The origin of birthstones is believed to date all the way back, to the breastplate of Aaron, which contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Furthermore, there are many myths and legends, about birthstones, centering around these gemstones' healing powers and therapeutic influences. Plenty of people also believe that wearing a gemstone, during its assigned month, truly heightens its healing powers. No matter what you believe, the modern birthstone list--which was established by the National Association of Jewelers in 1912 (and updated, several times, over the years) provides plenty of information about these beautiful gems.
David Tishbi of David Tishbi Jewelry in Pacific Palisades, California, can assist you with choosing the perfect piece of jewelry with your birthstone. Whether you are searching for a ring, a bracelet, a necklace, a pair of earrings, or cuff links, Tishbi can create a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry that will please you for many years to come. Or, you may choose a piece of jewelry from his limited edition selection of handmade pieces. Tishbi can also take birthstones and other gemstones, from pieces of jewelry that you no longer wear--or from pieces that you may have inherited--and repurpose them by creating new pieces of jewelry that reflect your current style. Please go to DavidTishbi.com for additional information.
Here is a guide to the twelve months, of the year, and their corresponding birthstones, along with some information on each gemstone:
SEPTEMBER -- SAPPHIRE
Since sapphires are extremely hard gemstones--measuring a 9, on the Mohs scale, second only to diamonds--they are a perfect gemstone for fine jewelry. The stone, which is also prized for its rich deep color is also a symbol of loyalty, nobility, sincerity, and wisdom. Sapphires are known for their vibrant depth of color and good transparency. These stones are also said to channel higher powers, encourage self-discipline, and focus the mind of the wearer. While most people are familiar with blue sapphires, they also come in the colors of the rainbow, with pink sapphires gaining in popularity. These colored sapphires are known as "fancies."
OCTOBER -- TOURMALINE AND OPAL
If you were born in October, consider yourself lucky, because you get to choose between two birthstones -- tourmaline and opal. Since both of these are available, in a wide array of colors, there are endless possibilities for jewelry with these gems. According to legend, both of these birthstones came to the earth through journeys that included rainbows. Tourmaline's color depends on trace elements in its chemical makeup, while opal diffracts light, to show a wide range of colors. For centuries, many people have associated opals with good luck. Ancient magicians used black tourmaline, to protect against evil forces and negative energy, which is shared by many people who wear this gemstone today.
NOVEMBER -- TOPAZ AND CITRINE
If your birthday falls in November, you may also choose between two birthstones -- topaz and citrine. These two stones are known for their calming energies, and for bringing prosperity and wealth to those who wear them. These two gemstones also look so similar that they have often been mistaken, for each other, even though they are unrelated minerals. Abundant and affordably priced, both topaz and citrine jewelry can fit nicely into any budget. Topaz, which measures an 8 on the Mohs scale, is durable and hard, and is available in many colors ranging from brownish orange to yellow. This soothing stone is known for calming tempers, curing anger, and eliminating nightmares. Citrine, which has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, is a durable quartz, that ranges in color from pale yellow to brownish orange. This gemstone's yellow color is caused by traces of iron in quartz crystals. In addition to its soothing qualities, citrine is also called the "merchant stone," for its tendency to attract prosperity and wealth.
DECEMBER -- TANZANITE, ZIRCON, AND TURQUOISE
If you like choices, and your birthday is in December, you can choose from three beautiful blue birthstones -- tanzanite, zircon, and turquoise. Tanzanite, which measures 6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale, is an inexpensive substitute for sapphires and is best suited for earrings and pendants. Zircon--which is often confused with cubic zirconium--is a stellar natural gem, that is available in a variety of colors, while blue zircon is known as a choice for a December birthstone. Since the Middle Ages, many people have believed that zircon can ward off evil, promote prosperity, and induce sleep. Turquoise, which is known for a range of colors from robin's egg blue to powder blue, is a softer stone which measures 6 on the Mohs scale. Persians, in ancient times, adorned necklaces, turbans, daggers, and horses' bridles, with turquoise, as they believed that this stone guaranteed protection.
JANUARY -- GARNET
While most garnets are red, and even come in a range of hues from deep rust to deep violet, they can also be found in a myriad of colors including green, blue, and colorless. There are also incredibly rare garnets that change color in different lights. Some people believe that garnets have the power to provide the wearer with eternal happiness, good health, and prosperity. A durable gemstone, that measures 6.5 - 7.5 on the Mohs scale, garnets also symbolize deep and abiding friendship and make the perfect gemstone, for a piece of jewelry to give to a friend.
FEBRUARY -- AMETHYST
The amethyst--a richly colored purple quartz--is associated with peace, stability, and courage. BTW, Leonardo da Vinci said that this stone helped get rid of evil thoughts and quickened intelligence. Ranking 7, on the Mohs scale, amethyst makes a durable and inspiring choice for all kinds of jewelry. While mostly known as a deep purple stone, amethysts can also range from light pinkish violet to the deeper hues. Amethyst gets its color from iron impurities, the presence of trace elements, and irradiation. It is interesting, to note, that ancient Greeks and Romans thought amethysts could protect them from being drunk and keep them clear-headed and quick-witted.
MARCH -- AQUAMARINE AND BLOODSTONE
Two birthstones--aquamarine and bloodstone--are the birthstones for March. While they look very different, they share the qualities of improving and/or preserving the health of those who wear them. Aquamarine, which is a variety of a mineral called beryl, is clear and often light blue or blue green in color. This tranquil birthstone's name--which translates to water and sea in Latin -- is also called heliotrope. Bloodstone is a dark green stone which is punctuated with bright red spots of iron oxide. This stone is actually chalcedony--a crypto crystalline quartz--which was used in amulets and seals by the Babylonians. These ancient people believed that bloodstones had great healing powers, especially for those with blood disorders.
APRIL -- DIAMOND
If you were born in April, you are lucky, as your birthstone is the diamond. This hard and most durable gemstone--which is 58 times harder than anything else found in nature--is made of one element, carbon, and can only be cut with another diamond. While these sparkling and enticing gemstones are used, by a majority of people for engagement rings, they also make that perfect stone for a wide range of jewelry. In addition to the widely known colorless stones, diamonds are also available in many other colors. Yellow, red, pink, blue, and green diamonds, which are known as fancy color diamonds, are extremely rare and quite prized. While diamonds have been associated, with great healing powers, they also have always symbolized eternal and lasting love.
MAY -- EMERALD
May's birthstone, the brilliant green emerald, is the perfect reflection of spring and rebirth. The emerald gemstone is actually a variety of the mineral, beryl, which ranges from light green to the more valuable deep, rich green. Cleopatra was the most famous historical figure to cherish her emeralds. Additionally, Egyptians used emeralds in jewelry, and in burials, as symbols of protection. The calming green color, of emeralds, was thought to keep the wearer calm and relaxed and to ward off panic. Many also thought that wearing emeralds would cure a wide array of health problems and provide good fortune, youthfulness, and foresight. Emerald jewelry has always been popular through the ages.
JUNE -- PEARL, AXEXANDRITE, AND MOONSTONE
If you were born, in June, you also have three birthstones -- pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone. You can opt for creamy colored, opalescent pearls and moonstones, or the extremely rare color-changing alexandrite, which is one of the most valuable gems in the world. Pearls are the only gemstone which is made by living creatures, mollusks (clams)--which produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonite, around microscopic irritants, that get stuck in their shells. Natural pearls are the rarest, while the majority of pearls are cultured or "farmed." Pearls are very soft, ranging from 2.5 - 4.5 on the Mohs scale. They also symbolize purity and innocence and are the most popular choice for brides on their wedding day. Alexandrite is a relatively modern gem, which was discovered in 1834, in a Russian emerald mine. This gemstone, which changes colors from green to red, is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. With a hardness of 8.5, on the Mohs scale, this scarce gemstone is more valuable than most other stones. It is believed to inspire imagination, aid creativity, and strengthen intuition, while bringing good omens to the wearer. The moonstone is named for the Roman natural historian, Pliny, who wrote that the moonstone's shimmery appearance changed along with the phases of the moon. This stone has a milky glow, which resembles moonlight reflecting on the water. Composed of microscopic layers of feldspar, that scatter the light, it comes in a variety of colors such as yellow, grey, green, blue, peach, and pink. Moonstone rates a 6, on the Mohs scale, so it is best for brooches and pendants. Moonstone is associated with lunar magic and mystery, and imparts a calming and balancing energy to the wearer. It is also thought to be a fertility crystal, sparking passion; a protector for travelers; and an aid for insomnia and sleepwalking.
JULY -- RUBY
The birthstone of July, rubies--which symbolize love, passion, and prosperity--are thought to bring the wearers positive energy, love, and success. The ruby is the red variety of the mineral, corundum, which is colored by the element chromium. While the latter gives rubies their red color, it also causes fluorescence, which makes them glow with a fire from within. Measuring a 9, on the Mohs scale, these tough and durable gemstones are only surpassed, on this scale, by diamonds. They are the perfect choice for many types of jewelry. Rubies have also been associated with the greater life force and the vitality of blood.
AUGUST -- SARDONYX, PERIDOT, AND SPINEL
August is one of three months that has three birthstones -- sardonyx, peridot, and spinel. Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx--two kinds of the mineral chalcedony--to create red, zebra-striped stones with white bands. Colors range from yellowish red to reddish brown, depending on how much iron oxide is present. Registering a 6.5, on the Mohs scale, sardonyx is associated with happiness, courage, and clear communication. Some believe that the placing sardonyx, at each corner of a house, will protect against evil. Peridot's brilliant, lime green color comes from the composition of the mineral olivine. Associated with fortune and prosperity, peridots come in shades varying from yellow-green, to olive, to brownish green, depending on how much iron is present. Peridots also measure 6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale. While they are thought to possess healing properties, and protect against evil and nightmares, they are also believed to ensure peace and happiness. While spinels resemble rubies and sapphires, it is spinels' features--its single refraction and its octahedral crystal structure--that sets it apart from other gemstones. The most desirable spinels come in vivid red, cobalt blue, bright pink, and bright orange, while less valuable spinels come in black, violet blue, greenish blue, grey, pale pink, mauve, yellow, and brown. Additionally, many English monarchs, including Henry VIII, truly prized spinels.