A beautiful piece of artisan jewellery makes a great gift for a birthday, an anniversary, or any other special occasion, but you can make the present even more personal by choosing a piece that contains the birthstone of the recipient. Here are the birthstones for each month.
Garnet gemstones can be found in almost any colour but are most commonly associated with the red varieties. They have isometric crystallography and a conchoidal fracture. Garnets are one of the oldest known gemstones, used by the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Garnets are believed to protect the wearer from harm and have associations with creativity, vitality, love and friendship.
Amethyst is a purple gemstone, in shades that range from pale lilac to deep red-purple, and has hexagonal crystallography. Amethysts have been used for jewellery for thousands of years, dating back to the Ancient Egyptians who used the stones to make amulets to protect themselves from harm. Amethyst also supposedly has the power to prevent drunkenness, according to a Roman myth, and is believed by some religions to represent peace and purity of spirit.
March: Aquamarine or Bloodstone
While the traditional March birthstone is bloodstone, the modern birthstone for the month of March is aquamarine, a variety of Beryl, which is the same gem family as emerald. This gemstone comes in shades of blue and blue-green and has a conchoidal fracture and hexagonal crystallography. Aquamarine is named after the colour of the sea and has many folklore associations with it, such as protection for sailors, fishermen and travellers. A good alternative for aquamarine as the March birthstone is aqua chalcedony.
Diamonds are usually colourless but can have shades of grey, black, pink, blue, lavender or yellow. They have isometric crystallography and are the hardest known natural substance. Diamonds are heavily linked to romance, being the most popular adornment on engagement rings. However, they also have connotations of hardness, resilience, and strength, with both the word diamond and the word adamant deriving from the Greek word adamas meaning unyielding or invincible.
Emeralds are members of the Beryl family, just like aquamarine, but are famed for their deep, rich green colours. They have hexagonal crystallography and inclusions can give them various unique appearances. Emeralds are famously associated with Cleopatra and have had many symbolic connotations with power, wit, eloquence, and some ancient cultures believed these gemstones had the power to protect against demonic possession and bestow the ability to predict future events. As a more affordable alternative for the May birthstone, green onyx can be used.
June: Pearl, Alexandrite and Moonstone
Pearls are ancient gemstones that are found in oysters and other molluscs but they can also be cultivated. We traditionally think of pearls as white or black, but they come in a range of colours and have both a body colour and overtones caused by the iridescence of the pearl’s surface. Pearls have associations with Venus, the goddess of love, the moon, and the sea. Another birthstone used for June is moonstone - an opalescent stone associated with the feminine energy of the moon.
Rubies are incredibly durable and valuable gemstones that come in a range of deep red tones with shades of pink, purple and orange and have hexagonal crystallography. Another gem that has these deep red colours and can be used in place of a ruby is ruby quartz. Rubies have historically been associated with wealth, power, and luck in many cultures. They are also believed to have protective properties and the ancient Burmese considered rubies the gemstone of soldiers.
August: Peridot or Spinel
The primary birthstone for the month of August is peridot. Peridot is a green gemstone available in a variety of shades and hues. It has orthorhombic crystallography and has good wearability. This gemstone has connotations of harmony, peacefulness, renewal, and regeneration, as well as being known as the stone of compassion, capable of calming anger and promoting restful sleep. Peridot pairs well with other gemstones, such as in this pair of long earrings.
Sapphires are available in almost every colour, but the deep, pure blue varieties are what we most commonly associate with this gemstone. Sapphires are very hard and have hexagonal crystallography. Blue sapphires are associated with the planet Venus and the Ancient Greeks associated them with Apollo. Sapphires are believed to bring harmony and symbolise faithfulness, sincerity, and wisdom. Blue chalcedony is a good alternative to sapphire as sapphires can be expensive!
October: Tourmaline or Opal
The birthstone for October is tourmaline, a gemstone with very good wearability that comes in a huge range of colours, sometimes with multi-colour zones and can have unique inclusions that result in a cat’s eye effect. These gemstones have a conchoidal fracture and hexagonal crystallography. Tourmaline symbolises reconciliation, compassion, and cool-headedness. Some people also consider opal as a birthstone for October.
November: Topaz or Citrine
Topaz comes in many colours but is traditionally associated with shades of yellow and has orthorhombic crystallography. Topaz has connotations of health, love and astrology, particularly the planet Jupiter, and was once believed to possess the ability to attract gold. Topaz is the traditional birthstone of November, but in modern times, citrine has also been accepted. Citrine is the yellow to orange variety of crystalline quartz and is associated with vitality, happiness and success.
December: Turquoise, Tanzanite or Zircon
The traditional birthstone of December is turquoise, a gemstone that comes in various shades of blue to green with triclinic crystallography and a conchoidal fracture. Turquoise is usually opaque but can sometimes be translucent. Turquoise has long been considered a good luck stone and is believed to have protective properties and help to predict and avoid danger. Tanzanite is a modern addition to December’s birthstones, particularly the transparent zoisite variety, which has blue to violet hues when heat treated. Tanzanite is believed to transform negative energies into positive ones.
That concludes our list of the birthstones for each month, so, if you’re feeling inspired, why not take a look at our gemstone jewellery collection featuring the various birthstones?