A gemstone is a naturally occurring mineral that is considered precious or semi-precious for its rarity and beauty when cut and polished. Certain gemstones have been valued for many centuries, meaning that they are also common in vintage jewellery.
Take a look at five of the most popular gemstones used in vintage rings. Each is a birthstone representing a specific month of the year, supposedly granting good fortune to those born in that month. However, that doesn’t mean that only people born during that month of the year can wear them.
The diamond is one of the most valuable gemstones, and its beauty is only one of the reasons for this. Most gemstones consist of chemical compounds, but diamonds consist of only one element: carbon. Out of all substances on Earth, the diamond is the hardest and has the highest melting point. Its purity and indestructibility are two of the reasons for its great value. Part of the reason why diamonds are used in engagement rings is that they represent strength and constancy. Diamond is the birthstone for April.
Diamonds can come in many different colours, with black, brown, grey, white, and yellow being amongst the most common. However, the most highly valued diamonds are colourless, with nothing to interfere with their fire and lustre.
Topaz also comes in many different colours or no colour at all. Because topaz is a more affordable gemstone, colourless varieties are sometimes used to simulate diamonds. A transparent stone, topaz is said to have a vitreous, or glassy, lustre.
Some colours of topaz are more valuable than others, with orange, yellow, red, and pink being the most sought after. In recent years, blue topaz has become popular. Naturally occurring blue topaz is rare, but heat treatment and irradiation can produce the colour artificially. Topaz is November’s birthstone.
Red gemstones are amongst the rarest, making ruby a valuable and highly sought-after stone. Rubies consist of a mineral called corundum that forms naturally into hexagonal crystals. The birthstone for July, rubies are red by definition, though some can appear more purple. Ancient people believed that rubies would bestow good health on the wearer, perhaps because their colour resembles that of blood.
The ancient Greeks associated amethyst with the god of wine because of its purple colour, which can range from dark to light. They believed that wearing amethysts could ward off intoxication when drinking. The name amethyst derives from a Greek word meaning “not drunk.” Amethyst is the birthstone for February and is found throughout the world, though stones that are fine enough for jewellery are relatively rare.
There is no green gemstone more valuable than the emerald, the birthstone for May. Emerald consists primarily of the mineral beryl. Ironically, beryl in its purest form is white; it is only impurities made of chromium that give the emerald its green hue. The darker the green, the more valuable the emerald.
Though diamonds are more associated with love and romance today, in ancient Greece, the colour green was associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. In that culture, emeralds represented love and also sincerity because it was believed that wearing them gave a person the power to tell whether a lover was faithful. At one point, there was also a legend that putting an emerald under one’s tongue could allow one to perceive the future, but this practice is inadvisable for many reasons and has thankfully died out.
Find Vintage Jewellery For Sale at Colonial Acres Coins
It can be difficult to tell whether a piece of vintage jewellery contains a real gemstone or a clever recreation. Vintage jewellery is valuable not only because of its beauty and authenticity but because of the stories it tells, making it a great idea for a gift for someone close to you. Check out our selection of rings and other jewellery here.