Birthstones have long been accepted and gifted as beautiful symbols that represent our birth months. With each of the 12 months having their own specific stone, birthstone jewelry has held immense popularity for centuries.
The Origin of Birthstones
According to the American Gem Society (AGS), birthstones have a history dating back to biblical times. The first appearance of the 12 stones is widely accepted as the Breastplate of Aaron in the Book of Exodus. In the description, the stones are considered a symbolic representation of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Over the centuries, the gems began to evolve into symbols of birth months and zodiac signs. By the late 1700s, it was customary to associate each of the 12 months of the year with their own individual stone. By the beginning of the 20th century, these stones were officially noted by the National Association of Jewelers and have remained the set birthstones ever since.
January – March
Known for its deep red color, garnets have a rich history as the birthstone for January. The color is said to represent friendship and bring good luck to those who travel during perilous months.
The lavish purple hues of amethysts, the birthstone of February, made it a long-standing favorite with royals for a number of centuries. It is said that these gems – actually a purple quartz – bring those around it an abundance of peace and content.
For March birthdays, the cool blue tones of an aquamarine are said to represent calm waters and clear thinking. The beautiful aqua coloring was long believed to contain properties that would help wearers maintain an even temper and make sound decisions on long journeys.
April – June
Diamonds have widely been used as engagement rings and bridal sets due to their strength and association with enduring love. However, it’s not just a bridal piece – it’s also the official birthstone for those born in April and said to be a source of light eternal – fitting for the beginning of spring.
One of the most treasured of all gemstones, the emerald is the official birthstone for the month of May. It is said that Cleopatra had a deep love for the mesmerizing pools of green found in these gems – so much so, that she took ownership of all emerald mines under her reign.
Of all the rare gemstones in the world, the pearl, the official birthstone for June, is the only one created by a living thing. In ancient times, it is said that pearls were the “tears of the gods” by some civilizations, while others believed they were “teardrops of the moon.”
July – September
With the richest of reds, rubies have captivated wearers for centuries before becoming the birthstone for the month of July. These gems are symbolic for love and passion, and with their intense fiery radiance, it’s no wonder they were chosen to represent the heart of summer.
Similar to emeralds, peridot gems have a beautiful green tint that even gets them confused with emeralds sometimes. Throughout history, the birthstone for August has been coveted as having protection powers as ancients believed it kept them safe from dangers at night.
The deep celestial hues of sapphires have given way to a strong spiritual connection between the gems and their wearers. The birthstone for September is believed by some to carry divine properties that bring about mental clarity and spiritual awakening.
October – December
Few gems can capture a beautiful array of color quite like an opal. Now known as the birthstone for October, opals are steeped in mystique and legend. Some have said opals were created by lightening from the gods, while others believed they were teardrops from rainbows.
The beautiful golden color of November’s birthstone, citrine, seems like the perfect choice for those born during the autumn season. These gems were once highly coveted and believed to carry the power to soothe pain and ease anxiety.
While not as widely known as its blue counterpart, the sapphire, tanzanite gems are just as celestially beautiful. Their deep blue hues rival the galactic night sky and give way to some brilliantly vibrant jewelry pieces for those born in December.