Birthstones have been around since the 16th century, and they continue to be popular today. Traditionally, each gemstone was thought to imbue the wearer with special powers or attract positive things to them. Whether you believe the folklore surrounding them or not, birthstones are a thoughtful, personalized gift to give a loved one. Explore our Birthstone Guide to find the characteristics and symbolism behind each month’s gemstone.
January | Garnet
Fiery garnet is the birthstone for January. While most think of the rich red coloring when they picture this stone, garnet comes in a rainbow of colors. No matter the hue, from the bright orange of the Mandarin Garnet to the verdant green of the Tsavorite Garnet, this beautiful precious stone’s meaning of friendship, courage, trust, and truth remains the same. Its symbolism of unwavering trust is one of the reasons why sweethearts exchange garnet jewelry on their 16th or 19th wedding anniversary.
February | Amethyst
A stone that is said to promote healing and calmness, amethyst is a variety of quartz that can range from a deep, royal purple to lighter shades of lilac. Many royals in Europe adorned their crown with amethysts throughout history, as purple is closely associated with royalty. Even within the same stone, the intensity of the color can fluctuate, making this one of the most interesting stones to gift someone.
March | Aquamarine
March heralds the beginning of spring, a perfect match for lovely aquamarine. These gemstones represent youth, hope, and good health. Aquamarine can be found all over the world, with the first record of it from 300 B.C. It gets its name from the Latin phrase “aqua marinus,” meaning water of the sea. A name it lives up to, as the color can vary from a misty blue to a tropical aqua. These lovely shades work wonders when paired with summer and spring wardrobes.
April | Diamond
Diamonds were made famous in the early 20th century as the stone to use in an engagement ring. Its symbol of love endures to this day. Created when carbon is exposed to intense pressure and heat, diamonds can take millions, if not billions, of years to form. One of the most popular and widely available diamonds is the colorless diamond. However, this stone comes in many different hues, such as pink, yellow, blue (the most famous example of a blue diamond is the Hope Diamond).
May | Emerald
The rich green of emerald is associated with rebirth and love. The ancient Greeks even went so far as to say that it was the favored gem of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. This stone’s popularity does not end with goddesses; royalty has preferred emeralds for their rarity and stunning color. The most famous example is the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, who loved the gem so much that she had dedicated mines to supply her with this precious stone.
June | Pearl and Alexandrite
June has the luxury of having two birthstones. The ever-sophisticated pearl has a long history behind it, thanks to its luster and beauty. Available in different shades like the blush pink Ayoka Pearl and the black Tahitian Pearl, these precious stones are a favorite for those that want to show the world their impeccable taste. Meanwhile, alexandrite is an extremely rare gemstone prized for its dynamic coloring. Alexandrite changes color depending on the light and angle. The ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors has amazed and delighted wearers for decades.
July | Ruby
Considered the “King of Gemstones” and one of the most valuable jewels on the market, the brilliant ruby symbolizes love, success, and wisdom. Rarer than diamonds, rubies’ value increases or decreases according to their hue, quality, and intensity. In ancient times, Burmese warriors embedded rubies into their skin or placed them on their weapons before battle as a good luck charm. Nowadays, if you want to express passion and devotion to a loved one, a ruby necklace or ring sends the right message.
August | Peridot and Spinel
Found under the Earth’s crust, in lava and meteorites, light green peridot is often associated with power and influence. The dewy yellow-green color of the stone is reminiscent of meadows and lemongrass. Another birthstone for August, Spinel, is a chameleon, coming in many different colors. Red spinels have often been mistaken for rubies, so much so that some ancient crowns found to have used spinel instead of the intended stone!
September | Sapphire
Sapphire is breathtaking in its velvety blue form, but it is no less stunning in its pink, green, and yellow variations. Not only does this stone come in a variety of hues, but sapphires are also some of the hardest precious stones, making them ideal for everyday wear. Representing loyalty and trust, sapphires are one of the most popular colored gemstones chosen for engagement rings. There is no better way to tell a sweetheart that you will remain true than with a piece of sapphire jewelry.
October | Tourmaline and Opal
Both of October’s birthstones shine brilliantly in unexpected ways. Tourmaline is a popular choice, thanks to the sheer amount of colors it comes in. Tourmaline is found in more colors than any other gem, making it an easily customizable piece. The other October birthstone, Opal, is well-loved for its striking color combinations. The stone’s iridescent surface flashes a rainbow of color as it hits the light, causing an awe-inspiring display.
November | Citrine and Topaz
November is well into fall for people in the Northern Hemisphere, with the leaves changing colors and fall vegetables coming into season. In a way, it makes perfect sense that the warm orange of Citrine is one of the November birthstones. It is said to be a gift from the sun in folklore, and many believed that it could heal injuries and illnesses. Topaz is the second birthstone for this month. While the deep Imperial orange topaz is the most popular hue associated with this month, it also comes in various colors like blue, pink, and yellow.
December | Zircon, Tanzanite, and Turquoise
Ending the year with a bang, December lays claim to three birthstones in different shades of blue. Zircon is available in other colors, but most agree that its brilliant blue tone is the most remarkable. Named from its origin, Tanzania, Africa, tanzanite takes a different approach, mixing shades of purple into its hue for a lovely blue-violet coloring. Important to many civilizations throughout history, beautiful turquoise represents hope. This gorgeous stone can range from green to blue, with black veins running throughout it.