ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – JULY

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Ruby – A Gem Fit For Kings

People born in July are ruled by the zodiac sign Cancer and have the good fortune of the ruby as a birthstone, which was worn by royalty in days gone by and is still counted among the most precious of gemstones.

The fiery red hues of this gem are symbolic of love, passion, energy and power with an unquenchable zest for life – qualities which are an apt description of most people born in July. They are also said to possess a love for harmony, contentment, integrity and mental fortitude to deal with some of life’s biggest challenges.

 About The Gemstone – Ruby:

Ruby belongs to the family of the Big Four precious gemstones with the others being emerald, diamond and sapphire. Interestingly enough, both the Ruby and Sapphire are from the same gemstone family, Corundum, with the only difference being their colour – sapphires are blue, while rubies are red.

Ancient Hindus called it the – King of Gems – courtesy its intense red colour and associated it with the power of the Sun God – Surya.  Said to symbolize strength, vitality, confidence, leadership, and courage, this blood-red stone has also adorned Kings, head of warrior tribes and political rulers as it was believed to enhance their leadership skills and power of decision-making.

The stone has also featured prominently in the popular famous children’s movie, The Wizard of Oz, in which one of the main characters wore shoes made of Blood Red ruby.

Healing Powers of Rubies:

The ruby is said to possess many healing and supernatural properties. For example, it’s believed to help the wearer take important decisions, particularly those related to money. Often associated with the Sun, the ruby is also believed to protect the physical and mental health of an individual. Many believe the ruby is the stone of love and passion, and enhances sexual activity.

Earlier cultures also believed in its powers of prophecy with the stone said to change colour to a deeper red when danger was imminent. Rubies were also believed to cleanse the body of toxins, restore youth and vitality when rubbed on the skin. An ancient cure for liver problems lists powdered ruby as the main ingredient.

Rubies are said to energize and bring balance to the body, stimulate the heart Chakra and spur a passion for life. This stone is also believed to motivate the wearer to achieve goals, acquire leadership skills and amass abundant wealth.

Famous Personalities Born in JULY:

  • Actor Priyanka Chopra. Jul 18. 1982.
  • Actor Sanjay Dutt. Jul 29. 1959.
  •  Actor. Saravanan Sivakumar. Jul 23. 1975.
  • Actor. Dhanush. Jul 28. 1983.
  • Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Jul 07. 1981.
  • Actor Ranveer Singh. Jul 06. 1985.
  • Singer Sonu Nigam. Jul 30. 1973.

(Disclaimer: The information provided here is purely for entertainment and reference purposes only.)

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ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – JULY

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – JUNE

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Enhance Your Luck with Alexandrite & Pearls

The zodiac sign for June is Gemini – symbolized by the twins. People born in June are trustworthy, friendly, loyal and extremely sociable. However on the flip side they can also be extremely moody, temperamental and are frequently caught in two minds about issues.

Not surprisingly people born in this month can stake their claim on not one but two birthstones – Pearls and Alexandrite.

While pearls have been sought-after for centuries for their luminescence and shine, Alexandrite gems are rare and known to change colour depending on the light available. Both of these gems complement and enhance the nature of those born in June in many ways with their distinctive qualities.

About Pearls & Alexandrite:

While everyone knows about the beauty of white pearls, few are aware that they can be found in other colours too, namely silver, cream color, white, green, lavender, black, blue and golden shades.

Alexandrite on the other hand is a relatively new gemstone and exhibits exotic shades of green in daylight but a superior quality gem can change to a reddish purple color when held under incandescent light.

Genuine pearls are the only gems that are organic in nature, found in living mollusk shells and depending on their quality, size and rarity are sometimes prized even more than diamonds, rubies and emeralds.

Healing Powers:

Pearls are said to symbolize faithfulness, friendship and loyalty and are even considered to be symbols of purity, chastity and virtue by some cultures. Ancient Greeks believed that pearls were in fact the tears of Goddess Aphrodite that fell on earth.

Pearls were also widely used for medicinal purposes across Persia, Europe and China and were said to be a cure for insanity. They are also considered to provide an effective remedy for ailments connected to the stomach, heart and spleen and believed to be able to calm the mind of the wearer.

The dark green hues of Alexandrite are associated with good omens and good luck. It is also supposed to strengthen the intuition and creativity of the wearer and build a bridge between the earthly and spiritual dimensions. Some believe it also grants the wearer the gift of foresight and prophecy.

Alexandrite is also sought after for its calming properties and is said to be helpful to balance the functioning of the circulatory system.

Famous Personalities born in JUNE:

  • Joseph Vijay (Actor). Jun 22. 1974.
  • Sonakshi Sinha (Actor). June 02. 1987.
  • Michael J. Fox (Actor), June 09, 1961.
  • Kajal Aggarwal (Actor) June 19. 1985.
  • Donald Trump (US President), June 14, 1946.
  • Lionel Messi (Footballer), June 24, 1987.
  • Karisma Kapoor (Actor) June 25. 1974.
  • Salman Rushdie (Author/Writer) June 19. 1947.
  • George Orwell (Author) June 25. 1903.
  • Shilpa Shetty (Actor) June 08. 1975.
  • Sonam Kapoor (Actor) June 09. 1985.

(Disclaimer: The information provided here is purely for entertainment and reference purposes only.)

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – JUNE

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – MAY

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EMERALDS: A SYMBOL OF NEW BEGINNINGS

Coveted the world over for its distinctive bright green colour and brilliance, the emerald is the perfect astro-stone for those born in the spring/summer month of May. People born in this month are known to be expressive and witty.

They are also among the most sociable and are always ready for fun and making friends. On the flip side however, they also have a tendency to get restless, serious and moody without warning.

As the birthstone for May, the emerald whose name is derived from the Greek word – Smaragdus – which literally translates into – Green – the emerald is also said to symbolize rebirth and new beginnings.

About the Emerald:

First mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, Queen Cleopatra is said to have been obsessed with emeralds – even going to the extent of claiming ownership of all the mines in Egypt that produced them.

Like Aquamarine, an emerald belongs to the mineral family of beryl with a colour range from a light green to a much deeper, rich green. The darker the colour, the more valuable the emerald.

It’s also one of the reasons why most emeralds are heat treated – to enhance, darken their colour. However, very often the colour of emeralds used in jewellery depends on the quality and precision of the cut given to it by the gemologist. The most sought-after emeralds are an intense blue-green colour that is not easy to find.

Though the availability of high-quality emeralds is limited, this gemstone is mined in countries including Zambia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Colombia. Some estimates state that the oldest emeralds date back approximately 2.97 bn years.

Mystical Powers:

Like most gemstones there are several beliefs of mystic and healing associated with this green gem. Some believed they could cure stomach ailments, stop bleeding and control epileptic fits.

Emeralds are also supposed to ensure loyalty and domestic bliss among married couples. They are said to keep partnerships on an even keel and change colour if things go amiss. As per ancient Vedic beliefs, an emerald is associated with the heart chakra and is said to have a soothing effect on both the emotions and the heart itself.

They are said to ensure physical, emotional and mental equilibrium, bringing harmony to all areas of one’s life.  Raising consciousness, an emerald is believed to be able to bring in positive actions, eliminating negativity and enhancing the wearer’s ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

Famous Personalities Born in MAY:

  • Priscilla Presley (Actor/Singer), 24 May, 1945.
  • Florence Nightingale (social reformer/ statistician), 12 May, 1820.
  • James Stewart (Actor), 20 May, 1908.
  • Michael Oher (American Football Player), May 02, 1729.
  • Sunny Leone (Actor/Model), May 13, 1981.
  • Madhuri Dixit (Actor), May 15, 1967.
  • Anushka Sharma (Actor), May 01, 1988.
  • Rabindranath Tagore (Poet/Nobel Laureate), May 07, 1861.
  • Ajith Kumar (Actor), May 01, 1971.
  • Trisha Krishnan (Actor), May 04, 1983.
  • Mohanlal (Actor), May 21, 1960.

(Disclaimer: The information provided here is purely for entertainment and reference purposes only.)

ASTRO STONE OF THE MONTH – MAY

MEENAKARI: CREATING A MASTERPIECE OF ENAMELLED JEWELLERY

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The 2008 period flick Jodha Akbar, was a success on multiple fronts. While the movie itself was a blockbuster success at the box-office, lead actress Aishwarya Rai gained rave reviews for her sensitive portrayal of the ethereal Rajput princess Jodhabai. Aishwarya’s costumes and heavy Meenakari jewellery made especially for the movie by Tanishq, earned kudos from moviegoers and historians alike for their intricate beauty and authenticity.

The movie, according to many, also had an unexpected consequence – a sudden resurgence in demand for Meenakari jewellery – the ancient art of colouring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colours, decorated in intricate designs.

Rajasthan, with its rich history of making intricate enamel jewellery is today the main hub for Meenakari work in India. It’s a delicate art form that calls for lots of skills and perseverance. The creation of a brilliant Meenakari ornament is preceded by a long laborious process of chiseling the surface into the desired shape and then embedding a variety of enamel paints into it.

The end result is breathtakingly intricate, its beauty only enhanced by the use of vibrant colours that are typical to this style of jewellery making.

Origins & History:

Historical evidence indicates that the art of Meenakari was first introduced to India by Mughal ruler Shah Jahan in the 16th century. However, it was Raja Man Singh (of Amber) who ensured the art flourished when he brought down skilled workers from Lahore to the Mughal palace.

Jaipur continues to remain the mainstay of this art in the state with the best examples of Meenakari jewellery said to originate from here. While Delhi, Jaipur and Benares are renowned for their gold Meenakari creations, Nathdwara, Bikaner and Udaipur are equally famous for their Meenakari creations in silver.

The Process:

Traditional Meenakari jewelry features detailed etchings of flowers, birds, and other animals. This craft involves layering various mineral substances over a metallic material that could be decorated with precious gems, shaped shilpakar clay, and engravings. The grooves left around the stones or engravings are filled with enamel dust of various colors.

The Evolution:

Although the traditional base metal used in Meenakari is gold – since it’s compatible with many of the minerals used to lend colour – emerging techniques have made it possible to use copper, silver and white metal albeit with some limitations.

While gold continues to remain the popular choice, silver is finding increasing use among Meenakari craftsmen in the making of accessories, cutlery products, jewellery boxes and art pieces.

Maintenance Tips:

Meenakari products are durable and can be used on a daily basis, yet it is important to maintain them to ensure that they last for a long time. They also tend to lose their sheen over time hence it’s important that gold and silver products are cleaned regularly (with a dry cloth).

The Men Behind The Craft:

Called Meenakars, the artisans behind this art practice and learn Meenakari from one generation to the next. The delicate work involved in the making of every piece ensures that it passes through several such artists, each of whom is specialized in a particular aspect.

For example, the process begins with the designer or sonar who makes the initial design, followed by the kalamkar who engraves the final design after which the piece reaches the enamellist (meenakar) before it’s polished and reaches the Kudansaaz (stone setter).

The final cog in this wheel is the stringer or the patua who readies the ornament. Like many other traditional crafts, Meenakari is also facing a shortage of skilled manpower today with a majority of the new generation craftsmen opting for better-paying jobs and professions.

Meenakari Today:

In the modern world, new and sophisticated styles have emerged to cater to the urban populace, although the old traditional styles of jewellery like Meenakari are considered classics and still enjoy a strong demand.

Today Meenakari is practiced extensively even outside its main hub of Jaipur. Interestingly, each place has added its own distinctive style, technique and variation to the final product.

For example, the meenakars from Lucknow are known for their skill in the use of blue and green enameling on silver, while their counterparts in Benaras are famed for the use of motifs Lotus blooms and buds and pink brush strokes set on white enamel.

In the contemporary Indian market, one can find a beautiful blend of the rich old cultural heritage and the modern design sensibilities that now veer towards lighter, more intricately designed baubles.

Fashioned in gold, silver, and the now popular platinum, precious coloured stones set in Meenakari is also easily available online and is fast becoming a popular choice among women buyers today.

MEENAKARI: CREATING A MASTERPIECE OF ENAMELLED JEWELLERY

7 MUST-HAVE APPS FOR START-UPS & SMEs

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Setting up and running a small business is not for the faint of heart. For starters, it involves wearing many hats – that of a problem solver, administrator, communicator & marketing pro and a finance & accounting whiz – to name just a few.

But thankfully in this age of the Internet and technology, there exist several efficient online Apps that can help you increase productivity and efficiency. Or just make your life as an entrepreneur a little easier.

Here’s a breakdown of the 7 handy online tools compiled by GEMATLAS, which could be game-changers for your start-up this year!

  1. 1Password (.com)

Keeping track of all the different passwords that facilitate your business online can be a huge challenge. This site changes all that by giving you a single Master password, that will enable you to access to all the others. Designed specifically for businessmen and professionals on the move, 1Password is fast, convenient, efficient and safe, and offers new users a free 30-day-trial version.

  1. Workflow (.is)

These days there is an App available for almost every task. While multiple options give one the power of choice, they can be a little confusing at times when all you want is simple commands.

This App offers the perfect solution to the problem by simply combining Apps that boast of similar features. What’s more – you can build your own workflows with a simple drag-and-drop interface, mix & match hundreds of actions to create quick shortcuts, manage your media, share content, and much more.

  1. Hotjar (.com)

No, this one has nothing to do with creating the perfect recipes, rather it’s a handy little tool to find out more about the visitors visiting your website and what exactly is catching their interest on it.

Fast and quietly efficient, Hotjar features the latest in analytics and user feedback information using Heatmaps – their custom feature which tracks the scrolling behavior, clicks and visits of the users and visitors to your website. Armed with this vital info, you will know exactly what is working and what’s not and get your site optimized accordingly.

  1. Wistia (.com)

For frequent online users, Wistia is a familiar name mainly for their video hosting services, which has been used by businesses for well over a decade now. But, did you know that in addition to hosting your videos, Wistia tracks how each viewer watches your video, second by second, to give you detailed insights into how your videos are performing, to help you optimize the impact of your visual uploads!

  1. Zoom (.us)

Setting up a new business often involves frequent travelling, leaving little time for staff sit-downs or important business meetings. But Zoom can make all this happen for you with its ability to handle multiple tasks effortlessly. So, now, whether you need to conduct an urgent webinar online or meet with multiple clients, Zoom makes it possible with HD video and voice quality.

In addition to its easy-to-use interface, this App also features handy options like low bandwidth handling, multi-person screen share and a mobile app.  What’s more, you also have the option of recording your meetings – in case you need to refer to them again at a later date.

  1. MailTime (.com)

We all have been inundated with unwanted emails at one time or the other. What makes the situation worse is following the thread of the conversation, which often becomes a complicated affair, and more so on mobile devices. With this App, you can now convert all your long email conversations into the same format used by text messages with its content parsing engine which cuts out annoying metadata to display emails in clean bubbles.

Its intelligent inbox also sorts out the important conversations from the junk mail (newsletters, discounts, promos, etc) ensuring that you never miss a mail from an important contact.

  1. Square (squareup.com)

Given the government’s ongoing thrust on promoting cashless payments, Square can be a useful ally specifically for people selling products online. It’s designed to run on a smartphone or tablet, on your counter or on the go.

This PoS App allows businesses of all kinds to accept and process card purchases made using MasterCard, Visa and American Express, among others. An added incentive – this App accepts both magnetic and chip-enabled cards and the money is credited to your bank account the very next working day.

7 MUST-HAVE APPS FOR START-UPS & SMEs

Top 6 Most Fabulous Celeb Engagement Rings Ever

Celebrities and jewels are inseparable much like wine and cheese. The bigger the celebrity, the bigger and more famous the jewellery that he or she flaunts. And when it comes to flaunting their bling, engagement rings are a hot favourite. And yes, size does matter as does the price tag of the fabulous jewel (read diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies) affixed in the ring.

So here’s a select list of 6 spectacular engagement rings made famous by a slew of celebrities ranging from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Tomb Raider and Salt star, Angelina Jolie. Statutory Warning: The size and price tag of some of these rings might cause you some personal discomfort, be warned!

Queen Elizabeth II Solitaire Diamond Ring

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As the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, she has far bigger jewels in her royal collection, yet this elegant platinum band encrusted with a 3-carat solitaire diamond, flanked with five smaller diamonds on either side, is one of her favourite possessions – going by how often she wears it.

Often described as a ring of rare class and extraordinary elegance, it was given to her by Prince Phillip way back in 1947 – and continues to be one of her most treasured possessions with lots of sentimental value attached to it.

Kim Kardashian’s flashy Cushion-Cut Diamond

She may seem like controversy’s favourite child (ahem!) but one just cannot deny that no one knows how to stay in the news better than Kim Kardashian. One of the many instances when she made the headlines was when Kanye West proposed to her in 2013.

And, no, it wasn’t the fact that he proposed to her that made the news, rather the way he did it – with a humungous, 15-carat, cushion-cut sparkler. And much like Pitt, Kanye also went the whole hog with designer Lorraine Schwartz to get this ring made with only the best quality, conflict-free diamonds that his money could buy – how’s that for true love!

Jennifer Aniston’s Radiant-Cut Diamond Set In Gold

Anything that ex-beau Brad Pitt can do, actor Jennifer Aniston can do better. And that’s exactly what she seems to have done when she got her husband and fellow actor Justin Theroux to gift her a huge 8-carat diamond set on a yellow gold band.

And even as this famously private couple continue having each other’s back in a tabloid-driven world, the former Friends star is not averse to flashing her fabulous sparkler at red carpet events from time to time.

Marilyn Monroe’s Elegant Baguette-Cut Diamond Band

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She was rated as one of the world’s most beautiful women, so when Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio gifted Marilyn Monroe a gorgeous platinum eternity band, it couldn’t be something ordinary out of the neighborhood store. DiMaggio gifted her one set with thirty-five baguette-cut diamonds.

A small confession here though. He gave it to her on their wedding day – January 14, 1954 – so technically it was her wedding ring. Unfortunately however their wedding didn’t really stand the test of time, but the ring continues to draw sighs of appreciation – for its simple, yet elegant style and timeless sophistication.

Angelina Jolie’s Emerald-Cut Diamond Ring

Theirs was a tumultuous love-affair that finally culminated in a marriage sometime in 2014. Although having separated since, after a bitter divorce, Hollywood’s original love-birds Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s wedding made headlines for the emerald-cut engagement ring that was snugly wrapped around Jolie’s finger.

The story goes that hubby Pitt had brainstormed with jeweler Robert Procop for an entire year before the big day to come up with a custom creation like none other. And going by the publicity the ring got pre and post engagement, the effort seemed to be well worth it.

Beyonce’s 18-karat Emerald-Cut Sparkler Set in Platinum

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For singer, songwriter and actress Beyonce nothing beats the huge 18-carat emerald-cut diamond ring that Jay Z presented to her on their engagement. This bejeweled stunner crafted by celebrity designer Lorraine Schwartz is just a simple band with a classic shape.

It’s the sheer size and glitzy sparkle of the huge rock set on top of it that literally takes your breath away and how! Clearly if love could be measured in diamonds, Jay Z would walk away the proud winner.

Top 6 Most Fabulous Celeb Engagement Rings Ever

How To Choose & Pack Jewellery When Travelling

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Typically the summer months are synonymous with two things – rising temperatures and holidays. So whether you’ re heading for foreign shores, hitting the beach for a few days of surf and turf or just hitting the road with your SUV,  chances are you may have unanswered questions about what jewellery you need to carry and what you should leave behind.

So we at GemAtlas decided to share a few simple pointers that will help you finalise the kind of jewellery you need to carry (regardless of your destination) and how to pack it as well.

For starters what you need to remember is that it’s never a good idea to leave your accessory planning for the very last minute. The thumb rule when packing for leisure vacations is to never include items of high monetary or emotional value, unless you need them as part of your ensemble for a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday celebration.

What To Pack:

A simplified solution to this problem is to go with a handful of neutral accessories that could be used with any outfit. Prime examples here would include a small pendant, a simple necklace, a small hoop or stud earrings and an elegant bracelet.

If you do have any special occasions planned, you could add a couple of finer pieces – that make a statement. But do remember to get them insured as a precaution against unexpected mishaps along the way.

Try to stick to a preferred colour scheme instead of packing every piece into your jewellery box. Bold coloured gemstones like red spinel, aquamarine or amethyst usually make for excellent choice against a neutral outfit.

The decision whether or not to carry an expensive wedding or engagement ring presents a problem. Should you carry it or leave it behind? While a lot hinges on the destination and the type of activities you have planned, it’s always a safer bet to leave the flashier and expensive pieces of jewellery behind and this includes your wedding/engagement ring.

Alternately, you could opt to wear the less expensive of the two, or swapping your pricey diamond engagement ring with one made of the much cheaper white crystal or white topaz.

Last, but not the least, remember to account for the weather at the places you intend to visit. For example, colder places where you will be bundled up in jackets and gloves, mandate wearing lighter pieces like a brooch or smart earrings while shiny pieces that sparkle in the sunlight can be used best at beach venues.

How to pack jewellery for travel:

Now that you have made a list of the jewellery pieces that you intend to carry along on your vacation, the second challenge is how to pack them in an efficient, organized manner that ensures that they don’t get tangled or damaged enroute.

Here are a few things you might want to consider:

  • Do ensure that all the expensive pieces of jewellery you intend to carry with you are insured and have an updated appraisal value.
  • Any piece that includes high value gemstones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds should preferably have a report from a certified laboratory – to help with potential insurance claims in case the piece goes missing.
  • Make it a point to take pictures of the high-end jewellery you will be carrying. This is to help prove your ownership in case you lose it and it turns up with the lost-and-found later.
  • Pearls need a bit of moisture to retain their shine, so remember to pack them last and unpack them first.
  • Earrings should be stored in a pill organizer to prevent damage, similarly you can use straws to string your necklaces and keep them tangle-free.
  • Use individual, sealable, transparent plastic bags to pack every piece. This will allow you to see and choose quickly when it’s time to get dressed.
  • The most important tip. Never make the mistake of packing all your high-end pieces in your checked baggage – which could get lost or worse still, stolen. It’s a lot safer to carry them with you in your carry-on bag.

Follow these pointers and your troubles with what jewellery to pack and how, will be a thing of the past. Just remember, the objective behind taking a vacation is to help you relax, unwind and forget your daily grind. Keeping your jewellery list simple and inexpensive will ensure you make the most of your time out.

Happy Holidays.

How To Choose & Pack Jewellery When Travelling