Understanding Birthstones: A Simple Birthstone Guide

Understanding Birthstones: A Simple Birthstone Guide

Birthstones are gemstones representing the person’s month of birth. The official list of birthstones we have today is a cumulation of the different beliefs of different cultures.

However, historians also believe birthstones have a connection to Aaron’s breastplate. It contained twelve stones, which represented the twelve tribes of Israel.

Today, we use birthstones to celebrate our birth. We often wear it as a part of our identity in the form of jewelry. People might do it for fun or for adding meaning to their lives.

Want to know which gemstone represents your birth month? Read the following birthstone guide to learn more.

1. January – Garnet

January’s birthstone is garnet, which got its name from the Latin word granatum, meaning seed. The reason for this naming is that the gem resembles pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate’s scientific name also contains the word granatum.

Like you would expect, garnet is popular for having a deep red color. However, what you might not know is that it comes in other shades. There are orange hues and green; the rarer ones even come in blue and colorless.

Garnet has been in use in jewelry since before the Bronze Age. It was also used as talismans for protecting travelers and warriors. The Egyptians also believed it to be a symbol of life.

2. February – Amethyst

For February, we have the amethyst. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word for sober, amethustos. It got its name because people believed it can keep the wearer from getting intoxicated.

This gem was once one of the most favored gemstones. In the Middle Ages, it represented royalty. As such, you’ll often see kings and queens wearing amethyst jewelry.

The clergy also favored this gem as they thought it to be a symbol of Christ.

Today, people still adore this gem for its beautiful shade of purple. Some varieties have a pink hue, though.

3. March – Aquamarine

The beautiful blue color of the birthstone Aquamarine inspired its name. It comes from the Latin words aqua for water and marina for the sea.

Roman fishermen used to call it the “water of the sea” and thought of it as the treasure of mermaids. They believed it could protect their travels by water. Sailors and fishermen alike carried it with them for protection against storms.

Apart from its symbolism, aquamarine gems are popular today because of its cool color. It invokes calmness and peace.

Some also believe aquamarine to have healing properties. Some say it cures respiratory problems, while some believe that drinking the water in which the gemstone has been soaking can heal heart and stomach diseases.

4. April – Diamond

Diamond, being a symbol of love, is no stranger to people. Before it became that, though, many ancient civilizations had different interpretations of it.

Romans believed the gemstones to be splinters from falling stars. Greeks, on the other hand, believed they were tears of the gods. Some even thought they were lightning on Earth.

Whichever the case, diamonds today have significant value because of its association with commitment and faithfulness.

There’s no gemstone or material stronger than it, too; the only other material that can cut it is another diamond. Because of that, it has also become a symbol of courage and strength.

That’s a part of the word origin, as well. It’s a combination of the Greek words diaphanous for transparent and adamas for unbreakable.

5. May – Emerald

Emeralds are popular today for their splendid green hue. It was appropriately associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

Egyptians also adored this gemstone. The most notable Egyptian to adore it was Cleopatra. The queen loved collecting and wearing emerald jewelry.

Their culture also involves putting emeralds stones in monarchs’ graves for protection.

For the Greeks, it was a symbol of faithfulness. They believe wearing it will protect them from unfaithfulness. They also believe that it will shine green as long as their partners were faithful.

Today, the usual guide to birthstones would say they’re a symbol of peace, harmony, and loyalty.

6. June – Pearl, Alexandrite, or Moonstone

June celebrants can get the best birthstone for them because they have more choices than in other months. First, we have the Pearl, which comes from the Latin word for leg, perna. It’s a reference to the shape of an open mollusk shell.

Pearl is a symbol of purity today and even before. It also represents sophistication, as only the upper class afforded to wear them.

The moonstone was so-called because of the Roman historian Pliny. He described the gem’s appearance to shift with the phases of the moon.

Moonstones produce a bluish sheen, but some with thin layers look white. Some believe it helps the wearers get a good night’s sleep and ward off insomnia.

Alexandrite is the rarest of the three June birthstones, and so it can be expensive. They’re even rarer than diamonds.

It’s popular because of its impressive color changes under different light conditions. It can have red, green, blue, and purple hues.

7. July – Ruby

The gemstone’s name is pretty straightforward; it comes from the Latin word for red, rubeus. It’s second to diamonds on the hardness scale. Large varieties of it can command an even higher price than the April birthstone.

Many civilizations thought rubies to have protective powers. They still have that association today. The movie “Wizard of Oz” highlighted this through Dorothy’s ruby slippers, which protected them from the Wicked Witch of the West.

It has other uses than for adornment, though. It helped build the first working laser, and it is still in use in the production of lasers today. Some watches and medical instruments also use this gemstone.

8. August – Peridot

Peridot’s name origin is unclear. Yet, some believe it derives its name from the Greek word peridona, meaning “ gives plenty.”

Regardless, it’s popular for its lime green color. Many people often confuse it with emeralds. Some stones thought to be emeralds turned out to be peridots.

An example is the adornment of the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral.

Ancient Egyptians thought it protects from the night terrors. The Romans thought it had magical powers, which one can possess by wearing it on their right hand.

9. September – Sapphire

The sapphire gemstone derives its name from the Latin word sapphirus and Greek word sappheiros. Both of which means blue stone.

However, sapphires come in many other colors. They come in orange, pink, purple, green, yellow, black, and even colorless. If it comes in red, it’s ruby.

Sapphire has celestial and divine associations. Many religious figures in the past believed it to connect them to higher powers. Today, they’re a symbol of self-discipline, mental focus, and nobility.

10. October – Tourmaline or Opal

Opal is another stone bearing many colors, hence its name. The Greek word opallios means to “see a change in color.”

Looking at it, you’ll see that it contains a rainbow of colors. This is why one folklore about it features the creator coming to Earth via a rainbow.

It’s believed to give the wearer of opal rings and other jewelry good luck. A popular novel by Sir Walter Scott reversed its image, though. Now, some people associate it with bad luck.

October has another gemstone – Tourmaline, which also features different colors. One of its most popular varieties come in colors pink and green. It’s aptly named watermelon tourmaline.

People believe tourmalines can protect against negative thoughts, negative energy, and evil.

11. November – Topaz or Citrine

Both Topaz and Citrine are popular for their yellow color. So, people tend to confuse them with each other. For some time, people thought these two stones to be the same.

Topaz, however, comes in other colors, like wine red, pale green, and even pink. Its pure form is colorless, though.

The November birthstone symbolizes love, affection, and trust. It’s more valuable than citrine, although the other gemstone has some merits, too.

Citrine is the “healing quartz” for its comforting and calming properties.

12. December – Tanzanite, Zircon, or Turquoise

December has quite a variety of birthstones, too. First, we have the tanzanite, which has a relatively recent history.

Its discovery was only in 1967, and then the jewelry company Tiffany & Co. decided to become its distributor. Its deep blue color with violet hues rivals that of sapphire, contributing to its success.

Then, we have the more familiar turquoise, which also has blue colors. It has more history, though, dating back to 3000 BCE.

Egyptians used it everywhere. King Tut’s burial mask contained extravagant amounts of this gemstone.

Zircon is also recognizable by its blue hue, although it has other colors. It’s somewhat underrated due to its name’s similarity to the synthetic cubic zirconia.

Follow Our Birthstone Guide

Whether you’re thinking of gifting a loved one or researching about your birthstone, we hope this birthstone guide helps you. Follow it to see the beautiful symbolism behind our birth months.

Of course, there are other beautiful gemstones out there. You might want to try something unique and outlandish to complete your look. If you want more information, don’t hesitate to read more of our guides right here, today!