Birthstones are a fun, popular and colorful introduction to the world of gemstones. They appeal to audiences around the world regardless of gender, age, nationality or religion. Birthstones carry secrets, attributes and lore that are unique to each gemstone. There are countless myths and legends around the many different powers and attributes that birthstones have. Whether or not you believe these legends, it’s hard to disagree that learning about birthstones can be an educational and entertaining experience. Discover what makes your birthstone a powerful statement of your finest qualities by clicking on the month you were born in below.
Those born in January are lucky to have the beautiful and diverse garnet as their birthstone. Garnets are commonly red but also come in an extraordinary range of beautiful colors, including orange, yellow, purple and vibrant green. There are even garnets that change color from blue to purple in different lighting. Some believe the true value of the garnet birthstone is its power to bring the wearer good health, wealth and happiness.
Garnet can be found in all sizes and weights, although some varieties are rare in large sizes. Garnet is the birthstone for January and the gem for the second anniversary.
If you were born in February, your birthstone is amethyst – the purple variety of quartz that has captivated mankind for millennia. Its lilac to deep purple hues can be cut into many shapes and sizes, and it can be manufactured in a lab as well as mined. Amethyst, the February birthstone, can be found in the collections of royal families throughout Europe and Asia. Now it’s within reach of most consumers. Consider buying a stunning amethyst for the king or queen of your heart – or treat yourself to a royal present. If your birthday is in February, then wearing an amethyst can also be a symbol of personal empowerment and inner strength.
Historically, royals have admired the deep purple hue of the February birthstone since at least the days of Alexander the Great. Amethyst lore also includes several claims to mystical powers, including that it would convey strength and wit to those who wore it. If you celebrate a February birthday, wearing an amethyst can be a symbol of personal empowerment and inner strength.
The finest amethyst color is strong reddish purple to purple with no visible color zoning.
Most amethyst doesn’t have inclusions you can see without magnification. Amethyst is cut into a variety of standard calibrated shapes, including rounds and ovals.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February and the gem for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
Amethyst birthstone jewelry can be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner, but steam cleaning is not recommended. A soft brush with mild soap is the safest option.
Aquamarine, March birthstone, evokes the colors of the sea. From deep green-blue to light, slightly greenish blue hues, faceted aquamarines are often free from inclusions and as clear as water, symbolizing purity of spirit and soul.
Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater, and ancient mariners claimed the gem would calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. This March birthstone was also thought to bring happiness in marriage. Beryl was believed to give the wearer protection against foes in battle and litigation. It was also thought to make the wearer unconquerable and amiable, and to quicken the intellect. Aquamarine’s preferred color is a moderately strong dark blue to slightly greenish blue.
Aquamarine the gem of the 19th wedding anniversary.
Sparkling with an internal fire all its own, diamond is one of the world’s most sought-after and adored gemstones. Those born in April are lucky enough to call this scintillating gem their birthstone, a symbol of clarity and strength. Diamond is so strong, in fact, that its name comes from the Greek word "adamas," which means “invincible” or “unbreakable.” The timeless charm of diamond was cherished long before it became the April birthstone, and the places where diamond comes from are as fascinating as the lore that surrounds it.
The first diamond engagement ring on record was given by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477.
Diamond is the only gem composed of one single element: carbon.
Most diamonds formed more than a billion years ago, deep in the earth’s mantle.
An anonymous second-century poet maintained that this birthstone for April warded off the evil eye – a malevolent look believed to cause sickness, poverty and even death. The April birthstone was even believed to have healing powers. Over the centuries, the diamond birthstone was thought to be an antidote to poison and provide protection against the plague. Some claim that it is a boon for longevity, strength, beauty and happiness.
In addition to being the April birthstone, diamond is the gift of choice for the 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries. And, of course, today the diamond engagement ring has become a near-universal symbol of love and marriage.
Emerald, the birthstone for May, has been beloved for millennia, evoking rebirth and renewal. Widely regarded as the definition of green, emerald is the perfect color for spring. From the poetic description of Ireland as “the Emerald Isle” to the vibrant green of the famed gemstone itself—the May birthstone emerald has captured hearts and minds through the ages.
Variations of this rich green color suggest soothing, lush gardens. Legend has it that emerald has the power to make its wearer more intelligent and quick-witted, and it was once believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria.
From Egyptian pharaohs to Inca emperors, emerald has enchanted royalty. Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emerald and used it in her royal adornments.
The most desirable emerald colors are bluish green to pure green, with vivid color saturation.
In Emerald expect to see inclusions that dealers like to call an internal “jardin,” or garden.
Due to the crystal shape emeralds are commonly cut as rectangular step cuts called emerald cuts.
Because its density is lower, a one-carat emerald will appear larger in size than a one-carat diamond.
As the gem of spring, emerald is the perfect choice as the birthstone for the month of May. It’s also the gem of the twentieth and thirty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
The May birthstone is perfectly suited to the celebration of life blooming everywhere. Given the rich green hues of emerald, it was inevitable that we would fall under its spell. Productive mines around the world ensure that all who love green or are born in May will continue to be enchanted. Now you can treat yourself – or a loved one – to an emerald that captures the exuberance of the season.
If you were born in the month of June, you are lucky enough to have three birthstones to call your own.
The June birthstones are pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. With so many attractive options, individuals with June birthdays can have a birthstone that fits their mood or budget, due to the different colors and price points these gems offer.
Pearls are organic gems that grow inside the tissue of a living saltwater or freshwater mollusk (either an oyster or a mussel). Natural pearls form when the mollusk secretes a substance called nacre around an irritant such as a piece of sand or a parasite that has invaded its shell. Cultured pearls are a product of human intervention. Technicians implant a piece of mantle tissue alone (common for freshwater cultured pearls) or with a mother-of-pearl shell bead (all saltwater) into a host mollusk. The mollusk covers the irritant with nacre, just like a natural pearl. Cultured pearls are raised in pearl farms – saltwater or freshwater operations where the mollusks are cleaned, protected from predators and eventually harvested. Thousands of years of pearl fishing have decimated the natural pearl beds, so cultured pearls account for the vast majority of pearl sales today. These cultured pearl birthstones come in a dazzling array of sizes, colors and shapes.
Pearls have long been associated with purity, humility and innocence. So it may be said that the June birthstone meaning is "sweet simplicity." As such, pearls were traditionally given as a wedding gift.
Never store your pearl birthstones in a plastic bag — plastic can emit a chemical that will damage their surface. Always apply perfume, hair products and cosmetics before putting on your pearl jewelry. The best way to clean your June birthstone: Use a soft, damp cloth, ideally after each time the pearls are worn.
Alexandrite is the rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl that changes color in different lighting. Most prized are those alexandrite birthstones that show a vivid green to bluish green in daylight or fluorescent light, and an intense red to purplish red in incandescent light.
This June birthstone is relatively hard. It has excellent toughness and no cleavage, which is a tendency to break when struck. This makes it a good choice for rings and other mountings subject to daily wear. An alexandrite engagement ring would be a unique gift for a bride-to-be born in June. Although it is best to clean your June birthstone in warm, soapy water, ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe as well.
Moonstone is the best-known gem of the feldspar group of minerals. It is renowned for its adularescence, the light that appears to billow across a gemstone, giving it a special glow. The finest moonstones show a blue sheen against a colorless background. This June birthstone has been associated with both the Roman and Greek lunar deities. Hindu mythology claims that it is made of solidified moonbeams. Moonstone is often associated with love, passion and fertility; it is believed to bring great luck.
Ruby is the July birthstone – and it’s one of the most coveted of gems. The name is derived from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red” – the color of love and passion. Few things catch the eye like the ruby birthstone. The finest color of the birthstone for July is a deep red with a hint of purple, called “pigeon’s blood” in the trade
In ancient India, ruby was called the “king of precious stones” for its rarity, hardness (second only to diamond), beauty and seemingly mystical powers. Long associated with the life force blood, ruby was a symbol of power and youthful energy in Indian jewelry. In past centuries, some believed this birthstone for July could predict misfortune or danger, and others claimed it would cure inflammatory diseases and soothe anger. Burmese warriors believed it made them invincible in battle. Medieval Europeans maintained that rubies bestowed health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.
Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gems in the colored stone market.
Ruby is the birthstone for July and the gem for the 15th and 40th anniversaries.
Peridot, spinel and sardonyx are the three birthstones for August. The peridot birthstone is known for being formed under extreme conditions, as it can be found in the hardened lava that carried it from deep within Earth’s mantle as well as in meteorites that traveled from outer space. The spinel birthstone was underappreciated until recently, as today’s consumers look for an alternative to ruby, a gem with which red spinel was mistaken for centuries. Sardonyx is the original August birthstone, with a history that dates back more than 4,000 years. Learn more about these three August birthstones and discover the perfect gift for those born in the month of August.
The word “peridot” comes from the Arabic faridat, meaning gem. This August birthstone was valued in many ancient and medieval cultures. It appeared in priests’ jewelry as early as the second century BCE and later in the chalices and churches of medieval Europe. The peridot birthstone has also been used for centuries as a protective talisman, shielding the owner from evil spirits and “terrors of the night.”
Peridot crystals are found in meteorites: some rare extraterrestrial crystals are even big enough to facet as cut gemstones.
Most gems are colored by impurities such as iron. Peridot's color is intrinsically yellow-green. Higher-quality stones have an intense color.
Peridot has extremely high double refraction: when you look closely through the gem, you can see two of each pavilion facet.
Peridot is the gem given to celebrate a 16th wedding anniversary.
The September birthstone is sapphire – a gem that’s been cherished for thousands of years. Although the term sapphire usually refers to the blue variety of corundum (ruby is the red variety), this birthstone comes in a rainbow of other colors. Sapphires have been long associated with royalty and romance and are also said to symbolize fidelity and the soul. “Sapphire” comes from the Greek word sappheiros and blue sapphire is one of the most popular colored stones.
The September birthstone has traditionally symbolized sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility. For countless centuries, sapphire has adorned royalty and the robes of the clergy. The elite of ancient Greece and Rome believed that blue sapphires protected their owners from harm and envy. Clerics of the Middle Ages wore sapphires because they symbolized Heaven. Ancient Persians believed the earth actually rested on a giant sapphire, which made the sky blue.
The September birthstone was reputed to have healing powers as well. Medieval Europeans believed that sapphire cured plague boils and diseases of the eye. The sapphire birthstone was also thought to be an antidote to poison.
Famous sapphires include the Rockefeller Sapphire, a 62.02 carat (ct) rectangular step cut stone that was unearthed in Myanmar (Burma). Acquired in 1934 by financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960) from an Indian maharaja, the gem was recut and remounted over the years. The sapphire was first set as a brooch and later as a ring featuring two cut-cornered triangular diamond side stones. Perhaps the best-known sapphire in recent years is the 12 ct blue gem surrounded by diamonds in the sapphire engagement ring first worn by Princess Diana and then given by her son to Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge.
Sapphires come in a variety of colors. Preferred sapphires have strong to vivid color saturation, regardless of hue.
Blue sapphires typically have some inclusions, but they generally have better clarity than rubies.
Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem of the 5th and 45th anniversaries.
Those born in October enjoy two spectacular birthstones to commemorate their birthdays – opal and tourmaline. Both October birthstones have endless color combinations and beautiful coloring characteristics.
The October birthstone’s dramatic play-of-color has inspired writers to compare it to fireworks, galaxies and volcanoes. Bedouins once believed opal held lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms. Ancient Greeks thought opals bestowed the gift of prophesy and protection from disease. Europeans long maintained opal to be a symbol of purity, hope and truth. Hundreds of years ago, opal was believed to embody the virtues and powers of all colored stones.
Because opal has the colors of other gems, the Romans thought it was the most precious and powerful of all. The Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning and fell from the sky during thunderstorms.
Opal is also the stone given to celebrate the 14th wedding anniversary.
Tourmaline is the newer October birthstone. The name comes from the Sinhalese word toramalli, which means “stone with mixed colors,” because it often has multiple colors in one crystal. Very few gems match tourmaline’s dazzling array of colors. Perhaps this is why ancient mystics believed this October birthstone could inspire artistic expression – it has a color palette for every mood. Among the most popular are the pink and red rubellites, the emerald green “chrome” tourmalines, and the neon green and blue-to-violet “paraíba” tourmalines.
Different colors of tourmaline are thought to have their own healing properties. Black tourmaline is believed to protect the wearer and give a sense of self-confidence. Pink tourmaline embodies love and is associated with compassion and gentleness. Green tourmaline promotes courage, strength and stamina.
Tourmaline is given to celebrate the eighth wedding anniversary.
Citrine, the November birthstone is the transparent yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz, which has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Citrine has been a popular gemstone since ancient times and has shared a history of mistaken identities with the other November birthstone, topaz. As a result, people thought citrine had the same powers as topaz. They believed the citrine birthstone could soothe tempers and calm the wearer.
The ancient Greeks carved rock crystal ornaments that glistened like permafrost. Roman pontiffs wore rings set with massive purple amethysts, and citrine has been reported in Roman jewelry. It was particularly popular in colorful Scottish jewelry from the Victorian era. Citrine, believed to derive from the French word for “lemon” (citron).
Citrine is given for the thirteenth wedding anniversary.
Blue topaz has been popularly associated with December birthstone. The most popular are blue crystals. Their fairy-tale character wonderfully emphasizes the feminine delicacy. Topaz helps with concentration
and overcoming obstacles and difficulties. It reflects negative vibrations, calms down and strengthens leadership skills and spiritual development.
Topaz is also the chosen stone for the 4th and 19th marriage anniversary.
January – November birthstones - Source: www.gia.edu/