Leo Birthstones: July 23 - August 23 - The LionLeo birthstones that are widely respected include Onyx, Carnelian and Topaz. Opal and Sardonyx too are very popular. Here is a brief guide to their background and what they look like.
Onyx was very popular in ancient Greece and Rome. A deep brown or black stone, with white bands, the name derives from the Latin for fingernail and its mythology can be traced back to the nails of Aphrodite. A hard stone, it is very durable and can be cut in many ways and thus set into a range of beautiful jewelry items. Exquisite set with other gemstones and gold; it can make for a wonderful birthday gift that will be cherished.
Carnelian has an interesting history; reputed to be used as the personal seal of Mohammed it is highly respected in the Muslim community. It is a relatively inexpensive stone, and carries with it a great warmth and beauty. Found throughout the world; from India to Brazil, its color ranges from deep reds and burning oranges. Another of the Leo birthstones that makes for excellent jewelry, it has often been worn as a brooch to make a stunning impression.
Topaz was heralded by the Pharaohs of Egypt, who compared its brilliant golden yellow to their Sun God Ra. Derivation of its name is argued throughout the world; with many believing it comes from the Greek for "to shine", others the Sanskrit for "fire", and more still from the island of Topazos in the Red Sea. While most often found to be that golden yellow favored by the Pharaohs, it can be found in a wide spectrum. A costly stone, it is also thought to hold many curative and protective powers.
Opal was described by the ancient Romans as "the King of gems"; believing it held all of nature's colors within. This is just one of numerous folklores that can be traced through the ages; from Australian aborigines, through the middle ages and everything in between and since. Available in a wide variety of colors; it shines and sparkles beautifully in the light and can command amazingly high prices. Often seen wonderfully set in necklaces and earrings, it too is thought to hold curative qualities.
Sardonyx is often referred as the Gem of Courage and Virtue. It was a favorite of the Ancient Egyptians; who carved wonderfully intricate scarabs from it. The Romans too were great loves of the stone, whilst it is also reputed to be one of the Foundation Stones of Jerusalem. Chiefly in mined in Brazil and India, this rare example of Leo birthstones is made up of colored white bands upon black or brownish-red background. Fashioned into many cameos, it is said to give eloquent speech to the wearer.