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A birthstone is a gemstone that represents a person’s period of birth that is usually the month or zodiac sign. Birthstones are often worn as jewelry or as a pendant necklace. It is believed that the origination of assigning a birthstone for each month dates back to a breastplate that Aaron, the older brother of Moses, wore, which represented the Twelve Tribes of Israel. In biblical times, people wore the gemstone assigned to month that the stone represented as a talisman.

January Birthstone – Garnet

February Birthstone- Amethyst

March Birthstone – Aquamarine

April Birthstone – Diamond

May Birthstone – Emerald

June Birthstone – Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone

July Birthstone – Ruby

August Birthstone – Peridot

September Birthstone – Sapphire

October Birthstone – Opal

November Birthstone – Topaz, Citrine

December Birthstone – Turquoise, Tanzanite, Zircon

All gold is required to be stamped to indicate the karat value of the piece. It is acceptable for the karat to be indicated by a capital K or ct. Below are examples of acceptable stamps for gold:

14K or 14ct

18K or 18ct

Yes – gold can tarnish. Jewelry made from legal gold, which is 10K, 12K, 14K and 18K can tarnish, but since it is a solid metal and not a coating of gold, it can be polished to restore its original luster. The higher the karat value, the less likely the piece will tarnish. It is unusual for a 14K or 18K piece of jewelry to tarnish. Since gold is alloyed, or combined with other metals to make it stronger, such as silver, copper, nickel, and zinc, these other metals cause the gold to tarnish. The jewelry can tarnish due to several factors such as perfume, perspiration, soap, chemicals, and body chemistry.

A gold plated piece has a very thin layer of gold on the outside which is bonded to another metal such as white metal, silver, or copper.  The layer of gold is not regulated by the government and is so thin, it can easily rub, chip, or flake off.  It can also tarnish, unlike a gold filled piece of jewelry.

An alloy is a metal made by combining two or more metals to give it greater strength. Pure gold, like 24K gold, is too soft to be used in jewelry, so it must be combined with another metal to give it strength. The most common metals alloyed with gold are silver, copper, and zinc to strengthen the gold. Copper turns the alloy pink and creates rose gold. Silver or palladium added to gold creates white gold. The percent of gold used in the alloy determines the karat value.

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