Birthstones are tremendous options for jewelry because they are both meaningful and beautiful. Design a pendant or a pair of earrings for a gift that’ll be cherished for years to come. Remember that some months have more than one birthstone to choose from, while others just have one special stone.
Above all, be sure to purchase your birthstone jewelry from a highly reputable vendor like Blue Nile or Leibish & Co. Most importantly, jewelry made of high-quality materials will maintain its beauty and value over time.
Birthstones are gemstones that represent the month a person was born. These gemstones range in color from red to blue to purple. They’re often worn in jewelry, like in pendants, bracelets and earrings.
It’s believed that birthstones were first mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Exodus, when Aaron’s breastplate includes twelve gems to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Over the years, various cultures and time periods have adapted their version of birthstones. Most commonly, there are certain birthstones associated with each month, and in some cases, there is more than one option, such as the three birthstones for June.
Many myths and legends about birthstones exist, detailing their healing power and therapeutic nature. According to these legends, each birthstone carries its own special meaning and powers.
Birthstone jewelry makes for a meaningful, personalized gift for any occasion. Here are some of the popular times when people give gemstone jewelry as a gift:
The garnet gemstone comes rightly by its name. Stemming from the Latin word for seed, “granatum”, January’s birthstone resembles the lush red color of pomegranate seeds. In the 14th century, the word “gernet” meant dark red, which appropriately describes the garnet’s rich appearance.
Full of history and legend, the amethyst has long resided in the hearts of many cultures, religions and royalty. Its name is derived from the Greek word for intoxicated, “methustos,” as it was believed to help protect against drunkenness.
The cool blue and blue-green colors of this gemstone evoke the beauty of a calm sea. That sense of tranquility inspired more than one ancient civilization to imbue aquamarine with the powers of healing and relaxation. Europeans in the Middle Ages thought it could save someone who had been poisoned.
Diamonds were once reserved exclusively for royalty. Thanks to its legendary hardness, the diamond has long been associated with invincibility and strength, while assuming the king of gems status.
The emerald has long been associated with youth, rebirth, longevity, even immortality, and many cultures have venerated it for many of those aspects.
A number of cultures believe pearls were created by mythical creatures. Pearls figure richly in Chinese mythology, particularly around dragons.
Regarded as a symbol of passion, courage and protection, rubies have been a beloved gemstone for centuries. Historical trade records indicate that rubies were prized as far back as 200 B.C. when they were traded on the North Silk Road in China.
Dating as far back as 2000 B.C., the peridot gem has been a beloved and admired gemstone. Ancient Egyptians found peridots on the volcanic island in the Red Sea, the island now known as Zabargad or St. John’s Island.
Popular across continents for centuries, sapphires are a well-loved gemstone symbolizing wisdom, nobility and enlightenment. Many cultures and religions have found unique power and value in sapphires.
Arabic legend attests that opals fell from the sky during lightning storms, while Australian aborigines thought the creator visited the earth in a rainbow and imparted opals as a colorful gift.
Revered as a powerful gemstone since ancient times, topaz is thought to bring healing and protection to anyone who owns it. November’s birthstone name is derived from the ancient Greek word “topazios,” meaning St. John’s Island.
The name ‘garnet’ stems from the Latin word for seed, ‘granatum.’ As such, the January birthstone resembles the rich red color of pomegranate seeds. Legend tells us that garnet holds plenty of power, perhaps because of its distinct and eye-catching color.
Garnet is made of silicate materials and is available in a range of colors. However, red garnet is the most popular and is traditionally recognized as January’s birthstone. The durability of garnet ranks a 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it durable enough for everyday jewelry.
As a result, stunning pieces can be made with garnets, from stud earrings to pendants.
The amethyst has long resided in the hearts of many cultures, religions and royalty. As a variety of quartz, amethysts can help achieve a balanced mindset. They also are known to bring strength, peace and stability to those who wear it.
Amethysts are purple in hue, ranging from pinkish lilac to deep violet. Measuring a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, amethysts are relatively durable gems. Most importantly, they make for beautiful, everyday jewelry including necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings.
Those with March birthdays are lucky because they benefit from two stunning birthstones: aquamarine and bloodstone.
Aquamarine is a symbol of youth and hope. It offers a beautiful color, ranging from pale to deep blue. The blue-green colors evoke the beauty of a calm sea—providing a sense of tranquility, healing and relaxation. This March birthstone comes from the beryl mineral family, made of aluminum silicate and beryllium. It’s a durable gemstone because it scores between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Bloodstone, March’s other birthstone, is also thought to have healing powers. Its color ranges from light to dark green with splashes of rusty red. Bloodstone ranks 6.5 to 7.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness due to being a variety of quartz.
Certainly, both aquamarine and bloodstone offer jewelry plenty of character.
Once reserved exclusively for royalty, diamonds are associated with strength, victory, wealth and abundance. As the world’s hardest substance—ranking a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness—it’s a preferred gemstone for rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets. Diamonds are made of pure carbon and form over billions of years.
Although the most popular diamonds are white and colorless, diamonds come in a range of colors including green, yellow, blue, purple, pink and red. However, the April birthstone is traditionally the white or colorless diamond.
Check out the brilliant options below for April birthstone jewelry.
Ancient stories tell us that emeralds are associated with youth, longevity and rebirth. The beautiful green gemstone also symbolizes vision and truth.
Coming from the beryl mineral family, it gets its color from small amounts of chromium. The May birthstone ranges in hue from light green to dark forest green. The darker the hue, the more rare and valuable the gemstone tends to be. Emeralds rate between 7.5 and 8.0 on the Mohs hardness scale, therefore making them a durable and stunning choice for everyday jewelry.
Pearls, the primary birthstone of June, are the only gemstones that come from living creatures. However, almost all of the pearls sold today are cultured rather than natural. White pearls are popular in jewelry, but these birthstones also come in other tones such as blue, pink, cream, gold, green and black. Pearls range in size and shape depending on how they’re cultured and farmed. As one of the softer stones—rating between 2.5 and 4.5 on the Mohs hardness scale—pearls are best for necklaces, bracelets and earrings (instead of rings).
Alexandrite is another June birthstone, first discovered in the Russian Ural Mountains and named after future Tsar Alexander II. The gemstones shift in color, appearing red under incandescent light and green in sunlight. Alexandrite is a durable stone, rating 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.
Another alternative for June birthdays is the moonstone, a gemstone revered for thousands of years. Moonstones symbolize wisdom, fertility and love. They are transparent, multi-colored gemstones that range from blues to oranges. Coming in at 6.0 to 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, moonstones are relatively durable and can be found in a range of jewelry options.
A symbol of courage, passion and protection, rubies are beloved gemstones. Many rubies are royal red, but these July birthstones range in color from pink like this Pear Shape ruby to dark red like this Cushion Cut stone. Rubies are made of the red variation of mineral corundum or aluminum oxide. They rank a 9 on the Mohs durability scale, just one grade below the diamond.
As vibrant and sturdy gemstones, rubies are certainly a favorite for necklaces, earrings and rings.
The peridot gem, one of August’s birthstones, dates back to 2000 B.C., when ancient Egyptians found peridots on the volcanic island in the Red Sea. Peridots are exquisite green gems made of magnesium-rich mineral olivine. Trace amounts of iron present in the stone’s composition dictate the hue, ranging from yellowish green like this stone to brownish green. Peridots are durable for everyday wear due to their 6.5 to 7 ranking on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Sardonyx, the alternative August birthstone, features a unique composition of layers of sard and onyx, varieties of mineral chalcedony. The sardonyx gemstone ranges in color from a yellow-tinted red to a reddish brown, depending on how much iron oxide is present.
Review the jewelry samples below to see which August birthstone catches your eye the most.
Sapphires are beautiful gemstones that symbolize nobility, wisdom and enlightenment. This September birthstone is most widely recognized as a stunning blue gemstone, although sapphires naturally occur in any color of the rainbow including green, pink and yellow.
As a member of the corundum family of minerals, sapphires contain small amounts of iron, titanium, copper, magnesium and chromium. Achieving a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, just one grade below diamonds, sapphires are a durable choice for everyday wear.
Born in October? You’re fortunate to have two birthstones: opal and tourmaline.
Opals are gems full of good luck and fortune. Their primary color is either black or white. Many people find both shades appealing. The most defining quality of an opal is its kaleidoscope effect that radiates all the colors of the rainbow.
Opals rank a 5.5 to 6 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making them less durable than other stones like emeralds and diamonds, but are still hard enough for all types of jewelry. Avoiding extreme temperatures and direct sunlight help keep the opal looking beautiful for years to come.
A colorful alternative birthstone for October is tourmaline. Trace amounts of certain elements dictate the color of a tourmaline stone—ranging from pink to purple to green and blue. It scores a 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, hence making it a durable gemstone fit for everyday wear.
Topaz brings healing and protection to anyone who owns it, especially those with November birthdays. Although popular as a golden gemstone, topaz is available in a range of colors, including green, blue, red, orange and pink. The stone is made of the mineral silicate of aluminum and fluorine. Topaz crystallizes within lava flow or rocks that have solidified from lava. Even more, topaz is durable enough for everyday wear and all styles of jewelry because it achieves an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
Citrine is an alternative, often less expensive birthstone for November. Ranging in color from light yellow to brownish orange, citrine’s hue comes from iron traces in certain quartz crystals. Measuring a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, citrine is durable enough for all styles of jewelry.
Tanzanite gets its name from the country Tanzania—the only place in the world where it is found. Composed of the mineral zoisite, tanzanite is a vivid blue gem that normally includes shades of purple and lavender. Tanzanite is slightly less durable than other gemstones because it ranks between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. It still can be worn daily in earrings and necklaces, but tanzanite rings are best kept for special occasions.
In addition, December benefits from another beautiful blue gemstone: zircon. While zircon is available in a range of colors, the blue variety is recognized as a secondary December birthstone. Abundant within the Earth’s crust—and dating back over 4 billion years—Zircon is a widely available mineral of the nesosilicate group. It rates a 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Consequently, zircon holds up well in everyday jewelry.
As one of the oldest and most beloved gemstones, turquoise has been admired since ancient times. Pharaohs in Egypt wore turquoise stones around their necks, and Native Americans fastened them to special pieces of their wardrobe. The stunning gemstones—which range in color from soft to darker greenish blues—are composed of hydrated phosphate of aluminum and copper. Because turquoise measures a 6 on the Mohs scale of durability, it’s best worn on special occasions.
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