An Introductory Guide To Birthstones

An Introductory Guide To Birthstones

In this article, we cover: 

  • What are birthstones?
  • Where do birthstones come from?
  • What are the associated birthstones for each month of the year?
  • What are the birthstones and their meanings?
  • Birthstone hardness and durability
  • How to wear birthstone jewelry


What are birthstones?

‘What’s your birthstone?’ is a jeweler’s equivalent of asking, ‘what’s your sign?’ 

The birthstone is an excellent introduction to the realm of gemstones. Natural gemstones come in colors of the rainbow. Finding your birthstone is likened to finding your zodiac sign, a fun and personal journey. Each birthstone comes with its own attributes and stories that are unique to each stone. Over the years, humanity has collected myths and legends about the various magical powers and properties. Not interested in old folk tales? Not to worry, learning about your birthstone can still be insightful and enjoyable. Gemstones are perfect gifts for any occasion and can adorn rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and even engagement rings.

Where do birthstones come from?

Birthstones aren’t just trendy - they have generations of history! Gemstone adoration and extreme value have been traced back at least 2000 years in both biblical and Hindu traditions. 

The Book of Exodus was one of the first significant texts that spoke of birthstones. Aaron, the first high priest of the Israelites, wore a chest plate decorated with 12 different stones that were said to possess great power and the ability to reveal one’s fate. 

In the 5th century, the Hindu text Ratna Pariksha described the inter-relationships between days of the week, deities, celestial bodies, and gemstones. Hindu practices associate heavenly forces with nine jewels. Vedic astrologers prescribed individual stones based on astrological birth charts to harness the power of certain planets and protect them from harm. 

In 1912 the National Association of Jewelers officially standardized the list of American birthstones along with their corresponding month. In 1952 Alexandrite, Citrine, Pink Tourmaline, and Zircon were added to the list. It was updated to include Tanzanite and Spinel in the 2000s. 

hands wearing gold and emerald rings

What are the associated birthstones for each month of the year?

Birthstones By Month:

January — Garnet

February — Amethyst

March — Aquamarine or Bloodstone

April — Diamond

May — Emerald

June — Alexandrite, Pearl, and Moonstone

July — Ruby

August — Peridot or Spinel

September — Sapphire

October — Opal or Tourmaline

November — Golden Topaz or Citrine

December — Blue Zircon, Blue Topaz, or Tanzanite /Turquoise

fingers wearing gold and sapphire jewelry

What are the birthstones and their meanings? 

Ready to learn what makes your birthstone a power piece? Read on to discover the unique qualities of each stone below.

January - Garnet:

Garnet comes in every color except blue. The most common of January gemstones, garnet, is found in a range from deep, dark red to almost brown. Garnet is associated with love and faith, is often used to symbolize trust and friendship, and is named after the resemblance of the pomegranate seed. For gorgeous garnet rings, check out our Round Garnet Deco Ring. Flanked by five 1mm white diamonds and milgrain detail, this ring is available in yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold.

February - Amethyst:

Purple Amethyst is a variety of quartz that often symbolizes royalty with a beautiful purple hue. This gemstone is said to represent peace, serenity, and psychic protection. It can be sourced worldwide and has rich symbolism in every culture.

March - Aquamarine:

The name Aquamarine comes from the Latin phrase, “water of the sea,” due to its exquisite range of pale to deep blue-green colors. Thought to have powers to keep sailors safe, it represents health, confidence, and courage.

April - Diamond: 

Diamond is the only gemstone prized for lack of color and treasured for its clarity and carat. A diamond is the hardest natural substance and is significant in modern jewelry. Diamonds come in all colors, brown and yellow being the most common. Blue diamonds are the rarest and treasured for their brilliance. The diamond has become the modern jeweler’s and popular culture’s symbol of love. Explore our collections of Diamond Rings and Diamond Engagement Rings for a blend of glamorous and romantic pieces.

May - Emerald:

Emerald is a rich green color found in springtime and throughout nature. The most valued Emeralds are mined in South America and reflect a deep jungle green hue. Emeralds have become a symbol of rebirth and love. At Jennie Kwon Designs, we feature over 30 pieces of emeralds! Our Emerald Chubby Ring is a beautiful example that walks the line between delicate adornment and statement piece.

June - Pearl, Alexandrite & Moonstone:

Alexandrite varies in hue based on the lighting and is known as the color change gem. Pearls are elegant and timeless pieces formed from an irritant, such as a piece of sand, entering an oyster. The iridescent shimmer of a pearl comes from the oyster’s work of coating the irritant over and over. Moonstone is found worldwide and prized for its billowy, moonlight-like sheen. Despite being more fragile, this alternative June birthstone is still a popular choice.  If you’re looking for a sweet and subtle symbol of love, look at (and obsess over) our Pearl 2 Diamond Ring. A wisp of beauty, this piece features a focal point pearl flanked by two diamonds, and is available in 14K yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold.

July - Ruby:

The ruby is the king of gems and represents courage, wisdom, and health. Rubies are the second hardest gemstone after diamonds. They’re durable for daily wear and add vivid color to any fashionable outfit! Inspire passion with our Ruby Teardrop Diamond Ring. With a modest size and cut, this piece still stands out with a stunning ruby supported by tanzanites and green sapphires.

August - Peridot: 

Peridot is a lime green color that improves healing and prosperity while also warding off nightmares. These irresistible gems are mainly brought up from the depths of the earth from volcanic eruptions and punctuate the beaches of Hawai’i.

September - Sapphire: 

Sapphire’s name comes from “sappheiros,” the Greek word for blue. However, sapphires come in many beautiful colors. Like rubies, this natural gem is also made of ‘corundum’ and is the second hardest mineral. The Sapphire has come to represent romance, loyalty, and trust. 

Look to our Blue Sapphire Round Poeme Ring for a soft-spoken but timeless sapphire ring.

October - Opal & Tourmaline:

Tourmaline is available in a rainbow of colors but often comes in a lovely pink hue. Opal, a favorite stone for many, is unique because each stone sparkles with a one-of-a-kind color combination specific to every stone. Opals are individually unique, each unlike any other. Gush over our Opal Reese Ring, named after Jennie's daughter- a source of inspiration in her pieces.

November - Citrine & Yellow Topaz:

From the French word for lemon, citron, for its bright yellow color, Citrine is thought to be a gift from the sun and a holder of healing potential. Topaz exists in various rich colors like yellow, pink, and blue, but most adored in its orange variation. For a stunning statement piece to complete your wardrobe, view our Imperial Topaz Eiffel Ring.

December - Zircon, Tanzanite, Turquoise:

All three of these precious gemstones radiate multiple shades of brilliant blues. Their icy tones and unique structures and characteristics make them the perfect gems for the cold wintry month of December. Stand out with the regal blue hues of our Tanzanite Lexie Ring. A bezel set, Emerald-cut tanzanite, and white diamonds will take your breath away.


Birthstone hardness and durability

Not all gemstones are made equal! When considering colored gemstones, review the hardness and durability of each type of stone. These qualities determine their suitability for various types of jewelry. This rating only applies to natural gems and ranges from poor to excellent. Consult with a jeweler to select the right fit for your intended use. 


How to wear birthstone jewelry

Are you looking for a memorable piece that says it all? A colored gemstone ring can play the center stone or enhance another by mounting around or beside the central gem. Stack birthstone gem rings with gold and silver bands to add vibrancy to your daily wear. Wearing birthstone jewelry doesn’t have to stop at rings. You can find a variety of gemstone earrings, necklaces, and bracelets that showcase your birthstone and elevate your style.

The birthstone trend shows no signs of slowing down and even sparked a new movement in bridal jewelry. Modern brides are having fun finding their perfect birthstone engagement ring. The diamond rush has taken a dip, and many young couples are looking for vibrant and colorful stones to represent their love. The birthstone engagement ring can be an affordable and attractive alternative for modern brides. Find your next statement piece in our Collection of Colored Gemstone Engagement Rings.

Ready to find your one-of-a-kind birthstone jewelry piece? Request a custom design or choose from one of our ready-to-ship styles!

opal and gold rings on finger