A birthstone is a gift of a precious material (jewelry, mainly gemstones; themselves traditionally associated with various qualities) that symbolizes the month of birth (in the Gregorian Calendar). It is sometimes also called birthday stone (cf. infra; but that word is, confusingly, sometimes used as a synonym for an anniversary gift, which is related to the recipient’s age, that is, year of birth).
There have been many different sets of birthstones used throughout history and in different cultures. In 1912, in an effort to standardize them, the American national association of jewelers, Jewelers of America, officially adopted the following list; it is currently the most widely used list in the United States and many other locations, including Australia and Thailand. Some alternates have been adopted to be a less expensive substitute for a cut stone.
Month Modern Birthstone Alternate Traditional Birthstone
January: Garnet Rose Quartz Garnet
Garnet would bring the wearer tranquility and protect against fevers and against harm during travel.
February: Amethyst Onyx
Amethyst was used as a protection against drunkenness.
March: Aquamarine Red Jasper (Bloodstone) Bloodstone, Jasper
April: Diamond Rock Crystal (Quartz) Diamond, Sapphire
a person who values courage might choose diamond as his signature stone since diamonds are said to ensure bravery for the wearer. (Diamond is also a symbol of fidelity in love, which is why they have become the special stone for engagement rings.
May: Emerald Chrysoprase Emerald, Agate
A woman hoping to have a child might wear emerald for fertility.
June: Pearl, Moonstone Alexandrite Alexandrite, Emerald
July: Ruby Jade or Carnelian Ruby, Onyx
Ruby would bring the clarity of mind and protect against harm from natural.
August: Peridot Aventurine, Sardonyx, or Sapphire Sardonyx, Carnelian September Sapphire Lapis lazuli Sapphire, Peridot
A person plagued by nightmares might choose to wear peridot as protection against them.
October: Opal Pink Tourmaline Opal
It is unlucky for anyone who is not born in October to wear opal, but for those born in its month, opal would bring joy and contentment and protect against diseases of the eye.
November: Yellow Topaz Citrine or Turquoise Citrine, Topaz
December: Turquoise Lapis Lazuli or Tanzanite Zircon, Ruby
While this word has also been used as synonym of Birth stone, there is a separate list of assignment according to the day of the week of the recipient’s birth:
Monday : Pearl(the only organic gem)
Tuesday : Garnet
Wednesday : Cat’s eye (Chatoyant Chrysoberyl)
Thursday : Emerald
Friday : Topaz
Saturday : Sapphire
Sunday : Ruby
With the huge number of “correct” choices available to each person, the wearing of a birthstone can be individual and distinctive. Whatever stone is chosen, one thing is certain, the stone has a rich mythic tradition that can add depth and interest to your choice.