‘Birthstones’, as the name implies, are the precious colored stones that hold symbolic affiliation to our birth, or more precisely, to our birth month. Each of the twelve months of the year has been dedicated with a unique birthstone or more. The specific month birthstone is believed to shower those born in the month with exceeding fortunes and a strengthened fortitude.
Emanating a resplendent beauty, these birthstones in varied colors are captivating to the eye. Such is the lure that it is hard to miss the mesmerizing deep red hues of the January birthstone, Garnet, or the soothing marine fluorescence of the March birthstone, Aquamarine. The rich deep blues of the December birthstone, Tanzanite, exude unparalleled luxuriance, as does the much popular and elite greens of the September birthstone, Sapphire.
Given they resonate with our birth months, these precious stones are incorporated into jewelry designs to craft stunning birthstone jewelry. They make for much treasured and sentimental gift pieces for our loved ones born that month. Interestingly, a few of these birthstones also mark their place as the befitting gifts for wedding anniversaries. Read on as we unravel the history and symbolism of these birthstones that continue to enamor our senses with their enigmatic appeal.
History And Origin Of The Birthstones
As we know of them today, the birthstones hold their first traces of origin to the Biblical references. In Exodus 28, Moses, a prophet of God and the first High Priest of the Israelites, was instructed by God to prepare a crystal breastplate for his brother Aaron, the priest. It was supposed to be encrusted with 12 stones. Each stone to be engraved with a unique name of the children of Israel. Adhering to the specifications, Moses bejeweled the breastplate with 12 precious gemstones, including a diamond, a sapphire, an emerald, an onyx, a jasper, and more, spreading them across four rows. Considered a shield of judgment, Aaron was supposed to adorn this breastplate every time he went to a holy place to pay his tributes to the Lord.
Over time, these twelve gemstones were associated with twelve months of the year, signifying a particular relevance to that month. In 1912, with an intent to standardize, the ‘The Jewelers of America’ organization incorporated a new list of the 12 astrological birthstones, holding on to a few gemstones from the biblical times and dropping off a few others. Today, this modern compilation is religiously adhered to, regarded as the most sacrosanct and definitive astrological birthstone chart across the globe.
Birthstones by Month – Color, Symbolism, And Other Trivia
JANUARY BIRTHSTONE - GARNET
The intense deep red color of the January birthstone Garnet is fascinating to the core. Representing fertility and rebirth, the gemstone is believed to open doors to new opportunities and unprecedented wisdom for the wearer. The East also holds it capable of warding away negative feelings of self-doubt, guilt, and depression, thereby inducing greater self-confidence and emotional strength in an individual. Garnet is both a January birthstone and the perfect gift to mark the second wedding anniversary.
Bearing semblance to a pomegranate seed owing to the magnificent red color, the name ‘Garnet‘ is derived from the medieval Latin word, Granatus, meaning ‘pomegranate’. Such is the royal undertones of the gem that even in ancient Egypt, the aristocratic pharaohs would adorn necklaces and rings studded with luscious, red garnet stones. Victorian Era, known much for its sartorial grandiosity, also looked at this red marvel stone as a piece of beauty to embed their fine jewelry and crowns. A popular gemstone, Garnet comes from various regions and parts of the world. Though the African continent contributes majorly to the world’s total garnet accumulation, the January birthstone is found in considerable proportions in countries like India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE - AMETHYST
This vibrant purpled-hued quartz stone has enjoyed ardent partisanship with royalty and the rich since times forever. For most of Europe and Asia’s ancient influential families, owning a splendid jewelry piece encrusted with amethyst was a mark of their regality and distinction. Derived from the Greek word amethystos, meaning ‘not intoxicating’, the February birthstone is believed to prevent and cure excessive drunkenness. Interestingly, the fables have it that the Greek Gods would prefer enjoying their drinks in cups studded with amethyst stone to prevent excessive indulgence. With adorning this gemstone, one is believed to exhibit calmness and prudence amidst overbearing situations.
Those born in February should take pride in their birthstone as it is lavish with varied color hues ranging from passionate wine, calming lilac to a deep, intriguing purple. No wonder the stone bears to itself an enchanting aura of mystery, often associated with nobility and royal distinctiveness. It not only enhances your inner strength but adds a luxurious touch of finesse to your appearance as well. The gemstone makes a thoughtful gift for the February born and to mark one’s sixth and seventeenth wedding anniversary. Once touted as rare as ruby and emerald in the 19th century, amethyst is now found in abundance at its large deposits in Russia, Brazil, Africa, and South America.
MARCH BIRTHSTONE - AQUAMARINE
Derived from the Latin words aqua and marine, meaning ‘sea water’, the March birthstone Aquamarine is believed to calm turbulent sea waves and ensure the safety of the sailors at sea. This light-hued gemstone acts as protective armor for those born in March, making the wearer almost invincible and thick-skinned to adversity. The magical gem is known to restore peace and harmony amidst marital discord for marriages having hit rock bottom.
Both the gemstones, aquamarine, and emeralds are varieties of the same mineral, beryl. Aquamarine’s sea blue-green color palette lends it a very calming appearance, rightly making it the birthstone of the first spring month. Just a glimpse of the stone transports the senses to a landscape of serene beaches, crystal clear oceanic waters, and expansive blue skies over the head. Like water, most faceted aquamarines are transparent and free from inclusions, making them one of the most crystal-clear gemstones. Aquamarine embellished jewelry is the perfect 19th wedding anniversary gift. The semi-precious gemstone is majorly sourced from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais but also has substantial deposits across concentrated areas in Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, China, Myanmar, Russia, and Ukraine.
APRIL BIRTHSTONE - DIAMOND
Diamond, the hardest stone on earth, draws its name comes from the Greek word adamas, meaning ‘invincible’. Diamond is quintessentially the most sought and cherished gemstone since times immemorial. But it is traditionally the birthstone of those born in April. The first diamond ring ever given was by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. Today, a diamond engagement ring is globally the ultimate expression of everlasting love and commitment to your beloved.
The scintillating diamond stone lavishes the wearer with good fortune, clarity, and brilliance in all aspects of life. Much coveted amongst the elite, and the rest of us alike, they say there is a diamond to ensnare every heart. Timelessly elegant, a diamond jewelry piece makes the most befitting gift choice for the April born and celebrating the iconic 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries. Those born in November should swell with pride to call the much-adored diamond their birthstone, eternalized as the symbol of luxury and strength. As opposed to popular belief, diamonds are not necessarily always colorless. They may appear in hues of yellow, brown, red, pink, orange, blue, or green, from faint to intense; the more saturated the hue, the more valuable the stone. Diamond today is mined worldwide, with Brazil, South Africa, Russia, Canada, and Australia being the major contributors. The largest diamond in the world till date, the Cullinan Diamond, was mined from the Premier mines in South Africa in 1905.
MAY BIRTHSTONE - EMERALD
If one gemstone screams the words’ glamorous and sophisticated’ in unison, it is the birthstone of May month, Emerald. The verdant, luscious stone derives its name from the ancient Greek word for green, ‘smaragdus‘. Thriving with hope, growth, and regeneration, the color green of the emerald stone perfectly symbolizes the true essence of a life fully lived.
Legends say that wearing an emerald could bestow one with the prowess to foretell the future. The lavish green stone is associated with the heart chakra and is believed to foster unconditional love, loyalty, and solidarity. Owing to its spectacularly classy appearance, the may birthstone has had ardent followership amongst the ancient kinship and Egypt’s most famous pharaoh, Cleopatra. Even to this day, red carpet celebrities and influential personalities proudly flaunt their precious emerald jewelry publicly, as often as they can. Columbia accounts for more than half of the world’s emerald supplies, followed by Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Egypt.
JUNE BIRTHSTONE - PEARL
Romantic, elegant, and feminine, the June birthstone Pearl is one of nature’s most miraculous creations. Unlike most gemstones formed beneath Earth’s surface, precious pearls are organic, conceived, and built inside living seawater or freshwater mollusk. Pearls exude a rich and serene vibe in their appearance. Their translucent luster has fascinated women since ages, making pearls remarkable for their calm, understated beauty.
Synonymous with timeless appeal, pearl jewelry complements any style and attire. Interestingly, ancients from the Middle East believed that pearls were nothing but innocent teardrops from the Gods of heaven. No wonder this June Birthstone is invariably associated with virtues of humility, purity, and innocence. While white is the most commonly occurring pristine pearl color, few geographies also bear pearls in delicate shades of black, grey, yellow, green, lavender, and mauve. A celebrity favorite, some of the most precious pearls can be as expensive or even more than a high prized diamond, ruby, or emerald of the same weight. The iconic La Peregrina is one of the most famous natural pearls of all time, weighing 50.56 carats. The Persian Gulf, Gulf of Mexico, and Sri Lanka are the hottest sources of natural pearls, while with human intervention, cultured pearls are also grown in many parts of the world these days.
JULY BIRTHSTONE - RUBY
No woman can resist the temptations of a sumptuous, richly colored, deep-red ruby stone. Second to diamond in hardness, precious rubies are the most expensive gemstones after diamonds. An artistically designed piece of jewelry with stunning ruby and diamond stones clustered together is what dreams are made of. True to its intense color, Ruby derives its name from the Latin word ‘Ruber’, meaning ‘red’, symbolizing profound love and passion. The fine red birthstone is a variety of the mineral corundum and gets its deep red hue from the minuscule amounts of the element chromium – more the chromium, deeper the red color. A few ruby stones are also embedded with a slight tinge of a purple shade, referred to as the ‘pigeon’s blood’.
A rare and highly time-honored gem, July-born people are fortunate to have ruby as their birthstone, also called the ‘king of precious stones’ in ancient times. It symbolizes power, passion, and wisdom and is the perfect traditional gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. One of the oldest sources of fine rubies globally has been Myanmar, followed by Vietnam, which gained prominence in the late 20th century. The other geographies that produce the most stunning, highly prized rubies in the world are Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar.
AUGUST BIRTHSTONE - PERIDOT
The fluorescent parrot green hue of the august birthstone peridot grabs attention at first glance. Unlike other gemstones, peridot is a rare, precious jewel formed deep within the Earth’s interiors at unbelievably high temperatures, subsequently brought to the surface through volcanic eruptions. Some trace peridots also journey to Earth through flaming meteorites, called pallasite meteorites. The august birthstone comes from the Arabic word faridat, meaning ‘gem’. Interestingly, the gleaming green color of the peridot is due to iron traces in it. In varieties with higher intensity of iron, the color green is even darker and intense, making the stone more valuable and rarer.
Also known as the ‘Evening Emerald’, Egyptian legends call the gemstone a ‘gem of the Sun’ and consider it abundant with healing powers. In many ancient cultures, the august birthstone is regarded as a protective talisman, saving its wearer from negative energies and oblivions of the darkness. Traditionally, the stunning peridot jewelry is also gifted to mark the 16th wedding anniversary. The finest specimen of the august birthstone is scarce to find. Geographies like China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Arizona in the United States are a few locations that meet with all of the world’s peridot demand.
SEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONE - SAPPHIRE
Sapphire bears semblance with the July birthstone Ruby as both the gemstones are varieties of the crystallized mineral, corundum. Ruby is the red variety, while sapphire is the blue corundum. Though deep blue sapphire is the formal September birthstone, sapphire is found in various rainbow colors ranging from glistening golden brown, fiery yellowish red to deep velvety indigo. The name ‘Sapphire’ comes from the Greek word sappheiros and has beautified the robes and crowns of the royalty and the elite since ancient medieval times.
Noble and grand in its appearance, this heavenly birthstone is associated with virtues of sincerity, faithfulness, and truth. Sapphire-laden jewelry is a stunning marvel, and those born in September should feel privileged to reckon it as their birthstone. The beautiful gemstone is also the traditional gift for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. Precious sapphires are found in Asian and African geographies like Kashmir, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and some parts of the United States of America and Australia.
OCTOBER BIRTHSTONE - TOURMALINE
One of the most versatile gemstones, tourmaline, is available in a dazzling array of colors, almost resembling a rainbow. Interestingly, the name ‘Tourmaline’ comes from the Sinhalese words Tura mali, meaning ‘a stone with mixed colors’. The rosy, pink-hued tourmaline is most popular and celebrated as the October birthstone and a gift to commemorate the 8th wedding anniversary. The gemstone, imbued with such vibrant and vivid color hues, is said to bestow the wearer with certain artistic prowess and heightened emotional receptiveness.
The pink tourmaline is a beautiful birthstone that embodies love, compassion, and gentleness for those born in October. In its natural form, it is usually found in long hexagon-shaped pencils. Rings with pink tourmaline as the center stone look resplendent. Though most of this October birthstone is mined in Brazil for centuries, geographies like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, and Madagascar in Africa, and California and Maine in the United States are also crucial producers.
NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONE - CITRINE
Citrine has often shared a mistaken identity with its November counterpart birthstone, Topaz, owing to the similarity of color. Displaying a splendid sunshine yellow color to a pale orangish brown, Citrine gets its name from the French word citron, meaning ‘lemon fruit’. This November birthstone is a variety of quartz and gets its bright yellow tinge from the traces of iron present in the stone. It is not a very rare gem to find, and species of Citrine across color hues, sizes, and shapes are easily mined from various parts of the world.
As a gift for a November birthday or the 13th wedding anniversary, one may choose from the vast mélange of glistening citrine gems that are beautifully laid in splendid fine jewelry designs. The gemstone featured popularly in the Scottish jewelry of the Victorian Era. Misconstrued as Topaz, Citrine is also believed to pacify fiery tempers and calm the wearer’s senses, often called more of a healing gemstone with calming and comforting properties. Modern opinions also classify this shinning gemstone as the bearer of wealth, prosperity, and wisdom. The November birthstone is mined vastly in Bolivia, Spain, Madagascar, Mexico, and Uruguay.
DECEMBER BIRTHSTONE - TURQUOISE
As popularly said, ‘last but not the least’, December is that lucky month of the year that claims not one but three precious gemstones as it’s birthstones – the rich blue, purple Tanzanite, the iridescent Zircon, and Robin’s egg blue colored Turquoise. In addition to these, December is also the resident month of two of the strongest astrological Zodiac Signs – Sagittarius and Capricorn. Blue Topaz, the astrological gemstone for both these signs, also registers its place as the birthstone for December. Natural Blue Topaz is primarily colorless or faintly colored and is often treated to enhance light, sky-bluish delicate appearance.
Blue Topaz, one of the most spectacular birthstones, is currently mined in parts of the US, China, Mexico, and Russia. This beautiful gemstone derives its name from the Greek word ‘Topazion,’ meaning fire. Though early history signified blue topaz with protection and safeguarding loved ones, recent times accorded the stone as a sign of love and endearment. It is an ideal gift to gesture affection to those born in December and marks the 4th and 19th wedding anniversaries. As the December birthstone, the most popular variations of topaz that are crafted into stunning jewelry pieces for the month are London Blue, Swiss Blue, and Sky Blue Topaz.
Which Are The Most Expensive And Rarest Birthstones?
Birthstones are evaluated on varied metrics, in addition to the common denominators of cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Comparative rarity and exclusiveness are also the key factors determining the worth of a colored gemstone, along with the beauty and glitz of the particular stone. Of all the birthstones, diamond, ruby, emerald, and sapphire are the most expensive gemstones. They are not necessarily the rarest, but their high-quality pieces are much in demand compared to the scarce availability.
April birthstone diamond, scoring high on the four holy grail C’s of color, cut, clarity, and carat weight, is undoubtedly highly prized. The most expensive colorless diamond in the world is the prestigious oval-shaped diamond, Koh-I-Noor, with an unbelievable massive carat weight of 105.6 carats and weighing 21.6 grams. Not just the most expensive, the Koh-I-Noor is also believed to be the most mysterious and enigmatic jewels of all times as it has traversed through various legendary stories spread across different time frames in history.
As opposed to the common belief, diamonds are not just colorless but naturally colored as well, ranging across the sumptuous color spectrum of blue, pink, red, orange, yellow, black, and many more colors. The most exquisite are the red diamonds; they are unquestionably the rarest to find and, hence, extremely expensive.
The notoriously famous ‘Hope Diamond’ in profound blue hues, the oval-shaped 59.6 carats ‘Pink Star Diamond’, and the 14.62 carats emerald-cut ‘Oppenheimer Blue Diamond’ are some of the most precious colored diamonds in the world today.
Typically, a ruby is more expensive than an emerald or sapphire of the same carat weight, cut, and clarity. A rare, magnificent ruby stone can cost as high as $1,00,000+ a carat, depending on the other attributes. Records say the most expensive ruby sold of all times is the Sunrise Ruby, sold for over a million dollars a carat at 25 carats.
For most birthstones, the intensity of the color is a key defining parameter for its costs. The more imbued, passionate, and exceptional the color, the more valued is the birthstone.
Those born in April (Diamond birthstone), July (Ruby Birthstone), May (Emerald), or September (Sapphire) are lucky to have these spectacular beauties as their birthstones as these are some of the most ethereal stones that are rare to find.
How To Take Care Of Delicate Birthstone Jewelry?
Firstly, while buying birthstone jewelry, ensure it is from an authentic retailer and duly certified. None of us would like our deeply passionate red ruby or dazzling green emerald stone to get any scratches or dust shielding away its glory. Now that you have purchased the jewelry of your dreams, be it a birthstone ring or a necklace make sure to take care of the delicate beauty and keep it cleaned most suitably.
Before starting to clean your birthstone jewelry, know your jewelry. It is pertinent to realize that depending on the Mohs scale of hardness rating, a few gemstones are more delicate and daintier than others and need a cautioned handling. Diamond, sapphire, ruby, and topaz are relatively harder birthstones than the extremely fine and soft pearl that rates a 2.5 on the Mohs scale. Since the composition of all these gemstones is different, they react differently to harsh chemicals, scratching, or direct exposure to light or heat.
For putting it through a more professional cleaning treatment, hand over your birthstone jewelry to a credible retailer and make an effort to understand the cleaning process and techniques broadly. For jewelry as expensive as this, one must involve themselves in all aspects of maintaining and valuing it.
Patience is the virtue to exhibit here. No matter how hard a gemstone might feature on the Moh’s scale, it still might not be resistant to abrasions, scratches, and dullness. For an at-home cleansing, dip your jewelry into a solution of lukewarm water and a subtly mild liquid dish soap or cleansing shampoo. Very gently, move the bristles of a soft brush over the stone to remove dust and stains. With a soft cloth, pat the jewelry dry. Give a final rinse off to the jewelry with a quick dip in the solution followed by a fresh water rinse. Remember to not put all your precious jewelry together for rinsing or scrubbing as rough contact may harm their appearance.
As much as regular cleaning keeps the gemstone shining at its utmost brilliance, it is equally important to take care of these precious stones while wearing them. Most birthstones are susceptible to damage from perfumes, hair sprays, makeup sprays, and anything with alcohol or acid content. Prudent as it sounds, apply your perfumes and sprays before wearing your precious birthstone jewelry. Instead, keep wearing jewelry as the last step to your dressing up. Similarly, it should be removed as the first step to undressing. Even before you put your makeup off with double cleansing, take your gemstone jewelry off and away from any undesirable contact with such products.
Though all jewelry is irreplaceable and precious to its wearer, birthstone jewelry holds a unique charm. These stunning stones, formed deep within the magnificent Earth, need to be specially cared for and valued to last their brilliance for a lifetime and beyond. Indulge your senses in our exceptional birthstone jewelry collection consisting of rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.