Sapphire, a variety of corundum, comes in all colors except red (the red variety being known as ruby), but is especially popular in deep blue. Fancy colored sapphires -- including pink, green, orange and golden yellow -- are magnificent when combined in a necklace or bracelet.
Sapphire is the September birthstone, as well as the accepted anniversary gem for the 5th and 45th years of marriage.
Peridot is the child of volcanic action. Crystals are sometimes combed from the black sands of Hawaii. It is usually a lively lime green, although it can also have a brownish or olive cast.
Peridot is the accepted birthstone for August. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 16th year of marriage.
Ruby is known as the "Lord of the Gems" because of its rarity and beauty. Derived from the Latin word "ruber", it simply means red. Ruby, like sapphire, is a variety of corundum and only exists as a true red in color.The finest color is a vivid, almost pure spectral red with a very faint undertone of blue, as seen in Burmese rubies, which are considered the finest.
Ruby is the accepted birthstone for July. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 15th and 40th year.
A pearl is the product of an oyster's defense mechanism. When a foreign irritant is introduced either by man (cultured) or naturally, the oyster immediately surrounds it with layers of a substance called nacre. This forms the exquisite gemstone known as pearl.
Pearl is the "official" birthstone of the month of June, as well as the anniversary gemstone for the 3rd and 30th years of marriage.
Emerald is one of the most highly prized of all the gems. The name comes from the Greek "smaragdos" which means green stone. The most prized is pure green or slightly bluish-green.
Emerald is the accepted birthstone for the month of May, as well as the anniversary gemstone for the 20th and 35th years of marriage.
The name means "Turkish stone" because the trade route that brought it to Europe used to come via Turkey. The best qualities are found in northeast Iran (Persian turquoise). However, the United States southwest is now the world leader in production.
Colors in turquoise range from sky blue (most desirable color) to blue green and apple green. It is the accepted birthstones for December and anniversary gemstone for the 11th year of marriage.
Most people think of topaz as a transparent golden yellow gemstone. However, this gemstone occurs colorless as well as orange-yellow, red, honey-brown (dark sherry), light green, blue and pink.
Topaz is the accepted birthstone for November. Blue topaz is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 4th year; Imperial topaz for the 23rd year of marriage.
The well-known Roman naturalist Pliny described opal as "made up of the glories of the most precious gems...the gentler fire of the ruby, the rich purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, glittering together..."
Opal is the October birthstone as well as the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 14th year of marriage.