The tradition of associating a particular type of gem with each month of the year is not new. In fact, Biblical historian and first century author Josephus referred to the curious use of 12 distinct stones on high priests’ official breastplates. These stones were directly related to the 12 months of the year, with each gem offering a particular power to those born in the month to which it is connected.
Garnet. Use of the garnet dates back to the Bronze Age. January’s birthstone, it comes in a wide array of colors that includes red, orange and pink. The United States and Turkey possess major garnet mining operations.
Amethyst. People with February birthdays enjoy this stone, which is the deemed to be the color of royalty. Deep purple hues switch off with dark red tones. Origins of these stones are the mines of India, Russia and the United States. There is Greco-Roman lore that ascribes sobering qualities to this stone, which is why the quartz is frequently found on ancient amphoras that would hold wine and other fermented drinks.
Aquamarine. March birthdays are apportioned the aquamarine as their birthstone. It is almost translucent and features blue hues. Mines are found in the United States, Kenya and Brazil.
Diamond. April’s birthstone is the diamond, which is known as one of the hardest substances on earth. It is thought that this toughness transfers to the strength of the individual born during this month.
Emerald. May is synonymous with the emerald. Available in various shades of green, these stones come from a wide range of mines in the United States, China and Australia.
Pearl. Unlike the other gems, the pearl is actually the product of a mollusk and is the birthstone for June Made up of calcium carbonate, pearls are costly to produce and therefore highly valuable. Natural pearls come from Australia while cultured pearls come from China and other areas.
Ruby. The ruby is July’s birthstone. Known for its breathtaking red color, it is found in Myanmar, Thailand and the United States. Chinese lore ascribes good fortune to this gem, which explains why it was frequently included in a newly built home’s foundation.
Periodot. The light green color of the periodot is easy to recognize. This August birthstone is said to protect the health of the wearer.
Sapphire.September birthdays are associated with the blue sapphire although there are also other color variations known. The United States, Cambodia and Nepal are just a few locations that operate active mines.
Opal. Available in red, blue, white and yellow, the opal has long been associated with supernatural lore. This birthstone for October was thought to possess the power of invisibility. Others held that the opal could bring bad luck and even death to wearers.
Topaz. Although the topaz is generally considered colorless, for this November birthstone there are plenty of stones that feature yellow and red colorations.
Turquoise.December features the turquoise birthstone, which has frequently been associated with power, health and physical protection.
It is interesting to note that there have been some changes in the birthstones over the centuries. For example, while in the 15th century the original September birthstone was the chrysolite, the stone fell out of favor and was replaced by the sapphire in 1912. Moreover, there are some differences in American birthstone traditions and those observed by Europeans or Hindus.
Finally, adherents to the tropical zodiac have a different understanding of the birthstone tradition as well. Rather than declaring an entire month to be indicative of a stone’s powers, these devotees pair stones with zodiac signs.
Located in Stamford, Connecticut, Peter Suchy Jewelers and their staff are gem experts. We hope you’ll follow us on Facebook and along with our retail location; we also sell many types of gems on eBay including stunning estate and vintage jewelry.
What is your birthstone gem and does it portray your personality?