Your Uniqueness, God’s Gift | October 16th, 2017
I was born an October baby. I love the season in which I was born but I cannot say I feel the same way about my birthstone the opal. Although opal comes in a variety of colors, I had only seen the extremely pale version with very little color displayed in jewelry settings. I am attracted to color, and lots of it, so I have never had a desire to own any opal jewelry.
It was not until just recently that I discovered some great news…October has another traditional birthstone called tourmaline. What an exciting moment this was for me, especially when I found out tourmaline is the most colorful of all gemstones! It occurs in blue, red, green, yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple, white, gray, black, and even multi-colored!
Tourmaline: The Most Colorful Gemstone
The name tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese words tura mali, which mean “stone of mixed colors.” Every piece of tourmaline is unique because of its incredible color variation with no two stones having the exact same color and also because it is pleochroic, appearing to have different colors or depth of color when viewed from different angles. It is important for tourmaline gemstone cutters to consider this before they begin cutting so the finished gem can magnificently reveal its color, transparency, and brilliance.
The group of minerals of which tourmaline is composed can be found in two kinds of rocks: igneous which is solidified from lava and metamorphic, changed in form by heat and pressure. Tourmaline is very unique in that it crystallizes into a three-sided prism which is completely different from any other common mineral.
Elements such as iron, aluminum, magnesium, sodium, lithium, and potassium determine a mineral’s color. Tourmaline comes in every color of the spectrum with each colored stone given a different name. For example, blue tourmaline (pictured above) is known as indicolite. Today, they are all generally referred to as tourmaline with the color’s name added as a prefix.
Tourmaline is primarily mined in Brazil and Africa. Other countries where it is also mined include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and in the U.S. in Maine and California. During the early 1900s, these two states were the world’s largest producers of gem-quality tourmaline.
Tourmaline became a part of the commercial gem industry when an American mineralogist named George Frederick Kunz walked into the offices of Tiffany & Co. in New York City in 1875. He had with him a beautiful piece of green tourmaline that he had obtained in Maine.
Tiffany & Co. was the largest jewelry business in the world and strictly sold precious gemstones (diamond, ruby, emerald, and sapphire). That day, Kunz was able to meet with the founder, Charles Tiffany, and convinced him to buy his semi-precious tourmaline. That was the very beginning of a long relationship. Eventually, Kunz became the resident gem expert at Tiffany & Co., an influential position that he held for 53 years.
Today, the value of the 100+ hues of tourmaline ranges in price. The more common forms in the colors of pink, red, green, blue, and multi-colored are fairly inexpensive while the rarer, more exotic colors command a much higher price.
Highly sought-after colors include an electric blue-green known as Paraiba tourmaline from Brazil, a vivid green called chrome tourmaline from Africa, and a tri-colored variety known as watermelon tourmaline in which the crystals may be green on one end and pink on the other or green on the outside and pink on the inside.
Watermelon tourmaline mineral on quartz matrix
During the 1940s and ‘50s, it was common for jewelry designers to make costume jewelry that looked like real gemstone jewelry. People wanted beautiful, yet affordable jewelry and it had finally become socially acceptable after many years to wear fakes.
I recently purchased a stunning pair of vintage Juliana clip earrings that resemble watermelon tourmaline. As one who repurposes vintage costume jewelry, I thought these would make the most gorgeous, colorful rings!
The company who designed these started out in 1947 as D & E by William DeLizza and Harold Elster. Their vision led to the production of some of the most fabulous and desirable costume jewelry on the market. These vintage beauties are definitely both fabulous and desirable!
You are Unique
Tourmaline is truly a gemological wonder with uniqueness in the color of each piece. You are also an incredible creation and completely unique. Yes, you are a human being made with a physical body and a soul like everyone else but you are totally unique in your own way.
Part of that uniqueness is the skills with which you were blessed. They are a generous gift to you from God. There is no one on the planet created with the same passions and abilities to be able to do exactly what you do in the beautiful way you do it!
My husband and I went to a huge art festival recently and met many talented artists. There were several painters and sculptors but not one of them created their art exactly like another. Each artist had their own unique style. I took a photo of this work by one of the artists who picked wild, cattail reeds in her home town of Ohio, colorfully painted them, and then framed her unique art to sell. It was so beautiful. I have never seen anything like it!
God Has a Plan for Your Skills
Did you know God had a specific plan for you to be able to use your skills even before you were born? That is one of the big reasons why you are here. He wants you to use your skills – your unique gifts – not just for yourself but to bless others, receive joy, and reflect His glory.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
I have had people tell me they do not think they are good at anything. God blesses each one of us with some kind of a skill we can use to serve Him. If you do not know what your skills are, think about the kinds of things for which you have a passion.
What can you do that comes naturally to you? Are you a good cook? Can you write well? Do you like to dig in the dirt and plant beautiful flowers? Do you have an eye for interior decorating? Are you a good listener? All of these, along with many others, are skills that you can use in some way to glorify God.
Perhaps you know what skills you have but you just don’t use them very often. If you are to develop and strengthen your skills, you have to use them. Maybe you can learn from others who have a skill similar to yours so you can strengthen it. It is important to put those skills into practice to become better at them. And not just for yourself but especially for blessing others which you were created to do.
A Blessing Beyond Belief
My sister, Heidi, recently moved to Colorado Springs from Nashville. She had packed her wiggly, cracked, and fabric-stained kitchen chairs onto the moving truck where they were soon to be unloaded into her new home. She was hoping they would quickly be repaired after the move. But with four young boys, it was not likely that would be happening any time soon.
Heidi has been in Colorado Springs a couple of months now and recently met a woman in her new church where Heidi’s husband is one of the pastors. She mentioned to her that she was wanting to paint her mantle but was not an expert painter. This woman recommended contacting someone in the church named Marisa who owns a creative painting business. Heidi texted Marisa who responded immediately saying she would love to paint her mantle as a housewarming gift. How incredibly welcoming!
Marisa came over to Heidi’s house to help her decide on a paint color and noticed several dismantled chairs in the kitchen. Heidi had somehow found the time to take the first step toward repairing her chairs by purchasing pieces of new wood from The Home Depot in hopes of remaking the seats. However, since The Home Depot could only cut squares, the seats would not fit until the angles could be cut as well. So there they were, in several pieces on the floor.
When Marisa saw the seatless chairs, along with all of the squares of cut wood she said, “Would you like me to reupholster your chairs as well? What kind of fabric would you like? Do you like vintage? And are the chairs wiggly? I can fix that, too.” As it turns out, Marisa’s husband loves to work with wood and had the perfect saw for the job.
If that wasn’t enough, upon walking through Heidi’s dining room she saw her other set of rickety, stained chairs and offered to paint them a pretty turquoise and reupholster them, too! Within a few days, she was unloading the first beautiful set of chairs from her car and setting them up in Heidi’s kitchen. During the next few weeks, she told Heidi she plans to deliver the other set of chairs and, of course, her mantle was beautifully painted as well.
Marisa used her unique skills with which God blessed her to bless someone else – a person she hardly knew. It made a tremendous impact on helping my sister feel so welcome in this unknown place where she knew very few people. And it brought her so much joy to have her chairs beautifully repaired by someone who generously shared her talent.
Those chairs will be used in the days ahead to bless many others as Heidi will be hosting multiple families from her neighborhood and her church with the meals she will be serving around her table.
Your Skills are God’s Gift to You
If you are willing to use your skills to bless others, you will not have to look very hard to figure out where to use them. God will give you plenty of opportunities because it brings Him glory. You were created for that very reason!
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
The word grace comes from the Greek word charisma. Wikipedia defines charisma as “a divinely conferred power or talent.” When you are given a skill or talent, that is God’s grace – His gift to you. He knows how much blessing and joy you will receive when you use your unique skills to serve Him. You are doing what you are created to do for God’s purpose and for His glory.
Just like the gemstone tourmaline, you are truly unique. God chose YOU to be given specific skills for the exact work He planned for you even before you took your first breath.
Be open to all He has created you to do so you can be an incredible blessing to others while receiving abundant joy as you carry out His unique and fulfilling purposes for your life.
Sparkler #1: Prayer
If you are not exactly sure what kinds of skills you have, ask God to reveal them to you.
Sparkler #2: Action
Find ways to use your skills to bless others. You will be incredibly blessed and filled with joy, bringing glory to God as you do what you were created to do.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Look for opportunities where you can serve others using your skills. If you do not know what your skills are, jump at the chance to serve whenever possible which might help you discover what you are passionate about as well as the skills that seem to come naturally to you.
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