What is a birthstone and which one is yours?
Birthstones are a range of gemstones that represent one’s birth month. Traditionally only one birthstone represented one month, but there are some exceptions whereby a month could have two or even three different birthstones.
It is believed that the tradition started when the High Priest of the Israelites, known as Aaron, wore twelve gemstones on his breastplate representing the twelve tribes of Israel – and possibly the twelve months of the year and or the twelve signs of the zodiac. Birthstone beliefs may date back to our ancestor’s time, but the stones they used to represent each month would vary from the ones we use today. Our current list of birthstone gems date back to 1912 after an effort was made to standardise them by the Jewellers of America (then known as the National Association of Jewellers).
These days people wear them as jewellery to complement their outfit, give them as birthday gifts, and use them for the powers they may bring – such as warding off evil, bringing good health, fortune, and healing.
The type of birthstone associated to your month varies from culture to culture. In our culture, the birthstones used for each month are:
January – Garnet
- Comes in a variety of colours with the most common being red.
- Believed to bring the wearer wealth, happiness, and health.
- Symbolises prosperity, good health, and peace.
February – Amethyst
- A quartz found all over the world that comes in blends of red and violet colours.
- Symbolises stability, courage, and peace.
- Ancient Greeks believed that the gemstone could protect them from drunkeness.
March – Aquamarine
- A beautiful gem whose colour reminds oneself of the blue sea surrounding a tropical island.
- Seen as a symbol of happiness and eternal youth. It has been used by the Romans who believed it could turn an enemy into a friend, and the Greeks who believed it brought safe passage to sailors crossing rough seas.
- Grooms once gave the aquamarine to their wife as a present the day after their wedding was consummated.
April – Diamond
- The most prized gemstone (and probably most expensive) of them all.
- Symbolises eternal love, purity, and faith.
- Also believed to increase happiness and financial prosperity.
May – Emerald
- Comes in a beautiful and brilliant green colour.
- Considered to be a symbol of love and re-birth.
- Are one of the rarest birthstone gemstones and believed to carry the rich green colour associated with Spring.
June – Pearl
- The only organically made gemstone (i.e. made by a living creature).
- Believed to be a symbol of purity, promote personal integrity, and aid one’s focus.
- Ancient Greeks once believed that pearls were formed from the hardened tears of Aphrodite – the goddess of love.
July – Ruby
- A vibrant-red coloured gemstone thought to be the king of gems.
- Symbolic of the passionate energy associated with red.
- Thought to bring the wearer success, love, and protection against evil.
August – Sardonix
- A multi-coloured gemstone comprised of reddish and white layers made from alternating layers of sard and onyx.
- Symbolic of courage, clear communication, and happiness.
- Thought to bring strength and protection against evil.
September – Sapphire
- Commonly known to come in a royal-blue colour. Other colours include pink, yellow, clear, and orange.
- Symbolic of nobility, wisdom, and loyalty.
- Thought to bring self-discipline, focus of the mind, and being able to channel higher powers.
October – Opal
- A unique gemstones whose microscopic silica spheres break light into the different colours of the rainbow.
- Symbolises confidence and faithfulness.
- Thought to bring good luck. Though, it is believed the stone can bring bad luck if worn by anyone not born in October.
November – Topaz
- Mainly known as being a yellow-red gemstone, but it can come in almost any colour due to the impurities that are naturally mixed with pure, clear topaz.
- Symbolises affection and love.
- Thought to bring the wearer increased intellect and strength.
December – Tanzanite
- A beautiful and exquisite blue gemstone that can only be found in one place – Tanzania.
- Because it was only recently discovered, there is not much belief and legend around tanzanite. A custom in Tanzania may link to tanzanite whereby local women wear blue beads and fabric, after giving birth, to bestow upon their child a life of health and positivity.
Do you want a birthstone?
Whether or not you believe in the legends and powers that birthstones bring, a birthstone still complements and brings beauty to many different types of jewellery. Contact us or come by our store on 5 Mary Street, Dublin City Centre, where we will happily help you choose or even design your own piece of birthstone jewellery.