Birthstones Guide

Birthstones Guide by Month

Through centuries, a tradition has developed associating certain gemstones with times of the year. With the passing of time and the influence of cultures, different gemstones have been ascribed to different months. This guide is meant to illustrate and identify the generally accepted modern gemstones by month.

Those born in January are lucky to have the beautiful and diverse garnet as their birthstone. Garnets are commonly red but also come in an extraordinary range of beautiful colors, including orange, yellow, purple and vibrant green. There are even garnets that change color from blue to purple in different lighting. Some believe the true value of the garnet birthstone is its power to bring the wearer good health, wealth and happiness.

If you were born in February, your birthstone is amethyst – the purple variety of quartz that has captivated mankind for millennia. Its lilac to deep purple hues can be cut into many shapes and sizes, and it can be manufactured in a lab as well as mined. Amethyst, the February birthstone, can be found in the collections of royal families throughout Europe and Asia. Now it’s within reach of most consumers. Consider buying a stunning amethyst for the king or queen of your heart – or treat yourself to a royal present. If your birthday is in February, then wearing an amethyst can also be a symbol of personal empowerment and inner strength.

Aquamarine and bloodstone, March’s two birthstones, are very different when it comes to appearance, but they share a similar reputation for protecting one’s well-being. The aquamarine birthstone evokes the colors of the sea. From deep green-blue to light, slightly greenish blue hues, faceted aquamarines are often free from inclusions and as clear as water, symbolizing purity of spirit and soul. The bloodstone birthstone is typically a dark-green cabochon that contains red spots of iron oxide, the “blood” that brings health and strength to the wearer. Read on to learn more about these two March birthstones – what they mean and where they can be found.

Aquamarine’s name comes from the Latin for seawater, and ancient mariners claimed the gem would calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. This March birthstone was also thought to bring happiness in marriage. Beryl was believed to give the wearer protection against foes in battle and litigation. It was also thought to make the wearer unconquerable and amiable, and to quicken the intellect.

Aquamarine is not only the birthstone for March, but the gem is also given as a present on the 19th wedding anniversary. As for famous ones, in 1936 the government of Brazil gave First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt a dark blue rectangular step cut aquamarine that weighed 1,298 carats (ct). It was the larger of two stones faceted from a piece of aquamarine rough that itself weighed an impressive 2.9 pounds (1.3 kilograms). It is now housed at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. A celebrated attraction at the Smithsonian Institution is the 10,363 ct (about 4.6 pounds) Dom Pedro Aquamarine – believed to be the largest faceted aquamarine in the world. The approximately 14 inch (36 centimeter) high obelisk was fashioned by acclaimed German lapidary Berndt Munsteiner using the fantasy cut technique.

The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has been an important source of aquamarine for the past two centuries. Travel there and you’ll find a changing panorama of landscapes: rocky hills, rivers and scrub brush dominate the central and eastern regions; savannahs, forests and streams checker the west; and lush green hills roll southward. Aquamarines are found in primary (hard rock) and secondary (weathered) pegmatite deposits in the eastern portion of the state, near the gem center of Teófilo Otoni.

Aquamarine is also found high in the Karakorum foothills of Pakistan. To reach the deposits, miners must climb steep paths to elevations of 9,800 to 13,000+ feet (3,000 to more than 4,000 meters) and work the sides of forbidding cliffs. Below this inhospitable rocky world lie fertile valleys, rushing rivers and small towns. Aquamarine from this area has been described as “water clear.”

Aquamarine birthstones are also mined in Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique, as well as elsewhere in Africa. U.S. sources include the Mount Antero area of Colorado (it’s the state gem) and California’s Riverside and San Diego counties. In addition, aquamarine has been found in China, Myanmar, Russia and Ukraine, among other countries.

Sparkling with an internal fire all its own, diamond is one of the world’s most sought-after and adored gemstones. Those born in April are lucky enough to call this scintillating gem their birthstone, a symbol of clarity and strength. Diamond is so strong, in fact, that its name comes from the Greek word "adamas," which means “invincible” or “unbreakable.” The timeless charm of diamond was cherished long before it became the April birthstone, and the places where diamond comes from are as fascinating as the lore that surrounds it.

Emerald, the birthstone for May, has been beloved for millennia, evoking rebirth and renewal. Widely regarded as the definition of green, emerald is the perfect color for spring. From the poetic description of Ireland as “the Emerald Isle” to the vibrant green of the famed gemstone itself—the May birthstone emerald has captured hearts and minds through the ages. Variations of this rich green color suggest soothing, lush gardens. Legend has it that emerald has the power to make its wearer more intelligent and quick-witted, and it was once believed to cure diseases like cholera and malaria. Today, it's the gemstone given for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

If you were born in the month of June, you are lucky enough to have three birthstones to call your own. June is one of only three months (the others are August and December) that has three birthstones, giving you a variety of beautiful birthstone choices. The June birthstones are pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. With so many attractive options, individuals with June birthdays can have a birthstone that fits their mood or budget, due to the different colors and price points these gems offer.

Ruby is the July birthstone – and it’s one of the most coveted of gems. The name is derived from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red” – the color of love and passion. Few things catch the eye like the ruby birthstone. The finest color of the birthstone for July is a deep red with a hint of purple, called “pigeon’s blood” in the trade. A variety of the mineral corundum, ruby gets its color from trace amounts of the element chromium. The more chromium, the stronger the red. Here’s what you need to know about this beautiful July birthstone so you can better choose one for yourself or a loved one who was born in the month of July.

Peridot, spinel and sardonyx are the three birthstones for August. The peridot birthstone is known for being formed under extreme conditions, as it can be found in the hardened lava that carried it from deep within Earth’s mantle as well as in meteorites that traveled from outer space. The spinel birthstone was underappreciated until recently, as today’s consumers look for an alternative to ruby, a gem with which red spinel was mistaken for centuries. Sardonyx is the original August birthstone, with a history that dates back more than 4,000 years. Learn more about these three August birthstones and discover the perfect gift for those born in the month of August.

The September birthstone is sapphire – a gem that’s been cherished for thousands of years. Although the term sapphire usually refers to the blue variety of corundum (ruby is the red variety), this birthstone comes in a rainbow of other colors. Sapphires have been long associated with royalty and romance and are also said to symbolize fidelity and the soul. “Sapphire” comes from the Greek word sappheiros and blue sapphire is one of the most popular colored stones. Read on to learn more about the September birthstone, specifically its history and where it can be found.

The September birthstone has traditionally symbolized sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility. For countless centuries, sapphire has adorned royalty and the robes of the clergy. The elite of ancient Greece and Rome believed that blue sapphires protected their owners from harm and envy. Clerics of the Middle Ages wore sapphires because they symbolized Heaven. Ancient Persians believed the earth actually rested on a giant sapphire, which made the sky blue.

The September birthstone was reputed to have healing powers as well. Medieval Europeans believed that sapphire cured plague boils and diseases of the eye. The sapphire birthstone was also thought to be an antidote to poison.

Famous sapphires include the Rockefeller Sapphire, a 62.02 carat (ct) rectangular step cut stone that was unearthed in Myanmar (Burma). Acquired in 1934 by financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960) from an Indian maharaja, the gem was recut and remounted over the years. The sapphire was first set as a brooch and later as a ring featuring two cut-cornered triangular diamond side stones. Perhaps the best-known sapphire in recent years is the 12 ct blue gem surrounded by diamonds in the sapphire engagement ring first worn by Princess Diana and then given by her son to Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge.

Kashmir, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Sri Lanka are three historically important sources for the September birthstone. Significant quantities of the September birthstone have also been found in Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar and the United States (Montana), among other countries in Asia and Africa.

Sapphires were discovered in Kashmir around 1881 when a landslide high in the Himalayas exposed a large pocket of velvety “cornflower” blue crystals. As the spectacular sapphires began to appear farther south, the Maharaja of Kashmir – and his army – took control of the new locality. From 1882 to 1887, thousands of large, beautiful crystals were recovered. The stones faceted from these crystals established Kashmir sapphire’s reputation as one of the world’s most coveted gems. Production has been sporadic since then, but auction houses occasionally sell fine pieces of Kashmir sapphire jewelry.

The Mogok area of Myanmar is another locale famed for producing the September birthstone. Jungle-clad hills hemmed by mountains make a dramatic landscape. Sapphire typically occurs alongside ruby deposits, but in much smaller quantities than its red counterpart. ”Burmese” sapphire, as it is still called by many, can possess a rich, intense blue hue, which has made it particularly prized. Myanmar is also a noted source of jadeite jade, spinel, zircon, amethyst, peridot and other fine gem materials.

Those born in October enjoy two spectacular birthstones to commemorate their birthdays – opal and tourmaline. Both October birthstones have endless color combinations and beautiful coloring characteristics. Learn more about these two October birthstones and discover the perfect gift for those born in the tenth month.

Those with November birthdays have two beautiful birthstones to choose from: topaz and citrine. Topaz comes in a rainbow of colors; citrine is prized for its charming yellow and orange hues. Both November birthstones are known to have calming energies while bringing fortune and warmth to the wearer. Most topaz and citrine birthstones are affordably priced, as good-quality gems are not as rare as for many of their counterparts. This means that those born in November have many options to choose from. Your challenge will be deciding which one to pick..

If you had to pick one December birthstone, which would it be: tanzanite, turquoise or zircon? From the blue to bluish purple of tanzanite, to the intense blue and green of turquoise, to the rainbow varieties of zircon – there’s a color for everyone. If blue is what you’re looking for, all three December birthstones have their own unique take on this favorite hue. Whatever your color, style or budget preferences may be, we can help you pick the right December birthstone for you or a loved one.