Birthstone Jewellery for Every Month
Stylish birthstone jewellery is more in demand than ever. People choose to wear their birthstones for their beauty but also because each gemstone is imbued with special meaning and historical significance. With a gem assigned to every month, birthstone jewellery makes a thoughtful, meaningful gift or wonderful self-purchase. In this article, we discover the birthstone for each month and the powerful symbolism that lies behind each one.
With its dark, red tone it’s not surprising that garnet takes its name from the mediaeval Latin word granatus meaning ‘pomegranate’. Prized by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, garnet was also very popular in the Victorian era, as its dark red colour indicated wealth. Garnets symbolise friendship, trust, and loyalty. Also, they are believed to grant strength and safety. This makes garnet jewellery the perfect gift for a friend starting a new journey in life as well as anyone with a January birthday. Garnets are also known to have healing properties such as regulating blood circulation and flushing out toxins.
Amethyst jewellery has been worn for its stunning purple hue and mystical properties for thousands of years. A natural variety of quartz, its vivid, purple colour is the result of hundreds of thousands of years of compression. Mostly mined in Sri Lanka, Siberia, Asia and Brazil, the darker stones are the most valuable.
Amethyst takes its name from the Greek amethystos meaning ‘not drunken’ and was worn to counteract the effects of alcohol. This belief can be traced as far back as 320 BC. Wealthy people would drink from amethyst goblets and add powdered amethyst to their wine to keep them sober. In the Middle Ages, amethyst and the colour purple became a symbol of royalty.
As the February birthstone, amethyst is also the stone of St. Valentine and so is intrinsically linked to love and romance. Also, it’s believed to have therapeutic powers including the ability to relieve stress, anxiety, and fear.
In cool shades of ocean blue, Aquamarine is the beautiful March birthstone. It takes its name from the Latin aqua marinus which means ‘water of the sea’. Indeed, the Romans believed that Poseidon, the God of the Sea, made aquamarine from seawater. Consequently, mariners believed that wearing it would protect them from rough seas.
Aquamarine belongs to the Beryl mineral family. Mostly mined in Brazil, it’s also found in Africa and Asia. Aquamarine is believed to bring peace and calmness. In a relationship, it represents trust and harmony, promoting faithfulness and friendship. Moreover, if worn by women, there’s a widely held belief that it can enhance feminine energy and empowerment.
Anyone lucky enough to have an April birthday can lay claim to that most precious of birthstones: Diamond. Extraordinarily pure, Diamond is the only gemstone composed of a single element: carbon. Also, it’s the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth. Diamond takes its name from the ancient Greek adamas meaning ‘invincible’.
Diamonds were first found in India and worn by only the wealthiest individuals. By the 1400s, diamonds were becoming fashionable amongst the European elite. However, as India’s supplies began to decline in the 1700s, Brazil became an important source. Brazil dominated the market until the 1860s when diamonds were discovered in South Africa.
Throughout history, diamond has been thought to be an antidote to poison and provide protection from disease. There is also the belief that it, as a birthstone, aids longevity, strength, happiness, and beauty.
However, as the most popular gemstone for engagement rings, the diamond is of course most strongly linked to love and romance.
Emerald, the birthstone for May, is one of the ‘big four’ precious gemstones alongside ruby, sapphire and diamond. Like aquamarine, emerald is a Beryl gemstone. Due to its unique geology, over 50% of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia. The second largest producer is Africa.
The first known emeralds were mined in Egypt around 1500 BC. Emeralds were considered symbols of fertility and immortality. Also, they were a sign of wealth and power and were often worn by Cleopatra and given as gifts to foreign dignitaries.
Emeralds symbolise springtime and fertility as well as hope, renewal, wisdom, and patience.
The birthstone for June, Pearl is the only gemstone created by a living creature. Created in the shells of oysters, clams and mussels, a pearl forms when a small grain of rock or sand enters the mollusc’s shell. The foreign item irritates the creature and to protect itself, it coats it in layers of shell material (called nacre). Natural pearls are incredibly rare. In 10,000 oysters, you would be lucky to find a single natural pearl. Consequently, most of the pearls we see in modern jewellery are cultured.
Due to the scarcity of natural pearls, in ancient times they were seen as a symbol of wealth and status. In the Roman Empire, pearl-studded jewels were highly desirable. However, by the early 19th century, they were used in a more sentimental way, often used in wedding jewellery, to celebrate love.
If the pearl is your birthstone, it represents simplicity, purity, and wisdom.
Ruby is the fiery gemstone associated with July birthdays. Derived from the Latin word rebeus meaning red, it’s one of the most impactful (and valuable) gemstones. Measuring 9 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, ruby is the hardest mineral after diamond. Rubies are a variety of corundum and their red colour is due to the presence of chromium.
Throughout history, many cultures have considered rubies to be the stone of kings. In ancient mythology, rubies were believed to confer wisdom, wealth, and good health. Also, warriors wore rubies to protect them and give them courage. The colour of blood and fire, ruby symbolises love and passion. As a birthstone, it also stands for energy, power, and success.
The colour of lush, summer meadows, Peridot is the stunning lime-green birthstone for August. Also known as the ‘Sun Stone’, peridot is the only famous gemstone in the Olivine group of minerals. Interestingly, peridot is one of only two gemstones created in the earth’s mantle (the other is diamond). Peridot forms in magma in the upper mantle at 20-55 miles down whereas diamonds form at 90-120 miles down. Volcanoes propel peridot to the surface or deposit it in magma near enough to the surface for it to be discovered and mined.
As a gemstone with such fiery origins, peridot has come to symbolise regeneration and renewal. Forming at the earth’s core, the belief is that its positive energy can take you back to your core, restoring natural balance and bestowing hope and optimism where previously there may have been negative emotion.
Closely associated with light for over 2,000 years, the ancient Egyptians worshipped peridot, believing it fell from the skies. They called it ‘the gem of the sun’. The Romans also loved peridot and nicknamed it ‘the evening emerald’ due to its perceived ability to glow in the dark.
Although Sapphire is commonly thought of as blue, September’s birthstone is available in a rainbow palette of colours. In fact, any colour, except red (as red corundum is ruby). Sapphire takes its name from the Greek word Sappeiros meaning ‘blue stone’.
As one of the cardinal gemstones, sapphire has a long history surrounded by myth and legend. For example, the ancient Persians believed the earth rested on a sapphire pedestal, whose reflection gave the sky its blue colour. Also, due to its association with heaven, clergy in the Middle Ages wore sapphire for its holy properties. Similarly, Buddhists also believed in the calming effects of sapphire and thought it could help bring about spiritual enlightenment.
Sapphire is believed to attract wisdom and protection from above. Thought to symbolise faithfulness and virtue, sapphire is said to instil truth and sincerity in the wearer. Linked to the throat chakra, sapphires worn in necklaces can help to enhance self-expression. Additionally, Sapphire is supposed to be able to tap into the power of the ‘third eye’, making clear what is otherwise too difficult to hear or understand.
Offering a stunning kaleidoscope of colours, Opal is the beautiful birthstone for October. Originating from the Sanskrit term upala, meaning ‘a precious stone’, the ancient Romans called it opalus.
Most opals are mined in Australia. They form when silica transfers into underground rock deposits through rainfall. The rarest opals are black in colour, with white, grey, and green being the most common.
Mark Anthony was believed to have loved opals and sought after them to adorn his great love, Cleopatra. Opals were also very popular during the Victorian era as Queen Victoria wore them in rings and other jewellery.
Often compared to rainbows and galaxies, luminescent opals have long been associated with light, optimism, and prophecy (a belief which can be traced back to the ancient Greeks). As a birthstone, opals are also believed to offer protection, truth, kindness, and healing.
Topaz, the birthstone for November, comes in many colours and shades including white and yellow. However, blue is arguably the most popular hue. Blue topaz does not typically occur naturally. In the 1960s a process was discovered that could turn pure colourless topaz into the popular blue colour we see today, through a process of irradiation.
Mostly mined in Brazil, other sources of topaz include Australia, Sri Lanka, and Mexico.
Topaz has long been considered a sacred stone. Hindus believed it brought the wearer wisdom and longevity. Also, both the ancient Greeks and Romans believed topaz could provide strength, intelligence, and healing to its wearer. Furthermore, during the Renaissance, topaz was thought to bring peace and quell anger.
To this day, blue topaz is still thought to promote learning and understanding.
Of all the birthstones, December’s birthstone, Tanzanite, is the most recent discovery. Discovered in Tanzania in 1968 by Tiffany & Co, it was named after its country of origin. Its hue ranges from rich blue to deep violet and appears to have different tones depending on the light.
Known as the gem of transformation, Tanzanite is known to help attract the positive energy needed to make dreams a reality. Also, it’s said to impart spiritual awakening and enhance intuition.
Birthstone Jewellery: Where to Buy
Colourful, vibrant, and fun, the wearing of birthstone jewellery isn’t limited to your own birthstone. Why not keep your partner close with a beautiful piece featuring their birthstone? Alternatively, you could celebrate your children with jewellery that represents the month of their birth.
At Wallace Allan, we offer a stunning range of Birthstone Jewellery. From Amethyst through to Tanzanite and everything in between, you’ll find contemporary pieces hand-picked by our expert buyers. If you have any special requirements or questions, please do contact us. We look forward to being of assistance.