Bombs and Birthstones

Have you ever wondered what a cluster of your birthstones looks like when blown apart into a sparkling shower by a bomb in a cave somewhere deep inside the Earth? Of course you have!

RED Fuse, the upcoming game of chain reactions you create and control, will allow you to live out your dream of savagely blowing apart deposits of precious gemstones. But while you're waiting for the game’s release, take a moment to enjoy some fascinating trivia about these lovely rocks.

 

JANUARY:

Garnet

garnet

Found in Africa, India, Sri Lanka

Garnet is believed to amplify creative powers. We were wearing garnet pendants when we got the clever idea to write an article about birthstones that is really just a thinly-veiled infomercial for our gem-blasting game, RED Fuse, so maybe there is something to all this.

The word "garnet" comes from the Greek word for "pomegranate seed." In reality, garnet is much harder than a pomegranate and likely makes for an unpleasant dining experience. It's so hard that they use it in tools to cut other hard things like steel and granite. Greek mythology says that garnets came to be when Hades gave a handful of seeds to Persephone, goddess of the underworld. We think garnets should have been named "Devil's food."

 

FEBRUARY:

Amethyst

Found in Brazil, Zambia, Siberia.

Tradition holds that amethyst enhances the mind, intuition and understanding. We recommend you keep a few on your computer desk while playing RED Fuse, to help out with those tougher levels. (Or use the built-in hint feature!)

The word "amethyst" finds its roots in Greek, and literally means "not intoxicated." They believed amethysts had the power to ward off drunkenness, and even used amethysts to craft drinking vessels to neutralize their alcoholic beverages. Medieval soldiers believed amethysts had healing properties and wore them into battle. Meteor Shock may one day make a game where drunken Greeks fight sorely disappointed knights, but until they do, your premier place to enjoy amethysts will be in RED Fuse.

 

MARCH:

Aquamarine

aquamarine

Found in United States, Madagascar, Zambia

Legend says that aquamarine protects those who travel across the water. Of course you'll find the best defense against water in RED Fuse is the “Waterproof” ability, which you will find in the bomb upgrades menu!

Aqua marina is Latin for "water of the sea," and is where we get the name for this blue beauty. It does not actually come from the ocean, and aquamarine is actually a variety of beryl, which comes in many colors. Why it was decided aquamarine should be the birthstone of March instead of goshenite, morganite, or even red beryl, was never explained. What is known is that the biggest aquamarine ever mined weighed a whopping 110 kg (242 lb.). The miners responsible were no doubt proud of their achievement, but could they have extracted it with only two ramps, three bridges, and a magnet like you could in RED Fuse?

 

APRIL:

Diamond

Found in Africa, Australia, India

Known for its strength, diamond is held by many to symbolize fearlessness and purity. We were told by a crystal metaphysics expert they never need recharging and are useful for remote viewing and telepathy. After weeks of trying, the RED Fuse development team gave up on using diamonds to synchronize our work and switched back to using the internet. Consequently, the game is almost done now and if you love diamonds, we're sure you'll love RED Fuse.

The word "diamond" comes from the Greek word meaning "unbreakable." They weren't kidding, either. Diamond is the hardest mineral on Earth and while it can be broken, the ancient Greeks can be forgiven for believing otherwise, since they lived thousands of years before Chuck Norris. Diamonds are widely used as jewelry and are highly regarded for their worth. Diamonds are also used in some tools due to their incredible hardness and thermal conductivity.

 

MAY:

Emerald

Found in Colombia, Zambia, Russia

The emerald is a gem thought to signify wisdom, foresight, and focus. These are all wonderful characteristics to have when playing video games, so if you were born in May, you should absolutely no trouble whatsoever solving every level in RED Fuse in a matter of minutes.

Emeralds are actually quite frail as most of them have internal cracks or fractures (called "inclusions") that weaken the stone. This makes emeralds especially tricky to cut. Real emeralds without these fissures are extremely rare and can be worth more than diamonds.

 

JUNE:

Pearl

pearl

Found in oysters

Our word for "pearl" comes from the Latin term for "leg," possibly because nobody knows the Latin term for "oyster zit." Almost any mollusk can create pearls by entirely natural means, which is actually quite impressive for something that lives underwater and doesn't have thumbs. However, only certain pearls are valuable as gemstones. (Work harder, oysters!) Pearls are formed when microscopic organisms invade the bodies of mollusks, who do not want to play host to the tiny trespassers. The mollusk secretes a substance that surrounds the invading organism or sand grain, and a pearl eventually results. If this sounds disgusting, get a load of this: there are people who wear pearls as jewelry, which is basically like pulling an infected splinter out of somebody's finger and hanging it around your neck to prove your high status in society.

Moonstone

Found in Australia, Mexico, Norway

Somebody born in June was at some point very disgusted by pearls and didn't want to claim them as their birthstone. So they decided to add moonstone to the list. Moonstone doesn't actually come from the moon, but is named for its color and the way it reacts to light. It has been used in jewelry by people disgusted by pearls for centuries, and is considered to be a very sexy stone. It is recommended by some experts (none of them being doctors) that moonstone be used in the bedroom to bolster fertility. Despite the risk of becoming an M-rated game, we boldly decided to include moonstone in RED Fuse.

Alexandrite

alexandrite

Found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Tanzania

At some point, somebody born in June was disgusted by pearls and disappointed that moonstones don't actually come from the moon, so they decided to add alexandrite to the list. It is said to be named after Alexander II of Russia.

 

JULY:

Ruby

Found in Thailand, Cambodia, India

Ruby is said to bring good health and drive away foolish thoughts, such as thoughts of not following Meteor Shock Games on Twitter.

Rubies are among the harder gemstones in the world and were once said to be colored by some mystical, eternally burning fire. They were thought to be tokens of good health. Even today, red is the color most often used by video games to depict your health bar! They were also considered good luck for gamblers and lovers. Like emeralds, they often feature inclusions that alter their appearance, but they are not brittle like emeralds.

 

AUGUST:

Peridot

peridot

Found in the United States, Egypt, China

Peridot comes in only one color: green. However, the intensity and tone of the color is determined by how much iron there is in the crystal structure, so these gems can appear anywhere from a bright lime green to a boring brown. Peridot comes from deep within the Earth and is brought to the surface by volcanic activity, but it has also been found in meteorites. At one time it was thought to aid sleep, calm nerves, and ward off negativity.

Sardonyx

Found in India, Brazil, Germany

Sardonyx is a variant of onyx featuring layered bands of reddish brown and white banding. Sardonyx was added to August's birthstones because apparently gems from deep within the Earth and outer space aren't cool enough and needed competition from a flesh-colored piece of onyx.

 

SEPTEMBER:

Sapphire

Found in Myanmar, Madagascar, Sri Lanka

Sapphire is a stone of good fortune, insight and power. It is said to increase awareness and spiritual wisdom. Most of all, sapphire looks great when it explodes in RED Fuse.

The word "sapphire" comes from the Greek word sappheiros, which was likely referencing lapis lazuli. While it may sound like an exotic breed of expensive dog, lapis lazuli is actually a semi-precious blue stone sometimes confused with sapphire. Sapphire is most commonly known as a blue gemstone, but it can come in yellow, purple, orange, and even green varieties! If it were a candy, sapphire would be available in five delicious flavors: raspberry, lemon, grape, orange delight, and sour green apple. Sapphire is the gift of choice for a sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, but a five-pound bag of assorted fruit candy is also nice.

 

OCTOBER:

Tourmaline

tourmaline

Found in Sri Lanka, Kenya, Brazil

The word "tourmaline" comes from the Sinhalese word Thuramali, and is actually pronounced "tur-mah- leen." An easy way to remember this is to imagine you are touring Italy and an enthusiastic tour guide invites you to "tour mah leaning tower of Pisa." Tourmaline is a special gemstone that exhibits an effect known as pyroelectricity when the crystal is properly heated. The result is that the stone becomes polarized, with a positive charge at one end and a negative charge on the other. This enables it to attract and repel lightweight material, which led the Dutch to name tourmaline asshentrekers, (that is, “ash drawers”) when they discovered the gem's abilities. The pyroelectric effect can even be induced by simply applying pressure to the stone, which led to the use of tourmaline in some pressure gauges and optical equipment.

Opal

Found in Australia, United States, Mars

October's second birthstone is opal. It comes in a staggering variety of colors, some of which are very common (such as white and shades of green) and others which are very rare, like red on black. In 2008, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter revealed evidence of opal deposits on Mars. Since opal is a hydrated form of silica, these lovely minerals are evidence of water on Mars, even if that water is long gone. The heavier and more important consideration is that it means there could be a Mars edition of RED Fuse. (But probably not.)

 

NOVEMBER:

Topaz

Found in Russia, Czech Republic, Australia

Topaz is typically colorless and only gets color through impurities, depending on what minerals or materials influence it where it forms. Topaz can be orange, yellow, blue, red, or in rare cases, pink. In medieval times, the word "topaz" was used in reference to any yellow gemstone, which probably led to more than a little confusion at some point when it was decided not every yellow gem is a topaz, and not every topaz is yellow. The world's largest topaz is the American Golden topaz, weighing in at 4.57850 kg, or ten pounds!

Citrine

Found worldwide

November's other birthstone is citrine. It is a type of quartz rarely found in nature and comes in a variety of yellows and browns. Despite its name, it probably does not taste like a citrus fruit and would make as unpleasant a snack as garnet.

 

DECEMBER:

Tanzanite

tanzanite

Found in Tanzania

Tanzanite was first discovered in 1967 in northern Tanzania, and is not known to exist anywhere else on Earth, even in RED Fuse. It is extremely rare and is known for its vivid blue and purple hues. It forms naturally as a brownish mineral, until heated by either natural metamorphic events or in a laboratory, at which point the blues and purples start to come out.

Zircon

Found in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia

December's second choice of birthstone is zircon. They appear in an assortment of colors, including blue, yellow, red, green, and clear. Clear, colorless zircons have enjoyed frequent use as substitute diamonds. According to folklore, zircons have the ability to relieve pain and aid sleep. The only demonstrable way they could aid in sleep would be if a heavy zircon were dropped on your head.

Turquoise

Found in Iran, United States, China

December's third birthstone is turquoise, a rare green-blue mineral. Turquoise is one of the oldest known gems to be prized by humankind, and was used as an adornment in Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. Nowadays it is perhaps a good gift for somebody who you think is very old. 

 

Photo credits:

RED Fuse screenshots copyright Meteor Shock, LLC

"Alexandrite 26.75cts" by Original uploader was User: at en.wikipedia - Photographed by David Weinberg for Alexandrite.net and released to the public domain. Alexandrite.net contributors. Step Cut Alexandrite Cushion, 26.75 cts. In Alexandrite.net, Tsarstone collectors guide. December 07, 2006, 16:42 UTC. Available at: http://www.alexandrite.net/viewpage.html?id=ALX-001-00001. Accessed February 26, 2007.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alexandrite_26.75cts.jpg#/media/File:Alexandrite_26.75cts.jpg

"Zoïsite (Tanzanite)" by Didier Descouens - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zo%C3%AFsite_(Tanzanite).jpg#/media/File:Zo%C3%AFsite_(Tanzanite).jpg