Birthstones are a concept of connecting your birth month with gemstones and their meaning. They make a meaningful gift as a range of properties have been ascribed to gemstones since ancient times. Wearing birthstones is thought to bring good luck, health and protection. Learning about birthstones by the month can be an educational and entertaining experience filled with history, myths, gemstone properties and above all vivid natural colours!
What are Birthstones by the Month?
Birthstones are gemstones associated with each month of the year. A certain gemstone represents those born in that month. These gemstones have a unique meaning and historical significance. They represent, as a symbol, the qualities attributed to that month. You can find a list of all birthstones by the month with more details below in the post. Traditionally, each month is represented by one gemstone but a few months have multiple gemstones as birthstones. The multiple options for some months were created to allow more affordable options in addition to the traditional more expensive gemstones.
Why Do People Wear Birthstone Jewellery?
Birthstones by the month are most often offered in a piece of jewellery, known as birthstone jewellery. A jewellery piece is a symbol and a reminder to celebrate your birth month throughout the year. The birthstones are appealing, and colourful making a unique connection with the person who is wearing them. Also, many healing properties have been ascribed to gemstones which deepen the relationship and meaning between the birthstones and the wearer. In many countries wearing and gifting birthstone jewellery for special occasions like; birthdays, graduations, Communions and engagements have become very popular. The birthstones’ vibrant colours, rich history and attributed properties made them an ideal personalised gift for loved ones.
When Did Birthstones by the Month Start?
The idea of birthstones developed quite recently but the basis of it dates back to biblical times and the Book of Exodus from the Bible. The book described the breastplate worn by Aaron, the first high priest of the Israelites. The special holy garment had a breastplate set with twelve gemstones, each representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Later on, Christian scholars in the 5th century made the connection between the twelve stones in the breastplate, the twelve months and the zodiac signs. At that time, the idea was to own all twelve gemstones and wear each particular month's powerful gemstone, no matter your birthday. It wasn’t until sometime between the 16th and the 18th century in Poland where Jewish gemstone traders were selling each gemstone based on a person’s birth month. The traditional birthstones of the month were recognised and wearing birthstones increased in popularity.
Difference Between Traditional and Modern Birthstone Lists
The traditional birthstones by the month list originated in Poland while the modern list of birthstones was standardised in 1912, by the National Association of Jewelers in the USA. The modern list mostly includes transparent gemstones and has been updated since. Some gemstones from the traditional list are less expensive or are more readily available than their modern counterparts. As a result, some traditional gemstones remain popular to this day. Very often the lists are used interchangeably depending on people’s tastes, availability and price. Most birthstones by the month are affordable. However, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and rubies are considered precious gemstones which are rare and often very expensive. For that reason, an alternative of semi-precious stones has been introduced.
Birthstones by the Month Chart and Meaning
Since ancient times, different cultures have believed that gemstones have special healing properties and meaning. The same idea relates to the birthstones by the month. Certain qualities and properties are assigned to each birthstone and serve a wearer as a means of support and encouragement. The birthstone colours also add to the gemstones' symbolic abilities. The list below shows the birthstones by month and their meaning. In this post, we only cover the semi-precious stones which are included in the birthstone list.
What is January’s Birthstone? - Garnet
Garnet is the birthstone for January. Its name is derived from the word granatum which means seed and is called so because the gemstone resembles a pomegranate seed. The red colour of the gemstone symbolises faith and courage. It is said to be stabilising in that it can bring order to chaos whether internal or external. Emotionally, Garnet is considered a stone of increasing commitment, honesty, hope and faith. It is a stone of positive thoughts which is said to dispel and relieve depression.
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What is February’s Birthstone? - Amethyst
Amethyst is the February birthstone and the world’s most popular purple gemstone. Throughout history, the special virtue of Amethyst was to prevent drunkenness and excess. Today, Amethyst is a stone of spirituality known for many healing abilities. It is excellent for quietening the mind. Many use it as an aid to finding deep inner peace. It helps us to discover the wisdom residing in ourselves. Moreover, Amethyst carries the energy of fire, passion, artistry and inner peace. It is one of the best crystals for reflection.
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What is the Birthstone for March? - Aquamarine
Pale blue Aquamarine is the colour of the winter sky giving way to spring. It was first called “water of the sea” by Roman fishermen, who used it for protection over water. It is calming, soothing, and cleansing and inspires truth, trust and letting go. Aquamarine is a Water element stone, powerful for cleansing the emotional body and opening communication. It is a wonderful stone for meditation as it quiets the mind and facilitates inner communication.
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What is April’s Birthstone? – Clear Quartz
Clear Quartz is the birthstone for April along with its precious cousin Diamond. In the metaphysical world, Clear Quartz crystals are seen as the supreme gift of Mother Earth. Ancient civilisations believed Clear Quartz stones were alive. Quartz generally has strong amplifying qualities. This is one of the reasons why it is so highly regarded. Quartz is known as the master healing crystal because it contains the full spectrum of light. As such will work on every level to bring the body into balance. It strengthens and stabilises the body’s energy fields and promotes harmony. Quartz can amplify both positive thoughts and energy and can stimulate positive action when needed.
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What is the Birthstone for May? - Chrysoprase
The semi-precious alternative birthstone for May is Chrysoprase. It is a lovely green healing crystal that promotes good feelings of love and forgiveness. Its energy brings an abundance of love and prosperity into your life, as well as the possibility of attracting new love if that is what you desire. This is a crystal for happiness that helps anyone who needs a lift. Chrysoprase promotes joy, self-acceptance and independence. It encourages forgiveness and compassion towards others.
What is June’s Birthstone? – Pearls and Moonstone
From one of the humblest of life forms, the mollusc, comes the Pearl – a gem of supreme beauty and elegance and the birthstone for June along with Moonstone. Unlike most gemstones that are found on the Earth, Pearls are unique. They are the only gemstones created by living sea creatures. Pearls require no faceting or polishing to reveal natural beauty. Pearls are said to give the wearer a sense of calmness and to promote peace, nobility, and purity. They can especially enhance personal integrity. Pearls are nature’s perfect gift, suitable for all ages.
Moonstone is the birthstone for those born in June along with Pearls. Named for its moon-like sheen Moonstone shows a floating play of light known as adularescence. This gemstone is surrounded by a good deal of mystique and magic. The Romans admired Moonstone, as they believed it was born from solidified rays of the moon. Considered a sacred stone in India, it is believed to encapsulate a spirit whose purpose is to bring good fortune. The Moonstone symbolises the beauty of our being in its fullness. It is a stone of inner growth and nobility, it calms and encourages, teaching us the natural rhythms of life. Moonstone opens the heart to nurturing qualities as well as assisting in the acceptance of love.
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What is July’s Birthstone? – Carnelian
Carnelian is July’s semi-precious alternative birthstone to the precious Ruby. Its bold energy brings a rush of warmth and enthusiasm that is stimulating and empowering. It is known as a stone of vitality, endurance and courage. Carnelian is an orange-coloured variety of Chalcedony, a mineral of the Quartz family. In ancient times, Carnelian was believed to help timid speakers become both eloquent and bold. It helps insecure people find strength within themselves so they can come into their own.
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What is the Birthstone for August? – Peridot
Peridot is the birthstone for August. The colour green has always been associated with the energy of the heart. An open heart responds only with kindness, joyful and wise acceptance. Napoleon once made a gift of Peridot to Josephine as a symbol of everlasting love and admiration. The August birthstone is also associated with prosperity, growth and peace. It is also believed that the stone has the power to ward away evil and nightmares, bestowing peace and progress in one’s life.
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What is September’s Birthstone? – Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli is a semi-precious gemstone known as an alternative September birthstone. Sapphire is a precious gemstone and the main birthstone of the month. It is the gemstone of the sky and a curious name. Lapis Lazuli was admired, desired and highly valued by ancient cultures. Its deep, sacred blue remains the symbol of kings and honour, queens and power, spirit and vision. This September birthstone is a worldwide symbol of wisdom and truth.
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What is October’s Birthstone? – Opal
Opal is the birthstone for October. The name Opal derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of colour)”. Opal’s beauty is the product of the contrast between its colour play and the background. Just as Opal absorbs and reflects light, it picks up thoughts and feelings, desires and buried emotions, amplifying them and returning them to the source. Opals promote a sense of calm security, easing stress and encouraging one to stop worrying to better direct thoughts and energies.
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What is November’s Birthstone? – Citrine
November birthdays are associated with two birthstones; Citrine and Topaz. Citrine is a golden gemstone said to support vitality and health while encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer. Carrying the power of the sun, it is warm and comforting, energising and life-giving. Citrine is a gemstone of abundance and manifestation, attracting wealth and prosperity, success and all things good. It also encourages generosity and sharing good fortune.
Topaz is another birthstone for November. According to a legend, Topaz was believed to control heat, having the power to cool boiling water and consequently, anger in a person, cutting through their despair, rage or confusion and lending clarity of thought to the wearer. The Topaz birthstone symbolises love and affection and is said to bestow strength and intelligence on the person who wears it.
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What is the Birthstone for December? – Turquoise
Turquoise is the gemstone that marks the end of the year and is the birthstone for December. It is also among the oldest known gemstones. Turquoise has found usage in nearly every culture as a good luck talisman. It is believed to bring happiness and good luck to the wearer and is therefore a powerful shielding stone. The December birthstone is best known for boosting the wearer’s status and wealth, shielding from evil and bringing good luck. Giving someone Turquoise is a measure of friendship and a wish for good luck.
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Conclusion About Birthstones by the Month
Birthstones by the month are perhaps relatively a new concept, however, their roots are filled with history, myths, different beliefs, properties and symbolism. For that reason, the meaningful connection between the months of the year and gemstones has been so easily established. The idea resonates with all audiences regardless of gender, age, nationality or religion. Birthstones are a lovely and meaningful addition to any jewellery collection and can have great personal significance and value to the wearer.