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A Complete Guide To Birthstones

Wearing birthstone jewelry is one of the oldest and trendiest traditions in the United States.

It's a great tradition that associates specific gemstones with every month. Almost every gem has particular properties, and many are considered lucky.

Want to learn more about the different types of birthstones? Continue reading!

Birthstones - A Tradition

In all cultures, ancient and modern, gemstones have been assigned meaning. Since the 1800s, for example, diamonds have been the choice stone used in engagement rings, and they are signs of love and promise. Gemstones are also associated with healing, protective qualities, and even personalities. It makes perfect sense, then, that your birth month would have a precious gemstone associated with it!

The origins of birthstones are different across cultures. Many ancient civilizations, from the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Chinese, and Indians, believed specific stones possessed certain qualities. If you were born in a particular month, that stone could give you those personality traits. In some cultures, some birthstones were considered luckier than others!

Some believe that birthstones represent the original twelve tribes of Israel. Other's assume that the birthstones initially represent the twelve months of the year, based on Judeo-Roman tradition and Greek or Roman myths. Others reference the twelve zodiac signs, citing ancient Chinese texts to allude to certain personality types that are associated with gems and the year a person is born.

Regardless of the tradition and origin of birthstones, they are now a modern jewelry trend that has helped men and women choose gifts for their loved ones.

Often, children will receive this kind of jewelry for their birthdays to represent the celebration of their birth. Mothers will receive birthstone jewelry in honor of their children, whether a necklace, ring, or bracelet. Rings with birthstones in them are usually called Mother's Rings.

So, what's My Birthstone?

For most of us, we have one birthstone attached to our birth month. But for some, we have one or two representing our birth months!

The original and most traditional list was created at the beginning of the 20th century. The first list was created by The National Association of Jewellers back in 1912. This list was standard until 1952, when an updated list was introduced in the United States by the Jewelers of America.

Here is the list of birthstones by month:

Continue reading for more information about the traditional birthstones for every month!

January Birthstone

The January birthstone is the garnet, which has been used for centuries as gemstones for royalty, higher-ranking nobles, and warriors. Many in ancient times associated garnets looking like pomegranate seeds, which is where the name comes from, and it's derived from the Latin word for seed.

There are several different types and species of garnets available in jewelry. This means that their chemical compositions are all unique. Garnet comes in multiple shades, including blue, purple, green, yellow, orange, and the most commonly associated with the January birthstone, red. At the most basic chemical level, Garnets can be found in any shade, and blue is the rarest garnet color.

Garnets are known to be a protective stone, often given to travelers, so they return home safe. Garnets are said to aid in healing the blood, heart, and lungs. Garnets are also known to help promote love, passion, and intimacy in a relationship.

February Birthstone

Amethyst is probably most recognizable as the February birthstone. Unlike garnets that come in various colors, amethysts range in only purple hues, from lavender to deep purple. They have secondary hues in lighter colors, ranging from red to blues.

Amethysts are also extremely hard gemstones that rate as a seven on the hardness scale. This makes it ideal for jewelry like rings since amethysts are extremely hard to scratch.

Purple has always been associated with royalty, so for the longest time, amethysts were inaccessible to the regular populace. Nowadays, amethysts are associated with insomnia reduction, healing arthritis, and circulatory issues. They are also associated with healing chronic pain problems. Many people purchase this February birthstone to help promote peace, balance, courage, and inner strength.

March Birthstone

The March birthstone is a gem that is the color of the sea, which is where its name comes from. In Latin, aquamarine means "water" and "sea." If a sailor's family could afford aquamarine, they would send their sailors to the sea with it. It was meant for protection.

This gemstone is known as beryl, which is a naturally occurring mineral. Natural beryl is colorless, but over millions of years of growing around other colored rocks, it will integrate other colors.

Aquamarine helps to release fear, calm nerves, and foster mental clarity. It's also known to help heal irregularities in:

  • Liver

  • Throat

  • Stomach

  • Jaw

  • Teeth

  • Eyes

  • Ears

April Birthstone

Although most people associate diamonds with engagement and wedding rings, diamonds are also the April birthstone!

Diamonds are one of the hardest gemstones. It's actually one of the hardest structures in nature, being 58 times harder than other minerals! Diamonds are made of compressed carbon and come in a variety of colors. Diamonds can be natural or lab-grown, but both types provide lots of sparkle in all kinds of jewelry.

Diamonds are naturally the symbol of love and passion. As a birthstone, diamonds also represent courage and positive energy.

May Birthstone

The May birthstone is a vibrant emerald. It's a fitting gem for Spring because of its color and its representative meaning.

Emerald is another beryl mineral, which means it grows in a hexagonal shape and grows in a pillar shape. That means that it can be a light green to very dark green. Most high-value emeralds are a dark blue-green color. With how many color variations there are, emeralds are lovely statement pieces.

Emeralds are said to help with detoxifying organs like the liver and improve overall health. Specifically, emeralds are associated with helping resolve eye disorders.

June Birthstone

June is one of the few months that has multiple gemstones, which are pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite. We will focus on the pearl, the most traditional June birthstone.

Pearls are naturally produced by mollusks in the sea or rivers. They are also the only natural gem (not a gemstone!) since its created inside of an animal. Most gemstones are grown via a chemical process, directly tied to the Earth.

Pearls have always been associated with purity. Many Victorians would use pearls in engagement rings to signify virginity, purity, and honesty. Pearls are also the symbol of wisdom, especially by ancient Eastern cultures that associated pearls and dragons together.

July Birthstone

In India, the ruby is considered the king of gems, which is what the name "ratnaraj" means. Warriors and royalty would use rubies to ward off evil and promote strength.

Rubies range in light to darker-colored shades of red. Rubies aren't found in other colors and are naturally red because it's made up of aluminum oxide and omnium.

As the modern July birthstone, Rubies offer protection against harm and promote strength, courage, and emotional health. Many people wear rubies to help remove all negative energy and promote the flow of positive energy.

August Birthstone

The peridot is the primary August birthstone, but it joins the spinel and sardonyx as an option for all kinds of birthstone jewelry.

The peridot is another green gem, but it's not to be confused with the emerald! Peridots tend to be lime green or very light green. They are more affordable than emeralds because of their chemical composition and how easier they are to cut.

Like many other gemstones, peridots help improve overall health. It's supposed to relieve stress and historically has been used to protect from evil spirits.

September Birthstone

The sapphire is the September birthstone. Sapphires most are familiar with are the brilliant blue, but sapphires actually come in many colors. The sapphire is also second to diamonds for their hardness, which measures a nine on the hardness scale.

Sapphires represent faith, loyalty, and serenity. They have also been used to reduce chronic pain symptoms and help with blood disorders.

Carats and Stones specialty Serenity ring includes many sapphires that make it perfect as your significant other's September birthstone gift.

October Birthstone

The October birthstones are opal and tourmaline, two very different stones that make excellent options for jewelry, especially if you want to combine them into one piece.

Opals and tourmaline come in many clothes, with opals ranging in more transparency colors to a sparkly blue. Tourmaline can come in various shades, from pinks, blues, purples, or even a mix of pink and green. Its chemical structure means it has, over millions of years, incorporating different minerals, changing the overall color.

Both opal and tourmaline are said to help heal the wearer of most illnesses and are known to enhance creativity.

Check out Caracts and Stone's Solei ring, a stunning opal and diamond creation with a yellow gold finish.

November Birthstone

November is another month that has multiple birthstone options, which are topaz and citrine.

The difference between these two yellow stones is in their chemical makeup. Citrine is actually a type of quartz, which had iron incorporated in it as it grew. Topaz can also be other colors, or it incorporates different colors that change its yellow hue. Citrine will typically only come in shades of yellow.

Both topaz and citrine are thought to have healing properties, as well as help with love, affection, and passion.

December Birthstone

December has three birthstone options; tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise. We will focus on turquoise, as it's one of the most popular options!

Turquoise has long been considered a sacred stone: many cultures have used it for statues and protective jewelry. It's not very hard, which makes it easy to shape. The most sought-after turquoise has spiderweb-like veins through the stone, while the least valuable typically have dark spots or patches.

Finding the Right Birthstone Jewelry For You

Birthstone jewelry options are limitless: necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, and even watches can feature your birthstone!

Let the experts from Carats and Stones help you choose the right one for you, your significant other, a family member, or a beloved friend. We have the latest trends in our showroom and online.

Come visit us at 1833 Union St or set up a virtual appointment here!

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