What’s Your Birthstone?

Garnet is January’s traditional and modern birthstone. Although Garnets are a blend of mineral species with many commonalities, the deep red variety is most associated with January. However, Garnets range in color from deep red and dark pink/purple to yellow, orange, and several shades of green. You might even find an incredibly rare blue Garnet.

Garnets popularly signify trust and friendship. Traditionally, this gem was believed to protect people during their travels. Due to its hardness, a Garnet makes an excellent stone for jewelry intended for daily wear.

Amethyst has many popular associations, including serenity and royalty. Traditionally, it’s believed to provide courage and strengthen relationships. It appears as the February birthstone on both the traditional and modern lists.

You can find Amethysts in a wide range of violet colors, from pale lavender to deep, rich purple. While deeper hues typically draw higher values, your choice should ultimately depend on your color preference. Amethyst has good hardness as well as no cleavage. This makes it ideal for everyday wear.

The Amethyst is not only the February birthstone, it is also used to celebrate the 6th and 17th year of marriage.

Aquamarine is March’s modern birthstone. These gems have a wide range of blue and blue-green colors, including a deep, yet pastel, blue and a nearly clear shade of blue.

In the past, people attributed healing powers to Aquamarine, especially for the heart, liver, and stomach. Today, this stone’s associations include youth, health, hope, and love.

Not only is Aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries.

The traditional March birthstone is Bloodstone. This striking green variety of chalcedony with orange and red spots had strong associations with the Crucifixion in Medieval times. Bloodstone may not have the overt beauty of Aquamarine, but many prize this stone for its symbolism and other properties.

April boasts the well-known Diamond as its traditional and modern birthstone. You can find Diamonds in just about any shade imaginable. Its colors range from clear to black and every color of the rainbow in between. Though colorless Diamonds are the most popular jewelry choices, other colors, such as yellow, champagne, and brown are gaining ground.

Often chosen for engagement and wedding rings, Diamond has long symbolized love, marriage, and courage. It is the hardest gemstone and is made of just one element: carbon. Its structure makes it 58 times harder than anything in nature and can only be cut with another Diamond.

May birthdays fall right in the heart of spring, and the Emerald is the perfect gem to symbolize and celebrate this month. Prized for its brilliant and beautiful green color, the Emerald is often favored by the rich and famous to wear as statement pieces for big events.

Emerald, another beryl variety, has a rich body of symbolism, including associations with fertility, health, and faithfulness. This traditional and modern May birthstone has served as a symbol of rebirth throughout history. This green gem was said to have been Cleopatra’s favorite. According to traditional beliefs, this gem brings its owner foresight, youth, and good fortune. So if you have a May birthday, wear your birthstone in good health.

Pearls are the only gemstones made by living creatures. Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their shells — usually not a grain of sand, as commonly believed.

In many cultures, Pearls symbolize purity and innocence, which is why it’s tradition for a bride to wear Pearls on her wedding day. Besides being one of three birthstones for June, the Pearl is also the birthstone for babies born under the signs of Gemini and Cancer, and frequently gifted on 1st, 3rd, 12th and 30th wedding anniversaries.

Often described as “Emerald by day, Ruby by night”, Alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral hrysoberyl that changes color from bluish green in daylight to purplish red under incandescent light.

This chameleon-like behavior is the result of its uncommon chemical composition — which includes traces of chromium, the same coloring agent found in Emerald. The unlikelihood of these elements combining under the right conditions makes Alexandrite one of the rarest, costliest gems.

Associated with concentration and learning, Alexandrite is believed to strengthen intuition, aid creativity and inspire imagination — bringing good omens to anyone who wears it.

June’s third birthstone, Moonstone, was named by the Roman natural historian Pliny, who wrote that Moonstone’s shimmery appearance shifted with the phases of the moon.

As its name implies, Moonstone is closely associated with lunar mystery and magic. Its calming, balancing energies can supposedly attune to natural biological rhythms. Moonstone acts as the ultimate fertility crystal by sparking passion in new lovers and reuniting old ones.

Also known as the Traveler’s Stone, it’s believed to protect travelers at night. Moonstone is used to treat insomnia and sleepwalking, encourage sound sleep and create beneficial dreams.

July’s traditional and modern birthstone is Ruby. Due to its deep red color, Ruby has long been associated with the life force and vitality of blood. It is believed to amplify energy, heighten awareness, promote courage and bring success in wealth, love and battle. In ancient times, people wore it as protection against evil and harm.

An exceptionally hard stone, medium to medium-dark red Rubies with little to no purple or orange generally demand the highest prices. Rubies belong to the corundum family. They are the red variety of this mineral. All other colors, including pinks, are considered Sapphire.

Peridot is the modern birthstone for August. You can find this gem in colors ranging from yellow-green to brown. However, the light green or lime green variety has the strongest popular connection to August.

Traditionally, Peridot symbolized strength and was used as a ward against nightmares, evil, and enchantments. The ancient Hawaiians believed these stones were the tears of the goddess Pele brought to the surface by volcanoes.

Also known as “the Evening Emerald” because its sparkling green hue looks brilliant any time of day, Peridot is said to possess healing properties that protect against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by Peridot’s good fortune.

The traditional August birthstone is Sardonyx, a red and white variety of chalcedony. Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx — two types of the layered mineral chalcedony — to create a reddish zebra-striped stone with white bands. Sard ranges in color from yellowish red to reddish brown, depending how much iron oxide is present. Sardonyx, like Onyx, shows layers of parallel bands — instead of the chaotic, curved bands that compose Agate, another type of chalcedony.

Used as a stone of strength and protection since ancient times, Sardonyx is associated with courage, happiness and clear communication. Some believe that placing Sardonyx at each corner of a house will grant protection against evil.

Although most associated with blue, Sapphire comes in a wide variety of colors. In fact, this September birthstone, traditional and modern, occurs in every color except red (Sapphires in any color but blue are called “fancies”). Sapphires have many symbolic associations and a rich folklore. Traditionally, this stone was believed to protect your loved ones from harm. In the Middle Ages, Christian clergy wore blue Sapphires as symbols of heaven.

Sapphires symbolize loyalty, nobility, sincerity and integrity. They are associated with focusing the mind, maintaining self-discipline and channeling higher powers.

Tourmaline is the modern October birthstone. These gems come in many varieties and colors, including beautiful multicolored stones. Tourmaline is desirable because of its sheer range of color options. One of this gem’s most impressive traits is its ability to become electrically charged through heat (pyroelectricity) and through pressure (piezoelectricity). When charged, Tourmaline can act as a magnet by oscillating, and by attracting or repelling particles of dust.

Ancient magicians used black Tourmaline as a talisman to protect against negative energy and evil forces. Today, many still believe that it can shield against radiation, pollutants, toxins and negative thoughts.

Through much of history, all yellow gems were considered Topaz and all Topaz was thought to be yellow. Topaz is actually available in many colors, and it’s likely not even related to the stones that first donned its name. Pure Topaz is colorless, but it can become tinted by impurities to take on any color of the rainbow. Precious Topaz, ranging in color from brownish orange to yellow, is often mistaken for “smoky quartz” or “citrine quartz,” respectively — although Quartz and Topaz are unrelated minerals.

Topaz is a soothing stone that has been said to calm tempers, cure madness and eliminate nightmares. Historically, people believed golden topaz could attract wealth as well as protect the health of your mind and body. In particular, golden Topaz could help your eyesight. Today, some view this gem as a sign of love and affection.

November’s second birthstone, Citrine, is the variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange in color. It takes its name from the citron fruit because of these lemon-inspired shades. The pale yellow color of Citrine closely resembles Topaz, which explains why November’s two birthstones have been so easily confused throughout history.

Citrine is sometimes known as the “healing quartz” for its ability to comfort, soothe and calm. It can release negative feelings, spark imagination and manifest fresh beginnings. It’s even called the “merchant’s stone” for its tendency to attract wealth and prosperity.

Tanzanite is the exquisite blue variety of the mineral zoisite that is only found in one part of the world. Named for its limited geographic origin in Tanzania, Tanzanite has quickly risen to popularity since its relatively recent discovery.

The majority of Tanzanite on the market today is heat treated to minimize the brown colors found naturally, and to enhance the blue shades that can rival Sapphire. Between its deep blue color and its limited supply, Tanzanite is treasured by many – whether one is born in December or not.

Zircon is an underrated gem that’s often confused with synthetic cubic zirconia due to similar names and shared use as diamond simulants. Zircon commonly occurs brownish red, which can be popular for its earth tones. However, most gem-quality stones are heat treated until colorless, gold or blue (the most popular color). Blue Zircon, in particular, is the alternative birthstone for December.

While radiation can break down Zircon’s crystal structure, it plays a crucial role in radiometric dating. Zircon, the oldest mineral on earth, contains important clues about the formation of our planet. Since the Middle Ages, people have believed that Zircon can induce sleep, ward off evil and promote prosperity.

Admired since ancient times, Turquoise is known for its distinct color, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish robin’s egg blue. It’s one of few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles its striking color. Some Turquoise contains pieces of host rock, called matrix, which appear as dark webs or patches in the material. This can lower the stone’s value, although the uniform “spiderweb” pattern of Southwestern Turquoise is attractive.

From ancient Egyptians to Persians, Aztecs and Native Americans, kings and warriors alike admired Turquoise for thousands of years. It adorned everything from jewelry to ceremonial masks to weapons and bridles – granting power and protection, particularly against falls. Highly esteemed for its striking namesake color and its ancient history, Turquoise remains popular through time.

(Sources: GIA, American Gem Society and Gem Society)

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