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, according to 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 instructions he received during the 40 days he spent in the mountains. According to the Bible, 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 zodiac signs and each month of the year.
Throughout history, different cultures had their own rituals and beliefs linked to birthstones. Many people believed that wearing all twelve birthstones together or in a rotation format is a way to ensure maximum benefit from these sacred crystals. Catherine de Medici wore a girdle set with twelve stones to derive its utmost benefit. The kings and queens of different royal states in India wore jewels studded with these twelve birthstones.
In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers officially adopted the birthstone list, which specifies the birthstone of each month. In 2002, the birthstone list was further altered to include tanzanite as the birthstone for December. Birthstone jewelry is created in the form of rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and amulets, and must touch the skin. They possess certain mystical powers, and are considered helpful in healing many illnesses while radiating positive energy.
Each birthstone has astrological properties associated with a specific month. Do you know your birthstone? Would you like to know your lucky stone that may bring you good fortune? Here are some interesting and alluring facts about each of these birthstones:
January Birthstone - Garnet
Garnet, the birthstone of January, signifies vitality, passion and trust. This birthstone symbolizes faith, courage, loyalty, constancy and fidelity. The gemstone comes virtually in all colors of the spectrum, including red, pink, green, yellow and orange. Garnet is a group of minerals derived from the Latin word 'granatus', means pomegranate seeds. The stone is considered to heal ailments like blood deficiency, arthritis and rheumatism. Wearing garnet in form of rings, earrings, pendants and necklaces helps in improving overall physical and mental health. With a resinous luster and hardness of 6.5 to 7.5 on Moh’s scale, garnet jewelry is the perfect gift for those who love mystical charm and grace in their life.
February Birthstone – Amethyst
Amethyst, known as the gemstone of royalties, is the official birthstone for February. It is one of the oldest stones known to human civilization. The history dates as far as 25,000 years ago when prehistoric humans used it as a decorative piece. The gemstone was found in the remains of the Neolithic age.
The gemstone represents power, but symbolizes peace, love and happiness. Known to empower the minds and souls, this purple member of quartz family assists in attaining wisdom and courage. Also, amethyst is affiliated with healing properties that work against headache, insomnia, arthritis and circulatory disorders. It’s derived from the Greek word 'amethystos' that means remedy against drunkenness. The name was given due to the belief that the gemstone has powers to ward off the effect of intoxication and keeps the wearer clear headed and quick witted. Altogether, amethyst is mentioned throughout history, traditions and legends.
Amethysts are soft stones with hardness of 7 on Moh's scale. Rings, earrings, necklaces and amulets studded with amethyst are best said to ward off evil spirits and promote love and protection.
March Birthstone – Aquamarine
Aquamarine is the official birthstone for March, but the gemstone is frequently bought throughout the year. The gemstone has derived its name from Latin word 'aqua' meaning water and 'marina' meaning of the sea. It ranges from a pale bluish green to deep blue in color. As a stone of the beryl family, aquamarines are a relatively hard gemstone, which is highly praised for its lavish beauty, mystical properties and symbolic association.
In ancient times, aquamarines were carried by sailors as a guaranteed safe voyage. The gemstone signifies calmness, sympathy, trust, harmony, togetherness, peacefulness, courage and serenity. They have mystical powers that reduce stress, sharpen the intellect, clear confusion, promote self-expression and shield the aura. For ages, when aquamarine jewelry is worn in rings and amulets, they’ve 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 can also be found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia and Mozambique.
April Birthstone – Diamond
People born in April are very fortunate to have diamonds as their official birthstone. Popular diamonds are colorless, but they are composed of pure carbon with tetrahedral geometry. Diamonds, since inception, are considered a traditional stone for engagement and wedding rings because the gemstone symbolizes unity, trust, fidelity, strength and devotion.
Known as “a girl's best friend”, diamonds in the form of rings, earrings, pendants and necklaces 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 gemstone in the world, and has impressive refraction and reflection of light.
Although, colorless diamonds are the most famous, the demand for colored diamonds, including fancy natural colored diamonds has tremendously increased. These colored diamonds make up only 1% of the total diamonds that exist on the earth, but their beauty and play of color add value considered priceless. Fancy colored diamonds are formed through alteration in the diamond crystal structure. Pink, green, yellow, blue, orange, red, purple, brown, black and champagne are a few colors diamonds exhibit.
Diamonds are not only desired for their beauty, but also cherished for their mysterious properties. They balance the seventh Chakra and aid in creativity. Also, the gemstone enhances psychic ability, promotes harmony and balances between individual and ambience, removing toxins, healing the body and releasing stress.
May Birthstone – Emerald
Emerald, the birthstone for May, is known as the symbol of rebirth, spring and youthfulness. The gemstone grants its owner foresight and good fortune. This member of beryl family is one of four precious stones. Emerald gemstone’s color ranges from light to dark green, and scores 8 on Moh's scale of hardness. Emeralds are famous for symbolizing natural growth and harmony. It is one of the most primary and popular gemstones used in fine jewelry.
The history of emeralds dates back to 1300 BC when Egypt was the only known source of the gemstone, especially mined for Cleopatra. The gemstone got its name from Greek word 'samaragdus', meaning green. Emerald jewelry has been praised by kings and queens throughout history.
The stone in the form of rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and amulets is believed to promote romance, serenity, intelligence and communication. Emerald jewelry is believed to enhance unconditional love and provide domestic bliss. The gemstone is known to heal psychic ailments and balance the heart chakra. Emerald is considered a good supporter in treating heart, lungs, spine and muscular disorders.
June Birthstone – Pearl and Alexandrite
As the birthstone of June, pearls are the symbol of purity, and are believed to grant its owner wisdom and innocence. It’s associated with the third chakra and is known as the stone of sincerity and honesty. Wearing pearls in the form of jewelry promotes personal integrity, concentration and wisdom. They are known to treat digestive disorders and relieve bloating and biliousness conditions. Unlike other gemstones, pearls have an organic origin. They are discovered within the shell of oysters and clams. Pearls are mostly made of aragonite, and are valued highly because of their beauty and exclusivity.
Alexandrite is the second birthstone for those born in June. They are one of the newer gemstones, discovered 1831 in Russia during the reign of Czar Alexander II. The gemstone was said to be discovered on his birthday, and in order to honor him, the stone was named alexandrite. Alexandrites are an extremely rare chrysoberyl with chameleon like properties. The gemstone is an enchanting green in fluorescence light and deep red in an incandescent light. Because of its color changing properties, the gemstones are in high demand. According to Russians, Alexandrite 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. 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 rarer than both sapphires and diamonds.
This gemstone of beauty is famous for its bright hues and mysterious properties. Rubies arouse senses and energy levels. The stone is related to the base chakra and heart chakra. Since its 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 gemstone had a long written history, and enjoyed a prominent presence in the hearts and vaults of royals.
According to ancient Asian traditions, the gemstone was self-luminous, and therefore referred to as the 'glowing stone'. Rubies were believed to guard against wicked thoughts, amorous desires and disputes. Ruby in rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and amulets are a good supporter in detoxifying the body, treating fevers, infectious diseases and a cure for bleeding. It was famous for stimulating adrenals, kidneys, reproductive organs, spleen and the pineal gland. The gemstone was also known to aid in retaining wealth and passion by clearing negative energy and imparting strength.
August Birthstone – Peridot
Peridot is associated with fame, dignity, protection, purity and rebirth. Being the birthstone for August, peridots 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 shades. 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 a deep green color at night and glows in darkness.
Peridot symbolizes prosperity and openness. It hosts magical powers to protect against nightmares and negative energies. The gemstone reduces stress, banishes lethargy and cleanses the body. The sparkly light green stone helps the immune system, aids the heart, lungs, gall bladder and treats ulcer and hypochondria. Peridot jewelry is used to treat anger, stress and jealousy. It is also a lavish accessory to enhance looks and bring the colors of spring glow to you.
September Birthstone – Sapphire
The 'wisdom stone' has a long written history. Sapphire, unlike its cousin ruby, comes in various colors ranging from pink, green, yellow and orange to purple and white. However, the most coveted of all colors is the blue sapphire, ranging from light to intense blue hues. Sapphire is one of the most powerful gemstones that possess enormous amounts of mysterious powers. Sapphires, known as the gemstone of the heavens, for their beauty and brilliance, are believed to promote prosperity. Medieval clergy wore sapphire jewelry to represent strength, power and status. Sapphire engagement rings were also very famous among the most royal families.
The birthstone of September symbolizes luck, love, generosity and loyalty. The famous gemstone is associated with creative expressions, spiritual development and metaphysical balance. Additionally, sapphires are thought to release mental tensions and phases of depression. The gemstone helps balance the body, mind and soul, brings serenity, peace and aligns physical, mental and spiritual health. Sapphires are also know to treat blood and cellular disorder, regulate the glands and calm overactive body systems.
October Birthstone – Opal and Tourmaline
Opal, the birthstone of October, is an emotional stone, which can reflect the mood of its owner. The Greek word "Opallios" which means "to see a change" had given opal its original name. From milky white to black with shades red, blue, green, yellow, and orange, opals have a range of colors in one stone. Its spherical arrangement is the reason for its radiance that adds extra beauty to 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. The stone treats infections and fevers as well.
Tourmaline, with a wide variety of colors, is a favorite gemstone for both designers and gemstone collectors. The magnificent stone with triangular geometric shape comes in various colors, including pink, red, green, blue, black, yellow and orange. In a world where fashion trends change frequently, pink tourmaline holds spiritual, sentimental and styling attributes together.
November Birthstone – Citrine
Citrine, the birthstone for November, is known as the 'healing quartz'. This golden gemstone has properties of nature and comes in the shades, ranging from yellow to brown.
Signifying prosperity, protection, strength and stability, the gemstone encourages hope, comfort, wealth and warmth. It attracts wealth and success. In fact, 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 from your mind and body. Citrine increases feelings of joy, pleasure, stability, delight, and raises self-confidence and promotes internal and external 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 extraordinary beauty and alluring color changing effects ranging from blue to violet. Named after Tanzania, its place of origin, Tanzanite helps in raising self-confidence and consciousness by diminishing lethargy and enhancing creativity. It is thought to heal the heart, lungs and spleen disorders with its detoxifying powers. The gemstone is also known to promote motivation, regenerate cells and strengthen the immune system.