Birthstones have made wonderful gifts for decades. Over the years the stones that applied to each month have changed, but this chart will show you which birthstones apply to which months and below you will find some interesting history and mythology behind these wonderful gemstones.
|January||Garnet, Rose Quartz|
|February||Amethyst, Black Onyx, Moonstone|
|March||Aquamarine, Rock Crystal, Bloodstone|
|April||Diamond, Mother of Pearl|
|May||Emerald, Green Onyx|
|June||Alexandrite, Pearl, Moonstone|
|September||Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli|
|October||Opal, Pink Tourmaline|
|December||Blue Zircon, Blue Topaz, Turquoise|
Discovered in 1834 in the Emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in the Urals of Russia. It was named for Alexander II since the crystals show the Imperial Russian colors of red and green. Alexandrite in its highest quality forms is very rare and displays the remarkable ability to change colors from green or blue-green in daylight to a purple-red in incandescent light. Synthetic Alexandrite has been available for almost 100 years now, but it is difficult to reproduce the stunning color change ability of natural Alexandrite.
A gift of Alexandrite can be considered a good omen and it has been referred to as the stone of longevity and health.
Amethyst comes in a variety of colors ranging from pale lilac to deep purple. Long considered royal color, purple gemstones have been featured prominently in jewelry from Ancient Egyptian royalty to the crown jewelers of Britain. With its name derived from the Greek "amethystos", meaning "not drunken", amethyst has had a long history and mythology built around it.
Greek legends says that the god of wine, Dionysus, became angered at an insult from a mortal and swore revenge on the very next mortal to cross his path. Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden, was the next to cross his path on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. To protect her, Diana turned Amethyst into quartz, and when Dionysus saw what had become of the young maiden he wept, turning the quartz purple.
Amethyst has been worn in battle to protect from harm, and symbolizes sincerity, peace, protection and tranquility. Da Vinci thought that amethyst could dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence, and in Tibet it is considered to be sacred to Buddha.
Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin words meaning "Sea of Water" because of its range of blue colors from a light sky blue to a dark blue or blue-green. Originally considered to be the treasure of mermaids it was said to have the power to keep sailors safe at sea. Also referred to as the Stone of Courage, on land its tranquil blue tones symbolize honesty and loyalty and is said to provide a soothing influence on married men and helps to ensure a long, happy marriage.
Onyx is an opaque quartz that can range in color from pale white to dark brown and black. Used as a backdrop for other gemstones is has the ability make them stand out in stark contrast to the black background.
Its name derived from the Greek word Onux, meaning fingernail, from the story of Cupid and Venus. Cupid cut the fingernails of Venus while she slept with an arrowhead and left the clippings scatter in the sand. The fates, to keep any part of a heavenly body from perishing, turned the clippings to stone. Believed to be able to ward off the 'Evil Eye' Black Onyx is said to protect by absorbing negative energy. Because of this it can be found helpful in providing emotional stability and relieve stress. It is said in India that it can also cool to amorousness of love.
Bloodstone is actually green jasper flecked with red iron oxide. Claimed to have been created when drops of Christ's blood fell and stained jasper at the foot of the cross, medieval Christians used bloodstone to carve scenes of the crucifixion leading it to also be called martyr's stone.
In modern India bloodstone is still finely ground and used as an aphrodisiac. Bloodstone is also thought to give strength and courage to the wearer.
Blue Topaz is a treated natural Topaz. The treatments usually include irradiation and heating to achieve a light sky blue color that is often confused with aquamarine. Blue Topaz is said to represent fidelity.
Blue Zircon, the stone of prosperity, is the more rare version of Zircon which can also be found in colorless, yellow, pink, red, green and more. Zircon is also said to aid in sleep and promote honor and wisdom in its owner.
Zircon is also the heaviest of the gemstones. When compared with an equal carat weight of another gemstone it will appear smaller because of this.
Carnelian is a reddish brown or orange gemstone from the quartz family. Carnelian has been worn as far back as the Greeks and Romans and both Muhammad and Napoleon wore rings of engraved Carnelian.
Carnelian may also help in the flow of creative energies and can give courage to the timid.
Citrine gets its name from the French name for lemon, citron. Citrine's primary color is a rich lemony yellow, but its color ranges from yellow thru gold into orangish brown.
The stone of wealth, it also protected from evil thoughts and is believed to promote happiness while symbolizing youth, health, fidelity and hope.
Diamond, the stone of innocence, is the one stone everyone knows. Taking its name from the Greek work adamas, meaning unconquerable, it is pure compressed carbon and is the hardest substance know to man so far. First given in an engagement ring in 1470, it has become the traditional symbol of love.
You can read even more about diamonds in other areas of our learning center.
Presenting the most intense and radiant green, emerald derives its name from the Greek smaragdos and the French esmeralde and means simply green gemstone. One of the oldest gemstones, it was treated as holy by the Incas and Aztecs being mined by the pharaohs of Egypt as far back as 3000 B.C.
Emerald was the color of beauty and love in ancients times and was the color of Venus. Prized by Cleopatra and the builder of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan, they were kept and inscribed with talismans and treated as sacred stones.
Garnet is traditionally thought of as red in color, but can be found in colors ranging from green to pale yellow to firey orange and earth tones. Certain garnets also have the ability to change color, much the same as Alexandrite, when going from natural light to artificial light.
Garnet is another of the ancient gems having traditions going back as far as Noah's Ark and being used as a lantern to guide Noah through the floods. It has come to symbolize truth, grace, faith, sincerity and loyalty.
Jasper is similar to Onyx in its makeup and can be found in colors ranging from greens and reds to earth tone browns. Usually named for the patterns found in it, bloodstone, landscape Jasper, etc., it traces its name back to the Greek iaspis.
Jasper was believed to have magical powers because of the colors and vein like patterns found within the stone.
Lapis Lazuli gets its name from the Latin word Lapis, meaning stone, and the Arabian Azul, meaning blue. Its rich blue color is often stricken through with golden highlights of pyrite. The color of Lapis was so intense that ground lapis was mixed with binding agents to create ultramarine blue paint as used by some of the grand masters of art. It wasn't until 1834 that a suitable artificial color was able to replace Lapis in paint.
Referred to as the stone of truth and friendship, Romans believed it was an aphrodisiac and during the middle ages it kept the spirit free from envy and fear.
Moonstone gleams and changes its appearance as it moves and was thought to represent the phases of the moon if you looked for the pattern while moving the stone. Extremely popular during the Art Nouveau period, its popularity has lessened somewhat over time.
Referred to as a dream stone in India, it symbolizes a holistic view of woman and man and is said to bring out feelings of tenderness protects true love. Wearing a moonstone can also further intuition and sensitivity to others.
Mother of Pearl:
Mother of Pearl, also known as Nacre, is actually the smooth lining in the shell of certain types of molluscs. Created by layers of calcium carbonate and crystals, and lustrin, when it is thick enough it can then be cut into gems with a wonderful lusterous quality.
Opal reflects nearly every color of the rainbow. In the ancient history of the Aborigines of Australia it is said that the creator came to Earth on a rainbow to bring the message of peace to humanity. When his foot touched the ground the stones became alive and sparkled with all the colors of the rainbow. The name opal probably comes from the Sanskrit upala, meaning valuable stone, it was known to the Greeks as opallios, and to the Romans as opalus.
Long believed to be a stone of healing, opal is also said to remove depression and help the wearer find true love. The Romans thought is represented hope and purity, while the Greeks believed it to symbolize foresight and prophesy. Prized throughout history, opal can be found in the crown jewels of France Napoleon gave Josephine an opal called "The Burning of Troy".
Pearls are actually an organic gem. They are created when an Oyster tries to protect itself from a foreign substance that has entered the oyster. It coats the foreign object in nacre to separate the object from the tender muscles of the oyster.
Once on par with real estate for value, pearls have been prized possessions. In the middle ages Knights bestowed them upon their chosen ladies and were work to protect them from harm during the Crusades. Roman women of status were allowed to wear pearls, and often slept with them to sweeten their dreams.
The Stone of Friendship is a vivid lime or olive green and symbolizes dignity, fame, and protection. Mined as early as 1500 B.C. by the Ancient Egyptians, Cleopatra had a Peridot collection and was common in Roman and Greek jewelry.
Said to bing the wearer success, peace and good luck, it was also prized by pirates for its ability to drive away night terrors and evil spirits. Peridot has recently made a come back as a popular gemstone after a large find was discovered in Pakistan in the mid 1990's.
Tourmaline is a multicolored gemstone that is said to protect you from danger and misfortune. Red tourmaline that maintains its ruby like color in various light sources is referred to as Rubelite, while the rest of the red tourmaline is referred to as Pink Tourmaline.
Incredibly popular in the East, Empress Tzu Hsi, who rose from the status of concubine to Empress loved tourmaline so much that she is claimed to have had more than 2000 'pounds' of tourmaline in her possession.
Originally thought to be water permanently frozen by the gods on Mount Olympus, rock crystal is a clear quartz that gets its name from the Greek krustallos.
Fortune tellers originally used spheres of rock crystal to create their crystal balls.
Rose quartz is a very light, almost powdery looking, quartz that ranges from very rare transparent pink to the more common translucent pink.
Said to provide the ability love oneself, rose quartz can help in opening up the spirit to allow the wearer to both give and receive love.
Rubens, Latin for red, gives the ruby its name. Associated with fire and blood, ruby red is a passionate color than most people think of when they think of love and passion. Extremely rare in its best color and quality, ruby has been one of the most prized gemstones in history.
The Stone of Contentment, rubies are thought to ward off ill health and misfortune, and are capable of reconciling lover's quarrels and symbolizes devotion, integrity and success.
Sapphire and Ruby are actually from the same family of stones. In fact, all rubies are simply red sapphire, while all other colors are called sapphire. Sapphire also comes in a huge variety of colors, from colorless to greens and blues, to yellows and oranges.
A symbol of loyalty and faithfulness, the sapphire engagement ring is 2nd in popularity only to diamonds. The Stone of Clear Thinking, sapphire was worn by kings and queens as a defense against harm and envy while attracting divine favor. And in ancient times, the earth was thought to be resting on a giant blue sapphire.
The gem of the setting sun. Topaz has been worn as a giver of strength and invisibility in times of great need. Associated with Ra by the Egyptians and Jupiter by the Romans, both gods of the sun, it is also powerful protection from harm.
One of the most famous topaz' in the world is set in the Portuguese Crown and was originally thought to be a diamond.
Long considered a holy stone, turquoise has been referred to as The People's Stone for thousands of years. Turquoise inlaid artifacts have been found the world over, from ancient Egypt to the temples of the Aztecs. Said to be able to warn of impending illness, turquoise can change color. The influences of color change may not be illness, but rather changing light, dirt and dust, or even the changing ph value of the skin.
Turquoise made its arrival in Europe at around the time of the Crusades as knights and soldiers brought home weapons and talismans. The word turquoise simply means Turkish Stone.
If you would like to read even more information about colored gemstones, you may want to visit The International Colored Gemstone Association.