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It was not until a 1912 meeting of the National Association of Jewelers in Kansas City, Missouri that the assignment of specific gemstones to specific months was standardized. Purists, of course, complained that this was done for purely commercial reasons. Be that as it may, it sure simplified things. Even today, in certain quarters, alternate gemstone selections are commonplace.

Emerald and Diamond RingsFolklore and myth have it that certain characteristics are associated with each gemstone. Prosperity, various healing qualities, states of being, and personality traits are said to reside in each gemstone. These are particularly effective to the wearer, were he or she born during the month that the specific gemstone represents.

Sapphire RingsAlthough gemstone pendants, amulets, earrings and bracelets are not unheard-of, it is the gemstone ring that is far and away the most popular. In commemoration of a birth, or a special occasion such as a wedding, anniversary, or graduation, a gemstone ring is both distinctive and appropriate. It should be noted that a gemstone will look different if the ring is silver or gold. Some gemstones just look better in certain settings, although the whole selection is really a matter of personal preference. Offset or surrounded by diamonds or even small samples of the stone, a gemstone, be it faceted or a polished cabochon, is a unique and very special gift for the ages.

Diamond BandsA nod should be given to the Thai and Indian tradition of a nine gemstone ring known as a 'nok-phakow' or 'navratan' respectively. This was said to bestow good health, good fortune and security on the wearer. A modern version of this multi-gemstone piece is seen in the family birthstone ring: a ring in which each family member is represented by his or her birthstone.

Amethyst RingIn 1812, the German mineralogist, Frederich Mohs, devised a somewhat arbitrary scale of hardness to classify the scratch resistance of various minerals. It ranges from 1 thru 10. Talc being the softest with 1 and diamond the hardest with 10. Although most gemstones are classified in the range of 6.5 on up, like any other prized possession they call for some care.

Onyx Cross RingDust and dirt can accumulate on and under a gemstone, so there is maintenance that can be performed. In some cases, ultra sound is used by professionals. It should be noted that this is a variation on the same technique that doctors use to pulverize kidney stones. Lest your gemstone meet a similar fate, this should not be practiced by amateurs. For safety's sake and peace of mind, it's a better idea to use a mild soap and a soft toothbrush. You'll be glad you did and your gemstone will thank you.

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