A Look at Birthstones by Month
We are all fascinated by our birthstones. The birthstone is an idea that dates back centuries and we will be talking more on our blog about the rich history of these stones and how they found their way into jewelry as well as our imagination. But for now, we wanted to start with the basics and answer the question that so many of us have asked at some point in time, “what is my birthstone?”
Here are the birthstones by month with some background on each of the stones.
January Birthstone – Garnet
Garnet is a gemstone that derives it's name from a variety of old English, French and Latin words. Gernet, meaning dark red. Grenate and Granatus that draw their meaning as “seed” and are thought to possibly be linked to the meaning behind Pomegranate; a fruit with dark red seeds that evoke the shapes and colors of garnet crystals. While garnets do come in various colors, it it the dark red version that is traditionally associated with garnet as a birthstone. That red color dates back to Roman times in the use and popularity of garnets.
February Birthstone – Amethyst
Amethyst is a semi precious stone that is actually a purple/violet variety of quartz. It's use in jewelry dates back to the ancient Egyptians and over the centuries it was able to be sourced from more areas allowing it to become a stone that many could enjoy. If you have ever ventured into a mineral show or exhibition, it is likely you came across amethyst geodes that can range in scale from pieces for a side table to massive floor sculptures. Early on in the life of our brand, Monica visited the Gem and Mineral Hall at the Smithsonian where the amethyst geodes on display were as memorable as the most precious gem stones.
March Birthstone – Aquamarine
The name alone of the stone let's us know we are in a world of aquatic tranquility. Derived from the word aqua – Latin for water – aquamarines rightfully bear the colors of the waters that break upon our most beautiful coral reefs. The range of those shades, that might be controlled by the waters’ depths are the same range we can expect to find in these stones. Aquamarines are from the mineral group known as beryls, of which emeralds are also a part. On a branded note, Monica’s zodiac sign is aquarius, but her emotional ties to aquamarines are balanced by her February birthday that makes amethyst her birthstone.
April Birthstone – Diamonds
What more can we say about diamonds that we haven't said about them in Everything to Know about Diamonds. Diamonds of course have a special place in the world of fine jewelry and precious stones. Not surprisingly, we've heard it said by more than one woman that if they could trade birthdays (and birthstones) then April (and diamonds) would be at the top of their list.
May Birthstone – Emerald
Emeralds, in their highest quality form, are one of the more rare precious gemstones. High quality emeralds are judged by their rich deep verdant green color and well as their clarity. This clarity is defined by the lack of inclusions in the stone when viewed with the naked eye. Emeralds are generally sourced from Colombia, Brazil, Zambia and Afghanistan with Colombian emeralds generally held in the highest esteem. As a stone derived from the beryl group of minerals, emeralds offer the opportunity to be worn for any occasion depending on the fine jewelry design in which they are set.
June Birthstone – Pearls
Pearls are actually the only birthstone (and gemstone for that matter) that is created by a living creature. Mollusks create pearls naturally when an irritant, like a grain of sand, in introduced into their shells. Pearls formed naturally by mollusks without any human involvement are the most rare (natural pearls), whereas pearls that are cultivated and farmed are the ones that are the most common and widely available today. While natural colored pales are most rare and precious, cultivated, or fresh water pearls, will often be offered in a few different colors and are actually dyed to achieve the available hues.
July Birthstone – Ruby
Rubies are precious gemstones renowned for their deep red color. They are the red variety of the mineral corundum, and the finest, deepest red versions historically were mined in Burma (now Myanmar). A large percentage of rubies are infused with color through heat treatments, which also makes for increased availability of the stones. Ruby is one of the harder, more durable gemstones, with only diamonds being harder.
August Birthstone – Peridot
Peridot is recognized for its unique lime or olive green color. It is the gem quality version of the mineral olivine, and large quantities of the stone today are mined in Arizona. It is a gemstone that can trace its origins back to the ancient Egyptians in the 2nd millennium BC.
September Birthstone – Sapphire
Perhaps no other gemstone apart from diamonds has the history and recognition of sapphires. Traditionally, sapphires are known for their rich blue color, but sapphires actually come in a broad range of colors, including white sapphires which we use throughout our sterling silver collection. Sapphires are gem versions of the mineral corundum, and pink sapphires will retain the sapphire designation until they reach the level of red to be classified as rubies. Most blue sapphires today are heated to impart their richness of color, an unheated blue sapphire is more precious due to greater rarity. The blue sapphire gained added attention a few years back when Prince William gave Kate Middleton a blue sapphire ring for their engagement.
October Birthstone – Opal
Opals are gemstones known for their extraordinary play of color which in the most precious of opals can mirror the greatest natural light shows of the heavens or the seas. The finest opals are from Australia and the types range from crystal, boulder and water opals to the rarest black opals. Fire opals, known for their deep translucent reddish and orange colors, are most often found in Mexico. Opals are most commonly cut into domed cabochon stones, as the smooth domed cuts allow for the most play of color.
November Birthstone – Topaz
While topaz may be found in a variety of colors, in its natural state is generally yellowish-brown or near colorless. In varieties like blue topaz, the colors are achieved through treatments like irradiation. The most precious topaz is the imperial topaz, which has a rich orange like cast that often includes wondrous elements of pink to create a fantastic rainbow-like quality.
December Birthstone – Turquoise
Turquoise and tanzanite are both known as December birthstones. We decided to feature turquoise as it is the oldest and original birthstone for December, with tanzanite having been added in 2002. Turquoise of course has a rich history across many cultures. From the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the Chinese, Native Americans and the British Royal family, all have made Turquoise part of their jewelry and heritage. In its purest form, turquoise will have the deep, rich flawless solid blue, but also comes in many instances with “matrix” the veins of brown colorations that can make the stone so visually interesting.
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