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May 11, 2021 10 min read
Wearing birthstones allows you to express your individuality and gives others a glimpse of your personality. When shopping for birthstone jewelry or simply trying to find your birthstone, you have more than one gem to choose from. No month is limited to only one stone. Birthstones by month are a popular choice, but you may prefer a less traditional option, like the stone of your zodiac sign or a stone with special meaning. We’ll help you find your birthstone or the perfect birthstone gift for a special person in your life.
Where did birthstones come from? Identifying with a particular, personal gemstone can be traced back to antiquity. The meaning of gemstones progressed from ancient religious symbolism to magical mysticism in the Middle Ages. Gemstones were once used for medicinal purposes, but today many consider them to have a more powerful influence over mood and mental health than physical healing.
The ancient Israelite High Priest wore twelve gemstones of special significance on a golden breastplate. Each stone was engraved with the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The breastplate included the following four rows of gems:
Stones later became less symbolic and more magical and medicinal. Hildegard von Bingen and Leonardo Da Vinci both wrote of the healing powers of different gems. In 16th-century Germany or Poland, gemstones were first matched to individuals based on their zodiac sign. At that time, birthstones and zodiac stones were exactly the same, but today they’re different.
Until the early 20th-century, the best stones for an individual varied by culture, religion, or personal preference. Even today birthstone lists vary and you can find multiple stones for different months or astrological signs. In 1912, birthstones were standardized based on marketable gems. Since then, certain birth months have been assigned a modern variation.
You couldn’t choose the month you were born in, but you do have choices when finding your birthstone determined by your unique personality and style.
|Birthstone Month||Traditional Birthstone||Modern Birthstone||Birthstone Colors||Birthstone Meanings|
|January||Garnet||Garnet||Dark red||Faith and fidelity|
|February||Amethyst||Amethyst||Violet||Temperance and deep love|
|March||Bloodstone||Aquamarine||Dark green or pale blue||Happiness and tranquility|
|May||Emerald||Emerald||Bright green||Joy and vitality|
|June||Alexandrite||Pearl or Moonstone||Iridescent or White||Purity and sincerity|
|July||Ruby||Ruby||Bold red||Passionate love|
|August||Sardonyx||Peridot||Light green||Creative expression|
|September||Sapphire||Sapphire||Dark blue||Wisdom and loyalty|
|October||Opal or Aquamarine||Tourmaline||Pink or play of color||Gentleness and compassion|
|November||Tiger’s eye||Topaz or Citrine||Orange or golden-brown||Self-confidence and kindness|
|December||Turquoise or blue zircon||Blue topaz||Bright blue||Peace and calmness|
Garnet is the traditional January birthstone, it symbolizes faith, fidelity, and true friendship. The name is derived from the Latin word for pomegranate due to its rich red color. In the past, the garnet was worn for protection and extra boldness in battle or while traveling and as a guard against poison. The stone was a favorite of Vikings and is often discovered among unearthed Viking jewelry. Medieval medicine believed the garnet reduced inflammation or fever. It was also thought to bring sleep and wealth to the wearer.
Color: Dark red
Mohs hardness: 7-7.5
Amethyst is the February birthstone, it symbolizes intellect, temperance, and love. The rich purple or light lavender quartz is most commonly found in geodes. Because of its supposed power to stop excessive passion and desire and to overcome temptation, the stone has remained popular among religious leaders throughout history. The amethyst has been dedicated to St. Valentine as well as the Greek god of wine, Bacchus. The stone received its name after the nymph Amethystos who turned into a stone to hide from Bacchus’ pursuit. Hildegard von Bingen wrote that the amethyst could treat skin ailments and cure tumors. The amethyst was also believed to protect against drunkenness if wine was sipped from an amethyst cup.
Mohs hardness: 7
Shop our entire amethyst jewelry collection.
Aquamarine is the modern March birthstone, it’s the stone of the sea. Its Latin name means seawater, “aqua” meaning “water” and “marina” meaning “sea.” Its clear blue color seems scraped from the surface of waves or collected from seafoam. Legend has it that mermaids are the source of the stone, and sailors believed the aquamarine would protect them from dangers at sea by channeling the power of Neptune. The aquamarine is one of the clearest gems and its transparency makes it highly reflective and eye-catching. The stone is believed to bring tranquility as well as a happy marriage, which makes it an excellent alternative engagement stone.
Color: Pale blue
Mohs hardness: 7.5-8
Alternative Traditional March Birthstone: Bloodstone
Diamond is the April birthstone and the most durable of all the birthstones. Its dependability and enduring beauty also make it the traditional engagement ring choice. Western cultures associated the diamond with the planet Jupiter, but the Hindu religion tied it to Venus, which symbolized love. The clarity of the diamond has led to the perception of the stone as a symbol of purity. The gemstone was also used as medicine reserved for wealthy royalty and religious leaders in ancient cultures.
Mohs hardness: 10
Emerald is the May birthstone, and it’s known as the stone of joy and vitality. In ancient times it symbolized fertility and rebirth. The bright green color and new life associated with the emerald make it the perfect stone for spring. Emeralds aren’t flawless, but their flaws, or inclusions, are what add character. The emerald’s inclusions are called jardins, the French word for gardens, because its markings resemble tiny wildflower patches in a green, grassy field. According to medieval medicine, emeralds cured headaches and epilepsy and rejuvenated the spirit.
Mohs hardness: 7.5-8
Pearl is the modern June birthstone, it provides wisdom, integrity, and truth. Pearl is an emblem of perfection with its smooth exterior and glossy sheen. Many creation myths surround the pearl. Some ancient cultures believed it to be the handiwork of mythological creatures like nymphs and dragons; others believed it to be a product of thunderstorms or the tears of gods. In reality, pearls grow in mollusks and require several years to cultivate. Pearls are the softest birthstones and require a little extra love and care. The moonstone resembles the pearl and is an alternative birthstone for June.
Mohs hardness: 2.5-4
Traditional alternative: Alexandrite
Shop our entire pearl jewelry collection.
Ruby is the July birthstone, it’s a symbol of love, power, and passion and is not to be worn by the faint of heart. As the gemstone of love, the ruby makes the perfect anniversary or Valentine’s Day gift. Rubies are valued by their striking color--the deeper the red, the more valuable the ruby. Rubies once adorned weapons since they were believed to protect from harm and give a competitive advantage and the vibrant red could strike fear into the hearts of enemies. The stone was used in ancient and medieval medicine for blood circulation and heart stimulation, in addition to many other cures. The ruby is also believed to provide concentration and fervor. Those who wear rubies are said to be invincible and irresistible.
Color: Bold red
Mohs hardness: 9
Shop our entire ruby jewelry collection.
Meaning: Peridot is the modern August birthstone. Peridots are bright and vibrant, creating joy and positivity. It’s also the stone of creative expression and eloquence. Peridots are formed from volcanic activity and the only gems besides diamonds that come from the earth’s crust. They make the perfect summer stone because of their vibrance. Some people use peridots to detox, boost metabolism, or regenerate low spirits. Peridots are a type of mineral called olivine, but peridots come in a wide assortment of greens, from a muted olive or forest green to bright lime.
Mohs hardness: 6.5-7
Traditional alternative: Sardonyx
Shop our entire peridot jewelry collection.
Sapphire is the September birthstone. The celestial sapphire is believed to illuminate the mind with wisdom, spiritual insight, and mental clarity. In relationships, the sapphire symbolizes loyalty, faithfulness, and longevity, making this gem the most popular alternative engagement stone. Sapphire is thought to provide personal motivation and assurance. Ancient medicine prescribed sapphires to cure ailments of the eyes. However, the sapphire was often confused with lapis lazuli, a vibrant blue but semi-precious stone, before modern mineralogy.
Color: Dark blue
Mohs hardness: 9
Shop our entire sapphire jewelry collection.
Tourmaline is the October birthstone. The pink tourmaline has sweet and sensitive energy. It helps restore relationships, repair broken hearts, and instill a love for humanity. Tourmalines come in many colors, but pink, the rarest of them all, is associated with October. The watermelon tourmaline is both pink and green and symbolizes compassion and selflessness. Some people believe the tourmaline to have probiotic powers--aiding digestion and boosting the immune system. Rubbing the stone causes an electrical charge and when held to the light, a tourmaline may display a “cat-eye,” known as chatoyancy.
Mohs hardness: 7-7.5
Alternative Traditional October Birthstone: Opal, Aquamarine
Shop our entire tourmaline jewelry collection or opal jewelry collection.
Topaz is the November birthstone, referred to as the “fire stone” and has bold and intense energy. It sparks purpose, zeal, and passion and gives self-confidence and an extra glow. It’s also said to promote kindness and charity. The ancient topaz was associated with the sun gods Ra and Jupiter. Legend has it that the topaz can quench thirst and prevent bad dreams. In its natural state, the topaz is clear colorless, orange, or golden-brown, but it’s often treated to give the stone additional colors, like the beautiful blue topaz.
Color: orange or golden-brown
Mohs hardness: 8
Traditional alternative: Citrine
Blue Topaz is the December Birthstone. This cool and clear gemstone soothes and calms the mind and soul. It promotes good communication, quiets chaos, and provides the wearer with a good night’s sleep. Because of its calming properties, this stone is often used in meditation. The blue topaz is a cooling stone and was once given to hot-tempered people or high-fevered patients to cool them off. Blue topaz comes in different shades--the pale blue gem is called a sky blue topaz, medium blue is a Swiss blue topaz, and deep blue is a London blue topaz.
Color: Bright blue
Mohs hardness: 8
Shop our entire blue topaz jewelry collection.
You can also find your birthstone by your zodiac sign. Ancient and medieval astrologers assigned gemstones to the planets, believing them to be a direct reflection of the stars. Gemstones brought humans closer to the heavens by connecting personalities to constellations. Originally, zodiac stones and birthstones were one and the same, but today zodiac birthstones are mostly semi-precious, while standard birthstones include many precious gems.
|Aries birthstone||Mar. 21-Apr. 20||Red jasper||Red||Bloodstone, ruby|
|Taurus birthstone||Apr. 21-May 20||Rose quartz||Pink||Sapphire, emerald, carnelian|
|Gemini birthstone||May 21-June 21||Tiger’s eye||Brown||Onyx, topaz|
|Cancer birthstone||June 22-July 22||Chrysoprase||Green||Diamond, moonstone, emerald|
|Leo birthstone||July 23-Aug. 23||Rock crystal||Clear||Onyx, ruby, diamond|
|Virgo birthstone||Aug. 24-Sept. 23||Citrine||Yellow||Zircon, beryl, jasper|
|Libra birthstone||Sept. 24-Oct. 23||Orange citrine||Orange||Diamond, opal, peridot|
|Scorpio birthstone||Oct. 24-Nov. 22||Carnelian||Deep red||Obsidian, ruby, topaz|
|Sagittarius birthstone||Nov. 23-Dec. 21||Sapphire||Dark blue||Topaz, spinel, amethyst|
|Capricorn birthstone||Dec. 22-Jan. 20||Onyx||Black||Ruby, green tourmaline|
|Aquarius birthstone||Jan. 21-Feb. 19||Turquoise||Blue||Garnet, jasper|
|Pisces birthstone||Feb. 20-Mar. 20||Amethyst||Purple||Opal, sapphire, moonstone|
If you love all colors of gemstones and don’t want to limit your choices or make a commitment to a particular stone, you can choose which birthstone you wear by the day of the week. Calendar days were named after the sun, moon, and planets, and their corresponding stones were believed to absorb the energies of the planets and pass them to the wearer.
|Day of the week||Stone||Color|
|Monday||Moonstone or pearl||White|
|Tuesday||Ruby or garnet||Red|
|Wednesday||Turquoise, sapphire, or lapis lazuli||Blue|
Now that you’ve found your birthstone, browse our entire collection of birthstone jewelry to find a one-of-a-kind piece that speaks to you.
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