Know Your Birthstone And Birthstone Jewelry
Traditionally, birthstones or birthday stones are special gemstones associated with each month of the year.  Each gemstone is attributed to various qualities symbolizing the specific month of birth in the Gregorian calendar.
The origin of birthstones is believed to date back to 1250 BC when Moses made the breastplate of the High Priest Aaron on the basis of the instructions he received during those 40 days that he spent in the mountains.  According to the Bible, in Exodus 28 and 39 the original breastplate of the High Priest contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel which were later linked with the signs of zodiac and then to the months in a year.
Throughout history, different cultures had their own rituals and beliefs linked with the use of a particular birthstone.  Even many people believed that wearing all twelve birthstones together or in rotation is a way to ensure maximum benefit from these sacred crystals.  Catherine de Medici wore a girdle set with twelve stones to derive utmost benefit.  Also the kings and queens of different princely states in India wore jewels studded with twelve stones.
In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers officially adopted a list which now works as the basis of modern birthstone list.  This list was altered in 2002 when tanzanite was adopted as the birthstone for December.
These birthstones are usually worn in the form of jewelry, often as rings, pendants and amulets and are said to possess certain mystical powers.  They are considered helpful in healing many ailments and known for radiating positive energy to the wearer.
These birthstones for centuries are loved by mankind for their mysterious appeal, rarity, and durability, play of light and divine colors.  Each birthstone has some unique properties and is associated with a specific month.  Do you know your birthstone? Would you like to get an idea of your lucky stone that might bring good fortune for you? Here are some interesting and alluring facts about birthstones.  Check out which gem is special for you.
January Birthstone - Garnet
Garnet, the birthstone of January, signifies vitality, passion and trust.  The gem comes virtually in all colors of spectrum ranging from red, pink and green to yellow, and orange.  Garnet which is a group of minerals derived its name from Latin word granatus, meaning pomegranate seeds.  The gem considered to heal ailments like blood deficiency, arthritis and rheumatism.  Wearing garnet in form of rings, earrings and pendants helps in improving overall physical and mental wellbeing.  This birthstone symbolizes faith, courage, loyalty, trust, constancy and fidelity.  With a resinous luster and hardness of 6.5 to 7.5, garnet jewelry is a perfect present for those who love mystical charm and grace.
February Birthstone – Amethyst
Amethyst which is known as the gem of royalties is the official birthstone for February.  It is one of the oldest stones known to human civilization.  The history dates back the existence of amethyst as far as 25,000 years ago when prehistoric humans used it as a decorative piece.  It was found in the remains of Neolithic age.
The gem represents power and symbolizes peace, love and happiness.  It derived its name from Greek word 'amethystos' that means remedy against drunkenness.  The name was given due to the belief that the gem has the powers to ward off the effect of intoxication and keeps the wearer clear headed and quick witted.  Throughout history, many myths, lore and legends were associated with amethyst.  Known to empower the minds and souls, this purple member of quartz family assists the wearer in attaining wisdom and courage.  Amethysts are soft stones with hardness of 7 on moh's scale yet they are counted as a desiring gem for jewelry.  Rings, earrings, pendants and amulets studded with amethyst are best said to ward off evil spirits and promote love and protection.
The gem is also said to have healing properties that work against headache, insomnia, arthritis and circulatory disorders.
March Birthstone – Aquamarine
Aquamarine is though officially the birthstone for March but it is also loved by people born in other months.  This gem has derived its name from Latin word 'aqua' meaning water and 'marina' meaning sea so is known as 'Water of the sea'.  It ranges from pale blue green to deep blue in color.  As a stone of beryl family it is relatively a hard gem which is prized for its lavish beauty, mystical properties and symbolic association.
In ancient times aquamarines were carried by sailors as a guarantee of safe voyage.  The gem signifies calmness, sympathy, trust, harmony, togetherness, peace, courage and serenity.  It is said to have the mystical powers that reduce stress, sharpens the intellect, clears confusion, promotes self-expression and shields the aura.  For ages, aquamarine jewelry specially rings and amulets have been associated with healing of many ailments like sore throats, swollen glands, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalance and immune system disorder.  The best aquamarine stones come from Brazil but quality stones are also mined in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia and Mozambique.
April Birthstone – Diamond
People born in April are lucky to have diamonds as their official birthstone.  This often colorless rock is an allotrope of carbon with tetrahedral geometry.  Diamonds since inception are considered a traditional stone for engagement and wedding rings because the gem symbolizes unity, trust, fidelity, strength and devotion.
Known as a girl's best friend diamonds in the form of rings, earrings, pendants etc represent faith, love, innocence, beauty, clarity and purity.
Formed at the depth of 90 to 120 miles under the earth crust, this April birthstone is the hardest gem in the world which has the unique ability to refract and reflect light.  Diamonds are examined and valued on the basis of color, clarity, cut and carat which are commonly known as the 4Cs of diamond.
Although colorless diamonds are most famous yet with the discoveries of different colored diamonds, the demand for fancy natural colored diamonds has tremendously increased.  These colored diamonds make only 1% of the total diamonds that exist on the earth but their beauty and play of color add value to their worth.  Fancy colored diamonds are formed due to any alteration in the diamond crystal structure.  Pink, green, yellow, blue, orange, red, purple, brown, black, champagne etc are few of the many colors diamonds exhibit.
Diamonds are not only desired for their beauty but also cherished for their mysterious properties.  They are said to balance the seventh Chakra and are known to aid creativity.  Also the gem is said to enhance psychic ability, promotes harmony and balance between individual and ambience, removes toxins and heal the body while releasing stress.
May Birthstone – Emerald
Emerald the birthstone for May is known as the symbol of rebirth, spring and youth.  It is believed to grant its owner foresight and good fortune.
This member of beryl family is one of the four precious stones.  Its color ranges from light to dark green and it scores 8 on moh's scale of hardness.  The gem is famous as the symbol of natural growth and harmony.  It is very popular as a stone for fine jewelry.
The history of emeralds dates back to 1300 BC when Egypt was the only known source of the gem and it was mined for Cleopatra.  The gem got its name from Greek word 'samaragdus', meaning green.
Emerald jewelry has been worn by kings and queens throughout the history.  The stone in the form of rings, pendants, amulets etc is believed to promote romance, serenity, intelligence and communication.  Emerald jewelry is believed to enhance unconditional love and provides domestic bliss.
The gem heals psychic ailments, clairvoyance and balance the heart chakra.  It is also considered a good supporter in treating heart, lungs, spine and muscular disorders.
June Birthstone – Pearl and Alexandrite
As the birthstone of June, pearls, symbol of purity, are believed to grant its owner wisdom and innocence.  It is associated with the third chakra and is known as the stone of sincerity and honesty.  Pearls contrast to their fellow gemstones, has an organic origin.  They are developed within the shell of oysters and clams.  Pearls are mostly made of aragonite and are valued highly for their beauty and rarity.  Wearing pearls in the form of jewelry is said to promote personal integrity, concentration and wisdom.  It treats digestive disorders and relieves the conditions of bloating and biliousness.
Alexandrite is the second birthstone for the people born in month of June.  This is relatively newer stone which was discovered in 1831 in Russia during the reign of Czar Alexander II.  As it was discovered on his birthday, to honor him the stone was named alexandrite.  This is an extremely rare chrysoberyl with chameleon like properties.  The gem is an enchanting green in day light and fluorescence light which turns to deep red in incandescent light.  As a rare and expensive gem, it enjoys a status of huge demand.  Due to this the synthetic versions of alexandrite are also available in the market which possess the similar physical, chemical and optical properties as a natural gemstone.  It is a new addition so got no time to be a part of myths and lore but people in Russia believe that it brings good fortune to the owner.
July Birthstone – Ruby
Also known as 'Ratanraj' or 'King of Gems' ruby is the symbol of love and passion.  As the official birthstone for July it bestows the owner health, wisdom, wealth and success.  It is a member of corundum family and is found only in shades of red.  Large rubies are even rarer than sapphires and diamonds.
This gem of beauty is famous for its bright hues and mysterious properties.  It is said to arouse the senses and energy levels.  The stone is related to the base chakra and heart chakra.  Since inception it is associated with feelings of happiness, devotion, love, care, romance and passion.  Wearing ruby jewelry is believed to bring prosperity, power and leadership qualities.  The gem had a long written history and it enjoyed a prominent position in the hearts and vaults of royals.
According to ancient Asian lore and legends the gem was self-luminous so called the 'glowing stone'.  It was believed to guard against wicked thoughts, amorous desires and disputes.  Ruby in rings, amulets, pendants etc.  was told to be a good supporter in detoxifying body and treating fevers, infectious diseases and cures bleeding.  It was famous for stimulating adrenals, kidneys, reproductive organs, spleen and pineal gland.  The gem was also known to aid in retaining wealth and passion by clearing negative energy and imparting potency and vigor.
August Birthstone – Peridot
Peridot is associated with fame, dignity, protection, purity and rebirth.  Being the birthstone for the month of august it strengthens its owner by enhancing patience, confidence and assertion.  The member of olivine family achieves the hardness of 6.5 to 7 on moh's scale and exhibits yellowish green to golden green tints.
It was called 'the gem of the sun' by Egyptians as it shines brightly in the sun.  The Greeks called it 'evening emerald' because the stone becomes deep green at night and glows in dark.
Peridot symbolizes prosperity and openness.  It is believed to host the magical powers to protect against nightmares and negative energy.  It reduces stress, banishes lethargy and cleanses the body.  Benefits immune system, aids heat, lungs, gallbladder and treats ulcer and hypochondria.  Peridot jewelry is used to treat anger, stress and jealousy.  It is also a lavishing accessory to enhance looks and brings the spring glow to fashion statement.
September Birthstone – Sapphire
This 'wisdom stone' has a long written history.  Sapphire unlike its sibling ruby comes in various colors from pink, green, yellow, orange, purple and white.  But the most coveted of all is the blue sapphire ranging from light to intense hues of blue.  Sapphire is one of the most powerful gems that possess enormous mysterious powers.  Sapphires known as the gem of heavens for their beauty and brilliance and are believed to promote prosperity.  Medieval clergy wore sapphire jewelry to represent strength, power and position.  Sapphire engagement rings were also very famous among royals.
This birthstone of September symbolizes luck, love, generosity and loyalty.  It is associated with creative expressions, spiritual development and metaphysical balance.
Sapphires are thought to release mental tensions and depression.  It balances the body, mind and soul, brings serenity, peace and aligns the physical, mental and spiritual plans.  Sapphires are also know to treat blood and cellular disorder and they regulate the glands and calm overactive body system.
October Birthstone – Opal and Tourmaline
Opal the birthstone of October is an emotional stone which reflects the mood of the wearer.  The Greek word "Opallios" which means "to see a change" had given opal its name.  From milky white to black with shades red, blue, green, yellow, and orange, opals have a range of colors.  Its spherical arrangement is the reason of its radiance that adds extra beauty to its color play.
This non-crystalline silica gel product is associated with love, loyalty, peace, and faithfulness.  Opals are thought to encourage freedom, enhance cosmic consciousness and induce mystical vision.  Wearing opal jewelry especially rings stimulates creativity, releases anger and soothes stress.  It is also believed to treat infections and fevers.
Tourmaline with a wide variety of colors is a favorite gemstone of designers and gem collectors.  This magnificent stone with trigonal geometry comes in various colors from pink, red, green to blue, black, yellow and orange.  In the world where fashion changes with every minute, pink tourmaline which is an alternative birthstone or people born in October holds spiritual, sentimental and styling attributes all together.
November Birthstone – Citrine
Citrine, the birthstone for November, is known as the 'healing quartz'.  This golden gemstone is plentiful in nature and comes in the shades from yellow to brown.
Signifying prosperity, protection, strength and stability, the gem encourages hope, comfort, wealth and warmth.  It was said to attract wealth and success so merchants in ancient times used to keep citrine in their vaults.  This is the reason why it is also called as "Merchant's stone".  Wearing citrine jewelry stimulates the brain by increasing concentration and releasing negative traits, depression and phobias.  It imparts joy, pleasure, stability and delight, raises self-confidence and promotes motivation.
December Birthstone – Tanzanite
Discovered in 1960s and added in 2002 to the list of birthstones, tanzanite is officially the birthstone for the month of December.  The stone has received praises for its exemplary beauty and alluring color changing property.  Named after Tanzania, its place of origin, tanzanite comes in a range of colors from blue to violet.  The stone helps in raising self-confidence and consciousness by dispelling lethargy and enhancing creativity.  It is thought to heal heart, lungs and spleen disorders as it is a great detoxifying agent.  The gem also promotes motivation, regenerates cells and strengthens immune system.
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