Birthstones, those sparkling symbols of our birth month, are far more than just beautiful adornments. They hold deep and fascinating stories woven into the fabric of our history, mythology, and culture. For centuries, these stones have held an irresistible allure, captivating humans with their vibrant hues, mystical powers, and personal significance. Just as birthstones have their unique stories and significance, birth month flowers also offer a colorful and fragrant way to celebrate each month of the year. Discover the Birth Month Flowers and their meanings as you journey through the world of gemstones.
Birthstones are gemstones symbolizing each month of the year, believed to bring luck and protection to the wearer. Rooted in ancient traditions, each stone has its unique color, significance, and story, offering a personal touch to jewelry and gifts.
Origin and Myths of Birthstones
The concept of birthstones is believed to originate from the biblical Aaron’s breastplate, which held twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Later interpretations linked these stones to the twelve apostles, and eventually, the twelve months of the year. Over time, societies around the world began to embrace the idea of a gemstone linked to one’s birth month, creating a rich tapestry of myth, folklore, and belief.
Ancient civilizations placed great value on these stones. The Greeks believed that different gemstones held different powers, and could even influence the fate of the wearer. The Romans held similar beliefs, associating gems with certain gods or attributes. In India, astrological charts often included recommendations for gemstones that could bring good fortune or avert disaster.
The myths associated with birthstones are as varied as the cultures they come from. For example, the January birthstone, garnet, was believed to light up the night and protect its wearer from nightmares. Meanwhile, the February birthstone, amethyst, was thought to protect the wearer from drunkenness. Despite these varied origins and myths, one common thread unites them: the belief that these stones hold power, meaning, and a connection to our personal identity.
As we move through the birthstone chart, keep in mind that each stone has been shaped by centuries of myth, symbolism, and human experience. They are not just beautiful adornments, but gems imbued with history and significance, each one holding a unique story waiting to be discovered.
In the next section, we will delve deeper into the individual stones, taking you on a journey through each birth month, from January’s warm garnet to December’s cool tanzanite, turquoise, and zircon. So, buckle up, and let’s embark on this gemological voyage together.
The Birthstone Chart: Month by Month
January’s birthstone is the deep, fiery garnet. While most commonly associated with a rich red color, garnets can actually come in a wide range of hues, from green to orange, pink to purple. The name garnet is derived from the Latin ‘granatum’, meaning ‘pomegranate’, as the gemstone’s vivid red seeds resemble the fruit’s arils.
In the realm of mythology and history, garnets have been prized since the Bronze Age. They were often used as talismans by warriors heading to battle for their perceived protective powers against harm and disaster. In ancient Roman times, signet rings set with carbuncle stones, which were in fact garnets, were used to stamp the wax that secured important documents.
As jewelry, garnets are often cut into cabochons or faceted to bring out their brilliance, and are used in all types of pieces, from necklaces and bracelets to earrings and rings.
February’s birthstone, the Amethyst, is known for its captivating purple hue. The color can range from a light pinkish violet to a deep royal purple, making it a versatile gem for various styles of jewelry.
The word ‘amethyst’ originates from the Greek ‘amethystos’, which translates to ‘not drunken’. The ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst amulets, believing that they could prevent intoxication. Historically, amethyst was highly valued and was often associated with power. It was included in royal collections all over the world, from ancient Egypt to the British Crown Jewels.
According to myth, amethyst was created by the Greek god Dionysus, the god of wine. Dionysus, enraged by an insult, had sworn to slay the next mortal who crossed his path, and when a maiden named Amethyst came by, he summoned two tigers to carry out his wrath. The maiden called out to the goddess Diana for protection, and she responded by turning Amethyst into a clear, pure crystal. Dionysus, seeing the error of his ways, wept tears of wine over the crystal, staining it purple and creating the gem we now know as amethyst.
From a design perspective, amethyst is often cut into a variety of shapes and sizes and is used to create stunning pendants, rings, earrings, and more. Its regal color lends it an air of elegance and sophistication, making it a favored gem in the jewelry world. Stay tuned as we continue to unravel the fascinating stories of the remaining birthstones in our subsequent sections.
For those born in March, the serene and soothing aquamarine is your birthstone. Its name is derived from the Latin words ‘aqua’ and ‘marina’, which literally translate to ‘water of the sea’, and it’s not hard to see why. The gemstone’s color ranges from a pale, almost transparent blue to a deep, cerulean shade that mimics the depths of the ocean.
Ancient lore often associated aquamarine with the sea and the sailors. Sailors of old would carry an aquamarine talisman, etched with the likeness of Neptune, the Sea God, as it was believed to offer protection against the dangers of the ocean, calm the waves, and bring the sailors home safely. The Romans believed aquamarine could heal medical conditions affecting the stomach, liver, jaws, and throat. They also considered it the perfect gift for the bride as it was thought to absorb the atmosphere of young love.
Today, aquamarine’s light blue shades complement almost every skin or eye color, making it a sought-after gemstone for jewelry. It’s often seen in rings, necklaces, and bracelets where its calming, azure color can be fully appreciated.
The most coveted of all birthstones is that of April – the diamond. Universally known as a symbol of eternal love, diamonds are the hardest known substance on earth. Their name comes from the Greek ‘adámas’, meaning ‘unbreakable’ or ‘indestructible’.
The diamond’s connection with love dates back to ancient Rome where it was believed that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds. Its strength and brilliance were said to symbolize invincible spiritual power, and it was thought that wearing a diamond would give the wearer strength, courage, and invincibility.
In the middle ages, diamonds were believed to hold healing properties and were used to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body.
In modern jewelry, diamonds are typically cut into a brilliant style, which is designed to maximize the gemstone’s natural brilliance, and are often set in engagement rings, earrings, necklaces, and much more. Their unrivaled hardness and classic style make them a favorite in all types of jewelry. As we continue to traverse this fascinating journey of birthstones, we uncover not only the allure and beauty of these gems but also their profound connections with history, culture, and human belief.
May’s birthstone, the exquisite emerald, has been cherished for millennia. Its verdant hue has been symbolic of rebirth, renewal, and fertility, fitting for a month that signals the start of spring in many cultures.
Emerald’s name comes from ‘smaragdos,’ an ancient Greek word for green gem. Its rich color has soothed souls and excited imaginations since antiquity. The ancient Egyptians, for instance, mined emeralds nearly 4,000 years ago, and Cleopatra was known for her love of emerald jewelry. In myth and folklore, emerald was said to give the wearer the ability to foresee the future and to reveal truths.
Today, emeralds are a sought-after component of high-quality jewelry. Their deep green color complements gold settings particularly well, and emerald-cut gemstones have a unique, vintage appeal.
June: Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone
Those born in June enjoy a choice of three fascinating birthstones – pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone.
Pearls are unique as they are the only gems derived from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing to reveal their beauty. They have been treasured for their lustrous, creamy texture and subtle iridescent reflections since ancient times. In many cultures, pearls symbolize purity, making them a popular choice for wedding jewelry.
Alexandrite is a relatively modern gemstone, discovered in Russia in the 1830s. It exhibits an enchanting chameleon-like property, displaying green in daylight and a purplish-red in incandescent light, making it one of the most valuable gemstones on the market.
Moonstone, the third June birthstone, carries a shimmering, otherworldly quality. In ancient Rome, it was speculated that the gemstone was formed from frozen moonlight, offering magical qualities of hope, peace, and prophecies.
Each of these stones brings a unique allure to jewelry designs, offering an array of options for those born in June to express their personal style or explore their birthstone’s history. Join us as we continue the voyage through birthstones in our upcoming sections. Discover the vivid colors, myths, and cultural significance of each gem, and perhaps even find a deeper connection to your own birthstone.
Radiant and robust, ruby is the gemstone for those born in July. Known as the “king of precious stones” in Sanskrit, rubies are prized for their intense red color and hardness, surpassed only by diamonds. Ruby derives its name from the Latin word ‘ruber’, which means red.
Rubies have a storied history in many cultures. Ancient Hindus believed rubies were a sign of protection from evil, and Chinese noblemen adorned their armor with this gem. In Western culture, rubies are seen as a symbol of love and passion due to their vibrant red hue.
In jewelry, rubies are typically cut into cushion and oval shapes, and their bold color makes them a captivating choice for a statement piece.
August: Peridot, Sardonyx, Spinel
August birthdays are fortunate to have three associated birthstones – Peridot, Sardonyx, and Spinel.
Peridot, with its signature lime green color, is one of the few gemstones that exist in only one color. The intensity of the color depends on the iron content in the stone. Ancient Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun,” believing it protected its wearer from terrors of the night.
Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx—two types of the layered mineral chalcedony—to create a reddish zebra-striped stone with white bands. It was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans who carried into battle talismans of sardonyx engraved with images of heroes and gods.
Spinel, the newest addition to the August birthstones, comes in a wealth of colors. Most famously, it’s known for its deep red hue that can closely mimic ruby. This led to spinel’s undeserved reputation as a “fake” ruby in the past, but now it’s recognized and appreciated for its own unique qualities.
These diverse birthstones offer a wide array of options for those born in August, from the bright and unique peridot to the classic elegance of spinel.
For those born in September, the spectacular sapphire serves as their birthstone. While typically associated with a deep, celestial blue, sapphires actually come in a wide range of colors – except red.
The red variant of the mineral corundum takes on its own identity as ruby. The name ‘sapphire’ comes from the Greek ‘sappheiros’, which means ‘blue stone’. Sapphires have been cherished for thousands of years for their color and hardness. They are symbols of wisdom, royalty, and divine favor.
Sapphires were believed to protect those close to you from harm and also represented loyalty and trust. This is why sapphires are often used in engagement rings – most famously, Princess Diana’s and now Duchess Catherine’s engagement ring.
In jewelry, sapphires are often cut into cushions or rounded shapes, and their hardness makes them suitable for all types of jewelry, from rings to pendants.
October: Opal, Tourmaline
Those born in October enjoy the choice of two enchanting birthstones – opal and tourmaline.
Opals are celebrated for their captivating display of colors known as ‘play-of-color’. Ancient Romans considered opal a symbol of hope and good fortune. The name ‘opal’ originates from the Greek word ‘opallios’, which means ‘to see a change of color’, perfectly fitting for a stone known for its kaleidoscopic hues.
Tourmaline, on the other hand, is appreciated for its unmatched spectrum of colors. The name comes from the Sinhalese words ‘tura mali’, meaning ‘stone of mixed colors’. It’s said to inspire artistic expression and enhance one’s ability to understand emotions.
In jewelry, both opals and tourmalines are favored for their colorful versatility. Whether you’re drawn to the color-changing allure of opal or the rainbow variety of tourmaline, October’s birthstones offer something for everyone.
Stay tuned as we continue to delve into the fascinating world of birthstones, unveiling the tales and traits that make each one uniquely special.
November: Topaz, Citrine
November babies have two warm and radiant birthstones to choose from – topaz and citrine.
Topaz, named after the Sanskrit word ‘tapas’ meaning ‘fire’, has been cherished for several millennia. While topaz comes in various colors, the prized Imperial Topaz – named after the Russian Czars of the 1800s – has a magnificent orange hue with pink undertones. In folklore, topaz was believed to increase one’s strength and intellect and even provide invisibility in desperate times.
Citrine, on the other hand, is treasured for its captivating yellow to brownish-orange colors. Its name derives from ‘citron,’ a French word meaning ‘lemon’. Citrine was often regarded as a gift from the sun and believed to be a powerful antidote against snake venom. It’s also been associated with prosperity and is often called ‘The Merchant’s Stone’.
Both topaz and citrine are known for their calming energies, warm colors, and affordability. Their vibrant hues make for an eye-catching centerpiece in a variety of jewelry styles.
December: Tanzanite, Zircon, Turquoise
December boasts a trio of three beautiful birthstones – tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise.
Tanzanite, discovered in the mid-20th century in Tanzania, is a relative newcomer to the world of gemstones. Its deep blue and violet hues have quickly made it a modern favorite. Tanzanite is also believed to uplift and open the heart, acting as a soothing and calming influence.
Zircon, available in a variety of colors, is appreciated for its luster and brilliance. The most popular zircons are the vivid blue varieties. This gemstone was believed in the middle ages to promote wisdom, honor, and wealth.
Turquoise, with its distinctive blue-green hues, is one of the oldest known gemstones. Treasured by ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and Aztec Kings, it has always been a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Turquoise is also thought to provide protection and healing, leading to its use as a talisman in many cultures.
Whether it’s the rich blues of tanzanite, the sparkling brilliance of zircon, or the historical appeal of turquoise, December’s birthstones offer an array of choices to fit any mood or outfit. We have now completed our journey through the annual cycle of birthstones, exploring their rich histories, cultural significances, and mythological connections. Each birthstone, with its unique characteristics and stories, offers a distinct and personal way to celebrate your birth month.
|January||Garnet||Red, brown, green, yellow, orange, pink, black||Protection, Trust, Friendship||6.5 – 7.5||Worldwide|
|February||Amethyst||Purple||Wisdom, Spirituality, Sobriety||7||Brazil, Uruguay, Zambia|
|March||Aquamarine, Bloodstone||Light Blue, Green with red spots||Calmness, Courage, Health||7.5 – 8||Brazil, Madagascar, Zambia|
|April||Diamond||Clear, can vary||Love, Strength, Eternity||10||Worldwide|
|May||Emerald||Green||Rebirth, Fertility, Love||7.5 – 8||Colombia, Zambia, Brazil|
|June||Pearl, Alexandrite, Moonstone||White, Color-changing, White with blue sheen||Purity, Love, Longevity||2.5 – 4.5 (Pearl), 8.5 (Alexandrite), 6 – 6.5 (Moonstone)||Worldwide|
|July||Ruby||Red||Passion, Love, Courage||9||Myanmar, Madagascar, Sri Lanka|
|August||Peridot, Sardonyx, Spinel||Green (Peridot), Red and white bands (Sardonyx), Various (Spinel)||Protection, Courage, Beauty||6.5 – 7 (Peridot), 7 (Sardonyx), 8 (Spinel)||Worldwide|
|September||Sapphire||Blue, various colors except red||Wisdom, Royalty, Divine Favor||9||Myanmar, Madagascar, Sri Lanka|
|October||Opal, Tourmaline||Multicolored, Various colors||Creativity, Artistic Expression, Hope||5.5 – 6.5 (Opal), 7 – 7.5 (Tourmaline)||Worldwide|
|November||Topaz, Citrine||Orange, Yellow to Brownish Orange||Strength, Intellect, Prosperity||8 (Topaz), 7 (Citrine)||Worldwide|
|December||Tanzanite, Zircon, Turquoise||Blue, Various colors, Blue-green||Uplifting, Wisdom, Wealth||6 – 7 (Tanzanite), 7.5 (Zircon), 5 – 6 (Turquoise)||Tanzania (Tanzanite), Worldwide (Zircon), Egypt, Iran, United States (Turquoise)|
Modern Use and Significance of Birthstones
Birthstones in contemporary fashion
In today’s world, birthstones are not only seen as symbols of our birth month, but they are also integrated into contemporary fashion as an aesthetic way of expressing one’s individuality. The vibrant colors and varying characteristics of these gemstones offer a broad palette for jewelry designers to work with. The resulting pieces range from minimalist, everyday wear to extravagant, ornamental designs for special occasions.
Whether subtly adorning a sleek pendant or serving as the centerpiece in an ornate ring, birthstones add an extra layer of meaning to jewelry. Their widespread appeal is further enhanced by their adaptability to various styles, from vintage to modern, and their ability to be mixed and matched with other gems and precious metals.
Psychological and emotional significance
Birthstones have been believed to possess certain powers and symbolism for centuries, and many people still regard them with a sense of reverence. Today, these gems often carry psychological and emotional significance, representing aspects of a person’s life, experiences, and personality traits.
Their connection to a specific birth month gives a sense of identity and belonging. Furthermore, the qualities associated with each stone—like wisdom, courage, or calmness—can serve as personal affirmations. Wearing your birthstone can be a daily reminder of your strengths and potential, thereby boosting your morale and self-esteem.
Birthstones as gifts
Birthstones make thoughtful and personalized gifts. Gifting jewelry with someone’s birthstone shows thoughtfulness and care, as it takes into account the recipient’s individuality and the significant aspects of their life. Whether celebrating a birthday, anniversary, graduation, or other milestones, birthstone jewelry can capture the significance of these moments, making them memorable keepsakes.
ConclusionRecap of birthstone meanings
Our journey through the year and the associated birthstones takes us from the deep red garnet of January to the varied gemstones of December. Each birthstone, steeped in history and folklore, carries unique symbolisms and characteristics. They’re associated with ancient myths, religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and even therapeutic properties.
While their origins and interpretations differ across cultures and eras, the unifying theme is the powerful personal connection we form with these stones. Whether it’s the protective garnet, the royal amethyst, the calming aquamarine, or the passionate ruby, each birthstone has its own narrative that can resonate with us on a personal level.Personal reflection and statement
In the end, the value of a birthstone lies not in its price or size, but in its personal and emotional resonance. It’s a piece of the cosmos that we can carry with us, a colorful fragment of our identity. Your birthstone is a testament to the month in which you were born, reflecting its spirit in its colors and qualities.
Whether you wear it for its supposed therapeutic effects, its symbolic meaning, or simply for its beauty, the birthstone remains a charming tradition that combines the allure of precious stones with the significance of personal identity. It stands as a sparkling reminder of our unique place in the grand tapestry of life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does every month have 2 birthstones?
Not every month has two birthstones. Some months have only one designated birthstone, while others may have two or even three. This depends on different cultural and historical factors.
Do birthstones go by month or zodiac?
Birthstones are typically associated with the months of the year, but there are also stones associated with zodiac signs. It’s important to note that the stones associated with zodiac signs do not always coincide with monthly birthstones.
How to check birthstone by date of birth?
To find your birthstone by date of birth, you simply need to match your birth month to the corresponding stone in a birthstone chart. Some individuals may also consider the birthstone associated with their zodiac sign.
What is the rarest birthstone?
The rarest birthstone is generally considered to be Alexandrite, which is the birthstone for the month of June. Its rarity comes from its unique ability to change color under different lighting conditions.
What is the 2 most expensive birthstone?
The two most expensive birthstones are typically considered to be diamond (April) and emerald (May), due to their exceptional quality and rarity.
Which is the luckiest birthstone?
Perceptions of “luck” can be quite subjective and often depend on cultural beliefs. However, some believe that birthstones corresponding to one’s birth month bring the most luck as they are said to align with the wearer’s life force.
What is the weakest birthstone?
If we consider hardness as a measure of strength, then the weakest birthstone is pearl (June), as it is considerably softer and more prone to scratches and damage compared to other birthstones.
Are birthstones precious?
Many birthstones are considered precious or semi-precious stones, including diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. However, the classification as ‘precious’ or ‘semi-precious’ is not necessarily an indicator of value, but rather historical context and usage.
Is aquamarine more expensive than amethyst?
Generally, high-quality aquamarine tends to be more expensive than amethyst due to its relative rarity, although the cost can vary depending on factors such as size, color, clarity, and overall quality.
What is the oldest birthstone?
The concept of birthstones is quite ancient, so it’s hard to pinpoint the “oldest” one. However, references to birthstones can be found in biblical texts, and one of the earliest known sets of birthstones comes from the Jewish High Priest’s breastplate, which included stones like sapphire, emerald, and amethyst.
What is the 5 rarest birthstone?
Considering rarity in terms of occurrence in nature, the five rarest birthstones could be considered to be: Alexandrite (June), Black Opal (October), Paraiba Tourmaline (alternate for October), Pink Star Diamond (alternate for April), and Grandidierite (not a traditional birthstone but one of the rarest gemstones on earth).