Birthstones: Their Significance
Birthstones are gems with rich histories and powerful properties. Discover your birthstone using your birth month and its significance.
Each month of the year is associated with either one or multiple stunning and rare birthstones, allowing us to create a deeper connection with our birth month and ourselves. Along with a jewelry piece with your very own birthstone, jewelry designed with a loved one’s birthstone is the ideal gift for any occasion, from birthdays to romantic holidays.
January Birthstone: Garnet
Garnets of Various Colors
In the later years of the Roman Empire, garnets were the most popular gemstone. The word 'garnet' derives from the Latin word for seedlike, granatus, referring to their similar appearance to pomegranate seeds. Available in a variety of colors, garnets give onlookers the impression that it is emitting light due to its high refractive index (how fast light travels through a material or object).
It is believed that garnets inspire truth and contemplation, providing the wearer with complete protection. In ancient times, garnets symbolized friendships, and they were exchanged between parting friends to not only represent their close bond, but also ensure they will meet again.
The garnet's powerful sparkle influenced travelers and explorers to carry garnets with them while traveling as talismans: a practice continued through the Crusades. The garnet's protective characteristics can also be traced back to other ancient cultures, such as the Aztecs in Central America and several Eastern Asiatic tribes, where warriors would carry garnets into battle. Some of these tribes even constructed arrowheads (and even bullets in the late 19th Century) out of garnets when fighting against enemies who were also using the red gem to protect themselves.
Most garnets are found in the United States, China, Australia and India.
February Birthstone: Amethyst
A member of the Quartz family and highly valued for its crystal structure and deep violet color, amethysts have been set in jewelry since the times of Ancient Egypt. The purple gemstone gets its name from the Greek word amethystos, which translates to 'not drunk' or 'sober.' Ancient Greeks carried and covered their drinking vessels with amethysts.
The purple gemstone symbolizes a significant amount of metaphysical and spiritual power. Amethyst promotes balance, hope, tranquility, joy and wisdom, while also easing fear. By soothing the mind, it helps lead one’s soul toward greater levels of understanding and self-awareness.
According to a Greek myth, Dionysus, the god of wine and festivities, had become enraged with all mortals after one had insulted him by refusing Dionysus hospitality, and he vowed to punish the next mortal he came across. The mortal, who happened to be a young woman named Amethystos, was on her way to pay homage and pray to the goddess Artemis when she soon realized she was in trouble. Amethystos cried out and pleaded to Artemis, who then transformed her into a white statue and consequently saved her life. When he laid eyes on it, Dionysus was touched by the statue's innocence, and in the act of repentance, he emptied his wine cup on top of it, turning it a deep purple.
Large amethyst deposits can be found all over the world, but the largest ones are in Uruguay and Brazil.
March Birthstones: Aquamarine and Bloodstone
Aquamarine and Bloodstone
The birthstones of March are aquamarine and bloodstone.
The word Aquamarine comes from the combination of two words, aqua meaning ‘water’, and marina, meaning ‘the sea’; thus, the gemstone was named after the beautiful blue sea.
Sailors used to sail with aquamarine gems to bring them good luck on the seas and ensure a safe journey. Aquamarine traditionally helps pregnant women by protecting both the mother and child from peril. Wearing aquamarine is thought to promote youth, good health, love and overall happiness.
The Hebrews, Sumerians and Egyptians greatly valued and admired the aquamarine. In William Langland’s 1377 “The Vision Concerning Piers and the Plowman,” it states the light blue gem was an antidote for poison. Due to the high amount of poisoning amongst royalty, aquamarine was in high demand. In Buddhism, aquamarine is the traditional gift given from a husband to his wife after their wedding day because the gemstone is also associated with happy and long lasting marriages.
Aquamarine is found in Brazil, the United States, Malawi, Pakistan, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Colombia, Russia and Sri Lanka.
Bloodstone’s alternate name heliotrope originates from the Ancient Greek word that means ‘to turn the sun’. In ancient times, bloodstones were said to turn the sun red if they were submerged in water. The gemstone is known as the martyr’s stone because Medieval Christians would carve scenes of crucifixion of various martyrs into bloodstones.
Bloodstones are believed to promote strength, prodive indivisibility and preserve youth and health. Today some people consider the bloodstone to be a talisman, revered and highly valued by athletes and people who want to increase their strength. The bloodstone is deemed an aphrodisiac in present-day India when they are crushed into a powder.
Bloodstones can be found in Brazil, India, the United States, China, Australia and many other countries.
April Birthstone: Diamond
April's birthstone is the strong and versatile diamond. Its name originates from the Latin adamas, which is derived from Greek, meaning ‘untamed’ and ‘invincible’. The diamond is known for being one of the world's rarest and most beloved gemstones. Diamonds earn their special recognition partially for their hardness, which is 58 times greater than any other mineral on Earth.
Diamonds are believed to promote clarity and ever lasting romance to the wearer, while they are also associated with longevity. Some people believe diamonds bestow inner peace, as they consider the clear gemstone to symbolize internal and external harmony and beauty.
Once considered to be lighting on Earth, diamonds have been adored for thousands of years in diverse civilizations worldwide. Today, they're often given as engagement rings.
Diamond gems are mined in Russia, Botswana and South Africa. Most industrial diamonds are found in Australia. The sparkling stone can also be found in China, Siberia, India, the United States, Brazil and Canada.
May Birthstone: Emerald
The verdant emerald is the birthstone of May. It gets its name from the Latin and Ancient Greek words smaragdus, meaning ‘green gem’. People from ancient times associated the emerald with Venus, or the goddess Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love and beauty because the gemstone is said to represent successful and mature love.
In Ancient Egypt, the emerald was seen as a gift from Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom. Cleopatra is thought to have loved emeralds so much that she even claimed ownership of every emerald mine in Ancient Egypt during her rule.
Emeralds are considered a symbol of wisdom and longevity, and they are believed to promote clairvoyance, increased intelligence and protection against evil. If an emerald is given to a romantic partner, and both lovers are loyal to one another, it is believed the viridescent gemstone glows a deeper green color. If the heart is led astray, the emerald turns into a different, lifeless color.
Emeralds are predominantly found in Colombia, Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Zambia.
June Birthstones: Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone
Dark Green Alexandrite, White Pearl and Moonstone
June has three birthstones: pearl, alexandrite and moonstone.
The English word 'pearl' originates from the French word perle, signifying led and referring to a mollusk shell's leg shape in which the gemstone is formed. Most pearls you currently find in the marketplace are actually cultured on a pearl farm.
Pearls were given as presents to Chinese royalty as early on as 2300 BC, but in Ancient Rome, they were thought to be the ultimate status symbol. Pearls are believed to provide protection, attract wealth and good luck and are famous for their calming effects. They also symbolize purity, integrity, generosity and loyalty.
A majority of pearls come from the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and southern China.
The alexandrite is named after Tsar Alexander II when it was first discovered in Russia in 1834. Since the discovery of alexandrite, the gemstone is believed to bring love and good fortune.
In Russia, alexandrites are stones of excellent omen, as they are thought to bring balance in the interaction between the physical world and the spiritual world. Natural alexandrite gems are much rarer than diamonds and even more expensive than precious gemstones like emeralds, rubies and sapphires. This gemstone comes in a variety of different colors.
Alexandrite can often be sourced in East Africa, Brazil and Sri Lanka.
Moonstone is named after its resemblance with the moon and often associated with both the Ancient Greek and Roman lunar deities, Selene and Luna respectively. In Hindu mythology, it is believed that moonstones are made of solidified moonbeams.
These gems exhibit the optical phenomenon adularescence, with the light moving across the moonstone similar to moonlight across a body of calm water.
Moonstone is considered as a gemstone that promotes fertility, love and passion and bestows luck to the wearer. The silver-blue gemstone is also believed to alleviate fear from change.
Moonstone can be found in parts of the United States, Brazil, India, Tanzania, Madagascar and Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
July Birthstone: Ruby
The empowering red ruby is the birthstone of July. Derived from the Latin word for ‘red,’ rubeus, the ruby is the preferred gemstone to represent being in love and in power, as it inspires more emotion than any other gemstone.
Rubies are traditionally associated with the sun, symbolic of the gem’s great power. The ruby is considered to represent life and blood and, as well as increase courage, as the gemstone’s energy promotes physical and emotional benefits. The red gem is a very intimate stone, inspiring passion and love and empowering sexuality.
The ruby is deemed as the stone of nobility because it was often favored by kings. Their admiration for the exuberant gem was so powerful that it is said Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan exchanged a city for a sizable ruby. Warriors in Burma used to implant the red gemstone into their skin before going into battle for courage and protection.
The Mogok Valley in Burma is eminent for its deep red colored rubies. Rubies can also be found in Vietnam, the United States, India and Thailand.
August Birthstone: Peridot, Spinel and Sardonyx
Pink Spinels, Green Peridots and a Sardonyx in the center
The birthstones of August are the stunning peridot and multicolored spinel.
Peridots have a vibrant light green glow, with its name possibly originating from the Arabic word for gem, faridat or Greek word peridona, which stands for ‘giving plenty’.
Peridots are believed to bring restful sleep, good health and peace to all relationships by soothing and balancing both the mind and emotions. The light green gemstone also inspires creative thought and eloquence, while also promoting bliss. Peridots are often found along divergent plate boundaries and hot spots such as the island of Hawaii. The light green gemstone is believed to symbolize the tears of the volcano goddess, Pele, in Hawaiian folklore.
Most of the world's peridots come from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, which produced approximately 95 percent of the world's peridot supply. At the same time, they can also be found in Myanmar, China and Pakistan.
Spinel is named after the Latin word spina, meaning ‘thorn,’ which refers to the natural shape of spinel crystals. Spinels are available in many different colors, such as blue, violet, red, purple, pink, bluish green, and even orange.
It is believed spinel gemstones help people put aside their egos and promote romantic devotion. Very similar to red gemstones, spinel are said to promote longevity and great passion. The multicolored gemstone is with the root Chakra, rendering it powerful in increasing stamina and physical energy.
For many centuries, the powerful stone was mistaken for other gemstones, such as rubies. Some of the world’s most famous ‘rubies’ actually turned out to be spinels. It was not until the 18th century that spinel was separated from ruby due to their chemical differences. Today, the legendary red spine is set into Great Britain’s Imperial State Crown.
Spinel can be sourced in Myanmar, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Vietnam.
Sardonyx, also known as onyx, is named after the capital of the Greek city Lydia, Sardis.
In Ancient Rome, women wore sardonyx necklaces with cameos of the goddess of love, Venus, because they hoped to harness the goddess’ power.
Sardonyx is believed to promote virtuous conduct and integrity. The stone is thought to bestow long-lasting stability and happiness to any partnership, especially marriage. Wearing sardonyx jewelry is said to attract good luck and friends. Much like the ruby and spinel, sardonyx stones increase self-control, vigor and energy.
Ancient Romans always wore sardonyx jewelry into battle, such as rings, with carvings of the god of war, Mar, as a form of protection. The stone was also famous for Roman signet rings and seals used to imprint wax emblems on documents because hot wax does not stick to Sardonyx.
Sardonyx can be sourced in Sri Lanka, Uruguay, India and Brazil.
September Birthstone: Sapphire
September's birthstone is the heavenly sapphire. Derived from the Latin word saphirus and Greek word sappheiros meaning ‘blue,’ sapphires attract divinity and protect the wearer from envy. Sapphires are one of the hardest gemstones, rendering them strong enough to handle heavy wear and tear.
Kings used to wear sapphires to protect themselves from peril, and Ancient Persian rulers even believed the sky was painted blue by the sapphire’s reflection, symbolic of the gem’s strong connection with the heavens and its powerful energy and beauty.
The blue gemstone is often associated with fidelity and romantic love and devotion. It inspires inner peace and self-fulfillment, while also evoking transformative energy. Sapphires are said to increase one’s hope, joy and faith.
Deep blue sapphires can be found from Kashmir in India, a location infamous for sourcing some of the world's best azur sapphires.
October Birthstone(s): Tourmaline or Opal
Multicolored Opal and Tourmaline
Like June, October has two birthstones: tourmaline and opal.
Tourmaline gets its name from when a Spanish conquistador washed dirt from a green tourmaline gemstone and confused it with emerald. His confusion about the stone’s true identity is reflected in its name tura mali, which is Sinhalese for ‘mixed colored stone’.
The multicolored semi-precious stone has many positive attributes when discussing the spiritual realm, as the tourmaline gemstone is believed to bring healing powers to a shaman. Tourmaline is a receptive stone, which means it is soothing and magnetic while also promoting wisdom, meditation, mysticism and spirituality.
Tourmaline primarily comes from the United States, Russia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The other birthstone is the transformative opal named after the Greek word opallios, which loosely translates into "to see a change of color," which is demonstrated when the stone is viewed from different angles. Many geologists believe opals originated from Ethiopia around 4000 BC.
Opal is well-known for its power to bring its characteristics to the surface for further examination and transformation. Just as the gemstone absorbs and reflects light, it is also believed to pick up desires, thoughts, buried emotions and feelings, while amplifying and returning them to the source.
Most of the opal in the world can be found in Australia.
November Birthstone(s): Topaz or Citrine
Purple and Orange Topaz and Citrine
Both topaz and citrine are the exquisite birthstones associated with the birth month of November. Topaz is more commonly related to the November month and comes in various colors and yellow hues. The topaz gets its name from the Greek name of St. John's Island located in the Red Sea, Topazios. Yellow gems were mined on this island, but they were most likely not topaz gemstones.
It is also a stone of love and good fortune and highly effective for accomplishing goals. It is an ideal gemstone for attracting the right person into one's life, business, friendship or love or even improving existing relationships because it inspires honesty, faithfulness and trust.
Most topaz in the world is mined in Brazil. However, it's also found in Mexico, Sri Lanka, the United States, Russia, Germany, Nigeria, Pakistan, Australia, and India.
Citrine has a long history, dating back to when it was a decorative gem in Ancient Greece during the Hellenistic Age all the way to the Art Deco Era between both World Wars. In 1556, the yellow gemstone went from being known as ‘yellow quartz’ to ‘citrine’. Many believe it gets its name from the French word citron, meaning ‘lemon’, because of its citrus hues.
Citrine is an excellent crystal for existing interpersonal relationships, as it smooths family and group problems, promoting cohesiveness, solutions, understanding and dealing with absorbed impressions from those around us. Like topaz, carrying a citrine gem attracts happiness and love and protects you against those who can break your heart. Citrine is also believed to be an effective shield against jealousy and spite.
Most citrine gemstones are found in Brazil, but natural citrine can also be sourced in France, Madagascar and Russia.
December Birthstone(s): Tanzanite, Zircon or Turquoise
Turquoise, Tanzanite and Blue Zircon
December has three birthstones: tanzanite, zircon and turquoise. Each stone is a deep blue color and has its significance.
Tanzanite is a rare gem that was discovered by Maasai herders in Tanzania. These herders came across the deep blue gemstones and notified a prospector to register the area with the government to begin mining. Tiffany and Company became the primary distributor of tanzanite and wanted to showcase its rare geographical source. The infamous jewelry company named the blue gemstone after Tanzania.
Tanzanite is believed to stimulate the throat, third-eye, and crown chakras, because it activates psychic abilities, facilitating communication with higher spiritual dimensions. The blue gemstone is also a stone of transformation and change helps in dissolving old patterns of disease and karma.
Tanzanite gemstones can be sourced in northern Tanzania.
Zircon is named after the Persian word zargun, which signifies ‘gold-colored,’ because it comes in various colors. The most popular color of the zircon gem, blue zircon, in particular, is considered an alternative birthstone for December and can range in color from pastel blue to bright blue.
Zircon is said to have first formed at the same time as Earth, rendering the gemstone as one of the oldest formed stones. It has been known and used for a very long time. In the middle ages, the rare gem was believed to help the wearer while sleeping and promotes wisdom, honor and prosperity, especially with golden and yellow zircon.
Zircon gemstones can be found on every continent including Antarctica, but larger and better quality zircon crystals are produced in Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
From the French, pierre turquoise, which means ‘Turkish stone,’ trade routes used to bring turquoise into Europe from central Asia's mines went through Turkey. Venetian merchants also used to purchase the stone in Turkish bazaars.
Turkish soldiers would use turquoise as amulets for protection against dangers of any kind. Many believe that the physical condition of the wearer affects the quality and color of turquoise. When the owner is sad or sick, the turquoise gem becomes pale, is stripped of color when the wearer dies, and eventually regains its light blue color when given to a healthy new owner.
Good quality turquoise can be sourced in Egypt, Mexicon, Iran, Northwest China, Mexico and the southwestern part of the United States, such as Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona.