The concept of birthstones is believed by some to have a connection with a ceremonial breastplate that held four rows of three precious stones symbolising twelve tribes. Some believe there is a connection between these stones and the months of the year. Traditionally, each month is associated with a single gemstone, but as you’ll find below there are a few months with multiple symbolic birthstones. Birthstones are surrounded by myths and legends and they're traditionally believed to possess magical energies that could be used as protection. It was thought that wearing the gemstone during its associated month helped to enhance its abilities. Whether or not you believe these myths, it’s hard to disagree that learning about birthstones can be an entertaining experience. Use this guide to birthstones by month and find a beautiful jewellery piece to symbolise birthdays or landmark dates that are personal to you and your loved ones.
The rich dark red gemstone aptly named after the seeds of the luscious pomegranate fruit. Garnets have been symbolically associated with life forces, the heart and blood, and have been considered a symbol for love, friendship and passion. The crusaders used garnet stones as protection against wounds and accidents during their journeys. Mary Queen of Scots and the Russian Czarinas were all famous for wearing garnets.
This striking green gemstone is said to be four times rarer than an emerald. During the Middle Ages, this gem was used as a symbol for truth and faith and nowadays some believe that tsavorite is a stone of strength, wealth, energy and confidence.
It's truly a gorgeous gem considered by many a collector's stone and often mined in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Royal Stone
Amethyst gemstones have been thought by some to bring clarity to the mind, enhance creativity and protect the wearer from evil thoughts.
According to folklore, Greek hosts would use glasses carved from amethyst to disguise their drinks as wine so as to remain sober among drunken guests. Only royals were allowed to wear the purple gem. The early Egyptians believed that the stone possessed positive powers and placed it in the tombs of pharaohs. Medieval churchmen used amethyst rings and jewels to promote divine revelations and wisdom.
Amethyst was also the stone of royalty, representing power.
Aquamarine, as the name suggests, is named after the element of water. Translated from Latin, aquamarine means 'water of the sea.' This gemstone was believed to have originated from the jewel caskets of sirens, washed ashore from the depths of the sea and it was considered sacred to the sea gods Neptune and Poseidon.
It has been said that the ancient Greeks and Romans believed having an aquamarine aboard a ship would protect against evil and bad luck so the sailors wore aquamarine talismans carved with Poseidon on a chariot. Because of the serene colour that the gemstone has to offer, it it though to promote calmness and peace in the beholder.
Stone of Invincibility
The diamond is harder than any other substance on Earth and it has become a symbol of enduring love. The product of extreme pressure and temperature, diamonds flaunt a sparkle like no other stone.
The name diamond is derived from the Greek 'adamus' meaning invincible, so it is easy to see how the stone has become a symbol of strength, unity and eternal bonds. The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen to Earth.
Cleopatra was known to have a passion for emeralds and used them in her royal adornments. Emeralds are the luscious green gemstones famed for vibrant colour and a unique appearance. Emerald has become a term that names all things natural and fertile, for example the abundant green landscapes of the Emerald Isle.
The ancient Romans dedicated the emerald to the goddess Venus, because it symbolised the reproductive forces of nature and the ancient Greeks used emeralds to honour Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty, love, and fertility. In ancient times emeralds were believed to posses mystical power that could give the wearer the ability to foresee the future and see the truth.
Pearls have long been a symbol for purity, wisdom and loyalty. According to Greek mythology, pearls were the tears of the gods. Ancient Chinese believed pearls had the power to perpetuate eternal youth.
Pearls begin as impurities, hard to believe given the beautiful gemstones that they grow into. Every pearl is unique, with their own story told through shape, size, colour and imperfection.
Coco Chanel was a fan of pearls and was once quoted as saying "A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls."
In India moonstones are considered sacredd and some believed that the gem had mystical properties that could help with spiritual awareness. Moonstone is believed to be a stone of destiny, mystery and change. It is strongly connected to the energy of the moon and the divine feminine.
According to Roman mythology, moonstone depicted the image of the moon goddess Diana and some legends claim that moonstone is the gem of high Priestesses.
the king of gems
Red rubies have long been regarded as a romantic gemstone, evoking love and passion in all its forms. The Sanskrit name for ruby translates roughly as 'king of gemstones.' Legends claim that rubies could turn their colour to a darker red as a warning sign of forthcoming problems and bad luck. It is said that Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, predicted her downfall in seeing the darkening of her ruby.
Rubies were a favourite adornment of warriors and English royals, seen as symbol of freedom, courage and divine strength.
Gem of the sun
Peridot is the olive green, cosmic and ancient gemstone. Peridot is composed from the mineral olivine that has been found in volcanic lava in Hawaii and in pallasite meteorites fallen on Earth. This gemstone is named peridot when it is of gem quality.
The Hawaiian people treasured peridot, believing the gem to be the tears of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes and fire known also as 'She-who-shapes-the sacred-land.' Ancient Egyptians named peridot the 'gem of the sun' due to the brilliance it showcased in the desert sun. It is said by some that peridot can attract wealth and drive away evil spirits.
The name sapphire is derived from the Persian word 'safir.' meaning 'beloved of Saturn.' Ancient Persians called sapphires the 'celestial stone.' Greeks who came to rule ancient Egypt after the conquest of Alexander the Great adopted the sapphire as the gem of Apollo, God of prophecy and justice. The sapphire was said to represent purity and wisdom.
Sapphires can be found in many colours from popular blue to black, white, orange and even pink. Kate Middleton and Penelope Cruz are famous fans of this gemstone having stunning blue sapphire engagement rings.
It has been said that some once believed sapphires had the power to guide and forewarn of adversity.
Lapis lazuli is a gemstone so vibrant it was once ground up and used to tint only the finest focal points in Renaissance paintings. Lapis lazuli was treasured by the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. In some cultures lapis lazuli was regarded as a divine stone, particularly in the Middle East as it was thought to have magical powers. Much loved not just in paintings and semi-precious jewellery, lapis lazuli has also been used to create ornaments and even decorate ancient Egyptian tombs and statues.
October's birthstone opal is a beautiful and individual kind of gemstone flaunting spectacular flashes of colour and depth. Shakespeare used the opal as a visual metaphor for indecisiveness in Twelfth Night - "The tailor make thy garment of changeable taffeta, for thy mind is very opal."
Arabic folklore has suggested that opals came to the earth in thunderbolts of lightning.
Opals can form in many colours in different parts of the world. Australia and Ethiopia are known for their opal deposits and Mexico is known for burning orange red fire opals.
The name topaz is thought to come from the Sanskrit word 'tapas' meaning heat. Topaz is also connected to Topazios, a Greek island where a yellow gemstone now known to be most likely an olivine stone used to be mined.
Topaz is the November birthstone and represents Sagittarius star signs in the zodiac. It has been said that in ancient times some believed topaz gems could bestow intense beauty and the power of invisibility on the wearer. Traditionally, topaz was believed to harness the power of the sun. In Egyptian practices, it is the symbol of Ra, the sun god, who was the giver of life.
The rarest and most prized colour of topaz is called the Imperial Topaz, named after the Russian Czars in the 1800’s. This particular topaz features a magnificent deep orange colour with pink undertones.
Sunny citrine is a vibrant yellow orange member of the quartz family. It is celebrated by jewellery designers for its hardness and resistance to scratches. The name is derived from the French for lemon, albeit slightly more orange than the colour of our favourite citric fruit. It was one of the twelve stones on the breastplate of high priest Aaron as described in Exodus. The gem is associated with health, prosperity, creativity, protection, truth and comfort. It is known as the ‘merchant’s stone’ and ‘the stone of the mind.’ A gift of citrine jewellery is symbolic for hope and strength.
stone of divine love
The gemologist George F. Kunz named this peachy orange gemstone after his gem-collecting friend J.P. Morgan. Morgan aided endeavours in the field of gemstones and so morganite was named in his honour. This gem is often called 'pink emerald' because morganite and emerald both are varieties of beryl gems. Morganite is known as the gem of divine love. This quintessentially feminine gem is thought by some to promote love and prosperity. It is said to carry an energy that can warm the soul of its wearer.
The Persian word for turquoise is 'ferozah' or 'firozah' which means victorious.
Turquoise has been found in jewellery that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. In ancient times this gem was considered sacred, reserved for the gods and could not be worn by mere mortals. Turquoise gems are usually found in warm and dry climate countries such as Turkey, Iran, the United States and Central America.
Turquoise is also a symbol of good fortune and success and it is believed to relax the mind.
Tanzanite is a fairly recent discovery in the world of gemstones after being uncovered and debuted in 1967. Tanzanite is considered a rare and exclusive gemstone with limited deposits found in only one part of the world. It has been named after its country of origin, Tanzania. Having one of these gemstones in your collection really is something special.
According to the Tanzanian Maasai tribe’s lore, tanzanite is a spiritual stone that promotes compassion and calmness.