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Birthstones for Each Month: Meanings & Interpretations

If you’d like to expand your knowledge on the different types of birthstones for each month, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re looking for one to buy for yourself or give to a loved one, there’s no doubt these precious stones will be cherished for years to come.

A Brief Explanation of the Origin of Birthstones

Birthstones

Although it’s not sure how or when each month of the year became associated with a specific type of stone, it is speculated that birthstones originated back in biblical times.

With that in mind, various historians claim that birthstones were first spotted on the breastplate of Aaron, who had an important role as a priest in the Holy Bible. Each stone represented the 12 months of a year, as well as the 12 signs of the zodiac.

However, others claim that stones signified the 12 Israeli tribes, whereas modern sources deny the link between birthstones and religion.

But what is known is that the accepted birthstones for each month weren’t always the same throughout history. Up until 1912, both style and availability were determining factors of which stones would reign.

In 1912, a standardized list of the accepted stones was issued to the public by the National Association of Jewelers. The list was updated in 1952 by the Jewelry Industry Council of America with the addition of more stones and some replacements for existing ones. A final adjustment was made in 2002 with the addition of one more stone.

With all that said, here is all you need to know about each individual stone.

January Birthstone: Garnet

Garnet

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Originating from the Latin word granatus, garnet means “seedlike”. The gem was given this name due to its similarity to pomegranate seeds which are small and red.

However, garnets don’t just come in red. They can also be orange, pink, purple, yellow, green, and blue. Essentially, garnets have a high refractive index, giving the impression that the stone is emitting light.

In the later years of the Roman Empire, red garnet gems were quite popular. Namely, travelers would choose to carry them on their journeys in hopes of the garnets warding off evil. With that in mind, in modern times, people believe this stone helps dissipate negative emotions and provides the person wearing the stone with mental clarity. Furthermore, it is meant to boost self-confidence.

Although Bohemia is thought to be the primary source of garnets, they can also be found in a variety of other regions and continents. For example, many countries in Africa have vast supplies of this gemstone. These include Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar.

Garnet birthstones promote romance, love, and passion. They also signify trust, loyalty, and eternal friendship.

February Birthstone: Amethyst

Amethyst

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Derived from the Greek word amethystos, amethyst loosely translates to “remedy against drunkenness”. In Greek times, the gem was associated with Bacchus (the Greek god of wine). That was merely due to its rich shade of red, similar to the color of wine.

During those times, Amethysts were believed to keep whoever wore them quick-witted and clear-headed. This is why warriors would often carry them when going to battle.

Historically, the mesmerizing purple hue of this gem has been admired since before 323 BC, when it was thought that Amethysts had mystical powers and could provide the wearer with unbelievable inner strength. This belief would continue on into the reign of The Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, who would adorn herself with amethyst necklaces, rings, and earrings.

Until the 19th century, the main source of this gem was Russia. Later, significant deposits were also found in Brazil, then Africa, and South America.

Today, amethysts are considered gems that promote inner strength, peace, and courage. They also provide the wearer with clarity and help attract positive energy. Some believe that wearing this gem can also help strengthen the immune system.

March Birthstones: Aquamarine and Bloodstone

People born in March are lucky enough to say they have two birthstones: aquamarine and bloodstone.

Aquamarine Birthstone

Aquamarine

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The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word for seawater aqua marina. Romans and Greeks cherished this stone and considered it “a sailors stone” as it apparently protected them during storms.

Not only that, but they would keep them on board to ensure safe passage to their destinations. Another belief was that sailors could achieve a deep, restful sleep each night by keeping one under their pillow.

The aquamarine stone was typically worn as a pendant on a necklace or on a ring. Some ancient Greeks would even throw their stones into the water in an attempt to appease the god of the sea, Poseidon.

However, the Ancient Egyptians also used aquamarine amulets as a form of protection. They would also create animal carvings to promote vitality and even to cure procrastination.

An interesting myth is that Emperor Nero would wear aquamarine stones to improve his eyesight.

Throughout the past two centuries, the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has been one of the primary sources of the aquamarine stone. Other sources include the foothills of Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar, Zambia, and Mozambique.

In the US, aquamarine is the state gem of Colorado, and it is also found in Riverside, California, as well as in San Diego counties.

On the Asian continent, aquamarine is found in China and Myanmar, whereas in Europe and Eurasia, it is found in Ukraine and Russia.

Aquamarine is said to instill serenity, tranquility, clarity, and harmony in the person wearing the stone. It represents purity, vitality, hope, and loyalty.

Bloodstone Birthstone

Bloodstone

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Namely, bloodstones can come in two forms: plasma and heliotrope. The main difference between the two is that plasma stones are entirely opaque, whereas heliotrope stones are transparent with small red spots.

The ancient Greek word heliotrope means “sun turning”, and it’s believed that this type of bloodstone got its name since it turns red in the setting sun. On the other hand, in ancient times, it was believed that if the stones were placed in water, they had the ability to turn the sun blood red.

A vast majority of bloodstones are sourced from India, but other sources include Australia, parts of Brazil, China, and the US.

Essentially, bloodstones are a type of cryptocrystalline quartz (chalcedony) crystals with an individual dark green coloration. Today, the stone is associated with strength, youth, and health. Thus, many use it as a good luck charm.

April Birthstone: Diamond

Diamond

The word diamond was adopted from the Greek word adamas, which means “invincible”. Even today, people consider the diamond to be the “king of all stones”.

As you may know, diamonds can come in an assortment of beautiful colors. These include blue, purple, green, red, pink, orange, and yellow. But what most people don’t know is that the color of the diamond depends on the types of impurities present in the stone.

For example, natural orange diamonds contain nitrogen, as do yellow ones, but in smaller amounts. On the other hand, blue diamonds contain boron, and purple ones contain hydrogen.

According to popular belief, the love for diamonds originated in India, where they were regularly gathered from streams and rivers. The stones were coveted by the wealthy population, and by the 1400s, diamonds were a necessity among Europe’s elite.

Today, diamonds are mined all around the world, but Russia is among the main producers.

Throughout the Middle Ages, many thought that diamonds had healing powers that could cure a variety of ailments. Mainly, people would heat the crystals and take them to bed, hoping to rid their bodies of harmful toxins.

In more modern times, diamonds were thought to restore balance and promote clarity as well as boost energy levels to whoever wears them.

May Birthstone: Emerald

Emerald

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The word emerald originates from the Old French word esmeraude. In the Middle Ages, this stone represented good fortune and fertility. Thus, Royal jewelry and crowns were adorned with emerald green gemstones. For the most part, people thought that emeralds could help restore the physical health of exhausted travelers and help a person resist temptations from the devil.

In Hinduism, the gem is associated with the heart chakra because of its green hue. This symbolism is also mirrored in Roman mythology, linking emeralds with the goddess of love, Venus.

Namely, at some point in time, the gem was used to relieve issues with muscles, the spine, and the chest area and even cure cholera and malaria.

Today, this birthstone can be found in countries where chromium, beryllium, and vanadium intermingle. Some of the most well-known emerald mines are located in South America, more specifically in Colombia. In fact, it’s a widely known fact that Colombian emeralds contain few impurities, making them one of the most sought-after gems in the world.

Apart from Colombia, other countries with emerald mines include India, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the United States, and Canada.

In modern times, this birthstone relates to patience, inspiration, rebirth, and renewal. Emeralds symbolize new beginnings, peace, loyalty, and security.

June Birthstones: Pearl, Moonstone, and Alexandrite

Similar to March, June is also home to three gorgeous birthstones: pearls, moonstones, and alexandrites.

Pearl Birthstone

Pearl

The pearl birthstone originates from lakes, oceans, and rivers all across the globe. Ancient civilizations from the Middle East thought that pearls represented teardrops from heavenly creatures.

In China, people believed that they came from the brain of a dragon. However, Christopher Columbus and his contemporaries formed the closest theory, stating that they were made from dewdrops created by mollusks.

In actuality, pearls are organic gems. They are formed inside the tissue of oysters or mussels (both are mollusks). Each time a mollusk secretes a substance called “nacre” around a parasite or a piece of sand inside its shell, a pearl is formed.

The health benefits associated with pearls also differ. Some civilizations believed that they provided the person wearing them with a long and prosperous life. Others believed they could alleviate indigestion and hemorrhages, whereas Arab physicians claimed that pearl powder eased tremors, improved eyesight, and cured depression.

One similarity between ancient and modern beliefs is that pearls represent humility, innocence, and purity.

Moonstone Birthstone

Moonstone

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Moonstone, or selenite, is a stone that’s aptly named due to its likeness to the moon. The Greek word selene means moon, but it’s also the name of their moon goddess. In Indian culture, the word chandrakant is used instead, which translates to “beloved of the moon”.

While this stone can be semitransparent, opaque, or white, the purest moonstones show a blue hue against a translucent background.

Legends claim that the moonstone has healing properties and can help the person wearing it see the truth and give insight into the future. It is associated with passion, love, and fertility, but it’s also thought to bring good luck.

Alexandrite Birthstone

Alexandrite

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Named after Tsar Alexander II, Alexandrite is a birthstone that belongs to the oxide class of minerals. The blue-green stone consists of beryllium, chromium, and aluminum oxide.

This birthstone is meant to fill the wearer with grace, joy, glory, pleasure, laughter, and most importantly, the ability to see the beauty in everything. Many believe that alexandrite has a healing energy and that it is a useful talisman for those recovering from an ailment. Apparently, it is also beneficial for the pancreas and spleen and can help detox the body.

July Birthstone: Ruby

Ruby

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As you may know, rubies come in a variety of red shades. In fact, the word ruby is derived from the Latin word ruber, which means “red”. A lesser-known fact is that the coloring of this gem is present due to chromium.

Ultimately, it’s thanks to its coloring, hard exterior, rarity, and beauty that, in ancient India, rubies were considered to be “the kings of precious stones”.

According to miners, the oldest source of rubies is Myanmar, but Vietnam has become another important source of this birthstone since the late 20th century.

The ruby was a symbol of power and youthful energy in Indian jewelry, which is why Burmese warriors wore them to battle. In medieval Europe, it was believed that rubies bestowed wisdom, health, and success. This belief continued into modern times and is still present today.

August Birthstones: Peridot, Spinel, and Sardonyx

Yet again, August has not one but three birthstones: peridot, spinel, and sardonyx.

Peridot Birthstone

Peridot

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Peridot is derived from the Arabic word faridat, which means gem. The first time this gem appeared was in jewelry that priests wore during the second century BC. Due to its yellowish-green hue, it was often confused with emerald or topaz.

The oldest source of peridot is the Egyptian island of Zabargad, but according to miners, purer forms of this stone are located in Myanmar. In the US, the main source is Arizona.

Peridot is a gem that has been used for centuries, most notably as a talisman that shields the wearer from evil spirits. The birthstone is also associated with good health, harmony, restful sleep, and overall peacefulness. It is thought to evoke compassion and calm down the person wearing it.

Spinel Birthstone

Spinel

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The name spinel originates from the Latin word “spina”, meaning thorn. This is in reference to how spinel crystals are shaped. Spinels can come in a variety of different colors, including red, pink, purple, orange, violet, and blue.

Red-colored spinels were often mistaken for other gemstones, mostly rubies. But in the 18th century, a clear distinction was made based on their chemical differences.

This birthstone can be found in Myanmar, Vietnam, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

In ancient times, red spinels were thought to be a remedy for inflammatory diseases and blood loss, as well as help promote harmony. Today, the gem is considered to be a symbol of love, truth, devotion, longevity, and passion.

Sardonyx Birthstone

Sardonyx

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Of the three August birthstones, sardonyx is the oldest. The stone is a combination of two types of cryptocrystalline quartz: onyx and sard, which is also how it got its name. Sard is Greek for “stone from Sardis”, and onyx means “nail” or “veined gem”.

The most noteworthy sources of this birthstone include Germany, Madagascar, Uruguay, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, and the United States.

In ancient times, Roman seals and signet rings were created from this stone, and it was also an incredibly popular carving material for intaglios and cameos.

It is thought to represent the strength of the spiritual world, and Roman soldiers often wore sardonyx rings carved with the image of Mars for protection during battles.

In modern times, sardonyx symbolizes courage, happiness, and stability.

September Birthstone: Sapphire

Sapphire

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Although this birthstone can be found in a variety of different colors (pink, yellow, orange, green, peach, and violet), sapphire is derived from the Greek word sappheiros which means “blue stone”.

Sapphires can be found all over the globe, but the most prominent mining sites include Tanzania, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and Cambodia.

This gem has been cherished for thousands of years and is associated with romance, royalty, and fidelity. Namely, sapphires were thought to have mystical powers in various cultures throughout history, and people believed that they could offer protection from evil to their wearers.

In the Middle Ages, Europeans even thought that they could cure eye diseases and preserve chastity. Today, it is considered to be a symbol of purity.

October Birthstones: Opal and Tourmaline

October is another month with two birthstones: opal and tourmaline.

Opal Birthstone

Opal

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An interesting fact about this birthstone is that it is not certain where the word opal originates from, as there are a few theories.

Some claim that the word opal originates from India, from the word upala, which means “precious stone”. On the other hand, some believe that opal is derived from the Greek word opallios, which means “to see a change in color”. However, in Ancient Rome, this word became opalus (with the same meaning).

But, regardless of its source, the beauty of this birthstone lies in its ability to change color, which is referred to as “play-of-colors”. In fact, opals were called the “queen of gems” in ancient times, mostly because they could take on the colors of all other gems. Still, each opal is as unique as a snowflake.

This birthstone can be found in a variety of places, but the most prominent sources are Australia, Mexico, Ethiopia, Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar, Honduras, Peru, Turkey, and the US.

In Ancient Greece, many thought that opals could bestow the gift of prophecy to whoever wears them, as well as provide protection from diseases. In Europe, this birthstone was a symbol of hope, truth, and purity.

Even today, opals are considered very lucky stones, as they are thought to bring health and love to their wearer.

Tourmaline Birthstone

Tourmaline

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Of the two October birthstones, tourmaline is the newer one. Its name originates from the Sinhalese word toramalli which translates to “stone with mixed colors”. This is because tourmaline typically has a variety of colors within one crystal.

It’s due to these magnificent colors that ancient civilizations believed that this stone inspired artistic expression. Of all the color varieties, the most popular ones are emerald green, pink and red rubellites, and neon green tourmalines.

This birthstone is typically found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Brazil.

Today, each color is thought to provide the wearer with a different healing property. Some examples include:

Pink tourmaline: love, compassion, and gentleness.
Black tourmaline: protects the wearer and boosts their self-confidence.
Green tourmaline: courage, stamina, and strength

November Birthstones: Citrine and Topaz

Topaz and citrine are the birthstones for people born in November.

Citrine Birthstone

Citrine

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As you may have guessed, the name for this birthstone originates from the french word citrine, which means lemon. The colors of this stone range from bright yellow to a combination of orange-brown. Due to its interesting color, citrine has been used in jewelry for thousands of years.

This birthstone was very popular in ancient times and was used for several different purposes. For example, some ancient civilizations carried citrine as a protection against evil thoughts and snake venom. Furthermore, Greeks used to create ornamental carvings that glistened like permafrost, whereas Roman pontiffs wore citrine rings.

The main sources of citrine are Spain, Bolivia, Mexico, Madagascar, and Uruguay.

As for the symbolism of this birthstone, citrine is associated with prosperity and success. It is also believed to promote mental clarity, logical thinking, intelligent inspiration, and warmth.

Topaz Birthstone

Topaz

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The word topaz comes from the Greek name for St. John’s Island, Topazios. Essentially, this birthstone is made from a hard silicate metal that features unique coloring due to the impurities in its crystal structure. These flaws cause the stone to appear red, green, pink, yellow, violet, gold, brown, blue, or sometimes transparent.

This stone can be found in many places around the globe, including Australia, Italy, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Sweden.

Topaz is considered to be one of the more affordable birthstones, but the cost mainly depends on its hue.

Today, topaz symbolizes love, affection, and fidelity. It is also believed that it provides the wearer with wisdom and strength.

December Birthstones: Tanzanite, Turquoise, and Zircon

December also has three different birthstones: tanzanite, turquoise, and zircon.

Tanzanite Birthstone

Tanzanite

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Considering it was found in the 20th century, Tanzanite is a newcomer to the world of colored stones. Essentially, this birthstone got its name due to its country of origin, Northern Tanzania. This birthstone is best described as velvety, thanks to its deep colors ranging from blue to violet.

It is believed that tanzanite relieves the wearer of negative thoughts. It also dispels laziness and helps balance power and actualization, as well as aids manifestation.

For now, Tanzania is the only source of tanzanite.

Turquoise Birthstone

Turquoise

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The name for this stone comes from the French expression Pierre torques, which means “Turkish stone”. This blue-green birthstone was considered to be a symbol of prosperity, wealth, and abundance.

Today, the stone symbolizes strength and is thought to provide the wearer with good luck, good fortune, kinship, and peace.

Turquoise can be mined in Iran, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada, but China is the largest distributor.

Zircon Birthstone

Zircon

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It’s not completely clear where the word zircon originates from. Some believe it’s derived from the Arabic word zarkun, which translates to “cinnabar”. Other sources believe it originates from the Persian word zargun, which means “gold-colored”.

But regardless of its origin, there’s no doubt that this birthstone has a colorful palette, including red, orange, brown, yellow, blue, green, and transparent zircon.

In the Middle Ages, it was thought that this stone could help the wearer achieve deep sleep and help ward off evil spirits. In the Hindu religion, zircon was believed to bring good health, wealth, and wisdom when combined with other stones.

Today, zircon is believed to not only clear negative energy and attract success but also to bring wisdom, honor, and wealth to the wearer. Zircon can be found in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

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