Birthstones

It is an old tradition to assign a gemstone to a birth month, and this makes for a great opportunity to give a meaningful gift - even a gift to yourself! Some months also have alternate birthstones, which means there are more beautiful pieces of jewelry to choose from.

January

Garnet is the traditional birthstone for the month of January.

The name 'garnet' comes from the latin word granatus, used to describe the many seeds of the pomegranate.

All garnets features the same cubic crystal structure, but it is their varying chemical composition that provides a rich palette of colors.

Garnet found in a necklace of an Egyptian mummy dates this gem to 3500BCE. In ancient Rome, signet rings with carved garnets were used for wax seals.

One of the garnet's legends is its mystical lighting capabilities, as this jewel supposedly has the ability to illuminate even the darkest of rooms.

Today, the gem continues to be a symbol of love, passion, eternity, and warmth.

Garnet is the ultimate gift of love.

February

Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for February.

A violet variety of quartz, its name come from the Greek, améthystos, meaning intoxicated. The ancient Greeks decorated drinking vessels with amethyst, believing it would prevent drunkenness.

Medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle because they believed amethyst kept the wearer cool-headed, as well as aided in healing.

Until the 19th century, when Brazil's large amethyst deposits were discovered, amethyst was as precious as ruby and emerald. Today it remains as the most valued variety of quartz.

March

The traditional birthstone for March is the aquamarine. An alternate, due to its similar look and cool color, is blue topaz.

From the time of the Middle Ages, topaz was a prized stone that remained rare until discoveries of large deposits in Brazil in the mid 19th century.

The ancient Greeks believed topaz gave them strength, and for centuries people in India thought that topaz worn above the heart assured long life, beauty, and intelligence.

In Renaissance Europe, people supposed that topaz could break magic spells and dispel anger.

Topaz is a symbol of love and affection and has been said to aid to one's sweetness and disposition. It is an ideal stone for travelers, protecting them from homesickness and danger.

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April

Cubic Zirconia, also referred to as CZ, is a diamond simulant, and therefore an excellent alternate to April's traditional birthstone, the diamond.

Cubic zirconia is a lab-grown gemstone, making it virtually flawless, and it is typically clear, though is also available in almost any color imaginable.

This gemstone is believed to improve focus and increase clarity. It is said that cubic zirconia is full of the energy of bright light, and is therefore helpful for ridding yourself of negative energy.

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May

Green onyx is an alternate birthstone for the month of May, the traditional stone being emerald.

Green onyx is a type of chalcedony, a mineral made up of silicon dioxide. It is typically green in color due to the presence of iron and other minerals. Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl and its green color comes from trace amounts of chromium and vanadium.

Historically, green onyx was used by both ancient Greek and Roman soldiers to protect them during battle. Emerald gemstones were mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, and Cleopatra is said to have been particularly fond of the beautiful emerald.

Green onyx is a symbol of tranquility and cleanliness, and some claim that wearing this relaxing green gemstone relieves you of anxiety and distress. The emerald has been known as a symbol of truth, love, and loyalty. Some believe the emerald is a stone of inspiration and eternal patience.

 

June

Pearls are the traditional birth'stone' for June. Technically not a stone at all, the pearl is the only gem that is from the sea.

 

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Moonstone is the alternate for June's birthstone. 

Moonstone owes its name to its mysterious shimmer that bears resemblance to the moon. It comes in a variety of colors, but is usually white or colorless with a bluish flicker.

A moonstone's clarity can range from transparent to translucent, and its silvery-blue iridescence is known as 'adularescence', particularly visible in the rainbow moonstone variety.

Traditionally from Sri Lanka, and steeped with mystery and magic, moonstone has been prized by many cultures for millennia. Romans believed the gem was formed from moonlight.

In India, moonstone is regarded as a magical and holy gemstone. It is often used as a 'dream stone', bringing the wearer beautiful visions at night.

Healers believe moonstone is soothing and can balance emotions.

July

Onyx is an alternate birthstone for the month of July, with ruby being the traditional birthstone.

Onyx is a jet-black gemstone, considered highly fashionable through the ages. It has been one of the most important engraving and cameo gemstones, with examples dating back thousands of years. Roman soldiers wore onyx talismans hoping that they made the wearer as courageous as the heroic warriors depicted on the gems.

Ruby is the red variety of sapphires, the only one to get its own special name. For millennia, rubies have been considered the stone of love and passion. Rubies are also known as the stone of courage, and protects the owner from evil or misfortune.

Onyx is believed to eliminate negative thinking and sharpen the wits, instinct, and intuition. It is also thought to be a stone that helps to change one's habits.

August

Peridot is the traditional birthstone for August.

Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine. Most peridot is formed deep within the earth and is delivered to the surface by volcanoes. In extremely rare cases, extraterrestrial peridot falls to earth in meteorites.

The Egyptians called peridot the 'gem of the sun'. Some historians suspect that Cleopatra's famous emerald collection might actually have been peridot.

Healers believe that peridot can free the mind of envious thought and release burdens of guilt and obsession. Having many light properties, peridot has also been used to help counteract depression.

September

The name lapis lazuli comes from the Latin lapis, meaning 'stone', and the Arabic azula, meaning 'blue'.

Lapis can have a smooth, uniform color, but frequently contains varying amounts of white calcite and flecks or veins of glinting golden pyrite.

Historians believe humans have mined lapis for over six millennia. The lapis mines of Bactria (now Afghanistan) that were producing in 700BCE are still producing today.

Artists used to grind lapis to make ultramarine pigment. Its bright blue color was extremely rare, and used sparingly. Artwork with this color could only be afforded by the wealthiest commissioners.

Lapis lazuli is believed to ward off darkness and negativity, and bring light, wisdom, and inner peace.

October

Opal is the traditional birthstone for October. (Pink tourmaline is an alternate).

An opal's unique internal play of color is one of the most fascinating visual effects created by nature. Another attribute of the opal is its beautiful iridescence, known as 'opalescence'. Since the 1890s, Australia has been the primary source of opal.

The Romans thought opal was the most precious and powerful gemstone of all because it contains the colors of all the other gems. 

The ancient Greeks believed opals gave their owners the gift of prophecy and guarded them from disease.

Some healers consider the opal to be a stone of inspiration, enhancing creativity and imagination. Opal is also thought to be the gem of hope, purity, and truth.

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November

Citrine is the traditional birthstone for November. (The alternate is yellow topaz.)

A variety of quartz, citrine was often confused with topaz in the days before modern gemology. A trace of iron in citrine's structure is responsible for its yellow-to-orange color, and its crystals occur in a wide range of sizes.

In its golden form, the gemstone was revered by the ancients as a gift from the sun. They believed citrine had the power to disperse depression and anger, and that it was an antidote to the viper's venom.

Legend states that if a man wears the gemstone he is thought to become more striking and intellectual. For women, it is said to make her fertile, happy, and contented.

Folklore suggests that citrine alleviates nocturnal fears, while healers believe that citrine aids in removing toxins from the body. It is helpful for healing the heart, kidneys, and liver.

December

Blue topaz is a traditional birthstone for December. Turquoise, Lapis and Blue Zircon are all alternates.

From the time of the Middle Ages, topaz was a prized stone that remained rare until discoveries of large deposits in Brazil in the mid 19th century.

The ancient Greeks believed topaz gave them strength, and for centuries people in India thought that topaz worn above the heart assured long life, beauty, and intelligence.

In Renaissance Europe, people supposed that topaz could break magic spells and dispel anger.

Topaz is a symbol of love and affection and has been said to aid to one's sweetness and disposition. It is an ideal stone for travelers, protecting them from homesickness and danger.

Turquoise is one of the world's most ancient gems. Its name means 'Turkish stone', as it was first imported to Europe via Turkey.

Turquoise can be a uniform color or have attractive patterns of brown, grey, or black veins, known as 'matrix'. Since turquoise is opaque and rarely faceted, it is usually cabochon cut or turned into beads.

Over 6,000 years ago, Persians believed turquoise prevented fatalities. Ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures prized turquoise jewelry and carvings.

Indigenous tribes of the American Southwest used turquoise as a ceremonial and decorative gem, as well as currency. The Apache believed that attaching turquoise to a bow or firearm increased a warrior's accuracy.

Turquoise is thought to bring good health, good fortune, and protection from evil. It promotes a sense of well-being and spiritual harmony.

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