Our tree has been up for 2 weeks, and last night The Goblin covered the flat in fairy lights and all of the leftover fake tea lights from the wedding. It’s safe to say we’re excited (even the usually Scrooge-like Goblin is full of Christmas cheer!), so this week’s post had to be a festive one.
Everywhere you look, it’s red and green, and my workshop is no exception, so here are the colours of Christmas in precious and semi-precious formats…
Currently my favourite red stone is garnet (which is actually the birthstone for January, so I’m a bit early, but never mind that…).
- Garnet is a member of the silicate family of minerals, which is the largest and most important class of rock-forming minerals, according to Wikipedia. My GCSE Double Science doesn’t give me any more clues on what that actually means, so let’s move on to language, which I’m a bit more familiar with…
- The word ‘garnet’ comes from the Middle English word ‘gernet’, meaning dark red, although garnets do occasionally come in other colours, including green, purple, and blue.
- Garnet is the state mineral of Connecticut and Idaho, and the official gemstone of New York. (More on state gemstones in a later post, because I just discovered they exist and I love it… If I ruled a state, the gemstone would be haematite or moonstone, if anyone is interested.)
Other prominent red stones include:
- Ruby – everyone knows what these are, but did you know they’re part of a group called the ‘cardinal gemstones’ which includes sapphires, diamonds, emeralds and amethysts, and which were traditionally valued above all other stones?
- Red Topaz (topaz also comes in tons of other colours, most often blue or yellow)
- Red Spinels (spinels also come in a range of colours, including black, and I’d never heard of them until I bought a couple to try in the design below…)
It would be a cardinal sin not to pick emeralds for my favourite stone here (geddit), but I covered them in an earlier post, so I’m going to hone in on my second-favourite: aventurine.
It’s a type of quartz that, like lapis lazuli, has gold inclusions, which gives it extra shimmer despite being a translucent stone.
- The shimmer the gold inclusions give off is referred to as aventurescence. I aspire one day to be so shiny that my glittering has its own descriptor…
- It was discovered by chance in the eighteenth century, which is why it’s called aventurine, after the Italian for ‘by chance’: a ventura.
- As well as jewellery, aventurine is used in landscaping, monuments, and interior design:
Other popular green stones include:
- Jade – historically significant and highly-prized for centuries
- Garnet – that’s right, my favourite stone above also comes in green (huzzah!)
- Sapphire – these usually-blue stones have other varieties, notably pink and green
- Malachite – pure stripy gorgeousness:
That’s all for tonight, folks – I’m off to wrap some pressies to put under the tree…