If you are looking to buy a piece of jewellery for someone special or even for yourself, a necklace, ring or bracelet set with a birthstone could be the perfect option. But what exactly is a birthstone and how did they originate?
Birthstones – The history
A birthstone is a precious or semi-precious gem with origins which can be traced back to biblical times. It was believed that the twelve gemstones in the Breastplate of Aaron reflected the twelve months of the year and the twelve signs of the zodiac. Each gem was thought to be imbued with specific healing and spiritual properties and if worn would benefit the wearer.
In Europe, wearing birthstones didn’t become popular until 15th century in Poland. People would wear a different stone each month in the belief it would perpetuate their good fortune. By the 18th century, people had opted to just wear the stone for their birth month, probably because owning all 12 was expensive.
How to choose your birthstone
Various birthstone charts exist, so you can choose your birthstone according to your birth month, zodiac sign, the day of the week on which you were born or even for the time you were born! So, if you are looking to buy birthstone jewellery, you have a lot of choice.
Most people refer to the list by the National Association of Jewelers, originally drawn up in 1912. Britain’s National Association of Goldsmiths created their own standardised list of birthstones in 1937, which differs slightly from the US version.
Find your birthstone
Take a look at our list below to find the birthstone for the month you were born. Some of you are lucky enough to have two options, so if you are looking to buy a piece of jewellery or are after a bespoke jewellery commission, simply choose the gem you like most.
January birthstone – Garnet
When you think of garnet, you normally think of it as deep red, but it is also available in greens, oranges and yellows. It is traditionally linked with eternity, faith and friendship.
February birthstone – Amethyst
Available in varying shades of purple, from a pale lilac to a deep violet, amethyst is thought to give you calmness, strength and courage.
March birthstone – Aquamarine
From sea blues to deep greens, aquamarine was once thought to protect those at sea. It’s linked with understanding and making new friends.
April – Diamond
Linked with love, eternity and strength, diamonds are incredibly hardwearing making them the perfect stone to wear every day.
May – Emerald/Jade
Both beautiful shades of green, emeralds are associated with clarity and loyalty, while jade was often worn as a talisman in ancient China and Egypt to attract good fortune and friendship.
June – Pearl/Moonstone
Pearls have a natural, elegant beauty and are thought to protect wearers from evil and bring them good luck. Although most pearls are an iridescent white, they can come in any colour from pink to black. Moonstone comes in a range of colours spanning yellow, grey, green, blue and pink and is believed to sooth emotional instability and stress.
July – Ruby/Onyx
Traditionally linked with happiness and devotion, rubies are a stunning deep red.
Onyx is thought to cure stress and ensure a good night’s sleep and is most commonly black, but stones can also take on caramel, red and green tones.
August – Peridot/Zircon
Lime green in colour, peridot is a by-product of volcanic activity, so comes in all shapes and sizes and is thought to protect against evil. Zircon can be found in a variety of colours which gives you a wide choice, but the most popular colour is blue.
September – Sapphire/Black star
Traditionally deep blue, you can also get sapphires in pink and yellow. It’s believed the stronger the sparkle of the stone, the more faithful the wearer. Black like its name, black star jewellery is thought to bring you creativity.
October – Opal/Tourmaline
Linked to purity, hope and innocence, opals can be either white or black with both exhibiting an amazing display of flashing rainbow colours. Tourmaline comes from the Sinhalese meaning ‘stone of mixed colours’. From mint green to hot magenta it comes in a wide range of colours and can also display several colours in one gemstone.
November – Topaz/Coral
Once believed to make the wearer invisible in dangerous situations, topaz comes in a range of colours including gold, blue, green, pink and red. People once thought coral was a plant so gave it the rather charming nick-name ‘sea’s garden’. Its colour runs from pale salmon pink through to deep red.
December – Turquoise/Lapis Lazuli
Among the oldest known gemstones, turquoise is opaque, light to dark blue and attributed with healing powers and protecting the wearer from evil. Lapis luzuli’s name stems from the latin ‘lapis’ which means stone and the Persian word ‘lazhward’ meaning blue rock. It is thought to promote wisdom and insight.
We stock a fabulous range of jewellery, so if you are looking to buy birthstone jewellery, please visit us in our store in Amersham Old Town, Buckinghamshire. And if you are after something truly special, come and have a chat to us about our bespoke jewellery commissions.