Daily Archives: June 29, 2010

Birthstones (Part 1: January-June)

In the bazaars I’ve joined in the past, clients would always ask if I had birthstone jewelry available. This frequent request (also true with online orders) has made me decide to create and maintain a collection of birthstones. Included in my packaging are descriptions of the collection as well as the meaning of each, which I will share with you in this entry.

January (Garnet/Emerald)
Red garnet is thought to help with prosperity. Facilitates night vision, ensures success, and provides guidance, protection, purification, and warmth. The ancient Egyptians believed that garnets could purify the body of various types of toxins. It is also the traditional anniversary gemstone for the second year of marriage.

A Greek myth tells the story of Peresphone, the young goddess of sunshine, who was abducted by Hades, god of the underworld. The devil eventually released her, but not before he offered her some pomegranate seeds, which she ate and which guaranteed her return to him. Thus garnets have come to represent fidelity and commitment

However, if you do not want a red stone, the mystical birthstone for January is Emerald.

February (Amethyst)
Found in varying shades of purple, the amethyst represents royalty, piety, and sobriety. This gemstone is given as a sixth anniversary gift in addition to symbolizing sincerity and stability. Amethyst is symbolic of piety, spirituality, and a devotion to God. The intense violet hue of February’s birthstone appealed to early monarchs, perhaps because they often wore this color as a symbol of their elevated position. Purple dye was once scarce and expensive, so it was reserved for the garments of royalty, and the color came to symbolize power and status.

The Greeks believed that whoever wore an amethyst or drank from an amethyst cup would not become intoxicated. In fact, the word amethyst is derived from the Greek word “amethystos,” meaning sober. In ancient Greece, the gemstone was associated with the god of wine, and it was common practice to serve this beverage from Amethyst goblets in the belief that this would prevent overindulgence.

March (Aquamarine)
The accepted anniversary gem for the 19th year of marriage. Created by combining Latin words for water (aqua) and sea (mare), aquamarine does indeed resemble the bottomless blue of seawater. As a gift, aquamarine is unsurpassed in its legendary abilities to preserve and enhance mutual love, to ensure truth in relationships and to maintain a good marriage. aquamarine is believed to release anger and negativity replacing them with mental peace and clarity, providing emotional and mental balance. It has been used as an aid in meditation and to assist in self-expression.

Ancient Romans believed the magnificent gemstone was sacred to Neptune, the god of the sea. Some legends say that it was gift from mermaids, while others suggest that Neptune retrieved it after it fell from the jewel boxes of sirens and washed onto shore. Early sailors wore aquamarine talismans, engraved with the likeness of Neptune, as protection against dangers at sea. The association with water led to the belief that the Aquamarine was particularly powerful when immersed. Water in which this gemstone had been submerged was used in ancient times to heal a variety of illnesses of the heart, liver, stomach, mouth and throat

April (Diamond)
Enhances competence, trust and love. It also the anniversary gem for the 10th and 60th years of marriage when eternity bands and other diamond-detailed rings replace original wedding bands. The word Diamond is derived from the Greek word “adamas” which means “hardest metal” which reflect the property of the stone. It is associated with enhancing relationships and increasing inner strength. The Traditional Metaphysical Properties for the April Birthstone Diamond are balance, clarity and abundance.

The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen to earth. It was even said by some that they were the tears of the Gods or perhaps crystallized lightning or hardened dew drops. In fact, the exact origin of diamonds is still something of a mystery, even to scientists and geologists.

MAY (Emerald)
Symbolizes serenity and peace of mind. It also the anniversary gemstone for the 20th and 35th years of marriage. Some people believe wearing an emerald brings wisdom, growth…patience. It is perhaps this last attribute that may explain why a gift of emerald for an anniversary — or any occasion — is symbolic of love and fidelity. The Emerald is also used to enhance mental capabilities.

The word “emerald” is a variation of the Greek word “smaragdos,” which means “green stone”.

JUNE (Pearl/Moonstone)
The Pearl is given on the 1st, 3rd, 12th, and 30th wedding anniversaries. The symbolic meaning of the color white is purity and virtue. The Traditional Metaphysical Properties for the June Birthstone Pearl are modesty, chastity and purity. The Pearl is also used to enhance personal integrity. The traditional color associated with the Pearl is the milky white color and was strongly favored as a popular gem in Victorian jewelry.

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Gregorian Birthstone Poems

By her who in January was born
No gem save garnets shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity.

The February born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they, the amethyst will wear.

By her who in March was born
No gem save bloodstone shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity.

She who from April dates her years,
diamonds shall wear,
lest bitter tears
For vain repentance flow.

Who first beholds the light of day
In spring’s sweet, flower month of May
And wears an emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and a loving wife.

By her who in June was born
No gem save pearls shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity.

The gleaming ruby should adorn,
All those who in July are born,
For thus they’ll be exempt and free,
From lover’s doubts and anxiety.

Wear a peridot or for thee,
No conjugal fidelity,
The August born without this stone,
`Tis said, must live unloved; alone.

A maiden born when autumn leaves
Are rustling in September’s breeze,
A sapphire on her brow should bind;
To bring her joy and peace of mind.

October’s child is born for woe,
And life’s vicissitudes must know,
But lay an opal on her breast,
And hope will lull those woes to rest.

Who first comes to this world below
In dreary November’s fog and snow,
Should prize the topaz amber hue,
Emblem of friends and lovers true.

If cold December gave you birth
The month of snow and ice and mirth
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate’er you do.

You don’t need a fancy camera.

One thing about online retail stores is providing beautiful, if not outstanding shots of your products. For me, this is always a challenge. Apparently, I’m not the only one with this dilemma. A fellow member of DTeam (one of the teams in etsy) blogged about it today. Here is an excerpt of her entry:

1. Learn what the words in italics mean and how you can use them to get closer to a better photo.

2. Say NO to flash! Especially around shiny jewelry.

3. Cloudy days may not be good for a trip to the beach, but they’re great for outside photo shoots.

4. A simple background will make your stuff POP!

5. Macro, macro, macro! Find that tiny flower button and use it when you want a close-up.

6. Better no props, than the wrong props.

7. I know, it’s been said before – get a tripod or make your own (on my Santa list).

8. If you really don’t feel like taking pictures, then don’t – they’ll just end up crappy.

9. Don’t spend your money on the most expensive camera you can find, you won’t know what to do with it.

10. Consider taking a photography course (it’s on my to do list too).

11. If your camera really is possessed by an evil genie, try bartering some of your stuff to photography students in exchange for their services: they need a portfolio, you need good pictures.

12. If you have a day job or don’t have the time to take your photos in daylight, you can make your own light box or light tent . Of course, you could also buy one, but where’s the fun in that?

I agree with everything she said.

When it’s time for a photoshoot (for purposes of this blog, it exclusively means “taking photos of finished products/items ready to be posted”), make sure that all my materials are ready: the background, lighting, the environment, and most especially, my camera.

Unless the earring or necklace is made up of rock crystal, clear crystals, or any transparent and clear gemstone, I will use a black background.

However, more often than not, I find it too much of a contrast, so I will shift to placing them on top of my mother of pearl boxes. To add dimension, I will add a few more boxes in the background.

For the lighting, I’ve experimented with bright lights, mood lights, and natural light. The best lighting for me is natural light with a bit of mood light (soft yellow). This, however, creates shadows. When this happens, I just use the zoom of my camera.

The environment sometimes has an effect on the lighting. This is the time I move around, everywhere and anywhere I could find a nice space for the shoot.

Last and not least, I always make sure my camera is fully charged and that the memory card is empty. I always take a gazillion (ok, that’s an exaggeration) of shots. You can edit later on.