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Birthstones & Months

Birthstones and Months

While most people know their own 'birthstone', the story is as multifaceted as the stones themselves. Today, the birthstone attributed to someone's birth month is worn for special significance. This simple list is just the tip of the iceberg... or should that be diamond?

  • January - Garnet (red/brown) - Loyalty
  • February - Amethyst (purple) - Sincerity
  • March - Aquamarine (light blue) - Courage
  • April - Diamond - Purity
  • May - Emerald (green) - Happiness
  • June - Alexandrite (purple/red) - Health
  • July - Ruby (red) - Love
  • August - Peridot (green) - Enthusiasm
  • September - Sapphire (blue) - Wisdom
  • October - Rose Zircon (Pink) - Hope
  • November - Topaz or Citrine (yellow) - Friendship
  • December - Blue Zircon (blue) - Prosperity

The Story of Birthstones


Many different cultures have attributed special meanings to different gemstones. Mystical Birthstones of Tibetan origin date back over a thousand years and the Ayurvedic birthstone list from ancient India dates back to 1500 BC.

Possibly the first written record of gems with meaning comes from the book of Exodus in the Old Testament where the Breastplate of Aaron is described as a ceremonial garment set with twelve gemstones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Over time, gems with special colours also became associated with the twelve months or signs of the zodiac.

During fifteenth century the custom of wearing birth stones became popular in Poland. Although custom then suggested that the stone for each month was worn by everyone as the powers of the gemstone were heightened during its month.

In 1870, romantic Tiffany & Co published Gregorian calendar poems "of unknown author" detailing birthstones and their meanings in a pamphlet. Most of the stones and meanings listed here are still popular today, although faceted stones are often used in place of bloodstone, pearl, opal or turquoise and some alternates have been adopted to be a less expensive substitute for a cut stone.

By her who in January was born No gem save garnets shall be worn They will ensure her constancy True friendship and fidelity. 
The February born shall find Sincerity and peace of mind, Freedom from passion and from care, If they, the amethyst will wear. 
By her who in March was born No gem save Bloodstone shall be worn They will ensure her constancy True friendship and fidelity. 
She who from April dates her years, Diamonds shall wear, lest bitter tears For vain repentance flow. Who first beholds the light of day In spring's sweet, flower month of May And wears an Emerald all her life Shall be a loved and a loving wife. 
By her who in June was born No gem save Pearls shall be worn They will ensure her constancy True friendship and fidelity. 
The gleaming Ruby should adorn, All those who in July are born, For thus they'll be exempt and free, From lover's doubts and anxiety. 
Wear a Peridot or for thee, No conjugal fidelity, The August born without this stone, `Tis said, must live unloved; alone. 
A maiden born when autumn leaves Are rustling in September's breeze, A Sapphire on her brow should bind; To bring her joy and peace of mind. 
October's child is born for woe, And life's vicissitudes must know, But lay an opal on her breast, And hope will lull those woes to rest. 
Who first comes to this world below In dreary November's fog and snow, Should prize the topaz amber hue, Emblem of friends and lovers true. 
If cold December gave you birth The month of snow and ice and mirth Place on your hand a turquoise blue; Success will bless whate'er you do. 

In 1912, the American national association of jewelers officially adopted a list that is still the most widely used list in the United States - the Modern Birthstone List. Tanzanite is the "newest" birthstone added to December in 2002.

And just in case you don't like any of your birthstone options, you can always choose the stone that represents the day of your birth... although this list can vary too!

Monday: Pearl
Tuesday: Garnet or Ruby
Wednesday: Cymophane (Cat's-eye Chrysoberyl) or Amethyst
Thursday: Emerald or Sapphire
Friday: Topaz or Carnelian
Saturday: Sapphire or Turquoise
Sunday: Ruby or Topaz

Over the years, many different lists of birthstones and meanings have been developed in many cultures, and today many of these birthstone lists are still in existence. Whichever stone appeals to you, the idea that birthstones have special significance still captures the imagination of those gifted with a touch of romance.

January
Modern: garnet
Traditional: garnet
Zodiac gemstone for Capricorn: ruby
Ancient birthstones: Hebrew: garnet, Roman: garnet, Arabic: garnet, Hindu: serpent-stone, Polish: garnet

February
Modern: amethyst
Traditional: amethyst
Zodiac gemstone for Aquarius: garnet
Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: amethyst, Roman: amethyst, Arabic: amethyst, Hindu: chandrakankta, Polish: amethyst

March Modern: aquamarine Traditional: bloodstone, jasper Zodiac gemstone for Pisces: amethyst Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: bloodstone, Roman: bloodstone, Arabic: bloodstone, Hindu: gold-sivalinga, Polish: bloodstone

April
Modern: diamond, cubic zirconia
Traditional: diamond, sapphire
Zodiac gemstone for Aries: bloodstone
Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: sapphire, Roman: sapphire, Arabic: sapphire, Hindu: diamond, Polish: diamond

May
Modern: emerald
Traditional: emerald, agate
Zodiac gemstone for Taurus: sapphire
Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: agate, Roman: agate, Arabic: emerald, Hindu: emerald Polish: emerald

June
Modern: moonstone, pearl, alexandrite
Traditional: alexandrite, emerald
Zodiac gemstone for Gemini: agate Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: emerald, Roman: emerald, Arabic: agate, Hindu: pearl, Polish: agate

July
Modern: ruby Traditional: ruby, onyx Zodiac gemstone for Cancer: emerald Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: onyx, Roman: onyx, Arabic: carnelian, Hindu: sapphire Polish: ruby, Russian: ruby

August
Modern: peridot
Traditional: sardonyx, carnelian
Zodiac gemstone for Leo: onyx
Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: carnelian, Roman: carnelian, Arabic: sardonyx, Hindu: ruby, Polish: sardonyx

September
Modern: sapphire
Traditional: sapphire, peridot
Zodiac gemstone for Virgo: carnelian
Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: peridot, Roman: peridot, Arabic: peridot, Hindu: zircon, Polish: peridot

October
Modern: opal, tourmaline, pink zircon
Traditional: tourmaline, aquamarine
Zodiac gemstone for Libra: peridot
Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: aquamarine, Roman: aquamarine, Arabic: aquamarine Hindu: coral, Polish: aquamarine

November
Modern: topaz, citrine
Traditional: citrine, topaz
Zodiac gemstone for Scorpio: beryl
Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: topaz, Roman: topaz, Arabic: topaz, Hindu: cats-eye Polish: topaz

December
Modern: turquoise, blue topaz, tanzanite
Traditional: zircon, ruby
Zodiac gemstone for Sagittarius: topaz
Ancient traditional birthstones: Hebrew: ruby, Roman: ruby, Arabic: ruby, Hindu: topaz, Polish: turquoise

 





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