Gemstones can really set off a piece of jewellery, and what could be more special than gifting or wearing a piece of jewellery that features a beautiful birthstone? However, if you are interested in purchasing a pretty pendant, ring, earrings or a bracelet featuring a birthstone, where do you start? We have produced this guide as a simple reference for you.
Wearing your birthstone is said to unlock beneficial properties in the stone, with most stones offering healing and some also offering you protection. They are also said to bring luck to the wearer. Don’t feel you always have to wear your own birthstone though — choose what feels right for you.
Read on to discover which stones represent each month of the year, where they originate, what they look like, and what they can offer the wearer.
January-born people have their vibrant personalities reflected in their birthstone, which is garnet.
The garnet was named after the word ‘granatum’ which means ‘seed’ and refers to the pomegranate seed, which is red in colour. However, garnet can be a variety of colours, while the minerals remain the same.
Not only January’s birthstone, the garnet is said to signify eternal friendships and trust, making it an excellent gift for a close friend who was born in January.
For those with an interest in the Bible, the garnet stone was said to be the stone of the guardian angel, Gabriel.
Garnet is found the world over, including in Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, Greece, India, Russia, Tanzania, and Madagascar.
February’s birthstone is the amethyst, which is always purple, but can be found in a wide spectrum of shades of this colour.
Interestingly, the ancient Greeks thought of amethyst as a sobriety stone, even creating wine goblets from it in the hope of being able to carry on drinking while avoiding intoxication!
The amethyst is said to offer healing, and properties such as inner strength, stability, peace, courage, and balance.
Amethyst is found the world over, often in geodes or in the cavities of granitic rocks. It is regularly found in the United States, Zambia, Canada, and Brazil.
Those born in March have two birthstones to choose from — aquamarine and bloodstone.
Thanks to its often light blue or sometimes blue-green tone, aquamarine promotes peace and calm in those that wear it and is ideal for spring and summer wardrobes, but equally beautiful all year round.
Often viewed as a symbol of youth, health and hope, the aquamarine is primarily found in Brazil, but also in Nigeria, Pakistan, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Zambia.
Unusually for a gemstone, the bloodstone is often found embedded in riverbeds — primarily in Brazil, India, and Australia.
It is often dark green in colour, with iron oxide deposits creating contrasting red flecks.
The bloodstone is said to have healing powers for blood disorders.
In ancient times it was believed by some that if this stone was placed in water, the sun would turn red.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but even more so in April as they are the month’s birthstone.
They symbolise eternal love, purity and faith, and are unique in how they can split white light into a rainbow of colour.
The best-known diamond is colourless; however, this stone can be pink, green, yellow, blue, red, and more. The colour can range from subtle to vivid, too.
Diamonds are the hardest stone to source, making them very precious. No wonder they are a popular choice for engagement rings — a ring to symbolise eternal love and commitment.
They are also the hardest gemstone in the world, and are made out of only one element — carbon. A diamond can only be cut by another diamond, and nothing else in nature.
May’s birthstone is the deep green emerald, which was highly popular in Victorian jewellery and is still much-loved today.
Representing loyalty, faithfulness and friendship, the emerald is also said to offer healing properties when worn, for diseases related to the spine, the eyes, fertility, and headaches.
Emeralds are sourced from around the world, but especially from Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia. Unusually, the emerald grows with six sides and up to a foot in length!
There are three birthstones for the month of June — pearl, alexandrite and moonstone.
Freshwater pearls occur naturally within the shells of molluscs in rivers and the sea, whereas cultured pearls are created by humans inside clam and oyster shells.
Pearls are often creamy white in colour, but come in a range of natural shades — this is determined by the shell they are created in.
They symbolise happiness, love, and success.
An interesting fact: up until the 17th century, pearls were used in medicine in Europe.
Alexandrite is a rare gemstone, found mainly in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Russia and East Africa. It is also a relatively ‘new’ stone — allegedly discovered in 1834.
The colour of alexandrite changes depending upon the light you are looking at it in — for example, it can look violet in artificial light or green with a brown or blue tint in daylight.
Alexandrite is believed to bring good omens to those who wear it, while also inspiring imagination and creativity.
Pliny, a Roman natural historian, named the moonstone due to its shimmery appearance, which changed with the phases of the moon.
This stone comes in an array of colours — including green, grey, yellow, pink, blue, and peach.
Quite a soft stone, moonstone works best in pendants and brooches. It looks stunning in rings and bracelets too, however more care will need to be taken of them.
This stone is found in Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Madagascar, the United States, and Myanmar.
July’s birthstone is ruby — named after ‘ruber’, which is the Latin word for ‘red’. Rubies are always red or pink, and they symbolise love and passion.
Discovered around 2,000 years ago, the ruby has been highly sought-after ever since. The redder the ruby, the more it is worth.
The Ancient Hindus believed that rubbing rubies directly onto the skin could improve blood circulation and boost physical and mental health.
The second hardest of all gems, rubies are highly durable and therefore suitable for any jewellery.
They are found in Myanmar, India, Vietnam, Thailand, the Middle East, East Africa and the United States.
Gorgeous olive-green peridot is the gemstone of August. Formed from a mineral found in lava and meteorites, the peridot in your jewellery may have started its life in space!
The meaning of this gem varies around the world, but it is commonly considered to bring a good year to the wearer, alongside prosperity, power and influence.
Arizona is home to most of the world’s supply of peridot, however it is also found in Africa, China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.
One of the rarest gemstones on the planet, the sapphire is September’s birthstone.
Known for its royal blue colours, this stone can also be purple, yellow, green or pink — offering those born in September a real selection for their jewellery pieces.
Over the years, sapphires have been worn for protection from harm, envy and temptation. This gem is also said to bring wisdom, faith and power to the beholder.
Due to their strength, they are popular both in jewellery and also in watches and electronics.
Sapphires are found in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Brazil, China, Africa and North America.
Those born in October have two birthstones — opal and tourmaline.
The opal can vary a lot in colour and pattern, depending upon the stone it was formed in — in fact, the word ‘opal’ originates from the Greek word ‘opallos’, which translates to ‘to see a change’.
Pliny, a Roman natural historian, used the word ‘opalus’ when he referred to this birthstone’s kaleidoscopic show of colours, which can simulate shades of any stone.
Blue-green is the most common colour for opals, but they can also be milky-white, yellow or red.
The opal is said to bring good luck to those who were born in the month of October.
Australia has been the world’s biggest supplier of opal since it was discovered in 1850, however it can also be found in Mexico, Ethiopia, Brazil, Honduras, the United States, and the Czech Republic.
Much like the opal, tourmaline is a mixed stone that can be found in a variety of colours — from reds to greens, yellows, blues, and more. Some examples feature more than one colour at once, and these are more valuable due to their rarity.
This stone is thought to protect the wearer from negative thoughts, toxins, radiation, and pollutants.
Tourmaline is sourced in the following countries: Brazil, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Madagascar, and the United States.
Interestingly, this stone can be electrically charged through the application of heat or pressure.
November’s birthstones are topaz and citrine.
Said to promote balance and harmony in those who wear it, topaz comes in quite a variety of colours — from blue to red, pink, orange, champagne and yellow — and it can also be colourless.
Yellow topaz was highly popular in ancient Egypt, where they thought it represented the sun god, Ra.
The world’s biggest supplier of topaz is Brazil. However, it is also found in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Russia, India, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, the United States, and Mexico.
Topaz is a soothing stone, said to reduce nightmares and calm nerves and tempers.
Citrine is a stunning orange gem which is a member of the quartz family — it varies in colour, from a fiery orange to a soft yellow. This is a common stone and is popular because it complements any outfit.
Brazil supplies most of the world’s citrine, however various shades of citrine can be found in Bolivia, France, Spain, Russia, Madagascar and the United States.
Quite a tough stone, citrine is ideal for large jewellery pieces as it is resistant to most scratches and daily wear-and-tear.
Citrine is said to have a large number of properties, including the power to heal and calm. The wearer is also said to enjoy wealth, fresh beginnings, and a release of negative feelings.
Tanzanite, turquoise and zircon are the gemstones for December, all of which are blue in colour.
As you might expect, tanzanite originates from Tanzania. In fact, Tanzania is the only source of this stone in the world.
Tanzanite was only discovered in the late 1960s so it’s certainly a modern gemstone. It is often a deep, rich blue but can also edge towards purple or at least hint at it with violet undertones.
This stone is better suited to pendants and earrings than rings due to its softness and likeliness to scratch easily.
One of the oldest stones in the world, turquoise originated in the 13th century, and is a blue stone that varies in its tone and transparency.
Said to bring good luck and fend off evil spirits, this gemstone is popular with Native Americans who wear it on their traditional dress.
Turquoise is a soft stone, making it sensitive to direct sunlight as well as perfume, natural oils, and make-up. For this reason, it is important to think about where you will be wearing your turquoise jewellery on your body, and when.
Most of the world’s turquoise is supplied by the United States, however Turkey, Ancient Persia and Egypt were important suppliers historically.
Zircon is often blue, but can also be other colours, including red, yellow, orange and even colourless.
It is sometimes heat-treated to stabilise radioactivity, caused by impurities in the stone (which is what creates the colour).
A lovely birthstone to gift to someone who is embarking on a gap year or travelling the world, as zircon is said to protect travellers from misfortune. It is also said to offer pain relief, a peaceful night’s sleep, and an increase in appetite if required.
Most of the world’s supply of zircon comes from Australia, with Thailand, Tanzania, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Canada, and the United States also having supplies.