Guide To Birthstones

Guide To Birthstones

You're probably familiar with birthstones, but do you know which birthstone is yours? Officially standardized in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers, a birthstone is a specific gemstone that correlates with the month you were born. Find out what stone represents each month and if it has any special characteristics.

January: Garnet

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The garnet's name is derived from the 14th century where "gernet" meant a rich red color. It's an extremely rare gemstone found in North and South America, Spain, India, Asia, and Australia. When many people picture this gemstone, they imagine a red stone. However, it can be black, dark green, or colorless. The garnet family is one of the most complex gems since it represents several species and varieties rather than just a single species. The stone is usually found in igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rocks.

February: Amethyst

A cherished stone, the amethyst has a stunning purple color, which can range from light lilac to a deep purple color. A variety of quartz, amethyst is produced when there are certain impurities in the quartz, which gives it the purple hue. Although it is still mined, most amethyst gemstones sold today are created within a laboratory setting.

March: Aquamarine

The name "aquamarine" is simply a combination of "aqua" for water and "marine" for the sea. Part of the gem's history is that sailors used them on the seas to give them good luck for a safe voyage. This gemstone, which symbolizes purity, is characterized by the colors found in the sea, so it includes deep blue and light green hues. It's a type of beryl, which is a rare silicate material found in metamorphic and igneous rocks.

April: Diamond

If you have an April birthday, you certainly lucked out with your birthstone since it's a diamond. Few gems can compete with a diamond's opulence and luxury. Not only is a diamond one of the most recognized gemstones, but it is also one of the rarest and toughest materials in nature. It's made from carbon and is exhumed to the surface via volcanic magma pipes. They come in a range of colors including green, blue, pink, yellow, and red. Even though diamonds can be expensive, when properly cared for, they can last forever.

May: Emerald

This stunning gemstone is known for its brilliance, the emerald obtains its greenish hues from chromium, which is a metal. It's similar to aquamarine since the emerald is a green variety of beryl. When mined, emeralds are usually found in shale, which is a sedimentary rock. However, it's rare to find a perfect emerald and even if you're lucky enough to find one, it can be very expensive.

June: Pearl or Alexandrite

The birthstone for June was first recognized as moonstone followed by the pearl, but you'll likely find alexandrite as the more common option. Alexandrite was originally chosen because it was thought to be more common than pearls, but alexandrite is now harder to find. The stone often has greenish-blue hues and can change colors via incandescent light.

July: Ruby

An extremely coveted gem, the ruby signifies passion and love. Its name comes from the Latin word for red, which is "rebeus." Jewelers often define ruby gemstones based on the purple hues found within the stone. Experts call this hue "pigeon's blood." The deep red color comes straight from chromium, and the more chromium in the stone, the darker red shade it has.

August: Peridot

As one of the most ancient birthstones on the chart, peridot is often overlooked by jewelry shoppers. Egyptians held this gem to a higher standard since they thought it held healing powers. It's often found in Hawaii in volcanic lava, with Hawaiian folklore stating the peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, who is the volcano goddess. Peridot always has some sort of green hue but is lighter in appearance compared to an emerald.

September: Sapphire

The name sapphire comes from the Latin word "sapphirus," which means "blue stone." Typically featuring warm, blueish tones, the sapphire can be found in several different hues including aqua, green, and faint purple. Many years ago, people believed the gemstone had special healing powers as it symbolized fertility, truth, and nobility. Also, one of its noteworthy attributes is its hardiness since it registers as a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale.

October: Tourmaline or Opal

The opal has belonged to October for so much time that there's a belief that it is bad luck to wear the stone during any other month of the year. Opal forms when water picks up silica dioxide, deposits it into open voids, and evaporates. Over the years, jewelry wearers became frustrated with the opal's lack of durability, so pink tourmaline has become the alternative to the opal.

November: Topaz or Citrine

Although unrelated to each other, topaz and citrine are both birthstone options for November. Topaz belongs to the silicate family, while citrine is part of the quartz family. Since quartz is more common, topaz is typically more expensive. Topaz also can come in a variety of colors, while citrine usually has more orange or yellow due to impurities.

December: Tanzanite, Zircon, or Turquoise

December also has options for the birthstone, but all three have deep blue hues. Tanzanite is a rare gem only found in Tanzania and gets its color from trace amounts of vanadium. Zircon is often confused with cubic zirconia, and although it's also blue, it's available in other shades. Turquoise has been admired since ancient times and is one of the few minerals that lends its name to anything resembling its color.

Whether you're shopping for a custom piece of jewelry highlighting your birthstone or someone else's, Martin Busch Jewelers has you covered. Our design team can help you bring your vision to life via our computer-generated renderings. Even if you don't have a particular design in mind, we offer several in-store samples available. Once you select a style, we create a wax mold to replicate the design, followed by producing your custom design. Contact us today, and we can get started on your stunning piece of jewelry featuring your birthstone.