January’s Birthstone: Garnet
January babies born in the midst of cold, white (valley fog) and at times stark surroundings are rewarded with one of the most varying birth gemstones, Garnet. Garnet’s pizzazz energizes the gloomiest day. Garnet varieties brighten the world in colors of yellow to gold, bright orange to true orange, brown to cinnamon, pinks to greens, and of course many shades of red.
Garnets are given as symbols of consistency, perseverance and good health. Garnet is also regarded as the gem of faith, constancy and truth and possesses many curative powers. Some of the lore surrounding garnets is that it protects the wearer from nightmares, promotes long-lasting love, and prevents hearing difficulties.
February’s Birthstone: Amethyst
Amethyst, transparent purple quartz, is the most important quartz variety used in jewelry. Purple has long been considered a royal color so it is not surprising that amethyst has been so much in demand over the years. Because amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, amethyst was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic and other churches in the Middle Ages. It was, in particular, considered to be the stone of bishops and bishops still often wear amethyst rings. The Greek work “amethystos” basically can be translated as “not drunken.” Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it! The gemstone still symbolizes sobriety. The Amethyst was credited with many other extraordinary attributes. Among its reputed benefits was an ability to quicken the intelligence and make the owner more successful in business, protect the soldier and assure victory, help hunters, guard against contagious diseases, and control evil thoughts.
March’s Birthstone: Aquamarine
Originating its name from the Latin “aqua marina” meaning “sea water”, the aquamarine is a light blue to greenish blue beryl, most valuable when it’s a shade of darker blue. Sailors often wore amulets of aquamarine to give them courage and tame the sea. Aquamarine was used to bring happiness, eternal youth, and control passion. In ancient times the aquamarine was believed to instill courage in those who wore them.
April’s Birthstone: Diamond
April’s birthstone is the emblem of fearlessness and invincibility. Courage, strength and fortitude were attributes given to the wearer of diamonds. The diamond has been a symbol of eternal love since the 15th century, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria sealed his engagement to Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring. Of all jewels, the diamond is supreme and worthy of the name precious stone. It qualifies for all the virtues implied in that term: brilliance, hardness, rarity, antiquity, purity and permanence.
May’s Birthstone: Emerald
A symbol of love and rebirth, the emerald has been treasured for over 4,000 years. The name for the emerald is derived from the Greek word “smaragdos”, meaning green stone. Spring and green symbolized faith and fertility. The early Christians valued the emerald as a symbol of resurrection. Emerald was believed to have special powers to improve a person’s psychic abilities and would help reveal the truth of a lover’s words. This brilliant green stone reinforces love and creates harmony in the family. It was also believed to be a symbol of faith and loyal friendship.
June’s Birthstone: Pearl (Moonstone, Alexandrite, Rhodolite Garnet)
Pearls are often associated with love and tears, they were dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and symbolized the tears of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Pearls are recognized as the emblem of modesty, chastity and purity. A pearl is the product of an oyster’s defense mechanism. When a foreign irritant is introduced either by man (cultured) or naturally, the oyster immediately surrounds it with layers of a substance called nacre. Pearls form directly from the hand of nature, ready to be admired and worn to display all their beauty.
Alternative gemstones for June include moonstone, alexandrite, and rhodolite garnet.
July’s Birthstone: Ruby
Ruby’s rarity and beauty has let some call it “the lord of the gems”. Ruby is truly an ancient stone. Many myths and legends are associated with rubies. Synonymous with passion, the ruby is believed to protect one from being seduced and has the ability to soothe anger. The ruby has always been a symbol of love, charity and victory. The bible states that wisdom is “more precious than rubies”. Rubies and sapphires are the same mineral, corundum. Ruby is red and any other color is called sapphire.
August’s Birthstone: Peridot
Peridot is a lovely yellow-green gem with a rich history. Legend has it that peridot was the favorite gemstone of Cleopatra. The ancients called August’s birthstone the “gem of the sun”. It was believed that peridot could chase away evil spirits and dissolve curses but only when set in gold. Care should be taken to protect peridot from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals and extreme temperature changes. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine for cleaning. Sardonyx is an alternative birthstone for August.
September’s Birthstone: Sapphire
Deriving its name from the Greek word for blue, sapphire used to refer to any blue stone. By the late1800’s, the sapphire and ruby were recognized as gem varieties of corundum. Sapphire has been associated with divine favor. The Buddhists believed that the sapphire favored devotion and spiritual enlightenment. The ancient Greeks linked sapphire with Apollo, and wore it as an aid to prophesy when consulting oracles. Sapphire has been use as an aide to healing ailments of the eyes. It is also considered a booster for the immune system, protecting the body in general from disease. When Prince Charles gave Diana a sapphire engagement ring, it was a trend that was copied again and again throughout England….Known as the celestial gemstone, the sapphire has been treasured for thousands of years. The ancient Persians believed that the earth’s crust sat on a huge sapphire, and it’s bright color reflected the color of the sky during sunset. Sapphire symbolized truth, sincerity and tradition.
October’s Birthstone: Opal (Tourmaline)
The opal has been described as containing the wonders of the sky’s sparkling rainbows, fireworks, lightening, and the gentler fire of the ruby, the rich purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald. Opal’s lore is as colorful as the opal itself. The ancient Greeks felt that the opal gave foresight and the gift of prophecy to the wearer. The Romans believed opal was the symbol of hope and purity. Opal also provided the spirit of truth and the perfection of beauty. In the Middle Ages opal was worn to preserve blond hair. Also opal was thought to lose its luster when its owner died of the plague. The Arabs believed opal to be a gift from heaven that would fall in the flashes of lightening. Care should be taken to protect it from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals, and extreme temperature changes. To maintain the brilliance of opal, it should be wiped clean with a soft cloth. Tourmaline is also used as a birthstone for October.
November’s Birthstones: Topaz and Citrine
Topaz symbolizes good fortune and longevity. According to legend, this golden stone possesses the power to cure many diseases.
Citrine, a transparent yellow quartz gem many of the best of which come from Brazil, is a current day birthstone for this month.
December’s Birthstones: Turquoise, Blue Zircon, Blue Topaz, and Tanzanite
Turquoise From Egypt and Persia (Iran) to Tibet and the Americas, turquoise has been treasured for its beauty since prehistoric times. Hindus and Persians believed that one who observed the reflection of the moon on a turquoise was assured good luck, protection from evil and great wealth. Colors in turquoise range from sky blue (most desirable color) to blue green and apple green. The name means “Turkish stone” because the trade route that brought it to Europe used to come via Turkey. Turquoise is associated with Innocence. Present day additions to December’s birthstones are Blue Zircon, Blue Topaz, and Tanzanite.