Tag Archives: Birthday

Gems and Birthstones

Gemstones fascinate me on many levels and are integral parts of my current manuscript.
Gems and crystals speak to me as grounding influences, vibrating with their own energy. Albert Einstein once said that ‘…everything in life is vibration.’
They also sparkle like stars and thus fulfil my sense of connection with the universe.  

gems and birthstones - the last krystallos

I love pretty things and stones of any kind have been a passion since I was small. My interest began when dad got a gemstone tumbler and with birthstone pendants and rings in the Argos catalogue, but I was disappointed when October’s birthstone was always downgraded to rose instead of opal. I desperately wanted an opal of my own.

Recently, my research into crystals has been extensive because of their use in The Seren Stone Chronicles, of which the three first drafts are now finished. I have a beautiful collection of stones and decided, being January, that it’d be fun to post about birthstones.

Birthstones are thought to originate from biblical and ancient uses. Twelve stones used in Aaron’s breastplate are considered to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Later, these twelve gems were linked with zodiac signs. Other ancient civilisations believed these stones had powers connected to luck, health, and power. Modern day lists differ from traditional lists, and some cultures have their own lists.  My list is based on the British more romanticised version.

January – Garnet

Garnet is a deep-red stone of health that enhances energy, passion, and pleasure. It is said that the only light on Noah’s Ark was provided by a Garnet stone. Garnet is a good stone to help with depression, as it brings joy and hope to the wearer and helps lessen the anger directed at oneself. It also cleanses the chakras of negative energy, re-energizing them in the process.

January - Garnet

January – Garnet © Lisa Shambrook

February – Amethyst

A very popular purple quartz ranging from the lightest lilac to deep-purple, the presence of maganese and iron changes clear quartz to amethyst. It has a reputation as a healing stone. It is a crystal of spiritual growth and protection. Ancient Greeks believed it would ward off drunkenness and for centuries, myths and legends have had strong religious and cultural connections with Amethyst.

February - Amethyst

February – Amethyst © Lisa Shambrook

March – Aquamarine

Aquamarine simply means seawater and it’s hues of pale blue conjure up coastal seas. It has been said to embody eternal life and is connected with youth and hope. It was the treasure of mermaids and used by sailors for protection. Aquamarine is a stone associated with the throat chakra and is a stone of cleansing and communication.

March - Aquamarine

March – Aquamarine © Lisa Shambrook

April – Diamond

Diamonds have been long associated with love and desire, known for their strength and value. It was once believed that diamonds were made when lightning hit rock, now we know they are made from carbon. Once known as the Stone of Invincibility due to its hardness crystallising deep underground under intense pressure. Diamonds are spiritual stones and are a symbol of wealth.

I own Herkimer Diamonds, named for the Herkimer mines in the US. They are double-terminated crystals often with inclusions of air bubbles or black carbon. I find them just as beautiful as traditional diamonds.

Diamond - April - Herkimer Diamond stone

Diamond – April – Herkimer Diamond stone © Lisa Shambrook

May – Emerald

Rich green gems known as symbols of love and rebirth. They are said to have been Cleopatra’s favourite stone, symbolising youth, eternal life, and friendship. Emeralds are amongst the rarest of gems, often found with inclusions which can enhance their worth, making them unique. It is a stone of wisdom, enhancing memory and increasing mental clarity.

May - Emerald

May – Emerald © Lisa Shambrook

June – Pearl

Both Pearl and Alexandrite are birthstones of June. Pearl has been much sought after through the ages. Myths in Persia called pearls the tears of the gods. Pearls are the only gemstone created by living creatures.  A pearl is formed when an irritant gets inside an oyster, or a mussel or clam shell, and it exudes fluid called nacre which coats the irritant in many layers eventually creating a pearl. Pearls can be cultured or freshwater and come in a range of colours from white to black.

Alexandrite is very rare and worth more than both rubies and diamonds. It’s a rare colour changing variety of chrysoberyl, changing colour from blue to green, and in artificial light red to pink. When they were first discovered the miners thought they’d found emerald only to bring them out and find by the camp fire they looked like rubies. It symbolises wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. A stone of positivity and self-confidence.

June - Pearl - Oyster

June – Pearl – Oyster © Lisa Shambrook

July – Ruby

Ruby is the most valuable of all gemstones depending on its colour. The most valuable rubies are deep red with a hint of blue. Ruby has always been a symbol of passion, protection, and prosperity. It was known as an inextinguishable flame. Ruby is red Corundum, which is an aluminium oxide mineral with chromium which causes its rich colour. It’s also known as an aphrodisiac.

When Ruby in zoisite was discovered in Tanzania in the 1950’s they thought they’d discovered huge deposits of ruby, but this gemstone a combination of ruby and zoisite crystals produced a more opaque ruby that was much more affordable.

July - Ruby - Ruby in Zoisite

July – Ruby – Ruby in Zoisite © Lisa Shambrook

August – Peridot

Peridot is the gem-quality stone of Olivine. Olivine in dust form has been found on the moon, and in comet dust brought back to earth on the Stardust robotic space probe in 2006. Like diamonds they are born of pressure in molten rock of the upper mantle beneath earthquakes and volcanoes. It’s associated with the sun and used to force back darkness. It has been valued for years as a healing stone of the heart chakra. Peridot is said to bring magic and healing powers to its wearer. It is also the stone connected to the Archangel Raphael.

Peridot is the backbone for my new series of books The Seren Stone Chronicles.

August - Peridot - Peridot on Basalt

August – Peridot – Peridot on Basalt © Lisa Shambrook

September – Sapphire

This is a gem known for loyalty and trust. It is a stone of wisdom and royalty steeped in history and lore and religion. The Ten Commandments given to Moses were said to have been engraved on tablets of sapphire. It is used within many religions and cultures as a stone of spiritual enlightenment, worship, and devotion. Its colour moves from royal blue to indigo and are much prized as a talisman of honesty and purity.

The stone I have is Water Sapphire, also known as iolite, dichroite, or cordierite.

September - Sapphire - Water Sapphire, or iolite

September – Sapphire – Water Sapphire, or iolite © Lisa Shambrook

October – Opal

October is known for two birthstones, Opal and Tourmaline. Opals are known for containing the colours of the rainbow and come in the palest form, almost white,  and as triplet with deep blues, green, and pinks. They can be translucent or as glittery as fire. Pliny, the Roman historian, described opal as a precious stone containing the fiery flame of the carbuncle (Garnet), the resplendent purple of the Amethyst, and the sea-green glory of the Emerald – all shining together in incredible union and exquisite pleasure. It’s been linked to superstitions and bad luck but has remained a favourite gem. The Andean Opal (the stone in my pictures) is considered to be a gift from Pachamama, the earliest Inca Goddess of Fruitfulness and Mother Earth. Opals are known for reflection and are emotional stones.

Tourmaline is found in black variety and pinks, blues, and greens. It combines more colours than any other crystal group. Black Tourmaline is a protection stone, and is grounding. It is also electrical in nature and provides connection between the earth and the human spirit.

Also pictured are opal rings and bracelet which match my birthstone. I finally bought my own opal ring from Castleton in Derbyshire in my teens, and received another from my husband just a few years ago.

October - Opla - Andean Opal

October – Opla – Andean Opal © Lisa Shambrook

November – Topaz

Topaz and Citrine are November’s birthstones. Topaz comes in many colours from clear silver topaz, to yellow, brown, blue, green, red, and pink. Blue used to be the rarest colour but now its colour can be enhanced and it has become the most popular. Natural blue topaz is very rare. Blue topaz draws inspiration from the sky and promotes truth, expression, and confidence. It’s soothing and calm. Silver topaz is attributed to the crown chakra and enhances your feeling of self. A stone of good fortune and love.

Citrine a beautiful golden-yellow quartz known for vitality and is said to be a healing crystal. It contains the power of the sun and is a stone of new beginnings. It never needs cleansing and is a stone of positivity. It’s name comes from the French word for lemon, citron.

November - Topaz - Silver Topaz and Blue Topaz

November – Topaz – Silver Topaz and Blue Topaz © Lisa Shambrook

December – Turquoise

Turquoise and Lapis Lazuli used to be the traditional birthstones of December, but modern calendars now include Tanzanite and Zircon. Turquoise is one of the oldest stones known to us, and was prized amongst Native Americans, Aztecs, Incas, Persians, Chinese, and Egyptians in particular. It is a sacred stone known for protection, healing, and wisdom. It can be robin’s egg blue or laced with spider web veins in cream or brown. It’s a stone of calm and wellbeing.

Tanzanite is a relatively new deep-blue stone with hues of purple, discovered only in the 1960’s in Tanzania. It’s a stone for spiritual exploration and is a soft stone, needing care when being worn.

Zircon comes from the Arabic words ‘zar’ (gold) and ‘gun’ (colour) and is often blue, but is found in clear forms and yellow to red. It should not be confused with cubic zirconia which is a lab made gem stone. It is supposed to be a pain reliever and to protect travellers.

December - Turquoise

December – Turquoise © Lisa Shambrook

Crystals and gems, whatever your belief, are beautiful and evocative, and make me happy.

What’s your birthstone?

Twenty-one Things I Love About Dan…

Twenty-one Things I Love About You…

To my son, Daniel, on your Twenty-first Birthday!

21-2016-with-the-bells-aug-2016

Dan…Twenty-one on friday!

  1. You lit up my world from the first moment you kicked into this world, my head-strong beautiful son.

    1-1997-daniel-1-heronsbrook-aug-1997

    One…

  2. Your smile has always been one of my favourite things about you. You can light the darkest place with it.

    2-1998-vince-dan-may-1998

    Two…

  3. Your eager delight at the world about you. Your excitable nature from shweep to slox…(sheep and socks!)

    3-1999-dan-3-model-school-nursery-photo-oct-1999

    Three…

  4. Our little Danny boy, full of mischief and fearless adventure!

    4-2000-dan-4-danny-boy-llansteffan-june-2000

    Four…

  5. Your straight-forwardness is strength. Your favourite animal at Gelli Aur aged five was “A big animal with sticks on his head!” A stag.

    5-2001-carreg-cennan-dan-5-oven-august-2001

    Five…

  6. Like a bulldozer you throw yourself into everything with true gusto and sometimes very little thought for consequences, but you always survive!

    6-2002-dan-6-donkey-june-2002

    Six…

  7. I love how you share and love, your love runs deep and strong.

    7-36-dan-7-st-davids-march-2003

    Seven…

  8. You have empathy that will guide both you and those about you, and your example will always inspire.

    8-2004-dan-8-cait-4-model-school-photo-oct-2004

    Eight…

  9. I have never met anyone who can bond so easily and so well with so many, and make a positive difference in their lives!

    9-2005-dan-9-army-july-2005

    Nine…

  10. You have an endearing innocence and naivety, and this is why so many will love you for your honesty and integrity.

    Before Dan had his hair cut.

    Ten…

  11. Your smile lights up so many lives as your sense of fun shines through!

    11-2007-dan-smile-may-2007

    Eleven…

  12. You embrace the simplicity and beauty of life with courage and joy!

    12-2008-freshwater-dan-12-smile-august-2008

    Twelve…

  13. You can be anyone you want to be, dig deep, work hard, and be true to yourself.

    13-2009-dan-and-cait-firth-of-forth-aug-2009

    Thirteen…

  14. Don’t ever give in. Life can be tough and frustrating, but you can always overcome and win!

    14-2010-dan-14-by-bekah-june-2010

    Fourteen…

  15. You have grown slowly with confidence and you will become a beacon of light, a lighthouse…

    15-2011-dan-15-may-2011

    Fifteen…

  16. The way you love is deep and honest and without bars, and your hugs can heal broken spirits.

    16-2012-dan-roxy-july-2012

    Sixteen…

  17. Your sense of adventure will take you far and help you carve your place, don’t lose it!

    17-2013-amazon-zoo-dan-lemur-instagram-april-2013

    Seventeen…

  18. I love your spirit of generosity. You care deeply for those around you and always fight for those in need.

    18-2014-dan-giving-blood-instagram-august-2014

    Eighteen…

  19. Strength and devotion are both naturally abundant in your nature, a true soul of beauty.

    19-2015-dan-family-dystopian-post-apocalyptic-photo-shoot-instagram-february-2015

    Nineteen…

  20. You know your worth, a son of faith and spirit, our son…

    20-2016-dan-on-skype-may-2016-close-up

    Twenty…

  21. The world is at your feet…it’s yours…

    136-dan-skyping-christmas-day-2016-21

    Twenty-one…

*Note: All photographs within this post are copyright to Rebekah, Caitlin, or Lisa and are not to be reproduced or copied in any way.

Twenty-one Things I Love About Bekah…

Twenty-One Things I Love About You…

To my daughter, Bekah, on your Twenty-first Birthday!

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Bekah…Twenty-one Today!

  1. That very first nudge in my tummy that preceded the kicks and thrusts demonstrates the strong-willed daughter I carry now and will carry forever in my heart.

    1. Rebekah 16mnths Oct 1994

    One…

  2. Our deep loving little pixie who carries her teddy everywhere by the bobble on his hat!

    2. Rebekah 2 & Teddy July 1995

    Two…

  3. Your eloquence. At three you were singing ‘Blaa Blaa Black Sheep’, but your speech has and always will be eloquent and beautiful.

    3. Rebekah 3 frost Dec 1996

    Three…

  4. Our little BeckyCat, full of mischief and eccentricities…

    4. Rebekah 3 cat, march 1997

    Four…

  5. Already at five you have quirks – can’t have a clock ticking in your bedroom, and you’re very precise and grown up!

    5. Katarina & Becky Aug 1998

    Five…

  6. A true little bookworm, you read brilliantly, you read lots and you read every night before you go to sleep.

    6. Cornwall, Flambards Becky 6 & tarantula april 2000

    Six…

  7. You know exactly what you want and you move confidently full steam ahead to get it!

    7. Rebekah 7 Castell Henllys May 2001

    Seven…

  8. You are an intelligent choice spirit, destined to be here now, to learn and grow and blossom.

    8. Rebekah 8 Caerphilly castle Aug 2001

    Eight…

  9. You explode when you get angry, but that eruption is over fast! You’re bright, clever, beautiful and talented; don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!

    9. Rebekah 9  fucshia Aug 2002

    Nine…

  10. You have a strong sense of justice, the world often does not, but you inherently know right from wrong and fight for it.

    10. Rebekah 10 Jules' drums april 2004

    Ten…

  11. Your creative spirit grows stronger all the time, developing a love of art and words.

    11. Rebekah 11 Howletts april 2005

    Eleven…

  12. You are an amazing example!

    12. Rebekah 12 July 2005

    Twelve…

  13. You are our Empyrean Pixie, full of fire and confidence, you can rule the world!

    13. beck 13 bandana august 2006

    Thirteen…

  14. You have the spirit of a pioneer. If you’d been born to a different life you’d have crossed the plains fighting for your beliefs – be a pioneer today!

    14. Beck 14, July 2007

    Fourteen…

  15. You have the gift of Integrity, your honesty and sense of right and wrong will always place you on the right road…

    15. Beck 15, cool, july 2008 2crop

    Fifteen…

  16. A rebellious devil lives on your shoulder – be a rebel, but in all the right ways! Fight for what’s right, rebel against the world, and blast your way forward!

    16. Bekah 16, Dec 2009

    Sixteen…

  17. Your art is truly wonderful; a great talent that will carve you a path in life – always use it and improve it! Have fun with it!

    17. Bekah 17, Llansteffan, Dec 2010

    Seventeen…

  18. I love your strength to overcome. The obstacles you find in your way always make you stronger.

    18. Bekah 18, dec 2011

    Eighteen…

  19. You are growing into your beauty and can recognise it yourself, never lose that!

    19. Bekah 19, june 2012

    Nineteen…

  20. You know your worth, a daughter of grace and spirit, our daughter…

    20. Bekah 20, sept 2013

    Twenty…

  21. The world is at your feet…it’s yours…
    21. Bekah 20, April 2014

    Twenty-one…

    *Note: All photographs within this post are copyright to Rebekah or Lisa and are not to be reproduced or copied in any way.