Your Essential Birthstone Jewelry Guide

Your Essential Birthstone Jewelry Guide

There are few days of the year as exciting as your birthday! It is the day you are celebrated each year when all eyes are on you and your friends and family pamper you with gifts and attention.

For the gift-givers who love to include a sentimental touch, birthstone jewelry is the perfect personalized option for a birthday present they’ll cherish for a lifetime. You’ll make their day when you include their special gem that symbolizes the month they were born in a jewelry piece they can wear again and again.

 

The History of Birthstones

A long history exists between gems and birth months. The idea of birthstones can be traced back to biblical times when, in the book of Exodus, Israel’s first high priest, Aaron, wore a breastplate with 12 stones, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. In the first century, a historian made a connection between the 12 stones of Aaron’s breastplate and the 12 months of the year.

While the tradition of birthstones has been around for centuries, it wasn’t until 1912 that the American National Retail Jewelers Association — now known as Jewelers of America — standardized a list correlating months to specific gems. This specific list helps loved ones purchase personalized birthstone jewelry based on the month they (or a loved one) were born.

 

Traditional vs. Modern Birthstones

Currently, several months have multiple gems associated with them. The birthstone lists have evolved over time, and this opens up options for people to look at either traditional or more modern iterations of birthstone jewelry.

 

The traditional list of birthstones set in 1912 is:

  • January: Garnet
  • February: Amethyst
  • March: Bloodstone
  • April: Diamond
  • May: Emerald
  • June: Pearl
  • July: Ruby
  • August: Sardonyx
  • September: Sapphire
  • October: Opal
  • November: Topaz
  • December: Lapis or Turquoise

In 1952, the Jewelry Industry Council of America modified the traditional list, and since then, other entities have added gems to some months.

 

The modern list of birthstones is:

  • January: Garnet
  • February: Amethyst
  • March: Aquamarine
  • April: Diamond
  • May: Emerald
  • June: Alexandrite
  • July: Ruby
  • August: Peridot or Spinel
  • September: Sapphire
  • October: Tourmaline
  • November: Golden Topaz or Citrine
  • December: Blue Zircon, Blue Topaz, or Tanzanite

 

When deciding to follow the traditional or modern list, most people rely on personal preference for the gems included. If there are several options between gems for your birth month, simply choose the gem that fits your style best.

 

When to Gift a Birthstone

Birthstone jewelry is the perfect personalized gift to show someone you love them. When you choose a birthstone jewelry gift, you prove that you know the person well enough to know their birthday and personal jewelry preferences, and you have also done research to discover the correct gem for their day.

Many people give birthstone gifts to a loved one for their birthday, but there are other applications for incorporating birthstone jewelry into a present. For example, a new mom might want a necklace incorporating her child’s birthstone as a push present or a grandmother might want stackable birthstone rings representing her grandchildren.

 

A Deeper Look into Birthstones by Month

The possibilities are endless when choosing birthstone jewelry gifts. Simply find the right month, decide on the appropriate style, and give your personalized gift to your loved one.

 

January Birthstone — Garnet

January birthdays are celebrated with the gorgeous garnet, a gem that appears on both the traditional and modern birthstone lists. Garnets are usually a rich red color, but the garnet family is complex and often also includes purple, green, yellow, and orange gems. Traditionally, January is associated with the red variety, but there is flexibility depending on your personal style preferences.

Gold, white gold, and diamonds all pair well with garnets. With this variety, it is easy to find garnet jewelry that fits every fashion.

Garnet is often used to symbolize love and friendship, and some people believe garnets have protective powers. Whether you are looking for a garnet heart pendant as a symbol of your love, a design that offers a sense of protection, or a simple jewelry gift for someone born at the beginning of the year, January birthstone jewelry is beautiful and will catch the eye of everyone in the room.

 

February Birthstone — Amethyst

Amethyst rules the February birthdays and is featured on both traditional and modern lists as the reigning birthstone for the month. Varying in shades of purple from pale lilac to deep violet, amethyst has long been associated with royalty. To this day, amethyst symbolizes positivity, courage, and focus.

February birthstone jewelry can feature large amethysts in a statement piece or smaller amethyst accents, giving the wearer a lot of variety when choosing a design. Amethyst pairs well with white gold or yellow gold. The purple gem is often matched with other gems for a fun look, like a pair of amethyst and blue topaz earrings.

 

March Birthstone —Aquamarine

While the traditional March birthstone was originally a bloodstone, most people currently recognize aquamarine when choosing March birthstone jewelry. This light blue stone that mimics clear ocean water is known for clarity and vibrance, making aquamarine jewelry a stunning option for March birthdays.

The piercing blue color of aquamarine lends itself to legends of protection for sailors out at sea. Aquamarines symbolize a number of things hinting at quiet ocean waters, including:

  • Tranquility
  • Peace
  • Clarity

 

Aquamarine pairs beautifully with white gold. The cool tones of the metal and gem complement each other, and white gold creates a perfect pallet to illuminate the icy hues of an aquamarine stone. The March birthstone looks beautiful as a strong statement pendant necklace or dainty stud earrings.

 

April Birthstone — Diamond

April birthdays are celebrated with one of the world’s most recognizable and sought-after gems—the diamond. While there are a variety of colored diamonds, the traditional colorless diamond is widely recognized as April’s birthstone.

Because of diamonds’ popularity, it is easy to find April birthstone jewelry. Diamonds are found in a variety of cuts, settings, and jewelry types. These colorless gems pair well with any kind of metal or accent gem, making it one of the most versatile birthstones. White sapphires share the same look as diamonds, making it a popular, budget-friendly option for April birthstone jewelry like halo rings.

Diamonds are strong, durable gems, making them incredibly valuable. Because of their value, it is important to do your research and ask good questions when shopping for a diamond. Find a jeweler you trust and consider the GIA’s 4Cs grading system to ensure you are finding the best gem for your April sweetheart.

 

May Birthstone — Emerald

As spring blooms in nature, May’s birthstone the emerald — reflects the vibrant green hues of rebirth and good fortune. We also know that presenting a loved one with May birthstone jewelry is guaranteed to make her smile grow.

These green gems vary in hue depending on their specific mineral makeup. Emeralds are formed in the mineral beryl when chromium, vanadium, and iron are present, and the varying quantities of these three elements dictate the gem’s exact color.

Emeralds look stunning in yellow gold or white gold, although the two metals create very different looks for the gem. Yellow gold pulls out the richness of the green, while white gold provides a pure foundation for the emerald to shine. Your emerald will be stunning in any setting, whether you opt for an emerald and diamond ring or a chic emerald bar necklace.

 

June Birthstones — Pearl and Alexandrite

June birthdays can be celebrated with a choice between two birthstones — pearl and alexandrite. The modern list’s addition, alexandrite, is a remarkable color-changing gem, appearing green in sunlight and red in incandescent light. Alexandrite is rare and expensive, so many people recognize pearls as their June birthstone of choice.

Pearls are the only gemstones formed from a living organism. The gem is the result of oysters and mussels protecting themselves from outside irritants, proving that good things can come from hard circumstances.

With pearls, June birthstone jewelry is beautiful and traditionally versatile. Every woman needs a good set of pearls, and those who celebrate a June birthday get to showcase their birthstone with classic pearl strands or stunning pearl stud earrings all year long.

 

July Birthstone — Ruby

With the warmth of summer comes July’s birthstone, a ruby with rich red hues reminiscent of raspberries, warm beach breezes, and vibrant flowers. July birthstone jewelry can be worn as a statement or a neutral, meaning it can be the focus of an outfit or a pleasant accent to an ensemble.

Rubies are associated with passion and love, making this birthstone the perfect jewelry gift for the love of your life. It is the traditional gift to celebrate a 40th wedding anniversary, and some designers have started incorporating rubies into engagement rings.

Because of its vibrant color, rubies pair well with a variety of other bold gems. This is especially helpful when purchasing jewelry with multiple birthstones, like stackable rings or a custom necklace that symbolizes a mother’s children or a whole family.

 

August Birthstones — Sardonyx, Peridot, and Spinel

August has three birthstones — sardonyx is on the traditional list, but the modern birthstones are peridot and spinel. Sardonyx is a red stone with white stripes, spinel is a gem that can be found in many colors, and peridot is a warm green stone. Currently, peridot is often the favored stone for August birthstone jewelry.

Peridot is often found in volcanic rocks. It is formed from magnesium and iron, with the iron influencing the specific green hue of the gem. Peridot leans into the yellow side of green, unlike emeralds, which trend cooler on the color wheel.

Peridot gems, which have yellow undertones, look best against yellow gold to enhance their warmth. Match your peridot pendant necklace with a white or black outfit for a classic look or with nautical colors such as coral or ocean blue for a splash of color.

 

September Birthstone — Sapphire

September sparkles with a sapphire birthstone. This highly sought-after gem is second in popularity only to diamonds, and it is easy to see why September birthstone jewelry is so desirable with its rich blue color and classic look.

Sapphires represent royalty, romance, and fidelity. Some of the most iconic jewels in the world feature sapphires, including the late Princess Diana’s engagement ring, which now belongs to her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Your September sweetheart will feel like royalty when presented with a sapphire birthstone bracelet. These gems are often paired with diamonds for a classic elegance that symbolizes the undying love between the two of you.

 

October Birthstones — Opal and Tourmaline

Those celebrating their birthdays in October can choose between two beautiful birthstones. Opal is the traditional choice for October birthstone jewelry, but tourmaline was added in recent years and is also loved by many.

Opal is a quartz with gorgeous rainbow iridescence. No two opals are identical, which is why some consider opal to be the most magical birthstone. The iridescent mix of colors makes a statement in any setting.

Along with opal’s rainbow theme, tourmalines occur naturally in a wide range of colors. Tourmaline jewelry is perfect for the October people who prefer a more striking pop of color than what opal typically delivers. With two wonderful choices, those born in October have a wide range of birthstone colors to choose from.

 

November Birthstones — Topaz, Golden Topaz, and Citrine

November is another month that boasts multiple birthstones. Topaz — both traditional blue topaz and golden topaz — and citrine are all available in November birthstone jewelry.

Topaz naturally comes in many colors depending on the impurities present when the gem forms and the striking blue and warm golden topaz variety are most common for November birthstones. Citrine, which is sometimes mistaken as golden topaz, is known for its warm, sunny coloring.

November birthstone jewelry is often bright and cheerful. Topaz and citrine go well together and are often used to complement other colorful gems. At a time of year when the weather starts to cool down, it is nice to have jewelry that reminds you of warmth, vitality, and joy, like a pair of topaz halo earrings.

 

December Birthstones — Lapis, Turquoise, and Tanzanite

In the cold of winter, December birthstone jewelry featuring lapis, turquoise, or Tanzanite reflects the beauty of cool colors with deep blues and bright turquoise. December birthstones are varied enough in style that every woman born at the end of the year can find birthstone jewelry they love.   

Turquoise is the most commonly recognized December birthstone, making a bold addition to designer jewelry, like a Marco Bicego cocktail ring, with lapis and Tanzanite acting as secondary stones. Each piece of turquoise is different, making these pieces of jewelry unique.

Birthstone jewelry is intensely personal and meaningful. Whether you are purchasing a special piece for yourself or you are giving the jewelry as a gift, birthstones symbolize who we are and the important moment we came into the world. Celebrate yourself or someone you love with a beautiful birthstone from their special month.