Since February 2011, I’ve been working on a series Scraplet Skeins (my company’s line of yarns) called The Birthstone Collection; each month I’ve created a new colorway inspired by that month’s birthstone. I’ve learned some very interesting things in process.
First, there is apparently no such thing as a definitive list of birthstones. Even on the most basic list I could find, most months had at least one alternative stone; June, for example, has three possibilities: pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite. I’ve come across traditional, modern, mystical, ayurvedic, and astrological birthstones, and there are probably more. So I had to choose a particular list to follow consistently. (I picked the traditional one, mainly because it was the only one that listed amethyst as the primary birthstone for February— my birth month.)
Second, even when I had made my list of just one birthstone for each month, I realized that literally every single one occurs in many different colors (hello, Hope Diamond). Did you know that there’s a green version of the amethyst? A red topaz? Neither did I.
Third, when making my most recent skeins, Turquoise (for December, or maybe not, depending on what list you’re looking at), I started pulling out yarns that I thought of as, well, turquoise— a bright, clear, deep aquamarine tone so beloved by Caribbean-goers. However, when I started researching the turquoise gemstone, I discovered that the overall tone tends much more toward the green side than the blue; there is much more of an aqua feel to the color, almost a tendency towards teal green. Also, the color of the veins in turquoise varies quite wildly, ranging from almost black to a pale mossy green.
So what I’ve learned is mostly that I shouldn’t assume I know what a particular color actually is! The source of inspiration for a color or palette (in this case, birthstones) is a good reason to do a little research. The birthstone you discover just might be your own.