My favorite piece of jewelry when I was younger was my daughters ring that had my Dads, Moms and my birthstone in it, I don’t wear it that much anymore, but it is a nice keepsake, especially now that my Dad has passed on.
I liked the idea / trend (which happened before I met my husband) that brides-to-be were choosing their birthstones as the Centerpiece of their rings, instead of diamonds, I always liked that idea and thought I might do that, if the day came that I was getting engaged / married and even though I didn’t think about it at the time (my semi Precious birthstone is aquamarine, as I am a March baby) I actually have my husbands birthstone in the center of my ring – now I wish I could say that it was thought out and that I deliberately picked my engagement ring specifically because it had my husbands birthstone in the Center of it, but really I just like pink and it was beautiful, but thinking back on it now, I like the idea that it has his stone in it 😉
This got me to thinking and in turn then, looking up, what each birthstones means, so I put together a smallerish list of what each months birthstone is and what it (loosely) means.
Please enjoy the list and feel free to leave a comment about your Birthstone heirloom piece 🙂
Garnet has represented the first Zodiac sign since Biblical times, and January in particular since the Middle Ages. This gemstone’s resemblance to pomegranate seeds earned its name, form the Latin word from the crimson fruit, granatum. It is said that Noah used this gemstone’s fiery hue to guide his Ark; as such, red garnet earned the attributes of loyalty and faith. In the Middle Ages, it was even credited with healing blood disorders.
Amethyst has been associated with sobriety ever since the Ancient Greeks began serving wine in amethyst goblets to prevent inebriation. One of the oldest gemstones known to man, its deep purple hue has long been associated with royalty and principal religious figures throughout the centuries. In addition, the Victorians used amethyst to evoke sincerity in their jewelry.
Innately linked to the sea because of its distinctive blue-green hues, aquamarine is one of March’s birthstones. Sailors and fishermen have long worn aquamarine to protect them from rough seas, while Victorians gave this gem as a gift to ensure happiness and marital devotion. However, bloodstone is another traditional birthstone of March- an opaque quartz with red flecks that was named after the legend of Christ’s blood falling to the ground and solidifying. Wearing bloodstone is believed to lend courage in the face of adversity.
Historically, many cultures have marked sapphires as April’s birthstone. The most luxe gemstone, however- the diamond- has come to be more strongly associated with April. Named after the Greek term for unconquerable, diamonds represent unequaled strength and determination. Until the 16th century, superstition led people to leave many diamonds in their rough form, lest their powers be diminished by polishing. The diamonds also now represents eternity and undying love, and has since become the primary gemstone in engagement rings.
Emerald has always been May’s birthstone across many cultures. Persians named this type of beryl after their word for green. From Cleopatra’s famous emerald mines to its association with Venus, the goddess of love, emerald’s attributes include immortal love, wisdom and future success. In the Middle Ages, children wore emeralds to prevent eye diseases, while thanks to emerald’s vibrant green tone and connection to spring, Victorians believed it to be a symbol of renewal and hope.
Neutral-hued gemstones are largely favoured for the month of June- the traditional month for weddings. Thus, June is appropriately associated with the pearl, which is a symbol of purity, innocence and faith. Moonstone is another white gem used in June-birthstone jewelry. Ancient Romans believed this milky stone was sacred and created by moonlight itself. Moonstone represents longevity and future fortune. Likewise, alexandrite, a gem with rare colour change abilities, is the most recent addition to June’s birthstone; it too symbolizes good fortune.
Ruby has long been considered a powerful gemstone. In fact, the most intriguing tale alleges rubies turn a dark menacing hue when danger is present, returning to bright red once peril has cleared. This internal glowing fire has become a symbol for undying love. In fact, the Victorians combined rubies and diamonds, both representing eternity, in love token jewelry. Ruby was also used for medicinal purposes in antiquity : in powder form, it was swallowed to cure indigestion.
Peridot was known to the Egyptians as the gem of the sun, bringing the bearer good luck and success in marriage. This grassy-green gemstone was discovered 4,000 years ago, when miners dug for the gem at night, believing that peridot’s vibrant hues glowed brighter in the dark. Peridot’s primary attributed virtue is protection from both illness and physical danger. The Victorians even wore peridot to prevent sorrow.
For centuries, blue sapphire has been the birthstone for September. Its name is derived from sapphires, Greek for blue. Among several ancient cultures, the world was thought to be supported by a large sapphire that was reflected in the colour of the sky. Blue sapphire became associated with intellect, bringing wisdom to the wearer. As the second-hardest gemstone, after diamond, sapphire also represents the indestructibility of love and fidelity, making blue sapphire a very popular option for Victorian engagement rings.
Individuals born in October get to choose between two birthstones—tourmaline and opal. Each gem then unveils nearly limitless possibilities, as each one comes in a rainbow of shades and color combinations. White opal – its name means « precious stone » in Sanskrit. Given opal’s fiery flashes of colour, it was believed that lightning brought the gem to earth. Protection from disease was its main virtue, while also allowing the wearer to see in the future. However, the Victorians believed opal could bring bad luck when not worn as a birthstone. For the very superstitious, pink tourmaline is an alternative October birthstone. It inspires creativity and represents hope. While opal and tourmaline are October’s most common birthstones, aquamarine also has a tradition of representing the tenth month.
In most cultures, topaz (yellow) is the most popular gemstones for November. Its name is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word for fire; the intense yellow of topaz reminded Egyptians of the sun. Like the warm glow of the sun, topaz is believed to have calming powers. It is also said to ensure loyalty in both friends and lovers. During the Middle Ages, topaz was used to cure mental illness and was thought to delay death.
Blue zircon is the traditional birthstone for the final month of the year. Popular among Hindu poets, zircon was worn throughout the ages to attract prosperity and increase the intellect of its wearer.
Turquoise, is considered the Eastern European birthstone, it is thought to protect the wearer from danger and illness as well as to symbolize resurrection and rebirth.
December also boasts the most recent addition to the modern birthstone chart: Tanzanite. Discovered in the 1960s in Tanzania, this gem was identified, named and promoted by Tiffany & co. Premium Tanzanite has Trichroic, a combination of rich blue and violet tones with subtle yet fiery flashes of crimson.
Coloured gemstones have long been assigned symbolic and talismanic meanings. From Biblical times to the days of the ancient Romans, gems have played very important roles in traditions and lore. They were integral in building Paradise, as described in the Book of Revelations; gemstones were chosen to build New Jerusalem based on their symbolic meanings. While the symbolism of gems may have been altered since these times, each gemstone still holds a mystical tale.
By offering clients birthstones from the ancient, traditional and modern charts, jewelers can provide a varied range of coloured gemstones for their clients, allowing them to express themselves through birthstone jewelry. Whether it is a piece from the estate counter or a brand-new jewel, customers will surely appreciate the thrill of an age-old story.