January – Garnet
Also known as red Carbuncle or Bohemian Garnet; the origin of the word has associations with the word for Pomegranate.
A little known fact is that Garnets occur in all colours whereas most of us just think of the wine red (pyrope) variety when we consider this gem. Demantoid and Tsavorite garnets are green, Melanite are black, Rhodolite are pink, Hessonite are brown and Spessartine – an orangey colour – so if your birthday falls in January and red is not a colour you prefer; then think again – the world is your oyster!
February – Amethyst
A form of Quartz; Amethyst is purply in colour and has associations with jewellery worn by the clergy as it is said it is an aid to sobriety! In ancient times it was worn as an amulet to protect the bearer from intoxication.
Amethyst was at one time an expensive and rare gemstone until the massive deposits at Minas Gerais in Brazil were discovered, making it now one of the most popular gemstones around.
March – Aquamarine
Aquamarine is a pale blue form of Beryl (the same mineral group as Emerald) but unlike Emerald, it usually forms mostly free of inclusions making this one of the more beautiful pure gemstones-indeed the finest and most sought after stones known as Santa Maria Aquamarines come from the mine of the same name in Brazil.
Originally extensively mined in the Urals, most gem specimens nowadays come from Brazil, the Far East and Africa.
April – Diamond
Diamond – but of course do remember that Diamond forms in all different colours from the famous Argyl pink diamonds from Australia (Jennifer Lopez famously owned a beautiful 6 carat natural pink diamond given to her by Ben Affleck), to the infamous Blue Diamond: The Heart of the Ocean – made famous by the film Titanic (originally made from less valuable Quartz).
What causes these rare fancy coloured forms? Earth elements present at the time of formation colour the gems differently – for example Nitrgoen causes yellow diamond, Manganese for pink – it’s all in the chemistry!
Diamond’s reputation is known throughout the world as the gemstone of love and devotion.
May – Emerald
The birthstone of May is Emerald, derived from the word “smaragdus,” means, quite literally, “green” in Greek.
Emerald carries the rich green colour of Spring making it perfect for this month. As the gem of Venus, they are considered to be a symbol of rebirth and love and it was also believed to aid in fertility and grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. Today, emerald is a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings, peace and security.
Emeralds are amongst some of the rarest gemstones and are typically mined in Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia. Because of its rarity Emerald is often favoured by the rich and famous to wear as statement pieces for prestigious events.
The deeper and more vivid the colour of green, the more valuable the gemstone. The most valuable and beautiful Emeralds exhibit an intense bluish hue in addition to their basic bold green colour.
June – Pearl & Alexandrite
Historically, the birthstone for June was the pearl. However, alexandrite, a relative newcomer to the gem world, has taken its place on the modern list.
Pearls are classed as organic gems. They are not stones as such, but occur as a result of a living organism. Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their shells—usually not a grain of sand, as commonly believed.
Pearls have been wildly popular in jewellery for centuries because of their natural beauty. Since natural pearls are rare and difficult to recover from the ocean’s depths, man invented the technique of culturing salt and freshwater pearls from mollusks carefully seeded with irritants similar to those produced by nature.
Cultured pearls come in many beautiful colours, from pale cream and white to rose, lilac, green, gold, grey, and black.
Today pearls are both classic and contemporary; a strand of white pearls can be timeless but a bracelet of chocolate pearls is more modern.
Originally discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the 1830s, it’s now found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil.
Alexandrite gemstones are extremely rare and desirable since they change colour based on the lighting. This incredibly rare gem appears green in daylight but changes to a purple-red colour beneath incandescent lighting.
Associated with concentration and learning, alexandrite is believed to strengthen intuition, aid creativity and inspire imagination—bringing good omens to anyone who wears it.
Without question, natural alexandrites command extremely high prices per carat. If you opt for this modern birthstone, you may have to settle for a synthetic, but still very expensive, alexandrite.
The value of the gemstone increases as the colour change becomes more distinct.
July – Ruby
Ruby, the king of precious gems, is the birthstone for July. They are a symbol of the passion and energy associated with the colour red, the vibrant ruby is said to bring love, good fortune and success. They represent love, passion, courage and emotion.
Rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. To this day the Ruby is the most valued gemstone and its value increases based on its colour and quality.
Rubies are available in a range of red hues from purplish and bluish red to orange-red. The brightest and most valuable colour of Ruby is often “a Burmese Ruby” – an indication that it is a rich, passionate, hot, full red colour with a slight blue hue.
An exceptionally hard stone, medium to medium-dark red rubies with little to no purple or orange generally demand the highest prices.
You may have a difficult time buying fine quality rubies. However, you can find stones of acceptable quality in a variety of shapes and sizes. Rubies make exceptional jewellery stones.
August – Peridot & Spinel
August claims two birthstones; Peridot and Spinel.
You can find this gem in colours ranging from yellow-green to brown. However, the light green or lime green variety has the strongest popular connection to August. Whilst available in several colours, the bright lime greens and olive greens are the most desired.
Also known as “the Evening Emerald” because its sparkling green hue looks brilliant any time of day, peridot is said to possess healing properties that protect against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune.
Today, most Peridot comes from Arizona but it is also found in China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.
The bright red colour of Spinel is so closely related to the Ruby the two of them are often confused with one another.
In addition to rich reds, Spinel can be found in shades of orange and pastel pink, as well as purple. Of particular interest is a vivid, hot pink with a tinge of orange that is mined in Burma, which is one of the most beautiful gemstone colours and unlike any other gem. Spinel also comes in blues, but these are extremely rare.
Spinel is believed to protect the owner from harm, to reconcile differences, and to soothe away sadness.
Significant deposits of spinel have been found in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It has also been found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania and the U.S.
When shopping for spinel, a good quality stone should have no visible inclusions. The more inclusions, the less valuable the stone will be. Spinel can be found in various cuts, like octagons, trillions, squares, rounds and fancy shapes, like ovals, pears, and cushions.
September – Sapphire
September’s birthstone is the sapphire—a precious gem of wisdom, loyalty and nobility. This stone is said to focus the mind, encourage self-discipline and channel higher powers.
Durable sapphires make great gems for daily wear jewellery and they are still one of the most popular engagement gemstones today.
When hearing the word Sapphire many people immediately envision a stunning violet-blue gemstone because the word “Sapphire” is Greek for blue, however sapphire comes in a wide variety of colours (except red, which is classified as ruby instead). Typically, pure blue stones or blue stones with a green or purple tint rank as the most valuable. However, you can also choose pink, purple, orange, green, and yellow as well as colourless stones.
The most sought-after colour is the rare and beautiful Padparadscha: a distinctive salmon colour reminiscent of a tropical sunset. These ultra-rare, ultra-expensive stones are among the most coveted gems in the world.
Sapphire is found in many parts of the world, but the most prized Sapphires are from Myanmar (Burma), Kashmir and Sri Lanka.
October – Tourmaline & Opal
People born in October get to choose between two birthstones – tourmaline and opal. October’s birthstones offer a full spectrum of gems to suit anyone’s tastes.
Tourmaline is the modern October birthstone. These gems come in many varieties and colours, including beautiful multi-coloured stones, making it a great gemstone choice for jewellery of all kinds. With Tourmaline available in so many colours, you’re sure to find one in your favourite colour.
Tourmaline lives up to its name, which means “mixed stone”.
Cranberry red, hot magenta, pink, peach and orange, canary yellow, mint, grass and forest green, ocean blue, violet: Tourmaline is all of these and more.
Tourmaline is also known for displaying several colours in one single gemstone. These bi-colour or tri-colour gems are highly sought-after.
Opal is the traditional October birthstone.
The name “opal” originates from the Greek word opallios, which meant “to see a change in colour.
Dozens of opal varieties exist, but only a few (like Fire Opal and Boulder Opal) are universally recognised. Opals are often referred to by their background “body colour”— black or white.
There are a wide variety of types of Opals: Australian Opal, including Boulder from tropical Queensland, Precious Light from Coober Pedy and Andamooka, Blacks and Yowah from New South Wales. Welo Opal from Ethiopia, Fire Opals from Brazil.
Opal gemstones are truly unique because each individual gem holds a one-of-a-kind colour combination – as unique as our fingerprints! In fact, rare picture opal can be found where the alignment of the colours randomly forms an image such as a face/landscape!
November – Topaz & Citrine
November birthdays are associated with two gems; Citrine and Topaz.
Topaz is often found in an amber gold, yellow, or a blushing pink orange but a pale pink or a sherry red Topaz is very exceptional. The most prized colour of Topaz is called Imperial Topaz and features a magnificent orange with pink undertones. Blue, once the most rare colour of Topaz, is the most common today due to man’s ability to enhance its colour – Topaz with a naturally blue colour is very rare.
Topaz is a soothing stone that has been said to calm tempers, cure madness and eliminate nightmares.
November’s second birthstone, citrine, is the variety of quartz that ranges from pale yellow to brownish orange in color. It takes its name from the citron fruit (Cintrine is actually French for “Lemon”) because of these lemon-inspired shades.
This bright shining gem has said to be a gift from the sun. In ancient times, Citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. Today, Citrine is sometimes known as the “healing quartz” for its ability to comfort, soothe and calm. It can release negative feelings, spark imagination and manifest fresh beginnings. It’s even called the “merchant’s stone” for its tendency to attract wealth and prosperity.
Citrine is one of the most popular and affordable gemstones. It is relatively plentiful and available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, including very large sizes. These reasons make it a great gem for that big, bold, statement piece.
December – Tanazinte, Zircon & Turquoise
December’s birthdays deliver not one; not two but three birthstones: tanzanite, zircon and turquoise – all of them best known for beautiful shades of blue (Zircon can actually be found in a variety of colours, but blue is the overwhelming favourite).
These gems range from the oldest on earth (zircon), to one of the first mined and used in jewellery (turquoise), to one of the most recently discovered (tanzanite).
Tanzanite can only be found in one place on Earth: the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. It possesses an exotic velvety blue with a rich overtone of purple.
One of today’s most popular blue gemstones, Tanzanite comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and striking assortments of blue tones.
Due to pleochroism, tanzanite can display different colours when viewed from different angles. Stones must be cut properly to highlight the more attractive blue and violet hues, and deemphasize the undesirable brown tones.
The majority of tanzanite on the market today is heat treated to minimize the brown colours found naturally, and to enhance the blue shades that can rival sapphire.
Most people think of a bright sky blue when they hear Zircon, but it is also available in beautiful earth tones of green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange. The most popular colours of Zircon are vivid blue and bright Caribbean Sea colours.
The spectrum of beautiful colours, its rarity and affordability are why it is becoming more popular today. Some gem collectors seek out Zircon from different locations capturing gems in every colour of the rainbow – colourless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the colours in between.
Colourless zircon, known as Matura Diamond, displays brilliance and flashes of multi-coloured “fire” that can rival fine diamond. There’s one key difference though: Zircon is more brittle.
Since the Middle Ages, people have believed that zircon can induce sleep, ward off evil and promote prosperity.
Zircon is an underrated gem that’s often confused with synthetic cubic zirconia due to similar names and shared use as diamond simulants. Few people realize that zircon is a spectacular natural gem available in a variety of colours.
Admired since ancient times, turquoise is known for its distinct colour, which ranges from powdery blue to greenish robin’s egg blue. It’s one of few minerals to lend its name to anything that resembles its striking color.
Turquoise is an opaque, light to dark blue or blue-green gem with its finest colour being an intense blue. Turquoise may contain narrow veins of other materials either isolated or as a network. They are usually black, brown, or yellowish-brown in colour. Some turquoise contains pieces of host rock, called matrix, which appear as dark webs or patches in the material. This can lower the stone’s value, although the uniform “spiderweb” pattern of South West American turquoise is attractive.
From ancient Egyptians to Persians, Aztecs and Native Americans, kings and warriors alike admired turquoise for thousands of years. It adorned everything from jewellery to ceremonial masks to weapons and bridles – granting power and protection, particularly against falls.
Highly esteemed for its striking namesake colour and its ancient history, turquoise remains popular through time.