A Guide to Birthstones
Each month of the year has been assigned one or more gemstones. A person’s birthstone is the stone associated with the month in which the person was born.This idea can be traced back to ancient times, some say as far back as biblical times.
Since then, the National Association of Jewelers standardized birthstones. The American Gem Trade Association and Jewelers of America last updated the list in 2016. Birthstones are unique and each holds a symbolic meaning.
January – Garnet
Garnet is found in a rainbow of colors. However, it is most commonly known for its red color. Garnet symbolizes a deep and lasting friendship. Legends suggest that garnet brings goodness to those who wear it and do good deeds themselves.
February – Amethyst
Amethyst is a variety of quartz and often appears purple. However, it can range from light pink to deep purple. Historically, Amethyst has been a symbol of royalty, often adorned by royalty and the clergy. Legends say that wearing amethyst can keep the wearer’s mind clear and focused.
March – Aquamarine and Bloodstone
Aquamarine was named for the sea. It’s no wonder why as this gem is found in a range of blues, like the sea. This serene-colored stone has had many symbolic meanings throughout history. It was believed to bring protection to sailors, mend friendships, rekindle love, and cure physical, mental, and spiritual illnesses.
Juxtaposed to aquamarine’s serene, calming colors, is bloodstone. This dark green stone features specks of red. The legends surrounding bloodstones and their “abilities” are somewhat varied. It was believed to possess healing powers and was used as a lucky charm.
April – Diamond
While most popular in a clear form, diamonds can be found in a variety of colors. The purest colors are the rarest. Due to their unique properties, diamonds have the ability to “sparkle” more than any other gemstone. Diamonds were once believed to hold great healing powers. However, they popularly symbolize eternal love, making them a common choice in engagement rings.
May – Emerald
Emeralds come from the same mineral as aquamarine. Rather than shades of blue, emeralds are found in shades of green. This green gemstone symbolizes rebirth. It is believed to bring the wearer luck, youth, and foresight. Emeralds were originally made “famous” by being a favorite gemstone of Cleopatra, and more recently Elizabeth Taylor.
June – Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
Gemstones are naturally occurring. The pearl, however, is the only gemstone made by a living organism (mollusks). Pearls have a creamy luster to them, but can be dyed various colors. Once a rare gemstone, only worn by the wealthy, pearls are now cultured for greater production, making them more affordable for everyone.
Alexandrite is a unique gemstone that changes colors. In the daylight, it appears blue-green and in fluorescent light, it appears purple-red. Historically Alexandrite symbolizes learning, creativity, and intuition.
The final birthstone of June, moonstone, also exhibits unique coloring. Different layers of color create a cloudy illusion. Prominent colors include blue and white. Additional colors range from yellow, pink, green, and gray. This stone is known for fertility, protecting travelers, and encouraging sleep and dreams.
July – Ruby
Rubies are easily recognized by their red hue. This gemstone has been admired since ancient times. It was particularly popular in Asian countries. It stands for protection, prosperity, and passion. The second most durable gemstone next to diamonds, rubies have been utilized in medicine and technology, most prominently in lasers.
August – Peridot, Sardonyx, and Spinel
Peridot is identified by its lime green tint. Referred to as the “evening emerald”, it maintains its hue in any light. It comes to the surface by volcanoes and is occasionally found in meteorites. Historically, peridot protects against nightmares and brings peace and happiness.
Sardonyx is made up of layers of sard and onyx, ranging from yellowish red to reddish brown. Unlike many other gemstones, sardonyx has been affordable for many people throughout history. It is said to promote communication, courage, and happiness.
Spinel is often mistaken for other gemstones, due to its variety of colors and cuts. Most commonly, it is mistaken for rubies and sapphires. One variety of spinel has magnetic properties and has been used in compasses.
September – Sapphire
While sapphire is most commonly recognized as blue, sapphire can be found in every color except red, which are considered rubies. Sapphires symbolize integrity, loyalty, sincerity, and nobility. Sapphires have been popular in recent years, possibly due to the attention on Princess Diana’s sapphire wedding ring, which Prince William has now given to Kate Middleton.
October – Opal and Tourmaline
Opals have a mystical folklore. Legends claim that opals fell from the sky or that rainbows left opals where they touched the earth. Since they reflect different colors, people believed that opals possessed the qualities of all the gemstones. Opals are said to bring good luck to people who wear them, but only if opal is your birthstone.
Similar to opals, tourmaline also reflects a myriad of colors. Tourmaline has the ability to be electrically charged and act as a magnet. Black tourmaline was once used as an amulet to protect people from evil. Even today, tourmaline is used to rid a person of toxins, pollutants, and radiation.
November – Topaz and Citrine
Topaz is commonly thought of as yellow and other gems have been mistaken for topaz for that reason. Topaz is actually colorless, but often tinged with other colors. Topaz is viewed as a calming stone, which has the ability to relax people, alleviate nightmares, and cure mental illness.
Citrine is a variety of quartz that takes a yellow-orange hue. Like topaz, citrine has been considered a comforting stone with the ability to soothe and heal. It is also supposed to bring prosperity, wealth, and new beginnings.
December – Tanzanite, Zircon, and Turquoise
Found only in Tanzania, tanzanite is a more modern gemstone. These gemstones were found in 1967. With a similar appearance to sapphire, tanzanite has rapidly increased in popularity.
Zircon dates back 4.4 billion years, making it the oldest mineral. While zircon can be found in many colors, blue has been the most popular color. Zircon is believed to dispel evil and promote sleep, wealth, and prosperity.
Turquoise has been a popular gemstone in many cultures including the Persians, Turkish, and Native Americans. It has been used to adorn both jewelry and weapons, believed to provide protection and power.
Armentor Jewelers has been serving Acadiana for 78 years. Our mission is to provide quality, value, and 100% customer satisfaction. Stop by today at either our Lafayette, LA or New Iberia, LA location and let us help you find a piece of jewelry featuring your birthstone. For more information, contact us today.
*Photos and information credited to the American Gem Society.