Wednesday, August 1, 2018

AUGUST


Hello, my lovelies!
It's a new month, and this means a new monthly post here on the blog :)

How was your month? Did you have a great time? Did you visit any interesting places? You are welcome to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and the fifth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was originally named Sextilis in Latin because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, and March was the first month of the year. About 700 BC, it became the eighth month when January and February were added to the year before March by King Numa Pompilius, who also gave it 29 days. Julius Caesar added two days when he created the Julian calendar in 46 BC, giving it its modern length of 31 days. In 8 BC, it was renamed in honour of Augustus. According to a Senatus consultum quoted by Macrobius, he chose this month because it was the time of several of his great triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt.

In the Southern Hemisphere, August is the seasonal equivalent of February in the Northern Hemisphere. In many European countries, August is the holiday month for most workers. Numerous religious holidays occurred during August in ancient Rome.



August's birthstones are the peridot, sardonyx, and spinel.
Its birth flower is the gladiolus or poppy, meaning beauty, strength of character, love, marriage and family.
The Western zodiac signs for the month of August are Leo (until August 22) and Virgo (from August 23 onwards).



Peridot is gem-quality olivine, which is a silicate mineral with the formula of (Mg, Fe)2SiO4. As peridot is the magnesium-rich variety of olivine, the formula approaches Mg2SiO4.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one colour: an olive-green. The intensity and tint of the green, however, depends on the percentage of iron that is contained in the crystal structure so the colour of individual peridot gems can vary from yellow to olive, to brownish-green. In rare cases, peridot may occur in a medium-dark toned, visually pure green with no secondary yellow hue or brown mask.



Olivine, of which peridot is a type, is a common mineral in mafic and ultramafic rocks, and it is often found in lavas and in peridotite xenoliths of the mantle, which lavas carry to the surface; but gem quality peridot occurs in only a fraction of these settings. Peridots can also be found in meteorites.
Peridots can be differentiated by size and composition. A peridot formed as a result of volcanic activity tends to contain higher concentrations of lithium, nickel and zinc than those found in meteorites.



Olivine, in general, is a very abundant mineral, but gem quality peridot is rather rare. This is due to the mineral's chemical instability on the Earth's surface. Olivine is usually found as small grains and tends to exist in a heavily weathered state, unsuitable for decorative use. Large crystals of forsterite, the variety most often used to cut peridot gems, are rare; as a result, olivine is considered to be precious.
In the ancient world, mining of peridot, called topazios then, on St. John's Island in the Red Sea began about 300 B.C.



The principal source of peridot olivine today is the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. It is also mined at another location in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico at Kilbourne Hole, in the US; and in Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Norway, Kashmir, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.



Sardonyx is a variant of onyx in which the coloured bands are sard (shades of red) rather than black. Black onyx is perhaps the most famous variety but is not as common as onyx with coloured bands. Artificial treatments have been used since ancient times to produce both the black colour in "black onyx" and the reds and yellows in sardonyx. Most "black onyx" on the market is artificially coloured.


Onyx is a banded variety of the oxide mineral chalcedony. Agate and onyx are both varieties of layered chalcedony that differ only in the form of the bands: agate has curved bands and onyx has parallel bands. The colours of its bands range from white to almost every colour (save some shades, such as purple or blue). Commonly, specimens of onyx contain bands of black and/or white. Onyx is formed of bands of chalcedony in alternating colours. It is cryptocrystalline, consisting of fine intergrowths of the silica minerals quartz and moganite. Its bands are parallel to one another, as opposed to the more chaotic banding that often occurs in agates.


Onyx is a gemstone found in various regions of the world including Yemen, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Madagascar, Latin America, the UK, and various states in the US.


It has a long history of use for hardstone carving and jewellery, where it is usually cut as a cabochon or into beads. It has also been used for intaglio and hardstone cameo engraved gems, where the bands make the image contrast with the ground. Some onyx is natural but much of the material in commerce is produced by the staining of agate. Onyx was used in Egypt as early as the Second Dynasty to make bowls and other pottery items. Use of sardonyx appears in the art of Minoan Crete, notably from the archaeological recoveries at Knossos.


The ancient Romans entered battle carrying amulets of sardonyx engraved with Mars, the god of war. This was believed to bestow courage in battle. In Renaissance Europe, wearing sardonyx was believed to bestow eloquence. A traditional Persian belief is that it helped with epilepsy. Sardonyx was traditionally used by English midwives to ease childbirth by laying it between the breasts of the mother.



Spinel is the magnesium aluminium member of the larger spinel group of minerals. It has the formula MgAl2O4 in the cubic crystal system. Its name comes from Latin "spina" (arrow). Balas ruby is an old name for a rose-tinted variety of spinel.


Spinel crystallizes in the isometric system; common crystal forms are octahedra, usually twinned. It has an imperfect octahedral cleavage and a conchoidal fracture. Its hardness is 8, and it is transparent to opaque with a vitreous to dull luster. It may be colourless, but is usually various shades of pink, rose, red, blue, green, yellow, brown, black, or (uncommon) violet. There is a unique natural white spinel, now lost, that surfaced briefly in what is now Sri Lanka. Some spinels are among the most famous gemstones; among them are the Black Prince's Ruby and the "Timur ruby" in the British Crown Jewels, and the "Côte de Bretagne", formerly from the French Crown jewels. The Samarian Spinel is the largest known spinel in the world, weighing 500 carats (100 g).


The transparent red spinels were called spinel-rubies or balas rubies. In the past, before the arrival of modern science, spinels and rubies were equally known as rubies. After the 18th century, the word ruby was only used for the red gem variety of the mineral corundum and the word spinel came to be used. "Balas" is derived from Balascia, the ancient name for Badakhshan, a region in central Asia situated in the upper valley of the Panj River, one of the principal tributaries of the Oxus River. Mines in the Gorno Badakhshan region of Tajikistan constituted for centuries the main source for red and pink spinels.


Spinel has long been found in the gemstone-bearing gravel of Sri Lanka and in limestones of the Badakshan Province in modern-day Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and in Mogok area in Burma. Recently gem quality spinels also found in the marbles of Luc Yen (Vietnam), Mahenge and Matombo (Tanzania), Tsavo (Kenya) and in the gravels of Tunduru (Tanzania) and Ilakaka (Madagascar). Spinel is found as a metamorphic mineral, and also as a primary mineral in rare mafic igneous rocks; in these igneous rocks, the magmas are relatively deficient in alkalis relative to aluminium, and aluminium oxide may form as the mineral corundum or may combine with magnesia to form spinel. This is why spinel and ruby are often found together. The spinel petrogenesis in mafic magmatic rocks is strongly debated but certainly results from mafic magma interaction with more evolved magma or rock (e.g. gabbro, troctolite).



Gladiolus (from Latin, the diminutive of gladius, a sword) is a genus of perennial cormous flowering plants in the iris family (Iridaceae). It is sometimes called the 'sword lily', but is usually called by its generic name (plural gladioli). The genus occurs in Asia, Mediterranean Europe, South Africa, and tropical Africa. The center of diversity is in the Cape Floristic Region (near the southern tip of South Africa). The genera Acidanthera, Anomalesia, Homoglossum, and Oenostachys, formerly considered distinct, are now included in Gladiolus.


Gladioli grow from rounded, symmetrical corms, (similar to crocuses) that are enveloped in several layers of brownish, fibrous tunics. Their stems are generally unbranched, producing 1 to 9 narrow, sword-shaped, longitudinal grooved leaves, enclosed in a sheath. The flowers of unmodified wild species vary from very small to perhaps 40 mm across, and inflorescences bearing anything from one to several flowers. The spectacular giant flower spikes in commerce are the products of centuries of hybridisation and selection.


The genus Gladiolus contains about 300 species; 260 of Gladiolus species are endemic in southern Africa, and 76 in tropical Africa. About 10 species are native to Eurasia.



A poppy is a flowering plant in the subfamily Papaveroideae of the family Papaveraceae. Poppies are herbaceous plants, often grown for their colourful flowers. One species of poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the source of the crude drug opium which contains powerful medicinal alkaloids such as morphine and has been used since ancient times as an analgesic and narcotic medicinal and recreational drug. It also produces edible seeds. Following the trench warfare in the poppy fields of Flanders during World War I, poppies have become a symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died during wartime.


Poppies are herbaceous annual, biennial or short-lived perennial plants. Some species are monocarpic, dying after flowering. Poppies can be over a metre tall with flowers up to 15 centimetres across. Flowers of species (not cultivars) have 4 to 6 petals, many stamens forming a conspicuous whorl in the center of the flower and an ovary of from 2 to many fused carpels. The petals are showy, may be of almost any colour and some have markings. The petals are crumpled in the bud and as blooming finishes, the petals often lie flat before falling away. In the temperate zones, poppies bloom from spring into early summer. Most species secrete latex when injured. Bees use poppies as a pollen source. The pollen of the oriental poppy, Papaver orientale, is dark blue, that of the field or corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is grey to dark green. The opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, grows wild in eastern and southern Asia, and South Eastern Europe. It is believed that it originated in the Mediterranean region.



Leo (♌) (Greek: Λέων, Leōn), is the fifth astrological sign of the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo. It comes after Cancer and before Virgo. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area approximately between July 23 and August 22; the sign spans the 120th to 150th degree of celestial longitude.


Leo is a fixed sign along with Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between July 23 and August 22 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the Sun currently transits this area from approximately August 16 to September 15. The symbol of the lion is based on the Nemean lion, a lion with an impenetrable hide. It is a northern sign and its opposite southern sign is Aquarius.



On Stardoll
There used to be a time not so long ago when a rather pretty pixelated gladiolus was freely available on Stardoll; I believe it was removed around the time they introduced Giardini to us. So now, only this sad thing remains for us to buy (found under "Nature" -> "Flowers" in Suit Shop).

I don't believe that there are any peridot, sardonyx/onyx, spinel or poppy themed items on Stardoll for us to enjoy. If I'm wrong, please share the items in the comments below. 

There is, however, a Leo themed item (still) available in Plaza/Suit Shop. It costs 12 (11) SD and you can find it searching through Other World shop in your rooms or through "catalog" option in Plaza (but not in the shop itself).


August Birthdays
August 7th: regikenneth97
August 14th: Exabella
August 31: i-heart-rodarte

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