Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Guide: Birthstones


Although dating back to biblical times (and in particular the Book of Exodus 28 and 39), the custom of wearing Birthstones in Europe probably first became popular in Poland in the 16th Century. By the 17th Century, gemstones had become firmly associated with specific months of the year. Wealthy members of European society would wear each months stone over the course of that month in order to be in harmony with the celestial spirits. As the months changed, the wearer hoped the stone would bring them the special properties associated with each particular celestial period. For instance, Garnet would bring the wearer tranquility, protect against fevers and also against harm during travel. Whilst Ruby would bring clarity of mind and protect against harm from natural causes. Ultimately this meant that each individual would have to invest in a set of twelve gemstones and an item of jewellery with which to wear them. By the 18th century, probably as a financial necessity, members of society began wearing only the gemstone that represented the actual month of their birth. Nowadays a Birthstone is usually offered as a gift to symbolise the qualities attributed to the month of birth of the recipient.

What Are The Twelve Birthstones By Month

For historical, national and commercial reasons there are actually more than twelve birthstones and the actual number depends on the Birthstone Chart that you choose to use. Below you will find the Official British Birthstone List and the Official American Birthstone List along with an indication of whether the birthstone bead or gemstone selection is a Traditional Birthstone, a Modern Birthstone or an Alternative Birthstone. Each entry comes with a brief description of the traditional Birthstone Meanings as well as Birthstones Colours Chart.


For a wider understanding of the gemstones included in the list of birthstones for each month of the year we have provided a link through to our Gemstones and MInerals Guide for each Birthstone. This gemstone glossary provides the physical characteristics of each stone along with colour variations, sources, history, purported therapeutic properties, and the traditional meanings of gemstones.

The Official British Birthstones List

Defined in 1937. (Source: The National Association of Goldsmiths)
January Traditional Birthstone Garnet

JANUARY BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Deep Red
Representing – Eternity, Faith & Truth
February Traditional Birthstone Amethyst

FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Purple
Representing – Health, Luck & Wittiness
March Traditional Birthstone Aquamarine

MARCH BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Pale Blue
Representing – Happiness & Understanding
March ALternative Birthstone Bloodstone

MARCH BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – Dark Green & Red
Representing – Happiness & Understanding
April Traditional Birthstone Diamond

APRIL BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – White or Clear
Representing – Eternity Courage & Health
April Alternative Birthstone Rock Crystal

APRIL BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – White or Clear
Representing – Eternity, Courage & Health
May Traditional Birthstone Emerald

MAY BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Green
Representing – Fidelity, Goodness & Love
May Alternative Birthstone Chrysoprase

MAY BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – Green
Representing – Fidelity, Goodness & Love
June Traditional Birthstone Pearl

JUNE BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – White
Representing – Beauty, Nobility & Peace
June Alternative Birthstone Moonstone

JUNE BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – White
Representing – Beauty, Nobility & Peace
July Traditional Birthstone Ruby

JULY BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Red
Representing – Enthusiasm, Love & Strength
July Alternative Birthstone Carnelian

JULY BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – Red
Representing – Enthusiasm, Love & Strength
July Alternative Birthstone Onyx

July BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – Black
Representing – Comfort & Relaxation
August Traditional Birthstone Peridot

AUGUST BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Pale Green
Representing – Love, Peace & Success
August Alternative Birthstone Sardonyx

AUGUST BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – White & Reddish Brown
Representing – Love, Peace & Success
September Traditional Birthstone Sapphire

SEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Deep Blue or Indigo
Representing – Serenity & Truth
September Alternative Birthstone Lapis Lazuli

SEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – Deep Blue
Representing – Serenity & Truth
October Traditional Birthstone Opal

OCTOBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Multi-coloured
Representing – Health, Hope & Purity
October Alternative Birthstone Tourmaline

OCTOBER BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – Multi-coloured
Representing – Health, Hope & Purity
November Traditional Birthstone Topaz

NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Yellow
Representing – Courage, Sincerity & Wisdom
November Alternative Birthstone Citrine

NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONES – ALTERNATIVE

Birthstone Colour – Yellow
Representing – Courage, Sincerity & Wisdom
December Modern Birthstone Tanzanite

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Blue
Representing – Happiness, Health & Prosperity
December Traditional Birthstone Turquoise

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Blue
Representing – Happiness, Love & Luck



The Official American Birthstones List

In 1912, in an effort to standardise Birthstones, the organisations associated with the Jewelers of America officially adopted a list of gemstones, detailed as Traditional in the table below. The list was not changed until 1952 when a nationwide survey of men’s buying preferences showed that the available choice between June and December was not being followed and that a new buying pattern had emerged. These changes are detailed as Modernin the table below. More recently two attempts were made to add Tanzanite as December’s stone. Although December already had two stones representing it the American Gem Trade Association announced in 2002 that they had added tanzanite to December’s birthstone list. This addition is also detailed as Modern. Later in 2006 the Tanzanite cartel decided that a new marketing strategy would help their business and announced that Tanzanite would be a birthstone not just for a particular month of the year but should be presented on the birth of each child, no matter which month they were born in. The Jewelers of America accepted the idea hoping it would help increase sales of birthstone jewellery. This list is currently the most widely used in the United States and many other locations including the Far East and Australia. (List Source: The American National Association of Jewelers)

January Traditional Birthstone Garnet

JANUARY BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Deep Red
Representing – Health, Perseverance, Prosperity & Strength
February Traditional Birthstone Amethyst

FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Purple
Representing – Security, Sobriety, Spirituality & Wisdom
March Traditional Birthstone Aquamarine

MARCH BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Pale Blue
Representing – Beauty, Happiness, Honesty & Loyalty
March Modern Birthstone Bloodstone

MARCH BIRTHSTONES – MODERN

Birthstone Colour – Dark Green & Red
Representing – Endurance
April Traditional Birthstone Diamond

APRIL BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – White or Clear
Representing – Clarity, Eternal Love, Invincibility & Purity
May Traditional Birthstone Emerald

MAY BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Green
Representing – Foresight, Patience & Understanding
June Modern Birthstone Alexandrite

JUNE BIRTHSTONES – MODERN

Birthstone Colour – Green
Representing – Balance, Confidence & Joy
June Traditional Birthstone Moonstone

JUNE BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – White
Representing – Balance, Good Fortune & Passion
June Traditional Birthstone Pearl

JUNE BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – White
Representing – Balance, Confidence & Joy
July Traditional Birthstone Ruby

JULY BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Red
Representing – Love, Integrity, Passion, Promise & Success
August Traditional Birthstone Peridot

AUGUST BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Pale Green
Representing – Dignity, Fame, Protection & Success
August Modern Birthstone Sardonyx

AUGUST BIRTHSTONES – MODERN

Birthstone Colour – White & Reddish Brown
Representing – Relaxation & Security
September Modern Birthstone Sapphire

SEPTEMBER BIRTHSTONES – MODERN

Birthstone Colour – Deep Blue or Indigo
Representing – Commitment, Loyalty, Sincerity & Truth
October Traditional Birthstone Opal

OCTOBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Multi-coloured
Representing – Confidence, Faith & Hope
October Traditional Birthstone Tourmaline

OCTOBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Multi-coloured
Representing – Balance, Endurance & Safety
November Traditional Birthstone Yellow Topaz

NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Yellow
Representing – Courage, Strength & Wisdom
November Traditional Birthstone Citrine

NOVEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Yellow
Representing – Cheerfulness, Fidelity, Health, Hope & Youth
December Modern Birthstone Tanzanite

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Blue
Representing – Contentment & Understanding
December Modern Birthstone Zircon

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONES – MODERN

Birthstone Colour – Blue
Representing – Honour, Wealth & Wisdom
December Traditional Birthstone Turquoise

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Blue
Representing – Happiness, Love & Luck
December Traditional Birthstone Blue Topaz

DECEMBER BIRTHSTONES – TRADITIONAL

Birthstone Colour – Blue
Representing – Happiness, Love & Luck

If that is not enough choice there are also Birthstone lists for the hourday of the week, and season. However, our listings end with a Day of the Week Birthstone list which identifies a Birthstones for the day of a persons birth

Day of the Week Birthstone List

Monday Traditional Day Of The Week Birthstone Pearl

MONDAY BIRTHSTONES

Tuesday Traditional Day Of The Week Birthstone Ruby

TUESDAY BIRTHSTONES

Wednesday Traditional Day Of The Week Birthstone Amethyst

WEDNESDAY BIRTHSTONES

Thursday Traditional Day Of The Week Birthstone Sapphire

THURSDAY BIRTHSTONES

Friday Traditional Day Of The Week Birthstone Carnelian

FRIDAY BIRTHSTONES

Saurday Traditional Day Of The Week Birthstone Turquoise

SATURDAY BIRTHSTONES

Sunday Traditional Day Of The Week Birthstone Topaz

SUNDAY BIRTHSTONES


Further Reading – History of Birthstones


The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz . . . a compendium of all the powers that have been associated with gemstones through the ages.

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