery, protected the wearer from plague, fever and skin diseases and resisted Black Magic. Quite a lot to expect from one gemstone!

  • The seal stone in King Solomon's ring was said to have been a sapphire.
  • We hope you've enjoyed our "history and mystery" of sapphires.

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The Opal Cloak of Invisibility? - October's Birthstone

Opal is considered the birthstone for people born in October or under the signs of Scorpio and Libra along with pink tourmaline. The gemstone associated with celebration of the 14th year of marriage, the word opal is believed to come from the Sanskrit word "upala" - which means precious stone. It may also be related to the Greek word "Opallios" which means to see a change of colour!

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Opals have an extremely long history and there are many myths and legends associated with this beautiful gemstone. In medieval times, it is said that young blond women wanted necklaces made of opals to guarantee their hair would not fade or darken. Great trick - and would definitely cut down on the hair colour appointments required. Some myths hold that opals can make the wearer invisible.

As a result, opals were sometimes called "patronus forum" - patron of thieves. One myth says the opal needed to be wrapped in a bay leaf in order to confer the power of invisibility. Sort of like "The Cloak of Invisibility" in the Harry Potter stories!

Opals are a symbol of fidelity and assurance and are associated with religious prayer. In times gone by, opals were believed to provide immunity from disease and to increase the powers of both the eyes and the mind. Apparently, the more red and green hues the opal displayed, the more powerful medicinal effects were in effect.

In the Middle Ages, people believed that the opal possessed all the virtues of each gemstone whose colour was represented in an opal's colour spectrum and thus brought great luck to the wearer.

If you’ve head that opals bring bad luck, be aware this is all Sir Walter Scott’s fault!

He wrote a bestselling novel - Anne of Geuerstein - that portrayed a woman - Lady Hermione - falsely accused of being a demon. Lady Hermione dies shortly after a drop of holy water falls on her opal and destroys the colour of the stone. 

 Sir Walter Scott was a wildly popular author at that time and people erroneously believed that he was warning that opals bring bad luck. Believe it or not, this ridiculous story succeeded in destroying the European opal market for almost 50 year for no good reason, whatsoever.

On the other hand, Queen Victoria laughed at the superstition, and as each of her daughters married, she gave them opals as wedding gifts. In Asia, opal is viewed as a symbol of hope. Opals are said to amplify your traits - good or bad!

They are thought to bring your characteristics to the surface and help to enhance self worth, confidence and self-esteem, helping you to realize your full potential.

Said to bring lightness and spontaneity to the wearer, opals are also said to help to stimulate original thought and creativity, encourage artistic interests and helps you to access your true self. Altogether a rather karmic stone, opals help you to demonstrate positive emotions.

Remember the Holiday Gift Giving Season is fast upon us. Shop Zawadee for unique and interesting gift ideas for all your friends and family. An opal would make a memorable gift!

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Some Famous Opals

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The Versatile and Elegant Citrine

Citrine – November's birthstone (as well as Topaz) – is widely regarded as the “healing quartz”. Derived from the French word “citrin,” meaning lemon, Citrine supports health and vitality, and encourages hope, energy and warmth within the person wearing the stone..

If you are looking for a stone that offers a full range of warm fall colours, especially yellow and golden hues – the citrine is for you! Celebrate November with the elegance and warm beauty of citrine

Our citrine gemstones are gorgeous! If you have a Scorpio in your family, consider treating them to one of our eye catching citrines to make it a birthday they won’t soon forget! We have starting at the unbelievable price of $25 plus - and here's the even better news – Citrine Gemstones are 15% Off.

Citrine Gemstone

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We have stones available in a number of cut types, including octagon, oval, round, pear, and square, as well as a variety of sizes, ensuring you can find the perfect size and style.

Unlike many other gemstones, the citrine can be found in larger shapes and sizes, a result of modern stone cutting technology. Therefore, you are not limited to a small selection of sizes and cuts. You will be able to find the perfect citrine stone, whether it’s for a ring, necklace, earrings or bracelet.

Citrine is the contemporary birthstone for November. Plus, it is more affordable than the traditional birthstone - the imperial topaz. It is also a traditional gift for the 13th and 17th wedding anniversaries. The citrine gemstone is a perfect gift idea for many occasions.

Once referred to as Brazilian topaz, the stone has been popular for thousands of years. It was highly sought for its rarity. It was used by the ancient Romans for exquisite jewelry and intaglio work, and was also very popular during the Art Deco period between World War I and World War II. Today, it has experienced a surge in popularity and is now widely used by jewellers around the world. Citrine is a member of the quartz family, and the stone has an extensive list of quartz siblings. Perhaps the most alluring feature of the stone, outside of its wonderful golden color, is its affordability and availability.

The citrine can be found in a variety of hues ranging from pastel yellow to a dark brownish yellow, and every shade in between. Citrine crystals can also form together with smoky quartz to form ametrine, a bicolour quartz. The citrine stone is commonly found in Spain, Brazil, and Bolivia. However, it is also found in the Ural Mountains in Russia; Dauphine, France; and in Madagascar. It’s also one of the most versatile stones. You can wear citrine pieces when attending "dress-up" events, or when you are dressed down, perhaps taking in a movie with friends. Citrine is one of the hottest gemstones on the market today! We hope you've enjoyed learning more about citrine.

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Stylish Tanzanite Gemstones: The December Birthstone

Tanzanite – December’s alternative birthstone - is a gemstone that imparts vision and spirituality. A member of the zoisite mineral family, tanzanite supports compassion, calmness, and peacefulness with its rich, purple-blue hue!

Tanzanite Gemstone

Celebrate December with a Tanzanite Gemstone

If you have a friend or family member who has a December birthday, gifting a tanzanite gemstone is a great idea. May we suggest it would also make a wonderful holiday gift that will leave you in your loved one’s good graces well into the new year?

History of Tanzanite

Even though the stone itself is more than 500 million years old, tanzanite was only first discovered in 1967 by a prospector named Manuel d’Sousa. The discovery was somewhat of a serendipitous accident as he was looking for sapphires in northeastern Tanzania when he made the discovery. While d’Sousa’s discovery is the first on record, as legend has it, Maasai herders in the region were actually the first to discover the stone when a bolt of lightning set the grasslands on fire. When the herders returned to their land with their livestock, blue tanzanite stones were all over the ground that had been impacted by the fire. In Tanzania, women who have just given birth wear blue tanzanite beads to symbolize and envision a healthy life for their newborns – a custom that has existed for generations. Known for its link to spirituality, the stone is known to activate a number of chakras that link the mind with the heart – making it a communication stone that allows people to speak the truth.


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Tanzanite is also known to help treat and heal the skin

Some say it has contributed to awakening people from comas – giving it a reputation for healing properties. In Ireland, the stone is said to have played a role with ancient Celtic tribes. It is believed that Celtic tribal chiefs would use the stone as part of the selection process to determine the next set of tribal leaders because tanzanite was believed to bring the revelations of the gods. In modern times, tanzanite was only recently added as an alternative birthstone for the month of December by the American Gem Trade Association. This was the first change to their birthstone list in 90 years. Today, tanzanite is one of the most popular gemstones on the market and is considered the most desired gem. Since it is much more affordable than any of "the big four", it is often used as a substitute. Perhaps the most interesting fact about the gemstone is that it was formally named by Tiffany & Co. after the country where it was first discovered – Tanzania.  The Smithsonian museum features two of the largest and most famous tanzanite gemstones mined to date – a 122.7 carat stone and a very rare 18.2 carat cat’s eye tanzanite.


We hope you've enjoyed learning about the background of the tanzanite gemstone.

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Aquamarine Gemstones: Water of the Sea

The name "Aquamarine" is derived from the Latin word for seawater. While aquamarines range in colour, value has always been placed on the more blue varieties of this gorgeous gemstone. The birthstone for the month of March, Aquamarine is on our list of favourite stones - not only for it's beauty, but also for it's affordability.

While there are many myths associated with Aquamarine, we think the Roman belief that the stone "absorbs the atmosphere of young love" is quite the nicest we've come across! The Roman's also called aquamarine "The Sailor's Gem", believing that it ensured safe and prosperous passage across stormy seas. At one time, it was believed that simply wearing an aquamarine gemstone would protect the wearer from poison. The ancient philosopher, Pliny, paid tribute to aquamarine, saying "the lovely aquamarine, which seems to have come from some mermaid's treasure house, in the depths of a summer sea, has charms not to be denied".

Perhaps the most valuable claim (in our opinion) is that aquamarine gives the wearer a better ability to think more clearly, to make quick decisions and is a "must wear" gemstone for procrastinators! Aquamarine is actually beryl, ranging from pale blue to light green. The iron content is what makes aquamarine appear blue/green. Commonly found in cavities, amongst granite, gravel and sometimes in stream gravel, aquamarine crystals can grow to very large sizes. Up to 3 feet is not uncommon!

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The most common cut for an aquamarine is the emerald cut, although aquamarines are lovely in oval or pear cuts as well. The stone is extremely durable, rating between 7.5 to 8 on the hardness scale. If you have aquamarine, the best way to clean it is with plain, warm soapy water. Be sure to use a mild liquid soap and an old, very soft toothbrush. Brush very gently and be sure to rinse the stone well with plain water. Avoid "thermal shock" - don't use hot water. As with any gemstone, avoid contact with cosmetics, hairspray, perfume or household chemicals. If someone you know (or perhaps yourself) has a birthday in March, give them a beautiful genuine aquamarine gemstone...

Aquamarine Gemstone - Square Cut - 3.30 Carats 15% Off 'til March 31st - $29.66
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