The 12 Birthstones and What They Mean

Every month has a birthstone with its own significance and meaning. The tradition of assigning stones to certain months goes back hundreds of years. While their meanings and associations differ between cultures, birthstones were first standardized in the United States in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers. The official list has been updated several times to add alternatives and dimension to certain months. But enough about the history of birthstones! We’re here to talk about what each one means. Keep reading to get the deets!

January: Garnet

Although garnet comes in a range of colors, the most popular is dark red. Garnet is derived from the word granatum, which corresponds to the English word granular, related to the word “seed.” Thus, a garnet is said to resemble a pomegranate seed. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the garnet symbolizes constancy, truth, and faith.

February: Amethyst

Amethyst is composed of twinned crystals in a deep violet shade. Though it is special to those born during the second month of the year, it is also a popular stone for everyone to wear. Note that the shade can differ depending on how much iron is present throughout the stone. Over the years, amethyst has been thought to produce strength, clarity, and protection.

March: Aquamarine

Because the light-blue aquamarine is formed in hot and open underground spaces, it is much rarer than some other birthstones. Though, if you happen upon a stone in a deeper blue hue, you better hang onto it. They’re more valuable and less likely to be found. The stone has long been a symbol of youth, health, and hope.

April: Diamond

Diamonds are precious gems, indeed. They form underground when carbon is exposed to extreme amounts of combined pressure and heat. They come in an array of colors, but for the April birthstone, the clear diamond is most preferred. In the past, diamonds were thought to have special healing powers.

May: Emerald

Fitting for the May birthstone, the emerald signifies springtime and renewal. It is often gifted to someone starting a new chapter of their life. That these gems are often very resilient; cracks may be within the gem, but the exterior can still shine bright and flawless.

June: Pearl

The pearl has long been a sign of purity and innocence. It is the only birthstone that is not mined from the Earth. Instead, it is formed when a mollusk is irritated at something inside its shell; to ward off the annoyance, it will continuously secrete a particular substance, and over time, that substance builds up, forming a pearl.

July: Ruby

The ruby comes in a variety of red shades. The purer the red, the more valuable the gemstone. It is also one of the rarest precious stones. It has come to mean a symbol of love and commitment, though it was once thought to protect against misfortune and illness.

August: Peridot

The yellow-green peridot is often labeled as the “evening emerald.” Like amethyst, the stone’s darkness is distinguished by the amount of iron inside. The trait that sets this beauty apart is that peridot displays the same color in natural and artificial light. The stone has been associated with luck and good fortune.

September: Sapphire

Though sapphires can come in all colors except red, the blue version is used for the September birthstone. According to lore, the sapphire can encourage honesty in relationships and better decision-making. It has also come to represent purity and wisdom.

October: Opal

An opal is very similar to quartz; the only difference is that the opal has water inside. Luckily, that water makes the stone more resilient. These magnificent finds have a fiery kaleidoscopic effect, shining with a range of colors. Opal is said to inspire love, hope, and happiness.

November: Topaz

Topaz cannot form on its own; it needs help from fluorine to mix with other elements to create its hard crystal exterior. Topaz can come in a range of colors, but the yellow-orange variation is solely accepted as the November birthstone. Topaz has long been associated with wealth, though it has also been associated with health, love, and astrology.

December: Turquoise/Tanzanite

Turquoise is widely known as a love charm. Believed to relax the mind, the gemstone has been used to symbolize water and the sky. Today, it is associated with wisdom, tranquility, and protection.

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