In addition to traditional blue, sapphires—the non-red variety of corundum and the second hardest natural mineral—occur in a range of colors, including yellow, orange, green, purple and pink. The official birthstone for those born in September, sapphire is thought to confer inner peace.
The most valuable gem variety of crystalline quartz, amethyst ranges in color from pale lilac to deep reddish purple. The official birthstone for those born in February, amethyst is said to guard against drunkenness.
The only gemstones made by living creatures, rare NATURAL PEARLS are produced by mollusks who layer calcium carbonate around a microscopic irritant. Most pearls used commercially today are FRESHWATER PEARLS, cultured or farmed by implanting a grafted piece of shell into freshwater pearl mussels. SHELL PEARLS, also known as simulated or replica pearls are made from mother-of-pearl. Pearl is the birthstone for June.