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Gem Names Reappraised

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Since we last looked, jewel names have really begun to shine, some of them approaching the popularity they had when they were all the rage from the 1880s to the 1920s.  We thought it was time to take out our loupes and look at what’s up front in the jewelry-name case.

Currently on display

Ruby is the most popular of the gem names at the moment, standing at #108, though nowhere near its all-time peak of #22 in 1911.  Vibrant, bold and sultry, it has a lot of appeal and we see it as trending even higher in the near future. It’s recently been as high as #1 in Wales, #2 in New Zealand and #3 in both the UK and Australia, and is a celeb fave via such Ruby parents as Tobey Maguire, Jillian Barberie Reynolds and Matthew Modine.

Jade, a green stone said to transmit several desirable qualities andwhich projects a somewhat exotic aura, is not far behind at #129, although it’s a relative newcomer– it didn’t enter the Top 1000 until 1975.  By 1986 it had climbed to #86, and now stands at 129. The Spanish Jada is running neck and neck with Jade, and celebrity chef Giada De Laurentis gave her daughter the English translation of her own Italian name.

Amber was #583 in 1880, then shot into the Top 15 in 1986.  It’s now still in the Top 200, having been given an infusion of glamour by model Amber Valletta, and youthful energy by actress Amber Tamblyn.

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Jewel Names for Your Little Gem

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Back in the Gay Nineties–the 1890s, that is–there was a major craze for flower names, with Rose, Daisy and Lillie high on the popularity lists. Concurrent with that, there was a mini-fad for jewel names, as in Ruby, Pearl and Opal. Today, history does seem to be repeating itself. Not only are we seeing a name garden blooming with Roses, Lilys and Daisys, but also more exotic blossom names like Jasmine, Violet, Lilac, Poppy, Azalea, Lotus, Aster, and Zinnia. And there are signs of a jewel name revival as well, more colorful than the dated Crystal and Diamond: Ruby is a hot hipster name, Pearl was picked by SNLer Maya Rudolph, and Opal is the name of kid characters in several recent movies.

In the jewelry case, there’s a wide variety of both common (Coral, Amber) and unusual names. First, there are the modern birthstone names (others were used in the past), which could be tied to the baby’s birth month:

GARNET for January
AMETHYST for February
AQUAMARINE for March
DIAMOND for April

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