Birthstones appear in almost every color imaginable, and they imbue jewelry with a natural brilliance. These gemstones officially recognized as birthstones represent certain months of the year, and their economic value is largely dependent on their rarity.
The notion of birthstones correlates to the time when astronomy and astrology had a significant crossover. The regular patterns made by the stars transpired into zodiac calendars. Astrologers linked particular gemstones to the key personality traits exhibited by people born within each month.
How Birthstones Are Formed
The majority of birthstones originate from the crystalline forms of varying minerals. Minerals form through naturally occurring processes that integrate chemicals, heat, and pressure. The concentrations of chemicals determine the structure and color of the crystals, while temperatures and pressures affect their size and shape. Most mineral crystals are tiny, but some grow large enough to be cut into gemstones of rare beauty.
January Birthstone: Garnet
The word garnet derives from the Latin word granatum, which means “seed,” in reference to a pomegranate. This gem is valuable for its durability and brilliance. Despite being widely-known for having striking hues of red, garnets also appear in several other colors including pink, brown, yellow, orange, green, purple, and black.
Folklores say that wearers may see an increase in their self-image, will power, and energy levels. It’s also traditionally believed that garnets keep the wearer safe during travels.
February Birthstone: Amethyst
The word amethyst is from the Greek word amethystos, meaning “not drunken,” as amethysts in antiquity were thought to ward off intoxication. Certain impurities found in quartz give this gem its unique purple iridescence. Its colors range from light to dark, and the rich, transparent variety of purples are the most highly regarded.
Amethysts are presumed to strengthen relationships and give its wearer courage.
March Birthstone: Aquamarine
Aquamarine, named from the Latin phrase “water of the sea,” is a variety of beryl. Aquamarines range from faint blues to a bluish-greens. Since aquamarines are available in large sizes, they have no incremental increase in value per karat.
This birthstone assumes to cure liver, stomach, and heart disease. Early sailors also believed that aquamarine talismans protected them against ocean dangers.
April Birthstone: Diamond
Renowned for being the hardest substance on earth, its sparkling fire, durability, and rarity make diamonds the most prized of all gems. Most diamonds are either colorless or faintly colored. Colored diamonds, however, are also called “fancy” gemstones and are often scarce and valuable, selling for more than a million dollars per karat.
The diamond is a symbol of everlasting love and was once thought to bring courage. In Sanskrit, the diamond is called Vajra, which also means “lightning”; in Hindu mythology, Vajra was the weapon of Indra, the king of gods.
May Birthstone: Emerald
Emeralds are the green variety of beryl. They are the most famous and valuable green birthstone in discovery. Their beautiful color, combined with immense durability and rarity, make them one of the most expensive gems to date. An emerald’s value is largely dependent on the nuance of saturation. With the aid of heat, their green color can change to blue, transforming the gem into an aquamarine.
An emerald signifies wisdom, growth, and patience.
June Birthstone: Alexandrite and Moonstone
June has two birthstones associated with it, giving the lucky people born within the month a choice between the rare color-changing alexandrite and the creamy-colored, opalescent moonstone.
Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl that is extremely rare and valuable. It is well-known for displaying astonishing color changes and has replaced the traditional pearl as the modern June birthstone. Well-cut stones appear to be green under sunlight and red in incandescent light, thus deemed as an emerald by day, and a ruby by night.
Alexandrites are considered to be a stone of very good omen. They are believed to bring the wearer good luck, prosperity, and love.
Moonstone is comprised of microscopic layers of feldspar that disperse light to cause a surging effect of adularescence. Blue moonstones with profound transparency are found immensely valuable.
Folklores say moonstones have a calming influence and could assist those wishing to enter a trance while meditating.
July Birthstone: Ruby
Rubies are the most valuable members of the corundum family. They are distinguished by their stark red shade and are one of the most popular gems due to their luster, hardness, durability, and rarity. Large gem-quality rubies are often more valuable than comparably-sized diamonds and are certainly rarer.
Rubies symbolize harmony, enthusiasm, contentment, integrity, and strength.
August Birthstone: Peridot
Peridots are a variety olivine, a mineral. They are ancient gems with jewelry pieces dating all the way back to the Pharaohs in Egypt. The intensity of their light green to olive-green color depends on the amount of iron present in a peridot’s chemical structure; the more iron it contains, the deeper shade of green it will be. Profound olive-green peridots tend to be of higher value compared to those faint in color.
Tradition says wearing a peridot wards off enchantments and depression.
September Birthstone: Sapphire
Known for their distinct color, durability, and luster, sapphires are the blue variety of the corundum family. Color plays a significant role in estimating its value. Although typically blue, fancy sapphires also materialize in yellow, orange, purple, and green.
Traditionally a favorite stone among priests and kings, the sapphire symbolizes wisdom and purity.
October Birthstone: Opal
Opals are the most colorful gems in discovery. Their splendid array of colors is unsurpassed, and often more valuable than diamonds. It consists of iridescent colors that change depending on the angle, a phenomenon called opalescence. The play of color may consist of large, individual flashes known as schillers, or may be of tiny, dense flashes. The intensity and distribution of the colors is a determining factor in the value of an opal.
Necklaces enhanced with opals are said to repel evil.
November Birthstone: Topaz
It wasn’t until this past century that blue topazes became widespread since virtually all blue topazes are irradiated and heat treated. Clarity and size have significant effects on the value of topaz. The highest value goes to the rare pink and red stones, followed by orange and yellow stones called “Imperial Topaz.”
A topaz supposedly gives the wearer increased strength and intellect.
December Birthstones: Turquoise
This ornamental birthstone was most familiar with the Native American civilization. Turquoises remain as some of the most famous opaque gems in existence. It is highly regarded due to its unique turquoise-blue color and is the only birthstone to have an exclusive color named after it.
Although deemed as a love charm, turquoise rings, in particular, are thought to repel wandering spirits.
Mesmerizing birthstones and their vivid colors have long been a way to connect birth months with rare and unique gemstones. In terms of beauty, rarity, and quality, they are exquisite enhancements to any fine jewelry collection.