It’s the beginning of the year, and now is a great time to develop a game plan for those birthdays that will be popping up. One item that you may want to consider, that brings a personal touch, is jewelry, made from a person’s birthstone, or, for that person that isn’t into bangles, perhaps a stone carving. A stone heart, turtle, frog, you name it.

There are some pretty unique items out there, and the price range is wide. I found a 16” amethyst stone bead strand for $13, and it’s local. In fact, the local stores are probably your best place to start your search. Not only are the prices reasonable, but you can actually see what you’re getting, and in many cases, crafted in the very store that you are visiting. That pendant, necklace, or ring may be the creation of a jeweler or artisan that sits in the backroom studio. 

To help save you time, and give you a slight nudge in beginning your birthstone journey, I’ve created a couple of charts that provide the proper birthstone for each month, and a brief description. Also, a few shops that have killer creations, which are within easy driving distance in the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo area. 

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According to the International Gem Society, there are two lists for birthstones, Modern & Traditional. The "traditional" list originated in Poland between the 16th and 18th centuries. In 1912, the National Association of Jewelers released a list of “modern birthstones”.  

The Official International Gem Society Birthstone Chart
January: Garnet/Garnet
Garnets are commonly associated with the color red but are actually found in almost any color. It consists of several species and varieties.  

February: Amethyst/Amethyst
A crystalline quartz ranging in colors from pale lilac to deep reddish purple. 

March: Bloodstone/Aquamarine
Bloodstone consists of dark green jasper with spots of red, iron oxide inclusions. These spots of red resemble blood, so they say.
Aquamarine can be found in both blue and blue/green hues with light color saturation. 

April: Diamond/Diamond
The majority of diamonds are colorless but may range in colors from warm yellow to a rare red. 

May: Emerald/Emerald
The best emeralds express an even, deep green. The fewer “inclusions”, the better the stone. 

June: Pearl/Alexandrite
Pearls are often thought of as being white, they also include a wide range of colors. Black, green, pastels, you name it. This is a result of “farming” pearls.
Alexandrite, in the sunlight, can take on a bluish-green color. At night, under incandescent lighting, they may appear purplish-red. The higher the quality, the more distinct the color change. 

July: Ruby/Ruby
A radiant red color, but can also have orange or pink undertones. 

August: Sardonyx/Peridot and Spinel
Sardonyx ranges from yellowish-red to reddish-brown. It all depends on how much iron oxide is present.
Peridot has a green hue but often features a unique yellowish overtone. Some stones have a brownish appearance.
Spinel ranges in color. Red is the most popular, but blue, pink, and orange are popular also.  

September: Sapphire/Sapphire
The sapphire also has a wide range of colors, including blue, yellow, and yellow. According to the IGS, the word “sapphire” on its own refers specifically to the blue variety.

October: Opal/Tourmaline
The opal is rather unique. The stone is whitish in color, however, as the stone is turned, flashes of color appear.
Tourmaline can range from dark pink, red, or highly prized neon blue. There are also the “watermelon tourmalines” with red, white, and green areas. 

November: Topaz/Golden Topaz and Citrine
Topaz is yellowish or pale blue.
Citrine is a cousin to amethyst. They have a warm orange or yellowish hue, with perhaps a hint of brown. 

December: Turquoise or Lapis Lazuli/Blue Zircon, Blue Topaz, and Tanzanite
Turquoise can range from green to blue.
Blue Topaz needs no description.
Tanzanite ranges from blue to violet, with a slight color shift, depending on the light source.
Blue Zircon also needs no description. 

Area Dealers of Birthstone Carvings and Jewelry
Simington Jewelers
7 West Battle Creek Street
Galesburg, Michigan
Monday-Friday 10:30 AM/5 PM 

A local jeweler who creates custom designs. Their custom-made necklaces, pendants, rings, and earrings, which are featured on their Facebook page are pretty impressive.

Rockhound Rock Shop
33 West Battle Creek Street
Galesburg, Michigan
Open Wednesday-Saturday 10 AM-6 PM/Sunday Noon-6 PM.

Rockhound actually consists of three buildings that include the Trading Post and The Great Raven. Their Facebook page gives you a good idea of what they offer.The 16” amethyst stone bead strand for $13 caught my attention.  

Geoscape Rock Shop
37111 Red Arrow Hwy
Paw Paw, Michigan
Open Monday-Saturday 10 AM-6 PM/Sunday 11 AM-4 PM.

As you approach the entrance to Geoscape, you’ll notice a number of pallets loaded with rocks that have been shipped in from around the world. The store offers a wide range of jewelry and carvings that will meet most of your needs. The price range is nice also. You don’t need to have deep pockets to leave the store, feeling satisfied. Be sure to check out their Facebook page.

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