There is not one woman on this planet who does not know what her birthstone is. The truth of the matter is that there is a story behind birthstones and a meaning for each one of them.
So, let us get well-acquainted with birthstones, alongside some facts about why these beautifully colored stones are set in most women’s earrings, pendants, bracelets, and, at times, wristwatches.
We enjoy hearing interesting stories about the origin of our birthstones. And, we believe that wearing them – may they be paired with our favorite office attire or weekend outfit – may bring us luck, improve our aura, and even protect us from harm.
These practices date back to early civilization – the Assyrians (1400 BC) to be exact. The Assyrians were invested in rare and beautiful gemstones with magical properties because they believed that some minerals contained a force or possessed certain values and supernatural powers.
Tradition associates a gem with each sign of the zodiac based on a color system, as a particular color was believed to unleash the power attributed to each stone.
Over time, the birthstones became associated with calendar months rather than the zodiac. And, people began to select birthstones based on colors.
And, more importantly, the wearers must take extra care not have these gems scratched, subjected to hard blows, or even exposed to extreme temperature changes.
Check out the full account of these birthstones and how each was believed to be of great importance.
1. GARNET – the birthstone for the month of January and is the anniversary gemstone for a couple’s second year of marriage.
When most people think of garnet, they picture the dark red bohemian stone that was popular during the Victorian times. But, did you know that garnets are found in every color except blue? These include brilliant green tsavorite garnet, raspberry pink rhodolite garnet, and orange malaya garnet. Bright red “anthill” garnets are found in Arizona. The Tsars of Russia favored rare green demantoid garnets, on the other hand.
Garnets offer a variety of appearance to suit every taste as well as an outstanding price range to suit clients with discriminating taste in jewels.
Did you know that Noah was believed to have hung a large garnet in the ark for illumination?
A garnet birthstone gives its wearer guidance at night as well as protection from nightmares. The Egyptians believed it to be an antidote for snake bites and food poisoning. It was also thought to have a special affinity with blood due to its rich color.
Garnets are durable and brilliant, and give years of contentment to its owners. These are found in the U.S., Africa, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and India.
2. AMETHYST – the birthstone for February and, at the same time, the anniversary gemstone for a couple’s sixth year of marriage.
The amethyst is a variety of quartz; and, comes in pale lilac to rich, deep purple hues. Ideally, it is a deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes that give amethyst its beauty and fire. It is readily available in all shapes and sizes; and, is durable and can be worn every day.
The Greeks believed that the amethyst can prevent intoxication when worn. It leaves a sobering effect on the wearer – not only those who indulged in liquor but also on those who are overly excited by love’s passion. This explains why it became the most desirable gem.
The amethyst also symbolizes peace, protection and tranquility. Some believe that it prevents baldness and improves one’s complexion; and, protects the wearer from treason and deceit.
Did you know that royal families have always adored the color purple? This explains why amethysts are abound on all ornaments of ancient Greeks and Egyptians as well as that of the British Crown.
The amethyst can be found mainly in Brazil, Uruguay, and Zambia.
3. AQUAMARINE – the birthstone for March and is the anniversary gem for a couple’s 19th year of marriage.
The ideal color of aquamarine is a refreshing pastel sea blue. It is believed that aquamarine gems with a clear blue color (without green or gray hues) are generally the most valuable.
The aquamarine is readily available in larger sizes; thereby, giving a dramatic effect to the wearer, especially when cut in rectangular or oval shapes.
Did you know that the aquamarine is a member of the important beryl family, which also includes emerald? This piece of information may come in handy for fans of chunky gem-encrusted jewelries.
It was believed that the stone aided seafarers. Therefore, it would make an excellent gift for family members and friends who are into boating and cruising.
To dream of the birthstone itself signifies making of new friends. To wear aquamarine as earrings may bring the woman love and affection. It is a universal symbol of youth, hope, and health.
The aquamarine is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Zambia, Madagascar, and Ukraine.
4. DIAMOND – the birthstone for the month of April; and, is the most popular choice for a gem in ENGAGEMENT and WEDDING RINGS. The diamond is also the anniversary gem for a couple’s 10th and 60th years of marriage.
The name “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas,” which means unconquerable. It also suggests the eternity of love. In fact, diamonds have been the traditional symbol of love since ancient Greece. Discovered about 2,500 years ago in India, the ancients believed they were splinters from the stars, which took the form of crystallized lightning and hardened dew drops.
Although diamonds are highly associated with being colorless, they are occasionally found with a strong, bright color-green, red, pink, blue, canary yellow, and amber. These fancy-colored diamonds are always of high value.
Diamonds are laser-drilled to improve their appearance and, at times, a foreign substance is used to fill surface cavities or fractures. Diamonds may also be irradiated and/or heated to induce the “fancy colors” effect.
Diamonds are the most durable of all gemstones; but, extra care is needed to prolong its beauty and use. It must be kept away from household chemicals, as it may discolor and, eventually, damage the stone itself.
Cleaning diamond jewelry is easy. Just use a jewelry cleaner, lukewarm soapy water, and a small bristle brush. Soak it in a half-and-half solution of cold water and ammonia for 1/2 hour; or, use a home ultrasonic machine with its recommended cleaner. Or, seek us out for more professional tips to learn how to care for your precious diamonds.
5. EMERALD – the birthstone for the month of May and is the anniversary gemstone for a couple’s 20th and 35th years of marriage.
Emerald is one of the most highly-prized gems. The name comes from the Greek word “smaragdos,” which means green stone. The most valuable kind of emerald is pure grass green.
This birthstone is characterized by a jardin – a garden of crystals trapped right inside the stone. Under magnification, you will see all sorts of lovely patterns resembling a foliage in a garden.
A flawless, clear emerald is very rare and is usually found only in small sizes. So, small to medium-sized stones are often faceted in a step or emerald cut. It can also be fashioned into a cabochon form or a dome shape. Emeralds, are, at times, carved for that exquisite appeal.
Legend has it that an emerald rids the wearer of a wide range of ailments, which includes having a low intelligence quotient (IQ), poor eyesight, and infertility. It is also believed that the wearer can predict the future.
Emeralds, prior to setting, are immersed in colorless oil or resin so small voids won’t be as noticeable.
Emeralds are found mainly in Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
6. PEARL – the birthstone for the month of June and is the anniversary gem for a couple’s 3rd and 30th years of marriage.
Did you know that pearls are developed as part of an oyster’s defense mechanism? When a foreign irritant enters an oyster by natural methods or is introduced either by man (cultured), the oyster immediately surrounds itself with layers of a substance called nacre. This forms the pearl, which is later on culled for jewelry and ornamentation.
Pearls come in a wide range of colors and should be relatively free from any skin blemishes. The rounder the shape of the pearl, the better it is for setting and usage on jewelry. The higher the luster – otherwise known as orient – the higher the value of the pearl. And, of course, the larger it is, the greater the price.
Besides the popular round shape, there are stylish mabe (large hemispherical cultured pearls), fresh-water (elongated in interesting shapes and colors), and South Sea pearls (large cultured pearls 10mm and up from Australia’s and Indonesia’s waters), to name a few.
Pearls have been recognized as the emblem of modesty, chastity and purity. They have come to symbolize a happy marriage.
Pearls are found in Brazil, Madagascar, Myanmar, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe.
7. RUBY – the accepted birthstone for July and is also accepted anniversary gemstone for a couple’s 15th and 40th year of marriage.
Ruby is known as the “Lord of the Gems” because of its rarity and beauty. The word ruby comes from the Latin word “ruber“, which simply means red.
Ruby, like sapphire, is a variety of jewels and stays true to its red color. The finest colored-stone appears to be vivid, with an almost pure spectral red with a very faint undertone of blue, as seen in Burmese rubies (which are considered the finest).
The highest quality rubies are believed to protect their owners from all kinds of misfortune; and, ensures the wearer harmonious relationships with his neighbors. It may also protect his stature in life, his home, and his land. Its protective powers are intensified when set in jewelry and worn on the left side. Rubies are believed to possess an inner flame, which burns eternally.
Rubies are heated to improve their color and appearance. This seals its fashioning process for good.
The finest rubies emanate from Burma, having been mined there since ancient times. Other sources include Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and India.
8. PERIDOT – the birthstone for August and the anniversary gemstone for a couple’s 16th year of marriage.
Peridot is of a lively lime green shade and must be without a brownish or olive cast. This gemstone is a child of volcanic action. Tiny peridot crystals are sometimes combed from the black sands of Hawaii.
Legend has it that pirates favored peridots – especially when set in gold – because they can be powerful amulets, which can ward off all evil. Thereby, protecting the wearer from the terrors of the night. They were believed to be medicinal as well. They are fashioned onto a chalice from which medicines are taken from. Medicine men believed that the peridots intensified the effects of either the potion or the drug.
The peridot is abundant and is available in larger sizes. It is found in Burma and in the U.S. The most important source of peridot in the world is the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation near Globe, Arizona, where it is mined by native Americans. Large sizes are mined in Myanmar (Burma) and in China.
9. SAPPHIRE – the birthstone for the month of September and the anniversary gemstone for a couple’s 5th and 45th years of marriage.
Sapphire, a variety of jewels, comes in all colors except red. This stone is especially popular in a deep blue hue. Fancy colored sapphires, which includes pink, green, orange, and golden yellow, are magnificent when fashioned into a neckwear or a bracelet.
Prince Charles chose a blue sapphire for Princess Diana’s engagement ring because of its durability, alongside its captivating beauty. Needless to say, it was an eye-catching alternative to a diamond-encrusted engagement ring.
It was believed that ancient priests and sorcerers honored sapphire above all gems because it enabled them to interpret oracles and foretell the future. Likewise, the Ancients believed that the Ten Commandments were written on a sapphire tablet.
Married couples put great faith in the stone. A telltale sign of unfaithfulness is when the saffire’s luster dims out. Simply because a sapphire refuses to shine when worn by a wicked or impure person.
Just like rubies, sapphires are fashioned by heat to seal their colors permanently.
Sapphires are found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Kasmir, Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China, and the U.S.
10. OPAL – the birthstone for the month of October and is the anniversary gemstone for a couple’s 14th year of marriage.
Pliny, a Roman naturalist, once described the opal as a stone “made up of the glories of the most precious gems… the gentler fire of the ruby, the rich purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, glittering together…”
A white opal has a white or light body color with flashes of many colors. A black opal, on the other hand, has a combination of dark blue, green, and gray hues with vivid flashes of red, pink, and bright green.
An opal symbolizes hope, innocence, and purity through the ages. In fact, young, fair-haired girls in the middle ages wore opals on their hair to protect its luscious blonde color.
Medieval writers believed that opal could render its wearer invisible whenever necessary. It was also said to have a beneficial effect on one’s eyesight. Lastly, the opal was believed to have the ability to banish evil spirits as well as favor children, the theater, amusements, friendships, and feelings.
Opals are found in Australia, Mexico, and in the U.S.
11. TOPAZ – the birthstone for the month of November and, specifically, the blue topaz is the anniversary gemstone for a couple’s 4th year of marriage. The imperial topaz, on the other hand, is for their 23rd year of marriage.
Most people think of topaz as a transparent golden yellow gemstone. However, this stone appears to be and, at the same time, a combination of orange-yellow, red, honey-brown-to-dark-sherry, light green, blue, and pink.
The word topaz is of Greek origin, which means “to shine”. It also suggests “fire”. Orange-red imperial topaz stones and pink colored ones are rare and the most valuable.
The lore, magic, and romance of the topaz dates back to thousands of years. It is believed to be distinct and in possession of the widest range of curative powers. The Greeks, for one, felt that the stone gave them strength.
In addition, the topaz is said to cool tempers, restore sanity, cure asthma, relieve insomnia, and even prevent sudden death. It is also said to make its wearer invisible in times of emergency. Lastly, the topaz changes in color as proof that is in the presence of something poisonous. Thereby, protecting the wearer from unhealthy associations.
The topaz is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and China.
12. TURQUOISE – the birthstone for the month of December and is the anniversary gemstone for a couple’s 11th year of marriage.
The hues of a turquoise range from sky blue, which is the most desirable color, to blue green and apple green.
The word turquoise means “Turkish stone,” which explains how the gem found its way to Europe – en route Turkey.
The best qualities of a turquoise are found in northeast Iran (the Persian turquoise); however, the southwest region of the United States southwest is currently the world leader in the stone’s culling and production.
The deposits in Sinai were already worked out by 4,000 BC. At that time the stone was used for jewelry, amulets and in the preparation of cosmetics.
And in the 16th century, the turquoise was used as currency by the Southwest Indians. They believed that the gemstone could bring spoils to the warrior, animals to the hunter, and happiness and good fortune to all.