Few gifts are as reliably beautiful and thoughtful as the gift of a birthstone. Whether you’re celebrating a loved one’s birthday, an anniversary, or simply giving them a little surprise, birthstones are sure to please.
Birthstones are precious and semi-precious stones that are associated with specific months of the year. According to some myths and legends, in its month a gemstone has heightened powers and can even help with healing.
Every month of the year is assigned a stone with its own special meaning, which can imbue a gift with even more attention and care. Learning the meaning and history of each stone is not only important for gift giving- it’s simply interesting knowledge.
The birthstone of January, and anniversary gemstone for the second year of marriage, garnet represents friendship. According to legend, garnets improve your personal relationships and protect you from harm, doubling its power if your birthday is in January.
Considered good luck charms by the European bourgeoisie in the 18th and 19th centuries, garnets are also thought to assure the wearer of love, devotion from loved ones, health, faithfulness and energy. Garnets come in a rainbow of colors, from deep red to vibrant green. The standard color is a medium red.
Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February and the anniversary gemstone for the 6th year of marriage. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels. They were once believed to bring good health, courage, victory, and social affluence.
Amethyst is also known for its ability to soothe the nerves in times of stress, to make the wearer become calm and gentle, and to bring success in business. Amethysts are a purple quartz stone and come in a variety of purple shades including light violet to purple with deep red undertones.
Aquamarine is the birthstone for the month of March and is the anniversary gemstone for the 19th year of marriage. Aquamarine is named after sea water, as it sparkles like the sea and its color is light to medium blue.
Aquamarine is believed to assure love, affection, youth, and health to the wearer of this stone. Aquamarine stones vary in color from greenish blue to blue-green.
In addition to being April’s birthstone, diamond is the anniversary gemstone for the 10th and 60th wedding anniversaries. This stone’s name comes from the Greek word adamas, which means unconquerable. Therefore, the gift of a diamond suggests eternal love, and the ancient Greeks even used the stone as their traditional symbol of love. A diamond’s powers are said to include healing properties as well.
Emerald is derived from the Greek word smaragdus, which means green. It is believed to signify rebirth and good fortune.
For many centuries, the sparkling beauty of a strand of pearls has been used for adornment. The ancient Greeks believed that wearing pearls would promote marital bliss and prevent newlywed women from crying.
The pearl is known to many as a symbol of wisdom, wealth, faith, knowledge, and innocence. It has been said that if you wear a pearl next to the skin, it will give off a vibration that has healing properties. Pearls come in a range of colors which include sparkling white, slightly pink, golden tones, and even greys or blacks.
Regarded as a regal and sacred gem, Ruby is the birthstone of July as well as the anniversary gemstone for the 15th and 40th years of marriage. In ancient India, the ruby was called “the king of gems” and it was said that dreaming of a ruby indicated success in business and good fortune in money matters.
The scarlet-colored ruby gem is said to bring health, happiness, wisdom, and particularly good luck to gamblers and lovers. A ruby can be light red and can even have undertones of purple and orange, but a top-quality ruby is a pretty rare find, and is a medium or dark vivid red.
Sometimes referred to as the “evening emerald,” peridot is the birthstone of August as well as the gemstone for the 1st year and 16 years of marriage. Peridot is rare, and one of the few gemstones to come in only one color, green.
The Peridot is said to symbolize the sun and brings power and influence to those who wear it. Peridot gemstones are one of the oldest among gemstones with a rich history, making it a conversational piece for your jewelry collection.
Regal and sacred, sapphires were worn by kings and queens for good luck. Their blue color is believed to symbolize heaven, and sapphires were believed to promote peace and happiness between lovers and promote good health.
Blue sapphires typically range from a very light blue to very dark green or purple blue. The most valuable blue sapphires will have a medium to medium dark blue color. Part of the corundum species, sapphires are also found in other colors such as pink, green, orange, purple and yellow.
Because they possess the colors and powers of all gemstones, opals were once said to bring good fortune. Sensitive to the atmospheric conditions, their brilliancy varies and is determined by the temperature and moisture in the air.
Some say that an opal has a soul of its own, and that it attunes its soul to that of the person who wears it, changing colors to indicate the fortune of the wearer. In this way, bright colors are said to indicate good fortune and success, while dull and lifeless colors warn of disappointment and failure. Opals range in color from milky white to almost black with contrast flashes of green, orange, yellow, red, and blue.
Topaz is the birthstone of November and is known as the ‘stone of strength.’ It has been said that topaz is a protector from travel accidents, prevents injury due to fire, and rids the wearer of fears.
Topaz has also been associated with enchantments bringing wealth and connection with the universe. Topaz can range in color from yellow to smoky browns or the popular light blue shade.
The deep color of this stone is said to promote introspection and wisdom. The variations in color range from blue to purple with a medium dark tone. Since tanzanite is often less expensive than a blue sapphire, it is often purchased as an alternative.