Traditionally, a birthstone is associated with each month of the year. For example, the birthstone for January is a garnet, while lucky babies born in April get a diamond as their birthstone. The origin of birthstones is believed to date back to the breastplate of Aaron which contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel.
There are numerous legends and myths about birthstone healing powers and their therapeutic influence. According to these legends, wearing a gemstone during its assigned month heightened its healing powers. For the full effect, individuals needed to own all twelve and alternate them monthly. We don't know about that, but we do love these beautiful, gemstones with their wild and varied history! The gemstones featured below are arranged by month. Click on the month you were born to learn the history of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Historically, the birthstone for June was the pearl. This organic gemstone has a long history of jewelry use that continues to this day. Many myths and legends have grown around pearls, as well. However, alexandrite, a relative newcomer to the gem world, has taken its place on the modern list.
July’s traditional and modern birthstone is ruby. This gem’s many symbolic associations include love, passion, wealth, and peace. In ancient times, people wore it as protection against evil and harm.
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.
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. (Sapphire, by definition, is the non-red gem variety of corundum). 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. For many gem enthusiasts, these gems now symbolize wisdom, purity, and faith.
Tourmaline is the modern October birthstone. These gems come in many varieties and colors, including beautiful multicolored stones.
Once upon a time, before modern gemology, all yellow stones were considered topaz. In the early 20th century, gemologists defined topaz as a distinct gem species which included yellow as well as blue, pink, purple, and other varieties. So, the traditional November birthstone transformed into the modern version, yellow or golden topaz. However, you can pick the topaz color you like best for birthstone jewelry.
While opaque turquoise and lapis lazuli were the traditional December birthstones, the modern shift to transparent gems made tanzanite and blue zircon the modern alternatives.